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Death knight build samples
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This article contains builds submitted by individual Wowpedia editors. Their accuracy is not guaranteed, so read them with caution. For those who want to contribute their own builds here, please add a new subsection under the corresponding section. Please also feel free to add comments to others' builds.
- 1 Blood
- 2 Frost
- 3 Unholy
- 3.1 Unholy Tank (AoE Tanking) (12/5/51)
- 3.2 Optimal single target raid DPS) (17/0/54)
- 3.3 Costas84's Unholy PvP Build (18/0/53)
- 3.4 Unholy Destruction (24/2/45)
- 3.5 Unholy DPS (16/0/55)
- 3.6 Insane Unholy/Frost Dps (0/17/54)
- 3.7 Uber PVP Unholy/Blood (17/0/54)
- 3.8 Khorne25's Arena 2v2 build (with healer) (0/17/54)
- 3.9 Khorne25's Solo PvP (18/0/53)
- 3.10 Xdragonxx's pvp/arena build (0/15/56)
- 4 Not finding a good build?
Blood specs should always use a two-handed weapon. A dual-wielding Blood DK is a classic example of the Death Knoob. Blood tanks have higher stamina than other tanks (useful when starting out, since PuGs tend to blindly look at health totals), and good self-healing ability. They have merely decent AoE ability, which can be greatly augmented by going far enough into Unholy to take . Although the main point of a DPS Blood Death Knight is for insane single target damage.
Blood Tanking, improved AoE threat. (53/7/11)
This is very similar to a normal Blood tanking spec but it takes 2 points in Runic Power Mastery also it takes Corpse Explosion for instant AoE aggro. The only downside to this spec is that Corpse Explosion is virtually useless for boss fights unless they have mobs that spawn with them. I have tested this spec in 25 ToC and 10 ICC and have found it's threat generation significantly better than a normal Blood spec.
Blood PvP (37/0/34)
This half Blood half Unholy spec has given me amazing survivability against other people my lvl or higher up to about 3 - 5 lvls higher. The key in the spec is to keep your pet alive, keep your diseases on, and spam Death Strike and Rune Tap if necessary. If you find your self dying pop Death Pact or Mark of Blood. If your against a caster spam your Anti-Magic Shell or use Anti-Magic Zone when you can and watch them die.
High-End Gear PvE Build (51/0/20)
Similar to the normal blood raiding build, this is primarily made for building up runic power then unleashing it. The boss rotation (starter) is Icy Touch > Plague Strike > Death Strike > Heart Strike > Heart Strike > Blood Tap > Heart Strike > Dancing Rune Weapon > Heart Strike > Death Strike After that pop hysteria and trinkets then reapply icy touch and plague strike when needed. Heart strike whenever you have blood/death runes active and death strike whenever you have a Frost and Unholy rune active to turn them into death runes! When you get to 130 runic power spam Death Coil!
Insane Solo PvE Build (55/10/6)
|Purpose||PvE / Solo|
Insane DPS + Insane Survivability : With this build you will be able to level extremely fast with next to 0 deaths! you will need 3 macros : first [F]: /castrandom Blood Strike, Heart Strike second [S]: /castrandom Icy Touch, Obliterate last [L]: /castrandom Death Strike, Plague Strike rotation is : S - F - F - L - S - L - F Spam death coil whenever it is up - pestilence every now and then.
Conmment: Useful for soloing older content and for soloing world elites (such as the elites need at the end of the Nessingwary Mastery quests in Nagrand). It misses out on Dark Conviction and Bloody Vengeance, and picks up disposable talents within all trees. Not recommended for raids and instances.
Blood Raid DPS (51/0/20)
|Purpose||PvE Solo/Raid DPS|
Rotation = IT, PS, HS, HS or Pestilence (depending on number of mobs), DS, DC, HSx4, Pestilence to refresh diseases, DS to get more death runes This build can make quick work of your enemies from Heart Strike spam caused by using Pestilence to keep your diseases up, allowing more Death Strikes to make Death Runes.
Cc's blood dps build<--- (51/3/17)
A good blood DPS spec with a little survivability in case your tank dies and someone else has to take damage.
Comment: Misses out on the DPS gained by Bloody Strikes. Improved Icy Touch is disposable.
|Purpose||2h tanking, aggro hoe|
make this spec mainly for 1-3 target tanking. increases your parry and easier on heals.
Merk's MT Spec (Max Threat) (56/5/10)
Main Tank Spec, this spec gives TONS of Threat and Amazing Survivability.
Boss = IT > PS > Hysteria > HS > HS > DS....... HS as much as you can..... DS for Death Runes For HS...... Keep Diseases up!
AOE = DnD > IT > PS > Pest....then BB till you can get a DnD off.....Keep Diseases up!
(Macro RS to all your spells you use in combat)
Talents in this tree focus on spells and control, such as . Frost is a tree built for critical burst damage. This can be seen in the tree's talents. Since 3.3, Frost has been designed for dual-wielding. Using a two handed weapon to tank is possible, but will reduce threat. Using a two-handed weapon to DPS is a huge loss. Since most abilities are based of the damage range of the weapons, slow weapons (2.5+ speed) should be used. Since there are almost no slow tanking weapons, this means that tanking builds will use DPS weapons. This is fine, as will provide enough defense.
Frost tanks have the best avoidance of any tree, as well as the only access to good burst threat in the form of . They have less health and healing ability than Blood tanks, and strong AoE but not quite as strong as Unholy.
Deep Frost Tank (2H) (13/51/7)
Rotation= Icy Touch, Plague Strike (to get diseases going), Blood Strike, Howling Blast, then Frost Strike to dump runic power. Make sure you're hitting Rune Strike every time it comes up...it's only 20 RP and generates a lot of threat to a single target. Blood boil is a good aggro generator when you're waiting for cooldown on Howling Blast. In situations where you need to generate a large amount of initial threat, drop Death & Decay and pull the first target into the D&D circle with Death Grip.
This macro for Howling Blast auto-casts Deathchill whenever it is up to guarantee a crit:
"#showtooltip Howling Blast
/cast Howling Blast"
Comment: 2H Frost is less threat than dual wield.
55,88 a.k.a. DW tanking (5/58/8)
you want two slow weapon for a bigger buff from Improve Icy Talons, this build forcuses more on 5 mans where simply moving Morbidity points to Acclimation will make it more of a raiding build. It's strong in aoe and single target, through you might want to not lose focus during battle do to a little lacking aggro problem.
Sanctity's PvP Build (18/53/0)
|Purpose||PvP / Solo|
Build that uses primarily and . Oblit gains 24% extra crit on top of what your own crit is making this even in high resil pvp gear (lets say 10% crit reduction) a 30-40% critical chance high dmging attack. Since the only two spells you could use your KM and Deathchill are HB and FS theese too get insanely high overall crit rate. Great burst dmg can be achieved through procks coupled with KM.
This Build could be altered if you do not like or swap out for or Chill of the grave for more FSs. Some might even go into Unholy for Stun Reduction, Disease Lenghth and Lower CD on Grip.
Positives: High Controlled Burst dmg. (you can choose to sue Oblits and Save your KM procks for an opportune moment) Moderate survivability (Reduce dmg effects, 10% higher health, Rune Tap, Acclimation and Toughness) Moderate CC (50% AoE slow, Hungering cold)
Negatives: Vulnerable to Dispells (You'll hate dispellers and will need to use to get to them lowering your dmg) Downtime mid combat (Original build will have about 2-3 seconds of having no Runes or RP in which your dmg will be misserable however that can be fixed with glyphs/talents at expence of dmg)
P.S. - Yes this build only uses frost fever disease due to the fact 2/3 of your attacks dont rely on it, and the boost to the 1/3 is not substancial enough to make a difference
WhiteReaver's Frost DW DPS Build (3/53/15)
A good little dual-wield spec which, when using Glyph of Disease, allows you to refresh your diseases with a single Pestilence. This combined with the increased disease duration allows you to use your two death runes for an obliterate and still refresh afterwards with a single blood rune, allowing for long chains of Obliterate spam. This setup obviously can be tweaked for 2h with a little shifting about.
Example rotation: Plague > Touch > Blood St. > Pestilence > Howling > Obliterate > Obliterate > Obliterate
Use Blood St. > Pestilence whenever diseases are about to expire (theres loads of time) and replace an obliterate with Howling any time it comes off cooldown, in the event of a Freezing Fog proc it is reccommended that you use all runes beforehand as the disease refreshing can be a little tight on time using this method. Frost Strikes should be used as RP dumps when runes are on CD and Freezing Fog is not active.
Co's Arena DW Frost (0/54/17)
A great PvP spec for 2v2 and arena. Particularly strong against a melee team. Gets crucial PvP talents in both the Frost and Unholy tree, such as , , and for the free Mind Freeze. Also gets burst abilities such as . This couples high burst with good survivability for a very strong build. Also contains Glyphs.
Unholy Tank (AoE Tanking) (12/5/51)
|Purpose||OT Raiding / Heroic Farming|
Talent build compleate with surjested glyphs & has 3 points left over to put where you see fit.
This build excels at tanking multiple mobs due to the decreased cooldown on Death and Decay & improved disease damage ie; which can easily be spread to multiple targets. Also , & give the Unholy Death Knight an edge on single target tanking. Another great thing about Unholy Death Knight tanks is thier ability to negate magical damage thanks to abilities such as , & of course which reduces all damage taken by 20% while active.
Optimal single target raid DPS) (17/0/54)
As per Elitist Jerks, this build offers the highest single-target DPS at Tier 9 levels of gear. At tier 10 levels, hits hard enough that is worth taking. The spec then drops three points in to get that talent. Glyphs should be Dark Death, Ghoul and Icy Touch.
Rotation: Icy Touch, Plague Strike, Blood Strike, Blood Strike, Death Coil (until out of RP), Horn of Winter (if runes still on cooldown), Scourge Strike, Death Coil, Blood Strike, Blood Strike, Scourge Strike, Death Coil
Costas84's Unholy PvP Build (18/0/53)
You can start off by using Plague Strike then Icy Touch to apply the diseases.
Unholy Destruction (24/2/45)
This build allows for awesome survivability and high reaching DPS in both PvP and PvE/Raid situations. Includes recommended glyphs as well.
Unholy DPS (16/0/55)
Build that outputs some great DPS. You can switch out Dirge for something else as I found Butchery can be just as effective. Or effective enough. This build is perfect for FoS/PoS/HoR Runs. 'Could' go for more AoE. Add 1 point into Corpse Explosion with Glyph of CO. And 1 pt into Dark Conviction. So could be used when Gargoyle is not up. OR go Desecration to slow mobs down. Both not tested, just theories.
Single Target Rotation: /castsequence reset=combat/target/6 Icy Touch,Plague Strike,Blood Strike,Blood Strike,Death Coil,Scourge Strike,Horn of Winter,Scourge Strike,Death Coil,Scourge Strike,Scourge Strike
Works perfect if not pounding the keys as soon as ready. Slow-easy rotation to not pull aggro off of tank. If you do frantically hit the buttons, you will be stopped at one Scourge Strike, which would be good, stops you for a moment. This rotation is set to output the maximum DPS. Keeping Death Coil next to macro to shoot off if generating more than enough RP. But like to save that RP for Mind Freeze if in FoS/PoS/HoR.
Multi-Target: /castsequence reset=combat/6 Icy Touch,Plague Strike,Pestilence,Death and Decay,Horn of Winter,Death Coil,Scourge Strike,Blood Boil,Scourge Strike,Death Coil
Allows you to start on first target and will continue with sequence to the next target. By the time you loop around, DnD will be up again. When using this, good to quickly switch targets to shoot off a Death Coil to use that extra RP and switch back to previous main target.
Insane Unholy/Frost Dps (0/17/54)
A lot of people shun anything in the Frost tree for dps... well, ladies and gents, if you want high dps, this is the way to go. If you want some more AoE dps, then take 3 points out of Necrosis and put them into Morbidity. This build is a more evened out build, with high single, and very good AoE.
Rotation - IT,PS,Pest (If you want to AoE, if so, skip 1 BS) BS,BS,SS,Dump, Repeat
Uber PVP Unholy/Blood (17/0/54)
This build is designed to maximise your dps while providing useful abilities like Anti-Magic Zone. If you prefered you could also drop a talent in Improved Unholy Presence to add to Bone Shield. The suggested rotation for single targets is: IT-PS-SS-SS-BS-OB (Scourge Strike as much as you can then finish with Obliterate and repeat). For multiple targets: IT-PS-Pes-BB-BB-SS-OB. You can pop AMZ when appropriate.
Khorne25's Arena 2v2 build (with healer) (0/17/54)
|Purpose||PvP (Arena 2v2)|
NB: Requires personal healer
- Very solid damage from Death Coils and SS
- Two very useful counters: Lichborne and runicpower-free Mind Freezes
- AMZ to counter mages, they cant really do much about you in your shield (works very nice against mirror image)
- Effective as a kiting build (*seems* to be a good build against Paladins)
- Doesnt have Reaping, could invest in it if you find yourself needing the Death Runes. Personally I believe more DPS can be done without Reaping. I have used this build with Reaping and it works perfectly fine.
- Rotation: IT, PS, BS, BS, SS, SS, DC, BS, BS, DC, SS, SS, DC, DC, DT/OB
- Additionally use AMS, IF, and Mind Freeze as necessary. Save Lichborne for fears, Strangulate for when healers are nearly down and desperately healing (just to lock them down). AMZ for Mage Mirror Images and Shammies, DG them in if they run (ideally pop the AMZ on top of them - Mages are bound to Blink). Gargoyle to harass the Healer (and occasionally kill). Ghoul to interrupt and harass the healer or if the main 2v2 dps is a off-healer class, to add more dps and stun (note: I have used this build with stun on auto and manaul -> works both ways I find). Pestilence is useful to take down Mirror Images. Trinket out of Cyclones and Polymorphs and apply AMS ASAP if possible. Do not use Lichborne for short fears like Howl of Terror or the Warlock Death Coil, On A Pale Horse deals with that (pop AMS as soon as you come out of those fears and spam back Death Coils).
Khorne25's Solo PvP (18/0/53)
Similar to my above Arena 2v2 build. However this has Rune Tap and Blade Barrier for increased survival in solo PvP. Not having Lichborne and runicpower-free Mind Freezes is, however, very limiting.
Xdragonxx's pvp/arena build (0/15/56)
Used in pvp and arenas, trust me, Impurity is a help, but not REQUIRED to fill up 5/5.
Not finding a good build?
Try making your own, it's rather simple, you just need to get a few key points in each build.
For tanking you always want to get the 5 points in every tree for tanking regardless of what tree you want to focus in. Also glyphs are pretty easy. Get Rune Strike, one of your cool down glyphs, and a spam attack glyph.
Frost is mainly either AoE and/or dual wield. It works great for under geared tanks and 5 player runs.