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6.1 Unholy Death Knight Results

Hello everyone! As promised, here are the 6.1 results for Unholy Death Knights. If you’re wondering about Frost, here’s a quick FAQ:

q: “What about Frost?”
a: Frost remains unchanged for 6.1. There’s been a slight Rune of the Fallen Crusader RPPM nerf across all specs, but it shouldn’t affect any of the previous results.

q: “Wasn’t Dual Wield Frost a solid alternative to Unholy?”
a: DW is definitely viable with the right gear, but Unholy remains the superior spec.


Unholy 6.1 Simulations (BiS gear, @450 sec)

Plague Leech + Defile
Single target: 44258 dps
Weights: Str (7.11) > Mult (4.46) > Mastery (3.68) > Crit (3.55) > Vers (3.28) > Haste (3.11)3 targets: 62093 dps
Weights: Str (10.56) > Mult (6.45) > Mastery (5.94) > Crit (4.98) > Vers (4.61) > Haste (4.23)5 targets: 84945 dps
Weights: Same as 3 targets.
Unholy Blight + Necrotic Plague
• Single target: 42271 dps
Weights: Str (6.93) > Mult (4.39) > Haste (3.52) > Mastery (3.46) > Crit (3.29) > Vers (3.09)
• 3 targets: 61857 dps
Weights: Str (10.15) > Mult (5.65) ~= Mastery (5.64) > Haste (4.78) > Crit (4.59) > Vers (4.34)
• 5 targets (using Horn of Screaming Spirits and Vial of Convulsive Shadows): 81815 dps
Weights: Str (14.05) > Mastery (8.45) ~= Mult (8.42) > Haste (6.66) > Crit (6.39) > Vers (6.03)

Conclusions

With the 20% buff, Necrotic Plague becomes a much more attractive talent. It offers comparable dps to Defile (which requires near-perfect usage and ideal enemy positioning to produce the simulated results), and can be “gamed” to further improve output on many situations and encounters. However, Defile remains a solid burst ability: you still want to use it on single target (paired with Plague Leech), and on encounters where you can’t efficiently keep up 15 stack NP’s. Breath of Sindragosa is a very interesting talent too, and may have it’s uses depending on how long you can keep it up via AMS soaking, ERW, etc.

Since we’ll be using the Unholy Blight/Necrotic Plague combo very often, I recommend aiming for a healthy balance between multistrike and mastery. At BiS/near BiS gear, both stats should be roughly equal (~1500 unbuffed). On heavy AoE encounters, using Horn of Screaming Spirits instead of Forgemaster’s Insignia is also recommended.

Using Unholy Blight over Plague Leech represents a ~10-15% increase in downtime, so remember you’ll need some haste to avoid prolonged periods of rune starvation (making it hard to keep up a 15 stack NP). AMS-soak wisely.

Last but not least: the Blood Boil bug (where it was resetting diseases, preventing them to properly tick when repeatedly using the ability) has been fixed! Now you can safely spam it (with +4 targets present).

Feel free to ask any questions on the comments pane!

Death Knights and Blackrock Foundry: all you need to know.

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Blackrock Foundry is coming out next week (Feb. 3). Here’s some important things you need to know:

  • BRF is not part of the 6.1 patch. If you were feeling relieved after seeing the Necrotic Plague buff (hoping that it somehow makes up for the controversial Blood Boil nerf), don’t get your hopes up too high: it won’t see the light until 6.1 is out. There’s no 6.1 release date yet.
  • Things won’t change much in terms of rotations and talents: Plague Leech and Defile are still the way to go for single target and AoE. Necrotic Plague has some situational uses as Unholy, but it won’t result in a sizable dps increase until the buff goes live. Once it does, pairing it with Unholy Blight and the Festerblight play-style (extending a 15-stack via FS and making it last long enough so that it expires when UB comes off cd) will make it a very competitive talent on single target (vs PL+Defile) and a considerable dps increase in AoE and high downtime/movement scenarios.
  • Using Blood Boil on AoE will continue to be a dps loss (vs. single target rotation w/spread dots) until +4 targets are present. DW Frost continues to surpass Unholy in +2 target scenarios, and may be a solid option for progression (non-6.1) if we’re properly itemized for the spec.
  • The reaping bug is finally fixed!

The numbers

DW, 2H and Unholy DPS simulation results (6.0.3 -live-, @400 secs, 680 and 695 ilvl, PL+Def, patchwerk):

brf

BiS Lists and Stat Weights

Unholy

Head: Ogreskull Boneplate Greathelm/Lava-Dipped Greathelm
Neck: Thogar's Serrated Chain (enchant: gift of multistrike)
Shoulders: Ogreskull Boneplate Pauldrons/Overdriven Spaulders
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: Phosphorescent Seal (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

Note: Since the Unholy 4pc bonus provides a very small increase in dps, gearing for it will depend on the properties (ilvl/wf/socket) of your drops.

Stat weights: Str > Mult > Mastery > Haste > Crit > Vers
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.

Stat weights: Str > Mastery > Mult > Haste > Vers > 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: Vial of Convulsive Shadows
Trinket2: Forgemaster's Insignia
Back: Berserker's Windwrap (enchant: gift of multistrike) 
Main Hand: Crescent of Living Magma / Ka'graz's Burning Blade

Note: Due to the extremely close stat weights, the dps difference between weapon, shoulder and wrist items is negligible. The 2H 2pc/4pc bonuses offer a minor dps increase, so gearing for them will depend on the properties (ilvl/wf/socket) of your drops.

Stat weights: Str > Mult > Vers = Haste > Crit = Mastery
Gemming: Multistrike - Weapon enchant: Rune of the Fallen Crusader
Remember to leave a comment if you’ve got any questions or concerns!

Class Tuning Changes and Hotfixes for 12/8

11/12 update: There seems to be a Rune of the Fallen Crusader bug in SimC, making it proc around 10% less of what it should. I will update this post whenever it’s fixed. 

Good news, everyone! Frost has been buffed! Like we all knew, both 1H and 2H were underperforming (relative to Unholy). This seems to have been addressed with the following tuning changes:

  • Death Knight
    • Frost
      • Frost Strike’s damage has increased by 7%.
      • Howling Blast’s damage has increased by 7%.
      • Obliterate’s damage has increased by 7%.

How have these buffs affected the spec? Let’s see:

All results @ 680 ilvl unless noted otherwise
Before Dec 8 hotfixes/SimC Soul Reaper fix (double-dipping on mastery)
 1H: 33929 dps
 2H: 34456 dps
 UH: 35408 dps
After Dec 8 hotfixes/SimC Soul Reaper fix
 1H: 35322 dps 
 2H: 35862 dps 
 UH: 33556 dps 

Other results:

3 targets
 1H: 47574 dps
 2H: 43246 dps
 UH: 56773 dps
ST heavy movement:
 1H: 29384 dps
 2H: 29608 dps
 UH: 30334 dps
HecticAddCleave:
 1H: 48691 dps
 2H: 48085 dps
 UH: 56743 dps
ST 695 ilvl:
 1H: 41201 dps
 2H: 41706 dps
 UH: 39450 dps

All in all, Frost is now in a very good position, with both 1H and 2H beating Unholy on pure single target. Unholy keeps pulling ahead once downtime or adds are added in the mix. Both should be viable for Mythic progression.


Unholy trinkets (12/9 updated list)

UH_new

As one could easily predict since the SimC SR fix, multistrike trinkets are the clear winners now.

Scabbard was buffed and then nerfed again, so both Mythic Highmaul trinkets should perform very similarly to it now.

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

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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

6.0.2 Death Knight DPS results

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Hello there! It’s been almost 4 months since my last post. I haven’t been able to post due to time constraints, but I’ve been following DK’s closely.

​​​​​​​As you may know, the Warlords of Draenor pre-patch (6.0.2) is going live next week, on October 14th. Every class has gone through extensive changes, and Death Knights are no exception. In this post I’ll tell you what these changes are, how they affect us, and how we should gear until WoD lands. Keep in mind this is for 6.0.2 only (lvl100 results soon).

Important: My simulations show higher dps numbers than other sim results I’ve seen around due to shortened encounter duration and optimized gear. I’ve spent quite some time trying different pieces and gems/enchants until I found the “sweet spot”, so I’m pretty confident these contain the best gear sets for single target. Raid encounters (which may include adds, movement, downtime and several mechanics) are another story so, like always, take these simulations with a grain of salt.

10/12 update: Added haste soft caps for DW, Unholy and 2H.

2nd 10/14 update: Looks like hotfix changes to DKs were reversed. These results should still be accurate.

DW Frost

Key changes:

  • Frost Strike now costs 25RP, up from 20RP on Frost Presence.
  • Soul Reaper now deals Shadowfrost damage.
  • Raise Dead has been removed for Frost spec.
  • DoT bonuses on abilities (like Obliterate and Scourge Strike) have been removed.
  • Death coil has been removed for frost.
  • Pestilence has been removed and merged into Blood Boil, rendering Roiling Blood moot. Roiling Blood has been replaced with a new talent: Plaguebearer, which extends the duration of Frost Fever and Blood Plague, or adds an stack to Necrotic Plague.
  • New attunement (5% bonus to specific secondary stat bonuses received from all sources): Haste.
  • Anti-magic shell’s runic power generation has been reduced.
  • Rune of Cinderglacier has been removed.
  • Army of the Dead now deals 75% less damage.
  • Horn of Winter no longer generates Runic Power, has no cooldown, and lasts 1 hour.
  • Rune of the Fallen Crusader now increases Strength by 20% (up from 15%).

Tl;dr: Haste has gained value due to the AMS nerfs, increased cost of FS and RP gen removal from HoW. Obliterate is worth using again to dump unholy runes in single target (get used to it; you’ll continue using Obliterate in WoD). You’ll have to unbind Horn Of Winter (no more RP), and put Soul Reaper back on your action bar. Forget about easily getting bars full of RP when soaking, so use AMS wisely (I recommend using an absorb cancelaura macro too). Remember ghoul is gone, and that Army of the dead is a dps gain only if you can precast it at around -6 secs.

DW Frost DPS results, DPET and stat weights in BiS gear (588 ilvl – 3 to 4 minute encounter length):

[Talents: Plague Leech, Blood Tap]
DW Masterfrost: 21742 dps
DW Mastersimple (dropping Oblierate and using DnD and PS instead): 21634 dps
Scale Factors: Str (8.53) > Mastery (6.83) > Haste (6.01) ~= Crit (5.89)
DPET chart: click here

Haste soft cap: ~430

Note: Many were reporting Haste > Mastery > Crit weights for DW. Those values are skewed by the very low haste amounts found on the old, non-6.0.2-optimized T16M BiS gear. By picking up a slightly higher amount of haste, you’ll quickly see it dropping in weight.

Unholy

Key changes:

  • Unholy Frenzy has been removed.
  • DoT bonuses on abilities (like Obliterate and Scourge Strike) have been removed.
  • Pestilence has been removed and merged into Blood Boil, rendering Roiling Blood moot. Roiling Blood has been replaced with a new talent: Plaguebearer, which extends the duration of Frost Fever and Blood Plague, or adds an stack to Necrotic Plague.
  • New attunement (5% bonus to specific secondary stat bonuses received from all sources): Multistrike.
  • Anti-magic shell’s runic power generation has been reduced.
  • Army of the Dead now deals 75% less damage.
  • Horn of Winter no longer generates Runic Power, has no cooldown, and lasts 1 hour.
  • Rune of the Fallen Crusader now increases Strength by 20% (up from 15%).

Tl;dr: Unholy has gone through mainly unchanged. Haste is more valuable due to obvious reasons, and Festerblight is dead due to dynamic dots (…for now). AoE still requires planning ahead with Icy touch, but Blood Boil and D&D are hitting quite hard, so it’s not too bad.

Unholy DPS results, DPET and stat weights in BiS gear (589 ilvl – 3 to 4 minute encounter length):

[Talents: Plague Leech, Blood Tap]
Unholy: 21661 dps
Scale Factors: Str (8.97) > Mastery (7.66) > Crit (7.07) > Haste (6.35)
DPET chart: click here

Haste soft cap: ~240

Note: Again, very small variations in gemming/enchanting greatly affect stat weights. Mastery pulls slightly ahead and, as with DW, haste shows a steep drop in value once you reach certain amounts.

2H Frost

Key changes:

  • Frost Strike now costs 25RP, up from 20RP on Frost Presence.
  • Soul Reaper now deals Shadowfrost damage.
  • Raise Dead has been removed for Frost spec.
  • DoT bonuses on abilities (like Obliterate and Scourge Strike) have been removed.
  • Death coil has been removed for frost.
  • Pestilence has been removed and merged into Blood Boil, rendering Roiling Blood moot. Roiling Blood has been replaced with a new talent: Plaguebearer, which extends the duration of Frost Fever and Blood Plague, or adds an stack to Necrotic Plague.
  • New attunement (5% bonus to specific secondary stat bonuses received from all sources): Haste.
  • Anti-magic shell’s runic power generation has been reduced.
  • Rune of Cinderglacier has been removed.
  • Army of the Dead now deals 75% less damage.
  • Horn of Winter no longer generates Runic Power, has no cooldown, and lasts 1 hour.
  • Rune of the Fallen Crusader now increases Strength by 20% (up from 15%).

Tl;dr: Mostly unchanged from MoP (bar ability pruning), 2H is in better shape than in 5.4 but still suffers from the same scaling issues. Will be great for leveling (due to Obliterate’s sheer power), but will require buffs to keep up.

2H Frost DPS results, DPET and stat weights in BiS gear (588 ilvl – 3 to 4 minute encounter length):

[Talents: Plague Leech, Blood Tap]
2H Frost: 20249 dps
Scale Factors: Str (7.36) > Crit (5.85) ~= Haste (5.53) > Mastery (5.17)
DPET chart: click here

Haste soft cap: ~580

Note: Same as Unholy, but this time it’s a fine balance between Crit and Haste.


I hope this post helps you in setting up your character for 6.0.2. It’s not going to last long, but it’s always better to be appropriately geared.

A similar post with WoD-relevant data is in the works, so stay tuned!