Latest Update: Heavy additions to the AMS/DSim section, among other more minor things.
11/28 | Cataclysm
From here on out, as was warned, all information will be strictly in regards to Cataclysm and level 85. Between the new patch, the holidays, the change in Invincible's drop rate, and other such factors, it's likely most people are basically done with Wrath raiding, at least progression-wise. It would just be silly to continue bothering with exploring level 80 theorycraft when in less than two weeks it's rendered irrelevant, and in those two weeks it will hardly benefit anyone anyways! Focusing on level 85 is just much more productive... not to mention it means the second you hit 85 you know how to spec, how to gear, how to play, and so on, and can immediately focus on progressing knowing that all the math has already been done and you're doing everything as it should be done as the spec.
That said, although everything in the thread is perfectly accurate (to the extent of the community's current knowledge), I still plan to add plenty more between now and December 7th. I do plan to add stat weights for other gear points aside from the current ilvl 359 one; ilvl 333 (normal dungeon), ilvl 346 (heroic dungeons/rep), and ilvl 372 (hard mode raids) are all on my agenda once I can get them refined. The reforging section needs to be redone, although I can't quite decide the best way to go about it, nor can I decide whether it's even worth bothering as there are several intelligent individuals working on reforging optimizers anyways. Trinkets will be added to their respective area as I can confirm uptimes. I do plan to do a Cataclysm DK FAQ, although that will be a separate thread most likely, primarily due to length issues and Frost overlap.
Aside from that, I can't think of much else useful to add, although I'm always open to advice, suggestions, and feedback in general.
A reminder to anyone new to how I do things: whenever I make a noticeable update (meaning something more substantial than fixing a broken link or what have you!), the thread title changes, so you can know if anything is different and whether there's any need to even open the post. It's always a different song each edit.
Otherwise, enjoy the guide, and hopefully it's as useful as ever.
Gone are the days where we have multiple cookiecutter specs to choose from, but none of those options happen to have even the slightest fraction of customization. Instead, we now have only two viable builds, and the sole thing to separate them from one another is weapon type. The upside to our lack of real options being that both specs are capable of getting each and every accessible dps talent, on top of having a couple points left over which are truly the player’s choice as to where they go. Blizzard’s new talent tree philosophy has succeeded, at least for Unholy.
[2H; Second Best] | 7/0/32 + 2
There's little to be said; as the default 2H build this grabs all the vital dps talents (of which, yes, Magic Suppression is one – although 1/3 is all it takes to reach a sufficient damage:RP conversion ratio). The point in Desecration can go in either Unholy Command or Resilient Infection - none of the three will affect your raw damage in PvE, so it's simply a matter of which form of utility you find most preferable for your own playstyle. The remaining two points can go, quite literally, wherever, with no noticeable effect (even for a min-maxer) on your damage output. DPS as this spec is done in Unholy Presence. Your ghoul will be the ability contributing the highest percent of your total damage, followed by Scourge Strike and then Death Coil.
[DW; Most Optimal] | 6/3/32
Surprisingly (or, perhaps, not so, depending on how closely you followed beta progression), dual wielding as Unholy is not only completely viable, it's actually undeniably optimal, trumping its 2H counterpart by a solid ~5%. Aside from sacrificing your two floater points as well as one from Improved Blood Tap in order to snag Nerves of Cold Steel, the spec is identical to the previous one, both in talent choice and playstyle as a greater whole. You still play in Unholy Presence. Your ghoul will be the ability contributing the highest percent of your total damage, followed by your auto-attack and then Death Coil.
With two floating points unused in the 2H build, you’re left with almost a dozen options from which to invest in, and it’s largely a matter of personal choice as to which of these you ultimately grab. Although some of the following may produce minor scraps of damage in rare raid situations, the amount gained is so incredibly laughable (we’re talking sub Virulence levels here, and that’s in the best case scenario where they even grant you anything at all), that unless you’re the most hardcore min-maxer or you’re one who sees absolutely zero worth in any of the other available selections, you’ll view them as just as option as the rest.
Runic Power Mastery
With one point, RPM allows you to hoard enough runic power to then dump three successive Death Coils, which lets you quickly stack Shadow Infusion back up after Dark Transformation has run its duration. The value in being able to do this is completely negated by the fact that doing three DCs back-to-back-to-back is almost guaranteed to waste you seconds of potential Runic Corruption uptime. The numbers just don’t show it being worth it. That said, RPM isn’t a complete dud – it increases the value of AMSing, as doing so often overcaps you with RP otherwise. If you can manage to generate over 100 RP before combat – more difficult with the new rune system, and flat out impossible in most situations - then this talent gains further value.
Scent of Blood
More RP is more damage, and that’s all it comes down to… the big disclaimer being that Scent of Blood requires you to get hit for it to proc. On a fight where you take the occasional unavoidable and nonlethal melee swing, SoB is free dps. Unfortunately, those fights are rather rare. Your call. Do note that most AoE damage auras present in raid encounters do not proc SoB.
This may seem like an odd addition to the list, at least for those of you who are still stuck in the Wrath mindset of raiding, but it really shouldn’t be so surprising when you consider the following facts: 1)Healers cannot afford to spend any more mana than they have to in Cataclysm, due to incredibly inflated mana costs and nerfed regen tools. 2) There’s no other real dps talents from which to draw from. 3) Blade Barrier provides what is, essentially, passive damage reduction. Combine those three facts, and this is actually a very decent place to stick your remaining talent points.
As the Lich King encounter showed, bringing a near passive (but also active on demand, if necessary) AoE snare is incredibly powerful – and now, with Chains of Ice being nerfed to a level hardly superior to Desecration, this talent is all that much stronger. Unfortunately, although this snare is unrivaled in terms of ease of application and effect on dps in situations which call for one, it’s also unrivaled in terms of annoyance when it’s not needed and tanks are trying to position mobs or drag them over to a specific location. Unlike Earthbind Totem, Hamstring, and every other snare – there’s no offswitch if you’re specced into this. You can’t just not use it; it’s there, for the good times and the bad. Whether it’s worth that drawback is largely a matter of opinion and of the specific content in question.
If there’s ever a boss who cleanses constantly, this talent would be amazing. Otherwise, hardly worth mentioning!
Although, as previously stated, one talent point in Magic Suppression is all you need to achieve an adequate damage:RP conversion ratio (one similar to what was experienced baseline in Wrath), additional talent points here provide additional survivability and slightly more runic power (although it doesn’t appear to scale linearly with the number of points invested). Additional survivability never hurts, especially in an expansion where healers can’t afford to spend the extra mana on a dpser who intentionally soaks avoidable damage so as to maximize their dps. The slight increase in runic power generation hardly matters, as the standard one point is sufficient to make it so most sources of raid damage will overcap you in RP anyways. It may give you some slight dps gain on certain fights, however. Survivability and damage (ever slight/rare it may be) makes MS a solid choice, and my personal preference.
10% decreased melee damage is an absolutely incredible debuff, and unarguably mandatory in a raid setting. The fact that we can pick it up without having to sacrifice any “real” dps talents is nice convenience... but one which, realistically, hardly matters. Every single tanking spec can bring the debuff in Cataclysm, with two of the four having it baseline, and all four of them being able to apply it without wrecking their rotation or TPS/DPS (whereas Blood Boil usage does not play nice with Unholy’s dislike of single Blood rune abilities).If your raid’s tanks are inept and don’t keep up the buff, then by all means, grab it (or, better yet, find new tanks!), but otherwise the talent really isn’t that attractive in PvE for us. If there are raid encounters where dps may be called on to off-tank mobs, then SF’s value would increase, but that’s unlikely to happen.
Hand of Doom
Strangulate is already one of the strongest silences in the game, lasting a whopping 5 seconds while having a relatively low base cooldown of two minutes. Knocking that cd in half to 60 seconds is amazing… if a fight ever actually benefits from you being able to silence more often (and if other classes can’t manage it with what tools they have open to them). It’s unlikely this would ever be the case, largely because PvE tends to only require interrupts, not actual silences, but things could change. Who knows. Odds are this will remain a PvP talent, but it can’t hurt for PvE – it just might not help.
Yes, I know a couple of the above may actually lead to the wrong glyph when clicked upon/moused over. This is a technical issue beyond my control (or understanding) dealing with how the forums fetch the information from Wowhead. There's nothing I can do about it; it's either have it appear as the right glyph, but link to a random one, or appear as a random one, but link to the right one. The first seems the lesser of two evils. Just pay attention to the name, not the mouse-over. It's matter that should resolve itself shortly.
The prime glyphs should speak for themselves, as they’re pretty obvious... aside from Glyph of Death and Decay. For 2H builds, they only use it when AoEing, but for DW builds, it's used all the time. Suffice is to say that, yes, DnD is part of their single target rotation, and since the glyph essentially boosts the damage by 50%, it's a must and far better than GoSS for that spec. As well, some might wonder why Glyph of Icy Touch isn’t taken for single targets, despite mastery support… and that’s just because the math doesn’t bear out unless you go out of your way to stack mastery (meaning you gem and reforge towards that sole stat), and doing such just isn’t optimal in any scenario.
As far as major glyphs go, the choices are rather straightforward largely because no other majors affect Unholy in the least, be it single target or AoE. Thus, you may as well take AMS, which is actually quite decent, and then Pestilence and BB, despite the fact that the latter two are only of value on AoE (and not worth a ton even then).
Minors are as relatively unimportant as ever. You have several decent (although hardly essential) choices: Glyph of Death's Embrace, which is excellent if you ever need to heal your pet (since, with the loss of Ghoul Frenzy, there's no other way to do so). Glyph of Path of Frost, which is great for fights involving fall damage. There’s Glyph of Blood Tap, which basically saves you 2500 health (at level 85) every 30-45 seconds. Glyph of Resilient Grip allows you to essentially spam taunt any target immune to the grip aspect of DG, and thus can come in handy. Glyph of Raise Ally does have some potential dps value, but only if others in the raid actually die early on and then make use of the increased run speed. Glyph of Horn of Winter is all but worthless, considering we’ll never go more than two minutes without casting HoW anyways.
Say good bye to the rigid, fixed rotations of the past, and hello to the priority-based playstyle of Cataclysm:
Diseases > Dark Transformation > DnD*/SS if both Unholy and/or all Death runes are up > FeS if both pairs of Blood and Frost runes are up > DC if SD, 100 RP, will overcap RP with anything else or if RC isn’t up > DnD*/SS > FeS > DC > HoW.
*DnD is only used in the single target rotation of a DW build, as a replacement for SS whenever one can.
That likely looks much more intimidating and, in general, complicated than it actually is:
Keeping up diseases is, as it’s (almost) always been, the most important thing, less so for their relatively mediocre damage these days and primarily for the boost they provide to everything else. While diseases may only last 33 seconds and Outbreak has an unreducable 60 second cooldown, Festering Strike will bridge the gap, making it so you never have to resort to IT or PS in regular play on a single target.
Then comes Dark Transformation, whose uptime needs to be maximized for optimal dps. DT boosts your Ghoul’s damage by a truckload – a straight up 100% buff overall, plus a 20% Claw specific boost, on top of Claw then cleaving. The second you can DT, you do – no exceptions unless, of course, your ghoul is unable to attack the boss at the time.
You never want to waste runes, which is why DnD/SS and FeS when both of their respective rune costs are up comes next. For DW, Death and Decay does more damage than Scourge Strike, even on a single target, so use the former over the latter whenever you can.
Just as you don’t want to waste runes, you don’t want to waste potential Sudden Doom procs (by having it just override a yet-to-be-used current one), runic power, or potential Runic Corruption (by having back-to-back procs), which is why you prioritize DC here.
After all of the above is factored away you simply DnD, SS, FeS, and DC. The order doesn’t actually particularly matter unless the mob’s death is imminent – in which case you go in that order. If you can, you want to try and avoid back-to-back Death Coils, due to the aforementioned potential loss of RC uptime, but sometimes it can be helped, and sometimes it's better if it will let you get DT up significantly sooner.
It’s worth noting that on a fight where a npc is constantly healing itself and you can count on the full absorb to be consumed (and the prevented healing would have meant that much more damage needing to be dealt), Necrotic Strike does replace Death and Decay/Scourge Strike in your rotation. It might not aid you with the meters, but it will be more effective in actually killing the boss.
A reminder: all of this is done in Unholy Presence.
The AoE rotation isn’t terribly different from the single target one:
Diseases > Dark Transformation > Death and Decay > SS if both Unholy and/or all Death runes are up > BB + IT if both pairs of Blood and Frost runes are up > DC if SD, 100 RP, will overcap RP with anything else or if RC isn’t up > SS > BB + IT > DC > HoW.
Differences to note:
Whenever you apply diseases, you also want to then spread them with Pestilence. As long as there’s at least one mob up who will survive for their full duration (or, of course, more mobs who may live for less), Pestilence is worth it.
Blood Boil use, for Unholy, always results in a leftover Frost rune which one has no choice but to use for Icy Touch. The two, in combination, replace Festering Strike in your rotation.
As long as there are three or more mobs present, BB + IT is worth using in place of FeS.
When AoEing, you should always switch to Frost Presence.
Everything else remains relatively unchanged and thus isn't worth commenting on.
Specific stat weights are listed later on, but may naturally vary by person, and thus the following chain of relative worth is generally of more use:
Strength > Hit to cap > Haste > Crit > Expertise to cap > Mastery > Agility
There’s not a ton to say.
Strength is as potent as ever – more so even, thanks to Unholy Might, one of the passives of Unholy, plus the fact that it's value stays constant as you level: 1 Strength will always provide X AP which will more or less lead to a constant amount of dps. This is unlike all of the below secondary stats, whose rating:percent conversion rates almost universally quadrupled from 80 to 85, and thus all of them (even hit) have taken a huge knock down in damage.
That said, although it is now inferior to strength, hit is still the best secondary stat. Because of its number two status, you'll never actually want to gem it; reforge to the cap if you're not already there. 8% is still the desirable number, even if dual-wielding. With Virulence now being 9% at max rank, you're automatically spell-hit capped if you're melee-capped.
Haste is decent, although it's no longer as remotely amazing as it was towards the end of Wrath. Do remember, it does now affect rune regeneration rates by the same amount at which it affects attack speed (meaning NewRuneRegenTime = (BaseRuneRegenTime) / (1 +(Haste%/100)), as well as our ghoul's energy generation rate (by that same formula). It does not affect diseases or Unholy Blight ticks. There is a softcap - a point at which haste offers diminished value - but it's not yet reachable in any current gear, and thus nothing to worry about.
Crit is as middle of the road as ever. Although pet's are intended to benefit from it (and although those of other classes now do), the Ghoul still doesn't. Blizzard has yet to comment on the subject, but presumably it's a bug. Hopefully, anyways. Once it's resolved, the value of the stat will jump, although it's unlikely it will surpass haste until later tiers of gear.
Expertise is as oddly distasteful as ever. If you can reach the haste soft-cap, then expertise would surpass crit (due to the fact that you’re GCD capped at that point), but beyond that, expertise is just not worth going out of your way to get. Unlike hit it doesn't affect our pet or our spell damage, and thus just doesn't have a large enough impact.
Mastery is absolutely atrocious as the numbers currently stand. 1 point of it increases disease damage by 8%, which just isn’t that much of a boost considering how weak diseases are these days. Compare to crit rating – the two have identical conversion rates – and it’s pretty obvious why it doesn’t stack up. Your disease damage would have to be at least 15% of your total damage for mastery to be worth it, and that just isn’t the case… unless you stacked mastery to get to that point, which would just be silly (and suboptimal).
Just for the record, agility items will never be taken from now on, unless the ilvl gap between it and a strength piece is something ridiculous (i.e, at least two tiers – 26 ilvls – worth). Part of this is because agility items no longer have attack power, while another part of it is because we get 5% strength for free when wearing all plate.
These numbers are relatively preliminary. I intended to have some more specific ones available, but due to last minute technical difficulties, it will have to wait. Don't get me wrong - these are completely accurate - I just like to have them for numerous different gear points and the like... not that anything noticeably changes up or down.
There are some slight variations between 2H and DW, and hopefully I'll have some more information on the differences soon. They're quite minor and the order of the stats don't actually change, but it's still worth exploring; I was just held up due to the last minute discovery of DW's viability/supremacy.
Do note that from this point in time and onward any and all stat weights presented by me will be in terms of dps, not attack power. There's numerous benefits to doing so: most notably the fact that when weights are in terms of dps, you can compare them cross-spec or even cross-class, allowing you to compare how different specs/classes scale relative to another, or permitting you to figure out who actually will benefit best from a specific upgrade. There's other factors in play, but that's one of the biggest motivators to switch. Besides, there's nothing you can do with weights-in-AP that you can't also do in weights-in-DPS.
If you really want the weights the old way, for some odd reason, simply multiply everything by the inverse of AP's dps weight; in this case, 1/0.68 = 1.47.
Reforging takes 40% of a secondary stat* already on an item and converts it into a secondary stat not already on an item. This lets you optimize your gear to a level like never before, and diminishes the gap between the best items and their lesser counterparts.
Unfortunately, it's very difficult to reforge properly, and takes way more math than gemming or actually gearing itself could ever require.
At first glance, it may seem nothing more than taking the least valuable stat on each item and reforging it to the most valuable stat not already present on that item and, to be truthful, that really is all there is to it. The complexity comes when working around the hit cap: unfortunately, there's no simple way to explain how to handle that. You don't just reforge your weakest stats into hit until the cap, and then focus on everything else. Sometimes it's desirable to reforge away hit on one item, but then reforge to it on another. Sometimes you just reforge it away. Sometimes you just reforge to it. In essence, you want to get your hit as close to the cap as possible (slightly over or slightly under not being too important), and do so while maximizing the rest of your secondary stats.
How to do this simply depends on your specific set up of gear, and I haven't quite figured out a simple way to explain the exact process. Fortunately, Kahorie is currently working on adding a reforging optimizer to his renown simulator, and that should make the process as thoughtless as can be. It should be done by the time the expansion hits; meanwhile, just suffer through doing your best at manually calculating it.
*Secondary stats mean Spirit and all ratings except Resilience (which is oddly exempt from reforging for whatever odd reasons).
Although specific EP values aren’t currently available, it doesn’t take any complex math to look at the T11 bonuses and know they're must haves:
[T11 2P] Increases the critical strike chance of your Death Coil and Frost Strike abilities by 5%.
[T11 4P] Each time you gain a Death Rune, you also gain 1% increased attack power for 30 sec. Stacks up to 3 times.
The two piece is an approximate 1% dps gain, while the four piece is more along the lines of a ~2% boost. Considering the set is well itemized even ignoring these bonuses, it would be silly not to get them, and undoubtedly suboptimal.
There's a common misconception that trinkets are somehow harder to evaluate than other items. They (generally) aren't. A trinket's value comes down to nothing more than:
Trinket Value =
(Amount of Passive Stat x Passive Stat's Weight) + ((Amount of Proc/Use Stat x Proc/Use Stat's Weight) x Proc/Use Uptime)
Unfortunately, however, there is the reason I put generally in parenthesis earlier: Blizzard does not make internal cooldowns (and, thus, uptimes) visible from an item's tooltip or datamined information, which can make trinkets difficult to eyeball in value. A good rule of thumb is that the ICD is equal to five times the duration of the proc, but that doesn’t always hold true, and hence why the following table is provided:
Proc/Use uptimes are approximate; they will vary based on specific fight mechanics, RNG, and such.
With Heroic Presence – the Draenei hit aura – being reworked to self-only, there’s no longer any real reason to differentiate between Alliance and Horde when it comes to Best in Slot sets, as one outfit will fit all… unless you’re a Draenei, in which case you can easily just reforge/enchant away some of the hit.
The only things which change between 2H and DW are, of course, the weapon. Everything else is identical for now.
Even if you're not hit-capped, remember, it's never worth going out of your way to gem to that point. Reforge to it if you must.
Aside from meeting your meta gem requirements, you only bother to use orange/purple gems if the socket bonus is 20 strength, 30 hit, 30 haste, or anything higher than that. Otherwise, simply go straight strength all the way.
Although the requirements are currently a ridiculously costly mandate of "having more blue gems than red" may make [Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond] appear undesirable - and, with those prerequisites, it certainly would be - Daxxarri recently announced that it's being reverted to the previous cost of "at least two blue gems", ensuring it's place as our number one meta. The alternatives simply aren't competitive.
Not much to say here. Although we still have Bladed Armor, prepotting with an armor potion isn't worth it - their duration has been decreased substantially, such that they last no longer than a "real" potion.
Similar to a Blood or Frost DK’s Ghoul or our own Gargoyle, Army of the Dead will take a snapshot of your AP, haste, and hit at the time summoned. Changes in these stats after you have casted the spell will have no effect on the summoned minions, and other stats – crit, mastery, and the like – will have no effect period.
The most optimal time to use Army of the Dead will vary from boss to boss, but it is typically right before the beginning of an encounter. Using it mid-fight can lead to lost dps time, as the spell is channeled, and can also open the possibility of the spell getting interrupted by an npc mechanic, drastically lowering the value of the spell. That said, if you are unable to cast it before the fight begins it is still worth casting mid-fight – ideally during a phase transition or similar period of down-time – simply not as large a gain as using it immediately before the pull.
One note about Army of the Dead is that although the summoned ghouls will not taunt a boss, they will taunt most adds present on boss encounters. Keep this in mind as it can cause a wipe if used inappropriately… or prevent one if used intelligently.
Summon Gargoyle isn't terribly complex in its use. Your Gargoyle scales with your attack power and haste based on the moment it was cast, and will retain those exact stats for its entire duration. Try to wait on using it until all of your procs coincide, however, don't let this make you miss an opportunity to cast it. Summoning your Gargoyle three times in a fight is better than only summoning it twice, regardless of procs. As such, figure out how many times you'll be able to use it based on the fight length. Try and use it at some point during Heroism's duration - it needs to be popped after Heroism is cast, while the buff is active on you, to benefit. This is also the time to pop your potion, ideally.
Also remember, your Gargoyle has horrid AI. It will melee if summoned too close to the center of the boss’s hitbox. There is a trick to avoid this, however, and it’s popularly referred to as “Gargoyle Twisting”. When you’re about to summon your Gargoyle, you want to quickly turn your character about 90 degrees from where you were facing the boss, cast the summon, and then quickly turn back, all in a fraction of a second. Done properly, you’ll only lose a miniscule fraction of auto-attack time on the boss, which is easily made up by your Gargoyle not meleeing for its entire duration. The only real way to mess up this technique is to keyboard turn… and if you’re doing that, you have more important issues to resolve!
Your Gargoyle will follow the same commands you give your Ghoul (i.e, follow, stay, attack, etc), so you can move it out of AoEs such as Shock Blast – however you are best off simply waiting until immediately after such spells to go off to summon it.
A 20% melee/range haste buff with a 30 second duration and a 3 minute cooldown is rather impressive - in fact, it would be an 18% or so dps boost for us during its course. Quite good. Unfortunately, the buff is classified as an enrage, and because of that fact it's an even greater damage gain for Fury Warriors, whose mastery amplifies the effect of enrages. They would get at least 25% more out of the buff than we would. When using it on others, try to time it with Heroism or various self-buffs they have such as Death Wish.
If a Fury Warrior isn't present in the raid, then yes, it's best to simply use it on yourself. It's cooldown lines up perfectly with that of Summon Gargoyle, so the two should generally be macroed together.
Be warned; you don't want to use UF on yourself when Heroism is up (or shortly before it does). Even if the two were to stack, either cooldown on its own is sufficient to GCD cap us, and thus it wouldn't be worthwhile to have them coinciding regardless.
Glancing blows (only on bosses) happen 24% of the time on auto-attacks and cannot be critical hits. A glancing blow deals 70% damage.
At level 85, you need 960 hit rating to be melee capped; 840 hit rating as a Draenei. This affects all of your melee attacks, white and yellow, preventing them from missing.
At level 85, you need 1128 hit rating to be spell capped; 1025 hit rating as a Draenei. The only dps skills that are affected by this are Death Coil, Icy Touch, Death and Decay, Pestilence and Blood Boil.
At level 85, you need 885 expertise rating (26 expertise) to hit the soft cap. This affects all of your melee attacks, white and yellow, preventing them from being dodged. You can still get parried if attacking a mob from the front.
All melee classes suffer a 4.8% crit suppression vs bosses when using melee attacks.
All spell attacks have a 3% crit suppression vs bosses.
With your Ghoul being one of your highest sources of damage, and the primary tool which sets an Unholy DK apart from other DKs, there are some basic numbers to know about it.
Due to lackluster AI, even with Claw on auto-cast, you Ghoul won't use it as often as it can. To maximize its dps, it's best to macro Claw into your Scourge Strike ability.
Ghouls work like most permanent pets, receiving a portion of your stats and benefitting from any buffs on you – although they, themselves, cannot be individually buffed so as to prevent double dipping.
Ghouls receive 100% of your strength, stamina, haste rating, crit rating, and hit rating. Glyph of Raise Dead causes your ghoul to receive 140% of your strength and stamina.
Ghoul hit rating rounds down. So if you have 7.99% hit rating, the ghoul will have 7% hit rating.
Ghouls gain expertise based on your hit rating. If you are half-way to the hit cap, then your pet will be half-way to the expertise cap. The Draenei hit aura does not give expertise to the pet.
Ghouls benefit from the 15% haste of Unholy Presence and the 10% damage of Frost presence.
Ghouls have a 90% passive AoE damage reduction buff which does not show up in the spellbook.
Ignored or forgotten by many, Anti-Magic Shell not only absorbs magic damage, but when talented into Magic Suppression it also produces Runic Power based on the damage absorbed. More Runic Power translates directly into more damage and, as such, the proper use of AMS is a skill essential for a DK wishing to perform to their very best. With the assistance of Veoxess, the information in this section has been compiled to showcase the various soaking opportunities - for both offensive (meaning primarily for the purpose of generating RP and thus dps) and defensive (meaning primarily for the purpose of saving your life) usage - present in each boss encounter present in tier 11 content.
The two different possible intentions behind using the spell aren't particularly important; offensive application will still convey defensive benefit, and vice versa. Still, if you can use AMS to save your life, that trumps any possible dps use, as should go without saying.
At this time, there are no known raid opportunities to use Dark Simulacrum worth nothing, but if and when such openings are available, they'll be included in the below.
[Halfus Wyrmbreaker] Fireball Barrage: The Proto-Behemoth will fly around in the air spamming fireballs on the raid. They are easy to dodge, but if you are looking for an easy way to get some free RP you can simply stand in place when they're about to land. The damage isn't lethal, with or without a cooldown. Flame Breath: As does every dragon, the Proto-Behemoth will cast a Flame Breath every 30 seconds. It is unavoidable and is a decent chunk of RP if you place your AMS properly. Since AMS is on a 45 second cooldown you'll only be able to get it every other time. Actual damage taken is rather minimal.
[Theralion and Valiona] Fabulous Flames: Flame patches spawn on the ground that deal negligible damage. Easy to side-step into them when AMS is up for the RP boost. Blackout: Much like Jaraxxus, Valiona will put a debuff on a random player which absorbs a specific amount worth of healing. Once the debuff has been healed through or has expired it will explode, splitting a large sum of damage by the number of players hit. AMSing here is great; not just for the typical dps boosting aspect, but also the survivability side of matters. Twilight Blast: Inflicts damage to a random player. All enemies within 8 yards take splash damage. Simply pop AMS if you are targeted or are running near someone with it.
[Ascendant Council] Feludius Water Bomb: Cast by Feludius after Ignacious does his Inferno Leap, this will deal damage and cause you to become Waterlogged. Instead of dealing with running towards a flame patch you can easily AMS the ability when he casts it to grant you a bit of RP as well as more uptime on the boss. Glaciate: Area aoe cast soon after Water Bomb. This will kill players who don't run out, but you can survive if you're at max health and you throw up AMS. It's risky, however, and generally speaking you gain more dps time by using AMS on Water Bomb.
Ignacious Flame Torrent: Deals damage in front of Ignacious. If you want to sneak in some extra RP you can run in front of Flame Torrent with AMS without dieing. There is no cleave to worry about, and the damage isn't high enough to pose any real risk of death. Inferno Rush: After Ignacious casts Inferno Leap he will then rush back to the tank, leaving a trail of fire. This fire is your cure to the aforementioned Water Bomb, as well as a free source of runic. Due to the frequency at which Inferno Leap + Inferno Rush are cast, you can always count on a flame patch being up in phase 1. Rising Flame: Cast when Ignacious uses Aegis of Flame. Rising Flame pulses fire damage and can easily be abused for AMS RP gain purposes.
Arion Call Winds: A cyclone will be flying around the room. If you are already lifted and you’re waiting for Quake to be cast you can always take another hit of the cyclone for extra RP. Lightning Rod: Marks 1 or 3 (for 10m or 25m, respectively) random targets in the raid, causing them to deal nature damage to all raid members around them after five seconds. If cast on you or if one of the targets doesn't run far enough, AMSing here provides a huge breather for the healers, in addition to the normal RP gain.
None to mention.
Elementium Monstrosity Lava Seed: Random spots on the ground will spawn small red flames, which will then eventually erupt. Similar to the flame patches from phase 1 of the encounter, these are a free source of RP with no serious risk of dying. Liquid Ice: The boss will continuously spawn ice underneath him. It deals damage and grows for each second he stays on top of it. Melee can stand on it the entire phase without any trouble, as the damage output isn't that great, and thus you can essentially AMS it on cooldown.
[Cho'gall] Corruption: Sickness: After 50% Corrupted Blood you gain the named debuff, which spews in a cone in front of you dealing shadow damage. You can always AMS your own debuff after you hit 50% to mitigate some of the damage; however, you will still have to turn away from the other melee. A better use is to AMS and sidestep into it if one of the other melee receive it. Be careful, since once your AMS falls off you’re susceptible to Corrupted Blood stacks. Flame’s Orders: Cho’gall gains an attack buff which spawns fire patches. Depending on how you tank the encounter you may or may not be able to take advantage of these patches. Shadow’s Orders: Cho’gall gains buff which pulses shadow damage to everyone in the raid. A perfect opportunity for soaking. Depravity: This is interruptable and should be interrupted each cast but if, for some random reason, one gets through, quickly AMSing will prevent a lot of damage and Corrupted Blood stacks. Corruption of the Old God: Cho’gall becomes completely corrupted and starts pulsing shadow damage to the entire raid for the entire phase. Brainless AMS usage for all. Sprayed Corruption: Deals damage as a conal AoE in front of the Faceless One. You can easily run in front and grab RP via AMS if you time it properly. These mobs do not cleave.
[Omnitron Defense System] Archanotron Arcane Annihilator: Targets a random player and deals arcane damage. When Electron becomes the target of choice place a focus on Archanotron and watch his cast. If at any point he targets you a pre-emptive AMS can be a life saver as well as a DPS gain. This should be interrupted, however, and thus not a worry.
Electron Electrical Discharge: Moderate to little damage. Chain lightning like effect. Not predictable. Jumps between random raid members. Trying to AMS this is likely an exercise in frustration.
Magmatron Incineration Security Measure: Jet of flames that originate from Magmatron and leave two spots of safety. The ability is channelled and thus no tank damage is being done at this point. The damage done is moderate and therefore casting AMS can be a huge benefit. Acquiring Target: Much like Incineration Security Measure, a jet of flames originate from Magmatron and is considered a channelled ability, therefore no tank damage is occurring. If you are the intended target run out of the raid and cast AMS therefore negating the ability and giving you a nice chunk of RP.
None to mention.
[Magmaw] Ignition: Sends walls of flame in random directions (much like Archimonde). It deals moderate to little damage so strafing to grab a tick with AMS up is an easy trick. Lava Spew: Spews lava damage to all players within 60 yards for 3 seconds. The damage here is heavy, and reducing it will make the healers love you - not to mention the full bar of runic never hurts. Pillar of Flame:Throws a stream of magma at a random raid member, dealing damage and causing a flame patch. An obvious candidate for soaking if you or someone nearby is targeted. Parasitic Infection: Deals damage every 2 seconds. At this point you should be out of the raid, but AMS’ing on the way is a decent way to pool RP for when you go back in. Infectious Vomit: Casted after the duration of Parasitic Infection. Deals heavy damage to you and any raid member within 8 yards. You would do well to stay out of the raid and use AMS defensively for this ability.
[Atramedes] Modulation: Increases sound by 7 and deals shadow damage. Damage is increased depending on your sound level. Using this early on can equate to less damage received over the course of the fight, as well as more RP gained. Roaring Flame: Flame patches are scattered across the room, dealing the laughable damage of flame patches everywhere. Running through one of these during air phase can give you a nice chunk of RP but you will still be sitting on your hands twiddling your thumbs, and thus it's likely not the best option. Sonar Bomb: A ground-based AoE. Once again, easy to soak from, but since it's only used during the air phase, you can't do much of anything with the RP gained. Sonic Fireball: Much like any meteor like effect, it is avoidable, but easy to soak from if needed. Only cast during the air phase.
[Chimaeron] Caustic Slime: Casts damage that is spread between raid members. Since you should be stacked at this point helping out your healers by soaking that bit of nature damage can really help as well as give you a nice amount of RP for when you get back in on Chimaeron.
[Nefarian's End] Electric Discharge: Onyxia’s sides will glow once this ability is fully charged. Lightning will erupt from her sides. Essentially, you shouldn’t take much damage from this, but if DPS isn’t high enough you can line-of-sight the ability behind the pillars. If for whatever reason you need to an AMS here would be appropriate to mitigate some of the incoming damage Hail of Bones: Nefarian will cast this during the first part of Phase 1. Each time it spawns an add which deals pulsing shadow damage. AMS if you find yourself near them since it tends to deal a large chunk of damage. Shadowblaze Spark: Deals very high damage which will prove fatal if you're slow to react. If you end up hesitating it would be best to AMS and then move since it will kill you within 3-4 seconds otherwise. Very risky to intentionally attempt to soak from. Blast Nova: Pulsing AOE that originates from the Chromatic Prototypes in Phase 2. You should take advantage of this since you will be on a small pillar with no way to avoid the damage anyway.
[Conclave of Wind] Rohash
None; Wind Blast will knock you back, resulting in death, with or without AMS.
Nezir Wind Chill: Stacking debuff dealing frost damage and increasing frost damage received. A well timed AMS can reset your stacks so that healing can be less of an issue, in addition to the normal RP produced. Ice Patch: Nezir will drop an Ice Patch every so often slowing movement and dealing damage. It is imperative that you get out of this patch as soon as possible but popping AMS on the way out for extra RP doesn't hurt. Sleet Storm: Cast when Nezir caps his energy, Sleet Storm deals damage to everyone on the platform and splits it between all of them. Timing AMS for this phase would be a good idea if you happen to be on the Frost Platform, but better off used elsewhere otherwise.
Anshal Soothing Breeze: An AoE heal cast by the boss which will also silence/pacify raid members standing in it If you happen to be under the boss when its cast you have a split second to react and AMS while running out. You will not be silenced if you do it correctly. Toxic Spores: Anshal will cast nurture which will spawn Creepers. Creepers are small adds that cast spores near them. If you happen to get too close to one you can AMS the stacks off if you time it well enough.
The fact that they’re new is irrelevant; Worgen have, hands down, the best PvE racials of any Alliance (or, debatably, any) race. Visciousness provides a passive 1% crit, while Darkflight gives the utility of a 40% speed sprint every 3 minutes. The two just cannot be beat, and their value isn’t dependent on using a specific weapon type or gearing around a special stat cap.
Heroic Presence – usually referred to as the “Draenei aura” – has been made self-only, as of patch 4.0.1, and thus the race can no longer claim supremacy. 1% hit still isn’t bad, however, and is stronger than any of the non-Worgen alternatives. Don't make the mistake of thinking 1% hit is better than 1% crit - with reforging, it's not. Gift of the Naaru is as laughably weak as ever, but a free heal-over-time at no cost of dps doesn’t hurt in an expansion where our self-healing capabilities in our dps spec is being severely reduced.
Best case scenario, being human gives you 3 expertise and a free snare/CC break every 3 minutes. Although the second is quite useful, the first is worse than the equivalent passives of both Worgen and Draenei, and that’s not even considering the fact that you only get that expertise if you’re using a sword or a mace of some type. For PvE, humans are very middle of the line. Not bad, but far from the best.
Similar to Humans, Dwarves provide expertise; 5 when you’re using any sort of mace. Although this is slightly stronger than the human weapon bonus, it’s also more limited in use, and on top of that is the fact that Stoneform – a poison/disease/bleed clear and slight armor (and thus AP, via BA) on a 2 minute cooldown – is clearly inferior to Every Man for Himself. All in all, I would put Dwarves on par with Humans, although they're nearly equal.
Gnomes are a relatively decent race for Frost DW DKs. Their weapon racial provides expertise, similar to Humans and Dwarves, but you need to be using a dagger or a one-hand sword to benefits. Escape Artist – a snare/immobilize break on a 1.75 minute cooldown – is actually quite decent, and certainly on par with EMFH or Darkflight in PvE. Not a bad option although, as always, the weapon racial is quite situational pending available itemization, and it's completely worthless if using a 2 hander.
Hands down the worst Alliance race for PvE dps , for Frost DKs or any other class/spec! All Night Elves have going for them is a temporary aggro dump on a two minute cooldown. Even if we had threat issues, which we don’t, this would still be quite horrendous, considering all the threat is returned to us the second you break Shadowmeld. There’s no passive which provides any sort of dps in any sort of scenario. If you’re truly looking to min-max, this is the last race you want as a dps.
Orcs have long been the absolute best race for Unholy dps, and they still are for Horde. 3 expertise when using an axe/fist, 5% pet damage, and a 15s boost to AP every 2 minutes is almost tailored to fit the spec. The expertise boost is based on weapon itemization available and the AP cooldown is quite decent (1170 at 85), thus being enough to place Orcs a step below Worgen if you're looking at the absolute best race, faction regardless. Still, Orcs are as solid a choice as ever.
It shouldn’t come as any huge surprise that Goblins, being a brand new race, are much better than average. 1% increased attack/cast speed is quite decent, and a resource-free nuke (or, alternatively, blink) on a 2 minute cooldown is free dps, pure and simple. Orcs ultimately win out, but it's a fairly close call.
Reduced snare duration and a 10s haste buff on a 3 minute cooldown. Trolls, and the remaining horde races, are a huge step down from the amazingness that is Goblins and Orcs. The dps benefit of these racials, although not nonexistent, are just so incredibly small it’s hardly worth analyzing.
15 runic power every 2 minutes, which is essentially one free Death Coil a fight. That’s hardly anything – about half of half of one percent of a dps boost. Barely noticeable. The lack of any sort of dps passive is what really hurts Blood Elves; and the remaining two races.
A charm/sleep/fear break on a 2 minute cooldown. That’s it. It will give you a couple extra seconds of dps time on the rare fight which involves a fear, but nothing more.
Even worse than Night Elves, all Tauren bring is a 2second AoE stun. Utterly worthless for PvE dps. There’s literally no benefit to it.
Leatherworking Draconic Embossment - Strength which replaces the otherwise standard 65 crit/haste to bracer enchant of Cataclysm. Stronger than all of the other available professions due to the gap between primary stats (strength) and secondary stats (ratings), although the exact numerical dps gain isn't quite as simple to pinpoint as with the other professions, due to the fact that your comparing different stats. Best option at the end of the day.
Jewelcrafting Bold Chimera’s Eye of which you can use three, coming out to a 81 strength gain. Ever so slightly superior to all of the below, but every bit helps. The second best available option.
Blacksmithing Socket Bracer and Socket Gloves, allowing for two additional Bold Infernal Rubys. Thus BS is the same 80 strength gain as almost everything else. Tied with Alchemy, Enchanting, and Inscription for DW, although moderately superior to those three for 2H.
Alchemy Mixology which, based off of Flask of Titanic Strength, gives a bonus of 80 strength, on top of the convenience gained by longer duration flasks and elixirs. Tied with Blacksmithing, Enchanting, and Inscription.
Enchanting Enchant Ring - Strength x 2. A straight up 80 strength gain, keeping in line with the majority of other self-perks. Tied with Blacksmithing, Alchemy, and Inscription.
Inscription Lionsmane Inscription, which is a 80 strength gain over its Therazane exalted counterpart. Tied with Blacksmithing, Alchemy, and Enchanting.
Personal dps benefit, aside from helmets, appears to be nothing more than Tazik Shocker for melee, as well as the previous benefits of Saronite Bombs and Nitro Boosts. From a raw numbers perspective, that would put it about on par with Herbalism. The utility is difficult to objectively quantify, and thus one might rate it a bit higher depending how much value they believe the sprint of the boot tinker holds.
Herbalism Lifeblood , which is now a haste cooldown with a minor self-heal attached. 480 haste rating for 20 seconds with a 2 minute cooldown comes out to 80 haste over time, although the actual value of the ability is a bit higher since you can line it up with cooldowns for a greater-than-normal benefit.
Tailoring Swordguard Embroidery, grants 800 AP for 15 seconds, which with a 45s ICD gives it a theoretical maximum of 267 AP over time. When you subtract from this the lost crit of a normal cloak enchant, it comes out well behind all of the above professions.
Mining Toughness, the self-only perk of Mining, provides 120 stamina and thus absolutely zero damage. Extra survivability never hurts, sure, but if you’re trying to optimize dps, this is the one profession to avoid like the plague.
I'm not a huge macro fanatic, but as many find them useful, the following are ones of Unholy DK interest:
#showtooltip Horn of Winter
/cancelaura Battle Shout
/cancelaura Horn of Winter
/cast Horn of Winter
Prevents you from getting "a stronger buff already exists" error message when attempting to cast Horn of Winter for runic power purposes. Unnecessary if your raid doesn't have a dps Warrior, but otherwise vital for preventing a dps loss.
#showtooltip Death Coil
/cast [modifier:shift,target=Pet] Death Coil
/cast [nomodifier] Death Coil
Shift will cause you to Death Coil your pet for the heal; otherwise, it will Death Coil your target as usual.
Shift will cause you to cast Unholy Frenzy on your raid's warrior (insert the name, of course), if present. Otherwise, it will cast it on you as usual, as well as cast Summon Gargoyle.
#showtooltip Scourge Strike
/cast [target=pettarget,harm,nodead] Claw
/cast Scourge Strike
Even if it's set to auto-cast, your ghoul won't use Claw fast enough to utilize all of its energy. This macro will eliminate that issue by causing your ghoul to additionally cast Claw whenever you Scourge Strike. It will automatically do so on its target, even if it is not the same as your own.
#showtooltip Mind Freeze
/cast [modifier:shift] Strangulate; Mind Freeze
A handy interrupt macro. Casts MF, but if MF misses, is on cooldown, or you're at range, just hold down shift and it will cast Strangulate.
UIs are a very individualized aspect of the game. It’s extremely rare for two people to be using the exact same mods in the exact same layout with the exact same options… and that’s honestly as it should be. What works for one person may or may not work for another, and personal familiarity and habit can often outweigh the transition of switching add-ons (or keybinds, for that matter) just because someone says something else is better. Besides, you don’t even have to use mods at all, and I’m sure there are some out there who make do with the default Blizzard UI for one reason or another.
That said there is something almost any moderately competent DK would agree on, and that’s that the default rune display is absolutely atrocious. You have to stare at the upper-left corner of your screen to see it. You can’t tell how many seconds are actually left on a rune refresh. It handles Runic Empowerment and Runic Corruption procs poorly.
Can you play with it? Yes. Can you perform to the best of your ability? Unlikely or, at best, quite difficult.
Thus if there is one sort of add-on I would advise every single DK to pick up, it’s a rune mod. The following are some of the most popular and useful, any and all of which are leagues above the built-in display.
Developed by this forum’s own dr_AllCOM3, DDR is my personal favorite and what I would highly recommend to any one new or old to the class. It does it all; clearly displays runes in a manner intuitive with the new rune system, highlights on RE/RC procs, shows time remaining on diseases, includes an icon for SD/KM, leeps track of SI stacks/DT time remaining, has a bar for runic power, and so on… all in a lightweight, unobtrusive little package. The only downside to the mod is the fact that it’s extremely limited in customization, but that’s only an issue if you don’t find the natural state absolutely perfect as I myself do!
What I used for most of Wrath, and another popular choice, MagicRunes are extremely customizable. You can have your runes display as a single vertical bar, multiple vertical bars, a single horizontal bar, multiple horizontal bars, squares, circles, line graph, bar graph, and all sorts of different setups. You can make it as big or a small as you like, as bright or as dark as you please. Similar to DDR, this also can track diseases and runic power if you so choose; unfortunately, unlike DDR, it doesn’t cover any of our procs or things like Shadow Infusion stacks. Perfectly functional, and an attractive option for those looking for something thoroughly tweakable.
Although I’ve never personally used it, seeing as how it’s the most popular rune mod download on Wowinterface, Runewatch must have something going for it. A quick look through shows it as having some options for different skins/layouts; more than DDR but less than MR. The display is a bit more garish and space intensive than most, but some may prefer that. As with the previous options, RW does include disease timers and runic power display, but as with MagicRunes, it lacks any sort of proc notification. Certainly better than the default, and a safe choice.
The analysis behind the numbers. Wanting to know why the latest changes have the sort of effect they do, and not simply what that effect is? Wanting to know the thoughts on a new patch from the perspective of a fellow DK with as much raiding experience as anyone? Wanting to know the general musings of yours truly? Then look no further; this blog is for you. Surely I’m allowed to plug my own work after having written this guide?
Kahorie’s DK Simulator
An amazing tool. Curious how much dps you should be doing relative to your gear level? Curious whether or not it’s time for you to transition specs? Curious what your personal stat weights are? The simulator can tell you all of that and more. It’s truly the best tool of its nature; its competitors don’t even come close in terms of accuracy or functionality.
Zerack’s DK Gear Optimizer
The spreadsheet ideal. Wondering whether or not you should bother getting hit/expertise capped, despite what it says here? Wondering what is Best in Slot of the items you already have or already have access to? Wondering whether it’s worth grabbing that socket bonus or not? These spreadsheets can tell you all of that and then some.
A DK-centric community. Looking for information about the other aspect of the class; tanking? Looking to read more anecdotal and subjective accounts of the class, in contrast to the more factual and objective fare you’ll partake in here? Looking for another interesting site to read? Then Pwnwear is your place.
I thank you for updating this thread Consider, your work is always appreciated
However I don't see you mention unholy frenzy in here, would you feel it is best to use on ourselves or will it be superior on other classes and go the way of hysteria where we are putting it on rogues/ferals?
Not sure how I possibly forgot Unholy Frenzy. Consider it remedied!
As for Raise Dead, that's simply a result of a talent change, so no, I did not mention it. No real place to, and the cooldown really isn't that important for PvE, especially since it starts on summon, and not on death. If anything, it's actually a buff in some ways. The real issue is the current loss of AoE avoidance, but that's presumably an oversight of removing Night of the Dead.
I was originally going to wait until 10/05 to post the thread, but had a last minute change of mind. Fixed.
Diseases > Dark Transformation > SS if both Unholy runes are up > FeS if both pairs of Blood and Frost runes are up >
DC if SD, 100 RP, will overcap RP with anything else or if RC isn’t up > SS > FeS > DC > HoW.
There comes a point in this priority where all the blood and frost runes are death runes and your about to have both sets of frost/blood completely refreshed. Is it better to FeS to keep the runes refreshing or try to work through it with SS? i ask because when all runes are death or unholy ss uses this order of priority UH>UH>B>B>F>F and you can quite literally end up with your frost runes sitting fully refreshed for 3+ GCD's.
Also FeS isnt in the abbreviations.
Lastly I'm getting glancing blows for white attacks only on the ptr currently.
In PTR, while working on dummy to master new priority system, I noticed my pet having 100% energy from time to time. It leaded me to suspect if pet doesn't use its special abilities efficiently by itself.
I macroed "/cast claw" into scourge strike and tested it against a dummy. Then I got the following data:
There should never come a time when you have all 6 runes up at once (beyond the very beginning of the fight/ERW use, of course). If that happens, you're doing something wrong; death runes are best spent on Scourge Strike. The scenario you describe, although possible in theory, would never occur in reality. If it did, you would be best off doing SS - FeS - SS - SS, for what that's worth.
As to the claw macro that's something I've noticed on beta as well, and I've been using the exact macro. The ghoul just won't use its own energy fast enough, auto-cast or not. It was even worse back when Ghoul Frenzy was still around, but doubled in effect. I was going to make note of it in the macro section, but perhaps I'll say something in the ghoul part since it's not really optional, but actually a mandatory way to maximize dps.
You should put the remaining talent point into RPM. It's a very good talent. If your runes can refresh while you have to run around you often end up capping your runic power. Especially the harder fights are designed that way. Plus you can actually store the bonus runic power from AMS.
In PTR, while working on dummy to master new priority system, I noticed my pet having 100% energy from time to time. It leaded me to suspect if pet doesn't use its special abilities efficiently by itself.
I macroed "/cast claw" into scourge strike and tested it against a dummy. Then I got the following data:
So, it looks like I'm having more claw special attack with the macro by looking at ratio: [(# of Claw + # of Sweeping Claws) / # of Melee].
Ratio (Without Macro) : 0.34 Ratio (With Macro) : 0.51
I'm not sure if it's PTR only issue and I've noticed it remained unchanged for a while. Anybody notice any kind of similar pet problem in PTR or BETA?
I noticed this as well. I took off all my armor and just beat on the dummy with my pet so I could stay in combat. W/ out the macro my ghould was doing ~520 dps. With the macro he was doing ~570 dps. The macro looks something like this
Of course if you're not an Orc dont put Blood fury in there. You can also macro this to other attacks. /use 10 is engineering glove enchant so you can take that out if you arent an engineer or would rather use it on CD yourself.
What this does is it keeps the ghoul from Energy capping. By casting claw everytime he has 40+ energy. I feel SS is the best attack to macro it on as it is the attack you'll be using most often with the surplus of Death Runes we have with the new rune system/Festering Strike.
RPM is alright in some specific situations; far from a must have. I would personally say more value lies in maxing out Magic Suppression. The dps benefit relative to RPM is quite similar; where RPM allows you to store more RP from AMS, MS provides you with more RP from AMS. Which wins out just depends on whether it's one larger burst (RPM) or a more consistent/constant amount (MS) which you're taking. If you consider the damage aspect of the talents similar, than I would argue MS easily pulls ahead due to the free survivability tacked on.
Largely a matter of personal choice, however, as the dps gained from either is quite minor in any sort of scenario.
The specific raid mechanics prevalent in Cata will probably be the largest factor as to which of the two (or the rest; Desecration, Blade Barrier, and Scent of Blood could all be potentially worthwhile) one ends up taking, most likely.
DDR, by the way, is probably the best rune mod ever for Cataclysm. Simply perfect.
Nice work as always.
Only thing I would add at the moment is mentioning Frost Presence in the AoE section.
Other things to keep in mind, although they are currently on the back-burner since they could be changed:
a) Blood Tap glitch still works (with both blood runes up, blood strike, then blood tap, and you will immediately have two fully charged death runes)
b) The newest fish feast (Seafood Magnifique Feast - Item - World of Warcraft) will most likely give 90 str/stam, making it equivalent to the Beer-blasted crocolisk; does require a guild to catch 10,000 fish from pools though :-)
c) Mention/Show that DW does not beat 2h (since you know it will come up)
d) Mention/Show that FC beats melee enchants when str>x
e) Gargoyle scales terribly at 85, is it even worth using?
c through e could go into the FAQ section I guess.
Obviously it can't be done quite yet, but a list of some of the top pre-heroic (rep/crafted/quests/reg dungeons) and then pre-raid (heroics and justice point) gear would be nice. Not really a BiS list so much as a "try and get these items/rep" sort of thing. Don't know if have plans for this or are just going to skip ahead to BiS tier 1 raid gear list. I will certainly be drawing up a wish list later when all the items are out and will drop it in this thread if you don't have one by then.
Since single target DPS is very close between Unholy and Frost presence (sim results), wouldn't it be worth switching to Frost presence for AOE? It doesn't cost a rune anymore (just drains all RP) so switching presences before and after AOEing should not be a problem. If someone could confirm this, you should add "Switch to Frost presence" to AOE Rotation part.
Not having access to 25 HLK weapons or Shadowmourne, I've been using H Bryntroll because of it's synergy with live talents. However, with the loss of the passive damage boosts from black ice, bone shield, and blood presence, is Bryntroll going to be any good come 4.0? I'm assuming that the proc will lose a lot of value with the talent changes and H cryptmaker will easily edge it with the implementation of reforging. Is this a safe assumption, or am I missing something about Bryntroll and how it will be affected by IUP/anything else?
I haven't really been keeping up on the Death Knight changes for Cata and this is the most I've ever really looked into specs, but wouldn't it be more beneficial to take the points out of Butchery and Imp BT and put them some where else like RP Mastery? I'm not sure where to put the one last point but i would guess something like Magic Suppression? I'm most likely wrong but does blood tap play that big of a role that it would be beneficial to have 30 seconds off the CD?