Thursday, February 5, 2009

Changes to DK in 3.1 and how it can affect a DS Tank...

So, some proposed changes to come out in 3.1 for the Death Knights has been announced. The unholy community probably won't be happy, and it sounds as though Frost is getting an overhaul, but Blood should be reasonably unaffected. Let's take a look, shall we?

* Gargoyle and Unholy Blight have swapped talent positions. Gargoyle’s damage has increased and runic power cost per time has decreased.

Doesn't really affect the Death Strike Tanking model. Actually come to think of it, it does affect us a great deal, or at least it can. It will grant us a decent amount of AoE threat generation. So, this is definately a good change.

* Pestilence – this spell no longer causes damage but just spreads diseases. Blood Boil is intended to be the general area attack, and has been changed to be castable on targets with no diseases on them, but does extra damage if diseases are present.

This one is interesting as Pestilence used to be a good half-decent amount of AoE damage for a build that doesn't have the greatest in AoE threat generation. This also begs the question about how Bloody Strikes will be modified since it's current effect enhances Pestilence damage.

* Unbreakable Armor now absorbs a flat amount of damage that increases as your armor increases. It no longer boosts armor.

Again, not affecting the Death Strike build, but I am sure that frost tanking will not enjoy this as the scaling element from additional gear later on will not benefit from this any longer.

* The Frost tree has been shuffled. Among other things, PvP talents such as Endless Winter are closer to the top of the tree where Blood and Unholy death knights can access them.

Not terribly concerned about PvP, so I can't see how this might affect the overall build.

* Sudden Doom – this talent now procs a Death Coil rather than requiring an additional button click. It works similarly to shamans’ Lightning Overload.

This, this is a big one. And I'll explain as you keep reading.

* Magic Suppression and Blood of the North have been reduced to 3 ranks for the same benefit.

Not really affecting the Death Strike build once again.

* Blood Gorged now grants armor penetration instead of expertise.

This is a huge, absolutely huge change and nerf. The loss of expertise is absolutely damaging to threat and increases Parry Haste hits. Although they aren't as huge a factor as they used to be, they are still always dangerous. However we can use this to our advantage.

We can move the points from Blood Gorged down into Sudden Death. The chance of a free Death Coil every time you use Heart Strike isn't a bad thing. It's more threat that isn't mitigated by armour, and if a few points are shifted around in the unholy tree you can get a greater benefit of damage from it.

The reason for this is that Armour penetration isn't what it was in TBC, and isn't as effective anymore. Mind you it has yet to be determined what amount of penetration they are putting in if they keep it like this.

I think the biggest benefit from the proposed changes is the Unholy Blight move. The additional AoE threat generation was greatly needed for Blood and the Death Strike (As many people have been all to happy to point out that overhealing doesn't generate threat) Tanks.

It will be interested to see what other developments occur as time goes on.


  1. As soon as i saw the patch notes, my thoughts were moving the the points from Blood Gorged into Sudden Death. Should be interesting to see this in action. And now there is AoE, sweet.

  2. The Blood Gorged change can be completely mitigated by gear choice, can't it?

    Also, with incoming changes to boost Armor Pen's usefulness, the change may well end up being a buff to non-tanks.

  3. I haven't read any notes on how useful Armour Pen. is going to be in the future, but as you point out this may be useful to DPS blood builds.

    For tanks however it is only freeing up 5 points, which I guess you can look at as a buff.