FEEDBACK: Death Knight Class Changes

Updated August 19

In the latest Beta build, Unholy and Frost have received a few updates to address some common concerns.


  • Might of the Frozen Wastes

    • Rank 1: While Dual-Wielding your Obliterate and Frost Strike will also strike with your off hand and you can engrave each weapon with a Runeforge Enchant
    • Rank 2: Increases your Obliterate damage by 25% and Killing Machine Proc chance when using a two-hand
  • Runic Attenuation

    • The proc rate has been adjusted to bring Dual Wield and Two-Handed closer together and the Runic Power gain has been increased to 5 from 3.

Developers’ notes: Our goal here is to bridge the gap of the proc discrepancy between DW and 2H, as well as giving 2-Handed Frost its own passive ability to make up the difference of not having two runeforge enchants.


  • Soul Reaper

    • Has been reworked and once again has execute functionality.
    • 1 Rune, 8 second Cooldown
      • Strike an enemy for Shadow damage and afflict the enemy with Soul Reaper. After 5 seconds, if the target is below 35% health this effect will explode dealing additional Shadow damage to the target. If an enemy dies while afflicted gain Runic Corruption.
  • Unholy Frenzy

    • Reworked and renamed Unholy Strike.
    • Strike your target with an unholy blow dealing Shadow damage, infecting the target with 4 Festering Wounds, and sending you into a killing frenzy, increasing haste by 15% for 12 seconds.
  • Army of the Dead

    • Rune cost reduced to 1 (was 3).

Developers’ notes: These Unholy changes are targeted at helping reduce the start sequence time when paired with specific talents. We hope this will help the overall flow of the spec, without altering too heavily how the spec plays. An additional update (coming soon, that didn’t make it into this build) will also have the Ardenweald ability Death’s Due work with Defile functionality.

June 10


  • Rune Tap global cooldown removed.
    • Developers’ notes: Rune Tap was made baseline in Shadowlands, but also had a GCD added, which was not present in Battle for Azeroth. We’re reverting this change to bring it back to its current functionality.


  • Outbreak duration of Virulent Plague increased to 28 seconds (was 21 seconds).
  • Outbreak AoE range increased to 10 (was 8).
    • Developers’ notes: We changed how Virulent Plague functions in Shadowlands. To compensate for the loss of uptime of Virulent Plague, we’ve increased its duration and increased the initial AoE application, so it doesn’t require such tight grouping to maximize the targets hit.

In this thread, we’re discussing Death Knight class changes coming in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.

Read more about initial class changes in the World of Warcraft blog.

This initial post will be updated periodically throughout the Shadowlands test. Please check back here for information about further updates to this class as they are made.

Thank you for your testing and feedback!


Frost DK felt very slow and clunky compared to other melee classes. I had missed 2h, but the animations looked off using a 2h weapon. Also it’s cool to have death coil + DnD back, but need to buff them to be worth using. The sustain from death strike/dark succor alone did not feel like it was enough while leveling. I was eating a lot. Buffing death coils healing to be used in conjunction with Lichborne would be a really cool way to solve that. Lastly, I was over-capped on either runic power or runes while being GCD locked most of the time when I wasn’t using Breath of Sindragosa. That doesn’t feel good. Felt like I was missing out on a lot of damage and it was going to waste. Maybe increasing damage + cost of frost strike would alleviate this.


A few points for Unholy DK with main focus on PvP from a Multi Rank 1 DK - While I’ll mainly be focusing this on PVP, I will also include some important points for PVE:

Firstly, the DK class changes on Alpha feel very promising so far. Getting utility, defensives and damaging options back is always nice, and having AMZ baseline will allow for tactical use of the ability in PvE environments. The mastery change feels also good, it will likely make our pets feel a lot more meaningful in Shadowlands.

I’ll be coming to a few things that I’d like to be adjusted until Shadowlands hits.

1. Firstly, I’ll talk about the global cooldown, about it’s duration and which abilities I’d like to be taken off global cooldown. In Mists of Pandaria, we used to have a 1second global cooldown which made the class feel very good to play. Gameplay felt very smooth and you had little time to decide which button to press next, making gameplay a lot more skill based because you have less time to decide and you have more pressure to actually get things done. For me, it would feel good if that was to return in some form.

Next up: The abilities that shouldn’t be on global cooldown. Abilities that in my opinion shouldn’t be on global cooldown are to be divided into 3 main categories: Movement abilities, defensive abilities and offensive cooldowns.
With defensive abilities I’m mostly satisfied. AMS, Lichborne and IBF are already off the global cooldown - good. It should remain that way.
Movement abilities - I’m happy with death’s advance not being on global cooldown, but I feel like death grip and wraith walk should be taken off global cd too. They basically have the same purpose as death’s advance and should be off global cooldown accordingly because they’re not part of any damage rotation and death grip also feels way to easy to outplay in some cases.
Offensive Cooldowns - Currently every single offensive cooldown is on global cd which doesn’t feel good in both pvp and pve.
With everything on global cd, you often end up having to use 4-5 globals just for offensive cooldowns before you can finally start to actually do your burst rotation. Taking Mists of Pandaria as an example, I used to be able to apruply use all my offensive abilities combined and suddenly deal a lot of damage which the enemy had to react to quickly. To make it simple: In both pve and pvp it doesn’t feel good to have a period of 4-5 seconds where you just pop offensive cooldowns. I’d like to see Gargoyle, Unholy Frenzy, Dark Transformation, Army of the Dead/Abomination and arguably Apocalypse (about this one I’m a bit torn) to come off global cd.

2. Secondly, Baseline Abilities and Honor Talents: A talent that I’d like baseline is Army of the Damned. Putting this talent and Unholy Pact in the same tier as Unholy Frenzy will possibly end up with this talent unused in most aspects of the game because of how strong Unholy Frenzy is.
I think it should be baseline because Magus of the Dead is a fun minion in Battle for Azeroth and it gained its strength from the Vision of Perfection essence combined with triple azerite trait stacking - which means that in Shadowlands it would be a heavily nerfed version of BfA’s Magus and the talent is likely to never be picked over Unholy Frenzy which seems vastly superior.
This one might need more input though because I could be wrong about Unholy Frenzy being the mandatory talent in this row.

Another talent, an honor talent I’d like to be a baseline ability is Dark Simulacrum. This honor talent used to be baseline a while back and it was pretty fun to use in both pve and pvp. Copying something strong from a pve npc and using it against them was just as fun as using it in PvP to copy an important spell from the enemy team and using it to beat them in PvP. Nowadays, I can’t find myself or any other dk use this talent, because the other options are just too strong. It’s quite a shame because this was also a very skillful and fun ability.
As a side note: It would be nice if this ability worked on all spells, not just those that cost mana. For example, I cannot copy a Mage’s “Ring of Frost” anymore if I use the talent.

A last thing I’d like to be baseline is the “Rune of the Apocalypse”. We had those effects in Legion and Apocalypse felt like an actual apocalyptic cooldown, putting out high pressure on the enemy team or helping with dealing higher damage to a raid or dungeon boss. Rune of the fallen Crusader will likely end up still being the best option because of how strong it is, and since you cannot use more than 1 rune I’d like the rune of the apocalypse to be built in as baseline effects for Apocalypse.

3. Thirdly and lastly: Returning/Altering Abilities: One ability that I’d really like to come back is Soul Reaper. Now we do have Soul Reaper currently, but it’s nothing like it used to be in Mists of Pandaria.
Back then, Soul reaper was an execute that applied a 5 second buff on the enemy. After 5 seconds, if not dispelled and the enemy being below 35% HP, it will proc for massive shadow damage - basically an execute that will reward you for using it in a smart and calculated way and punish the opponent for not paying attention, for example by not dispelling it when it’s about to proc. Currently it just doesn’t feel too good mindlessly pressing that ability every 45 seconds.

Another ability that I’d really like to see back is Horn of the Winter. Having a 1 hour buff just felt very good, bringing this little extra to your PvP team, Dungeon Group or Raid group is always a nice feeling and it will also bring further utility to the class in all aspects of the game. Also, you’ll always have to pay attention for your buff to be up if you want that sweet 10% extra attack power.

The last ability that I’d like to see altered is Necrotic strike: To make it short - I want it to scale with attack power instead of health percentage. That way, you will actually be able to use it in a calculated way during your burst window because it will absorb more healing.
It will obviously need to be properly balanced because in BfA we had the problem that Necrotic strike barely absorbed anything (at the very beginning), and then it suddenly absorbed too much after the percentage change. The ability also does very little actual damage, so it would be cool if the damage of that ability was buffed and the healing absorbtion to be attack power based. This also has to do with the fact that strength feels very weak for Unholy DK in pvp compared to haste or versatility.

As a side note, I’d also like Death Coil to deal more damage, because currently the choice between Death Strike and Death Coil seems very one sided because Death Strike seems to always be the superior choice (for pvp). This is due to Death Coil not dealing enough damage to compensate for Death Strike’s healing. It should be a basic rule to use death strike defensively and to use Death Coil if you are somewhat fine and healthy and want to get a lot of damage out instead.

That’s all for now, I’ll fix typos and mistakes as soon as I find them.

Edit: It would also be really nice if we got some form of a purge/dispel back, like icy touch in Mists of Pandaria with the glyph


If there was one thing to say, it would be that Rune Tap being on the Global Cool Down AND still costing a rune seems out of place.
I know this is the functionality of the talent in BFA, but it is hard to find a place where it is useful even when it was a talent and we had so few options, but now with the enhanced survival took kit and various buffed talents, rune tap feels pointless.
I almost never used it even after multiple tests of the dungeon.

Mostly because the dungeon was easier than my DK expected, but also because there were almost no abilities that fit the bill.

In order to get any value out of it, I would have to sit on runes because I could not reliably use runes AND a GCD and still expect to reduce damage from the telegraphed casts and abilities that were meant to damage the tank significantly.

Perhaps this is a function of the content design, or a lack of experience with the spell in modern dungeons.

Last time I used the spell frequently was WoD when it was both off the GCD and cost nothing, and honestly that was over powered.

Still, maybe consider a half GCD like Death Grip, or removing the rune cost.

As of now, I find it difficult to find a use for it given the expanded amount of healing options, especially with the extra leech from Lichborne.

I have the same feeling towards Death Coil, but I assume it’s purpose is just a ranged damage component or the niche “Heal other DKs in Lichborne”


My main feeling coming from Retail in to this Alpha is one of Mild surprise. Anti-Magic zone is fun, and flavorful. 2h on Frost is neat. DnD for everyone is also good. Overall my opinion is one of the base Death Knight feeling good, and unified. However I also feel the DPS specs lack something.

In the way that it is hard to find the right word on the tip of your tongue, Unholy feels like it just isn’t there. From an actualy gameplay point of view it is elegant. It HAS payoffs, and choices from moment to moment, but they don’t feel natural or exciting. It can summon big armies of the undead, but infrequently. It also has this disease and wound loop that is engaging to rubber band through, but feels like it lacks a payoff because Death Coil doesn’t have a lot of fanfare about it. Personally I feel like I want to have more zombies more of the time. Or some kind of reason to be at high wounds or low wounds for different decisions.

Side Note: Death coil being baseline is awesome, but it being so integral to Unholy feels weird when it is such a minor animation and particle. This cool green skull missile is basically never seen because I am in Melee range. As a general polish item I’d love to see just Unholy get some extra mustard thrown on the visual. Make it feel better to press that button, as it is the actual payoff for the spec.

Frost has a very similar problem. 2h feels neat to have back, and the better unified base DK experience helps it feel like an extra layer instead of a full replacement. Playing it though was clunky with very little… excuse the pun… cool moments. Blowing a bunch of cooldowns and watching health bars evaporate is difficult when the GCD between them staggers them, so instead it feels like staggering the cooldowns and weaving attacks between them is preferred. That goes to this Oblit -> Frost Strike -> Rime loop, as procs happen, trying to keep Remorseless Winter up as long as possible and I feel less like a slow-moving Juggernaut of Scourgeborne Ice… and more like a Chilly Assassination Rogue with a bit more engaging cooldown structure. I feel like the core loop of what I am doing lacks punch.

I don’t have any comment on Blood as I don’t tank in retail, and thus don’t have a lot of experience to draw from.

Ultimately my feedback as things stand is that the unified DK experience is super nice. It is satisfying. However the moderate problems I feel with the DPS specs on retail are even more pronounced now. A general lack of excitement and agency in moment-to-moment skill usage. All the excitement comes from the Utility atm (AMS, AMZ, Grips) rather than my Make-things-dead buttons and that feels bad, in my opinion.


In regards to cooldowns or utility spells being on the GCD, here are my thoughts on what should be taken off or kept on for death knights.

Any DPS cooldown that is not primarily damage should be taken off, like Pillar of Frost, Empower Rune Weapon, Unholy Frenzy, Horn of Winter, and Dancing Rune Weapon. These are all either passive buffs once cast or resource generation, which will never not feel bad to use as long as they’re on the GCD. DPS cooldowns with damage as the primary component with additional effects, like Frostwyrm’s Fury and Apocalypse, make sense to keep on the GCD since they’re more like a poweful attack than a passive buff. Some spells (Summon Gargoyle, Dark Transformation, Unholy Blight, Bonestorm), while I’d prefer to be taken off, are fine as is. Gargoyle in particular is probably fine on the GCD since other summoning spells like Raise Dead or Army have always been on the GCD, and it lasts a long time regardless.

Primarily defensive abilities should always be off the GCD, such as Anti-Magic Zone, Tombstone, Mark of Blood, and Rune Tap. Rune tap in particular, with its short cooldown and semi-reactive nature, makes it difficult to use on the GCD. Also, I feel it would be better without the rune cost, even if the damage reduction would need to be lowered to compensate.

Utility like Wraith Walk, Death Grip, and possibly Raise Ally should also be taken off. Wraith Walk is nearly the same as Death’s Advance, which isn’t on the GCD, and already comes with the caveat that you can’t cast anything else without canceling it.


I want to write up a longer form talent/class piece of general feedback at a later date.

But for this moment I wanna bring a specific question of design intent which is causing a debate and confusion, and could inform future feedback.

Is the Two Handed vs One Handed nature of Frost intended to provide different gameplay, such as different proportions of damaging skills?
Such as bigger Obliterates.
Or is Two Handed vs One Handed intended to be a fun cosmetic choice that doesn’t have any gameplay differences between weapon choices?

I ask this because feedback could point out differences where talents don’t work for both weapon skills, or suggest points for good differences between weapon skills.

Thanks <3


With de-pruning being a focus of this expansion, I would like to suggest the return of Unholy Aura. This was one of the most thematic abilities the class had stemming from Warcraft 3 and is arguably as iconic as 2H Frost in my opinion.

Obviously this doesn’t need to be in the form of a stance like it used to be but a passive instead?


A follow on from previous post.

I was asked by a DK in the community to do some rather extensive testing of auto attacking a target dummy for 12 minutes, with both Two Handed Weapon and Dual Wield Weapons for Killing Machine procs.

The results are in Youtube videos and couldn’t have been further apart.
Two Handed proced Killing Machine 22 times in 12 minutes.
Dual Wield proced Killing Machine 85 times in 12 minutes.

This is one of many many stumbling blocks that makes the split between weapon types an issue to be resolved.

Other 2H VS DW Issues include:
This is the big one really. Dual Wield having two vs Two Handed having one.
Two Handed having to give up either 15% Strength from Fallen Crusader or 30% Frost Damage from a fully stacked Razorice is a big ask.
The additions of the new Runeforges is fun, however adds in the big question which ones ones should be tuned specifically for Dual Wielding or TwoHanding.
Also Runeforges like Razorice stack faster with faster auto attacks, favouring Dual Wield.

The current set of talents massively favour Dual Wielding as they were clearly designed for a fast auto attacking class.
Runic Attenuation like Killing Machine seems like it would have a lower proc rate with a slow Two Hander.
Murderous Efficiency seems very questionable in a world where Two Hand gets 22 procs in the same time that Dual Wield gets 85.
The whole spec and every talent combo could be slowed down from the drought of resources caused by these talents under performing in Two Handed situations.

Frozen Pulse procs off auto attacks, with no PPM system so will gain many more damaging events using Dual Wield than Two Handed weapons.
Permafrost procs off auto attacks, so will gain more stacks of the absorb shield with Dual Wield, although Two Handed shields will be larger.

Hopefully this helps provide a jumping off point for a refresh of the Frost Talent tree.


We’ll find out in a few weeks when the level cap goes up to 58, but the DK community is rather confused on the language of the Killing Machine rank 2.

Your next Obliterate also deals Frost damage.

People are confused if this makes Obliterate deal 100% Frost damage, like Frost Strike, or if it will work like the former Legion Artifact Trait Thronebreaker which added a extra Frost damage source on top of the Physical Obliterate hit.

Can’t understate how excited the community is at the idea of this passive existing however. Mastery not affecting Obliterate has been a very long term annoyance. :smiley:


I want to write some targeted feedback on Azerite traits this morning, on how they’ve boosted the DPS specs depth in BFA, and what’s missing and how the class feels without them.

Frost Azerite traits mainly boost up four Talents that would lack without them.

Cold Heart:
Depending on the situation using Cold Heart’s damaging Chains of Ice could be strongest at the last GCD of a Pillar of Frost window, or if you had enough Icy Citadel traits, Cold Heart could be strongest during the Icy Citadel window.
Having Icy Citadel gives some tiny bit of variability to the Cold Heart talent, which doesn’t exist without it.

Gathering Storm:
This talent is dependent on having Frozen Tempest traits for its damage potential. I also want to add how useful the Frozen Tempest 3 target Rime proc is for dungeon content, it lets you avoid having to use the 300% weaker non-Rime Howling Blast for initially applying Frost Fever.

Icecap is very dependent on Icy Citadel and Frostwhelp’s Indignation for its performance as a talent.

The cooldown reduction Icecap gives to Pillar of Frost means its long tail of Icy Citadel Strength bonus can be active when the next Pillar of Frost is used, allowing for constantly higher average Strength and bigger windows for snapshotting Cold Hearts.

With Icecap often reducing Pillar of Frost’s cooldown into the 30 second range, having Frostwhelp’s Indignation damage and mastery buff up so often added major damage into the talent that is now lost.

I also want to add here my problem with the GCD attached to Pillar of Frost. It feels really bad to have a GCD on a baseline 45 second cooldown which is nothing but a /roar animation. Icecap increases this problem with reducing Pillar of Frost’s cooldown further increasing the number of GCDs we spend /roaring without the ability to use meaningful abilities.

I don’t want to give the impression that adding Frostwhelp damage baseline might fix Pillar of Frost either, as Frostwhelps 40 yard rectangle can occasionally be a ninja pulling hazard.

I feel like the power lost in Icecap from no longer having Icy Citadel or Frostwhelp makes it hard for this talent to rival Breath of Sindragosa.
(Edit misread tooltip, Icecap more CDR on Alpha to live, this brings even more GCDs being eaten by Pillar in a rotation, not good.)

I also want to remind the history of Icecap it was formerly a level 60 row talent in Legion, a row of talents that affected Pillar of Frost differently. I strongly believe Icecap is not a worthy build-defining talent of the same power levels as other level 100 talents such as Breath of Sindragosa or Demonic for some examples.

Breath of Sindragosa:
This talent also benefits greatly from the long tail of Strength from Icy Citadel as Breaths can last up to 30 seconds on live, which is nicely covered by Pillar of Frost and Icy Citadel. On Alpha with Rune of Hysteria and Hypothermic Presence I’ve had Breaths last 40 seconds, far beyond the 15 second duration of Pillar of Frost.

Unholy is a far bigger topic than Azerite just affecting the gameplay of specific talents.

The Festermight Azerite trait is a massive gameplay changer for the whole specialisation.

Festering Wounds as a mechanic has always had its critics as Combo Points as a debuff, but has been carried through BFA by the Festermight Azerite trait, adding much needed depth to the choice of when and how Wounds should be burst.

This is somewhat split into two sections, Wounds in Single Target and Wounds in AoE.

In Single Target Festermight adds depth to when you start the 20 second duration that Festermight gives, and in choosing when to cast Apocalypse, so you start that ramp up with 4 stacks instead of 1. Without Festermight that gameplay is gone, and there’s no benefit to timing spells correctly.

In AoE Festermight adds so much extra gameplay due to how Wounds function when mobs die with the debuff active.

I mainly want to reference the Advanced Concepts section of the WoWHead guide for Unholy DKs entitled “Festersniping”.

However, we didn’t cover what happens after our Death and Decay is finished and we still are left with a number of low-health mobs. We can here apply a technique which we call “Festersniping”. Essentially, The most effective way of converting wounds from Festering Strike to AoE is not to burst them in our Death and Decay window. We have to spend both time and Runes in order to cash in on the juicy AoE and strength. Instead, we can use the death of the mobs to do the work for us!

When a mob dies, all wounds currently stacked on it will explode, dealing AoE damage (with Bursting Sores) and giving us strength through Festermight. We can, therefore, choose to use Festering Strike on mobs that are nearly about to die, sniping them in the trash pack. We instantly get the benefits from bursting the wounds without the tedious setup! This is especially effective on packs with a large range of health pools. You’ll be able to snipe the weak mobs as you continue your burst on the large ones.

This section of the guide demonstrates the gameplay that is extremely enjoyable for using Festering Strike to stack Wounds beyond your ability to burst during Death and Decay, and getting rewarded in Strength gains that last the whole duration of each AoE pack.

Without Festermight, and if you choose Ebon Fever or the newly buffed Unholy Blight, when a mob dies all Wounds do is give you a tiny Runic Power gain which feels massively insignificant. This makes it feel extremely pointless to apply Wounds in AoE situations at all, and reduces the value of talents such as Infected Claws and Pestilence which are our only sources of AoE Wound application.

This also ties into how well Bursting Sores feels for AoE, giving you some positive feedback for mobs dying with unburst Wounds on them. Wounds really feel incomplete without the AoE Bursting Sores damage on mob deaths and without the Strength gain from Festermight.

Hopefully I have put forward how critical to gameplay the Festermight trait is and how hollow Festering Wounds feel without it.

As for the Unholy Azerite traits that have been incorporated into talents:
Magus of the Dead:
I feel like Magus of the Dead fits nicely in Army of the Damned. All good here.


I have much more scepticism for Helchains being made into Unholy Pact talent.
(Bug note here that the 8% Strength gain from Unholy Pact is currently being overwritten by the 15% gain from Rune of Fallen Crusader)

Helchains is just extra damage during Dark Transformation, you don’t do anything different if you have this Azerite/Talent or if you don’t have it. It’s nice extra reliable AoE damage, but I feel there’s no gameplay or choices involved in it. You will still use Dark Transformation on cooldown, and you won’t change your rotation or press any new buttons during Dark Transformation to accommodate Unholy Pact.

This is compared to Unholy Frenzy which gives a window where you don’t need to press Festering Strike, and compared to Army of the Damned which speeds up the time between ramping Wounds for Apocalypse uses and reduces our 8 minute Army of the Dead cooldown to a more usable number.

Thanks for reading this Azerite trait essay. <3


so ive tested the blood dk it feels great where it at but i feel blood boil should have more of a aoe area for it i enjoy it i think it in a great spot right now but i think that it could use a more aoe range then what it has. i think that also that the blood runes and the runes in general should come back just a tad bit faster and if they did i think it make there tanking a bit better i think over all the dk changes so far are ok but ive only played blood i think that if the runes them selfs came back slightly faster it might break the dk but if you do it right with the runes maybe make them come back .2 faster then i think that it make it where some say frost is coming in slow but you should be able to go a little faster and get to where it needs to be and i think that with unholy it might benifit it more if they came back faster


Really happy with what was added so far, Gargoyle/Frostwyrms Fury baseline for Unholy/Frost respectively is amazing. Lichborne was an iconic and missed ability with great PvE/PvP applications, and AMZ gives us some much needed utility. However, there are still some changes i’d really like to see done to Death Knights, specifically the DPS specs.

-Consider adding Gorefiend’s Grasp to all specs, whether it be baseline or on the utility row of talents. Not only is it one of the coolest abilities in a Death Knight’s arsenal, but thematically this ability does not apply to Blood specifically, despite it only being accessible to blood. This would add some great utility, and although it’s a niche a handful of Mythic raid encounters each expansion “force” players into Blood. Many DPS DK’s would appreciate this change.

-Please revert the changes to Outbreak, or reduce the duration to ~3s. Nobody wants to spam Outbreak. Please don’t nerf our only real relation to the “disease” aesthetic of Unholy.

-Raise Ally shouldn’t cost Runic Power. Having to delay a battle rez due to having to generate runic power feels awful, especially when out of range as it is difficult or even impossible to generate this resource when out of melee range of a target. Blood heavily depends on RP to self-sustain with Death Strike, and Frost can’t brez during it’s cooldowns without having to sacrifice it’s entire burst (and said cooldowns have about 25% uptime). Even Unholy, which is pretty capable can still find itself in upwards of ~4s of downtime before it can even cast a Runic Power generating ability, and even after that you have to cast 2 abilities minimum to generate the necessary runic power (assuming you’re at 0). I understand were the only instant brez so it makes sense having a power cost but please adjust this to 1 rune instead.

-Look at the possible 2h/DW imbalance with runeforges, procs and also synergy with specific talents like Runic Attenuation.

-Make Magus of the Dead baseline rather than locking it behind Army of the Damned. Unholy’s niche was it’s massive AoE burst, and with targets capped in place we need to be competitive in other situations. Gargoyle being added baseline was great but looking at how bad it was tuned for the entirety of BfA makes me worry about how much it actually adds to the spec in terms of dmg. Magus shouldn’t be locked behind a passive ability that relies heavily on specific fight timings when players should be rewarded with managing another button in there rotation (Unholy Frenzy).

-I’ve seen a lot of posts about GCD so don’t want to harp on it as i’ve adjusted and come to terms with it but PLEASE take Death Grip off the GCD. It just feels terrible on the GCD, especially with it being such a reactionary ability.

-Make Festermight a talent or possible legendary effect. Festermight was an amazing Unholy azerite trait and I would love to see it’s return. Added a lot of depth to players who wanted to master it, and made building up and bursting wounds that much more fun and rewarding.

-The new talents (Relish in Blood, Hypothermic Presence) are neat, but I can’t see them ever being better than there current alternatives like Ossuary and Gathering Storm. *I excluded Unholy Pact from this as I can see it having good m+ applications.


you know it made me think if priests have 2 healing specs why couldnt we go back to dks having 2 tank specs meaning frost and blood both are tank specs with different specialties just a thought as this woul;d have to be an xpack change and shouldnt be done mid xpack



I’d like to discuss Blood and post what I hope is some helpful feedback. This feedback is focused as much as possible on gameplay and providing more agency to the player. I have tried to mention number tuning as little as possible because that will come later, hopefully. I’ve tried my best to come up with realistic solutions that are not overpowered.

First of all, thanks very much for the changes to Blood in Shadowlands. Blood is significantly improved simply by making Rune Tap baseline and bringing back Blood Tap. The addition of Anti-Magic Zone is also very nice, providing some much needed additional utility. I think there is a lot of fun design space with runeforges that is finally being explored. I’m excited to play with them in different scenarios, so big kudos there to you guys.

The single most player-friendly change that can be made to Blood is to take Rune Tap off the GCD. Reducing all damage taken by 20% for 4 seconds, when the spell already takes a second to cast is just a super feels bad moment. It already has a cost–1 rune–and is not spammable. I know this isn’t a perfect example, but when questing, I never felt the need to use Rune Tap because I’d rather generate more runic power with Heart Strike, even when I was taking lots of damage. I don’t really see another realistic solution for Rune Tap, unless you want to buff it via a talent (more on this later). Making it any more of a damage reduction baseline would probably be OP.

Dancing Rune Weapon is still an extremely lackluster cooldown, both offensively and defensively. What is the purpose of DRW supposed to be? I think most Blood DKs simply press it whenever it’s up, without a lot of thought, because there’s so little to be gained from timing it to any particular situation. Other tanks have talents or ways to buff their offensive cooldowns, but Blood is just stuck with baseline DRW. As much as I would like for DRW to be taken off the GCD, and this would help a lot, I know that is probably not realistic. One easy solution would be to give it a benefit on cast, similar to how Paladins received a buffed charge of Light of the Protector/Word of Glory when Avenging Wrath was pressed. Maybe have DRW generate two runes or strength like the Azerite trait Eternal Rune Weapon? This would have the added benefit of reducing Blood’s downtime, even by a little bit, something that I think we all would like to improve upon. I think the best way to address DRW’s lackluster feel would be via a talent, which I have suggested below.

Death Grip and Gorefiend’s Grasp should both be off the GCD. Please consider this. There is already a huge skill element involved with these abilities. Taking them off the GCD will just feel better. Charge/Wild Charge are off the GCD. These are the DK versions of those abilities.


I’ve tried below to dissect the talent rows and made some modest suggestions in the hopes of creating more choice for the player. Because of the way the talent rows 25/30/35/45 are designed, players will just choose the most powerful talent of the bunch in almost every situation. I think this can be improved through a combination of tuning and adjustment. I’ve also suggested some generic talents that could be inserted in the places of current talents that will never be taken as currently tuned.

Talent row 15:

Heartbreaker and Blooddrinker are fine. Unless the player plays very carefully and uses Blooddrinker perfectly and on ST, Heartbreaker is almost always better. This is a perfect example of player skill and AOE/ST comparison. You correctly realized Rune Strike was dead here and removed it. I like Tombstone a lot as a fun ability, but with current tuning I don’t see how it ever competes with the other two. It also seems a bit out of place on this row. You have a clear, easy to use talent primarily focused on AOE with Heartbreaker and a ST, (theoretically) high skill cap ability with Blooddrinker. It’s weird to have a third talent that consumes Bone Shield charges and is a mini-defensive CD. The bigger issue is Tombstone’s negative interaction with Ossuary. If you take Ossuary (which every Blood DK will do, more on this later), why would you ever take Tombstone? Tombstone should have the Bone Shield charges consumed reduced and the RP generation increased, or the absorb buffed significantly (still not sure this would be enough). Honestly, though, I think this last spot really should be a passive ability, and would suggest one of my ideas below for this spot.

Talent row 25:

Rapid Decomposition and Consumption need to be buffed to compete with Hemostasis. I have no problem in theory with any of these talents from a gameplay perspective, they just need to be balanced a bit better. I would love for Consumption to have some of the Legion artifact ability’s group leech trait added back to it, even if it is just a tiny bit (5-10%?). That would make the ability so much more fun to think about using in a dungeon setting, for instance. Hemostasis will always come out on top with multiple targets, so you really need to buff Consumption or think about modifying it for it ever to be taken.

Talent row 30:

Ossuary will just always be taken. I would love for it to be baseline at this point. There’s almost no way around this. The other two talents would have to be gameplay altering (like Ossuary is!) for them to ever be considered. Foul Bulwark and Relish in Blood just don’t come close enough to be considered. Foul Bulwark is a completely dead talent. I would honestly just replace it with something else. For Relish in Blood, I like where you guys are going, again, it just can’t compete with Ossuary. By the way, this is another talent that could never work with Tombstone. It’s weird to have talents that could never work well together. Newer players will struggle with these choices and wonder why they have to press Marrowrend constantly, severely hampering RP generation and damage. I don’t hate Relish in Blood conceptually. Maybe it could just be moved somewhere else? Put it in Tombstone’s slot and slightly adjust the RP gain and I think it would be competitive there.

Talent row 35:

I like this row a lot, even if Will of the Necropolis is taken in 80-90% of situations. Anti-Magic Barrier has fun niche uses. It would be cool if it now also modified AMZ somehow, considering we have that back. That would increase it getting taken in certain raid situations and provide more of a choice to the player. Mark of Blood is fun and I really wish it was something that could be taken more. Please consider making it passive. Make it applied by Heart Strike to the primary target only and limit it to one target. What about that? Sort of the effect that the Azerite trait Deep Cuts has in BFA but actually make it useful.

Talent row 40:

This is good, don’t need many changes here at all. My only recommendation is consider having Tightening Grasp increase the range of Gorefiend’s Grasp by 5 or 10 yards. That would create more of a reason to take the talent.

Talent row 45:

Honestly, I’m still trying to determine if Voracious is now better than Bloodworms. Unless it’s substantially better, though, you are probably still taking Bloodworms because there is a tiny damage component and it’s completely passive. I would like Voracious to be buffed even a bit more, perhaps with a slight reduction to its uptime. This would increase the player skill required, rewarding stronger players but so much so that other players would feel bad taking Bloodworms. Something along those lines. Not sure what to do with Death Pact. Feels like it was put here just to have a talent that all DK specs have. Would delete it and replace with something else. I do like the general thought of interacting with a baseline ability and making it better, however.

Talent row 50:

This is also pretty solid as is. I have a feeling Bonestorm is going to be taken less and less, especially with so many more abilities added back to Blood. It just won’t be worth the GCD, especially with the target cap. Time will tell on that. Purgatory and Red Thirst are fine as is, in my opinion.

Some general talents for consideration in place of the lackluster ones I mentioned above:

A talent that modifies DRW. Please, please, please consider this. It would add a lot to the class and give us more options. The Azerite trait Eternal Rune Weapon is a good start, giving a strength effect on use and extending DRW’s length. This encourages good gameplay and is rewarding for something that’s on the GCD. I would honestly prefer these features to just be baseline, but baking this into a talent that modifies DRW (I’m not sure the Azerite trait by itself could be a competitive choice as a talent) would present another interesting option.

A talent that modifies Rune Tap. If Rune Tap is destined to forever be on the GCD, please consider a talent that modifies it. Some combination of an additional charge, removing its rune cost, or extending its duration would work. I suppose you could increase its damage reduction, but I think that might make it too powerful?

A bit of an off the wall suggestion. Instead of Foul Bulwark (for example), what about adopting the Azerite power Strength of the Warden? The major would be nice, of course, but even just the minor is fun and interesting and thematically it fits well with Blood. Anima of Life and Death is another Azerite power that fits Blood’s theme well and would be a fun talent that wouldn’t be overpowered with proper tuning.

These are just suggestions. Overall, I would love to see Blood have more meaningful talent choices that reward good gameplay and better interaction with its baseline abilities that can seem lackluster at times.

Thanks for reading!


I want to write some targeted feedback on Diseases this evening.

When Deathknight was designed in Wrath it was designed as a class to exclusively use Disease type of damage over time, compared to classes already present in the game that use Magic or Poisons or Bleeds.

Since the end of Warlords I feel this identity has been reduced greatly:

  • We lost the rotational Icy Touch > Plague Strike for Single Target.
  • We lost the 1 minute cooldown Outbreak to skip 2 rotational GCDs.
  • We lost the 1 minute cooldown Unholy Blight (Talent) to skip 3 rotational GCDs to apply Diseases then spread them in AoE.
  • We lost the gameplay of applying Diseases then spreading them via Pestilence/Blood Boil; in favour of always applying Diseases in AoE with a single GCD.
  • We lost the 25 sec cooldown Plague Leech (Talent) to consume Diseases like a resource to gain 2 Rune resources.
  • We lost Necrotic Plague (Talent) as a limited duration Disease that increases in power and spreads every tick, with Unholy specific gameplay to extend it and curate it.

I was hoping some of this might be Unpruned in Shadowlands.

Offtopic about unpruning:
Deathknights used to be about Diseases, Undeath, and Souls baseline.
So far only the Undeath side of Deathknights seem to have made it through the unpruner with Raise Dead aka Temp Ghoul for Blood/Frost and Sacrificial Pact; with Diseases, and Soul spells like the old Soul Reaper execute, left behind.

I feel Diseases in Legion and BFA were split to be way too spec specific, and gaining special effects to fit within that narrow spec requirement:

  • Blood’s Blood Plague getting Leech, passive heals for the tank spec.
  • Frost’s Frost Fever getting Runic Power gains, resource gains that have had to be re-tuned a few times for one specific Talent.
  • Unholy getting a new Virulent Plague Disease that had a nice Unholy Blight style pulsing aoe application spell, and a unique 30% chance to erupt damaging everything.

I could say these were “very narrowly focused thematically”. Referencing the class preview Blog post. :slightly_smiling_face:

Fastforward to Shadowlands Alpha, and everything that I loved and was unique and special about Outbreak and Virulent Plague is gone:

  • Outbreak might as well be Howling Blast now: 1 rune cost, 1 instance aoe apply dot, without any of the damage or proc or graphic or sounds that make Howling Blast cool.
  • The 21 second (or 10.5 sec Talented) duration of Virulent Plague don’t at all match up to how often you have to spam Outbreak to reapply the thing.
  • It’s annoying to have to spam Outbreak multiple times across a pack of mobs if the unclear radius of Outbreak misses one or two mobs, when we have been used to the pulsing application AoE for 2 expansions, allowing 1 cast per pack of mobs, no matter if extra adds wandered in later.
  • The final change I noticed tonight, that caused me to write this feedback post, is Virulent Plague’s 30% chance to erupt disgustingly over everything has been removed. This feels like it has removed a giant amount of spread AoE damage.
  • The Virulent Plague eruption only happens now if the target dies within the 21 second (or 10.5 sec Talented) window that Virulent Plague is active on the target.

This leaves Unholy, the Disease Spec, with a Disease that is too short, too hard to apply consistently and has nothing unique or special about it.

In a world where Virulent Plague’s uniqueness has been removed, I feel this is the perfect time for Necrotic Plague’s resurrection, returning some Disease depth in extending and letting this damage over time spread.

Or a larger rethink of adding some depth to Diseases beyond the Legion/BFA design: Apply spec specific Disease to everything in 8 yards every duration, or ignore them because Blood Boil or Howling Blast procs are natural parts of the spec’s rotation.

Epidemic (Talent):
Epidemic (Talent) which was in a good place in BFA, now also struggles when there is no feedback if you’re casting it without Virulent Plague present due to the shortened duration, and now Virulent Plague is applied to less Mobs without Outbreak’s pulsing application aura.
I also want to mention how much this spell feels like it should be a baseline part of Unholy’s kit for two reasons:

  1. Epidemic is a spam-able AoE spell, which Unholy lacks while its AoE is non existent between Death and Decay cooldowns.
    I dare say this is a even more important point now Virulent Plague is no longer erupting for constant high passive damage between Death and Decays.
  2. A release for Runic Power during multi-target situations, as it feels really bad to have to spend Single Target Death Coils to keep the Deathknight resource system flowing naturally.

Unholy Blight (Talent):
I want to briefly bring up the current Unholy Blight (Talent). While it was under-tuned, and dead, and never used in BFA.
I am optimistic about it’s new stacking similar to Necrotic Plague of the past, and the percentage bonus it gives to Pets, as long as it isn’t left under-tuned as it has been in the past. 10/10 changes. :grin:

Haste Scaling:
I also want to bring up how since BFA made Bleeds scale with Haste for Warriors, Druids, and Rogues, DK Diseases are the last Player Class periodic damage effects in the game that do not gain additional ticks and damage from Haste. I feel it’s time this inconsistency was fixed.

Thanks for reading my friendly but admittedly critical feedback.
Kal :heart_eyes:


I definitely agree with Metrohaha on the Blood point with Rune Tap. Personally, I love Rune Tap! However, I do think it could be improved for the reasons mentioned.

Actually, one ability I’ve been wanting to see a potential return of is Blood Mirror. For context, check . This ability, in my opinion, kind of behaves how Rune Tap should behave for the following reasons:

  1. Instant cast, and potentially off the GDC with no cost. Very reactive, and doesn’t discourage you from performing your usual rotation to keep Death Strikes flowing. You don’t have to stutter your rotation to prep the GDC for it nor the rune for it.

  2. This is kind of a personal reason, but the redirected damage! The redirected damage associated with Blood Mirror makes it a very flavorful Defensive Cooldown that can be used reflexively as a DPS cooldown too if staying alive isn’t a problem. From personal experience, I remember jumping into a few Trilliax beams myself to up my DPS, which was a really unique situation granted, but one nonetheless that the ability allowed me to do.

Edit: I also wanted to add, we have plenty of abilities that are pure-defensive cooldowns as well. Vampiric Blood, Icebound, Anti-Magic Shell + Zone now. I think, while Rune Tap is a nice addition, helping it become a bit more common to use when you’re trying to squeeze out extra damage (like Blood Mirror) helps keep the variety there, to where you don’t feel obligated to hold that cooldown until you’re on the brink of death every time or saving it for that “one big ability” coming up when you still have so many more cooldowns on deck.

I hope Blood Mirror is considered as a potential replacement for Rune Tap, or at the very least, maybe re-incorporated as a talent at a later time! And I hope that, if it doesn’t take Rune Tap’s spot, that we can see Rune Tap tweaked a bit. :slight_smile:


A quick bug report on Dark Transformation Rank 2:

The spell has a travel time to the Pet, the Rank 2 gives the Ghoul 100 Energy on the GCD cast, not on the spell Landing and Transforming the Pet.

So the Pet gains 100 Energy while he is still the normal Ghoul, not the 200% Empowered Ghoul.

Video of Bug


I got to level 58 tonight and there is an immediate issue with Blood Tap I see. The ability has no GCD (which is a good thing, but makes it easy to accidentally hit twice without wanting to) and more so the ability can be used even when you are at full runes.

Is this intended? If so, the spells is extremely difficult to not use poorly compared to other spells in the kit.