Death Knights have a variety of PvP based skills, and since they are considered the “clicky” or “timer” tank, a lot of their abilities carry over well into PvP. All three trees have useful PVP skills; the choice is dependent on your play style and whom you may be doing arena with. If you are running 2’s with Double DPS; you may want to look more at the blood tree. Whereas if you are playing with a healer, frost/unholy may work out better for you.
The following is a look at some of the more PvP/Arena oriented abilities the various trees have to offer.
- Rune Tap/Improved Rune Tap: Having the ability to heal yourself for 20% of your total health every 30 seconds, really gives you alternatives to not running a healer. Obviously it doesn’t compensate, but every bit helps. If you choose to get the Rune Tap glyph, it also heals you for an additional 10% and heals your group for 10%. This can make or break some arena fights and allow you to run double DPS and still provide healing for your group.
- Mark of Blood: This ability, like Rune Tap, gives you extra healing without the need of a healer. It can be placed on your target for 20 seconds, and every single attack they do to you, will heal you for 4% of your max HP. This is a magic effect so it can be dispelled; however, it cannot be cloak of shadows off. This can be a very effective way of killing arena teams that choose to run with rogues.
- Endless Winter: This talent not only gives you a free interrupt/spell lock out, but also gives your chains of ice the ability to proc frost fever. Chains of ice currently has no reduced duration, so being able to apply frost fever without using icy touch is a nice alternative.
- Hungering Cold: This ability is basically an AoE freeze, with a twist. If you apply your diseases prior to using this skill, they will still take damage even while frozen. Effectively giving you, or your group time to regroup and recover while still doing decent damage to your enemy. This ability can be very useful in 2’s, 3’s and 5’s, as it takes players out of the fight, and can force trinket cool downs, invulnerabilities or multiple global cool downs just to dispel a single button press.
- Master of Ghouls: Having a permanent pet in arena not only adds an extra element of damage, but gives you an extra stun, or the ability sacrifice for a big heal. While the DK’s pet may not hit for as hard as a Hunters, it still helps keeping people from casting, and allows you to keep pressure on a target that you may not be focusing.
- Shadow of Death: This ability allows you to come back to life after you die, to help your teammates finish the fight. You maintain your characters attack power and weapon procs and do quite a lot of damage in this form. I personally have won a few arena matches; even after dying, by finishing off my enemy while in ghoul form. You have a stun, leap and damaging attack in this form, not to mention a suicide command that does 25% of your max health in damage.
This PvP Build (21/0/50) (as of patch 3.0.3) is a great starting place if you are indecisive about which tree you’d like to go. Try it out and play around with these other talents to get a feel for your play style.
Unlike for PvE, there are no clear cut winners for the PvP DK. Each tree brings multiple benefactors to the fight, and can adapt to your teams makeup. Design your DK around your play style, and make sure to factor in whom you are playing with and you can’t go wrong.
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