Unholy Death Knight PvP Guide | 8.3 BfA Race, Talents, Essences, Traits, Gear and Macros

by Mystic // June 16, 2020

This guide was produced with:

  • 10+ Rank 1
  • Finalist of the 2018 AWC Summer finals
  • Competed at the 2018 Blizzcon world championships


Best race:

  • Human is the best option for ladder play as you get to use Relentless against heavy crowd control compositions while still having Every Man for Himself to break out of stuns

Alternative race:

  • Gnome is a strong alternative, especially against mages and survival hunters for the root break – the added 1% haste and the extra resource cap also help to slightly increase your overall damage


Best race:


Spell Eater is a viable option against double caster comps with high burst damage



  • Anti-Magic Zone is an extremely powerful defensive cooldown that should be used to counter strong offensive cooldowns from classes that primarily deal spell damage, for example destruction warlocks Dark Soul, fire mages Combustion, assassination rogues Vendetta and ret paladins Avenging Wrath
  • Transfusion should be considered if you expect to take high consistent damage to make it easier to keep yourself alive
  • Lichborne is a great pick when you expect to be trained by targets that will frequently stun you
  • Dark Simulacrum can be an extremely high impact ability when facing warlocks, mages and druids to steal and use important crowd control on the opposing team


  • Breath of the Dying – this is your best offensive major essence due to the low cooldown when used on targets above 80% or below 20%
  • Vision of Perfection – alternate offensive pick that increases your overall damage when combined with 3x Magus of the Dead traits
  • Conflict and Strife – should be used for the additional versatility when you need help to survive or when you need access to four PvP talents



  1. Gushing Wound – excellent choice to increase your damage for very little corruption
  2. Versatile – one of your best choices for the passive increase to one of your favored stats
  3. Surging Vitality – alternate pick to proc one of your best stats

Haste > Versatility > Mastery > Crit

#showtooltip Mind Freeze
/cast [@focus] Mind Freeze

#showtooltip Leap
/cast [@focus] Leap

#showtooltip Death Grip
/cast [@focus] Death Grip

#showtooltip Asphyxiate
/cast [@focus] Asphyxiate

#showtooltip Chains of Ice
/cast [@focus] Chains of Ice

#showtooltip Lichborne
/cancelaura Lichborne

  • 1
    21 months ago
    Hey Guys, just some thoughts on DK essences, how do you think about putting in the cdr on apocalypse as main and necromancers bargain? Accordingly I have a question about bursting scores, somebody mentioned skilling it would increase necrotic strike dmg, even if there is no tooltip. Thank you for the work you put in mate!
  • 1
    26 months ago
    Looks like the top UHDKs are using All Will Serve instead of Infected Claws. Any reason you choose Infected Claws over that?
    • 1
      24 months ago
      All Will Serve was bugged for a while and wasn't working but they've fixed it now so it should be used.
  • 1
    24 months ago
    Why and how do you properly use epidemic? Playing 2's with a resto druid and getting absolutely squashed...constantly.
    • 2
      24 months ago
      Epidemic is just used to keep healers with your dot in combat to prevent them from drinking when they run away.
  • 0
    29 months ago
    Any update?
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