Unholy Death Knight DPS Gear and Best in Slot — Shadowlands 9.1

Last updated on Jul 17, 2021 at 20:11 by Bicepspump 44 comments
General Information

On this page, you will find the best gear and best in slot items for your Unholy Death Knight in World of Warcraft Shadowlands 9.1.


Gearing a Unholy Death Knight

Welcome to our Gearing Page for Unholy Death Knight. This section will cover everything you need to know about gearing your character correctly.


The Importance of "Simming Yourself" as a Unholy Death Knight

At this stage in the game, there are so many variables and so many layers of optimization that you can apply to your character, that there is no way for a guide or anything else to tell you exactly what gear you should wear. This is why we always recommend simulating your own character using Raidbots The website can help you choose set bonuses, trinkets and combinations thereof in a way that is tailored completely to your specific character. Learning to use this tool is essential to maximizing your potential, as there is simply no other way to take all the variables into account.

As you find new gear upgrades, you will want to make sure that they are kept enchanted and gemmed according to your sim results. In order to do so efficiently, make sure to check out our Enchants and Stats pages below.



Simulations are usually character specific, but there are simulations available for the best gear setup obtainable. Below, you can find some of these more general simulations on our dedicated page, but it is important to note that the outcome of these simulations heavily depends on the builds chosen.



Remember that it can be better to have more (quantitatively) secondary stats of different kinds, than simply focusing on one secondary stat, due to the secondary stat diminishing returns. This can mean that a higher item level piece of gear with worse stats can be an upgrade simply because of the amount of stats on that piece of gear. For more information on stats, please refer to our dedicated page.


Early Gearing in Shadowlands

Once you reach max level and finish the Shadowlands campaign you will start to look for upgrades to your gear. Our recommendation for this is to start with World Quests and Heroic Dungeons. For Mythic dungeons, at 0 level, it is most efficient to find a group of people to clear all the dungeons in one go, during the first lockout. Make sure to check the auction house for any BoE gear that fits your budget.


Adding Sockets to Your Gear

There is an NPC in The Maw that allows you to obtain a consumable that adds a socket to an item that did not already have one. For more information on how to obtain it, please visit our Archivists Codex page.



Unholy has one trinket which stands above everything else in terms of power: Inscrutable Quantum Device Icon Inscrutable Quantum Device. It provides a huge chunk of stats if used correctly and synergises very well with our Army of the Dead Icon Army of the Dead. Use this trinket in your opener and then save it for your second use of Army of the Dead Icon Army of the Dead.

Once you have managed to obtain your Inscrutable Quantum Device Icon Inscrutable Quantum Device (IQD), a passive trinket makes a good match. Old Warrior's Soul Icon Old Warrior's Soul is the best trinket to pair with IQD. There are other passive trinkets as well that work well:

It is also fine to pair your Inscrutable Quantum Device Icon Inscrutable Quantum Device with another active trinket. Overwhelming Power Crystal Icon Overwhelming Power Crystal is especially useful in Mythic+ due to the short cooldown. Generally, use on cooldown in Mythic+. For single-target, time it with Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight, using it with the second Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight for the first use.

A quick note on Titanic Ocular Gland Icon Titanic Ocular Gland: This trinket will come up high in simulations since it works really well if you stay above 50% health all the time. However, in any real scenario when you dip below this point, the trinket will lose a ton of value! It is solid for farm bosses but I would not recommend using it on progression.



We need to talk about one specific weapon: Jaithys, the Prison Blade Icon Jaithys, the Prison Blade. You can feed this other epic weapons to empower it, losing secondary stats in return for a proc. As an Unholy Death Knight, we generally want to feed the weapon to rank 4. Avoid going to rank 5 since it is a downgrade!


Valor Upgrades to Mythic+ Gear

Valor is a new currency introduced in Patch 9.0.5 that allows you to upgrade Mythic+ gear. Generally, always upgrade your weapon as your first priority. After that, trinkets are a great option. Here are the trinkets we recommend prioritizing.

Inscrutable Quantum Device Icon Inscrutable Quantum Device is far and away the best trinket for Unholy Death Knights meaning if you do not have one at maximum Valor item level then you should prioritize upgrading this item first. This trinket is also extremely strong for Frost, making it a strong choice if you choose to swap between the specs.

Overwhelming Power Crystal Icon Overwhelming Power Crystal pairs very well with Inscrutable Quantum Device Icon Inscrutable Quantum Device making this pairing one of the strongest options.

Phial of Putrefaction Icon Phial of Putrefaction is a strong passive trinket which makes Unholy feel a lot less clunky to play while also providing a high amount of DPS.

Anima Field Emitter Icon Anima Field Emitter, just like Phial of Putrefaction Icon Phial of Putrefaction, is very strong for both Unholy and Frost making it also strong for spec-swapping between the two.


Trinket Simulation for Unholy Death Knight



For the complete simulation results, check out Bloodmallet.com


For the complete simulation results, check out Bloodmallet.com

Legendary Powers for Unholy Death Knight

In Shadowlands, you have a choice as to which Legendary Power your character will use. You will eventually get all of the powers, however this will take a long time so you should focus on the powers that best fit what you want to do in the game.

  1. Deadliest Coil Icon Deadliest Coil is the strongest single-target option and sees a lot of play when progressing in raid.
  2. Frenzied Monstrosity Icon Frenzied Monstrosity is the strongest AoE Legendary while also providing competitive single-target damage. It is commonly used on AoE fights and Mythic+. It is also a Legendary people swap to for more pad damage.

Domination Shards

Patch 9.1 introduced Domination Shards. These are gems that exist to be socketed only into specific Sanctum of Domination raid pieces (5 total). They are divided into three sets (Blood, Frost and Unholy) with each set having one DPS, one Tank/defensive, and one Healer Shard; all Shards are unique-equipped. Equipping the three Shards that make up a set provides a strong set bonus.

We recommend Unholy Death Knights to prioritize acquiring these Shards. The order to socket the Shards is:

  1. Shard of Dyz Icon Shard of Dyz
  2. Shard of Dyz Icon Shard of Dyz + Shard of Bek Icon Shard of Bek
  3. Triple Unholy Shards
  4. Triple Unholy Shards + Shard of Bek Icon Shard of Bek
  5. Triple Unholy Shards + Shard of Bek Icon Shard of Bek + Shard of Cor Icon Shard of Cor

When it comes to upgrading the Shards, we upgrade all the Unholy shards in parallel, prioritising as the list below shows. Once you have upgraded one Shard to a higher level, upgrade the other two before moving on. This is due to the set bonus strength working off your lowest-ranked shard in the set. Once you have the Unholy set at max rank, upgrade the Blood and Frost DPS shards.

  1. Shard of Dyz Icon Shard of Dyz
  2. Shard of Zed Icon Shard of Zed
  3. Shard of Oth Icon Shard of Oth

Once you have upgraded your Unholy shards to the max rank, you can move on to the other two DPS shards! For Mythic+, we upgrade all the DPS shards in parallel since the set bonus is turned off outside of Raid.

If you would like to know more about the remaining Domination Shards effects, their set bonuses, or how to upgrade their effects into even more potent forms, please see our official guide detailing everything about this new system of Patch 9.1:


Best in Slot Items for Unholy Death Knight from Dungeons

If you could only obtain gear from dungeons, this is what your BiS list would look like:

Slot Item Boss
Helm Wing Commander's Helmet Icon Wing Commander's Helmet Echelon in Halls of Atonement
Neck Trailspinner Pendant Icon Trailspinner Pendant Mistcaller in Mists of Tirna Scithe
Shoulder Unyielding Combatant's Pauldrons Icon Unyielding Combatant's Pauldrons Mordretha in Theater of Pain
Cloak Dealer Xy'exa's Cape Icon Dealer Xy'exa's Cape Dealer Xy'exa in De Other Side
Chest Breastplate of Brutal Dissonance Icon Breastplate of Brutal Dissonance Devos in Spires of Ascension
Bracers Thunderous Echo Vambraces Icon Thunderous Echo Vambraces Oryphrion in Spires of Ascension
Gloves Distorted Construct's Gauntlets Icon Distorted Construct's Gauntlets Ventunax in Spires of Ascension
Belt Fused Bone Greatbelt Icon Fused Bone Greatbelt Blightbone in The Necrotic Wake
Legs Gormshell Greaves Icon Gormshell Greaves Tred'ova in Mists of Tirna Scithe
Boots Warboots of Ruthless Conviction Icon Warboots of Ruthless Conviction Kin-Tara in Spires of Ascension
Rings Fleshfused Circle Icon Fleshfused Circle and Signet of the False Accuser Icon Signet of the False Accuser Gorechop in Theater of Pain and Lord Chamberlain in Halls of Atonement
Weapon Dessia's Decimating Decapitator Icon Dessia's Decimating Decapitator or Zin'khas, Blade of the Fallen God Icon Zin'khas, Blade of the Fallen God Dessia in Theater of Pain or Hakkar the Soulflayer in De Other Side

Best in Slot Items for Unholy Death Knight in Sanctum of Domination

Special thanks to Taeznak for helping with putting this list together.

Slot Item Boss
Helm Valorous Visage of Krexus Icon Valorous Visage of Krexus Kel'Thuzad
Neck Periapt of Pristine Preservation Icon Periapt of Pristine Preservation The Tarragrue
Shoulder Spires of Broken Hope Icon Spires of Broken Hope Sylvanas Windrunner
Cloak Deadliest Coil Icon Deadliest Coil Sire Denathrius
Chest Ancient Colossus Chassis Icon Ancient Colossus Chassis Guardian of the First Ones
Bracers Vyraz's Parade Cuffs Icon Vyraz's Parade Cuffs Kel'Thuzad
Gloves Kyra's Unending Protectors Icon Kyra's Unending Protectors The Nine
Belt Binding of Dark Destinies Icon Binding of Dark Destinies Fatescribe Roh-Kalo
Legs Fateforged Legplates Icon Fateforged Legplates Fatescribe Roh-Kalo
Boots Greaves of Haunting Ruination Icon Greaves of Haunting Ruination Sylvanas Windrunner
Rings Tarnished Insignia of Quel'Thalas Icon Tarnished Insignia of Quel'Thalas and Sworn Oath of the Nine Icon Sworn Oath of the Nine Sylvanas Windrunner and The Nine
Weapon Jaithys, the Prison Blade Icon Jaithys, the Prison Blade Kel'Thuzad

If you have read the previous section, you should now understand that static Best in Slot lists are always misleading, and it is best to use the tools at your disposal, notably Raidbots' Top Gear and its new Droptimizer options.



  • 12 Jul. 2021: Added note on Jaithys.
  • 29 Jun. 2021: Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 10 May 2021: Expanded trinket discussion.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Updated with a new section for Valor that goes over the top trinkets to prioritize, and added a dungeon BiS section.
  • 19 Jan. 2021: Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 14 Dec. 2020: Page updated for Castle Nathria BiS.
  • 02 Dec. 2020: Fixed skill typo.
  • 23 Nov. 2020: Page updated for Shadowlands release, added a section on early Shadowlands gearing and one on Legendary Powers, removed a lot of BfA-specific information.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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