Tuesday, February 10, 2009


How to... DEATH STRIKE! (Part 1)

So, here I am going to start my own series of articles about the Death Strike Tank, how it functions, and it’s purpose in a raiding environment. And the first question that should be answered is...

“What is a Death Strike Tank?”

It is a Blood Build that focuses on the use of Death Strike, and other health related abilities, for the express purpose of survival. By focusing on using Death Strike and these abilities you provide your own self-healing which gives your healers a bit of breathing room where their jobs are concerned.

“You talk about “health related abilities”, but what are they?”

Now, you are getting ahead of me. First I should explain what abilities are core to the function of the Death Strike Tank.

  • Death Strike
  • Heart Strike
  • Rune Strike
  • Icy Touch
  • Plague Strike
  • Death and Decay
  • Pestilence
  • Vampiric Blood
  • Icebound Fortitude
“Wow, that’s quite a list there. Mind going over them all?”

Sure thing.

Death Strike - A deadly attack that deals 60% weapon damage plus 178.2 and heals the Death Knight for a percent of damage done for each of his or her diseases on the target.
1 Unholy 1 Frost, 5 yd range, Instant

  • This is the bread and butter of the Build. It is the single most effective ability for relieving the pressure from your healers. And although it’s only 60% weapon damage, when you use the Glyph of Death Strike at max Runic Power you can increase this to 90% weapon damage.
  • The threat derived from Death Strike is: ((Base damage + Healing x 0.5) x Presence)
  • The healing component is figured out based upon the number of diseases on the target, starting at 150% for 1, 200% for 2, 250% for 3, and so on.
  • As noted in a previous article the Gift of Arthas Elixer counts as a disease for the purposes of Death Strike

Heart Strike – Instantly strikes the target and his nearest ally, causing 60% weapon damage plus 220.8 and an additional 110.4 bonus damage per disease.
1 Blood, Melee, Instant
  • Additional Damage and Threat is what this ability is. There isn’t much more to it.
  • Useful in multi-mob tanking due to its “cleave” mechanic
  • Threat is dealt as per damage
  • Gift of Arthas counts as a disease for the purposes of damage
Rune Strike - Strike the target for 150% weapon damage plus [ 15% of AP ]. Only usable after an attack is dodged or parried. Can't be dodged, blocked, or parried. This attack causes a high amount of threat (150%).
20 Runic Power, 5 yd range, Next melee
  • Great threat generator. Threat is generated as ((Damage Dealt x 150%) x Presence)
  • Scales with avoidance. The more you Dodge or Parry the more it activates.
  • Guaranteed hit (As long as your hit capped).
Icy Touch - Chills the target for 227 to 227 Frost damage and infects them with Frost Fever, a disease that reduces melee and ranged attack speed by 14% for 12 sec.
1 Frost, 20 yd range, Instant
  • Main application is to apply a disease for Death Strike and Heart Strike
  • Threat is as per damage dealt, multiplied by presence
Plague Strike - A vicious strike that deals 30% weapon damage plus 113.4 and infects the target with Blood Plague, a disease dealing Shadow damage over time. The strike removes one heal over time effect from the target.
1 Unholy, 5 yd range, Instant
  • Main application is to apply a disease for Death Strike and Heart Strike
  • Threat is as per damage dealt, multiplied by presence
Death and Decay - Corrupts the ground targeted by the Death Knight, causing 62 Shadow damage every sec that targets remain in the area for 10 sec. This ability produces a high amount of threat.
1 Blood 1 Unholy 1 Frost, 30 yd range, Instant, 30 sec cooldown
  • AoE threat generation reigns in supreme with this ability, coming in at ((Damage Dealt x 2) x Presence)
  • Best AoE threat mechanic available to Death Knights and should be used as part of your opening cycle to establish threat for the fight
  • Best when used on “Trash Mobs”
Pestilence - Causes 54 to 66 Shadow damage to the target and all targets within 10 yards and spreads any diseases on the target to the additional targets.
1 Blood, 5 yd range, Instant
  • Primary application is to spread diseases amongst your targets in AoE situations
  • Threat is deal as: (Damage x Presence)
Vampiric Blood – Temporarily grants the Death Knight 15% of maximum health and increases the amount of health generated through spells and effects by 35% for 20 sec. After the effect expires, the health is lost.
1 Blood, Instant, 1 min cooldown
  • This is the number 1 panic button for Death Knights. This ability allows for obscene amounts of health regeneration and healing, and when Glyphed it can last for up to 30 seconds of it’s 1 minute cooldown.
  • Threat generated through the healing is applied directly to the healer of the damage, so if your healing buddy throws down a massive critical heal on your sorry pincushioned but, it has a chance to make your friend look tastier than you.
  • Best application is when used in conjunction with other abilities as a “Oh Crap!” macro, since it doesn’t share GCD with other abilities.
Icebound Fortitude - The Death Knight freezes his or her blood to become immune to Stun effects and reduce all damage taken by 20% plus additional damage reduction based on Defense for 12 sec. Does not remove existing Stun effects.
20 Runic Power, Instant, 1 min cooldown
  • Another key component in the “Panic Button” section of Death Knight tanking.
  • This ability comes as a baseline ability available for all specs
  • When coupled with a Glyphed Vampiric Blood you end up with 42/60 seconds of enhanced tanking.
  • The additional damage reduction mechanics haven’t been figured out precisely yet, but it is speculated that as you approach or pass 540 defense the reduction is close to 35%
  • Best application is when used in conjunction with other abilities as a “Oh Crap!” macro, since it doesn’t share GCD with other abilities.
And so that rounds out the basic abilities that you would be using most often as a Death Strike Tank. What do you think?

“I think I need to rest my head a bit, that’s too much!”

Alright then, in that case... You go and rest your head and I’ll be back later with Part 2, where we will cover Talent Choices!

1 comment:

  1. THIS IS AWESOME! I was told about this blog by a friend, Thaazak, AKA Josh. he said that this is a really good way to learn about this style of tanking, and he was right

    Keep it up

    Attila :)