STOP POSTING YOUR SHIT DPS RESULTS FROM DUMMY TESTS. IT HAS BEEN STATED TIME AND TIME AGAIN THAT TESTS DONE IN THIS FASHION ARE IN NO WAY REPRESENTATIVE OF ACTUAL RAID DATA.
Specs & Runeforges
--UP vs. BP
Taking Advantage of AMS
Gearing & Stat Weights
Consumables & Cooldowns
Obscure and Esoteric Methods
Points of Discussion
I. COMMON ABBREVIATIONS
AoE = Area of Effect
AMS = Anti-Magic Shell
BB = Blood Boil
BP = Blood Presence
IT = Icy Touch
DCh = Deathchill
DK = Death Knight
DnD = Death and Decay
DPS = Damage per Second
FC = Rune of the Fallen Crusader
FF = Frost Fever
FS = Frost Strike
GCD = Global Cooldown
HoW = Horn of Winter
KM = Killing Machine
OB = Obliterate
PS = Plague Strike
RP = Runic Power
UA = Unbreakable Armor
UP = Unholy Presence
Currently Accepted Spec(s)
Unlike other classes, there is nothing exceedingly mystical about the talent choices made by a Frost DK, due largely in part to the Frost tree being free of any extraneous bloat found in many other specs. 51 points happens to be the exact amount needed to grab every essential DPS talent from the frost tree. This leaves us with 20 talent points left for the other trees. Blood has been chosen as the primary sub-tree for the following reasons:
- Frost's heavy reliance on crit.
- Frost's heavy dependence on 2h weapon attacks.
- Largely undesirable talents found in the Unholy tree.
20/51/0 or 17/51/3
These two specs are centered around using Glyph of Icy Touch to generate the maximum amount of RP possible, in order to spam FS as much as can be allowed. The talent choices are identical to a traditional Frost spec, with one notable exception: 3 points are either taken from Virulence or Dark Conviction and placed in Death Rune Mastery. It is currently unknown which of these will yield higher DPS.
There is currently only one viable Runeforge for PvE DPS: Fallen Crusader. This is largely due to the time it takes to apply Razorice, as well as FC affecting all your damage (not just damage done to your current target).
As with specs, glyph choices for a Frost DK are fairly obvious. Glyph of Frost Strike is absolutely critical, as it increases the amount of FS you preform by 25%. Since this is easily your hardest hitting attack, you will see a greater DPS gain from this glyph than from any other. While not as critical, Glyph of Obliterate is similarly mandatory, as OB will be your second-highest damage special on all non-AoE boss encounters.
There is currently some debate going on as to whether of not it is better to use Glyph of Icy Touch or Glyph of Howling Blast. Switching between the two results in greatly differing playstyles, both with their own advantages and disadvantages. This is discussed further in the Rotations section.
IV. GENERALIZED ROTATIONS
When using Glyph of Howling Blast one usually resorts to a single disease rotation. This is because it is a DPS loss to spend an Unholy rune on PS when you could find much greater DPS by using it for HB or OB. In general, the rotation for this spec is as follows:
HB -> OB -> BS -> BS -> DUMP
OB -> OB -> OB -> DUMP
Note that HB should replace OB at any time where it looks like the duration of Frost Fever is about to expire. Due to the inherent OB spam nature of this rotation, it is heavily reliant on the generation of Rime procs. When Rime is procced, there are two things that must be considered before the proc is used:
- How much time is left of the Frost Fever timer?
- How many Obliterates do I have left in my rotation?
If there is still a significant amount of time (>6s) left on FF's timer and you have no OBs left in your rotation, the Rime proc should not be spent until just before you begin to use OB again. The reason for this is to simply insure that you get the maximum duration out of each application of FF, so you are not forced to spend any runes on HB that would otherwise be better spent on OB. Furthermore, by never holding onto a Rime proc while using OB, you insure that you will never "lose" a Rime proc to a double proc situation.
This rotation is best used while in Blood Presence, owing to the small amount of Global Cooldowns needed for two-rune attacks.
6x IT Machine Gun
This is the rotation that a 20/51/0 DK will use. It follows the same essential philosophy as the standard double disease rotation with a few key differences. The generalized starting rotation for this spec is as follows:
IT -> OB -> BS -> BT -> OB -> IT -> DUMP
From this point on, a static rotation is nearly impossible to maintain, due to the incredibly dynamic nature of this spec. As a general rule, though, you should ALWAYS burn your Unholy Runes with OB and everything else should be spent on IT or BS. You will have to watch carefully for KM procs and do your best to prevent them from being eaten by IT.
Note that you are highly likely to become RP capped during the second part of this cycle. As such, you should weave in FS every time you approach the cap.
This spec is largely the same as the Machine Gun spec, except instead of taking 3/3 Death Rune Mastery, you grab 3/3 Epidemic for the spell hit. It should be noted that this spec is largely inferior to the Machine Gun spec, due to poor use of Unholy Runes and a marginal benefit from an extra disease.
IT -> PS -> OB -> BS -> BS -> DUMP
OB -> IT ->PS -> IT -> IT -> DUMP
It important to note that the your Death Runes are much better spent on 2x IT than on OB. This is because while 2x IT will result in marginally less damage than OB, you will generate 25 more RP. The gain from this RP gen (and the additional FS it will eventually allow) far outweighs the damage loss from missing one OB.
While this rotation can be done in Blood Presence, it is generally a better idea to use Unholy Presence. This is because the use of many single rune attacks requires many GCDs in order to fit everything into the rotation while leaving time for FS spam.
In general, AoE rotations are identical to standard DPS rotations with a few changes:
- Use Howling Blast as much as possible.
- Use Pestilence in place of BS to spread your diseases around.
It is important to realize that Death Knight DPS cannot be effectively done with a rigid rotation. The systems detailed above are applicable only for stationary single target fights. Attempting to follow them absolutely as some sort of Frozen Bible will result in terrible DPS and even more people complaining about how DKs have become the new huntards.
Because of this, most people have developed a priority system that they follow instead, which allows for fluid adaptation to new scenarios and overall produces a higher amount of damage done. Generally, it works as follows:
Do I have a KM proc?
-If yes, then FS. If not, try and quickly generate enough RP without losing the KM proc to preform a FS.
Am I RP capped/will using a rune ability cause me to be capped?
-If so, dump RP.
Are my diseases (specifically FF) up on my target/about to expire?
-Refresh them if necessary.
Do I have any Runes available for use/will I have runes available as soon as my current GCD finishes?
-If you do, use them in accordance with whichever rotation you have chosen to follow.
If none of the above criteria apply, dump RP with FS.
If you have no RP, use HoW while waiting for runes to recharge.
UNHOLY PRESENCE V. BLOOD PRESENCE
There has been much debate and discussion regarding whether or not it is better to use UP or BP while playing as Frost. Analysis and discussion of this issue can be found around the following post in this this thread: http://elitistjerks....p2/#post1247070
V. Recommended Tools
Frost is by far the most proc dependent of all the DK specs (and one of the most proc dependent specs overall), so using a good proc monitoring addon is essential for your success. There are several tools that can accomplish this, including, but not limited to:
- Tell Me When
- Need to Know
- Mik's Scrolling Battle Text
- Power Auras
- Satrina Buff Frames
VI. TAKING ADVANTAGE OF AMS
With Frost Strike easily being Frost's hardest hitting and most used ability (generally about 35-40% of your total damage will be from FS), Frost is by far the most RP reliant of the three major Death Knight DPS specs. As such, generating large amounts of RP is of vital concern for a DK who wants to top the damage meters.
Thankfully, Blizzard has provided us with an abundance of AoE magic damage on nearly every fight in Ulduar. Through clever timing, you can use Anti-Magic Shell to produce an abundance of RP every 45s, insuring that you can spam FS as much as possible.
Here is a breakdown on each boss encounter in Ulduar, with notes on when it is best to use AMS
P1: Run through a fire patch on your way over to Razorscale after she's been harpooned.
P2: There is usually a flame patch in the near vicinity of the boss, simply hop in that every 45s.
Simply time AMS for use right after he finishes his Flame Jets cast. Know that if you use AMS before the cast is finished you won't receive the debuff and will therefore generate far less RP than you could otherwise.
If you feel like playing risky and enjoy pissing your healers off, you can elect to follow a light-bombed melee as they run out of the group. Otherwise, save AMS for when you get bombed.
There is no major change in this fight for Death Knights when hardmode is activated.
Wait until Shockwave comes off of cooldown then, pop AMS and pray that he uses the ability within 5s seconds (he usually does).
Assembly of Iron
Steelbreaker: The High Voltage aura makes this fight one of the best for consist RP generation through AMS. Simply use AMS every time it is off cooldown and enjoy the free damage.
Molgriem:You'll have to wait for a Rune of Death on the melee group and use AMS as you leave.
Brundir: Lightning Tendrils is the best source of reliable magic damage. You can also take advantage of Overload, though know that you will suffer a 2s knockdown.
During P2 of the Assembly of Iron hardmode, Steelbreaker will be casting Static Disruption of various raidmembers. If this happens to land in the melee clump, you can AMS for substantial RP gains. While you should not be taking damage from this in P3, you should know that the damage from High Voltage will have increased substantially, so making sure you have AMS up going into the Steelbreaker burn phase is essential.
Wait for a fear and then dance through a void zone on your way back to the melee clump.
Save AMS for Frozen Blows. Real ballers can also get 2-3 stacks of Biting Cold at the same time, though your healers will complain.
There are no major changes from the normal mode to the hardmode.
P1: Wait for a Stormhammer cast and hope that you're standing near the target.
P2: Instead of moving out, just sit in and soak the Lightning Charges.
P1: Identical to the normal mode.
P2: Due to the stacking damage buff on Thorim, you should do your best to avoid all Lightning Charges lest you get instagibbed. However, Sif will be tossing around a substantial amount of magic damage, so you can still use AMS for fun and profit. Probably the best time to use it is when you notice her teleport to the melee clump. This signifies that you have ~2s before she frost nova's you for ~10k damage + a root.
P1: Sunbeam, if you can move close enough to the target in a timely fashion. There's also Nature's Fury.
P2: Not much, as the bombs will tend to blow you away from the boss and should thus be avoided.
P1: Find an isolated land mine and trigger it on your way back to the boss from a Shock Blast.
P2: Use AMS immedietly after you see Heat Wave pulse to make your healers happier.
P3: Bomb bot explosions are the only source of magic damage.
P4: Use AMS whenever it is off cooldown. Odds are, you will be targeted by Hand Pulse sometime during the duration.
In between phases on hardmode you can dance into the fire with AMS to insure that you have full RP going into each transition.
This is the only fight in Ulduar without reliable AoE magic damage.
Save AMS for the later part of the Animus, when the AoE damage has fully ramped up and he's in execute range.
P1: If your guild elects to tank all the guardians in the center, you can use AMS to soak their detonations.
P2: There is lots of shadow damage if you're in the portal group (hint: you should be) from Grim Reprisal.
P3: Nothing here, as you should not be getting hit with Lunatic Gaze.
There is no additional source of magic damage on Yogg's hardmode.
VII. GEARING AND STATS WEIGHTS
Stat Equivalences are determined for individual abilities via the following relationship:
h = Hit chance
B = Base damage
AP = Current total AP
k = AP Coefficient for that particular attack
m = Crit bonus multiplier
c = Current Crit chance
Note that to get a normalized stat weighting from the equivalence equation, simply take its inverse. For example, the weighting for crit rating would be:
Where AP = the weighting for crit rating (how much AP it would take to get the equivalent damage increase of 1 crit rating).
It's almost important to note that hit/expertise share the same equivalence/weighting formula. So for a melee attack, these will have identical values assuming you are under both the hit and expertise caps.
I will work on including a list of the above variable's values for individual attacks in a moment. I am also working on a spreadsheet to automate the calculation of these weightings.
For now, assume the following stat priorities:
Under the hitcap:
Hit > Strength > Expertise = Crit > Agility > Haste ~ ArPen > Everything else.
Hitcapped, but not Expertise capped:
Strength > Crit > Expertise > Agility > Haste ~ ArPen > Everything else.
Gear Lists will also be uploaded once the approximate weightings have been sorted out. For now, it is probably best to refer to the http://elitistjerks....ing_bis_thread/.
There is only 1 truly viable Sigil for competitive Frost DPS and that is the . You will see no greater DPS gain from any item currently in the game as you will with this Sigil. You can DPS as Frost without it, but in reality, you will see FAR better results as an Unholy spec.
For further discussion and analysis on this topic, see: http://elitistjerks.com/f72/t59946-frozen_blows_frost_dps_please_read_op/p5/#post1250618
VII. CONSUMABLES & COOLDOWNS
Primary Potion: (To be used in conjunction with Unbreakable Armor
Secondary Potion: (The gain from Bladed Armor is ~97 AP).
All cooldowns should be timed with Bloodlust (which your raidleader should be calling at the start of every fight). If for some reason you are saving Lust (Mimiron P2, for example), use cooldowns (sans potion) immedietly at the beginning of the fight and then again during Bloodlust.
You should be saving Blood Tap for when you use UA, so as to not affect the flow of your attacks. This can be done after using UA with a Frost Rune, or before if all your runes happen to be on cooldown.
Notes on : This should be used about 5s before you enter into combat on any given fight. This will result in you not being potion locked for that particular encounter and enable you to use another potion as soon as the cooldown expires. It should also be noted that the AP gains from the armor will not be calculated till your strength changes in value. This can be done via a simple weaponswap macro, cancelling and reapplying HoW or simply waiting for a FC proc.
IX. OBSCURE AND ESOTERIC METHODS
Abusing Revitalize and Rapture
These two abilities are currently the only reliable methods outside of AMS soaking and standard rune generation for generating RP. It is therefore in your best interest to somehow convince your disc priests and resto droods to contunually spam these abilities on you and pray for a proc.
Taking advantage of Blood Tap
If you use BT after using one of your Blood Runes, but before the other, you will end up with 2x Death Runes. It works something like this:
BBUUFF -> Blood Strike
dBUUFF -> Blood Tap
Where upper case letters denote runes ready to use and lower case denote runes currently recharging.
By doing this you are able to start of any rotation with an abundance of RP, as you will be able to ITx2 immediately at the beginning of the fight.
X. POINTS OF DISCUSSION
In order of priority:
- How do stat weights change for ITx6?
Please attempt to provide mathematical proof and/or parses for all your answers to the above questions, elsewise you're not really contributing anything to the discussion.
: 05.20.09 Thread Launched
: 05.23.09 Added UP v BP section // Added to consumables // Added Obscure and Esoteric Methods.
: 06.11.09 Updated ITx6 rotation // Added recommended addons // Added hardmode fight breakdowns.