This post is for 3.2.2.
Here are the 3.22 cookie-cutter tank specs for DKs. These are fairly min-max maintank builds.
In summary form, written to also help officers or non-DK tank readers.
- The template above is a strong raid-MT oriented build, with a few points you can move around (eg. take 1 from Hysteria to max out Morbidity for AOE or Subversion for single-target)
- Has the most user-choice, with many raid buffs and different ways to spec.
- This in fact makes blood fun in a way; you can personalise it quite a lot more than the other trees. You can spec into raid buffs, or single-target threat, or survivability.
- I have a diagram showing where you could move talents to
- Blood AOE in this spec is weak, and may struggle in heroics against geared DPS. This spec is for maintanking in 25-mans and this version includes many raid buffs.
- Powerful tanking cooldowns (Vampiric Blood and Will of the Necropolis).
- Bonus cooldown of Mark of Blood; acts like a mini shield block.
- Includes 2/2 Abominations Might, but optionally 1 of 2 Abomination’s Might will give you about 75%+ uptime on a single-target fight due to probability
(For Unholy in patch 3.3: read my full analysis.)
The no-reaping build is now the best unholy spec, and I’ve written a longer post about it, including one even higher-threat spec, and describing its unique rotation. Below are general points.
Single-target was improved in 3.22 with subversion benefiting scourge strike, and in 3.1 by Death Coil gaining a DoT, but still great for sustained AOE. Great all-round spec, and fun.
In 3.22, the change to 1 minute tank cooldowns has escalated this spec to my #2, edging ahead of Frost unless you are desparate for single-target threat in which case blood or frost remain better choices. A really big change is that epidemic (longer diseases) and reaping (death runes) are no longer mandatory.
- Has the best anti-magic tanking capability and a great tanking cooldown (Bone Shield) which stays up longer with high-avoidance. Remember to use anti-magic shell, it has 100% reduction when talented. AMZ is like having ~17k more health against a big magic attack, can help healers catch up on AOE damage too if your party can cluster in the bubble.
- Disease ticks with Impurity will be high, 700-850, due to the synergy of magic-buff talents
- Does not need glyph for Death and Decay for Heroics, because Impurity buffs blood boil and DnD enough as it is
- Still the least single-target threat of the three trees but it is enough; only about 10% less TPS at most
- You glyph bone shield, rune strike and dark death.
I always liked this spec when it gave 6% stamina, but it’s not really viable anymore. The closest you can get is this spec, which requires someone else is bringing the +13% spell damage debuff you need. I wouldn’t use it, but must say it’d be pretty solid against magic-damage if threat was not an issue.
The spec’s threat is 6% below deep Unholy.
(For Frost in 3.3, see my detailed post).
A very balanced tree: has the best snap-agro for AOE and excellent single-target threat. Formidable in Heroics and can MT raids too with the same spec, so deserves to be a very popular tree.
- Tank cooldown (Unbreakable Armour) is fixed in 3.22 to become useful. An average tank will take 13% less damage with UA up. Glyphed, they take 15% less (calculations).
- Glyph: the new glyph isn’t great (effectively it adds 5% of your armour, making UA a +30% armour talent), but nor is it a waste. I suggest to take it unless you need more threat, in which case you can happily drop it.
- UA at 20s has a longer duration than Blood’s 15. Factor that into your thinking; five seconds more 13% damage reduction does make up for it not being as powerful say as Unholy’s 20% reduction.
- If you do not glyph UA, put in Frost Strike instead
- Heavy tree means you get little flexiblity in talent choices though.
- Extra 3% miss-chance is even more valuable at avoidance levels of 55%+, combined with flat 2% less damage, makes it well suited to mana-intensive healer fights
- Acclimation is actually quite good, but it’s just hard to get in a tank build. You run out of points. Here’s how I’d spec into it. It’s a mitigation talent, so you should consider it. I left it out of the main linked spec because many people consider it for PvP only.
- Optionally, you can use Howling Blast instead of IT to apply Frost Fever. Glyph it. Preferably, glyph frost strike for more single-target threat.
- Simulation results on HB -vs- Oblit.
This hybrid spec (21/41/5) doesn’t generate enough threat to be viable.
I have written a whole post on DW DK tanking. In short: it’s viable if you’ve 30+ expertise with fast/fast weapons. It’s a good spec overall.
Rotation and priorities
See the dedicated post I have on rotations and priorities.
If you can have two tank specs, one should be Blood. The other you can choose Unholy or Frost. I prefer Unholy because of bone shield and anti-magic talents, and think with one-minute on bone shield it’s the better choice simply due to its damage reduction.
If you can only afford one tank spec, it’s a more difficult decision. In a 25-man guild, you could go with Blood and lean on other tanks for AOE. In a 10-man guild, you should choose Unholy or Frost for their AOE buttons. If you don’t raid much, you could have a blood tank heroic spec.
Your dps spec can be whatever you fancy:
I’ve tanked raids and heroics pre-3.2 in all the trees. I have no subjective bias.