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Lichborne: State of the Death Knight

Welcome to Lichborne, WoW Insider's newest class column. Every week in Lichborne, Daniel Whitcomb will explore the ins and outs of Blizzard's newest class, the Death Knight.

It's Wrath of the Lich King Beta time, and finally time to meet the new Death Knight class. Unfortunately, we can't really guarantee you'll be meeting the same class that you'll see in the live game, per se. It's not that the class isn't shaping up well or isn't quite distinctive, it's more that there's just so much that's changing.

The next build that's scheduled to hit the Beta servers is a perfect example. Not only will talent trees be changing extensively, with some talents becoming baseline and some baseline abilities becoming talents, some talents switching tiers, and others even switching trees, but the very way we inflict and stack diseases will be getting some tweaking as well. In addition, many of the Death Knight's baseline abilities, especially related to disease and damage rotations, are changing as well.

So with all these changes, what can you say about a class that's changing drastically on a weekly basis, and may look completely different from how it does now by the time Wrath goes live? Is it really possible to speak about an overarching unifying theory of Death Knights?

Well, let's try. Welcome to the first annual State of the Death Knight address.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, (Death Knight) Lichborne

The Art of War(craft): Dreaming about Death Knight PvP


I know, I know. It's too early to actually figure out how Death Knights will work in PvP. Humor me for a bit. The new class, with its juicy talents and abilities, even if they will get changed before Wrath of the Lich King hits the shelves, have got me really excited. They have some pretty cool spells and a new resource mechanic that promises to shake things up as far as gameplay is concerned. I'm not big on alts, and I play mostly on my main and a secondary toon that really needs more love, but I actually want to make a Death Knight. I'm not an alt-o-holic, but I think I'll be taking it all the way to Level 80.

Of course, while I tell all my friends that I'm finally making a toon I'll be happy to tank with, what I'm really thinking about is PvP. I had initially wanted to make a Death Knight class when the game was announced, Death Knights being my favorite Hero in Warcraft 3. I thought Warlocks were the going to be it, considering the Death Coil spell, but I ended up never making a Warlock at all. But now here's the real deal. Plate armor, badass Rune weapons, Deathchargers, and all things ooky, spooky, and vile. Sounds like a lot of fun to me.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

WWI '08 Death Knight Demo: Unholy spells and talents


Unholy was originally touted as the PvP DPS tree. What it appears to do rather well, though, are diseases and minions. If your vision of a Death Knight is close to a Diablo 2 Necromancer type, leading an army of undead minions and spreading plague and exploding corpses across the land, Unholy is probably going to be the tree for you. Of course, your crowd control is probably going to be a little peeved at you with all those DoTs, but that's what AE spells like Death and Decay and Unholy Blight are for, right?

Unholy also seems to include quite a bit of utility, including the ability to resist lots of spells and status effects, and some debilitating debuffs, so it could be called a utility tree of sorts as well. Here's a list of some of the Unholy spells and talents available in the WWI Demo:

Unholy Spells:

Death Gate
Requires level 55
Costs 1 Unholy Rune
10 second cast, 15 minute cooldown
Description: Returns you to Ebon Hold (Note: Since Ebon Hold is not yet implemented, in the demo it returned you to Tirion Fordring).

Death Grip
Requires level 55
Costs 1 Unholy Rune
Instant cast, 35 second cooldown.
30 yard range
Description: Harness the unholy energy that surrounds and binds all matter, drawing the target toward the Death Knight and forcing the enemy to attack the Death Knight for 3 seconds.

Plague Strike
Requires level 55
Costs 1 Blood Rune and 1 Unholy Rune
Instant cast
Melee range
Description: A vicious strike that deals weapon damage plus 37 and plagues the target, dealing 350 shadow damage over 12 seconds.

Raise Dead
Requires level 56
Costs 2 Unholy Runes
Instant cast
30 yard range
Description: Raises a ghoul from a corpse to fight by your side. if the target corpse is not humanoid, Corpse Dust must be supplied to complete the spell.

Death Strike
Requires level 58
Costs 1 Unholy Rune
Description: A deadly attack that deals 60% weapon damage. if the target dies within 6 sec and yields exp or honor, Death Strike heals the Death Knight for 406 damage.

Death and Decay
Requires level 60
Costs 1 Unholy Rune, 1 Blood Rune, 1 Frost Rune.
30 second cooldown
30 yard range
Description: 100 shadow damage modified by Attack Power is inflicted every 2 seconds to all targets in the affected area for 10 seconds. Has a chance to cause affected targets to cower in fear

Degeneration
Requires level 62
Costs 1 Unholy Rune
Description: Instantly attack the target, dealing 60% weapon damage and inflicting a disease dealing 91 damage over 21 seconds. Any existing heal over time spells on the target become corrupted, dramatically increasing the damage done by the disease and removing the healing effect. Stacks up to 3 times.

Unholy Presence
Requires level 70
Description: Imbues the Death Knight with unholy fury, increasing attack speed by 15% and reducing the global cooldown on all Death Knight abilities by 0.5 seconds.

Anti-Magic Shell
Requires level 75
Costs 1 Unholy Rune
20 second cooldown
Description: Surrounds the Death Knight in an anti-magic shell, absorbing 75% of the damage dealt by the next harmful spell. Damage absorbed by anti-magic shell energizes the Death Knight with additional runic power. Lasts 5 seconds.

Army of the Dead
Requires level 80
Costs 2 Unholy Runes
10 minute cooldown
Description: Summons an entire legion of your best ghouls to fight by your side.

Unholy Talents:

Lichborne
Requires 10 talent points
Instant cast, 5 minute cooldown
Description: Draw upon unholy energy to become undead for 30 seconds. While undead, you are immune to charm, fear, and sleep effects, and your horrifying visage causes melee attacks to have an additional 25% chance to miss you (Will of the Forsaken, eat your heart out!).

Corpse Explosion
Requires 20 talent points
Requires Runic Power
Instant cast
20 yard range
Description: Unleashes all available runic power to cause a targeted corpse to explode for 3.6 nature damage per 10 runic power to all enemies within 20 yards.

Improved Corpse Explosion
Requires 25 talent points, Corpse Explosion
Costs up to 2 talent points
Description: Exploded corpses cause 25% additional damage and have a 50% chance per point to cast a disease on enemy targets that deals 36% of the explosion Damage over 9 seconds.

Magic Suppression
Requires 25 talent points.
Costs up to 5 talent points
Description: You take 1% less damage from all magic per talent point. In addition, your anti-magic shell absorbs an additional 5% of spell damage.

Anti-Magic Zone
Requires 30 talent points, 5 points in Magic Suppression
Costs 1 Unholy Rune
Instant cast, 2 minute cooldown
20 yard range
Description: Places a large, static, anti-magic zone which can protect any party members inside it. The anti-magic zone absorbs 75% of the damage dealt by the next harmful spell. absorbs up to 10000 damage. lasts 30 seconds.

Crypt Fever
Requires 35 talent points
Costs up to 5 talent points
Description: Your diseases also cause crypt fever, which reduces an enemies attributes by 1% per talent point. Crypt Fever lasts for 18 seconds and can stack up to 3 times

Ebon Plaguebringer
Requires 40 talent points, 5 points in Crypt Fever
Costs up to 3 points.
Description: Your Crypt Fever morphs into Ebon Plague, which increases vulnerability to magic by 1% per talent point in addition to reducing attributes by 5%. Ebon Plague lasts for 18 seconds and can stack up to 3 times.

Summon Gargoyle
Requires 40 talent points
Requires Runic Power
Instant Cast, 5m cooldown
30 yard range
Description: A gargoyle flies into the area and bombards the target with shadow damage modified by the Death Knight's attack power. Persists for 1 second per 8 runic power up to 1 minute.

Unholy Blight
Requires 50 talent points
Requires Runic Power
Instant Cast, 1 minute cooldown
Description: A creeping swarm of unholy insects surrounds the caster for a 10 yard radius. all enemies caught in the swarm take 34 damage and are plagued with a disease that can stack up to 3 times. persists for 1s per 10 runic power.

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

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