Unholy Death Knight DPS Azerite Traits/Powers and Armor — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1
Find out everything you need to know about the idea Azerite traits and items for your Unholy Death Knight in World of Warcraft's Battle for Azeroth expansion (Patch Pre-9.0.1). You should also check out our Heart of Azeroth guide, since this is integral to understanding the Azerite system.
Choosing Azerite Gear as an Unholy Death Knight
Your choice of Azerite Gear pieces will almost always come down to the item level first, and the traits that it has second. Note that the traits you will look at when choosing gear are the Outer Ring traits, as these are the ones with the biggest impact on your gameplay. Middle Ring traits still have an impact on your DPS however the difference between Middle Ring traits is very small.
The general rule is that if an item is a 15+ item level upgrade over another item, you should use it. If the difference between the two items is less than 15 item levels, then you should choose the one with the better Outer Ring trait. As we said, though, this is a general rule and there are exceptions; for example, if you are comparing an extremely bad trait ( Blood Rite) to an extremely good one ( Festermight). It is nearly impossible to take every single variable into account without using a tool like Raidbots to simulate the difference for yourself.
With the release of Battle of Dazar'alor, new epic Azerite pieces now have a second Outer Ring meaning you want to replace your old Azerite gear with these new pieces as soon as possible. This can mean taking a 15 item level loss on a certain gear slot.
It is worth noting that if the difference between the traits is very small, then the higher item level pick will be more desirable. Azerite pieces have a high amount of Stamina and Strength, so item level is almost always king. A tiny difference in Stamina can can be the difference between dying and surviving.
Choosing Azerite Traits as an Unholy Death Knight
How to Use this List
A Tier traits are the strongest traits available. They will provide the most benefit to you in almost all circumstances, and you should aim to get these traits on your gear whenever possible.
B Tier traits are typically weaker bonuses that are either too inconsistent or simply do not provide enough damage for general use.
C Tier traits are traits that are simply not competitive and should not be considered.
Outer Ring Traits for Unholy Death Knight
- Undulating Tides is one of the new Azerite traits in The Eternal Palace that you will also find will sim the highest over other traits. This trait does a lot of damage and, if you can keep your health above 50% for the entire fight, then this trait will be your best DPS trait.
- Festermight causes your Festering Wound bursts to grant you a stack of Strength for 20 seconds, stacking this effect does not extend its duration.
- Helchains causes your Dark Transformation to create a chain between you and your ghoul that deals fire damage to any enemies that it hits.
- Magus of the Dead causes your Apocalypse and Army of the Dead to additionally summon a Magus of the Dead, which casts Frostbolts and Shadowbolts at your target.
- Dagger in the Back gives your abilities a chance to shoot a dagger at your target, applying a damage over time effect for 12 seconds, stacking up to 4 times. If you shoot this dagger when behind the target, it will apply 2 stacks.
- Rezan's Fury causes your damaging abilities to have a chance to summon a Child of Rezan, which deals Physical damage to your target and causes them to bleed for additional damage over 12 seconds.
- Battlefield Focus / Battlefield Precision gives your abilities a chance to apply stacks of a debuff to the target. This debuff causes them to take more damage from all raid members. Note that this is a PvP trait.
- Tidal Surge gives your damaging abilities a chance to deal some Frost damage to the target and slow it by 20%.
- Blightborne Infusion causes your spells to have a chance to increase your Critical Strike for 14 seconds.
- Champion of Azeroth gives your abilities a chance to increase all your secondary stats for a minute, stacking up to 4 times. Getting a new proc will refresh the duration, so you will keep this at 4 stacks throughout an entire fight.
- Filthy Transfusion gives your damaging ability a chance to do damage over 6 seconds to the target, healing you for the damage done.
- Swirling Sands causes your spells to have a chance to increase your Critical Strike for 12 seconds. This duration can be extended by landing Critical Strikes up to a maximum of 18 seconds.
- Unstable Catalyst causes your spells and abilities to have a chance to create a zone standing in which increases your primary stat.
- Thunderous Blast gives your damaging abilities a chance blast the target for extra Nature damage, and cause the target to take 20% more damage from your next blast. When the bonus damage reaches 100%, the next blast will Critically Strike, and reset the bonus damage back to 0%.
- Harrowing Decay causes your Death Coil to infect the target with Harrowing Decay which deals Shadow damage over 4 seconds.
- Secrets of the Deep causes your spells to have a chance to spawn a Surging Droplet nearby, which you can collect to increase your primary stat for 18 seconds. Rarely, a Void Droplet will be created instead, which increases your primary stat for twice as much as Surging Droplet's when collected.
- Sylvanas' Resolve gives your abilities a chance to give you a decent amount of primary stat, for 10 seconds. You also get this buff if an ally dies near you.
- Anduin's Dedication / Sylvanas' Resolve causes your spells to have a chance to increase your primary stat for 10 seconds. If an ally dies nearby you also instantly gain this effect. Note that this is a PvP trait.
- Retaliatory Fury gives your abilities a chance to give you a Mastery buff and a shield for 10 seconds.
- Tradewinds causes your spells to have a chance to grant you Mastery for 15 seconds. When this buff expires, it jumps once to a nearby ally at half duration and amount.
- Ruinous Bolt gives your abilities a chance to summon a Soul (pet) by your side for 14 seconds. The Soul deals Shadow damage to a random nearby target.
- Incite the Pack causes you to occasionally increase your Mastery and that of up to two nearby allies for 20 seconds.
- Blood Rite causes your spells to have a chance to increase your Haste for 15 seconds. Killing enemies refreshes this effect.
- Glory in Battle / Liberator's Might causes your spells to have a chance to grant Critical Strike and Haste for 10 seconds. Note that this is a PvP trait, and attacking a member of the opposing faction significantly increases this chance, making these traits are much stronger in PvP content.
- Liberator's Might gives your abilities a chance to give you Haste, and even more Critical Strike for 10 seconds.
- Synaptic Spark Capacitor gives your abilities a chance to put a debuff on your target. This debuff will deal damage to enemies within 8 yards of the target with the debuff, and causes them to do 5% less damage to you. This trait is only obtainable through crafting Engineering goggles.
- Relational Normalization Gizmo causes your spells to have a chance to grant you a primary stat and maximum health buff or Haste and 50% movement speed for 10 seconds. This trait is only obtainable through crafting Engineering goggles.
- Meticulous Scheming causes you to gain a buff for 8 seconds that transforms into a 20-second Haste buff after you cast 3 different spells while it is active.
- Loyal to the End is a new trait that seems like it is good, since it grants you baseline Mastery; however, it is simply not as strong as other traits. There is some merit in certain classes that can resurrect themselves, such as Shamans using this trait to buff the group, though this is not worth it as a Unholy Death Knight.
- Arcane Heart is not a good trait to use. The amount of damage you need to do in order to proc the main stat gain from this trait is not worth it for such a small amount of main stat.
- Cankerous Wounds causes your Festering Strike to deal additional damage and have a 20% increased chance of applying 3 Festering Wounds.
- Last Surprise causes your Army of the Dead and Apocalypse minions to deal Shadow damage to all nearby enemies when they expire.
- Last Gift / Retaliatory Fury causes your spells and abilities to have a chance to grant Mastery and an absorb shield . Note that this is a PvP trait; also, taking damage from a member of the opposite faction has a chance to activate this effect, making these traits much strong in PvP content.
- Retaliatory Fury gives your abilities a chance to give you a Mastery buff and a shield for 10 seconds.
- Collective Will / Stand As One causes your spells to have a chance to increase your primary stat and maximum health. This effect is also applied to up to 4 nearby allies. Note that this is a PvP trait.
- Stand As One gives your abilities a chance to drop a Banner for 6 seconds, which buffs you and 4 nearby allies with their primary stat, and increases maximum Health.
- Combined Might / Stronger Together gives you and 4 allies a bonus to one of your secondary stats or to your Spellpower / Attackpower (depending on your role), chosen at random, for 10 seconds. Note that this is a PvP trait.
- Stronger Together causes your abilities to have a chance to plant a factional banner for 6 seconds, empowering yourself and up to 4 allies with the spirit of the Alliance.
- Barrage Of Many Bombs gives you a chance to fire a clusterbomb at your current target. When the bomb gets close, it explodes into smaller bombs which do AoE damage when they hit the ground.
- Ricocheting Inflatable Pyrosaw causes your spells to have a chance to heal up to 4 allies for a large amount. This trait is only obtainable through crafting Engineering goggles.
Middle Ring Traits for Unholy Death Knight
- Overwhelming Power causes your damaging spells to have a chance to increase your Haste. The amount of Haste granted decreases every second or whenever you take damage.
- Heed My Call gives your damaging abilities a chance to deal additional Nature damage to the target, and a smaller amount of damage to nearby targets.
- Gutripper gives your damaging abilities a chance to deal additional Physical damage. This bonus damage occurs more often when the target is below 30% Health.
- Earthlink increases your primary stat, with the exact amount cycling between a minimum value and maximum value every 6 seconds.
- Unstable Flames causes your damaging spells to have a chance to grant a Critical Strike buff for 5 seconds, stacking up to 5 times.
- Elemental Whirl causes your damaging spells to have a chance to increase one of your secondary stats for 10 seconds.
- Azerite Globules gives your damaging abilities a chance to apply a debuff to your target. This debuff stacks up to 3 times, and when it reaches 3, the target explodes, doing AoE damage.
- Lifespeed passively increases your Haste and Avoidance.
- Blood Siphon passively increases your Mastery and Leech.
Patch 8.3 and Ny'alotha Trait
Only one new trait has been added this tier, though it is present on almost all new Azerite gear that is becoming available.
- Heart of Darkness increases your secondary stats significantly.
These traits are only found on Azerite pieces from Operation: Mechagon.
- Clockwork Heart grants you all secondary stats for 12 seconds, once per minute.
- Person-Computer Interface increases a secondary stat if you have a Pocket-Sized Computation Device equipped. The secondary that is chosen depends on which Logic Board you have equipped.
Each week you kill 3 bosses in Uldir with a raid Azerite piece on you will gain a stack of Reorigination Array, which gives 75 of your highest secondary stat. This makes the raid Azerite pieces very valuable when raiding in Uldir.
Azerite Trait Rotation Changes and Details for Unholy Death Knight
The Azerite traits you have can have an effect on your rotation, although this is not too big; certainly, the fundamentals of the rotation remain the same, with the Azerite traits only allowing you to do a bit more damage.
- Since Festering Doom causes your Death Coil to increase the damage of your next Festering Strike, you want to make sure that you do not waste this buff by casting 2 Death Coils in a row.
- Since Last Surprise causes your Army of the Dead and Apocalypse ghouls to explode on death, you want to line it up so it hits as many targets as possible.
- If a target is about to die or you are tasked with killing the explosives in a Mythic+, you can use a Festering Strike on the target right before death and gain Festermight stacks, since a target dying with Festering Wounds on them grants you Festermight stacks.
Azerite Trait Simulations for Unholy Death Knights
In this section, we will look at the relative strength of the traits that are most important to Unholy Death Knights, based on simulations.
Note that it is possible to have multiple instances of the same trait, and as such the results take into account how many instances of a trait you have.
Note also that the results use Best-in-Slot gear with a reasonable stat profile for Unholy Death Knights. We recommend that you sim your own character for the most precise results.
What Gear Do I Farm/Bonus Roll/Chase After?
When identifying what gear you should be aiming after, we recommend using RaidBots' Droptimizer feature. It requires the SimulationCraft Addon. Once you have the addon installed, write "/simc" into the chat in-game, and copy-pasting the contents into the RaidBots Droptimizer.
Simply select the raid and difficulty you are interested in, and RaidBots will take a while to figure out where you should spend your bonus rolls, and more.
The Middle Ring traits are neutral traits that are shared among all classes and specs. As a DPS spec you should pick among the DPS options and ignore the defensive ones for PvE content.
AoE/Cleave Azerite Traits Comparison for Unholy Death Knight
3 Targets (Mythic+, etc)
Thank you to Bloodmallet for providing the data for these Azerite traits.
Find Azerite Armor By Trait/Power
In the table below, you can see all of the Azerite gear available to your Unholy Death Knight. By using the + button located next to each item, you can expand the list of Azerite powers that this item possesses (to collapse the list, simply click the - button).
If you want to filter items according to the powers that they offer, you can use the filters below.
|Head Items||Shoulders Items||Chest Items|