Blood Death Knight playstyle and rotation guide

Patch 9.2.5 Last Updated: 8th Aug, 2022
Tokaine Blood Death Knight Author
Tokaine
Alex Blood Death Knight Author
Alex

Playstyle & Rotation

Rotation

General Rotation:

  1. Use Marrowrend if your Bone Shield is about to expire or you will be in a situation where you will be away from a target for an extended period of time and will be unable to cast Marrowrend to refresh your stacks.
  2. Use Death Strike if you are going to overcap on runic power after your next rune spender or if you have just taken a large hit where you can get the most value out of the healing window.
  3. Use Tombstone if it will reduce the cooldown on your Dancing Rune Weapon, or if you need the defensive.
  4. Use Blood boil if you have 2 charges of Blood Boil or there are no nearby enemies that do not have Blood Plague.
  5. Use Marrowrend if you have 7 or fewer stacks of Bone Shield. Your goal is to keep your stacks above 5 as to keep the buff from Ossuary, so you can wait until you go down to 5 if your runes line up better that way but it is always advised that you try to refresh when you drop to 7 so you will always have the Ossuary buff up in a situation where you need it.
  6. Make sure to have 3 runes recharging at all times, the priority on rune spenders are as followed:
    1. Use Death and Decay if it will hit 3 or more Targets.
    2. Use Heart Strike, it should be noted that if you know a large sum of damage is about to occur and you need to quickly pool runic power you should spam Heart Strike a few times to generate enough runic power to Death Strike your way through it. Keep in mind that you should never at any point let your Bone Shield stacks drop below 5 as to lose the Ossuary buff.
    3. Use Blood Boil if Dancing Rune Weapon is active.
  7. Use Death and Decay if you have a Crimson Scourge proc.
  8. Use Blood Boil.

Opener:

If you are going to be actively tanking on pull this is the order you should follow, if you will not be the first tank then you should skip out step 4 as you will have charges of your Bone Shield up by the time you take the boss.

  1. Use Dark Command.
  2. Use Dancing Rune Weapon while running to the boss.
  3. Use Tombstone while running to gain the shield and reduce the CD of Dancing Rune Weapon.
  4. Use Rune Tap just before you reach the bosses melee range as this smooths the initial damage you take before you get your Bone Shield stacks rolling.
  5. Use Marrowrend to apply 9 stacks of Bone Shield.
  6. Use Blood Boil so that you don’t waste any time getting your charges rolling.

Multi Target:

The multi target rotation is largely similar to the single target one. With multi target you want to put a higher priority into using Death and Decay as it allows your Heart Strike to hit more targets.

Playstyle

Blood Deathknight is an exceptionally strong tank when played well, they free up your healers to focus on other players but bad play will be more punishing than some of the other tanks.

Death Strike and runic power pooling.

This is the main part of BDK that you should play around with. BDK is a tank that requires you to have very precise knowledge of when and how much damage is coming in as this allows you to pool for those spikes.

A perfect example of this would be Sire Denathrius and in his final phase the mechanic Shattering Pain as this is a tank buster with 3 large hits that you can prepare for.

An experienced death knight will have pooled significat runic power to allow for a Death Strike after every single one of those hits leaving him to pretty much be able to solo heal the mechanic himself, this is extremely beneficial for your raid as the healers know they have no need to even look at your frame during this point allowing them to focus on other matters.

Deaths Advance

Deaths Advance is an exceptionally powerful tool in the death knights kit, as it allows you to completely ignore certain mechanics that would forcibly move you and it makes up for a lot of BDK’s lack of mobility. Using this in the right spot comes with experience and knowledge of the fight but it will make certain mechanics obsolete when used correctly.

Rune Management

Due to how Death Knight works, rune management is vital as it is very easy to run out of abilities to press if you don’t follow the correct priority system. The idea is you juggle between the 2 types of abilities, rune spenders and runic power/free spenders.

Some situations require you to dump excess runes to pool runic power but most of the time you should always have a button to press, if you are finding yourself sitting there with no abilities to press then you should study the priority system to double check you aren’t spending runes when you don’t need to.

With the advent of Blood DK’s 4 set, rune management and rune efficiency are more important than ever, and with optimal play you can extend Dancing Rune Weapon to over 90s duration.

Survivability

This goes for all tanks but it is especially true to BDK, you need to know how hard you will get hit with certain cooldowns during certain mechanics. A mistake a lot of new tanks make is they either over commit to using a defensive which leaves them out of cool downs for the next big hit resulting in their death.

BDK doesn’t have the strongest cooldowns but it does have a lot of them and it is about learning what you need to cover what damage. Additionally, learning to track and look out for healer externals is a vital skill all tanks should have as they can be used to supplement times where you have a gap in your own defensives or they can be used as a backup button if you do make a mistake.