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Mists of Pandaria Frost Death Knight Guide – Talents, Rotations, Stats and Glyphs

With Mists of Panderia looming over the horizon we think it’s about time to take a look at the specs for the Frost DPS death knight . Note that this guide is primarily optimized for group PvE.

Basic Stats
Mechanically speaking, frost hasn’t changed much from Cataclysm. We still have the same strikes and spells doing the same things we’re used to. You can now more freely switch between two-handed and dual wielding frost, as you get both Might of the Frozen Wastes and Threat of Thassarian by default.

Frost Presence is now the best DPS presence for frost death knights. Its runic power regeneration helps make up for some the runic power generation talents we lost in the revamp. Your stats priorities are also more or less in the same order they were for Cataclysm, here are a few things to note:

Strength is still the best for you. You’ll focus on gemming for it whenever you can, and it’ll naturally be on all of your plate gear. Don’t take agility weapons unless they far outstrip any strength weapons you have.

It’s still a good idea to cap hit and expertise ratings. You’ll need 7.5% of each stat, which will push all special attack and spell misses and dodges off the table when attacking from behind.

Once hit and expertise ratings are capped, switch to boosting Haste. Haste remains the strongest secondary stat once you reach the hit and expertise caps have been reached. Mastery is a strong stat for frost death knights, adding power to both Howling Blast and Frost Strike.

Critical strike rating is still a bit of a waste for frost death knights, as Killing Machine gives us so many automatic crits.

Plague Leech is the only major form that will increase your DPS on the first tier, so you’ll want to take it if you want to maximize your DPS. Unholy Blight is a decent secondary choice if you don’t want the hassle of managing Plague Leech.

For Tier two you have a choice. Anti-Magic Zone is a good raid defensive cool-down, but Lichborne is still part of your best self-healing trick.

Tier three is also your choice, more or less. Chilblains combined with Howling Blast is still a good way to help your tank wrangle mobs, however.

Take Death Pact for Tier 4. It provides superior health return and causes the least damage to your overall DPS. The one downside is keeping your ghoul in reserve until you need a heal.

If you’re going for two-handed frost take Runic Empowerment. For dual wield frost, however, Blood Tap is slightly better. Since they removed the global cooldown from Blood Tap again, you can macro Blood Tap to your Frost Strike button and be fine here.

Tier six is completely up to you. Remorseless Winter will probably prove most useful for clearing trash, but as none of the options here really provide more DPS or amazing boss utility, there’s not a wrong choice on this tier.

That is pretty much it for the Frost Death Knight, though one last thing to note are the glyphs; for the most part, they don’t really affect your DPS but you’ll probably want to grab Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell for the extra absorption. Other than that, the rest of your glyphs will be a matter of personal choice and play style.

As in Cataclysm, DPS is more about using the right spells at the right time instead of any fixed rotation. Here are some tips about what you should do and when.

  • If your diseases are about to expire, use Plague Leech to get the extra death rune.
  • If the enemy is below 35% health, use Soul Reaper.
  • Make sure your diseases are up. Howling Blast will automatically apply Frost Fever, but whenever possible, using Outbreak to apply Blood Plague, though Plague Strike will do in a pinch.
  • If Killing Machine is up, use it. Two-handed death knights should use Obliterate, while dual wielders should use Frost Strike.
  • If your runic power is full, use Frost Strike.
  • Use Obliterate if any of your rune pairs are full.
  • Cast Howling Blast if you have a Rime Proc.
  • Use Obliterate and Frost Strike as needed to spend your current resources.
  • Use Anti-Magic Shell on caster mobs and bosses, as absorbed magic damage will translate into more runic power.
  • Don’t delay using Pillar of Frost and Raise Dead for too long. While saving them for when you have stat-increasing trinket procs, potion buffs or Heroism can be useful, you’ll lose out on DPS.

Alternative Rotation
This is an alternative way of running dual wielding in which the death knight focuses primarily on Howling Blast, using Obliterate only as a method of getting rid of unholy runes. it’s slightly better DPS for dual wield frost, but the rotation is very rigid. We’ll also stack mastery to maximize frost damage.

  • Get your diseases up, generally via Outbreak, or via Plague Strike/Howling Blast.
  • If the target is below 35% health, use Soul Reaper.
  • If both your unholy runes are off cooldown or nearly off cooldown, use Obliterate.
  • If your diseases are about to expire, use Plague Leech to get the extra death rune.
  • If your runic power is capped or near-capped, use Frost Strike.
  • If you have 10 to 12 blood charges, use Blood Tap.
  • If Killing Machine is up, use Frost Strike.
  • Use Howling Blast.