Unholy Death Knight Shadowlands Leveling Guide From 8 to 60
When you get the option to Runeforge, make sure you apply Rune of the Fallen Crusader, as it is the highest DPS option that you can possibly use. If you want survivability or speed when leveling you can choose to run either Rune of Unending Thirst or Rune of Sanguination.
When leveling up, you should always choose the piece of loot with the highest item level. The only exception to this rule is if you have a Ring or Necklace with a slightly lower item level, but 2 secondary stats on it instead of 1.
Level by Level Rotation and Talents
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Depending on which race you picked, you will start a different level, and have a slightly different intro:
- If you picked an Allied Race then you start at level 10.
- On the other hand, if you started with a non allied race you start at level 8.
Your first talent row still unlocks at Level 15 though.
Talents to Level Up as an Unholy Death Knight
Your first talent row unlocks at Level 15.
Your talent set up should be as follows.
- Level 15: All Will Serve
- Level 25: Unholy Blight
- Level 30: Asphyxiate
- Level 35: Soul Reaper
- Level 40: Wraith Walk
- Level 45: Unholy Pact
- Level 50: Unholy Assault
Rotation to Level Up as an Unholy Death Knight
Starting off, you will only have one main attack ability: Rune Strike.
- Rune Strike is your main damaging ability.
- Army of the Dead should be saved for elites and very strong mobs since it is an extremely long cooldown that does a large amount of single target burst damage.
- Use Unholy Blight off cooldown to apply Virulent Plague.
- Outbreak should be used to apply Virulent Plague to all targets when Unholy Blight is on cooldown.
- Dark Transformation can be used off cooldown, however you should also make sure you have it available for larger packs of mobs or more difficult packs.
- Use Soul Reaper when the target is lower than 35% health, off cooldown.
- Use Epidemic when there are 2+ targets.
- Use Death and Decay to Scourge Strike cleave packs of 2+ mobs.
- Apocalypse should be used with 4 or more Festering Wounds on your target.
- Use Death Coil when you have 80+ Runic Power or no available Runes.
- Use Scourge Strike when there is at least 1 Festering Wound on your target.
- Use Festering Strike when there are 0 Festering Wounds on your target.
- You can now sacrifice your Raise Dead with Sacrificial Pact for additional burst DPS. Use this as often as you can since you can resummon your pet on a short cooldown.
There are all a number of passive abilities that you unlock through the leveling process that can change your playstyle and rotation.
- Sudden Doom affects both Death Coil and Epidemic. These procs should be used fairly quickly to ensure that you do not override your current proc.
- Dark Succor is incredible for leveling, allowing you to easily heal and stay high health while chain pulling packs and mobs.
- Dark Transformation Rank 2 is unlocked, which grants your Ghoul 100% Energy.
- Scourge Strike Rank 2 is unlocked, which increases the damage of it by 20%.
- Apocalypse Rank 2 is unlocked, which makes it so Apocalypse generate 2 Runes.
Unholy Death Knight Defensive Abilities while Leveling
- Anti-Magic Shell is a very strong magic shield that also generates Runic Power. This should be used whenever magic damage is present in order to take advantage of the Runic Power generation.
- Lichborne is an extremely powerful ability for leveling, as it provides you with a good chunk of Leech. Use this cooldown in order to take advantage of the healing and try to pair it with high AoE or burst combinations.
- Control Undead costs 1 Rune but allows your to take control of an undead target for 5 minutes; use this whenever available to help you in future pulls.
- Icebound Fortitude is an amazing defensive cooldown that should be used whenever necessary to order to keep you moving from pack to pack.
- Raise Ally cannot be used when solo leveling, however it is fantastic in dungeon groups if you decide to level that way.
- Death's Advance is one of your only movement speed cooldowns, making it incredibly useful when leveling. The secondary effects of this are not too useful in leveling scenarios, except for the passive that prevents you from being slowed past a certain point.
- Anti-Magic Zone is a group/raid cooldown, however it can easily be used when solo leveling to minimize magic damage taken in a large pull or against an elite that deals magic damage.
Unholy Death Knight War Mode Talents for Leveling
This section will go over the PvP talents for leveling content for Unholy Death Knights.
Unholy Death Knight PvP Talents for Leveling
- Raise Abomination provides you with a replacement to Army of the Dead that also applies Festering Wounds and Virulent Plague to all targets, making it incredibly powerful while leveling.
- Necrotic Aura gives you a flat magic damage increase to everything you fight, really useful!
- Death's Echo provides extra mobility and utility.
- 05 Jul. 2021: Updated recommended PvP talents.
- 29 Jun. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
- 04 Jun. 2021: Updated Rotation to reflect Apocalypse becoming available at Level 19.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
- 22 Nov. 2020: Included Shadowlands leveling updates.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Guide added.
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