Unholy Death Knight Arena Basics:
Hello, my name is Warrcc and I have decided to put together a small guide on the basic things you need to know/ have as Unholy for arenas (this is mainly aimed at new players just starting and I guess people who are just looking for easy to find info on the basics for their alt dk). Just as a warning I am in no way, shape or form a top player, I just saw a few threads/ posts asking for how to gear as a dk and seeing as the old DK guide has not been updated since S9, I figured I would make one and I apologize for any mistakes in advance.
1st Tier: I would honestly just say to use Roiling Blood the majority of the time because it turns blood boil into pestilence. The only other talent you could take in this tier is Unholy Blight which I've seen a few high rated DKs running recently which is a 1.5 min CD that applies both of your diseases to all targets within 10 yards of you for 10 seconds.
2nd Tier: It completely depends on what you are facing and what you are running. Against any wizard cleaves you pretty much have to run AMZ and there are alot of melee/caster/healer setups I would suggest running AMZ for. Lichborne can be used against comps with tons of fears and when you don't have a tremor totem on your team and want to keep up offensive pressure, in addition you can use death coil to heal yourself when Lichborne is up. The 3rd choice is purgatory which I can only possibly suggest running against maybe a high burst comp like thugcleave if they're going on you over the other choices, outside of that I would run AMZ the majority of the time or Lichborne.
3rd Tier: Alright for this tier of talents the one you will more than likely use the majority of the time is asphyxiate. this turns your strangulate into a 30 sec CD 5 sec stun that can turn into a silence if stun is DR'ed on the target. Another viable choice if you run a comp that has several stuns would be chillblains for the root on chains of ice or if you need more mobility running death's advance. Honestly asphyxiate is really good right now so you will want to use it most of the time.
4th Tier: This tier is essentially survivability talents, the one that will be used a good majority of the time is conversion. Conversion when activated will turn 5 runic power per second into 3% of your health until it is cancelled or you run out of runic power which is extremely good if you're being trained. The other option is Death pact which sacrifices half of your ghoul's health to heal you for 50% of your own health which is very good to use against high burst comps that go on you.
5th Tier: For this tier I would only run Blood tap since this talent allows you to store charges that you can use to automatically activate a death rune which means you can save up the charges and stack a ton of necrotics up very quickly.
6th Tier: For the last tier Desecrated Ground seems to be the best option at all times, this talent is basically a 2nd trinket since it gets you out of any CC outside of silences, disarms, and roots and if you stay in the area it drops on the ground when it activates it prevents you from being CC'ed for an additional 10 seconds.
There are several useful glyphs that DKs can use, such as Dark Simulacrum, Anti-Magic Shell, Shifting Presences, Icy Touch, Unholy Frenzy, Death and Decay, Pestilence, Icebound Fortitude and Strangulate for majors. Most of the time you will want to run Icy touch since it turns your Icy touch into a offensive dispel with damage, Anti-Magic Shell for almost anytime there is someone with magic related damage on the other team, and Shifting Presences to keep most of your runic power when you switch between unholy presence and blood presence so you can continue to keep conversion up after you switch presences etc. Another Glyph that you will want to run the majority of the time is Dark Simulacrum, which reduces the CD of Dark sim by 30 seconds and increases the duration of how long you keep the spell you copy with it by 4 seconds. Depending on what you are facing you can switch out glyph of AMS, Dark sim, or shifting presences for the other listed glyphs I typically like running glyph of unholy frenzy against melee cleaves that train me over AMS to get rid of the self damage component of unholy frenzy. Running glyph of Icebound Fortitude is very useful against mage teams since it allows you to get out of deeps more often. The only minor glyph that is necessary is glyph of Death's embrace which gives you back 20 runic power whenever you use death coil to heal your ghoul.
Macros:Arena Targeting & Arena Focus
Arena 1,2,3 Macros
/cast [target=arena1] Strangulate
/cast [target=arena2] Strangulate
/cast [target=arena3] Strangulate
/cast [target=arena1] Death Grip
/cast [target=arena2] Death Grip
/cast [target=arena3] Death Grip
/cast [target=arena1] Dark Simulacrum
/cast [target=arena2] Dark Simulacrum
/cast [target=arena3] Dark Simulacrum
/cast blood tap
/cast [target=focus] Strangulate
/cast [target=focus] Icy Touch
/cast [target=focus] Death Grip
/cast [target=focus] Gnaw
/cast [target=focus] Mind Freeze
/cast [target=focus] Leap
/cast [target=focus] Chains of Ice
/cast Blood Presence
/cast Unholy Presence
#showtooltip Raise Dead
/cast [nopet] Raise Dead; !Dark Transformation
/cast [target=player] Death Coil
/cast [@pet] Death Coil
General Gameplay Tips:
Offensive Gameplay: As unholy, when you open you will want to use plague strike to apply your diseases to your target then chains into icy touch to slow & purge your target into additional to converting your runes to death and then blood boil twice to get 2 more runes converted into death runes and scourge strike with the last unholy rune. After that you want to use death runes on necrotic strike and use death coils with your runic power unless you are being trained in which case you wanna try to keep a decent amount of runic power to keep conversion running. If you are not being trained or targeted very often you can go in unholy presence but just be careful because you have to be ready for any swaps onto you and be ready to immediately toss up conversion / be in blood presence. Also for the use of cooldowns you usually want to wait until you have your trinkets procced to pop unholy frenzy & summon gargoyle together so the gargoyle does more damage and you can maximize your damage output and it is best to have 5 stacks of shadow infusion up at the same time you pop unholy frenzy + gargoyle so you can dark transform your ghoul at the same time. You will also want to use empower rune weapon whenever you are trying to dump out tons of pressure because it will allow you to stack a ton of necrotic strikes on your target. Another suggestion for offensive play is just making swaps to the other team's healer every 30 seconds with death grip into asphyxiate on the healer (if you are running asphyxiate of course), doing this will typically force defensive CD's each time you do it.
Defensive Gameplay: Defensively DKs have several abilities such as icebound fortitude, AMS, AMZ, conversion, death pact.
Anti-Magic Shell: You will want to use AMS whenever you see casters dumping tons of damage into you and you have no way to prevent the damage from going off or your healer is CC'ed, of course this ability allows you to get runic power when you absorb the damage. I'd like to add that AMS can also be used offensively to prevent casters from being able to peel you for the most part, allowing you to keep up pressure on your target but it can be risky if you don't have AMS when the other team's casters go offensive.
Anti-Magic Zone: Essentially the same thing as AMS as with AMZ use it whenever casters are doing tons of damage that you can't stop or your in danger due to your healer being CC'ed or if a team makes a swap to your healer you can just drop it on them to help deal with the incoming damage.
Death Pact: If you are running Death pact from the 4th tier of talents, you will want to basically just use this talent when you know you are going to take a ton of burst damage and your healer is in CC or can't keep up with the damage.
Conversion: If you have conversion from the 4th tier of talents, you will just turn this on whenever you are being trained to help keep yourself alive
Blood Presence: You should be in blood presence if you are being trained to help reduce damage and survive.
Icebound Fortitude: For Icebound Fortitude you want to use it whenever you are taking tons of damage or to help prevent damage like with a rogue kidneying you in a bomb just IBF it and run out of the bomb or a mage deeping you while your healer is sheeped etc.
Pet Management: As a DK you need to manage you ghoul to make sure it isn't in a bad position or randomly chasing players behind boxes so make sure you bind pet attack follow move to etc. and do not have your pet on anything other than passive. Make sure if a team is trying to kill your ghoul or you ghoul is taking any damage to use death coil to heal it back up it allows for quicker stacks to use dark transform on it since the death coils used for healing refund like 20 runic power each time and make sure you use huddle to help it survive through people just trying to train it into the ground.
Dark Simulacrum: One of the biggest abilities that separates high rated DKs from low rated DKs is the use of Dark Simulacrum. This ability allows you to copy almost any ability to an opponent uses that has a mana cost. Its great for copying defensive CDs like pain sup, divine shield, etc and for copying offensives like dark soul from warlocks and even for copying CC's such as cyclone, polymorph, HoJ, and etc. This ability takes a lot of getting used to be able to predict when opponents will use big CDs like pain sup and being able to time it to copy it but once you become more knowledgeable about this skill and predicting when opponents will use certain abilities it can help to completely turn around games.
Gearing & Gemming
Gemming varies based on what you are facing and what comp you are playing so you can either go max resil or max strength.
Yellow Sockets: Mystic Sun's Radiance or Resplendent Vermilion Onyx
Blue Sockets: Vivid Wild Jade or Tense Imperial Amethyst
Red Sockets: Resplendent Vermilion Onyx or Bold Primordial Ruby
Meta: Reverberating Primal Diamond
Stat Priority for UH in pvp is : str > resil > pvp power> hit 3% > exp 3%> mastery > haste > crit or
str > resil > pvp power> hit 3% > exp 3%> haste > mastery > crit
I'll just post the enchants you should use as well for each slot:
Shoulders: Greater Tiger Fang Inscription
Cloak: Enchant Cloak -Superior Critical Strike
Chest: Enchant Chest - Super Resilience
Bracers: Enchant Bracer - Exceptional Strength
Gloves: Enchant Gloves - Superior Strength
Legs: Angerhide Leg Armor
Boots: Pandaren's Step
For DK trinkets I'd highly recommend running the Str Shado-pan assault pve trinket and the tyrannical proc trinket or Relic of Xuen, The Spark of Zandalar or Fabled Feather of Ji-kun (The pve procs are just insane for arenas atm).
here are some armories of top rated DKs in the world for examples of how to gem & gear.
Streams:Very few DKs seem to stream so I will only link Biotox's stream & Zetoxz's stream unless anyone has any other suggestions for DK streams to link.
Biotoxz typically plays at high mmr as a dk on bg9 and is very good at answering questions from his viewers and giving advice/tips for DKs. For sure the best streaming pvp dk atm.
Zetox is a R1 DK who I believe just recently came back to the game but streams from bg9 as well.
For now, this is the end of the guide and if its acceptable I will try to continue to update for 5.3 and so on. Please feel free to tell me if I am missing anything or if you have any suggestions on what to add or get rid of and as I stated at the start this guide is directed towards new players to help them learn how to play Unholy and not for experienced players. Hope you enjoy.