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Thread: Beardly's Death Knight Arena/PVP guide

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    Jan 2009
    Minneapolis, MN

    Beardly's Death Knight Arena/PVP guide

    Hey guys, Beardly here. I looked through this forum and saw that there was no comprehensive DK pvp guide, and in order to combat the stereotype of 95% of dks being horribad, i decided to take it upon myself to write this guide in hopes of helping out the dk community as a whole.
    I hope you find everything you need here to succeed in both arena in pvp. On a sidenote, dk pvp is by far not the easiest you can play, so dont expect the journey to 2k to be a breeze. In my opinion, the DK is a hard class to play well and requires both practice and knowledge of the game as a whole.

    Thanks and enjoy,


    Recent News: 3.1 Goes Live, Shadowfrost dead, DK baddies reroll =)

    You will find in this guide:
    • General Advice
    • Specs
    • Most Common Teams (disabled until theorycrafting stops and real comps start developing)
    • Less Common Teams (disabled until theorycrafting stops and real comps start developing)
    • 1v1 Situations
    • Gear to aim for
    • Enchants
    • Gems
    • Glyphs
    • Race Choice
    • Profession Choice
    • Interface Addons
    • Keybinds
    General Advice:

    I would like to not so much talk in this portion of the guide about specifically Dk combat as much as i would like to talk about strategy in arena/pvp as a whole.
    Needless to say, before you can learn to play your specific class well you need to know how to play the game in its totality well, and to achieve this there are some things you need to know about arena/pvp combat if your just starting out

    1. Never LoS (line of sight) your healer, if he cant see you, he cant heal you. A good team will see the LoS, either CC the healer or you, and then burn the non CCed target.

    2. Never get kited, if a person (say a hunter or a rogue) is kiting you, simply hard switch to the nearest target, or back down. Dont fall into an oppposing teams trap by running around and not doing anything while getting either dpsed or distracted at the same time, thus allowing the opposing teams partner to dps down your partner.

    3. PLAY AS A TEAM. If you run into a situation without talking to your teammate first, about 90% of the time you're going to lose. Arena is a team oriented pvp activity, and if you simply go "oo a clothie i think ill kill it" you arent analyzing the possibilities of what could happen well enough.

    4. Dont be afraid to blow long cooldowns early if it helps you survive. This season is a season of burst and the days of waiting to bust out long cooldowns are over. Simply put, if blowing a long cooldown (vanish, shield wall, etc) will help you survive a teams burst/initial burst, then use them like its goin' out of style.

    5. Dont blow your cooldowns all at once. Dks have many good offensive and defensive cooldowns and you need to learn how to stagger them effectively which will, in turn, result in a greater amount of survivabiliy/damage increase over time. This is what makes DKs overpowered.


    With a new major content patch comes zillions of new theorycrafted specs that can be hard to sift through. So ill try to help out by posting the new, arena tested "cookie cutters" that have been developed.

    Frost Unholy

    0/17/54 (use at lower gear levels)
    0/17/54 (higher gear levels/ playstyle variant)
    0/17/54 (playstyle variant)

    Frost/Hybrid subspec

    16/52/3(with unbreakable armor)
    17/51/3 (with scent of blood)-- currently the tooltip for scent of blood is bugged. The actual in game effect is 10 RP per swing and the effect has no internal cooldown, making it almost necessary for frost. This is the spec i run as.
    16/52/3 (scent of blood + unbreakable armor)

    This spec is also powerful because of its ability to dump 3 consecutive frost strikes on a target that all hit (and especially crit) much higher than Death Coil can. This can be increased to 4 consecutive strikes if glyphed with 3/3 runic power mastery. Chilblains is also very underrated and can potentially offer a snare for the entire enemy team when the DK is actively spreading diseases with Pestilence (and those pestilence blood runes will then turn into death runes because of Blood of the North), offering a huge amount of control and opening basically anyone on the other team to be a potential swap target from being snared and vulnerable to howling blast burst.

    Hungering Cold is the real star here, however. It is basically a 10-second blind on a 60-second cooldown that shares DR with almost nothing else in the game because of the fact that it is considered a freeze effect. More importantly, it is not affected by stun/disorient duration reduction talents, nor can you Divine Purpose out of it. The synergy between this and other long CC effects such as repentance, blind, and hammer of justice is simply amazing if your team can coordinate such CC chains well without accidently breaking the Hungering Cold with splash damage.

    The main weakness to this spec is that Howling Blast has a rather low crit chance with no set bonuses or talents boosting its crit. This is made up a lot by this spec having an extremely high chance to crit Obliterates (+27% from talents alone; +5% from t7), so it's not really even all that bad. Frost simply takes a lot more practice, finesse, and experience than most Death Knights are willing to put in the time for. However, I can see this spec potentially being a huge contender, especially in 2v2.

    Most Common Teams:

    DK (Frost, Unholy)/ Shockadin

    Tips: one way to force a trinket with this combo is to pressure the healer to pretty low health (20-35%) and HoJ the partner. This will usually result in the partner trinketing in order to help his healer, which you can counter with a Repentance on the dps that can't be trinketed, thus allowing you to burn the healer without any assistance from his partner. As frost your going to either want to force a bubble early on the paladin or build up your runic power to 130 for a 4 frost strike burst. The way youll pull this off is to force a trinket early in the game with a hungering cold fake busrt attempt, then go frost pres and build up that RP while HC is cooling down. Then, get up to your burn target, deathgrip the healer to you and hungering cold them while unloading all your damage into the dps. Barring any unlucky rng you should get a kill.

    Blood Dk/Arcane(or Frost) Mage

    Tips: Time the Mage's Deep Freezes with the DK's Dancing Rune Weapon. This will generate huge burst on the healer (the DRW will always autotarget the healer) and will leave little room for any healing when combined with IMP Counterspell and Strangulate.

    Opponents will usually trinket Polymorphs, so keep this in mind when trying to force an enemy trink.

    DK (Unholy, Frost)/ Resto Shaman

    Rice's Arena Junkies Guide for DK/Resto Shaman

    DK/ Discipline Priest

    Less Common Teams:

    DK/Feral Resto Hybrid Druid

    1v1 Tactics and Situations:

    A couple central rules:

    - If you are low at any time, just death pact your ghoul. it'll heal you for around 6k-8k and will basically give you another "life" against your opponent. Your ghoul is a tool, not a necessity, and this is one of its more fun functions ^.^

    - when your playing against a healer/caster always keep a blood rune off cooldown so you can use Strangulate at any time. Trust me theres nothing more frustrating than having a clutch heal being uninterruptable due to rune cooldowns when an interrupt could have won the game in your favor.

    Note: these duels are mostly for a 0/17/54 or 0/16/55 spec (scourge strike). If you play a different spec, simply replace scourge strike with your main nuke or nukes.


    This will probably be the easiest fight you can ask for.
    Basically all you need to do, regardless of spec is open with chains of ice and plague strike. Now, you can anticipate a Death coil as you get on him as he will want to create as much distance between himself and you as possible to allow for uniniterrupted dps. To counter this, simply throw your AMS up as you run in. This will make you immune to his fears and take care of any sort of uncastable cc he can throw at you. (other than insta-howl of terror) If this happens, simply trinket it. Get on him, blood strike twice for more death runes which basically turn into more scourge striking,, and begin to scourge strike. Now hes going to try to Fear you, simply Mind Freeze it and continue Dps. IF he hasnt blown Howl of terror already, he will try to now. What you need to do is back up a little bit and death grip him to you, thus interrupting the cast and allowing for you to stick on him more. He will then try to fear again, just Mind Freeze (if he even live this long, which is doubtful. Overall this is an extremely easy encounter.


    MS/Fury: slow as much as possible. Open with chains of ice and apply your diseases, when hes got about 70% of his movement speed back, your going to want to Chains of Ice while you dps him down (while slowing at the same time, this can be annoying to keep up, but even if it costs you some dps to keep him slowed, it will be worth it.) When you see him "turn red" that means his damage will be increased by a lot. (not exactly an intellectual leap ^.^) your then going to want to refresh bone shield if its not already up and pop Icebound fortitude. This will counter his damage increase and not allow for any Intercept stunning. Basically you will always be doing damage to him and since scourge strike is shadow MAGIC damage, it will cut through all armor while his melee hits, being pure melee, will be mitigated by you armor, thus allowing you to do more damage and giving you the overall advantage. If your fighting an arms warrior, simply run from bladestorm, its that easy.

    Prot: Same strat as MS/Fury except you need to pop Icebound Fortitude early. This is because a big reason that prot warriors can be successful is that they will stunlock you down while still doing good damage. He will charge you in the beginning, you NEED to trinket his charge stun, as this is when the chain stunning will begin. then pop IBF and rather than use your Frost/Blood runes to Chains of Ice, use them to straight up dps him. remember, his armor doesnt mitigate your Scourge Strike damage.


    This will be one of the harder classes to duel against, as they are pretty OP atm (but not as OP as our friend the death knight ^.^). In this duel, it is extremely important to keep him slowed. Use the same slowing strat that you do on warriors (chains of ice) and try your hardest to keep him in melee range. When you get into range, get your diseases up. after you've put down some minor damage he will most likely use Disengage, in which case you simply death grip/chains of ice. One important thing is to keep your ghoul on the hunter's pet, as it will eventually dps him down and a less skilled hunter won't even realize it (don't be afraid to blow Gnaw on a pet if it means less damage to you). After this, simply keep up slows and dps the hunter down, and when he pops deterrence stay on him if hes not survival and he'll drop. If he is, simply pop Icebound Fortitude and Rune Tap through it. GG huntard! =)


    This is another extremely frustrating duel. What you need to do is Chains of ice, get up those diseases, and get on him as quickly as possible. he WILL blink after this, so be ready to throw a death grip at him. Chains of ice him and start trying to put out some damage. If he trys to throw a poly at you, just AMS and keep dpsing. he will eventually go down. Im not gonna lie, a dk will lose most duels against a good mage just because there is so much they can do against you and so little you can do against them.


    Resto: The only way you can possibly win this duel is if you get super lucky RNG as unholy or if you play flawlessly as frost. Pressure down to about 60% and wait for his hots to tick down to about half. Then hungering cold and wait until they fall off. When they do, strangulate and unload all your damage. This is really the only way that you can win this one.

    Feral: This duel is also relatively easy. At the beginning of the fight you should drop a death and decay either to the left or the right of you, as this is the path the druid will take to try to get a stun off. if you dont catch him, simply stand in the middle of the aoe until he opens on you, its really not a big deal if he gets the opener off. If he catches you with a pounce, just trinket out of it and get your diseases up. After this, get a blood boil slow on him and start to zerg. If your a dwarf, make absolutely sure to pop stoneform. Overall, it's gonna cut his damage down by quite a bit. At about 30%, hes going to try to cyclone/full heal. If hes managed to get some distance through a travel form switch, just death grip the cyclone and get back on him. If youre right next to him, hit him with a mind freeze and keep zerging. If hes not dead by the end of the mind freeze interrupt silence duration (he probably wont be) hit him with a Strangulate and keep scourge striking. He won't be able to survive 5 seconds of unmitigatable damage.

    Balance: This fight is just as easy as the warlock. All you have to do is run in, get your diseases up, start bloodstriking for the 2 death runes, and begin to zerg scourge strike. make sure to save your first Mind freeze for the cyclones, as it will lock him out of all spellcasting. In the meantime, theres no reason why you shouldnt pop AMS to mitigate his damage and prevent the insect swarm hit chance debuff. After the cyclone is mindfreezed, just strangulate and he'll die before the duration is up.


    Resto: this duel is not in any way, shape or form fun. You'd better be ready for a long one. Basically all you need to do is keep your diseases up and make sure to take down the most threatening totems. (grounding, disease cleansing, earthbind, you can take out fire damage totems too but they do so little damage it doesnt really matter.) if your specced into Desecration, make sure to utilize the dazed effect that comes with it (i.e pop it when you dont have a blood/frost rune to waste on blood boil or chains of ice) Basically all you need to do with this duel is blood strike whenever you have non death blood runes up and scourge strike as much as possible. This fight will most likely go in phases. What i mean by this is that the shaman will go through phases of pure damage dealing and phases of pure healing, the trick is to know what to do at each phase. During the damage dealing phases, make sure to use AMS and mind freeze to mitigate as much damage as possible, i like to not interrupt the lava bursts and Mind Freeze the lightning bolts/chain lightnings. During healing phases (these will occur at around 30% hp) all you need to do is Mind Freeze his first heal (or if hes far away from you just death grip it and slow him with a blood boil), throw a scourge strike or two, pop empower rune weapon, strangulate, and scourge strike away. His shock damage will add up. Other than that this duel is relatively simple. One more thing, when you see the grounding totem go up, the best way to get rid of it is to icy touch, since frost runes are the ones you use the least as unholy, otherwise simply use your ghoul's Totemstomper macro. Also, the only thing you should be trinketing is Hex.

    Enhancement: This duel is pretty easy. All you really need to do is open with chains of ice and throw your diseases up. Then just get on him while bloodstriking twice for death runes followed by some scourge striking. It helps to throw up an AMS in the middle of the fight while your rune tapping, as his weapon chant allows for insta-cast lightning bolts which can hurt. when he gets to around 30% hes going to start to heal. At this point, all you really have to do is mind freeze, scourge strike, Strangulate, empower rune weapon if you need to, and keep scourge striking. By this time if hes not dead youll be able to mind freeze again and he wont be able to survive through another lockout. Use trinket on hex as mentioned before.

    Elemental: This duel is also extremely easy. It's pretty much the same as the Balance Druid/Warlock duels. All you have to do is get your diseases rolling, chains of ice, and start unloading. His damage will all come from casts, so just mind freeze the first cast he throws at you. After his silence duration is up and you've been dpsing, throw up your AMS to mitigate some of his damage and keep doing some dps. One trick that i really like is to let him cast hex and trinket it immediately. What hes trying to do is bait one of your silences, dont let him do this your going to need them for later. At around 30% hes going to start trying to heal himself. If you've been interrupting every mind freeze CD and it's on cooldown, that fine. Just throw a strangulate at him and give him some scourge strike, chances are heel die. If not, hit him with a mind freeze, keep dpsing, then throw a strangulate at him. Pop Empower Rune Weapon, and burn him down.
    If he Thunderstorms, Death Grip him back to you as quickly as possible, as 90% of the time he'll follow up with a lava burst/chain lightning combo that can be deadly.

    (left out prot, how often are you going to see that. If you guys think i should add this, i will.)

    Holy: This duel can either be really easy or really hard, it all depends on player skill and gear. You really need to be Rune Tapping whenever its up here too. Basically what your going to want to do is get on him and put up your diseases. If hes good, heel just cleanse them, but this will leave time for more dps. Throw up some blood strikes (2) and start to scourge strike. Interrupt his heals in any way EXCEPT strangulate, youll need that for later. If he trys to flash of light, just mind freeze it. If he trys to holy light pre bubble, back up and death grip it. This duel will be relatively the same as a resto shaman in that he will go through both healing and damage phases, and your basically going to do the same thing. Pop AMS during damage phases and make sure to keep pressure on pre bubble. When he bubbles to heal, simply run away and bandage, thus resetting the duel (more or less) in your favor. After hes bubbled, try to get up your diseases. Start scourge striking right away, you need to put up as much pressure as you can to force heals that youll interrupt. when he gets to around 50%, pop Icebound fortitude to avoid hammer of justice, pop Gargoyle and mind freeze his next heal. Throw up a scourge strike and empower rune weapon, and follow up with a strangulate. After the strangulate (if your ghouls not dead already) hit him with a gnaw and keep scourge striking. if he lives through this (heel probably trinket the ghoul stun) just mind freeze his next heal. Its pretty easy.

    Retribution: This will be a bit harder than the holy pally, but if you play it right it wont be that big of a deal. The pally will, about 75% of the time, open up with a hoj. If youve dueled the paladin/played the team before and know that the player opens with this ability, just throw up an IBF. If your not sure, save it for later. If he gets the HoJ off on you, trinket it as fast as you can and Chains of ice him. Throw up your diseases and immediately get on him (dont let him have time to cleanse them). He will have opened with judgement so save your AMS for the next time its up. If you havent popped IBF, nows the time to do it (simply for the damage reduction). keep pressuring and rune tapping to top yourself off and if it comes to this point, sacrifice your ghoul (you should avoid this but you gotta do what you gotta do). Keep bringing down his health while mind freezing any heals he throws out, and force him to bubble. At this point, just bandage and wait out the bubble. When he comes out, pop gargoyle and start immediately putting pressure on him and rerefresh bone shield. If your ghoul hasnt died, throw up 2 blood strikes, gnaw, and scourge strike. when he gets to about 30% he will try to holy light. This is really easy to Mind freeze/Strangulate, just use whatever you have to get the job done. Then pop empower rune weapon and Scourge Strike away.


    This duel is also pretty easy, and there are some tricks to it. If you feel really comfortable with your DK, you bait the rogue into getting the opener, let him cheap shot, Trinket it as fast as you can and pop IBF. This will make you immune to any of his stuns and will make him waste his kidney shot about 90% of the time. If your just starting the class, however, trinket the 5 point kidney shot. Get on him and throw up diseases and start burning. At around 50% throw down a death and decay so that hes standing in the middle of it. Its around this time that he will usually try to vanish and reopen, and if you can anticipate it, you can close that door on his face. If your a dwarf, use stoneform, it makes this duel even easier.

    Gear to Aim For:
    as a DK, your going to want to aim for 2 pieces of heroism/valor for unholy, the best two being Head and Shoulders. This will increase your damage and give you some free hit rating that allows you to socket purely for Spell Penetration and Strength.
    As frost, just get 4 piece pvp gear.
    So as a result, the top gear you can aim for is:

    Head: Valorous Scourgebourne
    Neck: Hateful/Deadly Necklace of Triumph or Fool's Trial if your short on Hit Rating
    Shoulders: Valorous Scourgebourne
    Cape: Hateful/Deadly cape of Triumph
    Chest: Savage/Hateful/Deadly Chest
    Bracers: Hateful/Deadly Bracers of Triumph
    Gloves: Savage/Hateful/Deadly Gloves
    Belt: Hateful/Deadly Belt of Triumph
    Legs: Savage/Hateful/Deadly Legs
    Boots: Hateful/Deadly Boots of Triumph
    Rings: (personal preference here)
    For more burst: Surge Needle Ring and Hateful/Deadly
    For more Resil/Survivability: 1 Deadly Ring and 1 Hateful
    Trinkets: PvP Trink/DMC: Greatness or Bandit's Insignia
    For humans: Bandit's Insignia/DMC: Greatness


    Head: 50ap 20 crit - Knights of the Ebon Blade, Revered
    Shoulders: Greater Glyph of the Axe - Sons of Hodir, Exalted
    inscription chant
    Cape: 35 Spell Penetration
    Chest: + 10 to all stats
    Bracers: +50 AP
    Gloves: +44 AP
    Legs: Crafted/AH bought- 75ap 22 crit
    Boots: Icewalker or Greater Assault if you're hit capped


    Red Socket: 16 Str (Bold)
    Blue Socket: 8 str 12 stam OR 20 Spell Penetration if your below 95
    Yellow Socket: 8 crit and 10 Spell Penetration or 27 str
    (try to aim for 95+ spell penetration)
    Yellow sockets arent common in dk gear at all, so you wont have to worry about these. Most people simply fill "off sockets" with Bold strength gems, simply because it comes to a point when the str from the gems outweighs the socket bonuses.


    Good Majors for PvP:
    -Glyph of the Ghoul (unholy)
    -Glyph of Dark Death (unholy)
    -Glyph of Disease (unholy)
    -Glyph of Hungering Cold (frost)
    -Glyph of Frost Strike (Frost)
    -Glyph of Obliterate (Frost)

    Good Minors for PvP
    -Glyph of Raise Dead
    -Glyph of Pestilence
    -Glyph of Horn of Winter

    Less Common Majors:
    -Glyph of Strangulate

    Choosing Your Race:
    This is an important part of creating your Dk and changes up your playstyle and even itemization pretty drastically. In this section i will list the benefits of each race choice as well as the different play styles/gear changes that will result from the choice you make.


    Human: As a human, you get Perception (passive ability to see through stealth, although it is much less powerful than it used to be), Sword and Mace Spec (just some expertise, doesnt change anything much), and most importantly, every man for himself (a free PvP trinket). Most people will say that humans are the best choice for pvp combat, however other alliance races offer some tricks that take an amount of time/skill to master and can be even more useful than the human racials. I would recommend a human DK for anyone who is new to the pvp scene and wants a good, solid, middle ground character with no huge racial strengths, but also no real weaknesses.

    Dwarf: My personal favorite, stoneform is your friend. This ability basically shuts down opposing dks and mut rogues, and gives you an advantage against feral druids. The 5 expertise to maces isnt bad either.

    Gnome: Another great pvp racial, Escape Artist. This will remove any snare or trap effect and greatly reduces kiting if used at the right time. This racial will play to the skill level of a more advanced player, however if your just starting out this will be a great choice in the long run.

    Night Elf: not the best choice for dk pvp, since blizzard seems to make it a habit to nerf Shadowmeld more and more with each passing patch ^.^

    Draenei: Also not that great, however if used at the right time, Gift of the naaru combined with Rune Tap and Death Pact can be pretty annoying. The 1% extra chance to hit also helps to reach the pvp hit cap and allows for more gemming into offensive stats.

    Overall: Human>Dwarf/Gnome>Draenei>Nelf


    Orc: If i were to play horde, this is the DK i would play. The extra pet damage along with the free damage "trinket" ability make a well played orc dk a damage machine and a weapon.

    Troll: Trolls are okay, but not quite as good as orcs. With the burst that goes on this season, if youre low enough to get the most out of the berserking ability, chances are you wont be living much longer.

    Tauren: Tauren Dks are pretty good if played correctly, as War Stomp can be used for yet another spell interrupt as well as a tool to keep certain melee off you for the duration. The extra hp they get is also good for the amount of damage that gets put out now, however it could be argued that the 700ish hp you get is really just one dot tick nowadays.

    Undead: Undead are also pretty good for pvp and WoTF is a generally solid racial. Overall, this racial, combined with Lichborne and PvP trinket, can make an undead dk a huge pain for Priests and Warlocks and can allow for the saving of a PvP trinket against classes with only one fear or many fears.

    Blood Elf: Belfs are probably the second best choice as far as pvp goes. No matter what way you spin it, dks are meant to be anti caster (even if we brutalize melee too ^.^), and arcane torrent, if used correctly, can lock out a healer for yet another silence duration, making this ability extremely OP if used correctly.

    Overall: Orc>Belf>Undead/Tauren>Troll

    Choosing Your Professions:
    Enchanting: Overall, while enchanting is one of the best profs for other classes, for dks the benifits it brings are actually less than those of other professions. Sure its a great source of some serious coin, but overall there are better profession only things out there. (the ring chants fall short of others)
    Benefits: Big cash flow and good ring enchants
    Cons: Expensive to level up, takes the slot of a gathering profession to go with JC

    Engineering: I see a lot of people with this prof, and it makes sense when you think about it. Rocket Boots and the Glove/belt enchant can be a real hassle in arena, and are a great way to get either get distance or really get up in someones grill. The bombs are also extremely fun in bgs =)
    Benefits: Fun toys such as rocket boots and bombs to mess around with in arena/bgs
    Cons: Also Expensive to level up/ Rocket boots take place of the icewalker chant, meaning you have to socket for hit to reach the pvp hit cap in other places where you could socket for offensive abilities. Also no item enchants that will increase your burst (some people will prefer mobility over pure damage. Do whatever fits your playstyle.)

    Blacksmithing: Blacksmithing is a solid prof for a pvp dk. The extra sockets are great if combined with a jcer (27 str gems moar plx?) but i would'nt advise picking BS up with a gathering prof.
    Benefits: Extra slot for offensive stat increase
    Cons: Expensive to level and takes the slot of a gathering profession to be coupled with JC

    Jewelcrafting: Every pvp dk should have jc, theres really no way around it. Dks are extremely burst-oriented and the 27 str gems improve your ap/crit by a lot. This should be paired with mining for easier leveling or if you have some coin to blow, pair it up with inscription for the shoulder enchant.
    Benefits: 390JC gems are the best in the game and will increase your damage by a crapload, allowing you to put more pressure on healers/dps in arena/pvp. Also is a great source of cashflow.
    Cons: other than the fact that its expensive to level (unless you level it with mining, that will cut the price down substantially.

    Inscription: This Profession is solid for Dks, as the shoulder enchant is pretty ridiculous. However, i wouldnt suggest picking it up with a gathering profession. As i said earlier, JCing really is the way to go for DKs, and with just inscription it will bring you down as a whole.
    Benefits: Amazing shoulder enchant and decent cashflow (dont expect much, inscription mostly deals in nickles and dimes)
    Cons: Expensive to level up due to the price of low level herbs, and takes the place of a gathering profession to couple with JCing

    Mining: Mining is good when combined with JCing, but i wouldnt suggest pairing it with Blacksmithing or anything else. When combined with JCing, it makes the leveling process 100x easier and can provide you with some serious money when you max it out. The 500hp bonus is also cool, but as i said before nowadays thats really only one dot tick.
    Benefits: great cashflow and makes your primary profession much easier to level (JC)
    Cons: takes a bit of time to level up, but other than that its a solid profession

    Overall(for pvp): JC/Inscrip > JC/Mining > JC/BS > JC/Engi > JC/Enchanting

    Useful PvP Addons:
    Although I don't really use many addons, i will post some popular addons that you might find complement your playstyle really well.

    Xperl Unit Frames: Makes your characters as well as your enemies unitframes moveable and customizable

    Gladius: the new, improved version of Proximo. If your a dedicated prox user, you really should upgrade to this. It has all the same features, but in a more user friendly interface as well as much more responsive click functions and hp/mana bars.

    Pitbull: Another extremely customizable unit frames addon, not for the faint of heart

    Doom CooldownPulse: This will watch your cooldowns and will flash the icon of the ability that has come off cooldown in the middle of the screen. Sounds slightly annoying but makes it so you dont even need to look at your toolbar when your comfortable with keybinds, thus allowing you to focus more on the game.

    Natur Enemy Castbars: An enemy Cooldown/buff/cast bar watcher, really useful for planning out your abilities when you know whats coming in a fight (you know that a mage will fire blast every cd/a ret pally will HoJ etc)

    Quartz Castbar: Currently the best cast bar addon imo. It has a latency bar on the castbar to show you how latency will affect your casts. Although as a DK this addon might be wasted memory

    Yuri's Rune Display: Takes your rune UI and makes it both movable and scalable. I personally put it right under my character on my screen so i dont have to keep glancing up at my health bar to see my rune CDs. The scaling function is also nice as the default rune UI is a bit small and can be hard on the eyes. Also has a countdown function.

    Here are the keybinds that i currently use. In no way am i saying that these are the best keybinds to use, but they have worked well for me and are extremely user friendly. Just as a side note: if these will be the first keybinds you use, dont worry, i set these up the day that i decided to learn to use keybinds and havent changed a thing, they turned out miraculously well and take maybe a day of solid pvp to get down.

    shift + a: anti magic shell
    shift + f: Scourge Strike/Obliterate (frost)
    shift + s: Stoneform/racial ability
    shift + d: blood strike/Heart Strike (depending on spec)
    shift + z: pestilence
    shift + 2: death grip
    shift + 3: mind freeze
    shift + 4: strangulate
    shift + 5: Gnaw macro

    /cast Gnaw (only way to keybind pet abilities)
    shift + t: chains of ice
    shift + r: rune strike
    shift + g: obliterate (never use it as unholy, But if your blood switch to shift + f)
    shift + q: Empower Rune Weapon
    4: Gargoyle
    `: Bone Shield
    ctrl + d: death and decay
    ctrl + e: Horn of Winter
    ctrl + q: Icebound Fortitude
    1: Icy Touch
    2: Plague Strike
    Shift + Mousewheel up: Frost Presence
    Shift + Mousewheel down: Unholy/Blood presence (switch depending on which one you feel fits your playstyle)
    J: mount
    shift + J: flying mount
    6: summon ghoul
    f1: use trinket
    f5: pvp trinket (i have a logitech g15, so the g5 key (same as f5) falls right by the shift key by my pinkie, making it extremely easy to hit. if you dont have this key board, i recomment a mouse button such as mouse3, or maybe middle mouse)
    Mouse 4: Ghoul Leap/Gnaw macro
    Mouse 5: Deathchill/Icy Touch macro (for shadowfrost), if your not shadowfrost i usually put Gargoyle here

    Thats it for me, please post if you have any questions at all about the guide or any sort of situations you want me to help you with.



    Last edited by Beardly; 04-28-2009 at 09:39 AM. Reason: updated for 3.1

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Springdale, AR, United States
    Needs some cleaning up, but it's otherwise pretty good. Your rundown of Holy Pallies is pretty much spot-on.

    I almost always whittle the DK's ghoul down as quickly as possible, because denying them that Death Pact is absolutely critical in a 1v1 situation, and I often try to have my partner find time to bring the ghoul down in arenas as well. You shouldn't expect to get a lot of use out of the ghoul beyond the health battery, because a proper Paladin will have it feared for the majority of the match

    Gargoyles are an excellent way of freeing up your ghoul, if your ghoul's being chain feared; I immediately fear the gargoyle until it's gone, because even after the nerf, it's a lot of DPS. A focus macro combined with focusframes helps immensely for targeting the gargoyle. I'm not sure if you can Death Pact the ghoul if it's being CC'd, but I know that Warlocks can't sacrifice their voidwalker if it's feared, so I'd expect it to be the same.

    Mind Freeze is absolutely critical to winning against Holy Paladins, because you will not be able to bring down a decently equipped Holy pally down without proper timing of interrupts, unless you're lucky (I once ate two Rune Strike crits back to back on top of an Obliterate crit... freaking parries) or he's bad. Keep in mind that Divine Shield can't be used if they're locked out or silenced (it's a Holy spell, apparently); if you feel the pally's low enough, Strangulate him to prevent that bubble and finish it.

    Proper use of AMS is what sets the good DKs apart from the bad ones, and makes a good DK a fairly difficult fight. Holy Pally DPS rotations typically come every eight seconds; for me, it's a shock, then a judgement (why did they have to put judgements on the GCD!?), followed by a Shield of Righteousness, and (if he's humping that descrated ground debuff) a refreshed Consecration. If you time it right, you can pop AMS right as he enters that rotation, causing him to waste valuable GCDs and mana (not that pallies go OOM.)

    Keeping diseases up on a Holy Pally is going to be very difficult between Cleanse and Pure of Heart. Most DKs I fight can't reliably keep more than one disease (typically Frost Fever or Ebon Plague) up on me at a time unless they can force me to spend a lot of time healing (which leaves me open for a Mind Freeze.)

    I usually kite DKs using Judgement of Justice and Pursuit of Justice if possible, and especially to try and bait that Death Grip. If they Death Grip, then I promptly Hand of Freedom and pop my Nitro Boosts and am then completely out of their range (but still comfortably within my shock and judgement range) for the duration of their Death Grip cooldown. Don't let this happen to you. Do your absolute best to avoid using Death Grip to close the gap (though using it as a ranged spell interrupt works wonderfully) if they have Hammer of Justice available, because you could very likely end up chasing a pally in circles for the next 30 or 45 seconds, unable to do much of anything about it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Minneapolis, MN
    yea holy paladins are a pain to beat, a good one really shouldnt lose against a dk, although after a while playing beardly, ive gotten pretty retarded at popping AMS ^.^
    yea i wrote this guide within one day, today i plan to clean it up, add hyperlinks, and maybe make it more comprehensive. i still have to add how to duel priests and dks as well. did you see anything in particular that should be cleaned up immediately? sifting through this mindslap of a textwall aint fun lol.

    Also, im pretty sure they nerfed strangulating Bubbles to a 1 second silence on bubble or something, cuz ill throw it up on a paladin and heel still bubble, i really need to fnid out whats wrong with it

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    hi, just started a dk a week ago and looking forward to arenaing with ma pally buddy so was looking at ur guide, but cant seam to get the talent page up, can u Pm me a link to your spec or somth?

    Also, u say uv played at 2k rating, but ur statistics say ur highest rating is 1678 :/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Minneapolis, MN
    my hunter Flexi was glad 4 seasons in a row, but ive had horrible luck finding a good holy pallu and im still working the kinks out of my DK pvp strats. (my partner now is an rl friend, and hes pretty bad. my threes is really where i hope to excel...but weve only been able to play like 20 games lol.)

    for shadowfrost just check my armory, thats the spec im rocking.
    For any of the other ones post here and ill fix them. In the mean time ill see what i can do about those links

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Minneapolis, MN
    mkay, so i just fixed the broken link (27/0/44), but if your planning on going blood for arena, i wouldnt suggest it. Its way too gear/comp dependant and for a starter dk, definitely not the best route to go. until you get some better gear, i would suggest going either 19/0/52 or 21/0/50. these seem to work the best at low gear levels and play well with a paladin. When you get some better gear, however, (and around 95 spell penetration) going 0/20/51 is awesome. It plays very well with a paladin and does pretty sick burst. Until then i would suggest sticking to shallow blood, deep unholy pvp builds, though.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Minneapolis, MN
    updating as soon as i see some official patch notes

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    I it just me or are all your unholy (play style variants) the same?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Minneapolis, MN
    the difference is in the low tier frost talents ie choosing between 5 toughness, 3 imp icy touch/2 RPM, or 2RPM 3 toughness

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Minneapolis, MN
    updated for 3.1
    use the strat for dk/shockadin(or holy pally) for any dk healer team as frost. Thats pretty much the only way youll get a kill.
    On a side note, if the dps is not dead by the end of the hungering cold just silence into whatever cc your healer can put out, its almost guaranteed that that dps will die by the end of your rotation

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009

    A simple question

    Hello Beardly

    Thank you for this guide, I find it really helpful.
    Well I just have this one question, which presence to use in 1v1 against all the classes?


  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Some questions for a newbie

    Hi, im trying to learn the DK unholy spec 0/17/54, iv got decent gear and a rating about 1650 but im still about confused about a few things.

    1) the points spent in frost tree almost always include Annihilation, dose this mean that you actually are using Obliterate? Im never using it since theres a chance to remove diseases and i think the unholy tree specc will make a scourge strike more powerfull.

    2) Speccing with improved Unholy presence i guess means that you most often go Blood with a healer, but if you skipp this talent, do you still go blood or do you use unholy presence?

    3) If you could give a short list of your prefered use of presence against different classes that would be awsome ! i mean, what do you use against retri or warriors?

    Thanks for a great post! It has helped me to 1650 for now =)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by readonly View Post
    Hi, im trying to learn the DK unholy spec 0/17/54, iv got decent gear and a rating about 1650 but im still about confused about a few things.

    1) the points spent in frost tree almost always include Annihilation, dose this mean that you actually are using Obliterate? Im never using it since theres a chance to remove diseases and i think the unholy tree specc will make a scourge strike more powerfull.

    2) Speccing with improved Unholy presence i guess means that you most often go Blood with a healer, but if you skipp this talent, do you still go blood or do you use unholy presence?

    3) If you could give a short list of your prefered use of presence against different classes that would be awsome ! i mean, what do you use against retri or warriors?

    Thanks for a great post! It has helped me to 1650 for now =)
    1. You use scourge strike as unholy. The Points in that are just to get to the next tier and the extra 2% crit.

    2. You use blood as unholy spec because you're not GCD starved and blood provides harder hits.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    why so hard?

    I think the reason that DKs are so hard to play in PvP its because if a DK tank get the 2h weps wich givs about 180+ stamina their hp wud be crazy and evry one wud know the DKs with loads of hp.
    they could even hit 36k hp with good gear.and with the new patch about 37k-38k.
    Last edited by tehnuubguy; 07-07-2009 at 08:21 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    On the guide about 1v1ing an arms warrior... >_>

    I destroy any DK that fights like that. "Turning red"? That's just the berserking enchant on their weapon which adds 400AP (actually less because of Armored to the Teeth)..., hardly a noticeable damage increase.

    As a DK you should be kiting the warrior in the charge / intercept deadzone, not going head on, because any decent warrior will swap to sword and board, spell reflect your CoI and spam you to death with revenge.

    Quote Originally Posted by tehnuubguy View Post
    I think the reason that DKs are so hard to play in PvP its because if a DK tank get the 2h weps wich givs about 180+ stamina their hp wud be crazy and evry one wud know the DKs with loads of hp.
    they could even hit 36k hp with good gear.and with the new patch about 37k-38k.
    My head hurts.
    Last edited by Genome852; 07-15-2009 at 04:36 PM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Minneapolis, MN
    okay, first of all my name on my character is no longer (and hasnt been for some time) beardly. im playing on a female orc dk named festizio on the azjol-nerub server. Okay so first of all, use unholy presence most of the time and ALWAYS when your about to use empower rune weapon. While bloods big crits make it seems like your doing more damage, there are times (like when your trying to get a gnaw strangulate 2 death runes burst on a resto druid when he has no hots) when you WILL be starved for gcds. Basically use frost when being focused/against double dps, blood against locks and other mana wars (retties too), and unholy for bursting or anything else. When i wrote the strat section for arms warriors, there was no juggernaught, so there was really no reason to kite. I like to throw up ibf now and run backwards, making them waste their intercept/charge on you, but other than that you really do need to deadzone them (if you run straight away from them its just going to make them get more rage and stun you more...just deadzone pls). I havent been on the forums in a while and i do need to update the guide, so if anything seems incomplete or out of context with the new patch changes, these sections will not stay this way.
    sorry its taken so long haha,


  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Just wanted to say thanks for the great guild and I was just looking at your keybindings and saw that you dont have death coil on there...did you just forget to put it on there? or am i just really tired right now lol

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Minneapolis, MN
    my death coil keybind is shift + e.
    Yea so i havent really had time to change the sections but with the new 3.2 changes ill switch some things around considering the huge changes to the class. Btw i xferred again im on llane and my name is bater

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    wow thats in depth i only just started playing arena with my dk and priest i love playing bg's with my dk just got to get him some gear so he can go into arena my preist thow is a pain to get used to in arena always geting nuked i can hold off but im usally like a dam decoy they all attack me while my team gets away untouched im usally healing my self 70% of the time

    thanks so much for dk info i will be testing this out for sure !

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by holyjebus View Post
    wow thats in depth i only just started playing arena with my dk and priest i love playing bg's with my dk just got to get him some gear so he can go into arena my preist thow is a pain to get used to in arena always geting nuked i can hold off but im usally like a dam decoy they all attack me while my team gets away untouched im usally healing my self 70% of the time

    thanks so much for dk info i will be testing this out for sure !
    I have pvp'ed with my priest and warrior. Switched to death knight a couple of months ago and loving it. A dk is more forgiving of my poor latency (400ms) and the play-style is fluid.

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