Posts Tagged ‘unholy’

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mydeathknight’s Guide to Unholy Tanking

December 8, 2008

Well I’m only a month into playing my death knight, and this is my first attempt at a tanking guide.

  I’m not at 80 yet, and on my second Death Knight (re-rolled Orc from Human for awesome unholy racials!!).   So this is a work ‘in process’.

 

I will discuss my view on talents, a few tactics, and what I have on my castbar. I’ve left out what gear to aim for from this guide because are a lot of better resources available out there already.

 

A simple rule of thumb I’ve picked up, based on reading many of these guides is:

 

Def > Dodge > Parry > STAM > Strength.

 

If you have just hit 70, get or make the Cobalt Tanking set!! Shame making a healer isn’t as easy!!!

 

On this point, a big /cheer out to anyone supporting the community with Unholy DK articles. This post is a synthesis of many of them, with a few of my own ideas thrown in for good measure. Feel free to use this guide, or points from it anywhere you like 😉 Death to chargeable guides!!!!!!!!

 

My first tip is obvious really, use Frost Presence every time you intend to take aggro. It ticks three boxes, Increased Armor/Health/Threat. If you are off tanking you may switch blood/unholy without the same penalties Warriors have with loss of rage, but for tanking you’ll always use Frost Presence.

 

Turning to talents, an Unholy tank will likely be spending at least 51 points in Unholy, but I’m going to start by looking at the other two trees from an Unholy perspective!!!

 

Blizzard have spread some key tanking abilities throughout all of the trees. The more important tanking abilities are low enough down the talent trees to be available for all flavour of tanks. One of the most invaluable talents is in Blood:

 

Blade Barrier: Whenever your Blood Runes are on cooldown, your Parry chance increases by 10% for the next 10 sec

 

This is a 5 pointer straight away and one of my favourite damage mitigation talents!! You can get your blood runes on cooldown really quickly, and you can pretty much keep this up throughout the fight, it’ll refresh before the 10 seconds are up. 10% parry addition is a nice start. I’ve read a few guides out there that recommend you spend 18 points in Blood, but I would only spend 5 for Blade Barrier.

 

I’ve preferred to spend some points in Frost because there are some nice things there for an unholy tank at 80. I’ve spent 11 on:

 

5 in Toughness: Increases your armor value from items by 15% and reduces the duration of all movement slowing effects by 30%

 

5 in Black Ice: Increases your Frost damage by 30%.

 

1 in Lichborne: Draw upon unholy energy to become undead for 15 sec. While undead, you are immune to Charm, Fear and Sleep effects, and your horrifying visage causes melee attacks to have an additional 25% chance to miss you.

 

Instant, 3 min cooldown.

 

More armor/frost damage and a great utility spell. Despite its 3 minute cooldown, Lichborne is a must have for this Unholy Tank, mainly because I am playing as an Orc, and I don’t have the ‘Will of the Forsaken’ or ‘Every man for himself’ racials for fear protection. On top of this, Lichborne has damage mitigation in the form of increased melee chance to miss you, you do not need to only use it for eating a fear, it can be used every three minutes as extra damage mitigation as well. I think any easy to reach mitigation is a must have!!

 

Next we get into the Unholy Talent goodness!! I am only including ones I like, but I’d recommend you get Unholy Blight, Bone shield and Scourge strike. Also consider improving/increasing your diseases, that is the mainstay of Unholy AOE!!

 

Get Glyph of Bone shield, as one additional charge of 40% damage reduction is more than worth the outlay!! Despite Unholy Blight’s 60 runic power points cost, having a mobile AOE makes this talent really worth going deep into Unholy. I’ll mention a tip I have for getting to 60 runic power quickly (or not using any till you get there!) involving your ghoul, and you have 20 seconds to build up more Runic Power before needing to re-cast it. You’ll always want more Runic power, and you need to manage how you use it!!

 

Scourge Strike is nice to have for maintaining single target aggro alongside Rune Strike, the latter is your main tanking strike, but uses Runic Power.

 

Here are a selection of Unholy talents in my build:

 

Anticipation: Increases your Dodge chance by 5%.

 

Vicious Strikes: Increases the critical strike chance by 6% and critical strike damage bonus by 30% of your Plague Strike, Death Strike and Scourge Strike.

 

Epidemic: Increases the duration of Blood Plague and Frost Fever by 6 sec

 

Necrosis: Your auto attacks deal an additional 10% Shadow damage.

 

Outbreak: Increases the damage of Plague Strike, Pestilence and Blood Boil by 30%.

 

Impurity: Your spells receive an additional 25% benefit from your attack power.

 

Reaping: Whenever you hit with Blood Strike or Blood Boil there is a 100% chance that the Blood Rune becomes a Death Rune when it activates.

 

Bone Shield: The Death Knight is surrounded by 4 whirling bones. While at least 1 bone remains, he or she takes 40% less damage from all sources and deals 2% more damage with all attacks, spells and abilities. Each damaging attack that lands consumes 1 bone. Lasts 5 min.

1 Unholy, Instant, 1 min cooldown

 

Scourge Strike: An unholy strike that deals 60% of weapon damage as Shadow damage plus 190.5, and an additional 95.25 bonus damage per disease.

1 Unholy 1 Frost, 5 yd range, Instant

 

Wandering Plague: When your diseases damage an enemy, there is a chance equal to your melee critical strike chance that they will cause 100% additional damage to the target and all enemies within 8 yards. Ignores any target under the effect of a spell that is cancelled by taking damage.

 

Rage of Rivendare: Your spells and abilities deal 10% more damage to targets infected with Blood Plague. Also increases your expertise by 5.

 

Unholy Blight: A vile swarm of unholy insects surrounds the Death Knight for a 10 yard radius. Enemies caught in the area take 48 Shadow damage per sec. Lasts 20 sec.

60 Runic Power, Instant

 

 

 

This does not complete the 53 points you have left, but I think these ones are all worthy of a mention. I’ve pondered having desecration for extra damage and control, and the only reason I’ve ditched it is because it causes graphic lag on my machine and I’ve a fairly nice graphics card!! I have Blood Caked Strikes instead, which is almost like a auto attack ‘windfury like’ proc for 25% weapon damage + 13% per disease, this has a 30% chance and a long fight will see a few Blood Caked Strikes.

This is my Build:

http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=j0xZ0xxzZbg0Ixfoxeoocszt

 

As well as lots of AOE goodness and Scourge Strike, Unholy tanks can bring a utility pet to the group, the Ghoul. The next part assumes you know how to manually control your ghoul, because my tip for perma ghoul tanking is to turn off the autocast option for all of your Ghoul’s abilities. Leap can be incredibly annoying when pulling, and claw will dump your pets focus really quickly. You need the pet to be passive, so you can control who it is targeting. Be aware that your Ghoul will fry in any AOE, so set him using ‘stay’  anywhere you know this will happen, and don’t forget to pick him up when you move on!! 50 Silver for Corpse Dust……pah!!!!!

 

Your Ghoul is needed for Gnaw, its 3 second stun, and this is not an autocast option. This really useful ability can be cast every 20 seconds, and is affectively 15% damage mitigation against a single target over 20 seconds (unless they are resistant to stun), as well as a rune/runic power free cast interrupt. This is useful at the start of a pull when you are needing to build up runic power for Unholy Blight, and/or reduce your initial damage while building aggro.

 

If you are not already using Gnaw manually like this, try Death Gripping a few caster mobs and using Gnaw as an interrupt. I’ve hot keyed it onto my mouse (I also have Mind Freeze and Strangulation on my mouse!), but you can click it, or use the petbar shortcuts if you prefer. Fortunately the petbar global cooldown is not the same as the cooldown on your death knight combat bar. Once you have got your confidence up, you’ll also be able to throw in a few claws as well, making sure you always have enough pet focus for your stuns.

 

On good rule for Ghoul management is NEVER miss the opportunity of combat rezzing someone because of it.  Well if they are a total nublet then maybe….. 

 

ALWAYS CAST BONE SHIELD AFTER A FIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Important enough to shout. You don’t want a unholy rune on cooldown because of something you can cast out of combat and bone shield is a 1 minute cooldown, it’s nice to be able to recast it during a fight!!!

 

Take two 2 hand weapons with you to an instance, with:

Rune of Spellshattering: Affixes your two-handed rune weapon with a rune that deflects 4% of all spell damage and reduces the duration of Silence effects by 50%.  

Rune of  Swordshattering:  Affixes your two-handed rune weapon with a rune that increases Parry chance by 4% and reduces the duration of Disarm effects by 50%.

 

For my last part, I thought I’d share what I have on my toolbars. I use Blizzard’s toolbar, not a mod, and use Shift & mouse wheel to shift bars as and when I need them. I also have my bars mapped on my G15 G keys.

 

I use two tool bars, one for single target bar with the following:

 

1. Death Grip. Brings in your disease target (best used on a caster…gotcha!!).

 

2. Plague Strike Macro. I have bound plague strike and Blood rage with the following macro:

 

#showtooltip Plague Strike

/cast Plague Strike

/Cast Blood Rage

 

This gives a nice boost to AP for the start of the pull for us Orcs, which boosts disease damage as well “Impurity” and is a good opener with “Rage of Rivendare” giving an extra 10% to all your abilities when a target has Blood Plague.

 

You could bind an AP trinket as well if you don’t mind losing a defence trinket here, if you are not an orc, or add one if you are an Orc but like even more AP!!!

 

3. Icy Touch. Damage boosted by Black Ice Frost talent.

 

4. Blood Strike macro:

 

#showtooltip Blood Strike

/cast Blood Strike

/cast Charm of Alacrity

 

If you hit Blood strike twice with my talent suggestion you’ll proc Blade barrier, and the charm will give you avoidance, a nice dodge boost!! Any dodge/parry trinket will do here, but Charm of Alacrity is really easy to get!!!

 

5. Icebound Fortitude. When you hit this you will hopefully still have bone shield active, for 40% damage mitigation, the 50% you get for Icebound Fortitude, and blade shield/avoidance will help to deal with the last 10%. This will make your healers life a lot easier at the most dangerous stage of a pull, the first few seconds!!! You won’t take much damage for 15-20 seconds.

 

6. Scourge Strike/Rune Strike Macro: This is the DPS portion

 

#showtooltip Scourge Strike

/cast Rune Strike

/cast Scourge strike

 

7. Death Strike

 

8. Chains of Ice, in case you lose the target

 

9. Blood tap for a free death rune every minute.

 

0. Death Coil

 

-. Bone Shield

 

+. Dark Command

 

For my second tool bar I have a multi target set up. I’ve tried to put pretty much the same spells in the same place, swapping

 

4. Blood strike for 4. Pestilence, using a similar macro:

 

#showtooltip Pestilence

/cast Pestilence

/cast Charm of Alacrity

 

This will usually be cast just as the other mobs reach you after your first death Gripped target, meaning you’ll be at a high level of damage mitigation for the group pull for the scary few seconds after a pull (the time it can all go wrong!!).

 

I swap:

 

5. Scourge Strike/Rune Strike for 5. Blood Boil

 

for grabbing the group interest and proccing Blade barrier.

 

I also swap my runic power ability

 

0. Death Coil, with 0. Unholy Blight

 

And finally

 

-. Bone Shield for -. Death and Decay.

 

For multi targets I try to pull the caster first with Death Grip onto a Death and Decay area, and get my ghoul on the first target I’ve marked to kill, using stun as an interrupt or stunning anyway if they are not a caster for damage mitigation. When the diseases are up (after I cast Blood Boil), I switch to my single target bar so 18 second disease are useful with DnD. I prefer leaving the first target when they are 75% down switching back to my multi target bar and starting my disease cycle again on a mob with the highest health and letting the group/ghoul finish them off. Rinse and repeat!!!

 

I have a utility bar too, it’ll have Empower Rune Blade/Army of the Dead/My mount pots etc…

 

Anyway I hope I have given you some food for thought. I am playing Unholy because I have a holy paladin, and I like the idea of Ying and Yang!!! So I not comparing Unholy with any other tanking tree. So far I’ve found Unholy to deal lots of damage as well as mitigate damage as well as any tanking class I’ve played, and the Ghoul pet makes it a much more fun class to play. Try my tips and you’ll see why!!!

 

Enjoy!!!!!

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My Ghoul’s middle name is Einstein!!

November 28, 2008

While questing in Terokkar Forest doing the questline that involves killing Orc Peons, I was doing my usual, rounding up the mobs while mounted in groups of 4-5, diseasing them all, then killing them AOE. 

 This is the first time I’ve grouped up ‘runners’ since dropping out desecration from my build, (the graphic lag was too annoying) and those pesky Orc Peons all are ‘runner’ types.  Now the anti runner abilities we have are fairly limited… long cooldown on Death Grip, and I need my frost runes for better abilities than slowing a runner (maybe not in an instance!!).    

 Enter my latest Ghoul ‘Dirtmuncher’ (erm……. cmon Blizz some of these names are questionable at least!!).  Now he seems to be intelligent enough to know he should be chasing the runners down for me.  I’ve seen other ‘clever’ behaviours, like he pounces on casters out of my AOE range that are blasting me.  In fact in defensive mode my Ghoul really covers my back!

I can see DK’s Ghoul’s getting blamed for pulls because of this, like poor hunters were, when groups needed a blame hound (a runner aggros anyway without a pet trying to kill it people!!!) 

 So well done Blizz, nice job done on Ghoul AI 🙂 

Well….. nearly they are a nightmare for pulls if you don’t remember to switch them off defensive, but I’ve hot keyed one of my mouse buttons to the pet attack button and toggle the defensive pet button if I need to.  I like keeping control of who my pet is attacking, it makes it easier for get phase 2 of diseases up without the pet killing your target!!  It’s handy if you have casters hitting you to switch to defensive 🙂

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Need more ra… runic power!!

November 26, 2008

Looks like I am having a rethink for my level 80 build.  I’ve realised the importance of having more runic power, so 130 is my target on the forth tier of Frost.  Furthermore making Obliterate not remove diseases means it should end up my strike of choice (third tier).  So Instead of going for 11 points in frost, I am going further up the tree and getting 19 points in there instead, keeping the ‘good stuff’ from Unholy. 

The reason for the re-think, I’ve seen bigger single hits from obliterate, but needed to recast my diseases on the target.  Also the benefits of 130 runic power are just too good to turn down, especially as my Glyph of Death Strike improves the damage/heals per 5 runic power. 

I’ve also decided that my pull will be Icy touch, and that Death Grip will be saved for a runner/lost aggro taunt owing to its long cooldown.  So talenting Icy Touch up to 30 yards is a must for me. 

Until I can talent obliterate, I’ll be trading Death Strike for Scourge Strike in my rotations, depending on my health.  But once Obliterate is talented to not remove diseases, I’ll be removing Scourge Strike from my build.

Oh… and once I learn how to post links on this page I’ll be linking my final build and Armory page!!

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Death Knight Unholy AOE Levelling (v2)

November 25, 2008
I have found group pulls really boost your XP and help you level much quicker. 5 deads mobs in one pull = 5 times the XP!! An Unholy Death Knight has one of the best tool sets I’ve seen for AOE levelling, but it is a bit more complicated!
I’ve also found Unholy Blight (the 51 point talent in Unholy) more useful than Death and Decay for big pulls, I’ll explain why later! A couple of hours practising group pulls in Western Plaguelands is time well spent before hitting Outland, because the mobs are 50-54 there and a lot of areas are made for AOE. If you quest there as well, you’ll hit Outland at 60 with your group pull technique well on its way!!
This is what I’m doing at 64.
I have a Ghoul pet, so my first consideration is setting the ghoul to passive, this is not so important if you gather your mobs mounted, as I do (and I switch to pet defensive) but if you are pulling on foot it is a must, a defensive pet has a mind of it’s own!!! Next I mount up for my group pull with as much runic power as I can, and I don’t worry too much about period where I’m not doing anything other than auto attack, due to rune cooldown time. Your Auto Attack hits pretty hard, so I suggest you rotate about the mobs AFTER you have your diseases up!! Only having Auto Attack available is unavoidable, but a good rotation can minimise this time.
Before i pull I like to have bone shield up (it is essential!!), remember this also uses an Unholy rune, and runic power decays over time out of combat. I’ve improved Bone shield with Glyph of Bone shield for one extra charge so it is 20% more effective, a nice Glyph bonus and one I believe I’ll be keeping for end game. Bone Shield is essential because of the 40% damage mitigation, so if you pull 5 mobs, it effectively takes 2 out of the picture straight away!!! 3 doesn’t sound so fearsome, 5 is the magic number for AOE, I did manage 12 at one of the cauldrons in WP at 59 before I had Death and Decay (DD) and Unholy Blight (UB), needless to say I died on that pull but managed to finish the job as a Ghoul! I have also glyphed Death Strike because it is almost as good as a primary heal with 100 runic power, and it doesnt use runic power but one frost, one unholy.
I like to kill a single mob and build up my runic power before pulling a group, I then re-cast Bone shield which means you need to think about the Unholy Rune cooldown. I also set my interface so I can see the mobs health bars over their heads. You need to watch who you cast your second phase diseases on, making sure they don’t die before you cast pestilence!!! This is a mistake I have made a few times, it can send things pear shaped!!!
For my spell rotation I open with Icy Touch, then Plague Strike, then Pestilence to disease all my targets. I have talented my disease to 18 seconds and even doing this will leave a period where not all my targets are diseased. I have found getting a decent cycle catering for the rune cooldown to be quite complicated.
For Levelling I do not use Death and Decay, because this leaves you for runeless for quite a long time. One ability costing one blood, one frost and one unholy is expensive, and I’ll be using it more as an Instance ability ‘pull’ ability, so I am not discounting it. Just for levelling I’m not as interested in threat as I am in an active cycle, and getting both Unholy Blight and Death and Decay up while putting down lots of AOE damage means I am unable to use Death Strike as much as I’d like. This is not an issue for Instances because hopefully someone else is healing you!! So no Death & Decay and Unholy Blight is a nice runeless replacement. Ignore the QQ’s about this ability on the EU forums!!! People obviously should not bother with Unholy Blight (or death and decay) for single targets, it only truely shines with groups of 4-6 mobs!! Unholy Blight at 60 runic power it is also quite expensive, but you’ll find getting there isn’t too difficult if you do not use Death Coil, an ability I save for single targets or runners.
This leads me to another point, I have two bars set up, one for single targets, one for AOE, but that’s another post!!
For more AOE damage Blood Boil also add up on diseased targets with three disease!! With Reaping this also creates a Death Rune from a blood rune, and these are invaluable for an additional Death Strike if you are taking a hammering!!
I use Rune of Sword Shatterer on my 2 hander, for the extra 4% parry as well. You need all the mitigation you can get, because the more you have, the more mobs you can kill in one group!!
I’ve not yet found a good way to do this without any time periods where all 6 runes (or the ones I want) are on cooldown but here is my rotation, tweaked from my first version after last nights play!!

BR= Blood Rune, FR= Frost Rune, UR = Unholy Rune DR= Death Rune, x=Cooldown o = Available rune.

 

 

BR

BR

FR

FR

UR

UR

1

Icy Touch

o

o

x

o

o

o

2

Plague Strike

o

o

x

o

x

o

3

Pestilence

x

o

x

o

x

o

4

Blood Boil

x

drx

x

o

x

o

5

Death Strike

x

drx

x

x

x

x

6

Unholy Blight

x

drx

o

x

x

x

7

Icy Touch

x

drx

x

x

x

x

8

Plague Strike

o

drx

x

x

o

x

9

Pestilence

x

dr

x

x

o

x

10

Death Strike

x

drx

x

o

x

o

11

Death Strike

x

drx

x

x

x

x

12

Blood tap

dr

drx

o

x

x

x

13

Death Strike

drx

drx

x

x

x

x

 Note: Occasionally you will need to silence casters but that is a runic power ability and only on a few occasions have I needed to use a blood rune to do that with Strangulation.  I do not use Death Grip, unless there is a runner.  I have tried to maximise the number of death strikes, and try to use them with as much runic power as I can to max the return from Glyph of Death Strike.

It’s a long ‘rotation’, more of the whole fight to be honest!  I have my disease at 18 seconds but this rotation takes into consideration 12 sec diseases. 

Hopefully you pick the right mob to start your disease phase, I cycle about the group because I’ve found Auto Attack hits really hard with the 25% shadow damage talent, so the mobs go down quite fast.   I’ll try to post a video of this rotation, but there are already a few good ones out there. 

I use Blood tap (which I have also glyphed to remove the 6% health penalty) to death strike a little earlier.  Use it is you are losing a lot of health.  If the group’s health is still high at the second disease phase, I use Blood Boil at point 10 instead and go back into an Icy Touch -> Plague Strike -> Pestilence -> Blood tap cycle, either way it is best to end the fight with a few death strikes. 

For most pulls this table does me fine, and I can use Scourge Strike for some of the Death Strikes above if my health is ok, because it uses the same runes.  

This rotation is pretty much my staple at 64. There is no such thing as a definitive rotation, you need to react to whatever the pull throws up, but this one seems to be working for me. I’ve not included any spell caster silences, Anti Magic shield etc, and you will be using these depending on the make up of the group you pull, the silence is a runic power abilities and so far I’ve found I have no problem generating runic power if I actively use my abilities.

Melee groups are easier without a doubt. I have also found Death Knight AOE a lot more fun and a bit more complicated than doing the same thing with my 70 Protection Paladin (much as I love playing my Pally, this is true!!!)

I’ll do something for instances when I have a few more under my belt!! Do you have any better rotations/suggestions for levelling? All are tips welcome!!!

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Ambassador Lichbane

November 22, 2008

Well I did it today 🙂  I didn’t plan where I would get the achievement but it happened at the most appropriate place it could have…. In Uldaman at the Corpse of a Paladin 🙂  A nice 550 Gnomeregan Exiles reputation to take me to exalted with them.

Some pointless facts about the journey:

I made 115K XP and 64g from quests, 208g made in total including vendors and loot, just under 2 gold was spent on flights.  It took 758 quests (although i know it can be done with less if better planned) and I had 1day 23hours /played at 58 when I got it.  It could have been done faster as well but I made lots of coffee, had a few phone calls and watched the Scotland vs Argentina match while half playing!!

Now the fun begins…. I quickly got to 60 doing cauldron quests in Western Plaguelands, and bought my 59/60 skills, finally getting Death and Decay and Unholy Blight.  Even without them I was AOE’ing lots of mobs in WP to level quickly.  Should be fun when I can use the extra two damage spells.  I respecced getting rid of Desecration because of the graphic lag it caused my machine.  I’ve a geforce 8800 Ultra and it couldn’t cope with it!!  God knows what it would be like on a lesser card!!

I can now start messing about with spell rotations and seeing what the Unholy DK can do, and I’m looking forward to it!!!