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Blood Death Knight Tank Spec, Builds, Talents, and Glyphs (WoW 4.3.4)

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In this article, we present you with various talent trees for Blood Death Knights (WoW 4.3) that you can use in specific situations. We also explain in detail what the talents do, how they work together, and how you can customise your talent tree in order to adapt it to a particular boss. The other articles of our Blood Death Knight guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the left.

1. Common Talent Builds↑top

The following build is the default choice for Blood Death Knights, with an accent on single target damage.

This build is a variation of the previous build, which provides a 10% attack power increase to your entire raid (through Abomination's Might Icon Abomination's Might). You should only take this build if no one else in your raid can provide the buff.

This build is optimised for AoE situations.

2. Customising Your Build↑top

First, we will present and explain the fixed talents that a Blood Death Knight should always take. Then, we detail the optional talents with which you can customise your talent build. Finally, we list the various mandatory and optional glyphs.

2.1. Talents

Blood Death Knights have a rather strict talent point distribution. There are very few optional talents which can be invested in.

In the following image, the fixed talents have been hightlighted in green, while the optional talents have been hightlighted in red:

Talents for Blood Death Knights

2.1.1. Fixed Talents

A great many of the fixed talents are extremely straightforward, but we shall list them all for completeness' sake:

  • 3/3 Blade Barrier Icon Blade Barrier: reduces damage taken by 6%.
  • 3/3 Bladed Armor Icon Bladed Armor: this is a threat/DPS talent, which increases your attack power. There are no other survival alternatives.
  • 2/2 Improved Blood Tap Icon Improved Blood Tap: reduces the cooldown of Blood Tap Icon Blood Tap by 30 seconds.
  • 2/2 Scarlet Fever Icon Scarlet Fever: reduces the physical damage done by targets affected by Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague. This effect does not stack with other tanks' similar effects such as Demoralizing Shout Icon Demoralizing Shout or Demoralizing Roar Icon Demoralizing Roar. This talent is listed as mandatory because you cannot reliably guarantee that other tanks will be able to maintain their equivalent debuff on the boss or adds the whole time.
  • 1/1 Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield: this is a self-buff with a 1 minute cooldown. It grants you a buff with 6 charges. Each time you receive a damaging attack, a charge is consumed. While at least 1 charge remains active, all damage taken is reduced by 20%, and all your damage dealt is increased by a very small amount (2%).
  • 3/3 Toughness Icon Toughness: increases the amount of armor you gain from items by 10%. This is a simple survival talent.
  • 2/2 Sanguine Fortitude Icon Sanguine Fortitude: increases the damage reduction from Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude by 30% and also makes Icebound Fortitude cost no runic power to use. This is especially useful as it allows you to use it exactly when needed without having to consider your resources.
  • 2/2 Blood Parasite Icon Blood Parasite: gives your melee attacks a 10% chance to spawn a Bloodworm. Bloodworms attack your enemies and, after a varying amount of time (not longer than 20 seconds, though), explode. When they explode, the worms heal you and other raid members for a small amount.
  • 2/2 Improved Blood Presence Icon Improved Blood Presence: increases your rune regeneration rate by 20% and grants you immunity against critical strikes, while in Blood Presence Icon Blood Presence. This effectively allows you to tank.
  • 1/1 Rune Tap Icon Rune Tap: provides you with the Rune Tap Icon Rune Tap ability, which converts a Blood rune into 10% of your maximum health.
  • 3/3 Will of the Necropolis Icon Will of the Necropolis: each time (not more often than each 45 seconds, though) that your health drops below 30%, the cooldown of Rune Tap Icon Rune Tap is reset and the next Rune Tap is free to cast. Additionally, when this effect occurs, all damage taken is reduced by 25% for 8 seconds.
  • 1/1 Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood: provides you with the Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood ability. This increases your maximum health by 15% for 10 seconds, and also increases all healing you receive by 25% for the same amount of time.
  • 3/3 Improved Death Strike Icon Improved Death Strike: this talent greatly boosts your Death Strike Icon Death Strike. It increases its damage and critical strike chance, as well as the amount of healing that it does to you.
  • 1/1 Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon: grants you the Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon ability, which increases your chance to parry by 20% for 12 seconds, in addition to dealing some damage to the boss.
  • 3/3 Runic Power Mastery Icon Runic Power Mastery: increases the maximum capacity of your runic power by 30. This is a threat/DPS and a filler talent.
  • 2/2 Icy Reach Icon Icy Reach: increases the range of your Icy Touch Icon Icy Touch and Chains of Ice Icon Chains of Ice abilities by 10 yards. It has some usefulness in certain encounters, but it is mostly a filler talent.
  • 1/1 Lichborne Icon Lichborne: grants you the Lichborne Icon Lichborne ability. This is a self-buff with a 2 minute cooldown and 10 second duration. While this effect is active, you can heal yourself by casting Death Coil Icon Death Coil on yourself.
  • 2/3 Epidemic Icon Epidemic: increases the duration of your diseases by 8 seconds, meaning that you need to worry about refreshing them less often.

2.1.2. Optional Talents

The only meaningful choice you will have to make, within the Blood specialisation, depends on whether you wish to pick up Crimson Scourge Icon Crimson Scourge, for improved AoE tanking.

Additionally, you may choose not to take Abomination's Might Icon Abomination's Might, if the buff is provided by someone else in your raid (Paladins, Enhancement Shamans or Marksmanship Hunters). This situation is extremely unlikely to occur outside of 10-man raids, and even there it is exceptional.

Below, we list all the optional talents and the reasons for possibly choosing some of them.

  • 1/3 Scent of Blood Icon Scent of Blood: gives you a small chance to generate extra runic power. This is a threat/DPS talent, for which there are no survival alternatives. You should choose this if you do not need to pick up either Abomination's Might Icon Abomination's Might or Crimson Scourge Icon Crimson Scourge. We advise taking points in this talent over the less desirable Blood Caked Blade and Epidemic talents.
  • 1/3, 2/3 or 3/3 Blood-Caked Blade Icon Blood-Caked Blade: this is another threat/DPS talent, for which there are no survival alternatives. It gives your auto attacks a chance to cause another, relatively weak attack. You should take points in this talent if you do not need to take any points in Abomination's Might and Crimson Scourge, although Scent of Blood is a better alternative.
  • 2/2 Abomination's Might Icon Abomination's Might: you should only take this talent if no one in your raid can provide the 10% increased attack power. Otherwise, this talent is not useful.
  • 2/2 Crimson Scourge Icon Crimson Scourge: increases the damage dealt by Blood Boil Icon Blood Boil (your AoE ability) and gives you a chance to gain cost-free Blood Boils. This is an AoE enhancing talent and should not be taken if you do not need to improve this aspect of your tanking.
  • 3/3 Epidemic Icon Epidemic: increases the duration of your diseases by 12 seconds (up from the 8 seconds granted by 2/3). This talent point simplifies your tanking somewhat.

2.2. Glyphs

2.2.1. Prime Glyphs

It is possible to use Glyph of Death Strike instead of Glyph of Death Coil if, for some reason, you have not talented Lichborne. Note that the Glyph of Death Strike is simply a threat/DPS glyph, and it is surpassed by the glyphs of Rune Strike and Heart Strike.

Glyph of Death and Decay provides more AoE threat generation.

2.2.2. Major Glyphs

Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon (increased threat generation) is a mandatory Major Glyph. For the remaining two slots, you should choose, from the following glyphs, based on the circumstances of the encounter:

  • Glyph of Rune Tap: heals your party for 5% of their maximum health each time you use Rune Tap Icon Rune Tap;
  • Glyph of Vampiric Blood: your Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood no longer provides you with 15% health when used, but instead increases your healing received by a total of 40% (up from 25% unglyphed). This healing increase affects both self-heals and heals from other healers, and it is generally advised to use this glyph, as the total gain is much higher than 15% of your health. If you feel that you do need 15% extra health to simply survive a very large attack, however, do not to use this glyph.
  • Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell: increases the duration of your Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell by 2 seconds, making it easier for you to time using this ability for magic damaging attacks.

Glyph of Pestilence and Glyph of Blood Boil can make AoE tanking easier.

2.2.3. Minor Glyphs

Minor Glyphs generally provide you with small benefits that make your life easier, but do not increase the strength of your character or your raid. The best glyphs to use are:

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