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Thread: MoP Unholy Death Knight Guide

  1. #1

    Default MoP Unholy Death Knight Guide

    Welcome to the Death Knight Guide , which i will do my best to help you guys get familiar with the way of Death Knights!

    Spell Changes and new things.

    Many of our previous talents have been become Unholy specialization skills. Below there is gonna be some noteworthy changes :

    Our horn of winter now grants 10% Attack Power.
    Both Unholy and Frost specs provide 10% Melee and Ranged attack speed.
    Our Global cooldown is 1 second by base now.
    Army of the dead has been really improved in MoP dealing a lot of damage.
    Our new ability is pretty amazing. At 87 level we can learn Soul Reaper which is an execute ability!

    Unholy Pressence Provides 10% Attack speed and rune regeneration along with 15% movement speed(Which stacks with Death`s Advance -Tier 3 talent).
    Dark Transformation now again increases ghouls damage by 100%.
    Reaping now works with Blood Boil.

    Frost Presence now increases Runic Power generation by 20% and also reduces the cost of Frost Strike by 15 RP which makes the only way to go as frost!
    Howling Blast now does 80% of the damage to the secondary targets.


    Our pets in MoP are working a bit different than at past. The stat chat changes are more dynamic. That means if u summon your gargoule and you get your Strenght increased while its summoned his damage output is gonna inscrease as well. That is both bad and nice in my opinion. Less rng dependant on some cases with unlucky trinket procs but becomes harder to manage to summon your gargoyle so it does its max damage! Also gargoyle casts seems to be 11 for each summon.


    Worgen is the best Alliance race for a Death Knight , 1% crit is nice and darkflight sprint can be handy on fights that include movement.

    Orc is the way to go as Horde. If u are wielding axes u get 1% expertise, u get 2% damage on your minions and Blood Fury is a very nice dps cooldown which can be even stronger in burst phases.


    Tier 1 – My choice : Unholy Blight
    Rolling blood : If there is HEAVY aoe that lasts for long this is your best choice.
    Plague Leech : Best single target dps talent by which requires good micromanagement.
    Unholy Blight : My favourite talent from this tier . Usefull in almost anycase , good to apply your diseases on nearby targets w/o wasting any runes or even your main target if outbreak is still on cooldown.

    Tier 2 – My choice : Anti-magic Zone for heavy raid damage raids / Purgatory on other cases
    Lichborne : Mainly a pvp talent . Can be used on pve in some cases where survivability needs to be improved by healing yourself. But at great cost of DPS.
    Anti-magic Zone : Probably the most usefull talent for raiding in the tier. It can be really strong vs Strong hitting aoe abilities which can help out your healers a lot!
    Purgatory : Basically a cheat death. Prevents a killing blow on yourself and creates and absorb healing shield. If its not healed by your healers u will die. Good talent , can save a mistake or a risk that can lead to your death its always good to have a second chance!:D

    Tier 3 – My choice : Death`s advance ALL DAY.
    Death`s Advance : An amazing talent , giving you passive movement speed and when u press the ability even a 30% sprint which is amazing. Also your minimum speed cant be lower than 70/100(when ability is activated)
    Chilblains : Passive slow when your target has Frost fever. Can be handy on cases but Death`s advance is too strong! Mostly a pvp talent.
    Asphyxiate : Again an ability that is most oriented for pvp. Can`t see cases where you would prefer Asphyxiate instead of Death`s Advance.

    Tier 4 – My choice : Death Pact.
    Death Pact : Having perma pet as unholy , and with the change on this spell its much stronger than ever before. Heals Half your hp in cost of half your pets hp (instead of killing it like it used to be) Very strong survivability cooldown.
    Death Siphon : A possibly strong talent , which sacrifices dps but can provide strong self healing. Also a nice way to do some dps while having to go away of your target since u can cast it from 40 yards range long.
    Conversion : Really weak talent in my eyes. U have to waste insane amounts of runic power to get some slow healing. I cant think any case where this talent should be picked.

    Tier 5 – My choice : Runic Corruption for unholy /Runic Empowerment for frost.
    Blood Tap : Every 5 charges u get a death rune , the ability is out of GCD which is nice. In any case that death runes are more desired (difficult execute phases where u really need to have your Soul reaper at the exact time its off cd) this should be the option of talent. Its pretty much close to Runic corruption but a lot of different “playstyle”.
    Runic Empowerment : I dont like the rng of the talent and the possible wrong judment that can be made between a death coil landing and myself using an ability. Tho as frost it seems much more appealing!
    Runic Corruption : My favourite talent of the tier. Always reliable on my eyes and got a constant and stable refresh of your runes. Smooths out things!

    Tier 6 – My choice : This tier is pretty much equal talents that can be used in different cases.
    Gorefiend`s Grasp : When there are adds that u need to gather up to aoe this is your choice!
    Remorseless Winter : Really nice talent also , Aoe slow around you followed by a nice stun! Really handy for 5mans.
    Desecrated Ground : A talent that u must have on fights that u are loosing control of your character!


    Glyphs are a bit different in MoP. Most of them just give you mobility/utility and they are not MUST have like at past.

    Major :
    Glyph of Unholy Frenzy
    Glyph of Resilient Grip
    Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell
    Glyph of Death Grip

    Those are my main choices but ofc in some cases some other glyphs are can be handy!

    Minor: Minor glyphs are mainly fun/cosmetic along with couple usefull but still situational.
    Glyph of Death's Embrace
    Glyph of Resilient Grip
    Glyph of Army of the Dead
    Glyph of Tranquil Grip


    With mop the hit and expertise caps are a bit different than what we were used.
    2550 hit is required for 7.5%
    2550 expertise is required for 7.5%
    Its important for both specs to have both hit and exp cap since the total of both capped works as the spell hit cap!

    Strenght>Haste>Mastery>Crit for unholy
    Strength>Haste>Crit>Mastery for frost

    Proffesions and Consumables

    If u want to maximize your damage its important that u get best possible benefit from what buffs each proffesion has to offer and of course use the best consumables!

    1.Leatherworking ( 320 Strenght – 500 Strenght on bracers vs 180 from enchanting )
    2. Engineering ( ~320 Strenght on average – 1920 Strenght for 10seconds every 60seconds)
    3. Blacksmithing ( 320 Strenght – 2 extra sockets)
    4. Jewelcrafting ( 320 Strenght – 2 320 Strenght gems instead of 2x 160 ones)
    5. Alchemy ( 320 Strenght - 1320 Strenght vs 1000 on normal flask)
    6.Inscription ( 320 Strenght – 520 Strenght on the shoulder enchant vs 200 on the normal one)
    7.Enchanting (320 Strenght – Enchant on each ring)

    Tailoring/Mining/Herbalism Are Inferior Raiding Proffesions so not worth mentioning their benefits!

    Flask Flask of Winter's Bite
    Potion Potion of Mogu Power
    Food Black Pepper Ribs and Shrimp

    Gems and Enchants




    Best In Slot Gear

    Pre-Raid Best In Slot Gear



    Our playstyle is not much different than Cataclysm. The only difference between aoeing and single target is replacing scourge strikes with blood boil . Thanks to reaping every rune used for Blood Boil is turned back to Death so we basically repeat 4x Blood boils again and again if needed! Also we now have excecute! Buts lets see more more about how to dps in detail!

    - Pop Army before the pull
    - Make sure you prepot if u are able
    -Apply diseases
    -Make sure u get dark transformation as soon and often as possible (Its buffed as i mentioned earlier to 100% extra damage so its more important than ever to keep max uptime on it)
    -Death and decay if its out of cd
    -Scourge strike
    -Festering Strike when u got FF and BB available

    About Death Coil as always make sure u dont waste Sudden Doom Procs and never waste your runic Power(take advantage on any magic damage available to use your antimagic shell to cast some extra death coils)
    Also make sure u manage your gargoyle and use it as many times possible on each fight!

    After 35% Soul Reaper becomes your highest priority and everything else comes after in same line. Remember its 6 seconds cooldown dont forget to use it everytime its off cooldown!

    Frost is pretty much working as a rotation (following are for 2handed frost which is stronger than dual wield atm):
    - Pop Army before the pull
    - Make sure you prepot if u are able
    -Apply diseases
    -Use Obliterate if killing machine is up.
    -Use Frost Strike if got too much RP
    -Use Howling Blast if rime is up
    Else just OB or FS.

    When aoeing your first priority is using howling blast and spreading your diseases(since nowdays pestilence gives 100% damage on spreaded dots) and make sure you use death and decay as well.

    After 35% Soul Reaper becomes your highest priority and everything else comes after in same line. Remember its 6 seconds cooldown dont forget to use it everytime its off cooldown!

    Interface , Addons and usefull Macros.

    A well made interface that suits yourself is a key to performing well. Make sure you can clearly see what is important , either Debuffs or Procs/buffs which will allow you to survive longer and will help yo maximize your dps! Here are some great addons which help me with those things :


    Magic Runes - Rune display
    Tellmewhen - A must have addon in my opinion. U can track your buffs,debuffs,dots,procs, cooldowns. U can move any of the just mentioned anywhere u want and make it appear at any size u want!
    Skada - Damage Meter.
    TidyPlates - Nameplate Addon.


    Pop UF and summon Gargoyle:
    /cast Unholy Frenzy
    /cast Summon Gargoyle
    Easy UF to some other DPSer :
    /cast [target=Name] Unholy Frenzy
    MouseOver Battlerez with announce in raidchat:
    #showtooltip Raise Ally
    /run SendChatMessage("Rezzing "..UnitName(SecureCmdOptionParse("[@mouseover,help]mouseover;target")),"RAID")
    /cast [@mouseover, help, dead, combat][help, dead, combat]Raise Ally
    Pop Your Cds along with ghoul as frost
    #showtooltip Pillar of Frost
    /use (u can put trinkets or gloves if u are engineer here)
    /cast Blood Fury
    /cast Pillar of Frost
    /cast Raise Dead

    My UI Screenshot :

    Last edited by Rak; 25th September 2012 at 01:37.

  2. #2


    first of all,thank you for this amazing guide,its beyond awesome!
    I have been playing dk since it came out,after reading you guide,I just have 2 questions about unholy dk that I dont understand,please enlighten me.

    1st :could you explain why death and decay is in single target dps rotation pls??
    2nd:why mastery is better than crits for unholy dk??

    thank you for sharing your awesome guide,it helps so much~~

  3. #3


    Hey thanks for taking the time to read my guide!

    About the stat priority i should have updated that , crit is better than mastery , im just too busy so havent done it yet.
    And about death and decay , it scales very well with attackpower , and o at this point our crit is very low , a non crit SS is weaker than a full duration death and decay in raiding enviroment , the difference is small but u will find some small dps increase if u add it on your rotation im sure!

  4. #4


    thank you so much for your quick reply,it absolutely helps me a lot!

    I just have 1 more question about DK spec,do you know which spec does better dps right now?? I personaly like unholy spec but be able to do better dps in raid means so everthing to me,please enlighten me once again~~ thank you so much

  5. #5


    Yeah I was kinda wondering the same thing. What sort of bosses do you think Unholy is superior on and what sort of bosses Frost? Thanks in advance.

  6. #6


    I personally love Unholy too ! Unholy for sure is better for Gara`jal and Elegon because dots are really strong . Spreading diseases on shadow world on gara`jal and dotting the energy charges(? not sure of the name!) is strong tool for the raid. Frost is strongest on Will of the emperor since on most cases DK role is dealing with the adds. Id say frost is better generally but unholy is not bad either! Pick what u prefer unless the fight really benefits one spec to another.

  7. #7


    I guess I'll have to try unholy then.. Whenever I do it just feels like I'm doing no damage at all though, all the hits are so low compared to frost.

  8. #8


    how would you evaluate DW Frost DK? I watched player Lamperouqe - Stormreaver EU on and have very good WorldOfLogs ranks and he plays DW frost DK

  9. #9


    DW frost is very strong for aoe . Soon t its gonna be "easy" possible to get 2 set bonus . Then 2hander is gonna be better on most cases!But as a more general rule is to pick your spec depending on what weapon you get your hands on and then share with your guildies next weapons! :)

  10. #10


    Thanks for the awesome guide Razie. I am planning to level my dk as an alt again now! Just a short question: which spec would you recommend for levelling? I will probably level alone doing mostly quests and some occasional dungeons. Thanks a lot
    Last edited by Makz; 5th November 2012 at 11:54.

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