Unholy Death Knight

Patch 9.0.5

Last Updated: 16th Apr, 2021

Playstyle & Rotation

General Rotation:

  1. Maintain virulent plague on the target by casting outbreak or unholy blight. Virulent plague is under the 30% rule (pandemic), meaning that if there is 30% or less duration on the dot you can recast it and it will just overlap with the remaining time. Virulent plague last for 27 seconds so you can recast it on the target when there is 8.1 or shorter duration left on the target without wasting anything.
  2. Cast dark transformation as soon as it’s off cooldown down and since we are running Unholy pact, you want to make sure that the target you’re hitting is between you and your pet.
  3. Cast apocalypse on cooldown if you have 4 or more stacks of Festering wound on the target.
  4. Cast death coil when you have 80 or more runic power or if you have a proc of sudden doom to make sure you aren't over-capping on runic power.
  5. Cast scourge strike or clawing shadows (if talented) if you have 1 or more festering wound on your target.
  6. If you have 0 festering wound stacks on the target use festering strike.
  7. Cast death coil.


  1. Cast army of the dead 2 sec before pull 
  2. Unholy blight
  3. Dark transformation
  4. Festering strike
  5. Festering strike
  6. Apocalypse
  7. Scourge strike or clawing shadows if talented
  8. Death coil
  9. Death coil


  1. Army of the dead 2 seconds before pull
  2. Unholy blight or outbreak if bursting spores is talented
  3. Dark transformation
  4. epidemic
  5. Festering strike
  6. Festering strike
  7. Apocalypse
  8. Festering strike
  9. Epidemic
  10. Festering strike
  11. Epidemic
  12. Epidemic
  13. Epidemic
  14. Epidemic
  15. Festering strike
  16. Epidemic
  17. Death and decay


Cooldown management

Unholy Death Knight has a lot of small cooldowns and two strong cooldowns, army of the dead and apocalypse. Because of this, it's important to get as many uses of them as possible. However, if the fight is shorter than roughly 6 minutes, which means you won't get a second use of army of the dead, then you would want to hold that cooldown for bloodlust instead to get the most damage out of it.

Your Unholy blight is 45 seconds and dark transformation is 1 minute which means they only line up every third time you cast dark transformation. Because of this, it can be worth holding onto Unholy blight until your dark transformation is ready.

Clawing shadows vs all will serve

For straight-up damage, all will serve would provide you with the highest damage output. However, since we don't always have 100% uptime on the bosses, clawing shadows would be a possibility as Death Knight struggles when it comes to movement. In order to always be hitting the boss, you can pre-plan the movement and use a few extra festering strikes, enabling the use of clawing shadows while running out and dealing with the mechanics.


Unholy actually has great defensives, so in most scenarios, they have an ability to deal with the mechanics. If you are about to take a big magic damage hit, make sure to use Anti magic shell or even Anti magic zone for the entire raid. Your second option is icebound fortitude for any further damage. If all of those are on cooldown and you aren't full health, use either healthstone or a health potion.

If all of the above is either used or on cooldown, we do have the option to use death strike, which isn't the greatest since it's a damage loss, but a dead DPS does no DPS.