- Author: Nevermore
- Date: September 30, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
In this guide, we’ll present a standard Blood Death Knight DPS build, as well as a couple of variations — one with a few tweaks to the standard template, and one that swaps Unholy talents for choices in the Frost tree. As always, there is room for experimentation! We encourage you to try out all the builds, and tweak them to suit your playstyle and personal preferences.
Click a build to see talent distribution and explanations
This is the standard build throughout the majority of the expansion. It aims to empower our auto attacks through talents such as Necrosis, Blood-Caked Blade, and Scent of Blood, while also granting us several key talents that enhance our overall strength. The build is designed in such a way that it increases your overall physical damage and strength with talents such as Abomination’s Might and Veteran of the Third War, while also granting you several survivability tools.
This variation of the standard build has higher runic power generation from additional talent points in Scent of Blood. However, this comes at the cost of survivability due to not putting points in Vampiric Blood. The rest of the build works just like the standard build, with the slight difference of having 2 points spent in Morbidity instead of 3, and 3 points instead of 2 in Blood-Caked Blade.
This build forgoes the Unholy tree in favor of the Frost Tree. The build aims to empower our attack speed while also granting us increased shadow damage from Black Ice. We also gain increased strength from Endless Winter and attack power from Toughness since it synergizes perfectly with Bladed Armor.
Click a section to expand
- Bladed Armor is a must-have no matter your build, as it dramatically increases your attack power based on your armor rating. This talent can lead to some interesting combinations, especially with potions that increase your armor. You might be tempted to stack this with Frost Presence, but you will deal lower damage than you would with Blood Presence.
- Scent of Blood is a situational talent — it can prove extremely useful in fights that involve passive AoE damage, but is useless in fights where you don’t take damage.
- Rune Tap is a very strong self-sustain talent that can be used to restore 10% of your max health. You can choose to skip this talent, however, if you find yourself dying a lot you may want to invest the one point required for its powerful heal.
- Abomination’s Might is mandatory, as it provides a very strong buff that also affects your allies. While typically granted by Blood Death Knights in the tanking role, this talent is very strong even when granted by someone fulfilling the role of a DPS. Even if the ability is negated by the aura of another Blood Knight or an Enhancement Shaman, you will want to get it for the personal increased strength percentage.
- Veteran of the Third War is another mandatory talent, especially for the increased strength and expertise.
- Bloody Strikes is mandatory as it increases the damage of Heart Strike and Blood Boil. We do not advise any less than 3 points in this talent.
- Bloody Vengeance emphasizes our need for critical strike chance, allowing us to gain up to 9% increased physical damage when we deal critical strikes. We recommend full points on this talent.
- Blood Gorged is the bread and butter talent of the Blood Specialization DPS role. It increases your overall damage by up to 10%, while also increasing your overall armor penetration by up to 10% when above 75% health. Keep in mind that this talent does not grant you free Armor Penetration, but rather it increases your already existing Armor Penetration by up to 10% — it will not work if you have 0 AP.
- Sudden Doom is a must-have talent since most of our rotation is defined by Heart Strike, and this talent allows you to get free Death Coil casts when casting Heart Strike!
- Morbidity increases the damage of Death Coil by up to 15% while also decreasing the cooldown of Death and Decay by up to 15 seconds. You can choose to spend 2 or 3 points in this talent, but ideally you will want to use 3 points to fully empower Death Coil. Optionally, you can spend two points on Morbidity in favor of full points in Blood-Caked Blade.
- Necrosis is pure free damage. With this talent, your auto attacks will deal 20% additional damage based on your auto-attack damage. There is no better talent to grab, since it has no special requirement in order to gain its full effect. Full points on this talent are advised.
- Blood-Caked Blade is a talent that can prove to be extremely useful if your auto-attack speed is high enough. However, since your attack speed will be quite low barring special effects such as the Engineering glove enchant or Bloodlust/Heroism, you will not proc this talent efficiently enough. You can choose to skip this talent in favor of other talents if you have no means of increasing your attack speed, as the proc chance can be quite low.
- Toughness is a very interesting talent that can directly synergize with Bladed Armor You can choose to use this talent even while using the Unholy Tree as a sub-specialization, however, we advise you to use it with the Frost sub-specialization.
- Black Ice is a talent that increases your overall shadow and frost damage by up to 10%. This talent will be especially strong, however, you don’t fully benefit from it unless you spend enough points in the frost tree.
- Endless Winter is a talent that should never be skipped if you choose to go down the Frost tree. It increases your overall strength by up to 4% while also removing the cost of Mind Freeze.
- Mark of Blood is an optional talent that can grant you a bit of utility. It lets you help your tanks in their moments of need, granting them a heal when they’re damaged by the enemy you mark.
- Vampiric Blood is an optional talent that can be used as a panic button, especially since it allows you to empower all healing received by up to 35%. This talent can prove itself to be especially strong in fights that have a lot of AoE damage.
There are a few must have glyphs (Glyph of Death Strike, Glyph of Dark Death), and a few that are situational/personal preference. Click a glyph for more information!
Glyph of Disease allows you to refresh the duration of your diseases by casting Pestilence, refreshing the duration on all affected targets. You should choose this glyph to remove the need to recast Icy Touch and Plague Strike after the first cast.
Glyph of Death Strike increases the damage of Death Strike by up to 25% if you have 25 runic power. Since we will be spamming Death Strike whenever we have frost runes and unholy runes available, we will always want to have this glyph.
Glyph of Dark Death increases the damage and healing done by Death Coil by up to 15%. No matter whether we pursue the unholy variant of the build or the frost variant, we will consider this glyph mandatory, especially because of talents such as Sudden Doom, Morbidity, and Black Ice.
Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon increases the duration of Dancing Rune Weapon by up to 5 seconds. This glyph can be particularly strong for encounters where you can cast the ability twice, however, since the other available glyphs are more powerful, we will consider this glyph optional. You can choose to use this glyph instead of the Glyph of Disease.
Glyph of Rune Tap grants your Rune Tap ability an additional 10% max health healing for yourself and grants 10% max health to all other party members. If somehow you decide that you wish to benefit from increased survivability while also granting utility to your team, you should choose this glyph. However, in order to do so, you will have to renounce one of your stronger glyphs such as Glyph of Disease, effectively lowering your overall damage.
Glyph of Blood Tap removes the health cost of casting Blood Tap. This glyph is very useful as you will often find yourself using Blood Tap on cooldown. Using this glyph gives you a free ability with no cost or penalty whatsoever.
Glyph of Horn of Winter increases the duration of Horn of Winter by 1 minute. This glyph allows you to stop worrying about refreshing your buff often.
Glyph of Raise Dead removes the need for a reagent when you cast Raise Dead. Whether it is for increasing your damage or sacrificing your ghoul to heal yourself, this glyph is simply amazing.