9/8/13 | Mists of Pandaria 5.4
Welcome to the unholy death knight guide for the masters of death and disease. This guide should cover all of the basics, and serve as a reference for both new players to the class and veterans. The sim work and item lists are accurate to 5.4, unless otherwise specified.
If you find any errors in this guide, broken links, or items you feel have been omitted that would help to understand the class please PM me. Please leave the thread for discussion.
|AotD||Army of the Dead|
|AoE||Area of Effect|
|BiS||Best in Slot|
|CoI||Chains of Ice|
|DnD||Death and Decay|
|DPS||Damage per Second|
|ERW||Empower Rune Weapon|
|GoX||Glyph of X|
|HoW||Horn of Winter|
|PoF||Path of Frost|
Unholy Related Notes (aka "Party Cannon Time")
- Death Gate now returns the Death Knight to a location near their original departure point when the spell is cast while in Ebon Hold.
- Icebound Fortitude no longer costs Runic Power.
- Necrotic Strike now deals 100% weapon damage (down from 150% weapon damage).
- Soul Reaper's initial damage component has been increased by 30%. If the target is below 35% health after 5 seconds the amount of Shadow Damage dealt has been increased by 20%.
- Unholy Presence now grants a flat 10% Haste to all things, up from Haste for melee (attack speed and Rune regeneration) only. The movement speed buff remains unchanged.
- Fixed a bug that caused Improved Blood Presence and Runic Corruption to incorrectly increase activation rates of some trinkets and effects.
- Master of Ghouls now reduces the cooldown of Raise Dead by 60 seconds.
- Ghoul's Leap and Gnaw abilities are no longer on a global cooldown, and no longer cost Energy
- Unholy Might now increases the Death Knight's Strength by 25% (up from 10%).
- Anti-Magic Zone has been redesigned. The talent now reduces magic damage taken in the area-of-effect by 40% for 3 seconds, there is no longer a cap on total damage absorbed, and the ability no longer scales with strength.
- Death Siphon had its damage increased by 10%.
- Plague Leech now tries to convert 2 fully-depleted runes (up from 1) into a Death Rune based on specialization. Unholy: 1 Blood Rune, 1 Frost Rune
- New Glyph of Festering Blood: Makes Blood Boil treat all targets as if they have been infected with Blood Plague or Frost Fever.
- New Glyph of Regenerative Magic: If Anti-Magic Shell expires after its full duration, cooldown for the ability is reduced based on the amount of damage absorbed.
- New Glyph of Swift Death: Haste effect granted by Soul Reaper now also increases the Death Knight's movement speed for the duration.
- New Glyph of the Loud Horn: Horn of Winter now generates additional Runic Power, but the cooldown is increased.
- Glyph of Enduring Infection now reduces damage dealt by diseases by 15% (down from a 30% reduction).
- Glyph of Mind Freeze now reduces the cooldown of Mind Freeze by 1 second, and raises its cost by 10 Runic Power (down from 2 seconds and 20 Runic Power).
- Glyph of Outbreak now causes Outbreak to cost 30 Runic Power (down from 40).
- New Glyph of the Long Winter: The Horn of Winter ability now lasts for 1 hour.
- New Glyph of the Skeleton: The Death Knight's Raise Dead spell now summons a Skeleton instead of a Ghoul.
What changed for Death Knights between Cataclycsm and Mists of Pandaria? If you're a returning player, this should help get you up to speed.
The following talent tables include a description of each option and the uses they are most suited to. At the end of each tier, I will make a final analysis to help explain the pros, cons, and key differences between your options. There is no set spec anymore; ultimately, you may pick your current talent lineup based on available information, your personal preference, and the fight at hand.
|Roiling Blood Your Blood Boil ability now also triggers Pestilence if it strikes a diseased target.|
|Roiling Blood is suitable whenever you will be AoEing a lot of mobs that do not spawn all at once, i.e. in staggered aggro. With this talent you can immediately Blood Boil because it will act as an automatic disease spreader between the targets who are already infected and those that are not. This is an amazing talent for AE.|
|Plague Leech Draw forth the infection from an enemy, consuming your Blood Plague and Frost Fever diseases on the target to activate 2 random fully-depleted runes as a Death Runes.|
|This is actually a very nice choice for damage increase, it provides a 2 free runes if we use it right before we refresh diseases, and plays into both maintaining disease uptime and disease gaming. A bit tricky to get used to, but a very solid pick for single target damage.|
|Unholy Blight Surrounds the Death Knight with a vile swarm of unholy insects for 10 sec, stinging all enemies within 10 yards every 1 sec, infecting them with Blood Plague and Frost Fever.|
|In a standard single target situation, Unholy Blight wouldn't be needed because you've managed to maintain your diseases on the target with only Festering Strike and Outbreak. Again in reality, a.k.a. the unfortunate place we've found ourselves in, diseases sometimes fall off the truck when Outbreak is on cooldown. Maybe there was nasty stuff on the floor, there were movement problems, you had to rez someone, or you made a mistake. If you're ever faced with having to manually reapply diseases through IT/PS, Unholy Blight becomes a slight rune savings and quality of life improvement, simple as that. Unholy Blight can also be useful apart from being a cooldown band-aid. For AoE, trash clearing, and 5-mans, and scenarios Unholy Blight is a quick, Pestilence-free disease applier.|
Final Analysis: If you're undaunted by, or actually enjoy, micromanaging the timers required to Plague Leech correctly, it has a minor benefit over Unholy Blight. Otherwise, Unholy Blight is plenty useful in dungeons and has repairing effects on play errors if Boss battles get messy. Roiling Blood can be taken when improved, staggered AoE is demanded.
T1 ST DPS rankings:
|Lichborne Draw upon unholy energy to become undead for 10 sec. While undead, you are immune to Charm, Fear, and Sleep effects, and Death Coil will heal you.|
|This talent will probably appeal more to Blood spec and PvPers. For unholy, Death Coil healing is obviously a direct trade for DPS. Lichborne Death Coils will contribute towards Runic Corruption or Runic Empowerment because they do operate off of heals (only on you, not your pet).|
|Anti-Magic Zone Places a large, stationary Anti-Magic Zone that reduces spell damage done to party or raid members inside it by 40%. The Anti-Magic Zone lasts for 3 sec.|
|One of the best cooldowns in the game for strong single hits of magic damage. This will absorb 40% of at least one magic hit, and is downright awesome on single big hits. It still absorbs 3 ticks for abilities that tick every second, and is still very powerful. It's got a very short cooldown as well, but it's weakness is long term sustained damage, physical damage, and times when everyone is spread out.|
|Purgatory An unholy pacts grants you the ability to fight on through damage that would kill mere mortals. When you would sustain fatal damage, you instead are wrapped in a Shroud of Purgatory, absorbing incoming healing equal to the amount of damage prevented, lasting 3 sec. If any healing absorption remains when Shroud of Purgatory expires, you die. Otherwise, you survive. This effect may only occur every 3 min.|
|Purgatory is what you could call 'redshirt insurance'. When you would receive damage that is fatal, you're instead dropped to 1 hp and given 3 seconds to heal back the amount of damage that you should have sustained. The best outcome is that you and your healers are able to dissipate the Shroud of Purgatory in time. You can even try to save yourself with a self-heal like Death Pact. Alternately, i.e. the 'classic Samurai movie' outcome, is that you sustain too much damage but you go down with a dramatic, drawn out death scene where you compliment your killer's excellent technique. Timmy will weep for your loss and seek appropriate revenge for his fallen master by taking up your sword. (Ok, why is this not a real addition to the talent? Just saying.) You'll notice that if you've used Purgatory, you receive Perdition (a debuff) that prevents the effect from occuring more than once every 3 minutes.|
Final Analysis: Purgatory should be your go-to talent, unless you can get enough benefit out of AMZ to make it worthwhile. That actually happens a fair bit with the redesign, so if the fight has significant magic damage, and everyone is grouped up at that point, consider AMZ. Lichbourne is not forgotten, but unless you need it to break a CC, it's not worth taking over AMZ/Purg
|Death's Advance Movement speed increased by 30%. Cannot be slowed below 100% of normal run speed.|
|Death's Advance is an amazing talent. We've been asking for ways to help us deal with the parity between casters and melee and increased mobility is a welcomed addition. The most common question concerning run speed is "What does this stack with?". The answer is, happily, most everything...|
Final Analysis: Death's Advance is the go-to talent here, but if your group needs a stun/slow, while you're not the best choice to supply them, they remain an option.
|Death Pact Drain vitality from an undead minion, healing the Death Knight for 50% of their maximum health and causing the minion to suffer damage equal to 50% of its maximum health.|
|This talent is fantastic. 50% of our health, that's effectively free, on a short 2 minute cooldown? Very nice survival cooldown.|
|Death Siphon Deal X Shadowfrost damage to an enemy, healing the Death Knight for 150% of damage dealt.|
|This ability does decent healing, but suffers from the fact that it costs damage to use. Has a niche use that let's unholy spend runes during air phases.|
|Conversion Continuously converts Runic Power to health, restoring 3% of maximum health every 1 sec. Only base Runic Power generation from spending runes may occur while Conversion is active. This effect lasts until canceled, or Runic Power is exhausted.|
|Conversion suffers from the same problem that death siphon does; it's not free. It's a really neat idea though.|
Final Analysis: Death Pact offers us the most healing, it offers healing in burst which is most likely to save your life, and it offers it for free. Take death pact.
|Blood Tap Each damaging Death Coil, Frost Strike, or Rune Strike generates 2 Blood Charges, up to a maximum of 12 charges. Blood Tap consumes 5 Blood Charges to activate a random fully-depleted rune as a Death Rune.|
|In its most current iteration, Blood Tap is back off the GCD and the Blood Charges have a duration of 24 seconds which is refreshed with each new generation. One other distinguishing feature of Blood Tap is that the consumption will activate a fully-depleted rune as a Death Rune. Even though it's not in the tooltip, Blood Tap's priority for Unholy spec is to activate depleted Blood and Frost Runes rather than Unholy ones. It would be wonderful if this was a baseline ability, but such is unlife.|
|Runic Empowerment When you land a damaging Death Coil, Frost Strike, or Rune Strike, you have a 45% chance to activate a random fully-depleted rune.|
|Its effect on rune activation is random but it's completely passive and not open to error. Does not return runes if there are no open rune slots available.|
|Runic Corruption When you land a damaging Death Coil, Frost Strike, or Rune Strike, you have a 45% chance to activate Runic Corruption, increasing your rune regeneration rate by 100% for X sec.|
|The time that a Runic Corruption will last is variable and decreasing based on your character's haste because RC's actual duration is 30% of your rune regen time. So, if you had a base rune speed of 7s, your RC would alter your rune speed to 3.5s for 2.1s. Again, this talent is completely passive and it affects all runes equally.|
Final Analysis: Choose where you want your regen shot administered. "Would you like this shot in the bum, shoulder, or 'surprise me'?" They're simulating very closely with one another (all within <2% range). Blood Tap is testing highest and provides an elective window to use the proc which places the reward or blame on you. If you're more dependent on Death Runes (for Death Siphon or perhaps Necrotic Strike), then Blood Tap provides that specific gain you're looking for too. Runic Empowerment can also be manipulated to a small degree (i.e. 'gaming') by purposely avoiding the full depletion of a rune. Runic Corruption suffers some due to the inverse haste scaling, but its mechanic is still interesting to a number of players, and it's the simplest to use.
T5 ST DPS ranking
|Gorefiend's Grasp Shadowy tendrils coil around all enemies within 20 yards of a target (hostile or friendly), pulling them to the target's location.|
|Gorefiend's Grasp is like an AoE deathgrip, but with some crucial differences. Firstly, it doesn't taunt the enemies and secondly, it pulls nearby enemies to a target. The target could be you or someone else entirely. The obvious PvE example would be to cast Gorefiend's Grasp on your tank in order to draw the mobs closer to them. Or, if your job was to help AoE a certain group of enemies, you could cast it on yourself to help keep those mobs in your range. Stacking those enemies together will let you wipe them out in 10 seconds flat. Lastly, you may have also noticed that this talent says you can designate a hostile target for Gorefriend's Grasp. Are the wheels turning yet? I'll let your imagination help you decide how best to use that. This is completely unique to death knights.|
|Remorseless Winter Surrounds the Death Knight with a swirling tempest of frigid air for 8 sec, chilling enemies within 8 yards every 1 sec. Each pulse reduces targets' movement speed by 15% for 3 sec, stacking up to 5 times. Upon receiving a fifth application, an enemy will be stunned for 6 sec.|
|Remorseless Winter could be used in a similar manner to Gorefiend's Grasp. After casting it on yourself, you become a mobile snare to either help a tank or condense mobs for AoE. If you're able to keep the mobs within your 8 yard range for 5 seconds (5 stacks), the resulting stun has a fair duration.|
|Desecrated Ground Corrupts the ground in a 8 yard radius beneath the Death Knight for 10 sec. While standing in this corruption, the Death Knight is immune to effects that cause loss of control. This ability instantly removes such effects when activated.|
|The talent is roughly equivalent to the effect of a basic PvP trinket or a Shaman's Tremor Totem. Desecrated Ground has a 2 minute cooldown and will be a reprieve in more specific situations.|
Final Analysis: None of these talents impart directly damaging effects, so your decision will revolve around the dungeons or raids at hand. Speaking generally, Gorefiend's Grasp and Remorseless Winter will have the widest appeal since they impart added mob control on a 1 minute timer. Desecrated Ground, on the other hand, is so specific that it will be a deliberate substitute for certain fights.
Major glyphs are all fairly situational and the ideal ones to use may change from fight to fight. This lists contains all the major glyphs although there are some that are not applicable for Unholy.
|[Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell]||Causes you Anti-Magic Shell to absorb all incoming magical damage, up to the absorption limit.|
|[Glyph of Chains of Ice]||Your Chains of Ice also causes 150 Frost damage, with additional damage depending on your attack power.|
|[Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon]||Increases your threat generation by 100% while your Dancing Rune Weapon is active, but reduces its damage dealt by 25%.|
|[Glyph of Dark Simulacrum]||Reduces the cooldown of Dark Simulacrum by 30 sec and increases its duration by 4 sec.|
|[Glyph of Dark Succor]||When you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor, while in Frost or Unholy presence, your next Death Strike within 15 sec is free and will restore at least 20% of your maximum health.|
|[Glyph of Unholy Frenzy]||Causes your Unholy Frenzy to no longer deal damage to the affected target.|
|[Glyph of Outbreak]||Your Outbreak spell no longer has a cooldown, but now costs 30 Runic Power.|
|[Glyph of Vampiric Blood]||Increases the bonus healing received while your Vampiric Blood is active by an additional 15%, but your Vampiric Blood no longer grants you health.|
|[Glyph of Unholy Command]||Immediately finishes the cooldown of your Death Grip upon dealing a killing blow to a target that grants experience or honor.|
|[Glyph of Death Coil]||Your Death Coil spell is now usable on all allies. When cast on a non-undead ally, Death Coil shrouds them with a protective barrier that absorbs up to ((0 + 0.495 * AP) * 1) damage.|
|[Glyph of Pestilence]||Increases the radius of your Pestilence effect by 5 yards.|
|[Glyph of Pillar of Frost]||Empowers your Pillar of Frost, making you immune to all effects that cause loss of control of your character, but also reducing your speed by 70% while active.|
|[Glyph of Death Grip]||Increases the range of your Death Grip ability by 5 yards.|
|[Glyph of Death and Decay]||Your Death and Decay also reduces the movement speed of enemies within its radius by 50%.|
|[Glyph of Icebound Fortitude]||Reduces the cooldown of your Icebound Fortitude by 50%, but also reduces its duration by 75%.|
|[Glyph of Icy Touch]||Your Icy Touch dispels one helpful Magic effect from the target.|
|[Glyph of Shifting Presences]||You retain 70% of your Runic Power when switching Presences.|
|[Glyph of Enduring Infection]||Your diseases are undispellable, but their damage dealt is reduced by 15%.|
|[Glyph of Strangulate]||Increases the Silence duration of your Strangulate ability by 2 sec when used on a target who is casting a spell.|
|[Glyph of Mind Freeze]||Reduces the cooldown of your Mind Freeze ability by 1 sec, but also raises its cost by 10 Runic Power.|
|[Glyph of Festering Blood]||Makes Blood Boil treat all targets as if they have been infected with Blood Plague or Frost Fever.|
|[Glyph of Regenerative Magic]||If Anti-Magic Shell expires after its full duration, cooldown for the ability is reduced based on the amount of damage absorbed.|
|[Glyph of Swift Death]||Haste effect granted by Soul Reaper now also increases the Death Knight's movement speed for the duration.|
|[Glyph of Loud Horn]||Horn of Winter now generates additional Runic Power, but the cooldown is increased.|
[Glyph of Regenerative Magic] is almost always useful.
[Glyph of Loud Horn] is a straight up damage gain.
[Glyph of Unholy Frenzy] is a good choice if nothing else jumps out.
[Glyph of Festering Blood] is great for snap AE.
[Glyph of Icebound Fortitude] is good for increasing your survival.
[Glyph of Pestilence] is great for AE.
Most of the glyphs have a niche where they are useful, and only a handful of them increase damage by a noticeable amount. Try them out and see which ones fit best with play-style, and whatever fight you are trying to beat. We have way too many useful glyphs to use them all.
Minor glyphs are mostly cosmetic in MoP but a handful can be helpful in some situations. Army of the Dead, Death’s Embrace, Path of Frost, Resilient Grip, Tranquil Grip can all be useful when needed.
|[Glyph of Army of the Dead]||The ghouls summoned by your Army of the Dead no longer taunt their target.|
|[Glyph of Corpse Explosion]||Teaches you the ability [Spell]Corpse Explosion[/Spell].|
|[Glyph of Death Gate]||Reduces the cast time of your Death Gate spell by 60%.|
|[Glyph of Death's Embrace]||Your Death Coil refunds 20 Runic Power when used to heal an allied minion.|
|[Glyph of Foul Menagerie]||Causes your Army of the Dead spell to summon an assortment of undead minions.|
|[Glyph of Horn of Winter]||When used outside of combat, your Horn of Winter ability causes a brief, localized snow flurry.|
|[Glyph of Path of Frost]||Your Path of Frost ability allows you to fall from a greater distance without suffering damage.|
|[Glyph of Resilient Grip]||When your Death Grip ability fails because its target is immune, its cooldown is reset.|
|[Glyph of Tranquil Grip]||Your Death Grip spell no longer taunts the target.|
|[Glyph of the Geist]||Your Raise Dead spell summons a geist instead of a ghoul.|
|[Glyph of the Long Winter]||The Horn of Winter ability now lasts for 1 hour.|
|[Glyph of the Skeleton]||The Death Knight's Raise Dead spell now summons a Skeleton instead of a Ghoul.|
There are two "schools" of Unholy play being discussed right now at the onset of 5.4: standard and "Festerblight". In case you haven't perused the other threads in the EJ DK forum, let's talk about Festerblight for a moment.
The principle of Festerblight is rather simple: you use all your trinkets and buffs then apply your diseases with Unholy Blight. For the duration of the fight, you use Festering Strike more often to keep these original diseases applied. Not too complicated, right? Mendenbarr has a thread that covers the details of Festerblight if you'd like to dig in and give it a try:
Unfortunately, festerblight is no longer viable as of 5.4.
It has died a valiant death, and we shall keep it's memory in our cold, still hearts.
The reason festerblight was viable in 5.2/5.3 was feather. We went from a combined total of 8k str in T14 gear to about 30k, from feather/shadopan or feather/rage. That's an increase of 275% more strength than the prior tier. At the same time, ilevel went from 517 to 549 (for US, same rules apply for Asia, just 8 ilevels higher), which was 32 more ilevels. 32 ilevels increase stats by a ballpark of about 30%, so you would expect 8k to become about 11k, but we got 30k instead.
Right off the bat, for 5.4, feather has been nerfed 20%. It now provides 16k str instead of 19k str for the 549 version. On top of that, the two new trinkets, at 580 ilevel, have a combined str of about 30k, and it would need to be about 30% higher (because of the ilevel jump) to break even with festerblight's gain now. We would need about 40k str from trinkets alone to get festerblight up to the same, small gain it is now. It had already fallen from it's peak in 5.2 with the tricks nerf for 5.3
This logic is confirmed by sims, if you take the simC profile linked in the festerblight section of the unholy guide, and run it against traditional unholy now, you'll see that it is a single target loss.
And that doesn't even count the fact that near every fight this tier is full of target swaps and cleave and AE, all of which is unfriendly to festerblight. On top of that, the we can't benefit from the PL buff with festerblight.
That's not to say festerblight is NEVER viable. It's possible that if damage only matters in a certain phase, (think lei shen p3), that it's worth sacrificing some of your single target damage in order to get that higher burst at the end. It's also within reason that there is a fight with a large damage buff at the start that doesn't come back up. I'm not aware of any such circumstances yet, but if any show up, I will update the guide.
Keeping up high diseases, and then refreshing them when new trinkets proc, is still viable, and optimal, and it's called disease gaming. Festerblight is all about keeping one set of diseases rolling the entire fight, and that is not viable.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled style...
Rune of the Fallen Crusader
|Standard Single Target Priority|
|Target < 35%, Soul Reaper|
|> Scourge Strike/Death and Decay*(Unholy/Death Runes are Capped)|
|> Dark Transformation|
|> Death Coil (Sudden Doom, high RP)|
|> Festering Strike (BB and FF are up)|
|> Scourge Strike|
|> Festering Strike|
|> Horn of Winter|
Whether it's a boss or a lesser-type jerk, you want to take advantage of the massive direct damage. Prepare yourself for the execute phase! Soul Reaper hits like a truck on steroids, and maximizing it's use goes a long way towards doing the most damage possible.
For significant monsters and bosses, the slower decay of the health pool will obviously afford you multiple damaging uses. If you are feeling confident, you can be 'predictive' with your cast of Soul Reaper. For instance, if your target is =>35% but you feel, with a high amount of certainty, that it will dip below 35% within 5 seconds (or 45% if you have the T15 4 piece bonus), you can pre-cast Soul Reaper to increase the number of potential uses you will get. Every 6 seconds recast Soul Reaper until the target's death is imminent. Retain the necessary runes to make sure you can Soul Reaper without delay.
From the start of combat, you can cast Outbreak or Unholy Blight (if you chose it as the lvl 56 talent option) to apply your diseases quickly. If Outbreak and Unholy Blight are unavailable for whatever reason, you will have re-apply diseases manually. Ah, but here's some good news! Plague Strike (via Ebon Plaguebringer) now applies Frost Fever for us. So, what was once an awkward tickle fight is now a gentlemanly substitution of Plague Strike for Scourge Strike. Runes are left in a smoother order and that allows you to keep your rhythm which, I think, ultimately makes the spec more fluid and downright fun to play.
If you've spec'd into Plague Leech, you will want to consume your diseases with less than 3 seconds remaining and reapply them ASAP afterwards.
Ebon Plaguebringer was reworked so that Blood Plague applies a physical vulnerability and for each disease you apply to a target, your Scourge Strike will deal an additional 25% of the physical damage (up from 18%) done as shadow damage. Diseases should never be neglected anyways, so this is just one more good reminder.
Scourge Strike/Death and Decay
Death and Decay hits harder than Scourge Strike by a margin so even in a true single target scenario, you will be replacing a SS with a DnD whenever DnD is off CD and the target will not move out of the area. Death and Decay should be saved if there's a second target that would take multiple ticks of the spell coming up soon.
Your Death Coils, aside from damaging your target, will apply a Shadow Infusion buff on your Ghoul which is capable of stacking up to 5 times. The player can consume the 5 charges of Shadow Infusions on the Ghoul to transform it into a super timmy undead monstrosity for 30 seconds. A minor factor in your overall DPS is maximizing Dark Transformation's uptime (see the Mods section in this guide for suggestions about monitoring DT and Shadow Infusion).
Similar to efficient rune expenditure, we want to capitalize on Sudden Doom procs. Death Coil may be done freely to make use of Sudden Doom procs, to build Shadow Infusion stacks quickly (as prioritized above in Dark Transformation), to proc our level 75 talent of choice, and to avoid the RP cap.
In the continued philosophy of utilizing our runes and managing cooldowns, supplement your priority with Festering Strike. With Reaping (from our Unholy specialization), the runes consumed by Festering Strike (as well as Pestilence and Blood Boil) will become death runes when they reactivate. Also, Festering Strike serves the very important purpose of adding 6 seconds to your diseases. Mechanics allowing, our diseases are sustainable. It’s like watering a plant of doom. DOOM!
Scourge Strike/Death and Decay and Festering Strike
This is your ‘rinse and repeat’ in order when you have runes (and the cooldown) available.
Horn of Winter
When all else fails, you can toot your horn for RP and to maintain its uptime for yourself and cohorts. It’s a step above twiddling your thumbs during a GCD.
|AoE Target Priority|
|Diseases + spread (based on your talent pick at level 56)|
|> Dark Transformation|
|> Death and Decay (UU)|
|> Blood Boil (BB and FF or Death Runes)|
|> Scourge Strike (UU)|
|> Death Coil (Sudden Doom, high RP)|
Firstly, you will no longer change presences for AoE since Frost's effects have been altered. Secondly, our AoE rotation works best when we're prepared and have planned our runes out ahead of time. The ideal way to enter AoE combat is with 4 Death Runes (DD|DD|UU). This allows us to spam Blood Boil ad infinitum. 2 Festering Strikes are an obvious way to fully deplete Blood and Frost Runes so that they come back as Death Runes. If you find yourself with two orphan frost runes, use icy touch to turn them into death runes and continue the carnage.
For staggered AoE situations, players with Roiling Blood can spread their diseases immediately from one infected target to others through Blood Boil (which saves a LOT of GCDs). Players with Unholy Blight can of course use this ability to infect everything within 10 yards. If neither option is available, and the mobs will live more than a few seconds, then Pestilence is in order. Pestilence would also help to convert any remaining Blood Runes into Death Runes. One caveat on this: do not Pestilence if it will pull an adjoining group or if there is a CC nearby. This is particularly noteworthy if you are glyphed for extended range on Pestilence. Mages get really frustrated when their sheep spasms with cooties and comes to cough in their face.
Transforming Timmy when he's ready to hulk out is still very important, as he cleaves through mobs like butter. Well, maybe more like something nearly as soft as butter, but not quite.
Death and Decay/Scourge Strike (if on CD)
Drop Death and Decay to begin the cooldown and have a sustained AoE while you Blood Boil. Scourge Strike whenever your Death Runes are refilling and DnD is on cooldown. Make sure to only use unholy runes.
Blood Boil is now a part of Reaping for Unholy DKs which means that anytime we use it, those runes will become Death Runes when they activate. Fire at will!
Same as with single target priority.
Timmy is still some of your best damage so it’s wise to learn how to use him properly.
For extra control in pvp, bind his Attack/Follow/Stay & Huddle commands to keys/buttons you can access quickly. For the most part, Timmy is a resilient pet. He has an unspoken 95% AoE damage reduction and can be healed by your Death Coil (discounted healing with Glyph of Death’s Embrace). For PVE, he does very well on auto-pilot, but make sure to monitor if he's alive or not, and be ready to resummon him in the rare instances where he or you die.
To quote Ghostcrawler, "Dungeons are hard."
He's a really quotable dude.
Another, irrelevant one;
"Folks, simulated DPS is not DPS. Please don't use it as evidence. We're not going to take it seriously."
Raise Ally 30 Runic Power 10 minutes
Raise Ally is instant cast, costs 30 Runic Power, and has a 10-minute cooldown. The requisite Runic Power means you must be in the midst of combat activity and temporarily forgo your personal DPS for the benefit of returning others to the field. It shares the same global battle resurrection cap with other players, so like our Druid and Warlock rezzers, communication with the raid before and during an encounter is required. Only one manner of resurrection is allowed in a 10-man and three within a 25-man fight (excluding self-resurrections) so there is stressed value in using it wisely. Also be aware that Death Knight resurrection brings the player back with 60% health (up from 20%) and 20% mana. Resurrections have raid saving potential so don't waste it by selecting the wrong person or watching someone accept prematurely. Often people are so eager to be rezzed that they will immediately take their resurrection and get killed again. Macros or Vent/Mumble are both fine ways to warn the recipient to take their rez with discretion.
Control Undead 1 Unholy
Just like the tooltip says, we can dominate an undead creature. While controlled, the time between the undead minion's attacks is increased by 30% and its casting speed is slowed by 20%. The effect lasts up to 5 min. It won't work on bosses, hostile player ghouls, or hostile player's with Lichborne active. Mobs it does work on will follow you around like a spooky puppy until the spell wears off or you cross a loading transition (instances, portals, hearth, logging, etc.). The downside is that Control Undead counts as your one and only pet. You can't control an NPC and your ghoul so its reward must be weighed against the crucial benefit of Timmy's DPS and delightful banter. Disappointing lack of use so far in MoP.
Anti-Magic Shell 45 seconds
Using Anti-Magic Shell intelligently is one of the key aspects that separates the 'good' Death Knights from the 'great' ones. AMS provides a two-fold benefit and understanding it well will optimize your play.
Firstly, AMS is a powerful defensive ability that absorbs 75% (or 100% if glyphed) of the damage dealt by harmful spells up to 50% of your total health and prevents the application of harmful magical effects. In heavy damage situations, this is a lifesaver and aids on healing resources.
Secondly, and often underutilized, is AMS's DPS boon. Damage absorption will cause you to generate a substantial amount of Runic Power. When you can anticipate AMS a few seconds ahead of time, make sure to have very low RP so that you do not cap while under the effect.
The caveats associated with AMS is not to use it when you a required to get a magical debuff (which can be a gimmick in certain fights) and to not use it with AMZ expecting it to stack (Shell will override AMZ). The new glyph of regenerative magic, plus the 580 trinket bring AMS's CD down to 20 seconds. 20 seconds guys. YAY!
This is reduced by the cooldown trinket.
Army of the Dead 1 Blood 1 Unholy 1 Frost 10 minutes
Army of the Dead will channel over 4 seconds to summon a gaggle of ghouls to giggle at the ghosties. Like Raise Dead, Army of the Dead will scale with your AP, haste, and hit throughout its duration. The best time to use Army of the Dead will vary from boss to boss, but it is typically best to use right before the beginning of an encounter or in any phase transition where you will not be and cannot be on the boss and no DPS will be lost. One note about Army of the Dead is that although the summoned ghouls will not taunt a raid boss, they will taunt most adds present on boss encounters. The corresponding glyph can stop your ghouls from taunting when needed.This is reduced by the cooldown trinket.
Empower Rune Weapon 5 minutes
Activates all your runes and provides 25 Runic Power once every 5 minutes. Ideally you’ll want to use this any time when you need some heavy burst, and the burst from ERW is so awesome. Try to line it up with all your Runes being on cooldown and having low amounts of Runic Power. This will reset your whole priority, which can throw people off when they find themselves with 6 runes off cooldown and high Runic Power. You’ll likely cap your Runic Power when you use Empower Rune Weapon. Don’t worry about it; continue the priority as you would normally. Depending on the length of the fight you may be able to use this more than once by using it early in the fight. This is reduced by the cooldown trinket.
Outbreak 1 minute
Outbreak will apply both Frost Fever and Blood Plague to your target once a minute. As Unholy DKs, we will mainly use this as a free disease application. In some situations, like fights with heavy target switching, it is best to save Outbreak for quickly applying your diseases to a target that needs to be burned down. This is reduced by the cooldown trinket.
Dark Simulacrum 1 minute
Dark Simulacrum allows a Death Knight to place a debuff on a target that will grant the DK the ability to copy the next spell the target casts that costs mana. There are few to no encounters where this comes into play in PvE, unfortunately. You can glyph this cooldown down to 30 seconds with [Glyph of Dark Simulacrum].
Icebound Fortitude 3 minutes
Our standard defensive ability. A 20% damage taken reduction for 12 seconds as well as making you immune to stun effects. Use this when you know heavy damage is incoming. Don't make the easy mistake of using it after you've already taken a good chunk of damage; anticipate damage to get the most out of this ability. The glyph for this ability reduces the duration down to 3 seconds, and the CD down to 1.5 minutes, and is normally worth it because it let's you absorb that big hit that is likely to kill you. This is reduced by the cooldown trinket.
Mind Freeze 15 seconds
This is our basic interrupt. It is off the global cooldown and you must be in melee range to use it.
Strangulate 1 Blood 1 minute
Mind Freeze’s BBBFF Strangulate interrupts and silences a player target for 5 seconds and can interrupt non-player spell casting for 3 seconds. Unlike Mind Freeze, Strangulate is a 30 yard ranged silence, and costs a Blood Rune to use. This is a last resort in a PvE context. It will slow down your damage by expending one of your runes. As such, this is going to sit in your back pocket for most fights, but can really save the day when it is needed.
Summon Gargoyle 3 minutes
Gary the Gargoyle has received quite a lot of love recently. Did those dance lessons pay off? Maybe it's Maybelline? Actually, it's probably because his cast no longer costs Runic Power AND his Gargoyle Strike now deals Shadow Damage in addition to Nature Damage. The removal of the Runic Power cost clears any doubt or reservation we may have had before about casting him. Call up Gary; that guy knows how to party! Unholy's strongest cooldown. This is reduced by the cooldown trinket.
Unholy Frenzy 3 minutes
Behold and be amazed at blood lusts second half cousin twice removed. Not only does unholy frenzy provide a sizable chunk of haste, it's also castable on any raid member, giving you the freedom to empower a guildmate when they have served you well, or take away their power when they displease you. Stacks with lust, though when you're GCD capped you get a reduced benefit from it, and does not give any bonus to gary, he scales with spell haste and not melee haste.
Consumables can add a significant bonus to your primary DPS stat. These are must haves for optimum performance.
|Flask||[Flask of Winter's Bite]|
|Potion||[Potion of Mogu Power]|
|Food||[Black Pepper Ribs and Shrimp]|
There are immediate and undeniable PVE performance benefits to what race you select. Each race also brings unique aesthetics and story that is a totally separate matter of opinion.
|Viciousness||Increases critical strike chance by 1%|
|Darkflight||Increased movement speed by 40% for 10 seconds (2 min cooldown)|
|Aberration||Reduces Shadow and Nature damage taken by 1%|
|Running Wild||Increase ground speed by 60%/100%|
|Flayer||Skinning skill increased by 15 and allows you to skin faster|
|Two Forms||Turn into your currently inactive form|
Verdict: More crit and movement increasing effects are stellar for any melee DPS class. Alliance Death Knights looking to optimize will therefore find Worgen of the most interest.
|Heroic Presence||Increases your chance to hit with all spells and attacks by 1%|
|Gift of the Naaru||Heals the target for 20% of the caster's total health over 15 sec (3 min cooldown)|
|Gemcutting||Jewelcrafting skill increased by 10|
|Shadow Resistance||Reduces Shadow damage taken by 1%|
Verdict: 1% hit will reduce the cap and allow for some more creative reforging. The free heal is also significant.
|Every Man for Himself||Removes movement & control impairing effects (2 min cooldown)|
|Diplomacy||Reputation gains increased by 10%|
|Mace & Sword Specialization||Expertise with swords and maces is increased by 1%|
|The Human Spirit||Spirit increased by 3%|
Verdict: The added expertise is beneficial if you conveniently happen to equip such a weapon. Asides from that potential, the ability to simultaneously run away and still be well liked gets an impressed nod. Humans will fare the best through reputation grinds.
|Stoneform||Remove poison, disease, and bleed effects; +10% damage reduction for 8 seconds (2 min cooldown)|
|Mace Specialization||Expertise with maces is increased by 1%|
|Frost Resistance||Reduces Frost damage taken by 1%|
|Explorer||You find additional fragments when looting archaeological finds and you can survey faster than normal archaeologists|
|Crackshot||Expertise with ranged weapons is increased by 1%|
Verdict: Dwarves also have a potential addition to expertise and a nice ability to counteract common status effects. Stoneform is a bit less desirable than Every Man for Himself on the basis that mobility is still preferred.
|Escape Artist||Escape immobilization or movement speed reduction effect (1.5 min cooldown)|
|Shortblade Specialization||Expertise with Daggers and 1H-Swords is increased by 1%|
|Arcane Resistance||Reduces Arcane damage by 1%|
|Engineering Specialization||Engineering increased by 15 points|
|Expansive Mind||Mana pool is increased by 5%|
|Shadowmeld||Stationary stealth (2 min cooldown)|
|Quickness||Reduces the chance of melee/ranged attackes hit you by 2%|
|Wisp Spirit||75% increased death speed (+25% than other races)|
|Nature Resistance||Reduces Nature damage taken by 1%|
Verdict: Being a Night Elf provides no tangible benefit for Death Knights, but hide-and-go-seek with Darion Mograine will have acceptable results.
|Blood Fury||Increase attack/spell power for 15 seconds (2 min cooldown)|
|Command||Damage dealt by Death Knight, Hunter, and Warlock pets increased by 2% (down from 5%)|
|Axe Specialization||Expertise with Fist Weapons, Axes, and 2-H Axes is increased by 1%|
|Hardiness||15% stun duration reduction|
Verdict: Given that Orcs have both pet damage and attack power and extra expertise, they make really good Death Knights.
|Time is Money||1% attack speed|
|Rocket Jump||Jump forward (2 min cooldown, shared with Rocket Barrage)|
|Rocket Barrage||launches rockets at enemy (2 min cooldown, shared with Rocket Jump)|
|Best Deals Anywhere||receive the best discount regardless of faction|
|Pack Hobgoblin||Bank access 1 minute (30 min cooldown)|
|Better Living Through Chemistry||Alchemy increased by 15 points|
Verdict: Goblin racials are rather amazing for melee DPS like Death Knights.
|Berserking||20% increased attack speed for 10 seconds (3 min cooldown)|
|Da Voodoo Shuffle||15% reduction of movement impairing effects|
|Regeneration||Health regen rate increased by 10%, 10% of total regeneration during combat|
|Beast Slaying||5% damage versus beasts|
|Deadeye||Expertise with ranged weapons is increased by 1%|
Verdict: A short haste bonus and a snare reduction isn't bad, but it's a downgrade in comparison to Orcs and Goblins.
|Will of the Forsaken||Removes charm, fear, and sleep (2 min cooldown)|
|Cannibalize||Regen 7% health every 2 seconds for 10 seconds (2 min cooldown)|
|Shadow Resistance||Reduces Shadow damage taken by 1%|
|Touch of the Grave||Your attacks and damaging spells have a chance to drain the target, dealing X amount of Shadow damage and healing you for the same amount.|
Verdict: Touch of the Grave's damage/heal scales with mastery and is more optimized than what Belfs and the moo cows have to offer.
|Arcane Torrent||Silence all enemies within 8yds for 2 seconds and gain 15 runic power (2 min cooldown)|
|Arcane Affinity||Enchanting increased by 10|
|Magic Resistance||Reduces Arcane damage taken by 1%|
Verdict: The silence can be helpful when Mind Freeze is down or when you just want an ounce of free RP to Death Coil. Asides from that, you're basically joining this race for the hair: the superbly immaculate hair.
|War Stomp||Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8yds for 2 seconds (2 min cooldown)|
|Endurance||Base health increased by 5%|
|Nature Resistance||Reduces Nature damage taken by 1%|
|Cultivation||Herbalism increased by 15 points and speeds the gathering process|
Verdict: Tauren are on par with Night Elves in regards to lacking useful PVE racials. "The cow goes 'boooooo'."
When it comes to professions, the biggest question is, "Which ones give the most strength?". Alchemy, Leatherworking, Enchanting, Blacksmithing, Inscription, and Engineering are all on par by conveying 320 strength and are excellent choices as well. Engineering, as has been the case for a long while, provides us that strength via the Synapse Springs (Mark II) which can be used for 10s every 60s. It's slightly superior, as it allows you to stack cooldowns together for increased benefit, and gives you access to toys like goblin glider, rocket boots, and frag bomb. Blacksmithing is the second best choice by a small, small amount, as it let's you pick which secondary stats you want to take, unlike most of the other professions which are locked into strength, or in the case of JCing, give half the secondaries that BS gives.
In terms of long term benefits, any of the aforementioned six tradeskills are great options. If you're looking to absolutely maximize your Death Knight's strength gains, you can relegate gathering to another character so that you have 640 bonus strength from crafting professions.
|Alchemy||Alchemists receive the [Alchemist's Flask] and an increase to the duration of related consumables. Do note that the tooltip, as of this writing, appears to be incorrect. Alchemists are experiencing a 320 stat bonus in actual practice.|
|Blacksmithing||Blacksmiths are able to socket both bracers and gloves with an additional socket. Each socket would then derive a 320 strength from 2x [Bold Primordial Ruby].|
|Enchanting||Enchanters may add [Enchant Ring - Greater Strength] to both rings for a total gain of 320 strength.|
|Engineering||Engineers can add [Synapse Springs] (Mark II) to gloves (1920 strength * 10s/ 60s cooldown = passive 320 strength) and it stacks with normal enchants.|
|Herbalism||Herbalists still have their castable heal and self-buff in the form of Lifeblood. The spell grants 2880 haste for 20 seconds on a 2 minute cooldown so, effectively, it conveys 480 haste.|
|Inscription||Similar to Leatherworkers, Inscriptionists can enhance shoulder enchants beyond the norm. By applying their [Secret Tiger Fang Inscription], they gain 320 strength as well.|
|Jewelcrafting||Jewelcrafters may add 2x [Bold Serpent's Eye] to socket into your gear instead of 2x [Bold Primordial Ruby] equates to 320 additional strength.|
|Leatherworking||Leatherworkers have a wrist slot enhancement via Fur Lining - Strength. Where a normal person could enchant their wrists up to 180 strength, Leatherworkers add 500 strength, so 320 more.|
|Mining||Miners still receive a bonus to stamina and it has increased to 480.|
|Skinning||Likewise, Skinners receive their 480 critical strike rating bonus.|
|Tailoring||As with last patch, they still receive Swordguard Embroidery for a boost to AP.|
Please keep in mind these stat weights use BiS gear, and the default simcraft profile, which includes the legendary meta, and legendary cloak and the amp/CD trinket. This means a changed race, talent, or gear, in particular trinkets and weapon, will change the stat values. I've seen far too many people trying to use these weights for characters that are 50 ilvls under BiS. I highly recommend running the sim with your own character to see stat weights for your character.
580 Stat Weights:
|Hit (to cap)||11.05|
|Expertise (to cap)||11.02|
Gearing, like your play choices, is also based upon a priority system. Included below is the order of most beneficial to least beneficial stats to help you make informed decisions about gear.
|Standard Stat Priority*|
|Strength > Hit/Expertise to Cap > Crit >= Mastery >= Haste|
Hit to cap is extremely important. Not only does it determine your melee hit, but it's now relied on for your spell hit too. If you miss a lot, that’s 0 damage on a frequent basis. Meters can't discriminate whether your damage suffered because of low hit rating or because you were too busy watching FiM reruns to pay attention to the boss (the latter is slightly more acceptable). Also keep in mind that your Ghoul inherits your stats (with hit rating no longer rounding down).
At level 90, it takes 2550 hit rating to become hit capped for a raid boss (2210 for Draenei). There is a certain leniency for being slightly over or slightly under, but you want to negotiate this very carefully. When in doubt, test yourself on a target dummy for extended lengths of time or run your character’s paper doll through simulations for a very general idea of how it will affect your real performance.
As stated at the beginning of the guide, expertise will negate dodge AND spell miss, then parry. Therefore whatever value you have for expertise will combine with hit to determine your spell hit. Expertise, as such, has become incredibly valuable for us. At level 90, it takes 2550 expertise rating to become expertise capped for a raid boss (2210 for races with 1% added expertise).
Your GCD is affected by various factors such as expertise, Heroism/Bloodlust effects, your connection speed and so forth. The best way to approach haste itemization is whether or not you personally experience GCD locks. If you have no trouble expending resources, haste remains highly favored, simple as that.
Crit makes abilities hit twice as hard. More crit makes it happen more often.
Mastery boosts our shadow damage via Dreadblade and has a bit less parity than before.
*A word on stats
Unholy secondary stat weights are all very close right, so close in-fact that there are obtainable gearsets for every possible stat priority. This means there is no one "right" way to gear, as it will vary from person to person. You can use the above order as a rule of thumb, but it is highly suggested that you sim your own stat weights and try to get them as close as possible together, in order to maximize dps. In general, getting X stat makes Y and Z better, but doesn't change X. So if X is the best stat for you, get enough of X to bring Y or Z up, and then hold that balance.
In regards to reforging your gear, start with the hit and expertise cap and manage your DPS stat priority as above. I’d recommend taking a look at Wow Reforge to help you make your reforging decisions outside of the game. When using Wow Reforge's site for Unholy, you will need to specify your hit & expertise caps for 'close to' 2550 or 2210 (if you have a +1% racial). By choosing 'close to', the calculator attempts to reforge your gear to the specified hit cap number but it also considers reforges in a tight threshold around the cap. It weighs the various configurations by the stats they provide and ranks them from highest to lowest in EP value. It may be that your optimum reforge puts you exactly at cap or it could put you a point over or under because the DPS is rated better. It will simply depend on your race and assortment of gear.
Reforge calculators require a lot of complicated math so always double check your results for accuracy. Report any anomalies to the site owner to improve the reliability of the tool.
Tips for Reforging:
- Your first calculation for reforging should be for your hit and expertise ratings. Sometimes you will want to reforge away a cap stat on one item only to add it back on another. Ex: forging hit to haste on Item A and forging crit to hit on Item B where haste already exists.
- Reforge weaker stats into strong stats.
- Don't forget that you have options to change your cap stat values through gemming and enchanting too.
Currently the best gems for each socket color:
|Red||[Inscribed Vermilion Onyx]|
|Red||[Fierce Vermilion Onyx]|
|Red||[Skillful Vermilion Onyx]|
|Yellow||[Smooth Sun's Radiance]|
|Yellow||[Quick Sun's Radiance]|
|Yellow||[Fractured Sun's Radiance]|
|Blue||[Piercing Wild Jade]|
|Blue||[Lightning Wild Jade]|
|Blue||[Sensei's Wild Jade]|
You will defer to the yellow gem unless the socket bonus would provide more dps. By applying your stat weights to the stats offered between gem choices and socket bonuses, it lets you determine if an upgrade exists.
[Reverberating Primal Diamond] (+216 strength/3% crit effect)
or if you've completed the quest for Wrathion
[Capacitive Primal Diamond] (+324 Crit Rating and chance on melee or ranged hit to gain Capacitance. At 5 stacks, fires a Lightning Strike.)
[Bold Serpent's Eye] (+320 strength)
Note that JCs can have 2 Chimeras active at a time, not 3.
|Shoulder||[Greater Tiger Fang Inscription]||[Secret Tiger Fang Inscription] (Inscription-only)|
|Back||[Enchant Cloak - Accuracy]||[Enchant Cloak - Superior Critical Strike]|
|Wrist||[Enchant Bracers - Exceptional Strength]||Fur Lining - Strength (Leatherworking-only)|
|Hands||Enchant Gloves - Super Strength||[Synapse Springs] (Mark II) (Engineering-only, stacks)|
|Waist||[Living Steel Belt Buckle]||-|
|Rings||[Enchant Ring - Greater Strength] (Enchanting-only)|
|Legs||Angerhide Leg Armor||-|
|Feet||Enchant Boots - Greater Precision||Enchant Boots - Greater Haste|
|Weapon||[Rune of the Fallen Crusader]||-|
The Fantastic Kerriodos has compiled a list of all the plate loot for 5.4, which can be found at
Check the tabs at the bottom to organize by boss or slot, or swap to heroic mode.
You rock dude.
BiS - No Restrictions
|2 Piece||Killing Machine and Sudden Doom grant 500 Haste or Mastery, whichever is highest, for X sec, stacking up to 10 times.|
|4 Piece||Death Coil increases the duration of Dark Transformation by 2 sec per cast. Special attacks while Pillar of Frost is active will impale your target with an icy spike.|
|2 Piece||Your attacks have a chance to raise the spirit of a fallen Zandalari as your Death Knight minion for 15 sec.|
|4 Piece||Your Soul Reaper ability now deals additional Shadow Damage to targets below 45% instead of below 35%. Additionally, Killing Machine now also increases the critical strike chance of Soul Reaper.|
At the end of 5.1, the 2 piece set bonus has been reduced to 4% (was 10%).
|2 Piece||Your Obliterate, Frost Strike, and Scourge Strike deal 4% increased damage.|
|4 Piece||Your Pillar of Frost ability grants 5% additional Strength, and your Unholy Frenzy ability grants 10% additional haste.|
Note: Timeless Isle Xuen trinket lies between Flex cleave trinket and HTF rage
Some people are content with the out-of-the-box game experience, but others feel like they can play and monitor their character better with additional tools.
DK Diseases will track your diseases on your target. It provides both a numeric and color-coded indicator of the disease strength. The indicators help you to know when you should re-apply your diseases to increase your damage.
Doc's Debug Runes (link)
A combined rune, runic power, disease, proc, Dark Transformation, Runic Empowerment, Runic Corruption, Blood Shield and Death Strike heal display. Visually simple but very effective, DDR uses short bars to display runes, diseases, power and specific procs.
I am hoping that the remaining LUA errors will be fixed soon. The original author has apparently stopped playing, but I hope someone will adopt the project again.
Magic Runes (link)
If you want a more aesthetic minded rune watch, Magic Runes also provides a really nice view of your runes with several chart type variations. It's very straightforward and graphically clean. It does not show your procs or special cooldowns (for better or worse), so you will need to set up other mods if you prefer having those features.
RuneHUD is a simple addon that moves the runes of your DK to make them a HUD (Heads Up Display). The runes are click through which means they don't intercept mouse clicks. RuneHUD has OmniCC support, will be hidden when in a vehicle and the individual runes will fade when on cooldown.
CLCDK is a class HUD featuring disease durations, GCD timer, ability timers, runic power, runes, and an optional suggestion box.
What this mod should do is show you Runic Power, special cooldowns (Gargoyle/Army), Runes, and disease timers in 1 add on.
What this mod should NOT do is replace your brain. Blindly mimicking its suggestions will produce ignorant, lazy play. After all, we’re trying to break the negative stereotype of our class, not reinforce it.
Used properly, the suggestion box can serve as a friendly reminder for when diseases reach low time or a cooldown is ready. That’s a fine and reasonable use of a tool, just don’t confuse what it says you CAN do with what you actually SHOULD. You can also completely turn off the suggestion box if you don't like it or if you'd prefer more space.
Similar in nature to CLCDK, DKOne shows a Rune Display with additional information on runic power and dot timers. One important difference is that CLC does not show Soul Reaper, but DKOne does. It also shows the next two recommended actions and the next two cooldowns that will be up. It dynamically switches between melee, AOE and ranged priorities and whenever you change specs. It tracks the current number of AOE targets and estimates how long until the current target will die. There are up to 8 additional small buttons that you can set to track things like Blood Tap charges and Sudden Doom procs.
(Thanks Kirkvader of Turalyon for this recommendation!)
NeedToKnow lets you monitor specific buffs, debuffs, and totems as timer bars that always appear in a consistent place on your screen. You can track yourself, others, your target, your pet, and much more. This mod is fantastic to let you watch your Shadow Infusion stacks, Dark Transformation timers, Anti-Magic Shell, and Runic Corruption uptime. You can set colors, scaling, and different groups of bars. Very customizable and user friendly.
The core of Quartz is a lightweight implementation of the standard casting bar with configurable size, text and icon positioning, and colors. Similar to Need to Know, Quartz will allow you to display custom timers on the mirror bars as well. Proc displays can likewise be added with the Quartz Procs Module. (Thanks to Kopex of Argent Dawn-EU for this recommendation!)
OmniCC is an addon that adds text to items, spell and abilities that are on cooldown to indicate when they will be ready to use. In other words: it turns all the standard analogue cooldowns into digital ones.
Deadly Boss Mods (link)
Deadly Boss Mods is a boss alert mod. It consists of many individual "boss modules", mini addons that are designed to trigger alert messages and timer bars for one specific raid boss each. Instance modules will be loaded and enabled when you enter the corresponding instance. If you don’t already have this, get it yesterday. I have glowing recommendations for all its included features.
Recount is a graphical combat log meter complete with damage, healing, and more. This is the ‘How’s My Driving?’ equivalent of your DPS performance. Everyone has a job and ours is to put up big numbers. Hold yourself accountable by knowing your output and surpassing the expectations of others, but remember, a dead dps does no dps. I consider Recount, or Skada (as below), a 'must have' for a good DPS setup.
Skada Damage Meter (link)
Skada is a modular damage meter with various viewing modes. It is inspired mainly by Assessment, but also by Recount. Skada sports segmented fights and detailed views, while being highly efficient with memory. This is accomplished by aggregating data on fight segments. If you're looking for a supremely lightweight meter, definitely check this one out! (Thanks to Kopex of Argent Dawn-EU for this recommendation!)
ReforgeSaver allows you to save and restore reforging profiles for your equipped items. Equip the items you want and reforge them as desired. When you're done, click the "Save" button on top of the Reforging frame and choose a name for your profile. You can restore your profile at any time by selecting it from the dropdown menu and clicking "Reforge". It will display how much gold the total reforge will cost and begin reforging once you confirm. This is extremely helpful if you frequently switch between specs and/or different sets of gear.
Power Auras (link)
This addon was created to provide visual cues (auras) when you gain buffs, debuffs and many more. Very useful for shorts buffs or debuffs, it allows you to draw in the center of the screen, or around your character, very customizable visual effects, rather than having to look at or mouseover buff/debuff icons/actionbars.
Weak Auras (link)
WeakAuras is a flexible framework that allows you to display customizable graphics on your screen to indicate buffs, debuffs, and a whole host of similar types of information. It was originally meant to be a lightweight replacement for Power Auras, but it now incorporates many features that Power Auras does not.
Macros expand your ability to customize and automate certain actions via sequences of slash commands. If you are unfamiliar with how to make macros, I recommend reading WoWWiki’s ‘Making a Macro’ guide. Don’t let the involvement of code deter you from macros. They’re generally very simple to write or, even better, just copy and paste ones that have already been created (as below).
Revised Attacks Macro
If you lack the runes to use an ability, this mod will clear the red error text on the top of your screen and your auto-attack will still begin. I use this macro for each of my major melee abilties where ‘Name’ is the spell/ability.
#showtooltip /startattack /cast Name /script UIErrorsFrame:Clear();
By using modifier keys, you can toggle between a self-heal, pet heal, or damage a target as normal.
#showtooltip /cast [mod:ctrl, @pet] Death Coil
#showtooltip /cast !Anti-Magic Zone
#showtooltip /cast !Death and Decay
Sometimes addons will interfere with abilities you receive during encounters (think: Heroic Will on Ultraxion) so it's nice to have a hard-set button that can achieve the same effect.
This isn't so much of a macro as it is a one-time slash command. The following script will increase the allowable threshold of your camera's distance. This is wonderful for fights like Al'Akir where there are large scale effects and far away enemies. Just type the script into your chat window and scroll your wheel to experience the amazing new birds-eye view. (source: Arena Junkies)
Mists of Pandaria raid information is welcomed via PM.
Raiding mechanics section can be found here.
To further your individual research about the class, play, and so forth, I also have a list of online resources to recommend:
- Destiny Softworks - My DK/gaming dev blog.
- #Acherus IRC - Moderated, live DK chat and think tank.
- Son of a Lich - Magdalena and Heartless's DK blog
- @Destinysoftwork - A way to reach me.
- Simulation Craft - Active and comprehensive simulation code project.
- Ask Mr. Robot - World of Warcraft gear optimization and theorycraft website.
- Wow Reforge Calculator - A valuable tool to aid in reforging.
- MMO Champion - Breaking news, updates, and sneak peeks.
- Lichborne by WowInsider - DK oriented articles and news.
If you find any inaccurate, incomplete or omitted material, I would very much appreciate a PM so that I can make the necessary corrections. It's entirely possible for me to mistype or forget to include something. It would never be my intention to knowingly confuse or misinform people. I appreciate suggestions and hope this can be a springboard for better play, comprehension, and discussion.
Optimize Unholy more in Simc, specifically PL usage.
Fine tune BiS list.
Double trinket rankings.
I take requests, PM me.
The information in this guide is gathered from a multitude of sources: personal experience (both the good & laughable), my wonderful and insightful DK friends in #Acherus, private messages, posts on the WoW forums, past threads and discussion there at EJ, Twitter connections, and other community sites. I have cited these helpful sources where specifics are lended.
- Euliat for his work on simulating DK stats and priority.
- Titus Pullo for handling the frost guides since 4.3, and providing the framework for the current frost guide.
- Magdalena for his work on #Acherus and being a great dude.
- Teskuz for his amazing artistic contribution.
- Kerriodos for his AMAZING T16 Str plate list.
- Heartless for her unholy guide framework, and the abbreviation list. RIP
- Theck and Reia for doing amazing things with simc.
- Jessamy for being a great DK forum mod here at EJ
- Everyone who contributes to this thread for their continued effort at understanding and maximizing the DK class.
09/08/2013- Thread created.
Click here to view the guide