Death Knight Builds (Updated for Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.4)


This site contains popular WOW Death Knight Builds and other resources on how to play a Death Knight. As you all know, the Death Knight class player class was released during the Cataclysm expansion for World of Warcraft(WOW). The Death Knight has changed a lot with the release of the newest expansion, Mists of Pandaria.

 

A little bit about the Death Knight Class:

 

This class is a damage dealer / tank hybrid class.

 

The Death Knight class starts at level 55 and is unlockable if you have level 55+ character on that realm.

WOW Death Knights do not have shields but do have good avoidance and powerful anti-magic protection that allow them to to fill the roll of tank. Death Knights make good tanks if they are geared, spec'd and played correctly.

WOW Death Knights can dual wield or use 2-handed weapons. They use a unique rune system for their special skills so playing a Death Knight often means using a combo rotations for doing damage but in recent patches it has gone to a priority system(we talk about this later on). Death Knights also gain runic power when using abilities that use runes and this runic power can be used to cast spells such as Death Coil or Frost Strike.

Death Knight talents are split into 3 different trees:


Blood: This is now the only tanking tree that death knights have. Death Knights use to be able to tank in all 3 trees but this changed with the release of Cataclysm.

 

Frost: This is a DPS tree. Dual wielding frost spec'd death knights are the top for DPS build right now but unholy 2H is very close.

 

Unholy: This is DPS class and PVP class, it focus's more on diseases and ghouls for our DPS.

Current News:

The Newest Patch for Mists Pandaria has been released!

patch 4.3 released

 

 

Patch 5.4 has been released and the following effects Death Knights:

 

 

General

  • Death Gate now returns the Death Knight to a location near their original departure point when the spell is cast while in Ebon Hold.
  • Icebound Fortitude no longer costs Runic Power.
  • Necrotic Strike now deals 100% weapon damage (down from 150% weapon damage).
  • Rune of Razorice now causes 3% extra weapon damage as Frost damage (up from 2%), and each stack of Frost Vulnerability now causes the target to take an additional 3% damage from the Death Knight's Frost attacks (up from 2%).
  • Soul Reaper initial damage component has been increased by 30%. If the target is below 35% health after 5 seconds the amount of Shadow Damage dealt has been increased by 20%.
  • Unholy Presence now grants a flat 10% Haste to all things, up from Haste for melee (attack speed and Rune regeneration) only. The movement speed buff remains unchanged.
  • Fixed a bug that caused Improved Blood Presence and Runic Corruption to incorrectly increase activation rates of some trinkets and effects.


Blood

  • Riposte is a new passive ability learned by Blood Death Knights at level 76. When the Death Knight dodges or parries any attack, they gain 75% of their Parry and Dodge as additional bonus to Critical Strike for 20 seconds.
  • Dancing Rune Weapon no longer costs Runic Power.
  • Sanguine Fortitude no longer reduces the cost of Icebound Fortitude.
  • Scent of Blood now also has a chance to activate when the Death Knight dodges or parries a melee attack.

Frost


Unholy
  • Master of Ghouls now reduces the cooldown of Raise Dead by 60 seconds.
  • Ghoul's Leap and Gnaw abilities are no longer on a global cooldown, and no longer cost Energy.
  • Unholy Might now increases the Death Knight's Strength by 25% (up from 10%).

Talents
  • Anti-Magic Zone has been redesigned. The talent now reduces magic damage taken in the area-of-effect by 40% for 3 seconds, there is no longer a cap on total damage absorbed, and the ability no longer scales with strength.
  • Death Siphon had its damage increased by 10%.
  • Plague Leech now tries to convert 2 fully-depleted runes Death Runes.

Glyphs
  • New Major Glyphs
    • Glyph of Festering Blood: Makes Blood Boil treat all targets as if they have been infected with Blood Plague or Frost Fever.
    • Glyph of Regenerative Magic: If Anti-Magic Shell expires after its full duration, cooldown for the ability is reduced based on the amount of damage absorbed.
    • Glyph of Swift Death: Haste effect granted by Soul Reaper now also increases the Death Knight's movement speed for the duration.
    • Glyph of the Loud Horn: Horn of Winter now generates additional Runic Power, but the cooldown is increased.
  • Major Glyphs
    • Glyph of Enduring Infection now reduces damage dealt by diseases by 15% (down from a 30% reduction).
    • Glyph of Mind Freeze now reduces the cooldown of Mind Freeze by 1 second, and raises its cost by 10 Runic Power (down from 2 seconds and 20 Runic Power).
    • Glyph of Outbreak now causes Outbreak to cost 30 Runic Power (down from 40).
    • Glyph of Pillar of Frost now reduces movement speed by 70% instead of freezing the Death Knight in place.
  • New Minor Glyphs
    • Glyph of the Long Winter: The Horn of Winter ability now lasts for 1 hour.
    • Glyph of the Skeleton: The Death Knight's Raise Dead spell now summons a Skeleton instead of a Ghoul.

 

Site News:

Updated pages for 5.4 patch.

 

A total of 6 builds are currently listed

Death Knight Builds (Updated for Mists of Pandaria patch 5.4)

 

I have just updated the Death Knight builds for the Mists of Pandaria 5.4 Patch. You will find old death knight builds for previous versions of the game at the links below. Please note: links pointing to wowhead will not work for the old death knight builds due to how they update their database. In most cases I had taken a screen shot of the builds and if you click on the camera icon beside any build link it should bring up a picture of that build.

 

Please note if you are looking for previous Death Knight Builds you can find them here:

death knight builds for 3.2

death knight builds for 4.0.1 - 4.0.3a

death knight builds for 4.0.6

death knight builds for 4.3

 

You can create Death Knight talent builds at:

http://www.wowdb.com/talent-calculator

http://db.mmo-champion.com/utils/talent/#k=.bqj.deathknight

http://www.wowhead.com/talent#k|


2 Builds Listed

 

A lot changed for blood tanks with the release of Mists of Pandaria You will want to tank with a 2h weapon, this has not changed. The talent system has changed and you will want to change your talents / glyphs depending on the encounter.

 

Blood Tanking Builds:

Raid Main Tanking Build For Mists of Pandaria - This is one of the best blood tank specs and is suited for raiding. You will however want to change talents depending on what is needed for the encounter. For instance this build has Anti-Magic Zone to protect raid members from spells but some cases Purgatory will be more useful to keep you alive threw damage spikes. In cases where you are facing more than one target or if you have to reapply diseases often in a fight due to mechanics Unholy Blight is of more use than Plague Leech.


blood tanking build for mists of pandaria

 

Rotation:

Single Target Rotation(Blood Presence):

Start fights if tanking by using Dark Command or Death Grip to get initial agro.

  1. Diseases Up - Always have diseases on your target, initially use Outbreak or Unholy Blight (if you have the talent). Unholy Blight is good when you want to apply diseases to multiple targets. Use Blood Boil to refresh your diseases just before they fall off if you have the Roiling Blood talent. If you forget you will manually have to reapply with Outbreak or Unholy Blight(if you have this talent or the cooldown is up) or you will have to manually refresh your diseases.
  2. Death Strike - Your Frost, Unholy or Death runes are used to cast this. If the encounter has large damage spikes you may want to time you DS to follow these big damage dealing effects to maximize healing to yourself.
  3. Heart Strike - When you cannot Death Strike and do not need your blood rune to case Blood Boil to refresh diseases then heart strike.
  4. Rune Strike - Use your Runic Power to Rune Strike
  5. Horn of Winter - When you have no runes or Runic Power available.

 

AoE Rotation Priority:

  1. DnD
  2. Unholy Blight if you have the talent, Diseases up + Pestilence
  3. Heart Strike if 2-3 enemies or use Blood Boil if 4 or more enemies.
  4. Death Strike (Min 5 second gap to max self heal, you may also want to time you DS to follow big damage dealing effects done to you to maximize healing to yourself)
  5. Blood Boil
  6. Rune Strike

 

Blood PVP Builds:

Death Knight Arena PVP Spec - This has a good mix of survival and healing skills for that should be very useful for PVP.

2 Builds currently listed

 

Frost Death Knights have changed a lot with the MoP release.

 

Frost PVE Builds:

Raid DPS Frost Spec, Single Target Build - This is the highest DPS spec for Death Knights.

 

frost dk dsp build

 

DW stat priority is now: Strength > Hit to Cap(2,550) > Expertise to Cap(2,550) > Mastery > Haste > Crit

 

Two-Hander stat priority is now: Strength > Hit to Cap > Expertise to Cap > Haste > Crit > Mastery

 

Frost PVE Rotations:

Frost Single Target, Dual Wield, Priority Rotation (done in Frost Presence):

  1. Cast Diseases on mob and recast them if they are about to expire(FF apply with Howling Blast, Outbreak or Unholy Blight)
  2. Soul Reaper - If target is below 35% health.
  3. Howling Blast -> When Rime procs as it makes this a free cast
  4. Frost Strike - if RP capped or have KM(killing Machine) proc.
  5. Obliterate - if both Frost/Unholy pairs are up or if both Death runes are up, or if KM proc'd but do not have RP for Frost Strike.
  6. Howling Blast
  7. Frost Strike
  8. Horn of Winter - For runic power and to keep buff up.

 

Frost Single Target, Two-Handed Weapon, Priority Rotation (done in Frost Presence):

  1. Cast Diseases on mob and recast them if they are about to expire(FF apply with Howling Blast, Outbreak or Unholy Blight)
  2. Soul Reaper - If target is below 35% health.
  3. Howling Blast -> When Rime procs as it makes this a free cast
  4. Obliterate - if both Frost/Unholy pairs are up or if both Death runes are up, or if KM proc'd .
  5. Frost Strike
  6. Horn of Winter - For runic power and to keep buff up.

 

 

Frost AoE PVE Rotation Priority (done in Frost Presence):

  1. Howling Blast - if both Frost runes and/or both Death runes are up
  2. Death and Decay and Plague Strike - if both Unholy Runes are up
  3. Frost Strike - if runic power capped
  4. Howling Blast
  5. Frost Strike
  6. Horn of Winter - For runic power and to keep buff up.

 

Frost PVP Builds:

Frost PVP Build - This is a frost PvP build good for arena and BGs.

 

 

Priority System:

  1. Frost Fever (Blood Plague is not useful enough to use) applied by Howling Blast
  2. Obliterate as much as possible
  3. Frost Strike
  4. If killing machine procs use Obliterate if you cant use a frost strike
  5. Howling Blast when rime procs
  6. If you getting low on health spam Death Strike in he place of Obliterate until your health is back up to a level you are comfortable with.  
  7. Chains of Ice useful in conjunction with Death Grip
  8. Horn of Winter if its falling or if you cant do anything else

 

Strategy:

1. Follow the priority system.
2. Keep the enemy next to you frost DKs can't get to the target so we bring the target to us. (death grip + chains of ice + chilblains)
3. Stay alive! Use defensive cool downs when necessary like when getting kited by a frost mage (anti magic shell/strangulate) or when fighting an arms warrior or feral druid (IBF)
4. Sometimes offense is the best defense like when you see a resto druid go into tree form its time to put down some pressure. If you can have a teammate distract the dps a frost DK can put down so much pressure the druid is forced to waste the heals on himself instead of saving a dps. Strangulate also works well in this situation.

 

2 Builds Listed

 

Unholy Death Knights has changed a lot with the Mists of Pandaria release.

 

Unholy DPS Builds:

Unholy Death Knight Raid DPS Build - This spec is the recommended raiding death knight build.


unholy deathknight dps build

 

Unholy Death Knight Rotations for Mists of Pandaria have moved to a priority system.

Single Target Rotation (DPS done in Unholy Presence):

  1. Cast Diseases on mob and recast them if they are about to expire (if you can cast Outbreak to put them on if not just put them on with IT and PS)
  2. Dark Transformation Active, and keep it active.
  3. Soul Reaper - When target is below 35%.
  4. Death Coil - If above 90 RP.
  5. Scourge Strike - If both Unholy and/or all Death runes are up. Use DnD whenever possible instead of SS as it does more damage.
  6. Festering Strike - if both pairs of Blood and Frost runes are up.
  7. Blood Tap - If there are 5 blood charges available.
  8. Death Coil on Sudden Doom proc or if about to go over runic power max.
  9. Horn of Winter

 

If you want to not worry about Blood Boil you can link it to Death coil in a macro:

#showtooltip Death Coil

/cast Death Coil

/cast Blood Tap

 

Long AOE Encounters Unholy Death Knight Rotation (DPS done in Unholy Presence):

  1. Diseases up and spread to everything with Pestilence or use Unholy Blight if you have the talent and it is available.
  2. Death and Decay
  3. Festering Strike - To use up Blood Runes.
  4. Blood Boil - Spam

 

Quick AOE Encounter Unholy Death Knight Rotation (DPS done in Unholy Presence):

  1. Diseases up and spread to everything with Pestilence or use Unholy Blight if you have the talent and it is available.
  2. Dark Transformation Active
  3. Death and Decay
  4. Scourge Strike - if both Unholy and/or all Death runes are up.
  5. Blood Boil
  6. Death Coil on Sudden Doom proc or if about to go over runic power max.
  7. Scourge Strike
  8. Icy Touch
  9. Horn of Winter

 

Unholy PVP Builds:

Unholy Death Knight PVP Build

 

A general rotation would be:
1 Chains of Ice for slow and Frost Fever
2 Plague Strike for Blood Plague
3 Festering Strike to set up 2 Death Runes
4 Necrotic Strike to get 30% cast time debuff and healing absorb

You want to keep using Festering Strike to refresh Chains, FF, and BP,
and to set up for Death Runes. You also want to keep stacking the healing absorb from Necrotic Strike if your opponent is getting healed or generally if you are fighting a plate wearer. You can use Scourge Strike as well especially on Cloth wearers who are not getting healed. Death Strike when you need to heal, AMS + Lichborne + Death Coil spam for when you really need to heal.

 

 

Do you wish to submit a Death Knight Build?

If you have any comments or wish to share any Death Knight builds please email me at admin@deathknightbuilds.com. If you are submitting a Death Knight build, please create it with MMO-Champions Talent Builder, list the spec of the build and any information you wish to include such as rotations or what the spec is for PVP, raid DPS, tanking, etc.. The more information you can give the easier it is on me.

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