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Upcoming Death Knight Changes on the Dragonflight Alpha: August 19th

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Blizzard shared some changes they plan to implement for the Death Knight Class and Unholy trees in next week's Dragonflight build.

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Hello Death Knights,

We’ve got an info drop for you. Here’s what we’ve been working on, and what you can expect to see in the next Alpha build for both the Class and Unholy trees.

Class Talents

In an effort to further increase choice, we’ve updated some talent positions, added two additional connections from Might of Thassarian and Merciless Strikes toward the center section of the class tree, reduced 3 rank talents to 2, and updated the lead-in talent to Abomination Limb with a throughput talent.

The following changes are not everything you’re going to see in the next build. Rather, these are highlights of the bigger changes (and a few more-subtle position changes with existing talent nodes).

Rune Mastery

  • Max ranks increased to 2, up from 1.
  • Now leads into Abomination Limb (replacing Improved Death Strike).

Icy Talons

  • Max ranks reduced to 2, down from 3.

Unholy Bond

  • Max ranks reduced to 2, down from 3.

Unholy Endurance

  • New talent: Increases Lichborne duration by 2 sec and while active damage taken is reduced by 15%.

Death Pact

  • Now has a new connection from Might of Thassarian


  • Now has a new connection from Merciless Strikes.

Clenching Grasp

  • New talent: Death Grip slows enemy movement speed by 50% for 6 sec.

Improved Death Strike

  • Max ranks reduced to 1, down from 3.
  • Now available much earlier in the tree.

Here is a look at the updated tree with the new structure:



As we mentioned previously, we have updates to both the baseline and talent tree for Unholy. These will be available in the next Alpha update. The baseline changes focus on helping reduce the cooldown desync as well as baking in existing talents to help the flow and feel of the spec. Additionally, the Unholy tree itself experienced substantial iteration and has been mostly redesigned and restructured with 11 new talents.

Below is a list of changes previously mentioned, as well as new talents. The below list does not document each individual restructuring of existing talents, as that’s quite substantial, but we do have a screenshot of the tree below to help contextualize what can be expected.


Death Coil

  • Runic Power cost reduced to 30, down from 40.


  • Damage increased by 20%

Scourge Strike/Clawing Shadows

  • Damage increased 20%



  • All 3 max rank talents have been reduced to max 2 rank (where applicable)

Deadly Coil

  • Cut

Unholy Command

  • No longer reduces the CD of Dark Transformation when dealing damage with Death Coil
  • Now reduces the cooldown of Dark Transformation by 8/15 seconds.

Army of the Damned

  • Now reduces the cooldown of Apocalypse by 45 seconds (No longer reduced by Death Coil)
    • Death Coil still reduces the cooldown of Army of the Dead
  • No longer summons a Magus of the Dead when Apocalypse or Army of the Dead are cast

Summon Gargoyle

  • Duration reduced to 30s, down from 35s
  • Now gains 1% damage per 1 runic power spent (down from 1% per 2 runic power)
    • At first read this can be confusing but it is a buff to the damage ramp for Gargoyle.

Improved Scourge Strike – Increases the damage of Scourge Strike by 10/20%

  • Cut

New Talent – Feasting Strikes: Festering Strike and Scourge Strike/Clawing Shadows have 15% chance to generate 1 Rune.

New Talent – Runic Mastery: Increases Maximum Runic Power by 10/20.

New Talent – Plaguebringer: Scourge Strike causes your disease damage to occur 150% more quickly for 5 sec.

New Talent – Magus of the Dead: Apocalypse and Army of the Dead also summon a Magus of the Dead who hurls Frostbolts and Shadow Bolts at your foes.

  • Magus of the Dead’s Shadow Bolt damage increased by 20%.
  • Magus of the Dead’s Frostbolt damage increased by 10%
  • Magus of the Dead’s Frostbolt slow duration increased to 6 sec and 60% slow (up from 4 seconds and 50%)

New Talent – Ruptured Viscera: When your ghouls expire, they explode in viscera dealing Shadow damage to nearby enemies.

New Talent – Commander of the Dead: Dark Transformation also empowers your Gargoyle and Army of the Dead for 30 seconds, increasing their damage by 40%.

New Talent – Eternal Agony: Death Coil increases the duration of Dark Transformation by 1 sec.

New Talent – Coil of Devastation: Death Coil causes the target to take an additional 35% of the direct damage dealt over 4 sec.

New Talent – Rotten Touch: Sudden Doom causes your next Death Coil to also increase your Scourge Strike damage against the target by 30% for 6 sec.

[NYI] New Talent - Plaguebearer: Inflict disease upon your enemies spreading Festering Wounds equal to the amount currently active on your target to 8 nearby enemies (45s cooldown, 30 Runic Power).

  • This ability may not make it into the next Alpha build.

New Talent – Superstrain: Your Virulent Plague also applies Frost Fever and Blood Plague.

  • Currently grants full effectiveness for the other diseases. Tuning is always likely to change in future builds.
  • Please note: Morbidity will now also scale damage from FF and BP because of this the damage per rank has been reduced.

The new and updated Unholy tree looks like this:


Thank you very much for all of your discussion and feedback.

We look forward to hearing more from you about the updated trees.

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I like being able to use apocalypse often with the convocation of the dead conduit and the current army of the damned talent of SL, sad to see it likely won't be making its way into the talent tree in any way if they're trying to keep CDs synced. On the bright side, possible that ToS unholy will make a comeback.

Kinda wish they'd just get rid of superstrain and bring back necrotic plague.

Edited by Q

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