Unholy Death Knight DPS Gear and Best in Slot — Shadowlands 9.2.5
On this page, you will find the best gear and best in slot items for your Unholy Death Knight in World of Warcraft Shadowlands 9.2.5.
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.
Season 4 will have two trinkets that stand above everything else in terms of power: Scars of Fraternal Strife and The First Sigil. Scars of Fraternal Strife simply provides such a huge chunk of secondary stats throughout a fight! The First Sigil provides a big stat boost at the start of an encounter, synergizing very well with our Army of the Dead.
When it comes to the active trinket alternative, there really is not much out there. Inscrutable Quantum Device is fine, but was only obtainable before Season 4. The First Sigil is incredibly strong though, and there really is nothing that can replace it properly.
Valor Upgrades to Mythic+ Gear
Valor is a currency earned from Mythic+ that can be used to upgrade gear acquired from Mythic+. We recommend focusing on upgrading your Operation: Mechagon rings — Overclocking Bit Band and Logic Loop of Division — as your first priority. After this point, try and upgrade any slot where you have a particularly low ilvl piece.
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 Season 4. 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 Season 4
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, launched shortly after Patch 9.2, allows 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!
Season 4 Fated Gear
With season 4, all three raids of Shadowlands will become relevant for gear again. On a weekly rotation, one of the raids will become fated, adding an affix to raid encounters, scaling health and damage of the bosses as well as dropping higher-ilvl gear. This means that your best items will be distributed across the three raids and pretty much all of them will be of the Fated version.
The Creation Catalyst still works in Season 4, meaning that we can convert some fated gear into tier-pieces, or pieces with new stats in specific slots. We want to leverage this to maximise the ilvl of our tier set pieces, upgrading gear that drop from the last two bosses of both raids. For the Unholy Death Knight, the following pieces are relevant:
- Visage of the First Eidolon — Diadem of Imperious Desire (Sire Denathrius) or Valorous Visage of Krexus (Kel'Thuzad).
- Gauntlets of the First Eidolon — Handguards of Hidden Realms(Rygelon).
- Greaves of the First Eidolon — Greaves of Haunting Ruination (Sylvanas).
Season 4 Dinars and Upgrades
Season 4 contains a new targeted loot system in the form of Puzzling Cartel Dinars. You will be able to obtain 3 of these through quests that send you to kill Fated bosses. You can then buy any weapon, trinket or special item (Anduin Wrynn Ring) from the three Shadowlands raids at a normal Fated difficulty level. This effectively acts as bad-luck protection if you do not loot the item naturally. We recommend the following priority when spending your Dinars:
I think it is important to highlight the significance of Gavel of the First Arbiter in this list. This weapon is just so incredibly powerful for Unholy Death Knight and should be acquired at the highest level as soon as possible!
In addition to the Dinars, you will also loot upgrade tokens from fated raid bosses. These tokens can be used to upgrade any fated item to the token's difficulty. You will probably use these tokens to upgrade the gear you buy with your Dinars, as well as other items you acquire! It is important to understand that any fated item, regardless of difficulty, can be upgraded to the token's difficulty at once. A Gavel of the First Arbiter from LFR can go directly to Mythic! The priority of upgrades is similar to the Dinar priority, with the addition of high-stat high-ilvl pieces!
Remember that this priority might not apply to you directly. Always sim your character to figure out what your personal best upgrade is! The non-tier items in this list assume you convert them to tier-items using the Creation Catalyst.
- Gavel of the First Arbiter
- Scars of Fraternal Strife
- The First Sigil
- Carapace of the First Eidolon
- Shoulderplates of the First Eidolon
- Diadem of Imperious Desire
- Spires of Broken Hope
- Ceremonial Parade Legguards
- Valorous Visage of Krexus
Best in Slot Items for Unholy Death Knight in Season 4
Special thanks to Taeznak for helping with putting this list together! The pieces that are listed as Creation Catalyst for source come from non-tier items that drop at a higher ilvl compared to the tier set item itself — the Diadem of Imperious Desire from Sire Denathrius, for example.
|Helm||Visage of the First Eidolon (Creation Catalyst)|
|Neck||Unity (Legendary, Mastery, Crit)|
|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 (Creation Catalyst)|
|Belt||Enforcer's Containment Cinch (Artificer Xy'mox)|
|Legs||Legguards of the Ultimate Threat (The Jailer)|
|Boots||Greaves of the First Eidolon (Creation Catalyst)|
|Ring 1||Overclocking Bit Band (Operation: Mechagon - Workshop)|
|Ring 2||Logic Loop of Division (Operation: Mechagon - Junkyard)|
|Trinket 2||Scars of Fraternal Strife (The Jailer)|
|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!
Best in Slot Items for Unholy Death Knight in Season 4 from Mythic+
Even if Mythic+ itself does not provide many of our very best items, it is still an incredibly useful avenue for gearing. Looting Mythic-quality gear, upgrading items you loot, and leveraging the Creation Catalyst are all highly relevant.
As you can see in the actual BiS list, Overclocking Bit Band and Logic Loop of Division are a great pair of rings. The effect from the set bonus provides a huge chunk of stats! The trinkets from Mythic+ are not as great, however. Still, So'leah's Secret Technique and Enforcer's Stun Grenade would be your best combination.
For all other gear, aim for pieces with Mastery, Crit and Haste as a general guideline. Use the Creation Catalyst to retrieve the Unholy DK 4-Piece and try to follow the recommend stat priority of Mastery > Crit > Haste > Vers for Mythic+ content!
If you have read the previous sections, 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 newer Droptimizer options.
- 31 Jul. 2022: Updated for Shadowlands season 4.
- 31 May 2022: Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
- 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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