Death Knight Guide: Basics - Runes & Runic Power - Runeforging - Weapons - Armor - Skills & Abilities - Talents - Lore - Macros - Death Knight Starting Area - Quests - Ebon Hold - Submissions - Death Knight Forums & Community

On the previous page you learned all about creating your character. Now we’ll go into choosing a profession, what the rune system does, and how runeforging works. Let’s get right back into things!

Choosing a Profession

A long time ago there was a high sense of self reliance on the profession that you choose. If you were a Warrior than you’d look down at Tailoring since you'd have no use for cloth armor. I mean, here is a big burly Warrior able to tank legendary dragons and he wants to knit in his spare time?! This is still true (replace big burly Warrior for big burly unholy Warrior though) but not to as big an extent both in the current game landscape and as a class.

You can choose Blacksmithing to get some awesome bind-on-pickup items (that is times that only you can craft for yourself and cannot trade to anyone else) because you use both Plate and a large variety of weapons. Engineering is also an excellent choice because it includes a lot of unique mounts and helpful items. Jewelcrafting, Enchanting, and Inscription are all heavy money makers and can allow you to craft very expensive items for yourself. Alchemy can supply you with tons of potions to make leveling faster and temporarily buff you up in instances. Though, it can provide an annoying stream of “hey, can I have a potion for free?!?!” spam from the random people in your instance.

Tailoring and Leatherworking will provide you with a few useful items (bags from tailoring, drums from leatherworking) but beyond that will provide almost nothing of use. Gathering professions like Herbalism, Mining, and Skinning are all-star choices because these make pure profit but can also be used to grind resources for another character.

The cool thing about Death Knights is that they start at level 55 and not far from level 60 or even 70. With a little bit of patience you can use a Death Knight as a quick way to gain access to high level crafting without grinding through the first 55 levels. You can also use it as a pure gatherer to fuel your other characters crafting habits or your bank roll. You can also just choose combos like Engineering and Mining to make yourself cool gadgets. The choice is all yours.

If you choose a profession like Engineering then make sure you choose its counter profession (like Mining for instance). Otherwise you may lose more money than you’ll ever gain (unless you expend a ton of effort) just leveling the tradeskills up. As of right now, Death Knights do not gain an instant boost to 250 crafting level so you’ll need to do a lot of backtracking!

Runes and Runic Power

Mana, energy, or rage may have been what your eyes paid very close attention when you were first leveling up. You needed to carefully watch how much mana you used or else you’d be out and either being chomped on by nasty monsters, watch how much energy you had before you used an ability or else you’d be cutting yourself short on your next ability, or monitor your rage and make sure you were getting enough to use your abilities. Runes and Runic Power work differently than either of these three.

As a Death Knight you’ll have six “runes” shown below your health bar. You will have two Blood, Frost, and Unholy runes. Abilities will use a set number of runes that when used will make that number of runes go inactive for 10 seconds until they’re recharged. So let’s say you’re giving a Murloc quite a bit of a thrashing and you use an ability which costs one Blood and one Frost rune.  For ten seconds one of the two Blood and Frost runes will be unable to be used. So if you had an ability that used two Blood runes then you’d be out of luck.

Now, if you played a Warrior on your way to fifty five then you’re in luck. Runic Power works a lot like Rage. You gain runic power every time you use a rune. Some abilities work off of Runic Power meaning that you’d be able to unleash them after you’ve used enough abilities that were powered by runes. Runic Power depletes over time like Rage, so be sure you use it up when it’s available!

Certain abilities can affect the recharge on runes or even convert them into “Death” runes which will work for any of the three rune types. Mixing these abilities into combat can really help you finish off enemies faster and show Murlocs an extra good trashing.


Runeforging is a unique ability that Death Knights get that allows them to laugh in the face of Enchanters. That is, of course, until they need their armor enchanted. Runeforging allows Death Knights at a Runeforge to “enchant” their weapon with one of eight enchants that are gained as they level up. They will overwrite normal enchants but they’re 100% free and very powerful. For instance, the level 80 rune that you can forge into your weapon, “Fallen Crusader”, heals you for 3% of your health and increases your strength by 30% for 15 second. Pretty amazing!

Runeforges are located in The Ebon Hold and in the city, The Shadow Vault. You can access the forges in Ebon Hold as soon as you enter the game while you’ll need to go through the quest lines to phase through until The Shadow Vault is open to you.

That’s about it for the basics guide. Return to our Death Knight Class Guide Portal to learn about more advanced things like tactics, getting through the starting area, or what weapons & armor to choose!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

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