Death Knight Leveling Guide 55-120 Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1

Last updated on Dec 09, 2018 at 02:43 by Abyssalwave 13 comments

Table of Contents

1. General Battle for Azeroth Leveling Tips

Welcome! While this leveling guide is specifically made for the class and specialization(s) listed, we also have a general Battle for Azeroth leveling guide that focuses on the specific features of the Battle for Azeroth expansion including preparation of your mission table that will be used to unlock new areas, progressing on your faction's War Effort to save time at Level 120, and a reminder to keep ALL of the gear you find for the Scrap-o-Matic 1000 or Shred-Master Mk1, which will greatly increase your resource generating capabilities. Please visit our 110 to 120 leveling guide for this information and more (including Heirloom and War Mode advice that also applies to players who are not yet Level 110.

2. Leveling 55-120 as an Unholy Death Knight

2.1. Runeforge choice

When you get the option to Runeforge make sure you apply the Runeforge Rune of the Fallen Crusader Icon Rune of the Fallen Crusader not only does this offer a powerful strength proc but also a heal which makes it useful for open world content allowing you to have less downtime healing.

2.2. Gear Options

Currently Unholy Death Knights can only cast Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike and Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike when they have a two-handed weapon equipped making it impossible to level efficiently with a One-Hander.

2.3. Level by Level Rotation and Talents

Move the slider below to make the guide update to your level!

Level: 110

2.3.1. Talents to Level Up as Unholy Death Knight

Your first talent raw unlocks at Level 56.

Your talent set up should be as follows.

At Level 90, you should choose the talent Epidemic Icon Epidemic which will replace Death Coil Icon Death Coil in your rotation. Make sure to apply Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague to all targets you are in combat with by using the ability Outbreak Icon Outbreak. Once you have your Virulent Plague applied to all targets, then you should be casting Epidemic as frequently as possible.

At Level 100, we recommend that you take the talent Unholy Frenzy Icon Unholy Frenzy. If you choose to take this talent over the other 2 options, then we recommend switching your Level 57 talent to Bursting Sores Icon Bursting Sores due to the great AoE synergy between these 2 talents. If you choose to use the talent Army of the Damned Icon Army of the Damned, which is an easier talent to play with, then we recommend staying with the Level 57 talent Ebon Fever Icon Ebon Fever.

2.3.2. Rotation to Level Up as Unholy Death Knight

Starting at Level 55 your main attacking abilities are Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike, Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike, Outbreak Icon Outbreak, Death Coil Icon Death Coil, and your Ghoul summoned from Raise Dead Icon Raise Dead.

  1. Cast Outbreak Icon Outbreak to apply Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague on all targets.
  2. Use Soul Reaper Icon Soul Reaper when you know you will kill the target in less than 8 seconds to benefit from the 10% Haste buff.
  3. Cast Army of the Dead Icon Army of the Dead on pull on a dungeon boss or on cooldown in open world content.
  4. Use Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation on cooldown while making sure that your monstrosity is placed so the frontal cleave it gains when empowered is hitting as many targets as possible.
  5. Use Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse when there are 4 or more Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds on the target.
  6. Cast Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay when there are 2+ targets and at least 1 Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound on the targets.
  7. Cast Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike (or Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows if you have chosen this alternative) when you have at least 1 Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound on the targets.
  8. Cast Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike when you do not have any Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds on the targets.
  9. Cast Death Coil Icon Death Coil when you have 70+ Runic Power or do not have any Runes available.

2.3.3. Summary of Unlocked Abilities for Unholy Death Knight

You unlock your first ability of interest at Level 60.

  • At Level 60, you get the passive ability Sudden Doom Icon Sudden Doom. It gives your auto attacks a chance to grant a free Death Coil Icon Death Coil. This does increase your DPS by a slight amount, however we recommend you use these free procs as soon as possible so as to not override the proc.
  • At Level 62, you get Mind Freeze Icon Mind Freeze. This is your interrupt ability, allowing you to not only interrupt the target's spellcasting, but to also prevent them from casting anything in that school for 3 seconds, this has a 15-yard range and a 15-second cooldown.
  • At Level 66, you get Path of Frost Icon Path of Frost. It allows you to walk over water; this ability also works when you are mounted. This is a very useful ability allowing you to cut across lakes and rivers with ease.
  • At Level 69, you get Control Undead Icon Control Undead. It allows you to control a hostile undead monster for 5 minutes. This should used at any opportunity, as the controlled monster helps you by doing damage (making it a pseudo second pet).
  • At Level 72, you get Raise Ally Icon Raise Ally. It allows you to bring another player back to life. This ability is very important when doing dungeons while leveling due to few classes having this type of ability. Make sure to have the Runic Power required to cast this, because with the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch this ability now costs 30 Runic Power.
  • At Level 74, you get Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation. It turns your raise dead ally into a monstrosity for 15 seconds. This should be used off cooldown to maximize the uptime of your monstrosity when leveling.
  • At Level 75, you get Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse. It bursts up to 4 Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds, summoning an Army of the Dead minion for each Festering Wound burst. This ability should be used off cooldown only when the target has at least 4 Festering Wounds.
  • At Level 78, you unlock the stat Mastery, which increases your Shadow damage. When you unlock this stat you should switch your level 56 talent from All Will Serve Icon All Will Serve to Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows, as it benefits more from the Mastery. The mechanical change when using Clawing Shadows is that you will be able to pop Festering Wounds from a distance. If you want to attack multiple targets with Clawing Shadows using Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay's cleave effect, make sure you play the Death and Decay below your own feet instead of the target.
  • At Level 82, you get Army of the Dead Icon Army of the Dead. It is a very powerful ability that you should save for bosses in dungeons due to the very long cooldown it has. In open world content, you should use this ability on cooldown to maximize its uptime.

2.4. Legendary Options

If you are just coming out of Level 110, you will probably have a number of different Legendary items to choose from. Your Legendaries' special effects will stop working at Level 116, but until then they can be a very powerful addition to help you level quickly. These are our Legendary recommendations for leveling as an Unholy Death Knight in Battle for Azeroth.

  • Sephuz's Secret Icon Sephuz's Secret is our best leveling legendary. Not only does it give you passive movement speed but it also gives you a lot of secondary stats. Death Grip Icon Death Grip and Asphyxiate Icon Asphyxiate can be used to proc its special effect in open world content.
  • Soul of the Deathlord Icon Soul of the Deathlord allows you to use the two strongest AoE talents for Unholy Death Knights. This legendary is competitive with Sephuz's Secret for leveling and the combination of these two is what we recommend.
  • Aggramar's Stride Icon Aggramar's Stride is a very useful utility legendary for leveling. We highly recommend using this when you are doing content indoors; whether the content involves combat or not this legendary is incredibly useful for those situations.

2.5. Quest Rewards

You should equip new quest rewards when their item level starts beating out your previous set of gear. If you are currently wearing Tier 21 gear, it is best to let the quest rewards significantly beat your existing item level before using them. With that said, you will unlock Azerite pieces early on, which are worth using over Tier gear in most circumstances.

If possible, we recommend holding on to all Quest Rewards you do not use. They can be scrapped at Level 120 for material resources for profession crafting.

There are several consumable items that can be purchased that will help you with your leveling speed.

  • Skystep Potion Icon Skystep Potion increases your movement speed by 150% for 8 seconds. It has a 1-minute cooldown. Even for classes that have more movement speed than Death Knights, this potion is still very useful. You can cast abilities like Outbreak Icon Outbreak while under the potion's effects.
  • Gunshoes Icon Gunshoes are an Engineering item that increase your movement speed by 200% for 25 seconds. These will make you almost as fast as a Flying mount. We recommend having a lot of these, and using them whenever you are traveling more than ~250 yards.
  • Goblin Glider Kit Icon Goblin Glider Kit is very useful for covering long distances from high places.

2.6. Congratulations!

Congratulations on reaching Level 120! Now that you have hit Level 120 we recommend looking at our Easy mode page and Talents section to learn how to play at max level. To get yourself prepared for the end-game content ahead, we strongly recommend this Battle for Azeroth Raiding Lexicon/Spreadsheet by Medivh. It is a gold trove of information that will help you when gearing up in Battle for Azeroth and more.

3. Changelog

  • 09 Dec. 2018: This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 12 Aug. 2018: Consistency updates to give all leveling guides a similar feel.
  • 11 Aug. 2018: Added 110-120 leveling section for BfA.
  • 02 Aug. 2018: Improved presentation.
  • 31 Jul. 2018: Updated the entire leveling page for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
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