View Full Version : Death Knight Question on Proper Use of DK Cooldowns

12-21-2009, 12:48 AM

I'm new to DK tanking (My main is a warrior tank, and I have a paladin tank alt as well), and have been running into some mixed messages on the subject of using cooldowns. I've yet to hit 80 (77 currently), but I've been using the LFG system liberally to get some dungeon experience as I've gone.

Currently, I'm frost spec, and have access to Unbreakable Armor and IBF. Should I be using these abilities constantly? I've heard some recommend this, saying that I won't be able to take the dmg like other tanks will if I don't. Or, should I be using them like I use on my paladin/warrior: to help survive spikes that I know are coming in my damage taken.


12-21-2009, 03:45 AM
I am a new tank as well; just starting tanking for the first time with a fresh 80 DK (original main was a Mage). I'd also like to see an answer to this from those who have far more experience than I.

Having said that, I am also Frost currently (2H for now, planning on DW-ing once I get the weapons to do so), and I've found that the following seems to work well: I use Unbreakable Armor liberally, since it has the shorter cooldown (1min, 50secs w/4pcT9). Icebound Fortitude I use more as my "oh snap" button, or if I know there are impending stuns. Obviously this changes if I know of a certain spot where there will be a damage spike for whatever reason; then I'll save UA as well.

12-21-2009, 06:55 AM
Well, when DK tanks first went live, we were designed to be "cooldown tanks." Then it was true that you needed to use your cooldowns well and often so that you didn't take more damage than other tanks.

Since then we've gone through many iterations, but we've landed in the same pond as every other tank. We are as durable as any other, give or take the usual little nuances of fight, gear, spec, and player. Cooldowns will improve our survival for a time but are not *necessary* to rotate in just to survive.

So the smart answer is, as a DK tank, use your cooldowns often, but use them smartly. Figure out when you're going to take the most damage or your healer needs the most breathing room and try to use them in those moments.

For example, if you accidentally (or intentionally) pull two or three groups, that would be a great time for IBF! If you're pulling a few casters, UA is not going to do you very much. However, if you have some fast swinging mobs or a big bruiser, or your health dips, the added mitigation could be just what the healer needs to keep you alive.

A big part of learning each tank class/spec is learning when your cooldowns fit best. Currently IBF is on a 2 min CD so it is worth using somewhat frequently, but I wouldn't use it at just any time, as it has a slightly longer cooldown.

UA, Bone Shield, and Vamp Blood are all back on a 1 min cooldown, so they're very accessible and I recommend using them probably more than you already did. It will go a long way to making you feel like an easy tank to heal, especially while getting your gear up.

12-21-2009, 07:11 AM
You've missed AMS, possibly one of the most amazing CDs we have!
Anti-Magic-Shell is a great way to make annoying fights easy. or to reduce magic damage spikes even more ( IBF+AMS).
I use AMS to reduce damage from nova on Emalon ( aka I eat it, take ~4k dmg and get a full bar of RP), eat deep breaths on ony without a worry, and generally get free RP from various spells, as well as reducing dmg if someone misses a frostbolt/FFB on LDW or Jaraxxus.

12-21-2009, 07:38 AM
Mmmmmmmm AMS.

Fantastic spell, and one that sets us apart from other tanks, to be sure.

12-21-2009, 08:02 AM
on trash i use cool downs re actively when needed. on fresh content bosses I like to rotate my cd's One min cd (ibf) every time its up. Ua i use whenever needed as often as possible based on the boss. Trink cd's are also worked into the rotation so I usually have 2 cd's a min when needed

12-21-2009, 10:20 PM
Thank-you! That is very helpful :)

12-22-2009, 05:54 AM
AMS is in many boss fights very nicely timed to be used to counter special abilities. The example that comes to mind is Emalon (as previously mentioned) and Ony's big adds (can use AMS every time they do their nova) but I am sure there are plenty of other cases. I simply love this cd :-)

12-23-2009, 12:23 AM
After playing a tank since vanilla beta, I've come to the conclusion that cooldowns should be used generally before you think you need them... I.E. popping IBF at 105 life will end poorly a lot of times.
Times I use mine -
Multiple trash packs, it gives healers and cc adjustment time.
Special, timered boss abilities with massive raidwide damage.
If my health is consistently in the red zone and healers aren't getting me topped off before the subsequent hit.
Obvious giant hits or frenzies.
I generally use a 1 minute CD on transitions between tanks, or fresh spikes as well, I.E. worms popping out of the ground in ToGC, taunting Gormokk, taunting Thorim at 8 stacks, etc.