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Frost Death Knight DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents (Legion 7.1)

Last updated on Oct 27, 2016 at 20:00 by Vlad 280 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Frost Death Knights in World of Warcraft Legion 7.1. We detail what each of the talents do and in which situations they should be taken.

The other pages of our Frost Death Knight guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Totemlord, a Frost Death Knight enthusiast and respected theorycrafter on the Frost Death Knight Discord. You can contact him on Discord under the name Nic#9561.

1. Talent Choices

Level Choices
56 Shattering Strikes Shattering Strikes Icy Talons Icy Talons Murderous Efficiency Murderous Efficiency
57 Freezing Fog Freezing Fog Frozen Pulse Frozen Pulse Horn of Winter Horn of Winter
58 Icecap ? Icecap Hungering Rune Weapon Hungering Rune Weapon Avalanche Avalanche
60 Abomination's Might Abomination's Might Blinding Sleet ? Blinding Sleet Winter is Coming ? Winter is Coming
75 Volatile Shielding ? Volatile Shielding Permafrost ? Permafrost White Walker ? White Walker
90 Frostscythe Frostscythe Runic Attenuation Runic Attenuation Gathering Storm Gathering Storm
100 Obliteration Obliteration Breath of Sindragosa Breath of Sindragosa Glacial Advance Glacial Advance

Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind Icon Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind Icon Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

2. Tier 1 (Level 56) Talents

Shattering Strikes Shattering Strikes Icy Talons Icy Talons Murderous Efficiency Murderous Efficiency
  • Shattering Strikes Icon Shattering Strikes causes Frost Strike Icon Frost Strike to deal 40% additional damage to a target that has 5 stacks of Razorice (from Rune of Razorice Icon Rune of Razorice) on them, removing the stacks in the process.
  • Icy Talons Icon Icy Talons causes Frost Strike Icon Frost Strike to increase your melee attack speed by 10% for 6 seconds, stacking up to 3 times (the attack speed increase stacks, but the duration cannot be greater than 6 seconds, with each new applications simply refreshing it).
  • Murderous Efficiency Icon Murderous Efficiency gives you 50% chance to gain 1 Rune each time you use up a Killing Machine Icon Killing Machine proc.

Currently, Icy Talons Icon Icy Talons is the only choice worth considering in this tier.

3. Tier 2 (Level 57) Talents

Freezing Fog Freezing Fog Frozen Pulse Frozen Pulse Horn of Winter Horn of Winter
  • Freezing Fog Icon Freezing Fog passively increases the damage of Howling Blast Icon Howling Blast and Frost Fever Icon Frost Fever by 25%.
  • Frozen Pulse Icon Frozen Pulse causes your auto attacks to trigger a pulse of Frost damage on all nearby enemies whenever you have fewer than 2 full Runes.
  • Horn of Winter Icon Horn of Winter is an active ability with a 30-second cooldown that grants you 2 Rune and 10 Runic Power when used.

Currently, Frozen Pulse Icon Frozen Pulse is the only choice worth considering in this tier.

4. Tier 3 (Level 58) Talents

Icecap ? Icecap Hungering Rune Weapon Hungering Rune Weapon Avalanche Avalanche

In this tier, Avalanche Icon Avalanche is a very strong choice for both single target and AoE DPS, and it is the recommended choice for raiding.

For Mythic+ dungeons, we recommend taking Icecap Icon Icecap (in great part so that you can stun enemies regularly thanks to the Winter is Coming Icon Winter is Coming tier 4 talent).

Hungering Rune Weapon Icon Hungering Rune Weapon is not currently viable.

5. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Abomination's Might Abomination's Might Blinding Sleet ? Blinding Sleet Winter is Coming ? Winter is Coming
  • Abomination's Might Icon Abomination's Might causes your Obliterate Icon Obliterate critical strikes to have a chance to stun lesser enemies (not raid bosses) for 2 seconds. Players are instead Dazed for 5 seconds.
  • Blinding Sleet Icon Blinding Sleet is an active ability with a 1-minute cooldown. It is a frontal cone attack that causes affected targets to be disoriented for 4 seconds. Damaging disoriented targets may cancel the effect.
  • Winter is Coming Icon Winter is Coming causes enemies who are struck 5 times by Remorseless Winter Icon Remorseless Winter while Pillar of Frost Icon Pillar of Frost is active to be stunned for 4 seconds.

The talents in this tier provide no increase in DPS, and you should just choose the one that satisfies the crowd-control requirements of your circumstances.

That said, Blinding Sleet Icon Blinding Sleet will probably be the most useful choice, especially in dungeons where you can interrupt multiple enemies. Unfortunately, Winter is Coming Icon Winter is Coming requires Pillar of Frost Icon Pillar of Frost to be active for it to work, which is a disadvantage (though it works well if you take the Icecap Icon Icecap tier 3 talent). Abomination's Might Icon Abomination's Might is unlikely to be able to compete with Blinding Sleet in anything other than solo play.

6. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

Volatile Shielding ? Volatile Shielding Permafrost ? Permafrost White Walker ? White Walker
  • Volatile Shielding Icon Volatile Shielding modifies your Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell to no longer provide Runic Power, but to instead absorb 35% more damage. When Anti-Magic Shell expires, 25% of all the damage it has absorbed is dealt as Arcane damage divided among nearby enemies.
  • Permafrost Icon Permafrost procs each time you deal damage with an auto attack, granting you a 9-second absorb shield equal to 30% of the damage dealt. The absorption amount stacks up to 20% of your maximum health, but the duration cannot be increased beyond 9 seconds, with subsequent attacks simply refreshing it.
  • White Walker Icon White Walker causes you to take 20% reduced damage while Wraith Walk Icon Wraith Walk is active, and also causes entering and leaving Wrath Walk to slow nearby enemies by 50% for 3 seconds.

None of these talents provide a DPS increase (not even Volatile Shielding Icon Volatile Shielding, where the loss of Runic Power gain outvalues the damage the talent deals), and you should instead choose them based on which one will prove most helpful to your survivability during the current encounter.

If you can absorb damage consistently throughout the duration of an encounter, Permafrost Icon Permafrost can be an interesting choice.

7. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Frostscythe Frostscythe Runic Attenuation Runic Attenuation Gathering Storm Gathering Storm
  • Frostscythe Icon Frostscythe is an active ability that costs 1 Rune and deals Frost damage to all enemies in front of you. It benefits from Killing Machine Icon Killing Machine in the same way that Obliterate Icon Obliterate does, and Frostscythe critical strikes deal 4 times normal damage.
  • Runic Attenuation Icon Runic Attenuation causes each auto attack to generate 1 Runic Power.
  • Gathering Storm Icon Gathering Storm causes each Rune you spend during Remorseless Winter Icon Remorseless Winter to increase its damage by 10% and extend its duration by 0.5 seconds.

Against a single target as well when cleaving few targets for short amounts of time, Runic Attenuation Icon Runic Attenuation is the best choice.

When cleaving 4+ targets for periods of 8+ seconds (approximately), Frostscythe Icon Frostscythe is a better choice. Note that your rotation will change drastically depending on these two situations, which is explained on the rotation page.

8. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Obliteration Obliteration Breath of Sindragosa Breath of Sindragosa Glacial Advance Glacial Advance
  • Obliteration Icon Obliteration is an active ability with a 1.5-minute cooldown. For 8 seconds, every Frost Strike Icon Frost Strike hit triggers Killing Machine Icon Killing Machine, and Obliterate Icon Obliterate costs 1 less Rune.
  • Breath of Sindragosa Icon Breath of Sindragosa is an active ability with a 2-minute cooldown, which costs 12 Runic Power for each second that it is active (until canceled or until you run out of Runic Power). It is a frontal cone attack, which deals Shadowfrost damage to all enemies in front of you.
  • Glacial Advance Icon Glacial Advance is an active ability with a 15-second cooldown that causes spikes to come out from the ground in front of you, dealing Frost damage to enemies near their point of eruption.

Against a single target as well when cleaving few targets for short amounts of time, Obliteration Icon Obliteration is the best choice.

When cleaving 4+ targets for periods of 8+ seconds (approximately), Glacial Advance Icon Glacial Advance is a better choice. Note that your rotation will change drastically depending on these two situations, which is explained on the rotation page.

9. ChangeLog

  • 27 Oct. 2016: Updated tier 6 and 7 talent recommendations to account for a non machine gun playstyle now also being viable.
  • 24 Oct. 2016: Updated the description of Frozen Pulse to account for patch 7.1 changes.
  • 05 Oct. 2016: Updated the tier 3 talent discussion to state that Avalanche is best for raiding, while Icecap is recommended for Mythic+ dungeons.
  • 25 Sep. 2016: Further updated the page to account for the prevalence of the Machine Gun rotation.
  • 24 Sep. 2016: Added a mention of taking Icy Talons for the Machine Gun rotation.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 21 Jul. 2016: Updated tier 1 and 2 talent discussions.
  • 19 Jul. 2016: Changed the evaluation of Icy Talons to include the possible situation where Murderous Efficiency results in you having too many resources, in which case Icy Talons could be a viable replacement.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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