Turbulent times for unholy DKs

Unholy has gone back and forth so much.

  1. Recently, its threat sucked.borat3
  2. Then it was Unholy Obliterate spec for deeps
  3. That got nerfed away.
  4. Today it’s no-reaping¬†Unholy with no-epidemic
  5. and on 3.3 that’s being changed again.
  6. plus bone shield’s duration in patch 3.3 is now 5 minutes (for DPSers) but cooldown is 1 min (tanks). Nice.

On live, SS is a shadow-damage attack so it has scaled with different raid buffs.

Scourge Strike on the PTR has been changed to a mostly physical attack, which means it’ll scale more like Blood and Frost do: very well with physical debuffs.

Blizzard have said this PTR change is aimed squarely at DKs spec’ing back into reaping, and to make SS actually work better overall. They predicted death coil damage will go down, which is good because recently it’s been the spell dps DKs relied on, making them kind of melee-caster-dps-machines.

They say:

Our goals were to make armor pen slightly more valuable to Unholy DKs and just make Scourge Strike and Reaping valuable to Unholy DKs.


I’m not going to re-simulate unholy yet til it’s settled down and Kahorie’s updated (done wow he’s fast). I’ll need to update the EP weights again as they’ll ¬†favour physical debuffs and armour pen.

In 3.3, it looks like Unholy will be back into a traditional spec (with reaping, epidemic and scourge strike spam).

Oct 13: The EJ DPS thread OP has been updated with commentary too, read here.

Blizzard said:

Scourge Strike and Unholy Blight in 3.3 Source.
Scourge Strike doesn’t work like Necrosis. There is no need to draw inferences from one to the other. If Scourge Strike benefits from EP and Black Ice on live, then the Shadow portion of it will in 3.3.

All we did was change part of the attack to physical damage, which lets us increase the amount that it hits for overall. This means it should do more damage against lightly armored or fully sundered targets but less damage against heavily armored targets (assuming no armor pen). Magic attacks (even melee weapon swings) typically hit for less since they ignore armor. Switching some of the damage to physical let us inflate the number.

Our goals were to make armor pen slightly more valuable to Unholy DKs and just make Scourge Strike and Reaping valuable to Unholy DKs. I understand many of you just wanted us to boost the numbers because you wanted for it to hit more, but under the way we balance it isn’t fair for a magical attack to hit for as much as a physical attack.

The nerf to Unholy Blight was in part because we think SS will be contributing to more damage overall.

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2 comments to Turbulent times for unholy DKs

  • The EJ forums have been crazy for the past two days!

    Everyone over there is in a tizzy, and can’t figure out what’s going to happen with Scourge Strike! :P

    I’ll be interested to see what happens with it, as Unholy is still my ‘old favorite,’ especially for dps.

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    v1.1.7.2 of the sim is now reliable, and so I’ll start to do some testing. Its frost-fever Glyph of IT is currently broken, but otherwise it’s fine.

    Highest dps spec seems is slightly different to traditional, with Glyph of Disease, Dark Death and Ghoul. Note Necrosis is not as good at the moment as alternatives for dps, going to verify if that’s true for tanks soon too. I’ve done preliminary tests on this tank spec and it looks good for threat.

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