Unholy Death Knight DPS Gear and Best in Slot — Shadowlands 9.1
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. 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.
Once you have managed to obtain your Inscrutable Quantum Device (IQD), a passive trinket makes a good match. Old Warrior's Soul is the best trinket to pair with IQD. There are other passive trinkets as well that work well:
- Whispering Shard of Power
- Decanter of Endless Howling
- Anima Field Emitter
- Phial of Putrefaction
- Titanic Ocular Gland (this is a poor trinket in progression; only use it on farm kills)
It is also fine to pair your Inscrutable Quantum Device with another active trinket. 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.
A quick note on 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. 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 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.
Trinket Simulation for Unholy Death Knight
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.
- Deadliest Coil is the strongest single-target option and sees a lot of play when progressing in raid.
- 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.
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:
- Shard of Dyz
- Shard of Dyz + Shard of Bek
- Triple Unholy Shards
- Triple Unholy Shards + Shard of Bek
- Triple Unholy Shards + Shard of Bek + 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.
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:
|Helm||Wing Commander's Helmet||Echelon in Halls of Atonement|
|Neck||Trailspinner Pendant||Mistcaller in Mists of Tirna Scithe|
|Shoulder||Unyielding Combatant's Pauldrons||Mordretha in Theater of Pain|
|Cloak||Dealer Xy'exa's Cape||Dealer Xy'exa in De Other Side|
|Chest||Breastplate of Brutal Dissonance||Devos in Spires of Ascension|
|Bracers||Thunderous Echo Vambraces||Oryphrion in Spires of Ascension|
|Gloves||Distorted Construct's Gauntlets||Ventunax in Spires of Ascension|
|Belt||Fused Bone Greatbelt||Blightbone in The Necrotic Wake|
|Legs||Gormshell Greaves||Tred'ova in Mists of Tirna Scithe|
|Boots||Warboots of Ruthless Conviction||Kin-Tara in Spires of Ascension|
|Rings||Fleshfused Circle and Signet of the False Accuser||Gorechop in Theater of Pain and Lord Chamberlain in Halls of Atonement|
|Weapon||Dessia's Decimating Decapitator or 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.
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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