Unholy Death Knight Gearing Guide

Patch 10.2 Last Updated: 7th Nov, 2023
Kwepp Unholy Death Knight Author


In Season 3 of Dragonflight, we will be able to acquire a new tier set! This can be obtained from raid bosses in Amirdrassil, the Dreams Hope. We will also be able to craft tier pieces with the Creation Catalyst from week 1 of the season. You will want to get this tier set as it is an excellent bonus to your throughput!

Season 3 Tier Set

  • 2 Set Bonus: Apocalypse summons an additional Magus of the Dead. Your Magus of the Dead Shadow Bolt now fires a volley of Shadow Bolts at up to 4 nearby enemies.
  • 4 Set Bonus: Each Rune you spend increases the duration of your active Magi by 0.5 sec and your Magi will now also cast Amplify Damage, increasing the damage you deal by 5% for 10 sec.

2 Set Bonus Discussion

A lot of Unholy’s strength in Season 3 comes from this new tierset. Unholy’s damage comes from Magus of the Dead now, due to Summon Gargoyle and Army of the Dead being nerfed. So with these changes in mind most of your damage has been taken away from Summon Gargoyle, and instead put into Magus of the Dead.

This tierset also gives Unholy some passive cleave from Apocalypse and Army of the Dead, which makes Apocalypse a lot more valuable and important to cast in AoE/Cleave scenarios, however it is capped to 4 targets in total, so while it does give Unholy more AoE capability it won’t scale insane well when you’re doing big pulls.

4 Set Bonus Discussion

This is more of a cherry on the top and of course plays well into the 2 set bonus, the Magus of the Dead will now give you a small damage buff which is nice, but more importantly they will be extended by spending runes. Magus of the Dead is a large portion of your damage now, so you will want to extend them as much as possible without overcapping on Runic Power or overcapping on Sudden Doom procs.

Which bosses drop tier pieces?

Notable Items

Cataclysmic Signet Brand - This trinket is one of the best trinkets for single target from Smolderon in the new raid Amirdrassil, the Dreams Hope. This is a trinket that scales up in damage throughout an encounter, so for very short encounters you may not see it’s full potential (I only recommend using this trinket in raids or very high tyrannical mythic plus keys). It’s also passive which means it will synergise nicely with our other BiS trinket, Mirror of Fractured Tomorrows.

Mirror of Fractured Tomorrows: Just like the previous season, this is a very powerful 3 minute on use trinket for Unholy. Even though we have seen significant nerfs to our Summon Gargoyle  and Army of the Dead, the Mastery this trinket provides to our minions is still very strong because it’s still buffing our Magus of the Dead, which is the majority of our single target damage in Season 3. You will also be able to get this at a higher ilvl from the Mythic Plus dungeon Dawn of Infinites: Murazonds Rise, so this is a trinket you will want to make a top priority when you begin Season 3. 

When using this trinket, you will want to make sure that it will give you Mastery by making Mastery your highest secondary stat (true stat value, not percent), and use it at 20 seconds of Summon Gargoyle so you get a perfect overlap of this trinkets buff during your cooldowns.

Pip’s Emerald Friendship Badge: While Cataclysmic Signet Brand is very strong on single target encounters that last for a decent amount of time, it will lose a lot of value when you are in AoE, very short kill time encounters or in Mythic Plus scenarios. In this case you will be better off using this trinket, as it gives you a solid flow of secondary stats (only downside is that the stats you get are random and not deterministic) which is ideal for consistent cleave/AoE scenarios.

Might of the Ocean: In Mythic Plus you want to have consistent damage with fairly frequent cooldown windows. Unholy with the new tier set has a decent 1.5 minute cooldown window (with Dark Transformation, Apocalypse and Unholy Assault) so this trinket syncs up very well for these cooldowns. You will have a weaker burst with this trinket vs using a Mirror of Fractured Tomorrows, but you will have damage more frequently. This is a worthwhile trade off in Mythic Plus scenarios as you generally don’t want to have too much downtime when you’re going from pack to pack.

Accelerating Sandglass: Generally the other trinkets outshine this trinket in most scenarios, however Cataclysmic Signet Brand has a ramp up time which can make it fall behind on short raid encounters. That is where this trinket is worth using, as you will gain more benefit from this than you would from Cataclysmic Signet Brand. However, you will need to balance your Haste and Mastery in a way where your Mirror of Fractured Tomorrows will proc Mastery on the pull during Bloodlust, and then proc Haste for your next set of 3 minute cooldowns. So it’s quite niche and requires a fine balance of Haste/Mastery, but still worth mentioning.

Crafted Embellishment Gear:

Allied Wristguard of Companionship - Early on in the raid tier, these are a very solid option. Since the nerfs to other embellishments in Season 3, the stat gain embellishments gain a lot more value and will be the best options, simply because of the increased value of secondary stats this late into the expansion, as well as the nerfs to Shadowflame-Tempered Armor Patch.

Allied Chestplate of Generosity - This is going to be your second best Embellishment in Season 3. It does best in raid environments, especially when you have multiple raid members using similar embellishments. However, early on in the season you will be limited to which tier pieces you can use, and as this item is a chest piece you will not want to use this embellishment until you can get your 4 set while also using this embellishment chest piece. If you do not have 4 set without the chest tier piece, then you should use Vibrant Wildercloth Shawl with the Shadowflame-Tempered Armor Patch embellishment.

Vibrant Wildercloth Shawl with Shadowflame-Tempered Armor Patch - As mentioned before, this embellishment is not too great but it is going to be your second best Embellishment on conjunction with Allied Wristguard of Companionship early on, until you are able to get 4 set without using the tier chest piece. Once you have the 4 set without a tier chest piece, you should swap this embellishment for Allied Chestplate of Generosity instead.

Elemental Lariat - Similarly to Season 2, Lariat is mainly for AoE scenarios and only gains value once you have at least 6+ sockets in your gear. Generally I don’t recommend using this embellishment early on in the season as you won’t be able to get the max benefit out of it. This embellishment is also pretty bad for Unholy in single target, as most of your damage comes from your 3 minute burst cooldown window (Army of the Dead and Summon Gargoyle), so if it doesn’t proc during this window then it doesn’t really do much for you at all.

DISCLAIMER: The next two embellishments are currently simming very well, however they are quite inconsistent when you are taking frequent damage throughout a boss encounter. While these embellishments do give you the best damage gain when you have high uptime on the buff, the reality is that your uptime is going to greatly depend on the scenario you are in. If you are frequently dipping below 90% health, then these embellishments won’t be that worthwhile and you are better off using the more consistent options above.

Primal Molten Vambraces or Vibrant Wildercloth Shawl (with Blue Silken Linen) - This embellishment provides a lot of Mastery while you are above 90% health which can be very strong for Unholy, especially during Army of the Dead and Summon Gargoyle (due to the increased minion damage from Mastery: Dreadblade). Currently these embellishments are giving the most total throughput, however they can be quite inconsistent if you are frequently taking damage (which is typical during progression) so I generally don’t recommend using Blue Silken Linen until you are comfortable with the content you are doing, and can maintain at least 40% uptime throughout an encounter (most importantly during your cooldown windows).