Unholy Death Knight DPS Mythic+ Tips — Shadowlands 9.2.5

Last updated on May 31, 2022 at 00:05 by Bicepspump 46 comments
General Information

In this guide, you will find tips and advice to tackle Mythic+ dungeons with your Unholy Death Knight in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.2.5.


Unholy Death Knight in Mythic+

Unholy Death Knight brings solid damage to any Mythic+ dungeon! We have insane scaling for certain spells and a very satisfying rotation when we pull it off!

The guide will also touch on Unholy Death Knights and their damage mitigation tools, all the useful utilities provided by spec, and their ability to self-sustain in a critical situations, as well as some of the disadvantages of having an Unholy Death Knight in your M+ group.

If you are unfamiliar with Mythic+ and its associated general mechanics, you can read more about it on our dedicated Mythic+ page below.


Unholy Death Knight Mythic+ Rotation

The single-target and multi-target rotations do not change in Mythic+ content. For more information about the Unholy Death Knight rotation, refer to the link below.


Opener on Mythic+ Packs

  1. Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike
  2. Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike
  3. Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight
  4. Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation
  5. Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse
  6. Abomination Limb Icon Abomination Limb (Swarming Mist Icon Swarming Mist if Venthyr)
  7. Epidemic Icon Epidemic until you are out of Runic Power
  8. Shackle the Unworthy Icon Shackle the Unworthy if Kyrian
  9. Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay (or Death's Due Icon Death's Due if Night Fae)
  10. Spam Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike/Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows

Rotation on Mythic+ Packs

  1. Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight + Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation (always sync these 2 together)
  2. Epidemic Icon Epidemic, if you are about to cap Runic Power or have a Sudden Doom Icon Sudden Doom proc.
  3. Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay
  4. Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike, if you are standing in your Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay (Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows if you have it talented).
  5. Epidemic Icon Epidemic
  6. Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike, if you have 1 or more Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds.
  7. Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike to build Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds.

We will next discuss this rotation further. Generally, any given pack in a Mythic+ dungeon can be approached by viewing our DPS as 4 "phases". We have setup and cooldown usage, Epidemic Icon Epidemic dump, Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay window, and post-DnD AoE.

The setup consists of sending out two Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike as well as popping your cooldowns. You generally want to start off with your Festering Strikes as your tank pulls the mobs, since your AoE would not be very efficient at that point anyway. Once the mobs are more grouped up, you apply your Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague with Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight or Outbreak Icon Outbreak, pop Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation, and use Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse if the pack does not die very quickly. You also use your Covenant ability if you are Necrolord or Venthyr.

Once we have used all our cooldowns, we have lots of Runic Power to spend. We use this on Epidemic Icon Epidemic until we cannot do so anymore. This both does a ton of AoE damage, as well as allowing our Runes to recharge (both passively and through procs of Runic Corruption Icon Runic Corruption).

We pop down our Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay and start spamming Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike/ Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows. Remember that it is only you that needs to stand in your Death and Decay for your Scourge Strike/ Clawing Shadows to cleave, not the mobs themselves. We do use Epidemic Icon Epidemic at this stage as well to avoid capping Runic Power.

Once we are out of our Death and Decay window, the pack is hopefully dead. If it is not, we move into our normal single-target rotation with Epidemic Icon Epidemic replacing Death Coil Icon Death Coil. If the pack lives for a very long time, we spend this time setting up our next Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay window by spreading some Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds.


Unholy Death Knight Utility

  • Death Grip Icon Death Grip is an iconic Death Knight spell that pulls an enemy that you are targeting to you. Use this to stack enemies that are spread out to maximize cleave damage. This can also be used as an extra interrupt or to interrupt casts that cannot be interrupted by Mind Freeze Icon Mind Freeze. Another great application of this ability is to pull mobs out of Sanguine Icon Sanguine.
  • Mind Freeze Icon Mind Freeze is a Death Knight's interrupt ability. This should be used to interrupt near the end of the target's cast time, as they do not attack while casting a spell, so it will minimize damage on the tanks. It is recommended you communicate your interrupts with the rest of your group, so you do not end up wasting interrupts.
  • Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell is your magic soaking ability. This ability can be used to generate Runic Power by soaking magic damage. If you cast Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell before a magical debuff would be applied to you, such as Bursting, the Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell will prevent the application of the debuff.
  • Wraith Walk Icon Wraith Walk is a movement talent that increases your movement speed by 70% for 4 seconds and removes all root effects. This talent should be taken if you are expecting to be slowed or rooted multiple times in a short period of time.
  • Dark Succor Icon Dark Succor is a proc that occurs whenever you kill an enemy, granting you a free cast of Death Strike Icon Death Strike and increases the healing by an additional 10% of your maximum health. This can be very useful if your group is taking high amounts of AoE damage.
  • Death Pact Icon Death Pact is a utility talent that provides you with a heal for 50% of your maximum health. This is incredibly useful in Grievous Icon Grievous or Bursting Icon Bursting, where sometimes the damage your group is taking can overwhelm your healer.
  • Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone is one of our most useful utility cooldowns. It is very powerful against heavy group magic damage such as from Bursting Icon Bursting or the Tormented Icon Tormented Lieutenant Incinerator Arkolath.
  • Gnaw Icon Gnaw is an ability that your pet has. Gnaw Icon Gnaw is off the global cooldown and stuns the target for 2 seconds. It is recommended that you keybind this ability, so you have control over when your pet casts it.
  • Asphyxiate Icon Asphyxiate is an optional 4 single-target stun that lasts for 4 seconds and it has a 45-second cooldown. If your group composition lacks stuns, you might want to consider using that talent. In addition, it has a 20-yard range, which makes it great against targets that run out of melee.
  • Death Knight is one of the few classes that have an ability to resurrect an ally while in combat, with Raise Ally Icon Raise Ally. In addition, they are the only class that has an instant BR (battle-ress), which makes it extremely valuable for any Mythic+ group.
  • Lichborne Icon Lichborne is an extremely useful ability that provides you with 10% Leech and immunity toward Charm, Fear, and Sleep effects for 10 seconds. The extra Leech allows you to have better self-sustain without relying on Death Strike Icon Death Strike once you drop critically low. The immunity toward the crowd-control effects can be useful in some of the dungeon boss fights, such as: Halkias and its Sinlight Visions Icon Sinlight Visions (once you are out of the Light of Atonement Icon Light of Atonement boss aura), as well as Ingra Maloch with its Repulsive Visage Icon Repulsive Visage fear, so keep a close eye on the boss' abilities and use this ability accordingly. When Lichborne is active, you can heal by casting Death Coil Icon Death Coil on yourself. Importantly, this can be used to remove stacks of Grievous Wound Icon Grievous Wound from Grievous Icon Grievous since the Death Coils count as direct heals. This is especially useful on the last boss in De Other Side.
  • Death's Advance Icon Death's Advance is another extremely useful utility of the Death Knights, which increases your movement speed by 35% and gives you an immunity towards forced movement effects and knockbacks for 10 seconds. You can use it for effectively dodging mechanics or to neutralize an incoming knockback, such as the Globgrog`s Plaguestomp Icon Plaguestomp. Keep in mind, any second that you do not spend in melee will decrease your overall damage output, which can sometimes result into depleting the keystone. Make use of all of your utilities to get an edge over any dungeon.
  • Control Undead Icon Control Undead gives you an option to control an undead creature for 5 minutes. While it is a useful ability, it is unlikely that you will ever use it as a Unholy Death Knight because it disables your Ghoul, which is where the majority of your damage comes from. To conclude, do NOT ever use it, unless absolutely necessary to prevent the party from a certain wipe.
  • Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude is a powerful defensive ability which decreases any incoming damage by 30% for 8 seconds. Moreover, during that 8 seconds window, the ability provides you with stun immunity, which can be useful for several dungeon boss fights such as - Domina Venomblade and her Shadow Ambush Icon Shadow Ambush, as well as The Manastorms and the Shadowfury Icon Shadowfury cast, so make sure you use your cooldowns accordingly.
  • Dark Command Icon Dark Command is a single-target taunt ability which instantly generates threat on the targeted enemy unit. You can use this ability as utility, by helping your tank to reset their Necrotic Icon Necrotic stacks. Just make sure to use a personal-defensive or a self-sustain ability to ensure you do not die.
  • Sacrificial Pact Icon Sacrificial Pact can be used both offensively and defensively, although it is not recommended to use it as a source of damage, but rather as a last resort self-sustain ability. Sacrificial Pact sacrifices your Ghoul to heal you for 25% of your maximum health. You should only use it if it is a critical situation to prevent certain death. Be conservative about this ability, since most of your damage comes from your pet, so sacrificing it will result in a major damage loss.
  • Chains of Ice Icon Chains of Ice is a powerful single-target slow which reduces the movement speed on the target by 70%. It has a 30 yard range and can also be applied to multiple enemies (you have to cast it for each of them individually).

Mythic+ Talents for Unholy Death Knights

Please note that the talents that we recommend below are specifically for Mythic+. If you want to see a talent overview for Unholy Death Knights, then you can check out our main talent page linked below.

Below are the suggested talents for Mythic+. These talents are recommended for all affixes and keystone levels. For more information on particular talents and when to use them, refer to the Builds and Talents page.

Level Choices
15 Infected Claws Infected Claws All Will Serve All Will Serve Clawing Shadows Clawing Shadows
25 Bursting Sores Bursting Sores Ebon Fever Ebon Fever Unholy Blight Unholy Blight
30 Grip of the Dead ? Grip of the Dead Death's Reach ? Death's Reach Asphyxiate ? Asphyxiate
35 Pestilent Pustules Pestilent Pustules Harbinger of Doom Harbinger of Doom Soul Reaper Soul Reaper
40 Spell Eater ? Spell Eater Wraith Walk ? Wraith Walk Death Pact ? Death Pact
45 Pestilence Pestilence Unholy Pact Unholy Pact Defile Defile
50 Army of the Damned Army of the Damned Summon Gargoyle Summon Gargoyle Unholy Assault Unholy Assault

Well-Balanced Mythic+ Build


Full AoE Night Fae Infected Claws Bursting Sores Build

For a more in-depth look at all the Unholy Death Knight talents, visit the link below.


Encrypted Affix

Season 3 brings the Encrypted Icon Encrypted affix, which spawns three relics around bosses and some trash packs. You kill these relics to summon a lieutenant, which after it has been killed provides a buff which depends on the first relic you killed. The relics and buffs are the following:

  • Urh — Provides 200% increased spell and ability cooldown rate as well as 10% health and Mana every 1 second for 10 seconds. Generally not a great buff for you, and is mostly used for your healer or as a defensive.
  • Wo — Provides 150% increased movement speed, 15% reduced damage taken, and shrouds you when out of combat for 1 minute. It is great for when you need to skip packs and do not have a Rogue. Remember to dismiss your ghoul beforehand!
  • Vy — Provides 15% Haste and summons orbs of energy that damage and heals for 45 sec. This is by far the most powerful buff for us since it provides a damage increase through the Haste. Pick it up whenever possible!

Unholy Death Knight Covenants in Mythic+

Night Fae is by far the strongest Covenant for Unholy Death Knights in Mythic+. The Rampant Transference Icon Rampant Transference Legendary, as well as the Defile Icon Defile and Withering Ground Icon Withering Ground combination just brings so much damage overall!


Unholy Death Knight Legendaries in Mythic+

We essentially have two choices for Legendary as an Unholy Death Knight; either pick up Frenzied Monstrosity Icon Frenzied Monstrosity for a balance of single-target and AoE, which is a versatile build that works everywhere, or we pick up Reanimated Shambler Icon Reanimated Shambler for an insane amount of AoE damage with the Infected Claws Icon Infected Claws + Bursting Sores Icon Bursting Sores Night Fae build.

For more information on Unholy Death Knight Legendaries, then check out our page below.


Trinket Choice for Unholy Death Knight in Mythic+

Firstly, we strongly advise you to use Raidbots for more accurate data based on your character, as every toon has a unique ratio of secondary and primary stats. Suggestions that work for you may not work for someone else.

The following trinkets a great choice for Mythic+:

  • Overwhelming Power Crystal Icon Overwhelming Power Crystal is a great on-use trinket to play with, as it provides you with set amount of Critical Strike for 15 seconds. The amount of Critical Strike varies from the item level of the trinket, so the higher the item level, the better. The biggest disadvantage of using it comes from the 90-second cooldown, which does not line up with Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation. You can only use it for every second set of your major cooldowns. Moreover, if you do not stay in the line of the Arcane Lighting radiating from the trinket, you will not get the benefit of increased Critical Strike chance, so if you are an inexperienced player, you might want to use a different trinket.
  • Inscrutable Quantum Device Icon Inscrutable Quantum Device is another great trinket which immensely boosts your highest secondary stat for 20 seconds. It is a great option if you are looking to have extremely spiky AoE and single-target damage. Just keep in mind that you can use it once every 3 minutes, so plan accordingly where and when you can have the best use out of it. You can obtain this trinket via completing De Other Side or by looting it from your weekly vault.

Generally, Overwhelming Power Crystal Icon Overwhelming Power Crystal and Inscrutable Quantum Device Icon Inscrutable Quantum Device work great together in Mythic+, bringing both nice burst for your Army of the Dead Icon Army of the Dead as well as shorter on-demand stats for your AoE.

Generally, unless you have these specific on-use trinkets, one on-use with a passive second trinket works great!


How to Efficiently Use your Utility Abilities in Mythic+ for All Dungeons


De Other Side

There are several boss abilities to pay attention to while fighting Hakkar the Soulflayer:

  • You can use personal defensives, such as Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell or Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude, to reduce the upcoming damage from Blood Barrier Icon Blood Barrier, which further reduces the amount of absorb shield the boss gains. In addition, you can place Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone near your party members to provide additional damage reduction from the incoming damage.
  • You can totally neglect the Corrupted Blood by pre-using Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell a few seconds before the cast goes through. It is a great way to help your healer on one of the most intense boss fights of Shadowlands.

One of the most dangerous abilities from The Manastorms, Shadowfury Icon Shadowfury and its stun effect, can be less of a danger with Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude, which gives you a 30% damage reduction and stun immunity. This is a great way to counter the incoming stun without being affected by it.

Dealer Xy'exa and its Arcane Lightning Icon Arcane Lightning can be extremely dangerous, especially if you take the debuff from the ability with already high stacks of Arcane Vulnerability Icon Arcane Vulnerability. You can immune the initial hit from the Arcane Lighting by pre-emptively using Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell a second prior to your party members passing the debuff to you.


Halls of Atonement


Mists of Tirna Scithe




Sanguine Depths


Spires of Ascension


The Necrotic Wake

  • Remember to use Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell when Blightbone is targeting you with the frontal AoE ability.
  • You can fully neutralize the lethal DoT from Carrion Eruption Icon Carrion Eruption by using Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell prior the impact of the ability.
  • Make sure to use Death Grip Icon Death Grip when Amarth is casting Land of the Dead Icon Land of the Dead, more specifically Reanimated Mage or Reanimated Crossbowman, as they stay stationary, spread at random positions around the boss.
  • Use Death's Advance Icon Death's Advance or Wraith Walk Icon Wraith Walk (if talented) when Dark Exile Icon Dark Exile is casted upon you by Nalthor the Rimebinder. The faster you run to the end and face the Siphoner, the faster you can get back to the boss fight and obtain the Champion's Boon buff, which was recently buffed from 15 seconds to 30 seconds.

Theater of Pain



  • 31 May 2022: Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 20 Feb. 2022: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
  • 01 Nov. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 17 Jul. 2021: Added Anima Power recommendations.
  • 29 Jun. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021: Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 24 Mar. 2021: Reworked page under new writer.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 19 Jan. 2021: Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 08 Dec. 2020: Updated for the release of Season 1 with a Covenant and Legendary section.
  • 26 Nov. 2020: Added a new well balanced Mythic+ build.
  • 23 Nov. 2020: Page updated for Shadowlands release. Removed the Azerite Traits and Essence sections, updated talent recommendation, added sections for Covenant and Legendary Power choice.
  • 10 Nov. 2020: Updated talent recommendations.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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