Boss specific recommendations and strategy:Raid Bosses
Tier 1 (15)
Inexorable Assault - This talent is mainly used when playing the 2H Obliteration build. It synergizes very well with the general playstyle primarily focused on hard-hitting Obliterate casts and front-loaded damage during Pillar of Frost windows. However, this talent is not very useful for the Breath of Sindragosa build. The other options in this row provide more throughput and better complement the playstyle of the Breath of Sindragosa build.
Icy Talons - This talent is one of the strongest when using the Breath of Sindragosa build. It works very well with Runic Attenuation, which is always picked when using Breath of Sindragosa, as you will always have 3 stacks due to Breath of Sindragosa using Runic Power per tick. However, if you cannot maintain a high melee uptime, this talent will lose out to Cold Heart; due to Cold Heart being a solid burst of damage that can be used from range, whereas Icy Talons requires a solid melee uptime to be useful.
This talent only slightly loses out to Inexorable Assault for 2H Obliteration, as it will grant you more Killing Machine procs with the increased attack speed. However, it is currently outperformed by Inexorable Assault even when using the 4 piece set bonus Arctic Assault. This talent will slightly edge ahead of Inexorable Assault when using Dual-Wield Obliteration and should be used instead.
Cold Heart - Has been a strong talent throughout Shadowlands, and it will still remain so in 9.2. This talent has always been used for Breath of Sindragosa as it plays very well into the build and is a solid talent on its own. However, with the addition of the new 4 piece tier set bonus Arctic Assault, it will not be as far ahead as it used to be, so now it will be swapped out for Icy Talons for most scenarios.
Cold Heart as said before, is a perfect ability to use at range to counteract some melee downtime, which is still going to be the main appeal of this talent and doing solid burst damage. You will still want to use this talent for Breath of Sindragosa, but will sometimes swap it out for Icy Talons in specific circumstances. Cold Heart also has very specific timings and windows for when to use it, which I will explain in the ‘Cooldowns & How to Use Them’ section.
Tier 2 (25)
Runic Attenuation - As I mentioned in the Icy Talons section, Runic Attenuation is only used with the Breath of Sindragosa build, simply because it provides a steady flow of Runic Power for your Breath of Sindragosa windows. This talent does not see much use outside of this, though, as you do not need the additional Runic Power for the Obliteration Build, as well as this talent only being effective when Dual-Wielding.
Murderous Efficiency - This will be your best and only option when using the Obliteration build. You will have a lot of Killing Machine procs to use during your Pillar of Frost window, so this talent will gain a lot of value from the amount of procs generated, as well as providing you with enough runes to keep spending and generating more Killing Machine procs. This talent can also be used with Breath of Sindragosa, and is currently a solid performer for Breath of Sindragosa, mainly due to Rune of Hysteria giving you so much Runic Power that you do not need the additional Runic Power from Runic Attenuation anymore (this is only enabled by the 4 piece set bonus Arctic Assault).
Horn of Winter - This is the worst talent in this tier. It gives a minimal amount of resources for a 45-second cooldown and is also on the GCD, making it feel very clunky to play with. I do not recommend using this talent in any form as it is very lackluster compared to the other options in this tier.
Tier 3 (30)
Death's Reach - One of the main strengths of a Death Knights is their ability to Death Grip adds into specific positions, which can make an encounter significantly easier to overcome for your raid team. This talent just makes you able to do your job a little better by allowing you to Death Grip targets to you from a further distance. This was especially useful in Castle Nathria on multiple encounters, such as Stone Legion Generals, where you would want the extra Death Grip range to grip the Stone Legion Skirmisher's into the boss. And in Sanctum of Domination on Soulrender Dormazain, where you could grip the Mawsworn Agonizers that were further away from the rest, making it much easier to kill them off quickly for your raid team. Overall, this talent is useful and my default choice for most encounters.
Asphyxiate - You pretty much take this talent when you need a stun. I recommend taking this talent in Mythic Plus as having a ranged stun is very useful and is almost mandatory for high-level keys.
Blinding Sleet - This is a powerful crowd control option that I would recommend in most situations where you need a form of add control on multiple targets. It's beneficial in Mythic Plus as it is not only a long blind effect, but it can also stop the casts of multiple enemies, which is invaluable in dungeons with a lot of caster mobs such as Halls of Atonement. After the blind has ended or has been broken, it will also slow the affected targets, which can help your tank with kiting.
Tier 4 (35)
Avalanche - This talent has seen a lot of use in Shadowlands so far due to the amount of Rime procs provided by Abomination Limb. It is the best performer on this talent row for single target and AoE. It is still generally the best talent to choose on this row in 9.2. However, it does drop in value in aoe when playing with the Obliteration build due to the 4 set bonus Arctic Assault having better synergy with Frostscythe.
In single target/cleave encounters, this will be your default talent. Frostscythe will not be as strong in these scenarios, and Frozen Pulse is not strong enough to compete with this talent in single target.
Frozen Pulse - Sadly, this talent is poorly tuned and has not been worth using in this expansion. The main reason is poor tuning and the fact that Frost Death Knight has a lot of ways to generate Runes, so you are not able to get the full value of this talent very often. It is a passive talent and heavily favors Dual-Wield over 2H builds. With the synergy between Avalanche and Necrolord Breath of Sindragosa, this talent is sub-par in the one situations where it should excel. I do not recommend using this talent in any situation.
Frostscythe - This talent does not play very well into Breath of Sindragosa (due to its lack of Runic Power generation). It also loses a lot of value once acquiring the 4 piece set bonus Arctic Assault, as you do not need Frostscythe to apply the Razorice stacks to multiple targets anymore. So I do not recommend using this talent.
Tier 5 (40)
Permafrost - This is a great talent to take if you need extra mitigation in a low mobility fight. Sludgefist in Castle Nathria was a good example of this as you would be taking a lot of damage consistently throughout the encounter. Because you did not have to move around too much, Wraith Walk was unnecessary. I would not recommend taking Permafrost in heavy movement encounters because Wraith Walk is a much better option. The shield gained from Permafrost is not enough to warrant any downtime caused by a lack of mobility.
Wraith Walk - One of Death Knight’s main weaknesses is mobility, so this talent gives you a bit more flexibility with movement. It can also be convenient for root effects as it breaks you out of them. I recommend this talent on most encounters as it can really help with dodging mechanics or getting somewhere quickly. An excellent example of where Wraith Walk is handy is on Fatescribe Roh-Kalo, a fight that often requires you to cover some distance in a short window of time, for mechanics such as Call of Eternity and Grim Portent.
Death Pact - Generally not very useful. You are already as tanky as a Death Knight most of the time, so the other options are better. However, there are some niche scenarios where this talent can be handy. A great example of this is Sludgefist, where Spell Eater is completely useless because all of the damage you take is physical. There is also not much distance to move across, making Wraith Walk not very useful either. Another problem in this fight is that all of the damage dealt to you on Sludgefist is Environmental. Death Strike does not take that damage into account, so in a rare case like these, Death Pact is worth taking and should be used as a last resort to top yourself before taking a big hit of damage (when Sludgefist would charge into a pillar for example).
Tier 6 (45)
Gathering Storm - This talent is the best in this tier for single target and aoe. It provides a solid buff to your Remorseless Winter and works well with the Everfrost Conduit. Frost Death Knights' playstyle is based around spending as many Runes as possible during your Pillar of Frost window, so Gathering Storm works well with this playstyle.
This buff can also be refreshed while maintaining the stacks you have built up if you can keep Remorseless Winter up until it is off cooldown again. This is very doable with the Breath of Sindragosa build, as you will be generating a lot of runes from Runic Empowerment during your Breath of Sindragosa windows. Although it is much harder to pull this off when playing with the Obliteration build, it's still very strong and the best choice regardless.
Hypothermic Presence - On paper, this seems like it would be great for Breath of Sindragosa, but longer Breath of Sindragosa windows are not enough to make up for the damage you would lose by not taking Gathering Storm. This talent also has no use for the Obliteration build as you really don't need the extra Runic Power and would lose way too much damage from not taking Gathering Storm.
Glacial Advance - In 9.2, we will be getting this talent as a proc from consuming Killing Machine from our 4 set tier bonus Arctic Assault. This talent has some interactions with other talents such as Icy Talons, due to the Glacial Advances from your Arctic Assault also proccing Icy Talons stacks. On its own, this talent is not good on single target, is undertuned compared to Gathering Storm, and has never been used in Shadowlands. Now we are getting its baseline with the 4 piece set bonus, and there is no scenario where you would want to use this talent.
Tier 7 (50)
Icecap - When building around this talent, you need a lot of Haste and Crit to get the full value. This talent could see some play with the additional stats you will gain in 9.2. However, I don’t think you will gain enough for this talent to be worth using or considering. In BFA, it was only strong once you were at 40%> Crit and had a solid amount of Haste, which was only possible with the Corruption system. With this in mind, I do not recommend using this talent in any scenario as it is pretty lackluster compared to the other two options in this row.
Obliteration - This will be the centerpiece of one of the two builds going into 9.2, focusing mainly around doing as much damage as possible during Pillar of Frost. This build benefits greatly from the tier set bonus Arctic Assault due to the amount of Killing Machine procs you will trigger during your Pillar of Frost windows. This build does well in single target as well as aoe when you are playing with Frostscythe. It’s also strong in 2 target cleave scenarios when you play with Night Fae. It provides very strong burst damage on a 1-minute rotation, which is useful for fights with consistent, high-priority targets. However, it can be severely punished if you need to move away from the boss during Pillar of Frost, so keep that in mind when deciding on which build you are going to use for an encounter.
Breath of Sindragosa - The most consistent build that always performs for Frost is the Breath of Sindragosa build. It has solid single target burst and very strong aoe capabilities on a 2-minute rotation; this makes Breath of Sindragosa a very safe pick when considering what to play as a Frost Death Knight. It has been the go-to pick for the entirety of Shadowlands so far, and it is still a very solid pick in 9.2. This talent focuses on sustaining your Breath of Sindragosa for as long as you can, which requires high melee uptime. If you need to move away from the boss during Breath of Sindragosa, you will most likely not be able to keep it going and will end your Breath of Sindragosa window prematurely. It is important to understand the boss encounter, and when mechanics are coming in, so you can plan ahead and use your Breath of Sindragosa when you have a solid 20-30 seconds attacking the boss with little to no interruptions/downtime. You don’t want to hold your cooldowns for too long, of course, but pre-planning your Breath of Sindragosa before you step into a boss fight is a good idea that will help you achieve the best results with this build.