In redesigning the glyph system for Mists, Blizzard’s taking away the prime glyph tier. More than that, though, they’ve essentially gutted the system, removing many runes and changing others in incredibly drastic ways. In the case of death knights, what this has done is leave us with very few mandatory runes and even fewer runes that greatly affect our ability to do our jobs or climb higher on the damage meters in any meaningful way.
With this in mind, lets take a look at death knight glyphs in Mists of Pandaria as they stand. You will be able to use three major glyphs and three minor glyphs at any given time. There’s a lot of glyphs to cover, so we’ll do this in two installments. We’ll cover most of the major glyphs today, and next week we’ll finish off the major glyphs and talk about the minor glyphs.
Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell Anti-Magic Shell will become a mainstay of DPS death knights in MoP, as it once again grants runic power on absorption regardless of your specialization. With this in mind, you should be using it as PvE DPSer pretty much every time you face a magic-wielding mob, and using this glyph means you’ll get more bang for your buck. And of course, whether you’re a DPSer or tank, more absorption means less strain on your healer. If there’s a mandatory glyph for PvE in the Mists era, this is probably it.
Glyph of Chains of Ice will be useful primarily for PvP death knights who find themselves chasing down slippery running casters. A little extra damage can go a long way in getting them down faster as you also try to snare them. If you’re not casting Chains of Ice pretty regularly though, you can probably use the glyph slot for something else.
Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon feels more than a little underpowered now that threat is deliberately designed to be a near nonissue by the dev team. Still, if you find yourself having threat keeping issues as a tank, this glyph may help you get some snap aggro. Remember that it only works if you are casting Dancing Rune Weapon, though.
Glyph of Dark Simulacrum Dark Simulacrum is one of those skills that is powerful in theory but is very tricky to master and barely useful on most fights anyway. Still, it’s possible this might come in handy in certain dungeons that contain a massive amount of useful stuff to copy or in PvP against casters. I’d consider it a highly situational glyph at best, though.
Glyph of Dark Succor This glyph remains a shadow of its former self, but if you’re leveling in DPS mode, it’s still decent enough for chain pulling purposes. If you’re pulling fast enough to trigger the buff and its healing consistently, this may make your leveling process (or at max level, your daily farming process) a bit easier by allowing you a fresh surge of HP when you open with a Death Strike. Remember, if you’re leveling as blood while in blood presence, it won’t do anything for you.
Glyph of Death and Decay This glyph now essentially works more or less like a new version of Desecration, which is a sore blow to blood death knights who count on the current duration-lengthening version to help with AoE threat. Now, it’s more or less obsolete. At best, you may see it on some tanks who want to wrangle trash more easily or possibly PvP death knights who want one more way to slow down running casters. I don’t expect it to see wide use, though, especially with the level 95 talents offering a better, mobile option.
Glyph of Death Coil This glyph has a new function that allows you to use Death Coil to cast a damage shield on living allies. Alas, it doesn’t work on yourself, so you’ll still need to take Lichborne if you want to use the self-heal trick. Still, if you’re a regular grouper, this might be a decent glyph for emergency healer protection.
Glyph of Death Grip is still pretty simple. It might be nice for pulling a select mob out of a high-traffic area and into a quiet corner where you can solo it or for making it slightly faster to pull and chain-kill quest mobs, but the only reason to justify giving it a slot on your list is probably because most other glyphs are just as lackluster.
Glyph of Enduring Infection is a glyph that will probably see at least some use among PvP death knights. Considering disease damage is so low already, it might be justifiable to use this glyph just to keep the healers from undoing all your hard work and allow you to use your main weapon strikes at full power.
Glyph of Icebound Fortitude is a decent situational choice for raid tank death knights. It could help smooth out a boss that does lots of spike damage by allowing for more responses to consistent spike damage. If a boss just does consistent high damage, though, you may be better off with the unglyphed version of the skill. To judge if you need to use it, you’ll probably want to talk to your raid healers and raid leaders.
Glyph of Icy Touch may end up being being uniquely useful for 10-man raid groups who need an extra dispeller on targeted raid bosses. Using this will probably mess up your damage rotation something fierce, unfortunately, but if your raid group has a fight where they consistently have trouble keeping a mob from buffing itself or if you as a PvP death knight want one more offensive tool in your arsenal, this glyph may be worth it.
Glyph of Mind Freeze is a glyph I would be very wary of taking. With runic power generation way down in Mists, 20 runic power may be 20 runic power you can’t afford. That said, a PvP death knight having trouble locking down casters may find this worth it, especially if you can cycle the interrupt with Anti-Magic Shell to generate the runic power to use it multiple times in a row. It may also be an option for specific PvE boss fights in which the boss casts a lot of spells.
Glyph of Outbreak sounds like a sweet deal, but the problem is, it removes Outbreak as a possible opening move in most situation, which throws off opening salvos pretty massively. You could in theory compensate with Unholy Blight, but that still leaves the problem that 40 runic power is a lot of runic power and that you have to give up the superior Plague Leech to get Unholy Blight. Now that blood tanks can refresh diseases via Blood Boil, I see very little reason for anyone to take this glyph.
Glyph of Pestilence may help you out if you find yourself in consistent massive AoE situations, but for the most part, you can probably just wait for the mobs to get closer before you cast Pestilence and consider that good enough. This is a decent filler glyph if you can’t decide on anything better, much as it is on live servers.
We’ll see you next week for part 2.
Learn the ropes of endgame play with WoW Insider’s DK 101 guide. Make yourself invaluable to your raid group with Mind Freeze and other interrupts, gear up with pre-heroic DPS gear or pre-heroic tank gear, and plot your path to tier 11/valor point DPS gear.