Unholy Death Knight

Patch 8.2.5

Written by Miniaug Last Updated: 15th Nov, 2019

Azerite Traits

Azerite traits

Festermight: This is by far the best trait for Unholy DK in Battle for Azeroth for both Single Target and AoE! It gains insane value in combination with Infected Claws. Get as many of this as you can, even dropping item level for it can be acceptable in certain situations.

Undulating Tides: An extremely good trait with a very harsh downside. The only reason it is this high on the list is that it does a lot of damage and is a hasted rppm trait. With Unholy stacking haste, it can be very good during lust as long as you do not go below 50% hp. Unholy has a lot of ways to stay above 50% but it really isn’t worth the effort as this trait is only found on 1 piece with Festermight. I recommend not using this and trying to get the Kraken Shell Pauldrons from the residuum vendor.

Magus of the Dead: A solid Single Target option that spawns when you use Apocalypse and Army of the Dead so it is extremely good with Festermight.

Loyal to the End: A trait that is exclusively good on AoE for Unholy. The only reasonable use for this trait in The Eternal Palace is on Orgozoa, however there are no pieces with Festermight and Loyal to the End, so it would only see use if you don’t have Festermight and Magus of the Dead pieces.

Helchains: A decent AoE option but out-scaled by Festermight.

Harrowing Decay: Single Target only. Quite a weak option you generally want to avoid this trait.

Cankerous Wounds: Single Target only. Also a weak option that should be avoided.

Bone Spike Graveyard: AoE Trait that should be avoided at all cost. Very weak.

Last Surprise: A very hard trait to play around. Adds a lot of complexity to the spec with a not so great payoff.

Arcane Heart: Pretty much a useless trait since every piece this trait is on has better alternatives.

Azerite rotation changes


Be more conscious about your wounds and when to pop them. As Festermight has a static 20s duration that cannot be extended, you need to be careful not to pop wounds and/or cooldowns like Apocalypse at the very end of a Festermight window. Generally you want to pool wounds and runes to make sure you can start your next Festermight window strong.

Bone Spike Graveyard

Use Death and Decay on Single Target if you are using this trait


Be mindful of your positioning in relation to your pet and the enemies when using this Trait. You want to hit as many enemies as possible with the chain.

Last Surprise

When using this trait your Apocalypse also becomes an AoE cooldown so you might want to think about delaying it so the ghoul explosions will hit the maximum amount of enemies.

Recommended Azerite Traits

3x Festermight is mandatory for every situation.

For Single Target

Magus of the Dead / Undulating Tides on shoulders if you’re feeling risky.

For AoE

Helchains is an acceptable replacement for the above 2 traits on multi target fights if you do not have those 2. If you have them, don’t replace them. If you don’t have Helchains, stat proc traits are also good for AoE.

Azerite Essences


Condensed Life-Force

Condensed Life-Force: Overall your best essence as Unholy. It is extremely good and used in pretty much all situations in raiding unless you are trying to do extreme AoE burst with Infected Claws and Bursting Sores. You should always line this up with Unholy Frenzy as Condensed Life-Force has a 30 second duration so the cooldowns always line up well.

Blood of the Enemy

Blood of the Enemy: This essence is generally used when you want to burst something down, which happens to work extremely well with the Infected Claws and Bursting Sores build. This essence is mostly used in Mythic+ and for padding in raid. 

Essence of the Focusing Iris

Essence of the Focusing Iris: A decent alternative for raid AoE situations while you are not playing Infected Claws and Bursting Sores. Za’qul is a good example of this essence being extremely useful if your raid does not have enough passive AoE to cleave down the adds and you need an emergency AoE ability.


Memory of Lucid Dreams

Memory of Lucid Dreams: You always take this as it refunds full runes when it procs. This just increases your ability usage throughout the fight.

Essence of the Focusing Iris

Essence of the Focusing Iris: As this is basically passive haste, this is extremely good as your best stat is haste.

Purification Protocol

Purification Protocol: This generally is only used in Mythic+ as it is meant for AoE situations only, but it can have its uses in raids. 


Major: Condensed Life Force

Minor: Memory of Lucid Dreams / Essence of the Focusing Iris


Major: If you are playing Infected Claws and Bursting Sores, Blood of the Enemy is best. If you are playing a standard build, play Condensed-Life Force.

Minor: Memory of Lucid Dreams / Purification Protocol

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Charts (Bloodmallet)

Azerite Traits

Tier 3 & 4


Tier 2


Tier 3 & 4


Tier 2



Tier 3 & 4


Tier 3 & 4