Icy Veins is recruiting a Path of Exile

Unholy Death Knight Essences — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3

Last updated on May 24, 2020 at 14:40 by Abyssalwave 41 comments
General Information

On this page, we go over the Essence system in Patch 8.3 of World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth, and we tell you which are the best essences to use as Unholy Death Knight, both for minor and major powers. Please refer to our Patch 8.3 Essence Guide for more information about the new essences introduced in Patch 8.3 and to our Essence guide for more general information about the Essence system and where Essences can be obtained from.


Azerite Essences for Unholy Death Knights

Introduced in Patch 8.2, Essences are unique items that drop from various forms of content. They are activated through your Heart of Azeroth Icon Heart of Azeroth, and they buff your character in various ways, depending on the Essences that are currently active.

For more information about essences, please check out the following:

What follows on this page will relate directly to how Essences affect this spec, since generic information is beyond the scope of this guide.


8.3 Essences

All of the following essences provide a Unique passive 10 Corruption Resistance, allowing you to equip more Corrupted items. You can only have one instance of this on your gear, regardless of it is in the Major or Minor slot, and is highly recommended to have at least one of these equipped.


Breath of the Dying

Breath of the Dying (Major: Reaping Flames Icon Reaping Flames / Minor: Lethal Strikes Icon Lethal Strikes) provides a high damage global that has a lower cooldown above 80% health, and below 20% health. The Minor, on the other hand, deals significant single-target damage that only gets better on targets below 20% health with the 400% increased proc rate, making this essence useful for fights with important execute phases.


The Formless Void

The Formless Void (Major: Replica of Knowledge Icon Replica of Knowledge / Minor: Symbiotic Presence Icon Symbiotic Presence) allows you to copy an ally's equipped Major Essence, but with an increased cooldown. Outside of very niche situations, it is unlikely that this is better than simply equipping the DPS Essence you want to use, so we do not recommended it. The Minor on the other hand grants Strength and Haste when an Ally uses their Major Essence, so in raid groups, especially with high uptime, this is a solid choice that does require a bit of coordination with your raid group.


Spark of Inspiration

Spark of Inspiration (Major: Moment of Glory Icon Moment of Glory / Minor: Unified Strength Icon Unified Strength) grants an ability that causes all nearby party (not raid) members to deal 45% increased damage with their equipped Essences (both Major and Minor) for 20 seconds. The Minor essence has a 4 RPPM chance to reduce the cooldown of you and 2 other Allies equipped Major Essence by 1 second, and grant Haste to all of you.


Full Essence DPS Ranking and Descriptions for Unholy Death Knights

All the essence tooltips below will be linked at Rank 3.


Best Major Powers

  1. Vision of Perfection (Vision of Perfection Icon Vision of Perfection) — with 2 or more Magus of the Dead Icon Magus of the Dead traits
  2. Blood of the Enemy (Blood of the Enemy Icon Blood of the Enemy)
  3. Essence of the Focusing Iris (Focused Azerite Beam Icon Focused Azerite Beam)
For the complete simulation results, check out Bloodmallet.com

Best Minor Powers

  1. Memory of Lucid Dreams (Lucid Dreams Icon Lucid Dreams)
  2. Essence of the Focusing Iris (Focused Energy Icon Focused Energy)
  3. Worldvein Resonance (Lifeblood Icon Lifeblood)
For the complete simulation results, check out Bloodmallet.com

Top Tier Essences


Vision of Perfection

  • Major Power: Vision of Perfection Icon Vision of Perfection does work with the trait Magus of the Dead Icon Magus of the Dead, meaning that every time this essence's major power procs it will also proc that trait. Running 3 Magus of the Dead traits can make this essence extremely powerful.
  • Minor Power: Strive for Perfection Icon Strive for Perfection is simply an added bonus to when your major essence procs. It also reduces Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse's cooldown meaning you may be able to cast Apocalypse more times than usual in a fight.

Blood of the Enemy

  • Major Power: Blood of the Enemy Icon Blood of the Enemy is amazing in large AoE pulls. Just make sure that you use it on pull before you start your AoE.
  • Minor Power: Blood-Soaked Icon Blood-Soaked is great since it gives you passive Critical Strike, one of your best stats as Unholy. There is no need to line up your cooldowns around this passive.

Condensed Life-Force

  • Major Power: Guardian of Azeroth Icon Guardian of Azeroth will line up perfectly with Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse and since Rank 3 gives you a fairly big haste buff — this is very beneficial. Overall, this essence is incredibly powerful and by Rank 3 this will become your go-to major essence.
  • Minor Power: Condensed Life-Force Icon Condensed Life-Force offers you a nice phase of vulnerability against your target. However, there is no point in saving cooldowns for this, so just think of it as a nice bonus.

Essence of the Focusing Iris

  • Major Power: Focused Azerite Beam Icon Focused Azerite Beam is a very strong essence for single-target until you get Rank 3 The Crucible of Flame or Rank 3 Condensed Life-Force. On 2+ target encounter this is the strongest essence you will have.
  • Minor Power: Focused Azerite Beam Icon Focused Azerite Beam is a nice added benefit if you choose to run Focusing Iris as your major power in dungeons, there are much stronger essences to run as your minor power however.

Middle Tier Essences


Memory of Lucid Dreams

  • Major Power: Memory of Lucid Dreams Icon Memory of Lucid Dreams provides you with a lot more resources. This essence is strong but is not nearly as strong for DPS as the Top Tier Essences. However, this essence has a very powerful Minor Power.
  • Minor Power: Lucid Dreams Icon Lucid Dreams is one of the strongest Minor Powers since it refunds runes, givings you a lot more resources. At Rank 3 when you refund a rune, you will also gain Versatility for 8 seconds, which is a great added bonus.

The Crucible of Flame

  • Major Power: Concentrated Flame Icon Concentrated Flame is a powerful essence for single-target and has the extra flexibility of being a heal if needed. This is not an essence that you need to go out of your way to get, as you will just get it over time by leveling up your necklace.
  • Minor Power: Ancient Flame Icon Ancient Flame is a fantastic minor power to run.

The Unbound Force

  • Major Power: The Unbound Force Icon The Unbound Force does a significant amount of damage when it critically strikes. You want to line this Major Power up with your Minor Power since it grants you a lot of Critical Strike.
  • Minor Power: Reckless Force Icon Reckless Force does not proc very often but if you are running the Major Power of this essence then you should track this so you can correctly line up your Major Power with the Critical Strike proc.

Worldvein Resonance

  • Major Power: Worldvein Resonance Icon Worldvein Resonance is not nearly as strong as the other Major Powers, especially the Top Tier essences.
  • Minor Power: Lifeblood Icon Lifeblood is an incredibly strong Minor Power as long as other melee players are using this. Make sure when simming this essence that you set the number of players using this minor power to the correct amount.

Bottom Tier Essences


Conflict and Strife


Purification Protocol

  • Major Power: Purifying Blast Icon Purifying Blast has a very small chance of immediately annihilating any enemies. This Major Power has some utility: for instance when many mobs are dying on top of a boss, you will gain 10% each time a mob dies inside it.
  • Minor Power: Purification Protocol Icon Purification Protocol does deal extra damage to Aberrations, but it still does not compare to some of the top tier minor powers.

Ripple in Space

  • Major Power: Ripple in Space Icon Ripple in Space is a very difficult trait to use correctly, since as a melee player you will have to go out of range of the target to proc the effect.
  • Minor Power: Reality Shift Icon Reality Shift is the only thing that really makes the major power of this essence useful, the primary stat gain from this does not make it worth using though.


  • 24 May 2020: Updated the Ranking list.
  • 14 Jan. 2020: Updated for Patch 8.3 with new Essences.
  • 16 Jul. 2019: Added Bloodmallet sims and Essence rankings.
  • 14 Jul. 2019: Added more information and a ranking system for the Essences.
  • 24 Jun. 2019: Page added.
Show more
Show less