DK Tanking Guide (5.4)

Death Knight
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You should aim to have 2 death strikes for each thrash. This means not using Death Strike at all between thrashes. Pop a light CD if you can't get around ~300k blood shield before the thrash. The same applies for dread thrash, only you'll also want to use DRW + IBF + VB. I HIGHLY recommend Blood Tap. Be careful if he does Dread Thrash around Submerges, because you don't want to pop all your CDs only to have him submerge and then come back after your Glyphed IBF wears off. If this does happen, DRW and VB should still be active so ask for pain sup or something to replace IBF and you should be fine.

Try to make sure you have 12 blood charges, 100 RP and max blood shield each time you start tanking Sha. Be diligent about keeping up blood shield between submerges!!! Hit the adds if you need to, but it's better to try and hit him as he goes down to make sure you don't drop your shield for submerge.
I just wanted to pop in and say: Amazing guide! Not only was it long and detailed, but you did a fantastic job of comparing other options to the "default" choice. Among other things, this confirmed that my playstyle of keeping as much Runic Corruption uptime as I can isn't wrong, just different.

I followed the rest of the thread, too, and have to say you do a great job with the discussions. I play a rogue main (Just about to clear Normal Sha in my little guild) and this is my first real raid tank, so this thread has proved invaluable in overcoming that spike damage trap.

I did have one question: In your guide I saw several references to Stamina values that seemed off, such as a gem giving as much as a secondary stat (320), but they only give 240 ( You also list ring enchants at 160, but they give 240 (

Perhaps there was an update to the game that didn't get reflected?

Thanks a ton for spending the time to work on this!
Those profession parts were listed before MoP launch and has not been really adjusted much since.

It has one part that should be listed is that as a JC we do not want to use Fractured Serpent's eyes because it actually gives less than using Solids due to a fault in values for them. Normally in gems you get more mastery than you do Stam but really it's more like how much you get from Stam for EH versus the Mastery.

fixed :)

also @tor it's not that the fractured gem is devalued for serpent's eyes, but that the solid gem's value is raised to be equal to the secondary gems (420). You actually still wouldn't want to use the solid gem unless you need the EH, because you still get a better stam gained to mastery lost ratio level from trinkets making them the place to swap EH around.
Thanks for the quick update! I can't wait to put more of your advice to use.
For JC it's more the difference n if you went with normal gems. you can either gain 960 stam or mastery. Now here is the real issue. A 480 Mastery Serpent's eye is barely 160 more mastery than a normal fractured. So really with two Fractured Mastery Gems I'd only be gaining 320 mastery than just using normal Fractured gems. The gain is small. So now I'm having to decide which I'd prefer as the profession gain 480 stamina or 320 mastery. I'm simply pointing out the failure of using the secondary stat gems as a JC. So for example on a healer it's better to use a full int gem than a spirit gem in a sense because it's 1 to 1 instead of double like it should be.

So really it comes down to as a JC if you value mastery to the point where it far weights stam. In my case the only solid gems in my gear are serpent's eyes.
The problem with that line of thought though, is that if you would prefer the stamina benefits then you would still get more from going with LW for a 750 stam/170 mastery tradoff instead of a 480 stam/320 mastery tradoff. If you're talking high levels of min/max, you can assume that one would have picked JC for the ability to give that little bit more mastery, as the stamina bonus from LW is better.
I'm a JC cause it gave me the most strength back in wotlk. I was BS for the same reason. Been it since then. Now at least as serpent's eyes it's the which is better 960 stam or Mastery. I went the stam because the ratio should be higher for mastery in the first place. Plus the socket bonus was pretty nice on the chest.

Sure I'm not geming a fractured in the slot that takes the solid serpent. But if I override a fractured with a fractured Serpent I'm only getting 160 more mastery in that slot. That is all. meanwhile If I override a fractured with a solid and I'm having 320 mastery with 480 Stam. Or it's an override of a puissant. It's just the gains as a profession. I'm either gaining barely half the benefit of being a BS or taking a hit and being equal with a BS by using just two solid gems. Gaining 480 stam instead of 320 Mastery on a good day.
midterms midterms midterms...

I may be on the verge of psyche collapse due to school stress, but the guide has been updated for 5.2. nothing of consequence changed, which makes it easy for me XD

Some things that did get changed were blood disease damage (awesome) and a blood worm buff (not really awesome but still a positive change nonetheless).

What we still REALLY need is raid utility, and we got none of that. You could argue that blood worms are raid utility in the form of aoe heals, but the inconsistent nature of their bursts as well as the fact that the mechanics behind their burst are not designed for raid healing makes blood worms pretty useless as a viable raid utility argument.

some thoughts going into 5.2:

our 4pc is not bad, but it's definitely not good either. for the sake of your teams progression I recommend you wait on your 4pc until all the rest of the raid has their vanq tokens. The 2pc is also not bad, and 2 of our tier pieces have a decent size of mastery, meaning you should still get your 2pc with head and shoulders ASAP while passing on the vanq legs/chest/hands to members in your raid who would better benefit from their tier bonus.

I will also try to be better on getting the DK specific encounter guide out a LOT sooner this tier.
Couple questions Reniat.

Synapse Springs gives 1920 strength, is this a greater amount of avoidance than 1920 dodge?

Stamina gems actually give more than mastery gems, I feel that this should be pointed out (240*1.25 (blood pres) *1.1 (fort) *1.09 (veteran of the third war)) = 359.7 stam.

Our current 4pc is quite lackluster, adds 0.6 ds/min if procced perfectly. True, it does add some damage, but costs gcds and is not consistent.

What are your thoughts on using the two mastery heavy pieces from t14, the chest and legs to give us +33% uptime on VB, and the utility (and potential 0.25 ds/min) from the 10s cd reduction on Rune Tap( and the ease of using it with no rune cost) from the two mastery heavy pieces this tier, head and shoulders?

Faceguard of the All-Consuming Maw(1577 mastery)
Shoulderguards of the All-Consuming Maw(1431 mastery)
Chestguard of the Lost Catacomb (1034 mastery)
Greaves of the Lost Catacomb (1267 mastery)
Vulcanodon Gauntlets (Or Pathogenic Gauntlets, gemmed ignoring socket bonus)

You gain about 2.4k mastery and 20s shaved off VB's cooldown, but lose some stam, expertise, hit, and avoidance, as well as the potential 0.6 ds/min from 4pc t15.

Thoughts on this?

Also, does Dark Command still proc bloodworms? They heal for 180k, and can crit. You spoke of raid cooldowns, and while I do wistfully long for 4pc13, the added healing can be quite nice. If this is the case, I might macro dark command into death strike, on a 1 tank fight or a fight like Tortos, where one could spam taunts on the spinnning turtles.

EDIT: Found Legplates of Lightning Blood(2257 mastery)
Awsome Guide man, glad to you bring up alot of things being situational. Its been frusterating hearing people tell me how "easy" dk tanking is, seems they have the impression all we need to do is spam ds. I just got this toon up to 460 ilevel and hope to start raiding soon, will use this guide alot ty =)
Synapse Springs gives 1920 strength, is this a greater amount of avoidance than 1920 dodge?

it's about 97% the avoidance of dodge, so it's practically the same amount.

What are your thoughts on using the two mastery heavy pieces from t14
It's worth holding on to for a while, but the stats will end up outweighing the 2pc. 2.4k mastery sounds like a lot (and it is), but that's comparing it to the t15 tier am i right? If you ignore the t15 4pc then there are some pretty good non-tier pieces available.
Legplates of Whipping Ionization and Rot-Proof Greatplate are great upgrades in terms of mastery/stam that can be used pre ra-den.

03/12/2013 05:58 AMPosted by Runeheal
Also, does Dark Command still proc bloodworms?

I'm not sure. I can test it when the servers go back up. Even if they do, it would be a minor increase to the chance to proc them. Plus they're still not great anyway. Yes when they blow at the right time it's amazing, but 99.9% of the time they explode either when no one is in range or when everyone is topped off. We need reliable raid utility. If they increased the proc rate and healing range of bloodworms to the point that they were considered "reliable", then they would be completely OP. If they made us able to control when they blew, that would be one thing, but while they're still random we're still utility-less.
I've gone heavy into threat with my build, capped hit and exp, a little haste. I used phase fingers as my glove pop with engineering for a DPS and parry boost. My mastery sits around 114% and my total hp unbuffed is 600k.

I find proper use of DS after taking a few good bangs from the boss works to even out my damage intake, I rarely drop below 80% health, rank close to my healers in HPS and total healed and my single target dps ranges from 40-80k (depends on how much damage I allow myself to take and how much threat I build)
Bloodnthundr, 114% is way too low.

You're 491, I was around 160% then, AND I was hit capped, which you are not.

There is nothing worse than pulling heroic wind lord, running in, and having outbreak miss.

Haste is not a good stat for us. Leave that for those silly paladins.

Your gemming is off, stack mastery harder.

Mastery is much more important than expertise.

Also, you aren't healing close to your healers outside of heroic dungeons. Unless you're looking at World of Logs, in which case, death strike absorb is counted as a heal, which is like calling bear druid's armour and dodge, or a warrior's block a heal.


What if bloodworms gave a Spirit Shell - esque effect? Might be cool, kind of like BrM Monks.
What if bloodworms gave a Spirit Shell - esque effect? Might be cool, kind of like BrM Monks.
it would be better, but it's still random. I still think we need a reliable raid utility over anything else. either a raid CD or a raid burst heal that we can control.
I need to reforge, re enchant and gem, but before hand I have a question, the build I want to follow is
Stam (until you have enough effective health)>Mastery>Hit (to 7.50%)=Exp (to 7.50%)>Parry=Dodge>Haste
Now for my question,
One friend says, I only need 150% mastery unless I am heroic raiding "which I am not"
Another friend says, I should be getting as much mastery as possible past 150%.
So which is it?

There is no mastery cap. 150% means nothing beyond the fact that you have 150% mastery. More is always better.
Reniat I noticed after reading the tool tips for RC, RE, and BT that it procs after landing a damaging RS, DC, or FS, so wouldn't this mean to have hit at cap to have a higher chance to proc them or does it work differently in game. Or am I just spouting nonsense.
You only lose 6 RP on missed rune strikes. So 90% of the time if you miss with rune strike you can just try again 1s later.
ah ok just wondering, also what is your take on the buff blizzard did to Runestrike.

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