DK crap for Ran – Unholy PvP Guide

2 Mar

Ranavos – mage who just went DK wanted help playing a DK. This was easier to type up, so I made a blog and am adding it here now as well. It’s missing a few things, but they’re easy to look up. A lot of this is copied from Elitist Jerks and Arena Junkies. Feel free to tell me where I do stuff wrong, I actually play frost DK anyways…

Rotation can only be perfected through practice. This is how you maximize your dps and what you return to after hitting CDs/using CC/etc. If you don’t have it down through practice, you will (obviously) not hit as hard and have trouble returning to the proper rotation after being interrupted (say because you have to trinket or DG). Practice should be done first one a target dummy, then in regular BGs before taken into an RBG setting.

> Diseases
> Dark Transformation
> Death and Decay/Scourge Strike (UU or Death Runes are up)
> Festering Strike (BB and FF are up)
> Death Coil (Sudden Doom, high RP)
> Death and Decay/Scourge Strike
> Festering Strike
> Horn of Winter
Note: Scourge Strike is replaceable by Necrotic Strike when healers are present. Have both bound for easy access as it may be necessary to switch between one strike and the next.

Diseases (Copied from Elities Jerks with slight editing to relate to PvP)
From the start of combat, cast Outbreak to apply your diseases quickly. If Outbreak is unavailable for whatever reason or a target is at range, apply diseases individually via Icy Touch and Plague Strike. The ticking damage from our diseases is minor, but the synergy that they provide is paramount. The first element of synergy is that when you cast Icy Touch/Plague Strike/Outbreak, Ebon Plague will also be applied. Ebon Plague weakens your target to all magical damage by an additional 8% and represents an important raid-wide debuff. Also, for each disease you apply to a target, your Scourge Strike will deal an additional 18% of the physical damage done as shadow damage.

Death and Decay
Only use this if facing multiple targets, otherwise use Scourge Strike/Necrotic Strike. Keep awareness of how many people you’re fighting and also remember this can be used to pop vanishing rogues (i.e. don’t use it if they might make a break for it). Also, Death and Decay is great for interrupting healers which are out of line of sight and drinking. For example, you can be in the middle of Nagrand Arena and interrupt a healer drinking almost anywhere on the map.

Other Spells/Cool Downs
Dark Simulacrum
Use this OFTEN. It is a great spell but can be confusing if you don’t play a lot of classes. Check out this link for a good summary.

Dark Simulacrum works through immunities such as Divine Shield and Ice Block. This means the debuff is guaranteed to be applied regardless of the target’s state. If you cast it during a Divine Shield, it will copy either the spell casted during the Divine Shield, or the spell casted after the shield is down.

Anti-Magic Shell (Copied from Elitist Jerks)
Using Anti-Magic Shell intelligently is one of the key aspects that separates the ‘good’ Death Knights from the ‘great’ ones. AMS provides a two-fold benefit and understanding it well will optimize your play.

Firstly, AMS is a powerful defensive ability that absorbs 75% (83%/91%/100% Magic Suppression) of the damage dealt by harmful spells up to 50% of your total health and prevents the application of harmful magical effects. In heavy damage situations, this is a lifesaver and aids on healing resources.

Secondly, and often underutilized, is AMS’s DPS boon. Damage absorption (again via Magic Suppression) will cause you to become ‘energized’ and generate a substantial amount of Runic Power. When you can anticipate AMS a few seconds ahead of time, make sure to have very low RP so that you do not cap while energizing.

Take note that Anti-Magic Shell not only prevents magic spells from being applied, but also poisons. Another great use for Anti-Magic Shell is preventing Nature’s Grasp or traps.

Lichborne (Copied from Arena Junkies)
Lichborne can be used for many things other than just breaking fear. Lichborne also prevents:
● Seduce (Will also break this effect on use)
● Sap
● Polymorph
● Hex
● Any form of fear (Will also break this effect on use)
● Mind Control (Will also break this effect on use)
Note: Lichborne can be used at any time during a crowd control effect. This is great for preventing back to back polymorphs which overlap and do not allow any time between each other. An example of this would be using Lichborne to prevent Warstomp -> Hexs
Another Note: When going against a death knight, strangulate prevents the use of lichborne healing.

Macro to Lichborne-heal yourself:
/cast !lichborne;
/cast [@player] Death Coil

Death Grip
I cannot stress enough how huge this is for interrupts. Don’t just use it to close gaps. Also, If you’re running with a Warrior, Chains of Ice -> Death Grip another target into range of the Bladestorm for more pressure. If you are running an RBG with a lot of Melee, watch how you DG. You can HURT your progress by DGing a target out of a large group of melee. Conversely, you can help by DGing a target back into a large group of melee.

Remember that both your Death Grip and Mind Freeze can be grounded. You can use an addon to show an alert for the “Grounding Totem” buff. If you need to use either of these abilities and there is a Grounding Totem down, just cast a quick Chains of Ice to get rid of the totem. Also, when a Warrior is Bladestorming one of your team-mates, Death Grip it off them. When in Dalaran, Blade’s Edge, and Ring of Valor, you’re able to Death Grip the Warrior off a pillar or ledge during the Bladestorm, but you have to watch for a Grounding Totem and Spell Reflect.


I am fond of this spec but the only real difference is where you put one talent in the 6th tier. You can have 2 points in Ebon Plague Bringer OR Sudden Doom – not both. Choose which ever style works best for you. (SUCH A HARD DECISION BLIZZARD)


As unholy, your pet can be half of your damage at some points so he’s really important – especially when transformed. (Copied from Elitist Jerks with major editing as pertaining to PvP) For extra control, bind his Attack commands to Scourge Strike and Necrotic Strike. This prevents healers from taunting your pet off of your target and significantly reducing your damage. For the most part, Timmy is a resilient pet. He has an unspoken 90% AoE damage reduction and can be healed by your Death Coil (discounted healing with Glyph of Death’s Embrace). Rather than putting your pet on cruise control, it’s far better to have an awareness of him and his actions (particularly given the AI’s observable hiccups). It will greatly help survivability, group tactics, and your DPS.

A good rule of thumb is to not keep your pet right next to you by utilizing the Stay command. It prevents aoe cc’s and gives your pet easier maneuverability behind targets when they first attack you.

Macros for your Pets!!

Macros macros macros – to be a good DK you need lots and lots of macros. Here we have just a few of the pet ones (i.e. the ones I used to use) while the rest can be found on Arena Junkies if you really care.

Death Pact on your GARGOYLE
/use [nopet]Raise Dead
/targetexact Ebon Gargoyle
/use Death Pact
/stopmacro [harm]

Summon Gargoyle to attack your current target
/use Summon Gargoyle
/target focus
/focus pettarget
/petattack [@focus]

Leap and Gnaw in one macro – Press once to Leap and a second time to Gnaw
/cast Leap
/cast Gnaw

Recommended Glyphs (Copied from Arena Junkies)


● Glyph of Death Coil – Increases the damage or healing done by Death Coil by 15%.
● Glyph of Raise Dead – Your Ghoul receives an additional 40% of your Strength and 40% of your Stamina.
● Glyph of Scourge Strike – Increases the Shadow damage portion of your Scourge Strike by 30%.


● Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell – Increases the duration of your Anti-Magic Shell by 2 sec.
● Glyph of Dark Succor – Causes your Death Strike ability to always restore at least 15% of your maximum health when used while in Frost or Unholy Presence.
● Glyph of Strangulate – Increases the Silence duration of your Strangulate ability by 2 sec when used on a target who is casting a spell.


● Glyph of Horn of Winter – Increases the duration of your Horn of Winter ability by 1 min.
● Glyph of Resilient Grip – When your Death Grip ability fails because its target is immune, its cooldown is reset.
● Glyph of Death’s Embrace – Your Death Coil refunds 20 runic power when used to heal.

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