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World of Warcraft Death Knight Blood Spec Guide Part 3: Abilities and Rotations

by: M.S. Smith ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/18/2012 • Leave a comment

Death Knights specialized in blood serve as the tank of a group. They are, as a result a critical member and they must do everything possible to keep enemies attacking them. This requires optimal use of their abilities.

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    The Real Scoop on Rotations

    World of Warcraft is a gaming that is constantly evolving. This includes not just the equipment available and the size of the room, but also the gameplay mechanics. Six years ago, when the original World of Warcraft arrived, there wasn't nearly as much for players to worry about as there is today. Most classes have become more involved over time.

    As a result, the notion of "rotations" has become outdated for many classes. Indeed, it was never really relevant for the Death Knight, whose rune resource system makes the use of a simple 1 - 2 - 3 rotation impossible. Instead of describing ability usage as a rotation, it is better to describe abilities as having priority. Those of high priority should be used first, but if not available, others become important.

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    Blood Spec Death Knight - Solo Play

    Death Knight Rotation Death Knights with the Blood specialization are a very good solo class. They're not incredibly quick to kill targets, at least compared to some classes, but the incredible survivability and self-healing abilities makes it possible for many Death Knights to leave fights with more health than they had going in.

    Let's take a look at my recommended priority for a Blood spec Death Knight. As mentioned, this is similar to a Death Knight rotation.

    Basic Priority:

    Icy Touch - This is an important attack to lead with because it applies Frost Fever, a disease that lowers the victim's attack speed. Lowering attack speed will result in less damage taken. The damage-over-time (DOT) effect is nice as well.

    Plague Strike - Less important than Icy Touch, but again, the DOT effect caused by the Blood Plague disease it applies is good.

    Heart Strike - A powerful strike that has its damage increased by 10% by each disease present. Heart Strike should be used until it is no longer available due to a lack of the related runes.

    Death Strike - A key attack for Death Knights, this does serious damage and heals the Death Knight for a portion of the damage he or she has taken. In addition, to converts some of your runes into death runes, that can be used as a replacement for any type of rune.

    Additional Priority - These abilities are also important, but may not always be available.

    Death Coil - This ranged magical attack requires runic power. You'll typically have enough power available after you have executed your first Heart Strike in combat, assuming that you start from 0 runic power. Death Coil should be used whenever possible to improve your damage output.

    Blood Boil - An AOE attack, Blood Boil - once talented to apply Scarlet Fever - also acts as a 10% damage reduction. This is not of great importance when soloing a single enemy, but it can become critical when fighting numerous enemies.

    Outbreak - A new ability available to Death Knights in Cataclysm, Outbreak applies both Frost Fever and Blood Plague to a target. There is no rune cost, however, the ability is on a one minute cooldown. Outbreak should not be used as a substitute for Icy Touch and Plague Strike in the rotation, but instead used when those abilities are unavailable and you'd like to apply diseases to a new target.

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    Group Play (Tanking)

    Death Knight Rotations When you tank, you need to make some modifications to your priorities. Here is what I suggest.

    Death and Decay > Icy Touch (if Frost Fever is not active) > Pestilence > Blood Boil > Rune Strike > Death Strike (if not at or near full health) > Heart Strike

    The modifications here are due to the need to reduce incoming damage and spread threat. Death and Decay is an AOE ability that deals substantial threat and helps keep the enemies coming at you during the first few seconds of a fight.

    Icy Touch, followed by Pestilence, placing the Frost Fever attack speed reduction onto all enemy targets. Blood Boil then applied the talented Scarlet Fever damage debuff. This is important, since it reduces the incoming damage that you must deal with.

    Rune Strike is a single-target attack that uses runic power. It is important because it generates a large amount of threat.