Unholy Death Knight DPS Guide - Shadowlands 9.1
Welcome to Wowhead's Unholy Death Knight guide, updated for ! This guide will teach you to master playing Unholy Death Knight in all aspects of the game, helping you to deal optimal DPS in Raids and Mythic+ dungeons.
Throughout this guide, we will cover many different aspects to increase your Unholy Death Knight expertise, including concepts like Unholy Death Knight talents and talents builds, Unholy Death Knight BiS gear choices, Unholy Death Knight stat priorities, among many other aspects of your class and specialization. Make sure to navigate to additional pages of the Unholy Death Knight guide to find more in-depth information on topics such as Covenants, Legendaries, Soulbinds, Conduits, Mythic+, and Raids.
NEW Best Covenant
NEW Shards of Domination
NEW Night Fae
Rotation, Priority, and Abilities
Macros & Addons
NEW Castle Nathria Tips
Sanctum of Domination Tips
About the Author
I'm Bicepspump, a semi-hardcore player currently playing on Kazzak. You can often find me on the
Death Knight discord
discussing rotations and builds, on my stream (
), running some juicy Mythic +, or on my
where I've started doing video guides. Big shoutout to everyone on the Acherus discord that have given me valuable insight through numerous discussions. I take part in writing and optimizing the action priority list for SimulationCraft and continuously test different hypotheses using the SimulationCraft program. Furthermore, I work with the WoWAnalyzer website where I develop modules for the Death Knight specs. Please feel free to contact me on
as Bicepspump#6318, I'm always happy to have a healthy discussion! Outside of playing WoW, I work as a data scientist and enjoy playing other games such as Dota 2!
How to Play Unholy Death Knight in Shadowlands
The Unholy Death Knight is a master of undead pets and deadly diseases. We utilize a core rotation of
and applies 2-3
are our primary resource. We have a total of 6 that regenerate over 10 seconds (decreasing with haste) once used. A maximum of three can regenerate at any given time.
is a secondary "resource" acting as a debuff on any target we fight and
s by popping them on our target, dealing damage. Spending Runes generates our third resource,
, which we spend on
is used to keep up our DoT,
The Unholy Death Knight wields a great 2-handed weapon that we enchant with our powerful Runeforges. We excel in AoE scaling, reaching places other classes can only dream of. We have been nerfed in this regard in Shadowlands , but the potential is definitely still there. We also do well for short single target burst, given that we have our powerful
The Unholy Death Knight is the master of death, magic defense, and shadow. We can control undead minions through
, raise fallen allies with
and summon hordes of the dead to do our bidding with
. We are masters of magical defense, both negating magical debuffs and absorbing magical damage through
, and providing great magical defense zones for our allies with
. Finally, we infect our enemies with the shadowy diseases,
, and infect their open wounds with
If you are looking a brief overview of how to play a Unholy Death Knight in Shadowlands, please visit our
for a short summary on Covenants, Legendaries, Stats and more!
Unholy Death Knight Starter Guide
For more information on how to play your Unholy Death Knight, please see our
9.1 Unholy Death Knight Changes
now has an absorb cap of . Duration decreased from 10 to 8 seconds.
Unholy Death Knight Chains of Domination Changes Analysis
9.0.5 Unholy Death Knight Changes
We didn't receive that many changes in 9.0.5, only some minor covenant and legendary tuning.
now provides 20% damage reduction during channel - This is a huge change.
really hasn't been very useful in a PvE setting. We can now use it defensively like an extra
Dungeon buffs that previously required you to channel
to gain them now automatically gets applied when you walk over the corpses - This is a big quality of life change and an overall buff. Much higher uptime on the Plaguefall slime buffs and Marileth now became slightly better with the
ability having higher uptime.
now deals 15% more damage. Damage reduction increased form 5 to 8% - Small boost (0.3% overall on ST) to a covenant that hasn't been used much as an Unholy DK. This won't make Kyrian better than Necrolord or Venthyr but it's nice that it's closer.
The strength buff from
now stacks up twice as fast - Really nice buff to an ability that was struggling in ST, essentially increasing the power of it by 100% in ST. This is roughly a 0.5% buff to Night Fae on pure single target. In a similar fashion to Kyrian, this is a nice buff but won't make Night Fae overtake Necrolord or Venthyr.
damage buffed by 5% and proc rate inceased by 17% - Nice buffs to a legendary that generally isn't used that much. Due to the damage being unpredictable, I still don't see this legendary being the play in Mythic+.
now gives 10% haste for Blood DKs - This isn't a direct buff to Unholy but it does make the legendary itself more versatile. It's already a good option if you want to play all DK specs and this buff makes it an even better choice in that regard!
Unholy Death Knight Strengths and Weaknesses
Shadowlands Highlights for Unholy Death Knight
Shadowlands introduces several new expansion-specific features to help customize your character in the form of Covenants and Legendaries. Choosing a Covenant is the most important decision that your character will make in Shadowlands, as the Covenant abilities and Soulbinds will significantly impact your spec's gameplay and performance. Shadowlands Legendary Powers grant impactful gameplay effects for your character through the new Runecarving system. For more information on these Shadowlands Systems, please see our
Unholy Death Knight Covenant Overview
Unholy Death Knight Legendary Guide
Unholy Death Knight Covenant OverviewUnholy Death Knight Legendary Guide
If you're a returning player from Battle for Azeroth, you can see all the Death Knight changes for Shadowlands in our
Death Knight Class Changes Compilation
Death Knight Class Changes Guide
How to Gear a Unholy Death Knight in Shadowlands
Gearing a character can be fairly involved in Shadowlands especially when you need to optimize for a wide variety of content. Below you'll find information on
how to gear a Unholy Death Knight
in Season 2 of Shadowlands including Best in Slot recommendations.
Unholy Death Knight Gear Guide
Learn how each stat increases your throughput and which you should be prioritizing in each type of content with our
. Add finishing touches to your Unholy Death Knight with all the best consumables, gems, and enchants in our
Unholy Death Knight Stats GuideUnholy Death Knight Consumables Guide
Playing a Unholy Death Knight in Shadowlands Season 2
Jumping into end-game content may feel intimidating for new Unholy Death Knights, but we have you covered with guides for a variety of content specifically tailored to Unholy Death Knights of any item level. Whether you're looking to raid
Sanctum of Domination
, jump into
, climb the layers of
, or challenge other players in
combat, we're here to support you no matter your content preference.
Unholy Death Knight Sanctum of Domination TipsUnholy Death Knight Mythic+ GuideUnholy Death Knight Torghast GuideUnholy Death Knight PvP Guide
Unholy Death Knight Quick Facts
This page only covers general information about the Unholy Death Knight. For the rotation, talents, build and other information, please see the links at the top of this page.
DKs can use polearms, axes, maces, and swords.
DKs start off at level 8 (or level 10 if playing an alllied race).
Iconic Unholy DK abilities:
: Increases all Shadow damage done and increases pet damage.
Best Unholy Race
For Horde, the largest DPS boost belongs to the Troll or Orc races. They are really close without any clear winner. Blood Elf isn't far behind and has a greater deal of utility through the
ability. The Alliance has the Human as the overall best race. Mechagnone and Draenei are also up there in terms of dps.
What makes Unholy Special
Unholy Death Knight is a melee DPS specialization, you can learn more about all types of melee DPSers in our
Melee DPS Overview
Unholy Death Knight Changes in Shadowlands
Shadowlands adds many new abilities and changes for all Classes, including Unholy Death Knight. For a detailed view of all the changes, check out our Death Knight Changes in Shadowlands Guide!
All Death Knight Changes in Shadowlands
New Artifact Transmog Options for Unholy Death Knight
Shadowlands brings new changes for
Artifact Transmog Options
, allowing players to transmog their weapons to any of their other spec Artifact appearances.
All Artifact Weapon ModelsAcquiring Artifact Appearances
Our Unholy Death Knight guides are always updated with the latest information from in-game experience, simulations, and logs; make sure to check our changelog to this page, by clicking on
at the top of the page. If you are interested in more in-depth Unholy Death Knight guides for , make sure to browse the
below, and our list of
just beneath the
Table of Contents
Would you like to quickly find this guide using Discord? You can do it easily using
here to add Jeeves
to your Discord server.
Thanks for reading our class guides! If you have any feedback about the guides, feel free to leave a comment in the section below and we will reply as quickly as possible. If you'd like to talk with any of our writers directly you can do so by joining our
and finding them there!
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Can you please elaborate a bit more on the "wonky behaviour" of the Skulker?
Here's a mouseover macro that I find useful (since I apparently can't post it directly on the macro section), it casts Outbreak on mouseover target if you have one, or your current target if not,and if you hold shift the same actions happen except for CoI (this is useful for PvP as well).
/cast Chains of Ice
Played DK since it launched, lots of useful, practical info here. Enjoyed reading your work.
It appears this guide hasn't been updated since 12-08 of 2020... I doesn't seem to line up with raiderIO data. Any chance it will be updated some time soon?
[Screenshots containing UI elements are generally declined on sight, the same goes for screenshots from the modelviewer or character selection screen.]
[Please review our
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