Blood Death Knight Tank Covenants For M+ (shadowlands)

Covenants provide an array of packaged benefits to players. After showing the recommendation upfront, each aspect of covenants will be reviewed, compared, and then the covenants will be looked at as a whole. By default, it is assumed that the player has maximum renown, though there is some mention of how things change at lower renown levels.

Recommendation

(Venthyr)/Draven

Using [Move As One], [Hold Your Ground], and [Regenerative Stone Skin]

(use Theotar at lower renown levels with [Watch the Shoes!] and [Wasteland Propriety])

Signature Abilities

To start, each covenant provides access to signature abilities that are given to all classes.

Kyrian:

[Phial of Serenity] – A supplement healing potion that provides the added benefit of removing Curse, Disease, Poison, and Bleed effects. 

Extra Details: 

  • The three minute cooldown doesn’t begin until you leave combat.
  • A potion with 3 charges can be generated every 5 minutes.

Necrolords:

[Fleshcraft] – This ability provides a reasonably-sized absorb shield and a damage reduction effect while it is channeling. Absorbing corpses reduces the cooldown of this ability. 

Extra Details: 

  • You can dodge and parry while channeling this ability.

Night Fae:

[Soulshape] – This is a powerful movement speed buff combined with a recastable blink effect. However, the form is lost whenever another cast is used.

Extra Details: 

  • The blink occurs on cast and is available for additional casts on a 4 second cooldown.

Venthyr:

[Door of Shadows] – This long range targeted teleport.

Comments:

[Phial of Serenity] can be extremely useful when you are frequently dealing with dangerous debuff effects it can remove (such as when dealing with the [Necrotic] affix). The mitigation provided by the healing effect is insignificant relative to incoming damage for its cooldown, but it’s something.

[Fleshcraft] provides a small amount of mitigation with its absorb shield and some temporary EHP with its damage reduction effect. It’s not overwhelmingly powerful, but it’s a solid benefit.

[Soulshape] provides some much needed general-use mobility, which can also be used as an instant disengage from enemies with its blink effect and can greatly help when setting up multi-group pulls.

[Door of Shadows] is a little clunky for tanks since it is not instant cast and you can’t dodge or parry while casting it, but it’s still a nice mobility tool that can address some of our movement speed needs and it can be used for quick disengages.

None of these signature abilities are universally strong, but they can all be a nice benefit under the right circumstances.

Class Abilities

Each covenant provides access to class-specific abilities.

Kyrian:

[Shackle the Unworthy] – A single target DoT effect that reduces the damage a target does to you that can be spread with rune-spending abilities. 

Extra Details: 

  • The DoT has a 50% chance to spread when targets are hit with rune-spending abilities.
  • If you hit multiple targets with a [Heart Strike] that all have the DoT, you have a 50% chance to spread the DoT for each target hit, though it can only spread once per [Heart Strike].
  • The DoT spreads at its current duration.
  • Unlike other Death Knight DoT effects, this fully scales with haste.
  • The DoT effect also ticks once, immediately, on debuff application.

Necrolords:

[Abomination Limb] – An AoE damage ability that pulses damage and constantly spams a damaging [Death Grip] on applicable targets. Generates up to 9 [Bone Shield] charges over the duration.

Extra Details: 

  • Every tick of damage has the ability to [Death Grip] a target between 8 and 20 yards away from you (prioritizing the closest target in this range).
  • The same target cannot be gripped more than once every 4 seconds.
  • The [Death Grip] does the same amount of damage as the normal AoE ticks.

Night Fae:

[Death’s Due] – An upgraded [Death and Decay] that causes each [Heart Strike] used in the AoE ground effect to apply a buff/debuff for 2% Strength and 2% personal damage reduction, stacking up to 8% each.

Extra Details: 

  • The duration of the buff *and* debuff is 12 seconds and these durations get refreshed with every [Heart Strike].
  • You get a stack of the buff effect for every enemy hit by each applicable [Heart Strike].
  • Other than the buff/debuff and visual effects, this ability functions *exactly* like [Death and Decay] for Blood.

Venthyr:

[Swarming Mist] – An AoE damage ability that pulses damage, generates RP based on the number of targets hit, and provides some additional dodge.

Extra Details: 

  • This ability ticks once immediately on cast.

Comments:

[Shackle the Unworthy] will generally provide the most single target damage of the class abilities, but its mitigation ability is fairly small. When targets are added, the DoT can slowly spread to additional targets at a reduced duration, so both the damage and mitigation of this ability do not scale as well as the other options.

[Abomination Limb] provides a moderate amount of mitigation through [Bone Shield] generation and it can provide the most AoE damage of the class abilities with enough targets. Granted, this combination of mitigation and damage, on its own, does not differentiate itself too much from the competition. An additional benefit of this ability is its continuous [Death Grip]s. It’s rare that we get much value out of thesee [Death Grip]s in M+, but it’s nice when it happens.

[Death’s Due] provides a solid and consistent amount of mitigation, EHP, and damage. However, the buffs and debuffs associated with [Death’s Due] are slow to ramp up, limited in effectiveness on 6+ targets, movement constraining, and very high maintenance compared to other options; all of these downsides cause a loss of value in M+ content where individual pulls may not last long, may have more than 5 targets, may require movement, and may already require some degree of multi-tasking. Once it ramps up, the fact that its benefits are consistent and that it provides a respectable amount of EHP is useful; these two things are the main benefits it has over other covenant abilities, since the mitigation and damage increase, on its own, does not stand out.

[Swarming Mist] provides moderate mitigation and damage when used on a single target, but it provides a very large burst of mitigation and good damage when the target count gets high enough. The main issue with the ability’s mitigation is that it overloads you with so much RP in a short period of time with multiple targets that it’s hard to make efficient use of it all, since it can provide as much as 145 RP while you continue to use other rune-spending abilities. Still, the fact that it is very controllable means that smart use of this ability can amplify its value.

Alone, all of these abilities provide significant bonuses, much more than the signature covenant abilities. However, soulbinds are also influential.

Soulbinds

Only Soulbind traits that affect combat will be mentioned in this section.

Kyrian:

(Pelagos)

Notable Core Traits:

[Combat Meditation] [Shackle the Unworthy] gives you a Mastery buff that also creates orbs which extends the buff duration

Extra Details: 

  • Three orbs spawn over the duration that extend the buff for 3 seconds each.

[Let Go of the Past] – Alternating abilities provides a stacking magic damage reduction buff.

Extra Details: 

[Newfound Resolve] – A random proc strength and stamina buff that requires you to face a spawned NPC to activate the buff.

Notable Elective Traits:

[Better Together] – You, and another party member you move close to, get a long-term mastery buff.

(Kleia)

Notable Core Traits:

[Valiant Strikes] – Your critical strikes provide buff stacks that are automatically used to heal low health allies (or yourself).

Extra Details: 

  • You give healing to allies within 8 yards that trigger the heal.

[Light the Path] – Gain critical strike chance from [Valiant Strikes] stacks and gain a critical strike chance buff when [Valiant Strikes] heals you or an ally.

Notable Elective Traits:

[Ascendant Phial] – Your [Phial of Serenity] also provides temporary Curse, Disease, Poison, and Bleed immunity.

[Resonant Accolades] – Your healing abilities provide an additional HoT when healing targets above 70% health.

Extra Details: 

  • This includes healing that *brings* you above 70% health.
  • Leech effects are not included.

[Spear of the Archon] – Gain a minor movement speed buff outside of combat and gain a short-duration critical strike buff when damaging near-full health enemies.

Extra Details: 

  • You do not receive any additional parry from this critical strike..

(Forgelite Prime Mikanikos)

Notable Core Traits:

[Bron’s Call to Action] – After using a certain number of spells and abilities, you summon an NPC that does some damage and healing.

Extra Details: 

  • Most, but not all, offensive abilities generate a charge.
  • Bron periodically uses an [Anima Cannon] that does single target arcane damage.
  • Bron frequently uses [Vitalizing Bolt] to heal allies.
  • Bron uses [Smash] to deal respectable arcane damage and a knockback in a frontal cone.

Notable Elective Traits:

[Charged Additive] – Your [Phial of Serenity] as an AoE knockback on use.

[Hammer of Genesis] – A haste buff is generated when damaging enemies for the first time.

Extra Details: 

  • This buff can only be applied once per combat per target.

[Sparkling Driftglobe Core] – An AoE stun is triggered when you drop below 35% health.

Extra Details: 

  • This trait has a hidden 1 minute cooldown.
  • The stun is applied in an 8 yard AoE.

[Soulglow Spectrometer] – This ability places a debuff on enemies that increases the damage you deal to them.

Extra Details: 

  • The debuff can only be applied to one target at a time.
  • The debuff is only applied by direct targeted abilities.

[Reactive Retrofitting] – This ability provides a shield upon taking physical damage and a separate shield upon taking magic damage. Both shields have separate cooldowns.

Kyrian Comments:

Pelagos provides a strong blend of superior mitigation, competitive damage, and superior EHP relative to the other Kyrian options.  Most of his benefits are from the periodic burst of mastery rating provided by [Combat Meditation]. [Better Together] and [Newfound Resolve] provide smaller, but respectable, benefits. The magic mitigation from [Let Go of the Past] doesn’t hurt, but it usually isn’t particularly valuable. About half of the potential benefit of [Combat Meditation] is associated with chasing three orbs around once every cast, which is something of a movement constraint. Pelagos is recommended if you have chosen this covenant, because of his higher mitigation and EHP while providing competitive damage throughput.

Kleia provides some unique utility, but she is hard to justify over the other Kyrian soulbinds on the standard traditional measures. healing from [Valiant Strikes] and [Resonant Accolades] is respectable, but it’s not enough to compete with Pelagos for mitigation. While we aren’t huge fans of critical strike under normal circumstances, it doesn’t help that the critical strike being provided here doesn’t factor into our parry rating. One unique utility available with Kleia is the 8 second debuff immunity that she can give to [Phial of Serenity], which means she has some more utility against [Necrotic].

Mikanikos has some interesting benefits. He is capable of providing the most damage by a small amount, but he is noticeably lacking in mitigation. [Soulglow Spectrometer] and [Effusive Anima Accelerator], in particular, are what allow him the potential to provide more damage than the alternative Kyrian soulbinds, while his other traits are more flavorful than actually impactful.

Necrolords:

(Plague Deviser Marileth)

Notable Core Traits:

[Volatile Solvent] – Moving near corpses causes you to gain creature type-specific buffs when [Fleshcraft] is on cooldown. You gain the humanoid buff by default.

Extra Details: 

  • You can generate multiple of these 2 minute duration buffs at the same time.

[Kevin’s Oozeling] – Casting [Abomination Limb] summons an oozeling who chain-casts a weak single target spell at your current target that applies a damage taken debuff and he also provides some healing to your allies.

Notable Elective Traits:

[Ooz’s Frictionless Coating] – Gain a shield when falling below 50% health.

Extra Details: 

  • This ability has a hidden 30 second cooldown.
  • The absorb total scales with versatility.

[Undulating Maneuvers] – When damage at high health, a portion of the damage gets converted into a DoT effect.

Extra Details: 

  • [Death Strike] healing calculation accounts for the original damage you were going to take in addition to the damage from the DoT effect.

(Emeni)

Notable Core Traits:

[Lead by Example] – Using [Abomination Limb] gives a small primary stat buff to nearby allies and a large personal strength buff to yourself that gets stronger based on the number of allies buffed.

[Pustule Eruption] – Channeling [Fleshcraft] generates pustule stacks that explode one by one for AoE damage and healing when you receive a heal or a damaging attack.

Extra Details: 

  • You are also affected by the AoE heal.
  • [Death Strike] healing does not trigger a pustule.

Notable Elective Traits:

[Emeni’s Magnificent Skin] – Gain a temporary increase in maximum health whenever you use [Fleshcraft].

[Resilient Stitching] – When at nearly-full health, gain a long-duration magic-damage absorb shield.

(Bonesmith Heirmir)

Notable Core Traits:

[Forgeborne Reveries] – When you die, this trait keeps you alive for 10 more seconds while lowering your damage and healing output. This also provides you with strength and armor if you are wearing enchanted items.

Extra Details: 

  • Upon “death”, your health is returned to 100% health and you die after 10 seconds.
  • All buffs, debuffs, resources, and threat are retained when this ability triggers.

[Mnemonic Equipment] – Deal more damage to low health enemies with a proportional DoT effect.

Notable Elective Traits:

[Serrated Spalders] – Apply a shadow DoT to targets who hit you in melee range.

Extra Details: 

  • The debuff is applied to a target whenever you are damaged by that target.

[Heirmir’s Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone] – Your critical strikes eventually cause you to gain a buff that increases your critical strike chance.

Extra Details: 

  • You cannot gain stacks while the ability is on cooldown.
  • critical strike gained through this trait does not contribute to parry.

[Carver’s Eye] – Damaging a high health enemy periodically generates a short-duration stacking mastery buff.

Extra Details: 

  • In theory, you can roll this buff with enough enemies at max stacks for extended periods of time by staggering your damage to them, but this is hard to pull off in practice.

[Waking Bone Breastplate] – When near three or more enemies gain maximum health.

Necrolord Comments:

Bonesmith Heirmir provides some unique EHP benefits on multiple targets with potentially the best damage on high target counts, though he provides the least mitigation. [Serrated Spaulders] and [Mnemonic Equipment] provide pure damage benefits. [Forgeborne Reveries] provides Strength and Armor, while also providing the handy ability of keeping you alive for 10 additional seconds when you die. [Waking Bone Breastplate] provides a respectable boost of EHP in multiple target situations.

Plague Devisor Marileth provides the best mitigation benefits of the Necrolord soulbinds, by far,  with the lowest baseline damage by a small margin (particularly on single targets). His performance can be further enhanced by buffs collected from dead enemies. He is providing self-healing through [Ooz’s Frictionless Coating] along with passive mastery and other benefits through [Volatile Solvent], and a respectable increase in [Death Strike] effectiveness through [Undulating Maneuvers]. [Kevin’s Oozeling] provides an additional minor source of flat damage and healing output, though it isn’t too impactful overall. Plague Devisor is the go-to M+ option for this covenant.

Emeni provides a solid mix of mitigation and damage output on single targets that doesn’t scale as well into multiple targets as the other two options. She has a primary stat buff for yourself and allies through [Lead by Example], a temporary increase in EHP from [Emeni’s Magnificent Skin], magic-specific healing output through [Resilient Stitching], and flat damage/healing output through [Pustule Eruption].

Night Fae:

(Niya)

Notable Core Traits:

[Grove Invigoration] – A stack-based mastery and health buff effect that accumulates when using [Death’s Due].

Extra Details: 

  • The accumulating buffs each have their own durations that cannot be refreshed.
  • While it’s possible to generate stacks with procs from normal ability use, these procs will not give you stacks if you currently have one.

[Bonded Hearts] – Heals nearby allies when using [Death’s Due] and temporarily amplifies the effects of [Grove Invigoration] when the effect heals members of another covenant.

Notable Elective Traits:

[Niya’s Tools: Burrs] – This trait randomly procs a DoT/snare on enemies.

Extra Details: 

  • The DoT effect does not scale with haste.

[Niya’s Tools: Poison] – This trait applies a DoT when successfully interrupting an enemy cast and also provides some additional damage when the enemy is already affected by the DoT.

[Niya’s Tools: Herbs] – This trait randomly procs a haste buff on targets you heal.

Extra Details: 

[Survivor’s Rally] – This trait triggers a HoT on yourself when your health is low that amplifies other sources of received healing for the duration.

(Dreamweaver)

Notable Core Traits:

[Podtender] – This ability will prevent your death by locking you in a seed for 10 seconds where you’ll heal 30% of your max health. 

Extra Details: 

  • Enemies will attack your party members while you are in your seed.
  • If none of your party members are in combat, enemies will attack the seed.
  • While in the seed, you will maintain all buffs, debuffs, and resources, but you are unable to die (with the exception of the seed dying) or perform actions.
  • If you have [Purgatory] talented, [Podtender] will trigger before it and if the seed dies while you are in it you will die without [Purgatory] triggering.

[Field of Blossoms] – A ground-based buff effect that gives haste and triggers when using [Death’s Due].

Extra Details: 

  • The ground effect spawns directly on top of you.
  • As long as you stay within 4 yards of the ground effect’s center, you will get the buff.

[Dream Delver] – Dealing damage or healing applies a stacking debuff or buff to the target that increases damage or healing for a short duration.

Extra Details: 

  • Only one stack is applied on AoE damage instances

Notable Elective Traits:

[Social Butterfly] – This trait will provide a versatility buff that alternates between you and two other allies when two other allies are within 8 yards.

Extra Details: 

  • This trait initially triggers on yourself when two allies are within 8 yards and the trait has not proc’d on yourself in the last 10 seconds.
  • At the end of the initial self-buff, up to 2 allies within an 8 yard range of yourself are given the secondary versatility buffs.

[Empowered Chrysalis] – This trait converts overhealing done or received into a temporary absorb shield.

[Waking Dreams] – This trait provides an absorb shield on a one minute cooldown when your health is reduced below 80%.

(Korayn)

Notable Core Traits:

[Wild Hunt Tactics] – Damage dealt to high health targets and healing done to low health targets is enhanced and also gives you a movement speed buff.

Extra Details: 

[Wild Hunt Stratagem] – When triggering [Wild Hunt Tactics], gain an intermediary buff that activates into a second buff when dealing damage to *low* health targets and healing *high* health targets that increases your damage and healing to such targets for a short duration. (Note: if this sounds overly complicated, that’s because it is.)

Extra Details: 

Notable Elective Traits:

[Face Your Foes] – Your damaging abilities apply a short duration debuff that reduces the damage a target does to you when it is facing you.

[First Strike] – Damaging enemies before they damage you gives you a temporary critical strike buff.

[Hold the Line] – Take reduced physical damage if you haven’t moved recently.

[Vorkai Ambush] – Applies a damage reduction debuff to enemies that are interrupted for a short duration.

[Hunt’s Exhilaration] – Dealing damage or healing in melee range gives you a leech buff.

Night Fae Comments:

Niya provides the strongest benefits for mitigation, EHP, and damage at all target counts. [Grove Invigoration] and [Bonded Hearts] provide a consistent source of extra mastery, health, and healing, while [Survivor’s Rally] provides even more healing. Additionally, she has [Niya’s Tools: Burrs] available for significant extra extra damage.

Korayn provides an assortment of benefits that don’t quite stack up against the competition. she gets a small damage boost with [Wild Hunt Tactics] and [Wild Hunt Stratagem], which also have a small impact on [Death Strike] healing. [Hunt’s Exhilaration] provides a consistent leech benefit which provides a small boost to mitigation. While the benefits of [Hold the Line] are strong, having to stand still for 5 seconds is usually too restrictive to get value out of it. Without being able to benefit from [Hold the Line], there’s not much of an argument to be made to take Korayn over Niya even after taking into account [Wild Hunt Tactics], [Wild Hunt Stratagem], and [Hunt’s Exhilaration].

Dreamweaver provides reasonably competitive overall benefits, but Niya is almost strictly better by traditional metrics and Dreamweaver can’t use cheat death effects effectively. She gets a reasonable (but movement restricting) haste buff through [Field of Blossoms], in addition to either an increase in healing efficiency from [Empowered Chrysalis] or a versatility buff through [Social Butterfly]. Additionally, [Waking Dreams] provides a strong boost in self-healing. Being forced to take [Podtender] is a bit iffy; while a cheat death is nice, it leaves your group vulnerable to further deaths while you’re stuck in stasis for 10 seconds (which also locks you out of getting battle resurrected in a shorter amount of time in a situation where you died straight-up). It will also out-prioritize more useful cheat death effects, which diminishes their value.

Venthyr:

(Nadjia the Mistblade)

Notable Core Traits:

[Thrill Seeker] – This ability periodically gives you a haste buff while in combat.

Extra Details: 

  • The stacks decay by 1 every 2 seconds when out of combat.
  • This ability considers you as being in combat when [Control Undead] is active.

Notable Elective Traits:

[Agent of Chaos] – This ability adds a 6 second AoE disorient to [Door of Shadows].

Extra Details: 

  • The disorient breaks on damage.

[Exacting Preparation] – This ability increases the effectiveness of your food, flasks, and weapon enchants (including runeforges).

Extra Details: 

(Theotar the Mad Duke)

Notable Core Traits:

[Soothing Shade] – An AoE buff zone randomly spawns near you that gives mastery.

[Party Favors] – Gain a random stat buff effect once per hour that can give versatility, critical strike, haste, or strength for four hours.

Extra Details: 

  • Persists through death, but not when changing soulbinds.

Notable Elective Traits:

[Wasteland Propriety] – Apply a group-wide versatility buff when [Swarming Mist] is used.

Extra Details: 

  • Ally buffs are applied in a 30 yard radius.

[It’s Always Tea Time] [Soothing Shade] now applies a damage reduction buff and healing.

Extra Details: 

  • The healing is not affected by any modifiers and is based on maximum health when the [Soothing Shade] spawns.

(General Draven)

Notable Core Traits:

[Service in Stone] – Damage taken at low health is reduced. Also, your death triggers a delayed AoE damage and healing effect.

Extra Details: 

[Battlefield Presence] – Each nearby enemy, up to three, increases your damage, healing, and damage reduction.

Notable Elective Traits:

[Hold Your Ground] – Standing still for a period of time grants a stamina and healing done buff that begins to fade once you start moving.

[Regenerative Stone Skin] – Converts a portion of overhealing taken into a HoT effect.

Extra Details: 

  • This healing is not affected by any modifiers.

Venthyr Comments:

Theotar provides a strong blend of mitigation and damage benefits with some movement considerations, since he provides both a versatility and a mastery soulbind trait along with a random buff effect. While the [Soothing Shade] buff has some movement constraints, only a fraction of its potential uptime is needed for Theotar to outperform Nadjia on mitigation and damage, especially after taking the [Wasteland Propriety] group buffs into account.

Nadjia has decent mitigation and damage benefits that are unconstrained by movement considerations, but her potential performance tends to be lower than the other two soulbinds in most M+ situations. She has a back-loaded haste and versatility buff through [Thrill Seeker] and [Fatal Flaw], along with assorted benefits from [Exacting Preparation] and a potential AoE CC on [Door of Shadows] from [Agent of Chaos].

General Draven generally provides a bit less mitigation and damage than the alternatives, but he does provide a *lot* more EHP even if you assume [Hold Your Ground], a large potential source of EHP, has a low uptime. As a result of the 9.1 changes, he is now an extremely efficient method of increasing EHP when looking at the tradeoff as a whole (which wasn’t true in 9.0 unless you assumed unrealistically high [Hold Your Ground] uptimes), so much so that he is now being generally recommended over Theotar in M+. In addition to [Hold Your Ground], [Service in Stone] provides a consistent source of EHP, while [Battlefield Presence] provides even more consistent EHP (on top of increased damage and healing) that is particularly noticeable on multiple targets. To top it all off, [Regenerative Stone Skin] provides a respectable amount of mitigation.

Overall

Recommendation: (Venthyr)/Draven

Basis:

Option #1: (Kyrian) – Here’s a summary of overall benefits assuming Pelagos is used as a soulbind:

Altogether, (Kyrian) benefits provide a blend of relatively lower mitigation, moderate damage, and minor EHP benefits that both don’t scale as well into multiple targets. It has added gameplay considerations to use rune-spending abilities on targets with [Shackle the Unworthy] to spread the debuff and to move around collecting three orbs every minute to get ~50% of the potential benefits of [Combat Meditation]. [Phial of Serenity] can become a lot more valuable when it has the ability to remove dangerous debuffs (such as when [Necrotic] is active). Non-Pelagos options are generally not worth much consideration if you are choosing to play (Kyrian) in M+.

Why isn’t (Kyrian) recommended? While an argument can be made to use this covenant on [Necrotic] weeks (especially if pulls are being performed that make kiting resets difficult), (Kyrian) is consistently behind other covenants for mitigation, EHP, and damage in almost all situations. (Necrolord), in particular, has a similar profile of benefits in most situations, but with higher numbers.

Option #2: (Night Fae) – Here’s a summary of overall benefits assuming Niya is used as a soulbind:

Combined, (Night Fae) benefits provide a potentially strong blend of Mitigation, EHP, and Damage, but it also has the most gameplay considerations/restrictions of any covenant to reach its potential. In particular, [Death’s Due] requires a not-negligible ramp time, it is unable to reliably maintain debuffs on more than 5 targets, there is some risk of losing stacks due to forced movement at the wrong times, and it adds some rigid/high maintenance priorities to our rotation. Any of these four restrictions, alone, is worrisome, and together they are especially so. [Soulshape], however, does provide some nice movement utility that is unmatched by other options.

Why isn’t (Night Fae) recommended? Ultimately, the main issue with (Night Fae) is that a large majority of its benefits rely on [Death’s Due], which suffers from enough restrictions that their overall benefit will generally not be greater than (Venthyr) in a dungeon setting, especially when 6+ targets are present (which also tends to be the most difficult pulls).

Option #3: (Necrolord) – Here’s a summary of overall benefits assuming Plague Devisor Marileth is used as a soulbind:

(Necrolord) generally provides a stronger blend of mitigation and damage than (Kyrian), and the only extra headache on the player’s end is trying to maximize the bone shield generation of [Abomination Limb]. Mitigation is superior to the other covenants outside of (Venthyr) on multiple targets. However, damage output is middle-of-the-road and the EHP benefits are noticeably weak especially when compared to (Night Fae) and (Venthyr).

Why isn’t (Necrolord) recommended? While it has a slight damage advantage over (Venthyr) along with a mitigation advantage on low target counts, (Necrolord) is not being recommended since its multiple target mitigation and EHP are significantly below what is provided by (Venthyr). However, it is a reasonably strong pick in low-target count dungeons that don’t have a lot of punishing large pulls and where incoming burst damage is manageable, such as Theater of Pain and (maybe) Plaguefall. So, if someone needs to swap to cover a (Necrolord) dungeon covenant bonus, you are not a bad candidate.

Option #4: (Venthyr) – Here’s a summary of overall benefits assuming Draven is used as a soulbind:

All in all, (Venthyr) provides an insane amount of controllable mitigation (particularly on AoE), a large amount of EHP, and damage that is noticeably lower than the other covenant options. There is a gameplay consideration with [Hold Your Ground] that provides additional benefits based on how much the player stands still, though it is only being assumed the player is benefiting from the buff 25% of the time for this comparison. Most of the mitigation and damage associated with (Venthyr) comes from [Swarming Mist], which benefits greatly from being a controllable cooldown-based ability that is not complicated to use. The mitigation benefits of (Venthyr), in particular, are overwhelmingly strong in multiple target situations, while still being better than most covenants on single target. And, other than a ramped-up (Night Fae), no other covenant provides a competitive level of EHP. The combination of strong mitigation and EHP without overly restrictive conditions is what mainly sets it apart from the competition (Draven is no longer reliant on getting high [Hold Your Ground] uptime to support use). The teleport provided by [Door of Shadows] also has situational value, but it isn’t particularly useful most of the time.

What if we aren’t at max renown?

Recommendations are mostly unchanged with lower renown, but here’s a list of the full effects:

  • (Kyrian) Pelagos remains the go-to, though Mikanikos is greatly weakened without his higher renown traits.
  • (Night Fae) Niya remains in a dominant position, though you’ll notice a significant damage loss if your renown isn’t high enough to pick up [Niya’s Tools: Burrs].
  • (Necrolord) Bonesmith remains the go-to, though Plague Devisor is more competitive as an alternative at lower renown levels.
  • (Venthyr) Theotar is generally the strongest soulbind at lower renown levels as General Draven relies heavily on his high renown traits. The usual arguments for using this covenant, as a whole, still apply.

 

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