PvE Unholy Death Knight DPS Guide

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Masters of Death and harbingers of despair and decay, Unholy Death Knights ravage their foes with cruel diseases, commanding undead minions to rip apart any who would challenge their master.

Unholy Death Knights are known as one of the top Melee DPS specializations in the game, generating high consistent damage outputs in both Single-Target and AoE encounters while also having a high degree of survivability.

Unholy Death Knight in Cataclysm

While other specializations have massively changed in Cataclysm, Unholy Death Knight enjoys a familiar yet slightly enhanced playstyle, benefiting from many buffs to its abilities. Their gameplay feels amazing, their damage output is great, and their new learning curve is quite easy!

The first change that Unholy Death Knight benefits from is a much easier time in terms of disease upkeep! With the addition of Outbreak and Festering Strike, Unholy Death Knights no longer have to worry about consistently refreshing their diseases. Their rotation has also been massively simplified and their pets are now even stronger, with the Ghoul now being able to benefit from the new Dark Transformation spell. Since they can now also consistently generate Death Runes through Festering Strike, Scourge Strike is also far easier to use.

Unholy Death Knight Strengths & Weaknesses


  • In High Demand Class/Specialization
    Unholy Death Knights are one of the very popular specializations in Cataclysm that are in high demand due to their overall great damage and unique effects. Since Unholy Frenzy was moved to the Unholy Talent Tree and Raise Ally now functions as a proper Battle Ressurection spell, the specialization became even more sought after.
  • Great Single-Target Damage
    Unholy Death Knight has a solid Single-Target DPS output, with the specialization skyrocketing through the Damage Meters, especially during its Burst Phase.
  • Great AoE Damage
    While not as powerful in terms of AoE as they used to be in WotLK, Unholy Death Knights still deal high amounts of damage in AoE scenarios, despite the loss of the Wandering Plague talent.
  • Simplified Playstyle
    Compared to the previous iteration of Unholy Death Knight, the current Cataclysm version is much easier to understand and a lot more engaging in terms of gameplay. With many abilities being heavily empowered, Unholy Death Knights have a far easier time topping the Damage Meters.


  • Gear Dependent
    Just like with the other DPS specializations, proper equipment is crucial for success. Unholy Death Knight is rather weak without the appropriate gear, requiring a considerable amount of gear to showcase its true potential.
  • Lacks Mobility
    Compared to other DPS specializations that have access to various mobility tools, Unholy Death Knight seriously lacks in this department, making it one of the most immobile specializations.
  • Limited Utility
    While on paper Unholy Death Knight seems to bring multiple utility tools, the main issue it faces is that it brings tools that share the same slot with other similar effects. The only true unique effects that it provides are Unholy Frenzy and Raise Ally, as all other effects such as Horn of Winter and Ebon Plaguebringer can be replaced by other similar effects.

Best Races

Wow Horde CrestHorde

The horde has the better races from a PvE point of view, with most of their racial abilities providing direct damage-enhancing effects. The strongest available race for Unholy Death Knight is Orc due to Blood Fury and Command followed by Troll with Berserking and Goblin with Rocket Barrage and Rocket Jump.

Wow Alliance Crest Alliance

The Alliance has stronger PvP racial effects than PvE racials, with most PvE racial effects being represented by passive effects. The best race is Worgen thanks to Viciousness followed by Human with Sword Specialization and Mace Specialization, Dwarf with Mace Specialization, and finally Draenei with Heroic Presence.


We hope this guide has been able to help you decide if PvE Unholy Death Knight is the class/spec for you. Make sure to check out our other sections, such as talents, gear, gems, etc, to get more information on how to improve your performance as an Unholy Death Knight in Cataclysm!


About the Author


Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
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