After toying with some specs over the past few weeks, I've come up with a bit of a hybrid build, still mostly unholy, but enough frost to get frigid dreadplate.
Here's a link to the build I'm suggesting:
WorldofWarcraft.com -> Info -> Classes -> Death Knight -> Talent Calculator
Here's my rational for the build.
1. I felt that frost significantly lacked the TPS I was getting as unholy. This was in all areas of tanking, whether it be AOE tanking or single target tanking.
2. Full Unholy down to UB seemed too "squishy" for my liking, as I was missing out on some of the mitigation frost had.
3. My hybrid spec still allows me to get Lichborne and Frigid Dreadplate, Both very good mitigating talents.
4. I felt that Bone Shield, Shadow of Death and the noticeable TPS gained from Unholy warrented giving up UA, Frost Aura, and 8 more seconds on IF.
At this point I'm all ears to hear what you fellas have to say about this idea. Is Unbreakable Armor better than Bone Shield? That seems to be the real trade off between the two specs, from a mitigation standpoint. I personally have found Bone Shield to be more effective, since it mitigates all forms of damage, rather than just physical. And as gear scales and avoidance increases, Bone Shield will only last longer and longer. Compounding this idea with my belief that Unholy is superior in TPS, I cannot justify a full frost build for tanking.
~This Duck Shoots Back~
I though of a similar build, but I am not sure about where to put the left points for DPS/threat; I never played unholy yet so I am a bit unaware of the dps/threat talents there.
My base build is this:
Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft
Pretty similar to yours, exept for desecration vs Magic suppression. After that I am not sure if I should go take scourge strike or go in blood tree (for subversion and bladed armor or 2hand spe).
Does scourge strike will deal more dps/threat than Obliterate?
I guess Crypt fever would be a good idea for a 3rd disease, so maybe something like that:
Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft
My goal with this build is obviously (I think ^^) to be the more viable as posssible as a MT, so I dont really care about trash and aoe pack.
I think bone armor (when we get a good avoidance base, I heard around 45%) + Frigid Dreadplate (3% avoidance not diminushed) + lichborn (great oh shit button), make a really good deal for this role (MT).
My only concern is the threat but for the moment it look to not be a concern ^^.
If anyone can give me advice regarding the threat part particulary, it would be much appreciated.
PS: I dont tried any of this spec yet, cause my avoidance is too low for the moment to make bone armor a good choice vs frost tanking tools.
First, for the sake of anyone here or any additional readers:
Bone Shield, Unbreakable Armor, and Vampiric Blood are the three hefty tank talents that were designed to be more or less on par. While each offers roughly equivalent bonuses they are each very unique and need to be used on their own criteria, not each others'. You also can't get 2, but you're a fool not to get any of them.
Bone Shield = 4 charges, 1 min CD (starting from the moment you cast it), so long as you have one charge active you take 40% less damage from physical/magic damage. This is used as a pre-buff, not an emergency button. You want this up as often as you can. It has the unique benefit that you can apply it 1 min before combat and it'll still be active and off CD when you start the fight. It also improves with avoidance, which you should be trusting in since we can get superior working avoidance to warriors/paladins. Charges have an internal CD, somewhere in the order of 2-3 seconds again depending on avoidance, so you're pretty much guaranteed a 10-12 sec duration without glyph (which I HIGHLY recommend if you use Bone Shield).
Unbreakable Armor = 25% more armor, 10% more strength, 5% more chance to parry. Obviously this gives you nice boost to your armor, a strong bump to avoidance (roughly or a bit better than a trinket on a shorter CD), and an ancillary threat/damage bonus. It has a 1 min CD and a 20 sec duration so it has very nice uptime, especially combined with an 18 sec IBF from Frost. If you're more interested in survival than threat (i.e. you're planning on saving it for life saving instead of threat bursting) then you'll like the glyph for an avoidance buff that makes most trinkets look sad and lonely. The % parry provided by the ability is not factored in DR, keep that in mind.
Vampiric Blood = 1 min CD, 20 sec duration, all heals from your abilities/pots/bandages and from your healers is increased by 50%. This is a little less of an oh sh*t because it is limited circumstances. If you have no incoming heals or healing abilities that you can follow it with, it does nothing. Used intelligently it makes you WILDLY easy to heal for 20 sec, and/or juices your self-healing way up (bear in mind for the latter that this is also a threat buff). This is actually a very powerful ability but it requires more situational awareness than either of the other two. The glyph for it makes it also start as a self-heal, one more, and on a 1 min CD, so very nice.
Now, as for Homey.
DK trees have a lot of good stuff and room for creativity, especially for tanks, splitting can work. The implications of your spec that I can spot would be:
1.) You'll lose distinct threat value because of a lack of Tundra Stalker or Rage of Rivendare. 10% less damage is very distinct as is the lack of the bonus expertise (note: expertise not expertise rating, each point of the talent is worth 33 expertise rating!). You can do fine without either as you should have a strong threat lead if you're otherwise sharp with your skills, and the increased damage from parry haste and/or the reduced chance to hit may be hard to notice depending on your gear. But it will be a distinct difference between you and other DK's, and it is a loss.
2.) There are some really great talents that you lose to get what you're after, Magic Suppression is actually a really powerful survival tool as a tank, and AMZ is a great tool for your raid or for yourself.
3.) The penalty on splitting too deeply into your second tree at the expense of the first is that you hybridize your damage (threat) source and so you lose some of the advantage of buffs that don't just stack, they multiply, so you actually lose multiplicatively, not additively.
It can and should work, and if you're used to it, you shouldn't feel like it's not a perfectly valid spec, but when you compare it to others they need to have their own ethic and values, and their own playstyle to match. Respec'ing for a single instance will likely feel awkward, to give it full exposure you need to give it good time to set in and for you to learn the new ropes and tools.
1.) My frost dps/tps kills my other specs regardless of aoe or single target, though I find it a little more challenging to get a strong burst at the very start of combat, to optimize threat I have a 3 sec lull before I blow past everyone. Unholy I like simply because I start off as slowly but it ramps up quickly rather than bursting up.
2.) If Unholy felt too squishy I suspect you weren't using your talents as optimally as you could. For example, always pre-cast Bone Shield before combat, be re-applying as soon as it comes up, (Magic Suppression, AMZ = big), smart use of IBF to fill gaps when your health drops or you know you're going to get hit hard (at the start of a big aoe pull, when the boss frenzies/enrages).
3.) Techinically neither Lichborne nor Frigid Dreadplate are mitigation, they're avoidance, but I'm being picky over semantics. They're both good, when used well, and I do miss them when I don't have them.
4.) UA and Bone Shield are more or less on par, provided you play to them to their advantage. That's a wash. Otherwise it's the apples and oranges that all tanks play on the balance. Threat vs Survival. Your spec is threat strong and light on survival for what the trees are capable of. That's a personal matter and every tank will figure out what matters most to them for that balance.
First off, I am happy to read an answer on this post, it dont understand why nobody seem to consider this kind of build.
I dont understand there; the only thing that I worry about this spec is the threat, cause we obviously lost a lot of threat/dps deep unholy talent (or frost).
How can you consider it light on survival? he get every survival talent that a unholy tank got PLUS lichborn and frigid breadplate.
If it's because of Magic suppression and AMZ, we can take it with this build (instead of Desecration mainly) but I tried it and feel it was too situationnal; anti-magic Shell is too short, you can probably block one spell or 2 from a boss if he chain them. And AMZ is nothing in any raid content (14K absortion is nothing in an AOE and even on a one hiting spell it's not even 2 cast).
I tried it in Naxx 10 yesterday and it worked good (despite my poor gear); I didnt get any agro trouble, either in single or aoe target versus the DPSer; the only one above me was the other tank, a druid, but he is much better stuffed than me. If threat remain a non-factor as it is now, I dont see a reason to not take Brigid dreadplate as a unholy tank, IF your goal is to be a viable boss tank (obviously a deep unholy or frost tank will do better in trash, because of the threat).
I still got some question about threat, especially the threat power of scourge strike versus Obliterate (since we get Annihilation with this spec), if anyone can help me on that it would be much appreciated
My armory might show me as full unholy dps, but I do tank heroics from time to time.
May be I play frost wrong, but I cannot see frost having better threat than unholy... I feel very rune starved tanking as frost unless I abuse Refresh Rune Weapon.. and that's on 5 min CD.
My heroic groups are full guildmates with very decent dps, and we AoE everything right off the bat. As comparison, I usually sit at 1-2 most DPS in PUG, and I am 4th when I go on guild runs.
IT - DnD - PS - Pest (Runes on CD). DnD and pest and diseases ticking are NOT enough for me to hold aggro over crazy DPS.
IT - DnD - PS - Pest - UB. This is possible since I use glyph of Icy Touch (+10 RP on IT).
With my current gear (20% dodge, 18% parry, 22k armor unbuffed in frost presence), I find BS lasts pretty long in boss fights. AoE situation is solved since I use glyph of DnD (20% chance to fear per tick).
IMO, for Frost to be closer to Unholy, Howling Blast and Frost Strike cost should be somewhat reversed, i.e. HB costs 60 RP and Frost Strike costs UB rune. That way, AoE situation is fixed (HB after DnD and pest), and single target is also fixed (FS can be spammed with Rune Strike).
The thing most people seem to miss, Faenorr, is that the "reduced magic damage" applies to any damage that is not strictly physical. That damage is everywhere, in almost every fight, especially in Naxx.
Magic Suppression = 5% baseline non-physical damage reduction, plus it makes AMS a 5 second immunity on a 1 min CD. There are loads of situations where that can be useful, and some where that makes you a monster since you can stand in things that would kill someone even with typical baseline reductions. I'm blanking on a good Northrend example, so think back to heroic MrT on Kael. At the one minute mark he lines up a pyroblast that will hit after mitigation for 30k, you can AMS and not only take zero damage from it, but you will fill your RP gauge. This shouldn't be underestimated and I've used it a lot as Unholy.
AMZ on the other hand is versatile. I will sometimes use it on myself alone to ease some attack or aoes, but it also allows me to provide the healers/casters or melee with a damage reduction that otherwise makes it easier to heal me/the party for a given encounter. Our role as tank is to protect the group, though often times we can't do more than be the hardiest tank and keeping all eyes on us.
Ravenous Dead is also something I'd heavily classify as a survival talent for a tank. 3% strength scales with gear and can be a noticeable amount of avoidance itself.
Now, I did mean that his build was more on the threat side of the balance than survival, but not horribly so, it's a strong build on both sides, neither is lacking by any means.
As far as Oblit versus Scourge Strike, let me first preface by saying, unless your health is full and not moving much I'll DS every time, the heals are additional threat, yes, but the healing is effectively a longer life span, and it can add up nicely. For Oblit versus ScS:
Obliterate = 100% weapon damage + 292 + 146 per disease (physical)
Scourge Strike = 60% weapon damage + 191 + 96 per disease (shadow)
If your average weapon damge (I'll use mine in my tank gear) = 1350
With 3 diseases,
Oblit = 2080 physical (mitigated 40% by armor) = 1248
ScS = 1289 shadow (boosted by 2/3 Ebon Plague) = 1405
The damage type is both the major advantage of ScS and the thing that makes it a little less universal. Standalone I'll put my money on ScS every time. The complete lack of mitigation due to armor means it'll go farther in more situations. As a tank you won't have armor pen on your gear, and I think it's a waste to stack it if you're unholy DPS. If you have a warrior stacking sunder, faerie fire from a druid, etc, it makes Obliterate a little stronger, but purely theoretically I think Scourge Strike will fair better in comparison.
Case specific you can adjust the math.
OP: Your spec :
WorldofWarcraft.com -> Info -> Classes -> Death Knight -> Talent Calculator
Is not focused and a mismashed of failed understanding of mechanics. Unholy Aura, for example, is huge on a lot of encounters, for yourself and for the raid. Ebon Plaguebringer : get 3 points. If you aren't getting 3 poitns, then get zero and either gimp your Magic DPS or let a warlock/druid provide the buff while you retain a 3rd disease. ALso, you are wasting 5 points into desecration. It won't be up very often, and even on fights you can stand in it 100% of the time (ex. Maexxna) RoR would be better spent 5 points.
Blood Caked Blades is a huge no-no. It can be parried.
Magic Suppression and AMZ are worth a lot of mitigation. Get them.
Icy Talons, w/o IMP IT, is a waste of 5 points. If you go down that line you are doing it to the buff to your raid in the absence of a Shaman.
Now, as for your premise of obtaining Frigid as well as BS. It is a good one, but you give up a lot in order to get it. Frigid on its own is ok, but not gamebreaking. Point for point it is worth the same as Avoidance, tier 1 Unholy. On magic bosses, it is worth less than Magic Suppresion. On movement intesive fights, it is worth far less than Unholy Aura.
Bone shield is the best tanking ability in a DK's arsenal. Glyphed it is up for 15 seconds miniumum (3 second internal cooldown) and affects all sources of damage, unlike Frigid or UBA. It can be precast before damage, allowing you to obtain its benefit while being unable to cast (think Webspray). With precast you can also chain two Bone shields together, something you can't do with UBA.
Boneshield scales much better with gear than UBA, and is more or less idiot proof- you can't accidentally blow BS and then waste it by not taking damage. BS is just a superior ability.
Either play to win, or shut up and lose.
I've been testing some new builds since. One particular build that caught my attention was a build by Effekt from the EJ boards. It's an Unholy/Blood hybrid, which I've found to be pretty damn effective.
The build is 23/5/43 or 23/7/41. It utilizes VOTTW for greater Effective Health as well as some nice threat orientated talents from the blood tree. The unholy talents are focused around Bone Shield and SS.
One pitfall I find in this build is the 6% haste debuff lost from Imp IT. This problem can be alleviated by any other tank specced to fully slow an NPC. You could theoretically put 2/3 points in it and have a 23/7/41 build.
Another problem that might arise is no Ebon Plaguebringer. Personally this is never an issue as I raid with a Boomkin and another UH DK so I need not worry about this talent.
The benefits from this build are massive HP gains, Great threat output, thanks to the blood tree talents compensating for the loss of threat in the Unholy tree. VOTTW gives expertise as well which alleviates any lost from Rage of Rivendar.
Can you put up these builds... i am having a hard time a really hard time seeing the rational behind some of your decisions.
Hybrid builds are usually hybrid for a reason, if you are not about max,min then i fully respect that, however if you are trying too i would be more than happy to run you through some of the pitfalls of your logic.
All of the decisions about what buffs you take in your build should always be tempered by your raid group. Obviously Ebonplague Bringer is 3 pts easily spent elsewhere if you have a boomkin or lock in your group (unless you're really looking for 3% to crit, which doesn't suck). The same of course is true of Imp Icy Talons.
Every talent is a matter of balance and synergy with the rest of your talents, no move is worthless, provided it's taken in the right place and used to its advantage.
Bone Shield is good, not awe-inspiring amazing, and it's about to be tweaked down in strength when they boost our passive protection in Frost Presence. It is a good match for the Unholy tree as far as providing that extra mitigation, where as UA fits well in the Frost tree where there are a couple other good talents for dealing with spell damage.
First of, my point is not to discuss about a very specific build, but a build that include both BS and Frigid breadplate.
So if you prefer to include Magic Supression, AMZ and even Ravenous dead, there it is:
Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft
I even included Unholy aura (at the cost of ebon plaguebringer) and removed icy talon (taken Black ice) to answer Njordus argument.
But let see:
Magic supression: yes there is a lot of fight that include magic but it's usually not consistant magic dommage so I think the impact is not that great. But ok, I personnaly liked this talent at first and anyway I dont really like Desecration; first because if you move you loose the 5% bonus and secondly it's more graphic on the ground and it become a really mess on aoe fight.
AMZ: I cant think of any situation where 14K damage spread on the raid can make a difference; even if you put it only on the melees, it's maybe 3k less each. But well it's 1 point.
Ravenous dead: with my stuff it's approximatively 21 str, so around 0.12% parade; maybe with bigger stuff it can be good but until then I prefer 3% of spellhit.
Scourge vs Obliterate: tks for the info; what I was missing was the reduction in physical damage (I guess the -40% is on boss?). As for DS, yea I guess I should use it more often, and the threat is a good thing as a tank (but then maybe the glyph of DS is a good idea too ^^)
Unholy aura: it may be great for a raid that always have it; but otherwise, I think, and with my melee char I will do it, that any melee should and will take a speed enchantment cause there will be some raid where the unholy DK is not here.
Icy talon: ok it's not great, but the other that you can take isnt either: Black ice, killing machine and Glacier rot will only affect Icy touch with this spec (who will probably be reduced in damage by the glyph), Runic power mastery isnt great by itself (we shouldnt be at max runic power anyway).
Ebon plaguebringer: ok I didnt understood why people was saying it wasnt worth anything at 2 point but I got it now
But, again my point was to discuss of this kind of build (with BS and frigid BP) against a full unholy tank build; and my personnal conclusion is that we loose some threat no doubt but we gain 3% to be miss and that's huge imo.
About frigid breadplate, someone said it have same value than anticipation point by point; first it's even a bit better cause there is no diminushing return for chance to be miss (as far as I know ^^); and secondly would you even consider a tank build without anticipation? not me. So i know frigid breadplate is a lot higher in a tree and we sacrifice a lot for it but I think it definitly worth it (if you want to be MT).
However, all this talk would be soon obsolete with the incoming DK change and I will personnaly go back to my favorite tank spec, the frost one (that I left because of the clear superiority of BS over UA+Guile of Gorefiend).
Last edited by Feanorr; 12-12-2008 at 12:51 AM.
AMZ works better than you might imagine.
Personally I drop it just to take the edge off (and it's worth 19k damage in my tank gear and frost presence), sometimes on myself, sometimes for the healers, taking the burn off for a few ticks or the duration of a debuff or aoe is often enough for the healers to forget a lot of would-be stress.
Also, AMZ shares a quirk with some other things like Grounding totem. If the damage is a single huge hit, the AMZ will knock 75% off of all of it. Heroic Loken for example, the AMZ will soak the blast on all 5 people making it a non-issue. It's actually a great value for 1 point, but you have to have the wherewithall and intent to use it.
I agree that Frigid Dreadplate is a great talent, but I disagree that Bone Shield is far and away the best, even before the patch, it is simply the strong universal mitigation to counter the lack of Unholy's other anti-physical defenses.
I'm hopeful about the changes, but I'll certainly be on the PTR to see how they shape up.
And blizzard seem to agree since they "nerf" BS, to counter the bonus on frost presence (they said we should not see a difference in damage overall but we will see) but they didnt touch UA; the change on IF affect both spec but frost a bit more though.
not meaning to bump this old thread but I was just looking to repec my dk as my guild healer has gotten better, he's been getting bored in heroics and some of my better geared dmg dealers want me to get more tps. So i wanted to tweak my spec a bit, aiming for less redundant survivability from death strike plugging in Scourge strike to my normal rotation.
as a side note, death strike's heal bonus is crap. 1500 to 2000 dmg and it burns a blood rune, extending death and decay's cd. your already loosing single target threat by not using a higher dmg skill and your cd push back is lowering your death and decay drops so that's less aoe threat. Its the healers job to heal let them do it. Death strike worked well while leveling and in the early days of me tanking but once your getting geared it starts to loose its luster I mean is a few hundred hps realy worth the slowed tps?
WorldofWarcraft.com -> Info -> Classes -> Death Knight -> Talent Calculator
So i was looking for a good build which incorporated scourge strike and allowed a lichborn/bs combo, with maximum tps when I found this thread. some of that old stuff in this thread seemed a bit outdated with the recent patch and I think the suggested spec goes too deep into frost. so the above spec is what I'm thinking of starting to use. and is very similar to my current anyways.
I think dk tanks need to take advantage of the dmg soaks and high tps to make up for their lack of shield, so that's my mind set when making this. use allot of dmg soaks and get my tps high enough to let the rest of the group go crazy asap. Less time in combat is less time worring about being alive. I normally start fights with BS, letting my rune cd, starting the fight, and then pop lichborn right away. I use Icebound occasionally to fill if my health gets low, or something unexpected happens. its also worth saying that using all three(icebound lichborn boneShield, trifecta) is normally over kill and leaves you vulnerable later on during the fight.
low blade barrier. Its only usefull for long fights and if the guys are in front of you. id rather have larger tps and unidirectional mitigation, but you could easily sacrifice two points of Rage of the Rivendar to get this back to max if your to scared to live with out it.
Icy talon, Njordus suggested that taking icy talons was a waist of talents without taking imp icy? first off allot of dps dmg dealers have imp icy and shaman have a similar buff so your getting the speed increase most likely from someplace else anyways. that kind of redundancy costs way to much talent points and threat. but, Icy talons is far form useless, your skill rotation should include a icy talon, plague strike, pestillince someplace early on in every fight to build tps, and everything in your pest range having their mele speed slowed by 20% greatly increase survivablity and it scales with bone shield. also note that its not avoidance so it works from any side.
AMZ(why anyone would think its a waisted talent idk), does not absorb 14k dmg, it absorbs 111k dmg before bursting, and thats 75% of the spells dmg. so the total spell output to knock down amz is like 148k spell dmg thats a good 4 or 5 solid health bars worth of dmg. I dont know why the feanorr guy on top thought it was only 14k. but he apparently doesnt like to save others/his health bars. also this thing work wonders to save your healers in cramped fights from aoe dmg.
no Shaddow of death, some people think it's pretty good, but the health gain is minimal and it really slows down your battle rez down time, I find it causes more troubles then it worth. but my main heals is a druid, mayb others aren't so lucky.
I wasn't so certain on "on a pale horse" option, I like the 20% stun reduction it gets me active fast when my lichborn is blown, but its not really that big of a deal. I just didn't see massive gains from the other options like blood cake strikes, ravenous dead or dirge. so the stun reduction seemed like the best of the four choices, perhaps someone can tell me if another option is better tho.
I might actually test out dirge just once to see how effective it is, but i never have runic power issues with out it.
Please forgive any spelling or grammar errors. enjoy.
Dev3, I think you're really coming at this from the wrong tack. Don't treat DK's as warriors who just can't use shields. The class mechanics are very different, and it's far smarter to play to the class strength than another class's considerations.
DK's are not damage soakers, we have no good reason to take any more damage than we have to. Our class mechanics focus heavily on avoiding damage rather than taking it. Blade Barrier is worth 2% avoidance per point, putting it stronger than any other tanking talent, available to anyone. It is only budgeted this way because we have to work and be smart to keep it up, but with practice you can keep it up about 95-98% of the time. The directional aspect should not be your concern, that is the case with all tank values, block is every bit as directional and if you're tanking with your back to things you're in trouble (and it is avoidance NOT mitigation, for semantics).
Death Strike is serious single target threat, but it is rather less distinct on groups, and as Unholy, with glyph and Dirge, you can get great feedback from ScS, and it is less conditional (DS threat does require that you need healing).
For Unholy, I find Dirge particularly helpful. As Unholy there is always a good way to burn your RP, and the extra RP generation actually buffs PS and ScS for threat.
Your spec looks fine, though there are 3 particular points of contention regardless of raid comp, that I would have:
1.) On a Pale Horse is pretty mediocre for PvE tanking. You won't see it come into play much at all. It's nice for PvP, and it's fun while you're leveling for speedier transportation, but that's where it runs out from what I've seen.
2.) Corpse Explosion. Anyone who doesn't take this now is either going on out of date info, or is downright silly! In 25-mans mine is hitting for 1600-1800 non-crit now!! On everything in range. CE + BoSanc has pushed my raid dps up to 2500 while tanking, it's crazy.
3.) Shadow of Death is a major one for improving gear scaling. The bonus gets bigger and bigger as your gear improves, and that Stam AND Str really do add up as health, AP, and avoidance. It's 1 point, though I could understand not taking it, if you drop On a Pale Horse you could get this and CE, and I think you'd have a MUCH better value for tanking.
Im not sure how much stam you have but even with 2k stam Shadow of death only gives you 20 bonus stam. I have over 35k health when raid buffed some how i doubt an extra 200 is gona mean much, or change my value. but who knows maybe someday ill be convinced otherwise. I'd gladly take it if it didnt screw with my battle rez but its to important for me to get back into action when things go wrong. I know im just being a baby about it too.
Thanks for the heads up on CE tho, im gona test it out this weekend.