Unholy Death Knight DPS Mythic+ Tips — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3

Last updated on Jan 14, 2020 at 00:54 by Abyssalwave 41 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 — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3.


Unholy Death Knight in Mythic+

Unholy Death Knight is a very powerful melee in Mythic+ offering high AoE damage, it can be competitive with the top Mythic+ melee DPS. Unholy Death Knights do not have strong damage mitigation making it difficult to survive certain encounters in high Mythic+ keystones.

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 Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities page.


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 far apart together 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 pools.
  • Mind Freeze Icon Mind Freeze is 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 overlapping 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 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 Icon Wraith Walk is a movement talent ability 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. This talent has lost some of the value it had due to Death's Advance Icon Death's Advance being baseline and having close to the same effect.
  • Dark Succor Icon Dark Succor is a proc that occurs whenever you kill an enemy, and grants you a free cast of Death Strike Icon Death Strike. This can be very useful if your group is taking high amounts of AoE damage.
  • Death Pact Icon Death Pact is an utility talent that provides you 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.

Mythic+ Talents for Unholy Death Knights

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
56 Infected Claws Infected Claws All Will Serve ? All Will Serve Clawing Shadows Clawing Shadows
57 Bursting Sores Bursting Sores Ebon Fever Ebon Fever Unholy Blight Unholy Blight
58 Grip of the Dead ? Grip of the Dead Death's Reach Death's Reach Asphyxiate Asphyxiate
60 Pestilent Pustules Pestilent Pustules Harbinger of Doom Harbinger of Doom Soul Reaper Soul Reaper
75 Spell Eater ? Spell Eater Wraith Walk ? Wraith Walk Death Pact Death Pact
90 Pestilence Pestilence Defile ? Defile Epidemic Epidemic
100 Army of the Damned ? Army of the Damned Unholy Frenzy Unholy Frenzy Summon Gargoyle Summon Gargoyle

In Battle for Azeroth, there are three tiers of affixes, and one seasonal affix. Every keystone will have at least one affix, with new affixes being added at keystone levels 4 and 7, and the season affix being added at level 10.


Tier One Affixes

  • Fortified Icon Fortified increases the Health pool of all non-boss enemies by 20% and damage dealt by 30%.
  • Tyrannical Icon Tyrannical increases the Health pool of boss enemies by 40% and their damage dealt by 15%.

Fortified Icon Fortified and Tyrannical Icon Tyrannical are the two affixes that every player will see. These affixes shift the focus of Mythic+ from boss to trash depending on the week. Unholy Death Knights have a much easier time with Fortified due to their high AoE damage however they struggle with high level Mythic+ Tyrannical bosses due to their lack of mitigation.


Tier Two Affixes

  • Bolstering Icon Bolstering causes dying enemies to increase the maximum health and damage of other nearby enemies by 20%. To counter this affix, DPS all mobs down evenly and focus on the highest health pool enemies first. You should stick to Outbreak Icon Outbreak, Epidemic Icon Epidemic, and the combinations of Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike and Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay. If you stagger the health of each mob in a trash pack too much that can lead to the last few mobs having a lot of health and will deal too much damage to your tank.
  • Raging Icon Raging increases the damage dealt by enemies below 30% health by 100% until they die. This affix is the opposite to Bolstering Icon Bolstering; when a non-boss target falls below 30% health remaining you want to switch your attention towards that mob and minimize damage on any other mobs that are close to Raging threshold. If there are multiple enemies that are raging you should maximize your AoE damage onto them to minimize damage onto your tank.
  • Teeming Icon Teeming adds additional trash mobs to certain packs throughout each dungeon.
  • Sanguine Icon Sanguine places a pool of blood on the ground when a mob is slain. This pool will heal remaining enemies who stay inside the zone and also damage players. Positioning yourself around these pools while maintaining uptime onto your target is very important. Death Knights also have an utility cooldown in Death Grip Icon Death Grip which you can use to pull mobs out of Sanguine. Make sure to tell your group when you are Death Gripping a mob so you do not overlay it with another cooldown such as Shining Force Icon Shining Force or Typhoon Icon Typhoon.
  • Bursting Icon Bursting causes enemies to detonate when slain, afflicting the group with a stacking debuff that causes players to suffer 10% of their maximum health in damage every four seconds. This affix will require you to control your AoE. You want to try to stay below 5 stacks of Bursting as any more will most likely kill you. Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell does absorb the damage from Bursting making the talent Spell Eater Icon Spell Eater a viable choice for Bursting Mythic+ dungeons. If you cast Anti-Magic Shell before the Bursting is applied it will prevent the application of the magic debuff.

Tier Three Affixes

  • Volcanic Icon Volcanic spawns volcanic plumes underneath and around players when in combat with any enemy. When damaged by Volcanic, players suffer 50% of their maximum health in damage. The more enemies you are in combat with, the more volcanic plumes will spawn.
  • Grievous Icon Grievous afflicts players with a stacking damage over time effect when they fall below 90%. You can use Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell or Death Pact Icon Death Pact to prevent the damage from this debuff. It is recommended that you save Death Pact for higher stacks of Grievous due to how much it heals.
  • Quaking Icon Quaking will periodically attempt to interrupt casters by creating a damaging zone around each player. About 3 seconds after the zone forms, it will deal 20% maximum health in damage to each player caught in the zone and interrupt any casts being finished during the shockwave.
  • Explosive Icon Explosive will occasionally spawn Explosive Orbs that need to be targeted and burned down within a short period of time or they will deal significant damage to the party. Explosive Orbs are not cleavable and the amount of orbs that spawn scales with the amount of enemies pulled. If your group does not have a good composition to handle explosive orbs then you can use abilities such as Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows/Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike or Death Coil Icon Death Coil in order to kill the orbs.
  • Necrotic Icon Necrotic debuffs the target of enemy melee swings with stacking healing reduction and a minor damage over time effect. You can use Grip of the Dead Icon Grip of the Dead in order to slow mob packs for your tank or Death Grip Icon Death Grip/Asphyxiate Icon Asphyxiate to prevent single mobs from refreshing Necrotic stacks on your tank.
  • Skittish Icon Skittish reduces the amount of threat generated by tanks throughout the dungeon.

Seasonal Affix

Awakened Icon Awakened is the seasonal affix for season 4 of Battle for Azeroth. Knowing how to manage each of the 4 bosses that spawn here is important, but also know when your group will engage them to line up your cooldowns correctly. Make sure you have short burst cooldowns, such as Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse or Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation, available. You definitely will not need to use Army of the Dead Icon Army of the Dead on this affix, due to how valuable it is on boss encounters.

The layout of Emissaries in dungeons changes every week.


Mythic+ Azerite Traits

The best Mythic+ Azerite trait for Unholy Death Knights is also their best single target trait making it very convenient for you. There are also two other traits that are very strong in heavy AoE situations but weak in single target situations.

  • Festermight Icon Festermight causes your Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound bursts to grant you a stack of Strength for 20 seconds. This is has synergy with Infected Claws Icon Infected Claws which you should be using for Fortified and some Tyrannical dungeons. Due to the downtime between pulls giving you time for your Runes to regenerate, you will always have the resource available to stack this buff very high.
  • Last Surprise Icon Last Surprise causes your ghouls to explode for Shadow damage when they expire. If you have one or more of this trait, you should consider using the talent Army of the Damned Icon Army of the Damned. This talent is very difficult to control however it becomes easier in higher keystones where the mobs last longer.
  • Helchains Icon Helchains causes your Dark Transformation to create a link between you and your ghoul that deals damage to any targets it hits. This trait is a very powerful trait, but choosing this over Festermight is not recommended. If you can get this trait on a piece with Festermight on the other ring, that can be ideal in certain situations.


  • 14 Jan. 2020: Updated for Patch 8.3 and added information on the Season 4 affix.
  • 17 Jul. 2019: Added information on the new seasonal affix.
  • 24 Jun. 2019: This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 06 May 2019: Updated the Mythic+ Azerite trait recommendations.
  • 16 Apr. 2019: This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 22 Jan. 2019: Updated for the release of BfA Season 2.
  • 10 Dec. 2018: This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 12 Aug. 2018: Page added for Battle for Azeroth launch.
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