WoW Classic WotLK Frost Death Knight Guide: Talents, Rotation & More

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WoW Classic WotLK Death Knight Guide

World of Warcraft Classic's next expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, brings on the game's first new class, the Death Knight.

Death Knights are melee fighters that wield dark magic and runeforged weapons. They can be considered the darker version of the Paladin class as they both boast heavy plate armor and use a specific set of powers to fight—Paladins use the Light while Death Knights utilize Blood, Frost, and Unholy magic.

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One of these types of magic, namely Frost, has a focus on dual-wielded weapon strikes, empowering them with their Runic-powered abilities. This can make it a fun spec to play.

With that in mind, here's Frost Death Knight guide, including what talents to pick, rotation to perform, stat priority, and more.

Introducing the Frost Death Knight

Originally created for the Horde's first Warchief, Orgrim Doomhammer, by Gul'Dan as powerful soldiers, Death Knights had a different purpose at first. Prior to becoming armored, death-dealing weapons of destruction, they were evil mages that possessed tremendous amounts of magical powers.

WoW Classic WotLK Death Knight
Credit: Blizzard Entertainment
HARBINGER OF DOOM: Death Knights brings the doom wherever they touch

Once the Lich King came to power, however, the idea of the Death Knight shifted away from the mage over to battle-hardened, rune-wielding warriors of the Scourge that utilized the powers of Blood, Unholy, and Frost Magic.

When it came to the Frost Death Knight, they used those abilities to further exacerbate their power, dual-wielding weapons, and embuing them with rune-empowered strikes.

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They are incredibly powerful in all fights, but where they excel the greatest is AOE.

In the end, many describe Frost Death Knight as a supercharged Fury Warrior from expansions past, and if you're looking for this kind of experience, you're in the right place.

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Best Frost Death Knight Talents

As you level through the Death Knight starting zone and eventually Northrend, you'll gain plenty of talents.

In general, Death Knights can choose from a wide array of strong talents, but in this, we'll just be focusing on end-game content, although these talents can still function for leveling quite well.

Frost Death Knight Abilities
FROST FEVER: Annihilate your enemies with Frost-imbued abilities

This is a standard Frost talent specialization with additions from the Blood tree that work to enhance your damage-dealing capabilities—a solid option all around, no matter the type of content.

Not only is it a great choice for end-game content but it's a solid option when it comes to leveling as it picks talents that increase Runic Power and Rune generation, which can be hard to come by when not at max level.

When it comes to beyond the leveling stage and the initial patches of the expansion, you'll want to try another build.

Frost Death Knight Talents
LATE-GAME: Make the most out of your abilities and gear later in the expansion

This talent tree is less suited for leveling as it's a full late-game build. It forgoes some of the Runic Power generation from the Blood tree and goes fairly deep into the Unholy tree, taking on key talents such as Necrosis and Blood-Caked Blade for maximum on-hit and auto-attack damage.

Lastly, if you wanna try your hands on some PvP here's a solid build that covers all of the bases.

Frost Death Knight Build PvP
MANO Y MANO: This build is solid for most cases in PvP
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When it comes to PvP talents, Frost, and the Death Knight class in general, offers tons of great talents. Anything from increased duration of Icebound Fortitude and longer range for Icy Touch, Howling Blast, and Chains of Ice to Death Grip cooldown reduction.

This build takes a bit of everything.

Best Frost Death Knight Glyphs

Once your talents are set, you'll have to choose six Glyphs to aid you, three major and three minor.

For Frost Death Knights, these are the Glyphs you'll want to run they are by far the best in each category for the class.

Major Glyphs

Glyph of Frost Strike - Reduces the cost of your Frost Strike by 8 Runic Power.

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Glyph of Obliterate - Increase the damage of your Obliterate ability by 25%.

Glyph of Disease - Your Pestilence ability now refreshes disease durations and secondary effects of diseases on your primary target back to their maximum duration.

Minor Glyphs

Glyph of Pestilence - Increase the radius of your Pestilence effect by 5 yeards.

Glyph of Horn of Winter - Increase the duration of your Horn of Winter ability by 1 min.

Glyph of Raise Dead - Your Raise Dead no longer requires a reagent.

Other Glyphs To Consider

Major

Glyph of Howling Blast - Your Howling Blast ability now infects your targets with Frost Fever.

Glyph of Icy Touch - Your Frost Fever disease deals 20% additional damage.

Minor

Glyph of Blood Tap - Your Blood Top no longer causes damage to you

READ MORE: Best WoW Classic WotLK DPS Tier List: Ranking All Classes & Specs in Phase 1

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Best Frost Death Knight Rotation

Frost Death Knights are one of if not the strongest melee DPS out there. Yes, they do tons of damage, especially AoE, but they also bring some unique utility, namely with Death Group and Horn of Winter.

Now that you have your talents selected, it's time to work on getting your rotation down pat.

WoW Classic WotLK Frost Death Knight
Credit: Blizzard Entertainment
FROST-FILLED: Frost Death Knights use Frost abilities in their rotation

In general, you can view the class like a checklist: make sure your dots are up, if this proc is available press the button, if not, use this spell instead. Also, it's just a waiting game, sometimes you just have to wait to get your Runes back up or get enough Runic Power. Although you can undoubtedly button-mash with this class, patience is still required.

Here's the Frost Death Knight rotation for both single-target and AoE.

Single-Target

As stated before, the Frost Death Knight rotation is more like a checklist, one that has a set list of priorities—there is no strict one-to-one rotation to follow. This mainly applies to its single-target rotation. With the talents we provided, you'll look to make sure you're always spending Runes over Runic Power.

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Obliterate will be your main damage ability and will only be cast once Frost Fever and Blood Plague are applied while casting Blood Strike as your Blood Rune spender.

Here's how your abilities will work:

  • Cast Icy Touch to apply Frost Fever
  • Cast Plague Strike to apply Blood Plague
  • Use Blood Strike as your main Blood Rune spender
  • Cast Pestilence to refresh the duration of your Frost Fever and Blood Plague diseases. This is done so you can focus your Frost and Unholy Runes on Obliterate
  • Use Obliterate as your main Frost and Unholy Rune spender. Thanks to the Talents you've picked above, namely Annihilation, your diseases will not be removed after you cast Obliterate.
  • Use Frost Strike as your main Runic Power spender

Here's how to combine it all together in a rotation:

  1. Make sure both Forst Fever and Blood Plague are applied
  2. Cast Obliterate
  3. Use Pestilence to refresh the duration of your Frost Fever and Blood Plague diseases
  4. Cast Blood Strike when Frost Fever and Blood Plague aren't in need of refreshing
  5. Cast Frost Strike only if you have a Killing Machine proc
  6. Cast Howling Blast only if you have a Rime proc
  7. Cast Frost Strike when everything on the list has been performed and/or you're capping out on Runic Power

Here's the order of operations when opening up on a boss target:

  1. Cast Icy Touch to apply Frost Fever
  2. Cast Plague Strike to apply Blood Plague
  3. Activate Unbreakable Armor and Blood Tap
  4. Cast Obliterate
  5. Cast Pestilence
  6. Activate Empower Rune Weapon
  7. Cast Obliterate again as many times as you can
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  1. Integrate the list above

AoE

For AoE, as opposed to single-target which can seem very intimidating at first, it's very simple. It all revolves around spamming Howling Blast and making sure your Forst Fever and Blood Plague diseases stay on your targets with pestilence.

Here's the AoE rotation:

  1. Cast Icy Touch to apply Frost Fever
  2. Cast Plague Strike to apply Blood Plague
  3. Spread your Frost Fever and Blood Plague diseases with Pestilence
  4. Cast Howling Blast as long as you're able to
  5. Utilize Empower Rune Weapon and Blood Tap to get in more casts of Howling Blasts and refreshes with Pestilence

Additionally, if you feel as if the mobs will remain stationary enough, cast Death and Decay. Make sure to keep in mind that it'll use three of your Runes, Blood, Frost, and Unholy.

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Stat Priority for Frost Death Knights

As you begin leveling and eventually hit max-level, you'll be getting all types of gear. While leveling, don't pay too much attention, just go for the pieces that best give you an overall gain. However, once at max level, you'll begin focusing on stats to get the best possible damage output.

Here's the stat priority you need to keep in mind:

  1. Hit Rating and Expertise to cap (263 for Hit Rating and 26 for Expertise at minimum)
  2. Strength
  3. Armor Penetration/Critical Strike
  4. Haste

For starters, Hit Rating and Expertise are a must for Frost Death Knights as you don't want your abilities to miss or your attacks to get parried. You'll be staring at a minimum of 263 Hit Rating and 26 Expertise. When it comes to Hit Rating specifically, it's worth noting that it goes beyond just main-hand weapon attacks, you'll be looking at a 446 Hit Rating for AoE spell damage, mainly Howling Blast, and 885 Hit Rating for your off-hand auto attacks, crucial as you'll be running dual-wield weapons with this talent tree.

Following those caps, you'll begin working on building up the Strength stat. This comes easy as you level as when you get new gear it usually comes as a net upgrade due to the increase in Strength, but at max-level, the decisions become a bit tougher due to wanting other stats as well.

WoW Classic WotLK Death Knight Stats
Credit: Blizzard Entertainment
HIT THOSE STATS: Death Knights have great uses for the game's stats
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From then on, you'll round out the rest of the stats sheet. This comes in the form of Armor Penetration, which increases the overall physical damage you do to targets with a soft cap, Critical Strike, which greatly benefits from dual-wielding as you'll be attacking more often, and lastly, Haste which increases the frequency of your attacks and works great with Frost due to increasing your Killing Machine Procs.

In short, you'll want to reach the Hit Rating and Expertise caps, build as much Strength as possible and finish it all out by getting a significant amount of Armor Penetration, followed by Critical Strike, and Haste. It's also worth noting that depending on your race, some of these stats are affected, meaning you'll have to work less to reach certain caps.

Look to add all of these with gear and enchants, especially Death Knight-specific weapon enchanting, Runeforging, where you'll have Rune of Razorice on your main hand and Rune of the Fallen Crusader on your off-hand.

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Best Races for Frost Death Knights

WoW is a unique game in that the races in both of its factions provide certain benefits that can come as a nice minor boost.

For Death Knights specifically, they can be any race in the game, making the decision of choosing the best race as difficult as it seems easy. That's why we've narrowed it down to a handful between both of the factions. These are strictly in PvE settings.

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Horde:

  • Orc
  • Blood Elf

Orc is most likely the overall strongest race for not just the Frost spec but the Death Knight class as a whole. Their Blood Fury, which increases Attack Power by 6 for 15 seconds is a great spell to cast with your Cooldowns and/or trinkets for a bigger burst. Then you add the likes of Axe Specialization which double dips into your need for Expertise and Command, which is a nice little pet damage boost, although you'll rarely if ever use your pet as Frost, and it's just all great benefits.

Blood Elf, on the other hand, although not as generally strong as Orc, has one added benefit that other races don't—on-demand Runic Power. With Arcane Torrent, you can gain 15 Runic Power at just the press of a spell, that's nearly two Frost Strikes worth thanks to the Glyph of Frost Strike.

Alliance:

  • Draenei
  • Human

Draenei is probably the best choice over on the Alliance side as it has some great benefits that can shore up some holes. With Heroic Presence, you can work on the aforementioned Hit Rating cap as it increases the chance to hit with all spells and attacks by 1% for not just you, but all of your party members as well. There's also Gift of the Naaru which upon casts gives you a minor heal over time that could come in clutch for either you or another friendly target.

Death Knight Draenei WoW Classic WotLK
Credit: Blizzard Entertainment
DRAENEI DEATH KNIGHT: Draeneis are a great choice for a Frost Death Knight
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When it comes to Humans, unlike any of the races except Undeads with their Will of the Forsaken which overlaps with Lichborne, have a great get-out-of-jail-free card in Will to Survive. The fact that you don't have to have a PvP trinket to get out of any crown-controlling effect is great and can come in handy in several fights in the new expansion.

Additionally, they carry Mace Specialization and Sword Specialization which like Orcs, carry a great benefit for those much-needed caps, namely Expertise.

That's it! This is all you need to get your Frost Death Knight going. Time to rain some frosty terror onto your enemies.

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