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This article is about the hero class in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. For other uses, see Death Knight (disambiguation).
"DK" redirects here. For the old PvP mechanic, see Dishonorable Kill.
See also: Starting a death knight
When the Lich King's control of his death knights was broken, his former champions sought revenge for the horrors committed under his command. After their vengeance was won, the death knights found themselves without a cause and without a home. One by one they trickled into the land of the living in search of a new purpose.
Death knight crest

Death knights (introduced in Wrath of the Lich King) boast powerful melee abilities, as well as plate armor. These warriors supplement their strength with dark magic. Calling upon a rune system of magic, the death knight may summon unholy, blood, and frost spells. The criterion for creating a death knight is the existence of a level 55+ character on the player's account on any realm[1].

The death knight is the first hero class in World of Warcraft. Death knights start at level 55 in Acherus: The Ebon Hold over the Eastern Plaguelands, with multiple spells and abilities ready to use, and a set of uncommon gear. When departing Ebon Hold, they have a full set of rare gear ready for Outland. Through the death knight-specific quests in this necropolis and the surrounding areas, they learn to master the power of the death knight and learn to use this new power for the will of the Lich King. Quests take them outside the necropolis and into an area within the Scarlet Enclave.

Before patch 5.3, players could only create one death knight per realm, so long as they have a level 55 character already and Wrath of the Lich King on their account. Now players are able to create multiple death knights on one realm. Currently the Pandaren cannot become death knights.

Lore

Death knight is a name shared by several organizations of powerful necromancers. These orders share a few things in common, including riding horses with horned skulls and many of the same abilities. Playable death knights, however, are specifically death knights of the Scourge.

Immortal Soldiers of the Horde

Deathknight2

Death Knight by Red Knuckle.

Dwarf death knight

Dwarf death knight

Deathknight-fromofficialsite

Human death knight

Deathknighttrailer

Death knight as depicted in a teaser (very early concept).

Main article: Death knight (Warcraft II)

The original death knights were created for Orgrim Doomhammer by Gul'dan as powerful soldiers of the Horde. These death knights were created by placing the souls of the slain warlocks of the Shadow Council into the corpses of fallen Stormwind knights, the first of whom was Teron Gorefiend. Unlike modern death knights of the Scourge, these ghoulish fiends were not battle hardened warriors; they were insidious necromancers who possessed superior intellect and tremendous magical power. They often favored the use of terror tactics and reanimated the corpses of enemy soldiers who fell in battle to serve them as mindless undead minions.

Most of these death knights were destroyed during and after the Second War, either killed by the Alliance or transformed into liches by Kil'jaeden.

Champions of the Lich King

Years after the destruction of Draenor, the immensely powerful Lich King created a new breed of death knights: malevolent, rune-wielding warriors of the Scourge. The first and greatest of these was the Lich King's chosen champion, Prince Arthas Menethil, once a mighty paladin of the Silver Hand who sacrificed his soul to claim the runeblade Frostmourne in a desperate bid to save his people. The rest are primarily made up of other fallen paladins whose souls were twisted and bound to the will of the Frozen Throne [2].

Unlike Gul'dan's death knights, these dark champions possess unholy strength; however, they do not possess free will and their minds are inexorably entwined with and dominated by the Lich King's vast consciousness. Despite the potential loss of free will, some powerful mortals are intrigued by the promise of immortality and pledge their souls freely into the Lich King's service to achieve it. Baron Rivendare is an example of this.

In the years since Arthas shattered the Frozen Throne and merged with the Lich King, the power and fury of the death knights has only grown. Now these unrelenting crusaders of the damned eagerly await the Lich King's command to unleash their fury on Azeroth once again. Unlike death knights of the Old Horde, the Scourge's death knights are not limited to their use of ranged spell casting abilities. In addition, these tireless death knights are considerably stronger, faster, and more agile than they were in life. However, both generations are equally destructive and terrifying to engage in the field of battle.[3]

The Ebon Blade

A new group of death knights, the Death knights of Acherus, was later created by the Lich King to garrison the necropolis of Acherus: The Ebon Hold for the ultimate purpose of assaulting Light's Hope Chapel and destroying the Argent Dawn. In the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, these death knights are freed from the will of the Lich King and ally themselves with their former factions. Working closely under the guiding blade of Highlord Darion Mograine and the bolstered Argent Crusade, the newly-freed death knights have begun their march to Northrend.

The Knights of the Ebon Blade is a faction consisting of the renegade death knights that broke free of the Lich King's control after the battle of Light's Hope Chapel (in other words, player-created death knights). Led by Highlord Darion Mograine, the Knights of the Ebon Blade have allied themselves with the Alliance and the Horde with the help of Highlord Tirion Fordring of the Knights of the Silver Hand, and have pledged to do their part in defeating their former master, the Lich King. Their main base is Acherus: The Ebon Hold, taken from the Scourge after breaking free. It should be noted that the Knights of the Ebon Blade are not a separate player faction such as the Alliance and Horde. For the purposes of gameplay, player-created death knights still belong to either the Alliance or Horde depending on their race/faction.

Notable death knights

Horde Official horde mini-icon

Neutral 15 IconSmall Teron Teron Gorefiend
Neutral 15 IconSmall UndeadDeathKnight Ragnok Bloodreaver
Neutral 15 IconSmall UndeadDeathKnight Gaz Soulripper

Scourge

Neutral 15 IconSmall ArthasDK Arthas Menethil
Neutral 15 IconSmall Mograine Alexandros Mograine
Neutral 15 IconSmall DeathKnight Baron Rivendare
Neutral 15 IconSmall Cultist Male Lord Alexei Barov
Official horde mini-icon IconSmall Trag Trag Highmountain

Ebon Blade Knights of the Ebon Blade 15

Neutral 15 IconSmall Darion Darion Mograine
Official horde mini-icon IconSmall BloodElfDeathKnight Male Koltira Deathweaver
Official alliance mini-icon IconSmall HumanDeathKnight Male Thassarian

Shadowfang Keep

Neutral 15 IconSmall HumanDeathKnight Male Commander Springvale

Races

Main article: Death knight races

The death knight class can be played by the following races, with the following stats:

Sortable table
Race Strength Agility Stamina Intellect Spirit Armor Health** New Health
Official alliance mini-icon IconSmall DraeneiDeathKnight MaleIconSmall DraeneiDeathKnight Female Wrath-Logo-Small 109 70 99 29 44* 140 2169 2939
Official alliance mini-icon IconSmall DwarfDeathKnight MaleIconSmall DwarfDeathKnight Female Wrath-Logo-Small 113* 69 100* 28 41 138 2179 2979*
Official alliance mini-icon IconSmall GnomeDeathKnight MaleIconSmall GnomeDeathKnight Female Wrath-Logo-Small 103 75 99 33* 42 159 2169 2939
Official alliance mini-icon IconSmall HumanDeathKnight MaleIconSmall HumanDeathKnight Female Wrath-Logo-Small 108 73 99 29 43 146 2169 2949
Official alliance mini-icon IconSmall NightElfDeathKnight MaleIconSmall NightElfDeathKnight Female Wrath-Logo-Small 104 77* 99 29 42 154 2169 2939
Official alliance mini-icon IconSmall Worgen MaleIconSmall Worgen Female Cataclysm-Logo-Small 111 75 99 25 41 0 2169 2949
Official horde mini-icon IconSmall BloodElfDeathKnight MaleIconSmall BloodElfDeathKnight Female Wrath-Logo-Small 105 75* 99 32* 40 150 2169 2929
Official horde mini-icon IconSmall Undead MaleIconSmall Undead Female Wrath-Logo-Small 107 71 99 27 47* 142 2169 2959
Official horde mini-icon IconSmall GoblinDeathKnight MaleIconSmall GoblinDeathKnight Female Cataclysm-Logo-Small 105 75* 99 32* 40 0 2169 2949
Official horde mini-icon IconSmall OrcDeathKnight MaleIconSmall OrcDeathKnight Female Wrath-Logo-Small 111 70 100* 26 44 140 2179 2969
Official horde mini-icon IconSmall TaurenDeathKnight MaleIconSmall TaurenDeathKnight Female Wrath-Logo-Small 113* 69 100* 25 44 138 2246 3117***
Official horde mini-icon IconSmall UndeadTroll MaleIconSmall UndeadTroll Female Wrath-Logo-Small 109 75* 99 25 43 150 2169 2959

Role

In general, the death knight can be considered a hybrid melee class that combines damage dealing and tanking, somewhat akin to warriors. They wear plate armor and are able to dual-wield or use two-handed blade weapons (and maces, as revealed later). Like druids and monks, they tank without shields. Their tanking mechanics involve high armor and a high chance to parry.[4] Death knight tanks depend on a combination of high damage abilities, in addition to high threat abilities.

Like every other class, the death knight has three different specializations; the differences between them are not as clear-cut as those of other classes, both for PvP and PvE environments. Notably, death knights can tank or deal damage regardless of specialization, although a careful selection is still required to bolster their preferred role. In patch 4.0.1, the roles became more defined, with Blood becoming the Tank specialization tree, and the others being DPS.

Blood enhances the death knight's melee abilities and damage and vastly improves the ability to heal itself. As the name suggests, the special abilities it grants through talents are based on the Blood Runes. Blood also provides healing utility to party and raids and has some very useful buffs and debuffs that the death knight can cast on others. Blood is considered the tree for soloing and should be given a thought when it comes time to level your Death Knight. Many 80-85 dks suggest to start as unholy and then switch to your blood spec depending on what suits you best.

Frost enhances melee abilities and focuses on increasing both AoE and single target damage. It provides some very powerful direct damage abilities.

Unholy enhances the death knight's diseases and damage over time spells, making them effective at AoE DPS. It also provides the death knight with a ghoul who is a permanent pet, a gargoyle guardian he or she can summon, and stronger diseases.

The Rune System

Death knights use a unique rune-based resource system to govern their spells and abilities. Three rune types exist: blood, frost, and unholy, each with an attached color and symbol. Using certain abilities exhausts one or more runes, starting a cooldown of 10 seconds. After the cooldown, the runes refresh. Death knights can use spells to turn a rune into a Death Rune, which can be used as a blood, frost, or unholy rune. In addition, whenever they use a rune ability against a foe, it builds up a certain amount of Runic Power. This Runic Power is only used by few abilities.[5] All abilities that use Runic Power use a set amount. Death knights cannot reallocate the number and type of runes - they are fixed to two runes of each type.[6]

The original player frame for death knights shown at BlizzCon was changed as feedback showed it was not ideal for displaying rune power for players.

Specializations/stats

A dark guardian who manipulates and corrupts life energy to sustain himself in the face of an enemy onslaught.
- Official description
Stat priority
  • Strength
  • Bonus Armor
  • Multistrike
  • Mastery
  • Versatility
  • Haste
DarkCommandTCG

Dark Command

Ability Min Level
Bladed Armor Starts with
Crimson Scourge Starts with
Resolve Starts with
Scent of Blood Starts with
Blood Rites 55
Veteran of the Third War 55
Dark Command 58
Improved Blood Presence 64
Rune Tap 64
Will of the Necropolis 70
Ability Min Level
Sanguine Fortitude 72
Dancing Rune Weapon 74
Riposte (death knight ability 76
Vampiric Blood 76
Bone Shield 78
Mastery: Blood Shield 80
Power of the Grave 80
Soul Reaper (blood) 87
Runic Strikes 90
An icy harbinger of doom, channeling runic power and delivering vicious weapon strikes.
- Official description
Stat priority
  • Strength
  • Mastery (dual-wield) / Haste (until 600, two-handed)
  • Critical Strike
  • Haste (dual-wield) / Mastery (two-handed)
  • Multistrike
  • Versatility
FrostStrikeTCG

Frost Strike

ObliterateTCG

Obliterate

Ability Min Level
Dual Wield 55
Rime 55
Blood of the North 55
Frost Strike 55
Howling Blast 55
Icy Talons 55
Plate Specialization (death knight) 55
Obliterate 58
Ability Min Level
Unholy Aura 60
Killing Machine 63
Improved Frost Presence 65
Pillar of Frost 68
Might of the Frozen Wastes 74
Threat of Thassarian 74
Mastery: Frozen Heart 80
Soul Reaper (frost) 87
A master of death and decay, spreading disease and controlling undead minions to do her bidding.
- Official description
Stat priority
  • Strength
  • Mastery
  • Critical Strike
  • Haste
  • Multistrike
  • Versatility
Ghoul1
Ability Min Level
Ebon Plaguebringer 55
Reaping 55
Plate Specialization (death knight) 55
Unholy Might 55
Raise Dead (death knight ability) 56
Scourge Strike 58
Shadow Infusion 60
Unholy Aura 60
Ability Min Level
Festering Strike 62
Sudden Doom 64
Dark Transformation 70
Summon Gargoyle 74
Improved Unholy Presence 75
Mastery: Dreadblade 80
Soul Reaper (unholy) 87
Necrosis 90

Skills/Glyphs

Main article: Runeforging
Runeforge

Runeforge

Runeforging allows the death knight to permanently enchant their weapon with enchants that are typically more powerful than enchants available to other classes. The enchants work just like the permanent weapon enchants provided by Enchanting, but are self-only and are designed specifically to benefit the death knight class. These are independent of the rune resource system.

A weapon can have an enchant from either runeforging or from Enchanting, but not both together (the runeforging enchants are always better for the death knight). A player will have to be near a runeforge in order to forge a rune onto their weapon. Once a weapon has been engraved with a rune it is impossible for the rune to be removed, though it can be changed at a runeforge. Also, even if it is not soulbound, once a weapon has been engraved with a rune it is impossible for that weapon to be traded.

Runeforges can be found in Acherus: The Ebon Hold or in some of the Icecrown questing areas inside of the metal dams.

Rune Type Level Weapon Type
Rune of Razorice Frost 55 Any
Rune of Spellbreaking Anti-caster 57 One-handed
Rune of Spellshattering Anti-caster 57 Two-handed
Rune Type Level Weapon Type
Rune of the Fallen Crusader Heal 70 Any
Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle Armor, Stamina 72 Two-handed
Key
Tag Source
Inv misc book 07 [Book of Glyph Mastery] (requires 425 inscription skill)
T:# Learned from a trainer with # Inscription skill
M:# Minor Inscription Research (requires # Inscription skill)
N Northrend Inscription Research (requires 385 Inscription skill)
V:# Vendor (requires # Inscription skill)


Major Glyph Source Major Glyph Source
Glyph of Absorb Magic APB Skill Inscription 295
Scribe's Research Notes
Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell APB Skill Inscription 295
Glyph of Blood Boil APB Skill Inscription 125
Research: Moonglow Ink
Glyph of Chains of Ice APB Skill Inscription 295
Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon Spell deathknight bloodpresence APB Skill Inscription 295
Book of Glyph Mastery
Glyph of Dark Simulacrum APB Skill Inscription 295
Book of Glyph Mastery
Glyph of Death and Decay Ui-charactercreate-classes deathknight Automatic at level 75 Glyph of Death Coil (death knight) Spell deathknight bloodpresenceSpell deathknight unholypresence APB Skill Inscription 275
Research: Midnight Ink
Glyph of Death Grip Ui-charactercreate-classes deathknight Automatic at level 60 Glyph of Empowerment Spell deathknight frostpresenceSpell deathknight unholypresence APB Skill Inscription 295
Scribe's Research Notes
Glyph of Enduring Infection APB Skill Inscription 295
Research: Celestial Ink
Glyph of Icebound Fortitude APB Skill Inscription 265
Research: Shimmering Ink
Glyph of Icy Runes APB Skill Inscription 295
Scribe's Research Notes
Glyph of Icy Touch APB Skill Inscription 280
Research: Celestial Ink
Glyph of Mind Freeze APB Skill Inscription 350
Research: Moonglow Ink
Glyph of Outbreak APB Skill Inscription 320
Research: Celestial Ink
Glyph of Pillar of Frost Spell deathknight frostpresence APB Skill Inscription 305
Research: Ink of Dreams
Glyph of Raise Ally APB Skill Inscription 295
Scribe's Research Notes
Glyph of Regenerative Magic APB Skill Inscription 500
Research: Lion's Ink
Technique: Glyph of Regenerative Magic
Glyph of Rune Tap Spell deathknight bloodpresence APB Skill Inscription 295
Scribe's Research Notes
Glyph of Runic Power APB Skill Inscription 295
Scribe's Research Notes
Glyph of Shifting Presences Ui-charactercreate-classes deathknight Automatic at level 60
Glyph of Strangulate APB Skill Inscription 375
Research: Lion's Ink
Glyph of Swift Death APB Skill Inscription 500
Research: Jadefire Ink
Technique: Glyph of Swift Death
Glyph of Ice Reaper Spell deathknight frostpresence APB Skill Inscription 295
Scribe's Research Notes
Glyph of Unholy Command Ui-charactercreate-classes deathknight Automatic at level 60
Glyph of Vampiric Blood Spell deathknight bloodpresence APB Skill Inscription 345
Research: Ink of Dreams
Minor Glyph Source Minor Glyph Source
Glyph of Army of the Dead APB Skill Inscription 295 Glyph of Corpse Explosion APB Skill Inscription 340
Research: Ethereal Ink
Glyph of Death Gate APB Skill Inscription 295
Research: Blackfallow Ink
Glyph of Death's Embrace APB Skill Inscription 295
Research: Midnight Ink
Glyph of Foul Menagerie APB Skill Inscription 330
Research: Moonglow Ink
Glyph of Horn of Winter APB Skill Inscription 295
Research: Blackfallow Ink
Glyph of Path of Frost APB Skill Inscription 295
Research: Ink of the Sea
Glyph of Resilient Grip APB Skill Inscription 295
Research: Ink of the Sea
Glyph of the Geist Spell deathknight unholypresence APB Skill Inscription 295
Research: Lion's Ink
Glyph of the Skeleton Spell deathknight unholypresence APB Skill Inscription 500
Research: Midnight Ink
Technique: Glyph of Skeleton
Glyph of Tranquil Grip APB Skill Inscription 295
Book of Glyph Mastery

Suggested professions

Icon-edit-22x22
Note: This is a generic section stub. You can help expand it by clicking  Edit to the right of the section title.
  • IconSmall Blacksmithing [Blacksmithing] and IconSmall Mining [Mining] are logical choices for any Plate armor wearing class. This allows crafting decent armor as one levels and sometimes good weapons also. Death knights need to play catch up usually, since they start leveling from the mid 50s. So, they have to visit several low level zones to build up their Mining skill.
  • IconSmall Alchemy [Alchemy] and IconSmall Herbalism [Herbalism] can be useful for death knights with non-Blood specialization who need quick potion heals and various buffs from elixirs and flasks. These professions are also good all around for making money and supplying guild runs.
  • IconSmall Cooking [Cooking] is good for any non-healing class for non-combat health regeneration and provides good buff foods.
  • IconSmall First Aid [First Aid] is good for any non-healing class for in-combat health regeneration and low downtime regeneration.
  • IconSmall Fishing [Fishing] is good for leveling cooking.

Notes

Media

Art

Videos

See also

Patch changes

References

  1. ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/wrath/features/deathknight/gameplay.xml
  2. ^ a b Death Knight. Blizz Warcraft III. Retrieved on 2009-06-20.
  3. ^ Death Knight Lore. Blizz Blizzard. Retrieved on 2009-06-20.
  4. ^ Gerald Villoria 2008-05-09. Enter the Death Knight. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2009-06-20.
  5. ^ Cody Bye 2008-05-09. World of Warcraft: An In-Depth Look at the death knight. Ten Ton Hammer.
  6. ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=8202574912&pageNo=1&sid=2000#10
  7. ^ Death Knight. Blizz Blizzard. Retrieved on 2009-06-20.

External links

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Facts about Death KnightRDF feed
Patch date12 October 2010 + and 20 January 2009 +

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