Back To My Favorite Playstyle – Dual Wielding!

my Frost death knight dual-wield spec – 2/52/17

there is nothing more sexy than having 2 offensive weapons on each of your hands.  back when i was still a scrub warrior, this was always my setup when not tanking.  death knights, thankfully, were given the ability to wield 1-hand weapons on both main and off-hands.  unfortunately it got broken in a nerf not so long ago.

now once again, with the new patch (3.2.0), the frenzy of dual-wielding death knights is back!  and this time, it’s more than every death knight could have asked for with the addition of a new talent – Threat of Thassarian.

so what is this new Threat of Thassarian talent?  well in a nutshell, it allows a dual wielding DK to do damage with the off-hand weapon on certain special strikes.  it is a 3-point talent, and raises the chance for your off-hand to do damage for those special strikes by 100%.

now don’t confuse this with Nerves of Cold Steel.  this talent increases your chance to hit targets with one-hand weapons, and also increases the damage of your off-hand weapon.  it used to be that special strikes, such as Frost Strike, was counted only as a main-hand strike.  so if you had a 1-hand weapon, damage from the strike is counted as a main-hand strike only.  Threat of Thassarian allows you to do 100% damage on your off-hand weapon on certain special strikes, thereby making dual-wield damage viable once more.  it’s like hitting Frost Strike on your target with your main-hand and off-hand weapon now.

search through the web and you will find lots of links to cookie-cutter dual wield specs.  mine is no different really.  but i always tend to customize a talent or two.

here is one of skeletonjack’s dual wield recommendations – the 3/51/17 build.  according to SkeletonJack (SJ), it is the dual wield build with the highest damage output.

i adopted the 3/51/17 build above, but made a few modifications of my own.  i didn’t like how SJ spent his points in the frost tree.  (a) for one, he placed 1 point in Hungering Cold (HC), and left out Unbreakable Armor (UA).  errr, what’s with that?  in a damage perspective, UA clearly beats out HC  by far.  that’s a no-brainer.

but i know SJ, i’ve read lots of his posts.  he always has a reason for this, although i missed out on his reason why he took HC instead of UA.  maybe its a raid utility talent.  helping the tank perhaps in securing the mobs from wandering off to unsuspecting healers or careless ranged DPS casters?  who knows.  for me it’s UA or nothing.

(b) on second note, he took 2/2 Improved Frost Presence (IFP).  while i don’t really have anything against this, i saw 2 other options where you could rather spend your points.  by the way you need 3 more points to spend at least 35 points in the frost tree in order for you to access the higher tier talents. so the next 3 points are basically filler points.  spend them according to your preference.

(i) you can spend 2/2 on Icy Reach (IR) and another 1 on IFP.  or have it 1/2 on IR and 2/2 on IFP.

HC for me is not an alternative damage-wise.  while it does infect all your victims with Frost Fever, you have the glyphed Howling Blast for that to take care of. i am not in favor of Glyph of Disease by the way.  there are lots of boss fights with adds in Ulduar (and other raid dungeons?), so it’s your choice.

now why Icy Reach?  there are several boss fights where you will be thrown off to a distance or have to run away.  being able to attack farther away gives you lesser damage downtime.

why not Improved Frost Presence?  fully raid-buffed and without IFP, i can still reach a ridiculous amount of 26-28k HP in my present gear.  having more health is always a good thing for melee damage dealers.  but being able to attack while farther away from the boss/target is better for me on a DPS perspective.

besides if you’re gonna take this option you get 3% increased stamina anyway.

(ii) or you can forget about IR and IFP and instead spend all 3 points in Icy Talons (IT).  that’s right, 12% more haste on your attacks for the next 20 seconds.  that is getting half of what you lose for not taking 5/5 IT (20%) and Improved Icy Talons (5%).  faster attacks is a good idea.  you can get more procs from killing machine this way.

besides, if there are no enhancement shamans in you raid, you’d be missing out on the haste effect of their totem.

so after you’ve decided what talents you take as fillers, go on and get the other good stuff in the frost tree.  don’t forget to grab Unbreakable Armor.  that’s an increased strength buff by 25%  for 20 seconds.  very nice when timed with Heroism/Bloodlust i say.

all in all, this takes out 52 points spent under the frost tree.

for the blood tree, 3/3 is recommended for Subversion and that’s about it.  you spend the remainder of your points in the unholy tree.

so why Subversion?  it drastically lowers your threat while not in Frost Presence.  this can’t be argued.  lesser threat means more chances of survival or causing raid/party wipes.  i however have been testing 0/53/18 for a while too.  so i’m used to the threat issues and how to deal with it.

but the real  icing in taking Subversion is not for the lesser threat.  it’s the added critical strike chance to your Blood Strike (BS) and Obliterate (OB).  2 of the strikes you use often as a frost-spec’ed DK.  3/3 of Subversion and that’s an additional 9% critical strike chance!  yummy!

i only took 2/3 from this talent.  like i said, i’ve tested 0/53/18 for a while and it deals damage just as well as without it.  damage-wise though, there is really that difference that i noticed, of course, with having more critical strikes from BS and OB.  6% is good enough for me.  i could always take out 1 point from another talent, but 6% will do for now.

now for your final points, it’s all in the unholy tree.  see how i spent it here.  you basically have to take Necrosis and Blood-Caked Blade to maximize your dual-wield spec damage output.  dual-wield is about fast attacks which means more white attacks.  one of your top damage, when you review fights, should come from white attacks too.

enjoy! 🙂

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Notice: This article was published on August 21, 2009 and the content above may be out of date.