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Death Knight
- DK Leveling
- Blood Tanking
- Frost DPS
- Unholy DPS
- PvP Builds

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Death Knight Leveling Guide

Important Notes:

This page is old and will no longer be updated. It is left here for legacy sake.

Please see the following pages for more up to date info. All further updates will be on these pages:

The page below has been updated for Cata 4.3, but will not be updated further. If you have links to this page please update them to the new pages. The builds on this page will be obsolete in M of P.

Eventually this page will be redirected to one of the newer pages, but until then will remain as is.


  1. Introduction
  2. Specs
  3. Runeforging
  4. Death Knight Leveling Builds
  5. DK Leveling Tips
  6. Gear & Mechanics
  7. 55-85 Death Knight Leveling Guide



Level Fast and much more with Dugi's in-game guides!

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So, you want to play a Death Knight?

Did you happen hear about how they are one of the most fun classes in the game, or that they can easily solo monsters that many other players have great trouble with.

Or maybe it's just that starting at level 55 and getting to skip all the boring low level stuff sound like a good idea to you.

Or maybe you are not yet 100% sure that you want to play a Death Knight and so you are reading this guide to find out more about what they are like.

Regardless of your reason, welcome to the Death Knight leveling guide. I will try to go over the common questions that most players new to the Death Knight class have. If there is anything that I miss or just something extra that you would like to know, don't hesitate to leave a comment on our blog.

Specs - What's Best?

This question is a difficult one to answer easily because it really depends on your playstyle and what you want to do while leveling. I'm just going to give you some overall guidelines and example builds that I find work really well for leveling. Feel free to change them however you like so that playing your death knight is the most fun for you. Also, considering how cheap it is to respec, if you find you don't like one build here, just respec and try another.


If you are under level 70 you sould use:

For Dual Wield: Razorice (You can use Cinderglacier on the other weapon if you like.)

For 2-Handed: Cinderglacier

Above level 70 use:

For Dual Wield: Fallen Crusader on main hand and Razorice or Cinderglacier on your off hand weapon.

For 2-Handed: Fallen Crusader

Death Knight Leveling Builds




At the moment, Frost is my favorite talent tree for leveling. The speed and survivability are great.
On a Pale Horse alone makes Frost a great leveling choice just for the mount speed increase, however, when you add in Howling Blast it becomes even better.

- 2 Handed Frost -

Frost Talents - 31 point(s)

  • Runic Power Mastery - Rank 3/3
  • Icy Reach - Rank 2/2
  • Annihilation - Rank 3/3
  • Lichborne - Rank 1/1
  • On a Pale Horse - Rank 2/2
  • Endless Winter - Rank 1/2
  • Chill of the Grave - Rank 2/2
  • Killing Machine - Rank 3/3
  • Rime - Rank 3/3
  • Pillar of Frost - Rank 1/1
  • Improved Icy Talons - Rank 1/1
  • Brittle Bones - Rank 2/2
  • Chilblains - Rank 2/2
  • Hungering Cold - Rank 1/1
  • Might of the Frozen Wastes - Rank 3/3
  • Howling Blast - Rank 1/1

Blood Talents - 3 point(s)

  • Bladed Armor - Rank 3/3

Unholy Talents - 2 point(s)

  • Unholy Command - Rank 2/2

Levels 80 to 85:

  • 81: (Frost) Endless Winter - Rank 2/2
  • 82: (Frost) Improved Frost Presence 1/2
  • 83: (Frost) Improved Frost Presence 2/2
  • 84: (Blood) Butchery 1/2
  • 85: (Blood) Butchery 2/2

Weapon: High Damage range 2 hander.

Runforge: Cinderglacier 55-70. Fallen Crusdaer 70-85.



If self-healing/tanking is what you want, then Blood is your best choice. If you go down the Blood talent tree then you almost never have to worry about your HP.
Because blood uses death strike as part of its normal rotation you will be constantly getting healed. Blood is also a good spec for soloing elite mobs. The other spec is capable of it but blood’s self healing makes it maybe a little easier.

Blood Talents - 31 point(s)

  • Blade Barrier - Rank 3/3
  • Bladed Armor - Rank 3/3
  • Improved Blood Tap - Rank 2/2
  • Scent of Blood - Rank 2/3
  • Scarlet Fever - Rank 2/2
  • Bone Shield - Rank 1/1
  • Toughness - Rank 3/3
  • Sanguine Fortitude - Rank 2/2
  • Blood Parasite - Rank 2/2
  • Improved Blood Presence - Rank 2/2
  • Rune Tap - Rank 1/1
  • Will of the Necropolis - Rank 3/3
  • Vampiric Blood - Rank 1/1
  • Improved Death Strike - Rank 3/3
  • Dancing Rune Weapon - Rank 1/1
Unholy Talents - 5 point(s)
  • Unholy Command - Rank 2/2
  • Epidemic - Rank 3/3

Levels 80 to 85:

  • 81: (Unholy) Morbidity - Rank 1/3
  • 82: (Unholy) Morbidity - Rank 2/3
  • 83: (Unholy) Morbidity - Rank 3/3
  • 84: (Blood) Abomination's Might 1/2
  • 85: (Blood) Abomination's Might 2/2


Weapon: High Damage range 2 hander.

Runforge: Cinderglacier 55-70. Fallen Crusdaer 70-85.


DK Leveling Tips

You should be in Blood Presence if you are going to solo an elite. It's also good to go Blood when you are mounted and riding through hostile areas.

Gear & Mechanics

You always want Strength! It’s the Death Knight's primary statistic for doing damage. Keep in mind that your armor class isn’t very important for leveling so mail or leather which have a higher strength score than a plate piece could be a good idea. After strength you want to look for + hit gear and finally crit.

What about gear with attack power vs STR?

Death Knights have several talents that increase your strength by a percentage of your total. Fallen Crusader also uses a percentage of your strength to determine it’s increase. In other words with FC procced, or a talent like ravenous dead you’ll get more raw attack power from the gear with 15 STR on it than if it had 30 AP.

If you have a pair of wrists with 15 STR on it and another pair of wrists with 100 attack power on them drop, the 100AP ones are clearly better. The 15STR won’t scale high enough to offset the difference.

55-80 In-Depth Death Knight Leveling Guide

If you are looking for more information on leveling faster, or what you should do while leveling to keep your character equiped with the best gear, then I recommend you seriously consider the following two guides:

To get all your characters to level 85 as fast as possible use THIS GUIDE. It has an in-game addon that guides you step by step through everything you need to do to level up quickly.

If you want to be rolling in gold the whole time you are leveling, then take a look at this GOLD GUIDE. It was just recently updated for the latest patch, so it's full of new tips for making tons of gold.



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