Unholy Death Knight DPS Easy Mode — Shadowlands 9.2

Last updated on Feb 20, 2022 at 21:52 by Bicepspump 46 comments
General Information

On this page, we explain how to easily play Unholy Death Knight in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.2, using the simplest rotation, talent tree, stat priority, gear setup, etc., without sacrificing performance.

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 specialization 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

For those who are new to Unholy Death Knight and are not sure what each ability does or how they interact with the Unholy toolkit, we recommend checking out our Spell Summary guide linked below.

Unholy Death Knight is a melee DPS specialization that provides strong single-target and AoE DPS. Its playstyle is somewhat complex, however it is incredibly rewarding to master.

Your main goal throughout a fight is applying the Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound debuff with Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike (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 or Epidemic Icon Epidemic to not over-cap on Runic Power.

3.

Covenant Choice for Unholy Death Knight

Covenant choices are a very important part of Shadowlands. With how important this choice is you want to make sure you choose what is best for the content you are focusing on. We recommend Necrolord for Raid content and Night Fae for Mythic+ content.

Soulbinds are also an important system within your Covenants. We recommend picking Plague Deviser Marileth since it offers both the best single-target and AoE throughput. Here is our recommended Soulbind path. For Mythic+ with Night Fae, we recommend utilising the Dreamweaver Soulbind. Here is our recommended path: Unholy Death Knight Dreamweaver Mythic+ Tree

For more information, please refer to our Covenant, Soulbinds, and Conduits page:

3.1.

Conduit Choice for Unholy Death Knight

3.1.1.

Best Potency Conduits for Unholy Death Knight

  1. Eternal Hunger Icon Eternal Hunger the strongest Conduit currently for Unholy, providing high single-target and AoE damage.
  2. Convocation of the Dead Icon Convocation of the Dead is our second-best option, providing both great single-target and AoE.
  3. Brutal Grasp Icon Brutal Grasp is our third option as Necrolord. It scales really well, especially once we pick up our second Legendary Abomination's Frenzy Icon Abomination's Frenzy.
  4. Withering Ground Icon Withering Ground is our third option as Night Fae. Combined with Defile Icon Defile it deals so much AoE damage!
  5. Adaptive Armor Fragment Icon Adaptive Armor Fragment is the third option for Venthyr and Kyrian. It is bland and boring, but does the job!
3.1.2.

Best Endurance Conduits for Unholy Death Knight

  1. Condensed Anima Sphere Icon Condensed Anima Sphere is our best Endurance Conduit, providing a significant amount of healing for any encounter!
  2. Hardened Bones Icon Hardened Bones is a solid Endurance Conduit, transforming Lichborne Icon Lichborne into a solid defensive cooldown.
  3. Reinforced Shell Icon Reinforced Shell generally does not find any value. The increased AoE is nice but the duration has difficulty of finding value.
3.1.3.

Best Finesse Conduits for Unholy Death Knight

  1. Spirit Drain Icon Spirit Drain provides Runic Power whenever we successfully interrupt a target. Its small but non-zero DPS boost makes this the best Finesse Conduit!
  2. Fleeting Wind Icon Fleeting Wind gives us a nice extra speed boost when using Death's Advance Icon Death's Advance, something we generally need as a slow Death Knight!
4.

Talent Choice for Unholy Death Knights

The following talent choices are effectively best in most situations.

These are the easiest talents to use when factoring in gear and rotation, but if you want to use the absolute best talents for Unholy Death Knight depending on the situation then we have a more in-depth page linked below.

5.

Legendary Choice for Unholy Death Knights

In Patch 9.2, we will gain access to the Unity Icon Unity power, enabling us to equip two Legendaries. This Unity power will always represent your Covenant-specific Legendary. In general, we run the following combinations:

The Covenant-specific Legendaries are set in stone but the non-specifics are not. You can choose to run Frenzied Monstrosity Icon Frenzied Monstrosity as a raid alternative for fights that contain lots of adds, or where you cannot leverage the extra cooldown reduction from Deadliest Coil Icon Deadliest Coil. For Mythic+, Reanimated Shambler Icon Reanimated Shambler is a possible alternative, building you fully into an AoE powerhouse!

6.

Stat Choice for Unholy Death Knights

Currently, you will want to prioritize stats as follows.

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

This can be different depending on your character's gear, so make sure you sim yourself, in order to find what your personal stat priority is.

7.

Single-Target Opener for Unholy Death Knights

  1. Use Army of the Dead Icon Army of the Dead.
  2. Use Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike.
  3. Use Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike.
  4. Use Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight + Trinket + Potion.
  5. Use Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation.
  6. Use Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse.
  7. Use Blood Fury Icon Blood Fury (if Orc), Berserking Icon Berserking (if Troll).
  8. Use Covenant Ability.
8.

Basic Rotation for Unholy Death Knights

The rotation currently assumes that you are using Army of the Damned Icon Army of the Damned as your tier 7 talent.

  1. Cast Soul Reaper Icon Soul Reaper if the target is below 35% (if you have taken this talent).
  2. Cast Outbreak Icon Outbreak or Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight to apply Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague on the target. There is no need to use Outbreak Icon Outbreak on pure single-target if you have Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight talented.
  3. Use Death Coil Icon Death Coil when you have 80+ Runic Power or a Sudden Doom Icon Sudden Doom proc.
  4. Use Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike to apply Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds on the target. Do this if the target has 3 or less Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds.
  5. Use Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike when there is at least 1 Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound on the target.
  6. Use Death Coil Icon Death Coil.
9.

Multi-Target Rotation for Unholy Death Knight

Please find below of a rotation on a dungeon trash pack. As an Unholy DK, the duration of the pack alters your approach heavily. The shorter the pack, the quicker you want to pop down your Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay.

  1. Use Outbreak Icon Outbreak or Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight to apply Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague on all targets.
  2. Use Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike up to two times. If pack dies very quickly, do not use it.
  3. Use Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse on the target with the most Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds (ideally 4).
  4. Use Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation.
  5. Spam Epidemic Icon Epidemic until you are out of Runic Power.
  6. Use Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay.
  7. Spam Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike and use Epidemic Icon Epidemic if you are about to cap on Runic Power.
  8. After Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay finishes, go to single-target rotation with Epidemic Icon Epidemic instead of Death Coil Icon Death Coil.

Skip steps 2 and 3 if the pack dies very quickly.

Make sure to stand in your Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay once you have used it. The cleave from your Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike/Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows depends on you standing in the circle, not if the enemies do so.

For a more in-depth rotation, please consider checking out our rotation page linked below.

10.

Cooldowns for Unholy Death Knights

Unholy Death Knights have 3 Core DPS cooldowns, and 3 Talented. They should be used as follows.

11.

Changelog

  • 20 Feb. 2022: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 01 Nov. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 29 Jun. 2021: Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 10 May 2021: Updated Covenant recommendation and expanded on multiple topics.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 10 Feb. 2021: Added Soul Reaper into the rotation priority.
  • 19 Jan. 2021: Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 23 Nov. 2020: Page updated for Shadowlands release, updated talents, stats, removed BfA-specific sections
  • 10 Nov. 2020: Updated stat recommendations.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
Show more
Show less