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Unholy Death Knight DPS Easy Mode in Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1

Last updated on Aug 12, 2018 at 22:14 by Abyssalwave 33 comments

Table of Contents

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Abyssalwave, a top level Death Knight player. He is a former US #2 hardcore raider who currently raids with Club Camel. You can also check out his YouTube channel.

1. Foreword

This page is intended for players who are new to the game or class, have no intentions of raiding Mythic difficulty, or simply want a more straightforward way to play their specialisation without being overwhelmed by the numerous subtleties and active abilities that need to be taken into consideration for optimal play.

2. The Basics of Unholy Death Knights

Unholy Death Knights is a melee DPS specialisation that provides strong single target and AoE DPS. Its playstyle is somewhat complex, however, and Frost is an easier specialisation to pick up.

Your main goal throughout fight is managing the Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound debuff (ensuring not to over-cap it) and then consuming these stacks with Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike, while also making sure to use Death Coil Icon Death Coil to not overcap on Runic Power.

3. Talent Choice for Unholy Death Knights

The following talent choices are effectively best in all situations.

4. Stat Choice for Unholy Death Knights

Currently, you will want to prioritise stats as follows.

  1. Haste;
  2. Critical Strike = Versatility;
  3. Mastery.

When simming your character you will usually find Strength simming as your highest stat, With the item level squish of the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch, Strength/item level is more valuable than it was in Legion, making your higher item level pieces of gear usually your best choices.

5. Basic Rotation for Unholy Death Knights

The rotation currently assumes that you are using Unholy Frenzy Icon Unholy Frenzy as your tier 7 talent.

Unholy Frenzy Icon Unholy Frenzy should be used when you are low on Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds and low on Runic Power. While Unholy Frenzy is active your rotation priority stays the same. You should follow a priority system to optimise the damage of this talent.

  1. Cast Outbreak Icon Outbreak to apply Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague on the target.
  2. Cast Army of the Dead Icon Army of the Dead 5 seconds before the pull and whenever it comes off cooldown during the fight after that.
  3. Cast Soul Reaper Icon Soul Reaper when you have less than 2 full Runes available.
  4. Cast Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation off cooldown.
  5. Use Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse when there are 4 or more Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds on the target.
  6. Use Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike to apply Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds on the target. The optimal times to do this are when the target has 0 Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds.
  7. Use Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike when there are at least 1 Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds on the target.

6. Multi-Target Rotation for Unholy Death Knight

The multi-target rotation assumes that you are using the talents Bursting Sores Icon Bursting Sores and Epidemic Icon Epidemic.

  1. Use Outbreak Icon Outbreak to apply Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague on all targets.
  2. Use Epidemic Icon Epidemic with at least 30 Runic Power.
  3. Use Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay.
  4. Use Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike (while standing in Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay, so Scourge Strike will hit all nearby targets; if using the Bursting Sores Icon Bursting Sores talent, make sure the target you are using Scourge Strike on has Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds for extra cleave.
  5. Use Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike with 0 Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds on the target.
  6. Use Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike with at least 1 Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound on the target.

If you are using the talent Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows, make sure you cast Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay below yourself because Death and Decay only causes Clawing Shadows to cleave as long as you are standing in it.

7. Cooldowns for Unholy Death Knights

Unholy Death Knights have 2 DPS cooldowns. They should be used as follows.

  • Army of the Dead Icon Army of the Dead should normally be channeled before the pull, but it can also be channeled during the fight if you need high burst damage.
  • Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse should be used when you have 4 stacks of Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds.

8. Azerite Traits

Azerite Traits play an important role for Unholy Death Knight. This means you need to decide which Azerite items you should choose. The traits are very close to each other in power, though, so we recommend our Azerite trait page for more details.

9. Changelog

  • 12 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 21 Jul. 2018: Updated the recommended talents and rotation priority.
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