Unholy Death Knight PvP Guide (Gearing up, Pressure and Utility)
Hi my name is Finisher and welcome to my guide. I have a popular Youtube channel which features numerous of death knight tutorials.
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Before we can learn anything about the Unholy spec, we need to make sure your toon is geared up for the task.
So Let's talk Reforging, talents, macros and enchanting.
Your first priority is to achieve the hit and expertise cap of 3%,
though this will likely be done naturally with your gear without reforging
I don't like using a graph displaying a 'stat priority' for this so I've made my own.
These are the stats that you are going to reforge into and never reforge out of.
These are the stats that (Providing you are both capped in hit and expertise)
that you are never going to reforge into but are going to reforge out of.
1. If a piece of gear has neither crit or mastery, reforge the highest stat into crit.
2. If a piece of gear has both crit and mastery, leave it alone.
3. Never reforge either crit or mastery. Leave them alone!
4. Reforge close as possible to the hit and expertise cap of 3%, but never go under and be too far over
Here we will reforge the haste into mastery
Here we will reforge haste into crit
Here we will reforge haste into crit
gem provides more damage than a
, it is useless to gem pvp power or compliment any pvp power socket bonus,
considering a full blown strength gem is going to be more beneficial. Also PvP power gems do not affect the health absorption stack of your necrotic strike.
This means you should gem
in every socket but your shoulder
where you will place a
Does this sound crazily simple and stupid?
Well let me explain why it isn't.
Strength increases the damage of all your abilities, your pet, your gargoyle, your dots, your healing with death coil and most importantly the size of the necrotic strike health absorption stack.
Even if you decided to compliment the pvp power socket bonuses, your only making a tiny difference.
There are many other methods of gemming your toon and it seems every dk on the armory has their own preference, some stack the pvp power some stack more crit
either way its a tiny difference.
Search these on the Auction house.
The first fact about talents that you must understand, is that some are situational and some are conditional.
These talents will always be the best option
To provide aoe pressure, which is the most important convention of an Unholy Death Knight's pressure
This spell is a far stronger heal than the other options, this also provides a method to get out of CC such as fears and charms.
Provides the best death rune up time, which results in more necrotic strikes and more pressure.
These options depend on whether you are playing arena, rbgs, dueling or solo queueing normal bgs
and also which comp you are playing with or against.
Asphyixate is mostly the strongest option since it provides more cc.
It goes well which shadowcleave, phd and zombie chicken cleave, but if you're playing tsg strangulate becomes a better options due to the stun dr.
Also, you may struggle to engage with ranged dps/healers in arena especially if there are two ranged dps, which means chilblains becomes more viable,
since you're damage will be increased by the fact you are in melee range of your target more.
After months of testing
isn't as strong as
Conversion is mostly viable since it provides more reliable and persistent healing.
Death pact however, is sometimes helpful against enemy comps which have strong early burst in arena (most rogue set ups).
sucks since we need death runes for necrotic strike.
Macros in PvP, make your gameplay more efficient and effective. Copy and paste the macros given and have them working in your game within seconds!
Lichborne quick self-healing macro
/cast Death Coil
(Apply this macro to : Icy touch, death coil, dark simulacrum, chains of ice, strangulate, gorefiend's grasp and death grip
Stance Dance Macro
/cast Unholy Presence
/cast Blood Presence
Pet Attack, Leap and Stun Target/Mouseover
Death Grip Focus Target
/cast Death Grip
Necrotic Strike With Quick Blood Taps
/cast necrotic strike
/cast blood tap
Focus on Arena Players
Mind Freeze on Focus
/cast Mind Freeze
Gorefiend's Grasp on Yourself
/cast Gorefiend's Grasp
Dark Simulacrum on Arena Players
/cast Dark Simulacrum
/cast Dark Simulacrum
/cast Dark Simulacrum
Chains of Ice on focus
/cast Chains of Ice
/cast death coil
Use when against classes that have castable cc so it is easy to steal (Fear, Polymorph, Cyclone etc.)
Use Always, great for purging shields, buffs and even bop.
Use always, provides huge increases to your defensive (Which is something dks lack compared to other classes.)
Use always in RBG. Use in arena if you know cc will be hard to steal or if you feel your comp has enough cc. This glyph will significantly increase your damage.
All the other options are flimsy.
To explain how to deal pressure as an Unholy Death Knight, I'm going to seperate the rotation into different stages.
Stage 1: The Build up
The most important task for any Unholy Death Knight is to obtain death runes so we can use
(more info on this spell later) and to also ensure our diseases are always on every possible target in arena/rbg.
to open with,
The strongest method to obtain death runes, is via the spells such as
This is stronger than using festering strike, since we can spread our diseases and get some buffs purged early.
Never use 2
in a row, use these abilities separately so you don't waste a GCD on your runes
when ever it is available to build up
Now will have 4 death runes and are ready to proceed to the 2nd stage. Remember to use
to fill in your Unholy runes.
Stage 2: The Burst
This stage is where the use of
becomes viable and where your cooldowns should be used like
(more on cds later)
The key to necro stacking, is to create a large stack on the target and keep it there for as long as possible.
Fill in with your abilities such as
Try to finish your enemy of with
, make sure the damage happens by cushioning the 5 second duration with your
Stage 3: The Recovery
You need to be getting back to stage 2 as quick as possible, so repeat everything in stage 1 to return yourself to having 4 death runes.
Stage 4: Dot Management
This is probably the most important stage, I recently learnt this from a gladiator death knight and it massively improved my damage outcome in arena.
Affliction warlock use this trick to increase the damage of the their dots for long periods of time
When your procs occur such as
(preferably in sync with one another and used with
) you should immediately reapply your diseases with
This is why we save the cooldown of
for later, considering we don't have to be in melee range to use it.
Following this, you should start to use your
to increase the duration of your diseases, but never use
with a death rune.
Last Stage: Notable Features of DPS
is generated by your death coils. Five stacks will give you an extra
(Good to stack up 10 before you burst)
s are also generated by your death coils. 5 stacks will buff your pet with
massively increaseing his damage, increased duration of his stun and the addition of a charge ability
(similar to a Warrior's charge).
should only be used when you have 4 death runes on cooldown, followed by a necro burst.
together for maximum damage. Best used during a necro burst and while
to reapply your diseases once your weapon/trinket procs e.g:
More Useful Videos
- Arena comp guides
- RBG target calling guide
- Pet control
- Advice Vs other classes
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I removed the patch # from your title as it isn't necessary since we already publish that information in the guide listings. Thank you for your submission!
Lots of broken spell links. Are we sure gemming *all* strength is still the best idea?
Finisher, thanks so much for this quick and short guide. Really gave me a better understanding of a basic rotation on a Unholy DK.
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