Tier 17 DPS Death Knights: Talents, Gear and more.

Title

12/9: Check my new post for more info regarding the Dec 8 hotfixes! (BiS lists on this post still apply)

12/2: Updated Unholy BiS set and trinket list (click here) after the December 1st hotfixes.  11/27: Updated BiS sets and added some clarifications/options. To see a complete list of Unholy trinket sims (including updated PvP trinkets, BoE’s and more), click here.

It’s been 12 days since the launch of Warlords of Draenor, and there’s only one week left until T17. Question is: how will dps death knights fare in raids? First of all, we have the new level 100 talents: Necrotic Plague, Defile and Breath of Sindragosa. Currently, Defile is the most powerful choice for every spec:

Talents

X-Axis: DPS

While BoS may result in a significant increase to burst damage, its long cooldown (2 minutes) and dependence on runic power nullify its potency. These results roughly apply to AoE as well, where it had its uses before Beta nerfs. Defile has considerable limitations too, but its shorter cooldown, cheaper cost, AoE range and raw damage make it much more flexible and powerful than BoS. Of course, Necrotic Plague is mechanically simpler and more effective than both, but it’s severely undertuned and offers no dps increase in most situations (even causing dps losses on certain conditions vs. no lvl100 talent choice at all).


Now that we have level 100 talents out of the way, we can focus on specs. Unholy, DW and 2H are separated by just ~5% on single target, which isn’t a massive difference. But what about Cleave/AoE? The results speak for themselves:

AoE/Cleave

X-Axis: DPS

This is the area where Unholy shows its true colors and Frost shows its weaknesses. The culprits of this performance gap are Howling Blast -poorly tuned for AoE-, and Blood Boil, which is the superior one-rune AoE spell even before taking into account the more potent Unholy dots.


All in all, it seems that Unholy is the to-go spec for T17… or is it?

Knowing the nature of the latest tuning changes, I’d expect a Blood Boil nerf instead of a Howling Blast buff. Either way, I’ll keep the results up to date. To conclude this post, here’s the BiS sets and their associated stat weights for all specs. This applies to heroic and mythic unless otherwise noted.

Unholy

Head: Ogreskull Boneplate Greathelm
Neck: Thogar's Serrated Chain (enchant: gift of multistrike)
Shoulders: Ogreskull Boneplate Pauldrons
Chest: Ogreskull Boneplate Breastplate
Waist: Ironcrusher's Collar
Legs: Ogreskull Boneplate Greaves
Feet: Sabatons of Fractal Earth
Wrists: Fleshmelter Bracers
Hands: Gauntlets of Dramatic Blows
Finger1: Spellbound Runic Band of Elemental Power (enchant: gift of multistrike)
Finger2: Seal of the Savage Howl (enchant: gift of multistrike)
Trinket1: Vial of Convulsive Shadows
Trinket2: Forgemaster's Insignia
Back: Cloak of Sanguine Terror (enchant: gift of multistrike)
Main Hand: Ka'graz's Burning Blade

Stat weights: Str > Mult > Mastery > Crit > Vers > Haste
Gemming: Multistrike - Weapon enchant: Rune of the Fallen Crusader

DW Frost

Head: Ogreskull Boneplate Greathelm
Neck: Thogar's Serrated Chain (enchant: gift of mastery)
Shoulders: Ogreskull Boneplate Pauldrons
Chest: Ogreskull Boneplate Breastplate
Waist: Uktar's Belt of Chiming Rings
Legs: Ogreskull Boneplate Greaves
Feet: Sabatons of Fractal Earth
Wrists: Fleshmelter Bracers
Hands: Flamefury Gauntlets
Finger1: Spellbound Runic Band of Elemental Power (enchant: gift of mastery)
Finger2: Seal of the Savage Howl (enchant: gift of mastery)
Trinket1: Horn of Screaming Spirits
Trinket2: Forgemaster's Insignia / Vial of Convulsive Shadows
Back: Cloak of Sanguine Terror (enchant: gift of mastery)
Main Hand: Kromog's Brutal Fist
Off Hand: Kromog's Brutal Fist

Note: FI and Vial are within 300 dps of each other (FI coming out on top). 

Stat weights: Str > Mastery > Mult > Vers > Haste ~= Crit
Gemming: Mastery - Weapon enchant: Rune of the Fallen Crusader/Rune of Razorice

2H Frost

Head: Ogreskull Boneplate Greathelm
Neck: Thogar's Serrated Chain (enchant: gift of multistrike)
Shoulders: Unstable Slag Shoulderplates/Overdriven Spaulders
Chest: Ogreskull Boneplate Breastplate
Waist: Ironcrusher's Collar
Legs: Ogreskull Boneplate Greaves
Feet: Sabatons of Fractal Earth
Wrists: Bracers of Martial Perfection / Fleshmelter Bracers / Bracers of Visceral Force
Hands: Ogreskull Boneplate Gauntlets
Finger1: Spellbound Runic Band of Elemental Power (enchant: gift of multistrike)
Finger2: Phosphorescent Seal (enchant: gift of multistrike)
Trinket1: Horn of Screaming Spirits
Trinket2: Forgemaster's Insignia / Vial of Convulsive Shadows
Back: Berserker's Windwrap (enchant: gift of multistrike) 
Main Hand: Crescent of Living Magma / Ka'graz's Burning Blade

Note: Again, FI and Vial are within 300 dps of each other (FI coming out on top). Due to the extremely close stat weights, the dps difference between weapons, shoulders and wrists is down to rng.

Stat weights: Str > Mult ~= Vers > Haste ~= Crit > Mastery
Gemming: Multistrike - Weapon enchant: Rune of the Fallen Crusader
Advertisements