Unholy Death Knight DPS Mythic+ Tips — Shadowlands 9.2.5
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
- Festering Strike
- Festering Strike
- Unholy Blight
- Dark Transformation
- Abomination Limb ( Swarming Mist if Venthyr)
- Epidemic until you are out of Runic Power
- Shackle the Unworthy if Kyrian
- Death and Decay (or Death's Due if Night Fae)
- Spam Scourge Strike/ Clawing Shadows
Rotation on Mythic+ Packs
- Unholy Blight + Dark Transformation (always sync these 2 together)
- Epidemic, if you are about to cap Runic Power or have a Sudden Doom proc.
- Death and Decay
- Scourge Strike, if you are standing in your Death and Decay ( Clawing Shadows if you have it talented).
- Scourge Strike, if you have 1 or more Festering Wounds.
- Festering Strike to build 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 dump, Death and Decay window, and post-DnD AoE.
The setup consists of sending out two 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 with Unholy Blight or Outbreak, pop Dark Transformation, and use 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 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).
We pop down our Death and Decay and start spamming Scourge Strike/ 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 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 replacing Death Coil. If the pack lives for a very long time, we spend this time setting up our next Death and Decay window by spreading some Festering Wounds.
Unholy Death Knight Utility
- 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. Another great application of this ability is to pull mobs out of Sanguine.
- 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 is your magic soaking ability. This ability can be used to generate Runic Power by soaking magic damage. If you cast Anti-Magic Shell before a magical debuff would be applied to you, such as Bursting, the Anti-Magic Shell will prevent the application of the debuff.
- 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 is a proc that occurs whenever you kill an enemy, granting you a free cast of 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 is a utility talent that provides you with a heal for 50% of your maximum health. This is incredibly useful in Grievous or Bursting, where sometimes the damage your group is taking can overwhelm your healer.
- Anti-Magic Zone is one of our most useful utility cooldowns. It is very powerful against heavy group magic damage such as from Bursting or the Tormented Lieutenant Incinerator Arkolath.
- Gnaw is an ability that your pet has. 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 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. In addition, they are the only class that has an instant BR (battle-ress), which makes it extremely valuable for any Mythic+ group.
- 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 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 (once you are out of the Light of Atonement boss aura), as well as Ingra Maloch with its 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 on yourself. Importantly, this can be used to remove stacks of Grievous Wound from Grievous since the Death Coils count as direct heals. This is especially useful on the last boss in De Other Side.
- 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. 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 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 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, as well as The Manastorms and the Shadowfury cast, so make sure you use your cooldowns accordingly.
- 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 stacks. Just make sure to use a personal-defensive or a self-sustain ability to ensure you do not die.
- 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 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.
|15||✓ Infected Claws||✗ All Will Serve||✓ Clawing Shadows|
|25||✓ Bursting Sores||✗ Ebon Fever||✓ Unholy Blight|
|30||? Grip of the Dead||? Death's Reach||? Asphyxiate|
|35||✗ Pestilent Pustules||✗ Harbinger of Doom||✓ Soul Reaper|
|40||? Spell Eater||? Wraith Walk||? Death Pact|
|45||✗ Pestilence||✓ Unholy Pact||✓ Defile|
|50||✓ Army of the Damned||✗ Summon Gargoyle||✗ Unholy Assault|
Well-Balanced Mythic+ Build
- Level 15: Clawing Shadows
- Level 25: Unholy Blight
- Level 30: Player Choice
- Level 35: Soul Reaper
- Level 40: Player Choice
- Level 45: Unholy Pact
- Level 50: Army of the Damned
Full AoE Night Fae Infected Claws Bursting Sores Build
- Level 15: Infected Claws
- Level 25: Bursting Sores
- Level 30: Player Choice
- Level 35: Soul Reaper
- Level 40: Player Choice
- Level 45: Defile
- Level 50: Unholy Assault
For a more in-depth look at all the Unholy Death Knight talents, visit the link below.
Season 3 brings the 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 Legendary, as well as the Defile and 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 for a balance of single-target and AoE, which is a versatile build that works everywhere, or we pick up Reanimated Shambler for an insane amount of AoE damage with the Infected Claws + 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 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. 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 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 and Inscrutable Quantum Device work great together in Mythic+, bringing both nice burst for your 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 or Icebound Fortitude, to reduce the upcoming damage from Blood Barrier, which further reduces the amount of absorb shield the boss gains. In addition, you can place 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 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 and its stun effect, can be less of a danger with 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 can be extremely dangerous, especially if you take the debuff from the ability with already high stacks of Arcane Vulnerability. You can immune the initial hit from the Arcane Lighting by pre-emptively using Anti-Magic Shell a second prior to your party members passing the debuff to you.
Halls of Atonement
- When fighting Halkias, you can use Lichborneif you ever run out of the Light of Atonement boss aura, which will prevent you from being feared by Sinlight Visions.
- You can use Anti-Magic Shell if you ever find yourself in a tough place dodging Refracted Sinlight. Keep in mind that you will still take damage after the initial absorb damage shield from Anti-Magic Shell is broken, so you need to be quick to get back into position; consider swapping to Spell Eater if you find yourself struggling to dodge the beam. At last, you can use Anti-Magic Shell offensively, since the amount of the absorbed damage generates Runic Power, which is great news if you want to maximize your damage output.
- Use Death's Advance if you are too slow to dodge the Stone Shattering Leap from Echelon or unable to do so due to being stunned by Curse of Stone.
- You can use Anti-Magic Zone when Lord Chamberlain is casting Ritual of Woe, just make sure all of your soaking party members stand close to melee to benefit out of your Magic Zone.
Mists of Tirna Scithe
- You can use Lichborne or Anti-Magic Shell to prevent you from getting feared by from Repulsive Visage from Ingra Maloch.
- You can pull trash through walls in the maze using a simple /petattack macro with your pet.
- When the Illusionary Vulpin from Mistcaller comes close to you, you can use Icebound Fortitude or Anti-Magic Shell to prevent from being stunned for 8 seconds. Do be careful so that you do not stun your teammates or your pets!
- Use Anti-Magic Shell when Tred'ova is casting Consumption to mitigate the incoming high damage from it.
- Be aware when Globgrog is casting Plaguestomp, you can mitigate the knockback by using Death's Advance, as well as Debilitating Plague by using Anti-Magic Shell.
- Use Anti-Magic Shell if you are uncertain about what direction the frontal AoE will be.
- You can use Icebound Fortitude to prevent you from being stunned by Domina Venomblade and her Shadow Ambush.
- Upon casting Infectious Rain by Margrave Stradama, it is highly recommended that you use your Anti-Magic Zone to help your party members survive.
- You can use Anti-Magic Shell to prevent the debuff application of Infectious Rain.
- Remember to use Death's Advance when Kryxis the Voracious is casting Severing Smash to prevent you from being knocked back. In addition, use Anti-Magic Shell if you are assigned to soak the Living Essence, as it neutralizes its damage.
- Moreover, you can place Anti-Magic Zone when Severing Smash is about to happen. If your party members are stacked, they will take 20% less damage on the initial hit.
- When the Fleeting Manifestation spawns from Executor Tarvold, make sure to place Anti-Magic Zone accordingly to mitigate some if its damage coming from Growing Pride aura.
- Having Anti-Magic Zone is extremely useful when Grand Proctor Beryllia is casting Rite of Supremacy or Endless Torment. Make sure your party members are stacked when you place it, so all of them can benefit from its damage reduction aura.
- Using Anti-Magic Shell against Agonize from Grand Proctor Beryllia will save a lot of trouble for your healer. It is severely painful single-target DoT so be quick to use your defensive accordingly.
- When General Kaal is casting Wicked Rush, you can use Death's Advance or Wraith Walk (if talented) to prevent getting the permanent bleed effect from Wicked Gash.
Spires of Ascension
- Use Anti-Magic Shell when Kin-Tara is flying in the air and targets you with Charged Spear to reduce the incoming damage.
- If you find yourself in a position where you cannot dodge the Blinding Flash frontal ability from Ventunax, remember to use Icebound Fortitude to prevent from being stunned.
- You can pre-use Death's Advance when Dark Bolt is about to hit you to prevent being knocked in the air. Remember when Ventunax is under Recharge Anima, the Dark Bolt casts more frequently, so you might want to save the ability until then.
- Using Anti-Magic Shell when Oryphrion is casting Purifying Blast on you can fully neutralize its initial damage and the DoT afterwards.
- Consider using Anti-Magic Shell or Anti-Magic Zone if you are about to soak Anima Surge when Oryphrion is under the Coalesced Anima mode.
- You can fully neglect the Backdraft pushback ability from Devos by using Death's Advance. Moreover, remember to use Anti-Magic Shell during the boss intermission, to fully reset your stacks of Lingering Doubt.
The Necrotic Wake
- Remember to use Anti-Magic Shell when Blightbone is targeting you with the frontal AoE ability.
- You can fully neutralize the lethal DoT from Carrion Eruption by using Anti-Magic Shell prior the impact of the ability.
- Make sure to use Death Grip when Amarth is casting 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 or Wraith Walk (if talented) when 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
- Use Anti-Magic Shell when Searing Death is cast on you by Sathel the Accursed, as it fully neutralizes the dangerous DoT on you.
- If you get caught by Meat Hooks from Gorechop, remember to use Icebound Fortitude to escape and get back quickly to the boss fight.
- Use Death's Advance when Oppressive Banner is being used by Xav the Unfallen to help you dodge the Brutal Combo more easily.
- You can pre-use Anti-Magic Shell a second prior to Phantasmal Parasite being cast by Kul'tharok, as it targets two random players in your party (most frequently to the 3 DPS players). It will immensely help your healer, so pay close attention.
- Remember to use Death's Advance when Mordretha, the Endless Empress is casting Grasping Rift to prevent you from being pulled towards the Death Grasp.
- 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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