DK 3.22 talent changes

3.22 is now live, check my index post.

My tank builds and levelling specs have been updated.

These changes mean:

  • Unholy dps will go back to using Scourge Strike (instead of Unholy Obliterate, because of the glyph, subversion and dirge changing).
  • Frost tanks will be awesome again, with Unbreakable Armour actually being worth using (the new glyph only gives 5% of your base armour, so that’s around 1200)
  • Blood will not be the overarching dominant tank spec it is now because its vampiric blood has been balanced to 15s glyphed, bone shield is back to one minute and frost is fixed
    • heart strike’s cleave got nerfed but it’s still good, and not changed on a single-target
  • plus… dual-wield tanking is back on the agenda with RS threat fixed in DW specs. Basically, you just need 30 expertise to use two fast tank weapons and you’re only going to be parrygibbed as much as a warrior (ie. if they’re ok, you’re ok). Read the whole article.
  • But to make up for it the T9 set bonus will be 10s not 20s reduction.

Sept 12 update:

  • unholy bone shield reduced to 3 charges, and its glyph to +1. This is them completing the change from 2min to 1 min; vampiric blood was tweaked in one patch to 1 min with 15s uptime. Blizzard push patches in bits, so this is their complete patch for the talent now (as opposed to an afterthought).
  • My paladin colleagues will be sad about this “Ardent Defender: This talent now reduces damage taken below 35% health by 7/13/20% instead of 10/20/30%.”
  • Warrior tanks might like this odd buff “Critical Block: This talent now grants a 20/40/60% chance to block double the normal amount instead of 10/20/30%.” Source.

The MMO talent builder has these new durations, and a reader verified the 1 min cooldown in effect.

Ghostcrawler has now commented, asked ‘why are the DK cooldowns being buffed?’ he said:

Making the tanks different is very important to us. If we can keep DKs in a spot where their health and mitigation might be a little lower, but cooldowns make up for it, then they play differently from other tanks. The most boring solution would be to give everyone the same armor, health and cooldowns. Then all you’re really getting is different art for your character, and of course the community would move on to resource mechanics or threat generation as the next reason they’re getting benched. :)

[slider title="Read Sept 23 final patch notes:"]

Death Knight

  • Gnaw: This death knight ghoul ability now has a 1-minute cooldown.


  • Heart Strike: Secondary targets of Heart Strike now take half as much damage.
  • Subversion: Now also increases the critical strike chance of Scourge Strike by 3/6/9%.
  • Vampiric Blood: Cooldown reduced to 1 minute and duration reduced to 10 seconds.


  • Threat of Thassarian now also causes Rune Strike to use both weapons when dual-wielding.
  • Unbreakable Armor: Cooldown reduced to 1 minute and changed back to granting 25% additional armor while active instead of flat damage reduction based on armor. The amount of strength granted has been reduced to 10%.
  • Frost Presence: The damage reduction granted by this ability has been increased from 5% to 8%.


  • Bone Shield: This ability now has 3 charges instead of 4. Cooldown reduced to 1 minute.
  • Dirge: This talent no longer grants additional runic power from using Obliterate.

Rune of Razorice: The frost vulnerability granted by this enchantment will now increase the damage done by Frost Fever as intended.

Death Knight Tier-9 DPS 4-Piece Set Bonus: Now grants the correct chance for disease damage ticks to be critical strikes.

  • Glyph of Bone Shield: This glyph now grants 1 additional charge instead of 2.
  • Glyph of Unbreakable Armor: Now increases the armor gained from Unbreakable Armor by 20%.
  • Glyph of Vampiric Blood: The glyph now increases the duration of Vampiric Blood by 5 seconds instead of 10. [/slider]

Unholy tank dps tests

See my detailed post analying the highest thread Unholy build.

Prior to 3.22, we had a discussion on this at tankspot.

[slider title ="See result of Esch's spec."]

Ability Total % Landed Hit% Crit% Miss% Average
Main Hand 236756364 21.7 105883 78.3 21.7 0 2236
Scourge Strike 209061191 19.2 47761 72.1 27.9 0 4377.2
Death Coil 152380189 14 49474 80.8 12.3 6.9 3080
Blood Strike 116051386 10.6 63773 78.4 21.6 0 1819.8
Frost Fever 115653734 10.6 111517 100 0 0 1037.1
Blood Plague 105926680 9.7 111101 100 0 0 953.4
Necrosis 47344377 4.3 105883 100 0 0 447.1
Icy Touch 31271168 2.9 15932 80.7 12.2 7 1962.8
Plague Strike 30919181 2.8 15937 72.6 27.4 0 1940.1
UB 30464832 2.8 49474 100 0 0 615.8
Wandering Plague 14805424 1.4 44666 93.1 0 6.9 331.5
Horn 0 0 15084 0 0 0 0
DPS 3030
Total Damage 1090.63m in 100h
Template: Unholy ptr tank Esch
Priority: Unholy
Presence: Blood
Sigil: Awareness
RuneEnchant: FallenCrusader


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5 comments to DK 3.22 talent changes

  • I like these changes very much. DKs are all about cooldowns and it’s good to see bone shield and unbreakable armour getting some love, while vampiric blood was a little silly in its current form.

    The design goal of DKs to be a little squishier than other tanks but with better cooldowns to compensate is I think a good one – in my personal opinion it makes them much more interesting to play than say a bear tank. The most exciting thing about DK tanks is the different flavours you have – the EH monster (blood), the hard-as-nails mitigation tank (frost), or the magic damage/AOE tank (unholy). You just don’t get the same ability to customise the other tanking classes.

    GC gets a lot of flak but he and the other designers have produced a great class in the DK.
    .-= Everblue´s last blog ..How good is armour? =-.

  • Hinenuitepo

    I like the slight ‘rebuff’ of DK tanks and hopefully will resurrect them as viable options in Heroic TOtC.

    As far as unholy dps; SS will once again be used, which is the goal. So far it looks like Blizz’ balance means the ‘new’ 3.2 unholy will do about the same dps as the ‘old’ oblit-based unholy. The glyph, however, if it goes live, is looking like an unuseable option, even worse than the old glyph. Check the theorycrafting over at EJ for more depth on it, but the problem is primarily that it doesn’t appear to be refreshing all your diseases which is especially crippling (get it?) for aoe situations and makes the completely useless (and a dps loss compared to Glyph of UB or other options).

    I’ll be happy to consider an unholy dps build with SS again.

    To piggyback on Everblue’s comment, the changes make it even more likely MT DKs will dual-spec two tanking specs, for situational use. I see unholy as getting the biggest buff of all, as a one-minute cd on bone shield with the 50%+ avoidance in T9 will keep it up most of the time.

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    They’re really interesting changes eh. I just did a new post to continue this analysis a bit further.

    I do wonder if like you chaps say, this will enforce the uniqueness of each tree, and thus encourage two-tank-spec’d tanks even more.

  • [...] initial commentary on the 3.22 changes. [...]

  • [...] buffed! These specs and recommendation will be updated once they’re closer to live. Read my post on the buffs. BloodBlood remains the best single-target tank spec, but it does not have the same gigantic edge it [...]

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