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Frost can be considered a “tanking” specialization but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s only for tanking (or that you must go Frost to tank). Frost gives you a lot of good tools to tank with but instead of focusing one area it branches out. Many players will go into Frost just to grab Toughness and many will go Frost for how much control it can add to their character. Whatever you choose, Frost is rarely the wrong choice. The other trees also offer very nice bonuses for tanking to, so don’t limit yourself!

Below is a list of all of the talents along with some recommendations about each for PvE, PvP, and in general. These guides differ from out and out talent builds as they explain what each ability does in real terms. No fake language, no copying/pasting what Blizzard tells you in the game, but instead actual helpful advice along with some tips & tricks on each talent.

In reading this guide you’ll often find the maximum value of a talent listed (you should rarely consider not taking a talent to its max level). To find out each ranks value on a given statistic you can usually use a simple formula of 2/4/6/8/10 20/40/60/80/100 for 5 ranks and 3/6/9 and 25/50/75 for 3 ranks. If there is a time where the maximum rank might not be suggested then each rank will be listed.

Look for another tree? Return to our talent guide.

To help from repeating get it or don't, we use a color coding system on the names. The colors are as follows:


- By all means, getting this talent will be a good idea most of the time. These will be your passive damage/stat boosters and active abilities that really rock.


- These are "talents". They're ok to get under most circumstances and can be avoided, usually.

There are no "red" talents for Frost, yet.

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Improves your armor by 15% and decreases the duration of snares by 30%. If you're a tank then you'll want this for the increased armor otherwise get Imp Icy Touch and Glacier Rot.

Improved Icy Touch

Makes Icy Touch do 30% more damage and Frost Fever reduces melee/ranged attack speed by six percent. It’s a pretty good talent considering that as a Frost DK you’ll often be using Icy Touch.

Glacier Rot

Disease enemies will take 10% more damage from Icy Touch, Howling Blast, and Frost Strike. There is little reason for an enemy not to be disease as a Death Knight so this is a pretty good talent.

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Icy Reach

Icy Reach will increase the range of your Icy Touch, Chains of Ice and Howling Blsat by 5/10 yards which is a good thing. I highly suggest getting it, although you could skip it. Range is good for chasing or pulling if you don’t want the taunt that Death Grip has. Still might want to skip it, you shouldn't need the range.

Black Ice

This will increase your Frost damage by 30%. This is a rather big number and this is needed if you’re specing deep into the Frost tree and will be using a lot of Frost abilities in your rotation.

Nerves of Cold Steel

Increases your chance to hit by 3% with one-handed weapons and increases damage done by your offhand by 15%. Well this one is a tough one. You can skip it for most occasions unless to-hit is something you desperatly need.

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Icy Talons

Whenever someones melee attack speed is reduced with Improved Icy Touch (and Frost Fever) then this ability will increase your attack speed by 20% for 20 seconds. Haste is generally not that great for a Death Knight but is still a pretty high increase in DPS with a big 20% number.


This is an instant ability with a 3 minute cooldown. It turns you undead (making you immune to Charm, Fear, and Sleep) and gives melee attacks a 25% chance to miss you for 15 seconds. There is little reason at all not to get this because of the low cooldown and high chance attacks will miss you. In PvP this can help turn the tide against a Warlock or Priest while in PvE this can help tremendously with tanking or even soloing. Grab it.


Increases critical strike chance by 3% and will give you a 100% chance that your Obliterate will do damage without consuming a disease. Obliterate is awesome, critical strike is awesome, and not consuming a disease can mean the disease can last longer on the target or your DPS/rotation won’t suffer so much if your next disease misses. Another must have ability.

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Runic Power Mastery

Increases your maximum Runic Power by 10/20/30. If you’re going a split between Blood and Frost and are getting Dancing Rune Weapon then this will synergize well. Otherwise you'll be regening and using Runic Power so much that more Runic Power isn't going to help.

Killing Machine

Whenever you land a critical strike with an auto-attack then this will give you a 50% chance to get a critical strike with Icy Touch, Howling Blast, or Frost Strike. This is a key ability for Frost DPS because at level 80 your auto attacks should be firing off critical strikes very often and giving your Frost abilities an increased chance is simply awesome.

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Frigid Dreadplate

Reduces the chance that melee attacks will miss you by 1%. The question when you get to this talent is a very simple one. It’s a very, very, very simple one. Are you planning on tanking? If the answer is yes then this talent is worth it. If the answer is no then you may skip it.

Chill of the Grave

This one lets your Chains of Ice, Howling Blast, Icy Touch, and Obilterate generate 5 additional Runic Power. This helps when your ability that fueled by Runic Power so it’s a pretty decent grab and cheap to at only two ranks.


When activated it will make your next Icy Touch, Frost Strike, or Obliterate critical hit if used within 30 seconds and it has a 2 minute cooldown. For Frost DPS this is a talent that you’re going to need and you’re going to want to remember to use it as part of your rotation (it has no cost).

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Improved Icy Talons

This is another weird talent. This one will make your Icy Talons increase the haste of your or raid by 20% for 20 seconds and will give you 5% passive haste. This one is a tough one to call, you should be this far into the tree and it’s only one point. 5% haste is not a massive deal either. However, 20% haste for your entire raid/party is. I’d put the point in it even for PvP just to help your teammates in the Arenas/Battlegrounds and this is a no brainer for PvE.

Merciless Combat

This way this works is that when an enemy is below 35% health you will do an additional 12% damage with Icy Touch, Howling Blast, Obliterate, and Frost Strike. This talent can be skipped and you won’t ruin your Death Knight with it but at the same time it’s also a nice talent to have. In PvP this little bit of damage can help push your abilities far enough to decimate your enemy while in PvE this can help burn down enemies when they’re low on health. Either way it’s a great talent to have, but you won’t break yourself not getting it.


Increases the critical strike chance of Icy Touch and Obliterate by 15% and casting Icy Touch will give a 15% chance to cause your next Howling Blast to consume no Runes. This talent is a must have for the 15% critical strike chance to two abilities you’ll be using frequently.

Endless Winter

Gives your Chains of Ice a 100% chance to cause Frost Fever and reduces its cost by 20 Runic Power. This one is a hard one to choose. Frost Fever should be giving you a ton of haste (if you’re this deep into Frost) but at the same time it’s not necessarily the best talent in the world. Grab it if you want the haste.

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Howling Blast

Hopefully you’ve gotten Rime with this one. Howling Blast is a direct damage nuke that deals double damage to any enemy with Frost Fever, has a low cooldown, and has a home within your rotation. Be sure to get this if you’re this far into Frost.

Frost Aura

Basically you will give all party/raid members within 45 yards spell resistance. Talk with your guild and see who needs this if anyone. It may be a complete waste of points if your guild doesn’t need it and there is another Death Knight who has it.


Requires Endless Winter and snares 30% for 10 seconds on any target with Frost Fever. It’s a good PvP talent but outside of that it has little use in PvE.

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Blood of the North

Increases Blood Strike damage by 15% with a little extra added in by give you a 100% chance when you hit with Blood Strike or Pestilence that a Blood Rune will turn into a Death Rune when it activates. You’ll want this ability because Death Runes are awesome, can do amazing things for your rotation, and 15% damage is even better.

Unbreakable Armor

At the cost of one Frost Rune you can get 25% armor, 10% strength, and 5% parry chance for 20 seconds every minute. For tanking this is a no-brainer. Anything other than PvE though and it may not be as awesome.

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When you get hit by a spell you’ll have a 30% chance to boost your resistance to that type of magic for 18 seconds and it can stack up to three times. The talent doesn’t say, but the amount increased is 50. This is not a reliable talent so you can’t depend on it, but it is helpful for any tank or in the battlegrounds.

Frost Strike


40 Runic Power will get you an instant strike that does 60% weapon damage plus Frost damage but it can’t be avoided. A really awesome talent to have and should be in your rotation somewhere. You can use this instead of Death Coil in your rotations. It's that good.

Guile of Gorefiend

Increases the critical strike damage bonus of Blood Strike, Frost Strike, Howling Blast, and bliterate abilities by 45% and increases the duration of your Icebound Fortitude by six seconds. Again another DPS talent that you’ll want.

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Tundra Stalker

Gives you up to 10% more damage to targets infected with Frost Fever and 5 Expertise. Again another DPS talent that you’re going to want. If you are this far in, go for it.

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Hungering Cold

This is an amazing PvP talent because once you use it you’ll have any nearby enemies locked into the ground. What it does is “trap” any enemies near you within 10 yards doing a soft stune (they can’t move or do any action), infects them with Frost Fever, and makes them considered to be Frozen (Ice Mages shall thank you). Any damage other than disease will break the ice though, so it’s probably not going to last the full 10 seconds. It costs 60 runic power and has a minute cooldown. If you’re doing a split Frost/Blood build you may want to skip it for the last point in Dark Conviction.

Return to the Talent Guide Main Page.

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

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