Selecting Talents for the Death Knight

Unholy Frost

Death Knight Talent Trees

Each class in World of Warcraft has access to three distinct Talent Trees. Here players will have the chance (starting at level 10)to place talent points, that are earned as the player levels, into class specific abilities known as talents. At one time picking these talents could be a difficult and daunting task, but thanks to a few changes by Blizzard choosing talents is simpler than ever before.

Your first step is to decide what talent tree appeals to you. The Death Knight talent trees consist of: Unholy, Frost, and Blood. Unholy and Frost are both DPS trees while Blood is the current tanking tree for Death Knights. Once you have chosen and placed your first point in one of these talent trees you will be required to place at least 31 points into that talent tree before you will be able to branch out into other trees. How you spend these points is totally up to you, although there are certain “standard” placements among all classes.

Below you will find several of the most important talents for each tree as well as talents you should avoid. Remember, these are only suggestions based on current standards, how you ultimately choose to spec is entirely up to the individual.

Death Knight Unholy Talents

Blizzard describes the Unholy Death Knight:

“A master of death and decay, spreading infection and controlling undead minions to do bidding.”

Those players that choose the Unholy tree will automatically gain Scourge Strike as soon as the first point is placed in the tree. This talent will become a major part of the Unholy Death Knight’s DPS. On top of this ability perks for the Unholy Death Knight include the ability to reduce the cool down on Raise Dead by 60 seconds and the Ghoul summoned by the spell is considered a pet under the Death Knight’s control, whenever the Death Knight uses Blood Strike, Pestilence, or Festering Strike the Runes spent will become Death Runes when the activate, Strength is increased by 20% and a Mastery bonus that increases Shadow damage by 20% with each additional point of Mastery increasing it by an additional 2.5%.

The Unholy tree is full of excellent talents and you will want to pick up most of them (you have to spend 31 points here anyways). Here are some of the talents you will want to pick up in this tree:

  • Virulence
  • Epidemic
  • Morbidity
  • Runic Corruption
  • Unholy Frenzy
  • Contagion
  • Shadow Infusion
  • Magic Suppression
  • Rage of Rivendare
  • Unholy Blight
  • Improved Unholy Presence
  • Dark Transformation
  • Ebon Plaguebringer
  • Sudden Doom
  • Summon Gargoyle

Once you have spent your 31 talents in the Unholy tree, you can then look to the other talent trees for some excellent options such as: Improved Blood Tap, Scent of Blood, Scarlet Fever, and Hand of Doom in the Blood tree or Runic Power Mastery in the Frost tree. Talents you will want to avoid include PvP based talents such as Death’s Advance. Any other talents are fair game so feel free to experiment with your spec!

Death Knight Frost Talents

Blizzard describes the Frost Death Knight:

“An icy harbinger of doom, channeling runic power and delivering rapid weapon strikes.”

Those players who choose the Frost tree will gain the Frost Strike ability as soon as they place a point into this tree. They will also gain a 20% increase to melee attack speed, the ability to permanently transform Blood Runes into Death Runes, and a Mastery bonus that increases all Frost damage by 15% and each additional point of Mastery increases Frost damage by an additional 2.0%.

The Frost tree is full of excellent talents and you will want to pick up most of them (you have to spend 31 points here anyways). Here are some of the talents you will want to pick up in this tree:

  • Annihilation
  • Merciless Combat
  • Chill of the Grave
  • Killing Machine
  • Rime
  • Pillar of Frost
  • Improved Icy Talons
  • Brittle Bones
  • Hungering Cold
  • Improved Frost Presence
  • Threat of Thassarian
  • Howling Blast

There are also some excellent talents in the other trees as well that you may want to consider picking up including Butchery and Bladed Armor in the Blood tree, and Virulence in the Unholy tree. Stay away from talents such as Lichborne, Chilblains and On a Pale Horse that are primarily PvP based. Also if you decide you would rather use a Two-Handed weapon instead of Dual-Wielding be sure to skip over talents listed above that benefit only Dual-Wielding Death Knights such as Threat of Thassarian.

Death Knight Blood Talents

Blizzard describes the Blood Death Knight:

“A dark guardian who manipulates and corrupts life energy to sustain self in the face of an enemy onslaught.”

Choosing the Blood tree will allow the Death Knight to instantly gain access to the Heart Strike ability. On top of this they will also reap several other benefits including: an increase in Stamina by 9% and Expertise by 6, whenever the Death Knight hits with Death Strike or Obliterate, the Frost and Unholy Runes will become Death Runes when the activate, each time the Death Knight takes damage 5% of the damage taken will be be added to your attack power up to 10% of your total health and finally a Mastery bonus that allows the Death Knight to gain 50% of the amount healted as a damage absorption shield each time you heal yourself with Death Strike while in Blood Presence with each point of Mastery increasing the shield by 6.25%.

The Blood tree is full of exciting talents and you will find that you will want to place the grand majority of your points here. Several of the must have talents include:

  • Blade Barrior
  • Bladed Armor
  • Improved Blood Tap
  • Scent of Blood
  • Scarlet Fever
  • Bone Shield
  • Toughness
  • Sanguine Fortitude
  • Blood Parasite
  • Improved Blood Presence
  • Will of the Necropolis
  • Rune Tap
  • Vampiric Blood
  • Improved Death Strike
  • Dancing Rune Weapon

Once you have allotted the required points into the Blood tree you may begin to look into the other trees for talent choices. There are several that are useful including: Runic Power Mastery. Icy Reach, Lichborne, and Endless Winter in the Frost tree and Epidemic in the Unholy tree. Because Blood is the tanking spec picking talents here is easier than any other spec. Simply choose talents that improve survivability and skip the ones that don’t. Feel free to play around with your spec using this logic…you cannot go wrong!

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