Archive for Talents

Yay Warriors!

Posted in World PvP with tags on January 27, 2011 by Vikt

This was posted in a random bitch thread on Arena Junkies about the changes to warriors and the idea that Fury would be the talent spec of choice following Patch 4.0.6. To put this example in a quick perspective:

95800 damage in those 3 attacks * .2908 (res %) = 123658.64 damage

(yes I know I skipped a step in the math but it’s right)

Just throwing that out there for all the people that complain until soandso class gets nerfed. No matter what happens there is always going to be classes stronger than the curve, and in this case for the warriors upset with the changes do know that you potentially have an alternative that does not consist of finish leveling your mage alt.


Death Knight Tanking in Cataclysm: The Basics

Posted in Strategy with tags , on January 4, 2011 by Vikt

This is going to be my first in a series of guides in an effort to explain – and rationalize – the PvE spec that I plan to build during Cataclysm. I was an Unholy DPS Death Knight throughout Wrath of the Lich King that accomplished essentially all that I wanted to, but being a PvP player and being DPS makes raiding very hard should you want to do it. Because of that I decided to take a different direction this go, and this post is an attempt to educate my fellow DK’s of how I am doing it. Also, that is completely not me in the above picture.

TALENTS: 33 / 6 / 2
Before Cataclysm there were a few different ways that you could tank as a DK, but following Deathwing’s return Blood talents now represent the dedicated tanking spec. The linked spec above is what I have been running, which is the accepted Elitist Jerks’ endgame tank spec. Note that it is not listed as the ideal Heroic grinding spec, however I will tell you that my tanking to and at 85 have been a breeze using it. To dive into a few talents:

  • Scent of Blood – putting 3 points into this creates stacking issues where you essentially don’t get full functionality of it, so just put 2.
  • Scarlet Fever – this talent essentially works as a warrior’s Demoralizing Shout or whatever the hell Druid tanks have that reduce physical damage. If you have those classes with you this is not as important, however more often than not you will want to be hitting Blood Boil as often as will be called for later under Rotation.
  • Bone Shield – always keep this up. If you get in the habit of recasting this as soon as it pops up, what happens most of the time is that you pull a pack of mobs with this on you, and when you finish the pack it’s either back up or close. By doing this right away, you can potentially time it to engage a boss with it and recast it during the same fight.
  • Abomination’s Might – this spec is listed as an option for the last 2 talents by Elitist Jerks, and being a former DPS who loves big numbers I took it as well. You could potentially take Blood-Caked Blade instead, but to be honest the attack buff provided by AM for the entire raid will be much more than BCB would ever be.
  • Rune Tap – use it when it’s up. It really helps the healers out.

With tanking glyphs there is the essential list that a lot of trees have, but with the optional glyphs there is very little difference in choosing one over the other.

  • Prime: Glyph of Death Coil – works like a Paladin’s Lay on Hands during a fight. Runic power tends to stack up fairly quickly, and a healer low on mana or needing help will be very happy you were able to heal yourself via Lichborne. Glyph of Rune Strike / Glyph of Heart Strike – RS provides more threat than the Glyph of Death Strike (not bolded so you don’t pick it). There is an analysis at Elitist Jerks to prove this, I certainly can’t. Other than that HS glyphed is awesome.
  • Major: Glyph of Bone Shield – this is minor and really won’t affect a lot, but remember earlier when I said get in the habit of reapplying Bone Shield after fights? Well, this grants you unholy run speed to prevent you switching to unholy and forgetting to switch back. Glyph of Vampiric Blood – again with helping out your healers, it has a quick cooldown and is up way more than I tend to use it. Great for when you are staying fairly low and you need to help your healers catch up. Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon – I went with this one despite a lot of people not liking it, and the reason they don’t is because DRW costs 60 runic power. The tradeoff is that it is a HUGE aggro producer, but the argument is that Death Grip and Taunt already take care of this. Feel free to choose something better, but if there was something better. You could make a case for Glyph of Rune Tap and Glyph of Blood Boil – your call.
  • Minor: Glyph of Death’s Embrace – this again goes with Death Coil to help out your Lichborne self-heal. This glyph cuts the cost of DC in half. The next two are meh, but I went with Glyph of Horn of Winter and Glyph of Resilient Grip. I usually stay away from HoW glyph in PvP because I am always casting it regardless, but when tanking I have a lot of things going on and HoW can be the last thing I am thinking about at times. Resilient Grip sounds like a great glyph but it’s use is much less than I expected. The only DG’s that are refunded come from ice blocks, bubbles, etc. on mobs – what I expected were resisted DG’s as well for absolute DG aggro-getting spam.

This is where a lot of you just panned down to find, and I’m sorry – I’m going to tell you the same thing. There is no more set rotation, Cataclysm has went with the dynamic system that requires you to make decisions on the fly, and I hope to help you out in doing so. All that said, it’s really not that hard:

  • Use Death Strike every 5-8 seconds for self-heals and keeping up your blood shield. The way DS works is it restores 30% of the damage you just received (minimum of 10%), so spamming it not only kills runes (1 unholy, 1 frost) but it would be like refreshing diseases before they expire.
  • Use Rune Strike for threat or as your runic power sees fit, remember you have other abilities dependent on it (DRW if you recall).
  • Use Heart Strike after applying diseases via Outbreak for threat and because it hits like a truck.

Of note, the catch phrase with Blood tanking so far is “Diseaseless Tanking”. For a quick explanation diseaseless tanking it is essentially what you would assume in not applying disease, but recall Outbreak does not consume runes to be cast. Every minute you can use this, and having IT/PS on a target makes Heart Strike hit even harder. The reason you do not use IT/PS is because it burns a frost and unholy rune, which if you recall from a paragraph ago is the same requirement for Death Strike. Which would you rather have?

For a quick comparison a DK tanking guide on the Official Forums quotes the difference between using Diseases and going Diseaseless as:

Net differences between Diseases and Diseaseless:
– 6.1% less damage dealt
– 5.1% less threat generated
– 1.6% less damage taken
– 21.9% more damage absorbed
– 21.8% more damage healed

…obviously being the result of not using diseases. What that essentially says is that your diseases in blood presence really don’t amount to shit, and you gain 20% more survivability by not burning runes on IT/PS.

I have been known to use Icy Touch on some pulls and then drop a Death and Decay for the pack to run into, Plague Strike, Pestilence and then Blood Boil. After that opener aggro is laughable to maintain, and having 2 snap aggro mechanisms if one does get away ensures your aggro as you switch into your normal DS/HS/RS tanking. Keeping 100% uptime on diseases are a distant third place to keeping aggro and staying alive. I should bold that, maybe just a quote to make it look like someone more qualified is saying it:

Keeping 100% uptime on diseases are a distant third place to keeping aggro and staying alive.
Some Godly DK

The debate on Effective Health (if you’re not familiar) is still somewhat theoretical amongst the end game guilds (at least from what I see), so for definitive gemming/enchanting you may want to consult Elitist Jerks or other sites you may use. Do know that the WotLK belief that “Stamina > All” is archaic, despite players still judging the quality of tanks by their total health pool.

My absolute goal so far is to gem/reforge to Mastery, and if that is unobtainable then I will likely gem for Stamina. The hit cap is not as essential as it always has been (taunt effects no longer are based on hit), but getting Expertise to its cap of 6% heroics/6.5% raids comes after these first two. Reforging Dodge/Parry to hit the Expertise cap is not out of the ordinary. Note that no where have I stated to gem for Dodge/Parry.

Your Meta gem will be the Austere Shadowspirit Diamond, which I guess also brings up a spot where I should tell you that you need to be swinging a 2-hander. Perhaps you came here wondering about dual-wield tanking and are pissed it has taken this long, but 2H Blood is the way to go. There is proof of this out there that I have seen at Elitist Jerks, and if you really want to question my word the answers are there as their’s is good enough for me.

I’m not going to throw out numbers or even bother to look up the best ones, I am a 525 Blacksmith and a 525 Jewelcrafter. I get 2 extra gem slots where I can put whatever type of Chimera gem I want (extra stats). Leatherworking and Enchanting offer stamina bonuses as well, but I also make a boatload of cash from my 2 professions which allows me to do whatever I want in game almost. Almost.

My next installment of tanking-related posts will be a pre-raid gear list, and this paragraph will be replaced with a link to it when I post it. Feedback is always appreciated.

4.0.1 Death Knight PvP Spec(s)

Posted in Arena, Battlegrounds, Strategy with tags on October 11, 2010 by Vikt

While I may only present simplified cumulative information in PvE spec posts, I love delving into the new possibilities brought about by patches when it radically changes the face of PvP. Patch 4.0.1 is no different, and after analyzing various setups I have cut my options down to 2 specs to experiment with.

If you have followed of the Horde you already know I’ve basically ran Unholy for everything up until this point. Spreading disease, infections, swinging a 2-hand weapon and commanding the dead really ties well with what I like to do in-game, and given these tendencies the first thing I did with the new talents was to come up with a Level 80 2H Unholy PvP Spec:

0 / 2 / 34

The biggest thing with 2H Unholy PvP right now that seems to differ across varying specs is the use of the point I have in Anti-Magic Zone, where some are using that point to place into the Frost sub-spec for a point in Runic Power Mastery. I am a Death Knight who uses all his abilities and thus gets good mileage out of AMZ, so in my opinion (at this point) I think that’s a talent you keep around. With abilities like Runic Corruption and Sudden Doom, my thinking is that the burst damage of Death Coil is still going to be available whether you add the extra Runic Power talent point or not.

Death Coil, Raise Dead and Scourge Strike are no-brainers for Prime glyphs, where Strangulate, Pestilence and Anti-Magic Shell are the same with Major glyphs. Resilient Grip is potentially helpful talent for those times when Death Grip fails for one reason for the other, while Death’s Embrace seems to become more attractive with a seemingly more flexible Death Coil  spell. Horn of Winter is essentially me admitting to be a lazyass who often forgets to recast HoW.

All that said, I’m schoolgirl-happy to try out this Level 80 2H Frost PvP Spec:

0 / 32 / 4

I haven’t done a frost spec since right as I turned level 80, but a lot of the utility that I enjoyed as a long-time Unholy DK seems to be included in the frost tree now. Lichborne is huge to the way I PvP (and really should be for everyone), as well as On a Pale Horse for my battleground versatility. Hungering Cold will be a great ability to gain again, and on that same token Chillblains seems like a great crowd control ability by reducing infected targets movement speed by 50% for 10 seconds.

I think I am going to try the frost spec first, and if I have difficulties adjusting then I will turn around and try the Unholy spec in order to give both specs due diligence. I will post my opinions here after a week or so of both specs.

4.0.1 Unholy (2H) DPS Spec

Posted in Strategy with tags on October 11, 2010 by Vikt

With the launch of Patch 4.0.1 tomorrow we all get to L2P again, as our collective worlds are getting rocked into a new 41-point talent model that adds new abilities, changes the way we DPS and includes different stat weights and some changes to our gemming. I have made no claims to be a beta tester nor have I even bothered with exploring the PTR, so consider this post my plan for tomorrow.

Now while I have been protesting the changes because I never got a beta invite (/stubborn), I do keep up with many sites who specialize in this type of thing. My favorite Death Knight blog is Consider This, which is a great analysis of the numbers used to formulate the spec that I will be using and also the basis of me again wanting to play Unholy. And as has been the case on every DPS spec I’ve posted, my primary source of the reasoning behind them is Elitist Jerks. I am not a number parser, I just do what they tell me to do really freaking well.

Without further ado, my plan for logging in tomorrow evening in terms of PvE:

4 / 0 / 32 (Level 80)

This build is the closest thing to what I am running now, and makes use of the new abilities like Contagion, Dark Transformation, Runic Corruption, Shadow Infusion, Sudden Doom and Unholy Frenzy. This build currently is designed to end up as 7/0/32 + 2 (Level 85). While these new abilities appear like a lot, the class still seems to function similarly where many talents mimic the dynamics of what we have now. For more intricate details of why to use this spec and a better explanation of the new abilities, again visit Elitist Jerks (EJ).

The glyphs function different now where players will have 3 Prime, 3 Major and 3 Minor. The Minor glyphs are irrelevant for the most part, meaning you can put whichever glyph you want to and not really hurt or benefit yourself either way. My Major glyphs are going to be Glyph of the Anti-Magic Shell, Glyph of Pestilence and Glyph of Blood Boil; with my Prime glyphs being Glyph of Raise Dead, Glyph of Scourge Strike and Glyph of Death Coil.

The rotation that we have come to know and love so well is now going to a priority system like many other classes, which is a welcome change in my opinion because I usually went this way when fights would break down anyway – if anything I found myself improvising in battle much more than following a tit-for-tat rotation. The new priority system simply ranks as:

Single Target:
Dark TransformationSS if both Unholy and/or all Death runes are up > FeS if both pairs of Blood and Frost runes are up >
DC if SD, 100 RP, will overcap RP with anything else or if RC isn’t up > SSFeSDCHoW.

FeS = Festering Strike, a new ability that deals X% weapon damage and increases the duration of Blood Plague, Frost Fever and Chains of Ice effects by up to 6 seconds. Also, all single target situations should take place in Unholy Presence.

Multiple Target:
Dark TransformationDeath and Decay > SS if both Unholy and/or all Death runes are up > BB + IT if both pairs of Blood and Frost runes are up >
DC if SD, 100 RP, will overcap RP with anything else or if RC isn’t up > SS > BB > ITHoW.

A major difference, when AEing you’ll want to be in Frost Presence. In both cases you’ll want to prioritize keeping your diseases up as has been the case since I’ve played a DK.

In terms of stat weights, it still remains mostly similar in that:

Hit to cap > Strength > Haste > Crit > Mastery > Expertise to cap > Agility.

Gems are changing to where all colors have a stat that we can benefit from, where Red gives Expertise/Strength, Yellow gives Crit/Haste/Mastery and Blue gives Hit. How these stats will shape out will depend on you as you level up and change gear – just use the above quoted strength chart from EJ.

Hopefully this is enough information to start you off tomorrow evening, however do take it upon yourself to explore various websites to learn why you are using these abilities versus copying what someone else does word for word. I will likely adjust my talents as I get going and will come back to this post to edit them, so whatever you are reading at this point is still accurate as long as post has not been released after the one noted in the title.

3.3.5 Unholy DPS Spec

Posted in Strategy with tags on June 25, 2010 by Vikt

As usual, all logistics and information regarding Death Knight specs can be found on the Elitist Jerks website. It has been a while since I posted any specs because I haven’t changed them since 3.3.2, but after acquiring my 4-piece Icecrown bonus and a weapon proc it was time to switch in an attempt to maximize my DPS. I have to admit I am a little excited about it, because I have not had the Icy Talons talent in any build that I have ever used…the whole “glowing fists” thing just looks like I’m constantly blood-raging. At any rate, the new spec:

0 / 17 / 54

Major – Glyph of Dark Death, Glyph of the Ghoul, Glyph of Icy Touch
Minor – Glyph of Howling Winter, Glyph of Pestilence, Glyph of Raise Dead

This spec is the most optimal single-target build that Death Knights use, yet somehow AoE’s better than the 14/0/57 and 17/0/54’s as well. Auto-attacks make up the majority of a DK’s damage in this spec, and as a result I have went back and also changed a few of my item enchants and gemming. Previously I used yellow gem slots for +10 str/crit when I did not need a +10 str/hit, but with all the +hit I get from normal ICC gear I now just enchant my gloves with a +20 hit to get my PvE cap. I have switched over to using a +10 str/haste gem, as well as started using a +23 haste cloak enchant instead of agility. Anyway, the rotations and glyphs:

Single Target Rotation
PS – IT – BS – SS – BS – DC – HoW
SS – BS – SS – BS – DC – DC – (DC)

The final Death Coil is placed in parenthesis because you will not always have the rune power to perform it.

Multiple Target Rotation
Initial: IT – PS – Pestilence – DnD – DC – HoW
SS – BS – BB – SS – DC – DC
SS – Pestilence – DnD – DC – HoW

In this rotation you perform the initial rotation, then alternate between the 2nd and 3rd until either diseases fall off or the mobs die.

3.3.2 Unholy PvE Specs

Posted in Strategy with tags , on February 9, 2010 by Vikt

All information contained in this post comes from the Death Knight thread at Elitist Jerks. For a full explanation about why things work the way they do (like the 2 pc./T10 reasoning), visit their site where it will be covered far better than would ever be covered here.

I am presently using the Single Target 17/0/54 as I am still short a few frost badges for my T10 2-piece set, but will move to the spec with Reaping as soon as my second piece of gear.


Single Target
Glyphs (both single target builds):
Major – Glyph of Dark Death, Glyph of the Ghoul, Glyph of Icy Touch
Minor – Glyph of Blood Tap, Glyph of Pestilence, Glyph of Raise Dead

17/0/54 without Reaping

The best single-target build before the 2-piece T10 bonus and/or several pieces of ICC gear.

PS – IT – BS – SS – BS – DC – HoW
SS – BS – SS – BS – DC – DC – (DC)

14/0/57 with Reaping

After achieving the 2-piece T10 bonus and/or several pieces of ICC gear.

PS – IT – BS – BS – SS – DC – HoW
SS – DC – SS – SS – DC – (DC)

Multiple Target

Major – Glyph of Death and Decay, Glyph of Disease, Glyph of Icy Touch
Minor – Glyph of Blood Tap, Glyph of Pestilence, Glyph of Raise Dead

17/0/54 without Reaping

Most ideal multi-target / AoE build.

Initial: IT – PS – Pestilence – DnD – DC – HoW
SS – BS – BB – SS – DC – DC
SS – Pestilence – DnD – DC – HoW

3.3 Unholy PvP Spec (2H)

Posted in Strategy with tags on December 8, 2009 by Vikt

PvP 3/17/51
PvE 16/0/55

I label this post as PvP spec and that’s precisely what I intend it to be, however in my 3.2.2 spec post I labeled an Arena spec and then a Battleground spec, but only used the BG and went Blood for a DPS spec with the other. After recently getting into Arenas, I realized that I could double my spec utility with the addition of either a Swift Skyflare Diamond or Tuskarr’s Vitality and drop the need for 2 PvP specs. I legitimately tried to make a Blood DPS spec work because of my desire for self-healing and reports of better single target damage, but I just truly enjoy the Unholy tree and am determined to stick with it. Plus, as I begin to run endless heroics attempting to gear completely in 232/245 DPS gear, I’ll be best served to utilize the AE aspect of the Unholy talents anyway.

The PvP spec will give me much more damage at the expense of 7% run speed, as Unholy presence provides 15% and my substitutes only provide 8%. Then again, I’ve never done with 15% so there’s always a chance I try to crawl back to it, but the only time great run speed is important without mounts is running flags in Warsong Gulch and I use plenty of run speed potions for that anyway. The rest of the components are still there.

The PvE spec drops utilities and substitutes damage, so I’ll be running some tests here in the near future to make sure I’m going the right way.

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