View Full Forums : DK Tanking

11-14-2008, 09:49 AM
Feel free to move this thread to a different category, but I figured since it has to do with tanking I'd ask my feral friends.

I want my DK to tank. But, I've never had a tank and I know very little about it - least of all for a DK. So I thought I'd start here and branch out.

Will DK gear be somewhat the same as a druid tank set? +defense +dodge +stamina +parry?

And as some of you get your DK's rolling (and tanking) please submit your spell rotations so that I can get an idea of how to do this.

Of course, it will become clearer with practice, but let's face it, who better to ask before I go jumping in?

I did find some builds for interest's sake:



What Race did you choose for your DK?

I rolled a Male Night Elf. I guess I'm kind of partial to NE's.

11-14-2008, 12:12 PM
Well, to start, I have no intention of rolling a DK for any other purpose than a profession slave. But, I would think that DK's stats are going to stack more like a Paladin than a druid.

Druid talents make us unique in our need to ignore +Def, and for the most part +armor (not because armor is unimportant but because blizz has it in their minds to remove armor as a stat from bear tanking)

I would think for a DK you will want to reach there +def cap first (6% avoidance to crits) then stack Armor, Stam, Hit/Expertise, Spellpower/AP.

Just a note for all tanks: Armor Penetration is becoming much more important in WotLK. I lost about 10%-15% of my damage going from TBC dungeons to WotLK. Targets are much more armored!

11-14-2008, 02:21 PM
There's also a very nice talents/skills guideline posted over at TankSpot -- Death Knight AOE Tank, MT Spec and Rotations (

Above link doesn't have anything about gear, but accg. to the ElitistJerks compendium ( --

6.1.8. Spell Power

Don't get it. None of our spells/abilities/diseases are affected by Spell Power. None. Nada. Nothing.

11-14-2008, 04:26 PM
Ryan, great site - thank you.

Now, if I may ask some noob tanking questions:

What is the difference between the 3 tanking builds that are listed? Why would one need 3 tanking builds?

I would think that AOE tanking would be good for raids, but then he lists an actual "raid" tanking build just below it.

I'm just not sure of the differences....

11-14-2008, 10:45 PM
What is the difference between the 3 tanking builds that are listed? Why would one need 3 tanking builds?
From the looks of it the thread author just wanted to explain what each tree is primarily good for.

Unholy Blight (, Wandering Plague (, Bone Shield ( & Desecration ( all make the Unholy tree a great spec for aoe trash situations.

Guile of Gorefiend (, Unbreakable Armor (, Frigid Dreadplate (, Lichborne (, Imp. Icy Touch ( and Toughness ( in the Frost tree maximize avoidance and mitigation for standing toe-to-toe against a skull-level boss.

I didn't actually try Blood spec in beta but from just looking through that tree there are a lot of healing effects involved. If these are similar to the paly's Judgement of Light, the spell caster (DK) gets credited with the threat.

11-18-2008, 04:09 PM
I've read up on DKs quite a bit, and having healed on through level 75 content so far here's my perceptions:

- they aren't level defense capped usually and have lot +def from gear, so they get crit in the face....a lot :(

- gearing up to tank focus on +def +stam +parry +str/ap +expertise

As Ryan4nayr posted, the specs just change your focus. Unholy is AoE-tastic, and I'm having a blast healing our unholy DK in instances and watching him tank like a pally ( but he's still getting crit a bunch :( )

11-18-2008, 07:10 PM
My DK is only 61 right now (I went male UD)... between 2000+ people queues on Blackrock and RL stuff I haven't had much time to devote to WoW.

From what I have gathered, Blood is the single-target DPS tree. Works for OT'ing. Frost is the MT tree. Unholy is the PvP / AoE tree.

DK's get a LOT of benefit from Parry. I'd assume that the standard +def gear will be necessary to reach the uncrittable cap. Especially as DK's cant Block (no shields). Should be some good information about them in the next few weeks when more people start hitting 80 and running the 10 and 25 mans.

If you're leveling, I'd say go with an Unholy build for AoE funness and the occasional PvP encounter. If you do plan on tanking a lot on the way up, Frost is the way to go, though your leveling will be a bit slower (IMO)

11-19-2008, 03:09 AM
tbh with RL i'm not even going to be able to think about a DK for a month or 2....or til i get my druid to 80 (only 72 and a third atm!) but when looking a while back at the proposed talents i did fancy the Unholy tree iirc due to its being a bit different to my feral druid. although i'm sure i'd like to try tanking on it at some point.

But it will be a long time before i have a lvl 70+ DK.

I'm surprised they are not level defence capped and are getting crit a lot......

Armour penetration used to be listed as Spell Penetration and now covers melee to i assume ?

11-19-2008, 08:28 AM
Armour penetration used to be listed as Spell Penetration and no covers melee to i assume ?

Armor penetration and Spell penetration are two very different stats.

Armor penetration allows you to hit the target as though they had XX armor less than they actually do. So if a mob has 20k armor and you have 250 armor pen, you will hit that target as if it only had 19.75k armor.

Spell Pen, Reduces the targets resistance to spells. So if a target has 150 frost resist and you hit them with a frostbolt and have some spell pen, there is a slightly reduced chance that the cast will be resisted.

I know they sound similar, but are very different in practice. See or for specific numbers.

All in all, Armor Pen > Spell Pen for PvE encounters (and most PvP) Obviously armor pen is useless for casters, as magic ignores all armor anyway.

11-19-2008, 02:16 PM
Armor penetration allows you to hit the target as though they had XX armor less than they actually do. So if a mob has 20k armor and you have 250 armor pen, you will hit that target as if it only had 19.75k armor.

Actually this has been changed. It used to be a static 'reduces armor by x amount', which was just stupid (edit: stupid good) cause with an executioner proc, 1 or 2 sunders and some armor pen gear a warrior could efectivley take a warlock or priest down to 0 armor.

Now all armor pen has been changed to a percentage, which actually has the inverse effect - low armor targets aren't really affected by it much any more (20% off a 2k armor target is only 400 armor) whereas higher armor targets are affected more (20% off a 12k armor target is 2400 armor). So for a PvP setting, whereas melee mainly target squishies, armor pen is not as 'omg must have' as it used to be. (made me mad cause of the mats I spent on Executioner enchants for my pvp warrior ><)

For PvE settings, its still nice, as most bosses have high armor values, but on-proc type effects and pure stat increases have in certain cases shown to be more beneficial. *edit: i need to do more research on this now, as they have changed the way debuffs stack. aka, might and battle shout no longer stack, curse of elements and boomkin thing don't stack. Not sure if armor reduction debuffs stack, and if the armor reduction% from armor pen is counted on the reuced value or the original value.

You are correct about spell penetration. It reduces players resist values by that exact number (but does not go below 0 like it did pre-bc making a target take wtf extra damage). This is relativley useless for PvE as bosses do not have spell resists (at least pre-wotlk, haven't seen anything showing that bosses have inherent spell resists though in wotlk). It is helpful in PvP though, with Arcane Mages and warlocks having a lot of resists.

11-20-2008, 03:02 AM
it still sounds as if its a nice to have stat rather than a must have, or its a stat thats not in the top 3-4 i need to worry about for now!

ie below Armour/Stam/Dodge/Agi type of thing ?

11-20-2008, 01:15 PM
It's definitley less of a 'must-have' stat than it used to be.

For tanking it will help you to generate a little more threat (from increased overall damage), but I'd wager that point for point, you'd be better off going with either agi or crit for threat purposes. Naturally you will want to have your avoidance / mitigation at respectable levels.

For dps, I wouldn't focus on taking ArP, unless some pieces you come along just happen to have it. Then again, pick up and keep whatever quest rewards you get with it, and try it out. Min / Maxing really won't start until lvl 80, at which time all the fiends that love number crunching and have been at 80 since 3 days after release will have done the math for us :P

On a different note - anyone feel that the instances thus far have been a TON easier than they were while leveling in BC? I've only been in the two in the starting zone, but from hearing guildies talk, it seems like LK so far has been ezmode.

11-21-2008, 03:41 AM
yeah i think there was another thread here somehwere talking about easy 5 cc needed etc?

11-21-2008, 11:13 AM
Yea, I tanked the first part of the Nexus on Wednesday and it was cake. With my Tank set on, i have ~21,000 armor (down from ~29,000 pre-nerf >.< ) but never saw below 75% health with our only CC being the occasional sap from the rogue that ran with us.

The first boss was straight tank n spank, but different from every other boss encounter in TBC, so it was pretty fun for me.

I had to bail out of the instance early (which i felt bad about) when my wife came home form work, but wife > WoW...

11-21-2008, 04:32 PM
yet to see an instance still !