WotLK Classic Unholy Death Knight Spec, Builds, Talents, and Glyphs

Last updated on Mar 06, 2024 at 15:15 by Sellin 21 comments

On this page, you will find out the best PvE talent choices and builds for your Unholy Death Knight in WotLK Classic, as well as advised glyphs.


Talent Builds for Unholy Death Knight

Unholy Death Knight talents focus on strengthening your pets and increasing not only your personal damage but members of your group through powerful debuffs; some talents also increase your survivability.


Leveling Builds

If you were looking for a leveling-oriented build, please refer to our Death Knight leveling guide.


Talent Build

The talent build listed above is the standard dual-wield Unholy build. Two-handed Unholy is certainly viable but even after considerable changes to the way snapshotting works with the Summon Gargoyle ability Dual-wield continues to do considerably more damage and it is our current recommendation until you acquire Shadowmourne Icon Shadowmourne.


Scourge Strike 2-Hander Sub-spec

In later phases due to the strength of sigils, such as Sigil of Virulence Icon Sigil of Virulence and Sigil of the Hanged Man Icon Sigil of the Hanged Man which were added in the Trial of the Grand Crusader and Icecrown Citadel releases, and especially when you have acquired Shadowmourne Icon Shadowmourne your talent points should be switched over in order to be able to use Scourge Strike IconScourge Strike to benefit from the Sigils. The rotational change is a relatively minor as we will now be using Scourge Strike IconScourge Strike as our primary spender of Unholy runes instead of Plague Strike IconPlague Strike, unless you're applying diseases. This talent build is the same as what is listed above but you will remove the points found in Nerves of Cold Steel IconNerves of Cold Steel and finish maxing Black Ice IconBlack Ice in the Frost tree and adding Scourge Strike IconScourge Strike from the Unholy tree.


Important Unholy Death Knight Talents


Unholy Tree

Ravenous Dead IconRavenous Dead causes your ghoul to scale with your stats in a meaningful way, greatly increasing the damage it deals.

Necrosis IconNecrosis adds a Shadow damage portion to your auto attacks causing them to scale even better with other talents that increase your Shadow damage.

Night of the Dead IconNight of the Dead greatly reduces the amount of damage your ghoul will take from AoE attacks, allowing it to survive most encounters without having to worry about keeping it alive.

Impurity IconImpurity causes your spells to be 20% more powerful based on your Attack Power.

Master of Ghouls IconMaster of Ghouls allows you to control your Ghoul as a pet as opposed to the guardian it naturally is, granting it unlimited duration and access to the pet bar.

Desolation IconDesolation greatly increases the benefit of your Blood Strike IconBlood Strike ability by giving you a considerable buff that you should try to keep active as much as possible.

Bone Shield IconBone Shield acts as a powerful defensive cooldown but also increases the damage you deal while it is active. Make sure you are actively trying to avoid instances of incoming damage so you can maximize your damage output.

Crypt Fever IconCrypt Fever drastically increases the damage dealt by your diseases.

Ebon Plaguebringer IconEbon Plaguebringer greatly increases the Magic damage taken by the target from all sources.

Rage of Rivendare IconRage of Rivendare greatly increases the damage dealt by your abilities to targets afflicted with Blood Plague IconBlood Plague and gives a considerable amount of Expertise.

Summon Gargoyle IconSummon Gargoyle summons an extremely powerful pet that deals a considerable amount of damage, scaling with your stats and buffs at the time it is summoned.


Frost Tree

Black Ice IconBlack Ice is helpful since a considerable amount of damage you deal is either Shadow or Frost, making this talent a massive damage increase.

Endless Winter IconEndless Winter increases your Strength, but more importantly removes the Runic Power cost of Mind Freeze IconMind Freeze, allowing you to spend your Runic Power freely.

Icy Talons IconIcy Talons greatly increases your attack speed when a target is afflicted with Frost Fever IconFrost Fever.




Major Glyphs

Glyph of the Ghoul Icon Glyph of the Ghoul greatly strengthens your ghoul by causing it to scale with your Strength and Stamina. The Ghoul is a massive part of your DPS as Unholy, so any additional scaling will make any item you receive even more valuable.

Glyph of Death and Decay Icon Glyph of Death and Decay Death and Decay will be one of the primary parts of your rotation and a spender of a considerable amount of your runes. This shines especially in situations where you are hitting multiple targets.

Glyph of Icy Touch Icon Glyph of Icy Touch is used as Unholy since your diseases have quite a few multipliers, so the added damage from this glyph causes it to benefit even more from these.


Minor Glyphs

Glyph of Raise Dead Icon Glyph of Raise Dead removes the reagent cost of summoning a ghoul

Glyph of Pestilence Icon Glyph of Pestilence increases the radius of your Pestilence IconPestilence ability by 5 yards.

Glyph of Blood Tap Icon Glyph of Blood Tap removes the self damage portion of Blood Tap IconBlood Tap.



  • 17 Jan. 2023: Updated for Phase 2.
  • 23 Aug. 2022: Page added.
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