PVE Frost Death Knight DPS Guide (WotLK 3.3.5a)
Welcome to the Frost Death Knight DPS guide for World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King 3.3.5a. In this guide, you will learn about playing a Frost Death Knight in a raid. The guide includes Talents, Glyphs, Gems, Enchantments, Add-ons, Gameplay & Skill rotation tips.
Both builds mentioned below have the same core talents taken in the Frost spec, and an Unholy subspec, but there is space for changes. The difference will be in how you allocate these optional talent points. These talents are: Killing Machine, Chill of the Grave, Subversion and Blood-Caked Blade.
Note: 2/5 Black Ice is taken only as a filler talent to continue through the talent tree. It is not as efficient as other optional talents.
The first build is for players who are starting dungeons. It can be used until you start joining raids. Here, we maximize the burst potential, which is useful in shorter fights and when constantly swapping targets.
The second build is more suitable for raids. Blood-Caked Blade talent scales with weapon damage (with better weapons) and is more suitable for prolonged fights. We took one point from Killing Machine and added it to Subversion for the minor threat reduction. Alternatively, we can remove a point from Chill of the Grave.
As you can see, these builds do have some space for changes, so feel free to experiment!
Gems are situational and depend on the build and equipment. They are used to reach the required stat caps.
- Meta: Relentless Earthsiege Diamond
- Red: Bold Cardinal Ruby, Fractured Cardinal Ruby or Etched Ametrine if Hit is not capped
- Yellow: Fierce Ametrine x1, or Rigid King's Amber if Hit is not capped
- Blue: Nightmare Tear x1
You want to fill most of the slots with Red gems. Use Yellow and Blue to activate the Meta gem.
- Head – Arcanum of Torment
- Shoulder – Greater Inscription of the Axe
- Cloak – Scroll of Enchant Cloak - Greater Speed or Scroll of Enchant Cloak - Major Agility
- Chest – Scroll of Enchant Chest - Powerful Stats
- Bracers – Scroll of Enchant Bracers - Greater Assault
- Gloves – Scroll of Enchant Gloves - Crusher
- Waist – Eternal Belt Buckle
- Legs – Icescale Leg Armor
- Boots –Scroll of Enchant Boots - Tuskarr's Vitality or Scroll of Enchant Boots - Greater Assault
- Weapons – Rune of Razorice for the main-hand. Rune of the Fallen Crusader for the off-hand.
- Always maintain Frost Fever and Blood Plague on the target, don't forget to refresh the diseases in time
- Regular priority: Obliterate, Blood Strike, Frost Strike
- If Killing Machine procs, use Frost Strike
- If Rime procs, use Howling Blast
- Don't forget to use your abilities with longer cooldowns, like Horn of Winter, Unbreakable Armor, Army of the Dead and Raise Dead
Army of the Dead – Is used few seconds before the encounter, or when changing phase. Using it while doing your combo will result in a DPS loss and a combo break.
Hit > Expertise > Strength > Armor Penetration > Haste > Crit
Death Knights use a combination of abilities and spells, so both melee hit and spell hit are essential stats. Capping Hit while dual-wielding requires you to have 27% of Hit (or 886 rating). It would eliminate the chance to miss with your regular attacks, but 27% is unreachable without sacrificing a lot of useful stats.
Start with abilities – the requirement is 8% of melee Hit. For this, you will require 5% (or 164 rating) combined with 3% from Nerves of Cold Steel. Ideally, you want to improve it by capping Hit for Spells. Spells require 17% of Spell Hit, but with Virulence talent and Misery or Improved Faerie Fire on the target, the requirement is reduced to 11% (or 289 rating).
(Reminder that melee and spell hit is counted differently: 1% Melee Hit = 32.79 hit rating, and 1% Spell Hit = 26.23 hit rating)
Additionally, a standard soft cap of 26 Expertise required to remove dodged attacks. We can use the Tundra Stalker talent combined with racial weapon passives to reduce the requirement from gear.
Strength is one of the most valuable stats for Frost DK because it improves the effectiveness of every ability & spell. This build utilizes talents such as Endless Winter, Ravenous Dead to increase Strength even more. There is also Unbreakable Armor, which temporarily increases Strength.
Armor Penetration is the primary stat of this build, stack it as much as possible. The hard cap is 100% (or 1400 ArP rating). Armor Penetration works better when stacked in higher amounts. As with any build that depends on ArP, it gets better when you start to accumulate it in higher amounts. Consider gemming for Strength if there's not enough to have at least 50% Armor Penetration from gear and trinket procs.
Haste is a secondary stat which greatly synergizes with this build because of the Improved Icy Talons talent. This talent provides 1.25 Haste for every 1 point of Haste from gear. Haste is something you want to focus on in the end game, definitely after Armor Penetration.
Critical Strike rating is another secondary stat. As with all Death Knight builds, most of the talents improve the critical chance/damage of individual abilities (instead of giving a flat % crit chance), which means that it won't show in the stats window. This build uses Annihilation, Killing Machine, Rime, Vicious Strike, Subversion* (if taken). Also, there's Guile of Gorefiend, which serves as a damage multiplier.
Nice guide. Just one question, if we get the glyph that refreshes the duration of our diseases, what's the point of putting 2 points into Epidemic? Or is that simply the best option for that talent row? Just curious, thanks 🙂
As mainly weapons what you prefer? two handed weapon or 2 one handed?
Hi, you can not take one point from Killing Machine or Chill of the Grave in the second build, because if you do you will not have enough points required in your Frost tree to go on (you will not be able to take talents requiring at least 35 points, because you will have 34)
Hi! Thanks for this guide. I created my first dk and this guide helped me a lot. I have one question, which weapons should i get when in outland and which should i get in northrend? Thanks one more time for this amazing guide!