Frost Death Knight PvP Guide

 

Death Knight Frost Spec PvP

Updated for Warlords of Draenor 6.1.2

Are Frost DKs in good shape in Warlords of Draenor? Yes. But that depends more on you than anything else. You certainly have plenty of damage, though you give up the utility of the pet (and Gargoyle.) and some survivability. This page will attempt to take care of the “How To.” If Frost’s your game then chill out, go forth, and kill some players.

If you’re not yet level 110 then you won’t be able to use everything on this page, but much will still apply. If are interested in getting your character to max level quickly, take a look at Zygor’s leveling guide.

Warlords of Draenor brought a number of changes to DKs, as well as to the games in general (such as removing Hit and Expertise and the great “Stat Squish.”) Go here for details.

Legion brought  even more simplification. For example, you now use two 1-handed weapons. Period.

ContentsHuman DK in Season 15 Prideful Gear

Other Dk Pages:

 

Death Knight Frost Spec PvP Build

The exact talents you pick will vary depending on who you’re fighting, who your team (if any) is, and so on. 2s, 3s, 5s, BGs, solo, duels, etc. Keep a stack of Tome of the Clear Mind handy for just this purpose (use dust of disappearance or Vanishing powder if you’re 85 or lower.)

Descriptions are below the image and our picks are checked: Best talent

 

Tier 1 Talents

 

Tier 2 Talents

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Tier 3 Talents

 

Tier 4 Talents

 

Tier 5 Talents

 

Tier 6 Talents

Tier 7, Level 100

 

Frost PvP Glyphs

Glyphs are effectively dead in Legion.

 

Frost DK PvP Stats

In Warlords you have two new stats, Multistrike & Versatility, and four dead ones: Hit, Expertise, PvP Power, and Resilience. You have an “Attuned stat” now, which is Haste. This gives you an exra 5% Haste from all sources and it comes from your level 55 ability: Icy Talons. Multistrike and “attuned stats” are dead in Legion.

In Legion your stats are irrelevant for instanced PvP (Arenas and BGs.) All of you stats are based off a template which will overwrite whatever stats you already have, regardless of how carefully you stacked them.

What will count is your item level and your personal level, if it’s higher than your enemy’s. Item level, however, only counts for 10% of the actual difference. If you have +10 ilevels over the other guy it’s really only +1 in PvP. Note than in instanced PvP all of your gear is raised to a base level. Any gear higherthan that level keeps it’s rating, anything lower is raised up.

So gear will be much less of a factor than before and everyone will be that much more competitive.

In World PvP your stats and gear count normally. Ganking that guy 5 levels below you? Your item level and character level and carefully stacked stats all have full value.

Stat Priorities:

  • Strength > Haste > Versatility > Mastery > Crit

Stat Explanations

  • Haste speeds up everything you do, including Rune regeneration. In full gear your Rune regen will be such that you can do decent damage even in Blood presence.
  • Versatility is an add to your damage (and any healing) and also to your damage reduction. It’s a pretty useful PvP stat if you can get decent quantities of it.
  • Mastery increases all of your Frost damage. The increased number of strikes when Dual Wielding makes it more valuable than Haste.
  • Crit is not such a useful stat. Especially since your Killing Machine procs will provide plenty of crits for your Obliterate and Frost Strike. Note that KM will proc more often if Dual Wielding. Esp with good Haste you will be getting procs all the time, so added crit is pointless.

 

Gems for the Frost DK

There are currently no sockets on PvP gear in Warlords, so gemming is moot.

Below iLevel 600 – Gemming Frost – Match socket colors

*Or stick in a Haste gem in the prismatic sockets: Quick Sun’s Radiance

Note that the “perfect” gem cuts have the same stats as the regular cuts, but one the price is often very different. Grab whichever is cheaper Go here to get to work on earning more gold.

Gemming in Warlords PvP

Well, you aren’t. Gemming for PvP, that is.

  • Gem sockets are actually few and far between. They have a (small) random chance to appear on Raid gear, so perhaps they’ll also appear on PvP gear and other items as well.
  • The gems themselves are actually available. They are all prismatic, meaning they fit into any socket. None have Int, they all have secondary stats (Mastery, etc.) Apparently there are no Meta sockets or gems.
  • Older (Mists of Pandaria) gems work until item level 600, but the item squish cut them down a bit. What used to be 160 Int is now 10, for example. The new Prismatic gems are 50 points of Mastery or whatever.
  • Older gems (Mists of Pandaria and lower) that used to code for Hit now do Crit, gems that had Expertise are now Haste.

If sockets ever become available for Warlords PvP gear, or you’re using socketed PvE gear for your PvP,  then gem for Versatility.

Warlords of Draenor gems
Prismatic
Mists of Pandaria Gems, for gear under ilevel 600.
Meta Reverberating Primal Diamond: +14 Str & Increased Crit Effect
Red Bold Primordial Ruby: +10 Str
Yellow Quick Sun’s Radiance: +20 Haste
Orange Fierce Vermilion Onyx: +5 Str and +10 Haste
Blue Lightning Wild Jade: +10 Haste and +10 Crit
Green Sensei’s Wild Jade: +10 Crit and +10 Mastery
Purple Etched Imperial Amethyst: +5 Str and +10 Crit
Cogwheel Requires an engie helm, such as this.
Quick Tinker’s Gear: +38 Haste
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: +38 Mastery

 

Frost Spec PVP Enchants

Short on gold? Most of the enchants below have similar enchants available, of lesser value, for less cash. Check with the rep vendor or the Auction House for what’s available (or you guild item maker/enchanter.) If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about fixing your poverty.

You might find it interesting to have two weapons, one with each enchant, and use a macro (or the equipment manager tool) to swap them, depending on who/what you’re fighting.

Warlords Notes: There are no head enchants, all shoulder enchants come from the Inscription profession and are only for items under items level 600. There are new enchants for Neck, Cloak, Weapons, and your Rings. Not for any other pieces. (Not yet, anyway.) None of the new enchants have primary stats. One of the weapons adds a nice bleed, but you’ll be using Fallen Crusader, so it doesn’t matter.

Older enchants that previous added Hit now add Crit, those that added Expertise now add Haste.

  • Weapon(s): Fallen Crusader
  • Everything else: Multistrike
Enchantment for the Frost DK in Warlords of Draenor
Weapon

Mists:

Rings
Neck
Cloak
  • Enchant Cloak – Gift of Versatility– +100 Versatility and +10% movement speed
  • Note: There is a “breath of” version of each of these enchants which have the same stats, but without the 10% movement bonus, and which is probably cheaper.

Mists:

Other enchants, for gear under item level 600.
Shoulders
Chest
Bracers
Gloves
Belt
Leggings
Boots

 

Gearing Up Your Frost Death Knight

PvP Power and Resilience are dead.

Weapons and Presences

Rune of the Fallen Crusader procs add to all damage done, including diseases, if they’re applied during the proc. If you use it on both weapons the procs do not stack, rather the duration of the proc is extended.

 

Under level 90 Gear

At 70 you can pick up the Brutal Dreadplate set from the legacy arena armor vendors. The legacy weapon vendor will be right there, as well. There are a number of gem slots in this gear, and you can drop a Mystic King’s Amber or a Mystic Autumn’s Glow into all of those slots.

At 85 you can grab the Cataclysmic Gladiator set, but you might find the 450 blues on the Auction House to be better. The Cata gear does come with gems slots, so that’s worth a few points.

Level 90+ Gearing

If you’re freshly 90 then either buy the Crafted Malevolent set from the Auction House or from a friendly Blacksmith. This will be a bit expensive. See our gold guide if you can’t afford it.

Alternatively you can farm the Timeless Isle for armor tokens from the boxes or drops. This is 496 gear is is about equal to the 476 crafted gear.

If you’ve done a bunch of pre-90 PvP and have that honor you can pick up a couple of the Prideful Gladiator pieces from your base in Pandaria.

This will give you a bit of extra going into Draenor.

Level 91 Gear

Level 91 is something of the “twink” level. You can equip three pieces of crafted gear (item level 640 armor and 630 weapon) which will be way better than anything else you find till you get into the honor gear. You can also bump each of these items by 45 ilevel points (up to 715 in 6.2) which will put them on a par with the PvP value of the honor gear.

The only problem is that you’re looking at maybe 30-40k gold to buy and max out each item. If you’re not quite that rich then wait till 100 and get the PvP gear. Otherwise see our gold guide.

Of you have the gold (or a friendly, generous crafter:)

  1. Truesteel  Breastplate and legs.
  2. Steelforged weapon: Steelforged Greataxe
  3. 2x each Truesteel essence (TSE), greater TSE, powerful TSE to bump both armors to 685.
  4. 1 Steelforged Essence (SE,) greater SE, Powerful SE gets you to 675 for the weapon.
  5. Truesteel Grinder rerolls the stats on your weapon. You may have to do this a number of times until you get the stats you want.
  6. Truesteel Reshaper rerolls the stats on your armor. You may have to do this a number of times until you get the stats you’re looking for. 

Level 100 Gearing

PvP gear in Warlords has two item levels, a lower one for PvE and a higher one for any PvP combat, whether it’s World or Arena PvP.  Most PvE gear will be inferior for this reason, but the best raid gear will be comparable and there will be no reason not to use it if it’s as good or better than the PvP rating of your item. The PvE piece might also have a gem socket.

Examples:

Bonuses

  1. 2 piece bonus: Using Death Grip increases the damage of your next special attack by 25%. Death Grip to Killing Machine Obliterate. That’ll hurt.
  2. 4 piece bonus: When you have Freezing Fog active (Rime buff,) your next Howling Blast will increase Frost damage taken on all targets by 10% for 8 sec.
  3. Also your two PvP trinkets give you a 15% damage reduction (Vs other players.)

Getting the Stuff

  1. Get your Honor weapon first. Conquest will require you to earn 7250 conquest points before you can get the weapon.
  2. Getting pounded? Consider getting both trinket now for the 15% damage reduction.
  3. Fill out your 4 piece set bonus with head, chest, legs, and gloves.
  4. “On Use” trinket, eg: Primal Combatant’s Badge of Victory
  5. Rings and Cloak, so you can get the enchants.
  6. Shoulders
  7. Boots and everything else.
  8. Escape trinket, assuming you already have a lesser one. If you don’t then you should get this much sooner.

Of course, if you’re getting your gear randomly from Ashran boxes or the like then you’ll gear up as best you can.

Modifying Stuff isn’t really going to happen. Crafted gear can have the stats rerolled as many times as necessary to get “the right stats.” PvP and dropped gear cannot be so modified. Crafted gear can also have its iLevel increased (expensive,) but the PvP gear will still be better in PvP combat.

Otherwise you’re left with the enchants, there being no gems (yet) for PvP gear.

 

 

Race Choice for Frost DKs

Note that Pandarans cannot become Death Knights, they seem to have managed to escape the Lick King’s notice.

In Warlords all of the racial with Hit or Expertise are gone. There are a few new racials and now every race can off a bit of added damage. None of the racials is game changing, at best they give a small edge. More or less in order of usefulness.

Humans might be the best overall race, due to their escape (and therefore the ability to use two DPS trinkets) and added toughness due to their bonus versatility. Dwarves can wash away various effects and bleeds.

Orcs are one of the better Horde races, for their BloodFury cooldown and stun resistance. Undead have an extra escape.

Horde

Orc:

  • Blood Fury is a nice burst cooldown.
  • Stun resistance means that much less time being smashed while stunned.

Troll:

  • Berserking (attack speed boost) for the burst
  • reduction in duration of slowing effects,

Tauren:

  • War Stomp stuns nearby opponents,
  • a bit more health
  • +2% Critical effect to damage and heals.

Undead:

  • Already Unholy, so what could be better? Oh wait, you’re Frost. Nevermind. 😉
  • Wash away fear, sleep, and charms (such as from Warlock pets.)
  • Eat dead players,
  • Drain life (which also heals.) Adds a bit more DPS and survivability.
  • Indefinite underwater breathing. So you can lurk on the bottom of the river, waiting in ambush.

Goblin:

  • Rocket jump is a nice entry or escape,
  • 1% Haste increase is nice for any DK

Blood Elf: Aside from their hair…

  • Arcane Torrent silences opponents and restores some Runic Power.
  • +1% Crit

Alliance

Human:

  • Escape ability allows dropping of the PvP escape trinket and using two DPS trinkets instead.
  • Diplomacy helps with the Rep grind.
  • The Human Spirit now adds to your Versatility stat.

Gnome:

  • Small size counts, really,
  • Escape from snares and slows.
  • 5% higher Runic Power cap.
  • +1% Haste

Worgen:

  • Nice Sprint ability,
  • 1% Crit increase

Draenei:

  • Useful small heal,
  • Bonus to Str.

Dwarf:

  • Stone form washes bleeds, magical effects, and reduces damage,
  • +2% Critical effect to damage and heals.

Night Elf:

  • A bit harder to hit (2% increased Dodge)
  • Shadowmeld has situational brilliance. Think ambushing or ‘melding right before a spell hits (which will break it.)
  • Slightly faster run speed
  • +1% Crit by day changes to +1% Haste by night.

 

Professions for any Death Knight

In Warlords the profession bonuses are dead, However leveling them is easier and generally cheaper. Once you get into Draenor you will, fairly early on, get a scroll for each of your secondary professions which will raise your cap to 700. For your crafts you will get a quest that will award you with a similar scroll and a number of recipes. One of these will be a “secrets of…” recipe. Use that to generate materials to trade for new recipes, either at your Garrison or in Ashran.

Why get a profession since there are no bonuses? For the item level 640 gear that you will, eventually, be able to create. That gear requires level 91 to equip. Said gear require a lot of materials to create, your Garrison will be a help here if you create a professional building.

If you’re below 90 then you’ll have to do it (level your skill) the old fashioned way. See our professions page for more info on leveling up the various skills.

Several professions have definite value while leveling, others not so much. If gear is readily available on the Auction House, and you have the gold, then the professions are less important. Sometimes making your gear is the only way to go. Or hoping you win the rolls in the dungeons.

If you just want something to earn gold with, then the gathering professions are the most reliable choice. You can make plenty of gold with some of the crafting professions (Inscription and blackmithing have worked very well for me,) but it takes some work to find the sweet spots.

  • Blacksmithing allows you to make some nice plate gear and weapons. You can make a 630 weapon and 640 armor and, at a higher cost than it took to make it, upgrade that gear. The gear can be sent to a 91+ alt.
  • Alchemy better living through chemistry. Drink up and get heals, improved stats, etc.
  • Engineering makes a lot of useful gadgets, especially once you’re 90+ (and have Draenor Engineering.) Rockets and shields are nice for world PvP.
  • Inscription will let you make a very nice shoulder enchant, makes shoulder enchants for others, make all your own glyphs (and for your pals,) and make a few other items.
  • Enchanting lets you do everyone’s enchants, plus those rings and neck items.
  • Jewelcrafting creates useful rings, neck items, gems (of course,) and gemmed mounts.
  • Tailoring and Leatherworking are pretty useless for you.
  • The gathering skills are nice for making gold or supplying the appropriate profession.
  • Recommended skills?
    • If you have lots of gold: Blacksmithing & Engineering for the useful gear and toys.
    • Otherwise: take two gathering skills and level the profession skills later.

 

 

Macros for the Frost Death Knight

Most of these, of course, you can take over to any other spec of DK.

 

Basic Attack Macro -This makes sure that your auto attack starts against your new target even if you don’t have runes or Runic Power. It also clears the “Hey! You Have No Runes!!” error message from your screen. Replace Name with your ability, such as Obliterate or Frost Strike.

#showtooltip Name
/startattack
/cast Name
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear();

Death & Chains: Death grip the enemy and use Chains of Ice at the same time. This will slow him and, if glyphed, also root him briefly. This happens automatically once you get your Improved Death Grip perk.

showtooltip Death Grip
/cast Death Grip
/cast Chains of Ice

The Burst Macro lines up a bunch of “More Power” cooldowns in one macro. Use it to line up kills or just before using your diseases. “use 14” is your second trinket slot. If your “on use” trinket is in the first slot then use ’13.  “Blood Fury is the Orc racial. If you’re in regular BGs or world PvP you can also put a potion into the macro, such as: /use Potion of Mogu Power. Casting Raise Dead with this macro means your Ghoul inherits your buffed Str.

  • #showtooltip Pillar of Frost
  • /cast Pillar of Frost
  • /use 14
  • /cast Blood Fury
  • /cast Raise Dead

Lichborne Heal Macro – This casts Lichborne and then cats Death Coil at you, as a heal. Obviously you need to have enough Runic Power available to be able to cast that Death Coil. This is a spammable macro, so with a full RP bar you can get three heals. You do not lose your target with this macro.

  •  #showtooltip Lichborne
  • /cast !Lichborne;
  • /cast [target=player] Death Coil

Mouseover attacks – You can use these with a variety of attacks. Just mouse over the enemy and use. You can also use it for a focus target, just use ‘target=focus’ instead of ‘target=mouseover’ (or just @mouseover or @focus.) This also keeps your current target. You can make one for Mind Freeze, Death Grip, etc.

If you do not have a mouseover target then it will work on your primary target. Just change ‘Asphyxiate’ to whichever ability you wish to use.

  • #showtooltip Asphyxiate
  • /cast [target=mouseover, hard, exists] Asphyxiate; [nomod] Asphyxiate

Death Grip – Hold down shift and it girps your focus, otherwise whatever you have targeted.

#showtooltip Death Grip
/cast [nomodifier] Death Grip
/cast [target=focus,mod:shift] Death Grip

You can use something similar with other abilities. Hold shift and it zaps your focus, otherwise your main target.

#showtooltip Strangulate
/cast [nomodifier] Strangulate
/cast [target=focus,mod:shift] Strangulate

Arena targeting: Assign one of these to each arena number (1-2, 1-3, or 1-5) and it will zap that opponent without losing your current target. Change ‘Spell Name’ to the ability you want to use, such as Strangulate.

#showtooltip Spell Name
/cast [@arena1] Spell Name

Conversion Heal Macro: Spam this and you can actually get two conversion heals up, for twice the life.

  • #showtooltip Conversion
  • /cast !Conversion

Survival Macro  –  Feeling the pressure? This drops you into Blood Presence and activates your Icebound Fortitude.

  • #showtooltip Icebound Fortitude
  • /cast Icebound Fortitude
  • /cast Blood Presence

Fun with Gorefiend’s Grasp – With no mods it fires off the ability with you as the focus, bringing all enemies to you. Hld the CTRL key and it pulls them all to your pet, which pulls them off your healer or whoever they’re harassing. Hold the Alt key and they’re pulling to you Bladestorming Warrior, to be cut to pieces.

  • #showtooltip Gorefiend’s Grasp
  • /cast [nomod;@player] Gorefiend’s Grasp
  • /cast [mod=ctrl;@pet] Gorefiend’s Grasp
  • /cast [mod=alt;@<name of warrior on your rbg team>] Gorefiend’s Grasp

Cancel effects – At times you will want to cancel various effects. For example, Conversion, when you’ve healed enough and don’t want to run out of Runic Power. Keep this as one macro or make it into several.

  • /cancelaura Hand of Protection
  • /cancelaura Lichborne
  • /cancelaura Hand of Freedom
  • /cancelaura Conversion

 

How to: Frost Death Knight PvP

Even though you’re not Unholy your diseases will be a big part of your damage, you want to apply and maintain them as best you can. If possible use a burst cooldown before applying and spreading them. They scale with your Str. and will hit that much harder for their duration.

Horn of Winter for a quick Runic Power boost to help with burst or heals.

 

Your Priority List (Rotation)

  1. Diseases – Your disease’s are always a high priority as any death knight spec. You won’t be worrying so much about blood plague being active on the target all the time so you will want to maintain it via outbreak, unholy blight (if talented) or plague strike if you chose Plague Leech as your Tier 1 talent. Your frost fever will be kept up from rime procs used with howling blast/icy touch or via chains of ice when slowing your target.
  2. Obliterate – Obliterate is our hardest hitting ability as a frost death knight and give’s us alot of burst damage. You want to aim to get as many obliterates off as you can to maximize your single target damage. You should aim to use every possible killing machine proc on obliterate for maximum damage.
  3. Frost Strike – This ability is used as your runic power dump. You will use this to get rid of excess runic power or when all your runes are on cooldown and you have nothing left to use.
  4. Howling Blast – You only want to howling blast when you have a rime proc, are trying to deal AoE damage or provide a slow to multiple target’s when spec’d into chilblains. Note that when Rime procs the free Howling Blast it causes it to also do 20% more damage (with your perk.)
  5. Pillar of Frost – Pillar of Frost is our dps cooldown and its super strong. Pillar of Frost increases our total strength by 20% and has a very short 1 minute cooldown. To get the most out of this ability you want to stack it with as many procs as you possibly can for maximum burst potential. While pillar of frost is active you are immune to knockbacks and death grips making it easier for us to stick to certain classes.

Basic Rotation

  • Get diseases up on your target(s). Use Outbreak and then spread them or use Unholy Blight (if you took that) to spread diseases.
  • Obliterate 2-3x
  • Frost Strike to dump runic power
  • Howling Blast as it procs, unless you’re trying to A of E and apply diseases.
  • Procs as they appear, preferably for Obliterate over Frost Strike.

Crushing Damage (AKA: Bursting.)

At any given time try to line up as many of these as possible.

Buffs:

  • Frost Presence, its most optimal when bursting for you to be in frost presence so you generate 20% more runic power and your frost strike costs 15 less runic power to use. There are times in an arena environment where you just cannot leave blood presence and this is fine but you should be looking for opportunity’s to switch to frost presence whenever possible.
  • Horn of Winter, this is our standard class buff that increase’s our total attack power by 10% for 1 hour. You should keep this buff active at all times.
  • Your Strength flask, if allowed: Greater Draenic Strength Flask: +250 Str for one hour

Cooldowns

  • On-Use PvP Trinket, a 20 second duration strength proc on a 1 min cooldown. This trinket perfectly lines up with your pillar of frost so you should macro both pillar of frost and this trinket together.
  • Blood Fury – If you play an Orc you should put this ability into your pillar of frost macro as it lines up with every second pillar of frost and gives you a nice increase to your attack power.
  • Berserking – If you play a Troll you should put this ability into your pillar of frost macro as it line’s up with every 3rd pillar of frost. The haste increase you get from this during pillar will increase your chance to gain more killing machine procs therefore giving you more burst potential.
  • Pillar of Frost – Pillar of Frost is our dps cooldown and it’s super strong. Pillar of Frost increases our total strength by 20% and has a very short 1 minute cooldown.

Procs

  • PvP Proc trinket, a 20 second duration Strength proc on a 45 sec internal cooldown.
  • Rune of the Fallen Crusader, your weapon enchant proc that increase’s your total strength by 25% and has a chance to heal you for 3% of your total health. This proc is huge when combined with pillar of frost and your other strength procs and its often worth waiting for this proc before bursting.
  • Killing Machine, you should try to get a killing machine proc just before you pop your cooldowns so you can begin bursting with a huge obliterate crit.

Now head off and kill someone!

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  4 Responses to “Frost Death Knight PvP Guide”

  1. why would a dk pay for an enchant when we have runeforging as a DW frost DK razorice + fallen crusader is best, dancing steel is a good enchant but not worth sacrficing extra frost damage or 15% extra strength.

  2. Living Steel Belt Buckle

  3. So far i suck at pvp.Thanx for the advice.

    • My best advice for PvP (which I’m not too hot at, either?) Hotkey your main powers and practice on the target dummies until you don’t have to think about them. Especially your CCs and Interrupts. Don’t open with Death Grip, save it for when they blink or disengage away. Skill matters, a lot, but it’s also a gear race, so the sooner you can get yourself into top gear the better. Lastly: lots of practice.

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