The Death Knight Tank and You: The Specs Part 1
We find our favorite Death Knight conversing with a fellow Knight about how he prefers to kill people, with Heart Strikes of course! The young female nods her head and says, “Hmm, well you seem to have some knowledge of what you’re doing, fine I will try it and report back!” Hah, one more apprentice for this young elf…
Students you are just in time, I was just about to go and cry because it is another patch day, but since you all are here I will choke my tears and get on with your next lesson. This is actually one where you may choose for once what you wish to do as a tank, but beware, there are always ups and downs to every spec, as well as multiple specs for each spec you may choose. Though I think this is the best part of being a Death Knight, many others get highly frustrated with choosing the right spec for their respective trees, either way I hope by the end of this lesson set you will all have enough knowledge of each spec to go forth and choose the damn thing!
Today’s lesson will be the Blood Tree which I have recently tried a bit of, I actually have tried two specs, and both have not really worked out. I bet it is something that I am doing which makes it wrong, but it is quite a hard spec to master. This is a spec for the better geared and better skilled people, so for you younger knights, I would suggest trying a different spec, but it is still viable if you want a REAL challenge!
Blood: Blood is an interesting tanking spec, most specs that I have seen require a bit in unholy or frost for it to even be thought of as an effective tanking spec, honestly it is much more spread out as say a deep frost spec or an unholy tanking spec. The blood tree gives mostly stats, a big one being Strength, which we Death Knights LOVE, it is a ton of AP for our threat, and a ton of parry for our avoidances, so that is good, right? Yes, and the other thing it gives is good ol’ Stamina which of course increases your HP, and we tanks need a bit of HP so that is great as well. Though the stats are really the only thing you will be getting out of Blood, though there are sufficient healing talents to help you out a little bit, there really is a lack of talents that reduce damage enough for you to really Main Tank a raid, you would take a bit of damage, and even with some of the cool downs, you will probably tire the healers out a bit too much. That there is the downside to Blood as a tank, you probably would not be Main Tanking most raids, though you CAN Off Tank, actually as an Off Tank spec I would really say that this is the best tree to do so.
The Buffs of the Tree: The first being, Hysteria, is a buff that I will generally use on Klin’s pet in an arena match, it ups the damage it does by 20% for a good 30 seconds, and the same thing a Blood tank could use on a dps that is lacking, or if they just want some more out of the top guy for a boss. Either way, this is a great supporting ability and is actually very useful when used at the right moments. Abomination’s Might is a raid wide buff of 10% AP to everyone in the raid every time you use an Obliterate and 50% of the time when you use Death Strike or Heart Strike said ability lasts 10 seconds, but that is a decent buff that can proc quite often. Those two abilities really highlight why Blood is such a good Off Tank spec for me, Off Tanks do not take the damage from the bosses, most of the time, but what they do is help the Tank and the Raid however they physically can. Two buffs of the DPS, yes that helps the raid, and the Blood Tank can still pick up adds or pick the boss up for a few seconds if need be.
Specific Abilities: As customary of all Death Knight talent trees, there are specific abilities that each have, and Blood will have 2-4 depending on where your points go. The first being Rune Tap which is a small burst of healing, really the only time you would be taking this talent is if there needs to be a one talent filler in order for you to go down to another tier. I love this talent in PvP, but for a PvE spec this is useless, your healers should be competent enough to at least heal the TANK of all people! El’s thoughts: DO NOT GET unless another circumstance arises. Mark of Blood is another iffy, some people like it because they toss it on the boss and he heals them every time he deals damage to them, then others feel that the healers should be fine enough to not need the tanks to focus on healing themselves rather then keeping the mob/boss off the raid. Personally, I sort of like it, as the Off Tank toss it up on the Main Tank’s target when the healers need a little mana regen time, that helps a small bit and they do not need to sit on his ass longer then need be. El’s thoughts: Maybe, used creatively it actually could be useful, but it is more up to you.Vampiric Blood is the third, this ability gives you a boost of health for 20sec and also a boost of healing to go with that, this is your only spec specific OH SHIT button and is actually a pretty powerful one to boot! El’s thoughts: Yes, get this, if you do not, I will have to throw random objects at you, and it will hurt! Heart Strike is the final ability, now this can damage a hefty sum to one enemie and the closest buddy next to him, so for a single target attack this is decently powerful. Basically this thing should really only be used on the bosses and one to two mob pulls at the most, but when you do use it, I will say you will not frown my friend! El’s thoughts: Yes, bosses are what count right? So DO IT!
Remember, these are my thoughts, so I am sure there is some guy out there who can Main Tank Blood and all of that stuff, but honestly he must be very very good at the Death Knight class, because it is quite hard to play a Blood Tank in my opinion. They have better single target threat then Unholy, but AoE threat is extremely hard to establish correctly. Like I have said as an offtank this is a great spec to use, the only problem you would ever have is holding a ton of guys, but there are two tanks in the group, you take two or three and the other tank takes the rest, not that hard. A Viable spec? Why yes it is, but for a newcomer to tanking in 3.1 I would not advise you to try it. As was stated earlier, this really is a spec for the people who are a little more geared and have been tanking on a Death Knight for a bit longer, try it out certainly, but do not be disappointed if it does not turn out well!
Writer’s Update: Okay class that is it for today, expect Wednesday or Thursday for your next lesson pertaining to Frost. If you have been reading the blog for a bit you should already have a good idea of what it is, but a little touch up won’t kill you now, will it? Class dismissed, and if any more of you try and get me to give you extra credit, I am making you roll a Gnome Prot Warrior.