Frost Death Knight Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, and ability priorities

by on August 28, 2012


The chill of the grave is spreading across Azeroth. That’s right – in WoW’s Patch 5.4 and Mists of Pandaria, everywhere, the old patch is dying. So, if you’re confused by this brave new world, don’t worry. This Quick Start Guide will soon have your talent choices, glyphs, stats, reforging, gems, and MoP rotation sorted out – as a Frost Death Knight, you’ll feel just like you were at home in Northrend again!

Updated 17th September 2013 to World of Warcraft Patch 5.4

Frost Death Knight changes in WoW patch 5.4

Some rotation simplification

Frost “Rotation” and Priorities

Frost Death Knights can now choose to either Dual Wield or use a single two-handed weapon, with about equal effectiveness.

Single-target DPS as Frost

Two-Handed Weapon

  • Top Priority: Apply diseases if they aren’t on the target. Use Outbreak, or Howling Blast and Plague Strike, for this. Use Soul Reaper if target is below 35% health and it’s available.
  • Second Priority: If the Rime buff has activated, use Howling Blast. Use Obliterate if the Killing Machine buff is active on you or you won’t max out Runic Power by doing so.
  • Third Priority: Use Frost Strike.
  • Fifth Priority: Use Horn of Winter if all else fails.

Dual Wield

  • Top Priority: Use Frost Strike if the Killing Machine buff is active on you or you’re above 89 Runic Power. Use Howling Blast if both Death or both Frost runes are available. Use Soul Reaper if target is below 35% health and it’s available.
  • Second Priority: Apply diseases if they aren’t on the target. Use Outbreak, or Howling Blast and Plague Strike, for this. Otherwise, if the Rime buff has activated, use Howling Blast.
  • Third Priority: Use Obliterate if 2 Unholy runes are available.
  • Fourth Priority: Use Howling Blast if available. If not, use Frost Strike if you have 40+ Runic Power.
  • Fifth Priority: Use Horn of Winter if all else fails.

AOE DPS as Frost

  • Top Priority: Put diseases up on all targets, using Outbreak ideally, or Howling Blast and Plague Strike, then Pestilence to spread them.
  • Second Priority: Use Howling Blast. If not, use Death and Decay if both Unholy runes are available.
  • Third Priority: Use Frost Strike if you’re at maximum Runic Power. If not, Horn of Winter if nothing else is available.

Cooldowns

  • Pillar of Frost and Raise Dead: Use as often as possible, ideally together.
  • Empower Rune Weapon Use when as few runes as possible are active, but otherwise as often as possible. Provides large DPS burst, so may be worth saving for burn phases.
  • Raise Dead – use it with other cooldowns.
  • Army Of The Dead: Use as often as – no, just kidding. Use before the start of a fight or during a phase transition – but be very sure that there’s nothing that your ghouls can taunt in any fight where you use it.
  • Anti-Magic Shell and Icebound Fortitude: our two big defensive cooldowns. Try to use them before you know heavy damage is coming in.
  • Raise Ally: Have this bound and ready to use, both in dungeons and if you’re one of a few combat-res capable people in a raid.

Buffs

Make sure you’re in Frost presence (hurrah!). Make sure to cast Horn of Winter before a pull.

Frost Death Knight Talent Choices

5.4 talent choices are meant to be situational – but here’s a good standard build to get started with.

  • Tier 1: Plague Leech – note that you’ll need to use this just before diseases drop.
  • Tier 2: Purgatory
  • Tier 3: Death’s Advance
  • Tier 4: Death Pact – gives you a strong self-heal if you have a ghoul active.
  • Tier 5: Runic Empowerment
  • Tier 6: Desecrated Ground – gives you a CD to remove control effects.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Frost Death Knight

Strength, as always, is our best stat, followed by Hit and Expertise to cap (7.5% or 2550 points). Secondary stats differ: if you’re dual-wielding, it’s Mastery > Crit > Haste, whilst if you’re using a two-hander, it’s Crit > Mastery > Haste.

Reforging: Reforge for Hit and Expertise to cap first, then Mastery (DW) or Crit (2-H). Reforge from excess Hit and Expertise, then Haste.
Gems: DW: Go for Skillful gems in Red sockets, Sensei’s in blue sockets, and Fractured in Yellow sockets. 2-H: Go for Inscribed gems in Red sockets, Piercing in blue sockets, and Smooth in Yellow sockets.
Meta Gem: Reverberating meta gem.

Frost DK Glyphs

Frost DK glyphs are very situational, but these are three pretty good, very few downside options:

Major: Glyph of Icebound Fortitude, Glyph of Death Coil, and Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell.
Minor: Your choice!

Frost Death Knight enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulder – Greater Tiger Fang Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Accuracy or Enchant Cloak – Superior Critical Strike
  • Chest – Glorious Stats
  • Bracers – Enchant Bracers – Exceptional Strength
  • Gloves – Enchant Gloves – Super Strength
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Angerhide Leg Armor
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Greater Precision or Enchant Boots – Greater Haste
  • 2H Weapon – Rune of the Fallen Crusader
  • Main Hand – Rune of Razorice
  • Off Hand – Rune of the Fallen Crusader

Links

EJ and Icy Veins are now updated by the same person!

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