A new patch came out today and I thought it would be interesting to look at the changes that will affect the way I play the game as a primarily tanking Death Knight.
- Death Coil damage reduced by 10% - I only ever cast this on Magmaw/Cho'gall to try to proc runic empowerment. Won't change the way I play or affect my performance in any meaningful way.
- Icebound Fortitude now breaks stuns when used - Awesome for pvp, will allow me to interrupt on Halfus during roars once. Not much of a change.
- Necrotic Strike nerfed for resilience and debuff duration. Pretty irrelevant since I never have to apply the cats slow debuff.
- 9% free spell hit - Awesome all around. Works to remove one of my two interrupting obstacles which will increase the number of fights I can reasonably tank properly. Mediocre threat increase, too, not that that matters.
- Bone shield gains a charge - I really need to cast this more often. This just makes it better, maybe that will be enough to force me to use it.
- Crimson scourge redesigned. - Pretty sure it was wrong to have this talent before the patch (after I learned to use Outbreak properly it went down in value) but at least I was casting Blood Boil in my rotation to maintain debuffs. Now I won't cast it except on AE phases so it's probably right to dump it.
- Heart Strike damage buff - This makes up a non-insignificant amount of my damage and is a strict buff. I won't hit the button more often because of the buff but I can't complain. (And I will hit the button more often now what with not casting Blood Boil.)
- Death Strike damage buff - This should make Death Strike my biggest damage ability instead of Rune Strike. Now if only I could find a way to hit it more often too...
- Blood Shield buff - Blood Shield now stacks, so when I hit Death Strike twice in a row I'm not being stupid anymore. Yay changes which make up for being terrible! (Though now it may not even be terrible to hit it twice in close succession, since I can 'roll' the shield forward. Theoretically this would let me eat a double strike on Chimaeron and then completely absorb his next melee attack if I happen to pull aggro from the 120k healing, for example.)
- Scarlet Fever change - This is my 10% ap debuff and it now comes from my unholy disease instead of from Blood Boil. I maintained both diseases anyway, so this is just a buff for me. I no longer need to cast stupid Blood Boil. Does mean on AE fights I need to spread diseases ASAP instead of just hitting Blood Boil for half of my debuffs and dealing with the other one as I felt like it.
- Will of the Necropolis change - no longer resets a blood rune, instead makes Rune Tap free. I like this change since if I don't feel like Rune Tapping I don't get put further from Blade Barrier. Hopefully it will also make the ability glow shiny so I think to use it more often.
- Chilblains makes Chains of Ice into a root - I like this though I never cast Chains of Ice anyway.
- Howling Blast does 40% less damage to secondary targets - This is a huge one. I'm on add killing duty on both Magmaw and Cho'gall and this substantially impacts my ability to do those jobs. Well, on Magmaw it doesn't really matter. I was able to do it in ungemmed, unenchanted greens. I could do my job on this fight if they have 5 billion health. It's a little trickier to pick up a new group when there's an old group alive but it's just tricky, not hard. Cho'gall on the other hand the adds can't be kited around forever. They have to die ASAP and thus far it's been predominantly Howling Blast killing them. The rest of our DPS will need to pick up the slack here or we won't be able to win anymore.
- Hungering Cold nerfed in PvP - only a PvP nerf.
- Might of the Frozen Wastes change - 12% more melee damage when using a 2-hander is a huge buff. About 2/3rds of my single target damage seems to come from melee sources, so this is almost an 8% damage buff. Cho'gall's adds may be getting harder but phase 3 will get a little easier when I'm doing 8% more than I used to.
- Blightcaller redesign - I'm never unholy but it's good that mastery won't suck anymore since all my gear for both specs is loaded with mastery.
- Dark Transformation nerf - I'm never unholy but it sucks.
- Death's Advance added - Unholy can't be slowed in PvP anymore. This seems overpowered. Maybe I will be unholy some of the time now.
- Desecration buffed - PvP relevant only.
- Magic Suppression nerfed - Supposedly raiding DKs only wanted to put 1/3 talents here because the runic power was infinite at that point. I guess now you may need to put 2/3 or 3/3?
- Rage of Rivendare nerfed - I'm never unholy but it sucks.
- Runic Corruption buffed - This only really helps people who don't maintain a proper priority system and end up dumping all their runic power in chunks. That's what I tend to do, so yay!
- Shadow Infusion nerfed - I'm never unholy but it sucks.
- Sudden Doom nerfed - They never intended for dual-wield unholy to be a spec and this is what was really propping it up. Good-bye dual-wield unholy. Good-bye.
- Unholy Might nerfed - I'm never unholy but it sucks.
- Virulence redesigned - They rolled the old Virulence into just being a DK. Now it makes diseases do 30% more damage. Diseases were 13.5% of my damage on Al'Akir as frost DPS, so taking this would be an overall 4% damage buff for 3 talent points. I probably want that. For tanking, diseases were 13.3% of my damage but less of my threat since they don't have a bonus multiplier. If I need to take talents to just do more damage I'll look into it, but I don't have threat issues so I may find something else to take instead.
- Glyph of Dark Succor added - Irrelevant for tanking and unlikely to find a use while DPSing.
- Glyph of Death's Embrace nerfed - I use this in PvP and was considering going for Lichborne in my tanking spec for more healing. Now it's less more healing, so maybe not.
- Runeforge buffs - Disarm effects increased, but I don't use those runes so I don't care.
- Misc bug fixes - Whatever.
Unholy got kicked in the junk, especially dual-wield unholy. If one had faith in Blizzard's ability to get numbers right then one could assume the Unholy mastery change will off-set the various nerfs to all sources of damage for unholy but I don't have any such faith.
Frost is likely in a better place now. More single target damage and less AE damage is what the spec actually needed for PvE. My only concern is they didn't nerf Howling Blast enough and I'm still going to have to respec for add based fights.
Blood just got better. Damage buffs and quality of life buffs without a single nerf. I like it.