Home World of Warcraft Classes Unholy Death Knight 8.2

Death Knight of the specialization Unholy relies on using dark magic and diseases, all of this combined with their mastery of two-handed weapons in Melee. As assisting force, there are Skeletons, Ghouls, Abominations. Gargoyles and even a Val’kyra.



Like any other Death Knight spec, Unholy uses 2 resources: Runes and Runic Power (hereinafter – RP). Runes are always ready out of combat. After a Rune is used, it starts to restore. Only 3 Runes can be restoring simultaneously. Rune restoring speed depends on the speed rating, traits and whether you have Runic Corruption. The RP is somewhat like Fury – you can earn it and then spend it.

Let’s take a closer look at the strong and the weak points of this specialization:


  • Depending on the selected talents, it can show remarkable results on single-target, and nice results on cleave and AoE.
  • It has several defensive abilities


  • Low mobility.
  • To do AoE damage, time for speeding up is needed.

Back to top


Back to top

Main abilities

Back to top


General information. On achieving several new levels you’ll get access to new talent ‘Tiers’. Talents may have different effect on abilities: add new features, replace old ones, modify passively different effects and spells. Talents can be changed in Sanctuaries or any recreational zones. However, if you don’t have any of those places nearby you can use the Codex of the Tranquil Mind which allows you to switch channels within a minute. You can’t change talents in combat. You can’t change a talent if the talent you’ve picked in the last Tier is on Cooldown. You’ll have to wait until it’s restored first.

Tier 1. Lvl 56

Unholy Death Knight 8.2

Tier 2. Lvl 57

Unholy Death Knight 8.2

  • Bursting sores. Bursting Festering wound deals 25 % more damage, and deals shadow damage to all nearby targets within 8 yards. The best bursting aoe talent.
  • Ebon fever.  Virulent plague deals 15% more damage over time in half duration.
  • Unholy blight. Surrounds Death knight with a a vile swarm of insects for 6 sec, stinging all nearby enemies and infecting them for with a low damage disease for 14 sec

Tier 3. Lvl 58

Unholy Death Knight 8.2

  • Grip of the dead. Death and decay reduces the movement speed of enemies within its area by 90%, decaying by 10% every sec. A good talent for mythic + or  raid where a boss fight requires movement reduce
  • Death’s reach. Increases the range of Death grip by 10 yards. Killing an enemy resets the cooldown.
  • Asphyxiate is a single-target stun for 4 secs. Action radius – 20m, CD 45 secs. If you need a stun in your encounter, this talent could be of use.

Tier 4. Lvl 60

Unholy Death Knight 8.2

  • Pestilent pustules. Bursting a Festering wound has 10% to grant you runic corruption.  
  • Harbinger of doom. Sudden doom triggers 15% more often and can accumulate up to 2 charges.  
  • Soul reaper. Dots an enemy for 8 sec dealing shadow damage and restoring 2 runes. If the enemy dies you gain 10% haste for 8 sec. Cooldown is 45 sec. This is the best talent in the tier because of the damage and regeneration.

Tier 5. Lvl 75

Unholy Death Knight 8.2

  • Spell Eater empowers the Anti-Magic Shell by 30% and prolongs its action by 5 secs.
  • Wraith walk.  Removes all root effects increasing your movement by 70%. While active your speed cannot be reduced below 170%. Taking any action cancels the effect. Lasts 4 sec, has 60 sec cd.
  • Death pact. Heals you for 50% of your maximum health but absorbs incoming healing equal to 30% of your max health for 15 sec .A situational talent.

*The choice is up to you, take what is required for a fight but the standard choice in the tier is Spell eater.

Tier 6. Lvl 90

Unholy Death Knight 8.2

  • Pestilence. Death and decay  damage has 10% chance to apply Festering wound to the enemy.
  • Defile. Replaces Death and decay using the same mechanic but dealing more damage and growing in size if atleast one enemy stands in Defile.
  • Epidemic.  Causes each of your Virulent Plagues to flare up dealing shadow damage to the infected enemy and an additional minor damage to all enemies nearby. The best aoe talent.


*Talents in this tier do not increase single target damage so the standard choice would be Epidemic for Aoe potential.

Tier 7. Lvl 100

Unholy Death Knight 8.2

  • Army of the dead. Death coil and Epidemic.  reduce the cooldown of  Apocalypse by 1 sec and Army of the dead by 5 sec.
  • Unholy frenzy. Incites you into killing frenzy for 12 sec increasing haste by 20% and causing you auto attacks to infect the target with Festering wound. The best choice for single target fight and for Aoe.
  • Summon gargoyle. Summon a gargoyle for 30 sec to attack your target. The gargoyle gains 1% increased dmg for every 2 rp you spend. A weak talent that attaches you to the target for 30 sec.

As a result, we could mock up 2 builds intended for meeting absolutely different objectives.

  1. Single target:
  1. AoE and M+:

Back to top

Azerite traits

Sets in BFA were removed and azerite armor took their place. Now any chest, shoulder and helm has a few rings to choose a talent.

  • Festermight. Bursting a festering wound grants you additional strength for 20 sec stacking up. Stacking this effect does not extend its duration. The best trait you definitely need to obtain in amount of 3. It is actively used for AOE and single target fights.
  • Magus of the dead. Apocalypse and army of the damned additionally summon a Magus of the dead for 20 sec who attack your enemies. Also a good trait that is preferably to have in amount of 1-2.
  • Harrowing decay. Death coil infects the target with DOT that deals shadow damage for 4 sec. The best talent in case you don’t have options to obtain others.

*SInce there are a lot of azerite traits in the game, it would be a good thing to check optimal variants on raidbots.com and also see the best currently traits on herodamage.com.

( AzeritePowerWeights:2:"herodamage.com - Stacks_1T_T24":6:252: 575=10, 199=9.86, 526=9.46, 522=9.40, 193=8.79, 562=8.24, 82=7.80, 196=7.75, 109=7.67, 479=6.47, 488=6.36, 494=6.36, 501=6.31, 157=6.27, 192=6.06, 504=5.95, 244=5.86, 478=5.81, 483=5.58, 485=5.52, 486=5.50, 492=5.50, 142=5.40, 482=5.28, 30=5.27, 495=5.27, 489=5.27, 505=5.24, 195=5.22, 523=5.18, 480=5.13, 194=5.12, 521=4.97, 481=4.69, 561=4.62, 498=4.07, 350=3.98, 156=3.57, 576=3.42, 500=3.16, 459=3.16, 351=3.05, 31=3.04, 22=2.89, 560=2.75, 21=2.75, 487=2.69, 493=2.69, 20=2.52, 499=2.41, 18=1.99, 497=1.97, 491=1.97, 461=1.97, 541=1.96, 496=1.89, 490=1.89, 462=1.81, 140=0.12: )

Back to top



These ratings are based on simulations, statistics of WarcraftLogs and players experience.




As it was mentioned in the previous sections, even in one type of combat, various talents and even trinkets can be used. That’s why some of the important things will change.

To begin with, let’s take a look at the default priorities regardless of the aforementioned factors.

Single target

  1. Virulent Plague should always be on the target.
  2. Dark Transformation per CD.
  3. Festering Strike, if there are no Festering Wounds on your target, or there are no more than 2 of them.
  4. Apocalypse, if not on CD and on targets with 4 Festering Wounds.
  5. Scourge strike / Clawing shadows if there are 4+ Festering wounds, Festering strike if there is 2 or less wounds
  6. Death Coil, if the RP is on max or close to it
  7. Unholy frenzy per CD
  8. Soul reaper (to restore runes)



  1. Army of the dead 5-6 sec before pull
  2. Prepot 1-2 seconds before the fight
  3. Outbreak
  4. Dark transformation
  5. Festering strike  x2
  6. Apocalypse (only of there are 4 wounds on the target)
  7. Unholy frenzy
  8. Soul reaper


AoE and Mythic+

  1. Remember to drink prepots before packs
  2. Outbreak
  3. Dark transformation (using it like this will allow you to get wounds stacks faster on all targets)
  4. Unholy frenzy
  5. Festering strike  x2
  6. Apocalypse (when there are  4 wounds on the target)
  7. Do not hold runes (3 runes always have to recharge at the same time)
  8. Death and decay
  9. Scourge strike at least with 1 wound up
  10. Spend rp on Epidemic
  11. Death coil when procs


On bosses and other single targets

  1. Army of the dead  5 sec before the pull
  2. Prepot 1-2 sec before the fight
  3. Outbreak
  4. Dark transformation
  5. Festering strike  x2
  6. Apocalypse
  7. Unholy frenzy
  8. Soul reaper (to restore runes)

Back to top


The default characteristics priority is as follows:

Haste> Strength> Crit = Versatility> Mastery

Considering the information above and your own results after checking your character you can decide what gems, chants and pots you need for raiding. It is better to check your character on raidbots.com after every new piece of gear.

Based on the aforementioned characteristics and results of your character’s own simulation results, you can draw conclusions on Gems, Chants and Raid Chemicals.




Flasks and pots

Back to top


Kick with a modifier, with the Shift key held, the ability is applied on a remembered target, without – on the current one.

/cast [mod:shift,@focus][] Mind Freeze


Combat resurrection by cursor’s position:

#showtooltip Raise Ally
/cast [target=mouseover] Raise Ally


An outbreak by cursor’s position:

/cast [target=mouseover] Outbreak


An extremely useful macro for Mythic+ – dismiss the pet:



Death Grip on cursor position; if there’s no target under your cursor, the Grip is applied to the current one:

#showtooltip Death Grip
/cast [target=mouseover, exists] Death Grip; Death Grip


A similar macro for the Abomination:

#showtooltip Hook
/cast [target=mouseover, exists] Hook; Hook


If you want your pet to constantly attack your current target without getting distracted for other buttons:

#showtooltip Festeing Strike
/cast Festering Strike
/cast Claw
/cast Cleaver



/cast Scourge Strike

/cast Clawing Shadows

/cast Claw

/cast Cleaver


* Keep in mind that with these macros, if you want your pet to grip a target outside the reaching zone, your pet will have to make a run for it. When you actuate your macro, the pet cancels that command and goes back to hitting your target (if you’ve actuated the macro after you’ve sent it to grip a target, of course).

Back to top

What’s next?


  1. Leveling. If your character has been inactive since the previous expansions, the best  option to level up it is by Timewalking dungeons. You will gain a lot of experience, but there is one big disadvantage of leveling this way. Timewalks are available only for one week during a month, but Overgear is always here.
  2. Equipment. At high level, the most important thing for you will become your gear. WoW is a multiplayer game, that’s why we recommend for you to play it with your friends, or to find a new friends for mythic+ runs. If you have any trouble with it – Overgear may help you to find not just friends for a run, but a complete well geared and experienced group that also will be glad to trade all the loot you need.
  3. Raids. Raids are the top-tier PvE content in the game. That’s why the equipment’s base ilvl is higher than anywhere else. These dungeons require knowing all the tactics and have a good gear to kill the bosses. The possibilities of Overgear might let you skip those criteria.

Azerite. It is also not the best idea to forget about the Heart of Azeroth and not to feed it with more Azerite. Ignoring this won’t make your character stronger. The easiest way to do it – just complete all the world quests with Azerite rewards everyday. You can get extra azerite from Island Expeditions. Companions can be found at Overgear.

Related items