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.

You also might find the rest of MMO Melting Pot interesting – we scour the blogosphere daily looking for the most interesting discussions and posts about WoW and other MMOs and deliver them straight to you, all in one place, right here. See what’s on the Pot today!

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Patch 4.3 Shadow Priest Quick Start Guide – stats, gems, glyphs, reforging and DPS Rotation / Priorities

It’s time to melt some faces! I’m not entirely sure why shadow priests are so associated with faces and the melting therof, but it seems to be a Thing, so hey. In any case, if there are faces in your future which you wish to melt, here’s a guide to the shadow priest glyphs, gems, stat weightings, and rotation you’ll need, plus advice on enchants, reforging, and more, for World of Warcraft Patch 4.3.

Updated March 6th 2012 for Patch 4.3

Shadow Priest Changes in Patch 4.3

Short version: None.

Long version: absolutely, totally, utterly nil, nothing, nada, nuts-all.

Our Tier 13 bonuses are fun, but they don’t change our rotation, gearing, or anything else.

DPS Rotation / Priority

Shadow Priests don’t have a strict DPS rotation – instead, they operate on a priority system.

Absolute first priority is to keep all your Damage Over Time spells ticking on the target: Vampiric Touch, Devouring Plague, and *Shadow Word: Pain *. Use an addon like DOTimer to track these.

Next, cast Mind Blast whenever it’s off cooldown, unless your Empowered Shadow buff is about to drop off or has dropped. If it is or has, carry on with your priorities but wait for a Shadow Orb to proc before casting Mind Blast.

If the target is below 25%, also cast Shadow Word: Death whenever it’s off cooldown.

Finally, if everything else is on cooldown and your DOTs are still ticking, cast Mind Flay. This will also refresh your Shadow Word: Pain.

DO NOT worry about Shadow Orbs (one of the Shadow specialisations) unless Empowered Shadows is about to drop or has dropped. Mind Blast does so much damage that you should cast it whenever it’s off rotation, regardless of how many Orbs you have. DO NOT cast Shadow Word: Death when a target is above 25% health.

Cooldowns: Use Dark Archangel and Shadowfiend as soon as you need the mana, unless you are sure you won’t run out of mana in the current combat, in which case use them on cooldown. Whilst it’s not a cooldown spell, you can also use Shadow Word Death (provided you’re specced into Masochism, as our standard spec is) to regenerate mana reasonably quickly.

Shadow Priest Talent Spec

The theorycrafting experts consider this talent spec to be overall the best option for Shadow Priesting in 4.3.

That spec leaves 2 spare points. Good options for those two points are:

  • 1 point for 33 in Mental Agility, bottom tier of Discipline. Reduces your mana cost for instant cast spells, potentially increasing DPS in longer fights.
  • 1 or 2 points in Inner Sanctum, 2nd tier of Discipline. The bit we care about here is that it boosts your movement speed by an additional 2% or 4% whilst you have Inner Will up, and movement speed is likely to boost DPS in many situations.
  • 1 point in Psychic Horror, 2nd from top tier of Shadow. A short CC/disarm. No DPS benefit, but VERY useful against bosses like the 2nd in Grim Batol which are affected by disarm. Your tank will love you.
  • 1 or 2 points in Phantasm, 3rd Tier in Shadow. Gives you a 50% or 100% chance for Fade to remove movement impairing effects. Primarily PvP oriented, but useful in some circumstances.

For raiding, Mental Agility and Inner Sanctum are probably the way to go.


Stats, Reforging and Gems

Intellect and Spellpower are FAR more important than any other stat. Gem and enchant for them whenever possible unless a single gem will enable you to reach haste cap (see below).

Reforge Hit, Spirit, Crit and Mastery to Haste if you can. If not, reforge Crit (by preference) and Mastery to Spirit (not Hit) until you hit 17% hit cap (Spirit also boosts Hit for shadow priests). Finally, reforge anything left to Mastery.

What, you’re saying don’t go for Hit Cap? Yes. There’s a fair amount of debate about this in the Shadow Priest community, but it appears that both Intellect and Haste are more valuable than Hit.

Shadow Priest enchants

It’s worth checking to make sure your own professions can’t provide better buffs than these, by the way!

Head Arcanum of Hyjal
Shoulders   Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
Back Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect
Chest Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
Wrist Enchant Bracer – Mighty Intellect
Hands Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery
Belt Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Legs Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
Feet Enchant Boots – Lavawalker
Weapon Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent
Off-Hand Weapon Enchant Weapon – Superior Intellect


At last, a simple choice!

Prime Glyphs: Glyph of Mind Flay, Glyph of Shadow Word: Death, Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain

Major Glyphs: Glyph of Fade, Glyph of Psychic Scream, Glyph of Spirit Tap

Minor Glyphs: Glyph of Fading, Glyph of Levitate, Glyph of Shadowfiend

Yes, Shadow Priests actually have useful minor glyphs!

You also might find the rest of MMO Melting Pot interesting – we scour the blogosphere daily looking for the most interesting discussions and posts about WoW and other MMOs and deliver them straight to you, all in one place, right here. See what’s on the Pot today!

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