Unholy Death Knight DPS Spell Summary — Shadowlands 9.2.5

Last updated on May 31, 2022 at 00:05 by Bicepspump 51 comments
General Information

On this page, we present you with all spells and procs that you need to understand as an Unholy Death Knight in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.2.5.



If you are new to Unholy, this is a great place to start to get an understanding of how the spec works. On this page we will discuss what abilities you have, what they are used for within the specialisation, how they interact with each other and also with important cooldowns. If you already have experience with Unholy and are comfortable with it in the current expansion, it is recommended you skip this section and move on to the rest of the guide.


Main Resources of Unholy Death Knights

Runic Power and Runes are your two resources. Throughout the fight, you will look to spend as many Runes as possible and generate as much Runic Power as you can, which you will then use to help you deal more damage.


Unlocking Abilities

Spells and passive abilities are unlocked as you level up, but this page simply lists everything you have available to you at max level. Linked below is our Leveling page, which has all the detailed information of when you unlock these abilities.


Unholy Death Knight Basic Abilities

These are your core skills that are available regardless of talents, and form the core game play of the specialization.

Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague is a Shadow damage DoT that erupts when the target dies, dealing damage divided among all enemies. It is applied using Outbreak Icon Outbreak.

Outbreak Icon Outbreak costs 1 Rune and applies Virulent Plague Icon Virulent Plague to all nearby targets.

Festering Strike Icon Festering Strike costs 2 Runes, dealing Physical damage to the target and infecting them with 2-3 stacks of Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound. Each Festering Wound stack deals damage to the target and grants you 3 Runic Power when burst by using Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike.

Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike costs 1 Rune and deals Physical and Shadow damage to the target, also bursting 1 Festering Wound Icon Festering Wound stack.

Death Coil Icon Death Coil costs 40 Runic Power to cast dealing Shadow damage to the target, reduces the cooldown of your Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation by 1 second.

Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay costs 1 Rune and places a damaging area at the target location, which persists for 10 seconds. While you are inside your own Death and Decay, Scourge Strike Icon Scourge Strike/Clawing Shadows Icon Clawing Shadows will damage all enemies near to your target.

Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation has a 1-minute cooldown and transforms your ghoul into a more powerful version of itself for 15 seconds while also granting them 100% Energy. The cooldown is reduced by 1 second every time you use Death Coil Icon Death Coil.

Death's Advance Icon Death's Advance when activated increases your movement speed by 35% and prevents you from being slowed below 100% of your movement speed for 10 seconds. It also grants you immunity from knockbacks. It has a passive ability that prevents your movement speed from being reduced below 70%

Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell absorbs up to 30% of your maximum health in magic damage over 5 seconds, and generates Runic Power based on the damage absorbed. This should be used to mitigate magic damage throughout the fight, while the added Runic Power will help increase your DPS.

Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone places a zone on the ground that reduces magic damage taken by 20% for 10 seconds. The maximum amount that can be absorbed is equal to 1.5 times your Maximum Health, increased by your Versatility.

Epidemic Icon Epidemic is a baseline AoE spender and is affected by Sudden Doom Icon Sudden Doom procs.

Sacrificial Pact Icon Sacrificial Pact sacrifices your permanent ghoul to heal yourself and deal AoE damage.

Unholy has a lot of abilities, so for more detailed information on how these abilities are used in your rotation, please read our rotation page linked below.


Important Procs for Unholy Death Knights

Sudden Doom Icon Sudden Doom grants your auto-attacks a chance to make your next Death Coil Icon Death Coil or Epidemic Icon Epidemic cost no Runic Power.


Cooldowns for Unholy Death Knights

Unholy Death Knights have 3 Core DPS cooldowns.

  • Army of the Dead Icon Army of the Dead summons a number of ghouls to fight at your side for a short while. It has a high Rune cost, but it also deals a lot of damage.
  • Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse summons a member of the Army of the Dead Icon Army of the Dead for each stack of Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds, up to 4.
  • Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation empowers your ghoul for 15 seconds. Your empowered ghoul attacks in a frontal cone providing a single target DPS boost as well as an AoE mechanic for your pet.

Talent Abilities and Cooldowns

Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight stacks up to 4 times and increases your minions damage they deal to targets by 3% per stack for the duration of Unholy Blight. This is incredibly powerful and has synergy with the Unholy toolkit. It should always be paired with Dark Transformation Icon Dark Transformation.

Soul Reaper Icon Soul Reaper is an execute that deals damage, but also explodes after 5 seconds, dealing a large amount of Shadow damage to the target, if it is under 35% health. If the target dies while under the affect of Soul Reaper, you gain Runic Corruption Icon Runic Corruption.

Unholy Assault Icon Unholy Assault strikes the target and infects them with 4 Festering Wound Icon Festering Wounds, while also increasing your Haste by 20% for 12 seconds.

Summon Gargoyle Icon Summon Gargoyle summons a gargoyle to attack your enemy for 30 seconds. Every 2 Runic Power used increases the damage of the gargoyle by 1%.



  • 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.
  • 29 Jun. 2021: Guide reviewed and updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 10 May 2021: Added Sacrificial Pact and Summon Gargoyle.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 19 Jan. 2021: Guide reviewed and completely updated.
  • 19 Dec. 2020: Updated Death's Advance description.
  • 14 Dec. 2020: Updated the description for Outbreak.
  • 23 Nov. 2020: Page updated for Shadowlands release.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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