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Unholy Death Knight DPS Guide (Legion 7.1.5)

Last updated on Jan 17, 2017 at 18:26 by Vlad 323 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

Welcome to our Unholy Death Knight DPS guide for World of Warcraft Legion 7.1.5. Here, you will learn everything you need to know about playing an Unholy Death Knight in a raid environment and in Mythic+ dungeons.

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Magnuss, a top Unholy Death Knight who raids in Occasional Excellence.

1. Class Overview

The Unholy specialisation currently provides excellent single target damage, as well as excellent cleave damage against 2-3 targets. It is better in this regard when compared to many other specialisations.

2. What Has Changed in Legion?

The Unholy specialisation has changed significantly from Warlords of Draenor.

  • The Rune System has been drastically simplified (there is now only one type of Rune, and Runes recharge individually).
  • Runic Corruption Icon Runic Corruption is now a passive ability, and is the only means of increasing Rune regeneration rate.
  • Presences have been removed.
  • Diseases are now replaced by a single DoT, Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague. It can only be applied/refreshed by Outbreak Icon Outbreak.
  • Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike no longer extends the duration of diseases, instead applying a new debuff called Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound.
  • Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation is now a simple 20-second buff to your pet, and has no more baseline interaction with Death Coil Icon Death Coil (though the tier 6 Shadow Infusion Icon Shadow Infusion talent causes Death Coil to reduce the cooldown of Dark Transformation).
  • Soul Reaper Icon Soul Reaper is now a talent.
  • Blood Boil and Empower Rune Weapon have been removed.

3. Patch 7.1.5 Changes

  • The spec has received many buffs across the board.
    • Many abilities and talents have had their damage increased.
    • Blighted Rune Weapon Icon Blighted Rune Weapon now affects 5 auto attacks (up from 4).
    • Dark Arbiter Icon Dark Arbiter now has a 2-minute cooldown (down from 3).
    • Necrosis Icon Necrosis damage increase raised to 40% (up from 35%).
    • Unholy Frenzy Icon Unholy Frenzy now has a 2.5-second duration (up from 2 seconds).

4. Strengths

  • Strong single target, AoE, and cleave DPS
  • Excellent damage-mitigation capabilities
  • High raid utility in the form of 1 or 2 Death Grips

5. Weaknesses

  • Low movement speed
  • A variable amount of ramp-up time before it can deal effective DPS (due to the application of Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds)
  • High preference for several specific legendary items

6. Contents

To make it easy to navigate the guide, we have split it into 9 pages:

7. ChangeLog

  • 17 Jan. 2017 (stats page): Updated the stat priorities slightly.
  • 17 Jan. 2017 (enchants page): Switched around the order in which we present the Mastery and Critical Strike recommendations to account for the fact that we consider the Mastery priority better.
  • 17 Jan. 2017 (easy mode page): Made a few updates to the page so that it accurately reflects the guide.
  • 17 Jan. 2017 (talents page): Made slight updates to some talent evaluations and added a Critical Strike talent path at the start of the page.
  • 10 Jan. 2017 (this page): Added summary of Patch 7.1.5 changes.
  • 10 Jan. 2017 (artifact page): Made a small tweak to the relic priority.
  • 10 Jan. 2017 (rotation page): Made updates to the existing rotations to bring them in line with Patch 7.1.5 changes.
  • 10 Jan. 2017 (stats page): Added a second stat priority that prefers Mastery.
  • 10 Jan. 2017 (easy mode page): Updated for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 10 Jan. 2017 (enchants page): Added Mastery gearing path as well.
  • 10 Jan. 2017 (gear page): Updated the legendary item section slightly and added the new legendaries.
  • 10 Jan. 2017 (talents page): Updated talent descriptions to account for Patch 7.1.5 changes, and re-wrote all talent discussions.
  • 16 Dec. 2016 (easy mode page): Fixed an error referring to tier 7 talents being available at level 110, instead of 100.
  • 13 Dec. 2016 (easy mode page): Added easy mode page.
  • 12 Dec. 2016 (this page): Removed two "strengths" relating to strong AoE/multiple target DPS, since this is no longer the case.
  • 12 Dec. 2016 (artifact page): Changed the relic choice priority slightly.
  • 12 Dec. 2016 (talents page): Updated most talent sections to account for the fact that, generally, one talent per each tier is now considered the best choice in all situations.
  • 12 Dec. 2016 (enchants page): Added a mention of gearing for Haste if you have 30% Critical Strike and are using the legendary wrists.
  • 12 Dec. 2016 (stats page): Updated the stat priorities are split them depending on whether or not you have the legendary wrists.
  • 12 Dec. 2016 (rotation page): Updated the guide to reflect that Soul Reaper is now the only viable tier 7 talent.
  • 11 Dec. 2016 (spells page): Page added.
  • 16 Oct. 2016 (rotation page): Added a mention about how the The Instructor's Fourth Lesson legendary bracers affect the single target rotation.
  • 16 Oct. 2016 (talents page): Updated certain aspects of the guide, particularly the All Will Serve and Unholy Frenzy talent discussions.
  • 16 Oct. 2016 (enchants page): Updated the enchants page, and removed the Clawing Shadows recommendations since Castigator is now clearly the favoured talent.
  • 16 Oct. 2016 (this page): Reworded a "strength" to no longer mention that Unholy does some of the best DPS, but simply that its DPS is strong.
  • 16 Oct. 2016 (gear page): Updated legendary ranking.
  • 16 Oct. 2016 (stats page): Slightly updated the Castigator stat priority.
  • 16 Oct. 2016 (artifact page): Added a note about how The Instructor's Fourth Lesson legendary bracers affect relic choice.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (stats page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (artifact page): Added.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (talents page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (rotation page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (this page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (gear page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (enchants page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 09 Aug. 2016 (stats page): Made a small tweak to the stat priority.
  • 03 Aug. 2016 (talents page): Updated tier 3 talent discussion to account for the nerf to Clawing Shadows.
  • 22 Jul. 2016 (this page): Added Strengths and Weaknesses.
  • 22 Jul. 2016 (rotation page): Made a clarification not to target the boss while building Runic Power before the pull for Dark Arbiter.
  • 22 Jul. 2016 (gear page): Revamped the trinket and set bonus recommendations.
  • 21 Jul. 2016 (rotation page): Removed mentions of a single target rotation using Defile (since this talent should never be taken), and added Death Coil to all the rotations.
  • 21 Jul. 2016 (talents page): Updated tier 1, 2, 6, and 7 discussions to account for encounters that last less than 1 minute, which can happen during the pre-patch.
  • 19 Jul. 2016 (stats page): Removed the different stat priorities for Dark Arbiter and Breath of Sindragosa.
  • 19 Jul. 2016 (enchants page): Removed the two separate recommendations for different talents, and instead left only one.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (this page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (stats page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (addons page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (talents page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (enchants page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (rotation page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (gear page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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