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DK Hardcore Solo Guide

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DK Hardcore Solo Guide bb77073b52b2

Figured I would start off with something exciting! In the above video you'll find a Death Knight- Mionelol soloing Karazhan. Mionelol has solo'd nearly all pre-WotLK content and has also been known to be able to solo several heroic dungeons in WotLK.

Essentially what I hope to capture in this guide is to encompass a basic guide on how you can solo pretty much anything depending on your gear level. I will start off with a table of contents to organize the details a bit better and then off we will go!

Table of Contents:
1. Spec
2. Gear
3. Glyphs
4. Rotation/Techniques


This is THE best spec for soloing any content. I will state although this is not the best tank build this is the best build that will provide suvivability with the ability to heal yourself enough to get through most content. I will attempt to address a couple issues people may have here beforehand to clear up why this is the overall best spec.

If you know the Death Knight class you know that Bloodworms are a great way to heal yourself and do a little bit of extra damage. You may also be wondering why this spec doesn't include Dancing Rune Weapon as it is only one extra point.

To address the concern of not having Bloodworms the reason is simple. Many bosses such as Hakkar in Zul'gurub have mechanics that are obviously tuned for multiple people in the raid. When you have Bloodworms active the game recognizes this and treats the fight as if it there were more than one person active. In the example of Hakkar when your Bloodworms become active you will get mind controlled and the fight will reset. If you know before hand that the fights that you will be doing have no such mechanisms then the spec may actually be better with bloodworms, taking 3 points out of Blood Gorged to Fill that gap but overall its better to just skip them.

This spec as well as the idea of soloing content is not about doing damage, it is about the ability to keep yourself alive essentially forever. Two reasons why Dancing Rune Weapon is not used is one you will want to have 100 Runic Power at all times due to the Death Strike Glyph as well as you will need all the points in the frost and unholy trees.

Any questions on this spec I will be sure to answer but after testing this vs multiple specs I guarantee there is no better spec for soloing content.

2. Gear

The first thing you need to focus on like any good tank is defense. If your defense is lower than 540 at level 80 then you need more defense. This amount of defense will allow you to become uncrittable against raid bosses. Keep in mind that even though you are fighting in lower level instances and the trash mobs do not need this amount of defense that all raid bosses regardless of your level are 3 levels higher than you.

The next thing to gear for actually depends on where you are at gear wise. To be successful you need to balance Stamina and Hit Rating. You will want to have enough HP for big rune taps and you need to have enough hit rating to ensure that you are not missing your death strikes. Missing a death strike can be horridly detrimental. Expertise can also be very important, if you are finding that the bosses are dodging or parrying your death strikes often then you may need more expertise.

3. Glyphs

Hopefully to any experienced Death Knight these will sound like obvious choices for glyphs for this spec but I will explain more in detail for these choices.


Glyph of Rune Tap- Your Rune Tap heals yourself for an additional 10% of the effect, and also heals your party for 10% of their maximum health.

You will want this for obvious reasons, this will allow you to heal yourself for 10% more each time you use Rune Tap.

Glyph of Death Strike- Increases your Death Strike's damage by 2% for every 2 runic power you currently have (up to a maximum of 25%). The runic power is not consumed by this effect.

There is some controversy with this as the tooltip for the glyph is incorrect. What I have listed IS the correct effect that the glyph applies. This will allow you to do much more damage with your Death Strike, hence more healing with it.

Glyph of Vampiric Blood-- Increases the duration of your Vampiric Blood by 10 sec.

More uptime equals more healing, fairly self explanatory.

This is a glyph people may wonder about and wonder why you would use with a blood spec as it is mostly used for unholy. I want to reiterate that for most fights you will not want to have your ghoul out. The ghoul is mainly used as a sacrifice to heal yourself via Death Pact. This glyph will allow you to heal for more as your ghoul will have substantially more health. for blood, this is amazing, as the dk can use vamp blood, rune tap, wait 10sec, slap this, and instantly get 80% health in 10 sec with just blood runes.


Glyph of Death's Embrace- Your Death Coil refunds 20 runic power when used to heal.

You will want this because you will be able to heal yourself with Death Coil and Lichborne.

Glyph of Horn of Winter- Increases the duration of your Horn of Winter ability by 1 min.

More or less a filler glyph but is great because you will want Horn of Winter up at all times.

Glyph of Raise Dead- Your Raise Dead spell no longer requires a reagent.

This is great as it allows you to sacrifice your ghoul without the cost of a reagent.

4. Rotations/Techniques

You will want to be Frost Presence at all times- the extra armor is too much to lose. Due to the added armor you will gain more attack power through Bladed Armor so the dps loss is not extremely high and you will gain the healing effects through Blood Aura.

I want to point out the importance of both Icebound Fortitude and Anti-Magic Shell. These skills are very important and can mitigate a ton of damage. When they need to be used varies per fight but any time you anticipate heavy damage use the appropriate skill.

As a Death Knight I am sure you are very similar with rotations to optimize the aspect of play. Soloing content is no exception and has a fairly easy rotation to follow.

Icy Touch, Plague Strike, Heart Strike, Heart Strike, Death Strike

This is the basic rotation that you will want to follow. The majority of your damage will come from the Heart Strikes and the majority of your heals will come from Death Strike. The Death Strike will turn your Frost and Unholy runes into Death Runes which will allow for a little more flexibility.

Essentially the idea behind the build is you need to keep up Frost Fever and Blood Plague BEFORE you Death Strike. Since many people do not fully understand how Death Strike works, let me explain it...

Death Strike has a heal that is a % of the damage that Death Strike does.The % is based on the number of diseases up. With this build you will have 2 diseases hence 200% of the damage done is converted to healing. Below is the Damage to Healing conversion.

0 diseases = 0% damage converted to healing (should be 100%, but it does not heal you unless you have a disease)

1 disease = 150% damage converted to healing

2 diseases = 200% damage converted to healing

3 diseases = 250% damage converted to healing

Along with Death Strike you will want to use Rune Tap pretty much every cooldown provided that you have less than 80% health as it will heal you for 20% of your maximum HP.

"OH Crap / Low Health Techniques"
This build has a LOT of room for you to easily be able to heal yourself... Below I will explain some of the basics.

Raise Dead/Death Pact- Ensure that you have 40RP or more Raise a Ghoul and immediately use Death Pact on it. The following macro can be very useful

/castsequence reset=300 Raise Dead, Death Pact

The macro will show the raise dead tooltip. When you use it, it will switch to the death pact icon and tooltip for 300 seconds (the cooldown of Raise Dead), and then switch back to raise dead skill and tooltip.

Mark of Blood- Place a Mark of Blood on an enemy. Whenever the marked enemy deals damage to a target, that target is healed for 4% of its maximum health. Lasts for 20 sec or up to 20 hits. You will want to place this on the fastest attacking target if you have multiple targets on you as more attacks equals more heals.

Vampiric Blood- Temporarily grants the Death Knight 15% of maximum health and increases the amount of health generated through spells and effects by 35% for 20 sec. After the effect expires, the health is lost. You will want to use this when you are extremely low on HP and need health quick and fast. Adding 35% through spells and effects is tremendous.

Lichborne Heal- Many people forget but when you are an undead in Lichborne you can heal yourself via Death Coil. If you are taking heavy damage Lichborne will help to mitigate physical damage by giving you an additional 25% for the enemy to miss and you can dump your death coils into yourself for some easy health.

#showtooltip Death Coil
/cast Lichborne
/cast [target=player] Death Coil

Here is a simple macro I made that will cast Lichborne and will cast Death Coil on yourself.

jitsuk is offline  
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Old 04/03/2009, 16:27   #2
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this is a fantastic tutorial. i suppose i am going to checkout the death knight to see how much of it i can use in real action

kakar0to is offline  
Old 04/03/2009, 17:22   #3
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great =)
me1337 is offline  
Old 04/06/2009, 16:56   #4

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smaLLmuck is offline  
Old 04/17/2009, 22:49   #5
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still working with 3.1?
.:cr4nk!° is offline  
Old 04/20/2009, 13:28   #6
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no not working anymore, fool, we got new talents as you might have noticed

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