WOW WotLK Classic: Death Knight Leveling Guide

06.09.2022 - 10:26:44
World Of Warcraft

WOW WotLK Classic: Death Knight Leveling Guide

Spending time in WoW Classic is such a great way to relive the good old days. There are lots of overpowered builds and memorable quests to do in the game to this day. In fact, most players prefer playing in WoW Classic over the new ones. If you're still in this nostalgia machine, then we're with you.

One of the most beloved classes in WoW WotLK Classic is the Death Knight. If the name of the class isn't enough to scare the forces of the Lich King away, it's your skills that are going to make sure that ghouls, dragons, and everything in between are going to perish pretty quickly.

Before you can do that though, you'll need to work hard and efficiently to rise through the ranks quickly. With this WoW Classic Death Knight quick leveling guide, your journey doesn't have to be long.

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WoW WotLK Classic: Death Knight Overview

WoW's Death Knight is a favorite among fans not just because of their cool name. They're also pretty easy to use. They are one of the fastest-leveling classes in the game mainly because of the fact that they have good mob-killing capacity. They're also pretty sustainable thanks to their self-healing.

You can think of Death Knights as the polar opposites of Paladins in the game. Whether you're playing with friends or if you want to adventure through Azeroth on your own, the Death Knight is an excellent pick due to their versatility and tenacity on the field. Of course, you can only achieve this ferociousness by following this guide.

Let's first start with stat prioritization.

Death Knight Stat Priority

The most important aspect of any WoW build is the stats that you choose to prioritize in the game. When playing as a Death Knight, here's how you should allocate your stats.

  1. Strength - The Death Knight is a full-on offensive build. Having a lot of points into strength means that you're going to be even deadlier on the field. Always get equipment that enhances your strength.
  2. Attack Power - As your strength increases, so does your attack power. Each point of strength grants you 2 points to attack power so increasing this should be relatively as long as you stick to strength enhancements.
  3. Critical Strike Rating - You can further supplement your attack power by giving your Death Knight higher critical strike rating. This makes you deal raw pure damage whenever the critical hits land.
  4. Haste Rating - The Death Knight isn't known for being speedy. Putting points into haste rating is important so that you get the most out of your attack power and critical strikes.
  5. Hit Rating - You're going to want to make every shot count so it's best to get Hit Rating as well. This helps round up your build overall, as it gives you the most out of each strike that you deal.
  6. Agility - We're only getting this as it helps increase your critical strike chance by a small amount. Although that amount is small, it's definitely more than enough to give you the edge you need in combat.
  7. Stamina - Last but not the least, you should prioritize stamina which gives you the necessary durability you need for facing huge mobs of enemies. It's great though that most of the equipment you'll be getting already has a stamina boost.

WoW WotLK Classic Death Knight: Spec Choice

All three of the Death Knight's specs are useful in their own right. However, you'd want to choose one of the three depending on how you're going to play in the future. We're going to give you leveling guides for all three builds just to be safe.

Blood Death Knight Leveling Guide

If you want to play alone for the remainder of your Death Knight run, then the best choice is easily the Death Knight. This is mainly due to the fact that they're pretty self-sustaining. The problem with Death Knights however is that they have lower damaging and killing capacity compared to the other two specs.

Skill Point Allocation

  • 2 points in Butchery
  • 3 points in Blade Barrier
  • 2 points in Two-Handed Weapon Specialization
  • 3 points in Bladed Armor
  • 1 point in Rune Tap
  • 2 points in Bladed Armor
  • 2 points in Dark Conviction
  • 3 points in Vendetta
  • 2 points in Improved Rune
  • 3 points in Bloody Strikes
  • 3 points in Veteran of the Third War
  • 2 points in Abomination's Might
  • 1 point in Improved Rune Tap
  • 1 point in Dark Conviction
  • 1 point in Unholy Frenzy
  • 2 points in Dark Conviction
  • 2 points in Blade Barrier
  • 1 point in Vampiric Blood
  • 2 points in Improved Death Strike
  • 2 points in Death Rune Mastery
  • 1 point in Heart Strike
  • 3 points in Might of Mograine
  • 1 point in Death Rune Mastery
  • 5 points in Blood Gorged

As you can see from the choices above, most of the talents you're going to use are passives. Those include Two-Handed Weapon Specialization and Dark Conviction. These passives help with helping you pull in multiple mobs at the same time while getting self-sustaining benefits from killing enemies. Both Vendetta and Butchery are going to help with your sustainability.

There are only a few active abilities on this build. First is Rune Tap which will help you regain your skills with cooldown mechanics. This is best used when you're taking a ton of damage and you need to heal for a bit. Heart Strike is another active ability. It's going to be your primary spender of Blood Runes and it's also great for damaging huge groups of enemies at a time.

The other two active abilities are Unholy Frenzy and Vampiric Blood. Unholy Frenzy is also great at reducing your downtime and increasing your damage at the same time. The downside is that you can get damage depending on how much damage you mitigate using self-healing.

Vampiric Blood is your key defensive cooldown that also adds a lot of survivability opportunities. This helps you heal through various situations. It's especially more important during tough fights we're you're getting heavily damaged by enemies.


Blood Death Knights are very formidable when it comes to tanking single targets and mobs, this is mainly because of their amazing sustainability and their high-threat generation. If you're going up against single target situations, here's a good rotation to go by.

  • Use Icy Touch to help apply Frost Fever. Icy Tough also helps you generate a massive amount of threat if you're using Frost Presence. This will allow you to maintain and to generate threat quite effectively.
  • Use Plague Strike to apply Blood Plague which is important for maintaining threat as well. It also gives you extra damage and damage amplification when it comes to your other strikes.
  • If you're starting to run out of health, it's time to use Death Strike. This will heal you for a massive amount of damage when used. It's your go-to ability in many situations but it's especially effective for when you're taking large damage from enemies. This is one of the skills that will give you massive survivability when alone.
  • Blood Tap is useful as it gives you the chance to activate Blood Rune which converts into a Death Rune in exchange for a bit of health. Make sure to heal yourself considerably after using Death Rune.
  • If you want extra damage, you can use Blood Strike. You can also use this for when you only have Blood Runes.

Here's an exact step-by-step plan of skill usage:

  1. Death Grip - use this to taunt the enemy. This gives you a short time to snap the threat. This isn't going to be a part of your rotation but you'll need to use this to move a group of enemies closer to the single-target.
  2. Icy Touch
  3. Plague Strike
  4. Death Strike
  5. Blood Strike
  6. Blood Tap - should only be used for Icy Touch as a means to snap threats early.
  7. Blood Strike
  8. Icy Touch
  9. Empower Rune Weapon
  10. Pestilence - use this to refresh your diseases.
  11. Death Strike - use this to spend your Unholy Runes.
  12. Spam Icy Touch - use this to spend your remaining runes.

Blood Death Knights excel pretty well when it comes to tanking groups of enemies in the game. In fact, it offers some of the best AoE threats in the game. This build still has an incredible amount of self-sustainability when it comes to such situations. Here's a previous of how the skills should be used.

  • Death and Decay are both staples of the build as they're pretty good at establishing AoE threat. It's great also as it summons an area that constantly ticks Shadow damage for any enemy inside of it. You can use this skill constantly to damage all enemies around you for as long as the skill is active.
  • If the enemies themselves are very durable, it's time to use Pestilence. This will help apply multiple diseases when you're using Icy Touch and Plague Strike.
  • Aside from Death and Decay, your AoE damage is going to come from Blood Boil. It's the only spammable ability for this build and it also helps you sustain threat for any attacks coming to you.
  • Death Strike is a single-target ability but it's still pretty helpful if you want to heal a massive amount of your health. Use this on the strongest enemy in the mob so you can deal the highest damage. Don't spam this ability as you don't want to hasten any opportunities for healing.

Here's a step-by-step flow of your skill usage for mob tanking with the Blood Death Knight.

  1. Death and Decay - to generate initial threat;
  2. Icy Touch - helps apply Frost Fever.
  3. Plague Strike - lets you apply Blood Plague.
  4. Pestilence - lets you spread disease to all nearby enemies.
  5. Spam Blood Boil
  6. If you are in danger of dying, use Death Strike IconDeath Strike.

Unholy Death Knight Leveling Guide

If you plan on playing through WoW Classic alongside some friends, then you should consider getting the Unholy Death Knight. This spec of the Death Knight offers some of the best buffs and debuffs for the class, allowing you to serve as an effective frontliner for your party. While the damage is limited, you can still do a lot of work thanks to the status effects that you can inflict to enemies and to provide to your teammates.

Skill Point Allocation

  • 3 points in Virulence
  • 2 points in Vicious Strikes
  • 3 points in Ravenous Dead
  • 2 points in Epidemic
  • 5 points in Necrosis
  • 2 points in On a Pale Horse
  • 3 points in Blood-Caked Blade
  • 3 points in Impurity
  • 2 points in Night of the Dead
  • 1 point in Master of Ghouls
  • 2 points in Impurity
  • 2 points in Desecration
  • 5 points in Desolation
  • 1 point in Bone Shield
  • 3 points in Crypt Fever
  • 1 point in Morbidity
  • 3 points in Wandering Plague
  • 3 points in Ebon Plaguebringer
  • 4 points in Rage of Rivendare

What's great about the Unholy talent tree is that all of it is actually great. You can be very versatile with how you choose your skills and what matters is that you're able to provide buffs and debuffs for your team. Ultimately however, you also want to optimize your talent tree so that you can get the most out of your pet damage.

To do this, you're going to need Night of the Dead and Master of Ghouls. Partner it with Desolation for a hefty damage increase whenever you get Blood Strike, and this allows you to take full advantage of your runes.

With the help of Desecration, you can also kite enemies to kill off monsters. Desecration is an amazing ability that comes with lots of benefits but you should mostly use it for utility thanks to its AoE slow, which is one of the best in the arsenal of an Unholy Death Knight build.

If you're fighting a large mob of monsters that are tanky and dangerous, you can use Wandering Plague to slowly whittle at them and then kill them if they stay on the field long enough thanks to the diseases the skill inflicts. You also have multiple choices for damage amplifiers thanks to Necrosis. It's especially more effective when partnered with Ebon Plaguebringer.


Unholy Death Knights are actually very easy to use as compared to other Death Knight classes. Thanks to their versatility, you can always find new ways to play. Here's a good basic rotation to keep in mind when using this build.

  • Start by applying and maintaining diseases using Icy Touch and Plague Strike.
  • If the mobs are too large, use Pestilence to spread your diseases even further. Perfect to use in tight areas with packed mobs.
  • Blood Strike is going to be your primary spender of Blood Runes when going up against a pair of enemies. If you're fighting even more than that, you can use Blood Boil as a primary spender instead. All throughout this, make sure that you have the buff from Desolation active as much as possible to ensure survivability.
  • If Blood Plague is already active against your target, make sure to use Scourge Strike as your primary spender of Unholy Runes. On the other hand, your primary spender of Frost Runes should be Icy Touch.
  • If you want to spend Runic Power, make sure to use Death Coil.
  • Cast Death and Decay when you're going up against a ton of mobs and they're pretty formidable.
  • Most importantly, however, make sure that you're always auto-attacking enemies.

The Death Knight is pretty easy to use. But it's not really the best option for solo play. If you choose to use this build for solo play, keep in mind that you're going to be heavily reliant on your pet which isn't exactly a good thing if yours is under-leveled or not optimized well.

Frost Death Knight Leveling Guide

The Frost Death Knight is the most versatile spec for the Death Knight. This build can be used in group or solo play. As a spec, the Frost Death Knight is very dependent on one-handed weapons mainly because most of their bonuses come from auto-attacking. As that is the case, this build doesn't require a lot of effort to use.

Skill Point Allocation

  • 3 points in Improved Icy Touch
  • 2 points in Runic Power Mastery
  • 3 points in Nerves of Cold Steel
  • 2 points in Black Ice
  • 3 points in Annihilation
  • 2 points in Black Ice
  • 2 points in Endless Winter
  • 1 point in Black Ice
  • 5 points in Icy Talons
  • 5 points in Killing Machine
  • 3 points in Rime
  • 1 point in Improved Icy Talons
  • 3 points in Glacier Rot
  • 3 points in Threat of Thassarian
  • 1 point in Unbreakable Armor
  • 1 point in Hungering Cold
  • 1 point in Frost Strike
  • 3 points in Guile of Gorefiend
  • 3 points in Chilblains
  • 1 point in Lichborne
  • 2 points in Merciless Combat
  • 1 point in Frost Strike

With the talents above, you're going to benefit from a lot of passive damage increases when it comes to dual-wielding or procs that can help make currently active spells even more powerful than they already are. Two cases of these are Annihilation which will help change your rotation since it no longer needs to refresh your diseases when you cast Obliterate and serves as your spender of Frost and Holy Runes.

If you want to kite consistently, you're going to want to use Chilblains as it provides you with a massive slow. It also gives you time for cooldowns and the chance to stay at range against enemies you can't currently kill since you're still busy with others.

Frost Strike will be your main spender of Runic Power. It will mostly replace Death Coil. If you want to heal yourself, you'll need to use the Death Coil alongside Lichborne. Don't use this to deal damage unless the enemy you're trying to kill is way out of your melee range currently.

Last but not least, you can use Unbreakable Armor to serve as a personal defensive and offensive cooldown skill. It significantly increases your survivability against Physical damage but it also gives you enough points in strength to increase your damage and critical strike rating at the same time.


This Frost Death Knight build is actually very easy to use and can be very effective whether you want to go solo or in a group. Thanks to it focusing more on auto-attacks, you have a ton of opportunities to rest up and plan your next skills when going up against enemies. Here's a solid rotation you can follow.

  • Start by applying and maintaining diseases using Icy Touch and Plague Strike.
  • If the mobs are too large, use Pestilence to spread your diseases even further. Perfect to use in tight areas with packed mobs.
  • Blood Strike is going to be your primary spender of Blood Runes when going up against a pair of enemies. If you're fighting even more than that, you can use Blood Boil as a primary spender instead. All throughout this, make sure that you have the buff from Desolation active as much as possible to ensure survivability.
  • Obliterate will serve as your primary spender of Frost and Unholy Runes. It's important that you keep your Runes on cooldown state so that you can maximize usage
  • When you're fighting 2 or more mobs or are in a single-target situation, use Howling Blast.
  • Use Frost Strike as a means to spend your Runic Power.
  • Cast Death and Decay when you're going up against a ton of mobs and they're pretty formidable.
  • Most importantly, however, make sure that you're always auto-attacking enemies.

The Frost Death Knight leveling build is very close to the Unholy Death Knight leveling build. The difference is that this one can be self-reliant too while the Unholy Death Knight is really built for group play.

General Death Knight Leveling Tips

As with most classes in the game, Death Knights play very differently over others. If you want to make sure that you're using yours as effectively as possible, check out these general leveling tips for the Death Knight.

  1. Icy Touch and Plague Strike are going to be very useful skills under your arsenal as a Death Knight. You can use it to apply diseases to any monster you think are going to last long throughout combat.
  2. Pestilence is another useful skill that will help you deal with multiple mobs easily. Don't be afraid to use it whenever you feel like you're about to be overwhelmed by a large mob.
  3. Always make sure that Presence is active. While all forms of it are excellent, you should have Blood Presence preferably as it helps you level better by giving your self-healing and damage bonuses. Unholy Presence is an excellent choice too as it gives you bonus movement speed which makes it easy to hunt down enemies.
  4. Make sure that Horn of Winter is always active too.
  5. Majority of the heavy damage that you deal will come from auto-attacking so make sure that you're always doing this. With any Death Knight leveling build, you can get a significant amount of buffs to yourself and debuffs to enemies simply by attacking them.
  6. In most classes, fighting multiple mobs at a time feels dangerous but that's not the case when it comes to Death Knights. They're very capable of fighting many enemies because of their self-sustaining capabilities, as well as their AoE effects.

Plow Through Azeroth With The Death Knight

The Death Knight is easily one of the most dangerous classes in WoW Classic. If you want to make sure that you're plowing through groups of enemies quickly and efficiently, this guide is certainly going to be effective in helping you get the job done.

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