Unholy Death Knight PvP Talents and Builds (Dragonflight / 10.0.5)

Last updated on Jan 30, 2023 at 13:14 by Keator 17 comments

Choosing the right PvP and PvE talents is a prerequisite to proper performance in PvP. This guide goes through the various talent choices available to you as an Unholy Death Knight and gives you the best combinations you can take.

This page is part of our Unholy Death Knight PvP Guide.


Talent Choices for Unholy Death Knights


PvP Talents for Unholy Death Knights

You can choose 3 of the following PvP talents. Each of them have their uses, but some are better for certain strategies than others. These talents are sorted into General PvP Talents that can be applied to almost any situation, and Situational PvP Talents that require certain enemy compositions, brackets, or environments to excel in. Unholy has a great deal of viable PvP talents, so all the best use cases will be outlined here for you to choose the proper three for the type of content or composition you are playing.


General PvP Talents

Raise Abomination Icon Raise Abomination applies wounds, your disease, and deals a fair amount of damage. This is a lot of value from one cooldown, and helps establish the powerful burst window that Unholy provides right now. As mentioned, this talent has great synergy with Army of the Damned Icon Army of the Damned.

Strangulate Icon Strangulate is a very impactful crowd control effect. It costs no resources, has no cast time, and lasts 4 seconds on a short 1-minute cooldown. Because of this, you will tend to setup your own CC chain with Asphyxiate Icon Asphyxiate into Strangulate Icon Strangulate. This is going to be very difficult for a healer to deal with, because even if they use their trinket on one effect, they still have to sit the other. You will want to use your burst cooldowns during these windows to make sure the CC will result in a kill.

Necrotic Wounds Icon Necrotic Wounds is a very powerful Mortal Wounds-type effect that stacks with other effects of similar nature. It is a somewhat tricky talent to use, as when you burst a wound, you will start a 12-second timer. Any additional wounds you burst in this period stacks this Mortal Wounds effect higher and it will cap out at 6. However, it will not reset the duration of the effect. Therefore, you will want to burst as many wounds at the beginning of each of these 12-second windows as you can, resulting in you pooling your wounds near the end of the windows. If you can master this cyclical pattern, you will be extremely disruptive toward enemy healers that will struggle to heal through the 30% healing reduction at maximum stacks!

Necrotic Aura Icon Necrotic Aura is a very simple talent that will increase the magical damage taken by any enemy within an 8-yard radius of you. All spellcasters are primarily magic damage, but many melee such as fellow Death Knights or Demon Hunters will also do a fair amount of magic damage. Therefore, if your composition could use just a little bit more "oomph" to land kills, this talent is a very simple pick that will increase all your pressure in every window.

Doomburst Icon Doomburst is a very synergistic talent as there are a lot of current effects that happen when a wound is burst. Having another way to burst wounds, especially at a range, can be extremely impactful. Furthermore, if you are using it at range you can apply a massive 90% slow to the enemy, allowing you to stop them from kiting for a brief moment allowing you to increase uptime. This is another pressure-oriented PvP talent but can be very impactful.


Situational PvP Talents

Life and Death Icon Life and Death is a PvP Talent that should only be used in Rated Battlegrounds. It scales tremendously well with the amount of players on the enemy team, and RBGs have the most players available in them for rated content. The more players getting dispelled and healed the more impact it will have and it is practically a mandatory talent for that environment.

Dark Simulacrum Icon Dark Simulacrum is one of the more interesting spells in the game currently. It is extremely powerful against spammable CC effects, such as Polymorph Icon Polymorph, or Cyclone Icon Cyclone as well as powerful healing cooldowns such as Life Cocoon Icon Life Cocoon. It is a neat addition to Death Knight's toolkit, while having a high skill-cap and awareness requirement.

Spellwarden Icon Spellwarden is a remarkably powerful survivability tool. It gets most of its value against wizard compositions, but can actually provide a lot of healing against any class with spell damage including other Death Knights or Retribution Paladins. This talent also provides a lot of disruption in the form of cast speed reduction making it a no-brainer into any spell cleaves.



  • 30 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.5.
  • 11 Dec. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight Season 1.
  • 22 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
  • 31 Jul. 2022: Reviewed for Shadowlands Season 4.
  • 31 May 2022: Reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 02 Mar. 2022: Reviewed for Patch 9.2.0.
  • 11 Dec. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 04 Jul. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1 of Shadowlands.
  • 20 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 20 Feb. 2021: Updated to highlight Necrotic Strike synergies.
  • 05 Dec. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands Season 1.
  • 26 Oct. 2020: Updated Talent Table.
  • 14 Oct. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands pre-patch.
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