Frost Death Knight DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3
On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Frost Death Knight in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3. We also have default talent lists for various types of content, such as raiding or Mythic+. If you play with Warmode on, we have your PvP talents covered as well.
Talent Choices for Frost Death Knight
|56||? Inexorable Assault||✗ Icy Talons||✓ Cold Heart|
|57||✓ Runic Attenuation||✓ Murderous Efficiency||? Horn of Winter|
|58||? Death's Reach||? Asphyxiate||? Blinding Sleet|
|60||? Avalanche||✓ Frozen Pulse||✓ Frostscythe|
|75||? Permafrost||? Wraith Walk||? Death Pact|
|90||✓ Gathering Storm||✗ Glacial Advance||✓ Frostwyrm's Fury|
|100||✓ Icecap||✗ Obliteration||✓ Breath of Sindragosa|
Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.
Tier 1 (Level 56) Talents for Frost Death Knights
|? Inexorable Assault||✘ Icy Talons||✔ Cold Heart|
- Inexorable Assault is a passive that grants you a stack every 8 seconds, up to a maximum of 5. Obliterate consumes a stack to deal additional Frost damage.
- Icy Talons causes Frost Strike, Breath of Sindragosa, and Glacial Advance to increase your melee attack speed by 5% for 6 seconds, stacking up to 3 times (the attack speed increase stacks, but the duration cannot be greater than 6 seconds, with each new applications simply refreshing it).
- Cold Heart is a passive that gives you a stack of Cold Heart every 2 seconds, stacking up to 20 times. Casting Chains of Ice consumes your stacks to deal extra Frost Damage.
Icy Talons is currently the weakest option in this tier.
Tier 2 (Level 57) Talents for Frost Death Knights
|✔ Runic Attenuation||✔ Murderous Efficiency||? Horn of Winter|
- Runic Attenuation causes your auto attacks to have a chance to generate 3 Runic Power.
- Murderous Efficiency gives you 50% chance to gain 1 Rune each time you use up a Killing Machine proc.
- Horn of Winter is an active ability with a 45-second cooldown that grants you 2 Rune and 25 Runic Power when used.
Horn of Winter is the only active ability in this talent row and is weak compared to the other options.
Murderous Efficiency is still a strong talent, however due to it being dependent on procs, is more RNG dependent than the other 2 options. We recommend you sim your character to see which of the 2 talents is better for you. However, with the Icecap build, this is the absolute best option.
Tier 3 (Level 58) Talents for Frost Death Knights
|? Death's Reach||? Asphyxiate||? Blinding Sleet|
- Death's Reach increases the range of your Death Grip by 10 yards. Killing an enemy resets the cooldown of Death Grip.
- Asphyxiate stuns the target for 4 seconds. It has a 20-yard range and a 45-second cooldown.
- Blinding Sleet disorients the targets in front of you for 5 seconds. It has a 1-minute cooldown.
The talents in this tier provide no increase in DPS, and you should just choose the one that satisfies the crowd-control requirements of your circumstances.
Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents for Frost Death Knights
|? Avalanche||✔ Frozen Pulse||✔ Frostscythe|
- Avalanche causes your Rime-empowered Howling Blast casts to deal Frost damage to your target and any targets nearby.
- Frozen Pulse causes your auto attacks to deal Frost damage to all nearby enemies when you have fewer than 3 full Runes.
- Frostscythe is an active ability that costs 1 Rune and deals Frost damage to all enemies in front of you. It benefits from Killing Machine in the same way that Obliterate does, and Frostscythe critical strikes deal 4 times normal damage.
Frozen Pulse is the best choice for single-target and still provides good AoE damage.
Frostscythe is currently the best AoE/cleave target and the best choice for Mythic+. You should use Frostscythe in 2+ target situations.
Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents for Frost Death Knights
|? Permafrost||? Wraith Walk||? Death Pact|
- Permafrost procs each time you deal damage with an auto attack, granting you a 9-second absorb shield equal to 40% of the damage dealt. The absorption amount stacks up to 20% of your maximum health, but the duration cannot be increased beyond 9 seconds, with subsequent attacks simply refreshing it.
- Wraith Walk is a channeled spell that increases your movement speed by 70% for 4 seconds. While channeling, your movement speed cannot be reduced below 170%. It has a 1-minute cooldown.
- Death Pact heals you for 50% of your maximum health, but absorbs healing equal for 30% of your maximum health for 15 seconds. It has a 2-minute cooldown.
Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents for Frost Death Knights
|✔ Gathering Storm||✘ Glacial Advance||✔ Frostwyrm's Fury|
- Gathering Storm causes each Rune you spend during Remorseless Winter to increase its damage by 10% and extend its duration by 0.5 seconds.
- Glacial Advance summons glacial spikes in a front line that deals Frost damage and applies Razorice to all targets hit. Casting Glacial Advance also triggers Icy Talons. It costs 30 Runic Power and has a 6-second cooldown.
- Frostwyrm's Fury summons a frostwyrm that deals Frost damage in a 40-yard frontal line, also slowing enemies hit by 50% for 10 seconds. It has a 3-minute cooldown.
Frostwyrm's Fury is a much easier talent to play with compared to Gathering Storm making it very beginner friendly. It requires less preparation than Gathering Storm and is very easy to get value out of in Mythic+.
Gathering Storm is a lot stronger now, because the Patch 8.2 changes to Frost favor Haste, which is a valuable stat. As a result, you should find Haste simming higher than in Patch 8.1.5 if you are using Gathering Storm. The idea is that Haste will help you to get an extension on your Remorseless Winter, because if you have 10 stacks and use Remorseless Winter your stacks do not reset but your duration does. This is a little bit more difficult to play with compared to Frostwyrm's Fury, but if played right it does pay off well.
Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents for Frost Death Knights
|✔ Icecap||✘ Obliteration||✔ Breath of Sindragosa|
- Icecap causes your Frost Strike and Obliterate critical strikes to reduces the cooldown of Pillar of Frost by 3 second.
- Obliteration is a passive ability that is active when Pillar of Frost is active. It causes your Frost Strike and Howling Blast to grant Killing Machine procs and a 30% to generate a Rune.
- Breath of Sindragosa is an active ability with a 2-minute cooldown, which costs 15 Runic Power for each second that it is active (until canceled or until you run out of Runic Power). It is a frontal cone attack, which deals Shadowfrost damage to all enemies in front of you. Breath of Sindragosa now also procs Icy Talons.
With Patch 8.3, Icecap is significantly better due to supporting Azerite and more secondary stats. In order to benefit from this build, you should run 3x Icy Citadel with a lot of Haste and Critical Strike, so you can benefit from the cooldown reduction of Pillar of Frost from Icecap to overlap your Pillar of Frost and Icy Citadel buffs.
Conflict and Strife
The Essence Conflict and Strife grants you the PvP talent Chill Streak, which is incredibly powerful in 2+ target scenarios. If you want to use this ability for open world content but want to avoid war mode, this is a fantastic essence to run. This is also very strong in Mythic+ since you are able to get it to bounce the full 9 times.
PvP Talents (War Mode)
In Battle for Azeroth, there will be the option to go into "War Mode". Enabling War Mode provides the following benefits:
- PvP talents enabled in the outdoor world.
- 10% increase in World Quest rewards at maximum level.
- 10% more experience gained while leveling.
- Earn Conquest Points which can reward gear every week.
With the benefits of enabling War Mode for leveling and PvE content, it is recommended to enable the feature to maximize your leveling and rewards at maximum level. However, you will make yourself available for open world PvP, and the possibility to be "ganked" while leveling or doing World Quests exists.
Frost Death Knight War Mode Talents
In this section we will rank the PvP talents best for leveling and doing solo / small group PvE content. Below is a ranking of both General PvP Talents and Frost Death Knight-specific PvE talents.
General PvP Talents
- Adaptation is likely your most passive choice since it will automatically remove loss of control effects over 5 seconds. It is recommended for leveling to take this PvP talent.
- Gladiator's Medallion is an on-use ability that removes all movement impairing effects and all loss of control effects.
- Relentless is also a passive ability but it does not automatically remove crowd control abilities but instead reduces the duration.
Frost Death Knight PvP Talents
- Dead of Winter causes your Remorseless Winter to stun an enemy for 4 seconds when it deals damage 5 times to that enemy. It also increases Remorseless Winter's cooldown by 25 seconds and reduces the radius by 5 yards. This is a strong talent if you are deciding to pull large packs of mobs or kite large packs of mobs.
- Necrotic Aura causes all enemies within 12 yards to take 8% increased magical damage. This has good synergy with abilities such as Howling Blast and Cold Heart.
- Deathchill causes your Death Grip to automatically apply Chains of Ice free of cost. If the target is already afflicted with Chains of Ice, you instead root them in place for 4 seconds.
- Delirium causes your Howling Blast and Frost Strike to apply Delirium to the target.
- Transfusion is a 45-second cooldown that generates 20 Runic Power and reduces the cost of Death Strike by 50% for 7 seconds. If you are undergeared this is a strong survivability talent to take.
- Chill Streak deals up to 3% of the target's total health in Frost damage and reduces their movement speed by 70% for 4 seconds. It has a 45-second cooldown. Chill Streak bounces up to 9 times between nearby targets. This talent serves as another DPS cooldown in your rotation; it has a 40-yard range, making it a good choice for quickly pulling multiple mobs.
- Anti-Magic Zone creates a bubble on the ground that lasts for 10 seconds and reduces spell damage taken by raid members inside it by 60%. It has a 2-minute cooldown and it is a good talent if you are expecting mostly magic damage.
- Lichborne replaces Icebound Fortitude. It is a 1 minute cooldown that makes you Undead for 10 seconds, reducing the damage you take by 30% while also making you immune to Stun, Snare, Fear, and Root effects. While you are under the effects of Lichborne you cannot move faster than 50% normal speed.
- Heartstop Aura decreases the cooldown recovery rate of abilities by 20% to all enemies within 8 yards. It provides a slight advantage over other players in longer fights.
- Dark Simulacrum places a dark ward on the target for 12 seconds; when the target spends Mana on a spell, you gain a duplicate of that spell. This ability has a 25-second cooldown and costs 20 Runic Power. It can be used to steal a very strong spell such as Ice Block that can turn the tides of a fight.
- Cadaverous Pallor is a passive that has a 20% activation chance when you are hit by a spell; when this activates, the damage of that spell is completely absorbed and converted into a disease on yourself dealing Nature damage over time. It allows you the manage and survive through bigger magical hits by acting as a psuedo stagger effect.
Necrotic Aura, Dead of Winter, and Chill Streak are good choices in PvE situations due to them adding to your damage output. Deathchill, Delirium, Heartstop Aura, Cadaverous Pallor, and Dark Simulacrum, have more of a place in PvP as opposed to open world PvE content, as they are tough to use on NPCs. Anti-Magic Zone can be used well in both PvP and PvE situations.
- 15 Jun. 2020: Added more information for Icecap.
- 14 Jan. 2020: This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
- 20 Jul. 2019: Added a section for conflict.
- 16 Jul. 2019: Removed mention of Tundra Stalker in PvP Talents.
- 01 Jul. 2019: Changed the recommendations for Tier 6 and 7 and their descriptions.
- 24 Jun. 2019: This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
- 16 Apr. 2019: This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
- 14 Dec. 2018: Updated the PvP talent section.
- 10 Dec. 2018: This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
- 29 Sep. 2018: Updated tier 1, 2, 6, and 7 talent choices.
- 28 Sep. 2018: Updated tier 4 talent discussion slightly.
- 26 Aug. 2018: Updated the talent section to better represent Horn of Winter.
- 12 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
- 03 Aug. 2018: Added some more detail to the usefulness of Frostwyrm's Fury.
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