Unholy Death Knight Patch 9.2 Changes Analysis and Tier Set Thoughts
On this page, we tell you how the Patch 9.2 changes for Unholy Death Knight affect the spec and what the current state of theorycrafting is.
Unholy Death Knight in Patch 9.2: Eternity's End
This page is intended to provide a concise list of changes in Patch 9.2 that will directly (or indirectly in one case!) affect Unholy Death Knight. From changes to Legendaries, Covenants, the addition of set bonuses and changes to systems affecting all players, Eternity's End brings in substantial changes, both in terms of choices and playstyle.
As usual, we will try to keep it as concise as we can, while explaining the impacts of each change.
If you are simply interested in what the current changes are for Death Knights in Patch 9.2 in general, you can instead read our full list of changes to the entire Death Knight class on our dedicated page below. For an additional list of content coming with Patch 9.2, you can also check out our Patch 9.2 Overview page.
Base Spec Changes for Patch 9.2
There have been a number of changes to Unholy DK in 9.2, all of them being buffs! Please find below a complete list.
- Convocation of the Dead reworked. Now has a flat 1 second CDR on Apocalypse and Festering Wound damage buff scaling component. This is a huge buff to a Conduit that previously saw no scaling whatsoever after ilvl 226. Buffed by a whopping 80% at max ilvl, this is overall a great buff for us.
- Eternal Hunger buffed. The pet damage scaling component has been buffed by 100% at all ranks. This is another great buff to a Conduit that did not scale well, buffed by a total of 30% at max rank.
- Embrace Death buffed by 14%. A relatively small buff compared to what the other Conduits saw. I believe the developers are a bit scared that one could leverage this Conduit to deal huge burst in PvP. I would have loved to see it go a bit higher though. This current level is most likely not sufficient to pick it up.
- Brutal Grasp buffed by 100%. A flat 100% damage increase at all ranks makes this Conduit a compelling option, especially in AoE.
- Abomination Limb buffed by 20%. A very simple buff to a Covenant ability that was already good. This will increase Necrolord's burst in both single-target and AoE!
When considering all these buffs together, they amount to roughly a 5% overall damage increase on single-target — quite nice. Most importantly, our Conduits will now scale properly, increasing our power with their ilvl!
Unholy Death Knight Talent Changes in Patch 9.2
As with base spec changes, our talent tree is currently untouched. Even though it would be neat to see some changes, particularly in order to diversify the couple of talent rows where one talent eclipses the others, it is relatively rare for this to happen in the last patch of an expansion.
Unholy Death Knight Tier Set in Patch 9.2
Players will once again be able to acquire their own class tier set — gone are the days of static, boring armor!
Sepulcher of the First Ones, launching shortly after Patch 9.2, will allow Death Knights to collect armor pieces that, together, enable two unique specialization-themed bonuses. For Unholy Death Knights specifically, the effects are the following:
- Unholy DK 2-Piece — Every 5 Scourge Strikes/ Clawing Shadows that burst Festering Wounds casts Soul Reaper on your target and summons an Army of the Dead ghoul for 15 seconds.
- Unholy DK 4-Piece — Your pets deal 5% increased damage. When Soul Reaper's secondary effect triggers, this is buffed to 20% for 8 seconds
Unholy Death Knight Tier Set Thoughts
The Unholy Death Knight tier set bonus feeds into our execute and pet damage, largely focusing on pure single-target. As an already strong execute class, getting even more damage funneled into this window is generally a good thing for Raiding (execute damage is by far the most useful type of damage). However, it does make the set lackluster in both PvP and Mythic+.
The set plays heavily into the Soul Reaper talent. This will not change much in our build since Soul Reaper is such a default pick anyway. Sniping mobs with Soul Reaper will be a really nice way of funneling DPS into a single target, or buffing our AoE if Dark Transformation is active.
Unholy Death Knight is already quite the powerhouse when it comes to late Bloodlust execute burns. This tier set will make us even stronger, potentially putting us at the top of execute damage of all classes!
Covenant Changes in Patch 9.2 for Unholy Death Knight
We have seen one change to Covenant abilities in 9.2: Abomination Limb was buffed by 20%. This is a nice flat buff to Necrolord that both buffs its AoE as well as its single-target burst.
That said, Patch 9.1.5 brought with it the ability to freely switch between Covenants (assuming that you reached Renown 80 and obtained the Renowned achievement on any character on your account). Now is the ideal time to max out every covenant to 80, as Blizzard also hinted at the fact that there will not be any additional Renown levels. Go wild, try the options you have been postponing, and have fun!
In addition, Conduits will be unlocking their final few ranks. The buffs to our conduits will make this slightly more impactful, but doesn't change our gameplay. Just some nice damage buffs!
Legendary Changes in Patch 9.2 for Unholy Death Knight
Recall that in Patch 9.1, every class received a Legendary Power that was unique to each Covenant. These powers will see changes in 9.2:
- Kyrian — Final Sentence — Reworked slightly in 9.2, now refunds a Rune grants 4% stacking Strength (up from 3%) for 15s whenever Shackle the Unworthy spreads to another target. The application of Shackle the Unworthy itself is now counted for this, making this effect a 4% Strength buff for 15s and one extra Rune every 56s (with Forgelite Prime Mikanikos) in single-target.
- Necrolord — Abomination's Frenzy — Now increases damage done by 20% (up from 10%) for enemies hit by your Abomination Limb. This now also works for pet damage!
- Night Fae — Rampant Transference — Strength gain per stack now 3% (was 2%).
The significant changes here are to Abomination's Frenzy and Rampant Transference. Abomination's Frenzy went from a ~2% DPS increase to 8%! This is on par with our other single-target Legendaries, making this a huge buff overall! Rampant Transference now gives a whopping 20% Strength at max stack, making the Legendary useful in both single-target and AoE.
At some point in Patch 9.2, you will be able to equip one of these powers alongside your regular Legendary choice. This means that in addition to your primary Legendary, you will be able to benefit from your Covenant's Legendary Power on top, for free (well, besides crafting it). There are also rumors of a new legendary granting these powers that changes based on your Covenant.
As such, to prepare for this, grind some Soul Ash and Soul Cinders. You will likely be recrafting something, but it will not be right now, and there is no tangible reason to re-craft anything before 9.2. Just get ready, max all four Covenants, and get some Ash and Cinders to easily get into the flow.
Potential Double Legendary Combinations
Double Legendaries opens up a completely new build for the Unholy Death Knight. The Death's Certainty + Defile combination finally becomes viable with Rampant Transference thrown into the mix. You will be able to maintain 100% uptime on the Strength buff from Death's Due with the cooldown reduction from both Defile and Death's Certainty as well as the increased buff duration from Rampant Transference. Finally, Rampant Transference ups the Strength boost to 20%, making the combination far stronger.
This is arguably a bad thing, considering how awkward and annoying the build is. There is a large emphasis on keeping up your Strength buff from Death's Due, and any boss movement will instantly cause issues. I personally hope this build will not become the best one, simply because of how clunky and unfun it is.
The most used combinations will most likely be Deadliest Coil + Abomination's Frenzy for single-target and Frenzied Monstrosity + Abomination's Frenzy for AoE.
- 20 Feb. 2022: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
- 19 Jan. 2022: Updated with latest build tuning.
- 15 Jan. 2022: Page added with initial thoughts and information.
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