Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Unholy PvE DPS Since Patch 3.3

Right then, time to get down to something serious and deadly. In my guild, Unholy DKs are not the norm. Blood has made a big impact and it's hard to argue with it on occasion. Blood is a very powerful spec, with a rotation not dissimilar to unholy as it goes. Even looking at both cookie cutter specs since 3.3 you can see that all the talents in the top blood and unholy specs are split between these too talent trees, and blood can whack out some serious numbers. But unholy will win out.

Prior to 3.3 I had been struggling for a while with unholy, but I remained defiant. I've been unholy from the get-go and I love the playing style. I didn't think I could ever change it, even though the talent point resets and the constant tweaking can be annoying, it was too much fun to dump. 3.3 hit and I waited a couple of weeks for all those with the skills to run the numbers and work up the best rotations and gear suggestions. I admit that this patch has been the one time I have seriously considered dumping unholy altogether and bowing to peer pressure.

I'm not one to change something I love so readily though so I went off and read all the updates on 3.3. Once I started reading across the class forums, the leading guild sites and the usual suspects like Elitist Jerks, it was clear that unholy was the top spec in the end game instances. It was also clear that I need to upgrade some gear, tweak my spec, glyphs and rotations. So I did. And what do you know, it rocks to be unholy.

If you are just respeccing, or trying out unholy for the first time, here's a few points. Keep your diseases up (IT, PS). Your diseases are powerful, IT slows down your adversary and PS inflicts shadow damage over time. Even if you aren't able to hit your target, if you get feared, frozen, stunned whatever, your DoTs are there. They are doing damage. The reworked SS is the corner stone of unholy again, but you'll get the most out of it if you've got your diseases up.

Single target raid DPS

Providing you are running with this spec and DO NOT have any T10 or ICC gear, then your rotation is going to look like this:

IT – PS – BS – SS – BS – DC – HoW – SS – BS – SS – BS – DC – DC

I've used this spec as it's what I'm running with. For more options check the list below.

I still have some work to do, but I'm getting there. Few more EoT and I should have the T9 chest, which will stick with me for a very long time. Those EoF are much harder for me to grind and I'll need a small bank full to upgrade my legs.

For further reading
Good stuff here.
Elitistjerks -- seriously, probably every answer to basic DK stuff you could ever want. -- does what it says on the tin -- DK blogger with UI and add on tips and ICC advice.

Suffer Well!


Editted cos my guildie found the Ensidia link I couldn't. Thanks @woodstonewow


  1. Thanks Deme, I've been looking for a good rotation and build. I've also been unholy from the get go, and hopeful that I can stick with it for awhile.

  2. Hopefully i will get on the training dummies this weekend and finally figure out my dps rotation. Then i might be able to let other people tank once in a while.

    Unholy madness FTW!

  3. @Etni You are very welcome, I hope it works for you.

    @Woodstone See you in the HCs honey :)

  4. Once DKMaxx is up to Level 80 (only 5 to go - woot!) I will have to see how this compares with my current rotation. :-)

  5. One comment. Isn't it smarter sto start with a Blood Strike, since you have Desolation from the start? Your diseases will also benefit from this 5% then.

  6. Awww crap! I wrote a response and it spazzed out and didn't post it.

    I'll try again.

    Opening with IT slows your target down and gets a nice little frost DoT on them. PS whacks out some weapon damage and hits them with shadow damage in the form of blood plague. So that's frost damage and shadow ticking away on your target. Then you hit them with BS and you get an additional 12.5% on each of those diseases, which you'd loose if you opened with it.
    Hit them with SS which deals out more damage per disease and has just gained that 5% from Desolation (assuming it's maxed) and you can see your SS carving chunks out of your target. The spec is designed to get the most from SS as your biggest damage dealer.

    I think that's about it, I'd add I'm not a theorycrafter or maths genius, but those that are seem to think this is the best use of talents and rotation in this spec. :)

  7. Hm, mmkay! It just sounded more logical to have Desolation up from start.

  8. Try it, tell me what happens :P

  9. I should have added at the time that IT has a 30 yard range, so you can start damage before you get in melee range, you can do that with BS.


Keep it clean or face my army.