DK Tanking Guide (5.4)

Death Knight
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Hi Ren,

I was just wondering what you think I should gem at this ilvl..I'm currently at 537 ilvl and we have 10m normal mode on farm. We are currently trying to push heroics with jin'rohk down and hopefully others soon to follow. I notice that you are stamina stack where as most posts that I see say that DK's mastery is king in stats. Also, would some dps trinks be wise? I do pretty good dps as it is but I'm just trying to optimize and help my raid team out as much as possible as we move onto more heroic bosses,

- Crim.
Thank you for the very helpful and informative thread really helps me out allot transitioning from the Frost side of life to Blood, would love to get better tank gear though. Maybe when my guild gets formed better for raiding maybe i can quit pugging forever.

Also i know that using Mr Robot for reforging it ahs my hit at like 7.50 but my Exp is at 9.41 not really sure why it want me to have almost double the exp. though any insight to this?

for 10m your options for gemming are pretty much mastery, haste, or crit. Think of it as a sliding scale. Mastery is the best survival and haste/crit are best for dps (crit>haste after you are GCD capped).

so lets say (napkin math time) that mastery is 100 survival units and 0 dps units. Haste would be like 50 survival units and 100 dps units (before gcd cap) and crit gives 0 survival units and 100 dps units (after youre gcd capped).

It's all about what is more important to your raid. If your survival is fine but your raids dps is low, add some haste (first at the cost of avoidance then at the cost of mastery). If you find that adding the haste leaves you still with "plenty" of survival and dps is still low, go into more haste. Repeat until you find the right balance for YOU and YOUR raid (everyone's balance will be a bit different) and if you get to the point where you are gcd capped, start adding crit in place of haste.

Don't feel like you HAVE to go all out haste, since most who are doing that far outgear the content and are done with progression. Just get as much as YOU and YOUR healers feel comfortable with.

EDIT: oh and i gem stamina because I do bleeding edge 25H tanking. Rules change a bit. certain things like damage smoothing because more important than pretty much anything else.

EDIT: EDIT: also, stop using runic empowerment. tsk tsk :)

Do you have it set to try to get you to the 15% exp point at all? There is no reason to go beyond 7.5% exp, so try to adjust the weights to make sure it doesn't go past that. You do have 2 exp trinkets so it's going to be pretty high, but you can get down a bit further in your ring and take from exp not crit.
Alrighty! Thanks alot for the input. I do think i could spare some mit for haste, I'll give it a whirl anyway!
more important than haste, would be moving away from RE in your situation :)
After your suggesting it, I've just enjoyed RC for smoothing out Blood as a whole. Not gaming of any kind required just doing what I feel best at any time instead of the half a DS on demand of BT.
BT is also fine. RE is the only one I recommend against unless its for the very specific purpose of rank 1 parses (where the SMALL gain in dps is worth it)
Yeah I just like RC because it just promotes using your runes as you see fit. So for example you're helping that extra death show up by Rune striking while saving runes for the hit in 2 seconds. That you're not missing out on a RE for example.
I also do RC since I have plenty to micro-manage already.

I am still very curious as to approximately what level of haste results in GCD capping? I don't necessarily what to stack that much haste, but I think its important to know what that haste % is.

(Granted, it depends on other variables, just looking for a guesstimate).
Too speculative. It'd be more than a blood dk would want to try and get. Most of the time your runes are consumed in 4 globals. Two for Death Strike and two for how you spend your blood runes. Possibly 3 globals to then wait the rest of the cycle. RP gains gives you a rune strike or two in the interim. We get a lot of RP thanks to scent of blood though so large amounts of haste is not needed. By the time you're in the 6k range haste you'd probably resource cap during a bit of a boss fight. By 8k Haste you'd probably find you're always having something to do. Blood gets a passive rune speed increase by default so by the time you get like 6k haste it would be like a frost dk with 10-11k haste.
OK i changed out a trinket to take off more of the exp that i was way over cap on. I have read forum after forum after forum and everyone has a different stat priority than everyone else. I am a relatively new tank. I am still learning how to best use my runes. From what i have read (and please do not hate on a NOOB Tank this is more asking than saying what is best...I am no expert). That tanks are supposed to be doing more dps nowadays. Currently i am running average 50k dps on a heroic dungeons and in LFR's while tanking. Just wondering if anyone can tell me if this is accurate and if so do i need haste gems, reforge my gear instead of into mastery into haste or crit just need to know the best way to do this so i can be the best tank that i can
Tanks doing more dps is about 10 man progression raiding. But it's a double edged sword. See they go for dps stats to do more dps but because they're generally taking it out of mitigation it also has the end result of taking more damage and getting more vengeance. So really they're getting hit more and getting a ton of AP for it. If you're only taking 20-30k incoming dps from the boss compared to another tank taking 100k from the boss. The one taking 100k gets a lot more vengeance which can translate to more dps depending. So they are in essence squishier but as long as the healers can handle it to it's okay. As long you can survive then yes you can get away with more dps. Just keep it all in context.

A tank in a normal raid can do a lot more dps than a lfr tank. Even in a 5 man I'd take so little damage just tanking in my dps gear that my dps would be limited. While in a heroic raid I'd get so much vengeance that my dps just grows as the fight goes on.
I think that's true -- tank dps is primarily a 10m Normal issue. But, then that's probably also 80% of our population as well.

I may be about done stacking haste in any event, based on the patch 5.4 notes. I've never worried much about crit as crit doesn't provide any survivability benefit at all (where hit/exp and haste do).

More rune power from scent of blood based on procs of dodge/parry and maybe most blood knights will reach the first haste break-point (no empty cooldowns) without much haste rating.

I do think its useful to know (even if approximately) where the haste caps live, making good trade-offs means knowing what you are gaining/loosing. For mastery/hit/exp its alot easier to know than for haste.
Avoidance will offer more dps overall since when you dodge/parry an attack you get your dodge/parry rating in your gear as crit rating. Making for much larger hits overall if you crit more often. My offspec alone currently with stacking expertise to cap and mastery would be getting over 7k crit. So the avoidance will give you survival while it also will give you dps/threat. It's a win/win.

edited to add.

There is not such thing as "break points" for us as dk's. There isn't a point when you truly gain something. It doesn't work like now you get an extra dot tic. Or now it's more clear you gained a rune and so on. Haste is always there and some just like having more or less. But if your goal is truly dps then avoidance will be the largest gain most likely because the more you have the more crit you have and it's up time goes up.

I disagree about not having "break points," in the sense of gaining something. What you gain is just not as clear-cut as an extra dot tick.

First, you obtain enough haste to have something productive to do for each global cooldown.
Next, you obtain enough haste to remove Horns of Winter from your rotation -- the least productive "something" you could do.
Then, you could obtain enough haste to start dropping HS in favor of more RS
Remove horn of winter? HA
Hah, I did it and probably went beyond what was necessary.

Replaced all my gems with haste gems. No raid buffs (that will be interesting as well, but no one online to provide). Tested it against Primal Dinos on Isle of Giants. Also dumped RC for Blood Tap and macro'ed it to Rune Strike. I did end up sacrificing some mastery, but mostly exp and stamina (though my unbuffed stamina is still 746k).

Haste 17.32% (7,363 rating)
Swing Speed 3.06 seconds
Rune Speed 7.10 seconds
Hit 9.49%
Exp 6.44%
Crit 8.91%
Mastery 137%

Fought constantly for about 5 minutes -- not only did I not have empty cooldown slots, I never needed HoW as a filler.

UPDATE: I slowly replaced my gems. At about 6,400 haste raiting/7.23 rune speed and swing speed of 2.84 (raid buff haste), I needed HoW again to fill out my rotation

At about 6,150 haste rating, I was really close to the edge of having gaps or waiting fractions of seconds for the next action.

At about 5,850 haste rating, I definitely had empty slots again.

NOTE: I don't intend to do any non-trivial raiding like this, it was just a test
Again the context of the stacking beyond removing horn of winter? You'd have to log it all though to really see if any waiting existed. As for fighting Dinos? Devilsaurs is the closest you'll get to pseudo boss hits. You can remove horn if you want but it works to help line up death strikes for when you want them. It's all moot soon enough. Riposte will make it so your avoidance grants you crit. You may think Haste is more return but I dunno. A little slower rune speed or well over a giant jump in your crit constantly
Actually, re-gemming to haste didn't really impact my dodge and parry very much. I think about 2%-3% loss over all.

I didn't lose that much mastery either, but I did loose a ton of stamina.

I'm not saying that the pay-off at 7300 haste is worth it -- far from it. But, I think it's good to know where those "inflection" points are.

Haste is a survival stat, if only weakly one. When I run the sims, mastery is the top survival stat by a 3:1 margin over the 2nd best survival stat, which is haste.

I will experiment further by backing down from 7300 haste (and with a raid haste buff) to see what else I can learn. I don't mind relying on HoW for a filler, but I'd rather hit something for that rune power if possible.

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