Unholy Death Knight PvP Guide for WotLK Classic
Unholy Death Knight is one of the most dominant melee specs in all of PvP. Outside of their vulnerability to being stunned, Unholy Death Knight has some of the highest burst and consistent damage in the game and a cooldown to deal with almost any situation.
The talent build listed above takes a lot of the major bonuses from Unholy and Frost to help maximize your damage such as Scourge Strike, Summon Gargoyle, and Ghoul Frenzy as well as the utility that will keep you in range of your target, namely Unholy Command and Lichborne.
For Glyphs you will be using Glyph of Dark Death which is a flat damage increase to your Death Coil ability, Glyph of the Ghoul, which will make your ghoul considerably stronger and allows it to scale with your gear, and lastly Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell which increases the duration by two seconds.
As an Unholy Death Knight in PvP there is no real set rotation you should be focusing on. The usage of your damaging abilities depends on many factors but the most important thing as an Unholy Death Knight is to stay on your target as much as you possibly can. As a Death Knight your mobility will be quite limited, but if you take advantage of Anti-Magic Shell to try and preemptively avoid magic-based roots and crowd control, and make use of both Chains of Ice and Death Grip to lessen the effectiveness of your enemies' move speed bonuses, you can stick to a target quite well.
- Plague Strike and Icy Touch are your two main ways to apply diseases. It is crucial to keep track of your debuffs as there are many ways for other players to dispel your diseases. Your diseases scale your damage massively, so try to always have them on the target you are attacking.
- Scourge Strike will act as your primary spender of Unholy and Frost Runes; this ability should only be used if you have both diseases active on your target.
- Raise Dead summons a ghoul, which not only greatly increases your damage but has a stun in the form of Gnaw and can drastically impact any PvP encounter.
- Summon Gargoyle summons a powerful Gargoyle that will deal massive Unholy damage to the target it is cast on. This Gargoyle benefits from your buffs at the time of cast so try to pair it with an on-use trinket or your Rune of the Fallen Crusader proc.
- Ghoul Frenzy, while much more of a niche ability, is important to use to keep your ghoul in the fight as it acts as both a damage buff and a heal for your Ghoul.
- Blood Strike is your primary spender of Blood Runes and is used largely as a filler.
- Death and Decay can be used to try and pull stealthed enemies out of hiding.
Death Knights offer some of the best utility in the game; taking full advantage of your utility is what really separates a good Death Knight from a great one. When used correctly, Death Knight has a response to almost every situation you could think of.
- Death Grip — A great tool that can both be used to keep attached to a target by pulling them towards you or used as a secondary interrupt if Mind Freeze is on cooldown or the ability is otherwise uninterruptable.
- Anti-Magic Shell — Makes you completely immune to magical effects for its duration or until the threshold of Magical damage it can absorb is met.
- Icebound Fortitude — Reduces damage taken by 30% and causes you to become immune to stuns for 12 seconds.
- Empower Rune Weapon — Immediately refreshes all of your Runes and grants you 25 Runic Power.
- 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.
- Death Pact — sacrifices your ghoul to heal you for 40% of your max health.
- Mind Freeze — Interrupts the cast of your current target, preventing them from spell casting for 4 seconds.
Blood Presence is the Presence you will be using primarily in PvP, though you can definitely utilize Frost Presence in situations of heavy Physical damage where you are unsure about your ability to otherwise survive.
As an Unholy Death Knight your largest focus stats-wise will be Resilience. Unholy Death Knights deal a large amount of damage with just Strength which will be plentiful on any gear and the lack of Death Knight's mobility can make it easy for them to find themselves in a situation where they will be taking a considerable amount of damage. Because of this, defensive stats can be more beneficial for them than other classes.
Resilience is the largest source of damage mitigation you can get from stats. Resilience is a flat damage reduction from all sources and getting as much of this as possible especially early on can help you in most PvP situations. Unholy Death Knight deals a lot of damage baseline, so putting an emphasis on this stat is important.
Strength increases your damage by being the single-largest source of Attack Power.
Stamina increases your healthpool and, especially early on, there are times where the raw health added by certain pieces can make a major difference in your survivability.
Attack Power increases the damage of your abilities and auto-attacks.
Critical Strike and Agility both have very marginal benefits for Unholy Death Knight, but this stat is much better in PvP than PvE as your time spent on the target is much lower, lessening the value of Haste and increasing the value of Crit as each attack becomes more important.
The list linked below includes the best possible gear setup for an Unholy Death Knight in PvP.
Unholy Death Knight Arena Teams and Compositions
When it comes to evaluating Unholy Death Knight's place within the Arena, we have created a number of guides devoted to listing a variety of popular team compositions which you can find below.
- 18 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Phase 2 release ahead of Ulduar raid release.
- 02 Oct. 2022: Page added.
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