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Blood Death Knight Gear Recommendations
This section of the Blood Death Knight guide covers everything about gear: stat priorities, gear recommendations from dungeons and raids, and legendary item rankings. This guide is written by
creates videos on Youtube
and authors the
Protection Warrior Guide
. He has previously authored the Proving Grounds Tanking and Brewmaster Monk guides on Wowhead.Updated for the latest patch.
Rotation & Abilities
Macros & Addons
Patch 7.1.5 Changes
Gearing priorities have not changed significantly in 7.1.5, but
secondary stats have been rebalanced
, new legendaries have been added, and gear from The Nighthold will finally become attainable.
Gear and Stat Priorities
For survivability: Haste > Versatility > Crit >= Mastery > Strength
For DPS: Strength > Crit = Haste > Versatility > Mastery
Recommended: Haste > Strength > Versatility > Crit > Mastery
Strength is a weird outlier in that it only competes against your other stats on trinkets. While it is a genuinely great stat to have at all times, it contributes very little to actual defense due to only increasing Parry chance, and at a lower rate than Critical Strike.
Stamina is, for most other tanks, an increase to your health pool and not much more. For
s, it increases the minimum value of your
, naturally), and it double-dips with
. It does not meaningfully increase damage output, and it does not increase your defenses as much as other stats. It scales decently against spell damage, but not that well for physical damage. Stamina is a good stat on armor and jewelry, but most Stamina trinkets are terrible. Stamina trinkets are only noteworthy if you need them to survive massive boss burst damage.
Haste makes your runes regenerate faster, giving you more resources and fewer empty globals. It is the best!
Critical Strike gives your attacks a chance to deal double damage and increases your change to Parry. With the
trait, it also gives a chance for
to reduce more damage (albeit ~29% as effectively as Versatility reduces damage). The diminishing returns for Parry are much stronger in Legion than in past expansions, and the amount of incoming autoattack damage is lower. It's great for damage and mediocre for damage reduction.
increases the shield percentage from casting
. The wording is a bit misleading, and the value of
increases with the value of your
. The "base amount healed" language indicates that
does not scale twice with Versatility (once on the initial
heal and again on the
Given the amount currently available on gear,
is not tremendously strong, but the AP increase contributes a good bit towards self-healing through Leech. Once we are capable of gaining enough to effectively protect more
charges, Mastery may rise considerably relative to other stats despite not being as effective at self-healing and damage reduction in a vacuum. At this point, this does not appear to possible even once fully geared from The Nighthold.
Versatility increases damage and healing, and reduces incoming damage. It is the only (and best!) spell damage reduction stat available, and unlike in Warlords of Draenor, Versatility increases the healing of percentage-based heals like
. Versatility double-dips have been eradicated, and Leech healing is only affected by Versatility when you deal damage, not when it is received as a heal. Although it does not protect
charges, it has a pretty serious edge on
at this time.
Blood Death Knights have no Pawn string, and their SimCraft module is not up to date.
Check out this article
for more information on how to create and use Pawn Strings with SimulationCraft for other classes, but don't expect to apply it to Blood Death Knight. Sorry!
Tier 19 Bonuses
Death Knight T19 set bonuses
are very strong.
increases Runic Power generation, compensating for talent changes in Patch 7.1.5 and providing more Death Strike casts.
causes Death Strike to generate resources as well, providing a positive feedback loop between spending Runes and Runic Power!
The Nighthold - Best in Slot
Aiming for best in slot gear in raids is a goal best left for after completing progression, as any upgrade is worth using, and a BiS piece may not drop for weeks or months. Nonetheless, knowing what pieces are your best options before heading into raid is a smart idea. Also, your mileage may vary based upon Warforging/Titanforging and your Legendaries!
is a strong trinket option when its passive effect is being well-used, but it is made considerably less valuable by Purgatory. Otherwise, it is a just an underwhelming stat stick.
Emerald Nightmare - Best in Slot
Noteworthy Trial of Valor Gear
Since Trial of Valor only consists of three bosses, a full BiS list would be misleading. Here is a list of the drops that are good items.
- rolled to Haste or Versatility
As a note:
(crafted via Inscription) is tremendously powerful, the best physical damage reduction trinket in the game.
, which drops from the world boss
, is extremely strong for its item level, and outperforms most raid trinkets.
, and Strength/Haste stat stick trinkets from World Quests are extremely powerful for their item level, and can be superior to many Normal, Heroic, and even some Mythic trinkets from Emerald Nightmare and The Nighthold.
rolled to Haste or Versatility is probably the best trinket a Blood Death Knight can hope to obtain.
In dungeons, many DPS-flagged trinkets like
can provide damage buffs useful for cleaving down add waves.
: Haste with an Armor proc, a great trinket. Drops from Assault on the Violet Hold. Unfortunately, Violet Hold does not exist as a Mythic Keystone Dungeon, so getting a high ilvl Titanforged
is practically a miracle.
: Haste with a solid self-healing on-use effect. Making use of the full self-healing effect within 20 seconds is fairly easy, but can be combined with offensive cooldowns or other trinket procs to provide burst self-healing. Drops from Vault of the Wardens.
: A strong Haste proc that grows stronger when you wear
(which drops from Court of Stars). Although the neck is not well-itemized, you should absolutely wear this set if you have it, as it is highly competitive with gear from
. Drops from The Arcway.
: The passive Haste is excellent, but the automatic damage reduction when your health drops has not scaled particularly well. As a result, this trinket is actually quite forgettable.
: This works well against autoattack damage and bosses who have special abilities that hit multiple times in quick succession. This trinket has been fixed, and it longer has a chance to refresh its duration. It is still among the best defensive trinkets available from Emerald Nightmare in single target tanking situations. It causes the affected target's damage output to cycle down over twenty seconds, then snap back up. The trinket falloff can be lined up with
or bursts of active mitigation, making it good for a novice and great for an expert.
: A large amount of passive Haste with a decent Leech proc on a 1-minute cooldown is a decent damage and self-healing trinket for tanks. Tremendous in AoE situations. This is categorized as a dps spec trinket, but a well-run raid should recognize its potential for tanks. If you are pugging or trying to coin it, this will be a tougher acquisition.
: Provides a large amount of Strength and a huge Versatility proc. Versatility is a good stat, and although Strength isn't tremendous defensively, this trinket is worth a ton of damage, damage reduction, and self-healing. The inability to fully control the Ichor spawn times is a drawback, but you can control how quickly you pick them up. A great trinket overall.
: The passive Mastery is decent, and the positive effect of the on-use ability is technically stronger than any defensive cooldown
s have available. While the negative effect is fairly punitive, this trinket is very good on tank-swap fights or for taking the edge off of major burst damage - and there are quite a bit of both in
. Use the trinket a few seconds before a swap for a free defensive cooldown with minimal negative repercussions. On normal fights, the negative effect can be covered by a timely
and skillful use of Active Mitigation, but it's not a great trinket outside of tank swap and burst situations.
: While the Stamina is not great, nor is the active as strong as Infernal Contract, this trinket is nonetheless solid for reducing damage. It works decently well against bosses on which you receive no breaks in taking serious damage. Defensive cooldowns are one of the biggest weak spots
have, and these trinkets help cover that somewhat.
: Being able to survive a random tank death is very powerful. That said, this trinket is made considerably less valuable by
. Now that the trinket has a six minute internal cooldown on its life-saving effect, its value has diminished considerably. For
s, this trinket is definitely not the highest priority, but great to keep on hand for dangerous bosses. Cheating death multiple times in a single fight is a strong, if small, niche.
If you manage to get multiple Legendaries you should prioritize them as listed below. Otherwise, good luck, and here's something to work toward!
are a solid, consistent increase to damage and self-healing from Death Strike, and pair brilliantly with the increased Runic Power generation provided by
. Moreover, the itemization is absolutely perfect. The definitive must-have legendary. (Also a reference to Skullflower, the legendary Death Knight theorycrafter who now works for Blizzard!)
provide a significant increase to survivability and DPS. Due to Versatility's positive interaction with
, every single cast should heal for more than 10% of max HP and trigger the Runic Power return unless you are affected by a healing reduction effect or have zero Versatility. Although they are poorly itemized, the legendary effect is strong enough to make them BiS.
is powerful and useful on every fight.
will typically be one of our most used abilities. Giving it the added benefit of providing a ton more casts of our most versatile defensive cooldown is invaluable. In Patch 7.2, the belt has received a huge chunk of Leech, making it even better for survival. It was already good for survival - now it's great!
is a decent alternative to
. It's itemization is terrific, and since we want to maintain
as much as possible already, this is a tremendously valuable effect.
is a trinket added in Patch 7.1.5 and is primarily an offensive tool. Its cooldown is reasonably short for a 30% absorb shield, and a percentage health-based shield is quite useful for Blood. The tuning on it is a little disappointing after how strong it was initially during the 7.1.5 PTR, but it is still a decently useful trinket as both a modest defensive cooldown and burst single target dps.
is an interesting legendary. In Patch 7.2, they have had Crit added to them, and now can scale from whichever is highest of Haste, Crit, Mastery, or Versatility. Although not as powerful as
, it can easily provide 20-25% movement speed, which helps amend the biggest issue with
tanks, their lack of mobility.
is a crafted Legendary belt added in Patch 7.2. The itemization is decent, and the effects are helpful for world questing, dungeons, and even raids. With the addition of secondary stats to most other "utility" legendaries, this belt's three sockets make it comparable to other suboptimal legendaries, but not significantly better than the worst options.
have interesting potential, as they allow
tanks to bank more Runic Power to cast
only when needed. In Patch 7.2, they also increase the damage reduction value of Bone Shield by 2%. Even with this change, they are still one of the weakest Legendary options, so if you have alternatives, you're probably going to want to wear them instead.
is best on fights that involve magic damage. In Patch 7.2, they have also received a big chunk of Mastery, which is a modest buff, but still doesn't really elevate it over options with equal stat budgets or more interesting Legendary effects. Although the increased duration is not usually that useful, it does provide significant healing when used as intended. NOTE: During Necrotic weeks, this cloak is tremendously helpful, as it can provide ten full seconds of immunity to Necrotic Rot applications. Particularly good considering how the class struggles with Necrotic.
Finding Gear on Wowhead
From simple recommendations to advanced filters, Wowhead can help you find the gear you want.
is a great way to search for gear if you are new to Wowhead's filtering system.
Choose what item category, gear slot, and class specialization you're interested in, and it will return results for you. You can further narrow it down by source--including gear from LFR and heroic dungeons.
You can find the Item Finder via Tools > Item Finder or Database > Items > Item Finder.
returns personalized gear suggestions for you and shows which content has the most upgrades.
Simply load up the
with you preferred character and it will list gear recommendations in a 20 ilvl range for you. It will also list how many gear upgrades each boss has so you can plan out bonus rolls. Finally, the character planner will perform an audit and let you know if you have any missing enchants, glyphs, or gems.
If you have a character in our
which is great for tracking vanity collections and viewing your character in our 3D modelviewer, you can click on the "Planner" button in the header to access the tool. If you don't, you can just enter your information in at Tools > Character Planner.
Wowhead utilizes a powerful system of item filters to narrow down the gear you need.
, you can enter in some basic options at the top--the name of the item, its item level, the level the players needs to be. The "Usable by" dropdowns cover factions, class, and role.
The dropdown menu right above "Stat Weights" opens to display a variety of advanced options. These cover the following:
General item info such as Added in Expansion/Patch, BoE/BoP, Unique-Equipped, Class-Specific.
Stats: All primary stats, secondary stats, defensive stats, and weapon stats.
Source: All in-game sources, ranging from raid difficulties to the Black Market Auction House to sold by a vendor.
Miscellaneous: Many of these filters are not relevant to equippable gear such as Crafting Reagents and Toys, but you can filter for items that are currently obtainable.
Once you've selected a filter from the menu, click on Apply filter for search results. You can repeat the process to filter for multiple criteria at once--for example, Agility gear that is found in Mythic Foundry.
Over on the right-hand side of the page, you can select a particular Gear Slot or Quality to narrow results even further.
Finally, you can quickly view a subset of items at once using the Database Menus. Head to Database > Items and mouseover the Weapon and Armor options for quick links to gear arranged by armor type and slot.
Back to Top
: Updated for Patch 7.2.
: Moved Artifact recommendations to separate page.
: Updated notes regarding ideal trinkets.
: Added a blurb regarding SimulationCraft and Pawn strings.
: Updated for Patch 7.1.5. Nighthold BiS list added!
: Added a non-raid trinket note, and updated some language regarding Emerald Nightmare and The Nighthold trinkets.
: Small batch of updates to the Legendary items. The priority was changed on paper, but not in spirit (moved the cross-class Plate boots ahead of two DK-only clunkers).
: This guide has been updated for 7.1, and the heading has been updated to reflect such (finally).
: Added a Trial of Valor gear section. Updated Emerald Nightmare trinkets section.
: Small update to Recommended stat priority.
: Updated Nighthold trinkets section.
: Further updates concerning Grotesque Statuette.
: Updated notes regarding the currently-bugged Grotesque Statuette. Removed a header that had been inadvertently left in.
: Found yet another conflicting mistake in community math. Started from scratch. Mastery is slightly inferior to Versatility for now, and that's my story.
: Iterated yet again upon stat priorities. Mistaken math from the community and a failure to immediately detect it on my part led to the currently (and previously) accurate stat priority being temporarily put out of order. Added to trinkets section.
: Iterated upon stat priorities and broke down the value of Mastery, both currently and in The Nighthold.
: Removed pre-raid suggested gear list and iterated upon EN BiS list. Also, changed previous changelog date from 2017 to 2016. Welcome to the present!
: Expanded stat discussion, re-weighted stat priority, and added breakdowns on Stamina and Strength.
: Added a pre-raid suggested gear list, an Emerald Nightmare BiS list, and a trinket breakdown section.
: Updated the Artifact Weapon Recommended Build Path.
: Updated stat priority and Legendary language, sorted Legendaries in order of desirability, and added Relic Priorities.
Unholy Death Knight Gear Recommendations
Frost Death Knight Gear Recommendations
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