Opening moves for DK tank

Sconnell wrote a nice piece on the various choices of opening moves you can use in a fight. I’m not quite settled on a sequence yet, so found this to reflect my own thinking quite well. He writes:

In Chess or Starcraft, there’s an early part of the game where things are relatively predictable and you have have a pretty clear plan of your opening moves/build order. At a certain point you have to start reacting to what’s been happening and can’t have a very specific plan. I’m thinking that the same thing applies to blood dk: we can have a pretty clear plan for how to use your first few runes or so and the RP you generate in doing so, but after that there are too many different things you have to take into account.

Outbreak changes the early game in cata because you can use it to apply diseases. There are two significant differences from opening with OU versus PS/IT: first, OU only applies diseases and doesn’t deal damage, and second, OU is just one GCD. The latter means you might not want to DS immediately because you haven’t had a full 5 seconds of damage yet.

There are two main things I’ve been thinking about with respect to opening moves:

RS or DRW first?

I’ve been playing around with two approaches to early-game RP use:
- RS with my first 30 RP, to get a +threat move on the board asap, or
- build RP to 60 and then DRW, with the hoping of riding out the Glyph period to build a good threat lead.
At the moment I’m leaning towards the DRW-first approach. You can pop ERW to drop a large amount of threat, but even if you want to save ERW, by the time you have used enough runes so some will be coming back in the 12 seconds DRW is up for. If you’re worried about dps pulling aggro before DRW, there’s Dark Command as backup. So DRW opening would look something like OU-BB-DS-HS-DS-DRW.

Room for D&D?

On bosses lich Saurfang or Lich King, you can D&D 8 seconds before combat starts and get your unholy rune back – getting a free few ticks of D&D in for no cost. If you know you have a certain amount of GCDs before your first unholy rune use, you can extend the period further, for example if you open with OU-BB.
Even on bosses where you run in, opening with D&D is a possibility, to help build early threat and mitigate outbreak not dealing damage. If you lead with D&D(running in), OU, then at the point you can use your next move, the U rune you spent on D&D had already been refreshing 3 seconds out of 8.


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2 comments to Opening moves for DK tank

  • Mcmaverick

    Interesting analysis.  TY for sharing.
    I have a different strategy, using the same spells, I want to try out.  I plan on saving my DRW for Heroism/Bloodlust/Timewarp and combining it with OU.  I’ve you generate 60 RP for DRW and follow that up with a resource-free OU, then I’m pretty sure the DRW would benefit while casting mirrored HS with it’s own set diseases from OU, no?  Maybe even just make a macro if OU is off the GCD…
    /cast Dancing Rune Weapon
    /cast Outbreak
    The overall strategy assumes that I’m the MT and that I can generate enough initial aggro using my normal rotation.  My theory is that I don’t want to lose my aggro lead to mages/locks/boomkins/etc when they pop their DPS trinkets during the same time period.  We’ll see if that’s actually a concern @ 85.

    • Pindle

      The problem is that by then, you probably don’t need the threat anymore unless H/BL/TW are called early (granted, may not be that uncommon). I personally found it much more useful to open up with as soon as I burn my first runeset so that dps doesn’t have to hold back or even worry about flashing screens ;)

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