- Author: Nevermore
- Date: September 30, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
In Wrath of the Lich King, Death Knights are available for every race, without restrictions. As with most of the classes, when it comes to performance, each faction has one or two races that are vastly superior to the others because of their racial effects.
Orc is the strongest race from Horde for a Blood Death Knight DPS, mainly due to the strength Blood Fury and Axe Specialization.Troll is another excellent option thanks to the burst offered by Berserking. The other races don’t offer nearly the same strength levels, but are available if you enjoy their aesthetics or want access to specific racial abilities/effects.
Orcs are often considered the best available race for Blood Death Knights, providing several strong effects that enhance their tool kit. That’s not all that surprising; after all, they are seen as one of the predominant races for the Horde.
- Axe Specialization increases your expertise by 5 when using axes or fist weapons. There are a lot of very powerful axes out there, including Shadowmourne, the strongest two-handed weapon in the game. Thus, this racial is extremely powerful.
- Blood Fury is an on-use spell that increases your Attack Power and scales with your level. At level 80 it will provide +322 attack power for 15 seconds on a 2-minute cooldown. The fact that this is an on-use ability has big implications for burst phases / stacking your cooldowns.
- Hardiness provides you with resistance to crowd control effects. This is better suited for PvP scenarios, but can help you during certain PvE encounters.
- Command is a very powerful racial that enhances both your gargoyle and your ghoul. Sadly, as a Blood Death Knight, this racial effect will not impact our ghouls, whether they come from Raise Dead or Army of the Dead, since the game treats them as guardians instead of pets.
Trolls are the second-best choice when it comes to playing a Blood Death Knight as a damage dealer, thanks primarily to the burst potential of Berserking.
- Berserking is an on-use spell that offers +20% increased attack speed for 10 seconds on a 3-minute cooldown. The fact that this is an on-use ability has big implications for burst phases / stacking your cooldowns.
- Beast Slaying increases your damage dealt to Beast type enemies by 5%, which is very powerful in theory. Unfortunately, there aren’t a whole lot of Beasts in Wrath of the Lich King, especially inside raids, making this racial not too impressive in practice.
- Da Voodoo Shuffle passively reduces the duration of movement-slowing & immobilizing effects on you by 15%. Generally, this is a PvP racial, but it can occasionally come in handy in PvE as well.
- Bow Specialization and Throwing Specialization increase your critical strike chance with bows & throwing weapons by 1%. Sadly, Death Knights do not benefit from this racial effect.
- Regeneration increases health regeneration by 10% and allows you to regenerate health during combat at 10% of your normal regeneration rate. While this racial is mostly only relevant while leveling or questing, it can have situational uses in end-game content for increasing overall survivability.
Taurens are a mediocre choice at best for DPS specs, since their bonuses are better suited for tanking. Still, the racials can prove to be useful in certain situations, and the extra health from Endurance makes it a bit easier to stay alive.
- Endurance increases base health by 5% — meaning, your natural health at level 80, without your extra health or stamina from the equipment, buffs, etc. This can help you survive slightly better than other Death Knight races, but is generally not very noticeable.
- War Stomp gives you an on-use AoE stun with a 2-minute cooldown. While it’s much more relevant in PvP, it can also be used to provide a quick crowd control effect to aid your tank or your healer. However, it’s largely not very useful.
- Nature Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Nature spells by 2%. This is a mostly negligible racial for PvE.
- Cultivation increases your initial Herbalism skill by 15. This doesn’t have a gameplay impact besides minor convenience.
Undead provides racial effects that are more suited for PvP content, thus making them a weak choice for PvE. You could still choose this race for their aesthetics, despite their weaker PvE performance, but you’ll gimp your character’s strength in PvE somewhat by doing so.
- Will of the Forsaken removes charm, fear, and sleep effects. This will be the most beneficial racial for PvE, as it will help mitigate certain raid boss mechanics.
- Cannibalize allows you to feast on the corpses of your slain enemies to restore your health. This does not have big implications for PvE, but does come in handy when doing solo content.
- Shadow Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%. This is a mostly negligible racial for PvE.
- Underwater Breathing helps you survive for a very long time underwater, which isn’t relevant in raids (but can be fun in World PvP and some battlegrounds).
Blood Elves are the worst choice for a Blood Death Knight in the DPS role, having weak racial effects for PvE content. Strictly an aesthetic choice.
- Arcane Torrent is a racial effect that provides an instant AoE silence, while also giving you 15 runic power. This racial effect is rather weak in PvE, as it has a 2-minute cooldown and only provides 15 runic power; not useful for much other than summoning your gargoyle faster.
- Magical Resistance reduces the chance to be hit by spells by 2%. This racial effect does not provide a considerable gameplay bonus in raids.
- Arcane Affinity increases your initial Enchanting skill by 10. This does not have any significant gameplay implications beyond minor convenience.
Human is seen as the strongest option for Alliance Blood Death Knights, mainly because of their Every Man for Himself racial effect that removes any form of crowd control. Dwarves are a decent runner-up choice thanks to Mace Specialization‘s bonus Expertise and Stoneform‘s synergy with Bladed Armor. Since every raid DPS group wants at least one Heroic Presence buff active, Draenei are also a perfectly viable race to choose, despite not offering any particularly synergistic racials for this spec (although Gift is always nice in a pinch).
Humans are probably the strongest choice for the Alliance when it comes to playing a Blood Death Knight, offering several strong racials that go a long way when it comes to PvE performance.
- Sword Specialization & Mace Specialization increase your expertise by 3 when using swords or maces, respectively. This is lower than the +5 expertise that other races get with equivalent racials, but you have more versatility in picking different weapon types (other races are generally forced into 1 specific weapon type).
- Every Man for Himself is a crowd-control removal ability, just like the one that the Undead race has, but this one has universal applicability. It is useful in PvE scenarios, but has much more use in PvP encounters, for which Humans are typically considered the strongest race in the game.
- Perception passively increases your stealth detection level by a small amount. Since there aren’t a lot of stealthed mobs in PvE, this benefit is not exceptionally useful.
- Diplomacy increases the rate at which you gain reputation by 10%, a major boost for your reputation grind. Whilst a beneficial quality-of-life racial, it doesn’t impact actual gameplay.
- The Human Spirit increases your spirit by 3%. Unfortunately, this is essentially useless for Death Knights.
Dwarves are the second-best choice after humans when it comes to raw performance in PvE content for Blood Death Knights, bringing two notable racial effects: Mace Specialization and Stoneform.
- Mace Specialization increases your expertise by 5 when using maces. Most of the strongest weapons available to you tend to be axes and swords, making this racial better on paper than in practice. Regardless — it’s incredibly powerful if you’re using maces.
- Stoneform is an on-use spell that gives you +10% increased armor for 8 seconds on a 2-minute cooldown. For most classes and specs, this would be a purely tanking-focused boost, but, if we take into consideration the Bladed Armor talent, it becomes a very powerful burst ability.
- Gun Specialization increases your critical strike chance with guns by 1%. This racial effect is entirely useless for a Death Knight.
- Frost Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Frost spells by 2%. This is a mostly negligible racial for PvE.
- Find Treasure is a very cool racial from a roleplay point of view, allowing you to see treasure on the minimap. Fun to use while questing and leveling up, but offers zero relevance in raids.
Draenei are a viable choice when playing a Blood Death Knight in the DPS role, coming with two strong racial effects that can improve PvE performance. Apart from those two, many people mostly choose Draenei for their aesthetics.
- Heroic Presence increases the chance to hit with spells and physical attacks by 1% for you and all your party members within 30 yards. Every single DPS group will want to have at least 1 Draenei for this powerful buff.
- Gift of the Naaru places a heal-over-time effect on a single target that lasts 15 seconds, with a 3-minute cooldown. This can help save your life occasionally, and may even come in clutch with healing the tank during a high-damage period. However, it’s generally not that great of a racial for Blood Death Knights.
- Shadow Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%. This is a mostly negligible racial for PvE.
- Gemcutting increases your initial Jewelcrafting skill by 5. This doesn’t have a gameplay impact besides minor convenience.
Night Elves come with mediocre racial effects for the Death Knight class in PvE scenarios, having only one strong racial effect that can be situationally helpful.
- Quickness reduces the chance you’ll be hit by melee and ranged attacks by 2%. While this talent is way better suited for tank-focused Warriors, it also happens to be the only PvE-relevant racial you get as a night elf, occasionally causing attacks to miss you, which is… something?
- Nature Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Nature spells by 2%. This is mostly a negligible racial when it comes to PvE.
- Shadowmeld can be used to escape combat and become stealthed once every 2 minutes. It will also make you drop all threat on every target you’re currently engaged in combat with, with all the threat restored the moment you leave stealth (which occurs if you move or take any action). This has high applicability in the early stages of PvE, especially dungeons, in case you pull a group of mobs or steal aggro from a tank by mistake — it’s also a very strong PvP racial.
- Elusiveness reduces the chance to be detected if you are stealthed. However, the only way to go into stealth as a Death Knight is through Shadowmeld, making this racial irrelevant in PvE content.
- Wisp Spirit increases your movement speed by 75% while dead. You generally don’t want to be dead, but it’s nice to get back to your body quicker if you die while questing.
Gnomes are by far the weakest race out of the Alliance roster for a Death Knight, having weak racial effects that do not offer any sort of advantage in PvE scenarios.
- Escape Artist instantly removes all movement-slowing and immobilizing effects on a 1-minute cooldown. While this can occasionally be useful in PvE, it’s generally better in PvP (where Humans are far better anyway), so this is overall not amazing.
- Engineering Specialization increases your initial Engineering skill by 15. This is slightly more useful than other profession-boosting racials, as Engineering has guardian-type summoned pets which scale with your Engineering skill. This racial makes your summoned pets level 83, making them a decent bit stronger, but as there aren’t many useful guardians, this racial still isn’t very strong.
- Arcane Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Arcane spells by 2%. This is mostly a negligible racial for PvE.
- Expansive Mind increases your total Intellect by 5%. Death Knights do not benefit from intellect at all, rendering this racial entirely useless!