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Frost Death Knight PvP Guide (Legion 7.3)

Last updated Today at 16:15 by Mysticall 5 comments

Table of Contents

Introduction

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play a Frost Death Knight in a PvP environment. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, artifacts, gameplay and rotation, and useful racial bonuses. It is most applicable to Arena content, but most talents and racial bonuses will work in Rated Battlegrounds and skirmishes.

About The Author

This guide has been written by Mysticall, a seasoned PvP player who has repeatedly achieved Arena Master and 2300 rating. You can watch his stream on Twitch, and you can also check out his YouTube channel.

1. Spec Overview / Place in the Current Meta

Frost Death Knights are a force to be reckoned with in arena. They have the ability to singlehandedly force defensive cooldowns from enemies and have some of the strongest sustained damage outside of burst cooldowns. Even when a Frost Death Knight does not have offensive cooldowns active they can still force defensives with the large amounts of damage they can do.

2. Gear

With regards to gear, the biggest change in Legion is that there is no more PvP gear. Your strength in PvP will be determined based on the average item level of your gear (as displayed on your character sheet). For example, the base item level at level 110 is 800, so your stats in PvP will be adjusted accordingly. For every 10 item levels you gain, your stats are increased by 1%.

The implication is that it does not matter where your gear comes from, and all that matters is its item level. Gear from quests or PvE content is just as good as gear you get as a reward from PvP (which, in fact, will be very similar to PvE gear; there are no more PvP stats on gear).

Practically, you will simply look to collect gear with the highest item levels possible, and the stat distribution on the gear will not matter.

3. Artifact Traits

Below, we will explain what the recommended order for artifact traits is, if you wish to maximise your PvP potential. It is quite possible that your artifact path (at the time of reading this guide) differs from our suggestions. If this is the case, do not worry, and use the information below to help you understand your traits and guide your future choices.

If you have suddenly decided that you want to turn to PvP, the best thing to do in your artifact progression is continue to your closest Golden trait, and then follow the recommendations below. Picking up the most useful traits ( Icon Mirror Ball,  Icon Frozen Core, and  Icon Ice in Your Veins) along the way is a great way to boost your potential.

3.1. First Golden Trait

The first Golden trait you should go for is  Icon Sindragosa's Fury.

  1. Take  Icon Blades of Frost.
  2. Take  Icon Nothing but the Boots.
  3. Take  Icon Frozen Core.
  4. Take  Icon Frozen Skin.
  5. Take  Icon Dead of Winter.
  6. Take  Icon Sindragosa's Fury.

3.2. Second Golden Trait

The second Golden trait to take is  Icon Hypothermia.

  1. Backtrack and take  Icon Cold as Ice.
  2. Take  Icon Mirror Ball.
  3. Take  Icon Bad to the Bone.
  4. Take  Icon Hypothermia.

3.3. Remaining Traits

After this, you should head for your last Golden Trait,  Icon Frozen Soul, picking up any remaining traits after that. Although there is no particular order to get the remaining traits, you should look to get  Icon Ice in Your Veins,  Icon Chill of the Grave, and  Icon Ambidexterity early on.

4. Relics

Relics are disabled in PvP, so they are not a concern to you.

5. Talent Choices

Regular talents work in both PvP and PvE content (although they may sometimes work differently in the two environments, which is indicated by their tooltips). In other words, they are always active.

On the other hand, Honor talents are inactive outside of a PvP environment.

5.1. Regular Talents

5.1.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Icy Talons Icon Icy Talons is the best choice in this tier. This increases your sustained damage.

5.1.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Freezing Fog Icon Freezing Fog is the best choice in this tier. This is large increase to your sustained and burst damage.

5.1.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Avalanche Icon Avalanche is the best choice in this tier. This makes your Pillar of Frost Icon Pillar of Frost and burst output even more powerful.

5.1.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

If your team does not have a stun, Winter is Coming Icon Winter is Coming is the best choice in this tier. This gives your team a reliable stun to use when you are connecting to an enemy. However, if your team already has a stun, Blinding Sleet Icon Blinding Sleet is the best choice in this tier. This gives your team an extra crowd control.

5.1.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

If you are playing against a team with a melee DPS on it, Permafrost Icon Permafrost is the best choice in this tier. This is strong because you will constantly be attacking the enemy melee DPS and gaining the absorb shield.

If you are playing against a team with two caster DPS on it, Volatile Shielding Icon Volatile Shielding is the best choice in this tier. This makes your Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell a very strong defensive against caster DPS.

5.1.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Gathering Storm Icon Gathering Storm is the best choice in this tier. Remorseless Winter Icon Remorseless Winter is primarily used while using burst cooldowns and increases your overall burst damage. This talent works great with Winter is Coming Icon Winter is Coming.

5.1.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Obliteration Icon Obliteration is the best choice in this tier. This allows you to maintain your consistent pressure on a relatively short cooldown.

5.2. Honor Talents

5.2.1. Tier 1 Talents

Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is the best choice in this tier, which provides a standard PvP trinket effect.

5.2.2. Tier 2 Talents

If you are playing against a team with a caster on it, we recommend Reinforced Armor Icon Reinforced Armor in this tier.

If you are playing against a team with two melee on it, we recommend Sparring Icon Sparring. Both of these talents improve survivability, you just have to switch them based on the team you are playing against.

5.2.3. Tier 3 Talents

Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone is the best choice in this tier. This is an extra defensive against casters and even some melee classes. If you are playing against a team with very little spell damage, Dark Simulacrum Icon Dark Simulacrum could be better. Try to steal important crowd control like Cyclone Icon Cyclone, Fear Icon Fear or Polymorph Icon Polymorph.

5.2.4. Tier 4 Talents

Heartstop Aura Icon Heartstop Aura is the best choice in this tier. Because the enemy team's defensive cooldowns will have a longer cooldown, this talent allows you to play very offensively. However, if you are playing with a teammate that uses mainly magical damage, Necrotic Aura Icon Necrotic Aura is the best choice in this tier.

5.2.5. Tier 5 Talents

Frozen Center Icon Frozen Center is the best choice in this tier. This is a great talent to make it easier to hit targets that will try to kite your damage. This also makes it easier for you to do spread pressure to the enemy team if multiple enemies are rooted.

5.2.6. Tier 6 Talents

Overpowered Rune Weapon Icon Overpowered Rune Weapon is the best choice in this tier. This makes one of your strongest offensive cooldowns much shorter.

6. Racial Bonuses

Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.

6.1. Horde

Orc is the best race for Frost Death Knights, thanks to the passive Orcs have (Hardiness Icon Hardiness) reducing all stuns greatly improves survivability.

Alternatively, Blood Elf is also a good race. The passive you gain (Arcane Torrent Icon Arcane Torrent) is a great ability with how little crowd control Death Knights have. The additional silence helps you lock down casters much more easily.

6.2. Alliance

The Human bonus (Every Man for Himself Icon Every Man for Himself) is a great way to escape stuns.

7. Playstyle

The Frost Death Knight has one role when in an Arena: do unrelenting sustained damage. Frost Death Knights lack crowd control with a very small amount of utility for teammates. Players should focus on maximizing their sustained damage as much as they can. Death Knights lack mobility, which is why when you get to the enemy you should deal as much damage as you can to them. With relatively short cooldowns, Frost Death Knights have the ability to use their burst rotation and force cooldowns as soon as the Arena begins. They have great sustained damage and very short burst cooldowns.

7.1. Before Gates Open

Have a plan for who you will be mainly using your crowd control on. Although Frost Death Knights lack crowd control, they still have one depending on whether Winter is Coming Icon Winter is Coming or Blinding Sleet Icon Blinding Sleet is taken.

7.1.1. The Opener

The opener refers to your team's opening crowd control chain and damage done as soon as you get out of the gates. The main goal in the opener is to force your enemies to use their cooldowns.

If the enemy healer uses their trinket in the opener, they are in trouble. In the opener, Frost Death Knights should focus on sticking to an enemy and dealing large amounts of damage to the target.

This is the rotation you should use on your target at the beginning of the game.

  1. Use Howling Blast Icon Howling Blast to apply Frost Fever Icon Frost Fever.
    • It is important to maintain Frost Fever Icon Frost Fever on as many targets as you can.
  2. Use Obliterate Icon Obliterate to avoid capping runes, or if you have a Killing Machine Icon Killing Machine proc.
  3. Use Frost Strike Icon Frost Strike whenever you have the Runic Power for it.
  4. Use Howling Blast Icon Howling Blast if you have a Rime Icon Rime proc or to reapply Frost Fever Icon Frost Fever.
  5. Use your burst rotation.

7.1.2. Burst Damage

When you have the enemy healer in crowd control and you are trying to kill an enemy, you use your burst damage.

  1. If you get a Rime Icon Rime or Killing Machine Icon Killing Machine proc it is important to use them immediately.
  2. Use Death Grip Icon Death Grip on your kill target.
    • It is important that you have a teammate stun your kill target.
  3. Use Remorseless Winter Icon Remorseless Winter.
  4. Use Pillar of Frost Icon Pillar of Frost.
  5. Use Obliteration Icon Obliteration.
  6. Use Howling Blast Icon Howling Blast when you have a Rime Icon Rime proc.
  7. Use Obliterate Icon Obliterate.
  8. Use Frost Strike Icon Frost Strike.
  9. Use Obliterate Icon Obliterate.
    • Use Obliterate Icon Obliterate as often as you can as long as it does not make you cap on Runic Power.
  10. Use Frost Strike Icon Frost Strike whenever you have the Runic Power to use it.
  11. Use Empower Rune Weapon Icon Empower Rune Weapon when you have no more Runes left.
  12. Use Howling Blast Icon Howling Blast if you get a Rime Icon Rime proc.
  13. Use Obliterate Icon Obliterate.
  14. Use Frost Strike Icon Frost Strike whenever you have the Runic Power to use it.
  15. Use Obliterate Icon Obliterate with Killing Machine Icon Killing Machine procs.
  16. Use  Icon Sindragosa's Fury if Pillar of Frost Icon Pillar of Frost is active and your kill target is low on health or the enemy team is stacked.

7.1.3. Sustained damage

Sustained damage is damage you do when your burst cooldowns are not available.

  1. Use Howling Blast Icon Howling Blast to maintain Frost Fever Icon Frost Fever.
  2. If Frost Fever Icon Frost Fever is active only use Howling Blast Icon Howling Blast when you get a Rime Icon Rime proc.
  3. Use Obliterate Icon Obliterate whenever you have 2 Runes to avoid capping them.
  4. Use Frost Strike Icon Frost Strike when you have enough Runic Power.
  5. Use Rime Icon Rime and Killing Machine Icon Killing Machine procs as soon as you can.
  6. Do not waste your Death Grip Icon Death Grips as this is vital to your burst damage.

7.2. Defensive Techniques

Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell is your primary defensive ability. This is very strong against caster classes. With a relatively short cooldown, use this if you are being focused and need to negate incoming spell damage.

Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude is another strong defensive ability. This will give you immunity to all stuns and reduce all damage on you. Use this when you are in a stun and being focused.  Icon Ice in Your Veins makes it much stronger when you use Death Strike Icon Death Strike while Icebound Fortitude is active.

Wraith Walk Icon Wraith Walk is not exactly a defensive, but use this when you need to get to an enemy or to avoid incoming crowd control.

Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone should be used when your team is stacked and the enemy team is doing strong single target or spread spell damage.

8. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 23 Sep. 2017: Several changes needed for Patch 7.3
    • Removed Artifact Trait descriptions.
    • Changed recommended tier 2 regular talents.
    • Changed recommended tier 6 honor talents.
    • Updated burst and sustained damage rotations.
  • 09 Jun. 2017: Frost Death Knight PvP Guide was created.
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