Cataclysm Classic Frost Death Knight DPS PvE Guide

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This Cataclysm Classic Frost Death Knight DPS PvE guide covers everything you need to know about talents, glyphs, gearing, and other essential aspects of WoW. 

Cataclysm Classic Frost Death Knight DPS PvE Guide

Slamming your enemies with waves of ice and brutal physical attacks while leaving opponents frozen solid, frost is a versatile and highly competitive DPS spec for those looking for a spec that will keep you on your toes. Frost has two main builds utilizing either two 1-handed weapons or a 2-handed weapon.

Current DPS rating by spec with ilvl 397 (normal tier) gear:
DW Frost >= 2H Unholy > 2H Frost

Current DPS rating by spec with ilvl 410 (heroic tier) gear:
DW Frost >= 2H Unholy > 2H Frost

Cataclysm Classic Frost Death Knight DPS PvE Guide: Talents and Glyphs

Base Spec

These are you base builds with talents that everyone will pick up. Where you put the last three talent points is up to you.

Dual Wield

Pretty much the only way to go. In tier 2 you have some mobility for two points. Put them where you feel they are most beneficial. Grab the two DW talents available and stay away from Might of the Frozen Wastes as it will be of no benefit while dual-wielding. Obliterate will be your largest fraction of damage, followed by Frost Strike and your auto-attacks.

DW is done in Unholy Presence.

Two-Handed

A very similar situation to DW Frost. In tier 2 you have two points to play around with and you grab Might of the Frozen Wastes instead of Threat of Thassiran. Frost Strike will be your largest fraction of total damage followed closely by Obliterate then your auto-attack.

2H is done in Unholy Presence almost entirely to take advantage of the extra RP from Might of the Frozen Wastes that would go wasted in Frost Presence due to being so close to GCD capped. The extra haste and run speed don’t hurt either.

Improved Blood Tap Build

This spec is going to result in more Runic Power being generated and slightly fewer open GCDs through the extra point in Butchery and the extra rune it is able to use each minute. However, your diseases aren’t going to last as long as the Epidemic Build. To keep diseases up, you will use Outbreak/Plague Strike/Plague Strike each minute to keep Blood Plague up and use Outbreak, Rime procs and Howling Blast to keep Frost Fever going. Diseases are much tighter in this build and it can be easy for them to fall off if, especially on multiple targets. Keeping Blood Tap on cooldown is important to maximizing this build, which can be tricky due to Death Runes being consumed last.

Epidemic Build

The longer diseases this spec brings mean you are only going to have to use Outbreak/Plague Strike once each minute to keep Blood Plague up. The extra 8 seconds of disease will help when switching targets and gives more leeway for re-applying them. In general, this is a more reliable build at keeping your diseases up but will have more open GCDs. This provides more room for error than the Improved Blood Tap Build and can do better in heavy target switching encounters. Talented this lengthens your diseases to 29 seconds leaving <2 secs each minute when Blood Plague will likely not be up on the target if you want to play a safer game with diseases consider taking a point from Butchery to lengthen your diseases to 33 seconds.

Optional Talents

Remember those two points in tier 2 I told you about? Well here are your options for where you are going to be placing them.

Innate Talents

Frost Death Knights gain some pretty nice passive skills which are important to know about and have an effect on the way we play.

Blood of the North
Your Blood Runes are permanently transformed into Death Runes giving you plenty of opportunities to get in more Obliterates and eliminating Blood Strike from our priority list.

Icy Talons
Increases your melee attack speed by 20%. Not much to say here. It is a completely passive bonus so just be aware of it. This does not increase our Rune Regeneration rate.

Runic Empowerment
This talent is the crux of our rotation and the bane of our RNGness. Whenever you use your Frost Strike, Death Coil, or Rune Strike, you have a 45% chance to activate a random FULLY depleted rune. The key word there is FULLY. What this means is that you’ll need to have both runes in a set on cooldown in order to get the full value out of this talent. This talent is why Frost Strike is prioritized late in the priority list and why you’ll try to expend as many runes as you can before you start Frost Striking (or Death Coiling if the need arises).

Runic Focus
A nice little boost to Howling Blast and our diseases. Runic Focus makes all of our spells do double damage on crits and gives us an additional 9% spell hit. This alleviates the need to try to get spell hit capped for 2H as you’ll be at spell hit cap before you are melee hit capped. DW will still find themselves needing 219 more hit rating than melee hit cap if they wish to get spell hit capped as Nerves of Cold Steel only benefits one-handed attacks…which spells are not.

Raid Buffs and Debuffs

Buffs

Horn of Winter – Increases your total Strength and Agility by 549.
Improved Icy Talons – Increases melee and ranged attack speed by 10%.

Debuffs

Brittle Bones – Increases physical damage taken by 4%.
Frost Fever – Melee and ranged attack speed reduced by 20%.

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Glyphs

Prime

Not many chances for variety here. Glyph of Frost Strike and Glyph of Obliterate are must haves. Glyph of Howling Blast will keep your Frost Fever rolling on targets every time you get a Rime proc meaning Frost Fever is essentially a fire-and-forget DoT. Glyph of Icy Touch has its place in AoE situations where you won’t be using Obliterate continuously.

Major

Major Glyphs unfortunately don’t help much to increase DPS. The best you can get here is some utility and survival glyphs like Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell, Glyph of Dark Succor and Glyph of Hungering Cold if you find yourself using it often enough.

Minor

Minors don’t really matter in raid situations so it’s mostly up to you. Glyph of Blood Tap is the only one that can have direct raid ramifications. Using an unglyphed Blood Tap during Chimaeron can kill you if it is poorly timed as he enjoys bringing you to 1 HP or it can bring you back under the 10k hp safe zone if your healers hug that boundary closely.

Cataclysm Classic Frost Death Knight DPS PvE Guide: Priority

Single Target

Single Target Priority
Diseases
Obliterate if both Frost/Unholy pairs and/or both Death runes are up, or if Killing Machine is procced
Frost Strike if RP capped
Rime
Obliterate
Frost Strike
Howling Blast
Horn of Winter

Diseases are always top priority. Howling Blast and Plague Strike/Outbreak will cover those. As stated above, Frost Fever should rarely ever be a problem thanks to Glyph of Howling Blast applying Frost Fever for us. Blood Plague is simple enough to manage between Plague Strike and Outbreak. Try to reapply Blood Plague as close as possible with the end of the current application but anywhere under 6 seconds or less is acceptable.

Keeping runes on cooldown is next on priority. This means getting one of each rune on cooldown before starting on the other set of runes. This is largely due to how our rune system works as of 4.0. Each pair of runes shares a internal cooldown where neither can be refilling at the same time so having one of each rune available is the same as having used all your runes in terms of when all your runes will next be available again and gives some flexibility for our procs to fit in our priority.

This means using Obliterate when both Frost and Unholy sets are up or two Death runes. This is followed by Frost Strike to keep you from reaching your max RP and wasting extra Runic Power and using any Rime procs you may have. Then Obliterating again to put as many of your runes on cooldown.

Frost Strike; Make sure you’re not Frost Striking when you don’t actually have at least two runes of the same pair on cooldown. You need to have runes fully depleted in order for Runic Empowerment to proc. That is the reason why Frost Strike is prioritized as it is. Although, under the new rune system you aren’t inherently punished for sitting on a single rune of a pair, you will lose benefit from Runic Empowerment, and thus rune abilities must come first.

Lastly, use Howling Blast when you have only have one rune available and need to get Runic Power to Frost Strike.

Fill any remaining downtime with Horn of Winter.

Take advantage of any downtime to line up Killing Machine procs with your Obliterates when possible. It’s hard to put an exact number on it but if you have a Killing Machine proc waiting a sec or two to get runes to Obliterate rather than using Killing Machine on Frost Strike will show an increase of DPS.

Multiple Target

Multiple Target Priority
Howling Blast if both Frost runes and/or both Death runes are up
Death and Decay/Plague Strike if both Unholy Runes are up
Frost Strike if RP capped
Howling Blast
Death and Decay/Plague Strike
Frost Strike
Horn of Winter

A very similar case to single target except you won’t be concerning yourself with making sure Blood Plague is up on every target and you will be using Howling Blast and Death and Decay/Plague Strike instead of Obliterate. As nice as Blood of the North is for Single Target it is even nicer for Multiple Targets; however, it muddles up how we want to initially spend our runes due to how it priorities Frost and Unholy Runes before Death Runes.

It will take three Howling Blasts to get the first Death Rune to be consumed and both of your Unholy Runes will still be active. It not a terrible thing, but it’s good to be aware of it.

Follow this up with using Death and Decay or Plague Strike to keep your unholy runes on cooldown. Make sure you are switching targets when you Plague Strike to get your full strength Blood Plague on as many targets as possible.

Finally, use Frost Strike to regain Runes when possible. Death Coil will be used in place of Frost Strike when you are kiting adds or cannot be in melee range. Frost Presence will be an increase in damage done in encounters with extended periods of AoE.

Runic Power Management

In general, Runic Power gains correspond directly to the number runes spent on abilities. Each depleted rune will give you 10 Runic Power but some abilities will give you more thanks to our talents Chill of the Grave, Improved Frost Presence while in Unholy Presence and being in Frost Presence will give you more Runic Power as well. Runic Power is calculated before the benefits of Chill of the Grave occur, which you may notice by your Runic Power increasing by 10 a moment after already increasing from your spent runes. Here’s a table showing how much each ability will generate depending on if you are in Frost Presence or Unholy Presence. This table assumes you have both Chill of the Grave and Improved Frost Presence. Base amounts assume no talents or Presence.

AbilityBase RP gainedRP gained in Frost Presence (+10%)RP gained in Unholy Presence (+4%)
Obliterate203230.8
Howling Blast102120.4
Plague Strike101110.4
Blood Strike101110.4
Icy touch102120.4
Death and Decay101110.4
Horn of Winter101110.4
Rime01010

Cooldowns

Pillar of Frost
The only unique cooldown for Frost DKs, this is an absolutely amazing talent. Granting 20% strength for 20 seconds on a 60 second cooldown, this should be used on cooldown as often as possible or lined up with phases where bosses take more damage. If you have an on-use trinket, make sure to macro it in with Pillar of Frost to get the most out of it. It also provides immunity to knockback effects.

Raise Dead
As close as we get to being an Unholy DK – Raise Dead summons a ghoul to fight for you for 1 minute on a three minute cooldown. Your Ghoul scales with your attack power, haste, and hit based on the moment it was cast, and will retain those exact stats for its entire duration. Try to wait on using it until all of your procs coincide, however, don’t let this make you miss an opportunity to cast it. This will line up nicely with Pillar of Frost giving your ghoul a bigger punch for the price, as will using it during bloodlust or heroism.

Army of the Dead
Army of the Dead will summon a gaggle of ghouls to fight for you swarming any enemies that stand in your way. Like Raise Dead, Army of the Dead will scale with your AP, haste, and hit at the time summoned. The best time to use Army of the Dead will vary from boss to boss, but it is typically right before the beginning of an encounter or in any phase transition where you will not be and cannot be on the boss and no DPS will be lost. One note about Army of the Dead is that although the summoned ghouls will not taunt a boss, they will taunt most adds present on boss encounters. Use at your own risk.

Empower Rune Weapon
Activates all your runes and provides 25 Runic Power once every 5 minutes. Ideally you’ll want to use this any time when you need some heavy burst. As well, try to line it up with all your Runes being on cooldown and having low amounts of Runic Power. This will reset your whole priority, which can throw people off when they find themselves with 6 runes off cooldown and 100+ Runic Power. You’ll likely cap your Runic Power when you use Empower Rune Weapon. Don’t worry about it; continue the priority as you would normally. Depending on the length of the fight you may be able to use this more than once by using it early in the fight.

Blood Tap
Blood Tap will convert a full or depleted Blood Rune into a full death rune once a minute or once every 30 seconds if talented into it at the cost of 6% of your maximum health but can be glyphed into not costing any health. This cooldown lines up nicely with our Pillar of Frost and is usually in a macro with it to guarantee you are not waiting for a frost rune to come off cooldown to activate your Pillar of Frost. Because of the changes to Blood of the North, this will simply refresh one of our Death Runes and decreases the value of Blood Tap but gives more flexibility in timing to get the maximum benefit from it.

Outbreak
Outbreak will apply both Frost Fever and Blood Plague to your target once a minute. As Frost DKs, we will mainly use this to reapply Blood Plague without expending an unholy rune when we can on a single target. In some situations, like fights with heavy target switching, it is best to save Outbreak for quickly applying your diseases to a target that needs to be burned down. If your diseases are talented into having a 33 second duration, you will be alternating between Plague Strike and Outbreak every ~30 seconds to keep your Blood Plague up, while Howling Blast takes care of your Frost Fever.

Dark Simulacrum
On a 1 minute cooldown, Dark Simulacrum allows a Death Knight to place a debuff on a target that will grant the DK the ability to copy the next spell the target casts that costs mana. There are few to no encounters where this comes into play in PvE, unfortunately. Any encounter with Mind Control can be a blessing with some coordination. Dark Simulacrum a mind contolled ally and have them use a disease (if able) when freed to get another disease on your target. As of 4.1, the number of abilities this will work on has increased but we haven’t gotten a good idea of how many that is.

Anti-Magic Shell
Anti-Magic Shell is our most reliable way of avoiding raid damage. This baby absorbs 75% of the magic damage taken, up to 50% of the DK’s health for 5 seconds or 7 seconds if glyphed. Anti-Magic Shell has a 45 second cooldown so it is frequently available in comparison to some of our other cooldowns. It no longer gives us Runic Power as it absorbs damage but also no longer costs 20 Runic Power to use. Anti-Magic Shell also makes you immune to magical debuffs which can be equally or more important than the damage mitigation depending on the encounter.

Icebound Fortitude
Our standard defensive ability. A 20% damage taken reduction for 12 seconds as well as making you immune to stun effects on a 3 minute cooldown for a mere 20 Runic Power. Use this when you know heavy damage is incoming. Don’t make the easy mistake of using it after you’ve already taken a good chunk of damage; anticipate damage to get the most out of this ability.

Death Pact
Only usable when your ghoul is up or your Army of the Dead. This will heal you for 25% of your max health and can be timed so it is used right as your ghoul is going to disappear to still get the whole benefit of your ghoul. However is does have a 2 minute cooldown and isn’t usually worth the 40 Runic Power so it rarely sees any action in most fights.

Hungering Cold
A mandatory talent to finish up the Frost tree, Hungering Cold freezes enemies in place within 10 yards for 10 seconds and inflicts your Frost Fever on them. The downside being that any damage other than diseases will break this effect. It is on a 1 minute cooldown and costs 40 Runic Power or 0 if glyphed. This seems a lot more helpful than it truly is. Most enemies will be promptly broken out due to other DoTs on the target or stray damage essentially leaving you out 40 Runic Power to apply Frost Fever. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its place. Just by using it you’ve stopped your enemies from attacking, if even for a brief moment, which can be life saving for a tank in some circumstances. If you like the utility make sure to glyph for it. Hungering Cold can also be used to keep your Frost Fever on targets in the rare occasion that you don’t get a Rime proc and Outbreak is on cooldown.

Mind Freeze
This is our basic interrupt. It is off the global cooldown and has a 10 second cooldown with a base cost of 20 Runic Power and 0 if fully talented. As of 4.1, all interrupts will not be able to miss…not that it should matter as Frost since you should be hit-capped anyways.

Strangulate
Mind Freeze’s big brother, Strangulate interrupts and silences a player target for 5 seconds, which can be glyphed to 7 seconds if successfully interrupting a spell and can interrupt non-player spell casting for 3 seconds. Unlike Mind Freeze, Strangulate is a 30 yard ranged silence, shares a global cooldown with your other abilities and costs a Blood Rune to use. This is a last resort in a PvE context. It will slow down your damage by taking up a global cooldown and expend one of your runes. As such, this is going to sit in your back pocket for most fights, but can really save the day when you’ve got some ranged silencing to take care of…Darth Vader doesn’t go around Force Choking people all day; neither should you YET.

Raise Ally
Our newly redesigned battle rez. At the cost of 50 Runic Power, you can resurrect one of your fallen brethren once every 10 minutes to 20% health and mana. In less organized settings this is just a way to get allies killed again as soon as they accept the rez.

Stats and Gearing

Cataclysm Classic Frost Death Knight DPS PvE Guide

Stat Priorities

Strength is the most important stat for us out there giving just over 2 attack power for each point of Strength we get. Next comes hit to cap followed by expertise to cap so we are not wasting runes by having attacks miss and slowing down our Priority by keeping our runes off cooldown

Both DW and 2H prioritize haste as a secondary stat. More haste means more Killing Machine procs and Runic Power gains from Might of the Frozen Wastes for 2H. Next is Mastery, which affects ~40% of our damage and gives a nice boost due to 2H’s reliance on Frost Strike. Last is Crit due to its overlap with Killing Machine’s effects. In some setups Crit does simulate slightly better than Mastery but on any fight where your Frost Fever can be rolling on more than one target Mastery will come out ahead.

Specific Stat Weights

Preliminary stat weights are as follows:

Stat 410 DW 410 2H 
Strength3.493.12
Yellow Hit3.143.18
Expertise2.482.53
Haste1.921.74
Mastery1.901.86
Crit1.681.69
Hit Over Yellow1.29

Specific Stat Caps

Level 88 Boss Avoidance

Avoidance % Avoidance to Rating Effective Requirement 
2H Yellow Swing Miss8%(120.109 * 8)961 Hit Rating
1H Yellow Swing Miss8%(120.109 * 5)601 Hit Rating and Nerves of Cold Steel
2H White Swing Miss8%(120.109 * 8)961 Hit Rating
1H White Swing Miss27%(120.109 * 24)2883 Hit Rating and Nerves of Cold Steel
Spell Miss17%(102.446 * 8)820 Hit Rating and Runic Focus
Parry (front)14%(14 / .25 * 30.0272)1682 Expertise Rating
Dodge (behind)6.5%(6.5 / .25 * 30.0272)781 Expertise Rating
Melee Crit Reduction4.8%N/A
Spell Crit Reduction3%N/A
Glancing Blows24%N/A

Combat Ratings

Stat Level 85 
Dodge176.71899
Parry176.71899
Block88.3594
Hit120.109
Spell Hit102.446
Crit179.28
Resilience276.12299
Haste128.05701
Expertise30.0272
Mastery179.28

Combat Ratings are a conversion method between a stats rating and its 1%/1pt. value. (source)

Reforging

Reforging takes 40% of a secondary stat already on an item and converts it into another secondary stat not already on an item. This gives you a lot more flexibility in trying to hit both the hit and expertise cap while maximizing your desired secondary stats.

You will want to reforge following your specs stat weights above while making sure to keep your hit and expertise capped. Sometimes this will mean reforging out of hit on one item and reforging into hit on another item to get the most of your desired stats. This is a tricky and complicated task which I encourage you to do, if for no other reason than to work on some math problems.

Best in Slot

[DW No Restrictions]

Slot Item Gemming Reforging Enchant 
Head[Necrotic Boneplate Helmet]1x [Reverberating Shadowspirit Diamond], 1x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]None[Arcanum of the Wildhammer]
Neck[Necklace of Black Dragon’s Teeth]NoneCrit to HasteNone
Shoulders[Backbreaker Spaulders]2 x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Crit to Haste[Greater Inscription of Jagged Stone]
Back[Dreamcrusher Drape]1x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Crit to Haste+65 Crit
Chest[Necrotic Boneplate Breastplate]2 x [Bold Queen’s Garnet], 1 x [Etched Shadow Spinel]Hit to Expertise+20 All Stats
Wrists[Rockhide Bracers]2 x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Crit to Expertise+50 Strength
Hands[Necrotic Boneplate Gauntlets]1x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Crit to Haste+50 Strength
Waist[Runescriven Demon Collar]2x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Mastery to ExpertiseNone
Legs[Necrotic Boneplate Greaves]3 x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]None[Dragonscale Leg Armor]
Feet[Treads of Crushed Flesh]2 x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Crit to Haste+50 Haste
Ring[Breathstealer Band]1x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Mastery to ExpertiseNone
Ring[Curled Twilight Claw]1x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Mastery to HasteNone
Trinket[Eye of Unmaking]NoneNoneNone
Trinket[Creche of the Final Dragon]NoneNoneNone
Main Hand[Souldrinker]NoneNoneRune of Razorice
Off Hand[Souldrinker]NoneNoneRune of the Fallen Crusader
Relic[Gutripper Shard]1x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Mastery to ExpertiseNone

[2H No Restrictions]

Slot Item Gemming Reforging Enchant 
Head[Necrotic Boneplate Helmet]1x [Reverberating Shadowspirit Diamond], 1x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Haste to Mastery[Arcanum of the Wildhammer]
Neck[Necklace of Black Dragon’s Teeth]NoneCrit to MasteryNone
Shoulders[Backbreaker Spaulders]2 x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Crit to Haste[Greater Inscription of Jagged Stone]
Back[Dreamcrusher Drape]1x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Hit to Mastery+65 Crit
Chest[Necrotic Boneplate Breastplate]2 x [Bold Queen’s Garnet], 1 x [Etched Shadow Spinel]Haste to Mastery+20 All Stats
Wrists[Rockhide Bracers]2 x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Crit to Expertise+50 Strength
Hands[Necrotic Boneplate Gauntlets]1x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Crit to Expertise+50 Strength
Waist[Runescriven Demon Collar]2x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Haste to HitNone
Legs[Necrotic Boneplate Greaves]3 x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Haste to Hit[Dragonscale Leg Armor]
Feet[Treads of Crushed Flesh]2 x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Crit to Expertise+50 Haste
Ring[Breathstealer Band]1x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Haste to ExpertiseNone
Ring[Curled Twilight Claw]1x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Mastery to ExpertiseNone
Trinket[Eye of Unmaking]NoneNoneNone
Trinket[Creche of the Final Dragon]NoneNoneNone
Main Hand[Gurthalak, Voice of the Deeps]NoneNoneRune of the Fallen Crusader
Relic[Gutripper Shard]1x [Bold Queen’s Garnet]Mastery to ExpertiseNone

Trinkets

Trinket evaluation, in the most basic form, is done by calculating the estimated DPS value. Uptime will be determinate on an assumed internal cooldown for Proc-variety trinkets or the listed cooldown for Use-variety trinkets.

Proc-variety Trinket Value =(Passive Stat x Passive Stat Weight) + ((Proc stat x Proc Stat Weight) / 5)
Use-variety Trinket Value =(Passive Stat x Passive Stat Weight) + ((Use stat x Use Stat Weight) / 6)

Using these basic formulas, we can then compare and rank trinkets quite easily.

Item Source 
[Eye of Unmaking] HeroicSpine of Deathwing, Heroic Dragon Soul
[Eye of Unmaking]Spine of Deathwing, Dragon Soul
[Creche of the Final Dragon] HeroicUltraxion, Heroic Dragon Soul
[Bone-Link Fetish] HeroicShared Boss Drop, Heroic Dragon Soul
[Eye of Unmaking] Raid FinderSpine of Deathwing, Raid Finder Fall of Deathwing
[Creche of the Final Dragon]Ultraxion, Dragon Soul
[Bone-Link Fetish]Shared Boss Drop, Dragon Soul
[Heart of Rage] HeroicChimaeron, Heroic BWD
[Creche of the Final Dragon] Raid FinderUltraxion, Raid Finder Fall of Deathwing
[Bone-Link Fetish] Raid FinderShared Boss Drop, Raid Finder Fall of Deathwing, Siege of Wyrmrest
[Apparatus of Khaz’goroth] HeroicFirelands, BoE Drop
[Vessel of Acceleration] HeroicRagnoros, Firelands
[Crushing Weight] HeroicElementium Monstrosity, Heroic BoT
[Darkmoon Card: Hurricane] for DWQuest
[License to Slay]Vendor, Valor Points
[Rotting Skull]Vendor, Valor Points
[Apparatus of Khaz’goroth]Firelands
[Essence of the Eternal Flame]Vendor
[Heart of Rage]Chimaeron, BWD
[Vessel of Acceleration]Ragnoros,Firelands
[Crushing Weight]Elementium Monstrosity, BoT
[Darkmoon Card: Hurricane] for 2HQuest
[Heart of Solace] HeroicAugh, Heroic Lost City of the Tol’Vir
[Varo’then’s Brooch]Mannoroth, Heroic Well of Eternity
[Rosary of Light]Benedictus, Heroic Hour of Twilight
[Fury of Angerforge]BoE Drop, BWD
[Volatile Alchemist Stone]Alchemy
[Impatience of Youth]Vendor, Baradin’s Wardens/Hellscream’s Reach Exalted
[Dwyer’s Caber]Vendor

Assumptions Regarding Trinkets

Set Bonuses

Consumables

Flask: [Flask of Titanic Strength]
Potion: [Golemblood Potion]
Food: [Beer-Basted Crocolisk] / [Fortune Cookie] / [Seafood Magnifique Feast]

Gemming, Enchanting, Professions, and Race

Gemming

Color Melee Stats Available 
RedStrength, Expertise Rating
YellowCrit Rating, Haste Rating, Mastery Rating
BlueHit Rating

Currently the best gems for each socket color:

Color DW 2H 
Red[Bold Queen’s Garnet][Bold Queen’s Garnet]
Yellow[Design: Fierce Lava Coral][Design: Fierce Lava Coral]
Blue[Etched Shadow Spinel][Etched Shadow Spinel]

Never gem straight hit and only gem hit if the corresponding socket bonus will cover the difference between the strength on a red and purple/orange gem (currently 20 strength). Aside from meeting your meta gem requirements, you only bother to use orange/purple gems if the socket bonus is 20 strength, 30 of any secondary stat, or anything higher than that for one yellow/blue slot, and 30 strength for two. Otherwise, simply go straight strength all the way.

Meta-Gems

[Reverberating Shadowspirit Diamond]. Print. Done.

Enchants

Slot DW Enchant 2H Enchant Notes 
Head60 Str / 30 Mastery60 Str / 30 MasteryWildhammer/Dragonmaw revered. No competitive alternatives.
Cape65 Crit65 CritNo competitive alternatives.
Shoulder50 Str / 25 Crit50 Str / 25 CritTherazane exalted. 130 Str / 25 Crit for those with Inscription, but no competitive alternatives otherwise.
Chest20 Stats20 StatsNo competitive alternatives.
Bracers50 Str130 Strength for those with Leatherworking, but no competitive alternatives otherwise. 
Gloves50 Str50 StrNo competitive alternatives.
Legs190 AP / 55 Crit190 AP / 55 CritNo competitive alternatives.
Feet50 Haste50 Haste50 Hit is an viable alternative; which you take ultimately matters on how you can best reforge your gear at the time

Runeforges

Dual wielding will use Rune of Razorice on their main hand with Rune of the Fallen Crusader on their offhand. If able, keep a third weapon enchanted with Rune of Cinderglacier for use in AoE scenarios.

2H will use Rune of the Fallen Crusader.

Professions

Engineering is the top profession given its stackable 480 strength bonus to gloves for 10 seconds every minute (80 strength average passive). Blacksmithing follows as a second pick with its extra sockets for Bold Queen’s Garnet netting 100 additonal strength. Alchemy, Enchanting, Leatherworking, and Inscription are on par with Jewelcrafting bringing up the rear.

Name Benefit 
AlchemyMixology adds an additional 80 strength on to [Flask of Titanic Strength] and increases the duration of all alchemical consumables
BlacksmithingSmithing allows for an extra socket in your bracers and gloves netting 100 strength (2x [Bold Queen’s Garnet])
Enchanting[Enchant Ring – Strength] can be used on both rings for a total of 80 additional strength
EngineeringEngineers can add [Synapse Springs] to gloves (480 strength * 10s/ 60s cooldown = passive 80 strength) and it stacks with normal enchants
HerbalismHerbalists have the castable [Lifeblood] ability (480 haste * 20s / 2 min cooldown = passive 80 haste)
Inscription[Lionsmane Inscription] is an alternative to the Therazane faction reward shoulder enchant
Jewelcrafting3 x [Bold Chimera’s Eye] to socket into your gear instead of 3 x [Bold Queen’s Garnet] equates to 51 extra strength. I haven’t found any new Jewelcrafter only gems in 4.3 that would even Jewelcrafting out with most of the other professions.
LeatherworkingLeatherworkers can add [Draconic Embossment] to wrists and is 80 strength superior to what enchanters can provide.
MiningMiners receive a 120 stamina buff
SkinningSkinners receive a 80 critical strike rating bonus
TailoringTailors can sew [Swordguard Embroidery] into cloaks but it does not stack with [Enchant Cloak – Greater Critical Strike] so it’s generally considered less desirable

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Races

Alliance

Worgen

Visciousness – Passive 1% crit.

Darkflight – 40% speed sprint for 10 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.

Draenei

Heroic Presence -Passive 1% hit.

Gift of the Naaru – Heals the target for 20% of the total health over 15 seconds. 3 minute cooldown.

Human

Sword Specialization – Expertise with Swords and Two-Handed Swords increased by 3.

Mace Specialization – Expertise with Maces and Two-Handed Maces increased by 3.

Every Man for Himself – Removes all movement-impairing effects and all effects that cause loss of control of your character. 2-minute cooldown.

Dwarf

Mace Specialization – Expertise with Maces and Two-Handed Maces increased by 3. when you’re using any sort of mace.

Stoneform – Removes all poison, disease and bleed effects and reduces all damage taken by 10% for 8 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.

Gnome

Shortblade Specialization – Expertise with Daggers and One-Handed Swords increased by 3.

Escape Artist – Escape the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect. 1.5 minute cooldown.

Night Elf

Shadowmeld – Aggro dump. 2 minute cooldown.

Horde

Goblin

Time is Money – Passive 1% attack speed.

Rocket Jump – Activates your rocket belt to jump forward. 2 minute cooldown. Shares cooldown with Rocket Barrage.

Rocket Barrage – Launches your belt rockets at an enemy. 2 minute cooldown. Shares cooldown with Rocket Jump.

Orc

Axe Specialization – Expertise with Fist Weapons, Axes and Two-Handed Axes increased by 3.

Blood Fury – Increases attack power by 1169. Lasts 15 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.

Troll

Da Voodoo Shuffle – Reduces the duration of all movement impairing effects by 15%.

Berserking – Increases your attack speed by 20% for 10 seconds. 3 minute cooldown.

Blood Elf

Arcane Torrent – Silence all enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds and restores 15 Runic Power. 2 minute cooldown.

Forsaken

Will of the Forsaken – Removes any Charm, Fear and Sleep effect. 2 minute cooldown.

Tauren

War Stomp – Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.

Mechanics and Macros

Current Raiding Mechanics

This section is intended for a quick reference for when to use certain abilities in the current raiding environment. On that note, it does not contain info for Heroic encounters. If enough interest is shown, I will expand it to include heroic encounters, but I like to think if you are doing heroics you know what you are doing.

Macros

Not many macros are essential for Frost DKs and only one is truly recommended

#showtooltip Pillar of Frost
/use # (only for on-use items, replace ‘#’ with item slot #)
/cast Pillar of Frost
/cast Raise Dead

Pillar of Frost has a 1 minute cooldown and Raise Dead has a 3 minute cooldown. Frost DKs should never use Raise Dead without being under the affect of Pillar of Frost. You can also add any on-use items into this macro. For reference, gloves are item slot 10 and trinkets are slots 13 and 14.

Masterfrost

Essentially you forfeit using Obliterate all the time and strategically use Howling Blast when you are at low Runic Power. As of 4.3, this is the top dps playstyle if played perfectly but is more punishing for deviating from the priority.

You pick up the DW Improved Blood Tap (7/29+2/3) spec. Any Masterfrost build will be done in Unholy Presence.

Masterfrost Stat Strength Expertise Hit Mastery Haste Crit 
Weights3.592.322.222.152.061.73
Masterfrost Priority
Diseases via Howling Blast and Plague Strike or Outbreak
Obliterate if both Frost/Unholy pairs and/or both Death runes are up
Frost Strike if RP capped
Rime
Obliterate if both Unholy runes are up or will be within 1 second
Howling Blast if under 90 Runic Power
Frost Strike if over 90 Runic Power
Howling Blast if under 60 Runic Power
Frost Strike
Horn of Winter

The Masterfrost priority revolves around using Howling Blast as much as possible and using Frost Strike to get Frost and Death Runes back via gaming Unholy Runes on cooldown. You will always want to keep one Unholy Rune activated so that Runic Empowerment will be guaranteed to return you a Death Rune or a Frost Rune when you Frost Strike, rather than an Unholy Rune. Masterfrost shares the same multiple target priority with a normal build.

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