Class Set Feedback: Death Knight

Ok, clearly the blood dk set is fixed. A few thoughts about this new version:

  • Super underwhelming on both single and multiple targets. With normal play, assuming you are still doing what you are supposed as Bdk - using death strike to heal yourself, keeping boneshield charges, etc - you are getting around 8-15 stacks of Endless rune Waltz, this amount of main stat could have an impact on other tanks, but on Bdk the literal worst damage dealing tank, it feels largely irrelevant, you are still having threat issues to your dpsers in keys.

  • 4-set relies on parrying melee hits, in raids this is again, largely irrelevant considering you are banking on a 50%uptime at a boss hitting you and then praying for a parry to be able to do a meaningless heartstrike that hits like a wet noodle. The part where it summons a second Dancing Rune Weapon would be fun when Dancing Rune Weapon was meaningful, right now it around 1.3% of your damage on a raid boss, in Legion was around 4.5% of your damage. DRW sadly is no longer a DPS cd.

While most of the other Tank tier sets aim to fix an inherent issue with the spec this one just doesn’t, it did when it was bugged and that probably speaks more about how much we need a DPS increase baseline than anything else. We lack a lot of Damage, this set doesn’t address it. Is it because we don’t have a strong DPS CD such as Avatar, Incarn, Wings, Niuzau? Maybe. But our spells are also hitting for much less than what they should.

For comparison:

  • Warriors are getting a free Ignore Pain and extra damage from their hardest hitting ability while getting DR from Avatar much like the beloved Bastion of Might Azerite trait they lost.
  • Paladins are getting more block chance and free Judgments paired with insane legendary combos.
  • Druids are getting free Berserk and free damage from it on a 1minute cd this helps a lot with threat
  • Brewmasters well, where to start? 4% DR from 2set, 50% more damage on the hardest hitting spell that is already being empowered by a legendary and by conduits while also turning it into some sort of Deathstrike that also increases your max hp. All of this on the 2nd top tank DPS.

I don’t know, something should be fixed here, we don’t need to be the best tank at everything ofc, but this set is sad. Maybe a reword would help, maybe making DRW also increase your damage by 20% or something while also doing some class balance and buffing Hearstrike, BB, DRW and Deathstrike could be the way…


Unholy changes are awesome to see! Conduit and leggo changes are great and convocation of the dead in particular is amazing! Really easy to tell you guys have been reading over the feedback!

The tier set bonus changes also address a lot of the issues players were having by summoning ghouls outside of execute. My biggest concerns with unholy dk going into this patch is the tier set creating awkward play with managing soul reaper for non-single-target fights in raid, m+, and pvp.

The free soul reaper every 5 casts is not fun to play around in the ptr imo. Either it is applied outside of execute and is entirely negligible, or the target is in execute range and you are casting the soul reaper spell and maybe getting 1-2 free soul reapers from ss for bosses only.

To get value out of the free soul reaper in multi-target such as m+ would involve tracking scourge to land the fifth on an enemy in the pull that will be <35% in 6 secs but not dead in 6 secs. This can fail for things outside of your control such as misjudging group damage or having someone blow up the mob with soul reaper and it feels terrible.

The current iteration of the tier set also does not address the problem that the second half of soul reaper rarely triggers in pvp, if ever, due to the constantly moving health bars and targets rarely being below 35% for longer than a few seconds.


It appears that after the initial 11 seconds of DRW the 2nd rune weapon stops proccing the 0.5s to your rune weapon, i am consistently getting 1.5seconds extension on every heart strike until the base duration runs out.

You’re only getting 1 second per heart strike after this, also your marrowrend is only increased by 3 after the 11 seconds aswell when it should be 9.

The heart strike from the 4set which procs when you parry does not increase DRW duration either.

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any news on the frost dk 2 piece change, they posted a while back saying they were going to change it to “Gaining a Rune has a 15% chance to grant Killing Machine. Consuming Killing Machine increases your Strength by 2% for 6 seconds.” cause its still just the 8% crit buff during remorseless winter on ptr

it is not on the ptr yet this time was just the unholy set

Hey folks! Now that the latest PTR build is out, wanted to give some updates on the future of Death Knight’s sets + tuning, by spec.

As a general disclaimer, tuning for Tier Sets as a feature is happening across all classes asynchronously, so while it may feel to you that some sets are being buffed/nerfed unjustly, our intention is to hit the same target across the board - while there will naturally be variance, this means that comparing future plans detailed in this post to classes that have yet to receive tuning or more recently received an update to their functionality isn’t super productive. Let’s start with the good news!

  • Unholy

This set’s update just hit PTR this week finally, and so far it seems like it’s being well received. As some of you may have noticed, the 4-piece is a little different than the one posted a while back, but overall seeks to keep an Execute theme to set while not tying the entirety of the set’s power to just those windows.

There’s unlikely to be any major updates left beyond tuning from here on in, but one change that will be coming (hopefully in the next update) is a change to make the 2-piece only stack Harvest Time on Scourge Strikes/Clawing Shadows that cause Festering Wounds to burst. This is to address the feedback that while in your execute window, you just mash Scourge Strike/Clawing Shadows without any regards for Unholy’s core gameplay, which would feel unsatisfying but necessary to perform optimally.

Overall, interested to see how this one performs now that Raid Testers can get their hands on it, and will be seeing tuning after it’s had some time to sit.

  • Blood

Coming in the next update will be a change aimed at addressing how Blood’s set performs in Solo Tanking/Raid Content (where you are only tanking a fraction of the time, and the amount parryable attacks is often not under your control) and how it performs in Mythic+ / AoE tanking, where it performs far better. The change (which is also being applied similarly to Protection Paladin’s set, as they have a similar bonus & dichotomy) reads:

‘Whenever you take damage, your weapon has a chance equal to your parry chance to lash out, Heart Striking your attacker. Dancing Rune weapon now summons 2 Rune Weapons.’

This change has a few advantages, like still triggering when you’re not the main tank (but still in range), and triggering more often vs certain enemy types and bosses that wouldn’t have been affected previously, like those that predominantly cast spells. This change will also ship with a higher internal cooldown than it previously had (because of how often it’ll activate, and frankly because y’all already had a bug that let you solo entire dungeons once this cycle already), but like all bonuses is subject to tuning.

Lastly, there’s still an issue we’re tracking down not allowing the 4-piece’s Heart Strike to function as an actual Heart Strike, which has proven a bit trickier to fix than intended - this will also represent a pretty significant power increase, as they’ll be able to interact with the 2-piece’s strength stacking as well as generate Runic Power.

  • Frost

Lastly, the bad news. The proposed bonus we talked about last time has proven to be a lot more difficult to implement than we’d hoped, and considering Frost has a functional & balanced 2-piece, it’s been hard to prioritize solving it over focusing our efforts and dev time on more critical elements of the patch. At the risk of leading you on, there is a chance a new bonus could be considered on the conditions that 1) the aforementioned elements are finished with time to spare and 2) we have the QA resources to support testing it later on, which isn’t a non-zero chance, but the more-than-likely outcome is what’s currently on PTR will stay without major overhaul for 9.2’s launch.

To reiterate from a previous post - Frost’s set is exactly on-target for our tuning goals at the moment, and any rework or update would be to repackage that same power level in a potentially more interesting fashion, so this isn’t a concern that Frost Death Knights will have a ‘bad’ or undertuned set. Regardless, we know for those of you that were looking forward to testing it that this news is disappointing, but it felt better to give you a transparent look at the why & how rather than to stay silent and cause further harm & expectations down the road.

So TL;DR - a power-neutral update will be coming for Unholy to fix a rotation issue during Execute, Blood’s being updated to smooth out the best and worst cases, and Frost is likely to stay as-is. After the next update where Blood & Unholy are updated, it’s likely that these posts will become less frequent (and certainly less lengthy) as we’ll be moving into the stages of reacting to feedback with smaller, mostly numerical tweaks to hit our final tuning targets before it’s ready to go.

I want to say thanks to all the Death Knights who’ve been instrumental in shaping these sets into what they’ll be in the future, both in your testing and the effort it takes to document bugs and write-up informative posts. Have a great week!


Thanks for the update Scar! While im a bit sad to see the frost 2 set change was shelved for now, sadly i understand. Time is limited, and the set works pretty well already without any major flaws. Although it is a bit boring/bland, it still works well as a 2 set. I hope you have time in the future to revisit it, as it was quite a cool idea.

On a more positive note, the unholy changes we got this week were super welcome, and changing things up to be only when wounds pop is also a great change to prevent some… less than ideal gameplay in execute range. More than a welcome change as it keeps the logic used for rotational priority the same as it is now, which is great!
The new 4 set bonus is, while a bit more boring, i will say incredibly less likely to bring up gameplay loop changes as well, no reason to press soul reaper above 35% anymore, which is super awesome.

Keep up the good work Scar! hope to see you working on more DK stuff in the future.


Thank you for the transparency and for sharing in detail some of what’s going on behind the scenes

EDIT: I don’t know if this feedback has been passed on already, but there’s an issue with Runeforges and the Frost set bonus regarding the dual wield/two-hander situation, it would help if the 2h-exclusive runeforges were also usable in 1h weapons

Really sucks to hear about the proposed frost 2pc being unlikely to make it. Would love if the current 2pc is changed to anything else. While the current one is balanced numbers wise, its extremely boring and has no feel to it.

Is there a chance that a couple of the frost conduits could be looked at similar to the buffs unholy received this week to their conduits? Unleashed frenzy only works on frost strike and not RP spent, making it useless during breath, the cooldown reduction on ERW from accelerated cold is completely redundant, and eradicating blow is very weak/undertuned.

Given the proposed 2pc that a lot of us were very excited for is likely to be scrapped, having these conduits possibly looked at would be a nice consolation.

Thanks for the frequent updates and for keeping us in the loop with what is going on.


very dispointed about the news for frost DK. I was excited about the changes of yesterday for unholy DK. I thought you would release similar changes for frost dk in days. But now you gave the worst news,"a lot more difficult to implement ".

At beginning, I was very happy becasue I thought finnaly there is someone, who knew what frost DKs needed. The promised bonus has good links with Murderous effeciency in the talent and Koltira’s Favor. We really need good links between talents, spells, conduits and legends. However, apparently you knew what is needed but “it is a lot more difficult to implement”…

For a long time, you guys kept ignoring we complain about Glacial Advance in talent. We needed you to have a glance at it and can you guys expplain why this spell is in talent and not given and why it needs cd. If you have tried to play frost Dk, you would notice during cd of Breath of Sindagosa, we can only use Frost Strike to consume runic power, which is for a single target. We need one spell to consume runic power to AOE as Epidemic of Unholy, which is exactly Glacial Advance. But it is in the talent and it needs more than 5s to CD. 4-set bonus gives it "free " by comsuming Killing Machine, so we really need to trigger Killing Machine more. Then the promised new 2-set bonus gave us hope. But now “it is a lot more difficult to implement” because it is not your priority.

I do not even want to start the complain about the 2-h design for Frost Dk. Now you guys just kind of give up re-designing bonus for Frost DK because “it’s been hard to prioritize solving it over focusing our efforts and dev time on more critical elements of the patch”. I guess the reason is that there are few Frost Dk players, but have you ever thought about why?


What do you mean it’s not a priority? A flat stat increase is a good enough set bonus for you? Especially considering the problems frost dks have - the lack of aoe outside BoS, lack of synergy between conduits and talents, the fact that GA is not baseline already. If that is your standard then I really am out of words.


Disappointed about the frost dk bonus probably not changing, but I get it.


I think the dev is saying that it’s not a priority compared to other patch features which also are taking important time and QA.

The dev has said in his post that he does think that the proposed Frost 2-set is better than the 8% crit one, but the team might just not have the resources (available time until the release date set by management, and QA staff) to make it happen.

It’s also an important patch where, for the first time, they are trying to ship 3 bosses from the raid without any public testing at all, allowing many raiders to just go blind on them, and everybody learning the fight at the same time. That was an announcement that was met with immense joy and hype in several communities, but in order to make it happen, they need a lot from their internal QA (quality assurance) team.

Let’s also not forget that many teams within Blizzard, like devs and QA are understaffed and underpaid… they are workers that need support. A company with profits like Blizzard should be able to pay its workers better and field more teams, but just because we think that we shouldn’t take it out on the devs that are communicating to us the state of things

(let’s not forget that in 2019 Blizzard laid off an enormous amount of QA personnel)


Thanks for the information. I just thought they should have tried to solve this frost DK problem a long time ago when they had the time and resources. They didn’t have to wait till the last patch to tackle a fundamental problem like this.


Thanks for the update Scarizard! Really appreciate the transparency. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for Frost 2 set rework though! :slight_smile:


Maybe with a tier set bonus that procs Glacial Advance, it’s a good opportunity to update the visual effect of Glacial Advance.

Currently it looks very dated and there are many spells in the game that have a more pleasant look

Even the one from this image https:// i. imgur .com/5h6zFv9 .jpg could maybe work, even in a downsized/reduced version, but there are countless alternatives that could be suggested to update how it looks

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Since the tier bonus are unlikely to change, my only hope is that you guys tune both frost and unholy’s number right so that dps dks can be competitive. Because right now on ptr, among several specs I tested, both dk specs are doing pathetic damage. A lot of specs are doing 12k to 14k dps easily and maintaining that high ouput. So numbers, it’s my only hope. If dks goes live like this. I’m gonna be benched again for the whole tier and watch other classes and specs have all the fun.


Was really looking forward to the 2 set…
8% base crit seems very bland.

Maybe we could see frostwhelps/icy citadel added to icecap? At least then we get a talent that has been dead all tier to play with?

Just a thought.

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Thank you for the open and forthright communication, I look forward to more in the future. We (as death knights) may not have gotten everything we wanted, but this dialogue something that helps us feel seen.


It’s a feature not a bug :wink:

I hope this isn’t too impactful on it’s power in M+ i’ve been very excited to see how it will play out and if it’s reduced to irrelevance by too low a proc chance i would be a sad panda.