PvP Unholy Death Knight Stat Priority

wotlk pvp unholy death knight stat priority

In a true RPG fashion, stats do truly matter, even if we are talking about PvP! In this section of the guide, we will be offering our approach to stat priority and explaining each of them in-depth.

Stat Priority

  1. Hit Rating
    • Cap: 5% Melee/7% Spell (164 Hit Rating/105 Hit Rating +Virulence)
  2. Spell Penetration
    • Cap: 75 (Soft Cap)/135 (Optimal Hard Cap)
  3. Resilience
    • Cap: 1500 (Hard Cap)/850 (Hybrid Build)
  4. Expertise
  5. Strength
  6. Armor Penetration
    • Cap: 1400 (Hard Cap)
  7. Critical Strike Chance
  8. Haste
  9. Attack Power

Stat Explanations

Hit Rating, even in PvP situations, is the most important stat you can acquire! Hit Rating allows you to land your attacks, making sure your melee attacks and your spells will not miss. The cap is 5% Hit Rating for melee attacks and 7% for spells.

You need 32.79 hit rating for 1% physical hit chance, and 26.232 hit rating for 1% spell hit chance.

When it comes to Spell Hit Chance, PvP is not as harsh as PvE, but you will still benefit from talents such as Misery, Improved Faerie Fire, Heroic Presence, and Virulence while aiming for a considerably lower cap, a mere 7%!

Spell Penetration allows you to combat those nasty druid buffs and paladin auras, allowing you to pierce through your target’s resistances! Spell Penetration plays a big role in PvP — there aren’t many things worse than seeing one of your favorite spells fail and be tagged by the “resisted” floating combat text!

The soft cap for Spell Penetration is 75. However, due to how common it is to find either paladin or druid buffs, you will want to aim higher, for a total of 135 spell penetration!

You do not want your Strangulate or Death Grip to be resisted, do you?

Resilience is the most important stat for PvP: it protects you from critical strikes, and it reduces the overall damage you receive. There are two ways you can go about the Resilience stat as an Unholy Death Knight: you can either choose to fully stack it, acquiring around 1400-1500 Resilience, or you can choose to pursue a hybrid build in which you will only need 800-850 Resilience mixed in with offensive stats, such as Armor Penetration.

The choice is entirely yours, as it will define your playstyle! The build with more Resilience employs a much more defensive-oriented playstyle that focuses on slowly withering down your enemies. Meanwhile, the hybrid build focuses on high burst damage and moderate survivability.

Feel free to experiment with this, to pick whichever build is more suitable for your playstyle!

Expertise is a stat that will reduce the chance of your attacks being missed, dodged, or parried. However, compared to PvE, you certainly won’t have to reach the Expertise cap, no matter the circumstance!

You can choose to use a few gems to increase your Expertise, or use a race that already has increased expertise with certain weapons to further reduce the chance of being dodged or parried. You will only have to worry about those two happening when you are fighting against classes and specializations that have included parry or dodge talents in their builds.

Strength is an innate stat for Death Knights, who are a Strength-based class first and foremost. Strength-based classes gain 2 attack power per 1 point of strength!

In PvP, you will want to emphasize the benefit of Strength by gemming it in specific sockets. There is not much else to say about Strength — the stat is pretty self-explanatory. The more of it you gather, the easier it will be to stomp puny gnomes or crush those undead walking corpses!

Armor Penetration is infamously the strongest stat for physical damage dealers in Wrath of the Lich King. Unholy Death Knights are a hybrid damage dealer, dealing both physical and mage does, so Armor Penetration isn’t as effective for us as it is for other classes, but it’s still very powerful. Armor Penetration allows you to bypass armor, turning you into a real threat.

Most of your abilities, besides your diseases, gargoyle, and some spells, are physical damage abilities, thus gaining major advantages from stacking Armor Penetration. However, PvP gear rarely, if at all, provides you with any Armor Penetration, forcing you to mix your PvP items with PvE items to gain the advantages offered by Armor Penetration.

The cap for Armor Penetration is 1400, however, in PvP that amount will be almost impossible to achieve, with the only exception being some major trinket procs. Do not be swayed by the fact that you will not be able to reach the cap, as even 600-700 Armor Penetration can massively improve your overall damage!

Critical Strike Chance is an interesting stat for Unholy Death Knights in PvP, mainly because it does not serve as a way to land critical strikes on your enemies, but rather to allow one of your most powerful effects to trigger!

As we are all aware, resilience reduces the chance of a target being affected by a Critical Strike Chance. The more the target gathers resilience, the harder it will be for you to land critical strikes on it. However, with a high Critical Strike Chance, you will be able to consistently proc one of our most “busted” effects, Wandering Plague!

Wandering Plague will bring annihilation upon your enemies in AoE situations, like battlegrounds! This effect can be efficient even in arenas, especially in 3v3 scenarios!

Keep in mind that the effect is triggered by your melee Critical Strike Chance. You gain a 1% increased chance to crit for every 45.91 crit rating you have.

Haste is one of the most straightforward stats — it makes you attack faster. You gain 1% increased attack speed for every 32.79 Haste rating you have.

For an Unholy Death Knight, even if Haste does not affect your diseases, it has some very interesting benefits. First of all, Haste allows your runes to regenerate faster, and this effect can become even stronger if we take Unholy Presence into consideration!
Secondly, aside from increasing your attack speed, it also increases the attack speed of your ghoul and the casting speed of your gargoyle!

Yet, even though it increases the potential of your burst by empowering your gargoyle, you should not overstack Haste as it can severely dampen your other stats.

Attack Power is another straightforward stat: it boosts your physical damage attacks. You will gain a considerable amount of Attack Power from your Strength stat! This means that there is no need for you to use any of the Attack Power gems. However, you can still benefit from the enchantments that enhance it.


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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