Player Spotlight: Lepan

“If you want to learn how to tank really well but you end up pugging, people will usually be hypercritical of your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, so just try to have thick skin and learn from your experiences.”

VitaminP: Thanks for chatting with us today, Lepan. Can you tell us a little more about yourself?

Lepan: My name is Daniel and I’m from Norway. I am 23 years old and have been playing WoW since late 2006. I have been pushing keys since the announcement of the first Mythic Dungeon Invitational (MDI) in summer 2017.

VitaminP: What’s your favorite thing about Blood Death Knight in BFA or in general?

Lepan: My favorite thing about Blood DK is that I can be more self-reliant rather than entrusting my survival to someone else. I really liked DK in Legion because, regardless of key level or content, you could survive by yourself and need zero external healing. While there are situations this expansion where you do need more attention from your healer (like on Tyrannical bosses), you can help yourself way more than other tanks which is why I find them so fun to play.

VitaminP: With the recent arrival of patch 8.1, Blood Death Knights received a sizeable nerf to their armor and bonestorm, which has some people panicking. Is the sky really falling or do you think Death Knight will still be a Mythic+ frontrunner tanking class?

Lepan: So far, it might be a little too early to tell whether or not Blood DK will continue to be a Mythic+ frontrunner. The nerfs did hit us pretty hard in 8.1. With the new season bringing the global affix of Reaping, I think it will introduce bigger pulls, which makes the new Bonestorm capping at 5 targets more detrimental than in the current season with Infested. However, the biggest impact has been the armor nerf, since it has rendered DK’s nearly useless in raids and made Mythic+ keys feel almost two levels harder than before the patch. On the bright side, I think DKs will still be the best tank in dungeons that have heavy magic damage simply due to the mechanics of Death Strike (Galvazzt, Shadow of Zul, Rixxa Fluxflame, etc.).

VitaminP: There has been a lot of hype lately surrounding Protection Warriors. Do you think they are going to be strong in 8.1? If so, have you put any consideration into main-swapping?

Lepan: Warrior got huge defensive buffs in 8.1 in contrast to the big DK nerfs, so I can see Warrior being a strong contender for the new meta Mythic+ tank, along with Monk and maybe Paladin. If I believe there is an overall stronger tank than DK, I will eventually change to it. My plan is to play a bunch of different tanks in 8.1 to see what feels best. There are keys where DK is weak yet Warrior shines, such as Freehold. However, I don’t quite have the motivation to keep other characters geared to the standards of my main right now. It's easier to just devote that time into one main character in order to give it the highest chance of getting better gear.

VitaminP: What is your favorite healer to bring to M+ as a Blood Death Knight?

Lepan: Death Knight synergizes well with any healer since you don’t really need external healing for the most part, especially on trash. When you’re out of juice, you have the 90% slow from Death & Decay (with the talent Grip of the Dead) to rely on so that you can run and kite until you are ready to return to melee. I really value utility, so I especially like playing with Mistweavers on my Death Knight. As a DK, the utility you bring is Death Grip, mass grip, a single-target stun, and an AoE slow. This way, it’s pretty great to bring a healer with a CC, an AoE stun, Ring of Peace, and the 5% buff to Physical Damage to fill in the team’s toolkit. If we are talking purely about tank and healer synergy, I think Restoration Druids and Discipline Priests work really well with DK. Neither healing class overheals much because they both just fill in that extra bit of external healing that a DK would require. In contrast, a Mistweaver Monk does healing in big chunks which can turn into overhealing if it overlaps at the same moment that a big Death Strike goes off.

VitaminP: What is the biggest or most difficult pull that you do so far in BFA dungeons and what makes it challenging to execute?

Lepan: Thats a good question. In dungeons like Freehold, the only limiting factors to the size of pulls comes down to how much the tank can survive, the number of interrupts, and whether or not there are too many unavoidable mechanics. Personally, I think the Enthralled Guards area in Waycrest Manor are pretty difficult to gather up and tank successfully. You can pull all of them out to the courtyard near Soulbound Goliath, but they can be pretty spread out so when you gather them you have to manage a lot of things. You have to be really careful not to get hit in the back as you gather, make sure infested is CCed, and then be ready to get hit extremely hard by all the mobs once they’re grouped up. The Enthralled Guards hit with magic damage and, if you don’t have an AoE slow in your group, you really need to chain your DnD/Hunter Trap/Ring of Peace to avoid face-tanking until you have cooldowns ready.

VitaminP: What has been one of your funniest mistakes or mishaps in a Mythic+ key this expansion?

Lepan: I think this was one of the best moments so far in BFA. I walked into a prison cell during Tol Dagor and literally got locked in where I could not escape.

“Tanking is very different from dpsing and healing. Most of the time, making mistakes as a tank will punish the group much harder than other roles since a tank death usually ends in a full group wipe.”

VitaminP: What advice do you have for emerging tanks in the M+ scene? Are there any crucial addons/weakauras you use that might be more unique or obscure to a newcomer watching your stream?

Lepan: Tanking is very different from dpsing and healing. Most of the time, making mistakes as a tank will punish the group much harder than other roles since a tank death usually ends in a full group wipe. When a tank dies, all the threat shifts and the mobs instantly hit someone else, so it’s much harder to recover solely from a quick combat res. It can be especially detrimental if you die during a huge trash pull, since you will struggle to build threat again on multiple mobs at a time before people start dying to melee attacks.

Everyone should have a combat timer or another strong indicator to show when you are in and out of combat. Often when we’ve tried to do skips in certain dungeons, people have accidentally entered combat without knowing it as we ran past CC’d mobs, but we didn’t realize until 10+ mobs suddenly started running at us during a boss fight seemingly out of nowhere.

Having a WeakAura to show the infested icon on nameplates is pretty neat. Also, having WeakAuras that show different nameplates for explosives makes targeting them much easier.

I think that GottaGoFast is a really good addon that lets you customize your Mythic+ timer. I personally like to see 23:42 / 30:00 on the timer rather than a countdown of the total time left.

Past those suggestions, I think that the rest is really just personal preference. However, if you like to customize the aesthetics of your UI, I do recommend ElvUI since it’s highly customizable and makes everything look very clean.

If you want to learn how to tank really well but you end up pugging, people will usually be hypercritical of your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, so just try to have thick skin and learn from your experiences. Always think about what you could have done differently regardless of whether or not you chested the key.


About the Author

Vitaminpee mains a Brewmaster and loves to do competitive Mythic+. She is the Social Media Manager for Big Dumb Gaming and a partnered Twitch streamer who plays all tanks at max level and is excited to have more time now to push for the next MDI with her team: Synecdoche, Oddy, Sham, and Comfykins.