I'm gonna do it this time

Death Knight
I've tried numerous time to level a DK tank, I could just never get the hang of it. Can someone explain it like I'm 5 on how I should be using my abilities? Right now I open with:

Icy Touch > Plague Strike > Heart Strike x2 > Death Strike > Death Coil for my RP dump.

And then I just sit there with everything on CD. Is this just how low level tanking is going to be? Am I missing something really obvious?
Leveling any spec of DK, you have to use and abuse Blood Boil. It does incredible damage up to about level 85 when you start getting MoP gear.

Icy Touch -> Plague Strike -> Blood Boil -> Blood Boil -> Death Strike
Death Coil for RP dump until you learn Rune Strike, then use Rune Strike for RP dump.

After your initial rotation, use blood runes on Blood Boil and use frost and unholy runes on Death Strike. I didn't bother with D&D since Blood Boil was sufficient in aoe tanking.
You'll change up your rotation slightly as you gain new abilities.
Outbreak can replace the initial two attacks, this gives you one additional death strike at the start of the fight.
Crimson Scourge will give you free blood boils and D&Ds.
Heart Strike will replace Blood Boil at level 85 for you primary use of blood runes, but keep BB handy because it's your disease spreader (it completely replaces Pestilence).

I think I actually spent most of my death runes on blood boil before I got my mastery at level 80.

Roiling Blood
Death's Advance
Death Pact
Runic Corruption
-whichever suits you for 90 talent-

I just used both Death Grip majors and the Icy Touch major to dispel magic while I leveled.

Double diseases on your target will give you the most damage, and thus threat, however until you start using Heart Strike you don't actually have an ability that scales higher off of more than one disease on your target. You must, however, make sure there is at least one disease on each target that you blood boil for maximum damage. The disease requirement for 50% more damage isn't restricted to your own diseases, if there is a dk in your party you can "leech" off their diseases and not absolutely have to disease trash pulls.
Hey thanks for the quick responses. I'll give it a go and hope for minimum fail.
At 90, my tanking rotation consists of 3 keys I press frequently and 2 additional keys I press situationally.
It's really the easiest thing to do in this game.
It gets much better at lvl 75 with the new talents. Before that, dks are a little boring.
Outbreak instead of IT/PS
Blood boil is basically broken below 85. Don't think I've ever seen a DK tank not leading the DPS in low level dungeons (below 85).

1) Get Roiling Blood
2) Get Glyph of Death and Decay
3) My Rotation as of now at 66 for > 3 mobs (which is almost always the case)

Death and Decay -> Icy Touch -> Blood boil (to aggro on all mobs and this applies icy touch to all of them w/ roiling blood) -> Plague Strike -> Blood Boil (after a reasonable amount of time since last use, you don't want to spam it back to back) -> Intelligent use of Death Strike/Rune Strike -> Blood Boil


You want to time your uses of blood boil properly so you can hold aggro after death and decay goes away. If you're not level 60 yet, I highly recommend DPSing until 60.

Sometimes with even two mobs I just use BB anyway because it is so damn OP....
Blood boil is basically broken below 85. Don't think I've ever seen a DK tank not leading the DPS in low level dungeons (below 85).

Any dk can be leading dps by just spamming bloodboil pre 85. I do it all the time. Bloodboil+howling blast spam+killing machine procs = top dps.

in fact it's so bad that it becomes "the" burst spell to use in low lvl pvp. Oblit doesn't do as much damage as bloodboil....in fact nothing does.
I played a dk back in wotlk, and recently came back. Things are somewhat different but here is how I've come to tank while leveling.

I've done this for every dungeon into northerner so far with great success.

The advice above is great, but if you're looking for super simple tanking, try this.

-pull with icy touch
-hit with glyphed blood boil
-you probably have enough threat already to hold the mobs until they die. Now is when the pressure is off, youve done your job.

so you can either:
Spam blood boil for maximum damage, don't be surprised when you do 50% or more of total damage
Practice death gripping caster/ranged into the mix
Work on chain pulls by dragging a diseased mob or two into next pack, and BB again
Watch your hp and start using death strike after a solid hit rather than on cool down
Learn your rune timings (this is not as bad as some folks make it out to be. Just get a feel for rune regen so you have a sense of when you can death strike, blood boil, handle adds or pats, etc.)

Bottom line: icy touch + BB is enough threat. Just worry about learning when to use your cool downs effectively and how to watch for intelligent use of death strike

There is a great sticky that I found useful as a returning player, on the dk forum

Lich born/death coil macro is a great " oh sh.." Button to add

You have a bunch of powerful, but specific cool downs. DKs are in a unique position where we gain skills in batches since we miss out on 50 levels. This means you could get 2-3 abilities per level. Get used to using them as you get them (even though for leveling you won't HAVE to use them) rather than cruising through content and being overloaded in your later levels.
I've been leveling another DK (for Double Agent achiev) as a tank and I've discovered this works quite well.

IT > BB > DS (avoid using Plague strike first as this way you get an unholy rune instantly recharging as a death instead of waiting for the plague strike rune to recharge first) > RS (if past 75 with RC, to get the buff. ) If it doesn't proc or under 75 > PS > BB > RP dump > BB > BB etc...

You can use death siphon single target for more damage +massive healing under 85 as well because its scaling is akin to BB. Sometimes I'll sub out PS and hit D&D instead if I think the mobs will last enough time for it to run its course, but not long past that.
Just wanted to say thanks again for all the advice. It seemed much easier this time around and I actually enjoyed it.

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