WoW Confidential

World of Warcraft Guides and Discussion

Dirge On December - 3 - 2008

Leveling Guide for

Welcome Dirge, a good friend of mine, to WoWConfidential. He has tons of knowledge about the game and he’s coming on board to contribute articles. He recently hit level 80 with his Death knight and shares how he got there.

With Death knight’s (DK) being able to begin at the character creation level of 55, many players have chosen this class as their new mains or alts. DK is Blizzards fourth tanking class edition in Wrath of the Lich King and many peoples’ opinions are still up in the air when it comes to what the DKs roles will be in raiding. However, if you are looking to have a little fun solo, PVP, or in small groups; DK might be the class for you!

Continue reading to find out the best talent builds for leveling

No matter what talent spec you decide to go with, the Death Knight has damage and survival in every line. The more popular lines for solo leveling tend to be Blood and Unholy. Combine this with a good leveling guide and you’ll hit 80 in no time, read the reviews here.

Before breaking down the trees, I’ll give a little bit of background on each.

Blood Tree

Blood tends to be more single target oriented* With the specialization in physical damage, burst and the ability to amplify the rewards of leeching health. While many will argue the benefits of each talent end game; blood has a few talents that really speed up the leveling process.

Butchery – This skill is a very solid for anyone leveling and most DPS builds that want to utilize some of the blood tree. Being able to Generate 20 RP(Runic Power) each mob you kill and 2 every 5 seconds, allows you to continuously have RP to go from mob to mob.

Scent of Blood – When deciding on this skill, you need to remember that it goes off when you are attacked, so DPS Death knights aren’t going to benefit from this as much as ones being hit, however this is a great skill in combination with Butchery for the solo leveling DK that wants to spam death coil or blow their Runic Power.

Vendetta – Another skill that is very, very useful for the solo DK. While leveling up as blood, you will almost never need to rest or stop to heal as you gain 6% total life per honor/exp kill.

Now, there are many other talents that help PVE, but the above three really push the Blood DK forward when it comes to leveling fast and efficiently.

(*) As stated in a recent post from Blizzard, they are looking at possible ways to add AoE damage attacks to the Blood tree. This could very well push blood over the top when it comes to the ideal solo leveling build!

Here is an example solo leveling build for Blood (note: this is a level 70 build)

Unholy Tree

Unholy is more sustained DPS which specializes procs, pets, movement increases and Area of Effect damage. A lot of people prefer Unholy, because it tends to be the more “fun” oriented tree in the eyes of most. There are a few abilities that speed up your leveling, and they are :

Impurity - This is the main ability that amplifies the DKs spell damage. Like DK’s already receive 25% parry rating from strength, this talent converts 25% of Attack Power into spell damage. This means your dots tick for more, and your deathcoils start hitting well into the thousands. This talent is almost mandatory for any DK thinking of going unholy.

Ebon PlaguebringerThis combined with the above talent are what make Unholy a sustained DPS. These abilities amplify your dots and magic damage even further. Not only does this affect your commonly used frost fever and blood plague, but other talents if you so choose; Wandering Plague or Unholy Blight benefit as well as other AoE skills like Pestilence and Bloodboil.

Master of GhoulsThis talent allows the ghoul you summon to be controlled by you, and become permanent. Your ghoul with the Ravenous Dead talent, gains 60% of your personal strength and stamina, and you can also choose to get a glyph which gives your ghoul another 20% of your strength. These combined allow your ghoul to do some serious damage. Being able to control your ghoul; like the hunter pet, gives you the option to “leap”, “stun”, “claw” and “huddle”.

Personally, I find the unholy tree very hard to skip over talents. I find almost every talent in it useful, and hard to turn up. It may not be the greatest 1v1 spec over a short duration fight, but for long boss fights or AoE, you will find Unholy to be a strong talent tree choice.

Here is an example solo leveling build for Blood (note: this is a level 70 build)

When deciding between Blood and Unholy, personal preference and play style should be the deciding factor. I Personally leveled to 75 with blood then switched to unholy until 80, but could of gone either way. Frost is not a bad tree, just not a popular one for leveling.

Combine this talent build with Zygor’s Leveling guide which has an in-game addon walkthrough for all WOTLK quests for maximum efficiency and to get a level every 2-3 hours. For a free alternative check out my write up about leveling guides in this post.

Categories: Death Knight, Leveling, WOTLK

7 Responses

  1. Jake says:

    This is a great help i would like u to contact me and see if i could get some 1 on 1 advice at

  2. Oviddanu says:

    Are there any sites giving DK build tips from..oh idk….maybe this year? 6/30/09 plz

  3. jeraea-mannorothalliance says:

    yeah blood is definitley leveling spec but what if i want to solo elites for money? im guessing blood also but i cnt decide on blood or frost cuz frost is tanking spec and u get the freezy thing XD

  4. Trork says:

    Very nice post :)

    A friend recently asked on my guilds forums for a good DK spec, everyone just assumed he was 80 and told to check our top DPSers spec, which is Unholy atm.

    I went at checked his level, and since it was lvl 65, I told him to blood specced, because that’s what I did, and it was awesome.

    I suggested him going for this spec:

    and give him these tips:
    now on this, you will want to make pulls like this:

    1. mount up and get 3-4 mobs to attack you.
    2. target a mob that is not attacking you but is close enough to DG.
    3. death grip that mob.
    4. put death and decay on the ground
    5. cast Icy Touch + Plague strike + Pestilence
    6. use blood boil if there are 3+ mobs, if 2 or 1 mob only, use Heart Strike.
    7. use Death Strike to deal damage + heal + create 2 death runes.
    8. use Rune Tap to heal if needed.
    9. loot, rinse and repeat.

    This is basically what I did when I levelled my DK, only I did not have any glyphs -.-

    it took me 2 days to go from 55-70, and maybe 6-8 days from 70-80. My /played is around 70 days in total, 60 being on this level (80), so I guess blood spec is a real good spec for leveling. I did not use this spec I am have given him simply because there has been many changes in the spec since wotlk was released. But I am sure that with this spec, there will be no down time in between mob pulls, and you can easily have around 5 adds on you at the same time.

  5. Lichesque says:

    I am in the process of building a blood unholy combo dk… she puts out hellified dps both aoe and solo mobs… any sugestions for this build? I do a lot of solo and don’t really want to dual spec.

  1. [...] Vote Death Knight Leveling Build 55-80 Blood and Unholy [...]

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