Wow Legion – Unholy Death Knight – Basic DPS Guide 7.1.5/7.2.0*
S – The Unholy DK started with a somewhat bumpy ride in Legion, from being unter-tuned to its dependency of Legendaries or just lack of damage comparing to Frost, however the future seems to be getting better for Unholy, it might not reach the levels of a Frost, Breath of Sindragosa build yet but due how gear scales up Unholy might surpass it… eventually…maybe. Even right now is doing much better than it was, as long as right rotation and gearing is being done correctly. D – The Unholy gameplay is far from simple or casual friendly, with loads of things to manage ,runes, runic-power, DoT’s, Festering Wounds stacks, pet management and a great deal of preparation to use certain abilities. On the core level your gameplay is mostly gonna be about keeping up your Virulent Plague, built up Festering Wounds and burst them with Scourge Strike all in the very gruesome way that is Unholy aesthetics. S – Similar to Frost, Unholy comes with a very well built talent tree with a lot of good combo’s but obviously, there is always going to be best ones to choose, the truth is that Unholy is really a complex spec ,so take this as a guideline to follow but test your own results at your own leisure to see what works best for you.
D – In this guide we are solely going to talk about the current builds used by most top end Unholy Dk’s and that is going to be most likely, the go to build for future content in 7.2. Its often described as the Mastery or Clawing Shadows build, as oppose to the Castigator or Crit build used by most at the start of Legion, the main focus isn’t just on Festering Wounds but the control and use of Death Coils, Clawing Shadows, your resources, along with bursting said wounds. S – Before we get into your talents, there’s going to be some notes to take regarding the new artifact traits and its minimal changes coming in how that will affect Unholy, hence the title, but take it with a grain of salt for now but be as it may, there isn’t really anything that will change to much to make this guide completely worthless at its release.
So, your talents. In the first tier, you’re going to choose Ebon Fever, making your Virulent Plague tick half as fast, essentially doubling its damage plus 20% extra on top. Bursting Sores is also viable for aoe only, during my testing both resulted in very similar numbers but feel free to test on your own character, its especially more valuable if you posses the Legendary Wrists D – Next you want to take Pestilent Pustules making so for every 8 Wounds you burst to gain a free rune and remember that they dont need to be burst in succession to get the free rune, is 8 bursts at any point during a fight. Although if you do have the Legendary Waist or Ring Pestilent Pustules may be obsolete to you as you might not need the extra rune, as the Legendaries are already helping your sustainability from runes, for that you would want to take Blighted Rune Weapon helping your build up of wounds especially to use in combination with Apocalypse, more on that in the rotation. If you also have the tier 19- 4 set bonus you also want to take Blighted Rune Weapon even without said Legendaries, as you going to get a 50% chance for your Death Coil to apply a Festering Found.
Making so casting Festering Strikes fewer times in turn saving up your runes for your Scourge Strikes/Clawing Shadows. S – In the third tier you want Clawing Shadows, replacing your Scourge Strike to be fully Shadow Damage as opposed to both Physical and Shadow, fully benefiting from your mastery, plus giving a 30 yard range, the other 2 choices are no longer viable. Next you get Sludge Belcher boosting your pet into an Abomination and giving you an extra Death Grip. The following is situational and personal preference Lingering Apparition might be the one you you can take the most out of it, the other two you can use for extra survivability when needed. Then you want Necrosis, completely changing in your gameplay, everytime you cast a Death Coil you gain a buff for 5 seconds that will buff your Clawing Shadows damage by 40% and is your go to for single-target, Infected Claws though can be used for aoe comboing with Bursting Sores and the Dark Transformation ability making your pet aoe to apply wounds on all your targets that you can burst with the Clawing Shadows while under Death and Decay making it to also aoe.
Only go for that combo of talents if in really need of that burst AOE. D – As for your last talents will also change your gameplay depending what you choose and that choice will depend on your gear, Soul Reaper is your go to for every situation but if you do have the Convergence of Fates trinket, giving a chance to reduce the cooldown of your Summon Gargoyle by 5 seconds by each attack, you want to take Dark Arbiter, replacing your gargoyle for a much powerful cooldown, the trinket will reduce its base cooldown by a large margin making it potentially more powerful than Soul Reaper but once again if you do possess such item try it for yourself, either way both rotations are going to be explained further in.
S – Let’s go over your traits really quick now, first Scourge of Worlds makes your Death Coil, your runic-power spender that we will further talk about in the rotation side of the guide, apply a 30% debuff on the target increasing your Scourge Strike/Clawing Shadows damage, Portal of the Underworld makes your minions both from Army of the Dead or Apocalypse explode when they die, make sure to position them and by that I mean yourself, in a way that they will explode to damage all possible enemies, if aoeing. Then after the Shambler, your attacks have a small chance to summon a slow walking zombie that will explode doing a great deal of aoe damage after a few seconds.
D – After you get ‘Armies of the Damned’ further empowering your summoned minions, each of their attacks will apply a minimal debuff, either adding a dot, increasing your damage by 5%: reducing their healing taken and reduce your own damage taken by the enemy. Finally ‘Double Doom’ adding a extra charge of your free Death Coil proc,Sudden Doom, stacking up to 2 charges S – Okay now let’s get to to your single-target, Rotation with Soul Reaper and without Blighted Rune Weapon. You always want to start with Outbreak, applying Virulent Plague your main DoT and with every tick it has 30% to erupt for extra damage, remember that with Ebon Fever is going to tick down twice as fast, refresh it when below 3 seconds. Cast Dark Transformation immediately after boosting your pet.
If you going to burst boss from the get go, as in with BL and pots, you want to cast Summon Gargoyle as well, as it benefits from your Haste or if you can time it well enough that you’ll have it ready for the burst phase, you can cast it in the beginning, anyway. The same follows for Army of the Dead but remember to cast it before the pull, about 6 to 7 seconds, as it wastes 3 runes you want to try and get them back when you actually start up the fight.
However feel free to cast it at any point during the fight for the burst phases, as the damage it gives off is quite high. D – Then you finally start building up your Festering Wounds with Festering Strikes, you want to try and get it to 6 at first, that is going to depend on your RNG as the ability can give you 2 to 4, if you do get to 6 though ,you want to cast Soul Reaper applying a debuff on the target for 5 seconds and the next 3 wounds you burst is going to give you a stack for each, boosting your Haste to a total of 21%, 7% per wound. Make sure, especially during further in the fight, to always have 3 runes plus 1 for Soul Reaper and 3 wounds ready to be used before using it for its full effect. Immediately follow that initial Soul Reaper by a Apocalypse, only if you have the 6 wounds bursting them all immediately and giving you the full buff plus the minions but if you have 5 or 4 wounds you don’t want to waste more runes on Festering Strikes, if you have the tier 19 fourth set bonus though you can try and cast Death Coil to apply a wound, if not just use 3 Clawing Shadows in succession to get the buff, after get rid of any Sudden Doom procs, try to build 6 wounds once again for Apocalypse if you haven’t cast it yet.
You for sure would have 6 or more at this point after casting another Festering Strike. S – You want to always try and combo Apocalypse 6 wounds burst with Soul Reaper as that will save you up the most runes per damage ratio. as long as the wounds are burst is doesn’t matter which ability was used. Now once that’s done, you get into the core of your rotation of bursting your wounds with Clawing Shadows. Use any Sudden Doom procs with free Death Coils if active and built up your wounds once again, this time you want to keep them always higher than 2, usually you going to cast just one Festering Strike.Ideally keep them between 6 and 2 don’t re-apply if with 6 wounds but reapply with 2 or bellow, If you have the Legendaries bracers though you want to always keep them above 4 before bursting.
Then after you going into to this combo of Death Coils and Clawing Shadows. The idea now is to burst wounds with Clawing Shadows but boosting its damage with a Death Coil for Necrosis just before. Essentially being, Festering Strike to build the wounds, Death Coil, Clawing Shadows,Death Coil, Clawing Shadows, Festering Strike if needed… rinse and repeat. D – Now, Death Coil is going to give you a variety of buffs, Necrosis boosting damage of Clawing Shadows due to the talent as said before, Scourge of Worlds also boosting its damage by applying a debuff, when you are in this window you want to prioritize Clawing Shadows more so than usual but shouldn’t really change up your gameplay, you still want to cast Death Coil just before and you still want to build wounds.
The other buff you can get is a 50% chance to apply a wound if with the tier set bonus. The last buff is Runic Corruption, giving 100% increase in rune regeneration, basically doubling its refresh rate. With that said, the perfect state that you want to be in is having both runic-power and runes available for the Clawing Shadows, Death Coil combo but there are going to be times where you have no runic power but do have runes, feel free to just cast Clawing Shadows to burst the wounds anyway without the Necrosis buff. S – The same follows for having Runic-Power and no runes, feel free to cast some extra Death Coils when not able to use any other ability and giving you a chance at Runic Corruption. Although there are going to be other times where you going to have way to much Runic Power depending on your RNG that goes into your resources and how many free procs you get, once again feel free to do extra Death Coil’s to dump thhat Runic-Power you don’t ever want to overcap it.
Then after doing that set of abilities you want to prepare for your next Soul Reaper, saving up 4 runes and 3 wounds to make full use of it by using Clawing Shadows after and then go back to bursting wounds with Death Coil, Clawing Shadows combo. A good guideline to follow is between your first Apocalypse and first Soul Reaper you will be able to cast 1 solo Soul Reaper that you will use with clawing shadows until you reach your second Apocalypse combo, obviously depending on your fight but that is what you should be aiming for. D – So to summarize, start with Outbreak applying Virulent Plague and keep it active throughout the fight, refreshing it when below 3 seconds, then Dark Transformation and use it whenever off cooldown, save up Summon Gargoyle for burst phases if this is the case, use it as well, cast Army of the Dead about 7 seconds before pulling if going in for the burst, then build up 6 wounds with Festering Strike and use Soul Reaper, Apocalypse combo.
If RNG screws you, cast 3 Clawing Shadows in succession instead, dump any Sudden Doom procs with Death Coil followed by building up 6 wounds and cast Apocalypse if failed previously, build wounds up once again with Festering Strike, always keeping them between 2 and 6 to burst them with Clawing Shadows, boosted with a Death Coil just before, whenever possible. Use extra Death Coils to avoid capping Runic Power, keep that going until you can use your second ‘solo‘ Soul Reaper with Clawings Shadows burst and then eventually your third followed by the second Apocalypse, whenever them come off cooldown have wounds and runes ready to be use for them by keeping a close eye on its cooldowns. S – If you do have Blighted Rune Weapon specced as mentioned previously, you want to weave it in before using Apocalypse and Soul Reaper having a much smoother build up without needing to waste too many runes on Festering Strikes and focus more on bursting them during that time frame but then be careful for getting an overflow of wounds sometimes is best to save for later on in the fight when you going to need it for Soul Reaper or Apocalypse…or both.
For the combo. That’s pretty much all you need to do for that particular rotation and build, managing your stacks, dots and resources is your first step to master it, it does take some time though to get use to it. Now there’s a slightly talent change that can completely change your gameplay, I do not have the right items to test it properly but it does seem to be viable if not better than Soul Reaper, which is Dark Arbiter, again only take it with Convergence of Fates trinket and probably Legendary Shoulders. Dark Arbiter replaces your Summon Gargoyle ability by increasing the damage and reducing the cooldown from 3 to 2 minutes. Along with increased damage by the amount of runic-power that you spend during its duration and remember that mastery boosts its damage. Both the Trinket and Legendary can turn it into a very powerful CD. D – So the idea here is to save up all of your runic-power before using Dark Arbiter, starting with the same as before, Outbreak to apply Virulent Plague and Dark Transformation, if you do have the Legendary shoulders you always want to cast dark transformation before casting Dark Arbiter or any other minion summon like apocalypse as it boosts its damage of said pets.
Then you just build up Festering Wounds with Festering Strike spend all of your runes, don’t use any Death Coils not even free procs as they also benefit Dark Arbiter, then once with 6 wounds or more cast Apocalypse, as bursting wounds also gives runic power, 3 per each, and one more Festering Strike, you want to reach at least 80% of runic power. S – Then just cast Dark Arbiter and just spam Death Coils emptying it all out, burst those remaining wounds with Clawing Shadows using any Death Coil immediately after getting enough runic-power, build wounds anyway to burst them, giving the highest amount of runic-power that you can, once Dark Arbiter ends you just go back the core rotation from the previous build, building up wounds, use death coils just before Clawing Shadows for Necrosis to burst them and keep up Virulent Plague and remember to re-cast Outbreak just before Dark Arbiter as it may end during its total up time and you don’t want to loose time re-casting it mid-way, once close to Dark Arbiter coming off cooldown immediately start building up your runic-power by repeating previous steps.
As with everything said here, feel free to test your own results depending on your gear and stats is going to vary. One thing to learn with Unholy, in general, is adapting to your current situation as wounds have big RNG component. D – As for aoe or light cleave encounters not much is going to change on your gameplay. The difference comes into play with Death and Decay making your Clawing Shadows hit all enemies as you stay inside its circle for the buff. All of your previous rotation stays and a big part of your aoe damage is going to come from Virulent Plague and its own erupt damage that can go off at a chance, you still are building up your wounds and using death coil exactly as before, then if you are in 3 or more mob situation you want to cast Death and Decay and for those 10 seconds that is active, you just going to stop doing Festering Strikes and just spam Clawing Shadows, weaving in Death Coils when reaching close to the cap of runic-power aoeing every mob close to your target, do try to combo with Dark Transformation as your pet also does aoe.
Once Death and Decay ends just go back to your usual rotation.With that said, ideally you want to build some wounds before aoe bursting them with Clawing Shadows but is not really necessary. S – For the best aoe available though you want to have Bursting Sores and Infected Claws giving you better numbers for burst but in the long run isn’t a huge difference as the faster ticks with Ebon Fever also boosts your aoe damage, compensating for it. The idea here is the same but you really want to build wounds before aoeing with Clawing Shadows and Death & Decay as every time you burst one, it damages all around that same target, combo that with Dark Transformation with Infected Claws, you going to get a bunch of wounds on all nearby targets bursting them all with aoe Clawing Shadows, creating this chain of events giving you some really good aoe numbers.
As a small tidbit, you can aoe up to 30 yards by applying Death & Decay under your feet and do Clawing Shadows for far away enemies, if necessary. I think that covers about everything I want to give in some notes but let’s go over the stats first. D – As its pretty obvious Mastery is going to be your primary focus as its a linear boost for your damage, ever increasing overtime as you get more and more gear. Your damage is highly dependent on it so prioritize it above ilvl. Reaching the numbers around 80% is when you start to see the best numbers to be had in Unholy. However, Haste and Crit aren’t worthless to you, you want to keep Haste preferably around 20% range, reducing your global cooldown, increasing rune regeneration and DoT’s. As for crit between 10% and 15% should be good enough as well. Versatility is the least valuable to you. Your enchants,gems and consumables are going to follow the same pattern getting all that mastery as you can get in there and getting the Mark of The Trained Soldier neck enchant and your go to pot is Potion of Prolonged Power.
As for Legendaries, the Bracers are still one of your most powerful ones you can get ,again not as powerful before the nerf but still highly valuable along with the trinket are the combo that can get you the best numbers, then both the ring and the waist can make your life so much easier in your rotation as you going to get a lot of free runes reducing your downtimes. S – That about covers it all, just wanted to add on what’s going to change and the answer… is not much besides your new artifact traits. Now what implications will that have? It’s kinda difficult to say, on your build though it shouldn’t, on your rotation, it seems to add more thinking behind two abilities. Again, take all of this with a grain of salt as it might change in time, so the first one you going to get, Lash of Shadows is a flat damage increase to your Wounds, nothing to see here, then you get Death’s Harbinger granting you a 3 runes upon using Apocalypse.
how will that affect you is simply being further aware of your resources, making sure you have 3 or more runes depleted before using it to get the most out of it, especially improving your initial burst and giving you a more sustainability, in general when you going to use Apocalypse you going to have quite a lot of runes already spent anyway ,so really shouldn’t change much, then you have Black Claws, granting your pet attacks during Dark Transformation a 50% chance to burst a wound, now this is interesting because right now you don’t think much about your Dark Transformation, it’s off cooldown, you use it and basically just save it for cleave, that’s really about it but now you going to have to be extra careful for when you use it as it’s going to give a 50% chance to burst the wounds, meaning, you might want to build extra wounds before using it maybe even combining it with blighted rune weapon as it shares the same cooldown for a more safe approach.
Now will take make Shadow Infusion talent that reduces its cooldown by 5 seconds by each Death Coil you cast viable and the go to choice?As Dark Transformation itself is going to be a more powerful cooldown? is still yet to be seen, mostly likely it womt as the Necrosis is pretty good boost to Clawing Shadows as it is so the damage might not surpass it, as the wound damage might not be enough to compete into the cosistent Necrosis buff to your Clawings Shadows either way there’s still going to be quite a lot of grind before I can put that to the test. Until then though… This was Selwen.
D – And Deanena, thank you for watching and as always like and subscribe for more videos and guides, if you have any questions feel free to drop them down below Have fun guys and see you next time :D.
As found on Youtube