What up nerds! This guide will be an introduction to an Unholy Death Knights abilities used in PvP. I will break it down into five categories: Defensive CD’s, Offensive CD’s, Interrupts, Pet Abilities, and Miscellaneous. A lot of a DK’s cooldowns can be used offensively and defensively.
[Anti-Magic Zone] – This spell will drop a bubble from where you stand that will absorb around 30k damage. Once you step out of the bubble you won’t get the spell damage reduction. DUH! It’s a decently long cooldown at 2 minutes.
[Anti-Magic Shell] – This is our most powerful defensive cooldown against casters and it can be used offensively and defensively. With 3/3 [Magic Suppression] you will absorb 100% of magic damage and are immune to magic effect applications. You will also convert any absorbed magic damage into runic power. The primary offensive use of this spell is either to use preemptively to avoid something like a mages snares/roots or to use when you are fully dotted or taking big damage in order to get filled with runic power and pump out deathcoils. A 45 second cooldown is pretty short as well so this ability is very powerful.
[Icebound Fortitude] – After patch 4.06 this ability can now break you out of stuns in addition to making you immune to stuns. This ability only reduces damage taken by 20% now so it’s best used as a stun break/immunity. I will also use this when I’m in trouble and need some extra damage mitigation.
[Unholy Frenzy] – Technically this is sounds like an offensive cooldown, but it’s most valuable use is to keep teammates out of crowd control. As you can see from the tooltip description this ability causes it’s target to take damage for 30 seconds. This damage will break crowd controls that break on damage (blind, sap, sheep, etc). This is an enrage effect so it can be removed by druids, hunters, and rogues. I forget all the names of the things they can do, but if it ever vanishes now you know why.
[Lichborne] – The obvious benefit of Lichborne is that it breaks fears and makes you immune to things like [Fear], [Sap], sheep, etc but it’s best use is for self healing. When you use lichborne you can then deathcoil yourself and heal for large amounts. In patch 4.06 the glyph of death’s embrace was changed so that runic power is not refunded for licheborne healing meaning you won’t be able to heal yourself as much as before. The healing on this spell is so strong that you want to make sure you don’t use this to break fears in most situations. You need to save this whenever possible to save yourself. This importance of this has changed slightly since the patch. With the change to [Death Strike] making it actually useful along with the glyph change to Liche healing it’s not as vital to save this for self healing anymore.
[Death Pact] – You can blow up your ghoul for a self heal of 25% of your health. You can usually resummon a ghoul immediately if the game has gone on for a little bit.
[Death Strike] – This was pretty much a waste of runes pre 4.06, but now it is strong again. It heals at least 15% of your health with the Glyph of Dark Succor. The rune costs is steep, but it’s very helpful in a tight spot.
[Summon Gargoyle] – Here you summon some fugly flying thing that spits green balls at nerds on the other team. The gargoyles strength will be determined based off of your stats at the time of his summoning. For this reason, it’s best to use garg after you have trinkets popped and maybe [Unholy Frenzy]. Be sure to check out my gargoyle macro on my character page to find a macro that will help you control who your gargoyle attacks.
[Empower Rune Weapon] – This will reset all of your runes. It’s a pretty powerful cooldown and can be used offensively and defensively. It does have a long cooldown so use it wisely.
[Unholy Frenzy] – When you are up against a team that doesn’t have any CC that breaks on damage then you can use this as an offensive CD. Do not cast frenzy on your ghoul or your gargoyle, it is always best to cast it on yourself. Regarding gargoyle, since your gargs power is based on your current stats at the time of casting it is good to use [Unholy Frenzy] on yourself before casting gargoyle.
[Mind Freeze] – This is your most frequently used interrupt. Pretty much every melee class has an ability exactly like this. You want to make sure to create a macro to use this on y our focus target without manually targeting them. Check my macro tab for an example.
[Strangulate] – Strangulate is a 2 minute cooldown and it is dispelable. You do not need to interrupt a cast to get the full 5 second silence. With the Glyph of Strangulate you can add 2 seconds to this silence if you use it to interrupt a cast. The cooldown is long, but this is a very strong silence so use it at a good time.
[Death Grip] – one of the best uses for this ability is as an interrupt. It’s doubly great because you can both interrupt a cast, while moving their healer into a bad position, and moving him close to you so he needs to worry about [Mind Freeze]. It’s a tricky one to use sometimes because you need to be facing your target and you can’t be jumping while you use it. Your target only needs to be on your front 180 degrees.
Pet Interrupts – See Pet Abilities below
This ghoul guide will answer everything you need to know about your pet… http://www.skill-capped.com/content/3412/everything-you-need-to-know-about-your-ghoul-death-knight
[Blood Tap] – This doesn’t really belong in the offensive or defensive category. This is just used whenever you need a rune pretty much. There is a little trick with this ability. You can use this at a certain time to basically give you back an extra death rune. When you have one blood rune on cooldown and use this ability it will reset both blood runes and make them both death runes. If this is unclear go hit a test dummy to see exactly what I mean. [Blood Strike] the dummy and then [Blood Tap] and then take a look at your 2 blood runes.
[Dark Command] – This is basically taunt. It doesn’t really have any great uses outside of taunting someone to keep them in combat so they can’t drink or restealth or whatever he’s trying to do. You can also taunt pets to either pull them off teammates or bring a pet closer to you to convert runes or proc [Death's Advance].
[Chains of Ice] – This used to be THE BEST peel in the game. Now it’s pretty damn boring and borderline useless. Sure you can slow the target you are on to 60% run speed, but everyone can do that these days. COI is no longer the super peel it used to be. DK’s used to be able to really control matches with this ability, but now it’s doesn’t have too much affect on the game and isn’t really a great peel at all.
That’s it for now. I feel like I missed something so please let me know if you have any questions about abilities and I will get them added.