More Blood DPS

I tried a different Blood spec today, to see if I could do more damage with blood.

Here is the spec: Level 61 Blood Spec with Death Rune Mastery

The point of this build is to convert to Frost/Unholy runes to Death Runes, allowing for more Heart Strikes.

DPS Cycle used

1. Icy Touch --> Plague Strike --> Death Strike (creates 2 death runes) --> Heart Strike --> Heart Strike --> Death Coil --> Obliterate
2. Icy Touch --> Plague Strike --> Heart Strike --> Heart Strike --> Heart Strike --> Heart Strike --> Death Coil --> Obliterate --> Death Coil

Death Strike was used instead of Obliterate whenever I needed healing to keep myself about 75% HP because of Blood Gorged.

Dancing Rune Weapon
was used 5 times
Hysteria was used 5 times
Raise Dead was used 2 times

The results

Total DPS: 654


First of all, the numbers should be higher, because when I did those parses it was very laggy, and because of that rotations got messed up several times, obliterate hit the mob too late when there was no disease left, etc.

With that said, we can see that the difference in numbers from taking Death Rune Mastery is very small, which just shows one thing: Heart Strike needs to be buffed again, or Death Rune Mastery is pretty much gonna be a very mediocre talent. The point of taking Death Rune Mastery was to have more blood runes for more heart strike spamming, but if that doesn't increase our dps, what's the point?

The numbers are pretty close to what I get with the Unholy Spec, so in terms of single target DPS, we could say that Unholy or Blood are about the same. In terms of survivability, Blood wins, thanks to blade barrier, mark of blood, vampiric blood and a possible rune tap, which will for sure make a difference when soloing difficult elites.

So in the end, it's a pretty close call. I'm leaning towards Blood for leveling when it comes to being able to solo elite quests. On the other hand, there are things going in favor of the Unholy build:

  • The ghoul stays, you cast it once and then you don't have to cast it again. I don't see a Blood DK using the ghoul every cooldown, that would be too pricy
  • On a pale horse is a huge time saver while leveling, all the way to the Northrend quest which unlocks flying mounts in Northrend


As it stands, I'm gonna stick to recommending Unholy for leveling in my guide and this won't change unless blizzard improves the blood tree further.

14 Response to "More Blood DPS"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Just a small comment: According to GC HeartStrike is doing less damage than intended at the current build, see
    so Blood will probably improve a bit more next build.

    Jame says:

    That's good news, thanks for the link :)

    Anonymous says:

    You're welcome :) I feel a bit sorry for you having to do the dps tests every week again on patch day :D
    I'm happy though that the DPS numbers are similar. Gives room for choices and allows to make a decision based on preferred playstyle and you aren't limited to the one and only levelling talent build.

    Quoth says:

    Following your blog with great interest as both a big fan of your guides and one of the multitude champing at the bit to get my hands on the Death Knight ;)

    I can see the difference, from a pure leveing point of view, between Blood and Holy specs it getting much closer...but I just wondered if either wins out from a "fun to level" perspective?

    Cheers, Quoth

    Jame says:

    Hmm, from a fun perspective, I'd have to go with Unholy, perma ghoul, 120% horse speed, gargoyle and shield of bones are pretty fun.

    It's a very slight preference though, blood is also a lot of fun and might be more fun to other players with different styles.

    Quoth says:

    Thanks, I must admit I think the b-movie zombie sidekick approach appeals to me to......."Brains!"

    Joe says:

    I don't like to level with AoE grinding , so is blood going to be the best spec for me? or single target / 1-2 adds on ocation still going to be better as unholy. Also quick question. For mounts in northend do I have to pay gold to like "defrost" the mount or just get to like level 77 I think i saw and I can use my mount again.

    biggoogy says:

    You said you would choose an Unholy build for leveling at this point, which Unholy build and what rotation would you be using?

    I'm in beta and love Blood, but I've wanted to try an Unholy build to see the difference and whether it's a better playstyle for me.

    Anonymous says:

    Sorry if this has been asked before, but for your Unholy rotation, are two Blood Boils and a Scourge Strike really more damaging than four Blood Strikes? I'm desperately hoping that I'll be able to level effectively with my Ghoul and Pale Horse, but am yet to be convinced that Unholy will do the trick, for reasons you've clearly stated in this post.

    Jame says:


    I'd use the following build: Lvl 61 Unholy leveling

    Rotation would be:

    Icy Touch --> Plague Strike --> Scourge Strike --> Blood Boil --> Blood Boil --> Unholy Blight --> Scourge Strike --> Scourge Strike --> Scourge Strike ---> Death Coil

    Jame says:

    @joe medwid

    You can't do 4x blood strikes as unholy, because you can only have 2x blood runes up per rotation. Blood Boil does a bit less damage than blood strike as unholy at this level, but it's AoE damage (so it's actually more damage than bloodstrike whenever you fight 2+).

    Blood boil needs to be cast to convert your blood runes into death runes, allowing you then to have an scourge strike in your rotation.

    And yea, as unholy, 1 Scourge Strike = 2x Blood Strikes. It's about the same damage on average.

    However, Scourge strike has 2 advantages:

    1. It saves you a global cooldown, which you can use to squish in a death coil.
    2. If your cinderglacier buff is up, scourge strike will do more damage. Not the case for blood strike.

    Also note that you also have the option of replacing scourge strike with death strike, if you're in dire need of healing, which is great for soloing certain elites.

    Wyrmsfire says:

    Hey Jame, I was wondering in your posted Unholy talent build spec, why you did not spend the 1 point to get Corpse Explosion. It seems like it could be used as a constant supply of damage to deal out.

    Keep up the great work dude.

    Anonymous says:

    The answer the question about unfrosting the mounts: When you reach level 77 you need to go to the riding trainer and buy Cold Weather Flying skill. Only then you can start using your mount in Northrend. It requires skill 225 (slow flying mount) as prerequisite, it's not neccessary to have 300.

    Anonymous says:

    I meant that it would be four Heart Strikes over the course of two rotations, but I can see the point about Cinderglacier, saving a GCD and the option to Death Strike. Thanks for the reply!