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Unholy Death Knight DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents (Legion 7.3)

Last updated on Aug 28, 2017 at 12:49 by Vlad 453 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Unholy Death Knights in World of Warcraft Legion 7.3. We detail what each of the talents do and in which situations they should be taken.

The other pages of our Unholy Death Knight guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by JaceDK, long-time Death Knight theorycrafter and moderator on the Death Knight Discord. You can also catch him on his stream or on his YouTube channel. He also raids in WHATEVER WERE AWESOME, a top guild.

1. Talent Choices

Level Choices
56 All Will Serve All Will Serve Bursting Sores Bursting Sores Ebon Fever Ebon Fever
57 Epidemic Epidemic Pestilent Pustules Pestilent Pustules Blighted Rune Weapon Blighted Rune Weapon
58 Unholy Frenzy Unholy Frenzy Castigator Castigator Clawing Shadows Clawing Shadows
60 Sludge Belcher Sludge Belcher Asphyxiate ? Asphyxiate Debilitating Infestation Debilitating Infestation
75 Spell Eater ? Spell Eater Corpse Shield ? Corpse Shield Lingering Apparition ? Lingering Apparition
90 Shadow Infusion Shadow Infusion Necrosis Necrosis Infected Claws Infected Claws
100 Dark Arbiter Dark Arbiter Defile Defile Soul Reaper Soul Reaper

Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind Icon Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind Icon Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

2. Tier 1 (Level 56) Talents

All Will Serve All Will Serve Bursting Sores Bursting Sores Ebon Fever Ebon Fever
  • All Will Serve Icon All Will Serve causes Raise Dead Icon Raise Dead to summon a skeletal minion in addition to the ghoul, and it also removes Raise Dead's cooldown. The skeletal minion lasts indefinitely and it uses a ranged attack against your target.
  • Bursting Sores Icon Bursting Sores increases the damage of bursting Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound by 50%, and also causes all enemies within 8 yards of a burst Festering Wound to take Shadow damage.
  • Ebon Fever Icon Ebon Fever passively reduces the duration of Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague by 50% while causing it to deal 20% more damage.

Ebon Fever Icon Ebon Fever is the best choice in all situations, with one exception (listed below).

Bursting Sores Icon Bursting Sores is the best choice in burst AoE situations (10 seconds or less), but only if you have the The Instructor's Fourth Lesson Icon The Instructor's Fourth Lesson legendary bracers.

All Will Serve Icon All Will Serve is currently not worth taking.

3. Tier 2 (Level 57) Talents

Epidemic Epidemic Pestilent Pustules Pestilent Pustules Blighted Rune Weapon Blighted Rune Weapon
  • Epidemic Icon Epidemic is an active ability with 3 charges and a 10-second recharge time. When used, it causes all instances of your Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague (within 100 yards) to deal Shadow damage to the affected enemy, as well as a small amount of additional Shadow damage to all other enemies around them.
  • Pestilent Pustules Icon Pestilent Pustules causes you to gain 1 Rune for every 8th Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound you burst.
  • Blighted Rune Weapon Icon Blighted Rune Weapon is an active ability with a 1-minute cooldown, which causes your next 5 auto attacks to infect the target with 2 stacks of Festering Wound each.

Pestilent Pustules Icon Pestilent Pustules is the recommended option in this tier in raiding situations, especially if you lack the Tier 19 4-Piece Set Bonus. If you do have this bonus, then Blighted Rune Weapon Icon Blighted Rune Weapon can out-perform Pestilent Pustules on light AoE on single target situations, but the difference is extremely small and often not worth changing talents over. Blighted Rune Weapon is the talent of choice for Mythic+ content.

Epidemic Icon Epidemic is currently not viable and should not be considered.

4. Tier 3 (Level 58) Talents

Unholy Frenzy Unholy Frenzy Castigator Castigator Clawing Shadows Clawing Shadows

Currently, we feel that Unholy Frenzy Icon Unholy Frenzy is the best choice in this tier for all raiding situations. When using it, you should aim to have as close to 100% uptime as possible.

For Mythic+ content, we recommend Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows.

5. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Sludge Belcher Sludge Belcher Asphyxiate ? Asphyxiate Debilitating Infestation Debilitating Infestation
  • Sludge Belcher Icon Sludge Belcher causes Raise Dead Icon Raise Dead to now summon an abomination instead of a ghoul. The Abomination has similar abilities to the ghoul, with the notable difference being that its Hook Icon Hook, which it can use to pull a target to it and immobilise it for 2 seconds (the latter part only during Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation).
  • Asphyxiate Icon Asphyxiate is a single-target, 5-second stun with a 45-second cooldown.
  • Debilitating Infestation Icon Debilitating Infestation causes Outbreak Icon Outbreak to reduce the movement speed of affected targets by 50% for 3 seconds.

None of the talents in this tier improve your DPS, but they still have a lot of potential usefulness. We recommend taking Sludge Belcher Icon Sludge Belcher as a default talent, as this provides you with good utility (in the Hook Icon Hook) and increases the damage reduction of your pet. This is also a great choice for AoE situations, because the Sludge Belcher's cleave works in a 360 degree arc around him, whereas the regular ghoul's is only a 180 degree cone.

Alternatively, Asphyxiate Icon Asphyxiate could have some uses in dungeons, especially in Mythic dungeons.

Debilitating Infestation Icon Debilitating Infestation is generally regarded as sub-optimal, and there are many other classes who can slow targets more efficiently.

6. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

Spell Eater ? Spell Eater Corpse Shield ? Corpse Shield Lingering Apparition ? Lingering Apparition
  • Spell Eater Icon Spell Eater increases the absorption capacity of Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell by 20%, and extends its duration by 5 seconds.
  • Corpse Shield Icon Corpse Shield is an active ability with a 1-minute cooldown and 10-second duration. During this time, 90% of all damage you take is redirected to your ghoul. If the ghoul dies while Corpse Shield is active, then you cannot resummon it for 30 seconds.
  • Lingering Apparition Icon Lingering Apparition increases your movement speed during Wraith Walk Icon Wraith Walk by 30%, and reduces the cooldown of Wraith Walk by 15 seconds.

The talents in this tier do not increase your DPS either, but they can provide you with great benefits during raid encounters. They are quite situational, so you will have to choose based on the requirements of the fight.

Spell Eater Icon Spell Eater is the preferred choice in fights with large amounts of magic damage, allowing you to survive if you make a mistake, to soak the damage of certain abilities, or to avoid certain mechanics altogether. This talent works very well with the Acherus Drapes Icon Acherus Drapes legendary, which further extends its duration.

Corpse Shield Icon Corpse Shield could be used to help you survive mechanics that should otherwise kill you, and can generally provide a good damage reduction (provided that you pair it with the Ghoul's Huddle Icon Huddle, or with the Sludge Belcher's Protective Bile Icon Protective Bile, if you have taken this tier 4 talent). It is an extremely strong defensive cooldown. We recommend this talent for fights without significant magic damage.

Finally, Lingering Apparition Icon Lingering Apparition increases your mobility, which is always a good benefit to have.

7. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Shadow Infusion Shadow Infusion Necrosis Necrosis Infected Claws Infected Claws

If you are using Convergence of Fates Icon Convergence of Fates and Dark Arbiter Icon Dark Arbiter, then Shadow Infusion Icon Shadow Infusion is the recommended talent in this tier for single target situations in raiding. If you are not using Convergence of Fates, or in AoE or Mythic+ situations, we recommend Infected Claws Icon Infected Claws.

Necrosis Icon Necrosis is never worth taking.

8. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Dark Arbiter Dark Arbiter Defile Defile Soul Reaper Soul Reaper
  • Dark Arbiter Icon Dark Arbiter replaces Summon Gargoyle Icon Summon Gargoyle. Instead of a Gargoyle, the ability summons a Val'kyr to fight by your side for 20 seconds. For every 1 Runic Power you spend, the Val'kyr will gain 1% increased damage. This ability has a 2-minute cooldown.
  • Defile Icon Defile replaces Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay. With every tick, the Defile area of effect will increase if there are any enemies standing in it. Moreover, each time this happens, your Mastery is increased by 300, stacking up to 10 times. Finally, your Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike gains a cleaving effect while you are in your own Defile.
  • Soul Reaper Icon Soul Reaper is an active ability with a 45-second cooldown. It deals Shadow damage to the target, and debuffs them with Soul Reaper for 5 seconds. During this time, bursting a Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound on them grants you 7% Haste for 15 seconds, an effect which can stack up to 3 times.

Currently, Dark Arbiter Icon Dark Arbiter is the best talent in this tier for single target situations in raiding content. In the case of fights with a considerable AoE component, or Mythic+ content, Defile Icon Defile is better.

9. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 28 Aug. 2017: Updated most talent sections.
  • 25 Jul. 2017: Updated tier 3 and 7 talents to account for the increased popularity/efficiency of Dark Arbiter.
  • 12 Jun. 2017: Updated Dark Arbiter description to account for Patch 7.2.5 changes.
  • 27 Mar. 2017: No changes needed for Patch 7.2.
  • 11 Mar. 2017: Updated tier 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7 talent discussions.
  • 17 Jan. 2017: Made slight updates to some talent evaluations and added a Critical Strike talent path at the start of the page.
  • 10 Jan. 2017: Updated talent descriptions to account for Patch 7.1.5 changes, and re-wrote all talent discussions.
  • 12 Dec. 2016: Updated most talent sections to account for the fact that, generally, one talent per each tier is now considered the best choice in all situations.
  • 16 Oct. 2016: Updated certain aspects of the guide, particularly the All Will Serve and Unholy Frenzy talent discussions.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 03 Aug. 2016: Updated tier 3 talent discussion to account for the nerf to Clawing Shadows.
  • 21 Jul. 2016: Updated tier 1, 2, 6, and 7 discussions to account for encounters that last less than 1 minute, which can happen during the pre-patch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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