DK Tank - Need some pointers

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DK Tank - Need some pointers

Postby Nikachelle » Fri May 20, 2011 6:28 am

I've decided I'd like to get my death knight leveled and in dungeons... my only problem is I was a rabid frost tank and now I really don't know what all these blood buttons. (And tbh, I mostly facerolled frost tanking so it's not like I knew a lot about it either.) My OTHER problem is that I leveled her from 82 to 84 solely by mining... so she's got really shitty gear atm. (Link's in my sig if you need it, but I doubt it's even worth looking at.)

So... standard questions.

1. What's the "start-up" tanking rotation. How is single target done versus aoe (and is there really any difference other than spreading your diseases and blood boil + dnd?)

2. This festering strike thing... it SEEMS like a good thing to use... is it?

3. Do you use Obliterate at all? And Death Coil is the runic dump?

4. I have Rune Strike macroed into most of my spells since that's what I did when I was frost tanking in Wrath. Invis said something to me last night about Rune Strike being totally different now... is it?

5. Anyone got a generic spec I could copy? I'm copy that the runic power reduction on interrupts is included in the spec... although the one I've seen that had it in it, seemed to waste a lot of points in the top tier just because they had to.

6. Is gemming any different than paladins? My previous DK co-tank was a mastery whore, and from my understanding mastery is fantastic for DKs. Is that accurate?

7. How about glyphs?

Thank you!
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Re: DK Tank - Need some pointers

Postby KysenMurrin » Fri May 20, 2011 6:45 am

I can't answer much, but :

Each spec has a single Frost/Unholy strike it uses, for Blood it is Death Strike, not Oblit.

Rune Strike is your RP dump, and I believe it's on the GCD.

I think that Festering Strike is only used by Unholy - with its rune combination, it would mess up Blood's Death Strike use, I think.
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Re: DK Tank - Need some pointers

Postby Gracerath » Fri May 20, 2011 7:23 am

1) Depending, you can either open up with Outbreak (applies both diseases) or if you need a bit of initial threat, Icy Touch + Plague strike. Then I fire off 2 heart strikes to get blade barrier up, then use death strike and burn off RP with rune strike. You can get fancy by using blood boil twice before the pull to get blade barrier up if you want, pull with outbreak and then a death strike or rune strike if you have the RP. As far as AE, basically its what you'd think: Drop death and decay, outbreak + pestilence. Bloodboil hits pretty weakly, so unless you're trying to get threat on a ton of mobs at once, I find it is better to tab around and use heart strike. Try to time death strikes with large intakes of damage for bigger heals and blood shields.

2) Blood really has no use for festering strike. Any UH or Death runes should be used on more death strikes. Unholy makes extensive use of it, however.

3) I never used obliterate. Death strike is your bread and butter. Death coil is used less than rune strike but is fantastic for firing off at ranged add that joins the fight, or if you're forced into a ranged situation for a short time due to fight mechanics. Otherwise, use rune strike.

4) Rune strike can't be macro'd anymore. It isn't a "next swing" ability like heroic strike used to be. It is just a regular attack now that uses runic power. The main difference now is if you are in blood presence, you can rune strike at any time. If you are in another presence, you have to wait to parry or dodge an attack first.

5) 31/8/2 is the current 10 man raid tank spec that most people take. I'm at work and can't post a link but I can pull some info from my armory app. The talents to skip in blood are butchery, hande of doom, blood caked blade, abominations' might and crimson scourge. You only need 2/3 in scent of blood. Frost you skip nerves of cold steel cause DW tanking is long dead. Lichborne + deathcoil to self is a handy cooldown. 2/2 in endless winter if you need to interrupt a lot. 2 pts in epidemic to make your diseases last 30s. Not necessarily needed but makes everything line up nicely. If you don't have to interrupt, you can put those 2 points somewhere else.

6) Mastery is great for DK's but it is still being theorycrafted out and no one has a clear answer. Some people swear by reforging their mastery into avoidance and report great results. Others say mastery is the best thing since sliced bread. Personally, I go the mastery route. I don't use pure mastery gems though. I use parry/stam in red slots, stam gems in blue slots, and mastery/stam in yellow slots, assuming the slot bonus is stamina. Stamina is still important to gem for as a DK tank, since death strike scales a bit from your maximum health pool. I buff to 200k health, ~30% avoidance and 130% blood shield. If I regem some mastery stuff around, I might be able to gain a few % blood shield for a thousand health. Not really bothering but I might at some point. Every piece of my gear has mastery on it naturally, so I can't reforge any onto it.

7) Prime: Heart strike, rune strike, and if you use the lichborne build, death coil for bigger self heals. Otherwise, death strike or death and decay if you're doing a bunch of AE stuff.

For major, I use rune tap, dancing rune weapon, vampiric blood. Majors are a bit more up to the user depending on what they are doing, though I'd say vampiric blood feels pretty mandatory. 40% more healing helps healer mana a bit. DRW isn't strictly needed, but the extra threat can be useful in certain situations. And since healer mana can be at a premium, some extra group healing via rune tap is nice.

For minors, pick whatever. You'll be using horn of winter to generate RP more than once every 2 minutes, so you don't really need it but a lot use it, including myself.
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Re: DK Tank - Need some pointers

Postby Gerunna » Fri May 20, 2011 7:35 am

1) There's not really a set rotation for blood tanks the way there is for prot pallies. By and large you'll be using Death Strike, Heart Strike, and Rune Strike for 1 - 3 targets. Keeping diseases up is nice as Frost Fever gives the reduced attack speed debuff and Blood Plague (when talented to also give Scarlet Fever) gives the reduced physical damage debuff. If you're tanking 4 or more mobs you work in Death and Decay and substitute Blood Boil for Heart Strike, and you can Pestilence your diseases as well, not so much for the damage but to spread the debuffs among the group. Over time you'll learn how to time your Death Strikes for bigger heals / shields (I highly recommend the BloodShieldTracker addon for this) and even stuff like how to game your Runic Empowerment to give you more Death Strikes.

2) Festering Strike is for unholy dps only. I'd recommend getting a dot timer addon you like to watch disease durations. In my experience keeping diseases up isn't too much of a hassle thanks to Outbreak.

3) Obliterate is for frost dps only. Your main use of RP will be Rune Strike followed by your Dancing Rune Weapon and Lichborne cooldowns.

4) The Rune Strike macro thing is a relic of WotLK. There are a couple of changes to the spell that have made the macro method obsolete. If you look at the Rune Strike tooltip, you'll see it only becomes active after you dodge or parry an attack. In Cata they added that this can always be used if you're in Blood Presence regardless of dodges or parries. Also, Rune Strike used to function the same way as the old Heroic Strike: i.e. you can hit it off the gcd, but it's not actually cast until your next melee swing. In Cata it got the same treatment as Heroic Strike, becoming a normal on the gcd instant attack.

5) This is my spec, it's fairly cookie-cutter. The points in Endless Winter are optional, but I take it since I run 10 mans and have to interrupt fairly often. The main reason you go into frost though is to get Lichborne. When you activate it, you can spam Death Coils on your self to heal up, so it' basically a DK Lay on Hands assuming you have a fairly full RP bar.

6) Yep, mastery rules for DKs. I go with mastery in yellow and prismatic sockets, mastery / stam in blues, and mastery / parry in reds. I also run the stam / +% armor meta.

7) I've put the glyphs I run in the spec I linked above. The primes are pretty much all you'll want to use though a case could be made for the Death and Decay glyph if you're running mostly 5 mans. For majors there's some room for personal taste as some DKs don't like using the Vampiric Blood glyph. For them the Bone Shield or Strangulate glyphs might be prefered. I wouldn't bother with the DRW glyph unless you've got trouble with dps creeping up the aggro table on you in the middle of a fight.
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Re: DK Tank - Need some pointers

Postby Nikachelle » Fri May 20, 2011 7:35 am

See that's the odd thing about rune strike. It was listed as my top third damaging ability (did the new Ring of Blood last night), but it IS macroed into my moves. I don't even have rune strike anywhere on my bars, it's all macroed. So somehow the macro is still working. Or at least, it's using rune strike if available (and possibly not using the other ability I was trying to hit.)

Regardless, I'll move Rune Strike to an appropriate keybind now.

I like having an interrupt that doesn't cost me anything runic power-wise, so I'll definitely be putting two points in there.

And I haven't been using Outbreak... so just to clarify, does that attack have a range on it? Or is it melee only?

Thanks so much for the info, all of it helps a great deal.
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Re: DK Tank - Need some pointers

Postby Gracerath » Fri May 20, 2011 7:41 am

Outbreak can be used from range. I don't recall how much range though. I believe it has a longer range than Icy touch but if not, it at least has the same range as icy touch. All it does though is apply the two diseases and doesn't do any damage til they do their first tick, so it can be pretty poor from a threat standpoint. As blood and frost, it basically just saves you 1 GCD every minute.
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Re: DK Tank - Need some pointers

Postby Gerunna » Fri May 20, 2011 7:42 am

Nikachelle wrote:See that's the odd thing about rune strike. It was listed as my top third damaging ability (did the new Ring of Blood last night), but it IS macroed into my moves. I don't even have rune strike anywhere on my bars, it's all macroed. So somehow the macro is still working. Or at least, it's using rune strike if available (and possibly not using the other ability I was trying to hit.)

Regardless, I'll move Rune Strike to an appropriate keybind now.

I like having an interrupt that doesn't cost me anything runic power-wise, so I'll definitely be putting two points in there.

And I haven't been using Outbreak... so just to clarify, does that attack have a range on it? Or is it melee only?

Thanks so much for the info, all of it helps a great deal.


Well if your macros were in this form:

/cast !Rune Strike
/cast insertspellnamehere

then I can see why it would be top damage: no other spell would ever be cast assuming you didn't run out of RP since Rune Strike is triggering a gcd.

Outbreak has a 30 yard range, it's how I usually pull a boss.
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Re: DK Tank - Need some pointers

Postby Nikachelle » Fri May 20, 2011 7:44 am

Gerunna wrote:Well if your macros were in this form:

/cast !Rune Strike
/cast insertspellnamehere

then I can see why it would be top damage: no other spell would ever be cast assuming you didn't run out of RP since Rune Strike is triggering a gcd.

Outbreak has a 30 yard range, it's how I usually pull a boss.

Well that probably explains why I had to hit my disease buttons about 2-3 times before I ever saw the debuff applied on the mob.
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Re: DK Tank - Need some pointers

Postby Aerron » Fri May 20, 2011 8:11 am

I have some questions of my own along these lines -

Is there any preference for Parry over Dodge or vice-versa? Is the Swordshattering 4% Parry rune affected by DR? IE, I'm currently sitting at about 16-17% Parry and about 12-13% Dodge. If I subtract the Rune parry, they're about equal. Should I be shooting for the same Parry/Dodge ratio (1% higher Parry after raid buffs) as Prot Pallies?

Is Swordshattering still the recommended rune?

Also, I'm reading in various places that you want to wait until your Blood Shield is about to tick down before you Death Strike again. Opinion on that?

Blood tanking is so damn addictive. I was surprised how awesome I found it.
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Re: DK Tank - Need some pointers

Postby Gerunna » Fri May 20, 2011 8:19 am

The Swordshattering rune is not subject to DR, so go with the method you've described to minimize DR and you'll be fine.

From what I've read, Swordshattering is the way to go until you're taking on heroic raid bosses who hit hard enough that the extra stam from SSG makes a difference.

I've not seen that mentioned about sitting on Death Strikes until your shield's almost expired, so I really don't know what the point is. Ideally you want to time Death Strikes so that they land after big damage spikes to get the biggest heal / shield. If you're not taking enough damage to pop the shield before its expiration, then perfectly optimized Death Striking isn't really required.
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Re: DK Tank - Need some pointers

Postby bldavis » Fri May 20, 2011 8:37 am

EJ Suggests

this is the typical Lichborne survival build, with free interupts
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Brekkie:Tanks are like shitty DPS. And healers are like REALLY distracted DPS
Amirya:Why yes, your penis is longer than his because you hit 30k dps in the first 10 seconds. But guess what? That raid boss has a dick bigger than your ego.
Flex:I don't make mistakes. I execute carefully planned strategic group wipes.
Levie:(in /g) It's weird, I have a collar and I dont know where I got it from, Worgen are kinky!
Levie:Drunk Lev goes and does what he pleases just to annoy sober Lev.
Sagara:You see, you need to *spread* the bun before you insert the hot dog.
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Re: DK Tank - Need some pointers

Postby superworm » Tue May 24, 2011 10:08 pm

Aerron wrote:I have some questions of my own along these lines -

Is there any preference for Parry over Dodge or vice-versa? Is the Swordshattering 4% Parry rune affected by DR? IE, I'm currently sitting at about 16-17% Parry and about 12-13% Dodge. If I subtract the Rune parry, they're about equal. Should I be shooting for the same Parry/Dodge ratio (1% higher Parry after raid buffs) as Prot Pallies?

Is Swordshattering still the recommended rune?

Also, I'm reading in various places that you want to wait until your Blood Shield is about to tick down before you Death Strike again. Opinion on that?

Blood tanking is so damn addictive. I was surprised how awesome I found it.


Blood shield USED TO replace one another. So ideally you wouldn't want to DS before the former blood shield wore off. However that's no longer the case now. Blood shield now lasts 10 seconds each and stacks. In a fight where you start as the off tank, you can plan your DS carefully so that you will have a very high shield up when you need to taunt, e.g. Magmaw (chew gum duty), H twin dragons, Cho'gall. It doesn't work for heroic Chimaeron, however, as massacre will destroy your shield.
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Re: DK Tank - Need some pointers

Postby Aerron » Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:57 am

I'm blocked from EJ at work ... anyone got the Licheborne macro handy?
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Re: DK Tank - Need some pointers

Postby Kelaan » Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:05 pm

Code: Select all
#showtooltip Lichborne
/cast !Lichborne;
/cast [target=player] Death Coil
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