Basic changes to Blood
Blood hasn’t changed much in Mists of Panderia. We’ll still be using Death Strike to get our Blood Shield up, while trying to keep threat at the same time. Vengeance is now based off the amount of damage you’ve taken in the last 20 seconds, which may lead to some attack power and threat spikes in the long run.
The two most important changes are the 1-second global cool-down and the loss of 30-second Outbreak. While the cool-downs aren’t that much of an issue, the 30-second Outbreak nerf is a real problem. Fortunately it’s not all bad as Scarlet Fever now allows Blood Boil to refresh diseases.
Stat priorities have also changed very little in Mists of Pandaria. We’ll still go over them for your sake:
Stamina, is still your everything. The bigger your healthpool, the better tank you are. As before, though, there is such a thing as too much stamina. You’ll have healers who’ll be sure to make your HP bar go up in a raid so stacking too much stamina instead of some other attribute can lower your overall effectiveness.
Mastery is still your most important secondary stat. The more you stack, the bigger your Blood Shields will be. When you reach that sweet spot in stamina stacking switch over to building this up.
Dodge and parry You’ll have more parry naturally simply because strength will give it to you in rather large amounts. In addition, diminishing returns have changed enough that parry is slightly better. If you want to keep it simple, just favor parry for the most part, but don’t worry about dodge if you have it.
Hit and expertise Not as important for us, you certainly don’t need to stack more than the 7.5% soft caps in either stat. That said, if you need some extra threat, hit and expertise are a good place to start. The more attacks connect, the more threat you gain.
Strength provides both a good amount of parry rating for survival and attack power for threat, but you won’t really be focusing on getting it. Your tank gear should have strength on it by default, and that should be enough.
Blood Death Knights don’t really have any bad choices when it comes to talents, so for the most part it’s up to you which talents you want.
Plague Leech, Unholy Blight and Roiling Blood are all nice choices for tier 1. Plague Leech provides an extra death rune that you can then convert into part of a death strike, so it’s a very solid talent choice and likely the min-maxing raid boss talent of the choice.
Unholy Blight is excellent both for AoE situations and for filling in disease gaps when Outbreak is on cooldown, and Roiling Blood synergizes nicely with Scarlet Fever to make sure your diseases stay up and spread after that initial Outbreak as long as at least one mob is left alive.
Lichborne continues to be an excellent choice for the self-heal trick, and if certain bosses have fear type effects, it becomes the obvious choice. Anti-Magic Zone will be useful primarily for helping out your raid.
If you’re facing a boss with high magic damage and there’s an AoE that’s unavoidable (or your raid members are bad at avoiding it), it might be worth picking this talent up. Purgatory looks good at first glance but is useless if your healers are not on the ball.
Death’s Advance is probably the best thing on this tier. Not only do you get the great passive speed boost, but you can trigger it for an emergency rush of speed. If you don’t think you need the speed buff, Chillblains can be useful crowd control.
Take Death Pact for this tier. Just Raise Dead and use Death Pact and you’ve healed a good chunk of your health.
Blood Tap is very useful for Blood Death knights, simply because it provides a death rune that you will be able to use for a Death Strike every single time. It’s also off the GCD now, so you can either macro it or keep it handy for an emergency, and it won’t disrupt your existing threat rotation.
Remorseless Winter and Gorefiend’s Grasp are both powerful options on this tier. The former is useful AOE trash clearing and crowd control. Gorefiend’s Grasp is another strong talent for wrangling mobs.
Just remember, it doesn’t give you threat automatically, so be ready to lay down some AoE when you pull with it.
Glyphs are pretty tertiary in a lot of ways this expansion, at least for PvE death knights. Glyph of Tranquil Grip is useless for you, because you will definitely want that Death Grip taunt. Other than that, most glyphs will be either situational or a matter of personal preference.
Your aim as a death knight tank should be to generate as many death strikes as possible while keeping threat at a good level. You will, of course, want to be using a two-handed weapon, and you’ll want to be in Blood Presence with Bone Shield up.
- Get your diseases up via Outbreak and keep them up. Avoid spending runes on disease upkeep if at all possible by refreshing them with Blood Boil via Scarlet Fever or via your tier 1 talent if you choose not to take Plague Leech.
- Use Death and Decay for AoE threat if needed
- Use Death Strike for your death, frost, and unholy runes otherwise.
- Use Rune Strike for your runic power when your frost and unholy runes are on cooldown.
- If there are more than three adds or you need to refresh diseases, use Blood Boil for your blood runes.
- Use Soul Reaper for your blood runes if your target is below 35% health.
- Use Heart Strike for your blood runes otherwise.
Don’t take this as your bible though, as a tank you need to adapt to the situation, such as using more Blood Boils for extra AoE threat at the cost of a bit of survivability. In addition, be sure to weave in survivability cooldowns like Vampiric Blood and Icebound Fortitude as the situation demands.