Frost Death Knight Essences — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1
On this page, we go over the Essence system in Patch 8.3 of World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth, and we tell you which are the best essences to use as Frost Death Knight, both for minor and major powers. Please refer to our Patch 8.3 Essence Guide for more information about the new essences introduced in Patch 8.3 and to our Essence guide for more general information about the Essence system and where Essences can be obtained from.
Azerite Essences for Frost Death Knights
Introduced in Patch 8.2, Essences are unique items that drop from various forms of content. They are activated through your Heart of Azeroth, and they buff your character in various ways, depending on the Essences that are currently active.
For more information about essences, please check out the following:
- our Essence Guide, with all the essences and how to get them;
- our article on the new essences from Patch 8.3;
- our list of Patch 8.3 essence changes.
What follows on this page will relate directly to how Essences affect this spec, since generic information is beyond the scope of this guide.
Patch 8.3 Essences
All of the following essences provide a Unique passive 10 Corruption Resistance, allowing you to equip more Corrupted items. You can only have one instance of this on your gear, regardless of if it is in the Major or Minor slot, and is highly recommended to have at least one of these equipped.
Breath of the Dying
Breath of the Dying (Major: Reaping Flames / Minor: Lethal Strikes) provides a high damage global that has a lower cooldown above 80% health, and below 20% health. The Minor, on the other hand, deals significant single-target damage that only gets better on targets below 20% health with the 400% increased proc rate, making this essence useful for fights with important execute phases.
The Formless Void
The Formless Void (Major: Replica of Knowledge / Minor: Symbiotic Presence) allows you to copy an ally's equipped Major Essence, but with an increased cooldown. Outside of very niche situations, it is unlikely that this is better than simply equipping the DPS Essence you want to use, so we do not recommended it. The Minor on the other hand grants Strength and Haste when an Ally uses their Major Essence, so in raid groups, especially with high uptime, this is a solid choice that does require a bit of coordination with your raid group.
Spark of Inspiration
Spark of Inspiration (Major: Moment of Glory / Minor: Unified Strength) grants an ability that causes all nearby party (not raid) members to deal 45% increased damage with their equipped Essences (both Major and Minor) for 20 seconds. The Minor essence has a 4 RPPM chance to reduce the cooldown of you and 2 other Allies equipped Major Essence by 1 second, and grant Haste to all of you.
Full Essence DPS Ranking and Descriptions for Frost Death Knights
All the essence tooltips below will be linked at Rank 3.
Best Major Powers
- Worldvein Resonance ( Worldvein Resonance) — with at least 3 other users
- Blood of the Enemy ( Blood of the Enemy)
- Essence of the Focusing Iris ( Focused Azerite Beam)
Best Minor Powers
- Memory of Lucid Dreams ( Lucid Dreams)
- Conflict and Strife ( Strife)
- The Crucible of Flame ( Ancient Flame)
Top Tier Essences
Blood of the Enemy
- Major Power: Blood of the Enemy deals shadow damage on use to all targets within 12 yards, then applies a debuff to those targets that increases your crit chance against them by 25% for 10 seconds. When you hit Rank 3, this will increase your critical strike damage by 25% for 5 seconds as well. At Rank 1, this cooldown will line up perfectly with Breath of Sindragosa. If you are running the Icecap build, this essence does synergize well since the crit chance does help you to further decrease your Pillar of Frost cooldown. This essence is very powerful in Heavy or Burst AoE and in Mythic+, as the use of the essence does a significant amount of Shadow damage and increases your damage on the targets.
- Minor Power: Blood-Soaked is a passive that has some good value for Frost, as we have a guaranteed crit mechanic through Killing Machine, as well as synergising well with the Major Power of Blood of the Enemy (if you choose to run it as your Major Essence).
- Major Power: Guardian of Azeroth is a 3 minute cooldown that summons a Guardian of Azeroth for 30 seconds. This essence is a strong single-target choice, but does not gain much damage or utility on AoE or cleave scenarios. Since Haste is becoming a more valuable stat for the Breath of Sindragosa build for Frost, the Major Power for this essence has gained some more value from where it was previously. If you are playing with Icecap, then this should sync up well with your Pillar of Frost, due to how low the CD becomes. If you are playing Obliteration, then it will sync up perfectly with your Pillar of Frost.
- Minor Power: Condensed Life-Force is a passive with approximately 2 procs per minute. This passive offers you 6-second windows of 5% increased damage against your target. It is not worth holding any cooldowns for this proc. Instead, you should just think of it as a bonus damage proc.
Conflict and Strife
- Major Power: Conflict grants you the PvP talent Chill Streak for PvE scenarios. This trait should never be used in single-target situations, as you will not be able to bounce the Chill Streak to keep it dealing damage. In 2-target cleave situations, this essence will be your best choice, as it will deal a lot of damage on a short 45-second cooldown.
- Minor Power: Strife is a solid passive that just grants you Versatility stacking up to 8 times. You will not be able to proc the movement impairing effect of Strife reliably in PvE, however, this will not affect it much.
The Crucible of Flame
- Major Power: Concentrated Flame deals a good amount of damage at Tier 1, gains an extra 75% damage at Rank 2, and at Rank 3 it gains a second charge. This essence is very powerful on single-target, but when the raid opens up, it may be outshone by Condensed Life-Force. You may use this essence to heal you instead of doing damage, which is useful when doing world quests or for emergency heals in groups. Try to use this off-cooldown as much as you can to maximize uses.
- Minor Power: Ancient Flame is a simple passive that causes your spells and abilities to deal damage to the target. There is nothing more to say on this and it is a strong single target passive.
Memory of Lucid Dreams
- Major Power: Memory of Lucid Dreams increases your Rune Regeneration rate by 100% for 12 seconds (15 seconds at Rank 2). This essence has great synergy with the Breath of Sindragosa build, allowing you to achieve longer Breath of Sindragosa uptime. With this major essence, 30-second Breath of Sindragosa uptimes are a lot more feasible.
- Minor Power: Lucid Dreams causes your spells and abilities to have a chance to refund 50% of the runes spent on them. This is fairly strong for the Breath of Sindragosa build when you get the Condensed Life-Force as your major essence and want to run this as one of your 2 minors.
Middle Tier Essences
Essence of the Focusing Iris
- Major Power: Focused Azerite Beam is a 3-second channelled ability that deals damage in an Eye Beam styled attack to targets in front of you. This is a very powerful essence for AoE (especially Mythic+), so look towards this essence for that if you do not want to use Blood of the Enemy or this essence sims higher in hectic add cleave.
- Minor Power: Focused Energy is a passive that grants you Haste while you attack the same target. When you attack a different target, this bonus is lost. This means you want to be careful when you switch targets and do it only when you need to.
- Major Power: Purifying Blast is an on-use that calls down a very visible beam to deal damage over 6 seconds. This Major is very easy to obtain, being gated behind Rustbolt Resistance Reputation. This essence does have a chance to instantly kill enemies MOTHER deems unworthy, which is the only reason it is placed in Middle Tier instead of Bottom Tier.
- Minor Power: Purification Protocol is a passive that deals damage and heals you at approximately 2 procs per minute. The other reason this is middle tier instead of bottom tier is because this minor essence does 50% additional damage to Aberrations and 2 of the bosses in The Eternal Palace are Aberrations (Orgozoa and Za'qul, Harbinger of Ny'alotha).
Bottom Tier Essences
Ripple in Space
- Major Power: Ripple in Space has an interesting mechanic where you place down a beacon and after 2 seconds you teleport to it. There may be some ways to use this ability to your benefit, however there is currently no way that is known. You do take 10% less damage after relocating with this ability, making it a small damage reduction.
- Minor Power: Reality Shift is very difficult to proc, as 25 yards is a fairly long distance, meaning you will create a fair bit of downtime trying to proc this. You can sync the major and the minor together where you place the beacon down, run away from your target and try to get 25 yards out before you get relocated back.
The Unbound Force
- Major Power: The Unbound Force is a 1-minute cooldown (that gets reduced to 45 seconds at Rank 2) and is an ability that gains a lot of damage when it critical strikes. Not only do you gain 300% increased damage when it critically hits, but you will also hit the target with an additional Azerite shard (up to a max of 5) when your hits with this ability critically hit. This essence seems good because of the extra damage potential it has, but the damage just is not even close to other essences, such as The Crucible of Flame and Condensed Life-Force.
- Minor Power: Reckless Force does not play well at all with the Frost toolkit, since you will have a fairly high critical rate thanks to Killing Machine and critical strike being a fairly valuable stat. If you choose to play with this essence as your major, make sure to hold off on using The Unbound Force until your minor has procced, so your crit rate will be very high.
Vision of Perfection
- Major Power: Vision of Perfection affects Empower Rune Weapon for Frost Death Knights. If you choose to run this essence, do not try to sync anything with the random procs of Empower Rune Weapon, think of these procs as bonus resources to decrease your downtime. This essence has a fairly strong Rank 1, however it does not gain much value for Rank 2 and 3, while others will gain a significant amount of damage in later ranks.
- Minor Power: Strive for Perfection is not a very useful minor since, with the main build, which is Breath of Sindragosa, you want your Empower Rune Weapon to line up with your Breath of Sindragosa. Getting a cooldown reduction on Empower Rune Weapon does not help you much.
- Major Power: Worldvein Resonance is not a very useful essence at all when you are the only one using it in the group. In order for this essence to be useful, you need at least 3 other people using it to benefit from the cap of 4 Lifeblood shards. Besides that niche, the stats that this essence grants are just too little to validate running it over other essences.
- Minor Power: Lifeblood is a passive version of the major power, except it only procs 1 Lifeblood shard instead of 3. It facilitates the major power of Worldvein, however it does not make it a very viable essence.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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