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Unholy Death Knight DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents (Legion 7.0.3)

Last updated on Jul 21, 2016 at 09:48 by Vlad 88 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Unholy Death Knights in World of Warcraft Legion 7.0.3. We detail what each of the talents do and in which situations they should be taken.

The other pages of our Unholy 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 Tegu, one of the best DPS Death Knights in the world, who raids in Serenity. You can follow him on Twitter, and you can watch his stream on Twitch.

1. Talent Choices

Level Choices
56 All Will Serve ? All Will Serve Bursting Sores Bursting Sores Ebon Fever Ebon Fever
57 Epidemic Epidemic Pestilent Pustules Pestilent Pustules Blighted Rune Weapon Blighted Rune Weapon
58 Unholy Frenzy Unholy Frenzy Castigator Castigator Clawing Shadows Clawing Shadows
60 Sludge Belcher Sludge Belcher Asphyxiate ? Asphyxiate Debilitating Infestation Debilitating Infestation
75 Spell Eater ? Spell Eater Corpse Shield ? Corpse Shield Lingering Apparition ? Lingering Apparition
90 Shadow Infusion Shadow Infusion Necrosis Necrosis Infected Claws Infected Claws
100 Dark Arbiter Dark Arbiter Defile Defile Soul Reaper Soul Reaper

Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city).

2. Tier 1 (Level 56) Talents

All Will Serve ? All Will Serve Bursting Sores Bursting Sores Ebon Fever Ebon Fever
  • All Will Serve Icon All Will Serve causes Raise Dead Icon Raise Dead to summon a skeletal minion in addition to the ghoul, and it also removes Raise Dead's cooldown. The skeletal minion lasts indefinitely and it uses a ranged attack against your target.
  • Bursting Sores Icon Bursting Sores increases the damage of bursting Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound by 50%, and also causes all enemies within 8 yards of a burst Festering Wound to take Shadow damage.
  • Ebon Fever Icon Ebon Fever passively reduces the duration of Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague by 50% while retaining its overall damage done.

Currently, Ebon Fever Icon Ebon Fever is the recommended choice against a single target and for AoE damage.

Bursting Sores Icon Bursting Sores should be taken for single target burst if the boss will die within 1 minute, in which case it should be combined with Blighted Rune Weapon Icon Blighted Rune Weapon (tier 2) and Infected Claws Icon Infected Claws (tier 6).

All Will Serve Icon All Will Serve is slightly behind both other choices.

3. Tier 2 (Level 57) Talents

Epidemic Epidemic Pestilent Pustules Pestilent Pustules Blighted Rune Weapon Blighted Rune Weapon
  • Epidemic Icon Epidemic is an active ability with 3 charges and a 10-second recharge time. When used, it causes all instances of your Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague (within 100 yards) to deal Shadow damage to the affected enemy, as well as a small amount of additional Shadow damage to all other enemies around them.
  • Pestilent Pustules Icon Pestilent Pustules causes you to gain 1 Rune for every 6th Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound you burst.
  • Blighted Rune Weapon Icon Blighted Rune Weapon is an active ability with a 1-minute cooldown, which causes your next 4 auto attacks to infect the target with 2 stacks of Festering Wound each.

For single target damage, we recommend Pestilent Pustules Icon Pestilent Pustules. Blighted Rune Weapon Icon Blighted Rune Weapon should be used for single target damage if the boss is going to die within 1 minute, in which case it works best combined with Bursting Sores Icon Bursting Sores (tier 1) and Infected Claws Icon Infected Claws (tier 6).

For AoE damage, Epidemic Icon Epidemic is a clear winner. It also allows you to generate some Runic Power before the pull, which you can then use with Dark Arbiter Icon Dark Arbiter.

4. Tier 3 (Level 58) Talents

Unholy Frenzy Unholy Frenzy Castigator Castigator Clawing Shadows Clawing Shadows

The best choice in this tier, by far, is Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows. Not only does it win in terms of DPS (also being affected by your Mastery), but it also greatly improves your versatility by allowing you to deal damage even when you are out of melee range of the target.

Neither Unholy Frenzy Icon Unholy Frenzy nor Castigator Icon Castigator are anywhere near good enough to compete with Clawing Shadows at the moment.

5. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Sludge Belcher Sludge Belcher Asphyxiate ? Asphyxiate Debilitating Infestation Debilitating Infestation
  • Sludge Belcher Icon Sludge Belcher causes Raise Dead Icon Raise Dead to now summon an abomination instead of a ghoul. The Abomination has similar abilities to the ghoul, with the notable difference being that its Hook Icon Hook, which it can use to pull a target to it and immobilise it for 2 seconds (the latter part only during Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation).
  • Asphyxiate Icon Asphyxiate is a single-target, 5-second stun with a 45-second cooldown.
  • Debilitating Infestation Icon Debilitating Infestation causes Outbreak Icon Outbreak to reduce the movement speed of affected targets by 50% for 3 seconds.

None of the talents in this tier improve your DPS, but they still have a lot of potential usefulness. We recommend taking Sludge Belcher Icon Sludge Belcher as a default talent, as this provides you with good utility (in the Hook Icon Hook) and increases the damage reduction of your pet.

Alternatively, Asphyxiate Icon Asphyxiate could have some uses in dungeons, especially in Mythic dungeons.

Debilitating Infestation Icon Debilitating Infestation is generally regarded as sub-optimal, and there are many other classes who can slow targets more efficiently.

6. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

Spell Eater ? Spell Eater Corpse Shield ? Corpse Shield Lingering Apparition ? Lingering Apparition
  • Spell Eater Icon Spell Eater increases the absorption capacity of Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell by 20%, and extends its duration by 5 seconds.
  • Corpse Shield Icon Corpse Shield is an active ability with a 1-minute cooldown and 10-second duration. During this time, 90% of all damage you take is redirected to your ghoul. If the ghoul dies while Corpse Shield is active, then you cannot resummon it for 30 seconds.
  • Lingering Apparition Icon Lingering Apparition increases your movement speed during Wraith Walk Icon Wraith Walk by 30%, and reduces the cooldown of Wraith Walk by 15 seconds.

The talents in this tier do not increase your DPS either, but they can provide you with great benefits during raid encounters. They are quite situational, so you will have to choose based on the requirements of the fight.

Spell Eater Icon Spell Eater is the preferred choice in fights with large amounts of magic damage, allowing you to survive if you make a mistake, to soak the damage of certain abilities, or to avoid certain mechanics altogether.

Corpse Shield Icon Corpse Shield could be used to help you survive mechanics that should otherwise kill you, and can generally provide a good damage reduction (provided that you pair it with the Ghoul's Huddle Icon Huddle, or with the Sludge Belcher's Protective Bile Icon Protective Bile, if you have taken this tier 4 talent).

Finally, Lingering Apparition Icon Lingering Apparition increases your mobility, which is always a good benefit to have.

7. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Shadow Infusion Shadow Infusion Necrosis Necrosis Infected Claws Infected Claws

For both single target and AoE damage, we recommend using Shadow Infusion Icon Shadow Infusion. Infected Claws Icon Infected Claws should be picked if the boss is going to die within 1 minute, since in that timeframe you will not be able to use a second Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation.

We do not currently recommend Necrosis Icon Necrosis, mostly because the DPS increase is not competitive with the other two talents in this tier, but also because its usage does not fit the Unholy playstyle in terms of rotation.

8. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Dark Arbiter Dark Arbiter Defile Defile Soul Reaper Soul Reaper
  • Dark Arbiter Icon Dark Arbiter replaces Summon Gargoyle Icon Summon Gargoyle. Instead of a Gargoyle, the ability summons a Val'kyr to fight by your side for 15 seconds. For every 1 Runic Power you spend, the Val'kyr will gain 1% increased damage.
  • Defile Icon Defile replaces Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay. With every tick, the Defile area of effect will increase if there are any enemies standing in it. Moreover, each time this happens, your Mastery is increased by, stacking up to 10 times. Finally, your Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike gains a cleaving effect while you are in your own Defile.
  • Soul Reaper Icon Soul Reaper is an active ability with a 45-second cooldown. It deals Shadow damage to the target, and debuffs them with Soul Reaper for 5 seconds. During this time, bursting a Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound on them grants you 7% Haste for 15 seconds, an effect which can stack up to 3 times.

The best choice in this tier, provided that you have the legendary ring, is Dark Arbiter Icon Dark Arbiter, in all situations.

Soul Reaper Icon Soul Reaper can be taken instead of Dark Arbiter if you lack the legendary ring and if the boss encounter would last longer than just one use of Dark Arbiter.

Defile Icon Defile is currently undertuned to where it is nowhere near to Dark Arbiter in terms of single target DPS gain, and against multiple targets it barely does more damage than Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay.

9. ChangeLog

  • 21 Jul. 2016: 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.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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