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Guides: Legion Unholy Death Knight Change Guide - Dealer in Death & Disease

By Suzie Ford on December 07, 2015

Legion Unholy Death Knight Change Guide  - Dealer in Death & Disease

 With the new alpha build in place for World of Warcraft: Legion, it seems a good time to check out some of the significant changes coming to every class with the arrival of the expansion in Summer 2016.  While the Demonology Warlock, Outlaw Rogue, Enhancement Shaman and Survival Hunter are undergoing the most drastic changes, all other classes and specs have also been revamped in one way or another to fit what Blizzard calls the “core fantasy” for each.


Like fellow Frost Death Knights and Blood Death Knights, the Unholy DK has been searching for an identity that is somehow more separated from the other two. With far too many cross-over skills, the only truly unique ability that Unholy DKs seemed to possess over the others has been the permanent pet that accompanies the UDK into battle. With some more potent diseases, the UDK was a formidable force in PvP during much of Warlords of Draenor only to more recently have been replaced by Frost Death Knights as the representatives of the Ebon Blade in the arena.

Fortunately Blizzard seems to understand the blurred lines between the three specifications of Death Knights and is looking to bring the Unholy Death Knight more individuality, more unique abilities, a streamlined series of skills with a fiercesome 2-handed sword as the showpiece of an arsenal that is sure to wreak havoc on PvE and PvP battlefields. Blizzard has stated that more mechanical tweaking of the UDK’s skills are in order as well as an aggressive series of realignments of talents.

Unholy Death Knights will receive the awesomely named Apocalypse, a 2-handed sword:

Vampiric demons known as nathrezim forged this ancient sword, which brings with it violence, plagues, and death. Apocalypse soon earned a horrific reputation in the hands of a Tirisgarde mage who couldn't control its destructive energies. In time the sword was seized by the malevolent Dark Riders: servants of Medivh, the corrupted Guardian of Tirisfal. They hid the blade in the catacombs under his home, the tower of Karazhan.

As can be seen in the image above, Apocalypse begins as a fairly “standard” Death Knight weapon complete with runes and skulls. The changes come, however, as Apocalypse levels through questing, dungeons, raids, and PvP. Depending on which path the player chooses to take, Apocalypse will take on a new look and brings new passives to bear.

This is a look at an early alpha build of the traits that Apocalypse will feature in Legion. The caveat is, of course, that things can and doubtless will change between now and September 2016, but the list below gives an idea of the direction that Blizzard developers are going with regard to Unholy Death Knights.

Click for a larger image

As can be seen, Apocalypse’s traits are centered around the spread of diseases, the summoning of ghouls and zombies and in control. How amazing is Portal to the Underworld?

It is in the realignment of the Unholy Death Knight’s talents that the true changes shows off the biggest changes coming to the spec. For comparison’s sake, both the Warlords of Draenor talent tree and the Legion talent tree (a work in progress) are included, WoD on the left; Legion on the right. New talents are starred and any that have been moved from one level to another are noted.

Level 56 3 new talents

*Lil’ Stinker: Whenever your Ghoul uses Claw, it exhales a gaseous cloud that damages nearby enemies for 6 seconds

*Shadow Infusion: Dealing damage with Death Coil will decrease the cooldown of Dark Transformation by 8 seconds

*All Will Serve: Raise Dead summons an additional skeletal minion and its cooldown is removed

Level 57: 3 new talents

*Pestilent Pustules: Festering Strike now applies 1 to 5 Festering Wounds. Runic Power gained from triggering a Festering Wound is increased by 3

*Blighted Runeblade: Your successful auto-attacks have a chance to infect your target with a Festering Wound

*Boiling Rot: Death & Decay or Defile will trigger Festering Wound. Each time it does, the duration of Death & Decay is extended by 1 second

Click for a larger image: WoD on left, Legion on right

Level 58: 1 new talent, 2 realigned

*Runic Longevity: Gain a seventh Rune and the regeneration rate is increased by 10%

Runic Empowerment and Runic Corruption moved here from Level 60

Level 60: 2 new talents, 1 realigned

*March of the Damned: Become immune to all movement impairing effects and effects that cause loss of control for 10 seconds. It does not break effects in progress

*Spellbreaker: Increases Anti-Magic Shell’s duration by 60% and maximum absorption value by 50%

Desecrated Ground moved from Level 90

Level 75: 1 new talent, 1 realigned, 1 stays as-is

Purgatory: moved from Level 57

Death Pact: remains as-is

*Improved Icebound Fortitude: Reduces the cooldown of Icebound Fortitude by * seconds and increases its damage reduction by 15%

Level 90: 1 realigned, 2 remain as-is

Gorefiend’s Grasp and Remorseless Winter remain as-is

Asphyxiate has been moved from Level 58

Level 100: 1 new talent, 2 remain as-is

*Tortured Spirit: Summon a slow moving but powerful spirit to assist you in combat for 20 seconds. Each time the spirit strikes, it grows more powerful

Defile and Breath of Sindragosa remain as-is

Unholy Death Knights will finally be fulfilling their class “fantasy”, bringing otherworldly skills into battle with blight, disease, pestilence and summoned denizens of the grave. If that’s not enough to send chills down even the most ardent Affliction Warlock (and everyone else!), then nothing is. It seems that Blizzard is truly giving Unholy Death Knights their own unique game play style.

Suzie Ford / Suzie is the Associate Editor and News Manager at An avid gamer, Suzie lives in the desert Southwestern US with her own personal minion.