[Death Knight] How to AoE

Jame's picture

Quick guide on how to AoE with a Death Knight

The following video shows how to gather a bunch of mobs and how to AoE it down with a Death Knight. This was done with a level 61 Death Knight, specced Unholy: 0/0/52. However, it's pretty much the same for other specs, besides you won't have the ghoul and unholy blight.

Basically, grab a bunch of mobs:

And then simply pick the one with the highest HP (Turning name plates on helps) and Death Strike it. Keep targeting the one with the highest HP and Death Strike it, until it's over. You can replace Death Strike by another ability (Scourge Strike, Obliterate, etc) if you don't need healing at this point.
Once your blood runes are up again, use Blood Boil twice and everything should be dead, with you at nearly full HP.

Here's the video, I strongly advise to watch it in High Quality.

==Note== If you liked the video, please don't forget to rate it! Eye

And here is a more advanced video which shows how far you can push with a Death Knight. This was done with a level 62 Human DK, wearing the DK starting area full blue set, no glyphs and no enchants.
The talent spec used is Unholy: 0/0/53

Click this link to watch the video in High Quality.

==Note== If you liked the video, please don't forget to rate it! Eye

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.


Jiyambi's picture

Out of Date

This guide is sadly out of date. If anyone is interested in adopting it and updating it, please leave a comment here. Until then, it will be moved to the archive section.

How to move the ghoul?

Nice videos (great soundtrack btw)!!
One thing that's puzzling me as a newb: how do you make the ghoul move to the other side?

Do you instruct him to attack a target? Puzzled
And how do you bring him back? By putting him on defensive stance?

It seems essential in a levelling AoE tactic...


Hey Jame I was just wondering what addon you were using that showed a timer on all your abilities. Like when they were on cooldown and they had a second countdown on the ability on the action bar.

Thanks Smiling

Jiyambi's picture

That's OmniCC for the

If you're talking about something tat shows the cooldown on the button on the action bar in numbers, that's OmniCC. It's wonderful, especially in combination with Redrange.


what do yall recommend for a lvl 67 dk and i need help on setting macros plz help

Night_Hawk's picture

I would suggest taking a

I would suggest taking a look at this website, it has all the commonly used macros on it.

what would u suggect my

what would u suggect my tallent tree look like

Skumball's picture

Nice, I've never bothered

Nice, I've never bothered with my DK before... Got it to 58 and he's been sat in Org ever since.

But I've been looking for an AoE class and cba with going from Level 1 with one, think I'll bring out the DK for some fun instead now after reading this Sticking out tongue

Oh, the second video has some sort of country filter on it - I'm in the UK and can't watch it, even if I set my regional settings to worldwide.

And why is it everywhere I go I'm getting bombarded with 30STM? It's not loud, fast, stupidly aggressive or technical, and no lyrics about zombies or anything... So why do I like their horrid catchiness? WHATISWRONGWITHME!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Guess I should succumb to the subliminal messages and buy the album once and for all... Ah well... Sticking out tongue

- Skumball

Skumball's picture

2nd vid works now...

2nd vid works now... lol?

BTW damn you Jame, and anyone else who has mind-warped me onto 30STM! Even trying to drown them out with Suffocation doesn't work Puzzled Admittedly, they are good though haha Smiling

- Skumball

Are there any Macros that

Are there any Macros that might help make this simpler?

AoE build for lvl 80

Hey Jame (and all who read this)!
I've been using AoE as DPS in dungeons and raids, but I am wondering if my build can be improved. The one I have at the moment is: http://eu.wowarmory.com/character-talents.xml?r=Bloodhoof&cn=Carnagath&gn=Atonement

All suggestions are welcome to optimize my damage output! Thanks in advance!

Night_Hawk's picture

I would probably recommend

I would probably recommend taking the points out of Toughness and putting them into the Blood Tree, taking Subversion and/or Butchery.

From the looks of it you have some points left over, so after that I would reccommend going for some of the tier 2 Blood talents (definately Two-Handed Weapon Specialisation and then the remaining two points where you want.

I think your choices in Unholy are fine Eye.

I would be interested to

I would be interested to hear if this is even viable now i have been looking at all the talk on the forums and Death Strike seems to of taken a big beating by the nerf bat.

Any thoughts before i set about starting out my DK proper ok ive wasted doing my JC up to 300 but that is a hit im willing to take if it means i do not spend precious play time on this class.

I say this as the aoe,solo group and old school raids at 80 was a big attraction and a bonus to my tank class pick if this change means they are no longer an option i will have to rethink the class i pick.

Any thoughts greatly appreciated.

AoE Build

Hey, I know 3.1.0 just came out yesterday, but could you please post an updated build? The build is 0/0/39 for me, and I'm guessing that might have to do with the fact that some of the talents were changed.

Thank you in advance!

EDIT: Could you also please make it for up to Level 80?

Hi Jame! I am astonished at

Hi Jame!
I am astonished at the effectiveness of the DK with the technoques you recommend. Thanks man!!(Laodamas is my priest) my DK id Diodorus!!



You'd do more AOE dps if you use:

icy touch, plague strike, pestilence, death and decay.

However yeah the basics of just diseases and death strike spam is the safest.

personally i do:

icy touch, plague strike, pestilence, death and decay, blood tap, blood boil, unholy blight, death strike, blood boil, death strike(if theres anything alive at this point)
and if needed i pop a icebound fortitude, just coz i can.

Hey, Jame, Unfortunately, I

Hey, Jame, Unfortunately, I can't view the second video you posted here because of the regional restrictions on YouTube. If you can, please, turn that restrictions off, really want to watch it Smiling
The funny part here is that I'm able to view the first video still...


~ gyunter

Jame's picture

Hmm that's really weird, I

Hmm that's really weird, I haven't put any kind of restriction on this video. I just went there and checked for it, and really, there's no restriction on this video Sad

There is, actually, the

There is, actually, the restriction problem for me too. I was only able to watch it using a proxy. Just for the record, I'm from Turkey and I was able to watch your first video perfectly fine.

DaGamer's picture

Both videos are well done -

Both videos are well done - thanks for doing them. The guides are great and the video is extra helpful.

I'm not that practiced, but I think I'll give that a try! I hadn't thought of using death strike to heal with on solo mobs - I usually stop and bandage - no more!

GAWD - Dk's are OP, but so fun to play!


"A diamond is just a lump of coal that did well under pressure!"

Blog - mmo2go.blogspot.com
Twitter - Ziboo


That's because Death and Decay is an expensive, awkward spell to use for actually not much additional damage. The most annoying thing about D+D is the 3 rune cost, which means you're basically giving up 1 blood boil and 1 death strike to use it. Blood boil might not do as much damage as 10 ticks of D+D (actually not even close heh), but since it does ALL its damage instantly, it has a much higher dps than D+D. And death strike is very important in any aoe rotation where you're fighting mobs worth aoe'ing in the first place. Sure, if you have a healer with you, or are aoe'ing lower level mobs that aren't doing much damage to you, you wouldn't need death strike and could throw in D+D. But in terms of solo grinding, Jame's rotation is best, simply because of the survivability of it, and the absolute ZERO downtime after each pull.

Jame's picture

Couldn't have put it better

Couldn't have put it better myself!


Err, I'm gonna have to go and contradict myself now...

I went and played with Death and Decay a little bit more, and it turns out I DO like it more than the original aoe rotation after all. After several tests on test dummies and actual packs of mobs, Death and Decay was consistently my #1 source of damage done per fight, doing about 19-23%. 2nd was almost always Frost Fever, at about 15%. Unholy Blight was 3rd, also showing as 15%.

Now the surprising part: When I ran several tests of the original aoe rotation, guess how high Blood Boil scored... #2? Nope. 3? Keep going. 5. That's right, even when spamming Blood Boil as often as inhumanly possible (including an extra cast from Blood Tap), it only showed up 5th on the list, below both DoTs, Unholy Blight, and even melee. Throwing in 1 Death and Decay actually increased my dps by over 30%.

I was confused why this was happening when I had tried both rotations months ago and had come to the conclusion that Death and Decay was useless. Well one big factor has to be the change in Jame's suggested build for levelling. Originally he picked up Outbreak, but has passed it up since patch 3.0.8.

So now the rotation I use for aoe is: (after bone shield and getting the mobs grouped up nice and neat of course) PS -> IT -> Pestilence -> D+D -> UB -> (Blood Tap before GCD is up) Blood Boil -> Death Strike / Scourge Strike as necessary, might be able to get one or two more Blood Boils in before the diseases all fade.

As I said before, you are giving up 1 Death Strike and 1 Blood Boil when you cast D+D. However as I found out, Blood Boil is pathetically weak now. As for Death Strike, even if the mobs wear you down by the time they're dead, you won't need healing in that first 5 seconds when you cast D+D. And besides, 30% more dps means the mobs will die faster and you will take less damage.

The funny thing is I would have never tried D+D at all until I tried to aoe groups of mobs with stun. I was frustrated with only getting to cast Blood Boil every 5 sec or so, and having my rune cooldowns all wasted. So I figured I'd try the D+D rotation, and was surprised to see all the mobs dying before I even came out of the first stun.

Jame's picture

Ah, now that's interesting.

Ah, now that's interesting. I didn't think removing the 3 points in Outbreak would make that much of a difference.

Guess I'll have to try it out and maybe make a new video. Sigh Sticking out tongue

Holyterror's picture

Rounding Up

I used your awesome guide and now the proud owner of an 80 DK (well have been for some time now Smiling )

Helpful tip: I use my mount to round up as many mobs as I can...then follow your abilty rotation.

If caster type: I target castor round up rest and start on caster first. If more than one, I DG ir strangulate it to the other.

Basic pulling procedure but I didn't see it spelled out for those who need.

DKs rule...others drool

DKs rule...others drool

Your directions and specs

I have configured my Death Knight the way you have suggested and set the tabs as close to yours as possible. I am sure that good players may be more efficient with their adjustments. I am 67 years old and have been playing this game for several years, I finally quit playing my 70 druid because it was just to much trouble to kill anything. Needless to say, I am not very good since this is my first ever game. I have been using your method and for the first time feel what the good players must experience. I can kill something higher than my level. At level 64 I was able to kill a level 63 Elite, I did use 1 pot and I am a Dranenei and have the magic button for additional health. I died but I also killed it. When I get this to level 80 I will look back at your guides for Druids. Thanks for you detailed explanations. My 38 year old son found your site and is using it as well. Again, thanks. Klaatu (1951 film version) Eye

Gethe's picture


How do you turn the nameplates on? I've tried Ctrl+v but it only shows plates for friendly NPCs and not mobs.

Jame's picture

Just go to your options>key

Just go to your options>key bindings

Look for "show enemy name plates" and bind a key to it.

Trollvink's picture

I can press 'V' for enemie

I can press 'V' for enemie nameplates and 'Ctrl+V' for friendly nameplates, this is however standard in WoW.

TL;DR: Press 'v'

Death and Decay

I personally use a little different rota. Im not sure about the english names now because im german, but ill try to get them right.

Im level 72 momentarily and i skilled 2.5.56.

In the blood tree I have 2 points in Butchery because i felt that at the beginning of the fight I generate too little Runepower.
In the frost tree I spent 5 points on Toughness, simply because It increases my armor.
The remaining points i spent in the Unholy tree. Talents that you definetely need to include are Unholy Blight and Crypt fever.

My rota is as follows:
Icy Touch->Plague Strike->Pestilence->Death and Decay->Boiling Blood

Depending on the amount of mobs you pulled you will have enough rune power to use

->Unholy blight Now the first mob should be dead by far and the you use
->Corpse explosion.

Death Strike when you feel that you need to.


Jame's picture

Yep, I tried that rotation

Yep, I tried that rotation as well. It works.

However, I still prefer my old rotation, I tend to finish fights with more HP when I do it my way (more death strikes available) and it just feels safer.

um what about....

What about death and decay? You didn't mention anything about it.

what song?

what is the name of the two songs that were played in this video

and btw Jawdropping! nice vid

Jame's picture

It's at the end of the video.

It's at the end of the video.

Shikamaru's picture

What's that big ring of

What's that big ring of green and gray on the ground ?

Jame's picture


staniwka's picture


* Use Icy Touch and/or Death coil to pull melee types to you
* Use Death Grip and/or Strangulate to pull caster types to you
* Once everything is nicely bunched up, use Icy Touch > Plague Strike > Pestilence > Blood Boil

look u have death coil and death grip with the same link to wowhead Smiling
death grip with death coil link

wildhammer EU
human shadow priest
human DK

Jame's picture

Thank you, fixed it! ps:

Thank you, fixed it!

ps: Please no "u" Sticking out tongue

Gathering up Neutral Mobs

I figured out a nice way of gathering up neutral mobs such as animals that don't proximity aggro.

Note: You must have the Unholy Talent "Unholy Blight!"

1. Fight a mob (or mobs) and build up at least 60 RP.
2. Cast Unholy Blight.
3. Mount up as soon as the global cooldown allows.
4. Ride around and gather those neutral mobs! Unholy Blight will damage them all, causing them to aggro!

This works particularly well in the first steps of the Nagrand Mastery quests.



Yeah, I am also waiting for keybinds.. I have the theory of your aoe down, but my fingers get tied together when trying to access the keys Smiling


I was wondering what sort of gear i should use when the Starting gear starts getting replaced?

Spellpower Plate gear? ie Palaish gear and ignore the int?
or should i go for full Tanking gear and try and avoid getting hit?

Also, still waiting for those keybinds Sticking out tongue

Jame's picture

Oh, hell now. Spell power is

Oh, hell now. Spell power is completely useless for DKs. Their spells get enhanced by attack power.

Just go for DPS gear with a lot of STR, Armor and sta and you're gtg for some crazy AoE sessions.

The keybinding guide will come as soon as I'm done with the Northrend guides. So it's gonna take a while Sticking out tongue

Glyphed Death Strike...

Outstanding guide, as usual. I've been leveling my Death Knight while my main characters (a mage and paladin) are accumulating some rested experience before the big push.

With the Glyph of Death Strike, you're gaining an additional 2% Damage *and* Healing for every 5 runic power you have. If you have 100 Runic Power (and aren't fighting elites, etc), this'll end up being 40% more damage and healing per strike.

Would you recommend then skipping Death Coil in your rotation (except to heal your Ghoul) in order to keep your damage up for Death Strike?


Would you recommend, at 100 runic power, to stop casting Scourge Strike in order to use Death Strike?

I'll play around with Theorycraft a bit, was wondering if you have any hands-on experience.

By the way, your videos are great! Would it be possible for you to throw a few videos in at 80 so we can keep our eye on the prize?


Jame's picture

While AoE'ing, I'd

While AoE'ing, I'd definitely skip Death Coil, besides for ghoul healing.

I also don't bother using Scourge Strike when AoE'ing, simply because you'll almost always need some healing, so might as well use Death Strike only and no need to look at your health anymore Eye

Key bindings

I was wondering what your key bindings are?


I would like to know the keybindings to the first video as well.

Jame's picture

Will add them when I get the

Will add them when I get the time!

Key Bindings

Aye, I would like to know this as well, it is always a consistent challenge.

death knight

man i cant wait for the x-pac i have been farming the materials on the death knight shopping list and i have nothing else to do but watch this video 500 times on how cool the death knights are, cant wait =D

About Glyphs

To start with, thank you for all the usefull info.
I have checked your site and some others to get a hint on what kind of gear/skills/specs I would use when leveling one.

I have played an UD priest since wow came out, and now Im throwing away all my chars for a death-knight.
Blood-spec was something I was going to go blindly in, but today you made me change my mind.

Oh, sorry for all that, to the question.

AOE-grinding/leveling like you show here, its made without any enchants or glyphs.
Since I am wasting all my money on stuff to my coming death-knight (only 4 days left! WOHO) its going to be a easy cakewalk for me, even if they decide to nerf it a bit.
What glyphs should I go with to make this easier?
And how many Glyphs can I have on me around level 60? 2 major 3 minor?
Since the price on death-knights glyphs is fucked up and not everyone is accesable I will try my best to get em.
Keep in mind, I only want the best runes for this sort of thing Eye
Thank you even if you dont answer you have pretty mutch made my spirit burn for wow again.