Unholy Death Knight Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Dragonflight 10.2.5

Last updated on Jan 15, 2024 at 15:00 by Bicepspump 69 comments
General Information

Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits are the most important character customization options in Shadowlands. They have a substantial impact on your toolkit and performance as Unholy Death Knight. This page's purpose is to help you pick the right options according to the content you intend to do in Shadowlands.


Dragonflight Disclaimer

Please be aware that as of the Dragonflight Pre-Patch and Dragonflight expansion, all Covenant abilities, Soulbinds, and Conduits will only function while within the Shadowlands. This page will temporarily remain as a reference.


Introduction: Prerequisites

This page assumes that you are already familiar with Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits. If that is not the case, we have a number of pages that can help you get up to speed:

  • Covenants Guide, which explains what Covenants are, what perks they bring, and how you can join one;
  • Death Knight Covenant Abilities, which lists all the abilities that Death Knights gain by joining each Covenant;
  • How To Change Covenant?, which tells you how you can switch Covenant (rejoining a former Covenant will require you to perform a number of tasks to regain their trusts);
  • General Soulbind Guide, which explains what Soulbinds are and how you can pledge yourself to them to open up their Soulbind tree;
  • Death Knight Conduits, which lists all of the Conduits available to Death Knights.

Summary of the Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits


Important Information

The recommendations below are meant to maximize your performance for Mythic+ and Sanctum of Domination. This page's recommendations are subject to change, so make sure to keep yourself updated.

Necrolord with Plague Deviser Marileth is the best option for Raiding. It simply brings superior damage output compared to all other choices. Night Fae with Dreamweaver is our recommended pick for Mythic+. The Strength gain from Death's Due Icon Death's Due and the synergy between Withering Ground Icon Withering Ground and Defile Icon Defile are really strong in AoE!

Focus Covenant Soulbind Advised Tree
Raiding Necrolord Plague Deviser Marileth Unholy Death Knight Marileth Raiding Tree
Mythic+ Necrolord Plague Deviser Marileth Unholy Death Knight Marileth Raiding Tree

Necrolord Covenant for Unholy Death Knight

Currently, Necrolord with Plague Deviser Marileth is the best Covenant and Soulbind option for Unholy overall. Night Fae also has a semi-viable build which takes advantage of the buff extension of Death's Due Icon Death's Due. By running Rampant Transference Icon Rampant Transference, Death's Certainty Icon Death's Certainty, and Defile Icon Defile, you can get 100% uptime of a 20% strength buff Death's Due. The only issue with this build is that it is not very versatile, and suffers heavily from downtime.


Best Conduits for Unholy Death Knight

This section contains a tier list of all our Conduits. I have grouped in tiers to indicate their relative power level.


S-tier Conduits

  • Convocation of the Dead Icon Convocation of the Dead — The cooldown reduction of Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse helps us bring the cooldown down to below 30 seconds when combined with Army of the Damned Icon Army of the Damned. This has great synergy with Magus of the Dead Icon Magus of the Dead and makes the conduit really strong in the Dragonflight Pre-Patch.
  • Brutal Grasp Icon Brutal Grasp — Adds a significant boost to our Abomination Limb Icon Abomination Limb damage. Also picks up a ton of value once we obtain the second Legendary, Abomination's Frenzy Icon Abomination's Frenzy. This is our second Potency Conduit when running Necrolord.
  • Embrace Death Icon Embrace Death — Given the large strength of Death Coil Icon Death Coil in the Dragonflight Pre-Patch, this conduit works really well. Solid third option for single target and cleave (remember that Death Coil Icon Death Coil can cleave in Dragonflight)!
  • Lingering Plague Icon Lingering Plague — Increased damage to Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague as well as an increase to its duration. This works really well with a dot-focused build with the Anduin Ring. This should be your third option if you are running such a build!
  • Withering Ground Icon Withering Ground — This Potency Conduit picks up an insane amount of value as we spec into the Defile Icon Defile talent. It makes it do upwards of 1.5k per tick, per target! It is the second Potency Conduit to run as Night Fae!
  • Condensed Anima Sphere Icon Condensed Anima Sphere — Best Endurance Conduit, provides a good amount of healing throughout any encounter.
  • Spirit Drain Icon Spirit Drain — Only Finesse Conduit that provides a DPS boost, therefore becoming our best option. Especially good with Breath of Sindragosa Icon Breath of Sindragosa builds.

A-tier Conduits

  • Adaptive Armor Fragment Icon Adaptive Armor Fragment — A Tank Conduit that ends up as our third pick for Potency Conduit with Venthyr and Kyrian. It is bland, but does the job.
  • Hardened Bones Icon Hardened Bones — Converts Lichborne Icon Lichborne into a proper defensive cooldown. It is the second-best Endurance Conduit.
  • Fleeting Wind Icon Fleeting Wind — A nice speed boost to our Death's Advance Icon Death's Advance ability. Since DKs are so slow, this is a nice addition. This is our second-best Finesse Conduit.

B-tier Conduits

  • Proliferation Icon Proliferation — Solid third Potency alternative for Mythic+.
  • Impenetrable Gloom Icon Impenetrable Gloom — Solid third Potency alternative for Mythic+.
  • Reinforced Shell Icon Reinforced Shell — Niche use-cases where your group takes low magical damage for a long duration. It generally does not find much value.
  • Eternal Hunger Icon Eternal Hunger — This conduit is bugged in the Dragonflight Pre-Patch and is not worth picking up.

Covenants for Unholy Death Knight


Kyrian: Shackle the Unworthy

Kyrian is a strong pure single-target option, however it provides some of the weakest AoE DPS. We use Forgelite Prime Mikanikos as our Soulbind everywhere.


Necrolord: Abomination Limb

Necrolord is the best Covenant for Unholy Death Knights, providing the highest single-target DPS as well as competitive AoE DPS. This Covenant is currently the best option for Mythic+. We pick up Plague Deviser Marileth as our Soulbind in all situations.


Venthyr: Swarming Mist

Venthyr has a base-kit that does do very well in Mythic+. Unfortunately, the Covenant-specific Legendary simply is not that strong, significantly weakening Venthyr as a Covenant. If you do run it, pick up Nadjia the Mistblade as your Soulbind.


Night Fae: Death's Due

Night Fae is a true powerhouse in AoE scenarios. It does really well with AoE, significantly boosting the damage of Defile Icon Defile as well as providing 20% Strength for our big burst windows! We recommend picking up Dreamweaver as your Soulbind here.


Soulbinds for Unholy Death Knight

These Soulbinds are always subject to change, so we will aim to keep them updated to ensure you can have an accurate ranking of your options. This page is for maximizing your performance in the progression phase of Mythic Sepulcher of the First Ones.


Kyrian Soulbinds

  • Pelagos provides solid DPS but does lack some AoE scaling. He is a solid Soulbind, but not quite the best.
  • Kleia offers multiple Soulbind traits that increase damage throughput, mainly focused on critical strikes. She is definitely a viable option!
  • Forgelite Prime Mikanikos is our go-to pick, offering strong single-target and really good AoE!/li>

Necrolord Soulbinds

  • Emeni does provide a nice buff to your teammates, but does not provide enough personal throughput to be the best pick.
  • Bonesmith Heirmir does not scale quite as well as the other Covenants and does not bring enough throughput in Patch 9.2.
  • Plague Deviser Marileth is our best pick as a Soulbind for Necrolord. Volatile Solvent Icon Volatile Solvent provides good value in both Raids and Mythic+, and Kevin's Oozeling Icon Kevin's Oozeling is a nice addition to our single-target burst.

Venthyr Soulbinds

  • Theotar the Mad Duke has a great proc but suffers from heavy movement. He is still a solid and viable choice.
  • Nadjia the Mistblade is a very consistent option that will generally perform better than Theotar. She is our recommended go-to pick.
  • General Draven is simply a weaker choice than the other two options, so you will rarely ever see him used in Mythic+ or Raid content.

Night Fae Soulbinds

  • Korayn is one of the weakest Soulbinds in the game for Unholy Death Knights and is slightly behind Niya.
  • Niya is a solid choice overall but does not quite provide enough DPS and utility to be the highest-ranking Night Fae choice.
  • Dreamweaver is our best choice for a Night Fae Soulbind. He has great utility with a cheat-death spell as well as the best DPS throughput!


  • 25 Oct. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
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