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I’m a bloody tank: Rune Strike

November 1, 2010

Boring and brilliant, Rune Strike is one of those spells that has always been part of death knight tanking. No flashy graphic, no easy way to visualise it, just a simple spell that is the bread and butter of threat in a single target situation.

To my mind, it is still boring. There is no flash of light or shadow when you use it (that I have noticed) nor does the name sing out with possibilities the way Death Strike or Scourge Strike does. I tend to think of Runic Power as the toxins left over when you use runes. With exercise, the poisons build up in your muscles and has to be purged eventually. With runes, the power builds up in your blade and similarly can be purged. That is Rune Strike for me; the use of the by-products of magic to harm and aggravate. Why do you need to have avoided an attack? There are no perfect answers to this but if it comes down to it, this is a riposte. Perhaps adrenaline allows you to channel runic power more efficiently?

But it has changed. Before patch 4.01, rune strike was something that I had macroed into every strike and just happened. To use the analogy above, the poisons were bled out almost as quickly as they built up automatically and without my conscious direction. Every time, I dodged or parried my next auto-attack would be empowered with runic power.

Patch 4.01 has made a major change to the spell – it is back on the GCD. This means you have to actually think about when to press it. This makes it a key part of your rotation and one you always want to hit when it lights up. It does a lot of damage and a lot of threat.

Although Beta is always changeable, it has given one huge buff to blood tanks; in Blood Presence you will be able to use it at any time. This means nothing for dps but for a tank it means that as soon as you hit 20 runic power, you can use Rune Strike as your dump.

Marvellous idea, eh? From my point of view this is great as it takes a load of RNG out of tanking. On the down side, it stops parry and dodge being a threat stat. But I think this is a small price to pay (especially as it means I can feel better about prioritising mastery).

We are all hoping this will happen in patch 4.0.3. At the same time we will get quicker rune refreshes to make up for the fact that we cannot get haste on tanking gear. Hopefully this will lead to less rune starvation which is currently a big issue. Mind you, between the two I may actually have something to press every GCD again which would be wonderful.

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