Playstyle & Rotation
Your rotation priority for Blood is fairly simple.
- Death and Decay
- Blood Boil if any target is missing Blood Plague.
- Death Strike if Icy Talons or Coagulopathy have less than 2 seconds remaining and to avoid capping runic power or if you require healing.
- Marrowrend if you are at 5 or less Bone Shield stacks and Dancing Rune Weapon or Abomination Limb are not available or will not be available for 5 or more seconds.
- Heartstrike your aim is to always have 3 runes recharging
- Tombstone if Dancing Rune Weapon has at least 25 seconds remaining on it’s cooldown, you have at least 6 Bone Shield stacks, and you are standing in your Death and Decay.
With Abomination Limb:
- Death and Decay
- Abomination Limb + Empower Rune Weapon + Raise Dead
- Dancing Rune Weapon
- Blood Boil
Without Abomination Limb
- Death’s Caress
- Death and Decay
- Dancing Rune Weapon + Empower Rune Weapon + Raise Dead
- Blood Boil
- Heart Strike
- Death Strike
There are only a few things to remember to optimize your rotation as Blood.
- Keep Ossuary up. This means you want to Marrowrend at 5 Bone Shield stacks, or with 5 or less seconds remaining on the buff. However, if either Dancing Rune Weapon or Abomination Limb will be ready to use within 3-7 seconds or Abomination Limb is active, it’s okay to hold off on Marrowrending.
- Keep Death and Decay up as often as possible. With Death’s Echo, it’s very easy to reach uptimes of 85% or higher on Death and Decay. Maintaining a high uptime will be the biggest and easiest increase in your dps and survivability when playing Blood. Be sure you time your usages of Death and Decay with movement as well. Try not to place a brand new Death and Decay within a couple seconds of heavy movement.
- Keep Icy Talons and Coagulopathy up at max stacks as often as possible. It’s entirely possible to keep Coagulopathy up for 100% of an encounter. The 8 second duration is more than enough time to refresh the buff, and keeping the buff at max stacks is incredibly important. Icy Talons on the other hand is a little bit harder to do with its 6 second duration, but with enough practice it is possible. Keeping these buffs up means you need to Death Strike about every 5-6 seconds which is hard, but doable.
- Keep Blood Plague up on all targets you’re in combat with. This one is simple, just make sure that Blood Boil doesn’t cap charges and you’ll be more than fine. On 2+ targets you want to use Blood Boil a bit more for damage as well as funneling damage and healing from Hemostasis.
- Keep Tombstone synced with Abomination Limb and Dancing Rune Weapon. Ideally you should be using Tombstone at the same time as either Dancing Rune Weapon or Abomination Limb in order to mitigate the cost of the 5 Bone Shield stacks.
- Optimize Dancing Rune Weapon.
- While Dancing Rune Weapon is up you want to try and only use abilities that it copies. So Blood Boil, Death Strike, Heart Strike, Marrowrend, Death’s Caress, Consumption, and Soul Reaper. There are 2 exceptions to this rule. Death and Decay and Tombstone. All other non-utility abilities you should try and use before you use Dancing Rune Weapon.
- The first and last globals of your Dancing Rune Weapon are fixed. The first global will always be Blood Boil. Your rune weapons gain benefit from Coagulopathy, but from their own Blood Plague, so you want to make sure it’s up for them right away. Your last global will be Marrowrend, but only if you have 6 or less Bone Shield stacks, or less than 10 seconds remaining on your Bone Shield.
In this section I’d like to go over some tips for surviving as a Blood Death Knight.
Blood is fortunate in that almost all of its survivability comes from doing the basic dps rotation correctly. As long as you are keeping all the plates spinning you’ll be able to survive most things. Increasing your survivability past this point is also relatively simple. Use your cooldowns often and well. This sounds pretty dumb, but you’d be amazed at the amount of times I’ve gone through peoples logs, even people doing high keys or on mythic end bosses, where they just don’t push their cooldowns.
In raid it’s pretty simple when to use your cooldowns. Big tank nuke incoming? Use a cooldown. Planning your cooldowns beforehand is an important part of raid tanking. Once you are able to script out your movement and cooldown usage, your job as a tank is pretty much done. You just deal as much damage as you can while surviving and making sure to not deviate from your script as much as possible.
Mythic plus is a bit more nuanced. You want to have cooldowns running as often as possible to help lessen the amount of incoming damage in each pull, while still saving cooldowns for big tank hits. The easiest way to do this is to rotate between your cooldowns. Use Dancing Rune Weapon on pull, followed by Vampiric Blood, then Icebound Fortitude or Lichborne depending on which is available for large incoming tank nukes or large pulls, and using Anti-Magic Shell for incoming magic damage. The goal is to get as many uses out of each defensive ability as possible, without overlapping them.
Additionally, you need to ensure that you have both Bone Shield stacks and runic power going into pulls. The easiest way to do this is to make sure that your last global in a pull is either Marrowrend or Death’s Caress. The rework to Death’s Caress to also give Bone Shield stacks helps a lot with this problem as well.
Being able to generate Bone Shield stacks from range means you’ll never have to walk into a pack without the extra armor and haste that Bone Shield provides. As for runic power, don’t be afraid to hit abilities while you are gathering mobs to build up runic power. Just because you are gathering does not mean you can’t hit the mobs. This will help you twofold as well. You’ll be generating runic power as well as building threat on the mobs. Just having Bone Shield up and having runic power banked will help you a ton with surviving on pull, where Death Knight is typically at its weakest.