KoE – Episode 9.1 – Patch 6.1 Unholy Death Knights

Welcome to Episode 9.1 of Knights of the Ebon podcast. This is YOUR Death Knight podcast in the World of Warcraft. Each show, I, Epicinsanity, bring you the latest details on the greatest class in the game… The Death Knight.

Today is March 5th, 2015, and the information you are about to hear is relevant for the release of Patch 6.1.

This Episode will cover all the information you need to play an Unholy Death Knight in the World of Warcraft.

Knights of Ebon is produced by the Frozen Nerdz Podcast. The Frozen Nerdz podcast is an all Blizzard Entertainment podcast hosted by Kilroy and Epicinsanity. We cover everything thats going on in the Blizzard Universe, as well as general gaming news and topics. If you are looking to get your fill of Blizzard Entertainment news, check out the Frozen Nerdz Podcast!

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Unholy Death Knights:

Stat priority for Unholy is:

Strength > Multistrike > Mastery> Critical Strike > Versatility > Haste

  • Strength is your primary statistic and be considered the most when it comes to upgrades. Strength gives you Attack Power, as it increases so does the damage from your abilities do.
  • Multistrike gives abilities to have a chance to hit/heal a second and a third time, each time dealing 30% of the first damage/heal.
  • Mastery (Mastery: Dreadblade) increases your Shadow damage, which makes up most of your damage done.
  • Critical Strike increases the chance to critically hit the target.
  • Versatility increases all damage/healing done, and decreases damage taken.
  • Haste increases attack speed and rune regen rate.

As Unholy, you should always be in Unholy Presence.

Unholy Death Knight DPS Rotation (WOD 6.1)

Single Target Rotation

Priority System looks something like this:

  1. Cast Defile
  2. Keep diseases (Frost Fever/Blood Plague) up at all times (apply with Outbreak/Plague Strike, and extend the duration through Festering Strike).
  3. Cast Dark Transformation
  4. Cast Death Coil as follows:
    1. Dark Transformation is not up
    2. You are at 90+ runic power
    3. Sudden Doom proc
  5. Spend runes, but only when you have (about to have) 2 of the same type available:
    1. Spend Death and Unholy runes on Scourge Strike
    2. Spend Blood and Frost runes on Festering Strike
  6. Cast Soul Reaper — Only when the target is below 45% health
Multiple Target Rotation
  1. Apply diseases (Frost Fever/Blood Plague) to target. And spread them to others using Blood Boil.
  2. Use Festering Strike prior to starting your AoE rotation to convert Frost runes to Death runes.
  3. Rune /Runic Power Usage:
    1. Use all your Death runes to Blood Boil spam.
    2. Use your Unholy runes to cast Death and Decay(or Defile) on cooldown and Scourge Strike.
    3. Use your runic power on Death Coil.

When to use Cooldowns

  1. Summon Gargoyle
    1. Cost: Nothing.
    2. Use it on Cooldown, but you can save it for when you need to do extra damage. Like during Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp. Gargoyle scales with spell haste, so this will allow for a few extra casts off, increasing the amount of damage done.
  2. Empower Rune Weapon
    1. Cost: Nothing
    2. Refreshes all your runes and gives you 25 runic power, but has a 5 minute cooldown.
    3. Be mindful when you use this, it can be used when you have no runes available or are runic power starved.
  3. Army of the Dead
    1. Cost: 1 Blood, 1 Unholy, 1 Frost
    2. Only worth using before the pull.

Pro-Tip: Mastering the Unholy Death Knight

  1. Diseases
    1. Should never drop off due to Festering Strikes refreshing them on contact.
    2. At the start of the fight, you should always open up with Outbreak. But incase they fall off, use Plague Strike to re-apply both diseases if Outbreak is on Cooldown.
  2. Dark Transformation and Death Coil
    1. Every time Death Coil is cast, a buff of Shadow Infusion on your ghoul will increase its damage done by 10% per stack, for 30 seconds. When it reaches 5 stacks, you want to cast Dark Transformation. It consumes the stacks and buffs your ghoul for 30 seconds.
    2. Use Dark Transformation on cooldown. Increasing the effectiveness of your ghoul, will in turn increase your effectiveness to DPS more.
    3. Your ghoul cannot gain any stacks of the buff while it is transformed, so  you should save your runic power and spam Death Coils as soon as Dark Transformation ends.
    4. If Sudden Doom procs, you should use the free Death Coil regardless otherwise you are wasting the proc.
  3. Soul Reaper
    1. Soul Reaper can be used at any time throughout the fight, but it will be most beneficial when the target is below 45% HP because of the proc that deals double damage on the target.
    2. Use Soul Reaper mainly as an execute to increase your DPS.
  4. Anti-Magic Shell
    1. Anti-Magic Shell absorbs 75% of all Magic damage taken for 5 seconds, and gives you runic power based on the amount of damage it absorbs.
    2. The added Runic Power greatly increases your damage done. So time your Anti-Magic Shell when there is going to be a raid wide Magic Damage ability.

Talent Choices

  1. Tier 1 Talents
    1. Plague Leech is the best choice. From a pure DPS perspective, providing a 5% DPS increase over either of the other talents if used properly.
  2. Tier 2 Talents
    1. Purgatory will save your life. It’s great for progression fights, or for those times you make a mistake and don’t get out of an ability in time.
  3. Tier 3 Talents
    1. Death’s Advance is the best choice. 30% movement speed for 6 seconds, and 10% passive movement speed.
    2. Other talents can be selected, but purely situational.
  4. Tier 4 Talents
    1. Runic Corruption is the best talent in this tier, and you should always use it. If used optimally, Blood Tap can provide slightly higher DPS, but this requires ensuring that it only ever activates an Unholy rune.
    2. If you can’t master Blood Tap usage, its are better off with Runic Corruption.
  5. Tier 5 Talents
    1. Death Pact is the best choice because it has no resource cost and supplies are large amount of healing.
  6. Tier 6 Talents
    1. Remorseless Winter may have some usefulness in stunning mobs so that they don’t damage you or the other raid members.
  7. Tier 7 Talents
    1. The best option in this tier is Defile. In the event that the targets will not remain in Defile’s area of effect, if not Necrotic Plague is your best choice for high movement fights.

Major Glyphs

    1. Glyph of Blood Boil — Increases the range of Blood Boil by 5 yards.
    2. Glyph of Raise Ally — Removes the runic power cost of Raise Ally, allowing you to use it exactly when it is needed.
    3. Glyph of Regenerative Magic — Procs each time your Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell expires from you without having been fully consumed by damage. When this happens, the cooldown of Anti-Magic Shell is reduced by an amount based on how much damage it had absorbed (the more damage absorbed, the smaller the reduction), up to a maximum of 50%. This glyph is very beneficial in allowing you to gain more runic power over the course of the fight.
Minor Glyphs
  1. Optional:
    1. Glyph of Tranquil Grip — Causes your Death Grip Icon Death Grip to no longer taunt the target.
    2. Glyph of Army of the Dead — Causes your ghouls to no longer taunt their target.
    3. Glyph of Path of Frost —  Causes your Path of Frost to reduce your fall damage.


Check out these other great Unholy Death Knight guides:

Icy-Veins: http://www.icy-veins.com/wow/unholy-death-knight-pve-dps-guide

Wowhead.com: http://www.wowhead.com/guide=2162/death-knight-dps-guide-frost-unholy

Mendenbarr‘s Blog about DK Theorycrafting: http://www.destinysoftworks.com/


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