Unholy Death Knight

Patch 8.3

Written by Miniaug Last Updated: 4th Mar, 2020

Recommended Talents

Recommended Raiding Build

Recommended Mythic+ Build

Bursting Sores + Epidemic

All around good and versatile AoE

Bursting Sores + Pestilence

Only use Pestilence in case of extremely big AoE Pulls.

Boss specific recommendations and strategy:

Raid Bosses

Talents Discussion

Tier 1 (15)

Infected ClawsPassive
All Will ServePassive
Clawing ShadowsInstant

Infected Claws: Increases your wound generation significantly. During Dark Transformation the pet will apply festering wounds to all targets in front of it. Especially powerful in combination with Bursting Sores and 3x Festermight.

All Will Serve: The best single target option in this row. The skeletal minion also has an AoE component in the form of Skulker Shot.

Clawing Shadows: Worse in single target situations than All Will Serve and worse for AoE Situations than Infected Claws. Its only redeeming factor is the 30yd range which could potentially find use in a raid encounter which requires it.

Generally pick All Will Serve for Single Target and most Raid encounters. Infected Claws becomes the pick in Mythic+ and AoE Encounters and gains a lot of value from Festermight Trait stacking and choosing the talent Bursting Sores.

Tier 2 (30)

Bursting SoresPassive
Ebon FeverPassive
Unholy BlightInstant

Bursting Sores: Causes your wounds to trigger a secondary explosion to all other targets when burst. Quite small single target DPS increase, however, this talent has insane potential when paired up with Infected Claws and massive AoE Scenarios.

Ebon Fever: Increases DPS of your DoT Virulent Plague. You do not actually need to press outbreak twice as often when picking this talent to apply the disease, as the 6 second duration of outbreak stays unaffected.

Unholy Blight: 45s Cooldown that applies an additional dot to all targets around you for 6s that does not synergise with your other spells. Generally never picked.

Almost any raiding situation you would want to run Ebon Fever for the increased Single Target DPS. Almost every single M+ situation you will want to run Bursting Sores. Unholy Blight is never used.

Tier 3 (45)

Grip of the DeadPassive
Death's ReachPassive

Grip of the Dead: Very potent AoE Slow which decays over time. The fact that the slow is tied to your Death and Decay makes it a good talent to ensure that the targets you want to hit will stay in or near your Death and Decay. You cannot really use the slow for other purposes, such as on demand kite utility, as you need Death and Decay to deal your damage.

Death's Reach: Decent range increase on Death Grip, generally more of a Leveling Talent, although it can have uses in raid encounters where grip is useful. A prime example of this was Mythrax in Uldir and Za’qul in The Eternal Palace.

Asphyxiate: 4s stun on a 45s cooldown with 20yd range. Still strictly inferior to a lot of other classes' stun like Hammer of Justice or Between the Eyes but it's our option and is usually the default pick for Mythic+.

Very situational row, pick based on what the raid encounter or the dungeon needs. If there is a lot of AoE and your tank likes to kite enemies out of your Death and Decay pick Grip of the Dead to counter him!

Tier 4 (60)

Pestilent PustulesPassive
Harbinger of DoomPassive
Soul ReaperInstant

Pestilent Pustules: Slightly behind Soulreaper on Single Target. If you play a wound heavy build especially for Mythic+ then this talent gains a lot of value over the static 2 wounds that Soulreaper provides and becomes the best talent.

Harbringer of Doom: This used to be an Artifact Trait during Legion and synergised well with the then-used Dark Arbiter Playstyle. Currently Gargoyle is not a favorable pick so this talent is not a good choice.

Soulreaper: The DoT it applies is pretty weak, but the talent is mainly picked for the 2 runes it generates on use. Our best single target option.

Tier 5 (75)

Spell EaterPassive
Wraith WalkChanneled
Death PactInstant

Spell Eater: Improves Anti-Magic Shell further. Interesting when there are abilities that you can immune and you need the extra 5 seconds duration. Anti-Magic Shell is already a very powerful ability against Magic Attacks - this talent is in many situations simply overkill and you would be better suited with one of the other two options.

Wraith Walk: A movement option that is on the GCD. In many encounters we are forced to pick this due to our extremely low mobility.

Death Pact: A good panic button that can be used in combination with Death Strike to fully heal yourself.

Tier 6 (90)


Pestilence: The seemingly endless potential of this talent in combination with Bursting Sores is curbed by the fact that there is a hard cap of 10 wounds per use of Death and Decay that can be generated with Pestilence. Still a decent option for massive AoE Pulls as the additional Wounds do not take GCDs to generate to do their damage.

Defile: A replacement of Death and Decay that makes it grow when it hit enemies. Also the lower cooldown can be useful in prolonged cleave situations. Generally outperformed by the two other options.

Epidemic: A runic power spender that does AoE damage to all targets affected by your Virulent Plague. A very nice button to press in AoE situations and generally your favored pick in this row.

Tier 7 (100)

Army of the DamnedPassive
Unholy FrenzyInstant
Summon GargoyleInstant

Army of the Damned: Cooldown Reduction for Army of the Dead and Apocalypse. Mainly a single target oriented talent that is extremely dependent on fight timings.

Unholy Frenzy: Our best talent in this row for every situation. Gives us an additional cooldown that grants haste and additional wounds on a low but weird 1:15 cooldown. Pick this talent every time!

Summon Gargoyle: A former shell of the Legion version (Dark Arbiter). A purely single target oriented option that gets outperformed by Unholy Frenzy by quite the large margin.

This talent choice is easy. Unholy Frenzy 100% of the time in both raids and M+.