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Unholy Dps | 3.3.5, King of Anything


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#1 Consider

Consider

    King Hippo

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 04:30 PM

=Abbreviations=
[TABLE="head"]Abbreviation | Meaning
AMS | Anti-Magic Shell
AoE | Area of Effect
BA | Bladed Armor
BB | Blood Boil
BCB | Blood Caked Blade
BI | Black Ice
BiS | Best in Slot
BP | Blood Presence
BS | Bone Shield or Blood Strike
CC | Crusader’s Coliseum
DC | Death Coil or Dark Conviction
DK | Death Knight
DnD | Death and Decay
DPS | Damage per Second
FC | Rune of the Fallen Crusader
GCD | Global Cooldown
GoX | Glyph of X
HoW | Horn of Winter
ICC | Icecrown Citadel
ICD | Internal Cooldown
IT | Icy Touch or Icy Talons
PS | Plague Strike
RP | Runic Power
RS | Ruby Sanctum
SM | Shadowmourne
SoA | Sigil of Awareness
SotHM | Sigil of the Hanged Man
SotVH | Sigil of the Vengeful Heart
SoV | Sigil of Virulence
SS | Scourge Strike
TotC | Trial of the Crusader (CC Normal)
TotGC | Trial of the Grand Crusader (CC Hard)
TX | Tier X
UB | Unholy Blight
UP | Unholy Presence[/TABLE]
 1[/hr]

=Why Unholy For Dps?=
Why do it?

Why spec Unholy when you could go Blood which currently holds superior single target sustained dps, superior single target burst, Hysteria, and Abomination's Might to its name?

Why spec Unholy when you could go Frost which now holds equivalent (if not superior) single target sustained dps, superior AoE burst, Improved Icy Talons, and a more dynamic rotation to its name?

Why?

This question is vital to the understanding of anything in this thread. After all, if there were no reason to spec Unholy over the alternatives, why would this thread even exist?

Fortunately, Unholy has more than its fair share of upsides, thus it's an easy argument to make. The more notable advantages of Unholy include:
  • Superior Sustained AoE Dps
    Unholy is, unarguably, the strongest spec in the game at this role. No one - caster or melee - can top an Unholy DK on any fight with significant AoE, not if the DK knows his stuff. The lead in this area isn't a matter of a couple percent; it's quite significant (varying on the exact number of mobs - the more, the larger the gap becomes). With the previous tier of content being heavily AoE-centric, this virtue came to shine and gave the spec its claim to fame. Although AoE isn’t quite as omnipresent in ICC as it was in TotC/TotGC, it’s still important on a number of fights.
  • Superior Raid Utility
    Abomination's Might and Improved Icy Talons, although obviously excellent, can be provided by other classes and other specs with the exact same potency. Ebon Plague, on the other hand, cannot be. Warlocks and Moonkin cannot provide their magic damage debuffs on multiple targets at the same time - not without incredible hardship and the sacrifice of their entire personal dps (or a majority thereof). What more is that Ebon Plague does something no other class or spec in the game can do: It increases disease damage by 30% - a significant amount. If your raid contains at least two DKs, one being you, it is always worth it for one to go Unholy for EP alone, even if you ignore the other strengths of the spec. Not only that, but with Devouring Plague being 10-15% of a shadow priest's damage, it's 3-5% more additional dps for them. EP is often underestimated and simply clumped together with CoE/EM, when it provides huge benefits which those two debuffs do not. It’s a must for almost any raid.
  • Superior Survivability
    Bone Shield provides a near-passive 20% damage reduction. That's 20% less damage from every single AoE, every single nuke, every single add melee hit you take - everything. It's highly underrated, but can be the difference between life and death in a million and one situations. Vampiric Blood and Unbreakable Armor, although excellent from a tanking point of view, don't compare for dpsers. Both are active cooldowns which cost you dps to use. Bone Shield is essentially passive and grants you dps.

The fact of the matter is, speccing Unholy makes you unique. It provides you with tools which no other class or spec can bring. It provides you with dps in an area (AoE) which no other spec can hope to reach. Everything Blood* and Frost bring to the table, on the other hand - be it their raid buffs, their single target dps, their survivability, their playstyles, whatever - can be matched or, in several cases, surpassed by others in a raid – often by the Unholy DK itself.

In a world of increasing homogenization, this fact makes Unholy one of the most "different" specs around today and, as such, it becomes one of the most valuable. The same cannot be said about Blood or Frost.

Whether you choose to spec it or not, is completely up to you. Blood and Frost are obviously not worthless and, depending on your typical raid composition and current level of progression, may in fact be ideal. It all depends on your personal circumstances, and there honestly is no right or wrong answer - at least not one which can be provided by others, only by yourself.

The point is: Unholy is more than worthy of its raid spot. Anything to the contrary is utterly incorrect, be it coming from some random forum troll, a fellow guildmate, or an ignorant Blood/Frost DK.

*Hysteria aside.
 1[/hr]

=Specs=
==Generalized Spec==
With this latest patch and its changes to the Frost tree, there are several truly viable specs, all of which are listed below. Which one is the best option largely depends on your current gear level - they're presented with the spec most optimal for the lowest gear level first, up to the spec most optimal for the highest gear level last. The difference between the three specs, regardless of specific gear point, is never more than a couple percent in any direction, and some may ignore a slight dps gain in favor of the various non-quantitative benefits one spec may bring over the others.

[Blood Sub-spec Without Reaping] | 17/0/54
The most optimal single target build when poorly geared (which, in this context, is anything before 4P T9). The primary reason this spec is best at lower gear levels is due to Bladed Armor and Dark Conviction. Bladed Armor hardly scales since armor values on dps hardly scales, and thus gives a near-constant amount of AP regardless of gear level, making it a strong talent at the start, but relatively weaker as gear goes by. Dark Conviction provides a flat amount of crit, and crit gets weaker the more of it you have (i.e, 50 -> 55% crit is a smaller dps increase than 30 -> 35% crit). Once you get to 4P T9 and beyond, the two alternative specs will easily pull ahead, largely thanks to the failings of these two talents. Your auto-attack will be the highest percent of your total damage, followed by your Scourge Strike and then your Ghoul. Scourge Strike will be your hardest hitting individual ability, followed distantly by the combination of Death Coil and Unholy Blight.

[Frost Sub-spec Without Reaping] | 0/17/54
The most optimal single target build when moderately geared (which, in this context, is anything from 4P T9 and beyond) and using a proc weapon (Bryntroll or Shadowmourne). The primary reason this spec scales better than its predecessor is due to Icy Talons and Endless Winter. Auto-attack damage has always scaled incredibly well (partially due to the fact that it benefits from every stat, and partially due to Necrosis), thus Icy Talons just improves upon that. Strength has always been our best stat, and Endless Winter just makes it even better. As well, this spec contains some benefits not directly related to single target dps: higher AoE dps (than 14/0/57 or 17/0/54), free interrupts, and greater dps while moving/at range. Your auto-attack will be the highest percent of your total damage, followed by your Scourge Strike and then your Ghoul. Scourge Strike will be your hardest hitting individual ability, followed distantly by the combination of Death Coil and Unholy Blight.

[Blood Sub-spec With Reaping] | 14/0/57
An alternate to the above build when moderately geared (which, in this context, is anything from 2P T10 and beyond) and using a non-proc weapon (Cryptmaker or Shadow's Edge). Generally speaking, 0/17/54 outperforms 14/0/57, even without a proc-weapon, but not always, and some prefer the threat reduction. Scourge Strike scales upward enough to make Reaping a dps gain once again, making this build the most optimal for single targets. The Frost tree is bottom-heavy (i.e, stronger talents are deeper in) while the Blood tree is top-heavy, and thus when taking Reaping you need to use a Blood sub-spec, as taking points from Dark Conviction is a much smaller loss than taking them from Endless Winter. Your Scourge Strike will be the highest percent of your total damage, followed by your auto-attack and then your Ghoul. Scourge Strike will be your hardest hitting individual ability, followed distantly by Death Coil and its subsequent Unholy Blight.

==Optional Talents==
Although these specs do not have any specific free floating points to spend on whatever you choose, one can take points from Dark Conviction, the weakest single target dps talent, or from Necrosis, the weakest multi-target dps talent, at a relatively minor dps loss in favor of the utility provided by other talents:
  • Ghoul Frenzy – This talent should only be taken if you have trouble keeping your Ghoul alive. If you do, it becomes invaluable, as a dead Ghoul is a large portion of your dps down the drain (due to 30 seconds of absolutely zero Ghoul damage, followed by your Ghoul doing reduced damage for the remainder of the fight from missing buffs). If you don’t have issues with your pet going down, then skip this talent. In nearly every case it will be a strict dps loss.
  • Improved Unholy Presence – Unholy Presence is occasionally taken solely for the run speed increase, which some consider worth the sacrifice. How much of a dps boost the run speed increase itself is is very difficult to calculate. The value varies drastically from fight to fight. On some, it's of inestimable value, while on others it does not a thing. The best option to determine its worth is to try it out yourself, see if you notice a difference and, if you do, decide whether or not it is worth the two talent point. There is no right and wrong answer as to whether or not one should spec into IUP.
  • Morbidity – As readers of past versions of this thread may have noticed, I no longer bother to specifically differentiate between a single target spec and an AoE spec. Why? Because the only difference between the two, talent wise, is Morbidity. Morbidity is a strict dps loss on any single target encounter, yet invaluable on multiple-target encounters. If you don't have the luxury of dual-speccing a dps spec with it and a dps spec without it, simply look at how many fights in the current tier of content you actually use DnD on more than every 15 seconds, and decide how much those fights matter to you.
 1[/hr]

=Glyphs=
Major
Single Target

Multiple Target / AoE

Minor

The major glyphs are set in stone for Unholy. No matter which of the “optional” talents you take, no matter what gear level you are currently at, no matter what tier of content you are currently progressing through, no matter what exact spec you chose, you’ll use the same three glyphs depending on if the encounter is primarily single target or multiple target.

The same goes for the multi-target glyphs.

It’s important to note that as of patch 3.3.2, Glyph of Disease will no longer cause Pestilence to ‘roll’ the AP value present when you applied diseases. Instead, whenever you case Pestilence to refresh them, diseases will look at your current value of AP (and then use that number until you cast Pestilence again). As such, one doesn’t have to worry about lining up trinket procs at the start of the encounter. This makes GoD non-competitive for a single target, but still a must for a multiple target encounter.

None of the minor glyphs will have any large impact on your dps, so which you choose is largely up to you. Glyph of Pestilence is the one exception – although it won’t increase your dps on paper or in a simulator, a 50% range increases on Pestilence is generally considered a godsend for AoEing, and to go without it would be rather silly.
 1[/hr]


=Generalized Rotation=
==Single Target==
Builds with Reaping
[table]PS – IT – BS – BS – SS – DC – HoW
SS – DC – SS – SS – DC – (DC) [/TABLE]

Build without Reaping
[table]PS – IT – BS – SS – BS – DC – HoW
SS – BS – SS – BS – DC – DC– (DC) [/TABLE]

The final Death Coil of the rotation is placed in parentheses as you will not always have the RP to perform it every two rune refreshes.

With Epidemic being taken once again, your rotation reverts back to the traditional Unholy one. Priority wise, it is the same as ever: Apply diseases (PS - IT), dump your RP if its capped (DC), burn your blood runes for Desolation and/or Death Runes (BS - BS), use your FU strike (SS), dump your RP (DC), use Horn if you have an extra gcd and are unable to do anything else (HoW).

==Multi-Target / AoE==
[TABLE]Initial: | IT – PS – Pestilence – DnD – DC – HoW[/TABLE]
[TABLE]SS – BS – BB – SS – DC – DC
SS – Pestilence – DnD – DC – HoW[/TABLE]

As its name suggests, you perform the initial segment of the rotation with your first set of runes, then alternate between the second and third order of abilities for the remainder of the fight (or until diseases fall off). Do not make the mistake of repeating the initial rotation after the third; it’s unnecessary with .

Blood Striking to proc Desolation is a larger net dps gain than Blood Boiling, for those who are curious. If Desolation is already up, then Blood Boiling becomes the clear winner, of course.

One common mistake players make is to Death and Decay before spreading their diseases. Doing so is a bad move (from a dps point of view. Tanking is another matter). Although it might seem like a dps gain to use Death and Decay initially so it is off cooldown sooner, it loses a lot of damage if your diseases aren’t on the target (15% from Rage of Rivendare, 13% from Ebon Plague, so on). As well, spreading your diseases sooner means more raid dps thanks to Ebon Plague.
 1[/hr]

=Gearing and Stat Weights=
==Stat Weights==
Basically:
Blood Subspec: Hit > Strength > ArP > Haste >= Crit > Expertise > Agility
Frost Subspec: Hit > Strength > Haste > ArP > Crit > Expertise > Agility

ArP has always scaled amazingly well with itself, which is part of the reason why, up until now, Unholy has been in Blood's shadow (at least in terms of single target dps). Now that the majority of Unholy's damage is affected by it, thanks to Scourge Strike, this scaling applies to us as well, making it a much more attractive stat.

For Frost subspecs, Haste has increased moderately in value due to the fact that it's multiplicative with Icy Talons, and thus gains almost exactly 20% in value. For Blood subspecs, they obviously do not take IT, and thus it remains the same as it has been.

Aside from that, the general order of the weights are relatively unchanged. And, as such, the following are the currently theorized stat weights for Unholy DKs:

Both tier 10 set bonuses are assumed. Unless otherwise stated the sub Blood numbers utilize Cryptmaker, while the sub Frost numbers use Bryntroll.
[table="head"] Stat | Blood ilvl 264 | Blood ilvl 277 | Frost ilvl 264 | Frost ilvl 277 | Frost SM
Strength | 2.94 | 2.96 | 3.11 | 3.10 | 3.11
Haste | 2.06 | 2.13 | 2.75 | 2.87 | 2.97
Armor Pen | 2.57 | 2.85 | 2.29 | 2.58 | 2.87
Crit | 1.94 | 2.00 | 1.91 | 2.00 | 2.11
Agility | 1.34 | 1.35 | 1.28 | 1.35 | 1.41
Melee Hit | 3.59 | 3.64 | 3.55 | 3.43 | 3.70
Spell Hit | 0.52 | 0.55 | 0.65 | 0.58 | 0.63
Expertise | 1.58 | 1.63 | 1.49 | 1.52 | 1.97
Weapon DPS | 7.71 | 7.75 | 6.96 | 7.04 | 7.43
Weapon Speed | 32.86 | 40.85 | 28.99 | 32.39 | 35.14[/table]

[table="head"] Stat | Blood ilvl 264 | Blood ilvl 277 | Frost ilvl 264 | Frost ilvl 277 | Frost SM
AP | 0.70 DPS | 0.71 DPS | 0.69 DPS | 0.71 DPS | 0.74 DPS
DPS | 1.43 AP | 1.41 AP | 1.45 AP | 1.41 AP | 1.35 AP[/table]

==Set Bonuses==
These are the average weights of the set bonuses for Unholy DKs. As you can see, T10 is absolutely incredible for Unholy (and Blood/Frost, for that matter), and the sooner you can attain it, the better. Both bonuses are very strong, and worthy successors to the ridiculousness of 3.2.2 4P T9.

[table="head"] Stat | Blood ilvl 264 | Blood ilvl 277 | Frost ilvl 264 | Frost ilvl 277 | Frost SM
2P T7 | 139.38 | 139.71 | 93.94 | 101.47 | 108.45
4P T7 | 216.21 | 227.94 | 190.91 | 211.27 | 214.27
2P T8 | 94.97 | 95.58 | 98.48 | 101.47 | 102.82
4P T8 | 259.09 | 276.47 | 210.61 | 223.53 | 243.66
2P T9 | 120.59 | 120.73 | 168.18 | 167.65 | 164.79
4P T9 | 375.76 | 410.29 | 381.82 | 419.12 | 461.97
2P T10 | 336.32 | 358.82 | 218.82 | 232.31 | 232.15
4P T10 | 398.45 | 423.53 | 386.36 | 411.76 | 428.17[/table]

==Best in Slot==
At this point, all of the loot for the rest of the expansion should be know, and thus these lists should be BiS for the entire exansion.
If any errors are noted, simply contact me and I will look into it.

*Actual BiS has an incredibly minor amount of expertise; this is intentional. It is not worth capping exp. It just isn't - one quick glimpse at the stat weights will tell you as much. That said, if you run with high latency or multiple resto druids (or just have OCD and insist on having it capped), variations which force it are available. Just remember; those variations aren't actually BiS, technically.

All Items:
[table="head"]Slot | Alliance | Horde
Head | |
Shoulders | |
Chest | |
Hands | |
Legs | |
Neck | |
Back | |
Wrists | |
Waist | |
Feet | |
Ring | |
Ring | |
Trinket | |
Trinket | |
Weapon | | [/table]

All Items + Forced Expertise Cap:
[table="head"]Slot | Alliance | Horde
Head | |
Shoulders | |
Chest | |
Hands | |
Legs | |
Neck | |
Back | |
Wrists | |
Waist | |
Feet | |
Ring | |
Ring | |
Trinket | |
Trinket | |
Weapon | | [/table]

All Items sans Shadowmourne:
[table="head"]Slot | Alliance | Horde
Head | |
Shoulders | |
Chest | |
Hands | |
Legs | |
Neck | |
Back | |
Wrists | |
Waist | |
Feet | |
Ring | |
Ring | |
Trinket | |
Trinket | |
Weapon | | [/table]

All Items sans Shadowmourne + Forced Expertise Cap:
[table="head"]Slot | Alliance | Horde
Head | |
Shoulders | |
Chest | |
Hands | |
Legs | |
Neck | |
Back | |
Wrists | |
Waist | |
Feet | |
Ring | |
Ring | |
Trinket | |
Trinket | |
Weapon | | [/table]

All non-heroic-25 Items sans Shadowmourne:
[table="head"]Slot | Alliance | Horde
Head | |
Shoulders | |
Chest | |
Hands | |
Legs | |
Neck | |
Back | |
Wrists | |
Waist | |
Feet | |
Ring | |
Ring | |
Trinket | |
Trinket | |
Weapon | | [/table]

All non-heroic-25 Items sans Shadowmourne + Forced Expertise Cap:
[table="head"]Slot | Alliance | Horde
Head | |
Shoulders | |
Chest | |
Hands | |
Legs | |
Neck | |
Back | |
Wrists | |
Waist | |
Feet | |
Ring | |
Ring | |
Trinket | |
Trinket | |
Weapon | | [/table]


==Trinkets==
There's a common misconception that trinkets are somehow harder to evaluate than other items. They (generally) aren't. A trinket's value comes down to nothing more than:

[TABLE]Trinket Value = | (Amount of Passive Stat x Passive Stat's Weight) + ((Amount of Proc/Use Stat x Proc/Use Stat's Weight) x Proc/Use Uptime)[/TABLE]

Simple, no?

Unfortunately, however, there is the reason I put generally in parenthesis earlier: Blizzard does not make internal cooldowns (and, thus, uptimes) visible from an item's tooltip or datamined information, which can make trinkets difficult to eyeball in value. As such, the following table includes the handful of top trinkets ranked by their relative value (at current gear points) with the uptime of the trinket's proc/use effect, as well as any other information of note:

Proc/Use uptimes are approximate; they will vary based on specific fight mechanics, RNG, and such.
[table="head"]Ranking | Trinket | ICD | Proc/Use Uptime | Notes
BiS | | 45s | 33% | Mutually exclusive with .
BiS | | 105s | 28% | Procs 700 Str/Crit/Haste. Equal chance per proc. Mutually exclusive with .
2nd | | 45s | 33% | Mutually exclusive with .
3rd | | 45s | 33% | Horde Version: .
4nd | | 105s | 28% | Procs 600 Str/Crit/Haste. Equal chance per proc. Mutually exclusive with .
5rd | | 0s | 96% | Uptime based on five minutes of continuous combat. Ramp-up time of ~15 seconds.
6th | | 45s | 33% | Horde Version: .
7th | | 45s | 33% | Mutually exclusive with .
8th | | 45s | 33% | Mutually exclusive with .
9th | | 120s | 17% | Ranking assumes all hit is used.
10th | | 45s | 15% | Ranking assumes all hit is used.
11th | | 0s | N/A | Ranking assumes all hit is used. Mutually exclusive with .
12th | | 45s | 15% | Assumes all hit is used.
13nd | | 0s | N/A | Ranking assumes all hit is used. Mutually exclusive with
14th | | 45s | 20% | N/A.
15th | | 45s | 33% | N/A.
16th | | 45s | 20% | Ranking assumes all hit is of use.
17th | | 45s | 20% | N/A.
18th | | 45s | 20% | N/A.
19th | | 45s | 15% | Surpasses in end of TotC/beginning of ICC gear.[/table]

*It's very important to emphasize that, when it comes to these charts, hit trinkets assume that all of the hit is used. As, odds are, some of the hit will be wasted and/or you will have to swap around gear/enchants in other areas to make room for the vast amount found on these trinkets, don't blindly adhere to this chart and do take that into account when considering their value. If you are seriously contemplating using one of those trinkets - which are rarely worthwhile unless you have no other moderately decent options - do the math on your own.

==Sigils==
The best sigil for Unholy DKs is , at least on paper. In reality, however, can easily be considered superior due to its lack of any real ramp up time. Which you choose is largely a matter of encounter and specific strategy. The EP difference will never be more than 10% between the two, at any point.

After numerous requests, the following has been added to help decide which to use on what. It's important to note that, as stated, your raid's specific strategy may change things, so don't consider this set in stone:

[table="head"]Boss | Sigil | Notes
Lord Marrowgar | | if standing out on Bladestorms.
Lady Deathwhisper | | if assigned to the boss full time.
Gunship | | None.
Deathbringer Saurfang | | if on add duty.
Festergut | | None.
Rotface | | None.
Professor Putricide | | for the hard mode.
Blood Princes | | None.
Blood Queen Lana'thel | | None.
Valithria Dreamwalker | | None.
Sindragosa | | None.
The Lich King | | None.[/table]

If you have access to neither of those becomes a moderate third, with bringing up the rear, in a rather distant fourth place.
 1[/hr]


=Gemming and Enchanting=
==Gemming==
Generally speaking, when it comes to gemming, you want to go for strength gems – or – in all slots*. When to use which of those two is discussed below in more detail.

With the exception of meta-gem requirements, also discussed below, you never want to use blue or purple gems, as socket bonuses are not large enough to make them worth one’s while.

*The sole exception to this is if you are under the hit cap, in which case gemming that becomes your top priority for obvious reasons.

===When To Go Yellow/Orange===
There are, essentially, two cases in which you will want to divert from the “Gem red everywhere for strength” mantra that otherwise holds true and go for yellow/orange.

The first case is if you aren’t at the hit cap. Hit is your most valuable stat before such a point, and as such it is ideal to gem for it. In such a situation simply use in yellow sockets with in red sockets until you reach the melee cap.

The second case is a matter of the following chart. Whenever a socket bonus requiring any number of red sockets, zero blue sockets, and then one (or more, simply multiply the number in the chart appropriately) yellow sockets, has a bonus that is equal to or higher than the number listed in the following chart utilize a :

[TABLE="head"]Stat | Blood ilvl 264 | [Blood ilvl 277 | [B]Frost ilvl 264[/B] | Frost ilvl 277 | Frost SM
Attack Power | 9 | 9 | 4 | 3 | 2
Strength | 3 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1
Haste | 5 | 4 | 2 | 1 | 1
Armor Pen | 4 | 2 | 8 | 1 | 1
Crit | 5 | 5 | 2 | 2 | 1
Agility | 7 | 7 | 3 | 2 | 1
Melee Hit | 3 | 3 | 1 | 1 | 1
Expertise | 6 | 6 | 3 | 2 | 1[/table]

It’s worth noting that s are only slightly inferior to the aforementioned Fierce Ametrines, but do pull ahead on fights with multiple mobs for a large portion of the encounter, and thus may be considered worth using instead.

===Meta-Gem===
There are two meta-gems of interest to an Unholy DK: and . All other options are uncompetitive. Although crit rating is superior to agility on a one-for-one basis, the latter meta-gem has laxer requirements: one red, one yellow, and one blue gem as opposed to two blue gems, and thus it all comes down to available socket bonuses as to which is most optimal to use.

For either meta, you want to use a to knock out (one of, in the case of the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond) the blue gem requirement(s). You may only use one Nightmare Tear in your gear, and it will count as a red, yellow, and blue gem, all at once.

So how does one decide whether using a second blue gem to activate the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond is worth it over simply using the Relentless Earthsiege Diamond, which is activated solely by the Nightmare Tear?

[TABLE="head"]Stat | Blood ilvl 264 | [Blood ilvl 277 | [B]Frost ilvl 264[/B] | Frost ilvl 277 | Frost SM
Attack Power | 17 | 16 | 18 | 18 | 17
Strength | 6 | 6 | 6 | 6 | 6
Haste | 9 | 6 | 7 | 6 | 6
Armor Pen | 7 | 8 | 8 | 7 | 6
Crit | 9 | 6 | 10 | 9 | 8
Agility | 13 | 12 | 14 | 13 | 12
Melee Hit | 5 | 5 | 5 | 5 | 5
Expertise | 11 | 10 | 12 | 12 | 9[/table]

As long as you can get a socket bonus of one of the preceding sizes from using one blue gem, zero yellow gems, and any number of red gems, then using a Chaotic Skyflare Diamond becomes superior to using a Relentless Earthsiege Diamond. Generally speaking, you actually need two socket bonuses of the above size(s), as the first you would attain using your Nightmare Tear, regardless of which meta-gem, and thus can’t be counted towards deciding between the two.

==Enchants==
Fairly self-explanatory, as it’s simply a matter of applying the stat weights, but as some people are curious and/or lazy:

[TABLE="head"]Slot | Enchant | Notes
Head | 50 AP / 20 Crit | No alternatives.
Cape | 23 Haste | Superior to agility.
Shoulder | 40 AP / 15 Crit | 120 AP / 15 Crit for those with Inscription, of course.
Chest | 10 Stats | No alternatives.
Bracers | 50 AP | 130 AP for those with Leatherworking, of course.
Gloves | 20 Hit | 15 Str if you cannot use at least thirteen points of that hit. Hyperspeed Accelerators for those with Engineering, of course.
Legs | 75 AP / 22 Crit | No alternatives.
Feet | 12 Hit / 12 Crit | 32 AP if hit capped. 6 Agi + Minor Speed is also an option of debatable worth, if you are so inclined. Nitro Boosts for those with Engineering, of course. [/TABLE]

==Runeforges==
There is currently only one viable Runeforge for PvE DPS: Rune of the Fallen Crusader.

The alternative enchants/runes do not even come close.
 1[/hr]

=Consumables and Cooldowns=
==Consumables==
Flask:
Potion:
[Fr] Secondary Potion:
[Bl] Secondary Potion:
Food:
Pet Food:

Pop a or an, depending on your spec, about 5 seconds prior to the actual pull for a more potent Army of the Dead or a free 97 AP for the first two minutes of the encounter, respectively. If used before combat, you will still be able to use an additional potion mid-fight.

==Cooldowns==
As an Unholy DK, you only have two cooldowns - Army of the Dead and Summon Gargoyle. Maximizing their use is essential to maximizing one’s dps.

===Army of the Dead===
Army of the Dead went through some changes with this last patch. On the one hand, it now has a shorter cooldown – 6 minutes talented (10 untalented) as opposed to 10 minutes talented (20 unalented) – and the channeling time of the spell went from 6 seconds to 4 seconds. On the other hand, it now does less damage – 50% of its previous amount.

Similar to a Blood or Frost DK’s Ghoul or your own Gargoyle, Army of the Dead will take a snapshot of your AP, haste, and hit at the time summoned. Changes in these stats after you have casted the spell will have no effect on the summoned minions, and other stats – crit, ArP, and the like – will have no effect period. On top of this, your Army of the Dead ghouls will receive the 90% AoE damage reduction from your Night of the Dead talent that your other pets receive.

The most optimal time to use Army of the Dead will vary from boss to boss, but is typically right before the beginning of an encounter. Using it mid encounter can lead to lost dps time, as the spell is channeled, and can also open the possibility of the spell getting interrupted by a fight mechanic, hurting the value of the spell. That said, if you are unable to cast it before the fight begins (or if it comes back off cooldown mid-fight) it is still worth casting mid-fight – ideally during a phase transition or similar period of down-time, but even on a Patchwerk-esqe fight it would be worth it – simply not as large a gain as using it immediately before the pull.

One note about Army of the Dead is that although the summoned ghouls will not taunt a boss, they will taunt most adds present on boss encounters. Keep this in mind as it can cause a wipe if used inappropriately… or prevent one if used intelligently.

===Summon Gargoyle===
Summon Gargoyle isn't terribly complex in its use. Your Gargoyle scales with your attack power and haste based on the moment it was cast, and will retain those exact stats for its entire duration. Try to wait on using it until all of your procs coincide, however, don't let this make you miss an opportunity to cast it. Summoning your Gargoyle three times in a fight is better than only summoning it twice, regardless of procs. As such, figure out how many times you'll be able to use it based on the fight length. Try and use it at some point during Heroism's duration - it needs to be popped AFTER Heroism is cast, while the buff is active on you, to benefit (unlike a Moonkin's treants). This is also the time to pop your Potion of Speed.

Also remember, your Gargoyle has horrid AI. It will not attack Yogg-saron’s brain if summoned within the brain room (but will attack the brain if you summon it before entering the brain room) and will (usually) only melee XT Deconstructor’s Heart. Get familiar with odd instances such as these; know when your Gargoyle will and will not attack, so you don't waste 60 RP.

Your Gargoyle will follow the same commands you give your Ghoul (i.e, follow, stay, attack, etc), so you can move it out of AoEs such as Shock Blast – however you are best off simply waiting until immediately after such spells to go off to summon it.
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=Basic Combat Mechanics=
Some elementary numbers to remember when raiding.
  • Glancing blows (only on bosses) happen 24% of the time on auto-attacks and cannot be critical hits. A glancing blow deals 70% damage.
  • You need 263 hit rating (8%) to be 2H melee white (auto) and yellow (special) attack hit capped against bosses. With a Draenei this number decreases to 231 hit rating (7%).
  • The spell hit cap is 445 hit rating (17%). Assuming Virulence and Misery this number decreases to 289 hit rating (11%). With a Draenei, it goes to 262 hit rating (10%). The only dps skills that are affected by this are Death Coil, Icy Touch, Death and Decay, Pestilence and Blood Boil.
  • You need 26 expertise (6.50%) to be expertise soft capped which means your attacks will no longer be dodged.
  • All melee classes suffer a 4.8% crit suppression vs bosses when using melee attacks.
  • All spell attacks have a 3% crit suppression vs bosses.
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=Ghoul Specific Mechanics=
With your Ghoul being one of your highest sources of damage, and the primary tool which sets an Unholy DK apart from other DKs, there are some basic numbers to know about it.
  • Ghouls work like most permanent pets, receiving a portion of your stats and can be buffed by the raid.
  • In terms of Paladin blessings, your Ghoul will receive the same blessings that the rogues are given. If no rogue is present, your Ghoul will need blessings given individually.
  • Ghoul Strength (with talents + ) = 331+1.52*Master'sStrength.
  • Ghouls receive 100% of your haste rating.
  • Ghouls have AoE mitigation, 45% for each point in NotD. This is both physical and magical damage reduction.
  • Ghoul hit rating rounds down. So if you have 7.99% hit rating, the ghoul will have 7% hit rating.
  • Ghouls gain expertise based on your hit rating. So if you had 131 hit (4%), the pet gains 13 expertise. 263 hit (8%), the pet gains 26 expertise. The Draenei hit aura does not give expertise to the pet.
  • Ghouls benefit from the 15% haste of Unholy Presence, but not the 15% damage of Blood Presence.
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=Taking Advantage of AMS=
Ignored or forgotten by many, Anti-Magic Shell not only absorbs magic damage, it also produces Runic Power based on the damage absorbed. More Runic Power translates directly into more damage and, as such, the proper use of AMS is a skill essential for a DK wishing to perform to their very best.

As far as the Icecrown Citadel sub-section is concerned, additional encounters as well as hard modes will be added as gates come down. It is very much a work in progress.

==Icecrown Citadel==
Lord Marrowgar
Simply pop AMS and sidestep into a coldflame nearby the boss to soak some free RP. There is nothing during the fight you would have to save AMS for to survive, so use it on CD for the free runic power, and thus dps.
Hard Mode : Same.

Lady Deathwhisper
P1: Death and Decay, Deathchill Blast, and Dark Martyrdom are all AoEs which aren’t strong enough to pose too large of a risk for you, but are easy to soak from.
P2: Continue to soak from Death and Decay.
Hard Mode: Do not attempt to soak from Deathchill Blast, as it will still hit those around you.

Gunship Battle
Your Ship: There are no opportunities to pop AMS. Do not attempt to soak from a rocket – you will get knocked back, potentially off the ship.
Enemy Ship: Once again, no real opportunities.
Hard Mode: Same

Deathbringer Saurfang
Unfortunately all of the raid damage Saurfang does is physical, and thus AMS holds no value on this encounter.
Hard Mode: Same

Rotface
Multiple opportunities to soak: Mutated Infection (a dot, similar to Grobbulus) and Sticky Ooze (puddles left by the adds). The ooze adds - small and big - both deal magical damage to targets within a 10 yard radius, and thus can be abused for RP, although they shouldn't be by you for any extended period of time.

Although Slime Spray can be soaked from, you shouldn't be in front of the boss. Ooze Flood is another ability which although soakable, one shouldn't risk it; you can die if you get caught up in it after AMS ends.
Hard Mode: Same.

Festergut
A very straight-forward fight for AMS: Soak from Gaseous Blight and/or Pungent Blight, as both are raid-wide unavoidable AoEs. I would not advise attempting to AMS the damage from Gas Spore, as it may prevent the application of the damage reduction buff, without which you can die.
Hard Mode: Malleable Goo is easily soaked from, granting you RP while preventing the application of the debuff.

Professor Putricide
P1: Volatile Ooze Adhesive, if cast on you, is the perfect time to both soak AMS and assure you won't die. Gaseous Bloat works just as well. Slime Puddles are an option, but are generally dangerous to try to abuse.
P2: Everything from phase 1. Choking Gas will provide you with plenty of RP, but due to the hit debuff you'll be unable to spam Death Coil, and thus make the most of it. If Malleable Goo is thrown at you, AMS away.
P3: Slime Puddles as well as Mutated Plague.
Hard Mode: If it comes to you, Unbound Plague is an obvious option.

Blood Princes
Almost too many possibilities to list: Glittering Sparks, Empowered Flare, Flames, Shock Vortex, Kinetic Bomb, and Shadow Lance to name a few.
Hard Mode: AMS will prevent the application of additional stacks of Shadow Prison, as well as allow you to soak from pre-existing stacks..

Blood Queen Lana'thel
P1: You can basically use AMS on cooldown for a full RP bar, thanks to Shroud of Sorrow. Twilight Bloodbolt, Swarming Shadows, and Pact of the Darkfallen are also opportunities which may be worth saving it for due to potential survivability concerns.
P2: Bloodbolt Whirl is easily soaked from, assuming you are lucky enough to be one targetted.
Hard Mode: Same.

Valithria Dreamwalker
Column of Frost will be ongoing and can be soaked from, but it's best to be avoided as you'll still get the knock-up, AMS or no. Frostbolt Volley, Lay Waste, Acid Burst, and Gut Spray are all better opportunities, but are only "available" when their various adds are up.
Hard Mode: Same.

Sindragosa
A lovely fight for AMS: Frost Aura provides a constant stream of potential RP. Blistering Cold is generally a better time to use it, however, as it prevents you from having to run out of melee range. There's Permeating Chill and Frost Bomb as well.
Hard Mode: Frost Bomb is no longer an option due to hitting far too hard.

The Lich King
Wowhead links to abilities are still unavailable, and generally still underdeveloped.
P1: Aside from Infest not being healed up immediately, there's unfortunately no raid damage during this phase.
P2: There's still Infest, but Defile is the main source of raid damage this phase. Do not attempt to actively soak it; simply use AMS as you run if it happens to be casted on you or near you.
P3: Infest, Defile, and Vile Spirit explosions, the latter of which you only should be taking away from the rest of the melee, which means its often not worth it due to having to stop dps.
Transition Phases: Due to the Lich King essentially spamming Pain and Suffering, AMS can be used at near any time for a full bar of RP.
Hard Mode: AMS can be popped at any point during the Frostmourne phase for a guaranteed full bar of RP. Aside from that, no extra opportunities.

==Trial of the Crusader==
Northrend Beasts
P1: There are some explosions that you can soak some RP from easily enough, however they tend to only spawn on ranged, thus you have to decide whether or not it's worth it. That aside, you can get some during the knockback/silence, which is on a regular timer.
P2: There are multiple opportunities to get free RP, and in this phase you should be using AMS the second it's on CD (provided you aren't already close to RP capped). You can soak from the poison on the ground, from the poison debuff, from the fire debuff, and from the knockback. If you see Acidmaw target you (and you didn't pull aggro), that means he is about to throw the poison debuff at you - you can use AMS to prevent its application entirely, saving you the loss in dps time which moving to someone with the fire debuff would require.
P3: If a poison cloud is still up from P2, feel free to use it. That aside, the only other opportunity for AMS it to use it proactively to prevent the stun from his Frost Breath. If he targets you, not only will it prevent him from stunning you, it will prevent him from stunning everyone else, as he will cancel casting it.

Lord Jaraxxus
You can stand in the flames, pop it when an infernal is by you, or even try to time it when you think you'll get hit with a beam. Popping it while in flames or when an infernal is near are your best bets, and both are fairly common happenings.

Faction Champions
Here, you can almost pop it on CD. With the level of random damage the mobs throw around, simply wait until one is AoEing (Such as the warlock casting Hellfire) or until one (usually several) target you and start attacking.

Twin Valkyrs
There are two main opportunities here: You can either save AMS for the Dark/Light Vortex, which not only will give you a full RP bar, but it can also save you the trouble of switching essences. Your other option is to pop it and grab the wrong color essence. On heroic version, you can also cast it if you get Tough of Light/Darkness, granting you a full RP bar.

Anub'Arak
Pop it when you have a few stacks of the poison debuff from the scarabs which spawn during the burrowed phase. You can also pop it at any time during the Swarm (30% until death).

==Ulduar==
Flame Leviathan
N/A

Razorscale
P1: Run through a fire patch on your way over to Razorscale after she's been harpooned.
P2: There is usually a flame patch in the near vicinity of the boss, simply hop in that every 45s.

Ignis
Simply time AMS for use right after he finishes his Flame Jets cast. Know that if you use AMS before the cast is finished you won't receive the debuff and will therefore generate far less RP than you could otherwise. Additionally, you want to start burning RP as soon as you start gaining it, or you will quickly become capped, and waste the extra RP from AMS.

XT Deconstructor
You can elect to follow a light-bombed melee as they run out of the group. Otherwise, save AMS for when you get bombed, be it with Gravity or Light.

Kologarn
Wait until Shockwave comes off of cool down then, pop AMS and pray that he uses the ability within 5s seconds (he usually does).

Assembly of Iron
Steelbreaker: The High Voltage aura makes this fight one of the best for consist RP generation through AMS. Simply use AMS every time it is off cooldown and enjoy the free damage.
Molgriem: You'll have to wait for a Rune of Death on the melee group and use AMS as you leave.
Brundir: Lightning Tendrils is the best source of reliable magic damage. You can also take advantage of Overload, though know that you will suffer a 2s knockdown. Since it typically takes a second or two to get back in, this is pretty much a wash.

Auriaya
Wait for a fear and then dance through a void zone on your way back to the melee clump.

Hodir
Save AMS for Frozen Blows. Real ballers can also get 2-3 stacks of Biting Cold at the same time, though your healers will complain, as will the rest of your raid for ruining their achievement! An alternative is to use AMS when he casts Flash Freeze, as it will allow you to stay on the boss without getting frozen.

Thorim
P1: Wait for a Stormhammer cast and hope that you're standing near the target.
P2: Instead of moving out, just sit in and soak the Lightning Charges.

Freya
P1: Sunbeam, if you can move close enough to the target in a timely fashion. There's also Nature's Fury.
P2: Not much, as the bombs will tend to blow you away from the boss and should thus be avoided.

Mimiron
P1: Find an isolated land mine and trigger it on your way back to the boss from a Shock Blast.
P2: Use AMS immediately after you see Heat Wave pulse to make your healers happier.
P3: Bomb bot explosions are the only source of magic damage.
P4: Use AMS whenever it is off cooldown. Odds are, you will be targeted by Hand Pulse sometime during the duration.

Due to having to weave in and out a lot on the Mimiron encounter, this is a great fight to try to maximize your RP through AMS, additionally there are lots of way to die, so avoiding death is always your greatest DPS gain!

Vezax
This is the only fight in Ulduar without reliable AoE magic damage. In the hard mode version of the encounter, however, you can pop it as the Animus is stacking its debuff for some RP, although it isn't much, and you only get one real opportunity to do so.

Yogg-Saron
P1: If your guild elects to tank all the guardians in the center, you can use AMS to soak their detonations.
P2: There is lots of shadow damage if you're in the portal group (hint: you should be) from Grim Reprisal.
P3: Nothing here, as you should not be getting hit with Lunatic Gaze.

Algalon
AMS can be popped before Cosmic Smash or before a Collapsing Star dies. Either option will give you a full RP bar, and both happen more than every 45 seconds. If you try to soak from a Cosmic Smash, beware: AMS will not prevent you from going flying if you are too close. Soaking on a Collapsing Star is typically safer, and grants the same gain.
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=Professions=
Engineering
Hyperspeed Accelerators (340 haste for 12 seconds per minute), Flexweave Underlay, and Nitro Boosts (24 crit rating) at the cost of your preexisting glove, cape, and boot enchant, as well as s (which are off the GCD). Unlike other professions, it’s difficult to calculate the Engineering’s raw value, however it is at least equal to its competitors, and in most cases superior. On top of that fact, it provides a gain which is more than just damage - a self levitate and sprint should not be underestimated.

Jewelcrafting
42 Strength (or Hit) gain. The second best dps profession for a Death Knight, both due to the raw numbers, and due to the customizability of it – being able to choose which stat you need.

Blacksmithing
40 Strength (or Hit) gain. The third best dps profession, following Engineering and Jewelcrafting. Similar to JC, gains some value due to the fact that you can choose which stat you need.

Skinning
40 Crit Rating gain. A moderate fourth. Uncustomizable.

Enchanting
80 AP gain. A distant fifth. Uncustomizable. Tied with Leatherworking, Inscription, and Alchemy.

Leatherworking
80 AP gain. A distant fifth. Uncustomizable. Tied with Enchanting, Inscription, and Alchemy.

Inscription
80 AP gain. A distant fifth. Uncustomizable. Tied with Enchanting, Leatherworking, and Alchemy.

Alchemy
80 AP gain. A distance fifth. Uncustomizable. Tied with Enchanting, Leatherworking, and Inscription.

Tailoring
Swordguard Embroidery, grants 400 AP for 15 seconds, which with a 45s ICD gives it a theoretical maximum of 128 AP over time. When you subtract from this the lost haste of a normal cloak enchant, it comes out well behind all of the above professions. It does have a slight advantage in the sense that you can time the proc with others for a stronger Gargoyle, but that doesn’t significantly increase its worth.

Mining
60 Stamina gain. Utterly worthless for dps.

Herbalism
Self heal. Utterly worthless for dps.
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=Frequently Asked Questions=
The most basic first; what presence should I be in and why?
Blood Presence is always the superior option. In the previous patch Unholy Presence was moderately competitive at certain gear points due to the GCD reduction aspect and the fact that our rotation was GCD constrained. Considering the latter is no longer the case, thus making the former now of absolutely zero value, the comparison between the two presences simply comes down to the damage verse the haste. 15% damage is an increase of approximately 12.75% dps, when you consider that it affects all of our damage except ghoul, gargoyle, and army. 15% haste, on the other hand, is only an increase of maybe 7.5% dps, as it only affects auto-attack (and auto-attack related, such as Necrosis, BCB, and Bryntroll) damage and pets.

Not just that, but Scourge Strike double dips into the 15% damage buff of Blood Presence, increasing its value and cementing it as the clear choice.

Double dips? I see that mentioned a lot in regards to Scourge Strike, but never an explanation of what it means.
The short, simple answer: If a buff or talent affects the damage of Scourge Strike once, it single dips. If it affects the damage of Scourge Strike twice, thus boosting the damage by more than the stated amount, then it double dips and is of increased worth.

The long answer: The new Scourge Strike is split into two actual hits; the first being physical damage and the second being shadow damage. The damage of the shadow portion is entirely dependent on the damage of the physical. What this means is that anything that increase the damage of the physical portion – be it a stat, a buff, a debuff, or a talent – will also increase the shadow portion by the same proportion. Outbreak, for example, increases the damage of the physical strike by 20% and by doing so, the shadow strike is increased by 20%, causing the Scourge Strike to do 20% more damage overall than it otherwise would, as the talent states.

However, some buffs and talents will affect the physical strike (thus increasing the damage of the shadow strike) but then also affect the shadow strike directly. Blood Presence, as previously mentioned, is one such buff. It will increase the damage of the physical strike by 15% which will then increase the damage of the shadow strike by 15%. On top of that, however, it will then go and buff the damage of the shadow strike by 15% yet again, meaning while the physical portion had its damage increased by 15%, the shadow portion had its damage increased by 32.25%. Thus the amount Blood Presence increased your overall Scourge Strike damage will be greater than the stated 15%.

Bone Shield, Desolation, Two-Handed Weapon Specialization, Blood Presence, Ferocious Inspiration, Sanctified Retribution, and Arcane Empowerment are all buffs and/or talents which are double dipped.

Cool and all, but does that explain why the shadow portion of Scourge Strike deals more than the stated 36% of the physical portion?
Yes, it does. Double-dipping is the culprit. After you factor in all of the previously mentioned buffs and talents, you’ll find that the shadow portion will ultimately deal 53.2% for Blood builds (56.2% in Frost builds) of the physical portion (less partial resists).

Speaking of Scourge Strike, mine outdamages two Blood Strikes and I don’t have 2P T10! Surely that means I should take Reaping, right?
Yes, due to the changes of the patch 3.3.2, one’s Scourge Strike is almost always going to outdamage two Blood Strikes, the reason for the almost being severely low gear points as the exceptions. However, no, that fact in and of itself does not make Reaping a worthwhile talent.

Opportunity cost. You can’t simply look at what you gain by taking Reaping; you also what you lose by taking it, and that’s three points in Dark Conviction/Bladed Armor/Necrosis/Endless Winter (depending on spec specifics). Thus for Reaping to be a solid investment, your Scourge Strike needs to outdamage two Blood Strikes by enough so as to be more damage than three points in any of those aforementioned talents. Such isn’t the case until you acquire 2P T10, an ilvl 264 weapon, and have a solid amount of ICC gear.

You briefly mentioned partial resists before. Can’t you just gem/enchant some spell penetration to eliminate them?
No, you cannot. Bosses will always partially resist a certain fraction of your magical damage. Such is unavoidable, regardless of spell penetration. Simply live with it.

What about misses and dodges though? Hit and expertise will eliminate those two, right, so we obviously want to hit those caps, correct?
Yes, the chance to miss and the chance to be dodged can be eliminated completely by hit and expertise respectively. However, although the hit cap is worth going out of your way to reach, the expertise cap is not. It simply doesn’t affect enough of our damage to be worthwhile, and due to the fact that our rotation now contains extra GCDs, losing one occasionally because we have to repeat an ability thanks to a dodge isn’t that big of a deal.

How do racials stack up?
Orc is the superior Horde dps race, without question. 5 Expertise, 5% pet damage, and Blood Fury are simply amazing racials, and perfect for an Unholy DK.

Assuming your raid doesn’t already have five of them, Draenei are the best for Alliance. Although Gift of the Naaru is essentially worthless, 1% hit for yourself and four others is quite nice. If your raid does already run with enough Draenei to cover everyone with the aura, then Humans come next, with 3 Expertise (which is of debatable worth, with all the best weapons being axes) and Every Man for Himself, an excellent racial whose worth is difficult to quantify into a specific amount of damage.

A patch or two ago, Unholy DW was pretty much neck and neck with Unholy 2H, yet I no longer see it listed as a viable build. What happened?
Scourge Strike. As Unholy, it all comes down to SS these days, especially as gear progresses. SS simply does not scale with a one hander as well as a two hander, for obvious reasons.

What more is the fact that Unholy Blight was nerfed, which hurts Unholy DW more (proportionally) than it hurts 2H.

Speaking of patches, what's with a Frost sub-spec suddenly being optimal in 3.3.3? Black Ice didn't change, so what's up?
Black Ice was the primary reason we specced into Frost way back when, but not so - now it's Icy Talons and Endless Winter.

I understand Endless Winter. Strength is win. But Icy Talons? That doesn't stack with Windfury!
As of 3.3.3, it does. The two are no longer mutually exclusive.

Cool and all, but how exactly do I decide between speccing a Frost sub-spec or a Blood sub-spec? The information in the spec section is a bit vague.
That's because the line between the two is a bit vague, and never more than ~2% dps either which way.

If you have a Bryntroll (heroic or normal) or Shadowmourne, then a Frost sub-spec is the obvious choice. Not only does Black Ice benefit the potency of the proc of these weapons, Icy Talons increases the number of procs. There's no question.

If you are using another weapon, it's a bit more difficult of a decision to make, and largely depends on your current gear. I would advise using the simulator if you wish to know which comes out on top. At any rate, if the two are basically equal dps wise, I would advise simply going a Frost sub-spec.

Huh? Dps equal, why Frost over Blood?
Frost provides greater AoE damage (yes, Black Ice and Endless Winter are superior to Bladed Armor and Dark Conviction), free interrupts (not incredibly useful, but what does it hurt), and greater dps while moving or at ranged (thanks to increased Ghoul, disease, and Death Coil damage).

If Blood isn't superior from a strictly single-target perspective, it gives you nothing else except threat reduction. Although some people like to think otherwise, the fact is, threat reduction should never be an issue, at least not on single target encounters: Blood Presence already contains a negative 20% threat modifier. This is on top of the fact that about 15% of our damage comes from our Ghoul or Gargoyle, and is thus threat-free. (100 - 15) x .8 = 68% of our damage done as threat, essentially. Fury Warriors currently out-damage us, and produce 72% (70% if Imp Beserker Stance happens to be additive) of their damage as threat, and that's not even factoring in Heroic Strike. If they can manage, than so can we.

Single target equal? Go 0/17/54.

Alright, so I have the gear you recommend for X spec, but Kahorie’s Simulator doesn’t seem to agree?
Either you are making an error in your use of the simulator, or your gear is simply insufficient for the specific spec(remember, there is a reason I use generalities and not specifics, as it's a highly personalized thing, with many variables).

If you believe the error lies the simulator - be it the simulator's coding, or rather your use of the simulator - head on over to this thread to resolve it, or PM me (with as much information as possible), and I can likely point out the problem. Don't clutter this thread with sim results, especially if they're potentially wrong!

How does X work? What about Y? Can you explain Z?
If there are any other questions which aren’t answered anywhere in this post already but you feel are asked enough and applicable to most people, and thus should be added to this section, simply drop me a PM concerning it.
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=Unholy-Specific Macros=
Ghoul jump to safety
[TABLE]#showtooltip Leap
/cast [target=healersname] Leap
/petstay[/TABLE]

Rune Strike with any ability
[TABLE]#showtooltip WhateverAbility
/cast !Rune Strike
/cast WhateverAbility[/TABLE]

Cast Death Coil on your target or, if you are holding shift, cast Death Coil on your pet, healing it
[TABLE]#showtooltip Death Coil
/cast [mod:shift,target=pet] Death Coil; Death Coil[/TABLE]

An elementary Gargoyle Macro
[TABLE]#showtooltip Summon Gargoyle
/use potion of speed
/use trinket 13
/use trinket 14
/cast Summon Gargoyle[/TABLE]

Refreshing Bone Shield without breaking your rotation
[TABLE]#showtooltip Bone Shield
/cast Blood Tap
/stopcasting
/cast Bone Shield[/TABLE]
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=Valuable Resources=
Kahorie’s DK Simulator
An amazing tool. Curious how much dps you should be doing relative to your gear level? Curious whether or not it’s time for you to transition specs? Curious what your personal stat weights are? The simulator can tell you all of that and more.

Zerack’s DK Gear Optimizer
The spreadsheet ideal. Wondering whether or not you should bother getting hit/expertise capped, despite what it says here? Wondering what is Best in Slot of the items you already have or already have access to? Wondering whether it’s worth grabbing that socket bonus or not? These spreadsheets can tell you all of that and then keep calculating.

Rawr - for DPS DKs
An alternative to Kahorie's and Zerack's. Pondering which drop to blow your dkp on? Pondering if it's worth sacrificing an upgrade or two to keep that set bonus? Pondering if that new item, despite having purple text, is actual an upgrade? This program can tell you all of that and then keep informing.
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=Credits=
Credit to Norg, Afabar, dr_AllCOM3, and Zerack. If not for these three, there would be no agreed upon stat weights, optimal gear sets, or any of that. This thread – and the Blood and Frost counterparts – would be so much less precise if it weren’t for these guys.
Credit to Darkside for the AMS utilization section and other numerous instances of assistance.
Credit to frmorrison for the Ghoul and Combat Mechanics sections.
Credit to all other contributions, big and small, to not only this post specifically, but also to the constantly ongoing discussions of this thread. Would that I could list everyone by name.
 1[/hr]

=Thread Change Log=
[14]:03.23.10 Updated for patch 3.3.3.
[13]:02.25.10 Upcoming Changes section back for 3.3.3.
[12]:12.11.09 Updated for the SS hot-fix.
[11]:12.07.09 Updated for patch 3.3.0. New thread format made permanent.
[10]:11.24.09 New thread format being tested.
[9]: 10.01.09 Upcoming Changes section returns for PTR Patch 3.3.0.
[8]: 09.26.09 Update for patch 3.2.2 complete. Two new sections added - "Why Spec Unholy Dps?" and "Frequently Asked Questions". Order of sections rearranged to be somewhat more logical.
[7]: 09.22.09 Updated for patch 3.2.2.
[6]: 09.18.09 17/0/54 information added to live area, as it is now believe viable. "Latest News" Headline added for those too lazy to scroll down here.
[5]: 09.09.09 Upcoming Changes section added. PTR Patch 3.2.2 Unholy changes added to aforementioned section.
[4]: 09.02.09 Stat weights updated with more accurate numbers. DW stat weights moved to DW thread.
[3]: 08.31.09 Stat weights added for 0/18/53. Haste weighting had an error in it - now fixed.
[2]: 08.30.09 DW Builds added to the spec section. Ghoul and Combat Mechanic sections added.
[1]: 08.30.09 Thread Launched

#2 Horseeater

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 05:23 PM

Finally! So my question is. How does UH Obliterate spec compares to 51/0/20 With ArP soft capped around 460-470+ trinket? Can we get parses of this new UH Oblit. spec in action?

#3 Consider

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 05:46 PM

Some food for thought;

Jaraxxus: WoW Meter Online - Combatlog Replay
XT Hard: WoW Meter Online - Combatlog Replay
IC Hard: WoW Meter Online - Combatlog Replay

So on. Generally speaking, Unholy comes within 5-10% of Blood on single target (and, quite obviously, far surpasses Blood in AoE, so I didn't bother linking those sorts of parses). Although, as such, it is certainly still behind Blood in raw dps, it's by a much smaller margin than in 3.1. It's still a bit early to really tell, however, especially when you consider that Unholy will benefit the most from 4p t9 (which could potentially be enough to put it over the top).

Oddly enough, Unholy outperforms Blood in Kahorie's sim, both pre and post 4p t9. It probably undervalues Hysteria, DRW, and cooldown stacking in general - one of Blood's strengths. It's certainly undervaluing (or overvaluing) something, as there's yet to be any parses reflecting the type of lead the simulator hints at.

Anyways, when you factor in Unholy's added raid utility, the two are both very attractive raid specs. Neither is flat out superior to the other in overall raid contribution, even if one does beat out the other in raw single target dps. Which you spec should have more to do with which playstyle you enjoy the most, what sort of gear you already have, and what type of raid composition you typically run with than anything else.

#4 Horseeater

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 06:08 PM

Well said Consider! Im currently blood and gemmed with ArP. Im going to regem to str to try this newly found unholy spec. It looks very promising. Besides blood is boring me to hell =*( as so did unholy before going blood xD.

Also! You should create a post within this thread to post parses on this spec! it'd give people a good idea of how much dps this unholy+oblit spec can do. We all know everyone only looks for the best possible dps output spec raid wise anyway.

#5 diospadre

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 06:26 PM

Check the last couple pages of the previous unholy thread, a number of parses were linked.

World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis

Here's EJ's last ToC/Ulduar clear, I'm Unholy and Tejax is blood, who outdamages me on every fight except Freya. Luckily Crypt Fever is worth something like 1000 dps split across 2 dps and 1 tank DK, so I don't feel so bad about it. There is certainly room for improvement on my part, however. One thing I am trying to figure out is how Sense (and a number of other DKs whose parses I looked up) had nearly double the amount of autoattacks and significantly more Obliterates than I do on XT despite the fight lengths being essentially the same.

#6 Consider

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 06:37 PM

You're reading WoL wrong (I hate WoL. More information, yes, but a much less user friendly interface). Where WMO says the total number of times you did an ability (79 Obliterates, in the case of my XT) and then lists the percent of those which were crits, WoL splits it into two numbers - the number of hits (47 Obliterates in yours) and crits (39 Obs in yours). Thus you actually did 86 Obliterates to my 79, which isn't significantly different when you factor in the slightly different kill times.

Same situation with auto-attacks, except WoL actually splits it into three numbers - Hits, Crits, and Glancing Blows.

Anyways, I don't really see the need to add a specific section/post for parses. WoW Meter Online - Combatlog Replay / WoW Meter Online - Combatlog Replay give you a good enough idea of where the specs stand in relation to one another on each encounter. That, and you can also filter those by spec. Of course, not everyone uses WMO, not everyone gets Hysteria/Tricks/Etc, and on certain fights there are ways to pad the meters (hello, Ignis), but regardless, it's as good a compilation of top parses as a post here could be.

#7 Octopi

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 07:33 PM

I see no mention of DW Unholy 0/18/53(Featuring Obliterate)

Any reason?

http://talent.mmo-ch...h=250827000000

#8 Consider

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 07:40 PM

There is a thread specifically for DW builds. That thread may be centered primarily around Frost DW at the moment (due to such a spec's superiority - or believed superiority, beats me if it's actually better - over Unholy DW), but even so; Unholy DW has more in common with Frost DW than it does with Unholy 2H, and as such that thread is probably the best place for it.

Besides, even if Unholy DW would fit better here (which I really don't believe it would), the DW thread already has a section on it.

#9 Octopi

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 07:57 PM

There is a thread specifically for DW builds. That thread may be centered primarily around Frost DW at the moment (due to such a spec's superiority - or believed superiority, beats me if it's actually better - over Unholy DW), but even so; Unholy DW has more in common with Frost DW than it does with Unholy 2H, and as such that thread is probably the best place for it.

Besides, even if Unholy DW would fit better here (which I really don't believe it would), the DW thread already has a section on it.


The thread title is Unholy DPS. DW Unholy has two strong variations that should definitely be made mention of in my humble opinion, unless you are specifically making mention of the opinion involved in this OP and limiting the information to 2 Handed usage only.

DW Unholy has more in common with 2H Unholy actually. Every DW Unholy build is deep Unholy(50+ points) and none of them Take the Deep Frost Talent ToT, unless you consider the first tiers up to and including Annihilation to be more in common with Frost I would have to disagree with your opinion. I can understand you wanting to create a thread for 2Handed builds specifically, but it is probably a disservice to the community to post things that are fairly far from the truth given the evidence and sim data available. DW Unholy is nearly identical to 2 Handed Unholy in pretty much every way(Rotation, Glyphs and gearing), and DW Unholy Obliterate builds are essentially the pioneer of the spec most 2 Hand Unholy players are using right now.

If you are going to create a thread, it may be a good idea to post every viable high end build without prejudice or personal opinion interjected and let the audience sort out the choices for themselves. Players could find the information beneficial, as they would be able to pick up one handers for both Unholy and Frost DW builds. If they read this thread it would appear that Unholy is exclusive to 2 Hander use only. it is not.

#10 Consider

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 08:11 PM

I could edit the title to say "2H Unholy DPS..." if it would help.

But, please, lay off the melodrama. There is no hidden bias, intentional or otherwise. The old thread was focused on 2h Unholy, and this is merely a replacement (as the old one is no longer being updated) - thus this one is focused on 2h Unholy as well. There is a DW thread, with an Unholy DW section already - whether you consider it proper to be located in that thread is rather irrelevant. It's already there, so why have another thread with the exact same info, and inevitably the exact same discussion?

I was thinking of the DC spam build when I spoke of different rotation/glyphs/gearing , but the opposite stance works just as well: If 0/18/53 has the exact same rotation, glyphs, and gearing, what is there to say about it?

The bottom line though is this: If the DW thread did not cover Unholy DW, you might have a point or two. But it does. So you don't. There is zero need for two threads covering the same topic.

#11 Defyapathy

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 08:14 PM

The thread title is Unholy DPS. DW Unholy has two strong variations that should definitely be made mention of in my humble opinion, unless you are specifically making mention of the bias involved in this OP and limiting the information to 2 Handed usage only.

DW Unholy has more in common with 2H Unholy actually. Every DW Unholy build is deep Unholy(50+ points) and none of them Take the Deep Frost Talent ToT, unless you consider the first tiers up to and including Annihilation to be more in common with Frost I would have to disagree with your opinion. I can understand you wanting to create a thread for 2Handed builds specifically, but it is probably a disservice to the community to post things that are fairly far from the truth given the evidence and sim data available. DW Unholy is nearly identical to 2 Handed Unholy in pretty much every way(Rotation, Glyphs and gearing), and DW Unholy Obliterate builds are essentially the pioneer of the spec most 2 Hand Unholy players are using right now.

If you are going to create a thread, it may be a good idea to post every viable high end build without prejudice or personal opinion interjected and let the audience sort out the choices for themselves. Players could find the information beneficial, as they would be able to pick up one handers for both Unholy and Frost DW builds. If they read this thread it would appear that Unholy is exclusive to 2 Hander use only. it is not.


Is DW Unholy capable of matching or exceeding 2H Unholy on any fight?

#12 Max zero

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 08:44 PM

Is DW Unholy capable of matching or exceeding 2H Unholy on any fight?


It's hard to tell, there is a real lack of WWS logs to compare. While the simulator is fantastic I would really love some 'real life' parses to see how these rotations work under the pressures of a raid.

Here is my DW parse for Ignis. I would post it in the DW thread but that seems to be pretty much nothing but Frost DW so I doubt i'll get much discussion there.

World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis

For some reason WWSlogs split it into two parts. The silver lining with that though is it's shows how I actually got off to a fairly poor start (rune bug hit).

With Flasking, 2 Haste pots and a cleaner start I should pass 7500 easily.

I'm wondering what kind of numbers are people getting with 2hand Unholy (either version). Is it around the same mark? Higher? Lower?

I have the gear to switch I just want a heads up to see if the grass really is greener.

#13 Octopi

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 08:56 PM

Is DW Unholy capable of matching or exceeding 2H Unholy on any fight?



The problem is that a lot of these builds(DW Unholy) are rarely played, and have not gotten much attention because of the general lack of interest in them until the recent re-modeling of the Frost tree to compliment 1 Hander use by DK's. That part is not going away, so i thought why not give the player base all the information they require in order to find the best possible build for their existing gear sets. I have only seen one active poster simming out extended data for DW Unholy Obliterate, and I am not sure he has been using the most recent gearing, pretty sure it has been the Ulduar set up. DW Unholy-Oblit breaks 7k DPS sims with average lag. This is the same, or nearly the same(within 100-150 dps) as all of the sim data I have viewed from the previous 2 Handed Unholy thread that is still active.

Unholy has a very complimentary talent tree for DW, and key Talents(Necrosis and BcB) perform much better than 2 Handed builds when run with DW as they are considered pillars of those builds(hence them being included in a lot of/all ToT Frost Builds), they go from being "filler" with 2 Handed specs, to being strong performers with DW. Otherwise the fundamentals stay the same.

0/17/54 http://talent.mmo-ch...0&version=10192

0/18/53 http://talent.mmo-ch...0&version=10192


Not sure why there needs to be singling out, I for one love the Unholy tree and have played it(Both Single rune builds and Oblit builds) since the changes to 0/32/39 in 3.1, and I love playing it still. It kind of confuses me when it is considered some sort of sub-par spec.

Would be sweet to see it included in any official Unholy thread, as whenever possible, weapon choice determining validity with no data saying otherwise feels odd. These specs all perform on the same level, they are all bringing the same buffs, and with the exception of weapon choice, are geared in the same way, with the exception of DW 0/17/54 single rune spam builds.


It's hard to tell, there is a real lack of WWS logs to compare. While the simulator is fantastic I would really love some 'real life' parses to see how these rotations work under the pressures of a raid.

Here is my DW parse for Ignis. I would post it in the DW thread but that seems to be pretty much nothing but Frost DW so I doubt i'll get much discussion there.

World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis

For some reason WWSlogs split it into two parts. The silver lining with that though is it's shows how I actually got off to a fairly poor start (rune bug hit).

With Flasking, 2 Haste pots and a cleaner start I should pass 7500 easily.

I'm wondering what kind of numbers are people getting with 2hand Unholy (either version). Is it around the same mark? Higher? Lower?

I have the gear to switch I just want a heads up to see if the grass really is greener.



I have also been searching for the same thing Kuzuryu, but I cannot find any comparable parses. Every single one I find is full of abuse to constructs.

Hopefully this thread can be a brewing on some of the more recent parses. I am sure a few of the regular Unholy 2 Handed build players will have something you can compare with.

#14 diospadre

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:25 PM

You're reading WoL wrong (I hate WoL. More information, yes, but a much less user friendly interface). Where WMO says the total number of times you did an ability (79 Obliterates, in the case of my XT) and then lists the percent of those which were crits, WoL splits it into two numbers - the number of hits (47 Obliterates in yours) and crits (39 Obs in yours). Thus you actually did 86 Obliterates to my 79, which isn't significantly different when you factor in the slightly different kill times.

Same situation with auto-attacks, except WoL actually splits it into three numbers - Hits, Crits, and Glancing Blows.


Ah good to know, I thought I had been turning auto-attack on/off with broken macros or something along those lines. I'll likely be able to bring my dps up with better cooldown management (especially Garg use, as I was operating under a few faulty assumptions there).

#15 frmorrison

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:44 PM

I for one love the Unholy tree and have played it(Both Single rune builds and Oblit builds) since the changes to 0/32/39 in 3.1, and I love playing it still. It kind of confuses me when it is considered some sort of sub-par spec.

Would be sweet to see it included in any official Unholy thread, as whenever possible, weapon choice determining validity with no data saying otherwise feels odd. These specs all perform on the same level, they are all bringing the same buffs, and with the exception of weapon choice, are geared in the same way, with the exception of DW 0/17/54 single rune spam builds.


Perhaps it is time to create a specific DW Unholy thread. As long as you have 10 posts and do put some clear information in the post, you are free to make a thread.


I really like Unholy's place in 3.2 (earlier today I got a chance to be Unholy in a 25 man, usually I tank). Since Unholy is doing so well with Obliterate with dps, perhaps that is partly why SS was nerfed (also PvP reasons). I really like the buffed pet (gains 26 expertise if you have 263 hit, so Alliance DK have some advantage going over their lower hit cap) and the buffs affects AotD as well.

I am looking forward to seeing parses of Unholy with the 4 piece.

#16 Consider

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:45 PM

Since you guys are way too difficult, I added the two Unholy builds to the spec section for the time being. Nothing else to really put about them, I suppose. If someone wants to provide stat weights, I can easily enough toss those in as well - unable to calculate them myself at the present.

If someone wants to start up a DW Unholy thread for more depth or whatever, feel perfectly free to, of course.

#17 Octopi

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:47 PM

Since you guys are way too difficult, I added the two Unholy builds to the spec section. Nothing else to really put about them, I suppose. If someone wants to provide stat weights, I can easily enough toss those in as well - unable to calculate them myself at the present.



Fargom is working on some stat weight numbers for 3.2 builds in general, and DW Unholy will be included. Once those are completed I will PM you immediately.

Thank you for the inclusion , it is appreciated.

#18 Kaveli

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:55 PM

Has anyone tried a spec that includes 3/3 Subversion and 2/2 COTG? I'm not certain what is the most optimal talents to pull from unholy but it has to have some benefit in that you get both the key talents to the two top specs. I've looked through both the threads and haven't seen this discuses. Perhaps I missed it? If anyone has experience with this spec some insight would be appreciated.


edit: forgot to include sample build. Here's my rough idea of what it would look like

Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft

#19 frmorrison

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:59 PM

Since the pet discussion thread has fallen off, adding a Pet section here may be a good idea:

Ghoul Facts
* Ghouls work like most permanent pets, receiving a portion of your stats and can be buffed by the raid.
* Ghoul Strength (with talents + ) = 331+1.52*Master'sStrength.
* Ghouls receive 100% of your haste rating.
* Ghouls have AoE mitigation, 35% for each point in NotD. This is both physical and magical damage.
* Ghoul hit rating rounds down. So if you have 7.99% hit rating, the ghoul will have 7% hit rating.
* Ghouls gain expertise based on your hit rating. So if you had 131 hit (4%), the pet gains 13 expertise. 263 hit (8%), the pet gains 26 expertise. The Draenei hit aura does not give expertise to the pet.

#20 Consider

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 10:31 PM

Has anyone tried a spec that includes 3/3 Subversion and 2/2 COTG? I'm not certain what is the most optimal talents to pull from unholy but it has to have some benefit in that you get both the key talents to the two top specs. I've looked through both the threads and haven't seen this discuses. Perhaps I missed it? If anyone has experience with this spec some insight would be appreciated.


edit: forgot to include sample build. Here's my rough idea of what it would look like

Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft


Less dps than a plain 3/13/55 spec*, which has the same benefit of threat reduction. Wandering Plague is ~1.2-1.4% per point on a single target encounter (and vastly higher on a multiple mob one). You should never, ever sacrifice points from it. It's simply an amazing investment. The loss of a point in that on top of the loss of 3 points in Desolation/Necrosis just isn't balanced out by the gain of Chill of the Grave.

*Edit: At least for me. If you are still using SotVH, then it might be better than 3/13/55, but I kinda doubt it.




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