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Lichborne: Patch 5.4 set bonuses and legendary cloaks

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.

While we haven't seen many major death knight class changes for death knights on the patch 5.4 PTR since the last column, we have seen a lot of information on items that we have yet to cover. With that in mind, today we are going to examine the new tier 16 set bonuses for death knights, along with Wrathion's new legendary rewards.

Celestial Blessings

Rather than weapons (unless Gorehowl gets made into a legendary, which seems possible), we'll be getting legendary cloaks this patch. The final reward from Wrathion's quest line will include cloaks with some very intriguing procs.

Flurry of Xuen is a proc that will let DPS do extra damage as weapon damage over time. While the language suggests its channeled, it looks like it won't prevent you from using other abilities. It does, however, require the enemies to be in front of you, so once you have this, you will need to pay more attention to your positioning -- which you should be doing already, to be fair.

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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: 3 death knight tanking changes to watch out for in Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne 3 Death Knight tanking changes to watch out for 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.

On the surface, blood death knights seem relatively unchanged in Mists of Pandaria. With Bone Shield and Vampiric Blood off talents and back to being blood specializations, we have our usual toolkit in place. Death Strike still serves as our main source of damage absorption.

However, an expansion always brings with it unexpected changes, and there are a couple subtle little tweaks that may affect blood tank death knights more than you realize. Overall, of course, it's looking like we have at least another month of the Mists beta to go, so any of this could change at any time. Still, it's always nice to have the heads up. In the end, the large changes are the ones you see coming and the ones you can easily adapt to, but sometimes it's the ones you don't expect that can throw you off balance.

Today we'll look at a few of those changes, how they may affect your tanking style, and what Blizzard may or may not do before the expansion goes live.

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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: Preliminary patch 4.1 PTR impressions for death knights

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. Join World of Warcraft's first hero class as we head into a new expansion and shed the new kid on the block label.

Greetings, one and all, and welcome to the patch 4.1 PTR, where I am happily testing out the new death knight flying ability -- that, or I'm lagged to hell. I'll let you believe what you want. Seriously though, the PTR for patch 4.1 is out and active, and there are death knight changes to be had. These changes are large enough that I figure it'd be a good use of our time this week to take a quick look at them and figure out what they do and what they'll mean for our class if they go live.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Looking at death knight changes testing in PTR Patch 4.0.6

There are changes on the upcoming 4.0.6 PTR for death knights. Actually sorting through them may prove a little difficult, as the official patch notes and the datamined information sometimes say two different things. In short, though, we can say that blood has received a bit of a survivability hit, but a nice threat boost; unholy has both become a more solid 2H damage tree and received a sizeable (but expected) DPS nerf; and 2H frost has gotten a nice boost that may actually make it viable in endgame raiding, depending on how the numbers hold out.

Remember, though, that this is the PTR, and things may (and probably will) change before this thing goes live. With that in mind, let's take a look at what the changes say.

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Filed under: News items, Death Knight

Lichborne: The great death knight Cataclysm tanking stat weight debate


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. Join World of Warcraft's first hero class as we head into a new expansion and shed the new kid on the block label.

So here's the thing about figuring out your tank stat weights as you go into raiding: They're all subjective and likely to stay that way for a while. Between Blizzard's redesign of the way stats work, the way boss fights work and the newness of expansion, we're still trying to get the data we need to figure out the best exact way to min-max our gear. Right now, there are a few specific schools of thought on how to gear yourself for raid tanking, and right now, they all seem to be working for specific raid groups. Today, we'll take a look at the major tank survival stats and discuss the new quirks, benefits, and drawbacks of each of them as you start gearing up in earnest for the raid game.

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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

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

Lichborne: Emblem of Triumph Gear for Death Knights


Welcome to Lichborne, your look into the issues of the moment for the death knight class.

Ah, Emblems of Triumph, the new hotness. Even if you're not running the coliseum, you still have chance to grab them in the heroic daily, and by now, surely most of us have at least had the opportunity to save up enough to buy something. Deciding what to buy, however, is a whole different question. Let's take a look at the badge loot and see what's in it for a death knight.

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

Lichborne: Analyzing the latest Patch 3.2.2 PTR changes


Avast ye swabbies! Welcome to Lichborne, where Death Knights rule the Seven Seas and the rest of ye lubbers walk the - Oh. Wait. Talk like a Pirate Day is OVER? Well, dangit. At least I still have this cool buff for a few more hours.

These past few weeks have bought a flurry of updates the Patch 3.2.2 PTR servers, and a lot of the updates have a lot to do with Death Knights. Since we were the most changed class in Patch 3.2, it might be expected that we got a good amount of tweaking in 3.2.2 to complement and compensate the Patch 3.2 changes. Thus, it would behoove us to take a look at said changes and see where they'll leave us coming into the likely rapidly approaching patch.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, News items, Guides, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: The Rise of Blood in 3.1


Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly Death Knight news and analysis fix.

The Blood tree often gets a bad rap among those not in the know. It's a decent leveling tree, but it's generally considered not to have the tanking power or AoE DPS Potential of Unholy or Frost. By all indications, that has changed in 3.1, especially in the latest patch. Not only have many key Blood talents and skills received key buffs or changes, but the very nature of Armor Penetration has changed, with the 25% benefit buff making Blood's mostly physical damage dealing style well suited to take advantage of the change. This is quite a shift from just before 3.1, when many were afraid disease-less Blood would be wiped out and leave the tree with no viable hassle-free DPS specs.

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

Patch 3.0.8: Analysis of Death Knight changes


Well, I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I'm certainly having fun playing my death knight. I can solo a lot of the more difficult quests in the game; my Blood self-healing along with my glyphed Death Strike keeps me topped off and out of danger almost all the time; and I bring desirable buffs to parties and raids.

I keep thinking to myself, "Something has to change! I can't have this much fun all the time!"

Well, guess what, WoW community? You've gone and done it. You've gotten us buffed. Great. Just great.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Classes, Talents, Buffs, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

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