PvE Unholy Death Knight Stat Priority & Reforging

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In this section of the guide, we will go over each stat that an Unholy Death Knight requires and explain how they function along with any possible stat caps that you will have to consider. Unholy Death Knights have a similar stat priority to other Strength-based DPS specs.

Stat Priority

  1. Strength
  2. Hit Rating
  3. Haste Rating
  4. Critical Strike Chance
  5. Mastery
  6. Expertise Rating

Strength is a primary stat, being the most important stat for Unholy Death Knight as it increases our Attack Power and the Attack Power of our pets! We will want to stack as much Strength as possible.

Hit Rating is the most important secondary stat after your primary stat, Strength, as you will require it to land hits on your target. You will need an 8% Hit Chance for Melee Attacks and 17% for your Spells. Luckily, we gain access to Runic Focus which grants us a 9% Hit Chance for our spells, meaning that we will only need to reach the 8% Melee Soft Cap.  Each 120.25 Hit Rating grants a 1% Hit Chance.

Haste Rating is the most valuable secondary stat after reaching the 8% Hit Chance Soft Cap. This stat increases our Attack Speed, reduces our GCD, and increases the rate at which our runes regenerate. You will want to stack as much Haste Rating as possible as an Unholy Death Knight.

Critical Strike Chance increases the chance to deal critical strikes. This stat is much more relevant for us in Cataclysm as it now directly allows our diseases to deal critical strikes while also influencing our minions.

Mastery is a new stat introduced in Cataclysm that increases all of our Shadow Damage through the Dreadblade effect. This stat should be prioritized after Critical Strike Chance, even if a large amount of our damage is Shadow Damage.

Finally, Expertise Rating allows us to prevent our target from dodging or parrying our attacks. We will need 26 Expertise to reach the Soft Cap upon which our target can’t dodge your attacks. and 56 Expertise to reach the Hard Cap upon which your attacks won’t be parried. We will only want to reach the Soft Cap. Each 30.0272 Expertise Rating will grant 1 Expertise.

The main reason why we placed Expertise Rating so low in terms of importance is due to the fact that most of our damage comes from our spells and our minions, which are not impacted by Expertise Rating at all. We will still want to reach the Soft Cap, however, we should only care about it after we take care of the rest of the stats.


Reforging is introduced in Cataclysm as an additional way to adjust your equipment’s secondary stats. Through reforging, we can acquire a plethora of different stats in exchange for a portion of our current gear’s secondary stats. However, we may not replace any of the main stats on a piece of equipment such as Strength or Stamina.

The main stats that Unholy Death Knights will reforge any non-beneficial stats into are Hit Rating and Haste Rating. After reaching your Hit Rating Soft Cap, you will want to reforge as many stats as possible into Haste Rating, since the Rune Regeneration effect is extremely impactful for our gameplay.


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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