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For death knight abilities and talents on Classic servers, see Death knight abilities (Classic).

Death knight abilities are abilities used by death knights. Most abilities are shared between all specializations, while some are only specific to one (or two) specializations.

Death knight abilities use either runes (as part of the rune system) or runic power and are divided into the trees of Frost, Blood and Unholy.


All death knights automatically learn the following spells at the specified level, regardless of specialization.


The three death knight specializations are Blood (tanking), Frost (melee DPS) and Unholy (melee DPS). For an exploration of each death knight specialization, see Death knight specializations.


Talents become available at level 10. They can be changed at any time outside of combat, except during a PvP match or Mythic+ dungeon. A talented ability cannot be changed while it is on cooldown.

Row 5 is locked until 8 points are spent, and row 8 is locked until 20 points are spent.

Class talents[]

Tier Talent Ranks Requirement
1 Spell frost chainsofice [Chains of Ice] 1 Automatic for Frost
Spell deathknight butcher2 [Death Strike] 1 Automatic for Blood
Inv pet ghoul [Raise Dead] 1 Automatic for Unholy
2 Spell deathknight mindfreeze [Mind Freeze] 1 Chains of Ice
Spell shadow antimagicshell [Anti-Magic Shell] 1 Death Strike
Spell shadow deathanddecay [Cleaving Strikes] 1 Raise Dead
3 Spell frost chillingblast [Blinding Sleet] 1 Mind Freeze
Spell deathknight mindfreeze [Coldthirst] 1 Mind Freeze
Achievement zone frostfire [Permafrost] 1 Mind Freeze
Spell deathknight butcher2 [Improved Death Strike] 1 Anti-Magic Shell
Spell shadow antimagicshell [Anti-Magic Barrier] 1 Anti-Magic Shell
Ability argus deathfog [March of Darkness] 1 Anti-Magic Shell
Spell shadow corpseexplode [Sacrificial Pact] 1 Cleaving Strikes
Inv misc bone skull 01 [Control Undead] 1 Cleaving Strikes
Ability creature poison 01 [Enfeeble] 1 Cleaving Strikes
4 Spell deathknight iceboundfortitude [Icebound Fortitude] 1 Blinding Sleet OR Coldthirst OR Permafrost
Spell chargepositive [Blood Scent] 1 Permafrost OR Improved Death Strike
Spell misc warsongfocus [Veteran of the Third War] 2 Improved Death Strike OR Anti-Magic Barrier OR March of Darkness
Spell chargepositive [Suppression] 1 March of Darkness OR Sacrificial Pact
Ability bosskilrogg deaththroes [Brittle] 1 Sacrificial Pact OR Control Undead OR Enfeeble
5 Spell deathknight iceboundfortitude [Acclimation] 1 Icebound Fortitude
Spell chargepositive [Merciless Strikes] 1 Icebound Frotitude OR Blood Scent
Spell deathknight antimagiczone [Anti-Magic Zone] 1 Blood Scent OR Veteran of the Third War OR Suppression
Spell chargepositive [Might of Thassarian] 1 Suppression OR Brittle
Ability deathknight icygrip [Clenching Grasp] 1 Brittle
6 Spell frost chainsofice [Proliferating Chill] 1 Acclimation OR Merciless Strikes
Ability rogue envelopingshadows [Gloom Ward] 1 Merciless Strikes
Ability deathknight asphixiate [Asphyxiate] 1 Merciless Strikes OR Anti-Magic Zone
Spell deathknight antimagiczone [Assimilation] 1 Anti-Magic Zone
Spell shadow deathpact [Death Pact] 1 Anti-Magic Zone OR Might of Thassarian
Spell deathknight strangulate [Death's Reach]/
Ability creature disease 05 [Grip of the Dead]
1 Might of Thassarian
Spell deathknight subversion [Unholy Endurance] 1 Might of Thassarian OR Clenching Grasp
7 Boss odunrunes blue [Runic Attenuation] 1 Proliferating Chill OR Gloom Ward
Inv helm plate raiddeathknight p 01 [Wraith Walk] 1 Asphyxiate OR Assimilation OR Death Pact
Ability deathknight desecratedground [Unholy Ground] 1 Death's Reach/Grip of the Dead OR Unholy Endurance
8 Ability racial wardoftheloafrost [Insidious Chill] 1 Runic Attenuation
Inv artifact bloodoftheassassinated [Blood Draw] 2 Runic Attenuation OR Wraith Walk
Achievement boss kelthuzad 01 [Will of the Necropolis] 2 Wraith Walk OR Unholy Ground
Inv fabric ebonweave [Death's Echo] 1 Unholy Ground
9 Spell deathknight icytalons [Icy Talons] 2 Insidious Chill OR Blood Draw
Ability deathknight hungeringruneblade [Rune Mastery] 2 Blood Draw OR Will of the Necropolis
Inv sword 1h felfireraid d 01 [Unholy Bond] 2 Will of the Necropolis OR Death's Echo
10 Inv sword 62 [Empower Rune Weapon] 1 Icy Talons
Ability maldraxxus deathknight [Abomination Limb] 1 Rune Mastery
Ability deathknight soulreaper [Soul Reaper] 1 Unholy Bond

Specialization talents[]

PvP talents[]

PvP talents become available at level 20. Up to 3 PvP talents may be active at any given time (with additional slots becoming available at levels 30 and 40).

These talents are active in the open world with War Mode turned on, as well as during instanced PvP. They have no effect in dungeons and raids.


Runeforging is a skill that allows death knights to augment their weapons with various runes at any runeforge. A weapon can only have one rune at a time.

Name Level Weapon type Description
Spell frost frostarmor [Rune of Razorice] 8 Any Causes 2% extra weapon damage as Frost damage and has a chance to increase Frost vulnerability.
Spell holy retributionaura [Rune of the Fallen Crusader] 8 Any Has a chance to heal you for 3% and increase total Strength by 15% for 15 sec.
Inv sword 130 [Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle] 8 Two-handed Increases Armor by 5% and all stats by 5%.
Spell nzinsanity bloodthirst [Rune of Unending Thirst] 20 Any Increases Movement Speed by 5% and grants healing and extra Haste and Movement Speed on kill.
Ability argus deathfog [Rune of Sanguination] 32 Any Increases the damage of Spell deathknight butcher2 [Death Strike] based on the enemy's missing health and heals when falling bellow 35% health.
Spell deathknight thrash ghoul [Rune of the Apocalypse] 44 Any Has a chance to apply one of four debuffs on ghoul attacks.
Ability deathknight runicimpowerment [Rune of Hysteria] 46 Any Increases Runic Power by 20 and has a chance to increase Runic Power generation.
Spell fire twilightfireward [Rune of Spellwarding] 48 Any Deflects 3% of all spell damage and has a chance to create a shield that absorbs spell damage.


Glyphs are items that can change a spell or ability's visual appearance. Most glyphs are crafted by scribes, are color-coded by class, and can be applied as early as level 11. They can be removed at any time outside of combat using Inv misc dust 02 [Vanishing Powder].

Glyph Used on
Inv glyph minordeathknight [Glyph of Cracked Ice] Spell deathknight pathoffrost [Path of Frost]
Inv glyph minordeathknight [Glyph of Foul Menagerie] Spell deathknight armyofthedead [Army of the Dead]
Inv glyph minordeathknight [Glyph of the Chilled Shell] Spell shadow antimagicshell [Anti-Magic Shell]
Inv glyph minordeathknight [Glyph of the Crimson Shell] Spell shadow antimagicshell [Anti-Magic Shell]
Inv glyph minordeathknight [Glyph of the Geist] Inv pet ghoul [Raise Dead]
Inv glyph minordeathknight [Glyph of the Skeleton] Inv pet ghoul [Raise Dead]

See also[]