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Forums » Dead Knight » DK Tanking Basics (Or how to be a zombie who gets hit on by everybody)

DK Tanking Basics (Or how to be a zombie who gets hit on by everybody)
DK Tanking Basics (Or how to be a zombie who gets hit on by everybody)

Posts: 4
Posted on: 12/19/2008 11:55:53AM

DK Tankin!

I decided to be a DK tank, here's my current spec as of 12/19/08


Reaching the def cap:

Don't think about duel wielding. You'll cause so many misses and parries that you'll have some issuse with threat generation, and parries cause the boss to hit you again faster. If you can't meet the defense cap, so some icecrown quests and get this, or wield a *single* +def 1 hander until you hit the def cap without defense on your weapon. The questline for dabri's engima in netherstorm and the normal halls of lightning trinket that drops from loken are both indespensible from gaining this goal.  Cap is 530 for heroics, 540 for raids. Belt buckles and +def to bracers are both nice tools as well to reach the cap, as well as many rep rewards from AD + WA. I know its painful to enchant things you're going to throw away, but it seems necessary to get past the cap. Resiliance may be a way around it, but I didn't explore that. The flask of fortitude gives you 3ish points at lvl 80 so that may help (did for me).


Valid Tanking Specs:

Blood - Frost - Unholy

The reason this is true is the basic tanking talents are shallow in all three trees and the top of each tree has a great tanking talent. Also, don't take the 51 pt frost talent, it's downright useless, and will probably be changed. Frost may be the least complicated one to do (you have more ways to get aggro on everyone and another panic button), but unholy is currently theoretically best when you're all epiced out from a dmg mitigation standpoint.  The strength of blood is in the huge amount of self and party healing they do and the dps boost they provide to physical dmg classes. Frost spec has issues with things immune to frost (duh), and unholy with things that silence/immune to magic. In general, the differences are not enough to *not* be the spec you want to play, so try all of them that are fun and do the one you like.


Blood Tanky Talents:

Blade Barrier (Blood T1): Whenever you've used both of your blood runes, the chance you parry the boss increases by 10% (so 18% parry goes to 28% parry, verified).

Scent of Blood (Blood T2): Disrecommended (makes it so you don't like priest bubbles, etc). Doesn't really do that much for you, but perports to make you get runic power by getting hit.

Improved Rune Tap (Blood T3/4): Healing yourself for 20% and the party for 10% (with the Glyph) is a *very* powerful spell, especially with all the fights in heroics that incapacitate the healer or do party wide dmg.

Spell Deflection (Blood T4): Have a chance to take 70% dmg from spells equal to your parry (works very nicely with Blade Barrier)

Vendetta(Blood T4): Heals you for 6% of your health when you kill a creature that's near your level

Vetran of the 3rd War (Blood T5): Increases strengh and stam by 6% (4 Str = 1 parry, so that's important. Stamina is important for obvious reasons).

Mark of Blood (Blood T5): Nice for fights with adds you kill after the big dude, or for frenzied bosses.

Abominations Might (Blood T6): Icreases your str, therefore your parry. Also makes warriors, hunters, rouges and enhancement shamans regularly give you hugs when they figure out what that buff is coming from (10% Attack power buff)

Blood Aura (Blood T7): Heals you + party for 3% of dmg done (lots of healing from this alone, the more free raid healing that occurs, the more the healer can focus on you).

Vampiric Blood (Blood T8): All heals done on your are 150% effective (done by self or others). This includes strikes that heal you. This has a 1 minute cooldown and works for 20 seconds, so pretty much should be pushed constantly.

Will of the Necropolis (Blood T9): Makes your Anti Magic Shell cool down slightly faster, and gives you some more armor when you're about to die (I think this is a little underpowered).

Heart Strike (Blood T9): Does extra dmg, but more importantly prevents the target from using haste effects (which means less dmg to you)

Blood Gorged (Blood T10): +5 Expertise (plus dmg when your health is topped off). Means fewer missess and parries. Fewer misses (with a slow weapon) means fewer enemies running away. Fewer parries by your enemies mean an overall slower attack speed by them.


Frost Tanky Talents:

Toughness (FT1): Extra Armor, Shorter Duration of Movement slowing effects.

Icy Reach (FT2): Makes the frost disease causing spell have as long as a range as your Death Grip and Deathcoil. Excellent for pulling.

Lichborne (FT3): Makes you so ugly the boss misses you 25% more (so if his miss chance was 10%, its now 35%) for 15 seconds.

Annihilation (FT3): Makes Annihilate not consume diseases. Keeping diseases up on everything is the pain of the DK tank. If you like using Annihilate (I don't even have it on my bar), this is a very good one.

Frigid Deadplate (FT5): Adds 3% chance for melee attacks to miss (This talent is a little expensive IMO).

Rime (FT6): Gives a chance of not consuming runes when you do Howling blast. (HB is a important frost tanking talent).

Howling Blast (FT7): Basically a very nice blood boil that works only on frost fever (and works if they're not infected even).

Frost Aura (FT7): Increases spell resistance of the party (so so).

Unbreakable Armor (FT8): Another panic button (increases armor, str and parry)

Blood of the North (FT8): Turns blood runs into death runes (as you'll be keeping your blood runes on cooldown to activate blade barrier, this is very nice).

Guile of Gorefiend (FT9): Increases the duration of Icebound Fortiude by several seconds (awesomesauce right there).

Frost Strike (FT9): Unavoidable weapon strike and runic power dump. Nice for aggro gen + avoiding parries

Acclimation (FT9): Stacking Spell resistance, nice for fights that are dps races against stacking spell debuffs.

Tundra Stalker (FT9): More expertise == fewer boss parries == fewer dead tanks (like the blood talent in the same position). Does other things too.

Hungering Cold (FT10): Uselessness compounded upon uslessness. You pretty much must have ventrilo running for this to have a chance of not instantly being screwed over, and your party has to have the reflexes of a coffee addict. very minorly useful as a panic button, but absurdly long cooldown for how useless it is. Put a point somewhere else.


Unholy Tanky Talents:

Morbidity (UT1): Lowers cooldown on Death and Decay (this is an essential talent IMO).

Anticipation (UT1): 5% extra dodge chance

Epidemic (UT2): Diseases last 50% longer

Unholy Command (UT2): Lowers cooldown on Death's Grip

Virulence (UT2): Increases spell hit, therefore means the mobs go clobber your healer first thing less often.

Outbreak (UT3): Buffs blood boil + pestilence (both essential mechanisms for maintaining aggro on large groups).

Shadow of Death (UT4):  2% Str + Stam buff. The return as a ghoul thing is sorta stupid, and doesn't always work. You don't have aggro when you return either.

Magic Suppression (UT6): Take less damage from all magic, and antimagic shell blocks more magic.

Reaping (UT6): Turns runes into death runes, always a good thing

Desecration (UT7): Causes arms to pop out and slow enemies, and increases your damage. Excellent for adds fights

Antimagic zone (UT7); The purple bubbles from magister's terrace. Awesome in fights like Loken, etc.

Unholy Aura (UT7): Moving to where the enemies are is awesome. The faster melee dps gets there, the faster they die. The faster melee dps moves out of near range effects, the less they die. Also allows you to get pure stam on your boots instead of Tuskars stam/speed.

Night of the Dead (UT8): While problematic for cleaves, dragons and rogues, the lvl 80 DK ability "Army of the Dead" is *Fantastic* for tanking when you have a boss that one shots, is frenzied, incapacitates the healer, or is just a dps race. This talent makes it so you can do it more often. Also it allows you to res a ghoul more often, so you can use the "Sacrifice ghoul for life" spell more.

Bone Sheild (UT8): THE Unholy DK tanking talent of fantastic awesomeness. Eventually when your gear is good enough, this can be up near 100% of the time (and is why UDK may be the late game raid spec of choice).

Wandering Plauge (UT9): When your diseases tick for damage, there is a chance they hurt the people near the infected mobs. Fantastic for AOE tanking. It even ignores CCed targets.

Rage of Rivendare (UT10): Same expertise talent in the other trees. See them for explaination.

Unholy Blight (UT11): Super concecrate :OD. Cept with insects.


How to tank:

So pick from that menu, and then go to town. My opening rotation (I'm blood) for multiple mobs is


B_F_U_ 1.5: Icy Touch

B___U_ 3.0: Plague Strike

B_____ 4.5: Pestilence



Some places on the internets, you see people talk about this rotation:

BBFFUU 0.0: Icy Touch

BBF_UU 1.5: Plague Strike

BBF_U_ 3.0: Pestilence

B_F_U_ 4.5: BloodBoil

__F_U_ 6.0: Death Strike


It generates quite a bit less threat, espcially if you have another DK in the group who's using D&D (Testing VS Whipple in halls of lightning).


Should Death's Grip be used as a pulling tool?

Yes, but not in the most intuitive way.  As a taunt, it suffers, because it is resistable by many more creatures than dark command, so saving it for that is only useful situationally. It's most useful as an adjunct to running in. It's more useful on caster than hunters, as hunters tend to run back away to range and must be Icy Chained to stay in melee range, while clothies stand there and take it like a man in a dress. I use it <50% of fights in most dungeons.


Scenario A> One caster, Multiple melee, Caster doesn't have nasty instant casts.

DG the caster, then do the normal rotation expressed above. There will be enough threat on everyone that you should hold them, and you should be able to silence/mind freeze the caster to prevent him from really hurting you (or anti-magic shell).


Scenario B> Two Casters (Skull And X), Multiple Melee (Dragonkin in Nexus, Sometimes in UK).

Run to X and D&D on him while running. Then DG skull caster to you and resume normal rotation (targeting skull).


Scenario C> Hunter + Caster + Melee (Nexus Ice Hall)

Run between Caster and hunter and D&D, use DG to yank hunter back if he runs. Throwing an Icy Touch on Melee while running past will convince him to run into the D&D if it can't hit all three.



Biggest issues with DK tanks:

If you push the wrong button, you have a *lot* of work to do.  If you can't death and decay because you misused your runes, you *quickly* must get a disease on someone, and pestilence (otherwise the healer will bite it). Alternatively, you can use the convert blood to death rune, or the refresh all my runes spell to cover for your error. If a healer is forced to heal so much he overpowers your D&D, you need to be tabbing and striking the other people you're tanking, or you need to use more CC.

Additionally, since DKs are so rune dependant, encounters with streaming random enemies (like Violet hold, Halls of stone archive room, etc) require a great attention to "rune tempo". You have to spend a lot of time auto attacking, and a lot of time using abilities soley to gain aggro on all the new mobs.

        Happy Zombie Tanking!



Re: DK Tanking Basics (Or how to be a zombie who gets hit on by everybody)

Posts: 12
Posted on: 12/19/2008 2:39:38PM

Wow, this is quite the handy guide!

FYI: Blood Aura's healing effect is currently doubled on the PTR for patch 3.0.8, so that's gonna be even awesomer shortly.


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