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Posts with tag Death-and-Decay

Lichborne: The hidden skills of of the tank

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

DPS guides are usually pretty straightforward. You have your damage rotation, your stat priorities for gear, and maybe an extra section with some tips on using some of your more esoteric abilities. Tank guides get a little bit more slippery, though. Sure, you can cover some of the same stuff you cover in a DPS guide, included stat priorities and tips and tricks for using specific abilities, but a tank will operate on a different level. They need to know when to use their defensive cool downs. They need to know when specific boss fights may require them to switch up gear. In some cases, they need to know certain intangible things about a boss and about raiding or grouping that it doesn't seem like DPS quite need to deal with. These aren't things that will ever really involve using Death Strike, but they may be just as important to being a successful tank as Death Strike ever will be.

This week, we'll take a look at some of these intangible things and discuss ways to make sure you're on top of them. Most of this will apply primarily to pickup groups, since at the raiding level, it's easier (or at least necessary) to make sure even healers and DPS know this stuff. But if you're in Raid Finder, boy howdy will you want to keep this advice in mind.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Switching death knight specs for patch 5.2

Lichborne Switching specs for patch 52
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

When a new patch comes, especially one with some major class changes like patch 5.2, it becomes a good time to reflect on your play style and priorities. Does your spec serve those priorities? With a new patch coming, it's a good time to experiment with new stuff. You can do it pretty easily on the PTR, and when the patch goes live, the game's got some fresh new content, so it's as good excuse as any to jump into a new spec and get used to it while killing trolls for all these new quests. You'll also be getting new gear, so changing up gearing priorities becomes easier.

Today, we'll take a quick look at all the death knight specs, with some of their pros and cons, so you can make a solid judgment call as to whether to switch and try something new, or stick with the familiar. This isn't meant to a complete guide to playing each spec, just a quick overview so you can decide if the play style and responsibilities of the spec are right for you.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Guide to PvE unholy death knights in Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne Guide to PvE unholy death knights in Mists of Pandaria
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

With Mists of Pandaria less than a month, it's a good time to get caught up on your chosen class' mechanics and playstyle in order to get a good start in the new expansion. With that in mind, we've spent the past few weeks discussing the various specs and how they'll play. This week, we add to the collection with a guide to unholy death knights in PvE. As a reminder, the following guide is for the basics of the class and spec.

Unholy basics

Unholy, much like its sister trees, remains more or less unchanged in basic look and feel. Of course, there's enough tweaks that there's stuff to learn, but if you liked the way unholy played back in patch 4.3, you'll like the way it plays in patch 5.0.4 and Mists of Pandaria. The biggest change you'll notice is that the new version of Ebon Plaguebringer no longer has the magic damage debuff or the third disease. They have upped the damage on our strikes to compensate, but it's one more little piece of unholy look and feel that's gone.

Unholy is, of course, played with a two-handed weapon enchanted with Rune of the Fallen Crusader, as you will need its power to get the most damage from your strikes, and in Unholy Presence. You will also want to make sure you have your ghoul out as much as possible, as it makes up a not insignificant amount of your damage. If you don't want to deal with a pet or want to dual wield, you're better off switching to frost DPS.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Guide to PvE blood death knights in Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Guide to PvE blood death knights in Mists of Pandaria
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

With Mists of Pandaria fast approaching, we continue our basic guides to the specs as they stand in the expansion. This week, we catch up with blood tanks. As a reminder, the following guide is for the basics of the class and spec.

Blood basics in Mists of Pandaria

Blood has changed remarkably little in Mists of Pandaria. Our basic setup is still using Death Strike to get our Blood Shield up, while trying to keep threat at the same time. Vengeance is now based off the amount of damage you've taken in the last 20 seconds, which won't be a huge deal but may lead to some attack power and threat spikes in the long run. Be aware that, especially at the start of a fight, you may need to work slightly harder for threat.

The two things you will probably notice the most are the 1-second global cooldown and the loss of 30-second Outbreak. The GCD change was one that was very much needed for DPS death knights but wasn't really an issue for us. However, since Blizzard decided to make that GCD change global to the class, we do have to deal with it. It may cause some noticeable downtime. That said, it will also allow you to fit in more emergency health-gaining cooldowns faster, so it may be a fair trade. Overall, it's something that should be easy to get used to and may work to our advantage more often than not.

A 30-second Outbreak is a little more of a solid nerf, in that you will have to deal with Outbreak's being on cooldown just when you need it most, but Blizzard has taken most of that agony out of the equation, since Scarlet Fever now allows Blood Boil to refresh diseases. Just be sure not to let diseases completely drop, and you're golden.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne, Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne: Unholy first impressions in the Mists of Pandaria beta

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

The strange thing about talking about the unholy tree since Cataclysm is that nothing ever seems to change. Don't get me wrong, unholy's been on a roller coaster of nerfs and balances, it's true, but the basic gameplay stays the same -- and more importantly, the basic problems never really get fixed.

So as we come into Mists of Pandaria, where are we with unholy? It still has a relatively unique playstyle, with a pet and less difficulty keeping diseases up (but more difficulty applying them because of the rune spending issue), but this same playstyle gives it a lot of trouble, as weapon damage scales horribly and strength becomes more important -- some would say too important. This is how it continues to go with unholy.

Today, we'll take a look at the upsides and downsides of unholy as it currently exists in the Mists of Pandaria beta and maybe make some suggestions for things Blizzard could focus on fixing once the death knights' turn for class balancing comes around.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Testing notes and goals for death knights in the Mists of Pandaria beta

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

With the Mists of Pandaria beta test under way, I'm reminded of an interesting discussion I've seen going around the death knight community. Coming out of Wrath, we were most definitely seen as overpowered, and starting a few patches later, we started off on a balance roller coaster we've never quite disembarked from, getting nerfs, de-nerfs, tweaks, and even the removal or redesign of entire spells and systems.

Some argue that we could have avoided this by being more thorough and honest while beta testing in Wrath. By not only advocating for what we needed but being honest that some stuff (such as, say, the stun effect on Death and Decay) was overpowered, we might have avoided a lot of heartache down the road.

Whether you believe this is true or not, it does highlight the importance of beta testing. Blizzard certainly has its own internal numbers and testing methods, but for those of us lucky enough to get hands on in the beta, this is our chance to help make sure our class gets through this great period of balancing. This week, let's look at a few things we'll need to focus on when we finally get those invites and get to beta test our death knights.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Death knight group utility in Mists of Pandaria

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

So Mists of Pandaria just got a pretty huge info dump, and while there weren't large amounts of class information in there, who am I to buck the trend and talk about something else? Luckily, there's plenty of gold still be mined from what we do know about death knights. This week, we'll be looking at a couple of the skills, talents, and mechanics coming our way and how you can use them to add a little extra utility and fun to your group experience, outside the normal tanking or DPSing.

Control Undead

Control Undead is honestly something I'm pretty excited for. Coming to us as a new level 69 skill, it allows us to take temporary control of almost any basic (or, I assume, elite) undead mob. Sure, it could be seen as mostly fluff, but it's awesome fluff, and I expect it to have some unexpected benefits.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: The state of the patch 4.2 death knight

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

Now that patch 4.2 has been out for a few weeks, it's a good time to look at the fruits of our nerfs. Patch 4.2 saw a surprising amount of death knight changes, from the nerfing of Obliterate to the last-minute buffing of Unholy Might. Nearly as conspicuous was the near complete lack of blood tanking changes.

With all of this in play, we definitely expected some shakeups when patch 4.2 went live; now, it's time to take a look at how those shakeups have played out. Most stuff went more or less as expected, but there have been a few surprising twists. We'll tackle it all after the break.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: You can tank your way to level 70 as a death knight

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

I've actually seen more than a few questions lately about tanking as a lowbie death knight. People want to know if it's possible, how to gear, and if there's any special tips or tricks you should watch out for. Combine this with Alison Robert's resurrection of her lowbie tank project, and I have to admit, lowbie tanking has been on my mind. There's no denying that tanking at level 60 is an entirely different beast than tanking at level 85, but there are enough similarities that practicing at 60 can help you develop a lot of the tools you'll need to soldier through those level 85 heroic PuGs on the way to those Satchels of Exotic Mysteries.

This week, we'll take a look at the average level 58 death knight (58 being the level your average death knight is upon leaving the starting experience), and figure what you can do to get in gear and get yourself tanking all the way through to level 70.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: The lowdown on diseaseless blood tanking


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights.

With everyone getting used to blood being the sole tanking tree, combined with all the new tanking style changes already here in patch 4.0.1 (and more to come in Cataclysm), we've been working at crunching numbers and figuring out strategies to deal with it all. One of the most interesting new paradigms to come out of this is actually a pretty old one: diseaseless blood. Diseaseless blood DPS did rear its head every once in a while back in the Wrath era, and now it's back for tanking. At both the heroic dungeon and raid levels, death knight tanks all over WoW are reporting diseaseless tanking as a superior playstyle in ease of use, survivability and threat generation.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

How not to aggro your tank with AoE

Reader UnstØppable writes in with a question I thought would benefit others: "Does the Bladestorm aggro problem ever get better? What I mean is, I've seen it countless times, the arms warrior enters the dungeon, the tank lets out a sigh (sometimes it's me), we pull the first group and everything goes fine, until he hits that Bladestorm button. That's when somehow he manages to pull aggro from every mob and their mom and makes both the healer's and the tank's lives hell or usually ends up dying within seconds."

Part of the problem here is that certain classes/specs have no aggro dump or reduction ability and as a result their big DPS moves generate a lot of threat. Arms warriors, most DPS death knights (at least the blood and unholy specs I've used) and retribution paladins have limited aggro reduction at best (pallies at least have Hand of Salvation but that's a band aid at best) and while tanking threat (especially AoE tanking threat) requires ramp up time, it's very easy to hit the Divine Storm, Death and Decay, Pestilence, Whirlwind or Bladestorm buttons. (Enhancement shamans with Spirit Weapons seem to be okay, I rarely pull aggro even when I go nuts with Fire Nova.)

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Filed under: Paladin, Shaman, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight

Lichborne: A death knight primer for tanking 5-man dungeons

Welcome to Lichborne, the weekly death knight column. This week, your host is in a bit of a tanking mood. Those Emblems of Frost don't earn themselves!
So when the Dungeon Finder came out, it was pretty cool even for DPS. A 10 minute wait for a DPS slot for a 5-man dungeon is pretty insanely awesome. If nothing else, it was certainly faster than the old way of sitting in Dalaran for 2 hours picking your nose and watching the LFG channel.

Now that the dungeon finder has been around for a while though, things are getting a bit stickier for DPS. My server averages around 15-20 minutes for a level 80, and I've heard some battlegroups are up to 30-45 minutes, even at prime time. To make matters worse, tanks and healers can continue to boast instant or near-instant queues almost everywhere, leaving the poor DPS green with envy.

Now technically, this is how it's almost always worked. Tanks and Healers get groups pretty quick, DPS has to wait around. And all told, the dungeon finder system is still pretty cool, and you still get a group faster than the old way. That said, now that we've had a taste of true power, I'm sure we're all loathe to lose it. Luckily, death knights have an out: We can go tank.

Whether you're a DPS DK considering going tank for shorter queue times, or a 5-man DK tank newbie looking to up their game, this column's for you.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Guides, Talents, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Emblem of Frost gear for death knights


Welcome to Lichborne, the Death Knight column. This week, Daniel Whitcomb is really regretting turning on his boombox in Acherus at the new year's party.

By now, I assume a good portion of you have managed to get on your daily heroics at least a couple times a week, maybe even have an ICC raid or three under your belt. If so, you're starting to amass enough Emblems of Frost to maybe possibly think about buying a piece of gear. Of course, the problem with Emblem of Frost gear is that it's a little bit more expensive than, say, Emblem of Triumph gear. You're not going to get away with gearing up quite as fast, at least not until all of ICC is open and you have a good group for the place. No 25-emblem tier gear here. So that also makes it important, especially for the more casual player, to pick what you buy carefully.

Let's take a look at the various options.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Guides, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Death knight leveling 68-80


Welcome to Lichborne, WoW.com's column for all things deathly, knightly, and death knightly.
So, death knight. You're through with Outland. You just dinged 68 in Nagrand and want to move on to whiter, snow covered pastures. Maybe those pastures are in Northrend. Maybe those pastures are in Alterac Valley. Either way, let's discuss getting through those final levels and pushing you through to the end game.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, Walkthroughs, PvP, Leveling, Guides, Death Knight, Battlegrounds, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Sartharion sings the blues

Once you start throwing multiple drakes into the mix, I love the Sartharion encounter. It's very frantic, and takes everyone performing. What I don't love is how hard it is to see the shadow fissures that spawn in the encounter when there's a lot going on. Red on red is awful, and then when you throw a Death Knight's Death and Decay into the mix if you're using one? It's pretty much an orgy of red, and you can't really tell which red is from what source.

I quite literally leapt for joy when Daelo, lead encounter designer, mentioned that they'll be turning blue in a future patch. It's a minor tweak to the encounter, but it will seriously help those moments when you have a void zone beneath a Death and Decay and you have a tank who is tanking loads of whelps and elementals which are already obscuring their vision. The hardest part of the fight isn't the movements, the hardest part is being able to see.

This does make me wonder what they'll do with future, similar things. The terrain alone makes the void zones hard to see during Sartharion, but the largest issue (I think) is Death and Decay. It's big, fluffy, and extremely red. Will they simply not be able to use red ground effects anymore? My raid doesn't do it, but there are raids out there that forbid Death Knights from using Death and Decay for the specific reason that it hides AOEs beneath it, so I have to wonder if there's a better solution to the problem than changing colors without removing the 'cool factor' of the DnD particle effect.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight

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