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Unholy Death Knight DPS Easy Mode

Last updated on Mar 11, 2017 at 20:30 by Vlad 406 comments

Table of Contents

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.

1. The Basics

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 (technically with Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows, which is a talent we advise taking).

2. Talent Choice

The following talent choices are effectively best in all situations.

3. Stat Choice

Currently, you will want to prioritise secondary stats as follows.

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

4. Basic Rotation

The single target rotation is based on the following priority.

  1. Maintain Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague on the target, using Outbreak Icon Outbreak to refresh it when it is about to expire.
  2. Cast Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation.
  3. Cast Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike if you have fewer than 2-3 stacks on the target.
  4. Cast Soul Reaper Icon Soul Reaper while the target has 3 or more stacks of Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound. Follow this up with 3 Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows casts while Soul Reaper is still active in order to get 3 stacks of the Haste buff Soul Reaper provides. If  Icon Apocalypse is active, use it after Soul Reaper instead.
  5. Cast  Icon Apocalypse with 6 stacks of Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound.
  6. Cast Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows if the target has at least 3 stacks of Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound.
  7. Cast Death Coil Icon Death Coil and avoid capping Runic Power.
    • If you are using the Shadow Infusion Icon Shadow Infusion talent, you should pool some resources so once Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation expires, you can cast back to back Death Coils and reduce the cooldown of Dark Transformation.

If you get a proc of the  Icon Scourge of Worlds trait, you should prioritise Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows over anything else as long as you are not going to cap your Runic Power and you have Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds up.

If you have the Tak'theritrix's Shoulderpads Icon Tak'theritrix's Shoulderpads legendary item, Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation should be used once your pets are active, so after you use  Icon Apocalypse, so that they can benefit from the buff.

Against multiple targets, you should also use Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay on cooldown (behind  Icon Apocalypse, in priority).

5. Cooldowns

Unholy Death Knights have 2 DPS cooldowns as well as  Icon Apocalypse, the Artifact ability. They should be used as follows.

  • Summon Gargoyle Icon Summon Gargoyle should be generally be used whenever it is available, but you can save it for a period when you need to do extra damage. The gargoyle scales with spell haste, and using it together with Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp allows the gargoyle to get a few extra casts off, increasing its damage slightly.
  • 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.
  •  Icon Apocalypse should be used when you have 6 stacks of Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds.

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Tain, a long-time Unholy Death Knight player who raids in Dead Weight, a top 50 guild in the US.

6. ChangeLog

  • 11 Mar. 2017: Updated tier 1 talent recommendation.
  • 17 Jan. 2017: Made a few updates to the page so that it accurately reflects the guide.
  • 10 Jan. 2017: Updated for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 16 Dec. 2016: Fixed an error referring to tier 7 talents being available at level 110, instead of 100.
  • 13 Dec. 2016: Added easy mode page.
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