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Mendenbarr

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About Mendenbarr

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    Oh, I never leave home without my party cannon.
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  • Character Name Mendenbarr
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  1. Last updated by Mendenbarr on 06/22/15 Introduction Welcome to the Warlords of Draenor PVE Damage Death Knight comprehensive guide and knowledge compendium. Long ago we were servants of the tyrant Lich King, but our strength of will allowed us to overcome his control over us. Now we are heroes who wield the power of death itself. Plague, pestilence, and disease do our bidding. The undead now serve us as we once served. Warmth and life flee from us in fear. We are death knights, and we are a force to be reckoned with. If you find any errors in this guide, broken links, or information you feel has been omitted that would help to understand the class, please PM me or contact me on twitter@Destinysoftwork Abbreviations and keywords Term Meaning 2H 2-Handed AMS Anti-Magic Shell AMZ Anti-Magic Zone AotD Army of the Dead AoE Area of Effect APL Action Priority List AE Area Effect BB Blood Boil BiS Best in Slot BoS Breath of Sindragosa BP Blood Plague BPres Blood Presence BT Blood Tap CoI Chains of Ice CU Control Undead DA Death's Advance DC Death Coil DFI Defile DG Death Grip DK Death Knight DnD Death and Decay DP Death Pact DPS Damage per Second DT Dark Transformation DS Death Strike Dsim Dark Simulacrum Dsip Death Siphon DW Duel Wield EP Ebon Plaguebringer ERW Empower Rune Weapon FeS Festering Strike FF Frost Fever FS Frost Strike FP Frost Presence Gary Gargoyle Pet GCD Global Cooldown GG Gorefiend's Grasp GoX Glyph of X HB Howling Blast HoW Horn of Winter IBF Icebound Fortitude ICD Internal Cooldown IT Icy Touch KM Killing Machine MF Mind Freeze MotFW Might of the Frozen Wastes NP Necrotic Plague OB Outbreak Oblit Obliterate PB Plaguebearer PL Plague Leech PoF Pillar of Frost PS Plague Strike Purg Purgatory RA Raise Ally RD Raise Dead RC Runic Corruption RE Runic Empowerment Rez Resurrect RW Remorseless Winter RotFC Rune of the Fallen Crusader RoRI Rune of Razorice RP Runic Power SD Sudden Doom SI Shadow Infusion SG Summon Gargoyle SS Scourge Strike SR Soul Reaper Timmy Ghoul Pet TX Tier X UB Unholy Blight UP Unholy Presence Race Races are listed in rough order of best to worst from a pure damage dealing perspective, the difference between the best and the worst is less than 0.7%. Keep in mind that racials also include speed boosts, heals, and passive damage reduction, which can all be useful in raiding. Alliance Draenei Gift of the Naaru Gemcutting Heroic Presence Shadow Resistance Worgen Aberration Altered Form Darkflight Flayer Running Wild Two Forms Viciousness Human Diplomacy Every Man for Himself The Human Spirit Night Elf Nature Resistance Wisp Spirit Quickness Shadowmeld Touch of Elune Gnome Arcane Resistance Engineering Specialization Escape Artist Expansive Mind Nimble Fingers Dwarf Explorer Frost Resistance Might of the Mountain Stoneform Horde Blood Elf Arcane Torrent Arcane Acuity Arcane Affinity Arcane Resistance Troll Regeneration Beast Slaying Berserking Da Voodoo Shuffle Orc Blood Fury Hardiness Command Undead Cannibalize Shadow Resistance Touch of the Grave Will of the Forsaken Goblin Time is Money Best Deals Anywhere Better Living Through Chemistry Pack Hobgoblin Rocket Barrage Rocket Jump Tauren Brawn Cultivation Endurance Nature Resistance War Stomp Professions no longer have any personal damage increases, so pick whatever you want. Spec Death Knights have three distinct playstyles to choose from for dealing damage. Unholy takes up one slot by itself, while frost is split into two different variations, with changed gearing and ability priority, based on the weapon you choose. Unholy Masters of death and disease, unholy death knights spread their powerful plague upon all their enemies and whittle them down to nothing with the aid of their undead ghoul and gargoyle, as well as their 2-handed weapon. Unholy is strongest when dealing with a single enemy or a spread out group of enemies for a longer period of time, giving their diseases a chance to fester and grow. Unholy can also move faster than frost. Unholy is weaker when trying to do a lot of burst damage in a short period of time, or when switching between attacking a group and a single target. 2H Frost This kind of death knight sucks the heat from their target, leaving them weak and brittle, and then shatters them with slow powerful strikes. 2H Frost is strongest when dealing with a single enemy and when trying to burst a large amount in a short time. 2H Frost is weaker when trying to deal with a lot of enemies, or when you don’t have access to a good weapon. DW Frost Contrary to it’s cousin 2H Frost, DW Frost prefers quick, rapid attacks. The heat is still drained right out of your enemy, but with unrelenting, constant attacks instead of big, slow hits. DW Frost is strongest when dealing with a large group of enemies, and is able to do the most cleave damage to secondary targets without sacrificing any damage on the primary target. DW Frost is weaker when dealing with a single target. Which should I choose? All three choices are currently “viable”, and the differences between them are greatly overshadowed by gear, skill, and luck. You will often have the best results with whatever you have the most practice with, or even different specs on a fight to fight basis. That being said, this is what the spec balance looks like on a single target dummy with sims of equal gear, luck, and skill. DW Frost 735: 96053 2H Frost 735: 88235 Unholy 735: 87050 So DWF is signifigantly favored overall. Talents T1 Plaguebearer Plague Leech Unholy Blight The correct talent to take is PL, which returns 2 runes for “free” every 30 seconds. The cost of reapplying diseases is too cheap for either PB or UB to be real competition. You generally want to use PL right before your diseases fall off, and we’ll go over this in more detail in the priority section. If you are using the necroblight rotation, you instead want to take unholy blight. T2 Lichborne Anti-Magic Zone Purgatory AMZ remains a strong raid cooldown, and should be the default choice in this tier. On fights with no real magic damage, or for solo play/leveling, purgatory makes for a very nice second choice. T3 Death's Advance Chilblains Asphyxiate Death’s Advance should be the default choice here, as movement speed is almost always good. On the rare occasion where you are required to mass slow or have a stun, Chilblains and Asphyxiate are there for you. T4 Blood Tap Runic Empowerment Runic Corruption Blood Tap should be the default choice for DWF, even if you don't want to micromanage it, in which case you should just macro it to frost strike. It'sslightly stronger than RC for 2Hfrost (0.5%) because of the extra control over killing machine procs it gives you. If you can’t be bothered to manage BT as 2HF, you want to use RC instead. RC should be the default choice as unholy for the higher overall runes per runic spent, and avoiding unsynced runes, however, if you micromanage it perfectly, BT will give you slightly better results (0.3%). T5 Death Pact Death Siphon Conversion Death Pact should be the default choice here. Death pact gives you an additional powerful survival cooldown, restoring a large amount of health once every 2 minutes. The healing absorb comes at a good time, right after you’ve received the large heal, and the other 2 talents both provide less burst healing and cost you resources leading to less damage as well. It may be worth considering conversion for leveling if dark succor isn’t enough to keep you up. T6 Gorefiend's Grasp Remorseless Winter Desecrated Ground Gorefiend’s Grasp should be the default choice here. Many classes can AE stun, and effects which cause the loss of control for your character are rare and can be countered in other ways, but death knights are the only ones who bring an AE grip to the table. Learn to love this ability because, no matter how strong or weak we are, death knights will always have a raid spot so long as Gorefiend’s Grasp remains in the game. T7 Necrotic Plague Defile Breath of Sindragosa As DW Frost, Defile is the strongest choice whenever the majority of its ticks are hitting all of your targets. If the targets are too spread out, or move too much to reliably use defile, NP is a stronger choice. For 2H frost, You should use defile until you pick up the T18 4-set and the class trinket, Reaper's Harvest. After obtaining those items, NP becomes stronger because the cost of casting defile, an unholy rune, becomes too large. As unholy, defile is the best choice for a target dummy, while NP wins out for any serious AoE, and BoS wins whenever you are able to soak some runic power with AMS while BoS is up. Glyphs Major Glyph of Absorb Magic Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell Glyph of Blood Boil Glyph of Chains of Ice Glyph of Dark Simulacrum Glyph of Death and Decay Glyph of Death Coil Glyph of Death Grip Glyph of Empowerment Glyph of Enduring Infection Glyph of Icebound Fortitude Glyph of Icy Runes Glyph of Icy Touch Glyph of Mind Freeze Glyph of Outbreak Glyph of Pillar of Frost Glyph of Raise Ally Glyph of Regenerative Magic Glyph of Runic Power Glyph of Shifting Presences Glyph of Strangulate Glyph of Swift Death Glyph of the Ice Reaper Glyph of Unholy Command Minor Glyph of Path of Frost Glyph of the Geist Glyph of Horn of Winter Glyph of Army of the Dead Glyph of Foul Menagerie Glyph of Death's Embrace Glyph of Resilient Grip Glyph of Death Gate Glyph of Corpse Explosion Glyph of Tranquil Grip Glyph of the Skeleton Most glyphs are pvp related, or simply not applicable to you, but there are a few which come in quite handy. Default GlyphsGlyph of Regenerative Magicconsistently lets you use AMS more, and should be considered a mandatory glyph.Glyph of Raise Allymakes your battle-rez free, which not only increases your DPS slightly, but also means it’s always ready when you need it. If you plan on doing any battle-rezzing you should take this glyph. Glyph of Blood Boil(as Unholy) increases the range of your AE by 50% for unholy, and should be taken unless there is something signifigantly better. Useless for frost. Glyph of Empowerment(as frost) turns ERW into half a death pact. Not bad for a glyph. Substitute Glyphs:Glyph of Anti-Magic Shellshines when you don't need the reduced cooldown, but would benefit from the increased duration. Glyph of Dark Simulacrumis worth using on any fight where you’re using Dsim. Glyph of Death and Decaycan be useful for extra slows. Glyph of Death Gripcan be useful on the rare occasions where you need to grip from a little further away. Glyph of Icebound Fortitudeis very nice if you need to constantly break stuns. Glyph of Icy Touchallows you to dispel at a DPS loss if there is no one better suited to the task. Glyph of Mind Freezeallows you to interrupt slightly faster, at a DPS cost. Glyph of Shifting Presencesis nice if you find yourself shifting into blood pres to survive. Leveling: Glyph of Unholy Commandmakes sure you always have a death grip for your next kill. Glyph of Swift Deathis very nice when you’re constantly killing things. Default Minors: Glyph of Army of the Deadprevents most tanks from yelling at you. Army being able to taunt can be nice in a pinch, but more often than not the ghouls taunt something you don’t want taunted, and they can actually wipe a raid pretty easily by moving something they really shouldn’t. Nice to have this off for leveling/soloing. Glyph of Path of Frostcan potentially save your life. How many minor glyphs can claim the same? Glyph of Tranquil Gripif you want to be able to grip things without making them try to kill you. In some cases, not having this glyph can be more valuable than having it, so treat this one on a case by case basis. (Death grip is our only taunt) All of the other minor glyphs are just for fun. Gear and Stats Death Knights all wear plate, and all focus on the primary stat strength. The actual ranking of secondary stats can vary slightly from person to person, and to get the best set of stat weights for you, you need to run a personal sim. Here are the generic stat priorities for a 735 profile. In most cases the stats are all strong enough that higher ilevel gear is stronger, regardless of the stats on it. On a case by case basis, you can always sim it yourself. UnholyStrength > Multistrike> Haste> Critical Strike > Versatility> Mastery Unholy AoE (w NP and Reaper's Harvest)Strength > Mastery> Multistrike> Critical Strike > Versatility> Haste DW Frost Strength > Mastery > Multistrike > Versatility > Haste > Critical Strike 2H Frost Strength> Haste> Multistrike > Versatility > Mastery > Critical Strike Mods 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-Specific Compact Runes Compact Runes is a re-write of DocsDebugRunes. It preserves the compact UI but adds additional features. 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, CR uses short bars to display runes, diseases, power and specific procs. Magic Runes 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 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. General WeakAuras 2 WeakAuras 2 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. Whatever you are not remembering to do, you can get WA to remind you any way you like. Highly customizable, and you can easily import and export WAs to other players with the click of a button in-game, or with a string of text anywhere. Highly recommended. NeedtoKnow 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. Quartz 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. Deadly Boss Mods 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 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, logs, or Skada (as below), a ‘must have’ for being able to review and improve your performance. Skada Damage Meter 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! Consumables, Gems, and Enchants Flask Greater Draenic Strength Flask Potion Draenic Strength Potion Food Salty Squid Rollfor unholy Sleeper Sushifor DW frost Buttered Sturgeonfor 2H frost Gems Immaculate Multistrike Taladitefor unholy Immaculate Mastery Taladitefor DW frost Immaculate Haste Taladitefor 2H frost Enchants Weapon Rune of the Fallen Crusader(withRune of Razoriceon your offhand as DW Frost) Neck/Cloak/Ring Gift/of/Multistrikefor unholy Gift/of/Masteryfor DW frost Gift/of/Hastefor 2H frost Buffs Death Knights provide the 10% attack power buff through a spell calledHorn of Winter. You need to cast this whenever you don’t have the buff, which lasts 1 hour. All unholy death knights should useUnholy Presence. All unholy death knights should use raise dead for their permanent ghoul companion Timmy. Never start a fight without Timmy! All frost death knights should useFrost Presence. Rotations and Priority All rotations assume you have the optimal talents described in the talent section. Getting Started Death Knights have multiple resource systems, a set of 3 runes that recharge over time, a runic bar that fills up whenever you spend runes, and a number of procs to react too. This section will go over the basics for players new to the death knight. Unholy Unholy wants to spend it’s runes on Scourge Strike and Festering Strike. You’ll use most of you unholy runes on scourge strike, and your blood and frost runes will cycle between festering strike (which converts them into death runes) and scourge strike (which converts them back into blood and frost). You want to spend your runic power on death coil. Don’t let your runic power hit 100, and try not to let your runes cap (fill up so they stop regenerating). You want to keep up your diseases at all times. Diseases can be applied for free once per minute with outbreak, and when outbreak isn’t available, you can apply them with an unholy rune using plague strike in place of scourge strike. Diseases are extended by 6 seconds for each use of festering strike. Diseases can be refreshed without losing any duration as soon as they reach 10 seconds, however most death knights will be trying to remove the diseases with plague leech. This means you don’t normally need to bother with reapply diseases when they are up, only apply them when they are down. Using Defile and Soul Reaper on cooldown is very, very important for unholy death knights. These abilities do much more damage than scourge strike for the same rune cost, but require you to wait for them to be off cooldown before you can use them again. Defile should be used every 30 seconds (unless the target is about to move out of the defile) and soul reaper should be used every 6 seconds when the target is below 45%. Every-time you use death coil, your pet gains a stack of shadow infusion. When you hit 5 stacks, you can use the ability dark transformation to supercharge your pet for 30 seconds. You should do this as soon as dark transformation lights up. You should be casting summon gargoyle whenever it’s off cooldown. When you run out of runes, cast empower rune weapon. When you want to attack multiple targets, use blood and frost runes(converted to death by festering strike) to activate blood boil instead of scourge strike. Blood boil hits all targets, spreads diseases, and refreshes the runes as death again so you can keep on using it. Lastly, you’ll sometimes have a proc called sudden doom show up. You should hit death coil when this happens. 2H Frost You’ll be using most of your runes on obliterate and your runic power on frost strike. Frost has it’s blood runes as death instead, allowing you obliterate with any combination of two runes other than 2 frost or 2 unholy. Don’t let your runic power hit 100, and try not to let your runes cap (fill up so they stop regenerating). You want to keep up your diseases at all times. Diseases can be applied for free once per minute with outbreak, and when outbreak isn’t available, you can apply blood plague and frost fever using plague strike and howling blast in place of obliterate. Rime procs will let you reapply frost fever with a free howling blast some of the time, but if diseases aren’t up you should put them up with or without a rime proc. Diseases can be refreshed without losing any duration as soon as they reach 10 seconds, however most death knights will be trying to remove the diseases with plague leech. This means you don’t normally need to bother with reapply diseases when they are up, only apply them when they are down. Using Defile and Soul Reaper on cooldown is also very, very important for frost death knights. These abilities do much more damage than obliterate for half the rune cost, but require you to wait for them to be off cooldown before you can use them again. Defile should be used every 30 seconds (unless the target is about to move out of the defile) and soul reaper should be used every 6 seconds when the target is below 35%. Sometimes you’ll get a killing machine proc to show up. When this happens, you want to try to use obliterate as soon as you can. Whenever you don’t have killing machine, you want to cast frost strike before obliterate so you have obliterate ready for when killing machine procs. You should be casting pillar of frost whenever it’s off cooldown. When you run out of runes, cast empower rune weapon. When you want to attack multiple targets, continue using unholy runes paired with a frost or death on obliterate, but start using spare frost and death runes on howling blast instead. Lastly, you’ll sometimes have a proc called rime show up. When this happens, use howling blast. DW Frost You’ll be using most of your frost and death runes on howling blast, and most of your unholy runes (paired with a frost or death) on obliterate. You spend all of your runic power on frost strike. Don’t let your runic power hit 100, and try not to let your runes cap (fill up so they stop regenerating). You want to keep up your diseases at all times. Diseases should always be applied with plague strike and howling blast in place of obliterate. Outbreak is not worth using. Diseases can be refreshed without losing any duration as soon as they reach 10 seconds, however most death knights will be trying to remove the diseases with plague leech. This means you don’t normally need to bother with reapply diseases when they are up, only apply them when they are down. Using Defile and Soul Reaper on cooldown is still very, very important for frost death knights. These abilities do much more damage than howling blast for the same rune cost, but require you to wait for them to be off cooldown before you can use them again. Defile should be used every 30 seconds (unless the target is about to move out of the defile) and soul reaper should be used every 6 seconds when the target is below 35%. Sometimes you’ll get a killing machine proc to show up. When this happens, you want to try to use frost strike as soon as you can. Whenever you don’t have killing machine, you want to cast howling blast and obliterate before frost strike so you have frost strike ready for when killing machine procs. You should be casting pillar of frost whenever it’s off cooldown. When you run out of runes, cast empower rune weapon. When you want to attack multiple targets, continue doing exactly what you normally do. Lastly, you’ll sometimes have a proc called rime show up. When this happens, use howling blast. (which you would use anyway, but you get a free one now!) Advanced A more in-depth look at the action list and more complicated strategies for squeezing out a little more dps. Surviving Anti-Magic Shellis a very powerful ability for death knights. It allows us to absorb a high amount of magic damage on a regular basis, turning it into some runic power. With the glyph of regenerative magic, using AMS on weaker magic hits doesn’t punish you nearly as much as it would without the glyph, and the general rule for AMS is to use it as often as possible. Whenever you predict any amount of incoming magic damage, you should use it, unless you specifically need it for a large hit within 20-30 seconds. AMS generates 2 runic power for each 1% of your health that you absorb, making a fully absorbed AMS give back exactly 100 runic. It’s both our strongest defensive cooldown and a good offensive ability. Icebound Fortitudeis our weak proactive cooldown, a 20% damage reduction for 8 seconds every 3 minutes. You should try to time this when you’re taking large amounts of damage, the long cooldown prevents it from always being up when you need it, so save it for the attack you think might kill you. It has the added benefit of breaking us out of stuns, which can be useful on some fights. Death Pactis our talented reactive cooldown, which restores 50% of our health at the cost of a healing absorb on us for half that value. You should use this whenever you get sufficiently low on life. Health Potions/Healthstones are our last survival cooldown. At one use per fight, you only want to use it if you’re sure you need it. Blood Presencecan also be used in a pinch to survive, giving you 20% health, 30% base armor, and reducing damage taken by 10% for the cost of significantly reduced damage while it’s up. If you find yourself shifting into this presence a lot, you may want to take a look at the glyph of shifting presences. Unholy The Pull You want to try to cast army of the dead 5-8 seconds before the pull begins. The damage the ghouls do is minimal, and they are not actually worth casting in-combat. However, since the runes will mostly recharge before you engage the boss, casting army nice and early on is a small gain. Army ghouls still have a tendency to pull bosses, so remember to stand back when doing this, and run up closer after the ghouls finish crawling out of the ground. immediately before combat starts, you want to pop your prepot. The first GCD in combat spent should be on summon gargoyle, your strongest cooldown, along with any cooldowns off the GCD such as blood fury or on use trinkets. You should follow that up with a defile as you run in, in order to get both defile and unholy runes on cooldown. Next you want to hit outbreak, applying your diseases to the target. The fourth GCD should be spent on festering strike, which should put all your runes on CD and allow you to move over to the general rotation. General Rotation Listed not in order of importance, but in the order you should execute the abilities. When you have the choice between 2 steps, the higher up step is better. The general rotation is optimal for a single target with no burn phases or divine shields, so you may need to adjust it on a fight to fight basis. Using cooldowns that are not on the GCD, such as beserking and blood fury. You should use these the moment they become available. Plague Leech, when outbreak is off cooldown, or diseases are about to fall off and you have 2 fully depleted runes. Soul Reaper, when the target will be below 45% health in the next 5 seconds. Summon Gargoyle, whenever it’s available. Death Coil, when runic power is 91 or higher. Not using death coil here would cause runic to be wasted. Defile, whenever it’s available. Dark Transformation, whenever it’s available. Outbreak, when diseases are not on the target. Plague Strike, when diseases are not on the target. Scourge Strike, if you have 2 unholy runes Death Coil, if runic power is at 81 or higher. Not using death coil here would cause runic to be wasted. Festering Strike, if you have 2 blood or 2 frost runes. Death Coil, if you have a sudden doom proc, or dark transformation isn’t currently up. Scourge Strike, if the target is above 45% health, or you have at least one spare rune saved for soul reaper. Festering Strike, whenever it’s available. Death Coil, whenever it’s available. Empower Rune Weapon, when you have nothing else to do. Advanced Tips and Strategy Soul Reaper is the the largest single source of damage you have, and using it on cooldown after 45% is the most important task for unholy death knights. Soul reaper puts a debuff on the target that explodes after 5 seconds, dealing massive damage if the target is below 45% at the time that it explodes. When the target is within 5 seconds of hitting 45%, you can apply an early soul reaper so that it activates below 45%. No addon can predict exactly when this will happen, but you can eyeball it using a pretty simple rule, which is that the boss should drop about 8.3/m % in 5 seconds, where m is the number of minutes the fight takes. So on a 1 minute fight, you can apply your first soul reaper at 52%, on a 5 minute fight, you can apply it at 46%, and ect. After you start applying soul reaper, you’ll find that 6 second cooldown generally lines up right below the time it takes a rune to regenerate, so you want to make sure to save at least one “backup” death or unholy rune at all times, so that you can always use soul reaper on cooldown. If you are GCD capped at the time, try counting out 5 ability presses between soul reapers. It’s never worth using soul reaper on a target you know is going to die before the debuff explodes, the haste buff is a consolation prize if you misstime a soul reaper, not something worth aiming at. Defile does a lot of damage per use, but is also a targeted ground effect. This is both a strength and a weakness, new targets can move into an existing defile, but old targets can be moved out as well. Movement of a boss is, most of the time, controlled by your guild and strategy and very predictable. If the boss won’t stay in defile for more than half it’s duration, hold off on defile until the boss is in a more stable position. If you’re not sure when that will be, or you’re sure he’ll be moving for the next 30 seconds at least, it’s still worth using defile even for only 4 seconds of it’s duration, but it’s obviously much better when you have one target in for the full duration. If the fight has multiple targets up for a short period of time, it’s worth delaying defile a few seconds to use on the group of adds. Diseases operate under the damage over time system introduced in WoD, and update dynamically with all of your stats. There is no benefit to having diseases on a target other than the damage they do, and no reason to apply them at any particular time. Your general goal with diseases is to have them up as much as possible, on as many targets as possible. Plague leech is a powerful talent that leeches your diseases off one target and gives you back 2 runes. Using plague leech optimally is pretty easy, you want to use it right before diseases would have fallen off anyway, or when the cooldown on outbreak is up. This way you get “free” uses of plague leech out of both your diseases natural duration, and outbreak’s cooldown. You do want to make sure you spend runes so you have 2 open slots before using plague leech, so that you always get the full value out of it. Blood tap is generally not recommended for unholy, as it desyncs your rune cycle. What this means is that your blood and frost pair up, and cycle between festering strike and a set of two scourge strikes. When you use blood tap, you often end up with a lone blood or frost rune, and no good way to use it. Blood taps advantages, such as helping you use defile and soul reaper on cooldown, don’t quite make up for this desyncing. Runic corruption’s benefit simply makes your runes recharge faster, and doesn’t need to be dealt with in any way. Your pet ghoul doesn’t do a great deal of damage, but you can still make sure he’s doing the most damage possible. Shadow infusion only stacks up when dark transformation isn’t currently up, so you can save a bar of runic, or try to time AMS absorbing a large magic hit, for right after DT falls off. The quicker you get off your five death coils and reactivate DT, the better. Shifting downtime to right before stat increasing cooldowns come up is also a minuscule gain, but a gain nonetheless. If one of your trinkets is about to come up (5 seconds), and you’re not in any danger of capping and wasting any resources, you want to hold off on using anything until that trinket procs. The same goes for right before a cooldown ends, you want to empty your resources as best you can so that when the cooldown does end, you spend your time waiting then instead of during the cooldown. This applies to trinkets, racials, and rune of the fallen crusader to an extent. Multiple Targets Unholy has a few sources of passive cleave, your transformed pet will cleave and defile hits all targets standing in it. On 2 or more targets, you want to alter your rune usage, so that you’re spending all death runes on blood boil instead of scourge strike. This is easy to do with blood runes, but frost runes need to first be converted into death by festering strike before they can be used on blood boil. If you know a second target is coming soon (7 seconds), it’s worth using blood boil early on death runes to keep them recharging as death when the adds arrive. Diseases will automatically spread when using blood boil, and you shouldn’t change anything in your rotation other than replacing SS with BB for death runes. If you get stuck with orphan frost runes while engaged in AE longer than 10 seconds, convert them to death with icy touch. 2H Frost The Pull You want to try to cast army of the dead 5-8 seconds before the pull begins. The damage the ghouls do is minimal, and they are not actually worth casting in-combat. However, since the runes will mostly recharge before you engage the boss, casting army nice and early on is a small gain. Army ghouls still have a tendency to pull bosses, so remember to stand back when doing this, and run up closer after the ghouls finish crawling out of the ground. immediately before combat starts, you want to pop your prepot. The first GCD in combat spent should be on defile, along with pillar of frost and any other cooldowns off the GCD such as blood fury or on use trinkets. You should follow that up with an outbreak as you run in, to get diseases on the target. If killing machine procs, you want to react with obliterate instead. If you have the T172-set, you’ll be nearly capped on runic and want to spend the 3rd GCD on frost strike, otherwise you want to spend it on obliterate to start getting runes regenerating, then you want to move onto the default rotation. General Rotation Listed not in order of importance, but in the order you should execute the abilities. When you have the choice between 2 steps, the higher up step is better. The general rotation is optimal for a single target with no burn phases or divine shields, so you may need to adjust it on a fight to fight basis. Pillar of Frost, and other cooldowns that are not on the GCD, such as beserking and blood fury. You should use these the moment they become available. Plague Leech, if your diseases are about to fall off and you have 2 fully depleted runes. Soul Reaper, if the target will be below 35% health in the next 5 seconds. Blood Tap, if you can use soul reaper but you don’t have the rune for it. Defile, whenever it’s available. Blood Tap, if you can use defile but you don’t have the rune for it. Howling Blast, if you have a rime proc, and a killing machine proc. Obliterate, if you have a killing machine proc. Blood Tap, if you have a killing machine proc and the rune will let you obliterate. Howling Blast, if you have a rime proc and frost fever isn’t up. Outbreak, if both diseases are not up. Howling Blast, if frost fever isn’t up. Plague Strike, if blood plague isn’t up. Blood Tap, if you have 11 or 12 blood charges and 77 or more runic power. Frost Strike, if you have 77 or more runic power. Howling Blast, if any of your rune bars are 90% full. Obliterate, if any of your rune bars are 90% full. Plague Leech, if diseases have 3 seconds or less and you have room for both of the runes. Frost Strike, if you have 10 or less blood charges and either killing machine isn’t up, or there won’t be an obliterate ready within a second if killing machine is up. Howling Blast, if you have a rime proc. Obliterate, if any of you runes are at least 80% full. Blood tap, if one rune is at least 80% full and you can’t obliterate. Frost Strike, whenever it’s available. Plague Leech, whenever it’s available. Empower Rune Weapon, when you have nothing else to do. Advanced Tips and Strategy Soul Reaper does a lot of damage, and using it on cooldown after 35% is a very important task for 2H frost death knights. Soul reaper puts a debuff on the target that explodes after 5 seconds, dealing massive damage if the target is below 35% at the time that it explodes. When the target is within 5 seconds of hitting 35%, you can apply an early soul reaper so that it activates below 35%. No addon can predict exactly when this will happen, but you can eyeball it using a pretty simple rule, which is that the boss should drop about 8.3/m % in 5 seconds, where m is the number of minutes the fight takes. So on a 1 minute fight, you can apply your first soul reaper at 42%, on a 5 minute fight, you can apply it at 36%, and ect. After you start applying soul reaper, you’ll find that 6 second cooldown generally lines up right below the time it takes a rune to regenerate, so you want to make sure to save at least one “backup” death or frost rune (or 5 BT charges) at all times, so that you can always use soul reaper on cooldown. If you are GCD capped at the time, try counting out 5 ability presses between soul reapers. It’s never worth using soul reaper on a target you know is going to die before the debuff explodes, the haste buff is a consolation prize if you misstime a soul reaper, not something worth aiming at. Defile does a lot of damage per use, but is also a targeted ground effect. This is both a strength and a weakness, new targets can move into an existing defile, but old targets can be moved out as well. Movement of a boss is, most of the time, controlled by your guild and strategy and very predictable. If the boss won’t stay in defile for more than half it’s duration, hold off on defile until the boss is in a more stable position. If you’re not sure when that will be, or you’re sure he’ll be moving for the next 30 seconds at least, it’s still worth using defile even for only 4 seconds of it’s duration, but it’s obviously much better when you have one target in for the full duration. If the fight has multiple targets up for a short period of time, it’s worth delaying defile a few seconds to use on the group of adds. Diseases operate under the damage over time system introduced in WoD, and update dynamically with all of your stats. There is no benefit to having diseases on a target other than the damage they do, and no reason to apply them at any particular time. Your general goal with diseases is to have them up as much as possible, on as many targets as possible. Your diseases will generally follow a ~1 minute cycle, being applied with outbreak at the start, being leeched before they fall off, being reapplied with howling blast and plague strike, and then being leeched once again to start the cycle over. Rime procs can help to extend the length of the cycle and help to reapply frost fever for free. If your diseases are about to fall off (5 seconds), you want to hold onto rime procs even if it means using obliterate with rime up. After leeching, reapply with rime if you have it even if outbreak is off cooldown. You want to take advantage of rime whenever possible, and save outbreak for times when you need to reapply diseases without a rime proc. Plague leech is a powerful talent that leeches your diseases off one target and gives you back 2 runes. Using plague leech optimally is pretty easy, you want to use it right before diseases would have fallen off anyway, or when you run out of other things to do. This way you get “free” uses of plague leech out of your diseases natural duration. You do want to make sure you spend runes so you have 2 open slots before using plague leech, so that you always get the full value out of it. See above section for reapplying diseases after leeching. Blood tap is the ideal talent for 2H frost, because of the control that it gives you. With runes constantly getting desynced by defile, soul reaper, disease application, and the fact that obliterate costs 2 runes and you recharge 3 at a time, BT can really shine as a way to resync runes, turning a single rune into an obliterate, or preventing desyncing by being used on single rune abilities. Using blood tap is pretty simple, you want to activate it whenever you’re at 11 or 12 blood charges to avoid wasting any (you can hold off until right before you’re going to use frost strike), and you use it when you want to cast soul reaper, defile, or a killing machine obliterate and don’t have the runes. “Waiting” or banking resources is a small part of the frost playstyle. If you have downtime in your rotation, or time spent not hitting any abilities, you might as well move that time in front of an obliterate in the hopes that killing machine will proc. Waiting is a gain, but a very small and insignificant one over the alterative, which is ordering your abilities to maximize killing machine procs on obliterate, and that order is described in the above general rotation section. The reason that the gain is so small is that proper ordering of ability usage gives you 90% of the benefit, and there simply isn’t enough free time in the rotation to have waiting be a large gain. Shifting downtime to right before stat increasing cooldowns come up is also a minuscule gain, but a gain nonetheless. If pillar of frost is about to come up (3 seconds), and you’re not in any danger of capping and wasting any resources, you want to hold off on using anything until you activate pillar of frost. The same goes for right before a cooldown ends, you want to empty your resources as best you can so that when the cooldown does end, you spend your time waiting then instead of during the cooldown. This applies to trinkets, racials, pillar of frost, and rune of the fallen crusader to an extent. When not being used to reapply diseases, rime can be held onto for up to 15 seconds with no loss, as long as you don’t cast obliterate. After killing machine procs, you have at least 2 seconds (or whatever your swing timer is) before another killing machine can proc, so it’s always worth using rime the cast before using obliterate. When you’re not about to use obliterate, you want to do anything other than use up a rime proc, as often other tasks cannot wait like rime can. On non-killing machine obliterates, using rime immediately beforehand increases the likelihood that killing machine will proc right before the obliterate. Multiple Targets 2H frost has some passive cleave in the form of defile and rime procs. When you are faced with 3 or more targets, it’s worth replacing obliterate with howling blast in your rotation (continue to try and use killing machine on obliterate), and when facing 5 or more targets, change over to the DW frost rotation. (using km on obliterate when possible, but only when you have at least 1 unholy rune). You also want to use blood boil to spread diseases to 3 or more targets. DW Frost The Pull You want to try to cast army of the dead 5-8 seconds before the pull begins. The damage the ghouls do is minimal, and they are not actually worth casting in-combat. However, since the runes will mostly recharge before you engage the boss, casting army nice and early on is a small gain. Army ghouls still have a tendency to pull bosses, so remember to stand back when doing this, and run up closer after the ghouls finish crawling out of the ground. immediately before combat starts, you want to pop your prepot. The first GCD in combat spent should be on defile, along with pillar of frost and any other cooldowns off the GCD such as blood fury or on use trinkets. You should follow that up with a howling blast as you run in, to begin to get diseases on the target. If killing machine procs, or you have the 2-set capping your runic, you want to use frost strike instead. After 3 uses of howling blast to get frost and death recharging, use plague strike to apply your second disease. Then go to the general rotation. General Rotation Listed not in order of importance, but in the order you should execute the abilities. When you have the choice between 2 steps, the higher up step is better. The general rotation is optimal for a single target with no burn phases or divine shields, so you may need to adjust it on a fight to fight basis. Pillar of Frost, and other cooldowns that are not on the GCD, such as beserking and blood fury. You should use these the moment they become available. Soul Reaper, if the target will be below 35% health in the next 5 seconds. Blood Tap, if you can use soul reaper but you don’t have the rune for it. Defile, whenever it’s available. Blood Tap, if you can use defile but you don’t have the rune for it. Frost Strike, if you have a killing machine proc, or runic power is 89 or higher. Howling Blast, if you have 2 frost or 2 death runes, or frost fever isn’t up Plague Strike, if blood plague isn’t up and you have an unholy rune. Howling Blast, if you have a rime proc. Frost Strike, if you have 77 or more runic power, or you have the 2-set, 50 or more runic power, and are about to cast pillar of frost. Obliterate, if you have an unholy rune and killing machine isn’t up. Howling Blast, if the target is above 35% health, or you have at least one spare rune saved for soul reaper. Blood Tap, whenever it’s available. Plague Leech, whenever it’s available. Empower Rune Weapon, when you have nothing else to do. Advanced Tips and Strategy Soul Reaper does a lot of damage, and using it on cooldown after 35% is also a very important task for DW frost death knights. Soul reaper puts a debuff on the target that explodes after 5 seconds, dealing massive damage if the target is below 35% at the time that it explodes. When the target is within 5 seconds of hitting 35%, you can apply an early soul reaper so that it activates below 35%. No addon can predict exactly when this will happen, but you can eyeball it using a pretty simple rule, which is that the boss should drop about 8.3/m % in 5 seconds, where m is the number of minutes the fight takes. So on a 1 minute fight, you can apply your first soul reaper at 42%, on a 5 minute fight, you can apply it at 36%, and ect. After you start applying soul reaper, you’ll find that 6 second cooldown generally lines up right below the time it takes a rune to regenerate, so you want to make sure to save at least one “backup” death or frost rune (or 5 BT charges) at all times, so that you can always use soul reaper on cooldown. If you are GCD capped at the time, try counting out 5 ability presses between soul reapers. It’s never worth using soul reaper on a target you know is going to die before the debuff explodes, the haste buff is a consolation prize if you misstime a soul reaper, not something worth aiming at. Defile does a lot of damage per use, but is also a targeted ground effect. This is both a strength and a weakness, new targets can move into an existing defile, but old targets can be moved out as well. Movement of a boss is, most of the time, controlled by your guild and strategy and very predictable. If the boss won’t stay in defile for more than half it’s duration, hold off on defile until the boss is in a more stable position. If you’re not sure when that will be, or you’re sure he’ll be moving for the next 30 seconds at least, it’s still worth using defile even for only 4 seconds of it’s duration, but it’s obviously much better when you have one target in for the full duration. If the fight has multiple targets up for a short period of time, it’s worth delaying defile a few seconds to use on the group of adds. Diseases operate under the damage over time system introduced in WoD, and update dynamically with all of your stats. There is no benefit to having diseases on a target other than the damage they do, and no reason to apply them at any particular time. Your general goal with diseases is to have them up as much as possible, on as many targets as possible. Frost fever should pretty much always be up as a DW frost death knight, which leaves you with blood plague to manage. Always reapply with plague strike, as unholy runes are basically as free as outbreak is, and plague strike deals slightly more damage than outbreak. Plague leech is a powerful talent that leeches your diseases off one target and gives you back 2 runes. Using plague leech optimally is pretty easy, you want to use it whenever you have nothing better to do. The remaining duration of your diseases doesn’t really matter, whenever you need the runes, use plague leech. You do want to make sure you spend runes so you have 2 open slots before using plague leech, so that you always get the full value out of it. Blood tap is the ideal talent for DW frost, because it always gives you death runes. Unholy runes are much, much weaker than frost runes for DW frost, and both RC and RE return unholy runes. Using blood tap is pretty simple, you want to activate it whenever you’re at 11 or 12 blood charges to avoid wasting any (you can hold off until right before you’re going to use frost strike), and you use it when you want to cast soul reaper, defile, or a howling blast and don’t have the runes. “Waiting” or banking resources is a small part of the frost playstyle. If you have downtime in your rotation, or time spent not hitting any abilities, you might as well move that time in front of an frost strike in the hopes that killing machine will proc. Waiting is a gain, but a very small and insignificant one over the alterative, which is ordering your abilities to maximize killing machine procs on frost strike, and that order is described in the above general rotation section. The reason that the gain is so small is that proper ordering of ability usage gives you 90% of the benefit, and there simply isn’t enough free time in the rotation to have waiting be a large gain. Shifting downtime to right before stat increasing cooldowns come up is also a minuscule gain, but a gain nonetheless. If pillar of frost is about to come up (3 seconds), and you’re not in any danger of capping and wasting any resources, you want to hold off on using anything until you activate pillar of frost. The same goes for right before a cooldown ends, you want to empty your resources as best you can so that when the cooldown does end, you spend your time waiting then instead of during the cooldown. This applies to trinkets, racials, pillar of frost, and rune of the fallen crusader to an extent. As runic power never increases unless you use an ability, you can always predict right before you’re going to cap runic power, and use a frost strike to prevent that. If you’re not about to cap runic power, you’re not about to lose a stat increasing cooldown, and killing machine isn’t up, there is no reason to use frost strike at all. You’re better off saving the runic power for when one of those 3 conditions is true. Multiple Targets DW frost has the most passive cleave of any death knight spec, the constant barrage of howling blasts, as well as defile, alway cleave. The only change you want to make when dealing with multiple targets is to use blood boil to spread diseases to 4 or more targets, and to change target and rotate plague strikes on 2 or 3 targets. It also becomes more important to not cap runes than to not cap runic on 4 targets. Utility Raise Allyis our battle-rez. Glyphed, it’s free and instant, and one of the better choices for a battle-rez. The only weakness it has compared to druids and warlocks is that it cannot restore someone at full life. Mind Freezeis our basic interrupt. Strangulateis mind freeze’s BBBFF, silencing the target for 5 seconds. It doesn’t interrupt targets that are immune to silence. 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. Control Undeadlets you dominate an undead creature. It won’t work on bosses, hostile player ghouls, or hostile players 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. Great fun in ICC, not much use elsewhere. Dark Simulacrumallows 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. Those rare instances where it can be used are covered in the fight specific section. Other Resources Destiny Softwork– My DK and Game development blog. Most of my theorycrafting goes up here first. Currently on Hiatus until I actually start playing wow again. #Acherus IRC– Moderated, live DK chat and think tank. Son of a Lich– Magdalena and Heartless’s excellent DK blog. @Destinysoftwork– My twitter, and the best across the board way to contact me. Simulationcraft– Active and comprehensive simulation code project. SummonStone– Skullflower's class website with excellent DK theorycrafting. Special Thanks The information in this guide is gathered from a multitude of sources: personal experience (both the good and laughable), my wonderful and insightful DK friends in #Acherus, private messages, posts on the WoW forums, past threads and discussions 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 from 4.3-5.1. Magdalena for his work on #Acherus and being a great dude. Kerriodos for his AMAZING T16 Str plate list. Heartless for her unholy guide framework, and the abbreviation list. RIP Reia, Theck, Collision, and the rest of the simC dev team. Jessamy for being a great DK forum mod on EJ and a good friendSpoony for his work on simulating death knights during the WoD betaSkullflower for taking up a lot of the stuff I used to do The amazingly generous folks who donated to send me to Blizzcon 2 years in a row. #Acherus Everyone who contributes to this guide for their continued effort at understanding and maximizing the DK class. Changelog 11/03/14 – GuideCreated06/22/15– Guideupdated for 6.2 Click here to view the guide
  2. Last updated by Mendenbarr on 06/22/15 Introduction Welcome to the Warlords of Draenor PVE Damage Death Knight comprehensive guide and knowledge compendium. Long ago we were servants of the tyrant Lich King, but our strength of will allowed us to overcome his control over us. Now we are heroes who wield the power of death itself. Plague, pestilence, and disease do our bidding. The undead now serve us as we once served. Warmth and life flee from us in fear. We are death knights, and we are a force to be reckoned with. If you find any errors in this guide, broken links, or information you feel has been omitted that would help to understand the class, please PM me or contact me on twitter@Destinysoftwork Abbreviations and keywords Term Meaning 2H 2-Handed AMS Anti-Magic Shell AMZ Anti-Magic Zone AotD Army of the Dead AoE Area of Effect APL Action Priority List AE Area Effect BB Blood Boil BiS Best in Slot BoS Breath of Sindragosa BP Blood Plague BPres Blood Presence BT Blood Tap CoI Chains of Ice CU Control Undead DA Death's Advance DC Death Coil DFI Defile DG Death Grip DK Death Knight DnD Death and Decay DP Death Pact DPS Damage per Second DT Dark Transformation DS Death Strike Dsim Dark Simulacrum Dsip Death Siphon DW Duel Wield EP Ebon Plaguebringer ERW Empower Rune Weapon FeS Festering Strike FF Frost Fever FS Frost Strike FP Frost Presence Gary Gargoyle Pet GCD Global Cooldown GG Gorefiend's Grasp GoX Glyph of X HB Howling Blast HoW Horn of Winter IBF Icebound Fortitude ICD Internal Cooldown IT Icy Touch KM Killing Machine MF Mind Freeze MotFW Might of the Frozen Wastes NP Necrotic Plague OB Outbreak Oblit Obliterate PB Plaguebearer PL Plague Leech PoF Pillar of Frost PS Plague Strike Purg Purgatory RA Raise Ally RD Raise Dead RC Runic Corruption RE Runic Empowerment Rez Resurrect RW Remorseless Winter RotFC Rune of the Fallen Crusader RoRI Rune of Razorice RP Runic Power SD Sudden Doom SI Shadow Infusion SG Summon Gargoyle SS Scourge Strike SR Soul Reaper Timmy Ghoul Pet TX Tier X UB Unholy Blight UP Unholy Presence Race Races are listed in rough order of best to worst from a pure damage dealing perspective, the difference between the best and the worst is less than 0.7%. Keep in mind that racials also include speed boosts, heals, and passive damage reduction, which can all be useful in raiding. Alliance Draenei Gift of the Naaru Gemcutting Heroic Presence Shadow Resistance Worgen Aberration Altered Form Darkflight Flayer Running Wild Two Forms Viciousness Human Diplomacy Every Man for Himself The Human Spirit Night Elf Nature Resistance Wisp Spirit Quickness Shadowmeld Touch of Elune Gnome Arcane Resistance Engineering Specialization Escape Artist Expansive Mind Nimble Fingers Dwarf Explorer Frost Resistance Might of the Mountain Stoneform Horde Blood Elf Arcane Torrent Arcane Acuity Arcane Affinity Arcane Resistance Troll Regeneration Beast Slaying Berserking Da Voodoo Shuffle Orc Blood Fury Hardiness Command Undead Cannibalize Shadow Resistance Touch of the Grave Will of the Forsaken Goblin Time is Money Best Deals Anywhere Better Living Through Chemistry Pack Hobgoblin Rocket Barrage Rocket Jump Tauren Brawn Cultivation Endurance Nature Resistance War Stomp Professions no longer have any personal damage increases, so pick whatever you want. Spec Death Knights have three distinct playstyles to choose from for dealing damage. Unholy takes up one slot by itself, while frost is split into two different variations, with changed gearing and ability priority, based on the weapon you choose. Unholy Masters of death and disease, unholy death knights spread their powerful plague upon all their enemies and whittle them down to nothing with the aid of their undead ghoul and gargoyle, as well as their 2-handed weapon. Unholy is strongest when dealing with a single enemy or a spread out group of enemies for a longer period of time, giving their diseases a chance to fester and grow. Unholy can also move faster than frost. Unholy is weaker when trying to do a lot of burst damage in a short period of time, or when switching between attacking a group and a single target. 2H Frost This kind of death knight sucks the heat from their target, leaving them weak and brittle, and then shatters them with slow powerful strikes. 2H Frost is strongest when dealing with a single enemy and when trying to burst a large amount in a short time. 2H Frost is weaker when trying to deal with a lot of enemies, or when you don’t have access to a good weapon. DW Frost Contrary to it’s cousin 2H Frost, DW Frost prefers quick, rapid attacks. The heat is still drained right out of your enemy, but with unrelenting, constant attacks instead of big, slow hits. DW Frost is strongest when dealing with a large group of enemies, and is able to do the most cleave damage to secondary targets without sacrificing any damage on the primary target. DW Frost is weaker when dealing with a single target. Which should I choose? All three choices are currently “viable”, and the differences between them are greatly overshadowed by gear, skill, and luck. You will often have the best results with whatever you have the most practice with, or even different specs on a fight to fight basis. That being said, this is what the spec balance looks like on a single target dummy with sims of equal gear, luck, and skill. DW Frost 735: 96053 2H Frost 735: 88235 Unholy 735: 87050 So DWF is signifigantly favored overall. Talents T1 Plaguebearer Plague Leech Unholy Blight The correct talent to take is PL, which returns 2 runes for “free” every 30 seconds. The cost of reapplying diseases is too cheap for either PB or UB to be real competition. You generally want to use PL right before your diseases fall off, and we’ll go over this in more detail in the priority section. If you are using the necroblight rotation, you instead want to take unholy blight. T2 Lichborne Anti-Magic Zone Purgatory AMZ remains a strong raid cooldown, and should be the default choice in this tier. On fights with no real magic damage, or for solo play/leveling, purgatory makes for a very nice second choice. T3 Death's Advance Chilblains Asphyxiate Death’s Advance should be the default choice here, as movement speed is almost always good. On the rare occasion where you are required to mass slow or have a stun, Chilblains and Asphyxiate are there for you. T4 Blood Tap Runic Empowerment Runic Corruption Blood Tap should be the default choice for DWF, even if you don't want to micromanage it, in which case you should just macro it to frost strike. It'sslightly stronger than RC for 2Hfrost (0.5%) because of the extra control over killing machine procs it gives you. If you can’t be bothered to manage BT as 2HF, you want to use RC instead. RC should be the default choice as unholy for the higher overall runes per runic spent, and avoiding unsynced runes, however, if you micromanage it perfectly, BT will give you slightly better results (0.3%). T5 Death Pact Death Siphon Conversion Death Pact should be the default choice here. Death pact gives you an additional powerful survival cooldown, restoring a large amount of health once every 2 minutes. The healing absorb comes at a good time, right after you’ve received the large heal, and the other 2 talents both provide less burst healing and cost you resources leading to less damage as well. It may be worth considering conversion for leveling if dark succor isn’t enough to keep you up. T6 Gorefiend's Grasp Remorseless Winter Desecrated Ground Gorefiend’s Grasp should be the default choice here. Many classes can AE stun, and effects which cause the loss of control for your character are rare and can be countered in other ways, but death knights are the only ones who bring an AE grip to the table. Learn to love this ability because, no matter how strong or weak we are, death knights will always have a raid spot so long as Gorefiend’s Grasp remains in the game. T7 Necrotic Plague Defile Breath of Sindragosa As DW Frost, Defile is the strongest choice whenever the majority of its ticks are hitting all of your targets. If the targets are too spread out, or move too much to reliably use defile, NP is a stronger choice. For 2H frost, You should use defile until you pick up the T18 4-set and the class trinket, Reaper's Harvest. After obtaining those items, NP becomes stronger because the cost of casting defile, an unholy rune, becomes too large. As unholy, defile is the best choice for a target dummy, while NP wins out for any serious AoE, and BoS wins whenever you are able to soak some runic power with AMS while BoS is up. Glyphs Major Glyph of Absorb Magic Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell Glyph of Blood Boil Glyph of Chains of Ice Glyph of Dark Simulacrum Glyph of Death and Decay Glyph of Death Coil Glyph of Death Grip Glyph of Empowerment Glyph of Enduring Infection Glyph of Icebound Fortitude Glyph of Icy Runes Glyph of Icy Touch Glyph of Mind Freeze Glyph of Outbreak Glyph of Pillar of Frost Glyph of Raise Ally Glyph of Regenerative Magic Glyph of Runic Power Glyph of Shifting Presences Glyph of Strangulate Glyph of Swift Death Glyph of the Ice Reaper Glyph of Unholy Command Minor Glyph of Path of Frost Glyph of the Geist Glyph of Horn of Winter Glyph of Army of the Dead Glyph of Foul Menagerie Glyph of Death's Embrace Glyph of Resilient Grip Glyph of Death Gate Glyph of Corpse Explosion Glyph of Tranquil Grip Glyph of the Skeleton Most glyphs are pvp related, or simply not applicable to you, but there are a few which come in quite handy. Default GlyphsGlyph of Regenerative Magicconsistently lets you use AMS more, and should be considered a mandatory glyph.Glyph of Raise Allymakes your battle-rez free, which not only increases your DPS slightly, but also means it’s always ready when you need it. If you plan on doing any battle-rezzing you should take this glyph. Glyph of Blood Boil(as Unholy) increases the range of your AE by 50% for unholy, and should be taken unless there is something signifigantly better. Useless for frost. Glyph of Empowerment(as frost) turns ERW into half a death pact. Not bad for a glyph. Substitute Glyphs:Glyph of Anti-Magic Shellshines when you don't need the reduced cooldown, but would benefit from the increased duration. Glyph of Dark Simulacrumis worth using on any fight where you’re using Dsim. Glyph of Death and Decaycan be useful for extra slows. Glyph of Death Gripcan be useful on the rare occasions where you need to grip from a little further away. Glyph of Icebound Fortitudeis very nice if you need to constantly break stuns. Glyph of Icy Touchallows you to dispel at a DPS loss if there is no one better suited to the task. Glyph of Mind Freezeallows you to interrupt slightly faster, at a DPS cost. Glyph of Shifting Presencesis nice if you find yourself shifting into blood pres to survive. Leveling: Glyph of Unholy Commandmakes sure you always have a death grip for your next kill. Glyph of Swift Deathis very nice when you’re constantly killing things. Default Minors: Glyph of Army of the Deadprevents most tanks from yelling at you. Army being able to taunt can be nice in a pinch, but more often than not the ghouls taunt something you don’t want taunted, and they can actually wipe a raid pretty easily by moving something they really shouldn’t. Nice to have this off for leveling/soloing. Glyph of Path of Frostcan potentially save your life. How many minor glyphs can claim the same? Glyph of Tranquil Gripif you want to be able to grip things without making them try to kill you. In some cases, not having this glyph can be more valuable than having it, so treat this one on a case by case basis. (Death grip is our only taunt) All of the other minor glyphs are just for fun. Gear and Stats Death Knights all wear plate, and all focus on the primary stat strength. The actual ranking of secondary stats can vary slightly from person to person, and to get the best set of stat weights for you, you need to run a personal sim. Here are the generic stat priorities for a 735 profile. In most cases the stats are all strong enough that higher ilevel gear is stronger, regardless of the stats on it. On a case by case basis, you can always sim it yourself. UnholyStrength > Multistrike> Haste> Critical Strike > Versatility> Mastery Unholy AoE (w NP and Reaper's Harvest)Strength > Mastery> Multistrike> Critical Strike > Versatility> Haste DW Frost Strength > Mastery > Multistrike > Versatility > Haste > Critical Strike 2H Frost Strength> Haste> Multistrike > Versatility > Mastery > Critical Strike Mods 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-Specific Compact Runes Compact Runes is a re-write of DocsDebugRunes. It preserves the compact UI but adds additional features. 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, CR uses short bars to display runes, diseases, power and specific procs. Magic Runes 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 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. General WeakAuras 2 WeakAuras 2 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. Whatever you are not remembering to do, you can get WA to remind you any way you like. Highly customizable, and you can easily import and export WAs to other players with the click of a button in-game, or with a string of text anywhere. Highly recommended. NeedtoKnow 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. Quartz 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. Deadly Boss Mods 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 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, logs, or Skada (as below), a ‘must have’ for being able to review and improve your performance. Skada Damage Meter 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! Consumables, Gems, and Enchants Flask Greater Draenic Strength Flask Potion Draenic Strength Potion Food Salty Squid Rollfor unholy Sleeper Sushifor DW frost Buttered Sturgeonfor 2H frost Gems Immaculate Multistrike Taladitefor unholy Immaculate Mastery Taladitefor DW frost Immaculate Haste Taladitefor 2H frost Enchants Weapon Rune of the Fallen Crusader(withRune of Razoriceon your offhand as DW Frost) Neck/Cloak/Ring Gift/of/Multistrikefor unholy Gift/of/Masteryfor DW frost Gift/of/Hastefor 2H frost Buffs Death Knights provide the 10% attack power buff through a spell calledHorn of Winter. You need to cast this whenever you don’t have the buff, which lasts 1 hour. All unholy death knights should useUnholy Presence. All unholy death knights should use raise dead for their permanent ghoul companion Timmy. Never start a fight without Timmy! All frost death knights should useFrost Presence. Rotations and Priority All rotations assume you have the optimal talents described in the talent section. Getting Started Death Knights have multiple resource systems, a set of 3 runes that recharge over time, a runic bar that fills up whenever you spend runes, and a number of procs to react too. This section will go over the basics for players new to the death knight. Unholy Unholy wants to spend it’s runes on Scourge Strike and Festering Strike. You’ll use most of you unholy runes on scourge strike, and your blood and frost runes will cycle between festering strike (which converts them into death runes) and scourge strike (which converts them back into blood and frost). You want to spend your runic power on death coil. Don’t let your runic power hit 100, and try not to let your runes cap (fill up so they stop regenerating). You want to keep up your diseases at all times. Diseases can be applied for free once per minute with outbreak, and when outbreak isn’t available, you can apply them with an unholy rune using plague strike in place of scourge strike. Diseases are extended by 6 seconds for each use of festering strike. Diseases can be refreshed without losing any duration as soon as they reach 10 seconds, however most death knights will be trying to remove the diseases with plague leech. This means you don’t normally need to bother with reapply diseases when they are up, only apply them when they are down. Using Defile and Soul Reaper on cooldown is very, very important for unholy death knights. These abilities do much more damage than scourge strike for the same rune cost, but require you to wait for them to be off cooldown before you can use them again. Defile should be used every 30 seconds (unless the target is about to move out of the defile) and soul reaper should be used every 6 seconds when the target is below 45%. Every-time you use death coil, your pet gains a stack of shadow infusion. When you hit 5 stacks, you can use the ability dark transformation to supercharge your pet for 30 seconds. You should do this as soon as dark transformation lights up. You should be casting summon gargoyle whenever it’s off cooldown. When you run out of runes, cast empower rune weapon. When you want to attack multiple targets, use blood and frost runes(converted to death by festering strike) to activate blood boil instead of scourge strike. Blood boil hits all targets, spreads diseases, and refreshes the runes as death again so you can keep on using it. Lastly, you’ll sometimes have a proc called sudden doom show up. You should hit death coil when this happens. 2H Frost You’ll be using most of your runes on obliterate and your runic power on frost strike. Frost has it’s blood runes as death instead, allowing you obliterate with any combination of two runes other than 2 frost or 2 unholy. Don’t let your runic power hit 100, and try not to let your runes cap (fill up so they stop regenerating). You want to keep up your diseases at all times. Diseases can be applied for free once per minute with outbreak, and when outbreak isn’t available, you can apply blood plague and frost fever using plague strike and howling blast in place of obliterate. Rime procs will let you reapply frost fever with a free howling blast some of the time, but if diseases aren’t up you should put them up with or without a rime proc. Diseases can be refreshed without losing any duration as soon as they reach 10 seconds, however most death knights will be trying to remove the diseases with plague leech. This means you don’t normally need to bother with reapply diseases when they are up, only apply them when they are down. Using Defile and Soul Reaper on cooldown is also very, very important for frost death knights. These abilities do much more damage than obliterate for half the rune cost, but require you to wait for them to be off cooldown before you can use them again. Defile should be used every 30 seconds (unless the target is about to move out of the defile) and soul reaper should be used every 6 seconds when the target is below 35%. Sometimes you’ll get a killing machine proc to show up. When this happens, you want to try to use obliterate as soon as you can. Whenever you don’t have killing machine, you want to cast frost strike before obliterate so you have obliterate ready for when killing machine procs. You should be casting pillar of frost whenever it’s off cooldown. When you run out of runes, cast empower rune weapon. When you want to attack multiple targets, continue using unholy runes paired with a frost or death on obliterate, but start using spare frost and death runes on howling blast instead. Lastly, you’ll sometimes have a proc called rime show up. When this happens, use howling blast. DW Frost You’ll be using most of your frost and death runes on howling blast, and most of your unholy runes (paired with a frost or death) on obliterate. You spend all of your runic power on frost strike. Don’t let your runic power hit 100, and try not to let your runes cap (fill up so they stop regenerating). You want to keep up your diseases at all times. Diseases should always be applied with plague strike and howling blast in place of obliterate. Outbreak is not worth using. Diseases can be refreshed without losing any duration as soon as they reach 10 seconds, however most death knights will be trying to remove the diseases with plague leech. This means you don’t normally need to bother with reapply diseases when they are up, only apply them when they are down. Using Defile and Soul Reaper on cooldown is still very, very important for frost death knights. These abilities do much more damage than howling blast for the same rune cost, but require you to wait for them to be off cooldown before you can use them again. Defile should be used every 30 seconds (unless the target is about to move out of the defile) and soul reaper should be used every 6 seconds when the target is below 35%. Sometimes you’ll get a killing machine proc to show up. When this happens, you want to try to use frost strike as soon as you can. Whenever you don’t have killing machine, you want to cast howling blast and obliterate before frost strike so you have frost strike ready for when killing machine procs. You should be casting pillar of frost whenever it’s off cooldown. When you run out of runes, cast empower rune weapon. When you want to attack multiple targets, continue doing exactly what you normally do. Lastly, you’ll sometimes have a proc called rime show up. When this happens, use howling blast. (which you would use anyway, but you get a free one now!) Advanced A more in-depth look at the action list and more complicated strategies for squeezing out a little more dps. Surviving Anti-Magic Shellis a very powerful ability for death knights. It allows us to absorb a high amount of magic damage on a regular basis, turning it into some runic power. With the glyph of regenerative magic, using AMS on weaker magic hits doesn’t punish you nearly as much as it would without the glyph, and the general rule for AMS is to use it as often as possible. Whenever you predict any amount of incoming magic damage, you should use it, unless you specifically need it for a large hit within 20-30 seconds. AMS generates 2 runic power for each 1% of your health that you absorb, making a fully absorbed AMS give back exactly 100 runic. It’s both our strongest defensive cooldown and a good offensive ability. Icebound Fortitudeis our weak proactive cooldown, a 20% damage reduction for 8 seconds every 3 minutes. You should try to time this when you’re taking large amounts of damage, the long cooldown prevents it from always being up when you need it, so save it for the attack you think might kill you. It has the added benefit of breaking us out of stuns, which can be useful on some fights. Death Pactis our talented reactive cooldown, which restores 50% of our health at the cost of a healing absorb on us for half that value. You should use this whenever you get sufficiently low on life. Health Potions/Healthstones are our last survival cooldown. At one use per fight, you only want to use it if you’re sure you need it. Blood Presencecan also be used in a pinch to survive, giving you 20% health, 30% base armor, and reducing damage taken by 10% for the cost of significantly reduced damage while it’s up. If you find yourself shifting into this presence a lot, you may want to take a look at the glyph of shifting presences. Unholy The Pull You want to try to cast army of the dead 5-8 seconds before the pull begins. The damage the ghouls do is minimal, and they are not actually worth casting in-combat. However, since the runes will mostly recharge before you engage the boss, casting army nice and early on is a small gain. Army ghouls still have a tendency to pull bosses, so remember to stand back when doing this, and run up closer after the ghouls finish crawling out of the ground. immediately before combat starts, you want to pop your prepot. The first GCD in combat spent should be on summon gargoyle, your strongest cooldown, along with any cooldowns off the GCD such as blood fury or on use trinkets. You should follow that up with a defile as you run in, in order to get both defile and unholy runes on cooldown. Next you want to hit outbreak, applying your diseases to the target. The fourth GCD should be spent on festering strike, which should put all your runes on CD and allow you to move over to the general rotation. General Rotation Listed not in order of importance, but in the order you should execute the abilities. When you have the choice between 2 steps, the higher up step is better. The general rotation is optimal for a single target with no burn phases or divine shields, so you may need to adjust it on a fight to fight basis. Using cooldowns that are not on the GCD, such as beserking and blood fury. You should use these the moment they become available. Plague Leech, when outbreak is off cooldown, or diseases are about to fall off and you have 2 fully depleted runes. Soul Reaper, when the target will be below 45% health in the next 5 seconds. Summon Gargoyle, whenever it’s available. Death Coil, when runic power is 91 or higher. Not using death coil here would cause runic to be wasted. Defile, whenever it’s available. Dark Transformation, whenever it’s available. Outbreak, when diseases are not on the target. Plague Strike, when diseases are not on the target. Scourge Strike, if you have 2 unholy runes Death Coil, if runic power is at 81 or higher. Not using death coil here would cause runic to be wasted. Festering Strike, if you have 2 blood or 2 frost runes. Death Coil, if you have a sudden doom proc, or dark transformation isn’t currently up. Scourge Strike, if the target is above 45% health, or you have at least one spare rune saved for soul reaper. Festering Strike, whenever it’s available. Death Coil, whenever it’s available. Empower Rune Weapon, when you have nothing else to do. Advanced Tips and Strategy Soul Reaper is the the largest single source of damage you have, and using it on cooldown after 45% is the most important task for unholy death knights. Soul reaper puts a debuff on the target that explodes after 5 seconds, dealing massive damage if the target is below 45% at the time that it explodes. When the target is within 5 seconds of hitting 45%, you can apply an early soul reaper so that it activates below 45%. No addon can predict exactly when this will happen, but you can eyeball it using a pretty simple rule, which is that the boss should drop about 8.3/m % in 5 seconds, where m is the number of minutes the fight takes. So on a 1 minute fight, you can apply your first soul reaper at 52%, on a 5 minute fight, you can apply it at 46%, and ect. After you start applying soul reaper, you’ll find that 6 second cooldown generally lines up right below the time it takes a rune to regenerate, so you want to make sure to save at least one “backup” death or unholy rune at all times, so that you can always use soul reaper on cooldown. If you are GCD capped at the time, try counting out 5 ability presses between soul reapers. It’s never worth using soul reaper on a target you know is going to die before the debuff explodes, the haste buff is a consolation prize if you misstime a soul reaper, not something worth aiming at. Defile does a lot of damage per use, but is also a targeted ground effect. This is both a strength and a weakness, new targets can move into an existing defile, but old targets can be moved out as well. Movement of a boss is, most of the time, controlled by your guild and strategy and very predictable. If the boss won’t stay in defile for more than half it’s duration, hold off on defile until the boss is in a more stable position. If you’re not sure when that will be, or you’re sure he’ll be moving for the next 30 seconds at least, it’s still worth using defile even for only 4 seconds of it’s duration, but it’s obviously much better when you have one target in for the full duration. If the fight has multiple targets up for a short period of time, it’s worth delaying defile a few seconds to use on the group of adds. Diseases operate under the damage over time system introduced in WoD, and update dynamically with all of your stats. There is no benefit to having diseases on a target other than the damage they do, and no reason to apply them at any particular time. Your general goal with diseases is to have them up as much as possible, on as many targets as possible. Plague leech is a powerful talent that leeches your diseases off one target and gives you back 2 runes. Using plague leech optimally is pretty easy, you want to use it right before diseases would have fallen off anyway, or when the cooldown on outbreak is up. This way you get “free” uses of plague leech out of both your diseases natural duration, and outbreak’s cooldown. You do want to make sure you spend runes so you have 2 open slots before using plague leech, so that you always get the full value out of it. Blood tap is generally not recommended for unholy, as it desyncs your rune cycle. What this means is that your blood and frost pair up, and cycle between festering strike and a set of two scourge strikes. When you use blood tap, you often end up with a lone blood or frost rune, and no good way to use it. Blood taps advantages, such as helping you use defile and soul reaper on cooldown, don’t quite make up for this desyncing. Runic corruption’s benefit simply makes your runes recharge faster, and doesn’t need to be dealt with in any way. Your pet ghoul doesn’t do a great deal of damage, but you can still make sure he’s doing the most damage possible. Shadow infusion only stacks up when dark transformation isn’t currently up, so you can save a bar of runic, or try to time AMS absorbing a large magic hit, for right after DT falls off. The quicker you get off your five death coils and reactivate DT, the better. Shifting downtime to right before stat increasing cooldowns come up is also a minuscule gain, but a gain nonetheless. If one of your trinkets is about to come up (5 seconds), and you’re not in any danger of capping and wasting any resources, you want to hold off on using anything until that trinket procs. The same goes for right before a cooldown ends, you want to empty your resources as best you can so that when the cooldown does end, you spend your time waiting then instead of during the cooldown. This applies to trinkets, racials, and rune of the fallen crusader to an extent. Multiple Targets Unholy has a few sources of passive cleave, your transformed pet will cleave and defile hits all targets standing in it. On 2 or more targets, you want to alter your rune usage, so that you’re spending all death runes on blood boil instead of scourge strike. This is easy to do with blood runes, but frost runes need to first be converted into death by festering strike before they can be used on blood boil. If you know a second target is coming soon (7 seconds), it’s worth using blood boil early on death runes to keep them recharging as death when the adds arrive. Diseases will automatically spread when using blood boil, and you shouldn’t change anything in your rotation other than replacing SS with BB for death runes. If you get stuck with orphan frost runes while engaged in AE longer than 10 seconds, convert them to death with icy touch. 2H Frost The Pull You want to try to cast army of the dead 5-8 seconds before the pull begins. The damage the ghouls do is minimal, and they are not actually worth casting in-combat. However, since the runes will mostly recharge before you engage the boss, casting army nice and early on is a small gain. Army ghouls still have a tendency to pull bosses, so remember to stand back when doing this, and run up closer after the ghouls finish crawling out of the ground. immediately before combat starts, you want to pop your prepot. The first GCD in combat spent should be on defile, along with pillar of frost and any other cooldowns off the GCD such as blood fury or on use trinkets. You should follow that up with an outbreak as you run in, to get diseases on the target. If killing machine procs, you want to react with obliterate instead. If you have the T172-set, you’ll be nearly capped on runic and want to spend the 3rd GCD on frost strike, otherwise you want to spend it on obliterate to start getting runes regenerating, then you want to move onto the default rotation. General Rotation Listed not in order of importance, but in the order you should execute the abilities. When you have the choice between 2 steps, the higher up step is better. The general rotation is optimal for a single target with no burn phases or divine shields, so you may need to adjust it on a fight to fight basis. Pillar of Frost, and other cooldowns that are not on the GCD, such as beserking and blood fury. You should use these the moment they become available. Plague Leech, if your diseases are about to fall off and you have 2 fully depleted runes. Soul Reaper, if the target will be below 35% health in the next 5 seconds. Blood Tap, if you can use soul reaper but you don’t have the rune for it. Defile, whenever it’s available. Blood Tap, if you can use defile but you don’t have the rune for it. Howling Blast, if you have a rime proc, and a killing machine proc. Obliterate, if you have a killing machine proc. Blood Tap, if you have a killing machine proc and the rune will let you obliterate. Howling Blast, if you have a rime proc and frost fever isn’t up. Outbreak, if both diseases are not up. Howling Blast, if frost fever isn’t up. Plague Strike, if blood plague isn’t up. Blood Tap, if you have 11 or 12 blood charges and 77 or more runic power. Frost Strike, if you have 77 or more runic power. Howling Blast, if any of your rune bars are 90% full. Obliterate, if any of your rune bars are 90% full. Plague Leech, if diseases have 3 seconds or less and you have room for both of the runes. Frost Strike, if you have 10 or less blood charges and either killing machine isn’t up, or there won’t be an obliterate ready within a second if killing machine is up. Howling Blast, if you have a rime proc. Obliterate, if any of you runes are at least 80% full. Blood tap, if one rune is at least 80% full and you can’t obliterate. Frost Strike, whenever it’s available. Plague Leech, whenever it’s available. Empower Rune Weapon, when you have nothing else to do. Advanced Tips and Strategy Soul Reaper does a lot of damage, and using it on cooldown after 35% is a very important task for 2H frost death knights. Soul reaper puts a debuff on the target that explodes after 5 seconds, dealing massive damage if the target is below 35% at the time that it explodes. When the target is within 5 seconds of hitting 35%, you can apply an early soul reaper so that it activates below 35%. No addon can predict exactly when this will happen, but you can eyeball it using a pretty simple rule, which is that the boss should drop about 8.3/m % in 5 seconds, where m is the number of minutes the fight takes. So on a 1 minute fight, you can apply your first soul reaper at 42%, on a 5 minute fight, you can apply it at 36%, and ect. After you start applying soul reaper, you’ll find that 6 second cooldown generally lines up right below the time it takes a rune to regenerate, so you want to make sure to save at least one “backup” death or frost rune (or 5 BT charges) at all times, so that you can always use soul reaper on cooldown. If you are GCD capped at the time, try counting out 5 ability presses between soul reapers. It’s never worth using soul reaper on a target you know is going to die before the debuff explodes, the haste buff is a consolation prize if you misstime a soul reaper, not something worth aiming at. Defile does a lot of damage per use, but is also a targeted ground effect. This is both a strength and a weakness, new targets can move into an existing defile, but old targets can be moved out as well. Movement of a boss is, most of the time, controlled by your guild and strategy and very predictable. If the boss won’t stay in defile for more than half it’s duration, hold off on defile until the boss is in a more stable position. If you’re not sure when that will be, or you’re sure he’ll be moving for the next 30 seconds at least, it’s still worth using defile even for only 4 seconds of it’s duration, but it’s obviously much better when you have one target in for the full duration. If the fight has multiple targets up for a short period of time, it’s worth delaying defile a few seconds to use on the group of adds. Diseases operate under the damage over time system introduced in WoD, and update dynamically with all of your stats. There is no benefit to having diseases on a target other than the damage they do, and no reason to apply them at any particular time. Your general goal with diseases is to have them up as much as possible, on as many targets as possible. Your diseases will generally follow a ~1 minute cycle, being applied with outbreak at the start, being leeched before they fall off, being reapplied with howling blast and plague strike, and then being leeched once again to start the cycle over. Rime procs can help to extend the length of the cycle and help to reapply frost fever for free. If your diseases are about to fall off (5 seconds), you want to hold onto rime procs even if it means using obliterate with rime up. After leeching, reapply with rime if you have it even if outbreak is off cooldown. You want to take advantage of rime whenever possible, and save outbreak for times when you need to reapply diseases without a rime proc. Plague leech is a powerful talent that leeches your diseases off one target and gives you back 2 runes. Using plague leech optimally is pretty easy, you want to use it right before diseases would have fallen off anyway, or when you run out of other things to do. This way you get “free” uses of plague leech out of your diseases natural duration. You do want to make sure you spend runes so you have 2 open slots before using plague leech, so that you always get the full value out of it. See above section for reapplying diseases after leeching. Blood tap is the ideal talent for 2H frost, because of the control that it gives you. With runes constantly getting desynced by defile, soul reaper, disease application, and the fact that obliterate costs 2 runes and you recharge 3 at a time, BT can really shine as a way to resync runes, turning a single rune into an obliterate, or preventing desyncing by being used on single rune abilities. Using blood tap is pretty simple, you want to activate it whenever you’re at 11 or 12 blood charges to avoid wasting any (you can hold off until right before you’re going to use frost strike), and you use it when you want to cast soul reaper, defile, or a killing machine obliterate and don’t have the runes. “Waiting” or banking resources is a small part of the frost playstyle. If you have downtime in your rotation, or time spent not hitting any abilities, you might as well move that time in front of an obliterate in the hopes that killing machine will proc. Waiting is a gain, but a very small and insignificant one over the alterative, which is ordering your abilities to maximize killing machine procs on obliterate, and that order is described in the above general rotation section. The reason that the gain is so small is that proper ordering of ability usage gives you 90% of the benefit, and there simply isn’t enough free time in the rotation to have waiting be a large gain. Shifting downtime to right before stat increasing cooldowns come up is also a minuscule gain, but a gain nonetheless. If pillar of frost is about to come up (3 seconds), and you’re not in any danger of capping and wasting any resources, you want to hold off on using anything until you activate pillar of frost. The same goes for right before a cooldown ends, you want to empty your resources as best you can so that when the cooldown does end, you spend your time waiting then instead of during the cooldown. This applies to trinkets, racials, pillar of frost, and rune of the fallen crusader to an extent. When not being used to reapply diseases, rime can be held onto for up to 15 seconds with no loss, as long as you don’t cast obliterate. After killing machine procs, you have at least 2 seconds (or whatever your swing timer is) before another killing machine can proc, so it’s always worth using rime the cast before using obliterate. When you’re not about to use obliterate, you want to do anything other than use up a rime proc, as often other tasks cannot wait like rime can. On non-killing machine obliterates, using rime immediately beforehand increases the likelihood that killing machine will proc right before the obliterate. Multiple Targets 2H frost has some passive cleave in the form of defile and rime procs. When you are faced with 3 or more targets, it’s worth replacing obliterate with howling blast in your rotation (continue to try and use killing machine on obliterate), and when facing 5 or more targets, change over to the DW frost rotation. (using km on obliterate when possible, but only when you have at least 1 unholy rune). You also want to use blood boil to spread diseases to 3 or more targets. DW Frost The Pull You want to try to cast army of the dead 5-8 seconds before the pull begins. The damage the ghouls do is minimal, and they are not actually worth casting in-combat. However, since the runes will mostly recharge before you engage the boss, casting army nice and early on is a small gain. Army ghouls still have a tendency to pull bosses, so remember to stand back when doing this, and run up closer after the ghouls finish crawling out of the ground. immediately before combat starts, you want to pop your prepot. The first GCD in combat spent should be on defile, along with pillar of frost and any other cooldowns off the GCD such as blood fury or on use trinkets. You should follow that up with a howling blast as you run in, to begin to get diseases on the target. If killing machine procs, or you have the 2-set capping your runic, you want to use frost strike instead. After 3 uses of howling blast to get frost and death recharging, use plague strike to apply your second disease. Then go to the general rotation. General Rotation Listed not in order of importance, but in the order you should execute the abilities. When you have the choice between 2 steps, the higher up step is better. The general rotation is optimal for a single target with no burn phases or divine shields, so you may need to adjust it on a fight to fight basis. Pillar of Frost, and other cooldowns that are not on the GCD, such as beserking and blood fury. You should use these the moment they become available. Soul Reaper, if the target will be below 35% health in the next 5 seconds. Blood Tap, if you can use soul reaper but you don’t have the rune for it. Defile, whenever it’s available. Blood Tap, if you can use defile but you don’t have the rune for it. Frost Strike, if you have a killing machine proc, or runic power is 89 or higher. Howling Blast, if you have 2 frost or 2 death runes, or frost fever isn’t up Plague Strike, if blood plague isn’t up and you have an unholy rune. Howling Blast, if you have a rime proc. Frost Strike, if you have 77 or more runic power, or you have the 2-set, 50 or more runic power, and are about to cast pillar of frost. Obliterate, if you have an unholy rune and killing machine isn’t up. Howling Blast, if the target is above 35% health, or you have at least one spare rune saved for soul reaper. Blood Tap, whenever it’s available. Plague Leech, whenever it’s available. Empower Rune Weapon, when you have nothing else to do. Advanced Tips and Strategy Soul Reaper does a lot of damage, and using it on cooldown after 35% is also a very important task for DW frost death knights. Soul reaper puts a debuff on the target that explodes after 5 seconds, dealing massive damage if the target is below 35% at the time that it explodes. When the target is within 5 seconds of hitting 35%, you can apply an early soul reaper so that it activates below 35%. No addon can predict exactly when this will happen, but you can eyeball it using a pretty simple rule, which is that the boss should drop about 8.3/m % in 5 seconds, where m is the number of minutes the fight takes. So on a 1 minute fight, you can apply your first soul reaper at 42%, on a 5 minute fight, you can apply it at 36%, and ect. After you start applying soul reaper, you’ll find that 6 second cooldown generally lines up right below the time it takes a rune to regenerate, so you want to make sure to save at least one “backup” death or frost rune (or 5 BT charges) at all times, so that you can always use soul reaper on cooldown. If you are GCD capped at the time, try counting out 5 ability presses between soul reapers. It’s never worth using soul reaper on a target you know is going to die before the debuff explodes, the haste buff is a consolation prize if you misstime a soul reaper, not something worth aiming at. Defile does a lot of damage per use, but is also a targeted ground effect. This is both a strength and a weakness, new targets can move into an existing defile, but old targets can be moved out as well. Movement of a boss is, most of the time, controlled by your guild and strategy and very predictable. If the boss won’t stay in defile for more than half it’s duration, hold off on defile until the boss is in a more stable position. If you’re not sure when that will be, or you’re sure he’ll be moving for the next 30 seconds at least, it’s still worth using defile even for only 4 seconds of it’s duration, but it’s obviously much better when you have one target in for the full duration. If the fight has multiple targets up for a short period of time, it’s worth delaying defile a few seconds to use on the group of adds. Diseases operate under the damage over time system introduced in WoD, and update dynamically with all of your stats. There is no benefit to having diseases on a target other than the damage they do, and no reason to apply them at any particular time. Your general goal with diseases is to have them up as much as possible, on as many targets as possible. Frost fever should pretty much always be up as a DW frost death knight, which leaves you with blood plague to manage. Always reapply with plague strike, as unholy runes are basically as free as outbreak is, and plague strike deals slightly more damage than outbreak. Plague leech is a powerful talent that leeches your diseases off one target and gives you back 2 runes. Using plague leech optimally is pretty easy, you want to use it whenever you have nothing better to do. The remaining duration of your diseases doesn’t really matter, whenever you need the runes, use plague leech. You do want to make sure you spend runes so you have 2 open slots before using plague leech, so that you always get the full value out of it. Blood tap is the ideal talent for DW frost, because it always gives you death runes. Unholy runes are much, much weaker than frost runes for DW frost, and both RC and RE return unholy runes. Using blood tap is pretty simple, you want to activate it whenever you’re at 11 or 12 blood charges to avoid wasting any (you can hold off until right before you’re going to use frost strike), and you use it when you want to cast soul reaper, defile, or a howling blast and don’t have the runes. “Waiting” or banking resources is a small part of the frost playstyle. If you have downtime in your rotation, or time spent not hitting any abilities, you might as well move that time in front of an frost strike in the hopes that killing machine will proc. Waiting is a gain, but a very small and insignificant one over the alterative, which is ordering your abilities to maximize killing machine procs on frost strike, and that order is described in the above general rotation section. The reason that the gain is so small is that proper ordering of ability usage gives you 90% of the benefit, and there simply isn’t enough free time in the rotation to have waiting be a large gain. Shifting downtime to right before stat increasing cooldowns come up is also a minuscule gain, but a gain nonetheless. If pillar of frost is about to come up (3 seconds), and you’re not in any danger of capping and wasting any resources, you want to hold off on using anything until you activate pillar of frost. The same goes for right before a cooldown ends, you want to empty your resources as best you can so that when the cooldown does end, you spend your time waiting then instead of during the cooldown. This applies to trinkets, racials, pillar of frost, and rune of the fallen crusader to an extent. As runic power never increases unless you use an ability, you can always predict right before you’re going to cap runic power, and use a frost strike to prevent that. If you’re not about to cap runic power, you’re not about to lose a stat increasing cooldown, and killing machine isn’t up, there is no reason to use frost strike at all. You’re better off saving the runic power for when one of those 3 conditions is true. Multiple Targets DW frost has the most passive cleave of any death knight spec, the constant barrage of howling blasts, as well as defile, alway cleave. The only change you want to make when dealing with multiple targets is to use blood boil to spread diseases to 4 or more targets, and to change target and rotate plague strikes on 2 or 3 targets. It also becomes more important to not cap runes than to not cap runic on 4 targets. Utility Raise Allyis our battle-rez. Glyphed, it’s free and instant, and one of the better choices for a battle-rez. The only weakness it has compared to druids and warlocks is that it cannot restore someone at full life. Mind Freezeis our basic interrupt. Strangulateis mind freeze’s BBBFF, silencing the target for 5 seconds. It doesn’t interrupt targets that are immune to silence. 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. Control Undeadlets you dominate an undead creature. It won’t work on bosses, hostile player ghouls, or hostile players 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. Great fun in ICC, not much use elsewhere. Dark Simulacrumallows 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. Those rare instances where it can be used are covered in the fight specific section. Other Resources Destiny Softwork– My DK and Game development blog. Most of my theorycrafting goes up here first. Currently on Hiatus until I actually start playing wow again. #Acherus IRC– Moderated, live DK chat and think tank. Son of a Lich– Magdalena and Heartless’s excellent DK blog. @Destinysoftwork– My twitter, and the best across the board way to contact me. Simulationcraft– Active and comprehensive simulation code project. SummonStone– Skullflower's class website with excellent DK theorycrafting. Special Thanks The information in this guide is gathered from a multitude of sources: personal experience (both the good and laughable), my wonderful and insightful DK friends in #Acherus, private messages, posts on the WoW forums, past threads and discussions 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 from 4.3-5.1. Magdalena for his work on #Acherus and being a great dude. Kerriodos for his AMAZING T16 Str plate list. Heartless for her unholy guide framework, and the abbreviation list. RIP Reia, Theck, Collision, and the rest of the simC dev team. Jessamy for being a great DK forum mod on EJ and a good friendSpoony for his work on simulating death knights during the WoD betaSkullflower for taking up a lot of the stuff I used to do The amazingly generous folks who donated to send me to Blizzcon 2 years in a row. #Acherus Everyone who contributes to this guide for their continued effort at understanding and maximizing the DK class. Changelog 11/03/14 – GuideCreated06/22/15– Guideupdated for 6.2
  3. #Acherus Theorycrafting Events

    This Saturday, on August 23rd, #Acherus will be conducting a roundtable discussion, where we discuss the state of Death Knights on the Warlords of Draenor Beta! The event will begin at 2 pm EST (11 am PDT), and will be streamed Live at: http://www.twitch.tv/AcherusDK Our panelists will include: -Magdalena of <Something Wicked> US-Whisperwind -Ketsuki of <Static> US-Arthas -Mendenbarr of <Midwinter> US-Sargeras -Reniat of <Whatever We’re Awesome> US-Magtheridon We also have two very special guests joining us! -Jayos of <Midwinter> US-Sargeras -Qelric of <Decimate> EU-Argent Dawn Some of discussion topics include: -Covering present mechanical changes in the WoD Beta -Talent/Glyph discussion -Personal opinions/experiences of the class on Beta -Number tuning. -Impressions of other WoD changes from a Death Knight perspective. We will also have a Q&A session where stream viewers can submit questions about our thoughts on subjects relevant to what’s already been discussed. Beta Keys! We have multiple WoD Beta keys to give out, and will be doing so over the course of the stream. Be sure to tune in and listen closely for key giveaways! Q&A submission: We have several ways for you to field questions to us. -Use the stream chat on the day of the event. Keep in mind it will be moderated. -Tweet Ketsuki with the hashtag: #AcherusQ&A -Post your questions on the #Acherus facebook page (don’t forget to Like us!): https://www.facebook.com/pages/Acherus-Live-Chat-for-Death-Knights/560579180652914%C2'> We look forward to seeing everyone in attendance!
  4. Unholy DPS 5.4 - The Fun has been Doubled!

    My BiS list is probably a % or 2 off, due to both the time investment in further trying to optimize a set of gear, and the difficulty in editing this post. In fact, I believe it's doing more harm than good. I'm just going to straight up remove it.
  5. Advanced Death Knight Tactics [MoP]

    Running your armory profile tells me that crit beats haste, even with the mere 4.5k you have. Crit:2.93 Haste: 2.73 Reforging 6000 crit into haste bumps crit up to 3.24 and haste down to 2.36 just as expected. Not seeing haste higher than crit at any point.
  6. Unholy DPS 5.4 - The Fun has been Doubled!

    Scarily enough, yes, there is. My first round of results take Dsip and completely replace SS/FeS with death runes in the priority. This was a 2% dps loss, and grants the boon of ~45k HPS in BiS gear. Then swapped to DW weapons, with RI/FC. Only an ~8% dps loss. Going to work on further optimizing this, but it's already potentially a problem. Numbers aside, "DW unholy" would offer a great deal more self-healing than 2H unholy does. It's also far less reliant on weapons, and I'm already seeing it as a gain in with certain weapons below your average ilevel. It's within the realm of possibility that, for certain setups, DW unholy would be not only viable, but optimal. Last time that happened it got nerfed into the ground, fast. Still, there is theorycrafting to be done! Here are the profiles I used, feel free to experiment with them as you will. I'll be looking into this further myself, but I'm interested in having a discussion about it here. Dsip 2H: Dsip DW:
  7. Yes, HB procs the cleave, yes, you get a 5x3.71% on 5 targets. Thok's is very strong, and but so is the cleave trinket. Frankly, I'd run them both on any fight with heavy cleave.
  8. [iTEM]Vial of Living Corruption[/iTEM] Too good to be true. Stamina is very useful, combined with the lower CDs on our already huge CD pool, this trinket should not be left out of any survival BiS lists. [iTEM]Rook's Unlucky Talisman[/iTEM] Love all the stam this tier, I've been trying this trinket out and it's rather nice. The AE reduction seems to effect high damage cleaves, and is very significant. One outdated example of where it would be amazing is DA's explosive slam. [iTEM]Thok's Tail tip[/iTEM] 580 version gives 9% extra stats. Secondary stat "budget" on 580 trinket is 2519 stat, to get this much mastery, we would need to have 27989 mastery rating. Alas, that doesn't seem to be reachable. It also doesn't offer any stam, so I'd say this isn't the best trinket for survival. However, it also amplifies crit damage and haste, so it seems like it would be a good compromise trinket, benefiting both survival and damage, at the cost of a bit of both. Keep in mind there are no trinket options that give static mastery, so this trinket actually does get you the most of that stat. [iTEM]Juggernaut's Focusing Crystal[/item] Really cool idea, but feels very weak. Even doing 400k DPS with the 580 version would only 13k HPS. It's also spread out healing, the majority of which will end up being overhealing. I do miss the old blood presence, and wish this was baked into blood as a passive, but hard to justify taking this when there are other better options. [iTEM]Curse of Hubris[/iTEM] This is surprisingly cool. I've been playing around with it, and I think it's an attempt at a "balanced" trinket, offering survival benefit and DPS benefit, without forcing you into one or the other. It's a cool option, and the crit is nothing to snuff at, the normal version adds about 14% crit for me. Plus, that crit is amped by the amp trinket. I believe that Crit and Amp will be the best choices for hybrid damage/survival, while CD and either AE reduction or Crit (depending on the fight) will be the best choices for survival.
  9. Advanced Death Knight Tactics [MoP]

    You're correct, PS is technically more damage, but I didn't want to overcomplicate the frost guide. That's why it's in advanced tactics. Given the choice between always using oblit for unholy runes or always using PS, oblit is the better choice, but in the rare cases where you are not GCD capped, PS is better. It's more important to make sure F/D and runic are not capped than it is to use unholy runes up, but it's more important to make sure unholy runes aren't capped than it is to use F/D or runic when you are not close to capping/wasting anything. Most of the time you don't want your unholy runes to be capped, but it's not the worst thing in the world if it happens. PL should not be used as DW when BP is about to run out. Simply use PL as a second BT, whenever you need runes. Due to how often we apply BP, and how cheap it is, the duration remaining is mostly relevant. Make sure to use an unholy rune to reapply it though.
  10. Unholy DPS 5.4 - The Fun has been Doubled!

    Skeer's does snapshot, but the problem remains that it's simply not strong enough. It caps out at 30k crit rating(about 46%), and while both strong and short duration, it has a few problems. 1. Due the rppm changes, it doesn't reliably proc at the start of the fight. It procs some of the time, but not all of the time, and doesn't always line up with a second trinket, unlike the trinkets of T15. 2. The maximum strength buff lasts only 0.5 seconds. You thought timing feather was hard? A 0.5 second interval is nearly impossible to hit on the nail, when you take into account the ability que and lag, as well as human response time. Most of the time you would not get the full benefit out of the trinket. 3. Crit is not a valuable stat as strength is. Strength is simply better, point for point. Sure, there is amazing amount of crit here, but it only barely overtakes the value of the strength trinkets that are up for a whole lot longer. Despite all of this, after spending several hours trying to maximize things out, this as close as I could get. Using these profiles I'm giving up on festerblight for now, but if anyone can show a particular setup in simC that can beat traditional unholy, I'm willing to revisit it.
  11. The latest simcraft can always be found at https://code.google.com/p/simulationcraft/downloads/list
  12. Strength is the strongest stat, but strength gems only have 160 strength in them. Other gems, for "secondary stats" like crit, haste, mastery, and hit have 320 of said stat in the gem. That means, to make gemming strength worth it, strength needs to be twice as good as the secondary stat, and it is not twice as good.
  13. Unholy DPS 5.4 - The Fun has been Doubled!

    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.
  14. Frost DPS 5.4 - Howling Blargh

    Checked in simC. Sadly, outbreak's cost prevents it from being used at the start of the fight, and it occasionally you don't have enough runic to reapply it instantly. How do you get runic? obliterate, which you can't do without diseases up. Even if you did, since you no longer get the free outbreak every 60 seconds, the cost is effectively 60 runic per minute, and you only gain 1 unholy not. Simming as a mere 1% loss though. Yes, the sims takes mastery into account for the 4-set. Still, even the 580 trinket "only" boosts pillar uptime from 33% to 50%. It's nice, don't get me wrong, but it's still the major benefit of the CD trinket, dps-wise. Skeer's bloodsoaked talisman is also just kinda good, but evil eye still downright beats it, iirc. When you take into account the shorter CD on survival CDs as well as the damage, the CD trinket should be the clear choice, with skeer's offering a decent downgrade for those who can't get ahold of the CD/AMP trinket.
  15. I was talking about simC for blood as well, and riposte should be fully implemented. We do however have a bug where blood dks are getting crit in blood presence 25% of the time, which is screwing up TMI values a bit. Basically, now UP, AND RC are giving trinket haste. In 5.4, only UP will. Also, feather is down 20% strength from a straight up nerf on the PTR. It just doesn't do enough to make FB worthwhile anymore.