Note: This guide is a revision of Eric’s original Dual Wielding Death Knight DPS Guide. With permission, I have revamped it for 3.2.2, using his original format (which is awesome btw) and my own text.
The Death Knight is a new class added in the Wrath of the Lich King. Blizzard calls it a hero class because of the many nice things it is able to do. While you are leveling, the death knight seems to be a much overpowered class, but it ends up as a normalish class at level 80.
To begin, let’s talk talents. Talent builds are the most important tactics for all classes even for pets (the hunters pet talents). There are talent specializations for player vs. player combat, for DPS in raid, for tanking, healing etc.
The talents we’ll be using in this guide are for DPS.
What you need to use this guide:
- Level up to level 80.
- Train up all skills at death knight class trainer (will cost between 200 – 400 gold)
- Equip dual wield.
If you don’t have a set of one-handed weapons, you can either try Unholy or Blood for Two-handed weapon DPS, or get a couple one-handed weapons.
I would recommend you get a pair of Aledar’s Battlestar, which drops from Heroic Trial of the Champion.
Table of Contents
- Talent build
- Spells and abilities
- Spell rotations
- Levelling as a Death knight
- In progress / Updates
For link, click here.
There are several different builds for Dual Wield DPS at the moment. This is the one I’ve had the most success with. Why this is the best choice?:
- Nerves of Cold Steel reduces the required hit rating to cap! Instead of 8%, you now only need 5%.
- Howling blast is the next bonus. This is a great spell. Really hurts in AoE.
- Killing Machine and Rime: Put these together and you get a free Howling Blast CRIT!
- Icy Talons can replace the need for a shaman’s Windfury Totem in raids and dungeons.
SPELLS AND ABILITIES
Obliterate is your main source of damage. Obliterate is useful for single target DPS’ing and will do a lot more damage if the target you attack has Frost Fever and Blood Plague.
Blood strike is your secondary strike. Blood Strike is useful for single target DPS’ing and will do more damage if the target you attack has Frost Fever and Blood Plague.
Third most important spell in the spell rotation of PvE dps. It drops off a desease called Blood Plague that it is very important to always get on the target. Very nice for PvP also because it removes a healing over time effect like Regrowth, Renew etc.
This is your AoE spell. Does double damage if mobs are infected with Frost Fever. For both raiding and PvP DPS this is great. So it’s important to have Frost Fever on all targets for optimal DPS. If you to also get a Killing Machine and/or Rime proc you will crit for a massive amount of damage.
Great magic, most of the combos as a death knight start with Icy Touch.
Used for mass kill dps or AOE leveling. Always cast it after Plague Strike and Icy touch when facing multiple mobs.
This can be a lifesaver when soloing or when you overtake aggro on a mob. It’s a tank spell but works great as a dps.
Horn of Winter
This is the death knight’s buff. Make sure to cast it when it runs out. Make sure to tell shamans not to use their Strength of Earth Totem, as this gives the same buff.
This spell is used to return your ghoul from a dead humanoid or Corspe Dust. Very important. Also, with Glyph of Raise Dead, this no longer requires Corpse Dust, so use it whenever you can!
The spell rotation is simple, but with a few tricks thrown in. You will DPS in Blood Presence at all times. This below is for single target dps.
After doing this rotation, all your runes are on cooldown. This is what you will do normally.
However, you should know that Killing Machine and Rime have a chance to proc. What to do when this happens? Simple: If Killing Machine procs (a free crit), but Rime does not, just run through the rotation normally. However, if both Killing Machine AND Rime (a free Howling Blast cast) proc, immediately use Howling Blast. Other than those 2 procs, this rotation will cut the mustard.
Now to the AoE DPS. For this, it is simple. What I prefer to start with is:
Make sure to jump on those Killing Machine and Rime procs, a howling blast crit on an AoE pull is sure to bump your dps through the f***ng roof!
Make sure you don’t pull a troop of mobs or a boss with Howling Blast. To prevent that, you need to get behind the mob with the front towards the tank.
Gear is the most important thing for PvE at level 80. Gear is what you wear and is created to improve your stats. Now that Emblems of Conquest drop in heroics and some raids, you can take advantage of the gear purchasable with these emblems. In this section I’ve made a list of what you need to get the best DPS in heroic, raids etc. Death knights will need a mix between critical strike rating, haste rating and strength.
WoWhead has an excellent tool for finding and comparing gear. It has an adjustable weighting system preset for healing druids and an advanced filter so you can look at items only from a specific level range or source. You can compare gear quite easily with this source as well – it even has a nice system for comparing two hand weapons with combinations of one hand and off hand items. I highly recommend checking it out for your gearing questions.
This section contains the gear you can get before even taking a step into Naxx, or whatever raid you want to do. With the new patch heroics are dropping Emblems of Conquest and yes, we are going to take advantage of that.
Note: The Emblem of Conquest Quartermaster is located in your faction’s side of Dalaran.
Spiked Battleguard Choker: Bought with 19 Emblems of Conquest.
Pendant of the Outcast Hero: Bought with 25 Emblems of Heroism. There really isn’t any alternative to the first one, as this would actually cost MORE.
Majestic Silversmith Shoulderplates: This drops in Heroic 5-man ToC. Off of Eadric the Pure. 12% Drop chance.
There isn’t any alternative to this. Getting shoulders pre-raid is difficult.
Hammerhead Sharkskin Cloak: This costs 25 Emblems of Valor. You can trade in Conquest badges for Valor badges.
Drape of the Undefeated: This drops in Regular-mode 5 man ToC off of the Black Knight.
Conqueror’s Darkruned Battleplate: You can buy this with 58 Emblems of Conquest.
Breastplate of the Imperial Joust: This drops in Regular mode 5 man ToC off of Eadric the Pure or Argent Confessor Paletress.
Plated Greaves of Providence: This drops in Heroic 5 man ToC off of Argent Confessor Paletress.
Spiked Titansteel Treads: Can be crafted by a blacksmith. Usually goes for 600g on the Auction House.
Ring of Invincibility: Costs 25 Emblems of Valor.
Hemorrhaging Circle: Drops off Gal’Darah in heroic Gundrak.
Titanium Impact Band: Made by a jewelcrafter. Again, goes for about 600g on the Auction House.
Uruka’s Band of Zeal: Drops in regular 5 man ToC from the Black Knight.
Banner of Victory: Drops in regular ToC off the Black Knight.
Darkmoon Card: Greatness: This will cost a lot of gold. But if you have the gold go for it! It’s a great trinket.
Mirror of Truth: Costs 40 Emblems of Heroism. This does seem like a lot compared to the other Emblem gear, but there are no real alternatives.
Aledar’s Battlestar: This drops off Eadric the Pure in heroic 5 man ToC. It is not unique, and if you can get two of them that’s awesome.
Titansteel Bonecrusher: Made from Blacksmithing. There really aren’t any other alternatives to these, sadly.
Sigil of Awareness: This costs 25 emblems of Valor, and is the best sigil outside of raids for Frost.
Sigil of the Vengeful Heart: This costs 19 Emblems of Conquest. It is cheaper than the Sigil of Awareness, and has a higher iLvl, but frost benefits only a little bit from this one.
If you decide to go for the badge gear, you’ll need a little over 300 badges. Yes, this is a lot, but getting all of it will help you in the long run. With all the top choices of gear on you can enter raids and do OVER 4000 DPS WITH NO PROBLEM. Remember how I said we’re taking advantage of the emblems? Yeah, that’s why.
Stats you need:
- Strength / Attack Power
Totally number 1! high strength or attack power is just a must, without that you don’t deliver enough damage and it is also required for many raids. You will be gemming for strength and only strength once you are hit capped.
- Critical strike Rating
Crit rating is also very important, though is considered less of a DPS upgrade than strength when gemming.
Improve critical chance. Do NOT try to gear for Agil, Critical Strike gear outweighs it 100% of the time.
- Haste Rating
Also a nice addition. Makes time between attacks faster. This is very important for dual wielding, but again, is not required to gem.
- Hit Rating
In many raids hit rating is required. Hit rating improves chance to hit with melee weapons. With the talent build I have supplied, you will only need 5% to cap special attacks, which should be easily attainable with gear.
Expertise reduces the chance to be dodged or parried. (Not misses). 2%-4% is good.
- Armor Penetration
A new stat added in The Burning Crusade. It reduces you enemy’s armour. It says “reduces enemy’s armour by up to 537″ (The words in bold make a big difference). This stat is more important for blood than frost, so do not worry about it.
Rune of Razorice Crafted by runeforging
Rune of the Fallen Crusader Crafted by runeforging
Arcanum of Torment 150g in icecrown from Knights of the ebon blade quartermaster. Requires revered with Knight of the Ebon Blade.
Eternal Belt Buckle Simply adds a socket to the belt of any choice. AH price varies from 50 to 100g.
Greater Inscription of the Axe Requires exalted with Sons of Hodir. Cost 100g at the quartermaster in the Storm Peaks.
Glyph of Frost Strike
Glyph of Pestilence
Of minor glyphs this is the most important. Used for AoE kill.
Meta gem Sockets
It’s required by most raiding guilds. Without that you are going to die in Naxxramas for example. It tells when bosses cast spells, and will mark certain targets that you need to focus on.
It’s a very helpful add-on for all new dinged classes if you want get the best gear for heroic dungeons and other stuff. I use it and it’s a great help. It’s from www.curse.com where you can find a lot of add-ons to customize your game play.
Also useful for any class. This addon will tell you your total dps, your damage done, and a hell lot more…
Very helpful for heroic raids when bosses can one hit players. Keep an eye on this little meter, if it gets too high stop attacking to avoid more aggro. (Well said Eric!)
- Flask of Endless Rage This is a must-have in raids.
- Fish Feast Hopefully someone in your party will have this to put down for your group. If not, consider the following:
- Dragonfin Filet
- Blackened Dragonfin
I don’t find scrolls to much use. Some buffs will erase them, use at caution.
The best way for a death knight to level up quickly, is to AoE.
Jame already wrote a nice guide about spell rotations etc., just check this one out:
How to AoE with a Death Knight
Version 1.0 – First time this guide is out. I will be keeping this up to date with current patches.
Version 1.1 – Updated AoE rotation section, and added a list of pre-raid gear.