This thread contains both the simple and advances tanking guides. The first part is the simple guide, however if you want to get a more in depth look at blood tanking, I encourage you to read on into the Advanced section. There you will find logic behind the choices displayed here as well as some other blood theorycrafting tidbits (WARNING: there be math in them there hills).
Basic Tanking Guide
Table of Contents:
5. maximizing damage
The basic skeleton talents and glyphs are:
There are fights where you will want to deviate from this template. The common deviations are using Chillblains instead of Death’s Advance (tier 3) for fights where adds need to be slowed, using Desecrated Ground instead of Gorefiend’s Grasp if there are stuns you can get out of (and your raid doesn’t need grip for that fight), and using Remorseless Winter instead of Gorefiend’s Grasp for slowing/stunning adds (again if your raid doesn’t need grip). The only glyph changes to that template you might need to make for major glyphs is using Glyph of Icebound Fortitude if there is a frequent large plannable hit, but in general you will want to stay away from this glyph.
Multistrike does more damage than mastery, but mastery does way more mitigation than multistrike. This makes 2 viable build options right now:
Damage oriented: bonus armor> strength>multistrike=mastery*>crit>versatility>haste
*= you can do either mastery>multistrike or multistrike>mastery, depending on what you want to get out of your stats. Just remember that multistrike is very weak for mitigation, so if you are going full bore multistrike be aware that you will investing heavily in a “squishier” stat.
Survival oriented: bonus armor> strength>mastery>haste>versatility>crit>multistrike
Warlords of Draenor simplifies enchanting quite a bit. Now you simply use the same preferred enchant on your neck, cloak, and rings. In our case, you will either be using Gift of Multistrike (50 multistrike) or Gift of Mastery (50 mastery), depending on the stat priority you pick.
Strength is a very strong stat for us in WoD. Fallen Crusader is now the default rune at the moment.
Most people are aware that blood DKs use Death Strike a lot, but the phrase (if you need to) is kind of abstract. This is covered in a lot more detail in the advanced version of the guide, but a lot of our smoothness as tanks comes from how we time Death Strike. So how do we do that? To put it simply, you want to be making sure you use Death Strike after bursts. If you are still getting the hang of the class as a whole, just try to Death Strike after you take a decent chunk of damage. In terms of just normal tanking (boss melee hits) think about is as a heal, not a shield. Don’t sit on your FU runes forever though, as you don’t want to lose throughput. The way our runes work, you only lose recharge time if you have both pairs up at once, so we can sit on a DS without losing throughput as long as we make sure we use it right before our other FU pair comes back (within a second or so). To recap, simple DS timing is waiting for either a good hit and DSing after, or using it before your next FU pair comes back, whichever comes first. The rabbit hole of DS timing is very deep, and learning the nuances of DS timing can make a good tank into a great tank, so I encourage you to check out the advanced guide for the full rundown on DS timing at some point.
Keeping diseases up:
This is done passively for the most part, since Blood Boil refreshing them. Apply with outbreak and keep them up with the Blood Boils you get with Crimson Scourge.
Spending fully open runes:
As I mentioned earlier, we only lose rune throughput if you are sitting on both of one kind of rune (since only 1 can charge at a time). This means you want to avoid sitting on both runes.
Spending Runic Power on Death Coil:
There’s rarely a reason to hold on to Death Coil, so if you don’t need to DS at that exact moment, use it when you have enough RP.
Spending B runes:
This is just about using the right B rune ability for the moment. Blood Boil or Soul Reaper (or Rune Tap for a defensive option)
Spending Crimson Scourge procs:
This is free damage, so don’t sit on it. Defile does more damage in AoE and single target, so as long as the target isn’t going to move use that when available, otherwise Blood Boil
this is not blood specific, as all tanks need to know how to use cooldowns effectively. Using them effectively is just a matter of knowing when the big damage is coming, which is easier said than done usually. This is a large part of why experience is so important as a tank, as it takes a while to get the “sixth sense” of when to use CDs. In general, you want to make sure you are using CDs with mechanics first. Stuff like Executes on Nazgrim, Electrostatic Charge on Siegecrafter Blackfuse, high stacks of Fatal Strike on Malkorok, ect. If you don’t have those mechanics to worry about and the damage is purely from the bosses standard toolkit then you can use CDs based on your rune pattern. If you find yourself in a large DS gap, that would be a good time to use a short CD like Vampiric Blood. Bone shield can be used in this way for mechanics, but in general you want to use bone shield whenever its off cooldown UNLESS you have charges remaining. Charges dont stack, so wait until your charges drop before using Bone Shield again to get the most coverage.
Rune tap in 6.0 is now a small CD that can function as Active Mitigation. We will be using it both ways, depending on the fight being tanked. In general, it is best used as a bridge between DS gaps, preventing you from taking large damage while you are vulnerable. In fights with large burst mechanics (such as Siegecrafter Blackfuse and Nazgrim) it will be used to handle those burst mechanics easily. It is important to know which way you are using it in a given fight, since you don’t want to not have it if you need it for a mechanic.
5. maximizing damage
The frist step to doing good damage is to make sure you’re not playing slow. Fights are finite in length, so while it feels like each GCD is not very important by itself, there is a cap for the number you have during the fight and making the most of EACH one is huge. Always try to be using SOMETHING in each GCD (don’t spam DS though. there are plenty of resources to fill your GCDs without spamming DS).
use DRW offensively:
DRW is a solid survival cooldown, but it’s an amazing damage cooldown as well. It basically doubles your damage output while up, so getting the most out of this 12 second long CD is very important. The first part of this is using double diseases. DRW copies all our abilities, and icy touch/plague strike/outbreak are no exceptions. This means you can have 2 sets of diseases running at the same time, and the best part is the diseases applied by DRW DO linger after it goes away. It is important to note, you will not see them on recount, as they are neutral damage as soon as your pet fades, but they DO still do their damage. Doing good dps is about doing damage to the boss, not padding the meters. Just because it doesn’t show on the meters doesn’t mean it inst helpful.
To do this for single target, simply apply diseases after you pop DRW. Then when the pet is about to de-spawn (make a timer or watch carefully) use outbreak again, and it will put the copied diseases at 30 seconds again.