- Author: Nevermore
- Date: July 16, 2022
- Updated: July 21, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
Unholy Death Knights have to deal with Runes and Runic Power, which makes for a rather complex rotation. Do not fear! This guide will help you understand how to maximize your DPS as an Unholy DK, in both Single-Target and AoE encounters.
In the sections below we will go through each ability and explain how to properly use it.
When it comes to the Single-Target rotation, Unholy Death Knights have managed to perform extremely well in all the different phases of the expansion.
In this section of the guide, we will analyze the Single-Target rotation in-depth and look at different rotations and different ways that you can pull them off.
The first rotation will be used for the standard build while the second rotation will be used for the haste build.
- Bone Shield-> Icy Touch -> Blood Strike ->Plague Strike -> Scourge Strike-> Blood Strike -> Horn of Winter -> Summon Gargoyle -> Empower Rune Weapon->Blood Strike-> Scourge Strike-> Scourge Strike -> Blood Strike -> Death Coil (Whenever you have enough Runic Power and your Runes on cooldown)->Repeat.
- Bone Shield-> Ghoul Frenzy-> Icy Touch->Blood Strike-> Plague Strike -> Blood Strike-> Scourge Strike-> Summon Gargoyle-> Empowered Rune Weapon-> Blood Strike-> Icy Touch-> Plague Strike-> Scourge Strike->Blood Strike-> Scourge Strike-> Death Coil-> Repeat.
When it comes to Single-Target rotations, you will want to make sure that you do not mash your buttons aimlessly, as this can instantly mess up your entire rotation. Unlike any other melee DPS classes, your main abilities are conditioned by the use of Runes, with each having its own internal cooldown. Furthermore, you also have access to another special resource named Runic Power, this resource is mainly used by an Unholy Death Knight to utilize Death Coil and Summon Gargoyle.
As a general rule, Death Knights also utilize 3 different special stances called presences. Each different presence will offer you different bonuses, each having its specific and particular use.
As stated above, we have shown you two different rotations, each of them belonging to a different talent build, with each of them utilizing a separate presence. Considering that the second rotation will be more useful in the early phases of the expansion, where you do not generally have access to a lot of haste, you will always want to be in Unholy Presence when utilizing that specific build.
With the standard rotation and build, however, we will be always maintaining Blood Presence.
Upkeeping your diseases on the target will be one of your main tasks, no matter which of the rotations and builds you choose to pursue!
Always remember to keep Bone Shield up! Not only that it will provide you with reduced incoming damage while it is active, it will also increase your overall damage done by 2%.
In both rotations, you will want to utilize Blood Strike as early as possible in order to trigger Desolation, with the end goal being to gather enough runic power as fast as possible to utilize Summon Gargoyle. After your gargoyle has been summoned, you will then want to spend what runes you have left and quickly utilize Empower Runic Weapon to regain them all in order to repeat your abilities.
When it comes to Area-of-Effect, Unholy Death Knights can be considered among the most powerful cleave classes in the entire game. The way this is achieved is by simply spreading diseases to all the targets in your vicinity. This can be done in a very simple and efficient manner.
When it comes to Area-of-Effect abilities, you have access to 3 abilities in your arsenal, however, those three abilities are way more powerful than any large combination of spells.
As mentioned earlier, the main way that you can spread your diseases is constituted by Pestilence. On top of that, you also have access to Death and Decay, a zone-based ability that allows you to devastate an area.
There are two main ways in which you can refresh your diseases, the first one is to manually reapply them to your main target and then cast Pestilence again, thus refreshing the disease duration to all the targets afflicted by the second Pestilence. The second way of refreshing your diseases in an AoE situation is to utilize the Glyph of Disease. By utilizing the Glyph of Disease, you will be able to refresh all diseases that are currently afflicting any mob in your vicinity by just simply casting Pestilence again, without the need to cast Icy Touch or Plague Strike on your main target first.
There is also one extremely important aspect when it comes to AoE damage, and that is Wandering Plague. This effect will provide you with an additional passive damage effect that is entirely based on your melee critical strike chance and can proc based on any disease that is affecting a target, meaning that the more diseases you have active on multiple targets, the higher the chance you will have of providing massive AoE damage, provided you have enough Critical Strike Chance in order to consistently proc the effect.