Death Knight Talent Trees and Skills – Patch 3.1.0 – Unholy

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

With 3.1 upon us, I have dove in and looked around at all the changes with the current build. Here I will be giving you my take on each of the changes for Death Knights tree by tree.

Doesn’t matter who smelt it, YOU dealt it! It’s stinky, toxic, and will kick major ass. That’s right! It’s time to talk about…


Is the hot chick at the party

Unholy has been given breast implants and a cooch that emits pheromones in such volume that all DKs go rabid when they get near it. This is not an overstatement at all. I will explain why at the end of this section.


  • Pestilence does no damage and has been reduced to 1 rank
    • No surprise there, we knew that change was coming
  • Plague Strike and its disease Blood Plague no longer remove HoTs
    • If you’re a regular reader you know what my opinion is on this issue. Makes druid heals near impossible to deal with, also allows casters to heal and remain mobile, thus becoming a problem for DKs to deal with.
  • Raise Ally can no longer be used in Arena
    • Good. It was broken in terms of power
  • Raise Dead: Duration changed to 1 minute and CD lowered to 3 minutes.
    • I feel this balance change works out just fine. Now you don’t have a ghoul that lasts the whole fight, but you will have it every fight that matters. The extra DPS off rune CDs will be a nice thing to have.


  • Bone Shield: Cooldown increased to 2 minutes from 1 minute.
    • Another in the long list of tanking nerfs. Blizzard is making it clearer to me that DKs were never intended to MT anything…
  • Desecration: This talent now has a 100% chance to be triggered, works with Scourge Strike, and instantly snares targets within the Desecration area. Additional points in the talent increase the damage bonus and snare magnitude instead of increasing the chance it will be triggered.
    • Well, while it now functions better as a talent dump, this talent still causes large amounts of graphical lag and thus, I still don’t like it. The addition of Scourge Strike to the triggers though is nice because it means it will always be up.
  • Ghoul Frenzy: Grants 25% melee haste to your pet and heals it for 30% of its maximum health. Costs 1 Unholy Rune.
    • Not bad now. I guess someone at Blizzard read my suggestion and changed this idiot skill. Now if you proc out free diseases from Scourge Strike you can max your DPS by casting Ghoul Frenzy and Icy Touch.
  • Impurity: This talent is reduced to 4/8/12/16/20% bonus to attack power scaling.
    • It was too good. It now is pretty well balanced.
  • Magic Suppression: Now has 3 ranks (down from 5) for 2/4/6% magic damage reduction.
    • Free talents are always good, so is taking less damage from magic. In frost presence this means you will take 11% less magic damage, down from 21%.
  • Master of Ghouls: Now also reduces the cooldown on Raise Dead by 60 seconds. This talent now requires at least 25 points in the Unholy tree, and has Night of the Dead as a prerequisite
    • All DK pets now have AoE avoidance and are on a 2 minute re-summon cooldown. PvP is still retarted with a pet that is nearly as hard to kill as its controller.
  • Night of the Dead: Redesigned to grant a flat reduction on cooldown to Raise Dead and Army of the Dead instead of a reduction from using abilities. Requires at least 15 points in the Unholy tree; prerequisite for Master of Ghouls.
    • Wait… Now Raise Dead has no cooldown. Awesome. Corpse Explosion spam with Ghoul = Massive damage.
  • Outbreak: No longer increases Blood Boil damage. Now gives a 7/13/20% damage bonus to Scourge Strike. Plague Strike Bonus lowered to 10/20/30%.
    • Whoops. Blizzard buffed a skill that is already too good. Expect this to be changed or reverted.
  • Reaping: Now procs on Blood Strike and Pestilence instead of Blood Strike and Blood Boil.
    • This is nothing more than a push towards using Wandering Plague and Unholy Blight as the main sources of AoE damage for Unholy. Could be worse.
  • Scourge Strike: Damage increased. Bonus damage for diseases now increases damage done by a percentage rather than a flat amount.
    • Wonderful… Scourge strike is like the King Cake for the Carnival of Unholy buffs. Expect this talent to now put out retarded amounts of damage.
  • Shadow of Death: This talent has been removed.
    • Damn. Sad to see repair-less deaths go. It was also fun to put out more damage after dying than I did when I was alive because of a glitch in the scaling.
  • Unholy Aura: Replaced with Improved Unholy Presence. Allows the death knight to keep the movement speed bonus of Unholy Presence in any presence, and increases rune regeneration rate while in Unholy Presence.
    • WOAH NOW! Blizzard has gone nuts. Now your runes regenerate faster when in unholy presence which MAKES IT THE BEST PRESENCE IN THE GAME NOW. Faster rune regeneration equates to more abilities which equates to more armor bypassing damgage.
  • Unholy Blight and Gargoyle have swapped places in the Unholy tree. Gargoyle is the new 51-point Unholy talent.
    • Gargoyle is at 80% of its former glory damage.
  • Vicious Strikes: This talent no longer affects Death Strike.
    • I would hope not with a talent that improves DS damage by 10% now in the Blood tree…

Overall Impressions

If I had to pick between Unholy, Blood, or Frost for the main spec DPS position in my DK brigade it would have to be Unholy hands down for the following reasons:

  • Improved Icy Talons still does not stack with Windfury
  • Hysteria no longer stacks with itself or TotT or Death Wish
  • Unholy has more passive damage additions
  • Dancing Rune Weapon got the nerfbat
  • Frost is still confused about its status in the DPS realm.
  • Blood is more gear dependent than any other spec for our class
  • Ebon Plague now stacks with Curse of Elements.

Those reasons, especially number 7, are why I believe you will see unholy as top DPS in raids. If not for the caster utility, then for the stupid amount of DPS it puts out in an AoE over time. Chaining corpse explosions together is awesome too and a large amount of free damage.


One Response to Death Knight Talent Trees and Skills – Patch 3.1.0 – Unholy

  1. […] Death Knight Talent Trees and Skills – Patch 3.1.0 – Unholy Surazc – Death Knight Tank With 3.1 upon us, I have dove in and looked around at all the changes with the current […] […]

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