WOTLK DPS Death Knight Pre-Raid BiS

This is a DPS Death Knight Pre-Raid Best in Slot list for The World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King expansion. You should be able to begin raiding Naxxramas by acquiring one thing for each equipment slot on this list.

Plate DPS Gear














Two-Handed Swords


Two-Handed Maces

Two-Handed Axes

WotLK PVP Unholy Death Knight PVP Guide (Quick)

Welcome to our Unholy Death Knight PVP guide for WoW WotLK. This guide will show you what you need to know to play the Death Knight class as Unholy.


This is the Corpse Explosion build that I run. You have to be careful when you sacrafice your pet but the extra burst can be the difference between a win and a loss.



Major Glyphs

Minor Glyphs


Gems can change based on your build, equipment and caps. You may need to adjust your gems to account for your gear.


You may need to adjust your enchants to your gear. 

Stat Priority

  1. Hit (5%)
  2. 135 Spell Penetration
  3. Strength
  4. Critical Strike
  5. Haste
  6. 1000+ Resilience


  • Keep your diseases on the target. (The more enemies the better)
  • Scourge strike for damage, Death Strike to heal.
  • Spread diseases with Pestilence when possible.
  • Death Coil when you have enough runic power
  • Unholy presence is your main presence, switch to Frost if you are dying.

WotLK PVE Unholy Death Knight DPS Guide (Quick)

Welcome to our Unholy Death Knight DPS guide for WoW WotLK. This guide will show you what you need to know to play the Death Knight class as Unholy.


This is the popular Unholy DK DPS build. As your gear improves your DPS will improve drastically.


Major Glyphs

Minor Glyphs


Gems can change based on your build, equipment and caps. You may need to adjust your gems to account for your gear.


You may need to adjust your enchants to your gear. 

Stat Priority

  1. Hit (8%)
  2. Strength 
  3. Haste
  4. Armor Penetration
  5. Critical Strike
  6. Expertise
  7. Attack Power
  8. Agility


Icy Touch -> Plague Strike -> Blood Strike -> Blood Strike -> Scourge Strike -> Death Coil -> Horn of Winter -> Scourge Strike -> Death Coil -> Scourge Strike -> Scourge Strike -> Death Coil -> Death Coil

Glyph of Disease allows us to use Pestilence to refresh our Diseases.

Army of the Dead should be used before the encounter starts. Casting it instead of doing your rotation will cause you to lose DPS.

WotLK PVP Frost Death Knight Guide (Quick)

Welcome to our Frost Death Knight PVP guide for WoW WotLK. This guide will show you what you need to know to play the Death Knight class as Frost in Arena/Battlegrounds.


There are a number of frost build options for PVP.

The first build here doesn’t have Howling Blast. Instead it has Icy Talons, Increased Runic power from Chains of Ice and Scent of blood plus Virulence to reduce the chances of your diseases can be removed.

This build drop Obliterate. The Glyph of Obliterate is replaced with the Glyph of Chains of Ice allowing you to do damage while gaining runic power. 

This 3rd build is a self healing survivability build.

This last build includes Howling Blast but drops Icy Talons.


Major Glyphs

Minor Glyphs


Gems can change based on your build, equipment and caps. You may need to adjust your gems to account for your gear.


You may need to adjust your enchants to your gear.

Stat Priority

  1. 135 Magic Pen
  2. 9% Hit without talents

WotLK PVE Frost Death Knight DPS Guide (Quick)

Welcome to our Frost Death Knight DPS guide for WoW WotLK. This guide will show you what you need to know to play the Death Knight class as Frost.


This is the popular Frost DK build. This build really starts to shine as your gear improves.

These 4 talents can be adjusted based on your gear and/or raid setup.

  • Black Ice can be bumped up to 2/5. This talent scales with Strength and not Armor Pen.
  • Blood-Caked Blade This talent is a solid DPS Boost. Synergizes with Armor Pen. The more the better
  • Killing Machine can be taken either way. The less crit you have, the more useful this talent becomes.
  • Subversion Small DPS increase but a nice threat decrease. This talent is better when you don’t have a paladin providing Salvation


Major Glyphs

Minor Glyphs


Gems can change based on your build, equipment and caps. You may need to adjust your gems to account for your gear.


You may need to adjust your enchants to your gear. 

Stat Priority

  1. Hit (5% with Nerves of Cold Steel)
  2. Expertise (26)
  3. Strength
  4. Armor Penetration
  5. Critical Strike
  6. Haste
  7. Attack Power
  8. Agility


Icy Touch -> Plague Strike -> Obliterate -> Frost Strike -> Blood Strike -> Pestilence -> Horn of Winter
Frost Strike -> Obliterate -> Obliterate -> Frost Strike -> Obliterate -> Frost Strike -> Obliterate 

Frost Strike -> Obliterate -> Obliterate -> Frost Strike -> Blood Strike -> Pestilence
Frost Strike -> Obliterate -> Obliterate -> Frost Strike -> Obliterate -> Frost Strike

Ability Priority

WotLK PVE Blood Death Knight Tank Guide (Quick)

Welcome to our Blood Death Knight Tank guide for WoW WotLK. This guide will show you what you need to know to play the Death Knight class as a Blood Tank.


This is the popular Blood DK Tank build. 4 talent points are left allowing you to choose Scent of Blood for more defense or Morbidity and Dancing Rune Weapon for more damage.


Major Glyphs

Minor Glyphs


Gems can change based on your build, equipment and caps. You may need to adjust your gems to account for your gear. Personally I had to gem for hit cap until getting better gear.


You may need to adjust your enchants to your gear. 

Stat Priority

  1. Hit (8%)
  2. Expertise (26)
  3. Defence (540 for raids)


WotLK PVE Blood Death Knight DPS Guide (Quick)

Welcome to our Blood Death Knight DPS guide for WoW WotLK. This guide will show you what you need to know to play the Death Knight class as Blood.


This is the popular Blood DK build. Once you have 90% Armor Penetration your damage goes up dramatically.

Standard Blood DK Build


Major Glyphs

Minor Glyphs


Gems can change based on your build, equipment and caps. You may need to adjust your gems to account for your gear.


You may need to adjust your enchants to your gear. 

Stat Priority

  1. Hit (8%)
  2. Expertise
  3. Armor Penetration
  4. Strength
  5. Critical Strike
  6. Agility
  7. Haste
  8. Attack Power


Icy Touch -> Plague Strike -> Heart Strike x2 -> Death Strike -> Death Coil
Death Strike -> Heart Strike x3 -> Pestilence -> Death Coil

Heart Strike x4 -> Death Strike -> Death Coil
Death Strike -> Heart Strike x3 -> Plague Strike -> Death Coil

Glyph of Disease allows us to use Pestilence to refresh our Diseases.

Army of the Dead should be used before the encounter starts. Casting it instead of doing your rotation will cause you to lose DPS.

Hysteria should be used on cooldown.

WotLK Death Knight Guide – Unholy PVP



Hello everyone, my name is Dave. Some of you may know me as “Justmarried” on Icecrown.

I’m making this guide because I want to share some information I have learned throughout my time playing as an Unholy Death Knight. This guide will explain talents, glyphs, gear and how to beat certain classes in duels. Additionally, I will also list ideal arena compositions that you should be playing and a basic idea on how to defeat certain compositions.

A big thanks to Markux for helping me write this guide.

Talents and Glyphs

For BGs and Duels:

Speccing into Corpse Explosion will give you a really nice bit of additional burst. If used at the right time it can be a game changer. Imagine many scenarios in an arena when you wanted a little extra burst to land a kill or force a defensive cooldown – Corpse Explosion satisfies this need. Timing is pretty essential though, since using Corpse Explosion sacrifices your pet.

For Arenas:

I don’t find Wandering plague that good in 2s arenas simply because it works better for multiple targets, even tho it does work good, to keep someone in combat for longer time and it also depends on the team setup you are playing with. Average hit from WP, is around 1k.


Major Glyphs:
Glyph of Dark Death*
Glyph of The Ghoul*
Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell
Glyph of Disease or Glyph of Icy Touch can be used instead of Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell

Minor Glyphs:
Glyph of Pestilence
Glyph of Raise Dead
Glyph of Death’s Embrace


Chains of Ice

#showtooltip chains of ice
/cast [modifier:shift, target=focus] chains of ice
/cast [nomodifier:shift] chains of ice

Corpse Explosion

#showtooltip Corpse Explosion
/target pet
/cast Corpse Explosion

Leap + Gnaw

#showtooltip Gnaw
/cast [nomodifier] leap
/cast [nomodifier] gnaw

Using Leap in conjunction with Gnaw makes it quicker for your Ghoul to reach your target.

Leap + Gnaw (Focus Target)

#showtooltip Gnaw
/cast [target=focus] Leap
/cast [target=focus] Gnaw

Death Grip

#showtooltip death grip
/cast [modifier:shift, target=focus] death grip
/cast [nomodifier:shift] death grip

Lichborne Heal

/cast Lichborne
/cast [target=player] Death coil

Using Death Coil on yourself heals you, so I made a macro for using it on myself. However, this strategy is not useful all the time, especially if you have any kind of healing reduction on you (Mortal Strike, Aimed Shot, etc).
Mind Freeze

#showtooltip Mind Freeze
/cast [target=focus] mind freeze

I use a dedicated macro for focus interrupting because of how essential it is. This is not something you want to mispress.
Death Pact

#showtooltip Death Pact
/cast [target=pet, exists, nodead] Death Pact; Raise Dead

This macro does two things: Casts Death Pact (Healing the Death Knight for 40% of Maximum HP) IF the pet is summoned and alive or, alternatively, summoning the pet if it is yet to be summoned.
Scourge strike

#showtooltip Scourge Strike
/cast Scourge Strike
/cast Dark Command
/cast Claw
/cancelaura Chaos Bane

Using Dark Command on a player will keep them in combat (this is useful on certain classes) as it is a taunt. Also it can make your trinkets proc
Chaos Bane is the Shadowmourne proc, granting you 270 strength after proccing 10 Soul Shard stacks. Once you reach 10 stacks “Chaos Bane” is triggered, dealing Shadow damage to people around you. Unholy Death Knights deal 10% more Shadow damage so making it occur as often as possible will increase the amount of damage you do over time.
That said, there are still others who would rather maintain the extra 270 strength for 10 seconds.

/cancelaura Lichborne
/cancelaura Hand of Protection

While in Lichborne you can get feared by a Paladin using “Turn Evil” or rooted by a Priest using “Shackle Undead” so being able to cancel Lichborne at will is a very useful thing.
Being able to cancel Hand of Protection is useful if you have been disarmed as you don’t need to sit in HoP for its entire duration. Furthermore, if using HoP has taken the pressure off you (causing a swap in an arena) you might want to cancel it so you can resume dealing damage.

#showtooltip Strangulate
/cast [modifier:shift, target=focus] strangulate
/cast [nomodifier:shift] Strangulate

Silence/Focus Silence. Pretty self explanatory.

/equip [nomodifier] Shadowmourne
/equip [nomodifier] Wrathful Gladiator's Decapitator


/equip [nomodifier] Shadowmourne
/equip [nomodifier] Wrathful Gladiator's Greatsword

Why these two macros? Getting disarmed or silenced can be very problematic for Death Knights. You should use two different rune enchants on each of the secondary weapons (I prefer Wrathful weapons due to fact that they provide resilience) meaning that you can alternate between the two to get some seriously helpful utility. The two enchants I use on these secondary weapons are:
Spell Shattering – This is essential as it deflects 4% of all spell damage and reduces the duration of silences by 50%. It is really useful against Shadowpriest/Rogue comps as well as Mage comps that might silence you so you can’t use Death pact or AMS (for example if your partner gets polymorphed and you expect incoming damage, switching to this might save your life if the Shadow priest silences you reducing what would be a 5 second silence to a 2 second one, giving you enough time to use AMS.

Sword Shattering – Increases parry change by 4% and reduces disarm duration by 50%.
While I don’t use this as much as Spell Shattering, it has its place. It can be useful against comp that can disarm you since most disarms last 10 seconds. This enchant reduces it to 5 seconds, a very big difference. However, if you have a Holy paladin partner he/she can use Hand of Protection, removing the disarm effect. Remember to cancel this effect with the macro I provided previously to resume dealing damage as quickly as possible.

Gear – Gemming and Enchanting

This is the gear that I use. I use 1020 resilience in 2v2 arenas due to fact that I am playing with a Holy Paladin. You don’t really need more resilience than that given that as a Death Knight you can heal yourself and you got quite alot of defensive CDs.

Stat Priority:

  • 5%Hit Rating
  • 135 Spell Penetration (4x Stormy Majestic Zircon and +35cloack enchant)
  • Strength
  • Crit Rating (If you got wandering plague talent, if you don’t, then haste is better)
  • Haste
  • Resilience 1000-1200.

I personally do not go over 1050 if I play 2v2 with a healer but you can go for more if you’d rather take less damage. For 3v3 I would suggest going up to 1.2k. If your comp requires it you might want even more than that.

Helmet: Wrathful Gladiator’s Dreadplate Helm with a Chaotic Skyflare meta gem and +10STR+10Resil gem and Arcanum of Triumph enchant(Wintergrasp Vendor, 50AP+20Resil)
Necklace: Penumbra Pendant(Ruby Sanctum, Halion 25HC)I use +10STR+10Resil Rating gem.
Shoulders:Wrathful Gladiator’s Dreadplate Shoulders, +34Resil gem from Jewelcrafting, Inscription of Triumph enchant(Wintergrasp Vendor, 40AP+15Resil)
Back: Winding Sheet(Icecrown Citadel 25HC Rotface)I use +20Resil Rating gem and Spell Piercing enchant which gives you 35Spell penetration to achieve spell penetration cap.
Chest: Wrathful Gladiator’s Dreadplate Chestpiece, +10Str+10Resil and +34Resil gems,Exceptional Resilience enchant(+20resil)
Wrists: Wrathful Gladiator’s Bracers of Triumph, Greater Assault enchant(+50AP)
Gloves: Wrathful Gladiator’s Dreadplate Gauntlets, +25Spell pen gem, Crusher enchant(+44AP) or as I use,Hyperspeed Accelerators enchant from Engineering(on use +340haste for 12secons, 60seconds CD)
Waist: Wrathful Gladiator’s Girdle of Triumph, 2x +25spell pen gems, Eternal Belt Buckle enchant(Adds one more socket bonus)
Legs: Wrathful Gladiator’s Dreadplate Legguards, +10str+10resil and +25spell pen gems, Earthen Leg Armor(+40resil +28stamina)
Feet: Apocalypse’s Advance(Ruby Sanctum 25HC)2x +10str +10resil gems, Greater Assault enchant(+32AP)
Ring1: Skeleton Lord’s Circle(Icecrown Citadel 25HC Gunship) +20resil
Ring2: Ashen Band of Endless Might(Icecrown reputation) +34Resil
Trinkets: Death’s Verdict HC and Death’s Verdict Normal. Obtainable in Trial of the Crusader 25 N or Heroic.
Weapon: Shadowmourne, 3x +10str +10resil gems and Rune of the Fallen Crusader as the enchant.
If you can’t get Shadowmourne, get Glorenzelg (Drops from Lich King 25 man). As I stated before it’s preferable to get two other weapons as well so you can switch between rune enchants.
Sigil: Sigil of the Vengeful Heart


Jewelcrafting: Lets you make and use 3x +34 Strength or Resilience gems (depending on your preference and amount of PvE gear) instead of +20 ones.

Blacksmithing: Gives you ability to have 2 more bonus sockets, 1 on wrists and 1 on gloves.

Engineering: 340 Haste for 12 seconds on demand is great.
You can also get Cobalt Frag Bomb the target for 3 seconds and deals 750-1000 fire damage (can’t be used in arenas) and Rocket Boots.

There is no doubt that Jewelcrafting and Blacksmith are ideal for arenas. However, I use Engineering instead of Blacksmithing. I find this to be more fun due to the fact that you can use Rocket Boots and Cobalt Frag Bomb which might save your life in World PvP or a battleground. In addition to that, the Haste on demand enchant will make your gargoyle shoot like a machine gun!

Rotation And Spells


This is the basic rotation you must do when attacking a enemy.

  • 1.Diseases, You must ALWAYS keep them on your target. Your damage is highly dependent on the amount of diseases you keep on your target so it is essential that you are looking at this.
    – Chains of Ice
    – Plague Strike
  • 2.Scourge Strike for damage or Death Strike if you need to heal up.
  • 3.Pestilence to spread diseases around to other enemies or Blood Strike if there are no other targets nearby.
  • 4.Dump your runic power using Death Coil, another primary damage source.


Spells and Tips

Presences: Unholy Death Knights will use Unholy and Frost presence only. You’ll be spending most of your time in Unholy presence while using Frost if you are anticipating or need to tank a lot of damage. Also I would like to mention each faction races that you might want to play as, stated from best to worse:
Alliance: Human- Double trinket. Dwarf- Removes all poison, disease and bleed effects, increases armor by 10% for 8 seconds. Gnome- Removes any slow or immobilization effects.
Horde: Tauren- health increased by 5%(passive), Aoe stun that affects 5 enemies around you for 2 seconds. Orc- Duration of stun effects reduced by 15%, Increased pet damage by 5% (Both are passive), Blood fury- Increases attack power for 15 seconds by 345. Blood elfs- Reduces the chance you will be hit by spells by 2%(Passive), Arcane Torrent- Silences all enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds and restores 15 runic power. This is what I like for myself, you are free to choose what suits you better.

  • Gargoyle – Every non-DK hates Gargoyle. Make sure that you have as many buffs and procs as possible because that will scale your Gargoyle. However it can die really fast, so do not use it in random situations. I have seen people say that Gargoyle targets whatever it wants. This is not really true as the Gargoyle should switch on whatever target your ghoul attacks so make sure your ghoul attacks the Gargoyle target before you summon it. The only time you can’t control it is if your ghoul is dead.
  • Anti-Magic Shell – This spell can be used not only as defensive, but also offense. Opening against priest/mage in an arena with AMS will ensure that you won’t get any slows,fears or dots. Careful to not overextend, though – you’re not invincible! Make sure you’re paying attention to when AMS ends so you know that rambo time is over and your healer will thank you for it. Using Horn of Winter, Death and Decay just before a duel starts (2seconds) will grant you enough runic power to use AMS which can suprise the enemy given the immediate immunization to fears, polymorph, charm, etc. and if they will cast spells while you have AMS, they will only give you runic power which you can use to spam death coils. This works quite well against any caster, death knight or ret paladin.
  • Anti-Magic Zone – Turns the zone you cast it around into a large Anti-Magic shield for everyone inside, except that you are not immune to CC. It reduces spell damage done to party or raid members by 75% while they are in it lasts 10 seconds.
    Use this to cancel enemy burst (provided it’s magic damage), potentially saving yourself from a lot of trouble
  • Horn of Winter – Buff that grants Strenght and Agility by 155, make sure it’s up all the time, it also gives you 10 runic power, so if you are in arena and your runes are on CD, feel free to use this spell.
  • Bone Shield – Reduces 20% damage taken on the next 3. Use this when you enter the Preperation room before your arena starts so that when it begins Bone Shield will no longer be on cooldown. This means that you will later on be able to use it as a defensive spell that can soak some of the damage from a high damage spell such as Chaos Bolt or a Lava Burst.
  • Lichborne – By using this ability, you can break out of fear effects. You can also avoid Polymorph, charm effects as well as Sap but you must use lichborne before these effects are put on you as Lichborne won’t allow you to break free from these effects.
    Against a mage I will use Lichborne when a Polymorph is just about to finish being cast (around 90% of the cast bar full). More experienced Mages may even fake cast Polymorph to make me waste Lichborne so looking out for that is important.
  • Empower Rune Weapon Re-activates all your runes and grants you 25 Runic Power. I tend to use this after my first rotation to get my Gargoyle up and start bursting.

Death Knights have 4 ways to interrupt spellcasts. These are:
– Mind Freeze (arguably the most important one against healers as it will disable their heal spells if they are interrupted for 4 seconds).
– Death Grip
– Strangulate
– Gnaw (Pet Stun)
Watch out for fake casting. This is is when someone will cast a spell to 50-70% of the cast time and cancel it to make you waste an interrupt or cooldown. You might not need to use Mind Freeze on the first cast, second or even the third. I would suggest interrupting at 90%. It will take practice to do it correctly and you will likely waste plenty. Interrupting at the right time can be critical to the outcome of a fight by finishing off healers to completely cancelling burst phases – interrupting is an essential part of playing Death Knights properly and its importance cannot be overlooked.

Duels and Arenas


Death Knights have the benefit of being the best duelling class in Wrath of the Lich King. They can resist magic, physical damage as well as heal a good amount.
Hunters, Rogues and Warriors:
The general idea of duelling these three classes is that since they cannot heal themselves you want to just make sure you survive while letting your pet and diseases do most of the damage. Slow and steady. If you do this properly you’re pretty much guaranteed a win.
Go in Frost Presence and aim for a high amount of resilience. You might also want to use Corroded Skeleton Key and/or the Medallion of the Alliance/Horde.

Warriors: Chains of Ice (if Spell Reflection is up, cast Mind Freeze), keep your distance and let the warrior slowly rot away with your diseases and pet damage. Use Death Strike to heal up. When the warrior uses bladestorm make your pet use Huddle and use your Corroded Skeleton Key. If that is not available use Icebound Fortitude. You can use your Gargyole either in the beginning or [ideally] after Bladestorm (since the Gargoyle can die very easily).

Rogues: Use your pet’s Gnaw when the rogue opens on you. This will give a time window to use your Skeleton Key or Icebound Fortitude (or both), cancelling the rogue’s opener. However, most of the rogues might use evasion and you might miss the stun and take all the damage. In that case, after that use your Skeleton Key and apply your diseases. Heal up with Death Strike and Gargoyle only after the rogue uses vanish.

Hunters: Chains, Diseases, followed by Skeleton Key. A lot of hunters will attack you with their pet, which is a great way for you to heal up using Death Strike. I even use Gargoyle to kill their pet so hunters can’t use Master’s Call.
A lot of hunters tend to use Disengage and Deterrence at the same time so be careful when you use your Death Grip.

Casters: There is not much to say here. I usually open with AMS and Strangulate, using my offensive cooldowns (including Gargoyle) forcing them to play defensively and at that point, they are usually at around 20% health. Now of course this does not happen every single time so play smart.

Ret Paladins and Feral Druids: These two are some of the harder ones since they are able to self-heal quite a lot and burst pretty heavily.

Ret Paladin: I try to burst them down as quickly as possible. If Divine Protection is up, switch to Frost presence and spam Death Strike. This keeps your health up. Once it’s over switch to Unholy presence and keep the damage going. If that’s not enough damage to bring the ret down, go back to Frost presence, use Death Strike, wait for your cooldowns and stack some Runic power. Once that is done, go back to Unholy presence burst. When you’re close to landing the kill (20% hp left on the Ret) use Strangulate. This stop him/her from healing up, hopefully resulting in a win.

Feral Druids: You’re going to want to use a dps trinket and Corroded Skeleton Key for this. Be in Frost presence for the opener. Once they open, try to get your pet to stun the druid. Once that is done apply diseases and Death strike all the way.

If you feel as if the Feral is not doing alot of damage switch to Unholy presence and burst that kitty down.
When Berserk is used you’re going to want to use Frost presence, Skeleton Key, Icebound Fortitude (depending on how much damage you’re taking you might want to save this) and Death strike to heal up. Again, once their burst phase is over it’s your chance to return the favour – Strangulate, Gargoyle, burst burst burst.

Death Knights: Against Unholy death knights I tend to want to burst. When AMS is popped, stun him with your pet. This will likely result in a trinket (something you should also do). Kite a bit until AMS is gone and then keep bursting. When the other DK uses Gargoyle, you can either use AMZ, your Skeleton Key (if this is equipped) or you can just kill the Gargoyle. If you try to kill the Gargoyle, the enemy DK might move away from you so that they can grip you away from their Gargoyle. If you drop around 10k HP you can switch to Frost presence and get your health back up by using AMS, Lichborne and dumping your runic power into some Death Coils on yourself while also using Death Strike. Against Frost DKs it’s more or less the same. However, Hungering Cold is often used when you use Gargoyle. So you will want to trinket out of that and use AMZ where your Gargoyle is.

Blood Death Knight: Decline.

Healers: Death Knights are not made to beat healers in 1v1 scenarios but if you must then I’d suggest bursting with everything you have: Gargoyle>Strangulate>Gnaw. after that you might want to use AMS to avoid any kind of CC, interrupt any sort of healing (watch out for fake casts). Don’t be frustrated if you can’t kill healers on your own, though. Your class isn’t supposed to be able to kill healers as DKs do not have any sort of healing reduction.


Viable 2v2 comps.

  • Holy Paladin – I find this as best comp for an Unholy Death Knight. It’s not very easy to play but it’s not easy to counter. It can beat pretty much any comp.
  • Shadow Priest – Best double dps comp for Death Knight – can absolutely be played to a high rating. Lots of Shadow damage.
  • Any healer – Any healer works of course if you master the comp, some are just harder than others. For example if you play with a Resto shaman your Gargoyle will benefit immensely from Heroism/Bloodlust.

Most of the time this is the basic gameplay you will need to do in arenas versus caster or healer comps.

Holy Paladin and Resto Druid comps are a bit annoying. Switching at the right time is very important because it will maximize your damage output on them, forcing as many defensive cooldowns as possible and eventually landing a kill.

Let’s use an example. Against Holy Paladin/Arms Warrior spread your diseases on both targets and leave your pet on paladin, use Death Coil on paladin every 10 seconds so that the paladin can’t dispel diseases. When you see that the Paladin has used Sacred Shield on warrior and is at around 80% health, Death grip so your Hpala can HoJ. Follow this with Gargoyle, Gnaw, Strangulate, forcing a trinket or bubble. This also works against Resto druids except instead of Sacred Shield you’re looking out for when the Heal over Time effects (HoTs) are about to end. When this happens Grip, HoJ (AMS if the DPS is a caster) forcing Barkskin or a Trinket. Once the druid has used these cooldowns, do the same thing but with all your offensive cooldowns.

Against Warlocks and Hunters killing the pet is a very good thing to do as it removes a LOT of their utility. Against double DPS comps you will likely want to switch to Frost presence depending on situation. If the double DPS comp is one that cannot heal much this strategy should be very effective. Like duel, you can make them slowly die using diseases as well as kiting.

DKs are excllent peelers, if not the best. Chains of Ice, Death grip, Desecration, Gnaw can all be used to keep players off your partner.

Position is also extremely important (for any class) so take advantage of Line of Sight removing spots such as pillars. Ending up in a bad spot will likely get you or your healer locked in CC giving casters an great opportunity to free cast on you while your healer has already used his/her cooldowns and is only able to watch you die.


I hope that this guide was informative on what you can do to become a better Unholy Death Knight. I have shown you how to become effective at duels and arenas as well as make sure that you pick the right talent points that suit what you prefer to do in PvP whether that’s battlegrounds, arenas or simply duelling in Elwynn Forest/Durotar. If you have any feedback on how this guide can be improved be sure to let me know. Furthermore, if you have any additional questions regarding what I’ve written in my guide you can find me in-game on “Justmarried”, playing as a Human on Ragnaros.

Have a nice day!



WotLK Death Knight Guide – Blood DPS



Blood DK dps is one of the finer single target dps specs, very dependent on gear to become competitive as it needs high arp and a decent weapon damage to become efficient. Having one of the best bursts and also very fine single target dps making it compete with frost and even surpassing it when becoming BiS with SM. Blood does not bring any rare buff to raids unlike Frost & Unholy

  • Talents
  • Glyphs
  • Stats
  • Gear
  • Gemming & Enchanting
  • Professions
  • Foods, scrolls, elixirs & potions
  • Rotations
  • Macros
  • Bugs
  • Credits


NOTE: if using Build of Dark Death, use 3/3 Morbidity and 2/3 BCB


Glyph of Dark Deathor Glyph of Disease
Glyph of Death Strike
Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon
Glyph of Horn of Winter
Glyph of Raise Dead
Glyph of Pestilence

Stat Priority

Hit (8%) > Expertise (26) > Armor Penetration (90%) > Strength > Critical Strike Rating > haste

Hit: Decrease chance for attacks to miss
Hit: 32.79 hit rating = 1% hit (Melee)

Expertise: Decrease chance for our attacks to be dodged or parried
Expertise: 8.19 = 1

Arp: more arp = more armor you ignore
Arp: 13.99 = 1% Arp

Strength: Increase AP & chance to parry
Strength: 1STR= (1+1*0.11 )2 = 2.22AP

Critical strike: Increases critical hit chance
Critical strike: 45.91 = 1% critical strike chance

Haste: 32.79 = 1% haste


From the stats we now know that we will mostly be looking for items with Arp/Str, assuming we are hit/expertise capped.

Here is the BiS list for Blood DK DPS
Head :Sanctified Scourgelord Helmet
Necklace : Penumbra Pendant
Shoulders :Sanctified Scourgelord Shoulderplates
Back :Winding Sheet
Chest : Sanctified Scourgelord Battleplate
Wrist : Bracers of the Heir
Gloves : Sanctified Scourgelord Gauntlets
Waist : Coldwraith Links
Legs : Sanctified Scourgelord Legplates / Legplates of Aetheric Strife (If using Gloren)
Feet : Apocalypse’s Advance
Ring1 : Ashen Band of Endless Might
Ring2 : Might of Blight
Trinket1 : Sharpened Twilight Scale
Trinket2 : Deathbringer’s Will
Weapon : Shadowmourne / Glorenzelg, High-Blade of the Silver Hand
Relic : Sigil of the Hanged Man / Sigil of Virulence

(You can check EatBestDk thread of BiS in case you disagree with my choices)

Gemming & Enchanting

Best professions are Jewlcrafting and Blacksmithing
JC: 3 unique gems Fractured Dragon’s Eye
BS: 2 extra gem slots (in Wrist & Hands)
Foods,Scrolls,Elixirs & Potions


Dark Death Glyph of Dark Death
Icy Touch > Plague Strike > 2x Heart Strike > Death Strike > Death Coil > Death Strike > 4x Heart Strike > DUMP RP

Disease Glyph of Disease
Icy Touch > Plague Strike > 2x Heart Strike > Death Strike > Death Coil > Death Strike > 3x Heart Strike > Pestilence
Now you have a priority check-list Disease > Heart Strike > Death Strike

Typical Intro
Army> Icy Touch > Plague Strike > 2x Heart Strike > Death Strike > (Hysteria & Horn of winter & potion of speed THEN raise dead & DRW) > Death Strike > 4x Heart Strike/ 3 Heart Strike + Pestilence

(Use this with all your abilities just change Heart Strike with the ability you want to use)

#showtooltip Heart Strike
/cast Heart
/cast !Rune Strike

Hysteria Macro (Best time to use is after the first Death Strike)

#showtooltip Hysteria
/cast Hysteria
/cast Blood Fury (Racial)
/use Potion of Speed
/cast Horn of Winter


Donorbashed! One of the best hunters in Warmane I’d go as far as say the best hunter! I’ve learned a lot from him from his hunter guides and his great detailed explanations! (Check his site, hunter players enjoy the orgasms)

xMiSHOx for being one of the most committed and best blood dk’s in Warmane! He has been playing blood dk even before the Death Rune Mastery was fixed and he was even able to top the charts! A round of applaud for him! (I have no idea where he plays now 🙁 we used to be in Lordaeron…notice me senpai!)

EatBestDk for having made a BiS list for every spec. it’s a very tiring process (in his thread he will literally try any item recommended in the posts and post the screen shot with the new stats in comparison) now that’s dedication!

Joana of *******-wow (sorry won’t name server I don’t wanna get banned). Great work on all 3 specs and detailed too.

The guild “is a dribbla ”. For always being there for me even when am not there. Transferring soon just you wait! (My thanks to any ally who farms Striderman (guild leader) in Deathwing )

WotLK Death Knight Guide – Blood Tank


This is the blood tanking guide i compiled for my guild from various sources and then changed/added what was needed to fit in with moltens own peculiarities. just though i would post this here so i dont have to repeat myself a 100 times whenever someone posts “need help with dk blood tanking?”


IT- icy touch
PS-plague strike
HS-heart strike
DS-death strike
HOW- horn of winter
DND- death and decay
DC- death coil


The blood DK tank is the hardest tank to play effectively.This is because of the constant need to pay attention to all your spec’s details in order to maximize your tanking ability. I won’t lie – this can become overbearing at times for beginners, but with practice it is something you will begin to do without thinking. As a DK you will notice that your tanking abilities have fairly short cooldowns – this means that unless you are saving them for a specific point in an encounter you should be using them proactively.
DKs tank in Frost Presence, always.

(DK’s are meant to use a slow dps weapon to tank with. even as a dual wield frost tank. I see alot of new DK’s using 1h tanking weapons in the frost tree to tank with. This is a common mistake . the reason is because all tank weapons have a very fast speed, and since most our abilities scale off of weapon dmg this greatly lowers their threat. The rule of thumb when choosing a weapon to tank with , is that the slower the speed and therefor the higher damage(not dps the actual damage the weapon does)the better threat you will produce. though if you are well geared you can just about get away with using a slow mainhand weapon and fast tank offhand weapon)


Runes and Runic Power
As with all aspects of the Death Knight class runes and runic power are key to tanking successfully. There are a few things to consider:
– You need to keep your blood runes on cooldown as much as possible in order to keep Blade Barrier up and running.
– Rune Strike is a primary source of threat, you will need to make sure you have enough runic power at any given time to use this ability when it comes up.
– Icebound Fortitude is your most powerful tanking cooldown in most situations and costs you 20 RP to use. Many tanks like to try and keep enough RP available to use this ability when needed.


As you already know Runeforging for a DK is basically a free weapon enchant. These enchants have so far always been preferable to those available from enchanters As with normal enchants a Runeforge does work with temporary enchants such as oils and Windfury. There are really only 2 common choices of Runeforge when tanking,

Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle grants 25 Defense and 2% Stamina. The point to note here is that the enchant provides 25 Defense not 25 Defence Rating, this will go a long way towards helping a new tank reach the Defense minimum of 540 (689 Rating) and also provide them with 3% avoidance via this Defense boost(1% dodge, 1% parry, 1% chance to be missed).

Swordshattering +4% Parry and reduces disarm affects by 50% on a 2h-weapon.

If you are already defence capped then the difference between the 2 runeforging’s is that Stoneskin Gargoyle provides 1% less avoidance but 2% extra health than Swordshattering

The other interesting thing about Runeforges is that they do not count towards the diminishing returns on a given stat, so taking the Parry Runeforge will not count towards the diminishing returns you experience on Parry Rating.

Why Blood?

Blood has the most user-choice, with many raid buffs and different ways to spec.
This in fact makes blood fun in a way; you can personalise it more than the other trees. You can spec into raid buffs, or single-target threat, or survivability. Blood has some really powerful tanking abilities with short cooldowns, and in the hands of someone who knows what he is doing can be a very effective tanking tree.Blood also has very good single target threat, though its multi target threat is lacking compared to the frost or unholy trees.


(this is a decent single target threat and self healing spec. at the end of the guide i will explain the optional talents)


Blood’s rotation needs to be more flexible because Death Strike and Rune Tap will heal you, and should both be used regularly, but use runes you’d otherwise spend on damaging the boss. You need to use heart strike/icy touch initially to get your threat lead against dps, then once you’re comfortably ahead you can start to self-heal.

(Blood is easier to play with 26+ expertise skill, because you can reliably use more heart strikes.)

Single target, opening rotation
Ongoing SELF HEALING rotation
(feel free to throw in a dc at the end of the rotation if you haveplenty of rp and a free gcd or 2. but under no circimstances should you use dc if it means you cant use runestrike if it suddenly comes up. generaly the only time you will use death coil is if you are the OT and not being hit so you cant runestrike)

Bear in mind, rune tap and death strike’s priority goes up higher if you’re low on health. The below presumes you’re not about to die. Also it’s a given that the 5% damage reduction from blade barrier is more important than threat moves.
1- Frost Fever
2-Blood Plague
3-Heart Strike
4-Death Strike

This also presumes that you have runestrike macro’d onto every ability
The macro is
#showtooltip <ability name>
/cast !Rune Strike
/cast <ability name>

it should read something like this

#showtooltip Heart Strike
/cast !Rune Strike
/cast Heart Strike(Rank 6)

(the ! mark before runestrike stops you from toggling the ability off when you hit runestrike again)


Vampiric blood (mandatory as a tank)
Death strike (for threat, does not effect self-healing)
Rune strike (for threat)
(optional) dark command
(A 2h DK has 2 hit caps, 8% for all melee and 17%{14% if talented} for spells. In blood the only spells really used are icy touch and dark command, The Dark Command glyph insures that you will not miss a taunt with only 8% hit rating)

For advanced tanks:
Glyph of Rune Tap can be helpful if used intelligently(especially with an addon like grid)
Glyph of Disease, might give you a more comfortable rotation. It’s a playstyle choice but has slightly weaker threat than alternatives.
Glyph of Anti Magic Shell, this is not recommended, but if you dont have threat issues it can replace a threat glyph for slightly more dmg reduction


Sigil of insolence is your best choice here. the eof tanking sigil is sligtly better but it has a longer ramp up time. meaning that in alot of fights you will not get the optimal use from it.but if it is a straight tank fight where you wont haveto move or be interupted then the eof one will be better


Head [Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector]Argent Crusade Exalted: +37 Stam and +20 def rating
Shoulder [Greater Inscription of the Pinnacle]Sons of Hodir Exalted: +20 dodge rating and +15 def rating(a alternative to SoH shoulder enchant is the 30 stamina 15 resilience enchant from honor- albert000)
Cloak [Enchanting: Enchant Cloak – Titanweave]: +16 Def Rating or [Enchanting: Enchant Cloak – Mighty Armor]+225 Armor
Chest: +10 to all Stats or +22 defense rating or +275 hp. Another perfectly viable option is Heavy Borean Armour Kit for 18 stamina.( thnx to Kaspa for mentioning this)
Bracers [Enchanting: Enchant Bracers – Major Stamina]: +40 Stam
Gloves [Enchanting: Enchant Gloves – Armsman]: +2% Threat and 10 Parry Rating is the best option.
Legs [Leatherworking: Frosthide Leg Armor]: +55 stam and +22 Agility
Feet [Enchanting: Enchant Boots – Greater Fortitude]: +22 stam
Rings [Enchanting: Enchant Ring – Stamina]: +30 stam (if your an enchanter)
( a great thank you to Kaspa for telling me the names of all these enchants :))


Meta Gem- Austere Earthsiege Diamond
For every other slot the Solid Majestic Zircon is generally your best bet unless you are under defence cap. The one red slot you will have to fill for your meta to work is largely upto you as it will make little difference. (Dodge and parry are generaly poor stats to gem for due to diminishing returns. also if you are tanking icc the 30% health bonus makes stamina gems the best by far.)

(Edit- by albert000)
About Gems:

Stamina stacking is the best as u said, but u can also respect some sockets with a blue gem & 9+ stamina as a bonus, 10 dodge 15 stamina vs 30 stamina for example becomes 10 dodge vs 6 stamina …

anyways gems that can be used if u want to respect sockets are:

blue = stamina.

red = dodge + stamina, expertise + stamina, str + stamina.

yellow = hit + stamina, defense + stamina. )

Stat Priorities

Stat priorities for defensive tanking can be summarised as Defense (until you hit 540) > stam/Armor > dodge > parry – Parry is a pretty poor stat for DK’s as we hit the diminishing returns on it very fast due to forceful deflection.

Hit/Expertise are great tools to help you push out threat, but your main priority is tanking, and although being a threat rocket is great.- if you can’t survive the fight and give healers something to work with the fight will not go well. Just make sure you have sufficient stats to survive the encounter before you start gearing entirely for threat.

When looking at whether you need more threat or more avoidance gear there is a general rule that in tanking new encounters its generally more useful to have more defensive abilities than threat, as it allows for a few more mistakes from your healers and yourself without you dying. The way to get around the need for both threat and defensive power is to have a couple of gear configurations, one for high threat and one for high avoidance. eg: you might carry two neck pieces, one with +hit and + expertise and the other with +dodge and +parry. It does not generally require you to carry 2 full sets of tanking gear around, just enough to push your stats either way.


The only real option here is the flask of stoneblood for 1300 extra health

The best bet here is the Indestructible Potion . 2 min(4 if your an alchemist) of an extra 3500 armour can be useful on some of the harder bosses. and with 5/5 bladed armour it also adds about 100 odd attack power making it good for defence and threat

Dragonfin Filet 40 str + 40 stamina is the best to use (thnx to Kaspa for pointing that out to me)

Optional Talents

3/3 Improved Runetap
(runetap is nearly useless without the 3/3 improved)
some people say that the 4 points in here are wasted since it is the healers job to heal you ,not yours, Personally I say it is everyone’s job in the raid to ensure a successful raid. And this skill has saved my life more times than I can count. Having this Oh **** button that will restore 20% or more(with raid buffs or vampiric blood) of your health every 30 seconds is priceless. Sometimes **** just happens, and when it does this skill can mean the difference between a wipe or boss kill. The only time you should maybe think of not taking this is if you have serious threat problems. Then these points might be better spent elsewhere.

Mark Of Blood
Yes I know this is mainly a pvp talent. But if you have a point to play with you can put it here for a little better survivability . Also since it seems to proc on all dmg the boss does. even aoe’s , you can actually use this to keep other people alive a second or 2 longer for the healers to catch up, you will need grid or something like it to be able to judge when best to use this. But to be completely honest this isn’t that good of a tank talent and shouldn’t be taken unless you have more than enough threat and a point to play with.

Abominations Might
Seems like this talent is truely optional as 2 other classes bring this buff to a raid and they dont stack. the 2% inc strength from it is a bit usefull though
Unleashed Rage (Enhancement Shaman talent)
Trueshot Aura (Marksmanship Hunter talent)
EDIT- it seems you can get this buff to stack with true shot aura if you spec out of it and back into it while having a hunter with true shot near by. though this is probably considered an exploit so it is done at your own risk

This is a really useful buff. If you have threat problems you can cast this on yourself, just as you start the fight, for a great threat increase for 30 seconds. If you dont have threat issues you can cast it on a Feral Druid, rogue or warrior mainly. They will love you for it.

Might Of Morgraine
since as a tank you will have a very low crit chance you can decide to put these points elsewhere

You should only put points in here if you often have to hold aoe threat on more than 3 mobs at a time. otherwise it is not that usefull at all

since a dk has 2 hit caps this can be a very usefull talent to bring your spell hit cap down to only 14%(11 % if raiding with a shadow priest). But then ,as blood tank ,the only 2 abilities that require the higher hit cap are Icy Touch and Dark command so while this is not neccasary it is still quite usefull. But if you have glyphed dark command then there is little reason to take this unless you have threat issues With around 6%- 9% of your Icy touches missing( assuming you are melee hit capped at 8%)

Spell Deflection
This talent is now working as intended but may not be nearly as usefull as it might look at first, as it only procs on direct dmg spells not aoe or elemental weapon strikes. Though if you dont have threat issues and a few points to play with it can be slightly useful. Though in icc Prince Keleseth is the only boss it is very usefull on

The rest of it depends on your gear and how much threat you are preducing. If you have more than enough threat feel free to take a point or 3 out of dps talents to play with. If you have threat issues you should take the points out of Runetap/Improved Runetap for dps talents.


These are talents i often see DK’s taking that are useless

often new tanks will put points in here even though this is a pvp talent. Currently this is bugged so the worms dont heal you . But even if it did work properly they heal for such a small amount as to make it worthless. Also it seems they soak up aoe heals that would have better gone to other raid members

Improved Blood Presence
again this talent is often taken by a new dk tank, but it only gives you the smalest amount of heals and is basicaly worthless.