Unholy Death Knight DPS Gear and Best in Slot — Shadowlands 9.2
On this page, you will find the best gear and best in slot items for your Unholy Death Knight in World of Warcraft Shadowlands 9.2.
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.
Unholy has one trinket which stands above everything else in terms of power: Inscrutable Quantum Device. It provides a huge chunk of stats if used correctly and synergises very well with our Army of the Dead. Use this trinket in your opener and then save it for your second use of Army of the Dead. Always make sure to wait at least 5 seconds after you cast your Army before using IQD. The ghouls take a long time to actually get started!
Once you have managed to obtain your Inscrutable Quantum Device (IQD), you ideally want to pair it with a passive trinket! This will generally be Elegy of the Eternals from the raid! Some other notable trinkets are:
- Scars of Fraternal Strife
- Overwhelming Power Crystal
- Anima Field Emitter
- Phial of Putrefaction
- The First Sigil
- Old Warrior's Soul
It is also fine to pair your Inscrutable Quantum Device with another active trinket (that will incur an internal trinket cooldown). 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, using it with the second Unholy Blight for the first use.
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 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.
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.
Legendary Powers for Unholy Death Knight
In Patch 9.2, we can obtain the Unity Legendary Power, allowing us to use our Covenant-specific Legendary as well as our normal Legendary! This heavily dictates the Covenant meta, which is why Necrolord and Night Fae are the best in 9.2. For the normal Legendary, we pick the following:
- Deadliest Coil is the strongest single-target option and sees a lot of play when progressing in raid.
- Frenzied Monstrosity is a versatile Legendary that does well in both single-target and AoE. It is the go-to Mythic+ Legendary due to its damage profile. It is also an option in Raid for fights with a bit more cleave, or when we cannot leverage the added cooldown reduction of Deadliest Coil.
- Reanimated Shambler is an option in Mythic+, bringing the most AoE of any Legendary. When combined with Infected Claws and Bursting Sores, it deals a ton of damage! You do sacrifice some single-target by picking it up, which is why it is an option and no the go-to pick.
Unholy Death Knight Tier Set in Patch 9.2
Players will once again be able to acquire their own class tier set — gone are the days of static, boring armor! You can either loot the pieces directly from raid bosses, from your Great Vault in all three categories (Raid, Mythic+, and PvP) or by converting a Season 3 piece using the Creation Catalyst!
Sepulcher of the First Ones, launching shortly after Patch 9.2, will allow Death Knights to collect armor pieces that, together, enable two unique specialization-themed bonuses. For Unholy Death Knights specifically, the effects are the following:
- Unholy DK 2-Piece — Every 5 Scourge Strikes/ Clawing Shadows that burst Festering Wounds casts Soul Reaper on your target and summons an Army of the Dead ghoul for 15 seconds.
- Unholy DK 4-Piece — Your pets deal 5% increased damage. When Soul Reaper's secondary effect triggers, this is buffed to 20% for 8 seconds
Unholy Death Knight Tier Set Thoughts
The Unholy Death Knight tier set bonus feeds into our execute and pet damage, largely focusing on pure single-target. As an already-strong execute class, getting even more damage funneled into this window is generally a good thing for Raiding (execute damage is by far the most useful type of damage). However, it does make the set lackluster in both PvP and Mythic+.
The set plays heavily into the Soul Reaper talent. This will not change much in our build since Soul Reaper is such a default pick anyway. Sniping mobs with Soul Reaper will be a really nice way of funneling DPS into a single target, or buffing our AoE if Dark Transformation is active.
Unholy Death Knight is already quite the powerhouse when it comes to late Bloodlust execute burns. This tier set will make us even stronger, potentially putting us at the top of execute damage of all classes!
For the slots we actually want the tier in, we prioritise obtaining the set as our first priority! The best gear actually has all 5 pieces due to their good stat distribution!
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:
|Helm||Wing Commander's Helmet||Halls of Atonement|
|Neck||Trailspinner Pendant||Mists of Tirna Scithe|
|Shoulder||Unyielding Combatant's Pauldrons||Theater of Pain|
|Cloak||Dealer Xy'exa's Cape||De Other Side|
|Chest||Breastplate of Brutal Dissonance||Spires of Ascension|
|Bracers||Vambraces of Verification||Tazavesh, the Veiled Market|
|Gloves||Distorted Construct's Gauntlets||Spires of Ascension|
|Belt||Fused Bone Greatbelt||The Necrotic Wake|
|Legs||Gormshell Greaves||Mists of Tirna Scithe|
|Boots||Warboots of Ruthless Conviction||Spires of Ascension|
Best in Slot Items for Unholy Death Knight in Sepulcher of the First Ones
Special thanks to Taeznak for helping with putting this list together. There is also one note on the Deadliest Coil Legendary slot: in the best case, you have all your tier pieces in other slots and your Legendary on the chest, to optimise the amount of stats you get. It is however recommended to pick it up on the chest for progression, and then swap to chest once you have all other tier pieces!
|Helm||Visage of the First Eidolon (Anduin Wrynn)|
|Neck||Worldkiller Iris (The Jailer)|
|Shoulder||Shoulderplates of the First Eidolon (Lords of Dread)|
|Cloak||Deadliest Coil (Legendary, Mastery Haste)|
|Chest||Carapace of the First Eidolon (Rygelon)|
|Gloves||Gauntlets of the First Eidolon (Lihuvim, Principal Architect)|
|Belt||Remnant's Blasphemous Scourgebelt (Anduin Wrynn)|
|Legs||Chausses of the First Eidolon (Halondrus the Reclaimer)|
|Boots||Abomination's Frenzy (Legendary, Mastery Crit)|
|Ring 1||Rygelon's Heraldric Ring (Rygelon)|
|Ring 2||Soulwarped Seal of Menethil (Anduin Wrynn)|
|Trinket 2||Elegy of the Eternals (Prototype Pantheon)|
|Weapon||Gavel of the First Arbiter (The Jailer)|
Special note about Gavel of the First Arbiter. This weapon is incredibly strong and you should try and obtain it as soon as possible. In addition to having a really strong on-use, it also spawns an add that you can snipe with Soul Reaper, triggering your 4-set bonus. Doing this in your opener will be a huge upgrade for your Army of the Dead!
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.
- 16 Mar. 2022: Slightly adjusted trinket recommendation.
- 20 Feb. 2022: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
- 01 Nov. 2021: Reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.5.
- 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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