Blood Death Knight Tank Talents & Builds for M+ (Shadowlands) – World of Warcraft


Tier 1 (Level 15) Talent Discussion

Talent Details

Option 1: [Heartbreaker]

Basic Description: Increases RP generation based on the number of targets hit with [Heart Strike].

Option 2: [Blooddrinker]

Basic Description: A high-damage single-target channeled life drain that costs a rune.

Extra Details:

  • Defensive abilities can be used during the channel without interrupting the cast.
  • You can move, dodge, and parry while channeling.

Option 3: [Tombstone]

Basic Description: An ability that converts up to 5 [Bone Shield] charges into an absorb shield and Runic Power.

Recommendation: [Heartbreaker]

Basis: All of these talents either directly or indirectly increase self-healing, while influencing damage output in different ways.

In a single-target situation:

In a multiple-target situation:

  • [Heartbreaker] gains a *large* amount of mitigation with extra targets and begins completely outclassing the alternatives in this area with the extra RP generation (even from as little as one extra target).
  • [Heartbreaker] gains maintains its small damage increase, while [Blooddrinker] goes from being a large increase to a small increase (but still a bit more than [Heartbreaker]). [Tombstone] becomes a small damage reduction, since the [Heart Strike]s you are losing to offset the [Bone Shield] cost would have done more damage on multiple targets.

With higher levels of incoming damage:

  • [Heartbreaker] mitigation fully scales with incoming damage, since its mitigation is provided in the form of more casts of [Death Strike].
  • [Tombstone] mitigation mostly does not scale with damage taken, since a large portion of [Tombstone] is a fixed-value absorb shield and only a small portion is RP generation.
  • [Blooddrinker] provides a flat amount of healing that does not scale with higher amounts of incoming damage, at all.


In most scenarios, [Heartbreaker] will provide the most mitigation, by far, and it does so in a way that scales with incoming damage. Also, the damage loss isn’t too significant in multi-target situations, though it’s more noticeable on single targets.

[Blooddrinker] *could* only be justified in a situation where its superior single target damage outweighs its poor mitigation as well as its poor scaling with more targets and higher levels of incoming damage (these circumstances are unlikely in progression M+).

[Tombstone] *could* be justified for pure single target situations where mitigation is important and especially when its cooldown-based nature can be taken advantage of (such as in a traditional tank swap raid encounter). However, since it scales poorly with multiple targets *and* increasing levels of damage intake, in addition to the fact that it lowers damage output, there isn’t much use for the talent in M+.

Tier 2 (Level 25) Talent Discussion

Talent Details

Option 1: [Rapid Decomposition]

Basic Description: A minor increase in [Death and Decay] and [Blood Plague] damage/healing output.

Extra Details:

Option 2: [Hemostasis]

Basic Description: [Blood Boil] now increases the amount of damage and healing from the next [Death Strike] used, based on the number of targets it hits.

Extra Details:

  • This talent does *not* increase the size of the absorb shield from [Blood Shield].
  • The buff effect can only stack up to 5.

Option 3: [Consumption]

Basic Description: An instant-cast ability that hits all enemies in a melee, 180 degree frontal cone and heals you for 150% of the damage dealt.

Recommendation: [Hemostasis]

Basis: All of these talents increase damage and healing based on the number of nearby targets.

In a single-target situation:

  • [Hemostasis] is the only option that provides a moderate amount of mitigation, while the alternatives provide an insignificant amount.
  • All options provide a small and *very* similar amount of damage.

In a multiple-target situation:

  • The mitigation and damage benefit of all talents on this row proportionally scale with the number of targets, though [Hemostasis] stops scaling at 5 targets and [Consumption] stops scaling at 8. 

With higher levels of incoming damage:


In most scenarios, [Hemostasis] will provide the most mitigation and it does so in a way that scales with incoming damage. No significant damage trade-off is being made and the extra damage it provides can be funneled onto any target.

While [Rapid Decomposition] can technically provide the most damage with enough targets, it is by a small margin and with almost no mitigation benefit. There is no real reason to ever pick this talent in M+.

[Consumption] is in a similar boat as [Rapid Decomposition], except it has a target cap of 8 and it is cooldown-based. However, there’s no real way to take advantage of the cooldown-based benefit to ever make [Consumption] a stronger option than [Hemostasis].

Tier 3 (Level 30) Talent Discussion

Talent Details

Option 1: [Foul Bulwark]

Basic Description: A passive increase in maximum health that scales with the number of [Bone Shield] charges active.

Extra Details:

  • Health % stays the same when gaining and losing stacks of [Bone Shield].

Option 2: [Relish in Blood]

Basic Description: Using [Death and Decay] with [Crimson Scourge] active provides healing based on [Bone Shield] stacks as well as RP.

Option 3: [Blood Tap]

Basic Description: This ability can be used to instantly generate runes. The cooldown gets decreased when [Bone Shield] stacks are consumed.

Extra Details:

  • [Bone Shield] stacks consumed by [Tombstone] contribute to the cooldown reduction.
  • This ability is not on the global cooldown.

Recommendation: [Blood Tap]

Basis: These talents are all defensive in nature.

In a single-target situation:

In a multiple-target situation:

With higher levels of incoming damage:

  • [Blood Tap] mitigation scales fully with damage taken, since its mitigation comes fully from RP generation that allows for more [Death Strike].
  • [Relish in Blood] mitigation partially scales with damage taken, since its benefits are split between flat healing and RP.


[Blood Tap] provides superior mitigation on multiple targets. And, while [Blood Tap] does not generally provide as much potential mitigation as [Relish in Blood] on one target, [Blood Tap] enjoys some unique advantages in real-world situations. First, you can pool an additional rune with no loss of rune regeneration, which you can strategically use when resources get low. Second, you can recover charges with time out of combat, when damage intake is trivial, or when kiting. With these advantages, better scaling into higher levels of incoming damage, more damage, and some unique downsides to [Relish in Blood] (as explained below), [Blood Tap] would be the most desirable option even on single targets.

[Foul Bulwark] is the only EHP option and could theoretically be used if it provides a level of EHP that is thought to outweigh the raw mitigation provided by the other options. While this is not the general recommendation, it si important to be mindful of it as an option.

While [Relish in Blood] mitigation looks competitive with [Blood Tap] on paper and even looks stronger than it on one target, [Relish in Blood] suffers from a unique disadvantage. Sometimes we need to use [Death and Decay] before [Crimson Scourge] procs for the snare utility and (if we are a (Night Fae)) there are times where we want to use [Death’s Due] regardless of whether or not [Crimson Scourge] is active; both of these situations can significantly lower the benefits of this talent when they apply, since they reduce [Crimson Scourge] proc frequency. It is, however, easier to use.

Tier 4 (Level 35) Talent Discussion

Talent Details

Option 1: [Will of the Necropolis]

Basic Description: This reduces damage taken at low health and is an increase to EHP.

Extra Details:

  • The initial damage instance that reduces your health below 30% is affected by this talent for the portion of damage that took you below 30% health.
  • This talent reduces damage by instantaneously absorbing 30% of the damage taken below 30% health. So, the damage reduced by this talent still increases the healing of [Death Strike].

Option 2: [Anti-Magic Barrier]

Basic Description: This increases the effectiveness of [Anti-Magic Shell] and lowers its cooldown.

Extra Details:

  • This also increases the potential Runic Power generation of [Anti-Magic Shell] from 25 to 32.

Option 3: [Mark of Blood]

Basic Description: This ability debuffs an enemy target so that they heal *their* target on every successful auto-attack.

Extra Details:

  • The heal does not occur when auto attacks miss, are dodged, or are parried.
  • This heal cannot crit and does not scale with versatility.

Recommendation: [Will of the Necropolis]

Basis: These talents are defensive in nature, but they all operate differently.

In a single-target situation:

In a multiple-target situation:

  • [Mark of Blood] has the ability to be active on multiple targets, which can increase its mitigation substantially and make it mitigate more damage than [Anti-Magic Barrier]. At least before considering its other issues.

With higher levels of incoming damage:


[Will of the Necropolis] is thought to provide the most benefit as a pure EHP option. However, the other talents may have their uses when EHP isn’t an issue…

[Anti-Magic Barrier] can potentially provide the most mitigation out of the available options (if enough magic damage is present), but a magic-specific mitigation option has limited uses in M+ dungeons, where physical damage, alone, is often what we are worried about (especially since BDKs are already better equipped than most tanks to handle magic damage).

[Mark of Blood] provides an often weaker, less situational, and sustained form of mitigation than [Anti-Magic Barrier]. It can be used on multiple targets at one time, but, even on single targets, [Mark of Blood] can cause us to become GCD-capped when used. This means that we often need to sacrifice other resources to use [Mark of Blood]. Swing timers vary widely in M+ and can have a large effect on the healing provided by this talent. Ignoring pure casters and ranged attack mobs (who won’t generate much, if any, healing), 2 second swing timers are the most common followed by 1.5 second swing timers, but a select few mobs have swing timers as high as 4 seconds or as low as 1 second.

Tier 5 (Level 40) Talent Discussion

Talent Details

Option 1: [Grip of the Dead]

Basic Description: This provides a strong tapering snare on [Death and Decay].

Extra Details:

  • The full 90% snare effect can sometimes persist on the targets for the full duration of [Death and Decay].
  • Sometimes the snare is not applied immediately to targets passing through the ground effect of [Death and Decay].

Option 2: [Tightening Grasp]

Basic Description: This lowers the cooldown on [Gorefiend’s Grasp].

Option 3: [Wraith Walk]

Basic Description: This ability removes roots and snares on cast, while providing bonus movement speed for a short duration.

Recommendation: [Grip of the Dead]

Basis: These talents all manipulate movement, either your own or that of your enemies.


The mitigation, damage, and EHP comparisons used in the other talent rows don’t apply to this utility row.

Still, the strength of a strong, low cooldown, and AoE snare from [Grip of the Dead] cannot be ignored in a dungeon environment. The utility of the other two talents just don’t provide a comparable benefit, since they don’t allow for easier disengaging from enemies and they are more disruptive for your other group members than an AoE snare.

[Gorefiend’s Grasp] provides situational utility in dungeons, but [Grip of the Dead] doesn’t allow for enough extra casts to make it comparable in strength to [Grip of the Dead].

[Wraith Walk] is useful when snares have no value, but that’s not usually going to be the case in dungeons.

Tier 6 (Level 45) Talent Discussion

Talent Details

Option 1: [Voracious]

Basic Description: This ability amplifies the effectiveness of [Death Strike] and provides a leech buff whenever you cast [Death Strike]. This talent has a hidden benefit of increasing the minimum healing of [Death Strike] by 50%.

Extra Details:

Option 2: [Death Pact]

Basic Description: This ability provides burst healing at the cost of also applying a healing-absorb shield.

Extra Details:

  • This heal cannot crit and does not scale with versatility.

Option 3: [Bloodworms]

Basic Description: This periodically summons bloodworms that sacrifice themselves to heal you for a percentage of your missing health when your health gets low.

Extra Details:

  • Bloodworms will never stop attacking targets you have damaged and are in combat with until either they or their target dies.
  • Once your health falls below 50%, all of your bloodworms will do their sacrificial heal at the same time and they will all heal you for an amount based on your initial missing health.
  • Bloodworm healing cannot crit and does not scale with versatility.

Recommendation: [Voracious]

Basis: These talents all focus on providing healing.

In a single-target situation:

  • [Voracious] provides a very large increase in mitigation, [Bloodworms] provides a moderate increase in mitigation, and [Death Pact] provides a small amount of mitigation.
  • [Bloodworms] provides a small amount of damage, while the alternatives provide *no* damage.

In a multiple-target situation:

  • [Voracious] becomes an even more dominant mitigation option, with more targets to leech from and the increased RP generation from multiple targets.

With higher levels of incoming damage:


[Voracious] is the superior mitigation option in any situation and by a large margin. And so, it’s the general recommendation.

[Death Pact] provides burst mitigation on a cooldown, but its overall effectiveness is an order of magnitude weaker than the alternatives on this row and it has no redeeming qualities.

[Bloodworms] is the only damage option for this talent row, so, if you are in a situation where a small amount of single target damage could make a difference, it’s possible this talent may help. An argument can be made that the value gained from [Bloodworms] saving its healing for until you drop below 50% health gives the healing more value as a smart heal, but it’s outclassed by [Voracious] to such a degree on raw mitigation that this aspect is not enough to make a mitigation argument for the talent (especially since [Voracious] mitigation via [Death Strike] is controllable).

Tier 7 (Level 50) Talent Discussion

Talent Details

Option 1: [Purgatory]

Basic Description: This ability provides you with a cheat death effect.

Extra Details:

  • Very rarely and for unknown reasons, this ability will instantly kill the player on activation.
  • If you have multiple cheat death effects, the effect with the longest cooldown gets used first.

Option 2: [Red Thirst]

Basic Description: This ability significantly reduces the cooldown of [Vampiric Blood].

Option 3: [Bonestorm]

Basic Description: This ability uses RP to do AoE damage and provide self-healing based on the number of targets hit.

Extra Details:

  • This ability does not scale with haste.
  • The healing portion of this ability cannot crit and is not affected by versatility.
  • Partial ticks are provided when the amount of RP spent is not a multiple of ten; the damage of this partial tick is proportional to the amount of RP spent, while the healing is the same as a full tick.

Recommendation: [Red Thirst] or [Purgatory]

Basis: These talents have no set theme.

In a single-target situation:

In a multiple-target situation:

  • [Red Thirst] allows for even more uses of [Vampiric Blood] due to increased RP generation (increasing mitigation and situational EHP), while [Bonestorm] is no longer a clear-cut mitigation loss (though it still can be depending on other character decisions).
  • [Bonestorm] now provides a moderate damage increase on multiple targets.

With higher levels of incoming damage:

  • [Red Thirst] scales with damage taken, since it increases all sources of healing.
  • [Bonestorm] does not scale at all with incoming damage.


[Red Thirst] is one of the two recommendations since the value of [Purgatory] varies depending on the difficulty of content. [Red Thirst] is the only option on this row providing an increase in raw mitigation, which is provided in the form of more uses of a cooldown-based ability whose mitigation scales with incoming damage. However, if the risk of death becomes large enough the second recommendation may be valuable…

[Purgatory] can be used as a method of dealing with situations where a lack of EHP is leading to occasional tank deaths. It can accomplish a few things: First, as you are moving into higher and higher level keys, it provides you and your healer a 4 minute cooldown mulligan to adjust to the higher levels of damage and to test new tactics. Second, once key levels get high enough and depending on gear, it is possible that you can be put in situations where you can get killed from full health with little to no opportunity for counter-play; as long as these situations don’t occur more often than every 4 minutes, [Purgatory] will prevent those deaths from happening. Third, it gives you the option of making high risk and high value plays that would not be responsible to make without a cheat death to fall back on (such as trying to preserve defensive cooldowns or foregoing kiting in dangerous situations). Due to how this talent works, the value you get out of it depends entirely on your risk of death and how it’s used, so it’s hard to define when [Purgatory] may or may not be better than [Red Thirst].

[Bonestorm] is the sole damage option and it does an alright job at that in AoE. However, its very often a mitigation loss in any *remotely* difficult content, scaling poorly with higher incoming damage and scaling poorly with gear (since we are losing uses of [Death Strike] that scale with mastery and versatility per point of RP). While this can be used on trivial key levels (where incoming damage is low) to increase damage at little cost, it’s recommended to swap to one of the other two options as soon as you feel the need to layer additional defensive cooldowns on top of [Bonestorm] to stay alive in AoE packs. As a (Venthyr), [Swarming Mist] often gives more RP than necessary to self-sustain over a short time period, so (Venthyr) BDK’s can use [Bonestorm] with [Swarming Mist] to negate a lot of the mitigation losses associated with [Bonestorm] (though they will still be missing out on the benefits of the other two talents).

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