WotLK Classic Frost Death Knight Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities
On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Frost Death Knight in both single-target and multiple-target PvE situations in WotLK Classic. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS.
Rotation for Frost Death Knight in WotLK Classic
If you have not already, please read the Spell Summary page. Knowing how each spell and ability works in detail will greatly increase your understanding of the topics discussed on this page.
Frost Death Knights are one of the strongest melee DPS in the entire game. The amazing buffs that they bring to any group and the utility they have with powerful abilities such as Death Grip, along with the massive amount of damage they can do, puts them in contention for being the among the best DPS melee class.
This guide assumes you are using the talent build that can be found on our talents page and are playing a max-level character. If you are looking for leveling-based help please refer to leveling page for a leveling-specific rotation, or our Pre-Patch guide for advice at Level 70.
AoE DPSing as a Frost Death Knight is extremely simple. Your main focus is to maintain your Frost Fever and Blood Plague diseases on as many enemies as possible using Pestilence while spamming Howling Blast.
- Cast Icy Touch and Plague Strike on a target that you will be able to spread diseases from using Pestilence.
- Use Howling Blast as much as possible; make sure to utilize tools such as Empower Rune Weapon and Blood Tap to maximize your casts.
- Consider using Death and Decay if you know the mobs will be stationary for a long period of time.
Frost Death Knight single-target does use a rotation, but it is much more like a list of priorities as opposed to a strict rotation you must follow. There are many conditions to consider and below we will go over each of them along with how to optimally handle each situation. This rotation is assuming that you are using the talents recommended in our talents section as the sub-spec you choose can greatly impact your Rune and Runic Power generation. You must always prioritize spending Runes over Runic Power; Frost and Unholy Runes should be spent on Obliterate (after Frost Fever and Blood Plague are applied) and it is crucial to always use both of your Blood Runes together to ensure they are synchronized.
- Icy Touch needs to be used to apply Frost Fever.
- Plague Strike needs to be used to apply Blood Plague.
- Blood Strike is your main spender of Blood runes.
- Pestilence should be used to refresh your diseases so you can spend your Frost and Unholy Runes on Obliterate. Glyph of Disease will cause Pestilence to also refresh the duration of diseases.
- Obliterate will be your primary spender of Unholy and Frost runes. Thanks to Annihilation your diseases will be not be removed from the target when you cast Obliterate.
- Frost Strike will be your spender of Runic Power.
With this in mind, your priority list will be as follows
- Make sure Frost Fever and Blood Plague are active.
- Cast Obliterate.
- Use Pestilence if your diseases need to be refreshed; if not, cast Blood Strike.
- Cast Frost Strike if you have a Killing Machine proc.
- Only cast Howling Blast in a single-target situation if you have a Rime proc.
- Cast Frost Strike without a Killing Machine proc.
Your opening rotation, meanwhile, will look like this:
- Icy Touch;
- Plague Strike;
- Unbreakable Armor/Blood Tap;
- Empower Rune Weapon;
- Obliterate three times.
After the third Obliterate is where there is some variance and where you will need to start to follow the priority list above.
Death Knight Presences
Death Knights have three presences they can be in at any given time: Frost, Blood, and Unholy. Each of these presences offers the Death Knight additional stats, be it increased damage, self-healing, more Armor, increased threat generation, or even movement speed and a faster global cooldown. However, you can only have one presence active at a time. As a Frost Death Knight you will always be in Blood Presence; there is almost no situation where you will switch to either of the others, as the damage increase from being in Blood Presence is too significant compared to the other two options.
- Blood Presence — Increases damage dealt by 15% and causes 4% of non-periodic damage dealt to heal you.
- Frost Presence — Increases Stamina by 8%, the Armor contributions of your gear by 60%, reduces your damage taken by 8%, and you will generate additional threat while in this presence.
- Unholy Presence — Increases movement and attack speed by 15% and reduces your global cooldown by 0.5 seconds.
Frost Death Knight Cooldowns
Death Knights have some of the strongest cooldowns in the game both from a buffing perspective and from a personal defensive ability point of view.
- Anti-Magic Shell — Absorbs 75% of incoming Magic damage (up to 50% of your max health) and prevents the application of any harmful magic debuffs; any damage absorbed by this will also grant you Runic Power.
- Raise Dead — Summons a ghoul that will do a small amount of damage; this ghoul is also required to use Death Pact.
- Death Pact — sacrifices your ghoul to heal you for 40% of your max health.
- Blood Tap — Activates a Blood Rune and converts it into a Death Rune for the next 20 seconds. Death Runes count as any Rune type.
- Deathchill — Causes your next Frost ability to be a critical strike.
- Unbreakable Armor — Increases your Armor by 25% and your Strength by 20% for 20 seconds.
- Empower Rune Weapon — Immediately refreshes all of your Runes and grants you 25 Runic Power.
- Icebound Fortitude — reduces damage taken by 30% and causes you to become immune to stuns for 12 seconds.
- 18 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Phase 2 release ahead of Ulduar raid release.
- 23 Aug. 2022: Page added.
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