Unholy Death Knight DPS Guide — Shadowlands 9.2.5

Last updated on Jul 31, 2022 at 17:13 by Bicepspump 51 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Unholy Death Knight guide for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.2.5. Here, you will learn how to play as an Unholy Death Knight in both raids and Mythic+ dungeons: from the very beginning to maximizing your DPS.

1.

Unholy Death Knight Overview

The Unholy specialization currently provides great single target damage and big AoE capabilities. Unholy Death Knights also have a good raid cooldown (Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone).

2.

Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +High single-target and AoE burst potential.
  • +Great add control with Death Grip Icon Death Grip.
  • +Knockback prevention with Death's Advance Icon Death's Advance.
  • +Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone as a magic damage raid cooldown.
  • +Highly resistant to downtime.
X Weaknesses
  • -Limited mobility.
  • -Limited spread add cleave.
3.

Patch 9.2.5 Changes for Death Knights

We are maintaining a list of changes for Death Knights, so you can see what changes with every patch of Shadowlands. Be sure to also check out Unholy's specific changes from the previous patch, 9.2, to hear our thoughts on the tier set bonuses that arrived at that time.

3.1.

Mage Tower Challenge

From Patch 9.1.5 onward, both Legion Timewalking and the Mage Tower have returned. As such we have created a separate guide detailing what you can expect from the Mage Tower challenge available to Unholy Death Knights.

4.

Leveling an Unholy Death Knight

If you want to level an Unholy Death Knight, you can check out our leveling guide for tips and tricks for your journey.

Once you reach max level, a great way to customize your game to fit the way you want to play, but also to help you play better, is with addons. We recommend using some of the basic addons that are on our Addons page below while you are leveling, to not only get used to addons, but to also help speed up your leveling. Since Unholy is a fairly clunky spec to play, it is heavily recommended that you use addons to clean up your screen and make your rotation easier.

5.

Basics of Unholy Death Knight Gameplay

Unholy Death Knight is a spec that is all about managing your resources and maximizing your burst potential with correct cooldown management.

If you are new to Unholy Death Knight and would like to learn the basics of the class, we recommend looking at the Spell Summary, as well as the Easy Mode page that is linked below.

We also have a guide for the Unholy Death Knight talents and rotations below.

6.

How to Gear Up as a Unholy Death Knight

Gear, enchants, consumables, and gems also play a big part in increasing your character's DPS. Linked below is a page to show you which enchants, consumables, and gems to use, as well as a stats page, where you can find more information on each stat and how they interact with your character.

7.

Unholy Death Knight in Shadowlands

Shadowlands introduced 4 Covenants, new unique "factions" that are core to the Shadowlands experience. Which Covenant you join is one of the biggest decisions you can make in World of Warcraft.

Shadowlands also introduced an arsenal of legendary powers, but you can only have one at a time, and crafting them takes time and money, so choose wisely. Legendary Powers are be acquired from the new endgame activity, Torghast, Sanctum of Domination, and other activities.

8.

End-Game as an Unholy Death Knight

The end-game of an Unholy Death Knight is very exciting, since your burst is incredibly high and your AoE potential is also very high. Linked below are our Raiding, Torghast, Mythic+, and PvP guides to help you perform well, no matter what content you choose to participate in.

9.

Improving as an Unholy Death Knight

If, after reading all these guides you still find your performance lackluster, then check out the pages linked below for some tips and tricks that may answer any question you have. This is fairly common with Unholy Death Knight, as it is a very clunky spec.

10.

Changelog

  • 31 Jul. 2022 (mythic+ page): Updated with information on the Shrouded affix for Shadowlands season 4.
  • 31 Jul. 2022 (Castle Nathria page): Updated for Shadowlands season 4.
  • 31 Jul. 2022 (gear page): Updated for Shadowlands season 4.
  • 31 Jul. 2022 (Sepulcher of the First Ones page): Updated for Shadowlands season 4.
  • 31 Jul. 2022 (Sanctum of Domination page): Updated for Shadowlands season 4.
  • 29 Jun. 2022 (Sepulcher of the First Ones page): Updated tips, talents, and legendary recommendations for all bosses.
  • 31 May 2022 (gear page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (how to improve page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (spells page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (enchants page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (mythic+ page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (addons page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (stats page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (FAQ page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (Legendaries): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (rotation page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (easy mode page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (simulations page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (talents page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (this page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (Torghast): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 16 Mar. 2022 (gear page): Slightly adjusted trinket recommendation.
  • 28 Feb. 2022 (Sepulcher of the First Ones page): Page added.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (this page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (Legendaries): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (Torghast): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (easy mode page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (Patch 9.2 Analysis): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (spells page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (how to improve page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (simulations page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (talents page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (gear page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (rotation page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (addons page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (enchants page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (mythic+ page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (stats page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 20 Feb. 2022 (FAQ page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 19 Jan. 2022 (Patch 9.2 Analysis): Updated with latest build tuning.
  • 15 Jan. 2022 (Patch 9.2 Analysis): Page added with initial thoughts and information.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (stats page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (rotation page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (this page): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (Torghast): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (enchants page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (FAQ page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (easy mode page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (gear page): Reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (Legendaries): Added Reanimated Shambler as viable M+ alternative for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (addons page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (Sanctum of Domination page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (spells page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (simulations page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (Patch 9.1 Analysis): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (mythic+ page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (talents page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (how to improve page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 17 Jul. 2021 (Legendaries): Added more verbose explanations; updated Frenzied Monstrosity to have Critical Strike and Mastery missives.
  • 17 Jul. 2021 (mythic+ page): Added Anima Power recommendations.
  • 17 Jul. 2021 (Patch 9.1 Analysis): Updated with recent hotfixes.
  • 12 Jul. 2021 (gear page): Added note on Jaithys.
  • 12 Jul. 2021 (Sanctum of Domination page): Guide created.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (how to improve page): Guide updated and reviewed for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (mythic+ page): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (Torghast): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (simulations page): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (talents page): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (Patch 9.1 Analysis): Created page.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (gear page): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (stats page): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (Legendaries): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (addons page): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (rotation page): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (this page): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (enchants page): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (spells page): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (FAQ page): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (easy mode page): Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (mythic+ page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 10 May 2021 (spells page): Added Sacrificial Pact and Summon Gargoyle.
  • 10 May 2021 (talents page): Added some more flavour to talent recommendations.
  • 10 May 2021 (this page): Reworded introduction slightly.
  • 10 May 2021 (Castle Nathria page): Updated some legendary recommendations.
  • 10 May 2021 (stats page): Updated stat priority and expanded on pet inheritance of stats.
  • 10 May 2021 (simulations page): Reviewed but no major updates needed.
  • 10 May 2021 (how to improve page): Added two more tips.
  • 10 May 2021 (easy mode page): Updated Covenant recommendation and expanded on multiple topics.
  • 10 May 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated to recommend Heirmir for Necrolord and Venthyr for Mythic+.
  • 10 May 2021 (rotation page): Reviewed and expanded on multiple topics.
  • 10 May 2021 (FAQ page): Added a number of FAQs.
  • 10 May 2021 (addons page): Added cursor macros and pet claw macro.
  • 10 May 2021 (gear page): Expanded trinket discussion.
  • 10 May 2021 (enchants page): Added Shaded Weightstone to recommendations.
  • 24 Mar. 2021 (mythic+ page): Reworked page under new writer.
  • 16 Mar. 2021 (how to improve page): Fixed a typo in Ghoul ability section; changed Leap to Gnaw in the interrupt section.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (Legendaries): Added a section with the BiS Legendary for each major form of content.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (Torghast): Made small changes and reordering to Powers, added new Powers, removed old Powers for patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated to include a note about the new 20% damage reduction from Fleshcraft.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (gear page): Updated with a new section for Valor that goes over the top trinkets to prioritize, and added a dungeon BiS section.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (enchants page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (stats page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (mythic+ page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (rotation page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (talents page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (easy mode page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (spells page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 23 Feb. 2021 (rotation page): Added rotation switches for the single target rotation.
  • 19 Feb. 2021 (Castle Nathria page): Added more tips for Sire Denathrius.
  • 10 Feb. 2021 (easy mode page): Added Soul Reaper into the rotation priority.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (talents page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (Legendaries): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (Castle Nathria page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (this page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (gear page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (Torghast): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (mythic+ page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (easy mode page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (rotation page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (FAQ page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (enchants page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (how to improve page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (spells page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (stats page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 08 Jan. 2021 (rotation page): Fixed the description for Soul Reaper.
  • 19 Dec. 2020 (spells page): Updated Death's Advance description.
  • 14 Dec. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for Castle Nathria BiS.
  • 14 Dec. 2020 (spells page): Updated the description for Outbreak.
  • 14 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Added information for Huntsman Altimor.
  • 14 Dec. 2020 (rotation page): Fixed the disclaimer for the single target rotation.
  • 08 Dec. 2020 (mythic+ page): Updated for the release of Season 1 with a Covenant and Legendary section.
  • 08 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Updated Raid Talent, Tips, and Legendary Recommendations.
  • 02 Dec. 2020 (gear page): Fixed skill typo.
  • 02 Dec. 2020 (enchants page): Updated the recommended consumables.
  • 01 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Added placeholder Castle Nathria page.
  • 28 Nov. 2020 (stats page): Fixed stat recommendation for Mastery.
  • 28 Nov. 2020 (rotation page): Fixed the Unholy single-target opener.
  • 26 Nov. 2020 (Legendaries): Fixed an issue with the legendary power/per week breakdown (impossible to get a legendary on the first week).
  • 26 Nov. 2020 (mythic+ page): Added a new well balanced Mythic+ build.
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (Torghast): Guide added.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for Shadowlands release.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (talents page): Page updated for Shadowlands release. Updated talent recommendations.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (FAQ page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, updated talents, stats, removed BfA-specific sections
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (spells page): Page updated for Shadowlands release.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (rotation page): Updated the rotation priority and guide for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for Shadowlands Release, added new enchants and oil.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (this page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, added information on Covenants, Legendary Powers and Torghast.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (addons page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (mythic+ page): Page updated for Shadowlands release. Removed the Azerite Traits and Essence sections, updated talent recommendation, added sections for Covenant and Legendary Power choice.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (how to improve page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, added a section on early Shadowlands gearing and one on Legendary Powers, removed a lot of BfA-specific information.
  • 22 Nov. 2020 (simulations page): Updated for Shadowlands. Removed all sections on Azerite Traits and Essences.
  • 22 Nov. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Added a section on Renown.
  • 21 Nov. 2020 (Legendaries): Page added.
  • 20 Nov. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Page added.
  • 10 Nov. 2020 (mythic+ page): Updated talent recommendations.
  • 10 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Updated stat recommendations.
  • 18 Oct. 2020 (stats page): Changed to reflect the Pre-patch build.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (mythic+ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (addons page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (rotation page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (spells page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (simulations page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (how to improve page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (easy mode page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (FAQ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (this page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 17 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Added more information on Queen Azshara.
  • 09 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Guide added.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Minor changes to talent selections.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 19 May 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Added Mythic tips.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Guide added.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 24 Feb. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Updated boss talent recommendations slightly.
  • 18 Feb. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Fixed the boss order.
  • 08 Feb. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Updated talent recommendations.
  • 24 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Updated talent recommendations.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added first version of Unholy DK advice for Battle of Dazar'alor.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 03 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Added information for all bosses in Uldir.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Page added (empty for now).
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