Bah! All the other tank classes are going on about this new “Active Mitigation” thing – but we’ve been doing it for years! Latecomers. Oh, well – if you want to know how to get your Blood Death Knight tank up, running, and kicking Garrosh’s oversized, over-detailed ass, here’s a quick start guide to WoW Patch 5.4 in the Blood world, including details on our priorities, glyphs, reforging, stats, talents and builds, and more.
Updated 17th September 2013 to World of Warcraft Patch 5.4
Unlike other tanks who are just getting it in MoP, Death Knights have had an “Active Mitigation” playstyle for years now. As such, your defence and offense is rolled into a single priority list:
Start by applying your diseases, ideally through Outbreak, or otherwise through Frost Fever and Blood Plague. You should always have diseases running on your target.
If your diseases fall off your target, reapply them with Outbreak.
Timing Death Strike can become a real art – see the Links section below if you’d like to get more advanced with this aspect of DK tanking.
Pull with Death and Decay, then either put diseases up on all your targets with Outbreak or via Frost Fever and Blood Plague, then spread them through Pestilence (or Blood Boil if you have the Tier 1 Roiling Blood talent). Alternatively, if you have the talent and all your targets are close, simply use Unholy Blight. Once that’s done:
Death Knight tanks rely very heavily on their cooldowns to survive, making them almost the equivalent of other classes’ Active Mitigation abilities. As a result, they have a lot – really a lot – of cooldowns.
Yeah. Like I said. A LOT of cooldowns.
Make sure you’re in Blood Presence, and remember to keep Horn of Winter up.
The new Mists of Pandaria talent selection is very fluid, and there’s no set “best choice” for talents yet. Indeed, most people expect they’ll be changing talents on a per-encounter basis. So, we encourage you to try different talents out and see what works for you.
Having said that, if you want to get going with an easy-to-use general talent selection, we recommend:
Note: Tier 6 is particularly situational. All 3 abilities are useful or useless in different tanking situations. Pick the best one for what you’re doing.
For blood DKs, Mastery followed by Hit and Expertise to their caps at 7.5% appears to be the best way to go.
Reforging: Reforge anything without Mastery to Mastery. Then, reforge to Expertise and Hit up to the 7.5% caps, then to Parry and Dodge. Reforge from Hit and expertise over cap first, then non-tank stats (Crit/Haste), then Parry and Dodge.
Gems: Use Fractured gems in Yellow sockets, Puissant gems in Blue sockets and Fine gems in Red sockets.
Meta Gem: Austere Shadowspirit Diamond
Getting one- or two-shot?: If you’re getting killed before healers can heal you, replace blue sockets with pure Stamina (Solid) gems until that stops happening.
Note: this is a quick, simple and rough approach to Dodge and Parry in particular. If you’d like to set up your Dodge and Parry to be optimal, you should refer to this section of the Elitist Jerks guide and use the macro there.
5.4 glyphs are very situational, but here are some good general choices with no downsides:
Major: Glyph of Outbreak, Glyph of Festering Blood, Glyph of Regenerative Magic
Minor: Whatever you like – they don’t affect your play.
You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant – Inscription of the Earth Prince on shoulders from Inscription, for example.
As with other classes, info’s a bit thin on the ground at the moment, but there are a couple of good guides:
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