- Author: Nevermore
- Date: July 19, 2022
- Updated: July 27, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
Welcome to our PvE Blood Death Knight Tank guide for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King!
In distant corners of Azeroth, weary travelers find themselves in various inns hearing dark stories of cruel and vicious individuals who are said to possess true mastery over the very essence of life. Those would be Blood Death Knights, melee fighters capable of withstanding even the most aggravating and severe wounds while making the blood of their enemies boil just by being in their mere presence. It is said that they have complete mastery over the powers of blood, seemingly being able to regenerate themselves from the most brutal of wounds while holding at bay what seems to be endless waves of foes.
Blood is one of three specializations of the Death Knight, the new class introduced in Wrath of the Lich King. The entire class was initially extremely overpowered, capable of doing ludicrous DPS or tanking as any of the 3 specs. Over time however, Blizzard toned them down, and Blood became the de facto tank spec. Blood DKs are very strong tanks, excelling at healing themselves with their attacks, which makes your healers’ jobs way easier. Furthermore, their kit is filled with anti-magic abilities, which makes them exceptional at tanking caster type enemies, where other tanks typically struggle.
This guide will teach you how to play a Blood Death Knight in PvE encounters, whether those might be difficult dungeons or terrifying raids. We will be covering everything from simple enchantments and consumables up to talents, rotations, macros, and addons. By the time you finish reading this guide, you will have the proper knowledge in order to complete any challenge laid before your path!
Blood Death Knight Strengths & Weaknesses
- Amazing survivability
Healing is the name of the game for Blood DKs. Several of our abilities heal us or our allies, which make us incredibly reliable tanks. If your healers die or get silenced, you can keep yourself alive for a surprising amount of time with your self-healing alone. Couple this with some exceptional defensive cooldowns, and you’re overall a really beefy tank — your healers will absolutely love not having to stress about your HP as much as they do with other tanks.
- Simple gameplay
Blood DKs have a fairly simple rotation — specially when compared to our Frost & Unholy brothers. Our abilities are pretty straightforward. This makes us a great spec for players interested in tanking, but who aren’t necessarily very experienced in the role.
- Strong utility, great off-tank
Most raids will have 2 main tanks, but many bosses only really require 1 tank. This means that a big chunk of the time, you won’t be tanking, but rather doing mediocre DPS. Thankfully, Blood DKs have access to some very strong utility tools while off-tanking, such as Hysteria and Mark of Blood, making them an exceptional off-tank..
- Highly gear dependant
Blood DKs lack a shield, meaning they are very reliant on their other defensive stats (armor, stamina, defense, dodge, parry) in order to become the beefy monsters they’re known to be. Even their self-healing is reliant on the amount of damage that they deal to some degree, so they need a good weapon at all times in order to have the amazing self-healing they’re known for. This means you rely on having strong gear slightly more than other tanks.
- Poor mobility
Blood DKs have no movement speed boosting effects whatsoever. When you get slowed, you have to rely on a Paladin’s Hand of Freedom to get you moving at normal speed again. This is a really annoying issue to have as a tank, particularly on fights with constant movement.
Blood Death Knight Utility
Besides their tanking, Blood Death Knights bring the following raid buffs & debuffs to a raid:
- Death Grip
All Death Knight specializations have access to this incredibly powerful spell that no other class has. It pulls a monster to you, which is very strong in PvE, allowing you to effortlessly re-position monsters as necessary — and particularly those pesky caster-type monsters that find themselves far away.
- Hysteria (renamed to Unholy Frenzy in WotLK Classic)
Blood DKs bring with them this buff, which is one of the strongest buffs in the game — increasing a friendly target’s Physical damage done by 20% for 30 seconds, at the cost of 30% of their HP over the spell’s duration. Give this buff to your raid’s strongest physical damage dealer and watch their damage skyrocket, particularly during important burst phases — the person you give this buff to will love you forever.
- 10% increased attack power (does not stack) – Abomination’s Might
Blood DKs offer the must-have 10% attack power buff, shared with MM Hunters (Trueshot Aura) and Enhancement Shamans (Unleashed Rage). Given that most guilds will likely not bring an Enhancement Shaman anymore, we’re the best candidate for bringing this extremely powerful buff to the raid.
- Strength & Agility buff (does not stack) – Horn of Winter
All Death Knight specs provide this must-have raid buff, improving your raid’s Strength & Agility by 155 — a huge bonus. This buff does not stack with a Shaman’s Strength of Earth Totem, and they have a slightly superior version thanks to an improvement talent easily accessible in the first tiers of the Enhancement spec, so very often your buff won’t be needed. It’s still great that if necessary, you can offer this buff, though!
- 20% melee haste (does not stack) – Improved Icy Talons
This must-bring 20% melee attack speed buff is understandably associated with the Frost specialization, being in the middle of the Frost tree. However, most popular Blood DK builds go pretty deep in the Frost tree anyway, so Blood DKs can actually pick up this talent and offer its buff. You may not have to, since many raids will elect to bring Frost DKs anyway, but if you happen to lack Frost DKs or Enhancement Shamans with the Improved Windfury Totem talent, which will happen pretty frequently in 10-man raids, then you can absolutely step up and offer this amazing buff.
- Combat Resurrection (Ghoul) – Raise Ally
Death Knights have access to a unique form of combat resurrection. They may resurrect a fallen ally, in the form of a Ghoul that they control, allowing them to keep fighting in a weaker state for 5 minutes. While this combat resurrection is not as powerful as a Druid or Warlock’s, it’s still a very handy tool.
- Mark of Blood
Blood DKs have access to this unique debuff, which causes the target to heal any target it damages. This debuff is very handy while you’re off-tanking, but importantly, you can also use it while off-tanking to help out the current tank a little, if things are looking rough, or in anticipation of a damage spike.
We hope this guide has been able to help you decide if PvE Blood Death Knight is the class / spec for you. Make sure to check out our other sections, such as talents, gear, gems etc., to get more information on how to improve your performance as a Blood Death Knight in WotLK!