How To Improve As Unholy Death Knight — Shadowlands 9.2.5

Last updated on May 31, 2022 at 00:05 by Bicepspump 51 comments
General Information

On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Unholy Death Knight in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.2.5. We list the common mistakes that you should try to avoid and the small details that can greatly improve your performance.


Over-Capping Runic Power and Holding Runes

Because you can have 3 Runes recharging at the same time, any time you are holding 4 or more Runes, you are effectively capped on runes and wasting potential Rune regeneration. There is never a point in your play where it would be valuable to not cast anything (unless you are pooling Runic Power and, even then, try to minimize downtime), or where you need more than 3 Runes saved up; always keep 3 Runes on cooldown.

Similarly, every point of Runic Power you generate when already at maximum Runic Power is a fraction of a lost Death Coil Icon Death Coil. There are no situations where it would be better to spend a Rune than it would be to avoid capping Runic Power.


Pooling Runic Power in AoE for Epidemic

In fights that have burst AoE, you want to plan out your AoE for when adds spawn. One very important thing to incorporate into your rotation is a pooling phase, where you save 60+ Runic Power to immediately cast Epidemic Icon Epidemic before you use abilities like Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay. An example of a fight where this is incredibly useful is Sire Denathrius Phase 1 on the adds that spawn from Cleansing Pain. These adds do not last very long, so having the Runic Power pooled can lead to a lot more damage.


Not Using Soul Reaper Often Enough

Soul Reaper Icon Soul Reaper should be cast off cooldown when the target is below 35% health. It does a significant amount of damage, so do not forget to use it very often in execute phase.


Make Sure Your Ghoul is Casting Abilities

Your pet Ghoul has 3 attacks called Claw Icon Claw, Gnaw Icon Gnaw, and Leap Icon Leap. You want to make sure all of these are set to auto-cast by right clicking the ability on your pet action bar. These abilities do add a significant amount of damage, so having them turned off will lower your damage. The only ability that you may want to turn off in certain fights is Gnaw because, when your Ghoul is under the effects of Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation, casting Gnaw will interrupt and stun the target for 2 seconds.


Using Outbreak When You Have Unholy Blight for Single-Target

When you are talented into Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight, you do not need to cast Outbreak Icon Outbreak in single-target. It may seem bad to have downtime on Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague, but it just is not worth the extra Rune and you should instead just wait for Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight to be up. In 2+ targets, you can use Outbreak Icon Outbreak to apply Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague for the downtime between Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blights.


Using Anti-Magic Shell on Non-Magical Damage

The defensive cooldown Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell only absorbs magical damage, therefore making it useless when it comes to physical damage. A common mistake is people casting it to protect against physical damage and not gaining the benefit of a defensive absorb or the Runic Power generation. Make sure you know if an ability from a boss is a physical or magical ability.


Not Using Your Cooldowns Enough

Especially for Mythic+, it is easy to hold cooldowns in anticipation of larger and more difficult packs. It is generally a mistake to do so though. Try and use your cooldowns as soon as they come up! It sounds easy but it is a major improvement for many people.


Not Aligning Your Cooldowns Properly

In raiding scenarios, it is crucial to properly align your cooldowns. Always use Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight with Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation. Ensure your second Army of the Dead Icon Army of the Dead is used a couple of seconds before a Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight and Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation combo. Make sure to use your Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse with Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight with Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation when appropriate. Holding cooldowns when the cooldown difference is less than 10 seconds.



  • 31 May 2022: Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 20 Feb. 2022: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 01 Nov. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 29 Jun. 2021: Guide updated and reviewed for Patch 9.1.
  • 10 May 2021: Added two more tips.
  • 16 Mar. 2021: Fixed a typo in Ghoul ability section; changed Leap to Gnaw in the interrupt section.
  • 19 Jan. 2021: Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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