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Death Knight Frost Spec PvE Guide

Death Knight – Frost

This is a guide to maximizing your DPS as Frost spec.

Talent Builds:

Dual-wield Frost is the DPS leader at this time, everything else (skill, gear, etc.) being equal.

  • Dual-Wield DPS
  • Two-handed DPS
  • Frost’s best DPS is done in Unholy presence, for either build. Frost presence isn’t gimped, but Unholy is better.


Glyphs come in three varieties, Prime, Major and Minor. Glyphs are learned permanently and can be swapped in and out as the situation demands. All you need to swap a glyph is a pinch of Dust of Disappearance. Grab it from your friendly Inscription Supplies vendor.

  • Prime glyphs enhance core aspects of your class and generally provide the greatest benefit of the three types.
  • Major Glyphs, while not quite as powerful as Prime Glyphs, are still useful and continue to provide a myriad of benefits.
  • Minor Glyphs often times provide small quality of life improvements or visual changes.

Prime Glyphs:

  • Frost Strike
  • Obliterate
  • Howling Blast
  • Icy Touch – For AoE situations due to the increased damage of Frost Fever

Major Glyphs:

  • Anti-Magic Shell
  • Dark Succor
  • Hungering Cold
  • Pestilence

Minor Glyphs:

  • Blood Tap
  • Horn of Winter
  • Path of Frost

Frost Rotation:

Here are your highest priority abilities.

  • Outbreak – Used to apply Frost Fever and Blood Plague
  • Obliterate – Primary Attack Ability
  • Frost Strike – When Runic Power is nearly capped
  • Howling Blast – To reapply frost fever
  • Plague Strike – To apply Blood Plague

Keep both diseases active on your target at all times, using Plague Strike to apply Blood Plague when necessary and Howling Blast to refresh Frost Fever.

Obliterate is your primary attack ability, use it as much as possible.  Howling Blast should be used whenever Rime procs and Frost Strike should be used when your runes are depleted or you’re almost runic power capped.

Prioritize the use of Obliterate for Killing Machine procs.  If necessary, wait a second or two to use Obliterate if it’s on Cooldown, otherwise use Frost Strike.

AoE Rotation

  • Death and Decay
  • Howling Blast – Your main A of E attack.
  • Plague Strike

In multi-target situations you’ll want to drop Death and Decay as well as use Howling Blast as often as possible.  Target mobs individually and use Plague Strike to apply Blood Plague, and you’ll refresh Frost Fever with Howling Blast which is your main attack tool in an AoE situation.


  • Pillar of Frost
  • Raise Dead
  • Army of the Dead
  • Empower Rune Weapon
  • Blood Tap
  • Outbreak
  • Dark Simulacrum
  • Anti-Magic Shell
  • Icebound Fortitude
  • Death Pact
  • Hungering Cold
  • Mind Freeze
  • Strangulate
  • Raise Ally

Stat Priorities:

Strength > 8% Melee Hit > (26) Expertise > Haste > Mastery > Critical

  • Strength increases your attack power, and thus damage, making it your most effective stat.
  • (8%) Melee Hit rating reduces you chance to miss with attacks.  A hit rating of 8% makes it so that your special abilities will no longer miss on bosses, thereby avoiding loss of DPS.  Death Knights that Dual-Wield will take Nerves of Cold Steel, reducing the needed rating to achieve 8% melee hit to 601 from the 961 required by 2H Death Knights.
  • (26) Expertise reduces the chance for an enemy to dodge or parry your attacks.  At an expertise rating of 26, the ‘soft’ cap, your attacks will no longer be dodged when behind your target.
  • Haste increases attack speed and rune regeneration speed.
  • Mastery – Frozen Heart: Frost Death Knight Mastery increases all Frost damage done.
  • Critical Strike rating increases your chance to critically hit with attacks.
  • Agility, Int, and Spirit are useless to you.


When reforging gear, it’s important that you look to reforge from your least effective stat into the most effective for whatever gear goal you are currently aiming for.  See our stat priority list for more information.

  • Crit and Mastery should be reforged into: 8% Hit > Expertise (26) > Haste
  • Hit over 8% should also be reforged into better stats.

First check that you have 8% melee hit, and if not, reforge until you reach it.  For 2H Death Knight’s the rating required is 961, for Dual-Wielding Death Knight’s, 601 due to Nerves of Cold Steel.

Once you’ve reached the 8% melee hit cap, optimize the amount of haste on your gear while also aiming to reach the (26) Expertise Cap.


If the top gem is too expensive then dropping down one level will not gimp you and will save a lot of gold.

  • Red – Bold Queen’s Garnet/Bold Inferno Ruby – This will be your first choice in almost all situations.
  • Blue – Etched Shadow Spinel/Etched Demonseye
  • Yellow – Fierce Lava Coral/Fierce Ember Topaz – Skillful Lava Coral/Skillful Ember Topaz
  • Meta – Reverberating Shadowspirit Diamond

Unless a socket bonus offers strength, it’s more effective to gem for pure strength and ignore the bonus.


  • Main Hand: Rune of Razorice
  • Off-Hand: Rune of Fallen Crusader
  • Two-Handed: Rune of Fallen Crusader
  • Helm: Arcanum of the Wildhammer/Arcanum of the Dragonmaw
  • Shoulders: Greater Inscription of Jagged Stone
  • Cloak: Enchant Cloak – Greater Critical Strike
  • Chest: Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
  • Bracers: Enchant Bracer – Major Strength
  • Gloves: Enchant Gloves – Mighty Strength
  • Belt: Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
  • Leggings: Dragonscale Leg Armor
  • Boots: Enchant Boots – Haste

Consumable Items


Dual Wield DPS Frost Build – 4/34/3

Death Knight Frost Spec DPS build


Death Knight DPS Frost Spec – Two handed – 4/31/6

Death Knight DPS Frost Spec - Two handed

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