The best Blood Death Knight talents and build in WoW Shadowlands

Use these tips to unleash death upon your foes in both PvP and PvE.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Death Knights are one of the most interesting melee classes in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands in both player-vs-player (PvP) and player-vs-environment (PvE) due to their damage reversal kit. While they might not be as effective in PvP as other specializations such as Frost or Unholy, they can still find their niche and help you climb to your desired rating.

In PvE, Blood DKs are one of the most popular tanks due to their defensive cooldowns and the ability to sustain themselves with minimal heal intervention in low-difficulty environments. While you might give your healers a couple of heart attacks due to how low you’ll be dropping during an encounter, it’s a normal playstyle. You have various abilities to heal up a lot and will be dropping in health throughout the entire encounter before regaining most of it with your abilities.

While Blood DKs might not be the best tanks in the game, they do have various answers to different situations, making them great overall to level up and master. In PvP, they’re not as represented as the other two specializations since tanks usually don’t find themselves succeeding in arenas with small exceptions. If you want to try it out, however, you’ll have a similar playstyle to PvE where you’ll be dropping a lot of health before regaining most of it with your Death Strikes and other defensive abilities.

Here are the best Blood DK talents and build for PvP and PvE.

PvP

Blood DKs are in a decent spot PvP-wise due to their self-heal and can be coupled with a DPS specialization to climb in arenas or be the flag carriers in rated battlegrounds. While your utility will be more useful in rated battlegrounds, some players might find playing with a Blood DK enjoyable in arenas as well. You have a lot of survivability and can withstand a ton of damage before going down.

Tanks take additional damage in PvP to ensure that they can be killed by other players, so don’t worry if you see huge hits from opposing players, especially during their primary cooldown activations. It’s recommended to trade your defensive cooldowns in these instances so that you don’t drop too low in health and are able to slowly recover it back.

Talents

Screengrab via Blizzard Entertainment

Level 15: Blooddrinker – This extra ability allows you to regain health over a couple of seconds. The main benefit is that it can be channeled while you’re moving and doing other actions, so there’s no downside to using it off cooldown.

Level 25: Hemostasis – Your main source of healing is Death Strike, so picking up talents to empower it is a great idea in the long run. The damage and healing bonus can be increased up to 40 percent, making this an amazing talent to choose.

Level 30: Blood Tap – This is a control-oriented talent that allows you to regain a rune on a low cooldown, depending on how often Bone Shield is proc’d. The uptime puts it on a cooldown of around 30 seconds if you lose Bone Shield charges every time it’s possible.

Level 35: Will of the Necropolis – This is the talent you should go for if you’re getting focused down. It will make you unkillable if you drop below 30 percent health with its 30 flat damage reduction. It can give you enough time to self-heal and get back into the fray.

Level 40: Wraith Walk – You’ll get kited a lot, so getting some additional talents is a great idea. This one will come in handy against casters who will do their best to keep a distance so that you can’t spam your Death Strike. Without using your core healing ability, you’ll be going down fast, so it’s important to pick up Wraith Walk to circumvent that.

Level 45: Voracious – This is another talent to increase your bread and butter ability, giving you more healing from Death Strike and leech for 15 seconds. It’s a great pick-up to ensure that you get the optimal amount of self-healing and can continue fighting for prolonged amounts of time.

Level 50: Red Thirst – The cooldown reduction to your defensive ability in Vampiric Blood is a great addition to your survivability. Since you’ll be using a lot of Runic Power to use Death Strike, you’ll get the ability back up more often, which will directly make you harder to kill.

Gear

Your stat priority is Versatility > Haste > Mastery > Critical Strike.

Versatility is your core stat since it increases your damage, while also making you harder to kill. While the damage increase might not be as high as the others, the additional survivability it grants you is crucial to negate your weakness. Haste is the best secondary stat after Versatility, giving you faster attacks and globals to increase your damage throughput. Mastery and Critical Strike are lower in priority, but if you have higher item level gear with these stats, feel free to use them instead. As for the Legendary item, you’ll want to go for Bryndaor’s Might for the runic power refund on Death Strike.

Covenant

The optimal covenant for a Blood DK in PvP is Kyrian. Summon the Steward ability is a great additional sustain tool and can help you avoid death in situations where you’re out of cooldowns or Runic Power. The extra seconds granted due to its healing can become the main reason you survived an encounter. Shackle the Unworthy is a decent ability, reducing damage taken from certain targets while also applying a damage-over-time effect.

PvP talents

The three PvP talents you should use by default are Decomposing Aura, Death Chain, and Murderous Intent. These talents will give you a debuff against enemies dealing maximum health percent damage, a chain to replicate your damage on enemies, and improve your taunt ability to give you increased damage in PvP.

PvE

Blood DKs have remained one of the best tanks in the game in Shadowlands. They provide great utility tools, especially in Mythic+ where Grip of the Dead allows you and your party to kite huge trash packs and wither them down safely without exposing yourself to too much risk.

In raids, you have various tools to withstand deadly blows from the bosses alongside a safety net in Purgatory, giving your healers a second chance at topping you off before you die. Overall, Blood DKs will always find a spot in both dungeons and raids to tank.

Talents

Screengrab via Blizzard Entertainment

Level 15: Blooddrinker – This extra ability allows you to regain health over a couple of seconds. The main benefit is that it can be channeled while you’re moving and doing other actions, so there’s no downside to using it off cooldown.

Level 25: Hemostasis – Your main source of healing is Death Strike, so picking up talents to empower it is a great idea in the long run. The damage and healing bonus can be increased up to 40 percent, making this an amazing talent to pick up. You can activate it to its maximum effect in small trash pulls with just one Blood Boil.

Level 30: Relish in Blood – This is a great source of additional Runic Power and a small self-heal from Death and Decay. It can give you around 40 Runic Power per minute, which should be helpful in getting off those crucial Death Strikes to avoid death.

Level 35: Will of the Necropolis – This is the talent you should go for to ease the burden on your healers. It will make you unkillable if you drop below 30 percent health with its 30 flat damage reduction. It can give you enough time to self-heal and get back into the fray.

Level 40: Grip of the Dead – This is the default talent to help you clear Mythic+ easily. It has a huge slow at the start and decays to a lower percentage, giving you and your teammates enough time to clear the trash packs while kiting them.

Level 45: Bloodworms – This talent increases your sustain and DPS by a hefty margin. The maximum health heal can come in handy in multiple situations.

Level 50: Red Thirst – The cooldown reduction to your defensive ability in Vampiric Blood is a great addition to your survivability. Since you’ll be using a lot of Runic Power to use Death Strike, you’ll get the ability back up more often, which will directly make you harder to kill and give more leeway to your healers.

Gear

Your stat priority is Versatility > Haste > Mastery > Critical Strike.

Versatility is your core stat since it increases your damage while also making you harder to kill. While other specializations might find stacking Versatility not worthwhile in PvE, it’s a great stat for Blood DKs in these instances. Versatility provides both a reduction in damage taken and an increase in self-healing, in addition to providing a noticeable damage increase, putting it on a pedestal in regard to stat priority. Haste should be your next focus to reduce globals and increase runes generation, while Critical Strike and Mastery should be avoided if possible. As for the Legendary item, you want to go for Bryndaor’s Might for the runic power refund on Death Strike.

Covenant

The optimal covenant for a Blood DK in PvE is Venthyr. It gives you access to Door of Shadows and Swarming Mist, on top of great soulbind traits. You have various ways to increase both your damage and sustain with Draven or Nadjia’s traits, making this the most optimal covenant. Other covenants come close as well and might be better suited in certain scenarios, but the overall best pick is Venthyr.