Frost Death Knight DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Shadowlands 9.0.2

Last updated on Nov 23, 2020 at 16:40 by Abyssalwave 6 comments
General Information

On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Frost Death Knight in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2. 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.

1.

Talent Choices for Frost Death Knight

Level Choices
15 Inexorable Assault Inexorable Assault Icy Talons Icy Talons Cold Heart Cold Heart
25 Runic Attenuation Runic Attenuation Murderous Efficiency Murderous Efficiency Horn of Winter Horn of Winter
30 Death's Reach ? Death's Reach Asphyxiate ? Asphyxiate Blinding Sleet ? Blinding Sleet
35 Avalanche ? Avalanche Frozen Pulse Frozen Pulse Frostscythe Frostscythe
40 Permafrost ? Permafrost Wraith Walk ? Wraith Walk Death Pact ? Death Pact
45 Gathering Storm Gathering Storm Hypothermic Presence ? Hypothermic Presence Glacial Advance Glacial Advance
50 Icecap Icecap Obliteration Obliteration Breath of Sindragosa 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 Icon Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind Icon Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

1.1.

Raiding

The recommended talents do not account for specific raid encounters, which can require a specific talent or build. For a boss-by-boss breakdown of the talent choices for specific encounters, you should check out our dedicated raid page listed below.

1.2.

Mythic+

Mythic+ can vary very heavily in the optimal talents that you take, depending on the affixes or the dungeons themselves. If you want advice that is specific to Mythic+, and how to deal with certain affixes and dungeons, then you should check out our Mythic+ page linked below.

1.3.

Single Target

This is the best generic-single target build for Shadowlands.

1.4.

AoE/Cleave

This is the best generic-AoE/Cleave build for Shadowlands.

1.5.

Rotation

Talents can and usually do change your rotation or add new abilities into your priority. For a more detailed breakdown on how your rotation will look with optimal talents, check out our rotation page linked below.

2.

Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Frost Death Knights

Inexorable Assault Inexorable Assault Icy Talons Icy Talons Cold Heart Cold Heart
  • Inexorable Assault Icon Inexorable Assault is a passive that grants you a stack every 8 seconds, up to a maximum of 5. Obliterate Icon Obliterate consumes a stack to deal additional Frost damage.
  • Icy Talons Icon Icy Talons causes Frost Strike Icon Frost Strike, Breath of Sindragosa Icon Breath of Sindragosa, and Glacial Advance Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Chains of Ice consumes your stacks to deal extra Frost Damage.

Icy Talons Icon Icy Talons and Inexorable Assault Icon Inexorable Assault are very weak choices.

Cold Heart Icon Cold Heart is a very powerful talent that you should sync with the Strength increase of Pillar of Frost Icon Pillar of Frost.

3.

Tier 2 (Level 25) Talents for Frost Death Knights

Runic Attenuation Runic Attenuation Murderous Efficiency Murderous Efficiency Horn of Winter Horn of Winter

Horn of Winter Icon Horn of Winter is the only active ability in this talent row and is weak compared to the other options.

Runic Attenuation Icon Runic Attenuation is the best choice for single target and AoE situations for Breath of Sindragosa Icon Breath of Sindragosa.

Murderous Efficiency Icon 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.

4.

Tier 3 (Level 30) Talents for Frost Death Knights

Death's Reach ? Death's Reach Asphyxiate ? Asphyxiate Blinding Sleet ? Blinding Sleet
  • Death's Reach Icon Death's Reach increases the range of your Death Grip Icon Death Grip by 10 yards. Killing an enemy resets the cooldown of Death Grip.
  • Asphyxiate Icon Asphyxiate stuns the target for 4 seconds. It has a 20-yard range and a 45-second cooldown.
  • Blinding Sleet Icon 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.

5.

Tier 4 (Level 35) Talents for Frost Death Knights

Avalanche ? Avalanche Frozen Pulse Frozen Pulse Frostscythe Frostscythe
  • Avalanche Icon Avalanche causes your Rime Icon Rime-empowered Howling Blast Icon Howling Blast casts to deal Frost damage to your target and any targets nearby.
  • Frozen Pulse Icon Frozen Pulse causes your auto attacks to deal Frost damage to all nearby enemies when you have fewer than 3 full Runes.
  • Frostscythe Icon 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 Icon Killing Machine in the same way that Obliterate Icon Obliterate does, and Frostscythe critical strikes deal 4 times normal damage.

Frozen Pulse Icon Frozen Pulse is the best choice for single-target and still provides good AoE damage.

Frostscythe Icon Frostscythe is able to spread your Rune of Razorice Icon Rune of Razorice to other targets, but this is capped at 5 targets, currently meaning it loses a lot of value on 6+ targets.

Avalanche Icon Avalanche is still a strong talent and is viable in the Two-Handed Icecap build.

6.

Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents for Frost Death Knights

Permafrost ? Permafrost Wraith Walk ? Wraith Walk Death Pact ? Death Pact
  • Permafrost Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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.

Wraith Walk Icon Wraith Walk should be used in high mobility situations, Permafrost Icon Permafrost for low mobility situations or low constant damage, and Death Pact Icon Death Pact should be used if you are in need of an emergency heal.

7.

Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents for Frost Death Knights

Gathering Storm Gathering Storm Hypothermic Presence ? Hypothermic Presence Glacial Advance Glacial Advance

Hypothermic Presence Icon Hypothermic Presence currently does not work properly and does not provide the Runic Power discount. If it works as intended, it still does not compete with the damage provided by Gathering Storm.

Glacial Advance Icon Glacial Advance is a good talent for AoE situations and Mythic+. If you are using this talent, you should cast it on cooldown in 2+ target situations to replace Frost Strike Icon Frost Strike.

Gathering Storm Icon Gathering Storm is very powerful and is fairly difficult to beat with the current talent row.

8.

Tier 7 (Level 50) Talents for Frost Death Knights

Icecap Icecap Obliteration Obliteration Breath of Sindragosa Breath of Sindragosa

With Patch 9.0.1, Obliteration Icon Obliteration has become a viable build with either Dual-Wield or Two-Handed weapons. Breath of Sindragosa Icon Breath of Sindragosa still seems to be the go-to build in Shadowlands.

9.

PvP Talents (War Mode)

In this section we will rank the PvP talents that are best for leveling and doing open world content.

  • 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.

9.1.

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.

9.1.1.

General PvP Talents

  1. Adaptation Icon 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.
  2. Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is an on-use ability that removes all movement impairing effects and all loss of control effects.
  3. Relentless Icon Relentless is also a passive ability but it does not automatically remove crowd control abilities but instead reduces the duration.
9.1.2.

Frost Death Knight PvP Talents

  1. Dead of Winter Icon 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.
  2. Necrotic Aura Icon Necrotic Aura causes all enemies within 12 yards to take 8% increased magical damage. This has good synergy with abilities such as Howling Blast Icon Howling Blast and Cold Heart Icon Cold Heart.
  3. Deathchill Icon Deathchill causes your Death Grip Icon Death Grip to automatically apply Chains of Ice Icon 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.
  4. Delirium Icon Delirium causes your Howling Blast Icon Howling Blast and Frost Strike Icon Frost Strike to apply Delirium Icon Delirium to the target.
  5. Transfusion Icon 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.
  6. Chill Streak Icon 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.
  7. Anti-Magic Zone Icon 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.
  8. Lichborne Icon 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.
  9. Heartstop Aura Icon 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.
  10. Dark Simulacrum Icon 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 Icon Ice Block that can turn the tides of a fight.
  11. Cadaverous Pallor Icon 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 Icon Necrotic Aura, Dead of Winter Icon Dead of Winter, and Chill Streak Icon Chill Streak are good choices in PvE situations due to them adding to your damage output. Deathchill Icon Deathchill, Delirium Icon Delirium, Heartstop Aura Icon Heartstop Aura, Cadaverous Pallor Icon Cadaverous Pallor, and Dark Simulacrum Icon 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 Icon Anti-Magic Zone can be used well in both PvP and PvE situations.

10.

Changelog

  • 23 Nov. 2020: Page updated for Shadowlands release. Updated talent recommendations.
  • 13 Oct. 2020: Updated recommended talent setup.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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