Patch 4.3 Frost Death Knight (DK) Quick-Start guide – stats, spec and talents, glyphs, enchants, gems, reforging, and rotation / priorities

It’s cold outside, there’s no kind of atmosphere – no, wait, that’s Red Dwarf. In Frost Death Knight land, there’s an atmosphere of hideous chilling death. And ridiculously high DPS meter totals. So, if you want to get a’frostin’ in Patch 4.3, we’ve got your spec, talents, glyphs, gems, reforging, enchants, and priorities right here!

Updated 29th November for Patch 4.3

Frost Death Knight Changes in Patch 4.3

Not much has changed for Frost – it was great in 4.2, and it’s still great in the new patch. We’re the beneficiaries of the new global melee DPS buff – giving us an extra 10% attack power – and, well, that’s about it for Frost DKs in this patch.

Our Tier 13 set bonuses are solid, but won’t change how we play.

Rotation / Priorities

Frost DKs, like most DPS classes in Cataclysm, do not have a ‘rotation’ as such. Instead, they work on a priority system – use the most important abilities whenever possible before less important ones.


Top Priority: Diseases. Apply or reapply diseases as first priority. Use Outbreak, or Howling Blast and Plague Strike, for this.

Second Priority: Obliterate IF Killing Machine has procced. Frost Strike if you’re approaching maximum Runic Power and you can’t use Obliterate with Killing Machine.

Third Priority: Howling Blast IF Freezing Fog (Rime) has procced.

Fourth Priority: Obliterate or Frost Strike if you’re on low Runic Power and Killing Machine hasn’t procced.

Remember that Howling Blast hits multiple mobs – use Icy Touch instead if there’s danger that you’ll break crowd-control.

Multiple Targets

Only use this for 3 or more targets.

Top Priority: Howling Blast.

Second Priority: Death and Decay if it’s off cooldown, Plague Strike to apply disease to each mob if not. Don’t use Pestilence to spread the disease here.

Third Priority: Frost Strike. Although if you’re on high Runic Power, you can also use it as Second Priority.


Best Frost Death Knight Spec / build

The optimal Frost DK spec depends on whether you’re heading for a single two-handed weapon spec or a dual-wield spec. The two specs are very, very close in damage, so it’s up to you which you chose based on available weapons.

Dual-Wield Spec – 4.3

Two-Handed Spec – 4.3

In both, you have a small choice of which Tier 2 talents to put points into. If you’re going to be interrupting, or like interrupting, chose Endless Winter, otherwise Icy Reach is your best in-combat option.

Stats, Reforging and Gems

Strength is by far your most important stat, followed by Hit to the Hit Cap (961 for anyone except Draenai, for whom it’s 841), then Expertise to the Expertise cap of 26, Haste, Mastery, and finally Crit.

Gems: Always choose a Bold Inferno Ruby unless a socket provides 20 or more Strength or 40 or more of another important stat. In the latter case, use either Fierce Ember Topaz or Etched Demonseye as appropriate.

Reforging: Reforge to Hit up to the hit cap, then Expertise to the Expertise cap. Then, reforge to Haste, or Mastery if that’s not possible.

Buffs: Stay in Unholy Presence. Sorry, but it’s better than Frost Presence. Use Rune of the Fallen Crusader if 2H and Main Hand Rune of Razor Ice, Offhand Rune of the Fallen Crusader if DW. Keep Horn of Winter up whenever possible.

Frost Death Knight enchantments

Remember, your profession may offer better enchantment options – check against the stat priorities above.

Head Arcanum of the Wildhammer (Alliance) or Dragonmaw (Horde)
Shoulders   Greater Inscription of Jagged Stone
Back Enchant Cloak – Greater Critical Strike
Chest Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
Wrist Enchant Bracer – Major Strength
Hands Enchant Gloves – Mighty Strength
Belt Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Legs Dragonscale Leg Armor
Feet Enchant Boots – Haste or Precision if you’re not hit-capped
Weapon Rune of the Fallen Crusader

Glyphs for Frost

Prime: Glyph of Howling Blast, Glyph of Frost Strike, Glyph of Obliterate

Major: Glyph of Dark Succor, Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell, Glyph of Hungering Cold

Minor: Glyph of Horn of Winter, Glyph of Blood Tap, Glyph of Path of Frost

  • Elitist Jerks Frost Guide – It’s a toss-up between this and Son Of A Lich’s Frost guide for the most complete – they’re both ace. Not updated for 4.3 yet, although there aren’t many changes, as we mentioned.
  • Son Of A Lich’s Frost guide Fantastic guide from a really great DK site. Check it out.
  • #Archerus IRC channel on – GREAT DK community.

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