3.2 Death Knight blood tank specs

Verified for 3.22 and 3.3.

See my 3.3 Blood spec page.

There are so many possible and valid variations on a Blood maintank spec, I thought it’d be useful for me to outline a few choices. Choosing a blood spec can give you an anxiety disorder.

My previous post on tank specs gave this one spec as a maintank template for 25-mans. Here are some alternatives:

  • Survival-oriented: loses raid-utility of Abomination’s Might (10% AP buff) and Hysteria, to gain Spell Deflection and Mark of Blood. Works if you have enhancement shaman reliably in the raid. Will require more careful RP-management since there is no Scent of Blood, so that you always have RP for IBF and RS.
  • Threat-oriented: no raid utility, also loses Rune Tap (self-healing) to gain Sudden Doom and Subversion. Requires someone else in the 25-man raid is buffing 10% Attack Power. Can swap will of the necropolis for rune tap if you prefer a more proactive tanking style, like this.
  • Heroic 5-man bias: good spec to choose if you’re 2nd spec is for dps. No will of the necropolis, but has Abom Might and Corpse Explosion for 5-mans along with glyph of DnD so your AOE works.
    • Single target tweaks: if desired, you can swap Rune Tap for Sudden Doom to gain single-target threat, or glyph of DnD for glyph of Rune Strike
    • Raid tanking tweaks: you could drop Abominations Might if someone else brings it.
    • 1/3 Scent of Blood to give that bit more RP for corpse explosion, RS and DCs.
I also have a diagram showing where talents can be moved.

Attack speed reduction

The specs keep Improved Icy Touch (giving 20% melee and ranged attack speed reduction) since it can be applied so easily by a DK. I put it even on a ‘threat oriented’ spec, becauses it reduces incoming damage and that’s more important than tps.

Read on why this is important, plus about corpse explosion in heroics.

If your raid includes a reliable druid or paladin who’s willing and able to put their haste-reduction on the boss, you can move those three points into Necrosis for more threat in Unholy. (You can’t rely on a dps warrior to do it for you because it’s in the protection tree, and if she is prot, she’s not likely to also be on your target.)

I always have IIT in a tank spec because it means you are sure your target has the debuff, regardless of what everyone else is killing (for example, think of Freya first phase, you’re the only person on her whilst the rest are killing waves, so who’s going to put up the debuff for you then?).

Doing heroics in blood

I tested the heroic spec above and it works really well. The key is glyph of DnD and Corpse Explosion. The combination makes it formidable on trash.

I went with glyphs of death strike, vampiric blood and death and decay. Remember the minor glyph of corpse explosion, too.

You need a little more skill in managing cooldowns than you do as Frost tank, so you can use DnD twice on really big AOE pulls. AOE works by using corpse explosion as your runic dump as soon as you can, cleaving with heart strike plus tabbing around if necessary, plus a single-disease spread of frost so your blood boil has more punch.

The buff from Abominations Might, 10% AP, also buffs your AOE spells by that amount since their damage is based on a coefficient of your attack power.

Corpse explosion hits pretty hard, 970 average damage for me, and you can fire it off fairly early in your rotation. I like that it’s RP-based so you can AOE even if your runes are on cooldown.

corpse explosion in blood tank spec

corpse explosion in blood tank spec

Basically for an AOE rotation I would do this:

  • open with Death and Decay
  • death grip a caster into it
  • Icy Touch, Plague Strike, Pestilience on the first kill target
  • wait for runes, and auto attack a different mob if needed
  • then if 3 or more targets alive: blood boil, blood boil, death strike
    • if 2 or less alive use heart strike
  • use corpse explosion as soon as the first mob is dead
    • save RP for corpse explosion, so avoid using death coil
  • from here in, you should prioritise one disease up on all targets, blood boil then corpose explosion. Remember to do a death strike occasionally so you generate death runes, which you use for spamming blood boil.

Variation: don’t do plague strike, then use Blood Tap after your first Pestilence, which lets you then hit death strike to create death runes earlier.

Related posts to read on tank specs.

DPS comparison

To contrast, here’s the DPS spec for Blood.

Related Posts:

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