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Death Knight Frost tree changes in latest Wrath Beta build

Between Blood's lack of downtime and Unholy's AE abilities and Ghoul control, Frost is starting to feel a bit like the unwanted orphan of the Death Knight trees. While it's heavy on the tanking talents and has some burst potential, we've been there done that, perhaps, already have Frost Mage alts, and so on and so forth.

Luckily, Blizzard recently made some changes to the tree on Beta which look like they may be nudging the tree in the right direction toward equality with the other two trees. Here's a concise list of the changes via MMO-Champion:

  • Improved Icy Touch now increase the damage of your Icy Touch by 10/20/30/40/50% and its damage against Frozen Targets by 20/40/60/80/100% (Old version : Reduces the cooldown of your Icy Touch spell by 1/2/3/4/5 sec and increases its critical strike damage bonus by 10/20/30/40/50%)
  • Nerves of Cold Steel has been moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2.
  • Annihilation has been moved from Tier 6 to Tier 3.
  • Aneurysm has been moved from Tier 8 to Tier 7.
  • Merciless Combat has been moved from Tier 8 to Tier 6.
  • New Talent - Blood of the North - Tier 8 (5 Points) - Whenever you use a Blood Strike there is a 20/40/60/80/100% chance that the Blood Rune will become a Death Rune when it activates
  • Frost Aura increases your Frost Resistance by 32/65 instead of 22/45.
  • Frost Strike prerequisites have been removed. (Merciless Combat was required before)

The Nerves of Cold Steel and Annihilation changes are probably made primarily so that Blood and Unholy Death Knights can have a chance at grabbing them. Annihilation should be especially nice for Unholy Death Knights, since it will allow them to use Obliterate for massive damage with a very low chance of removing the massive amount of disease that they use to do most of their damage and debuffing.

Of course, a build that takes Annihilation will probably have to give up Vendetta, which could make grinding a bit more difficult, though Death Strike, Death Coil, and Death Pact may help make up for that somewhat.

Blood of the North should also be very helpful for Frost Death Knights, as they've probably suffered the most from the decision to forego runeswapping and standardize runeblades at 2/2/2. With all the talented Frost moves they use, being able to activate an extra Death Rune should be very helpful in giving them some leeway to set up massive freeze damage combos.

The Improved Icy Touch change's benefits are a bit more nebulous. At the least, it should allow for a quick freeze damage combo with Chains of Ice, but overall, Frost Knight freezes are still rather random, and Hungering Cold's Freeze will likely always be saved for the Deathchill/Howling Blast combo, so it's hard to say how much mileage a Death Knight will get from this change.

Of course, Ghostcrawler's still actively seeking feedback on the changes it seems, and has said that they're looking to make Frost Death Knights less dependent on rotating all their abilities and keeping more of them situational, so it's likely that Frost will see a few more changes before live for sure, as Blizzard contines the painstaking process of building and balancing a new class fom the ground up.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Expansions, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

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