Elitist Jerks Death Knight: PvE DPS

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# Death Knight: PvE DPS

## [top] Common Abbreviations used

AbbreviationAbilityAbbreviationAbility
ITIcy TouchSDSudden Doom
BSBlood StrikeMoMMight of Mograine
PSPlague StrikeBGBlood Gorged
HSHeart StrikeHBHowling Blast
FSFrost StrikeBotNBlood of the North
SSScourge StrikeGoGGuile of Gorefiend
DSDeath StrikeTSTundra Stalker
OBObliterateHCHungering Cold
DRWDancing Rune WeaponCECorpse Explosion
MoBMark of BloodSGSummon Gargoyle
OaPHOn a Pale HorseIBFIcebound Fortitude
CFCrypt FeverBTBlood Tap
EPEbon PlaguebringerAMSAnti-Magic Shell
RoRRage of RivendareAMZAnti-Magic Zone
UBUnholy BlightERWEmpower Rune Weapon
DCDeath CoilBBBlood Boil
DGDeath GripDnD/D&DDeath and Decay
MoGMaster of Ghouls

## [top] Benefits of bringing a Death Knight to a raid

There are several upsides to bringing one or more Death Knights to your raid.
• Powerful raid buffs and debuffs, ranging from base skills (f.ex Horn of Winter) to spec specific (de) buffs. (f.ex Improved Icy Talons)
• A viable offtank for fights even when DPS specced. All it requires is a gear and presence swap.
• A viable tank for when shit hits the fan. Death Knights can swap to Frost Presence midcombat and tank if necessary, albeit not as good as they would in Tank gear (obviously).
• On par DPS with any other class
• A "Combat Ressurection" in the form of Raise Dead. Obviously not as useful as a Druid's Rebirth, but useful nevertheless.
• Death Knights are very potent in keeping themselves alive, not to mention they are wearing Plate. With the help of Death Strike and in Blood's case Rune Tap (which can be turned into an AoE group heal with a Major Glyph!) Death Knights will require very little healing if played right.

## [top] Death Knight Resource Mechanics

Death Knights use two major Resource mechanics to do damage.
This is a new concept, as with all previous classes they only use one mechanic, be it Mana, Rage or Energy.

### [top] Runes: How They Work

Runes are the primary resource mechanic for Death Knights. It's a very new concept (somewhat) that can be compared to Energy. Runes have a set regeneration period, which is 10 seconds. A Death Knight starts with 2 Blood Runes (B), 2 Frost Runes (F) and 2 Unholy Runes (U).

It was always assumed that Runes just had a pure 10 second regen time. This has proven to be false from various tests. The behaviour that has been noted is that after the first set of runes very often runes regen after 8 seconds. The current concensus is the following:

Runes have a 10 second regen time. However, if you do not use your regenerated rune as soon as it comes up, it will activate a timer (up to 2 seconds, is the current theory) which will count as the Rune being used. Think of it like this:

TimeAbilityRegen timeRunes
00:00:00Icy Touch BBFUU
00:10:00 10sBBFFUU
00:11:50Icy Touch BBFUU
00:20:00 8.5sBBFFUU

Because you waited 1.5s after the rune was available to use the second frost rune, it's regen time was reduced to 8.5s. Do note, if you wait longer than 2 seconds the above does not apply.

#### [top] Death Runes

If you spec Death Rune Mastery, Blood of the North or Reaping, upon using the specified abilities the Runes that they use up will regen into Death Runes. Death Runes are a 4th type of Rune which is able to be used as either a Blood, Frost or Unholy Rune. They only stay a Death Rune for one usage and in general you will only use up a Death Rune if none of the normal Runes are available to be used with an ability.

Say, for example you are specced into Death Rune Mastery and you have used Obliterate. The Frost & Unholy Rune will become Death Runes. However, you still have 2 Blood Runes, 1 Frost & 1 Unholy Rune left. If you let the Death Runes come up so that your Rune layout looks like BBFDUD and you want to BS twice, PS once and IT once, you will only use up BBFU, leaving you with DD. The Death Runes are always the last runes to be used.

As a side note, Blood Tap is the only non-talented ability that will give you access to a Death Rune.

It should be further noted that Death Rune Mastery works somewhat different from what you'd expect. If you have all your Unholy and Frost Runes as Death Runes (so BBDDDD), and then use an Obliterate or Death Strike, the following happens:
• [1] Your two Unholy Runes which are currently Death Runes will get used by the ability.
• [2] Only one of your recently used Death Runes will remain a Death Rune. The other will turn back to Unholy, despite having just been used for an ability. (Or BBDDDU)
If you have only your Unholy Runes as Death Runes, and your Frost Runes are currently on cooldown, thus making it that your two converted Unholy Runes get used by Obliterate or Death Strike (BBFFDD), the following happens:
• [1] Your two Unholy Runes which are currently Death Runes will get used by the ability.
[2] As before, only one of your two Unholy Runes becomes a Death Rune, however one of your Frost Runes (despite not being used by the ability) will also become a Death Rune. (BBDFDU)
That also applies if you have two Frost Runes as Death Runes and you use those for Obliterate or Death Strike. You end up with one of the Frost Runes staying a Death Rune, while one of the Unholy Runes will also turn into a Death Rune.

#### [top] Empower Rune Weapon

Empower Rune Weapon will generate 25 Runic Power and immediately activate all your runes, meaning, if some of your runes were on cooldown, the cooldown is gone and the runes become activated. It can be useful in DPS situations where you need to pull that extra rotation and can't afford to wait. The cooldown is 5 minutes, so use it with consideration.

### [top] Runic Power

Runic Power is the second Resource Mechanic of a Death Knight. You could compare it to a Warrior's Rage, as they are somewhat similar. Runic Power is generated through using abilities which require a Rune. There are set values for the amount of Runic Power generated, depending on the amount of Runes said ability requires:
• Abilities that require one Rune will generate 10 Runic Power.
• Abilities that require two Runes will generate 15 Runic Power.
• Abilities that require three Runes will generate 20 Runic Power.
Runic Power can be consumed by other abilities, varying for each spec. Blood will commonly use Death Coil to use up Runic Power, mixed with Dancing Rune Weapon. Unholy on the other hand, will use up their Runic Power on Unholy Blight, Summon Gargoyle or even Death Coils (depending on the situation). Frost finally will use up most of their Runic Power with Frost Strikes.
We commonly refer using up Runic Power as Runic Dumps.

Runic Power generation can be modified by various abilities (and even setbonuses) such as Chill of the Grave.

#### [top] Runic Power generation

Runic Power generation can also be relatively simply calculated, using the following equation:

$(((\text {Number of abilities used})-2)*5) + 40= \text{Runic Power per rotation}$

This equation works for untalented rotations. The lower bound of 40 corresponds to a DnD and AoD rotation. The upper bound of 60 corresponds to rotations using all 6 runes individually.

Example:

DnD-IT-PS-BS gives you 20-10-10-10 = 50rp.

Using the equation we have:

$(((4)-2)*5)+40= (10)+ 40 = 50$

For the purposes of further study we will assume a standard 10 second rune cooldown. The reason for this is first it makes the math easy, and second I believe the buffer code is intended to give us more flexibility from rotation to rotation and while still providing a fairly predictable runic power generation.
This means our untalented lower bound is 4 RP/s, and the upper bound is 6RP/s. (RP/s = Runic Power per Second)

Talents
There are four talents that effect runic power generation: Butchery, Scent of Blood, Chill of the Grave and, Dirge.
• Butchery
Gives us an additional .2/.4 RP/s, the secondary effect is hard to model for obvious reasons so we will ignore it for the time being because against raid bosses and even most arena environments this effect will be largely unimportant.
• Scent of Blood
Gives us an additional .25/.5/.75 RP/s this is also hard to surely model since it has an cooldown and requires you to be hit, but for maximum study purposes we'll assume that it procs exactly every 20 seconds.
• Dirge
Gives us an additional .5/1 RP/s. A way to view this and Chill of the Grave is that it gives you additional RP when you use Unholy and Frost runes respectively.
• Chill of the Grave
Gives us an additional .5/1 RP/s. The only note here is that Death Strike is not included in this talent so a frost build using Death strike hampers it's RP generation.
Since all of these talents can be acquired in the same build we can generate an upper bound for RP/s with talents:

$6+1+1+.75+.4= 9.15 \text {RP/s}$
• Death Runes:
Can change the results from tree to tree and depending how they are used. However given that Death Runes can only be used in certain ways we can show that used appropriately they can still only generate an additional 1RP/s.
Using this we can generate a greatest upper bound on RP/s:

$6+1+1+1+.75+.4= 10.15 \text {RP/s}$

Max RP/s for Tree centric talent builds without Death Runes:

SpecRP/s
Blood7.15 RP/s
Frost 7 RP/s
Unholy 7 RP/s

Max RP/s for Tree centric talent builds with Death Runes:

SpecRP/s
Blood7.15 RP/s
Frost8 RP/s
Unholy8 RP/s

Most rotations will fall into the 5.5 and 6.5 RP/s range.

## [top] How to DPS as a Death Knight

While you'll find a number of "cookie-cutter" or standard rotations here in this thread for each spec, it's important to keep in mind that these rotations are theoretical-- they're what most people find to be the best for a fight under ideal conditions (i.e., Patchwerk-type dps tests). The key to maximizing your dps as a Death Knight is understanding what contributes most significantly to your dps, and what priorities you should follow when your circumstances deviate from the ideal. Whether it's a mobile encounter, or you miss an attack, or you need to refresh Horn of Winter, or your timing just gets off over the duration of a fight-- it will happen. Here's a suggested priority list for single target dps:
• [1] Don't die.
• [2] Keep your diseases (Blood Plague, Frost Fever) up 100% of the time. These boost your primary damage attacks significantly, and add a non-trivial amount to your dps themselves. Use a mod to track their remaining time (I use Elkano's Buff Bars, but there are lots of mods that can accomplish the same thing).
• [3] Use your highest damage-per-rune attack as much as possible, whenever it is available. Blood: Heart Strike, Frost 2h: Obliterate, Unholy: Scourge Strike.
• [4] Spend your runic power before it hits the maximum. There's a common misconception that runic power is a secondary resource to runes. Your core RP abilities (Death Coil, Frost Strike, Unholy Blight) all do significant amounts of damage, and it's just as worthwhile to use an available global cooldown on one of these abilities as on a rune ability. Managing these can be tricky, especially in Blood spec when you have Sudden Doom procs to contend with also. Use the rune latency coding to your advantage-- there's an extra GCD in there after a rune becomes available (see: Rune Mechanics). When in doubt: as long as you are still not violating any of the previous three rules, dumping runic power will maximize your dps.
• [5] Use your spec's secondary strikes, talented appropriately, to convert off-spec runes into Death Runes. (Blood: Obliterate, Frost and Unholy: Blood Strike). This is in support of rule #3.
• [6] Use your dps cooldowns appropriately to maximize their uptime. Know your rotations and how long the fight is, and judge accordingly. Note that cooldown use is an exception to rule #4: You'll want maximum runic power before using Gargoyle or Dancing Rune Weapon, for example.
• [7] Do anything necessary to increase your raid's dps. While seeing big numbers fly by is fun, we have some abilities that may benefit the raid's overall damage more than a selfish buff to ourselves. Remember, the boss falling down is the ultimate goal. Use your discretion as to who in your raid might benefit most from Hysteria, a pure physical damage boost. Similarly, see the explanation of how Unholy Aura can benefit the raid significantly. If you're in charge of providing Abomination's Might (AP raid buff) or Imp. Icy Talons (haste raid buff), make sure they stay up.

### [top] Presences

Presences are the Death Knight equivalent to a Warrior's Stances. There are three Presences total.
• Blood Presence: Commonly accepted as the Presence you will be DPSing in.
Blood Presence just flat increases the damage from all your abilities by 15% whilst providing you with selfhealing.
• Frost Presence: Your tanking Presence.
You can swap to this when you pull aggro or when you need to offtank, but make sure to not try and DPS in this Presence as the Threat modifier is quite big.
• Unholy Presence: This Presence is commonly accepted as not being so useful, for anything but PvP.
Due to the fact this Presence grants Haste rather than the Damage % increase that Blood Presence grants it performs significantly worse. Haste is one of the worst Stats for a Death Knight.
Unholy Presence also lowers your GCD by 0.5 seconds, which is not all that bad but in a lot of specs you will not be bound by GCDs, but by Rune Regeneration time so again it loses some of it usefulness.

On a side note, there are several talents that will look like they increase the effect of each specific Presence at first glance (and while that was true in the early stages of beta) but they are not linked to any Presence and are just like a Paladin's aura. Said Talents are Blood Aura, Frost Aura and Unholy Aura

## [top] Itemizing as a Death Knight

Itemizing as a Death Knight is actually not that simple. There are a lot of variables which will increase or decrease the usefulness for a stat. One of the major variables being talent choices.

We are a melee class, so like with every melee class you will have to assign stat weights to each stat and make gear choices that way.
As with every melee, the biggest DPS increasing upgrades are always weapons.

### [top] Stats choices

While Death Knight theory crafting is still in its infancy, early modeling and testing has produced normalized values for comparing dps gear. While many argue that these numbers are still premature, they do show many important trends in each of the talent trees These numbers are currently based on Naxx 25 man DPS gear.

Base stats+Talents +Raid buffs

Stat (rating)UnholyBloodFrost
1 AP1.00001.00001.0000
1STR2.48472.55702.3650
1HIT2.47482.66092.4046
1APR0.54471.04560.7628
1EXP1.39141.70231.2453
1CRT1.12401.14531.1894
1HASTE0.62140.56400.4978
1DPS (wpn)7.56708.966510.3610
Spec17/0/5451/13/717/54/0
DPS TOTAL3114.423278.623152.79

Keep in mind this is vulnerable to change as we are still building up the theorycraft around gearing a Death Knight. Use this as a guideline, rather than all-to-be-guide.

#### [top] Attack Power and Strength

Like Warriors we gain 2 AP per every point of Strength. In addition to the traditional 10% Blessing of Kings multiplier, Death Knights receive a number of other talented multipliers.
Every one of our abilities have a modifier for attack power, increasing their damage with more Attack Power, including Icy Touch and Howling Blast.
Attack Power increases damage done by the Gargoyle and Dancing Rune Weapon (more on that in their respective sections).
Attack Power has an increased value for Unholy specs due to Impurity
While Strength/AP certainly are important, I would suggest you browse past the other values before stacking it alone.

#### [top] Attack Power Coefficients

You can calculate how much damage your spells will be doing with a very simple equation:

$B + (C * AP)= D$

With B being the base damage of the spell, C the attack power coefficient of the spell and AP being your attack power. D is the damage you will be doing.

Example:
Death Coil damage with 2000 AP:

$443 + (2000*0.15)= 743$

Attack Power Coefficients table:

AbilityCoefficient
Blood Boil0.04
Blood Plague0.055
Bloodworms0.006
Corpse Explosion0.0475
Death and Decay0.0475
Death Coil0.15
Frost Fever0.055
Howling Blast0.1
Summon Gargoyle0.4
Icy Touch0.1
Pestilence0.04
Strangulate0.06
Unholy Blight0.013

A few notes:
• Bloodworms' base damage at level 80 appears to be 50 average (2.0 attack speed) before armor mitigation, assuming the formula is D = base + C * AP where C is the AP coefficient.
• Currently Corpse Explosion is bugged and the AP coefficient itself scales with Runic Power. On an empty RP bar the ability deals the base damage (220), and at 100 RP you get extra damage equal to 0.0475 * AP.
• Gargoyle Strike is the Gargoyle's only ability, which it spams continuously until it gets killed or the summon duration ends. The spell's base damage at level 80 appears to be 150, assuming the formula is D = B + (C * AP) where C is the AP coefficient.
• Pet's are affected by the Orc Racial, so you can add 5% to the pet coefficients if you're an Orc.

F.ex Gargoyle: $0.4 + \frac {0.4*10}{100}= 0.42$

#### [top] Hit Rating

Despite the importance of Strength as a stat, hit rating (before the special cap) can actually be a more important stat. There are a number of reasons for the importance of Hit Rating. First off a 1% increase in Hit Rating translates to a >1% increase in dps (going from 90%-91% is 1.11% increase in damage). With the possible exception of disease ticks, hit rating effects every dps attack a Death Knight employs. While Hit rating contribution is not uniform across attacks, it does consistently provide at the > 1% rate. Because some Death Knight abilities are still on a two roll system, the value of hit also increases the value of crit rating for abilities like Death Coil.

Death Knights are based around a four resource system: Runes, Runic Power, Diseases, and Time. Each of these resources changes differently based on a miss. A miss of a Rune does not cost that Rune (it regenerates in less than the minimum possible GCD). A miss of a Runic Power does cost that RP however. A miss of a Disease can not only cost that disease, but cost an additional amount as diseases are required, most of the time, for effective dps. Finally, a loss of the time to cast the spell, as well as additional time recasting. Because rotations are often times dense and diseases can run out, this loss of time can have a heavy impact on the Death Knight.

Hit needed for special attack hit cap at level 80:

8% (special attack base misschance) needed or:

$9 * 32.79= 262.32 \text {rating}$

As for Spell Hit, only Icy Touch, Howling Blast and Death Coil use Spell Hit cap to check if they will miss or not. If you pick up Virulence from Unholy, the spell hit will be attained by having 9% hit (assuming you have Misery)
[i]17% (base miss chance) - 3% (Misery) - 3% (Virulence) = 11% needed from gear or:

$11 * 26.23= 288.53 \text {rating}$

Virulence is worth 78.69 Hit. So you need 367.22 Hit rating to be capped with spells if you are not specced for Virulence. It's another 78.69 Hit if you are missing Misery.
If you're guaranteed a Draenei in your group, you can gear/gem for 1% (32.79 Rating for melee, 26.23 Rating for Spells) less hit.

#### [top] Expertise Rating

Unlike Hit Rating, Expertise effects a smaller range of attacks. Because a large portion of Death Knight damage comes in the form of Diseases and RP dumps which cannot be dodged (Frost Strike, Death Coil, Unholy Blight), its value is diminished.

While hitting the Expertise cap may not always be desirable, it is still one of the higher valued stats, and should not be avoided. Additionally, Blood spec in particular, due to its heavy reliance on physical based attacks, can benefit very well from this stat. Finally, Death Knights as tanks have a much higher benefit from Expertise than those in traditional roles, so these values should not be used to make tanking threat decisions.

Keep in mind, that each spec has innate expertise (11/5/5 B/F/U) as well as racial bonuses (5/5/3 O/D/H).
• 1 Expertise Skill reduces the chance your attacks will be dodged/parried by 0.25%
• 32.79 Rating is equal to 1% less chance your attacks will be dodged/parried.
• 8.20 Rating is equal to 0.25% less chance your attacks will be dodged/parried and thus is equal to 1 Expertise Skill.

Expertise needed to hit Dodge cap:

Spec%RatingSkill
Blood3.75122.9615
Frost5.25172.1521
Unholy5.25172.1521

#### [top] Crit Rating

Another traditional dps stat, Crit has less baring on Death Knights than many other classes. No core mechanics require Crit to drive them (though Blood does require a some Crit, and Frost does benefit the most). Additionally, the amount found on gear is more than sufficient where necessary.
Crit Rating affects both our melee and spell crits. You need 45.91 Crit Rating to gain 1% melee and spell crit. All our abilities except Icy Touch, Howling Blast and Death Coil use our melee crit chance.
We are the only class that have a passive spell critical damage increase, under the form of Runic Focus granting us double damage on both melee and spell critical hits.

#### [top] Agility

A Death Knight needs 62.5 Agility to gain 1% Crit.
Agility is strictly inferior to Crit Rating in nearly every situation as Agility does not grant us Spell Crit, while Crit Rating does. Crit Rating also grants you more Crit Chance than Agility for the same item budget.

Agility also increases our armor by 2 armor per agility. As an interesting side effect from this, if specced for Bladed Armor Agility will indirectly increase your Attack Power. Every point of Agility will increase your Attack Power by 1/18 or 18 Agility will increase your Attack Power by 1.

#### [top] Armor Penetration Rating

Armor Penetration Rating is a bit of an odd beast for us.
It doesn't affect our damage from Diseases, Icy Touch, Howling Blast, Scourge Strike or Death Coil. This makes Armor Penetration have a reduced value for Unholy and Frost Specs. Blood however does have quite a lot of benefit from ArP Rating, due to the majority of it's damage being Physical.

We need 15.39 Rating to ignore 1% armor on our target.

#### [top] Haste Rating

Haste Rating will directly increase the contribution of white swings to your DPS - 1% Haste will generate 1% more auto attack DPS.

Unlike many other melee based classes, Death Knights draw a much smaller portion of their dps from White damage. As a result, Haste is a much less desirable stat. As you can also see, the value of Haste is effected by the spec. Abilities like Necrosis and Blood Caked Blade allow for Unholy specs to gain much better damage per Haste Rating. Additionally, Killing machine works similarly.

While Haste is never a particularly desirable stat for Death Knights, we must remember how it effects their GCD. Because of dense rotations additional haste rating can reduce the strain on a player and allow for a larger margin of error. However, stacking too much of it is also not recommended, due to its low value.

We require 32.79 Rating for 1% Haste.

#### [top] Spell Power

Don't get it. None of our spells/abilities/diseases are affected by Spell Power. None. Nada. Nothing.

### [top] Dual Wield vs Two-Handed

Everyone has the image of Death Knights wielding big Two Handers. Every single DK NPC pre-WOTLK only used Two-Handers. However, Blizzard changed that stance and will allow Death Knights to Dual Wield.

Dual Wielding can however, work really well. DW has the downside of having a lot more misses, but has an increased portion of white damage, making haste more valuable. It relies on hitting a lot (and fast) to generate a lot of Killing Machine procs. It also uses Howling Blast or Icy Touch as it's primary source of damage, as it's independent of weapon damage. The ghoul does a big portion of the DPS in these builds.

Next patch (3.0.8) will remove the cooldown on Howling Blast, significantly boosting the DPS of a Howling Blast DW build.

### [top] Trinkets

Coming soon! Need some maths on the current trinkets from Naxx/OS/EoE and badges to be able to make a comparison.

Enchants:

As for Gemming:

### [top] Runeforging

Runeforging is a Death Knight only profession, it allows you to empower your weapon(s) with Runes, which are basicly the equivalent to Enchants (or so they are meant to be). Whether or not they are, will need some further testing. Here are the DPS Runeforges:
Obviously Cinderglacier is pretty good for Unholy and Frost, while Fallen Crusader is pretty good for all specs. Razorice is pretty much a Frost only Rune.

More Runes will be added hopefully throughout WOTLK.

### [top] What about our ranged slot

Death Knights use a Relic -- like Shaman, Paladins and Druids -- called Sigils. Their functionality is similar to the Shaman, Paladin & Druid ones.

F.ex: Sigil of Awareness which as you can see, is very potent. For now there are very little choices, this one drops from Naxx25, while the other option is from badges Sigil of Haunted Dreams. Pretty bad for anything but DW specs at the moment, but fortunatly getting buffed next patch to grant crit rating.

Next patch also brings a few more vendor sigils from the Venture Coin quartermaster.

Sigil of Arthritic Binding
Sigil of the Frozen Conscience
Sigil of the Wild Buck

These are all good replacements for the starting sigil. Respectively for Unholy, Frost/DW and Blood.

## [top] Death Knight Pets: Ghoul, Summon Gargoyle, Dancing Rune Weapon and Army of the Dead

Death Knights have one base pet to start off with: The Ghoul. Summon Gargoyle is a 21 point Unholy Talent and Dancing Rune Weapon is a 51 point Blood Talent. All of these are affected by the Orc Racial.

### [top] The Ghoul

Untalented, this little bugger will be up for 2 minutes and the ability has a 5 minute cooldown. Through an Unholy talent (Master of Ghouls this pet can become a permanent one.
Untalented you have no control over it's actions, talented you gain a pet bar with multiple abilities:
For PvE you won't need to manage these abilities all that much. In PvP however, the applications are obvious; you will need to control your stun and intercept rationally. The Ghoul scales with your stats, taking a percentage of your stats and applying it to him. On average, the ghoul adds about 300 dps. The Ghoul is not really a reliable tool for Blood or Frost specs, since it's duration is a lot shorter than the cooldown. For Unholy however, the Ghoul is a permanent pet and a rather big portion of your DPS (relatively).

The biggest issue with the Ghoul is just the fact that it's rather squishy. The Ghoul has about 12k hp, which will deplete rather quick if not payed attention to from either you or healers. Death Coil is the only way you can heal your Ghoul, which very often is a way better investment in hitting the boss rather than healing the Ghoul for a very small portion of it's total HP. Fortunatly, as of next patch Night of the Dead will grant the Death Knight's pets 35/70% Avoidance if specced for it, a very welcome change.

### [top] Summon Gargoyle

Summon Gargoyle is a 21 point deep Unholy talent. Maximum duration 1 minute. The Gargoyle requires 50 Runic Power to be summoned and then 8 Runic Power for every second past that. So for it to last the whole full minute, you will need to generate 50 + 50 x 8 = 450 Runic Power over the duration of a minute. As Unholy, the optimal RP generation is 8 RP/s (see above section, Runic Power generation) which will grant you 480 RP/minute. If you summon the Gargoyle at 100 RP, you will need to generate 250 RP over the next minute.

What this means is that it's rather tight to generate enough Runic Power to keep the Gargoyle up a whole minute and get a DC or two off, but it is very possible. As Blood, it's recommended to only use Sudden Doom proc Death Coils though.

The best time to summon a Gargoyle is when you have as many attack power multipliers up as possible, as the Gargoyle will only check your AP when you summon it. So if you summon it with f.ex Rune of the Fallen Crusader proc, DMF trinket proc, Mirror of Truth proc and Call of the Wild (Hunter pet buff) your Gargoyle will do increased damage for the entire duration.

The biggest issue with the Gargoyle is how squishy it is (and as of now gets summoned with half HP, which doesn't help). We are not sure if Night of the Dead will affect Gargoyle, but let us hope .

### [top] Dancing Rune Weapon

DRW is the 51 point talent in Blood. It spawns a copy of your weapon, which copies your attacks.
Maximum duration 22 seconds. Dancing Rune Weapon should ONLY be used when you have 100 Runic Power. Any number below that will make it a waste, significantly reducing it's uptime.
It's major downside is that you will need to be hitting the boss for the duration of it's uptime and the fact it does not inherit your hit and expertise stats significantly increasing it's missrate. It's unsure if this is a bug or not. The major upside to DRW however is that it can't die.

A neat thing about DRW is that you can make it copies exactly everything you do. This includes summoning a Ghoul or even Army of the Dead! It also puts Hysteria on itself, but it's not clear if that actually increases it's damage. Sometimes it'll put the Hysteria on you (which probably has to do with latency) but a first test showed it would not increase your physical damage. It's very hard to replicate though, so very hard to test.

#### [top] Summon Gargoyle vs Dancing Rune Weapon

This comparison is for the 50/00/21 spec (obviously). Summon Gargoyle has the advantage that it scales way better with starting gear, while DRW gets SIGNIFICANTLY better with every weapon upgrade.

For Dancing Rune Weapon to become better than Summon Gargoyle, it will need to do more DPS in 22 seconds (in combination with your Death Coils) than Summon Gargoyle will do in a whole minute. Whether that's the case for every gearprogression, is hard to say right now.

Dancing Rune Weapon has the additional benefit that it's a fire and forget button. Summon Gargoyle will require some effort to keep up, which won't always be possible. They both have their ups and downs and it's just too early to say which one is the better one until we've seen some more ingame numbers. Again, the biggest problem is that Gargoyle dies too quick. It does significantly more DPS than DRW at the moment though, so on fights where it won't die and you can keep it up the entire duration, it's the better choice than DRW.

### [top] Army of the Dead

These are not really a pet, but rather minions. Army of the Dead is our level 80 ability and has a 20 minute cooldown.
Army of the Dead is another "oh shit" spell which is a channeled spell that summons a ghoul for every second you channeled. The ghouls will swarm the area and taunt everything that moves. This spell is useful in situations where a wipe is imminent, as the ten (needs to be verified) ghouls are great cannon fodder, since they will taunt the boss and get killed, giving you time to breathe.

## [top] Blood

The blood spec is the most physical damage based of all the DPS specs. Unlike other DPS specs, its primary strike only uses one rune rather than two, and this creates a unique situation of many strikes rather than a few super strong one.

### [top] Benefits brought by Blood specs

The unique raid buff that blood offers is the equivalent of an enhancement shaman’s Unleashed Rage. Called Abomination’s Might, this ability triggers off of both Heart Strike (your main attack) and Obliterate (used to generate Death Runes as a blood spec). You also get a buff called Hysteria that is usable every three minutes on a single target which increases the target’s physical damage by 30% for 30 seconds, but deals periodic damage to them. It is generally accepted that the best use of this (strictly from a PvE raid DPS perspective) is on the highest physical damage dealing warrior or feral druid. Use on a hunter (due to the buff not affecting pet damage, and hence a large part of the hunter’s DPS), death knight (due to a large amount of magic damage), retribution paladin (same reason as a death knight) or rogue (due to a massive amount of poison damage) is not recommended.
Blood's token aura is Blood Aura, which will make the selfhealing portion of Blood Presence a raidwide aura (do note this is NOT linked to whether or not the Death Knight is in Blood Presence).

### [top] Talent Choices

There are two common specs used as blood. Currently, a debate exists as to which is best, but they are close enough that both are viable. Different rotations are required to maximize DPS for these two specs, however.

50/0/21: This spec is based around Gargoyle as the primary runic power dump. The additional advantage of Blood Caked Blade and 5% more strength from Ravenous Dead and Shadow of Death make it a formidable spec. However, as will be shown in the next section, a sacrifice made to the rotation due to the absence of Annihilation causes a good portion of this benefit to be cancelled out by the next spec.

51/13/7: This spec uses Dancing Rune Weapon instead of Gargoyle. While it has been shown that DRW scales better with gear, Gargoyle lasts longer and proves to be a more efficient use of RP when compared to Death Coil. Proponents of this spec point to a more efficient rotation than the 50/0/21 spec shown above, while opponents point to the ten “wasted” talents placed in frost in order to be able to get to Annihilation. It has the upside of having the possibility of the 2xOB rotation as described below, which is a lot easier to maintain. A lot of people DPS in Unholy Presence with this spec and see better results. It all depends on your playstyle however, I for one did not see a DPS increase when I switched to Unholy Presence.

### [top] Rotation

PS = Plague Strike
IT = Icy Touch
HS = Heart Strike
OB = Obliterate
DC = Death Coil

Please note that DRW and Gargoyle are not included in rotations. They drain RP while used so you would simply not use DC’s while they were up, and maintain everything else in the rotation. Also note in the “DC” section, continue using Death Coil until you can’t cast anymore, meaning you have less than 40 RP remaining and no Sudden Doom procs. Rotations are shown over two cool-downs per rune, with full rotations lasting approximately 20 seconds.

50/0/21:

PS -> IT -> HS -> HS -> OB -> DC
PS -> IT -> HS -> HS -> HS -> HS -> DC

51/13/7:

PS -> IT -> HS -> HS -> OB -> DC
OB -> HS -> HS -> HS -> HS -> DC

51/13/7 the "2xOB-rotation":

PS -> IT -> OB -> HS -> HS -> DC
OB -> OB -> HS -> HS -> DC

This is a new version of the rotation 51/13/7 rotation. This rotation has a few upsides. It's easier to manage (less GCD) and will increase tremendously with weapon upgrades and the Sigil from Heigan. It's most likely more DPS than the first 51/13/7 rotation as soon as you have the Heigan Sigil.

### [top] Glyphs

#### [top] Major Glyphs

• Glyph of Obliterate: While you only use Obliterate one or two times in a 20 second rotation, this glyph makes the ability scale significantly better with gear. Once you get some T7 level gear, you can expect noticeably more powerful Obliterates with this glyph.
• Glyph of Icy Touch: This is widely regarded as a staple for all raiding DKs. The lost damage from IT isn't very signficant, but the extra RP generation (especially as 50/0/21 since you're casting IT twice as often) is very nice for DC damage.
• For your last major Glyph slot, there are a few choices. There is nothing simply amazing, but a few that you can chose from that provide some benefit. If you are dead-set on maximizing your DPS, then Glyph of Plague Strike or Glyph of the Ghoul is your best bet. If you want to throw in some surviveability or PVP focus since you wont get too much out of the previous glyphs, Glyph of Icebound Fortitude and Glyph of Strangulate provide some nice utility.

#### [top] Minor Glyphs

• Glyph of Pestilence: An invaluable minor glyph for all PVE DKs. This allows you to more easily AoE and spread diseases with pestilence, saving you from having to re-apply diseases where you might have previously had to. This, in turn, allows you to get more powerful strikes in the during the short lifespan of trash mobs and multi-mob boss encounters. IMO, absolutely required for every raiding DK.
• Glyph of Horn of Winter: Not an amazing glyph in all raiding situations, but it has its place in 5 mans and certain raiding encounters. If you aren't able to be near an enhancement shaman, this makes the fairly steep cost of HoW cheaper, and more bearable in a raiding situation.
• As for remaining minor glyph slots, you can chose whatever you find most helpful. At the moment, the only remotely helpful minor glyph for blood that hasn't been mentioned is Glyph of Blood Tap and that just allows you to get an extra HS in there every minute or so.

### [top] DPS Breakdown Per Talent Point

 DPS per talent point Maxed out Max-1 Max-2 Max-3 Max-4 Max-5 Butchery 1.51% 0.80% 1.51% Subversion 2.42% 0.81% 1.61% 2.42% Bladed Armor 5.30% 1.08% 2.13% 3.18% 4.25% 5.30% Bloody Strikes 7.13% 2.48% 4.85% 7.13% 2H spec 2.14% 1.07% 2.14% Dark Conviction 2.91% 0.58% 1.16% 1.74% 2.33% 2.91% Veteran of the 3rd War 1.92% 0.65% 1.29% 1.92% Bloody Vengeance 5.27% 1.76% 3.51% 5.27% Abomation's Might Exempt 2.75% 5.48% Hysteria Assume 4kdps 3.48% Sudden Doom 3.61% 0.24% 0.54% 1.57% 2.59% 3.61% Heart Strike HS->BS 3.72% Might of Mograine 3.34% 1.11% 2.23% 3.34% Blood Gorged 9.08% 1.82% 3.64% 5.45% 7.26% 9.08% Vicious Strikes 0.27% 0.14% 0.27% Morbidity 1.57% 0.52% 1.04% 1.57% Virulence 3.38% 0.13% 0.25% 0.38% Ravenous Dead No Ghoul 0.06% 0.10% 0.16% Necrosis 2.04% 0.41% 0.82% 1.23% 1.64% 2.04% Blood-Caked Blade 6.09% 2.03% 4.06% 6.09% Shadow of Death 0.10% 0.10% Gargoyle 6.87% 6.87%

## [top] Frost

The power of frost spec lies, not surprisingly, in the massive amount of frost damage it can put out. The elemental damage helps deal with armor mitigation, although Unholy does an even higher percentage of magic damage. Frost has the hardest hitting single abilities of all the specs, but of course balances this by having less consistent damage.

### [top] Benefits brought by a Frost spec

Frost provides the equivalent to Windfury Totem to the raid. You must get both Icy Talons (personal 20% haste buff) and Improved Icy Talons (makes the buff raid-wide and provides a permanent 5% extra haste). Frost also has a few personal utility-type abilities which are useful in raids, including Lichborne and Unbreakable Armor.
Frost's token aura is Frost Aura, which will make the Resistance portion of Frost Presence a raidwide aura (do note this is NOT linked to whether or not the Death Knight is in Frost Presence).
However, Frost specs do not usually pick this up unless it's a gimmick spec for a heavy resistance fight.

### [top] Talent Choices

17/54/0: Unlike blood, there is primarily only one DPS spec used for deep Frost builds. There are some points which can be shifted around as desired, but for the most part you will see a build that resembles this. A lot of the damage from this spec comes from Frost Strike, as well as Killing Machine and Rime procs for Icy Touch and Howling Blast.

### [top] Rotation

PS = Plague Strike
IT = Icy Touch
BS = Blood Strike
HB = Howling Blast
OB = Obliterate
FS = Frost Strike

Note in the “FS” section, continue using Frost Strike until you can’t cast anymore, meaning you have less than 40 RP remaining. Also, all Rime procs will be used in the “FS” section to cast HB. Note that in some situations (particularly AoE-related) HB may be superior. While you cannot replace all OBs with HBs due to the 6 second cool-down on HB, you can still get a significant boost by timing your HBs properly within your rotation. However, HBs usage must be primarily restricted to Rime procs, as OB has no cool-down and is fairly powerful. Rotations are shown over two cool-downs per rune, with full rotations lasting approximately 20 seconds.

17/54/0:

PS -> IT -> BS -> BS -> OB -> FS
PS -> IT -> OB -> OB -> FS

### [top] Glyphs

#### [top] Major Glyphs

• Glyph of Obliterate: Provides increased scaling on your primary strike. In typical raiding gear it increases your damage significantly, and is absolutely required by a frost spec.
• Glyph of Icy Touch: This is widely regarded as a staple for all raiding DKs. The lost damage from IT is a big more significant as frost, but the extra RP generation is very nice for FS usage.
• For your last major Glyph slot, there are a few choices. There is nothing simply amazing, but a few that you can chose from that provide some benefit. If you are dead-set on maximizing your DPS, then Glyph of Plague Strike or Glyph of the Ghoul is your best bet. If you want to throw in some surviveability or PVP focus since you wont get too much out of the previous glyphs, Glyph of Icebound Fortitude, Glyph of Frost Strike, and Glyph of Strangulate provide some nice utility.

#### [top] Minor Glyphs

• Glyph of Pestilence: An invaluable minor glyph for all PVE DKs. This allows you to more easily AoE and spread diseases with pestilence, saving you from having to re-apply diseases where you might have previously had to. This, in turn, allows you to get more powerful strikes in the during the short lifespan of trash mobs and multi-mob boss encounters. IMO, absolutely required for every raiding DK.
• Glyph of Horn of Winter: Not an amazing glyph in all raiding situations, but it has its place in 5 mans and certain raiding encounters. If you aren't able to be near an enhancement shaman, this makes the fairly steep cost of HoW cheaper, and more bearable in a raiding situation.
• As for remaining minor glyph slots, you can chose whatever you find most helpful. At the moment, the only remotely helpful minor glyph for frost that hasn't been mentioned is Glyph of Blood Tap and that just allows you to get an extra BS, Pestilence or Blood Boil in there every minute or so.

### [top] DPS Breakdown Per Talent Point

This isn’t available for the frost spec at the moment.

## [top] Unholy

Unholy is the most magic-damage heavy of all the specs. As such, it is particularly adept at killing targets with high armor and mitigation. In addition, it offers the most powerful area of effect damage of any of the specs.

### [top] Benefits brought by an Unholy spec

Unholy’s raid buff comes in the form of Ebon Plague. With the effects of Crypt Fever built-in, it not only provides all other Death Knights with 30% more disease damage, but also provides 13% more magic damage done to all targets diseased by you. While Warlocks and Moonkin can also provide this buff, it is most easily applied (especially to multiple targets) by a Death Knight. This spec is also capable of temporarily resurrecting raid members as ghouls, providing extra damage when no battle res is available.
Unholy's token aura is Unholy Aura, which will make the run speed portion of Unholy Presence a raidwide aura (do note this is NOT linked to whether or not the Death Knight is in Unholy Presence). Some argue that it's not worth picking up, more on that below in the Talent Choices section.

Please note that you should only have one Unholy DK in the raid at a given time. Ebon Plague does not stack, and will only count as a third disease for strike damage to the DK that applied it.

### [top] Talent Choices

17/0/54: You may see points in this tree distributed differently, but this is my personal preference. Note that the talents you are likely to see varying amounts of points are Necrosis, Impurity, and Unholy Aura. There are a lot of misconceptions floating around about these talents, but thankfully the DPS breakdown below helped clear up many of them. Many people also argue that Unholy Aura does not directly contribute to DPS, and hence is not worthwhile. However, here is a fairly convincing post that illustrates otherwise:

 Originally Posted by Zurm Let's do some napkin math, shall we? In a 25-man, let's assume we have 7 melee DPS. Now lets assume we are on a fight like KT, with approximately 10% running time with no run speed enchant, and let's also assume a personal sunstained DPS of all melee to be 4k. These are all fair numbers from what we have seen on beta, shifted slightly to make the math easier to follow. Now, without any runspeed enchant, we could expect each individual member to do: $4000 * (1-.1)= 3600 \text {DPS, and combined:} 3600 * 7 = 25200$ Now, if we increase running speed by 15%, we increase the (1-.1) = .9 multiplier to 1-.087 = .913. Re-doing this: $4000 * .913= 3652 \text {DPS, and combined:} 3652 * 7 = 25564$ Or a net raid DPS increase on this fight of 364. This is also just purely the DPS benefit from a running fight. This doesn't factor in the ability to hit your WHOLE raid with a 15% boost on fights like Heigan to make it easier (while it's not needed to have this speed boost on heigen, it certainly helps, especially with the achievement where no one can die t his bursts). Also, you will most likely be near to the tanks at all times, and allowing the tanks to grab targets more easily is extremely helpful.

### [top] 8.3.3. Rotation

PS = Plague Strike
IT = Icy Touch
BS = Blood Strike
SS = Scourge Strike
DC = Death Coil
UB = Unholy Blight

Note that in the “DC” section, you should continue to cast DC until you no longer can. Rotations are shown over two cool-downs per rune, with full rotations lasting approximately 20 seconds.

17/0/54:

PS -> IT -> BS -> BS -> SS -> UB
SS -> SS -> SS -> DC

### [top] Glyphs

#### [top] Major Glyphs

• Glyph of Plague Strike: This is actually quite good for unholy if you make sure your rotation is tight enough that the target always has one disease on them.
• Glyph of Bone Shield: Since bone shield offers a 2% increase to damage, this glyph ensures it stays up longer, hence increasing your damage. Also great on fights with lots of AoE damage.
• Glyph of Scourge Strike: This glyph is a must for Unholy DKs. Keep in mind that even with a 25% proc rate, there is a 32% chance in any given 4x SS rotation that you will get ZERO procs. However, the DPS increase it brings by proccing occasionaly is significant.
• For your last major Glyph slot, there are a few choices. There is nothing simply amazing, but a few that you can chose from that provide some benefit. If you are dead-set on maximizing your DPS, then Glyph of the Ghoul is your best bet. If you want to throw in some surviveability or PVP focus since you wont get too much out of the previous glyph, Glyph of Icebound Fortitude and Glyph of Strangulate provide some nice utility.

#### [top] Minor Glyphs

• Glyph of Pestilence: An invaluable minor glyph for all PVE DKs. This allows you to more easily AoE and spread diseases with pestilence, saving you from having to re-apply diseases where you might have previously had to. This, in turn, allows you to get more powerful strikes in the during the short lifespan of trash mobs and multi-mob boss encounters. IMO, absolutely required for every raiding DK.
• Glyph of Horn of Winter: Not an amazing glyph in all raiding situations, but it has its place in 5 mans and certain raiding encounters. If you aren't able to be near an enhancement shaman, this makes the fairly steep cost of HoW cheaper, and more bearable in a raiding situation.
• As for remaining minor glyph slots, you can chose whatever you find most helpful. At the moment, the only remotely helpful minor glyphs for unholy that haven't been mentioned are Glyph of Blood Tap and Glyph of Raise Dead.

### [top] DPS Breakdown Per Talent Point

#Skill Rotation(20) 4x SS % per point
1SS19.82%exempt
2Epidemic8.23%4.12%
3EbonPlaguebringer9.27%3.09%
4Bone Shield1.96%1.96%
5Wandering Plague5.83%1.94%
6Crypt Fever4.90%1.63%
7BcB4.77%1.59%
8Rage of Rivendare6.85%1.37%
9Vicious Strikes2.56%1.28%
10impurity5.34%1.07%
12Morbidity2.07%0.69%
13Necrosis3.16%0.63%
14Desecration2.77%0.55%
15Virulence1.14%0.38%
17Outbreak0.46%0.15%

## [top]Dual Wielding

(by Randyll)

Dual Wielding as a Death Knight has proven to be a viable choice due to the scalability of spell-based damage and increased proc generation.
A lot of the builds focus on increasing spell damage, and as every spell scales with attack power, the damage of dual wield builds increase greatly in a raid setting wherein buffs to attack power are plentiful.

Note to reader: as there is a lot of changes incoming in 3.1, this part of the article is subject to a lot of changes and is currently written for patch 3.0.9 in mind.

### [top]Benefits brought by Dual Wield spec

A Dual Wield spec Death Knight provides the same raid utility as a Deep Frost build.
The main utility coming from Improved Icy Talons, which brings the raid 20% melee haste and 5% self-haste to the Death Knight himself.

### [top]Itemization

Stat weighting remains roughly the same for Dual Wield as with other builds, the exceptions and variations are listed below. Despite of dual wielding suffering extra miss penalties (27%), hit doesn't need to be geared past the melee soft cap.
While raising it past the soft cap will provide a DPS increase, as the soft cap comprises special attacks, it's value is significantly lower after reaching that point.

For weapons, the best option is to use a slow main hand and a fast off hand combination, as a slow mainhand increases BCB damage and the BCB procs of the offhand are based on mainhand weapon damage.

#### [top]Notes on stats

Hit rating
Most damage comes from magical damage, hence hit rating past the cap can be useful. The spell miss chance against bosses is 17%, and as 8% melee hit (263 rating) translates to 11% spell hit rating, by including hit debuffs brought by Moonkins or Shadow Priests the hit chance is brought up to 14%. With food buffs that bring hit rating, such as Snapper Extreme, this can be increased to approximately 15.5%.
Expertise
As most of the damage of the spec is magical, the value of expertise is significantly lower for dual wielding, and as such, it's not worth socketing for.
Haste
Haste becomes a valuable stat for Dual Wield for two distinct reasons:
1) It lowers the global cooldown of spells, which in turn increases the number of abilities in your rotation.
2) Necrosis / Blood-Caked Blade. Necrosis and Blood-Caked Blade provide a significant increase to your DPS, thus increasing their occurrence via haste will be an overall DPS increase.

#### [top]Runeforges

To maximize damage output the best alternatives for runes are either dual Fallen Crusader or Fallen Crusader / Cinderglacier, with Fallen Crusader / Razorice being the least optimal solution.

### [top]Talent Choices

This spec relies on using Icy Touch and Howling Blast as the primary attacks and Killing Machine to boost their damage. Use Death Coil as a runic power dump between the cycles.

This spec plays identically to 0/32/39, with the exception of using Frost Strike instead of Death Coil as the runic power dump. It sports a larger Runic Power pool, hence Runic Power dumps will be more frequent. As this spec lacks Night of the Dead, the usage of the Ghoul glyph listed below is especially important.

### [top]Rotation

PS -> IT -> HB -> BS -> BS -> RPD
PS -> IT -> HB -> IT -> IT -> RPD

RPD denotes a Runic Power Dump, which varies depending on the talent specialization, see above.

## [top] Race Selection

### [top] The Alliance

#### [top] Draenei

The choice is a tough one for Alliance. If you have a lot of Draenei in your raid usually, go Dwarf or Human for the Expertise racial (from a pure DPS point of view).
Human has the added benefit of having Diplomacy and Every Man For Himself, while Dwarf has Stoneform for little extra DPS boost with Bladed Armor.
Gnomes don't really have any edge over any other class, Escape Artist for PvP is pretty nice though.
Night Elves are primarily a tanking race now.

### [top] The Horde

#### [top] Blood Elves

As for Horde, Orc is the superior race for DPS. Troll is alright for DPS as well.
Tauren, Undead and Blood Elves are the PvP choices with Tauren and Blood Elves having alright tanking racials as well.

## [top] Useful Macro's

Ghoul Death Coil on an Alt Modifier
#showtooltip Death Coil
/cast [nomodifier] Death Coil; [modifier:alt,target=pet] Death Coil
Uses Death Coil on your Ghoul if holding alt, uses it normally if you're not.

Spell Interrupt
#showtooltip Mind Freeze
/cast Mind Freeze
/cast Strangulate
Uses Mind Freeze, if Mind Freeze is on CD it uses Strangulate instead

Chains of Ice + Death Grip CC
#showtooltip Chains of Ice
/cast Chains of Ice
/cast Death Grip
Press this twice in quick succession and your target will fly through the air at a very slow rate.

Stunning a mob/player with the Ghoul if you have Master of Ghouls:
#showtooltip Death Grip
/cast Death Grip
/cast Gnaw
First it'll drag the mob/player to you with Death Grip, then it will stun it for 3 seconds.

## [top] Professions

Stat Comparisons (between professions):
• Herbalism = 66.7AP (average, requires consumables)
• Skinning = 25 Crit rating
• Alchemy = 64 AP (Flask of Endless Rage)
• Enchanting = 64 AP
• Jewelcrafting = 42 AP or 21 AGI or 21 STR or 21 Crit Rating or 21 Haste Rating or 21 Hit Rating or 177 ArPen (based on epic gems, which are currently not available)
• Jewelcrafting = 62 AP or 31 AGI or 31 STR etc. (counts avoiding using a blue gem instead of a red for meta requirements) (based on epic gems, which are currently not available)
• Blacksmithing = 80 AP or 40 AGI or 40 STR or 40 Crit Rating or 40 Haste Rating or 40 Hit Rating or 280 ArPen (based on epic gems, which are currently not available)
• Leatherworking = 64 AP
• Inscription = 64 AP
• Tailoring ~= 50-70 AP

## [top] Notes for Raid Leaders

The Death Knight is still a new class, so we're still in the middle of theorycrafting and daily people come up with new theories and/or findings. This will make it hard for you to judge a Death Knight player in the beginning. Rest assured, a Death Knight should do appropriate DPS for his gear level and should be on par with the other classes.

If your Death Knight is underperforming, it might be a good idea to make him read this thread/post.
Make sure he's using the approprite spec and rotation (check his damage breakdown with Recount or WWS). Also, a Death Knight is a hybrid so DO expect your Death Knight to do more than just DPSing. We are built on the possibility of tanking and all sorts of utility, so you would be a fool to not use these to your advantage.

A very good idea would be for you as a Raid Leader to familiarize yourself with this post as well so you can talk to your Death Knight. Know what stats he needs, know what rotation he should be using. Try and understand the class.
But most importantly... Have patience! It's a new class for everyone so without a doubt people have to learn how to play it in raids.

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 Contributors: Illundai Created by Illundai, 11/11/08 at 4:53 PM Last edited by Illundai, 03/18/09 at 12:04 PM 45 Comments , 1207015 Views
 11/11/08, 4:54 PM #2 Illundai Bald Bull     Vyoh Worgen Death Knight   The Maelstrom (EU) Straight conversion from my post on Class Mechanics, hopefully it ported correctly since I'm used to working with MediaWiki. Suggestions to layout are welcome, perhaps the article is a bit long in general, but it covers pretty much every aspect of DK PvE DPS.
 11/26/08, 5:43 AM #3 Randyll Don Flamenco     Aegon Human Paladin   Vashj (EU) You could include Enchant Boots - Icewalker - Spell - World of Warcraft in the enchants list. It's a very good DPS enchant for Death Knight's and of what I seen it's currently the most popular one, too. I saw no mention of it in the article, so it got me a bit curious. Also, looks like the links in the Table of Contents that point to unholy and frost glyphs all link to the blood glyphs section. Moreover, based on discussion in this thread, it seems like the bad reputation of Scourge Strike glyph is gone with many unholy Death Knights endorsing it's usage. Last edited by Randyll : 11/30/08 at 9:23 AM.
 11/26/08, 8:51 AM #4 Stopokingme Don Flamenco     Stopokingme Orc Shaman   Azjol-Nerub (EU) Wasn't the Chains of Ice + Death Grip combo fixed on beta? Might want to remove the macro from the list. Though the macro reversed is quite useful for the sparks at Malygos.
 11/27/08, 4:12 AM #5 Gavain Von Kaiser     Rognir Draenei Death Knight   Forscherliga (EU) After running heroics regulary with my unholy DK I am still not satisfied with the Unholy-section. Everything is build around fighting a single target (rotation, value of talent points etc.) I would roughly guess I fight at least 70% of the time against multiple targets, so especially value of talent points is flat out wrong in my eyes (Outbreak for example). It´s a lot about tings like: When use DnD (which tank class(aggro), how many mobs), When use BB over DnD (2=BB, 3+ DnD IF they last long enoug...high dps on trash = BB over DnD)...stuff like that. Is Gargoyle really worth a full dump of RP vs. 100% uptime UB and DC all the time ? It´s a little bit a view on unholy from the wrong side and feels incomplete to me. After what I see DnD scales so damn well with AP that it may be considered a core ability for rotations on multiple mobs. People often ask on which crit-rate your dots+DnD will crit. Might be worth to mention somewhere too. Last edited by Gavain : 11/27/08 at 5:49 AM. I can resist anything, but temptation (O.Wilde)
 11/27/08, 11:13 AM #6 Illundai Bald Bull     Vyoh Worgen Death Knight   The Maelstrom (EU) Yeah, I need to clean up a lot based on experiences on live. I need to fix people some secondary author access too... Leading my guild, rerolling and gearing up has taken a serious amount of my time, but don't worry, I will get to work on it in the near future :P.
 12/09/08, 3:12 PM #7 moriarti Glass Joe   moriarti Night Elf Rogue   Nazgrel The most important DK glyph for both tank and dps. While Glyph of Pestilence is certainly a must, the least talked about and yet the most obvious glyph is Death and Decay. It has a 20% chance PER DAMAGE TICK to fear everything IN PLACE for 2 seconds. Not only does this stop all casters and prevents all mobs from dodging/parrying, but it also makes sure that the mobs that are running around do not run out of the aoe damage. While it may seem to be a bad idea to do DnD while dpsing, the reduced threat while in blood presence is enough to offset the increased threat of DnD. To respond to any arguments that would claim that only the boss dps matters, I would point out that it is BC thinking. LK fights are all very adds-heavy. Almost all of them require heavy add management. This glyph procs once or twice every fight. It can can proc as many as 5-6 times during a 2 min boss fight. I've seen my dps go up by 10% when I put it on. It's value to a tank should be obvious.
 12/09/08, 3:23 PM #8 PogueMahone Glass Joe     Ragefox Troll Shaman   Khadgar All in all, a good, comprehensive collection of information - at least, as close as can be expected, given our as-of-yet incomplete familiarity with the class. One topic that I feel might be worth editing for later on (when we have more to go on) would be a quick paragraph on whether or not a death knight's approach to DPS would differ slightly while specced for a tank/offtank role, but acting as DPS for certain encounters (e.g., differing rotations based on the most powerful attacks for your spec). It seems obvious that this will be the case fairly often, but as my familiarity with the class thus far is restricted to blood and tri-spec, I have nothing to offer toward this scenario, so to be honest, I don't even know if it's worth a mention - just wanted to get it out there. Big thanks to Illundai for compiling all the scattered information into an easy-to-browse format, well done :) [edit: clarification] Last edited by PogueMahone : 12/09/08 at 3:37 PM.
12/10/08, 4:35 PM   #9
shinger
Glass Joe

Misha
Regarding the Dual-Wield Tri-Spec section:

 X = HB unless a Rime proc is up, OB if Rime is up
Just a quick note on something that I think should be change up above...

Rime is a talent, which increases the crit chance of HB and OB, and gives each of your IT a chance to give you a BUFF called FREEZING FOG. While freezing fog is up, your next HB will consume no runes.

As I've quoted above from the article, the text should actually read 'HB if Freezing Fog (from Rime) is up, OB otherwise'

Sort of the reverse of how its worded now. No use choosing OB since OB isn't effected by the buff that Rime's proc gives you.

This is an interesting mechanic, particularly because HB itself has a 6 second cooldown, and gaining the freezing fog buff does not reset the CD, and using HB while freezing fog is up still triggers the CD.

I find that sometimes I'll need to burn a couple DC's first while waiting for my HB cooldown, if i've used it previously. In a raid/instance, perhaps I'd be using OB more, but solo questing I find I use HB and don't ever use OB.. But hey I'm only 71

 12/10/08, 4:56 PM #10 Daedalix Piston Honda     Daedelix Draenei Shaman   Kilrogg The melee hit cap is apparently 8% as of the current patch. See: this thread. There's not much reason to believe this is a bug. That translates to 263 rating. As you pointed out in the Blood DPS Thread, DRW copies just about EVERYTHING you do. Specifically, it will cast its own ghoul, can cast Hysteria, puts its own Blood Plague and Frost Fever up, etc. An interesting corollary to this would be those same macros you posted. I'd have to say they are worthy of being included in the macros section and the information also put in the pets section. Stay thirsty my friends.
12/12/08, 9:08 AM   #11
Torn
Von Kaiser

Night Elf Death Knight

Khaz'goroth (EU)
 Originally Posted by shinger Regarding the Dual-Wield Tri-Spec section: Just a quick note on something that I think should be change up above... Rime is a talent, which increases the crit chance of HB and OB, and gives each of your IT a chance to give you a BUFF called FREEZING FOG. While freezing fog is up, your next HB will consume no runes. As I've quoted above from the article, the text should actually read 'HB if Freezing Fog (from Rime) is up, OB otherwise' Sort of the reverse of how its worded now. No use choosing OB since OB isn't effected by the buff that Rime's proc gives you.

Actually, I think it does make sense this way. When Rime is up, the guide recommends using the (rune-free) HB in the DC section. Simply use OB to consume the runes which normally would be consumed by HB. The Freezing Fog buff lasts long enough to cast HB in the DC section. Meanwhile, there's a good chance KM will proc to give you a rune-free and critical HB.

I'm not saying it's the best rotation (I don't know, honestly). But the description does make sense this way.

12/12/08, 10:34 AM   #12
Darkside
I find your lack of faith disturbing

Kroot
Orc Death Knight

No WoW Account
"While Haste is never a particularly desirable stat for Death Knights, we must remember how it effects their GCD. Because of dense rotations additional haste rating can reduce the strain on a player and allow for a larger margin of error. However, stacking too much of it is also not recommended, due to its low value."

I don't believe that haste lowers the the Death Knight GCD in any way, making it by and large one of the worst available stats for a DK to pick up.

When elaborating the differences between the Gargoyle and DRW, two things should be made clear that currently are not:
1) While the Gargoyle may have an advantage in straight "stand-and-DPS" fights (e.g. Patchwerk), it suffers to a much greater extent on heavy positioning fights, where you won't be able to take advantage of its full duration (e.g. Heigan). In such cases as this you are much more likely to get the full potential out of a shorter, more powerful ability.
2) The Gargoyle is susceptible to AoE damage drastically reducing it's usefullness in heavy AoE fights (Malygos P1, for example). DRW, to the best of my knowledge, cannot be targeted and is immune to all forms of damage.

It should also be mentioned that in addition to directly copying your white damage, DRW copies ALL of your attacks (including Raise Dead, Army of the Dead and curiously enough, Anti-Magic Shell), though it does receive a 50% damage penalty on all non-white damage. It will even apply it's own diseases and benefit from them (though it does NOT copy your talents, so using Obliterate will wipe our the DRW's diseases regardless of whether or not you have annihilation). Furthermore, DRW receives all of the buffs active on the DK at the time of summoning, therefore it is advisable to use all your trinkets/cooldowns/potions BEFORE summoning in order to receive the maximum effect.

Finally, I disagree with the stated analysis of Glyph of Scourge Strike. While it is not guaranteed a 100% proc-rate during any given rotation, that does not mean it is useless. It can allow you to continue DPS'ing without any interruptions to reapply diseases on a fairly reliable basis, resulting in a not insignificant increase in total damage output. The only major downside to this glyph is that you will lose a lot of Desecration uptime. However, Desecration is already considered a questionable talent at best, due to the high percentage of Boss fights that already involve lots of mobility and given that its duration is a full 8 seconds shorter than the duration of Blood Plague.

Last edited by Darkside : 12/12/08 at 10:45 AM.

 Originally Posted by Silmeria See this is how engineers argue! Why the fuck we gotta have 17 page threads on how much Diablo 3 sucks I blame liberal arts majors

 12/12/08, 2:38 PM #13 Thoros Glass Joe   Thoros Tauren Shaman   Gul'dan AEP Value for Agility While I realise that agility is strictly an inferior stat for us vis-a-vis crit rating, since so much plate itemsation tends to sport it, I'd like to have an AEP value to plug into Lootrank/Pawn for comparison's sake, so I'm wondering what your sims have found. Using some simple math to convert melee crit rating back to agility, I came up with a value of 1 AGI = 0.881 AP. That didn't take into account the decreased value of agility due to its ineffectiveness with regard to spell crit rating. I know this inefficacy is probably more important for me, as an unholy DK, so I'd really like to figure out some way to take it into account, and it seems to be that sims would be the best way to do that. Feel free to reply or adjust the primary post with any data you're able to find.
 12/12/08, 3:21 PM #14 PogueMahone Glass Joe     Ragefox Troll Shaman   Khadgar Another thing to keep in mind regarding a calculated weight for AGI is the very slight AP increase for anyone specced for Bladed Armor. While this is an extremely minimal increase to AP, it seems no smaller than the loss of spell crit from Crit-to-AGI. Probably not worth calculating two separate EP values for, just something to bear in mind when comparing gear - whatever weight it's given, it will, by a minuscule amount, be worth just a bit more to Blood, and less to Unholy.
12/12/08, 3:24 PM   #15
Stoical
Piston Honda

Goblin Rogue

Black Dragonflight
 Originally Posted by Thoros While I realise that agility is strictly an inferior stat for us vis-a-vis crit rating, since so much plate itemsation tends to sport it, I'd like to have an AEP value to plug into Lootrank/Pawn for comparison's sake, so I'm wondering what your sims have found. Using some simple math to convert melee crit rating back to agility, I came up with a value of 1 AGI = 0.881 AP. That didn't take into account the decreased value of agility due to its ineffectiveness with regard to spell crit rating. I know this inefficacy is probably more important for me, as an unholy DK, so I'd really like to figure out some way to take it into account, and it seems to be that sims would be the best way to do that. Feel free to reply or adjust the primary post with any data you're able to find.
I agree that sims would be best, but I've made do so far with just math. I started with the same math that you did to get 1 AGI = 0.8811 EP. Then I looked at a good benchmark fight where I felt my rotation was really solid to grab numbers on what percentage of my damage is affected by spell crit relative to the amount of my damage that is assisted by all crit. I then reduced the .8811 EP by the relevant percentage. This will be extremely spec-specific, but here are my numbers:

Spell crit abilities (DC + IT) = 24%
All crit abilities (excludes dots, gargoyle, BcB, Necrosis, WP, and UB) = 75%
24/75 = 32%; aka 32% of the damage subject to crit rating is coming from spells. 68% is not.
.68 x .8811 = .5991 final EP from AGI.

This result is unfortunately from a dreaded "survey of one," but I usually tank in Naxx, so I don't have a whole lot of dps spec / dps gear benchmark fights to gather from. Not too hard for anyone to do the same thing with their own gathered data, though.

Edit: Good point on the bladed armor. I have armor at .0277 EP if you have 5/5 Bladed Armor, so if you have that, Agi is .0554 better for you than I said above. .6545 for me. Small, but significant enough to consider.

 Elitist Jerks Death Knight: PvE DPS