Unholy Death Knight DPS Spell Summary — Shadowlands 9.0.2
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 9.0.2.
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 Legion, 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.
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 gameplay of the specialisation.
Virulent Plague is a Shadow damage DoT that erupts when the target dies, dealing damage divided among all enemies, and which also has a 30% chance to erupt each time it deals damage. It is applied using Outbreak and you should always have this active on the target at all times.
Festering Strike costs 2 Runes, dealing Physical damage to the target and infecting them with 2-3 stacks of Festering Wound. Each Festering Wound stack deals damage to the target and grants you 3 Runic Power when the target dies, or when the stack is burst by using Scourge Strike.
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 will damage all enemies near to your target.
Dark Transformation has a 1-minute cooldown and transforms your ghoul into a more powerful version of itself for 15 seconds.
Death's Advance when activated increases your movement speed by 30% and prevents you from being slowed below 100% of your movement speed for 8 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 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 places a zone on the ground that reduces magic damage taken by 20% for the duration. This is a raid cooldown new to Death Knights and provides us with incredible utility for Mythic+ and Raid.
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
Cooldowns for Unholy Death Knights
Unholy Death Knights have 3 DPS cooldowns.
- 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 summons a member of the Army of the Dead for each stack of Festering Wounds, up to 4.
- 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.
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.
Soul Reaper is now 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.
Unholy Assault strikes the target and infects them with 4 Festering Wounds, while also increasing your Haste by 20% for 12 seconds. This rework makes your opener a lot smoother, allowing you to Apocalypse right after using Unholy Assault.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Page updated for Shadowlands release.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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