Frost – Death Knight – Full DPS Guide/Tips in 10 Minutes*
The Frost Death Knight, an icy harbinger of doom, its frigid and dark powers are channeled through the coldness of death… and being a slow as f**k… Welcome to the Frost Death Knight 10-minute tips. Isn’t it like a fifteen-minute video? What you talking about…It’s ten… So, the first thing to keep in mind in learning the Frost spec is the Death Knight unique resource system, made up of runes and runic power, certain abilities will use a set amount of runes which in turn consuming them, will build runic-power allowing the use of other abilities, like the very powerful, Breath of Sindragosa.
Consisting from powerful single target strikes that make use of your dual-wielding weapons or range like spells that can damage the enemy from a distance, applying damage over time effects or damaging every enemy that dares be close to you. With a lot of focus on your passives boosting the damage or crit out of your main abilities. Maximizing your resources and passive procs is the first step in mastering the Frost DK.
The Frost DK talent tree is a rich one, abling you to create all different combinations and synergies with a lot of your current skill set. Unique builds that are created primarily based on the last talent choice. First Obliteration – A build primarily focused around your Obliterate and Frost Strike abilities as your Obliteration, gives you a 8-second window of which your frost strike will always proc Killing Machine and making Obliterate cost 1 rune instead of 2. To follow this build you would want to have Icy Talons, Frozen Pulses, Avalanche or Icecap if you lucky enough to have Toravon’s Whiteout Bindings legendary. The next 2 tiers are personal preference but is recommended that you would take Winter is Coming and White Walker.
The sixth tier will depend on the encounter, if completely single-target, Runic Attenuation, boosting your runic power by each auto-attack but if in cleave situations of 2 or 3 more mobs ,Frostscythe, replacing your Killing Machine proc that you would normally use Obliterate with but instead with this talent you would use FrostScythe vastly increasing your cleave damage and lastly…Obliteration. So for this particular rotation is rather simple. Starting with the single target based one. You want to start with a howling blast applying your main DoT, Frost Fever, getting some damage going and giving you a chance per tick at 5 runic power. Then you start doing Obliterates, dumping runes and gaining more runic power, cast any Rime procs if available, once reached about forty to fifty runic power is then where you want to use your DPS cooldowns, Obliteration and Pillars of Frost, remember to always combo these 2.
Now, In this 8-second window, you gonna go on a Frost Strike and Obliterate rampage you only gonna click those 2 abilities forget about Rime procs and anything else, just make sure you always gonna have enough runic-power and rune’s to make full use out of this cooldown. Once it ends, you gonna have already build up some icy-talons buff from that burst and from this point forward this is the order of which you want to click things. Use obliterate to dump runes and gain more runic power once again, use frost strike whenever is available keeping your Icy Talons buff up, at all times. Use any Killing machine proc as fast as possible so there inst a risk of overwritten it but very important, Rime will always take priority as it procs out of your Obliterate, you always want to cast it first before you cast your next Obliterate so it doesn’t get overwritten and loosing a proc in the process. Simply keep this up throughout the encounter, track your resources for your next DPS cooldowns and your procs. Then you might get into a downtime of which you have nothing to click, this is when your frozen pulses talent is gonna kick in, allowing you to have a sort of sustain DPS even without runes but you do have Empower Rune Weapon that will instantly regenerate all of them, as your other cooldowns you want to use it as often as you can but make sure to not waste a single rune or runic power, even if you have to cast a Remorseless Winter in a single target encounter, just to completely squeeze all of that damage out of your resources.
As for Frozen Pulses keep in mind that you can abuse its use but having three runes at all times, so that when you cast an Obliterate you always get solely 1 run, activating the pulses while you cast frost strike and possibly Rime. As your runes regenerate only three at the time, that is the position that you always want to have yourself in. Try to have it as a background thought. This becomes more important in aoe and cleave scenarios as it damages all around you, the only other 2 changes in these fight’s are FrostScythe of which you want to replace with Obliterate in Killing Machine procs and obviously keep Remorseless Winter active at all possible times, remember to combo it with Pillars of Frost to get advantage out of Winter is Coming to stun your enemies, all of the previous rotation stays the same, you can even use Obliteration to get some burst out with Frostcythe.
When not in killing machine procs you still want to cast Obliterate, so you still get Rime procs as your Howling Blast is one of your highest aoe damaging abilities, but do not ever cast it outside of Rime, solely to apply its initial Frost Fever. Other things to keep in mind is your Artifact Traits, most of them are flat damages increases, your golden traits include Hypothermia increasing your Frost Fever damage by adding an extra tick. Frozen Soul giving a burst aoe damage at the end duration of Remorseless Winter, depending on many mobs you hit and finally Sindragosa’s Fury of which you want to fit in your rotation as much as possible, especially in multiple enemy scenarios, only use it for single target if a boss has no add’s, as you gonna take most advantage out of it by hitting multiple enemies.
Overall, Obliteration is a simple build that should be used for newly dinged or not as experienced DKS with a good amount of single target and cleave damage. As for the Breath of Sindragosa build is a much more advanced highly depended on legendaries, gear, skill level and resource management. But that can benefit the most your damage once those things I’ve been acquired and reached. The Breath of Sindragosa is a powerful spell that damages your target for high amount of damage, every second, spending 15 runic power in the process, your goal is to keep your runic power up sustaining the ability for as long as possible, as well as combine it with other cooldowns and buffs. So your build will reflect what you need, which is lots of runes to keep that runic power in constant high levels. In this build you would want to get, Murderous Efficiency, Horn of Winter Or Freezing Fog if in the possession of the Legendary Helm, Perseverance Of the Ebon Martyr and Tier 19 Set bonuses really boosting that extra damage buff from that talent.
Hungering Rune Weapon and once again the following two is recommended Winter is Coming and White Walker but is personal preference, Gathering Storm and finally Breath Of Sindragosa. In this build your rotation is gonna be vastly different from the Obliteration based one, the focus on Frost Strike is practically gone as you don’t need to keep up Icy Talons and because you gonna need all of that runic-power reserved for the Breath. Downtimes are far fewer , due to a lot of the talents focusing on the sustain of your resources to keep up that same spell. The starting of a fight, the idea is the same as previously, Howling Blast to apply Frost Fever and keep it up at all times, use Obliterate to dump runes and gain runic power, Rime procs take extra priority in this build as is one of your main source of damage and cleave, so again same rules from earlier apply.
Now, on a normal boss encounter you want to get up to seventhy percent of Runic Power, then cast Horn of Winter if in need of runes, then pop Breath of Sindragosa and Pillars of Frost AND Remorseless Winter, as well as any other damage boost that you can think off, trinkets, pots and BL. In this window, you gonna prioritize your Obliterate above all to keep up your runic-power, only cast Howling Blast with Rime if above seventy percent of runic-power or if you have the fourth set bonus of the tier 19. As for your Remorseless Winter, your gathering storm talent is really gonna shine now as you gonna use so many runes to keep up your runic power, remorseless winter will hardly stop. Then, activate Hungering Rune Weapon when in need of runes, most likely a few seconds after casting the Breath. During this part you need to be careful on your Rimes, as you gonna get runes every seconds you don’t want to waste any of them so it might be some instances, where you have to ignore a Rime proc for those extra obliterates, unless if cleaving.
Once Hungering Rune Weapon ends, you gonna solely rely on its natural regeneration process for the runes and Horn of Winter, until inevitably the spell will come to a end. Once that happens, you simply gonna do Obliterates, Howling Blast with rime procs, again taking priority especially if cleaving and Frost Strikes to spend the runic power. Cast Remorseless Winter whenever its available for any encounter, primarily if you gonna cast Obliterate’s after, boosting its damage and duration. Then if your Breath of Sindragosa is still on a 1 min or plus cooldown you can once again cast Pillars of Frost. Just make sure when you reach around 10 secs off the cooldown of the Breath that you have all of your cooldowns and runic power ready to be used. Now, this is where Legendaries will take a play again because of a ring, Seal of Necrofantasia will give you a extra charge and smaller cooldown on Hungering/Empower Rune Weapon allowing to always combo it with every Breath you cast, if you don’t have it, there is always gonna be one use of it that you won’t have it available, crippling your DPS somewhat in this build.
There’s also the Elisande trinket a nice addition and substitute for the Legendary so good luck getting it. This build has far superior single target damage, it may fall somewhat below in cleave scenarios as is highly dependent on the RNG of Rime but inst by much, you still possess one of the best aoe, cleave in the game. The main cons is the high dependence on legendaries or set bonuses and obviously a much higher learning curve for keeping up the spell and much more room for mistake. But highly rewarding, giving you that glory moment everytime you pull it off correctly. That’s pretty much on your build and rotation, there’s one extra build though that is usually called the Machine Gun Build, involving your Glacial Advance talent, solely to be used in highly cleave based encounters, mostly following the same talents as the Obliteration build this rotation is gonna put a focus on Glacial Advance, casting ti whenever its available along with keeping up Remorseless Winter and use Frostcythes, In my experience, though, both of those previous builds fair fairly well in cleave, taking this build more of a hassle.
Now moving on to your stats, the frost DK’s stats work in a very weird way, they dont really have a primary one and is all gonna depend on your character, is recommended that you take a sim-craft to discover what are your stat weights are but usually Strenght, as in Item-level, it will boost you the most, then Haste, Crit, Mastery and Versatility. The general idea is to keep up your Haste always above 20% and your Crit above 25%, going over 30% for the most part is useless, keeping those stats in that range will be good enough, then after, focus on your mastery if on the Breath of Sindragosa build or Versatility in Obliteration build.
But always taking priority on strength. For this reason, your go to pot is the Potion of Prolonged Power and your food buffs either based on a stat that you need or Fishbrul Special or weaker equivalent. As for Gems and Enchants is gonna follow the same rule, just mix in match what you gonna need, be haste, crit or mastery. If you have enough gold you can always gem strength. And that’s pretty much the most important points, just some final notes to take in mind. Remember to make use of all of your skill set, such as Anti-Magic-Shell.At first a simple defensive ability against magic damage but when damage is absorbed, it converts into runic power giving you more Frost Strikes or a longer Breath of Sindragosa. Also make sure to use Death Grip in every possible fight to help out the group, be pulling mobs close to cleave and aoe, helping your damage and your teammates, especially since Frost Dk’s don’t bring a lot of utility.
As for your mobility, it is indeed laughably bad, unless you have the legendary boots…is gonna be painful… so make sure to use Wraith Walk correctly, don’t use it recklessly, know your fights and save it for when you really need to move away from something quickly, have it available for those situations at all times, okay. As for the rotation and general gameplay, big important things into making you a better frost dk is proc management and resource management in any build, that is what will define your damage. it will take time to master them, especially in the Breath of Sindragosa but that is what makes the Frost DK so much fun to play and don’t be afraid to use your cooldowns such as Pillars of Frost, Obliteration or Breath of Sindragosa during trash packs especially in mythic pluses, they really boost your cleave damage and that is what you there for, just timed it well enough that you will have it ready for boss encounters. As for choosing the best build for you, I recommend if you below 880 item lvl you should stay in the Obliteration unless you got the Seal of Necrofantasia legendary, once passed that ilvl barrier you can give a shot, just remember that legendaries and set bonus will really help you and it also take quite a bit of time on knowing on the pop the Breath of Sindragosa, get to know your fights to know what’s the best time to use it okay.
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