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Frost DPS 5.0.4 - The Cold Hand of Death


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#1 Titus Pullo

Titus Pullo

    Von Kaiser

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 04:29 AM

Last Updated 8/30/2012 By Titus Pullo
8/27/12 | Mists of Pandaria 5.0.5
=Introduction=
With Mists of Pandaria still over a month away, not everything in this guide has been finalized. Finalized version of stat weights, gear, and priority are subject to change whenever Blizzard pushes out new beta builds or hotfixes. With 5.0 out, this gives us time to iron out the finer points knowing there will be few if any new changes coming soon. While most stat priorities won’t change there will likely be some change in stat weights while sims fix any remaining issues, between now and the release of Mists.

If you find any errors in this guide or items you feel have been omitted that would help to understand the class please PM me. Please leave the thread for discussion.

You will likely notice that a good deal of links are currently listed as broken, not found, etc. Once the patch rolls out these should update and correctly link to the spells and items.

Note-worthy Changes at a Glance


  • 5.0 is out
  • Everything is new!...ok, not everything
  • All Death Knights now have a 1s GCD.
  • Frost Presence gives 20% RP gain and reduces the RP cost of Frost Strike by 15 RP
  • Frost Fever and Blood Plague have had their durations extended to 30 seconds each up from 21 seconds
  • Horn of Winter now grants 10% AP rather than a set amount of Strength and Agility
  • Frost and Unholy DKs bring a new passive Unholy Aura with 20% increased melee and ranged haste
  • Might of the Frozen Wastes now buffs 2h weapons with 10% more damage and +40% damage for Obliterate and is passive for Frost
  • Threat of Thassarian now also increases Frost Strike damage by 50% 40% and is passive for Frost
  • Howling Blast now adds Frost Fever by default.
  • Icy Talons now grants 20% melee haste passively rather than needing to be talented.

  • Howling Blast now does 80% damage to all secondary targets up from 50%. 5.0.4 Hotfix (8/30/12).
  • Threat of Thassarian now increases Frost Strike by 40% down from 50%. 5.0.4 Hotfix (8/30/12)


=Talents and Glyphs=
Talents

Talents will change often between bosses so for most talent tiers there is never one right choice for all fights
[TABLE] 15 |Roiling Blood |Plague Leech|Unholy Blight
30 | Lichborne| Anti-Magic Zone | Purgatory
45 | Death’s Advance| Chilblains| Asphyxiate
60 | Death Pact| Death Siphon | Conversion
75 | Blood Tap| Runic Empowerment| Runic Corruption
90 | Gorefiend’s Grasp | Remorseless Winter | Desecrated Ground

Tier 1

Roiling Blood – Your Blood Boil ability now also triggers Pestilence if it strikes a diseased target

*Blood Boil is not part of our single target or multi-target rotation so this talent appears rather useless for Frost. Diseases are always worth spreading again now that Pestilence spreads diseases at 100% rather than the 50% from Cata so Blood Boil can replace Pestilence when needed. This is purely an AoE talent and will not benefit you in single target situations.

Plague Leech 25 sec – Draw forth the infection from an enemy, consuming both your Blood Plague and Frost Fever diseases on a target to activate a random fully-depleted rune as a Death Rune.

*This refunds a death rune every 30 seconds and is currently simming as our best choice in this tier by about 3k DPS in ideal circumstances. Ideally this is used once every 27-30 seconds when diseases are about to expire to get the most ticks out of your diseases while getting the maximum number of death runes from this talent.

Unholy Blight 1.5 minutes – Surrounds the Death Knight with a vile swarm of unholy insects for 10 sec, stinging all enemies within 10 yards every 1 sec, infecting them with Blood Plague and Frost Fever.

*This is a slight DPS loss compared to Plague Leech but still a viable option. With this we only need to use Plague Strike once every two minutes to keep up full diseases on a single target and can instantly spread full diseases in AoE situations.

Tier 2

Lichborne 2 minutes – Draw upon unholy energy to become undead for 10 sec. While undead, you are immune to Charm, Fear and Sleep effects.

*This will be good for any fight where you face CC and useful for any phases of heavy burst magic damage where sustaining yourself with Death Coil and Anti-Magic Shell may be the best course of action. This does cut into your damage if you need to heal yourself with Death Coils so this may not be the optimal choice if your healers can keep you up.

Anti-Magic Zone 2 minutes – Places a large, stationary Anti-Magic Zone that reduces spell damage done to party or raid members inside it by 75%. The Anti-Magic Zone lasts for 10 sec or until it absorbs 136800 spell damage.

*Good for strong single hits of magic damage. This will absorb 75% of the hit that breaks it making this an important raid cooldown if the fight calls for it. Stopping damage from happening is better than being able to heal it up. Your healers will thank you if you can use this effectively. The amount absorbed scales with attack power.

Purgatory – An unholy pacts grants you the ability to fight on through damage that would kill mere mortals. When you would sustain fatal damage, you instead are wrapped in a Shroud of Purgatory, absorbing incoming healing equal to the amount of damage prevented, lasting 3 sec. If any healing absorption remains when Shroud of Purgatory expires, you die. Otherwise, you survive. This effect may only occur every 3 min.

*Saves you from death for 3 sec once every 3 minutes. This counts as an absorb effect so moves that go through other absorbs can still kill you. As soon as the absorb shield is healed off, the effect is removed regardless of when during the 3 seconds that happens.

Tier 3

Death’s Advance 30 sec – You passively move 10% faster, and movement-impairing effects may not reduce you below 70% of normal movement speed. When activated, you gain 30% movement speed and may not be slowed below 100% of normal movement speed for 6 seconds.

*This will likely be the go-to talent for this tier when none of the others are necessary. 10% runspeed passively and a 30% boost every 30 seconds will increase uptime on bosses with target switching or lots of movement mechanics. This does stack with the movespeed enchants for boots.

Chilblains – Victims of your Frost Fever disease are Chilled, reducing movement speed by 50% for 10 sec, and your Chains of Ice immobilize targets for 3 sec.

*Good for kiting and slowing adds from getting to their target. The root effect for Chains of Ice is nice but few bosses or adds can be rooted.

Asphyxiate (1 Blood) 1 minute – Lifts an enemy target off the ground and crushes their throat with dark energy, stunning them for 5 sec. Functions as a silence if the target is immune to stuns. Replaces Strangulate.

*Replaces our Strangulate with a stun with half the cooldown time. Again, pretty fight dependent as most bosses cannot be stunned or silenced.

Tier 4

Death Pact 2 minutes – Drain vitality from an undead minion, healing the Death Knight for 50% of his maximum health and causing the minion to suffer damage equal to 50% of its maximum health.

*Only useful if your ghoul is active for Frost DKs, but offers a large amount of healing on command. Ideally this is the choice in this tier, as it does not impede our damage at all in most cases.

Death Siphon (1 Death) – Deal 4985 shadow damage to an enemy, healing the Death Knight for 100% of damage dealt.

*A ranged death strike in essence. This can be useful during times of target switching and heavy incoming damage but uses runes that can be used for stronger hitting moves.

Conversion (10 Runic Power + 10 Runic Power per second) – Converts Runic Power to 3% max health every second.

*If there are periods of heavy AoE damage this could be useful . This is going to make it easier for healers to keep you up rather than ensuring you keep yourself up but this will cut into our ability to do damage effectively.

Tier 5

Blood Tap – Each damaging Death Coil, Frost Strike, or Rune Strike generates 2 Blood Charges, up to a maximum of 12 charges. Blood Tap consumes 5 Blood Charges to activate a random fully-depleted rune as a Death Rune.

*A guaranteed Death Rune from fully depleted runes when you want it as long as you have at least 5 Blood Charges.

Runic Empowerment – When you land a damaging Death Coil, Frost Strike, or Rune Strike, you have a 45% chance to activate a random fully depleted rune.

*Able to game runes with this to get back certain runes. Keep in mind you must have a fully depleted rune for this to do anything. This is currently the best option for frost on multiple targets.

Runic Corruption – When you land a damaging Death Coil, Frost Strike, or Rune Strike, you have a 45% chance to activate Runic Corruptions, increasing your rune regeneration rate by 100% for 3 sec.

*Returns 30% of 3 runes. This will not actually last for 3 seconds unless you have 0 haste but will last for shorter amounts of time as your haste goes up so that you are always getting 30% of each rune regardless of your haste.

Tier 6

Gorefiend’s Grasp 1 minute – Shadowy tendrils coil around all enemies within 20 yards of a target (hostile or friendly), pulling them to the target’s location.

*Really more of a tanking talent but this can be used to group up loose adds right to the tank. Unless a fight calls for this, it isn’t the best choice.

Remorseless Winter 1 minute – Surrounds the Death Knight with a swirling tempest of frigid air, every 1 sec for 8 sec. Each time Remorseless Winter hits, it reduces enemy movement speed by 15%, stacking up to 5 times. Upon receiving a fifth application, an enemy will be stunned for 6 sec.

*This has some great utility for add kiting, both a slow and a stun.

Desecrated Ground 2 minute – Corrupts the ground in a 8 yard radius beneath the Death Knight for 10 sec. While standing in this corruption, the Death Knight is immune to crowd control effects.

*There are a few fights where CC breaks are helpful and since most bosses can’t be slowed or stunned by Remorseless Winter I would have to suggest this as the default choice of this tier.


Innate Skills

Frost Death Knights gain some pretty nice passive skills which are important to know about and have an effect on the way we play.

Blood of the North
Your Blood Runes are permanently transformed into Death Runes giving you plenty of opportunities to get in more Obliterates and eliminating Blood Strike from our priority list.

Icy Talons
Increases your melee attack speed by 20%. Not much to say here. It is a completely passive bonus so just be aware of it. This does not increase our Rune Regeneration rate but does increase our ghoul’s attack speed.

Killing Machine
Your auto-attacks have a chance to grant your next Obliterate or Frost Strike a 100% Critical Strike chance bonus. This will proc more often for DW than 2H, for obvious reasons hopefully and DW and 2H will want to use it differently due to the next two skills. This has 6 PPM meaning that before any haste is applied or dual wield affects take place auto attacks will proc this 6 times a minute on average. Thanks to haste and if you are dual wielding to will see more than 6 PPM.

Might of the Frozen Wastes
When wielding a two-handed weapon, your Obliterate deals 40% more damage, and all melee attacks deal an additional 10% damage.

Threat of Thassarian
When dual-wielding, your Death Strikes, Obliterates, Plague Strikes, and Frost Strikes also deal damage with your off-hand weapon, and your Frost Strike damage is increased by 40%.

Improved Frost Presence
While in Frost Presence, your Frost Strike ability costs 15 less Runic Power.


Raid Buffs and Debuffs

Buffs

Horn of Winter - Increases attack power of all party and raid members within 100 yards by 10%. Lasts 5 min.
Unholy Aura - Increases the melee and ranged attack speed of all party and raid members within 100 yards by 10%.
Debuffs

Physical Vulnerability - Increases physical damage taken by 4%. This is applied by your Frost Fever due to Brittle Bones.
Glyphs

Major
Major glyphs are all fairly situational and the ideal ones to use may change from fight to fight. This lists contains all the major glyphs although there are some that are not applicable for Frost.
[Table] | Causes you Anti-Magic Shell to absorb all incoming magical damage, up to the absorption limit.
| Your Chains of Ice also causes 150 Frost damage, with additional damage depending on your attack power.
| Increases your threat generation by 100% while your Dancing Rune Weapon is active, but reduces its damage dealth by 25%.
| Reduces the cooldown of Dark Simulacrum by 30 sec and increases its duration by 4 sec.
| When you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor, while in Frost or Unholy presence, your next Death Strike within 15 sec is free and will restore at least 20% of your maximum health.
| Causes your Unholy Frenzy to no longer deal damage to the affected target.
| Your Outbreak spell no longer has a cooldown, but now costs 40 Runic Power.

| Increases the bonus healing received while your Vampiric Blood is active by an additional 15%, but your Vampiric Blood no longer grants you health.
| Immediately finishes the cooldown of your Death Grip upon dealing a killing blow to a target that grants experience or honor.
| Your Death Coil spell is now usable on all allies. When cast on a non-undead ally, Death Coil shrouds them with a protective barrier that absorbs up to ((0 + 0.495 * AP) * 1) damage.
| Increases the radius of your Pestilence effect by 5 yards.
| Empowers your Pillar of Frost, making you immune to all effects that cause loss of control of your character, but also freezing you in place while the ability is active.
| Increases the range of your Death Grip ability by 5 yards.
| Your Death and Decay also reduces the movement speed of enemies within its radius by 50%.
| Reduces the cooldown of your Icebound Fortitude by 50%, but also reduces its duration by 75%.
| Your Icy Touch dispels one helpful Magic effect from the target.
| You retain 70% of your Runic Power when switching Presences.
| Your diseases are undispellable, but their damage dealt is reduced by 30%.
| Increases the Silence duration of your Strangulate ability by 2 sec when used on a target who is casting a spell.
| Reduces the cooldown of your Mind Freeze ability by 2 sec, but also raises its cost by 20 Runic Power.

Minor
Minor glyphs are mostly cosmetic in MoP but a handful can be helpful in some situations. Army of the Dead, Death’s Embrace, Path of Frost, Resilient Grip, Tranquil Grip can all be useful when needed.
| The ghouls summoned by your Army of the Dead no longer taunt their target.
| Teaches you the ability [Spell]Corpse Explosion[/Spell].
| Reduces the cast time of your Death Gate spell by 60%.
| Your Death Coil refunds 20 Runic Power when used to heal an allied minion.
| Causes your Army of the Dead spell to summon an assortment of undead minions.
| When used outside of combat, your Horn of Winter ability causes a brief, localized snow flurry.
| Your Path of Frost ability allows you to fall from a greater distance without suffering damage.
| When your Death Grip ability fails because its target is immune, its cooldown is reset.
| Your Death Grip spell no longer taunts the target.
| Your Raise Dead spell summons a geist instead of a ghoul.


=Presences=
Our presences have changed around with the release of MoP and all DKs now have a 1 second GCD rather than 1.5 seconds base GCD.
Blood Presence - You assume the presence of Blood, increasing Stamina by 8% and base armor increased by 55%, and reducing damage taken by 10%. Threat generation is also significantly increased.
Frost Presence - Strengthens you with the presence of Frost, increasing Runic Power generation by 20%, and reducing the duration of effects that remove control of your character by 20%.
Unholy Presence - You are infused with unholy fury, increasing attack speed and rune regeneration by 10%, and movement speed by 15%.

Due to Frost’s skill Improved Frost Presence all Frost DKs will dps in Frost Presence.


=Priority=
Single Target

[TABLE=”head”]DW Priority
Soul Reaper when target below 35%
Diseases
Frost Strike if Killing Machine is procced
Death and Decay
Obliterate when Killing Machine is procced and both diseases are on the target and both Unholy Runes are off cooldown
Frost Strike if RP capped
Howling Blast if Rime procced
Obliterate when both diseases are on the target and both Unholy Runes are off cooldown
Howling Blast
Horn of Winter
Frost Strike[/TABLE]

The new Soul Reaper hits like a truck. Use it as often as you can when the target is under 35%. It’s good to save a Frost or Death rune so you can use Soul Reaper immediately when it comes off of cooldown.

When you are not in execute range, diseases are always top priority. Howling Blast and Plague Strike/Outbreak will cover those. Frost Fever should rarely ever be a problem thanks to Howling Blast applying Frost Fever for us. Blood Plague is simple enough to manage between Plague Strike and Outbreak. Try to reapply Blood Plague while there is under 3 seconds remaining on the current debuff.

DW in Mists will play similar to how “Masterfrost” did at the end of Cataclysm. This is due to the large emphasis on frost damage and mastery thanks to the Threat of Thassarian skill. This means outside of execute range and after applying diseases, spending Runic Power on Frost Strike is the top priority when possible. You will only be using Death and Decay and Obliterate to make sure one Unholy rune is recharging so that Runic Empowerment or Blood Tap is returning Frost and Death runes as often as possible. Your other runes will be spent on Howling Blast while using Killing Machine procs on Frost Strike.

[TABLE=”head”]2H Priority
Soul Reaper when target below 35%
Obliterate when Killing Machine is procced and both diseases are on the target
Diseases
Frost Strike if RP capped
Howling Blast if Rime procced
Obliterate
Frost Strike
Horn of Winter[/TABLE]

2H in Mists plays almost the same as it did in Cataclysm. After diseases and when not in execute range, spending runes on Obliterate is the top of the order. Thanks to Might of the Frozen Wastes, Obliterate hits extremely hard for 2H Frost. Line up your Obliterates with Killing Machine procs whenever possible.

This means using Obliterate when both Frost and Unholy sets are up or two Death runes. This is followed by Frost Strike to keep you from reaching your max RP and wasting extra Runic Power and using any Rime procs you may have. Then Obliterating again to put as many of your runes on cooldown.

Lastly, Frost Strike; Make sure you're not Frost Striking when you don't actually have the correct number of runes of the same pair on cooldown. This will depend on which tier 5 talent you choose. You need to have runes fully depleted in order for Runic Empowerment to proc so at least one pair of runes must be on cooldown. Runic Corruption will get the maximum benefit when at least one rune from each pair is on cooldown. Blood Tap will always be used to its maximum potential as long as you don’t let it go over its 12 stack cap or let the buff fall off.

Unlike DW, 2H will not use single Frost or Death runes on Howling Blast. Save them until another rune is available to Obliterate with. Fill any remaining downtime with Horn of Winter.

Multiple Target

[TABLE=”head”]Multiple Target Priority
Diseases
Howling Blast if both Frost runes and/or both Death runes are up
Death and Decay if both Unholy Runes are up
Frost Strike if RP capped
Obliterate if both Unholy Runes are up
Howling Blast
Death and Decay
Frost Strike
Horn of Winter[/TABLE]

A very similar case to single target where you’ll want to make sure Frost Fever and Blood Plague is up on every target and you will be using Howling Blast and Death and Decay when possible. Obliterate when you have two Unholy runes available and Death and Decay is on cooldown. Ideally, you will try to keep one Unholy rune available at all times so your Blood Tap or Runic Empowerment will refund a Frost or Death rune that can be used for more Howling Blasts.

Finally, use Frost Strike to regain runes when possible. Death Coil will be used in place of Frost Strike when you are kiting adds or cannot be in melee range.


Runic Power Management

In general, Runic Power gains correspond directly to the number runes spent on abilities. Each depleted rune will give you 10 Runic Power but being in Frost Presence will give you 20% more Runic Power. Here’s a table showing how much each ability will generate depending on if you are in Frost Presence or not.

[table=”head”]Ability|Base RP gained|RP gained in Frost Presence (+20%)
Obliterate|20|24
Howling Blast|10|12
Plague Strike|10|12
Icy touch|10|12
Death and Decay|10|12
Horn of Winter|10|12
Rime|0|0

Cooldowns

Pillar of Frost 1 Frost 1 minute
The only unique cooldown for Frost DKs, this is an absolutely amazing talent. Granting 20% strength for 20 seconds on a 60 second cooldown, this should be used on cooldown as often as possible or lined up with phases where bosses take more damage. If you have an on-use trinket, make sure to macro it in with Pillar of Frost to get the most out of it. It also provides immunity to knockback effects.

Raise Dead 2 minutes
As close as we get to being an Unholy DK - Raise Dead summons a ghoul to fight for you for 1 minute. Your Ghoul scales with your attack power, haste, crit and hit continuously throughout its duration. This will line up nicely with Pillar of Frost giving your ghoul a bigger punch for the price, as will using it during bloodlust or heroism.

Army of the Dead 1 Blood 1 Unholy 1 Frost 10 minutes
Army of the Dead will channel over 4 seconds to summon a gaggle of ghouls to fight for you swarming any enemies that stand in your way. Like Raise Dead, Army of the Dead will scale with your AP, haste, and hit throughout its duration. The best time to use Army of the Dead will vary from boss to boss, but it is typically best to use right before the beginning of an encounter or in any phase transition where you will not be and cannot be on the boss and no DPS will be lost. One note about Army of the Dead is that although the summoned ghouls will not taunt a raid boss, they will taunt most adds present on boss encounters. The corresponding glyph can stop your ghouls from taunting when needed.

Empower Rune Weapon 5 minutes
Activates all your runes and provides 25 Runic Power (50 in Frost Presence) once every 5 minutes. Ideally you’ll want to use this any time when you need some heavy burst. As well, try to line it up with all your Runes being on cooldown and having low amounts of Runic Power. This will reset your whole priority, which can throw people off when they find themselves with 6 runes off cooldown and high Runic Power. You’ll likely cap your Runic Power when you use Empower Rune Weapon. Don’t worry about it; continue the priority as you would normally. Depending on the length of the fight you may be able to use this more than once by using it early in the fight.

Outbreak 1 minute
Outbreak will apply both Frost Fever and Blood Plague to your target once a minute. As Frost DKs, we will mainly use this to reapply Blood Plague without expending an unholy rune when we can on a single target. In some situations, like fights with heavy target switching, it is best to save Outbreak for quickly applying your diseases to a target that needs to be burned down.

Dark Simulacrum 1 minute
Dark Simulacrum allows a Death Knight to place a debuff on a target that will grant the DK the ability to copy the next spell the target casts that costs mana. There are few to no encounters where this comes into play in PvE, unfortunately. You can glyph this cooldown down to 30 seconds with .

Anti-Magic Shell45 seconds
Anti-Magic Shell is our most reliable way of avoiding raid damage. This baby absorbs 75% of the magic damage taken, up to 50% of the DK’s health for 5 seconds. As of 5.0, this gives us Runic Power as it absorbs damage at 1 Runic Power for every 180 damage absorbed. Anti-Magic Shell also makes you immune to magical debuffs which can be equally important or more important than the damage mitigation depending on the encounter. Knowing when to correctly use this on any given encounter can greatly increase your survivability and damage output.

Icebound Fortitude 20 Runic Power 3 minutes
Our standard defensive ability. A 20% damage taken reduction for 12 seconds as well as making you immune to stun effects. Use this when you know heavy damage is incoming. Don't make the easy mistake of using it after you've already taken a good chunk of damage; anticipate damage to get the most out of this ability.

Mind Freeze 15 seconds
This is our basic interrupt. It is off the global cooldown and you must be in melee range to use it.

Strangulate 1 Blood 2 minutes
Mind Freeze’s big brother, Strangulate interrupts and silences a player target for 5 seconds and can interrupt non-player spell casting for 3 seconds. Unlike Mind Freeze, Strangulate is a 30 yard ranged silence, shares a global cooldown with your other abilities and costs a Blood Rune to use. This is a last resort in a PvE context. It will slow down your damage by taking up a global cooldown and expend 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.

Raise Ally 50 Runic Power 10 minutes
You can resurrect one of your fallen brethren once every 10 minutes to 60% health and 20% mana.

Control Undead 1 Unholy
Take control of an Undead enemy for up to 5 minutes to act as your minion.
Symbiosis

Druid’s new skill Symbiosis grants Frost and Unholy Death Knights the Wild Mushroom: Plague skill. This is the only skill that druids give via symbiosis that is a direct DPS increase for the receiver. Although it is only a small gain in single target fights, it will prove to be quite useful on fights with lengthy stationary AoE or when a ranged AoE snare needs to be repeatedly applied. Since this last for 30 seconds it can cover a minute worth of diseases every 3 minutes.

Feral Druids can benefit from using Symbiosis on us as they receive Death Coil in return, giving them something to do when they can’t be in melee range.

 1[/hr]=Stats and Gearing=
Stat Priorities

[table="head"]Two Handed Stat Priority
Strength > Yellow Hit to Cap = Expertise to Cap > Haste > Crit > Mastery

[table="head"]Dual Wield Stat Priority
Strength > Yellow Hit to Cap = Expertise to Cap > Mastery >= Haste > Crit

Specific Stat Weights

Preliminary stat weights are as follows relative to Strength:
Please keep in mind these stat weights use BiS gear. I've seen far too many people trying to use these weights for characters that are 50 ilvls under BiS. I highly recommend running the sim with your own character to see stat weights for your character

[table="head"]Stat | 509 DW | 509 2H
Strength | 1 | 1
Yellow Hit | .672 | .674
Expertise | .672 | .674
Haste | .443 | .597
Mastery | .462 | .339
Crit | .334 | .394
Hit Over Yellow | .296 | -

Specific Stat Caps

Level 93 Boss Avoidance
[TABLE="head"]Avoidance | % | Avoidance to Rating | Effective Requirement
Yellow Swing Miss | 7.5% | (340 * 7.5) |2550 Hit Rating
1H White Swing Miss | 26.5% | (340 * 26.5) |9010 Hit Rating
Spell Miss | 15% | (340 * 15) | 2550 Hit Rating + 2550 Expertise Rating
Parry (front) | 15% | (15 * 340) | 5100 Expertise Rating
Dodge (behind) | 7.5% | (7.5 * 340) | 2550 Expertise Rating
Glancing Blows | 24% | - | N/A[/Table]
Expertise will only reduce dodge chance and spell miss up to 7.5%. Above that it will only lower parry chance and will not lower parry chance until you reach the 7.5% plateau.

DW Frost no longer has access to Nerves of Cold Steel so both DW and 2H will need 7.5% hit and 7.5% expertise to reach cap.
Combat Ratings

Ratings needed to gain 1% of the stat
[TABLE="head"]Stat | Level 85
Hit | 340
Crit | 600
Haste | 425
Expertise | 340
Mastery | 600

Reforging

Reforging takes 40% of a secondary stat already on an item and converts it into another secondary stat not already on an item. This gives you a lot more flexibility in trying to hit both the hit and expertise cap while maximizing your desired secondary stats.

You will want to reforge following your specs stat weights above while making sure to keep your hit and expertise capped. Sometimes this will mean reforging out of hit on one item and reforging into hit on another item to get the most of your desired stats. This is a tricky and complicated task which I encourage you to do, if for no other reason than to work on some math problems.

Best in Slot


[DW No Restrictions]
[table="head"]Slot | Item | Gemming | Reforging |Enchant
Head | | 1x , 1x | None | None
Neck | | None | ??? | None
Shoulders | | 1 x | ??? |
Back | | None | ??? | Enchant Cloak – Accuracy
Chest | | 2 x | ??? | Glorious Stats
Wrists | | None| ??? | Enchant Bracers – Exceptional Strength
Hands | |None | ??? | Enchant Gloves – Super Strength
Waist | | 1 x , 1 x , 1 x | ??? |
Legs | | 1 x | ??? |
Feet | | 1 x | ??? | Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
Ring | | None | ??? | None
Ring | | None | ??? | None
Trinket | Relic of Xuen | None | None | None
Trinket | | None | None | None
Main Hand | | None | None | Rune of Razorice
Off Hand | | 1 x | None | Rune of the Fallen Crusader


[2H]
[table="head"]Slot | Item | Gemming | Reforging |Enchant
Head | | 1x , 1x | None | None
Neck | | None | ??? | None
Shoulders | | 1 x | ??? |
Back | | None | ??? | Enchant Cloak – Accuracy
Chest | | 2 x | ??? | Glorious Stats
Wrists | | None| ??? | Enchant Bracers – Exceptional Strength
Hands | |None | ??? | Enchant Gloves – Super Strength
Waist | | 1 x , 1 x , 1 x | ??? |
Legs | | 2 x | ??? |
Feet | | 1 x | ??? | Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
Ring | | None | ??? | None
Ring | | None | ??? | None
Trinket | Relic of Xuen | None | None | None
Trinket | | None | None | None
Main Hand | | None | ??? | Rune of the Fallen Crusader


Trinkets

Trinket evaluation, in the most basic form, is done by calculating the estimated DPS value. Uptime will be determinate on an assumed internal cooldown for Proc-variety trinkets or the listed cooldown for Use-variety trinkets.

Proc-variety Trinket Value = | (Passive Stat x Passive Stat Weight) + ((Proc stat x Proc Stat Weight) / Trinket Internal Cooldown)
Use-variety Trinket Value = | (Passive Stat x Passive Stat Weight) + ((Use stat x Use Stat Weight) / Trinket Cooldown)


Using these basic formulas, we can then compare and rank trinkets quite easily.

[table="head"]Item | Source
Relic of Xuen | Quest, Darkmoon Faire
Heroic | Lei Shi, Terrace of the Endless Springs
Heroic | Will of the Emperor, Mogu’shan Vaults
| Will of the Emperor, Mogu’shan Vaults
| Lei Shi, Terrace of the Endless Springs
Raid Finder| Will of the Emperor, Mogu’shan Vaults
Heroic | Mogu’shan Vaults
| Alchemy
Raid Finder| Lei Shi, Terrace of the Endless Springs
| Vendor, Valor Points, Shado-Pan (Revered reputation)
|Mogu’shan Vaults
| Darkmaster Gandling, Scholomance
Raid Finder| Mogu’shan Vaults
| World Drop
| Yan-Zhu the Uncasked, Stormstout Brewery

Assumptions Regarding Trinkets
  • All items are given maximum uptime. Proc-variety trinkets and Use-variety trinkets will, in reality, have comparable uptimes. Proc-variety trinkets have a shorter (internal) cooldown but procs are not guaranteed to occur immediately after the ICD has been reached.
  • Trinkets with the description "Chance on attack to boost X by Y for Z seconds" do not have their cooldowns listed within the tooltip.
  • No reforges have been made.

Set Bonuses

  • 2P –Your Obliterate, Frost Strike, and Scourge Strike deal 10% increased damage.
  • 4P – Your Pillar of Frost ability grants 5% additional Strength, and your Unholy Frenzy ability grants 10% additional haste..
Consumables

Flask: gives 1000 Strength
Potion: gives 4000 Strength
Food: [table=”head”] | 300 Strength
/ / / | 275 Strength
|250 Strength
All Strength food is learned by the Way of the Grill cooking specialization.

 1[/hr]=Gemming, Enchanting, Professions, and Race=
Gemming

[table="head"]Color | Melee Stats Available
Red | Strength, Expertise Rating
Yellow | Crit Rating, Haste Rating, Mastery Rating
Blue | Hit Rating

Currently the best gems for each socket color:
[table="head"]Color | Gem
Red |
Yellow |
Yellow |
Blue |
Blue |
Yellow |
Yellow |


Meta-Gems

.

Enchants


[TABLE="head"]Slot | Enchant | Notes
Back |Enchant Cloak – Accuracy or Enchant Cloak – Superior Critical Strike| 180 Hit or 180 Crit
Shoulder | | 200 Strength and 100 Crit
Chest | Glorious Stats |80 to All Primary Stats
Bracers | Enchant Bracers – Exceptional Strength | 170 Strength
Gloves | Enchant Gloves – Super Strength | 170 Strength
Belt | | Prismatic Socket
Legs | Angerhide Leg Armor | 285 Strength and 165 Crit
Feet | Enchant Boots - Greater Precision, Enchant Boots – Greater Haste, or Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step | 175 Hit, 175 Crit, or 140 Mastery and move speed[/TABLE]

Runeforges

Dual wielding will use Rune of Razorice on their main hand with Rune of the Fallen Crusader on their offhand. If able, keep a third weapon enchanted with Rune of Cinderglacier to swap for your main hand weapon to use in AoE scenarios.

2H will use Rune of the Fallen Crusader.

Professions

Engineering is the top profession due to its 1920 Strength bonus to gloves for 10 seconds every minute (320 strength average passive) which lines up nicely with Pillar of Frost. Leatherworking gives 330 Strength. Alchemy, Enchanting, Blacksmithing, and Inscription are all on par giving 320 Strength.
[table="head"]Name | Benefit
Alchemy | and increases the duration of all alchemical consumables
Blacksmithing | Smithing allows for an Socket Bracers and Socket Gloves netting 320 strength (2x )
Enchanting |Enchant Ring - Greater Strength can be used on both rings for a total of 320 additional strength
Engineering | Engineers can add Synapse Springs to gloves (1920 strength * 10s/ 60s cooldown = ~passive 320 strength) and it stacks with normal enchants. Also allows access to Goblin Glider and Nitro Boosts
Herbalism | Herbalists have the castable Lifeblood ability (1920 haste * 20s / 2 min cooldown = ~passive 320 haste)
Inscription | is an alternative to the standard shoulder enchant giving an additional 320 Strength
Jewelcrafting | 2 x to socket into your gear instead of 2 x equates to 320 extra strength
Leatherworking | Leatherworkers can add Fur Lining - Strength to wrists and is 330 Strength over Enchant Bracers - Exceptional Strength.
Mining | Miners receive a 480 Stamina buff from Toughness
Skinning | Skinners receive a 320 critical strike rating bonus from Master of Anatomy
Tailoring | Tailors can sew Swordguard Embroidery onto their cloaks replacing other cloak enchants

Races

All the races are listed below with all their racial traits. Death Knights are available to all races except the Pandaren. This is in a vague order of best to worst choice for Frost Death Knights.
Alliance

Worgen | Darkflight, Viciousness, Aberration, Flayer, and Running Wild
Draenei |Heroic Presence, Gift of the Naaru, Gemcutting, and Shadow Resistance
Human | Sword Specialization, Mace Specialization, Every Man for Himself, Diplomacy, and The Human Spirit
Dwarf |Mace Specialization, Stoneform, Frost Resistance, Crack Shot, and Explorer
Gnome | Shortblade Specialization, Escape Artist, Engineering Specialization, Expansive Mind, and Arcane Resistance
Night Elf | Shadowmeld, Nature Resistance, Quickness, and Wisp Spirit
Pandaren | Bouncy, Epicurean, Gormand, Inner Peace, and Quaking Palm


Horde

Goblin | Time is Money, Rocket Jump, Rocket Barrage, Best Deals Anywhere, Better Living Through Chemistry, and Pack Hobgoblin
Orc | Axe Specialization, Blood Fury, Command, and Hardiness
Troll | Da Voodoo Shuffle, Berserking, Beast Slaying, Dead Eye, and Regeneration
Forsaken | Will of the Forsaken, Cannibalize, Shadow Resistance, and Touch of the Grave
Blood Elf | Arcane Torrent, Arcane Affinity, and Arcane Resistance
Tauren | War Stomp, Cultivation, Endurance, and Nature Resistance
Pandaren | Bouncy, Epicurean, Gormand, Inner Peace, and Quaking Palm


 1[/hr]=Mechanics, Mods, Macros, and More=
Current Raiding Mechanics

This section is intended for a quick reference for when to use certain abilities in the current raiding environment and which certain talents are optimal on specific encounters. On that note, it does not contain info for Heroic encounters. If enough interest is shown, I will expand it to include heroic encounters, but I like to think if you are doing heroics you know what you are doing.
T14

=
Mogu’shan Vaults
=
The Stone Guard –
Feng the Accursed –
Gara’jal the Spiritbinder –
The Spirit Kings –
Elegon –
Will of the Emperor –


More Coming Soon!

Mods

Rune Addons
The default rune UI doesn’t tend to work as well as most Death Knights would like and most use an addon for displaying runes in a clearer, easier to view way. Here are a few mods that do a good job of showing you what you need to know about your runes and runic power. Of utmost importance is to find what mod works best for you. There are many more than the ones listed but these are some of the more common ones.

DKi Runes
DocsDebugRunes
Magic Runes
Acherus Runes

Boss Addons
Many bosses have timers for moves you need to be aware of. These addons let you know what they are and when they are coming.
DBM
Big Wigs

Cooldowns and Buffs Trackers
Keeping track of the cooldowns of your abilities and trinkets and buffs will allow you to maximize their use.
Power Auras Classic
WeakAuras
TellMeWhen
Macros

Not many macros are essential for Frost DKs and only one is truly recommended
[TABLE]#showtooltip Pillar of Frost
/use # (only for on-use items, replace ‘#’ with item slot #)
/cast Pillar of Frost
/cast Raise Dead [/TABLE]

Pillar of Frost has a 1 minute cooldown and Raise Dead has a 2 minute cooldown. You can also add any on-use items into this macro. For reference, gloves are item slot 10 and trinkets are slots 13 and 14.
FAQ


Q: Which is stronger: Dual Wield or 2-Hand Frost?
A: Both are surprising close on the meters in single target scenarios and viability with 2H currently simming about 1-2% ahead. Dual wield tends to excel at cleave scenarios and AoE. 2-Hand tends to excel at burst damage due to its extremely strong Obliterates.

Q: Why is Rune of Razorice on the main hand and Rune of the Fallen Crusaderis on the off-hand for DW?
A: In most situations it won’t matter which enchant is on which weapon but when you are in the rare situations where you are attacking from the front and get parried only the main hand attack gets parried. The off hand attack will still hit and give a chance to proc Rune of the Fallen Crusader while Rune of Razorice would only provide a benefit in the off hand if the debuff was not yet at 5 stacks.

Q:I want to dual wield but I don’t like this “masterfrost” priority. What can I do?
A:It is entirely possible to dual wield and not use the “masterfrost” priority and instead use a more 2H-esque priority by using most of your runes for Obliterate rather than Howling Blast. This is a slight DPS loss (between 1-2%) and favors more haste over mastery (Strength > Hit/Exp > Haste > Mastery > Crit).

Q: Our tank died. My group needs me to offtank. What do I do?
A: Non-blood Death Knights have lost their taunt ability, Dark Command, which makes us rather inefficient at quickly grabbing threat on more than one target. If you must offtank, switch over to Blood Presence and use Icebound Fortitude, Anti-Magic Shell, and Army of the Dead as best you can to stop as much incoming damage as you can while someone resurrects the tank.

Q: We need a kiter. Should it be me? What do I need to know?
A: Frost Death Knights make excellent kiters. Howling Blast is a spammable ranged AoE spell that can quickly pick up targets. Talenting into Chilblains will stop most adds in their tracks and prevent them from ever catching up to you. Consider switching to Blood Presence if adds are getting away from you or to Unholy Presence if you find that adds are catching up with you. Death and Decay and Death Coil will both be helpful at holding aggro while keeping at distance.

Q: What's the deal with tier 5 talents and t134pc?
A: Tier 13's 4-piece bonus has a chance to give 710 mastery when Runic Corruption (40%) or Runic Empowerment (25%) proc. Originally these were balanced for the specs that had each, Frost and Unholy respectively. Now Frost has access to Runic Corruption and can get higher uptimes on the 4pc proc. I haven't seen any results showing if this is a DPS gain or not since you are using Runic Corruption rather than Runic Empowerment.


 1[/hr]=Patch Notes of Yore=
Been gone awhile? Here are all the patch notes since the Mists of Pandaria release to help you catch up.
5.0 Patch Notes


Upcoming Changes on the PTR

  • None as of now
Corrections and Updates

If you find any errors in this guide or items you feel have been omitted that would help to understand the class please PM me. Let’s leave the thread for discussion.

Special Thanks

  • Euliat for his work on simulating DK stats and priority.
  • #Acherus
  • Everyone who contributes to this thread for their continued effort at understanding and maximizing the DK class.

Change Log

8/30/12 Fixed some broken item links. Others remain stubborn. Howling Blast and Threat of Thassarian changes included.
9/11/12 Add Death and Decay into DW single target priority
9/20/12 Update BiS: for DW, for 2H

#2 Uspoonybard

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 04:57 AM

Guide looks solid so far. The only thing I would note is that for DW I'm pretty sure It's a dps increase to drop D&D on one of the unholy runes coming off CD.

#3 cruisi

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 11:32 AM

I tried to sim some results which weapons to use until MoP for Masterfrost with 2x Howling Blast > 1x Obliterate.

2x Souldrinker HC = 40073 DPS
FrostStrike Dmg = 31338 DPExecute Time / Mainhand - 32482 / Offhand - 16316
HB Dmg = 28345 DPExecute Time / 29380 AVG

2x NoKaled HC = 39750 DPS
FrostStrike Dmg = 30429 DPExecute Time / Mainhand - 31540 / Offhand - 15829
HB Dmg = 26738 DPExecute Time / 27714 AVG

2x Morchok HC = 40116 DPS
FrostStrike Dmg = 31196 DPExecute Time / Mainhand - 32335 / Offhand - 16230
HB Dmg = 29195 DPExecute Time / 30261 AVG

Does anyone has equal results?

#4 Solluno

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 04:13 PM

Am I right when I'm assuming I should be playing 2h frost for the last weeks of Cataclysm, as Gurthalak is still retarded and will proc properly with frost?

Also should I pick up the stat weights for 509ilvl gear to put into my reforging? How will crit scale in the prepatch situation?

#5 CB2BiG4U

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 04:19 PM

Am I right when I'm assuming I should be playing 2h frost for the last weeks of Cataclysm, as Gurthalak is still retarded and will proc properly with frost?


If that's what you want to play. Masterfrost is the top dps spec atm. Followed by 2h by around 1%.

#6 tweeder459

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 10:59 PM

Thanks for the quick up date on the guide!

A quick question though. Looking at the in-game tooltips, Death Siphon is showing to scale higher than HB. Granted this would be purely for single target, wouldn't DS be more DPS than using HB for the Death runes when running a masterfrost setup since DS also scales with the mastery?

The spec prioritizes HB for frost/UH runes, unless OBing to keep a UH rune on CD, right?

#7 Tyvi

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 06:00 AM

A quick question though. Looking at the in-game tooltips, Death Siphon is showing to scale higher than HB. Granted this would be purely for single target, wouldn't DS be more DPS than using HB for the Death runes when running a masterfrost setup since DS also scales with the mastery?


Howling Blast still scales much better than Death Siphon, 70% better in fact:
Howling Blast has a 68% AP modifier whereas Death Siphon only has a 40% AP modifier (mouse over the Death Siphon icon, linking directly hides the AP % value for some reason). They both scale equally from Mastery atleast, though.

In the end, this means that Death Siphon will only be used for the healing it provides which makes sense.

#8 Jessamy

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 04:45 PM

"Should I be DW or 2H frost?" is a popular question, and I admit I'm curious about the optimal choice myself. It's easy to find a quick answer by loading the 1H and 2H BiS profiles in simulationcraft and seeing which one has a bigger number. But I thought I'd dig a little deeper and do some side by side comparisons.

Using those profiles, here are all 4 heroic dragon soul weapon choices (reforged for orc axe racial as appropriate):

Posted Image

But what if you (like me) aren't an orc? Since I'm a troll, I ran it again with troll racials:

Posted Image

It's up to 2% difference between DW and 2H frost, depending on what weapons you have available and what race your character is. If you're more comfortable with the 2H rotation and can execute it better, that could make up the difference.

#9 solarwake

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 01:17 AM

Does anyone else run into the issue of being rune starved about every 30 seconds? I'm at 14% haste ilvl 408 equipped with a heroic Gurthalak. 2H frost definitely seems the best atm in 5.0.4 I'm just wondering if there is something I can do to push more dps and avoid the downtime.

#10 Decev

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 02:50 PM

Does anyone else run into the issue of being rune starved about every 30 seconds? I'm at 14% haste ilvl 408 equipped with a heroic Gurthalak. 2H frost definitely seems the best atm in 5.0.4 I'm just wondering if there is something I can do to push more dps and avoid the downtime.


Short periods of downtime are to be expected once in a while playing 2H, especially since the rotation doesn't permit using up Death and/or Frost runes for Howling Blasts. (Even though it is always purely RNG based how much downtime tends to happen.)

#11 HellHamsterr

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 08:34 AM

For DW, using Plague Leech whenever there are or there will be soon 2 unholy runes up, and using that second unholy rune to plague strike seems like a dps gain. We win this way 2 howling blasts and 1 plague strike and lose 1 obliterate. This is also beneficial during periods of downtime, because we have extra gcds to spend. On periods of high haste or blood lust this might not be a good idea though, we don't want to be sitting on idle runes.

#12 daemon9

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 09:24 AM

Threat of Thassarian now increases Frost Strike by 40% down from 50%.


That's odd...the tooltip in-game still shows 50%...

#13 Skullbound

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 02:24 PM

That's odd...the tooltip in-game still shows 50%...


Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't that a beta change? Otherwise the tooltip hasn't been updated.

#14 aznG

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 01:23 AM

I'm a bit confused looking at both the Unholy and Frost thread.. so the consensus is with 4pc set bonus.. RC over RE for DW and 2H?

#15 MagdalenaDK

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 04:00 AM

I'm a bit confused looking at both the Unholy and Frost thread.. so the consensus is with 4pc set bonus.. RC over RE for DW and 2H?


Opinions seem to differ on the matter.
I've provided math which supports my theory that it is tied to talents rather than spec (thus, Runic Corruption has a higher chance to proc it), but I think it still merits further testing to be absolutely sure.

#16 HellHamsterr

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:17 AM

For DW frost RE is an absolute must due to rune gaming. Getting more howling blasts per minute completely trumps the need of getting RC for 15% higher uptime of 4 set bonus. For 2H obviously things may (and probably) change.

#17 Sizzurps

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 08:30 AM

I downloaded the latest Simcraft and it recommends DnD on single targets? Or, am I hallucinating?

#18 MagdalenaDK

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 01:54 PM

I downloaded the latest Simcraft and it recommends DnD on single targets? Or, am I hallucinating?


No, you're not hallucinating. As it currently stands, this is the correct priority for DW Frost DKs, assuming you have Blood Plague on the target already.

#19 jiushibujiangli

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 12:53 PM

"Should I be DW or 2H frost?" is a popular question, and I admit I'm curious about the optimal choice myself. It's easy to find a quick answer by loading the 1H and 2H BiS profiles in simulationcraft and seeing which one has a bigger number. But I thought I'd dig a little deeper and do some side by side comparisons.

Using those profiles, here are all 4 heroic dragon soul weapon choices (reforged for orc axe racial as appropriate):

Posted Image

But what if you (like me) aren't an orc? Since I'm a troll, I ran it again with troll racials:

Posted Image

It's up to 2% difference between DW and 2H frost, depending on what weapons you have available and what race your character is. If you're more comfortable with the 2H rotation and can execute it better, that could make up the difference.


I've seen your dps ranking. But I want to know how many buffs did you set. Only with your own buff or other classes' buffs.

#20 Jessamy

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 07:03 PM

That's with the simulationcraft default settings, which assume all relevant raid buffs and debuffs. (I did increase iterations to reduce error.) However, that ranking is from several builds ago, and is no longer accurate.




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