Death Knight Tanking Tips and Tricks + Newcomer guide.
Hello my name is Venedia, and i play on the server Outland.
I've been playing the tanking role since vanilla launch, back then i played a warrior tho, but i wanted to try something new at the launch of Wrath of the Lichking and i decided to roll Death knight since it was a new class and it could still tank, okay but enough about this you are here for some tips for YOUR tanking.
First to start off you need the right spec.
There are two different basic ways of the Death Knights tanking
One being a "Diseaseless" tank
and one being a tank using the diseases
Both of them are quite good and quite strong, and are to the players likeing which to choose.
The strong sides of being in a disease less tanking spec:
You will be able to spam your Death Strike ability and therefore being able to keep your Blood Shield up more often.
You will Heal your self more, giving the healers a easier time.
The weak points of being in a disease less tanking spec:
You will have a harder time dealing with larger AoE packs than 3 mobs, simply because your Heart strike ability only hits 3 mobs.
Your Blood boil will be weak, due to no diseases.
The Strong sides of being in a disease using tanking spec:
You will have an easy time dealing with AoE packs because your Blood boil will hard, and if you choose [Scarlet Fever] Talent and [Crimson Scourge] you will be able to refresh your blood boil by using your plague strike.
You will make the adds hit 20% less, which helps the healer
The weak points of being in a disease using tanking spec:
You wont heal as often with your death strike, making your healer having a hard time.
You can replace the scarlet fever debuff effect with a paladins Vindication talent, a Warriors Demoralizing Shout or a druids Demoralizing Roar.
You wont have a benefit in melee groups as a disease less tank has.
I have personally went with a bit of both, which works for me and that is something i am happy about.
Okay i will now put out the different Death Knight glyphs you can have, and tell which has what benefits for your tanking (reminder: choose what you like this is only a hint)
Glyph of Death and Decay(Grants your death and decay spell to stay on the ground 50% longer): This glyph is something i really like to use specially as a disease less tank for keeping aggro. since Cataclysm hit you have been able to use Death and Decay sort of the same way like paladins use the Concecration.
Glyph of Death Coil(increases your damage and healing done with Deathcoil by 15%: This glyph is not really something i would recommend any tank to take, since you will be using most of your runic power on Rune Strikes, as your main threat ability.
Glyph of Death Strike(Increases your dmg done by Death strike by 2% for each 5 runic power you have): This is simply just some extra threat to single target, it wont make your death strike heal for more or less.
Glyph of Heart Strike(Damage increase on Heart strike by 30%): This glyph is very recommended to Disease less tanks, since your main ability is heart strike.
Glyph of Icy Touch(Damage increase on Icy Touch by 20%): Threat bonus and very good for kiting
Glyph of Rune Strike(Crit chance increase on Rune Strike by 10%): very recommended as rune strike is your strong threat ability.
Glyph of Anti-magic shell(makes your shell stay for 2 seconds longer): Good vs caster packs.
Glyph of Blood Boil(increase the size of your blood boil): It is good and bad, can break cc and can also grap some mobs if they are a bit far away.
Glyph of Bone Shield(increase run speed by 15% when bone shield is up): This is only for kiting, it has no other purpose. (maybe wipe running)
Glyph of Chains of Ice(makes your Chains of Ice do Damage): Pointless for a tank, pvp purpose glyph.
Glyph of Dancing rune Weapon(Makes you do 50% more threat when you pop Rune weapon): Very good for desperate situations + the spell it self gives you a dmg bonus.
Glyph of Pestilence(increases the range of your pestilence): Same as blood boil.
Glyph of Rune tap(heals your group for 5% of their total health): Very good desperate situations also helps your healer, just in general.
Glyph of Vampiric blood(makes your Vampiric blood stay for 12 seconds): Need to have.
Glyph of Blood Tap(makes your Blood tap no longer harm you): Need to have, you will be using that spell alot.
Glyph of Horn of winter(makes your Horn of winter stay for 3min): Very nice to have, but you will be rebuffing this whenever ur out of runes to get runic power.
Glyph of Path of frost(makes you able to fall longer without taking damage): Nice in case you get hit by spells that knock you up in the air, to take least possible fall damage.
If you started playing during WotLK, all you know is wrong stamina is not a magic god that saves you
Helm Enchant: [Arcanum of the Earthen Ring] (Stats: 90 Stam + 35 Dodge) This is gained by being revered with The Earthen Ring
Shoulder Enchant: [Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz] (Stats: 75 Stam + 25 Dodge) This is gained by being Exalted with Therazane *Note* there is a lesser version which is accessible at honnored *Note*
Now we come to the interesting, the big difference between WotLK and Cataclysm is that you just cant gem 1 gem all the way such as Stamina or Defense
There are different stats which all have different meaning for the different class's such as Agility is awesome for Hunters, but kinda suck for a Warrior.
Stats meanings for DK's
Strength: Gives 2 Attack power for each str point, it also gives 0.25 parry each point
Agility: Gives 2 armor for each point, extra crit chance and increases your dodge by 0.25 each point
Stamina: Hardcore health nothing more
Spirit and Intellect does nothing for DK's
Dodge and Parry are both what is avoidance, but what you might not know is when you have for example dodged a melee attack, your next dodge chance will be alot lower than the one before, and will keep decreasing till you finally get so low that you don't dodge for 2.3 sec, and then it will go back up again.
Same goes for Parry although the decrease from diminishing returns ain't as big as the one for dodge.
These two avoidance stats don't affect each other and are in no way a shared pool, meaning if you have 10% dodge and 10% parry and you dodge a strike, then your parry will still remain at 10%, until you parry and attack.
Knowing this will tell us not to stack 1 avoidance stat like dodge or parry, but both.
No brainer for the meta gem is always [Austere Shadowspirit Diamond] (stats:81 Stam + 2% armor)
For blue sockets you should go for Avoidance + Stamina (of course depending on your situation if you are not Hit capped you should go for that first.)
For Yellow sockets you should go for the Stalwart gems, which gives both parry and dodge (Depending if your expertise capped, then go for that first.)
For red sockets Avoidance + Stamina.
The Tanking it self
*Note*Death Knights have gained a new spell called [Runic Empowerment] basicly, what it does is that it makes your spells go out flowish, so you don't stand runeless all of the sudden.*Note*
AoE pack Tanking(disease less)
Okay as mentioned above you have a hard time on these annoying packs.
First off you will want the CC to know what targets to CC (mainly the casters), the second they pull a pack using Sheep, hunter trap and fear etc. you cast a Death and Decay before your group (make your not to hit the CC'ed targets), if 1 caster is not cc'ed use your death grip ability on it and grap it to the rest of the mob group.
Now you have some mobs before you and with the rest of your group behind them. all you do from here is spam Heart Strike + Death Strike (Use Rune Strike when it is up), use a Blood Tap to get your runes up quicker if you feel like it, same goes for Empowered rune weapon.
Blow your Icebound fortitude or Anti-magic shell if you see that the healer is having a hard time keeping you up. *Note* Icebound fortitude also gives dmg reduction to spells *Note*
when all the targets are dead your death grip should be ready again and you can pull 1 cc'ed mob out of the cc'ed group and kill it, and from there it is quite easy to handle
Single Target Tanking (disease less)
Okay this one is really simple
Do a pull with Icy Touch to built some threat in range, then follow up with Heart strike + Death strike spam (while still remembering Rune Strike) use an occasional Death coil to dumb your runic power, but not to low you still want enough for a interrupt if needed.
Remember to use Defensive cooldowns like vamp blood, fortitude or anti-magic shell.
*note*Always keep boss's with the back to your group, the dps does more dmg to him there*note*
AoE packs tanking with diseases
This is where your spec kicks in, this is what you have chosen your spec for.
Start off as the disease less tanking but now where you have dropped your death and decay and you have the mob positioned, you start off with a Blood boil, then icy touch, then Plague strike, then throw a pestilence to spread your lovely diseases, now you have proced your talent Crimson scourge by using plague strike and you can now use a free blood boil + 2 extra. (Remember to use Rune Strike)
Also blow your defensive cooldowns if the healer is having a hard time.
Single Target Tanking with diseases
Start off with a Icy Touch then a blood boil, plague strike, death strike to get your shield, Heart strike, Free blood boil and then you just follow it from there how you feel like it is working.
Death strike if you run low on HP
Defensives if your healer is having a hard time and so on.
This was my current guide for the new comers of Death Knight tanking.
Feel free to ask questions and add suggestions.