Death Knight Talent Trees and Skills – Patch 3.1.0 – Blood

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

With 3.1 upon us, I have dove in and looked around at all the changes with the current build. Here I will be giving you my take on each of the changes for Death Knights tree by tree.

Hmmm, let’s start with…


Got some ROIDS

I was really hoping that Blood got the buff it needed to become viable against Unholy in terms of sustainable damage and my prayers were answered… to an extent. Let’s take a look into the world of the Blood DKs and how everything just got turned upside down for them.


  • Blood Boil: damage increased to make up for Pestilence no longer doing damage. It now does some damage to un-diseased targets and extra damage to diseased targets. Its radius has been decreased.
  • Blood Strike: Bonus damage for diseases is now a multiplier rather than a flat bonus.
  • Strangulate: no longer does damage and has been reduced to 1 rank.

The change to Pestilence demanded the change to Blood Boil to make up for the AoE DPS loss but if you’re Blood DPS then you don’t care about area damage as you should be focusing on single target elimination.

Blood Strike’s change is a big deal. The issue that Blizzard had with blood DPS is that the bonuses to BS and HS from diseases were not strong enough to dissuade DKs from going with the disease-less blood spec which rolled in with 6 consecutive heart strikes for massive damage. DPS change, but it has some pretty hefty tanking implications (we’ll make more threat).

Strangulate no longer does damage and has 1 rank. Don’t quite understand WHY they made this change other than the fact that it didn’t fall of when Rogues used Cloak of Shadows and they bitched about it; completely a PvP change and an unnecessary one at that.


  • Abomination’s Might: This talent can now be proc’d with Death Strike
    • More of a PvP alteration to the tree than anything else. This makes DS more than useful to a blood Death Knight in any PvP situation as it not only heals you but also increases your attack power.
  • Blade Barrier: Now grants 1/2/3/4/5% damage reduction instead of parry
    • Damn. Our heyday is over! 5% flat DR is definitely NOT better than the parry % but I guess that’s why they changed it. Expect to see this altered again later down the road to 1/2/3/4/5% parry to line up better with the talent from the Warrior’s Arms tree
  • Blood Aura: Replaced with Improved Blood Presence. Allows the DK to keep the healing bonus of Blood Presence in any presence and increases healing received while in Blood Presence by 10%
    • Does not augment damage done and it doesn’t affect rune CDs. PvP change only… and a big one. More details in the video link.
  • Blood Gorged: Grants ArPen instead of Expertise
    • Double Damn. Removing the expertise bonus means that blood DKs will now have to pick up 5 more expertise (skill not rating) with gear and thus sacrifice some AP / STR / Crit
  • Bloody Strikes: Bonus damage this talent grants to Blood Boil has been reduced to 10/20/30%
    • WHO CARES! Blood DPS focuses on single target elimination and not AoE damage. This change was made to reinforce that way of thinking
  • Bloodworms: Now heal more
    • So they’ve taken a gimmick talent and made it… more gimmicky? Bloodworms really don’t have much of a use outside of PvP except when you’re nonstop grind farming by rolling your face over 1-4. Doesn’t affect raiding in a significant way so it will still be skipped by every smart raid DK
  • Dancing Rune Weapon (DRW): Damage done by and duration reduced by 50%. Cooldown set to 90 seconds
    • I guess this is Blizzard’s way of giving blood a RP dump that isn’t Death Coil. If it is, they fucked up. Dancing Rune Weapon already only put out 50% of the DK’s damage (which admittedly could be 2.5K DPS) and that was when it worked correctly. Now we have to deal with a shorter CD, cool… but what do we do with the 90 second cooldown? That’s NINE RUNE ROTATIONS OF DEATH COIL. Give me a freakin’ break.
    • On this note, I believe it is wrong to complain about something and not offer a solution so here is my proposed DRW change:
      • Dancing Rune Weapon (Blood 51 pt Talent): When your Runic Power reaches its maximum level you summon a Dancing Rune Weapon to aid you in combat. It lasts 1 second for each 13 runic power you had and perfectly mirrors your physical attacks. While the Rune Weapon is active, you generate no Runic Power
    • If blood DKs went into Runic Power Mastery for this talent it would effectively allow them to have 13 seconds of better DPS at the cost of a no RP rune cycle. IMO, this is a good idea. So good, in fact, that I’m posting on the forums right now.
  • Improved Death Strike (NEW): Increases DS damage by 10%/20% and critical strike chance by 3%/6%
    • With the changes to how Death Strike works this talent (given its position) is designed to offer an alternative to Annihilation by opening up DS as a replacement for Obliterate. Unfortunately, this will never happen until my DRW change is accepted and the talent is worth getting.
    • TL;DR: It’s a PVP talent to keep you alive longer.
  • Heart Strike: Bonus damage for diseases is a multiplier rather than a flat bonus, no longer affected by Glyph of Blood Strike
    • The multiplier is only 10% which makes HS total damage 120% of its original if you have both the diseases we have active. Effectively cripples disease-less blood spec.
    • The second part of this change was a bug fix so we’re ignoring it.
  • Hysteria: Now causes health loss rather than damage
    • Well, I guess they wanted to address the bug where Paladins with Seal of the Martyr were unintentionally killing themselves. Damn, there goes my fun.
  • Might of Mograine: No longer affects Obliterate
    • Well shucks. Obliterate was a 100% proc for Abomination’s Might and a staple of the disease-less Blood spec (hence the nerf) to set up the max AP bonus and generate Death Runes. Pushes Death Strike harder.
  • Scent of Blood: Will now proc on dodge, parry, or damage taking, and grants 10 RP per charge. No internal CD
    • BEHOLD! Free rune strikes. Get this one.
  • Spell Deflection: Increased reduction to 15/30/45% reduction from DD spells
    • Meh. Blizzard nerfed our parry rating and then they buff this. Without seeing Ulduar live I think this is STILL a trash talent and isn’t worth getting at all.
  • Sudden Doom: Reduced to 3 ranks, automatically casts the Death Coil it procs.
    • Now that they’ve gotten rid of the GCD annoyance from Sudden Doom it’s worthwhile to take. Free DPS, can’t argue.
  • Vampiric Blood: CD increased from 1 minute to 2 minutes
    • I think this is an Arena change to be 100% honest. Having a blood DK pop himself back up to full HP every 1 minute was a little bit stupid. Converts this talent into Warrior Talent: Last Stand
  • Will of the Necropolis: Added 15 second internal CD.
    • Why not just rename the talent “Will of the Failure?” The entire point of this talent WAS to improve your eHP below 30% so that your healers didn’t panic and get you killed. Probably changed due to PvP purposes.

Overall Impressions

It seems like Blood got the PvE buffs it needed while at the same time crippling the disease-less spec. PvP has been made workable for Blood now that Howling Blast is gone from our reach with the addition of Improved Death Strike. I could actually see deep blood making a showing in Arena combat because of the way that Improved Blood Presence is going to work.

Too bad the Development team doesn’t grasp the concept of the words “Useful Additions.” Making Blood Gorged grant armor penetration only serves as a massive downgrade from the expertise you originally gained from the talent. I thought that Blood DKs were supposed to be the masters of martial combat from Arthas’s camp… not the super strong HULK SMASH ArPen machine we’ve been made out to look like.


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