Frost Death Knight Patch 9.2 Changes Analysis and Tier Set Thoughts
On this page, we tell you how the Patch 9.2 changes for Frost Death Knight affect the spec and what the current state of theorycrafting is.
Frost Death Knight in Patch 9.2: Eternity's End
This page is intended to provide a concise list of changes in Patch 9.2 that will directly (or indirectly in one case!) affect Frost Death Knight. From changes to Legendaries, Covenants, the addition of set bonuses and changes to systems affecting all players, Eternity's End brings in substantial changes, both in terms of choices and playstyle.
As usual, we will try to keep it as concise as we can, while explaining the impacts of each change.
If you are simply interested in what the current changes are for Death Knights in Patch 9.2 in general, you can instead read our full list of changes to the entire Death Knight class on our dedicated page below. For an additional list of content coming with Patch 9.2, you can also check out our Patch 9.2 Overview page.
Base Spec Changes for Patch 9.2
- Fixed a bug that caused Dual-Wield to receive 33% less procs of Killing Machine than intended.
The only change to the core Frost Death Knight toolkit is a bug fix related to Killing Machine. To give some background, back in the Shadowlands pre-patch, I pulled hundreds of logs to figure out the underlying mechanic of the Killing Machine proc. It turned out to be based on a bad-luck-protection system where any critical auto that did not produce a proc would increase the chance of a proc on the next critical auto. It looks like the system we saw in the pre-patch was accidentally changed when Shadowlands hit, causing us to receive far less procs.
Dual-Wield builds will receive 50% more natural procs of Killing Machine in 9.2, resulting in a ~5% DPS gain.
Frost Death Knight Talent Changes in Patch 9.2
As with base spec changes, our talent tree is currently untouched. Even though it would be neat to see some changes, particularly in order to diversify the couple of talent rows where one talent eclipses the others, it is relatively rare for this to happen in the last patch of an expansion.
One good thing is that the tier set itself will shake up the talent meta significantly. Obliteration, Icy Talons and Murderous Efficiency will all be significantly buffed through the tier set, making them far more viable in all content.
Frost Death Knight Tier Set in Patch 9.2
Players will once again be able to acquire their own class tier set — gone are the days of static, boring armor!
Sepulcher of the First Ones, launching shortly after Patch 9.2, will allow Death Knights to collect armor pieces that, together, enable two unique specialization-themed bonuses. For Frost Death Knights specifically, the effects are the following:
- Frost DK 2-Piece — Your Critical Strike is increased by 8% when Remorseless Winter is active.
- Frost DK 4-Piece — Consuming Killing Machine fires a Glacial Advance through your target.
Frost Death Knight Tier Set Thoughts
This is a really exciting and powerful tier set. It has loads of implications for talent choices, weapon choices and Runeforge choices!
The 2-set is somewhat boring but still powerful. Remorseless Winter has ~70% uptime or so generally, averaging the crit bonus out to 5.5% crit or so. This is quite significant and will help with the Killing Machine proc rate.
The 4-set opens up a ton of possible builds. Glacial Advance is a strong AoE spell that is not picked due to Gathering Storm being so strong. Furthermore, Glacial Advance applies Rune of Razorice to all targets it hits. This opens up the possibility of picking up another Runeforge in place of Razorice.
First of all, the 4-set makes the Frost Death Knight very powerful in AoE scenarios. Furthermore, it feeds heavily into the Obliteration talent, making it a potential superior pick in both single-target and AoE. It is also powerful in single-target since an additional Runeforge is worth so much. 2H builds especially will benefit from this since they can now pick up Rune of the Fallen Crusader! Dual-wield unfortunately does not have a good third option and might even play a normal weapon enchant.
2H builds do have difficulties keeping up the Rune of Razorice debuff on your target. You can expect to drop it a couple of times in any given fight. This is fine from a power-level perspective thought; it is still worthwhile to pick up another enchant!
Covenant Changes in Patch 9.2 for Frost Death Knight
We have received one change to Covenant abilities: Abomination Limb has been buffed by 20%! This is nice since it brings more single-target and AoE burst potential. The change is not that significant and does not impact our choices really, but it is still nice! Furthermore, the Brutal Grasp Conduit has been buffed by 100%, making it a viable option once we have picked up our second Legendary.
That said, Patch 9.1.5 brought with it the ability to freely switch between Covenants (assuming that they reached Renown 80 and obtained the Renowned achievement on any character on their account). Now is the ideal time to max out every Covenant to 80, as Blizzard also hinted at the fact that there will not be any additional Renown levels. Go wild, try the options you have been postponing, and have fun!
In addition, Conduits will be unlocking their final few ranks, though this will not alter gameplay in any substantial way, as Frost Death Knight Conduits do not really scale.
Legendary Changes in Patch 9.2 for Frost Death Knight
Recall that in Patch 9.1, every class received a Legendary Power that was unique to each Covenant. For Frost Death Knights, many of these are buffed in 9.2:
- Kyrian — Final Sentence — Reworked slightly in 9.2, now refunds a Rune grants 4% stacking Strength (up from 3%) for 15s whenever Shackle the Unworthy spreads to another target. The application of Shackle the Unworthy itself is now counted for this, making this effect a 4% Strength buff for 15s and one extra Rune every 56s (with Forgelite Prime Mikanikos) in single-target.
- Necrolord — Abomination's Frenzy — Now increases damage done by 20% (up from 10%) for enemies hit by your Abomination Limb. This now also works for pet damage (which is not awfully important for us, but still nice)!
- Night Fae — Rampant Transference — Strength gain per stack is now 3% (was 2%).
At some point in Patch 9.2, you will be able to equip one of these powers alongside your regular Legendary choice. This means that in addition to your primary Legendary, you will be able to benefit from your Covenant's Legendary Power on top, for free (well, besides crafting it). There are also rumors of a new Legendary granting these Powers and changes based on your Covenant.
As such, to prepare for this, grind some Soul Ash and Soul Cinders. You will likely be recrafting something, but it will not be right now, and there is no tangible reason to re-craft anything before 9.2. Just get ready, max all four Covenants, and get some Ash and Cinders to easily get into the flow.
Potential Double Legendary Combinations
Unfortunately, Frost Death Knight does not have any normal Legendary that synergizes well with any of the Covenant Legendaries. Abomination's Frenzy looks like the strongest pick overall with Rampant Transference being a possible choice. I think we will either play Night Fae or Necrolord in 9.2!
- 13 Feb. 2022: Updated to reflect Killing Machine bugfix.
- 19 Jan. 2022: Updated with latest tuning.
- 15 Jan. 2022: Page added with initial thoughts and information.
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