Unholy Death Knight DPS Guide — Shadowlands 9.0.5

Last updated on May 10, 2021 at 09:54 by Bicepspump 43 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Unholy Death Knight guide for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.5. 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 powerful 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.

Shadowlands 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.

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, Castle Nathria, 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

  • 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 (this page): Reworded introduction slightly.
  • 10 May 2021 (FAQ page): Added a number of FAQs.
  • 10 May 2021 (how to improve page): Added two more tips.
  • 10 May 2021 (spells page): Added Sacrificial Pact and Summon Gargoyle.
  • 10 May 2021 (Castle Nathria page): Updated some legendary recommendations.
  • 10 May 2021 (gear page): Expanded trinket discussion.
  • 10 May 2021 (addons page): Added cursor macros and pet claw macro.
  • 10 May 2021 (enchants page): Added Shaded Weightstone to recommendations.
  • 10 May 2021 (talents page): Added some more flavour to talent recommendations.
  • 10 May 2021 (stats page): Updated stat priority and expanded on pet inheritance of stats.
  • 10 May 2021 (rotation page): Reviewed and expanded on multiple topics.
  • 10 May 2021 (simulations page): Reviewed but no major updates needed.
  • 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 (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 (talents page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (easy mode page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 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 (stats page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (mythic+ page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (Legendaries): Added a section with the BiS Legendary for each major form of content.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (enchants page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (spells page): Reviewed 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 (rotation 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 (FAQ page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (easy mode page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (this page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (how to improve page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (rotation page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (gear page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (Legendaries): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (enchants page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (mythic+ page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (stats page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (Castle Nathria page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (Torghast): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (talents page): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Jan. 2021 (spells 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 (Castle Nathria page): Added information for Huntsman Altimor.
  • 14 Dec. 2020 (rotation page): Fixed the disclaimer for the single target rotation.
  • 14 Dec. 2020 (spells page): Updated the description for Outbreak.
  • 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 (enchants page): Updated the recommended consumables.
  • 02 Dec. 2020 (gear page): Fixed skill typo.
  • 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 (mythic+ page): Added a new well balanced Mythic+ build.
  • 26 Nov. 2020 (Legendaries): Fixed an issue with the legendary power/per week breakdown (impossible to get a legendary on the first week).
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (Torghast): Guide added.
  • 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.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (addons page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for Shadowlands Release, added new enchants and oil.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for Shadowlands release.
  • 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 (rotation page): Updated the rotation priority and guide for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (talents page): Page updated for Shadowlands release. Updated talent recommendations.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (spells page): Page updated for Shadowlands release.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, updated talents, stats, removed BfA-specific sections
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (this page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, added information on Covenants, Legendary Powers and Torghast.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (FAQ page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 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 (easy mode page): Updated stat recommendations.
  • 10 Nov. 2020 (mythic+ page): Updated talent recommendations.
  • 18 Oct. 2020 (stats page): Changed to reflect the Pre-patch build.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (spells page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (this page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (rotation page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (addons page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (simulations 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 (how to improve page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (mythic+ 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 (Crucible of Storms page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (Uldir 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 (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.
  • 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.
  • 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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