• Thu, September 19
    02:09 pm

Death Knight Unholy Tanking Guide

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So I've converted a few Death Knights to blood tanking already, it was pretty easy and blood IS an excellent single target tanking spec that holds its own very actually. But my hybrid spec does too actually, bringing some raid utility that proves very useful versus what frost or blood can bring, even going deep blood which past Vampiric blood I just find to be useless



The Talent Spec


edited for who likes pets while tanking and healing while on frost presence the spec

Why I picked what I picked

Not to say that I'll argue what I picked over against myself but I will break down the significance of having these talents.

Blood Tree

  • Rune Tap: More survival because sometimes healers just can't heal you
  • Mark of Blood: Beautiful to help heal yourself when the boss decides to burst you
  • Spell Deflection: I have 30% ish or so parry so in ICC there are a lot of bosses that really make this talent work
  • Abomination's might: Helps us generate more agro and hit hard - helps the dps do what they do.
  • Two Handed Specialization: Pretty Obvious
  • Blade Armor: Pretty Obvious


  • Epidemic: You don't have to refresh diseases as often
  • Morbidity: Nice for trash and helpful with adds
  • Unholy Command: Never know when you may need this
  • Ravenous Dead: More str= more parry
  • Necrosis: helps us generate more agro per swing
  • Dirge: Always need some extra runic power
  • Impurity: More threat generation and damage for diseases
  • Magic Suppression: More survival of course since a lot of bosses in ICC do magic damage
  • Anti- Magic Zone: Situational but reduces damage and can help save your melee dps that won't move
  • Desolation: 4% more damage equals more threat generation!
  • Crypt Fever: More threat generation through diseases AND I think it affects other DK's disease damage

Let me take a moment to really explain why bone shield is nice yet situational and does work well in ICC even with the debuff. For starters, Bone Shield does the following

  • Reduces damage by 20% from all sources
  • Consumes one bone when a direct hit occurs
  • There is an Internal Cooldown on bone charges meaning that if u get hit 3 times in a second, only one bone is consumed
  • Increases damage by 2% thus increasing threat generation

I know I'm going on and on about threat generation BUT I refuse to use the event trinket and in the event you don't have a hunter or rogue this works really well since tanking is threat management, survival, and tactics. This spec emphasizes these 3 points in my opinion and using bone shield @ the right time can save your healers trouble.


  • Meta= Austere Earthsiege Diamond
  • Red= 10 dodge+15 stamina
  • Blue= 30 stamina
  • Yellow= 10 def rating+15 stamina

You COULD go parry but we need the dodge to maintain Bone Shield. At this point in my time my DK has a 80% avoidance rate unbuffed, in ICC a 60% unbuffed, still good because I go above 20% dodge once i get buffed.


Avoidance gear - anything with dodge+parry is the best for you AFTER you've capped hit and expertise.

  • Hit= 263
  • Expertise= 26

Then prioritize getting dodge+parry items. BiS tank weapon is the mace from Princes 25 or the Heroic axes from DBS on 10m - stone skin gargoyle only.

What to use and When

Run down of how I handle each encounter in ICC.


-I start with IT>PS and I begin Death Striking and Rune Striking, refreshing my diseases with pestilence.

-During Bone Storm I pop Anti Magic Shell so I can run through the fire and I occasionally throw in Mark of Blood for the healing.

-I pop Anti Magic Zone when the melee around around me in the flames - allowing them more time to dps

-I pop IBF depending on how hard the damage is coming

-I bone shield during bone storm to mitigate damage

-Rune Tap when I run through the fire


-Start on the side placing a DnD when the adds run out

-I then apply diseases and spread them

-During heroic I'll taunt the boss before phase 2 begins

-I apply diseases like always once I taunt and mind freeze the bolts

-During phase 2 using anti magic shell whenever possible is a blessing

-Anti Magic Zone when a FB isn't silenced or a DnD is on the melee

-Mark of Blood when I feel the healers need some help - IBF is slightly nice(i dont use this much)

-Death Strike with Frost Strike Macroed

-Rune Tap when I drop below half hp


-Apply diseases

-DnD and pestilence on the adds

-Mark of Blood really helps solo tanking

-Death Strike with Frost Strike Macroed

-I don't have to rune tap but I can solo tank him on all 3 modes I think - my healers won't let me try.

-Bone shield

Rotface (kiting):

-Dark Command to pull big oozes

-chains of ice

-keep them from the group

-DG to stop the explosion

-Death Strike with Frost Strike Macroed (if needed)

-Rune Tap

Rotface MTing:

-Apply diseases

-Death Strike with Frost Strike Macroed

-Mark of Blood just to waste a cool down

  • He's easy as hell, there's not much I actually do

-Bone shield


-Switch @ 7 or 8 Stacks

-Apply diseases

-Death Strike with Frost Strike Macroed

-Mark of blood when the gas is out

-BONE SHIELD - it is a must and if you're like me, you can maintain it for damn near a minute

-Strangulate to stop Pungent

-Magic shell and Anti Magic Zone during the gas is like amazing, I take like no damage almost during this time

-When I switch I turn on blood presence


-I actually never tank him so...

-I'd apply diseases, -Death Strike with Frost Strike Macroed - save my cool downs for phase 3 though


-Apply Diseases

-Death Strike with Frost Strike Macroed

-I pretty much use whatever cooldown when I feel like it since they are just so damn easy.

You do not need to take any of this into consideration and go your own way. Hope this guide helps those who want to be an Unholy Death Knight.