Death Knight Class Changes in Dragonflight

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A new WoW expansion is getting closer and closer to its release on November 28. Each build makes it easier to speak about various class changes and suggest firm predictions on Dragonflight meta. This text will cover crucial Death Knight ability changes.

DK class Class Tree

The revamp of the talent system in the new expansion leads to the emergence of two separate trees for class and specialization. One tree contains basic class talents which are accessible in every spec. And another one — those that belong only to a particular specialization.

Players have 31 points to spend in the class tree and 30 points in a spec one. These restrictions will make players choose a limited number of skills and traits by holding more or less to the right, middle, or left branches. One more feature to remember is that talents placed in octagons must always be chosen out of two options.

New expansion brings a lot of defensive abilities to the Death Knight’s main skill tree. The Will of Necropolis trait at the bottom of the right branch is a former Blood talent which can be taken by everyone now. It has even been upgraded so that when two talent points are put here, the damage is reduced by 35%. Familiar Anti-Magic Barrier talent, which empowers the Anti-Magic Shell, is another passive skill to improve your defense in any spec.

The Grip of the Dead can be chosen by Frost DK in Dragonflight. It lies at the right part of the tree, but as it’s in an octagon, you have to choose between it and Death’s Reach — a former Unholy and Frost talent. Got tired of nukes? Look at the bottom of the right and left branches, and you’ll find the Empowered Rune Weapon and Soul Reaper, which can now stick into rotation of every spec. But much more important is the skill at the end of the middle branch: the Abomination Limb. Yes, the Necrolord Covenant Spell is here, remade as a tree ability. And like it was in Shadowlands, this ability changes a bit depending on your current spec.

For the end of the preview of generic Death Knight talents, a few new skills should be named. For example, the Unholy Bond buffs the effects of your Runeforge chants by 10% with each point. It can remind you of the former Exacting Preparation Soulbind Ability that did approximately the same. Or the powerful Blood Draw trait, with which you start to deal all the enemies around vampiric damage after your HP falls below 30%. Even the 3 min cooldown of the effect can’t diminish its literally bloody strength.

Blood Changes

And that was another reason to finally pass from the Death Knight class changes to the Blood spec ones. It may seem strange to pick spells that have always been basic BDK skills, like the Marrowrend or the Blood Boil, as talents. But some new features will still definitely make you happy. Even if they’re not very new. For instance, the Everlasting Bond talent allows you to summon one more Dancing Rune Weapon and makes it last 8 seconds longer. This Death Knight trait works like a changed 9.2 4-Set tier bonus. But the effect of the last one used to depend on the character’s Parry chance.

Another Dancing Rune Weapon empowerment can be found right above that passive: the Insatiable Blade. It’s a light version of the Shadowlands Runecarving Power Crimson Rune Weapon. A light one — because the Runecarving Effect also made DK Runes regenerate quicker after the weapon stopped dancing.

Finally, some genuinely new traits have been added. Mainly they work very simply, like the Heartrend, which just gives a Heart Strike a chance to make the upcoming Death Strike 20% more painful.

Frost Changes

One of the Dragonflight’s most fascinating Frost Death Knights talent changes is the Chill Streak becoming a PVE spell. Moreover, while its effect remains unchanged, it will have a supporting octagon talent. That will make you choose the upgrade of the Chill Streak that suits you better, depending on your current strategy. The Piercing Chill makes your enemy receive more and more damage with each strike of the Streak. And the Enduring Chill widens the range of bounce, and a chance to make the Chill Streak last without an end. Because each bounce can result in extra bounce, despite the limitations written in the description of the spell.

Some traits in the Frost Death Knight new talent tree come from the BfA expansion. For example, the Enduring Strength and Cold-Blooded Rage. The first is a literal copy of the Icy Citadel Azerite trait. It buffs your Strength by 10/20% upon the end of the Pillar of Frost and makes the critical hits of the Obliterate and Frostscythe prolong the buff. Which is even more powerful when it is combined with the familiar Icecap trait: this way, your strength may have a chance to be buffed during the whole rotation. And the Cold-Blooded Rage is a light version of the Killer Frost Azerite power. Its only difference from the original is that Frost Strike is not buffed with additional damage.

Finally, the Frostwhelp’s Aid is another Frost Death Knight talent from BfA which empowers the Pillar of Frost combinations. The only thing changed in the work of this former Azerite trait is the amount of damage of your little Frostwhelp and the amount of mastery it gives to you.

As for the completely new features, pay attention to the Bonegrinder and the Invigorating Freeze. The last one makes your Frost Fever critical strikes even more effective, as they may enhance your Runic Power recovery. And the Bonegrinder provides you with an additional simple but significant effect empowering the crucial Killing Machine mechanic.

Unholy Changes

Unholy Death Knight receives interesting updates in Dragonflight. First of all, the brand Unholy Death Coil spell can be significantly upgraded with new passives. One of them is a fresh Death Rot passive that makes your Coil and the Epidemic cast a worrisome debuff on the enemy. This debuff will increase the Shadow damage taken by it. The effect is stackable, up to 10 stacks. And if the spells which trigger them to appear are cast under the Sudden Doom effect, they give the enemy two stacks at once.

The Improved Death Coil just increases the damage of that spell and gives it additional target. However, these two traits are situated quite far from each other. The Rot is nearly at the bottom of the left branch, and the Improved Coil is in the middle of the right. This fact will make an Unholy player think twice about its build, especially considering that there are other essential passives and spells to take.

For instance, the Reaping at the middle of the right branch. It increases the damage from key Unholy DK attacking spells to the target whose HP is lower than 35%. In some situations, it can be a more effective buff of the same Coil spell than those two talents. And there’s no reason to forget about the Eternal Agony, which makes the Coil and Epidemic prolong the Dark Transformation effect.

One of the most exciting talents in the Unholy Death knight tree is the Unholy Aura. It’s based on the effect of the former Necrotic Aura PVP passive. The main difference from the original is that it makes enemies take up to 20% more damage from your pets, not just any magical damage of yours. And such a change can become a severe reason for disputes: is this a nerf, or it’s actually a buff?

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