9. PvE Damage Rotations
Before we get into actual damage rotations, this is a good as any place to reconfirm that yes, Blood Presence is the only presence you'll want for DPSing. Unholy Presence's extra refresh time just doesn't come fast enough to make a difference in how many weapon strikes you churn out. You will get more damage from the general damage buff on Blood Presence.
As far as single target damage rotations, your main object is to get diseases on, then churn out as many Heart Strikes as you can while they're up to do maximum damage. In practice, that ends up looking something like this.
I. Just before the pull, use Horn of Winter to give yourself some extra runic power and the buff. You can also pop Hysteria quickly here if you want.
II. Use Icy Touch and Plague Strike to get your diseases on your target.
III. Churn out two Heart Strikes with your blood runes. If you are fighting 2 mobs at once in close proximity to each other and expect the fight to last more than a handful of seconds, make one of these Pestilence. Your Heart Strike hits two targets, so having disease on both those targets makes it hurt more. IV. Use Death Strike to use up your last two runes. Yes, it is better to use Death Strike over Obliterate. Death Strike does a decent amount of damage thanks to talents, and won't remove your diseases like Obliterate will.
V. By now, you should have enough runic power for one Death Coil, if not two. You can use either Death Coil or Dancing Rune Weapon here, depending on your available cool downs and needs. You can also use Horn of Winter or Hysteria here if needed, but don't use too many abilities, or your diseases will drop before you've completely spent your next set of runes. VI. By now, your runes should have refreshed. Throw out another Death Strike, then, if you've been fast enough that your diseases aren't about to drop, 4 quick Heart Strikes. If your diseases drop, refresh them instead.
VII. Once your runes are spent, use your runic power dumps and cool downs again, be they Death Coil, Dancing Rune Weapon, or whatever. Once your runes refresh, reapply diseases and start again.
In Common death knight theory crafter short hand that's:
In short, your priority system is something as follows: Get your diseases up and spread to all targets, Use Death Strike, Use Heart Strikes, use Runic Power Dumps. That's how you maximize your DPS on one or two targets.
For AoE DPS, you can still do some decent damage, although again, not as much as an equally skilled and geared frost or unholy DPSer. You can actually more or less use your single target rotation, but use Blood Boil instead of Heart Strike. Also, replace your first Blood Boil with a Pestilence in order to spread diseases to all targets.
Most blood DPSers will use the following three major glyphs:
It's worth noting here that some blood DPSers replace Glyph of Dark Death with Glyph of Disease. The advantage here is that you only have to use one rune to refresh your diseases instead of two, freeing up runes for another Heart Strike. This also allows you to hit two targets with a more powerful Heart Strike since your diseases will be on the second target thanks to Pestilence. The downsides are a loss Death Coil DPS and a much more complicated rotation that can be easily derailed if you allow your diseases to drop. Because of this, switching a point from Morbidity to max out Epidemic is also pretty much mandatory. Essentially, only focused and advanced blood DPSers should try the Glyph of Disease route.
While there's no absolutely mandatory minor glyphs, I'd recommend getting Glyph of Raise Dead to save your pocket book, Glyph of Pestilence to make sure you hit as many mobs as possible in those massive AoE battles, and Glyph of Horn of Winter to keep that very nice buff up longer just in case your forget to recast it for a bit or can't spare the global cool down to do so.
Gemming is pretty simple: Gem for strength. Bold Cardinal Rubies are your friend. You really don't need anything else. Gemming straight strength will almost always give you better bang for your buck than gemming for slot bonuses or even for hit or expertise (That doesn't mean you shouldn't get to the hit or expertise caps, just that you should focus on getting them on gear). The only real exception here is that you'll want to socket one Nightmare Tear in activate your meta gem, which will be a Relentless Earthsiege Diamond. Yes, it has agility, which is technically lackluster for us, but no meta gem is amazing for death knight DPS, and the Relentless Earthseige has the easiest to meet meta gem requirements while still providing some use.
12. End-Game Enchants
Be aware that this list does not take into account any profession-specific enchants or kits you may have access to.
- Weapon: Rune of the Fallen Crusader
- Head: Arcanum of Torment
- Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Axe
- Gloves: Enchant Gloves - Major Strength or Enchant Gloves - Precision if you need more hit rating.
- Bracers: Enchant Bracers - Greater Assault
- Chest: Enchant Chest - Powerful Stats
- Cloak: Enchant Cloak - Greater Speed
- Belt: Eternal Belt Buckle (Not an enchant, technically, but remember to grab it)
- Legs: Icescale Leg Armor
- Boots: Enchant Boots - Icewalker. You may also want to consider Tuskarr's Vitality if you already have 8% Hit.
Welcome to Lichborne, the weekly class column on the newest WoW class, the death knight, where we discuss PuG etiquette and Emblem of Triumph gear for the Death Knight tank, 5-man Crusader's Coliseum gear for tanksandDPS,andbasic Death Knight statistics and mechanics. You might also want to check all the other articles in our Death Knight category.