Cata guide to Blood DK

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Cata guide to Blood DK

Postby Riggnaros on Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:13 am

***Updated 110829***
***The 4.2/T12 write up is BELOW this one, scroll down***


-Blood DK in Tanking Cataclysm, T11 and T12-



Ok, well I guess it's time to address this thread. I've put off making this post until the progression race was over, but I haven't gotten around to it until now. It seems quite a lot of debate is already taking place and involves quite a lot of people who have no idea what they're tossing in for input. Also, just a heads up - It's going to be lengthy.

I'm going to do my best to address most all areas of the current state of DK tanking. This goes from itemization questions, spec/glyph questions, profs, gearing questions and even some boss encounter input. As most of you know, I'm not some super mathlete, but what I am going to tell you is based on 100% practical experience and implementation. And lastly before we get started, I want everyone to understand one thing:

This is based only on 25m Heroic mode content. I don't care what works in a 5man or your Argaloth group.


How do I gear my Death Knight:

chardev 8 - Cataclysm Beta (If someone can make a cute little table w/ that listed I could add it in here, I would appreciate it.)

That is a char dev profile that I put together for what I would consider BiS for this teir of DK tanking. The helm is debatable between that and the Daybreaker helm, but that is covered below in the itemization breakdown. I do think that 4pc is amazing and should be used. There are fights where it shines more than others (Chim is the most optimal, but Nef / Cho'gall / Sinestra / and any other heavy tank dmg fight are nearly just as good), but in every situation the bonus helps quite a lot. Six seconds is a lifetime when dealing with tanking cds. If anything you're only gaining a slight amount of other stats and losing such a huge benefit if you chose to break 4pc.

*you will probably also note that the Sinestra caster cloak is listed on the chardev profile. That isn't a mistake. It has more mastery, a gem socket, more stm, more armor, and only comes at the loss of about .5% avoidance once you reforge the haste into dodge. This is mainly due to them not even adding a 372 tanking cloak and the BiS is supposed to be the Hyjal rep one. Who knows if this will stick or not, but I personally would take the mastery/stm gain over .5% avoidance.

Threat - Threat only matters within the first 30-45 seconds of a fight or when a new mob is picked up. For these situation DRW Glyph fixes most any issues you should encounter. If you're good with threat gen and are able to swing it - MD's should be used on the pull and that's it. Tricks should be optimized and used on other DPS as often as possible. If you're finding yourself unable to have legit threat gen, then have your rogues assist with tricks as well. With all that being said, reforge/regem out of your threat stats and turn them into avoidance or mastery choices.

Keep in mind you do still need SOME hit/exp, but it's not necessary to get capped in either. The actual 'cap' is a dynamic number that will change from person to person. Sure, you're going to have strings of dodge/miss/parry as some point if you aren't capped, but I've been sub 2% hit and around 12-18 expertise this entire teir and haven't had it turn into a serious issue at ANY point. For those ppl who argue about interrupts and being hit capped, I don't consider that into this statement because in 25 mans, interrupts are covered by other people than the tank. You can assist with them, but shouldn't be involved in any rotation due to the fact you shouldn't be hit capped or you're gimping your survival.

Mitigation vs Avoidance (aka Mastery/Armor vs Dodge/Parry) - I get asked this question more than any other. Tbh, it probably can be answered on a sheet of paper after doing a ton of math, but in the end there isn't going to be a huge difference in the overall outcome. What I mean by that is they're going to be within a comparable % of each other with each having a slight advantage in certain situations.

It comes down to what would you rather have: The rng of Avoidance or the consistency of Mastery? Whichever answer you pick, that gives you the direction you need to gear/itemize/reforge.

I've gemmed / reforged / geared towards both avoidance and mastery and tried them out for extended periods of time. However for the majority of our progression I chose Mastery due to the consistency of it compared to Avoidance.

Yes, avoidance will sometimes look better on paper and provide less dmg taken overall, but it forces you to be taking much heavier bursts of dmg. I see a lot of people referring to healer mana also. While, yes, it is more of an issue than it was in WotLK, it's still not something that is a game breaker. Healers aren't reactively healing to the point of cancel casting constantly or waiting to see if you take multiple hits THEN casting a reactive heal. If anything, they will choose to use a larger inefficient heal vs a lower more efficient one. In the end, tank healer mana isn't a huge issue. Even if it was, with the way dmg intake is atm, I don't see them being able to really change much in how they approach tank healing.

Stamina - Stamina is not what it once was. Gone are the days of it being the number one stat no matter what, and welcome to the day where it basically has a 'soft cap'. What I mean by that is you're never really in a situation where you're taking so much dmg in such a short time frame that it's going to kill you unless you have a certain amount of hp. There are some fights where that DOES still happen, but almost every situation can be compensated for with cooldowns and thus allowing you to focus more on non stm stats such as mitigation and avoidance. Don't get me wrong, stm is still a very important stat (and scales with most DK abilities), but it's not THE most important stat. It has nicely fallen into a balance area with the rest of tanking itemization (which I enjoy).

Trinket choices- This is a main area since it has such a large impact on your cd's and mitigation / stm / avoidance stats. On ANY type of fight with predictable magic dmg (ie Nef / Omnitron / Maloriak / Twilight Council / Cho'gall / Sinestra / Conclave / Alakir) the is a MUST. I like using that combined with or since they give you either a passive or on use cd combined with a significant amount of health.

With those quick overviews of each tanking stat / area I hope it clears up quite a bit for people that are questioning them. I am sure questions will arise, so just post if you have any on the above information.

How do I spec/glyph my Death Knight:

Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft

The above spec is what I have been using post 4.0.6 w/ the new Scarlet Fever changes. It is a single target spec and doesn't have any focus on AE whatsoever. It's also assuming you have 10% AP covered elsewhere (which you should in 25s).

To address anyone still talking about Lichborne post 4.0.6 - Yes, it is still an amzing talent choice. It still does the same thing it did before w/ just slightly lower healing output and fewer Death Coils able to be used. It will still save you in a pinch and is very helpful on any progression encounter where keeping yourself alive is the most important factor out there.

I like having the additional 4 seconds on diseases (3/3 epidemic) and put the lone floater point into SoB for more RP (which assists w/ more RE procs from RS). The glyphs are also based on what I think is most optimal for single target tanking.

Glyphs Prime
Death Coil- Mandated if you're using the Lichbonre spec (which you should be).
Rune Strike- Dmg amp glyph.
Heart Strike- Dmg amp glyph.
Death Strike- Some people like using the Prime DS glyph, but I find it less optimal mainly because I don't sit at high levels of RP at any point other than pooling for LB/DRW/DP.

Glyphs Major
Vamp Blood- I love this glyph and see a lot of people that don't use it. This glyph is amazing because it will gain you more through the additional healing you are getting from all sources than it will from the temporary hp gain you will get w/o it being glyphed.
Dancing Rune Wpn- Used on every pull or pickup of new mob for additional threat.
Bone Shield- Situational, but usable on some fights (ie Cho'gall / Sinestra)
Rune Tap- A very good choice since most encounters have a ton of raid dmg involved. I swap between BS and RT often.
AMS- Don't see the point of glyphing this outside of PvP. If you are doing it right, you don't need an extra 2 secs to assist your timing of the cd.

-If you find yourself in an AE tanking situation, obv spec into Imp BB and glyph Pest / BB.

I personally like the changes with SF and it doesn't interfere a ton with the rotation (lose one DS once a minute). I was never really a fan of having anyone keep up debuffs on the boss (attack slow and demo) for me since it wasn't always guaranteed to happen in every situation. Having SF tied into PS fits well since I was already keeping up FF.

If anything were to change I would say have Crimson Scoruge give a % change for your bloodboil to extend the duration of diseases by a few seconds or something like that. It would actually make it worth picking up outside of added BB dmg. In the end though, the DK tree is pretty solid for the most part without any wasted talents imo.

Which Professions should my Death Knight use:

This has already been covered, but just to add it into the summary here, it's basically even across the board with slight variants of what you gain. I personally think LW is a must not only for the stm gain on the bracers, but for the drums of speed benefit as well. That is something that isn't able to be weighted, but is a nice raid utility xfactor and helps kill bosses. As far as the other profession you get your pick between BS / JC / Ench / Eng / Inscrp. All of them come out to around the same benefit for the most part other than Eng.

I picked Eng due to the 1500 armor gain since it gives me stats when I need them (I macro'd it into my VB) - stats that outweigh the passive from other profs during its uptime. That along w/ the 18k belt absorb or cardboard assassin (which still taunts non boss adds) give it quite a bit of an edge imo.


Overview:

The DK tank is a unique animal. It isn't like that of a Paladin, Warrior, or a Druid (btw I have one of each and tank on them all, this isn't just me speculating). I'm not saying any one class is 'ezmode' or any of that jazz. Anyone playing any tanking class at a high level is obviously on a different skill level. I'm just saying a DK isn't something you're going to pick up and be able to do easily. It is very unforgiving and advanced class and almost completely 'maunual-ized', so keep that in mind. You are going to see a ton of people confuse parses from people that don't know what they're doing with people saying things are 'broken', 'overnerfed', 'undertuned', etc. I highly implore anyone who has those questions about this class to directly ask someone who knows what they are doing and not fall victim to much of this fluff that clutters quite a bit of this thread.

Below are some links to a DK PoV on some of the harder 25mHeroic bosses (i'll have some more updated later on):

YouTube - Blood Legion vs Sinestra 25hm
YouTube - Blood Legion vs Cho'gall 25hm

The fact is - A Death Knight tank who has the ability to manage the numerous cooldowns properly, time death strikes optimally, and use their self healing at the correct times - you will find yourself able to do many things other classes cannot. Sure, you are going to be 'spikey' at times, but that is somewhat the premise of the class itself. A Death Knight excels at single target tanking, and that is it's niche in the current tanking scheme (which I am a fan of greatly). You are going to take more dmg, but you are also going to heal yourself for a ton more and be able to save a lot of situations where other tanks wouldn't.

No other tank class can pull this off (That is actual Healing, not DPS):

Image

****************

With the gear/spec/glyph/itemization summary, I wanted to go over a quick overview for each boss. I know there is a huge range of guild progression out there so I will go over a few things from each boss that would be relevant for a DK tank to know and implement.

Keep in mind, any of this information could vary depending on how your guild does the fight and your role involved. Also, this isn't a complete 'how to' strategy session, but rather a quick outline of cds for a DK tank looking to step into these encounters and help out their guild. If you don't see a cd listed, that's not because its not being used, just use it as you see fit.

-Blackwing Descent-

Tronbots:
This fight is both feast and famine for a DK tank. The way most of the dmg bursts come in the fight ensures you have some form of a cd active for each of them. However, the periods of time where you are unable to attack the boss suck quite a bit since you are unable to DS - so try and have VB or BS up during those times. IBF if you are ever forced to be outside the group for Shadow Conductor. AMS and TB trinket the AE fire done by Magmatron.

Magmaw:
Pre fight change, it was a pretty fun fight since a DK could kite adds with the Bone shield glyph (as seen here: YouTube - Blood Legion vs Heroic: Magmaw - Kiting POV ). However, w/ the recent changes to the fight, the kiting is no longer needed. I would recommend using double stm trinkets on this fight due to how much physical dmg you are taking and how it comes in much more dangerous bursts than the magic dmg on the fight.

Maloriak:
It's best suited for a DK to be tanking the boss. During the Dark Phase, ensure you refresh Bone shield and move out of melee range until he starts casting again. This will keep 20% dmg reduc up the entire phase. Also, AMS the first breath and it will be up again near the end of the phase, and the same goes for the TB resist trinket. Save IBF for the Green phases. Use your other cds how you see fit throughout the rest of the fight.

Atramedes:
Not a hard fight to tank, just ensure AMS for Searing flames. That is the main cd you need to make sure happens. Bone shield glyph is awesome in this fight as well (during air phase), but you can also get away with running around in UH pres during that time so it's not really a must unless you specifically want to have full RP going into the following ground phase.

Chimeraon:
Death Knights make an amazing double attack soaker. Blood Shield helps a ton in making sure you're above 10k after the first of 2 hits from the dbl attack. During the feud's, depending whichs ones you are assigned to tank, ensure you have up IBF (4pc here is phenomenal). AMS the slime volleys during this phase to minimize dmg intake. Try and have as many cds up as possible for when tanking sub 20%, and LB heal yourself to full right before the phase change. Also, this is one of few fights I would put an emphasis on avoidance over mastery. If this fight is a serious roadblock for your guild or you're just having issues staying alive - you need to regear/reforge/regem/rerune/etc out of mastery and into avoidance.

Nefarian:
Nef is one of my favorite fights to tank this teir. While its clearly better for a warr/pally to deal w/ the adds, the DK excels at tanking on Nef. Your management of cds is paramount and knowing when to use each of them can mean the difference between consistent wipes and consistent kills. Between your AMS and your TB trinket, you will have a magic mit cooldown active for each of the 10% Lightning Nukes. Outside of this, I would highly recommend weaving in cds to keep as much uptime as possible w/o having any overlap. Below is an example from this week's Nef kill (it's not perfect, but it gives a good visual of what exactly I'm referring to):

Image

As you can see, there is a viable cd active for quite a bit of the final phase (from 22:58 in the timeline). Also, you probably want to have a power aura active for Insp/AF and ensure you have as much uptime as possible. This is easily done without much (if any) additional focus from the healers. Just make sure you have a Shaman riptide rolling on you or a Priest paying attention to you in the last phase. In the end, while there isn't much movement for the Nef tank, it is super important for you to ensure your cds are as consistent as possible and on time w/ the Lightning nukes while using your major self healing cds (DP/LB/RuneTap) during any points of potential cd downtime during large dmg intake. Remember also, you can channel Army for a decent amount of reduc (~25-30%) and sac those ghouls if you need to DP before the 3min cd on Raise dead is active.

-Bastion of Twilight-

Halfus:
Another pretty straight forward fight with not a lot going on for the tanks. DK's are better used on Drakes due to the MS debuff applied from Halfus (although it doesn't effect the Blood Shield, it does effect your self healing). If you do find yourself on Halfus, it would probably be a good idea to focus on avoidance for this fight. Outside of that, there is nothing too strict here other than to make sure to have your IBF up for the AE stun that happens at 50% and then VB/BS the following. If its not dead by then, prob make sure you have a PS/GS going into a 3rd.

Double Dragons:
Another pretty fun and unique fight to tank. Tank dmg intake isnt' exactly trivial either. It's not insane enough to require a ton of focus from healers, but it's also not trivial enough to ignore. A few things to note here - DRW upon picking up a mob w/ fresh threat (ie on the pull or the 2nd dragon coming down for the first time). IBF during the heavy movement of the breath strafing. Usually I try and use VB and such as a 'buffer' and have it active BEFORE I'm sitting at 15% hp and about to die and it works out pretty well, and this fight is no exception. Assist your healers as much as you can and don't sit on your cds until its too late. You have plenty at your disposal and they are on short cds. Use them.

Twilight Council:
DK is optimally used on the Ignacious (Fire guy) in p1 and Arion (Lightning guy) is in p2. While in p1, Try and have a cd up for each of the flame breaths from Ignacious (ie AMS/TB trinket/BoneShield/LB) and a Major cd active after each shield is broken (IBF after first, PS/GS on 2nd). Once in p2, make sure you AMS or TB trinket each of the nukes if they aren't able to be interrupted. If you're tanking the boss in p3, ensure to DRW on the pickup and AMS every other Lava Seed just incase and try and save IBF for a bit later in the phase when healing is rough. Outside of those, use cds as seen fit.

Cho'gall:
There are quite a few different ways to tank this fight and that all depends on how your guild handles their strat. If you find yourself on Cho'gall, you should line up your cds to assist with the Flame and Shadow debuffs. The flame one is obviously the most critical and should be prioritized when figuring out your cd mapping. If you find yourself tanking the large adds, it fits pretty well. DRW for each set pickup (90sec cd, 90sec spawn rate :) ). Reapply BS prior to picking them up so it will be active off the start of each set pickup. IBF every odd wave, and VB+avoidance trinket on the even ones. Once in the last phase, do your best to chain cds as much as possible when it is your turn on the boss. Keep in mind you can also AMS the magical portion of the Fury spell (not a game breaker, but can help in certain situations).

Sinestra:
TBD. I'll post more on this once its more of a common interest. However, here is another link to a vid if anyone is interested: YouTube - Blood Legion vs Sinestra 25hm

-Throne of the Four Winds-

Conclave:
Conclave is another fun encounter for this teir. Flying thru jet streams and changing platforms is always fun to do as a tank. As far as DK's and their cds go on this fight - It is important to have a cd up for the breaths on Nezir (frost dude). Rotating between AMS / TB trinket / BS+VB / LB you should be able to cover all of them. You need to save IBF for the high dmg output on Anshal (nature dude) coming out of his Ulti (again, 4pc owns for this). Outside of those, weave in the other cds as seen fit.

Al'akir:
Alakir is another fight where DK tanks can be a huge xfactor. Aside from being able to mitigate a ton of the Magic dmg, you are also able to Death Grip every other one of the adds in p2, which cuts down on a ton of raid dmg and/or movement on the raid. Ensure you are spell hit capped to land your DG's every time. AMS'ing off the acid rain stacks is a huge benefit as well.


-Summary-

I highly recommend getting used to browsing logs/parses and looking at how you're actually able to fit your cds in. FRAPS is a good tool also to see how you are performing. It's not really any diff than an NFL player watching film on games - same principle. If you're serious about raiding and your role as a tank, you need to get used to taking the extra steps to ensure your job is done as efficient as possible. Taking a few mins/hours a week during progression to set up timelines, cd maps, look at dmg intake breakdown, etc will make a world of difference and you will be happy w/ the results.

Just to reiterate, these aren't any 'strats' or guides on how to kill the bosses. They are just a quick summary for each encounter from a DK tank's perspective on how to best use cds. Also, understand these aren't mandatory or the ONLY way to do these fights. There are a ton of different options and ways to get the job done. These are just from my own experiences and proven to work. If someone disputes or has questions on any of this, please post. Hopefully this helps out anyone who is stepping into the fights for the first time or is having issues with fights they are currently on.

Thanks for reading.



------------------------------------------------


Blood DK tanking in 4.2

So the time has come. Now that Rag is finally dead, progression is over, and our small break was enjoyed I guessed it was time to sit down and give my input on this entire shitstorm that has become DK tanking. If this post doesn't cover some parts you are curious about, check my previous post following t11 content:
http://elitistjerks.com/f72/t125290-blood_dk_endgame_tanking_4_x/#post1809325

I am going to do my best to try and outline the current state of Blood tanking from the high end raiding perspective. To do so I am going to break down this post with everything from glyph/specs to itemization to professions to rune/cd management and finally give a quick rundown of each boss from a Blood DK POV.

Spec(s):

Here is the current spec that I am using and have been using for several weeks now:
Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft

The Blood spec is pretty baseline with only small variants of that being needed. Below are a list of optional places where you can/should spend talent points and a quick overview on 'why' for each of them:

Lichborne - The following links explain WHY you pick up this talent:
http://elitistjerks.com/f72/t105485-old ... ost1806084
http://elitistjerks.com/f72/t110102-blood_dk_endgame_tanking_4_x/p20/#post1902861

Blood Caked Blade - I started running BCB a few weeks back when it was getting to the point dmg being a premium and not really running into a problem with Runic. It is anywhere from a 3-6% dmg gain depending on the fight and rng.

Crimson Scourge - I don't really ever find myself specing into this, but could see it being useful if you were add tanking.

Scent of Blood - 1/3 is a minimum requirement for this talent, and anymore than that is on a person by person basis. Add the points as you see fit.

Epidemic - If you are or are not in charge of keeping up tanking debuffs, keeping 2 or 3 points into this is a must. 3 points gives you a bit more overlap since your outbreak is up once per min, but 2 is enough to pay the bills. There are just too many times where the other tank will be doing something else (ie on a diff mob, resetting a debuff, range issues, etc) and you cannot reliably expect them to have 100% uptime on debuffs YOU can control. You don't want to be wasting runes early to avoid a gap in a 10% dmg reduc being on the boss, thus the 2/3 minimum.



Glyphs:

Prime
Heart Strike - Dmg/Threat gain.

Rune Strike - Dmg/Threat gain.

Death Coil - Surv gain. I tend to use this one quite often and switch it with the DS glyph when I do. If threat/dmg is not needed, then this is a mandatory choice.

Death Strike - Dmg/Threat gain. Least effective out of the 3 dmg/threat amp glyphs imo, mainly due to not sitting at much more than 30 rp at any given point (eg outside of pooling for LB / DRW / DP).

Major
Dancing Rune Weapon - A staple glyph as long as you are in a guild with dps even somewhat competent. Threat only matters during the first ~20 seconds in the encounter, during which this glyph is very very useful. The threat change will probably negate the need for this so hopefully the remodel the glyph.

Rune Tap - A common theme in most heroic encounters - crazy raid dmg. This is more or less a utility glyph that provides a decent gain on healing within your group. A lot of times during progression, any and all healing helps. In the hands of someone who is Rune Tapping on cd - or better yet, knowing they are going to dip into WotN range and getting a double Rune tap by using it just before you take that hit and right again when you do giving back to back 5% hp gains to your party. Trust me, it adds up.

Vamp Blood - The most amazing glyph in our arsenal. HP is to the point of being at a softcap. Anytime that you die, it is because of several seconds of shit that leads up to it (5-8 secs) and not really something that is going to 'global' you. Yes, a DK is at more of a risk than most tanks of dying very very quickly and I will address that later in the post, but I can promise you that if you're finding yourself in the position of needing more hp, you're doing something wrong or have messed up what your thought process with other cds/runes that have caused you to get to that point. Getting 40% increased healing instead of 25% and a 15% hp gain isn't even a contest. A tank with 220k hp will gain 33k hp from VB. The 33k hp during that time will not outweigh the amount of healing you will get from both yourself and healers in a 10 sec timeframe. It just synergies with our class too well to not glyph it. Everything from Death Pact, Lichborne, Rune Tap, Death Strike, to the Scales of Life trinket all benefit from this on top of the healers pumping heals into you. I'm not saying it will NEVER need to be unglyphed, but unless you're at risk of getting globaled, then you should be glyphing it.

Anti-Magic Shell - The amount of people I see that say this glyph is a necessity makes me wonder if they're playing the same game that I am. If you need 2 more seconds of time on your AMS, you're doing it wrong. AMS has a 5sec window and you should be able to use your cd to the point of it not needing to be longer. 9 times out of 10 the dmg you take from the breath / burst AE / magic attack / etc will consume your AMS to begin with. The only time you can justify having this over another Major Glyph is in a fight where you would NOT take the capped amount on your AMS from 1 event and would still somehow need it to be active for up to 7 seconds.

Bone Shield - I've been a fan of this glyph for quite some time, but it hasn't really been that useful this tier. Even when it would be, the way BS is weaved into our tanking 'rotation' keep you from having it up when you would need the speed boost most of the time anyway. Rest in peace.

Pest/Blood Boil - AE tanking only.



Gear/Itemization:

Profiler - Wowhead

Above is basically what a BiS DK tank should be. The 4pc is not a gamebreaker, but is worth picking up for the simple reason it is bonus survability gain at no loss. A DK should weigh stats as follows: Mastery > Dodge > Parry > Exp > Hit > Haste > Crit. I put dodge at a higher rating than parry since you will inherently gain more parry through str upgrades on gear and raid buffs (eg Horn of Winter / Mark of the Wild). I will elaborate a bit more on this a bit further down in the post.

Sure, you could go with offset pieces and gain some more dodge here or some more mastery there, but every defensive stat is needed (dodge/parry/mastery) and the only tier item that isn't defense loaded is the helm, and you can give me Expertise as a stat any day of the week if I can gain 15% parry for 12secs after using DRW. Like I said, it's not a gamebreaking 'must have' by any means, but there is just no point in not picking it up.

To highlight a bit more on several non tier items I wanted to go into the following:

Trinkets - The trinket slot is one that will change quite a bit from fight to fight. As a whole though you will find yourself using the same trinkets that are linked in my profile above more times than not. The only exception to that being a fight where avoidance takes precedence (eg Baelroc).:

Scales of Life- This trinket I already commented on and you can read a bit more indepth about it here: http://elitistjerks.com/f72/t110102-blood_dk_endgame_tanking_4_x/p32/#post1976234
Basically a TLDR: Best used on a Blood DK due to it's synergy with VB (more so if glyphed!). Also, it can crit heal.
Image

Spidersilk Spindle- This trinket is the best option for a DK by leaps and bounds. A 20k absorb on a 1min cd that you don't have to manage is not even comparable to any other option. Not to mention it is loaded with 433 mastery. This trinket is basically giving you 20k hp when you need it the most (when you're dropping below 35%). This greatly helps out with anyone experiencing 'spike dmg' deaths that I see referred to a lot in this thread.

TB Mirror- This trinket still has its place on any fight that has a lot of magic dmg. Fights that have significant magic dmg coming at a faster rate than your AMS is off cd, it is a must. I found great use from this trinket on Baelroc, Domo (orb soaking), and Rag (only -needed- during p4).

The value of Hit and Exp- I see this debate quite often as well. The bottom line is that you need to pick up only what is defaulted to the gear already. Do not reforge into it or gem/ench for it. No matter what you're not going to exp cap nor hit cap, and if you do, then you're wasting tons and TONS of viable mitigation and avoidance stats in the process. I have been < 2% hit and anywhere from 8-14 expertise since the start of this xpac and I can assure you that the amount of times we've either wiped or had things go wrong because my DS didn't land I can probably count on 1 hand. The odds of your DS getting parried/missed/dodged with enough times in a row for it to cause you to die is very slim, even with low threat stats (hit / exp). You are better suited putting all available points into survivability stats.

Weapon/Runeforge- Weapons are't too complicated in knowing what to go for. High wpn dmg and try and get Mastery and Haste if at all possible, but one of the two will suffice if the other stats outweigh the alternative (ie Rag 2h vs Skullstealer Greataxe). The wpn dmg and stm gain along w/ the 2 sockets make the Rag hammer the obvious BiS choice for Blood Tanking. As far as Runeforge, I personally choose to go with SSG for the consistency it provides due to the AC (armor) and HP being there for every single hit you take and helping buff all % hp based abilities (DS, DP, RT, and VB if you don't glyph it). If you can afford to, pick up a 2nd weapon and toss on Rune of the Fallen Crusader, keybind a weapon switch macro and swap back to your SSG wpn once threat is well established. With that being said I wanted to get into the meat of an important topic that I still get asked more than any other question (even though this was addressed last tier and hasn't really changed).

******MASTERY VS AVOIDANCE - ROUND 2 + DK TANK VIABILITY DEBATE*******


While at the end of the day, yes it comes down to personal preference on what you want to go for because BOTH are viable paths to pursue and both WILL work, I strongly believe that mastery is the better choice for a Blood tank in most every situation.

-Mastery gains value without DR being a factor and avoidance does not.
-Mastery is something you can rely on being there, avoidance is not.
-Mastery is something you can manipulate and control, avoidance is not (read: timing with dmg intake on your DS is huge).

If you're into end game raiding and are trying to press content at bleeding edge, one thing you want to provide is consistency. That is the main component in being able to kill bosses at a top level. Last tier and this one as well, mastery has been able to provide that variable more so than avoidance. I am sure that there is a point where one will over take the other, but with the dynamic that surrounds tanking as a whole in this game and how situational everything is (ie fights with tank swaps, debuffs, boss swing timers, phys dmg vs magic dmg intake, etc) I find it hard to believe that anyone will ever be able to put a definitive value on a 'magic number' as an absolute answer for every situation.

The only exception to this that I have found is Baelroc when trying to solo tank the Heroic version on week 1. Any faster hitting mob (read: Dual wield) will put avoidance at a higher weight than mastery due to the in ability to keep up with the dmg intake via Blood Shield. You find yourself taking too many un mitigated hits since they are coming in such quick succession. Yes, you could argue that the dmg intake should be equal on a grand scale, but it doesn't quite work that simple. A slower hitting boss allows for you to have more control over the situation as a Death Knight due to many variables (mainly rune regen and the way our class is balanced to combat dmg intake). This is the same reason a DK isn't as viable on adds in most fights. The fact that Paladins can 'block cap' and never take an non-avoided/unmitigated hit puts it as the obvious choice for someone rapid succession strings of hits. That choice is less obvious when the boss dmg is coming at a normal/reasonable pace (ie non dual wield / 1.2sec swing timer / etc).

To address some of the issues I see with people that talk about DK's being 'paper tanks' or that you keep finding yourselves in situations where you're taking so much spike dmg that you're unable to do anything about it, 90% of the time that does not have to be the case. A Death Knight is almost a completely 'manual-ized' class as far as tanking goes. I have one of each tank class and tank on them regularly and keep them all somewhat up to par (some more than others) and can tell you from experience tanking on all four that you're going to have to work a lot harder to achieve the same results on a Death Knight as compared to any of the other three classes, but if you are able to do so, a lot of times you are going to come out ahead in the end. That is the case because the other classes basically hit a cap with what they are able to do. List out the 'defensive' cds and compare them (may have forgot a few abilities, but just post and I will add them - main point I'm trying to illustrate is a DK has many more options):

DK
Anti-Magic Shell - 45sec
Will of the Necropolis - 45sec
Vamp Blood - 1min
Bone Shield - 1min
Rune Tap - 30sec
Dancing Rune Weapon - 90sec
Lichborne - 2min
Pet Sac - 2min (3min raise dead, but you can sac an army ghoul)
Icebound Fortitude - 3min
Empowered Rune Weapon - 5min
Army of the Dead - 10min

Warr
Shield Block - 30sec cd
Shield Wall - 2min
Enraged Regen -3min cd
Last Stand - 3min

Druid
Barkskin - 1 min cd
Surv Instincts - 3min cd
Frenzy Regen - 3min cd


Paladin
Word of Glory - 30sec cd
Holy Shield - 30sec cd
Divine Protection - 1min cd
Ardent Defender - 3min cd
Guardian of Ancient Kings - 3min cd
Lay on Hands - 7min cd (glyphed)

The problem with the 'spike dmg' that DK's have an issue with is mainly due to poor management of either your runes, cds, or both. Blizz is reluctant to change or modify how Death Knights work because they are able to see both ends of the spectrum. They can see DK's in top guilds being able to do things that allow them to both keep up and in some cases surpass the other three tank classes (fight dependent). If they make changes that buff our class just because people are playing it at a level that is far under what it is capable of then it becomes a hands down favorite and an 'overpowered' choice for top end guilds since they will have a significant advantage. The DK tank is an 'advanced' tank class and anyone that is playing it needs to understand that. You aren't going to be able to step into it and see results without being very intimate with the class and how everything about it works. No, I am not saying the class is perfect and some changes do not need to be made, but more so just stating that it is far from a huge crisis that people insist it has become.

With that being said I will try and explain a bit on what I'm talking about when I say the 'spike dmg' comes from mis management of runes or cds. If you are just standing there face tanking bosses with shit class management, sure, you're going to be getting wrecked whereas on any block tank class (warr / pally) you will still have your mitigation working for you because of how blocking works. Even on a druid, getting SD to proc off of crits is something you don't really have to time, but rather just allow to happen since it is based on RNG (crit) while doing dmg to the boss. These things just aren't the case with a Death Knight because of how much gain and penalty is put on the timing of your DS and usage of your arsenal of cds. I enjoy and relish that fact every time I log on it to raid. It provides a challenge and a great sense of accomplishment when you're able to just chain things together to make healers lives easier.

One of the hardest things about being a Blood tank is learning how to deal with the dmg intake and minimize the amount of times it occurs without you being able to react. This is accomplished by filling the gaps in your blood shield with your many options from other cds. You know if/when your blood shield is going to be active to be able to make decisions for when its not - such as getting up bone shield, getting your pet out well before you need it (ie knowing you don't really have a mitigating cooldown available and are about to take burst dmg) and have the runic pooled to sac it on demand, using ERW in a pinch, etc. Another pro tip that I mentioned before is knowing that you're about to dip low enough to proc WotN and using your Rune Tap before taking the dmg and then again right as the proc occurs.

Learning each boss fight and how the dmg intake will come is key to making this happen. You need to be very fluent in looking at parses and tracking your cd management. Use World of Logs to track things like this and make graphs like the one below to see where you can change things around and buy more uptime. Keep in mind that each fight is different and will yield different results. The below graph is from our Heroic Rag progression kill. You can attribute some of the downtime on buffs due to tank switching and such on the fight, but you can still get the overall picture of what I am trying to explain:

Image



Professions:

While it used to be slightly more open to debate, right now I would say it is almost set in stone that Eng/LW are the best two options for tanking atm mainly due to their 'on demand' and utility benefits.

Eng- Every tank has a 'small' cd that they can pop once per min and being able to macro the gloves into that ability provides a substantial gain by boosting the effectiveness of the cd. Given that you will only be using a cd when you NEED mitigation, it outweighs the constant stats of ~80 mastery/stm/etc. Not to mention the effectiveness of the belt tinker. Rocket boosts, Cardboard Assassin, and the 20k absorb shield give you the ability to tailor your character to the fight.

Leatherworking- The lack of options for tanking bracer enchs inflates the value for LW, but it's true value lies within the utility of the profession. Being able to provide movement speed increases to you and your party via Drums of Speed is priceless on a lot of fights making any profession that is equal in stat gain sub-optimal when compared in its utility.

Blacksmithing/Alch/Inscp/Mining/JC- Static stat gain.



Fight Quick Tips section:

I know I have read about some people saying my initial post was more of a "How to tank Heroic Rag on a DK" and "Rag is a gimmick fight because its the only 'true' tank swap in Firelands, that's the only reason he can say a DK is fine." etc. The point is:

Each and every fight has a specific class that will excel at it moreso than others (ie Pally excelling at Bael / DK on Rag and Sinestra / Warrior on Alys, Riplimb, and Nef add tanking). This is solid design in order to keep things from being stagnant and fresh and a lot of the time forcing people to think outside the box to make adjustments that normally would not be made (thus leading to a smarter and well developed player). As long as Blizz allows each tank to stay within the same realm of possibility on each other, I personally enjoy it and hope it stays. My main concern would be if a tank is basically UNABLE to complete the job on the encounter (ie prenerf Heroic Domo and AD). With that said, for the most part Blizz has done a pretty decent job imo and hopefully continues to do so.

Now, I am going to give a quick overveiw of each fight and how a DK tank should approach it. Some fights are a bit more detailed than others, but each covers enough to address most issues. There will be a summary at the bottom if there are any questions.



-Shannox-

This fight it is all about which role you will be filling (Shannox or Riplimb tank). Overall this fight is not that difficult and does not really require alot of theorycrafting for either role. Another important note - Make sure you have a solid understanding of the max distance you can put the mobs apart from either other and communicate with the other tank if you're moving and adjustments need to be made.

Quick notes for tanking Riplimb:

- Can take care of applying the slow on Riplimb by yourself.
- Needs to have a priest healer for Lifegrip and Body and Soul
- Leatherworking drums of speed shine really well for this role, as do the Eng Rocket boots. Also bring keep a stack of swiftness potions around just incase you end up tanking Riplimp.



-Beth'tilac-

Identify which role you will be taking, Top or Bottom tanking. If you find yourself on the bottom tanking drones, you really do not need more than probably a druid keeping hots on you. Between AMS, VB, Bone Shield, and all the other short cds, you can keep up with the amount of dmg intake for the most part and allow healers to pay more attention to other aspects of the raid. Save AMS for the magma spew breaths if you're not topped going into them. DRW will be up for every other Drone, as will Lichborne. If you are tanking Beth upstairs, just ensure that you have a good feel for the dmg intake and map out your cd usage accordingly.

As far as tanking goes, the fight really doesn't start until the burn phase (~4:30 into the fight). During this burn phase the boss hits very, very hard. It is best for you to pick the boss up second just so you can stack your Blood Shield while the other tank has it, but it is still doable with a DK going first. Basically understand that the debuff goes out about every 30 seconds and map your cds accordingly.


[20:06:46.562] Beth'tilac casts The Widow's Kiss on Absalom
[20:07:18.274] Beth'tilac casts The Widow's Kiss on Riggnaros
[20:07:50.078] Beth'tilac casts The Widow's Kiss on Absalom
[20:08:21.822] Beth'tilac casts The Widow's Kiss on Riggnaros

When you are able to manage cds correctly, the fight favors a DK immesely. Check the graph of the dmg intake below (Pally has boss for 3/5 and DK for 2/5):

Image

As you can see in that pull in paticular, I didn't even maximize my cd usage. I didn't drop below 35% at any point, but even still I probably should have used VB during the first pickup I had on the boss. Each and every pull will be a bit diff, and you will have to adjust, but being able to know how many times you will have the boss on you during the last phase and how to fix your cds in there accordingly is a must.



-Lord Ryolith-

This fight is also broken down into two tanking roles: The Fragments tank and the Spark tank. A DK excels at either of these so its mainly on your guild and how they choose to use you. If you find yourself on Fragments, DnD is very good for that role and I would also recommend spec'ing into Crimson Scourge for higher BB dmg. As a whole, tanking fragments is not very demanding and requires little worry about your survival.

However, sparks on the other hand are a different story. To min/max your raid dps, it is best to leave them up until they get a certain number of stacks (varies on the guild - we switch to the around 6-7 stacks), but this leaves you at the point of getting wrecked since it increases their dmg done as well. You should be going through 4 sparks total and the 4th one should be despawning during the 25% boss transition. There are many ways to handle sparks, but I choose to use 1min cds on each one (VB/BS) and rotate major cds (>1min cds) between the 4 sparks (Spark 1=DRW+IBF / Spark 2=PS+LB / Spark 3=Army+PetSac+DRW+Pally Sac / Spark 4=IBF+LB). You can also tank swap and utitlize the other tanks major cds in the event you are short on priest cds (GS or PS).

Once in the last phase, it is an all out full burn. You want the tank that was on fragments the whole time tanking the boss since every cd they have should be active for the burn. If you were tanking sparks, you are basically there as a backup incase the tank picking the boss up either dies or needs you to taunt for some reason.



-Alysrazor-

One of the more unique tanking fights in the game. It is all about killing your mob before it kills you. This fight is very annoying early on if your gear isn't quite up to par. Doing this fight pre DS buff was extremely hard and annoying, but since the DS buff it has become more more fun and consistent.

First off, you want to gear more towards dmg. Have two weapons (one with a defensive rune and one with FC rune) macro'd onto a hotkey and swap them back and forth depending on if you're tanking a hatchling or the boss during her vuln stage. Basically you want to find a balance between not dying and being able to do enough dmg to your hatchling to kill it before having to worry about tanking it through a tantrum. If you've managed to pick up a decent weapon and toss on a bit of dps gear (trinkets/rings/wpn) you shouldn't have much trouble with killing your hatchling before the fire AE takes place. Having FC on your weapon will make a huge huge difference in the amount of dmg you are able to output for your hatchling. Also, I would reccomend picking up and using the 1min cd revered str trinket from the Firelands rep vendor. That will be active for each hatchling that you pick up and offers both mastery to help in dmg reduction and a nice punch to your dmg.

Quick notes for Alys:

The way I handle the hatchling/worms is to basically eat a worm the instant my hatchling becomes able to enrage. I have seen pretty much every class tank get nearly globaled by trying to react to the enrage instead of eating a worm prior to it enraging. With the amount of dmg you can output with the semi dps gear setup, you -should- be able to trim abotu 25% of the hatchling's hp before needing to eat the first worm, then another 25% before the second and that puts your mob ~25% for the last bit that it can enrage. If you are unable to kill your mob before it enrages, IBF or get a PS immediately upon seeing the debuff go active on the hatchling. You can die quicker than it takes a healer to swap to you if needed. Another helpful tidbit - Save your AMS in the event you have to run through a fire to have your mob eat the worm.




-Baelroc-

Fun fun fun. This fight is a very very demanding fight for both healers and tank cd management. You can fill one of two roles on this fight: Baelroc tank or the Decimation Blade tank. If you are a DK and find yourself on the boss fulltime, I would highly advise using a maximum avoidance build such as 4pt12 along with full dodge/parry gems and 'on use' avoidance trinket (Vial of Stolen Memories). Using AMS and the TB trinket for the Inferno Blade mitigation is a must as well.

While it is definately doable to have a DK tank the boss, but it definately not optimal. The reason being for this is thatother tanks are able to ensrue they do not take a single unmitigated / unavoided melee hit. With how fast the boss swings and such, a DK cannot keep up with the dmg intake without having moments of severe spike dmg. Even though the way Blood Shield scales with the % hp gain the boss applies to the tank, it ends up being more inconsistant than most healers would like to deal with.

However, again, it IS doable with a DK tank, check the graph below from our kill this past Tuesday:

Image

I did spike quite often (as noted by the 6 WotN procs) and did die closer to the end of the fight this week as you can see from the spike dmg on the dmg taken graph however, the death was after taking 6 out of 8 hits consecutively half of which had DRW up :( (see below). With that said, anyone that has tanked this fight understands the massive amount of tank dmg intake regardless of which class is tanking. There have been times where our both me and our paladin tank have died 3 times on the same pull to tanking the boss. All it takes is a shitty enough string of RNG without avoiding any hits. There isn't really an 'iwin' situation by putting a prot warrior or paladin on the boss, but it does provide more consistency for healers and thus makes life easier with a non DK tank for this fight in specific.

[21:53:14.789] Cj Beacon of Light Riggnaros +0 (O: 9215)
[21:53:14.789] Lawliepop Greater Heal Riggnaros +205030
[21:53:14.929] Affinity Regrowth Riggnaros +*13120*
-[21:53:15.076] Baleroc hits Riggnaros 290094
[21:53:15.190] Affinity Rejuvenation Riggnaros +20549
[21:53:15.190] Acrol Efflorescence Riggnaros +694
[21:53:15.288] Acrol Rejuvenation Riggnaros +11908
[21:53:15.288] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +13954
[21:53:15.616] Affinity Swiftmend Riggnaros +*234550*
[21:53:16.000] Cj Beacon of Light Riggnaros +12852
[21:53:16.000] Acrol Efflorescence Riggnaros +694
[21:53:16.166] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +13954
[21:53:16.508] Affinity Regrowth Riggnaros +*13121*
-[21:53:16.849] Baleroc hits Riggnaros 637230
[21:53:16.849] Acrol Efflorescence Riggnaros +694
[21:53:16.930] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +13954
[21:53:17.219] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
[21:53:17.368] Riggnaros Death Strike Riggnaros +348635
[21:53:17.368] Affinity Rejuvenation Riggnaros +31450
-[21:53:17.483] Baleroc hits Riggnaros 17472 (A: 340327)
[21:53:17.653] Acrol Efflorescence Riggnaros +694
[21:53:17.653] Cj Divine Light Riggnaros +130736
[21:53:17.726] Acrol Rejuvenation Riggnaros +11908
[21:53:17.847] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +13954
[21:53:18.062] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
[21:53:18.175] Affinity Regrowth Riggnaros +6560
[21:53:18.563] Riggnaros summons Rune Weapon with Dancing Rune Weapon
[21:53:18.670] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +13954
[21:53:18.845] Cj Beacon of Light Riggnaros +9259
[21:53:18.845] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +13392 (O: 28631)
[21:53:18.990] Affinity Nourish Riggnaros +0 (O: 70048)
[21:53:18.990] Cj Holy Shock Riggnaros +0 (O: 39276)
-[21:53:19.314] Baleroc hits Riggnaros 636871 (A: 17210)
[21:53:19.426] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +0 (O: 13954)
[21:53:19.698] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
[21:53:19.811] Affinity Rejuvenation Riggnaros +31451
[21:53:19.811] Affinity Regrowth Riggnaros +*13120*
-[21:53:19.874] Baleroc hits Riggnaros Parry
[21:53:20.078] Cj Beacon of Light Riggnaros +9518
[21:53:20.199] Acrol Rejuvenation Riggnaros +11908
[21:53:20.299] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +*27908*
[21:53:20.478] Nodzz Beacon of Light Riggnaros +4586
[21:53:20.478] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
[21:53:20.603] Riggnaros Rune Tap Riggnaros +109027
[21:53:20.915] Nodzz Beacon of Light Riggnaros +1357
[21:53:20.915] Affinity Nourish Riggnaros +64053
[21:53:21.017] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +*27069*
[21:53:21.283] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
[21:53:21.689] Nodzz Beacon of Light Riggnaros +10523
-[21:53:21.721] Baleroc hits Riggnaros 849610
[21:53:21.917] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +*27069*
[21:53:22.121] Nodzz Beacon of Light Riggnaros +1303
[21:53:22.121] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
[21:53:22.121] Cj Divine Light Riggnaros +134378
[21:53:22.121] Cj Word of Glory Riggnaros +109214
[21:53:22.262] Affinity Rejuvenation Riggnaros +31451
-[21:53:22.283] Baleroc hits Riggnaros Parry
[21:53:22.736] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +13534
[21:53:22.919] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
[21:53:22.919] Affinity Nourish Riggnaros +*131851*
[21:53:23.325] Cj Beacon of Light Riggnaros +9002
[21:53:23.325] Cj Beacon of Light Riggnaros +9763
[21:53:23.577] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +*27069*
[21:53:23.881] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
-[21:53:24.174] Baleroc hits Riggnaros 700273 (O: 142685, A: 14376)
[21:53:24.426] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +13534
[21:53:24.931] Riggnaros dies


Quick notes for Bael:

-Lichborne is only really effective at the beginning of the fight before your HP gets amplified.
-If you are the Decimation tank, combine DRW and your 'on use' avoidance trinkets during Deci Blade along w/ Glyphed VB to maximize your chance to avoide the 90% hit and assist healers in getting you topped asap if you do take a hit.

-Remember the Deci blade CAN be absorbed, just not mitigated! (ie shields).



-Majordomo-

I cannot really offer any insight on this fight as a DK tank since all of our first 5 kills on this boss I was playing my Paladin, Riggalon, due to AD and DSac being mandatory for the encounter at the time. However, I would assume it falls into the same category as Baelroc due to his fast attack speed and thus favoring a tank who can CTC cap. However, the way we do Domo is a 2 tank strat so its never really a huge issue since we use the OT to soak orbs and tank cats and thus perfectly fine for a DK to do one job or the other.



-Ragnaros-
Blood Legion vs. Heroic Ragnaros 25 - Resto Druid POV - YouTube


Cd usage from this past week's kill:
Image

Fav fight this xpac thus far, and definitely in the top overall for the game in general imo. This fight covers everything from tanking 101 to testing your advanced level of cd rotations, dmg output, and movement min/max. While I have heard/read a lot of people critisizing the effectiveness of a DK on this fight, I can promise you that if played optimally on this encounter a DK is hands down -the best tank for this fight-. While alot of this fight and what I am about to explain depends on your strat, I assume most guilds use some use a similar strat and if not, you can stil get a good understanding of how things work and modify for your own needs. With that being said I will go into a bit more detail in regards to HOW it actually works out that way:

P1
P1 is more or less your mundane 'avoid bad things and turret dps for several minutes just to get to the fun part of the encounter. For a DK tank on this fight just get a good feel for how often your tank swaps are occuring and map your cds accordingly. We try and swap every 3 stacks on each tank and it plays out pretty well.

-As always, ensure you have BS up prior to the pull so it is basically off cd when you engage the boss. It doesn't matter if you're starting or taunting the boss off the other tank. Your Bone Shield should be active throughout the entire time you are tanking thr u the first 3 stacks. If it does drop, toss up VB if you're unable to keep a Blood Shield active. Once the other tank taunts, get your Bone Shield back active asap to get it back on cd asap, thus giving you another 4 charges for when you pick up the tank again.

-AMS every trap explosion. While TB trinket isn't mandatory for this encounter, it does help. It's mainly used in p4, but can come in handy during p2 also (seeds exploding and traps).

-Basically you will have either BS or VB active for each and every time you have the boss in this fight throughout phases 1-3. Sometimes shit goes a bit sideways and you need to adjust, inwhich case you just need to make judgement calls on when to have out your pet and pool RP for LB and such. But again, between well timed Blood Shields, Bone Shield, Vamp Blood, and DRW you shouldn't have much of an issue staying more than comfortable and helping healers save mana.

P2 (this explaination is assuming you are popping 2-3 traps during this phase)
P2 is where it starts to get a bit trickier. Your cd rotation becomes very rigid and defined w/ little flexibility. You are going to be cycling cds while moving and keeping track of several other things on top of having exact moments where you need to pop exact cds. Detailed explanation below:

-You need to have the other tank pick the boss up going into this phase.

-Bone Shield the instant he comes out of the lava to begin p2. Do not do it earlier or the fire AE will eat your charges. You want to get Bone Shield active at that very instant to allow it to be up each time you pick the boss up after each set of seeds.

-During the first set of seed explosions, have up VB and AMS the AE from the seeds. Your DRW should also be up at this time as well. Keep your Death Strikes well timed to allow for maximum Blood Shield uptime and avoid stacking in this phase. With VB and DRW active, you should be fine and not even remotely be in danger at any point. Again, your pet sac is more or less a wild card cd to use at any point you feel like things may get a bit rough. Understand that, pull it out BEFORE you need it, and start pooling RP. The other tank will be taunting off of you during the dance portion following the seeds AE.

-TB trinket (or call for a priest shield if you don't have a TB trinket) during the trap explosion at this point to avoid taking a large amount of dmg since you're about to re-taunt the boss. Re apply Bone Shield, ensure you're topped, and then taunt the boss.

-During the second set of seed explosions, you need to be using IBF just before they explode so you don't have to waste AMS (which will be saved for the next trap pop) and your TB trinket is down. This also allows for IBF to be back active when you need it in p4. The other tank will be picking the boss back up very soon after your IBF falls.

-Upon picking the boss back up when the other tank gets 3 stacks, VB immediately since your Bone Shield will be down. A trap should be popped soon WHILE you are tanking at this point. AMS should be up and thus negate the dmg intake almost entirely. Bone Shield when it is active again just before the seeds explode. The other tank will be tanking during the seeds explosion. Remember to be putting a DnD down for each of the seeds if you're strapped for dmg, but if you're not stable, dont waste the UH rune.

-If you have another seeds phase, TB trinket the explosion and use DRW during your time on the boss. Pet Sac and LB are still open as well.

-As long as you can limit your P2 to 3 sets of seeds, you should be going into the 2nd intermission with DRW avaliable, LB, possibly your pet sac, and BS/VB should be coming off cd before p3. Obv, this is optimal and should be what you're shooting for.

2nd intermission
Decide which Scion you are going to pick up and make your way as close to that side as possbile while still attacking Rag. If you do it correctly, you can keep your Blood Shield stack from Rag active while you pick up the Scion. This is huge for dmg mitigation and helping out healers since they are going to be strapped healing the flame AE as it is. The last thing they need to do is try and heal two tanks getting rocket by Scions.

P3
This phase is much less intensive than p2 as far as cds go and falls back to your basic p1 cd strat. The only exception is to ensure you have AMS for anytime you are caught in a shitty position with the dance. Taking additional dmg from the dance is not a smart idea when taking up to 90k melee hits from Rag.

-Glyph DG and spam it on meteors near your side to allow for maximum dps/healing. You should be able to do this while tanking/dancing without much of an issue as long as your guild isn't bathing in engulfing flames and causing healers to pay more attention to them than the tank.

P4-Money Phase
This is basically the hardest part of the fight without being the hardest part of the fight :P. That is the case mainly because it takes 12 or so mins of near perfection to get here each and every pull, thus making the quality pulls in this phase quite limited. As a tank in this phase you need to be doing everything from min/max'ing cds to preplanning your movement, to quarterbacking threat management on Omen (lol threat cap ftL).

-Let the other tank pick the boss up going into the phase. Build your Blood Shield as much as possible to have a fat stack for the first melee upon picking up the boss.

-The instant the first Breadth of Frost spawns, run through it and reset your superheated stack then taunt the boss with IBF active. This allows you to use it again near the end of the fight and gives healers a much needed cushion trying to stabilze the transition into the breadth. This is the point and time where it is going to be the worst for you since the raid is taking the most dmg and there are 2 meteors active. You need to empty the gas tank here to ensure you do not die. When IBF falls, VB and DRW, during the VB and DRW start pooling RP for a pet sac. AMS when your superheated stacks get high, pet sac if you dip, TB trinket if needed, armor pot, ERW and Army if needed, also LB can save a death in a pinch. Do. Not. Die. Here. If you are able to stabalize here, things will ease up and your success for a kill increased dramatically.

-Another thing to note is to make sure you're close enough to a warrior/pally/priest if they're using Rallying Cry/DSac/Barrier.

-After this first trasition of the phase just use cds as you did in p1 and p3 with the only exception being AMS/TB trinket. Also, since you probably went balls out on the first pickup, alot of your cds are going to be down for a bit. In which case, remember you have healer cds that you can use if needed as well (GS/PS/Barrier/etc - utitilize anything you can that your raid comp allows).

-If you have to run far away to get to roots, this is where the TB trinket is very beneficial. Save it for when your stacks get resonably high and then pop it and go into an AMS if needed. Coordinate a Life Grip with your priests to get you back into the breadth asap if you've taken too many stacks.

-Once even one of the meteors are dead, things are much much easier on healers, thus allowing you more of a cushion. Pay attention to the Empowered Sufuras cast and ensure you have a path preplanned at any point it is possible (ie locate dreadflame, know which what you're moving out and back in to the breadth, etc). Ensure that no dps is close enough to the threat cap to mess up your taunts. There is nothing worse than having a kill in your sights and having a taunt fail because of threat cap and the entire raid being 1 shot as result :(

-Remember, Superheated removes Bone Shield stacks, but you can still milk out 1-2 mitigated melee's from it if you're in a pinch outside of a breadth. If possible, use Bone Shield while tanking inside of a breadth for maximum uptime.

-IBF will be back up for the near end of the fight. Be ready to use it pretty much the instant its active again. You healers can do one of two things when its up: Regen the much needed mana or help nuke the boss during the final few %.



Main concerns for DK tanks

As a whole, like I've said before, we're in a pretty good shape imo. While they have already stated some tweaks are coming and such, I really hope they do not change the class much and push it away from what it has become. While a bit more of passive mitigation would be understandable (ie BPres armor % buff) to combat the 'spike dmg' most people have issues with, lets hope they leave the DK mastery and cd usage intact. A change to keep other classes from reaching a CTC cap would basically even the field across the board. That would have those tanks also being able to take an unmitigated hit and relying on a reactive skill/ability to minimize it from taking place, thus putting them in the same boat as we are.

Another really annoying thing that comes into play with a DK tank over a Warrior or Paladin, and in some cases Druid is our lack of raid utility. Warriors having Rallying Cry, Paladins with DSac, and in some cases even the Druid tank popping Tranq all outweigh a DK tank's raid utility. Even our Bres is gimp mode and unable to be used on many fights due to the person coming up at such low % hp.

I know that Blizz can't accomodate every request that is put on forums and they're constantly bombarded by randoms who just want their class to have something addtional without really understand the impacts and ramifications of the request. However, when playing the game for several years at a top raiding level and seeing things like balance and raid utility being a very huge differnce in kill placement within the endgame raiding community, I can assure you that what I am saying holds water. Blood DK's need more raid utility.

If you're on a progression fight and things are more or less even across the board on tanking for the fight (ie any class tank is able to do the encounter effectively) you are 110% gimping yourself by not having an additonal raid cd (Rallying Cry / DSac). I don't need to beat a dead horse and I am sure anyone with enough knowledge of the game can agree to that fact. Hopefully it doesn't continue to be ignored and has some changes come down.

My suggestion and what I feel would be the most resonable change would be to move AMZ (or some variant of it) into Blood or leave it in Unholy but allow us the point to get it. They can even modify the ability to absorb 20% of magic dmg to everyone inside for 6 seconds so its basically like DSac but slightly worse and gives us some raid utility. If not that, then come up with something, please. It needs to happen.



Fight Overview Summary

I am going to do what I can do make a vid of Rag and some of the other Heroic modes and be able to put some visual aid to go along with this writeup. However, I need to upgrade my RAM and some other parts to my computer first :( Anyways, I hope this provided some insight or help to anyone who is looking to learn these fights or even refine what they are already doing. Please, if I left anything out, feel free to post and I can add it in. Also, if you disagree or have questions about any of this, feel free to PM me or post.



Vids:

I need to add a couple of upgrades to my computer and then I plan on releasing some tutorial vids on the heroic fights for this tier. Once I do I will make sure to edit this post and toss them in here. Below is a listing of random older DK pov vids from both PTR and such for this tier:

BloodLegionIllidan's Channel - YouTube
Blood Legion vs Baleroc - Firelands PTR - Tank POV - YouTube
Blood Legion vs Alysrazor Firelands PTR - YouTube
Blood Legion vs Beth'tilac Firelands PTR - YouTube
Blood Legion vs. Heroic Beth'tilac World First - YouTube


-Overall Summary-


riggins wrote:The DK tank is a unique animal. It isn't like that of a Paladin, Warrior, or a Druid (btw I have one of each and tank on them all, this isn't just me speculating). I'm not saying any one class is 'ezmode' or any of that jazz. Anyone playing any tanking class at a high level is obviously on a different skill level. I'm just saying a DK isn't something you're going to pick up and be able to do easily. It is very unforgiving and advanced class and almost completely 'maunual-ized', so keep that in mind. You are going to see a ton of people confuse parses from people that don't know what they're doing with people saying things are 'broken', 'overnerfed', 'undertuned', etc. I highly implore anyone who has those questions about this class to directly ask someone who knows what they are doing and not fall victim to much of this fluff that clutters quite a bit of this thread.

The fact is - A Death Knight tank who has the ability to manage the numerous cooldowns properly, time death strikes optimally, and use their self healing at the correct times - you will find yourself able to do many things other classes cannot. Sure, you are going to be 'spikey' at times, but that is somewhat the premise of the class itself. A Death Knight excels at single target tanking, and that is it's niche in the current tanking scheme (which I am a fan of greatly). You are going to take more dmg, but you are also going to heal yourself for a ton more and be able to save a lot of situations where other tanks wouldn't.


I plan on editing this post quite a bit when time permits, but I think the goal to give an accurate rundown of DK tanking in its current form within an 'endgame' raiding environment was accomplished. I am sure there are grammar errors and formatting overlooks, but hopefully it makes enough sense to help out anyone who is looking for a proven and accurate reasoning behind their questions. If anyone disagrees or has any questions about anything posted above, feel free to post or PM me and I will do what I can to assist.

Death Knight tanking is it's own little niche atm and it does have its pros and cons, but personally I love almost every facet of it. Just remember that the most important thing the factor in is the player, not the class (with some exceptions lol).

Thanks

-Riggs
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Re: Cata guide to Blood DK

Postby grunz on Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:29 pm

jesus fucking christ, did you write this thesis for a doctoral program?
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