PvE Blood Death Knight Tank Talents, Builds & Glyphs

wotlk classic pve blood death knight tank talents, builds & glyphs

The Blood tree has a LOT of useful talents in it, and accordingly, Blood DKs have a LOT of different talent builds they can use. In fact, it will be extremely common to run into several Blood DKs and find out that none of them use the same talent build, as they swap talents around as needed for their raid. This guide will cover 3 sample Blood DK builds, but in reality, after you have understood what each talent does, you could just as well make a build of your own.

Talent Builds

The standard build offers high survivability while also providing you with plenty of utility effects. Due to our Forceful Deflection passive, we want to gather as many strength-increasing talents as possible. The standard build provides multiple powerful defensive tools and effects alongside multiple utility tools that will increase your overall survivability and offer you multiple solutions to any threat that you might encounter in a raid or dungeon. You may subject the standard build to multiple variations, depending on what effect you desire to achieve, however, some of the talents will always be considered mandatory.

Tools such as Will of the Necropolis, Abomination’s Might, Veteran of the Third War, Endless Winter, and Improved Icy Talons will be considered mandatory and can not be subjected to any changes!

build standard

The first variation of the standard build invests full points into Bloodworms at the expense of Mark of Blood and Two-Handed Weapon Specialization with the additional change of the 2 points spent into Virulence instead of Anticipation. The rest of the build works precisely the same as the standard build, however, you are free to further experiment with the build, choosing to add Lichborne instead of Killing Machine for more survivability.

build 4

The second build variation of the standard build offers you increased Two-Handed Weapon damage through Two-Handed Weapon Specialization with the penalty of losing Bloodworms. Furthermore, the build trades Mark of Blood for Bloody Vengeance and 1 point from Anticipation in favor of Heart Strike. The rest of the build works precisely the same as the standard build.

build 3 1

The third build variation is rather odd if compared to the other builds as it is specifically designed for dual-wield tanking! This build removes the majority of the talents from the other build iterations, offering many spells from the Frost Talent Tree such as Frost Strike, Howling Blast, and Unbreakable Armor. This build is a lot more volatile than the other variations, offering lower overall survivability tools in exchange for increased versatility and the ability to use dual-wield without any penalty due to the Threat of Thassarian talent

frost tank

Notable Talents

  • Blade Barrier is an amazing talent that offers you a 5% damage reduction for 10 seconds, triggering whenever both of your blood runes are on cooldown. You can think of this talent as a standard mitigation bonus that you will have available at all times since you will always want to utilize your Blood Runes.
  • Bladed Armor is an extremely powerful talent that we will want to make use of as much as possible. It offers us increased attack power based on our armor rating. This talent scales extremely well, especially in the later phases of the expansion, where we have a whole lot of armor.
  • Rune Tap gives you the ability to utilize 1 blood rune in order to heal up to 10% of your maximum health. You can consider this talent mandatory, especially when we take into consideration its upgrade and the glyph that you can pair along with it.
  • Death Rune Mastery allows you to convert the runes you spend on Death Strike into Death Runes. This talent is extremely potent, especially when considering that you will want to utilize as many Death Runes as possible for Icy Touch.
  • Spell Deflection gives you a chance equal to your parry rating to reduce any magical damage done to you by 45%. This talent is extremely powerful and often underrated, especially when considering that Blood Death Knights have access to a passive effect called Forceful Deflection.
  • Veteran of the Third War is one of your strongest talents, offering you 6% increased Strength, 3% increased Stamina and 6 expertise. This talent can simply not be missed, especially when considering how powerful Strength is as a stat for Blood Death Knights and how well it scales with Forceful Deflection.
  • Abomination’s Might increases both your raid and party member’s attack power by 10% while also increasing your strength by 2%. This talent is a must-have from several points of view, firstly, it massively empowers both you and your allies. Secondly, it improves your overall strength which once again scales with your Forceful Deflection passive. The 10% attack power buff does not stack with other similar buffs.
  • Hysteria is a must-have talent as a Blood DK. It increases a friendly player’s physical damage by 20% for 30 seconds, at the cost of 30% of their HP over the spell’s duration. This is one of the strongest buffs for physical DPS in the entire game.
  • Vampiric Blood increases all healing received by up to 35% while also increasing your max health by 15% for the duration of the ability. However, at the end of the duration, all the health you have gained will be lost. This is one of your main defensive abilities, allowing you to increase your max health pool, your healing received and gain massive survivability for the duration, especially when considering that all healing is amplified by this ability.
  • Bloodworms gives you a chance up to 9% to spawn up to 4 Bloodworms with every single one of your attacks. The worms last 20 seconds or until they die, granting you health with each of their attack. This is unfortunately mostly a niche talent. The healing offered by the Bloodworms can be quite substantial, aiding you, especially at the beginning of your journey when you will be adventuring through dungeons.
  • Improved Death Strike is a mandatory talent that offers you several bonuses, but the one you will especially desire is the increased healing value of Death Strike by up to 50%. This talent is simply way too strong to be overlooked!
  • Will of the Necropolis is a powerful defensive option, reducing damage that takes you below 35% HP, and all damage taken while at or below 35%, by 15%. Overall, this talent is a must-have, as it severely reduces the chance of getting randomly one-shot!
  • Toughness increases your overall armor by 10% while also reducing all movement impairing effect’s duration by up to 30%. This talent is pretty much a standard choice, no matter which build you choose to pursue, as it greatly enhances your survivability while also synergizing extremely well with Bladed Armor.
  • Endless Winter removes the cost of your Mind Freeze spell while also increasing your strength by 4%. You will want to acquire this talent not only for the removal of Mind Freeze‘s cost but also for the strength bonus which further enhances Forceful Deflection.
  • Improved Icy Talons is one of the most desirable talents that you can acquire when it comes to raid compositions. It provides you and your allies with 20% increased melee haste, while also providing you with an additional 5% on top of that. Sadly, this effect can not stack with similar effects.
  • Frigid Dreadplate reduces your chance to be hit by 3%. An overall survivability boost stat that you will not want to miss, especially when you will want your enemies to miss their attacks.
  • Anticipation increases your overall avoidance, offering you an increased dodge chance. This talent is pretty much a plain and simple stat boost on its own and does not provide any other beneficial effects.
  • Lichborne transforms you into an undead for 10 seconds, making you immune to Fear, Charm, and Sleep effects. This talent is particularly useful when taking into consideration that you can create a macro for it, combining Lichborne and Death Coil to heal yourself.
  • Virulence increases your Spell Hit Chance by 3% while also making your diseases 60% harder to cure. This talent is purely optional, being beneficial in the early stages of the expansion, especially for early content such as beginner dungeons.
  • Icy Reach increases the range of your Icy Touch and Chains of Ice by 10 yards. This talent can be beneficial in certain situations where you will be required to Icy Touch a target that is very far away and is threatening one of your allies. Overall weak talent with situational uses.
  • Runic Power Mastery increases your overall Runic Power by 30. This talent can be extraordinarily powerful when combined with talents such as Lichborne, allowing you to cast more Death Coils. On its own, this ability can be useful even without combining it with Lichborne, due to how powerful Runic Power stacking can be.
  • Mark of Blood is a situational talent that can be extremely powerful against enemies that have a high attack speed. It allows you to place a mark on a target that forces it to heal its target for 4% health each time they hit them, lasting either 20 seconds or 20 attacks. This is a great tool that you can use when you are in the Off-Tank position, providing your main tank with an additional utility tool.
  • Heart Strike has seen a lot of controversy in the Blood Death Knight community, with a lot of players arguing that it can be generally useful and others completely dismissing its entire existence. This talent grants you a direct physical damage ability that can target up to two targets at the same time, dealing 10% increased damage for each disease present on the target, with the secondary target receiving reduced overall damage than the primary target. This talent can be very useful for early dungeons but loses its value quickly when you start raiding.


In this panel, we will recommend you different sets of glyphs that you may find useful depending on the situations you find yourself in with minor glyphs being the same for each different situation.

  • Glyph of Dark Command increases the chance of your Dark Command to succeed on a target by up to 8%. While 8% might seem a low value, this glyph is actually essential, especially during the early phases of the expansion.
  • Glyph of Death and Decay is a glyph that increases the overall damage of Death and Decay by 20%. This glyph is usually ignored, however, it can be extremely potent both in raids and dungeons, with an emphasis in PvE scenarios that display many AoE fights.
  • Glyph of Disease is a glyph that allows you to refresh the duration of your diseases on your primary target and all the other targets Afflicted by Pestilence at the same time. This glyph can be extremely good, especially due to the fact that you can use it to lessen the burden of disease upkeep.
  • Glyph of Vampiric Blood is a glyph that increases the duration of Vampiric Blood by up to 5 seconds. This glyph can be extremely good if you have trouble with defeating certain raid bosses, increasing your overall survivability by a considerable amount. This glyph is very potent as it overall increases your Vampiric Blood uptime, making the cooldown on its own more valuable.
  • Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell increases the duration of AMS by up to 2 seconds. This glyph can be considered valuable if you know that you will be dealing with a pesky raid boss that places troublesome magic debuffs. By extending your AMS duration by 2 seconds, you can effectively mitigate the chance of AMS miscast.
  • Glyph of Rune Tap grants you 10% additional healing from Rune Tap while also providing your entire party with a 10% max health heal each time you cast Rune Tap. This glyph can be extremely potent for both dungeons and 10-man raids, especially when considering that 10% max health heal for half of a 10-man raid can seriously help your healers with their mana management.
  • Glyph of Blood Tap removes the health cost penalty of casting Blood Tap. This glyph can be considered mandatory, especially when you will want to utilize Blood Tap as much as possible in order to gain Death Runes for Icy Touch.
  • Glyph of Raise Dead removes the need for a reagent for Raise Dead. Overall simple glyph, you will want to always have this glyph equipped!
  • Glyph of Pestilence increases Pestilence’s range by up to 5 yards. While this might seem like a low amount and not worth it, it will certainly help you spread your diseases to any pesky mob that did not stack with the others.


About the Author


Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
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1 year ago

Why not chose Blood Gorged? when tanking bosses, you almost guarantee having health >= 75% because of healers, which means more damage, which also means more aggro… am I wrong in this?

Last edited 1 year ago by Cacodemon2142
Reply to  Andres
1 year ago

Because you don’t have enough points. If you go down all the way to Blood Gorged, you give up on improved Icy Talons.

Reply to  2935
1 year ago

it’s important to note that if you have a frost dk in your raid you don’t have to get improved icy talons

1 year ago

Is it better for leveling dungeon groups to go morb for more aoe-focused build where u can pull faster/bigger without needing time to setup? Or is it not worth it for the wotlk dugeons?

Reply to  Frog
1 year ago

Absolutely. Did has a cooldown that’s longer than the time it takes for most mob packs to die. The 15 second cd reduction makes it just perfect

1 year ago

must say if your contstantly running with a frost dk, or a shammy specd into it, its a much better option to run a blood/morb spec for more aoe threat, only if your talons is un needed

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