Unholy Death Knight DPS Easy Mode — Shadowlands 9.1

Last updated on Jun 29, 2021 at 09:57 by Bicepspump 44 comments
General Information

On this page, we explain how to easily play Unholy Death Knight in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1, 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 Venthyr for Mythic+ content.

Soulbinds are also an important system within your Covenants. We recommend picking Bonesmith Heirmir since it offers both the best single target and AoE throughput. Here is our recommended Soulbind path. If you are running Venthyr, Nadjia the Mistblade becomes the general pick! For Finesse and Endurance Conduits you may pick whichever ones fit the content that you plan on doing. The above path does feature the recommended Potency Conduits for Raid content however.

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 the second best option for single-target however it provides no AoE damage.
  3. Embrace Death Icon Embrace Death works well as your third choice for single-target.
  4. Brutal Grasp Icon Brutal Grasp/ Impenetrable Gloom Icon Impenetrable Gloom/ Proliferation Icon Proliferation/ Withering Ground Icon Withering Ground should generally be your second pick in AoE situations such as Mythic+.
3.1.2.

Best Endurance Conduits for Unholy Death Knight

  1. Reinforced Shell Icon Reinforced Shell is a very strong Conduit for any type of group content. it increases the value of your Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone significantly, which is helpful in Raid and any Mythic+ content with magic damage.
  2. Hardened Bones Icon Hardened Bones is the best Conduit for any type of solo content such as world questing and Torghast. It is also very powerful for Raid and Mythic+.
4.

Talent Choice for Unholy Death Knights

The following talent choices are effectively best in all 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.

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.

6.

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 Abomination Limb Icon Abomination Limb (if Necrolord + Emeni soulbind).
  7. Use Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse.
  8. Use Blood Fury Icon Blood Fury (if Orc), Berserking Icon Berserking (if Troll).
  9. Use Covenant Ability.
7.

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.
8.

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.

9.

Cooldowns for Unholy Death Knights

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

10.

Changelog

  • 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.
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