Playstyle – nuke or be nuked?

Posted: April 5, 2011 in WoW PvP

First of all:  you only use unholy presence, never ever use frost presence as
it’s a loss of utility and damage alike, it’s simply not worth it. For defensive play,
do not use blood presence, cause unholy provides the movement speed and
the increased rune regeneration, with which you are able to perform many
more death strikes than you would otherwise.

As a Frost DK, your possibilities to make the best usage out of your runes do
vary quite a bit, and is heavily dependant on your opponents armor.

A quick overview:
vs. cloth and leather: Obliterate/Froststrike
vs. mail and plate: Necrotic Strike/Howling Blast/Froststrike
Blood Strikes are needed against both opponent types obviously.
With 4.1 you don’t Bloodstrike anymore as your Bloodrunes are Deathrunes baseline. 

And because I’m asked a lot about a best-case rotation:
plate/mail: outbreak -> NS -> NS -> NS -> NS -> HB -> HB -> FS -> FS -> FS
leather/cloath: outbreak -> OB -> OB -> OB -> FS -> FS -> FS (whereat all KM proccs
should be eaten by obliterates)
Blood runes should be converted to deathrunes via bloodstrike before the burst obviously.

There are many DK’s who simply ignore obliterate and just spam HB/NS/FS all the time.
As far as I’m concerned, leaving out obliterate is just limiting your own possibilities.
Not in all situations, one would prefer the indirect pressure from NS over the
direct damage of obliterate.

This is just a rough proposal, you sometimes simply have to decide what’s best.
– A warrior on 20k HP with you having KM procced is a great target for an obliterate.
– A priest on 7k HP running away from you while his rogue peels you to death:
howling blast!
-A DK annihilating your partner? Chain him!

High armor targets are far weaker against magic damage, although I often
focus-necrotic strike on healers, simply for the casttime-decrease.

Cooldown usage:

Do not waste your CDs.
That’s it. Sounds simple, but it isn’t. Always question your decisionmaking
in every situation.

“Did I really had to IBF that kidney without them being low
and without a smokebomb on me? ”
“Did I really had to AMS at 60% HP while one of two casters had been interrupted?”
“Did I really had to use Pillar of Frost, knowing the warrior had disarm still up?”

Sometimes, even in these situations, the answer is yes. Sometimes not.

Some tips for the Frost DK’s:

– In every bracket the optimisation of your hungering cold usage is the key to winning.
Always grip someone additional in to have the whole enemy team trapped.
Your goal in using hungering cold can vary heavily:
You’re going for the kill: freeze them all to pick one of them and kill him.
You or your mates are in grave trouble: freeze and save your team.
Your healer needs to drink immediately, he’s completely dry. Go for it.
And so on, be creative …

– The killer combo in 2s (and other brackets obviously) : be on the DD, focus-grip the healer,
HC, PoF, nuke, ERW, nuke.
Very, very hard to survive, especially when your healer assists you.

– Never ever LoS your healer when there is the slightest possibility that you will die.
Do calculate the risks, be careful, do not tunnel.

  1. Brennen Beem says:

    I really enjoy the blog article. Really Cool.

  2. Ysondro says:

    “I often focus-necrotic strike on healers, simply for the casttime-decrease.”

    It is an increase as far as i know.

  3. Cya says:

    Hi i would know how you score a kill on an drood heal in 2s because i remember frost dk capable of high pressure on my drood like 50% health in 3second but i can’t do the same do you use obliterate cycle or the ns one ?

    • syreenee says:

      Answered that already down the comment list:
      The most helpful advice I can give is this link, a description of what to do against warrior/shaman.
      You can easily apply the scheme to any sort of healer/DD comp in 2s you may meet.
      Against druids you have to create great pressure before he is fully HoT’ed. Switch hard like I described it in the link above, after you used HC and nuke him down with NS/FS spam, if he
      heavily abuses travelform than root him with chains. Spam NS to spread your desecration all around him.
      He only has two cooldowns you have to deal with: Treeform and Nature’s grasp (instant roots when you hit him). You simply leave the druid alone when he uses tree and has more than 30% HP.
      The nature’s grasp you have to shell, meaning you have to recognize the buff on him before you get rooted, use your AMS and hit him 3 times, so all the grasp stacks are immunized by shell.
      If you do that he is in great trouble and has often no possibilities left to survive. Barkskin and Nature’s Swiftness are pretty ignorable as you can still kill him when he uses this.

  4. Dwagfail says:

    Hey, sorry if this is a stupid question, but if I’m in a battleground and I’m fighting 1v1 vs a mail/plate DPS, or in 2v2 vs double DPS, is it illogical to use Necrotic Strike if there are no healers anywhere? Except maybe an initial one on a pala or shaman who may have to self heal. Also, is there an addon or somewhere that you can see which spell you took with Dark Simulacrum without having to hover my mouse over the buff? Thanks for the awesome blog.

    • syreenee says:

      When you’re alone you shouldn’t use NS, just deathstrike or obliterate (depending on your HP) and froststrike ofc.
      My Dark Sim always shows me what I’ve stolen, maybe your macro is incorrect.
      I have my normal Dark Sim bound to “<" and my macro

      #showtooltip dark simulacrum
      /target focus
      /click ActionButton12

      bound to "shift-<". You have to adjust the actual button you bound it to ofc.

      Edit: You mean you can't identify the icon when you stole something because your not familiar with it right? Well, I guess there is only the possibility to get used to them, at least that’s what I did.

      Edit 2: I guess I have something for you: DarkSimAlert. Not tested it myself but that’s pretty much what you were looking for.

      • wingless says:

        nubish question but wats “DD” and “ofc” means cause im probly wrong about wat u said but im thinkin about death and decay while havin freeze up also :S otherwise ty for the tip =]

      • syreenee says:

        DD = damage dealer, just the abbreviation for a damage dealing class like warriors
        ofc = of course

    • wingless says:

      i was wondering when is it that u pop ur Pillar of frost since its a 1 min cd cause i sometimes just go all outwhen game starts 2 put high pressure , then when makin a switch or kill with pillar of frost and synapse since the trinket is a 2 min. but i havent been past 2400s yet so i’d really like 2 know from ur experiance Syreenee =]

      • syreenee says:

        I use it the first time when I get a full freeze an healer and DD, no matter what target I choose. And then ofc you maximize the uptime of it, everytime you have it wait shortly for a good spot to create pressure and then pop it. But don’t wait too long, pillar often creates pressure just by using it. :> Try to pair it with hungering cold, good method when you go for the healer is to grip the healer to the dd, freeze, use pillar/trinket/strang on the healer and repeat that every minute (with or without strang depends on your spec) til he dies because of lack of CDs.

  5. Wreckonize258 says:

    I LOVE YOU, is a very unhomosexual way of course. I’ve been looking for tips on my new 85 DK and found a link to your site. it is awesome and a life saver. KEEP IT UP =D

  6. JJ Banks says:

    Why do you use FS (frost strike)? Rather than Howling Blast?

    • syreenee says:

      You mean the priority list? Yeah well, it’s situational, ofc you can FS when you’re in melee range, usually it’s optimal to blow all rune CDs and then dump RP, if you’re going for the kill then FS. :>

  7. Nibirue says:

    Hey, I enjoy the blog! I wasn’t able to comb the entire thing however 😦 so if my question is answered somewhere i apologize.
    I’d like to clarify, when you say always play in unholy presence, that refers to frost specs as well?
    And secondly, are there any current pvp’r frost DK’s that post videos or do live streams? and if so can you point me in that direction? Thanks!

    • syreenee says:

      In fact, you play every DK DD spec, be it pvp/pve and unholy/frost in unholy presence since 4.1.
      There are no Frost DK play videos, and as far as I know, nobody streams that either, so I’m sorry.

  8. fressé says:

    Are u stacking NS on a cloth Healer or just burst with OB? For now i pop trinkets stacks NS then “Empower Rune Weapon” and keep stacking and then a strang and dumping FS and OBs. Do u have a better tip of how to nuke the healer. is there diffrent tacts of how to nuke a healer in both 2s and 3s? Cuz im sticking to one tactic.

    • syreenee says:

      That’s exactly what I’m doing right now, Priests seem not really able to get out of the lethal NS-stack circle. Once you stacked NS over the amount that their Desperate Prayer is able to heal they are pretty screwed.
      For 3s though I’m almost always trying to NS once, and then burst, because priests usually play with heavy peel-clases, like mage and rogue, and you have to make sure you deal as much damage as possible in a short period of time, especially with my comp (shaman TSG). But generally you’re doing it right.

  9. fressé says:

    You should fraps some games and really show how your using HC etc.

  10. fressé says:

    can you write the rotation etc in english ?

  11. Tishen says:


    vielen dank für die schnelle antwort.



  12. Tishen says:

    hey syreenee,

    ich schreib besser auf deutsch, auch wenn es für den ein oder anderen besucher dann evtl weniger informativ ist.
    schöne seite, hab heute schon einiges zum frost dk gesucht bzw auch gelesen, allerdings ist es doch relativ verwirrend, ob man nun mit obliterate oder ohne spielt und wie man seine runen am besten managed, ehrlich gesagt ist das der punkt, der mich an meinem dk am meisten beschäftigt.
    bisher beschränken sich meine arena erfahrungen hauptsächlich auf meinen priest sp/disc und da auch nur bis 1800 ca.
    es ist schon klar, dass es im pvp keine feste rotation geben kann aber was ist z. b. ein guter opener bzw. welches ist die “rota” die man am meisten verwenden würde ungeachtet dessen, wie der gegner reagiert und was ändert sich an dieser spielweise mit den kommenden änderungen? ich hoffe das sind nicht zu viele fragen, vielen dank und hoffentlich bis bald 😉
    grüße Tishen

    • syreenee says:

      naja wie oben schon gesagt, das ist abhängig von dem Ziel das du schlägst.
      Platte/Kette: outbreak -> NS -> NS -> NS -> NS -> HB -> HB -> FS -> FS -> FS
      Leder/Stoff: outbreak -> OB -> OB -> OB -> FS -> FS -> FS (so aufteilen, das die KM-proccs möglichst von den OBs aufgebraucht werden)
      Ich hoff mal, die englischen Begriffe sind kein Problem.
      Beides davon ausgehend, dass du vorher die Blutrunen via Blutstoß in Todesrunen umgewandelt hast, was du natürlich vor dem Burst getan haben solltest (und mit 4.1 wegfällt).

      Es gibt viele DK’s, die Auslöschen komplett weglassen. Das ist möglich, allerdings sind kritische Auslöschen (durch KM proc) so vernichtend, dass ich persönlich das für keine gute Idee halte. Grade um Heiler unter Druck zu bringen ist HB/NS spam der bessere Weg, aber situationsbedingt sind kritische Auslöschen von 30-35k einfach zu gut, um darauf zu verzichten.

  13. Grotto says:

    Thankyou 🙂

  14. Grotto says:

    Do you play in frost presence or unholy?

    • syreenee says:

      Hey, always in unholy presence, frost presence play (or former blood) in pvp has died since cataclysm. The 0.5 seconds less global cooldown are just too awesome.

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