Unholy Death Knight Pre-Patch Guide for WotLK Classic

Last updated on Aug 27, 2022 at 10:30 by Sellin 3 comments

The Pre-Patch period of Wrath of the Lich King Classic is a time to allow players to level or gear up characters while experiencing some of the class changes of the coming expansion before its official launch. Here you will find recommended talents, gear, and some rotation tips for a Unholy Death Knight when you can only reach a maximum level of 70.



Death Knights are able to be made and playable in the Wrath of the Lich King pre-patch and while the general playstyle is quite similar to what you will be doing at Level 80, this page will go over how to play your Death Knight, Gear you should seek out during the pre-patch, how you should spend your talent points, and what consumables you should use if you are considering tackling some of the Burning Crusade raid content while waiting for Wrath to officially start!


Talent Build

This talent tree is focused largely on getting all of the pet-empowering and stat-increasing talents from the Unholy tree as you will likely be undergeared so any static stat increases you can get are great and scale even better when you become more geared. Any Burning Crusade content you are doing in the pre-patch of Wrath of the Lich King will be significantly nerfed and you will likely be more focused on dealing as much damage as possible.


Stat Priority

  1. Hit to cap;
  2. Strength;
  3. Haste;
  4. Armor Penetration;
  5. Critical Strike;
  6. Expertise;


The single largest difference between playing Death Knight at 70 and 80 is the lack of Empower Rune Weapon IconEmpower Rune Weapon, which offers you a significantly more powerful opener on bosses as you have access to twice as many runes.



Unholy lacks a truly spammable AoE Damage button but your AoE damage rotation will mostly consist of applying your diseases using Icy Touch IconIcy Touch and Plague Strike IconPlague Strike, and then spreading them with Pestilence IconPestilence while keeping Death and Decay IconDeath and Decay down. Remember to use Blood Tap IconBlood Tap to activate your Runes while AoEing as the largest limitation on your DPS as Unholy is not having Runes available.


Single-Target DPS

Unholy operates similar to the other two specs in that your focus is more of a priority system than a true rotation, but it is much more of a set rotation than the other two specs due to the lack of damage increasing procs and more steady output of damage. The most important rules are to always ensure your diseases are active on the target and your Ghoul is always attacking. Consider macroing pet attack into your commonly used abilities. In a pure single-target rotation you will not be casting Death and Decay IconDeath and Decay, but as soon as more than one target is active it becomes a DPS increase. Unholy is also the only Death Knight spec where you will have to switch presences during combat to maximize damage.

As with all other Death Knight specs, the largest priority is to use your Runes first and getting them on cooldown as it will lead to more casts of your abilities. Blood Strike IconBlood Strike should be weaved in frequently to refresh Desolation IconDesolation while Scourge Strike IconScourge Strike will be the primary source of your damage and Death Coil IconDeath Coil being your spender of Runic Power.

Your rotation following this should be focused on casting as many Scourge Strike IconScourge Strikes as possible while weaving in Blood Strike IconBlood Strike to maximize Desolation IconDesolation uptime and keeping your diseases active and your pets attacking.


Early Upgrades

Listed below will be a list of some items that are very powerful and require a relatively low time investment to get to help you get a bit more powerful during the Wrath of the Lich King pre-patch as you prepare to head to Northrend and continue your journey through WoW classic.

Slot Item Source


Spicy Hot Talbuk Icon Spicy Hot Talbuk is your best well-fed buff if you are not Hit-capped, or use Roasted Clefthoof Icon Roasted Clefthoof if you are Hit-capped as your goal is to maximize your Strength.

Flask of Relentless Assault Icon Flask of Relentless Assault is your typical go-to against most all mobs. The exception to this is that when fighting Demons, Elixir of Demonslaying Icon Elixir of Demonslaying by itself is stronger than any flask and can be paired with a Guardian Elixir of your choosing.

Haste Potion Icon Haste Potion is your best choice as the added Haste allows for more melee swings to maximize your damage.



  • 23 Aug. 2022: Page added.
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