Frost Death Knight DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1

Last updated on Dec 14, 2018 at 12:41 by Abyssalwave 39 comments

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) 8.1. 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
56 Inexorable Assault ? Inexorable Assault Icy Talons Icy Talons Cold Heart Cold Heart
57 Runic Attenuation Runic Attenuation Murderous Efficiency ? Murderous Efficiency Horn of Winter Horn of Winter
58 Death's Reach ? Death's Reach Asphyxiate ? Asphyxiate Blinding Sleet ? Blinding Sleet
60 Avalanche Avalanche Frozen Pulse Frozen Pulse Frostscythe Frostscythe
75 Permafrost ? Permafrost Wraith Walk ? Wraith Walk Death Pact ? Death Pact
90 Gathering Storm Gathering Storm Glacial Advance ? Glacial Advance Frostwyrm's Fury Frostwyrm's Fury
100 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.

2. Tier 1 (Level 56) 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 is currently the weakest option in this tier.

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.

Inexorable Assault Icon Inexorable Assault is not a bad choice however it is outperformed by Cold Heart.

3. Tier 2 (Level 57) 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 comparable to Runic Attenuation and is a consistent alternative.

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

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 58) 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 60) 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 currently the best AoE/cleave target and the best choice for Mythic+. You should use Frostscythe in 2+ target situations.

Avalanche Icon Avalanche is still a strong talent, however not as strong as Frozen Pulse Icon Frozen Pulse for single-target, and not as strong as Frostscythe Icon Frostscythe for AoE.

6. Tier 5 (Level 75) 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 90) Talents for Frost Death Knights

Gathering Storm Gathering Storm Glacial Advance ? Glacial Advance Frostwyrm's Fury Frostwyrm's Fury
  • Gathering Storm Icon Gathering Storm causes each Rune you spend during Remorseless Winter Icon Remorseless Winter to increase its damage by 10% and extend its duration by 0.5 seconds.
  • Glacial Advance Icon Glacial Advance summons glacial spikes in a front line that deals Frost damage and applies Razorice Icon Razorice to all targets hit. Casting Glacial Advance also triggers Icy Talons Icon Icy Talons. It costs 30 Runic Power and has a 6-second cooldown.
  • Frostwyrm's Fury Icon 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.

We currently recommend taking Frostwyrm's Fury Icon Frostwyrm's Fury in all situations. It is an easy talent to play with, requiring less preparation than Gathering Storm and is very easy to get value out of in Mythic+.

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 close to Frostwyrm's Fury in single-target and AoE situations so we recommend you sim your character to see which is the best option for your character. This talent does require more preparation to play than Frostwyrm's Fury.

8. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents for Frost Death Knights

Icecap Icecap Obliteration Obliteration Breath of Sindragosa Breath of Sindragosa

Currently we recommend taking Breath of Sindragosa Icon Breath of Sindragosa. Obliteration Icon Obliteration is currently significantly below Breath of Sindragosa. Icecap Icon Icecap is a very simple talent to play with, just not as strong as Obliteration is.

9. 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.

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. This talent has good synergy with the other PvP talent Tundra Stalker Icon Tundra Stalker.
  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, Snake, 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, Decomposing Aura Icon Decomposing Aura, 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

  • 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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