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Lichborne: Gates of Retribution raid loot for death knights

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

The second tier of Patch 5.4's Siege of Orgrimmar, Gates of Retribution, brings us to the Horde capital itself. There are four bosses to kill and much death knight loot to plunder. The disclaimers from last week's loot guide still apply. While best-in-slot guides are all well and good, keep in mind that what is "best" for you will change based on your skill level, talent choices, and your current gear, and that new gear at a higher item level, even if not optimal, may still be an upgrade over what you had before. With that in mind, let's dig in.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Why patch 5.2 is a great time to be a death knight

Lichborne Why patch 52 is a great time to be a death knight
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

With patch 5.2 in full swing, we've had time to take stock of the changes, not just in terms of new content, but in terms of the buffs and nerfs our classes received. I'm just going to come out and say it. As a class, death knights feel about the best they've been since the Wrath era. There's a lot of great stuff to be excited about, so let's go down the list.

Unholy is fun again

Unholy has, as a spec, been sort of on the outside since Cataclysm. Blizzard's revamp, which put unholy on a different rune spending scheme from the other specs and pulled it even further away from weapon damage and toward special ability damage, created a unique melee spec, but the complications and weaknesses that came with that spec were a bit much for many people, and with frost generally beating it in both DPS and simplicity, the spec gained a reputation for being played only by the most hard headed diehards.

Patch 5.2 came along and bought with it a much needed unholy revamp. The addition of Frost Fever to Plague Strike alone has helped make unholy's rotation smoother and more intuitive, as well as made target switching feel at least a little less punishing. AoE is still a little more awkward, but with Icy Touch on Reaping, you can at least get through that first setup and get to the main AoE rotation a lot more smoothly.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Unholy death knights get some gifts in patch 5.2

Lichborne Unholy death knights get some gifts in patch 52
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

Given that I have been talking the past few weeks about unholy's woes and some things Blizzard will probably never give us, I wanted to spend this week talking about some of the good things Blizzard has given us. Luckily, Blizzard decided to give us the greatest Christmas gift of all: Meaningful balance and mechanics changes to the unholy death knight on the upcoming patch 5.2 PTR.

Plague Strike delivers both diseases

Applying diseases when Outbreak is on cool down has been one of the most awkward parts of playing unholy ever since Scourge Strike was switched to a single rune model. Applying via the usual Plague Strike/Icy Touch model leaves orphaned runes that cannot easily be spent on a standard strike that fits into the basic unholy priority system, throwing off the rotation in a pretty jarring manner and making fights with multiple target switches a bit of a pain. However, in patch 5.2, Ebon Plaguebringer will allow Plague Strike to apply both Frost Fever and Blood Plague.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Guide to PvE unholy death knights in Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne Guide to PvE unholy death knights in Mists of Pandaria
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

With Mists of Pandaria less than a month, it's a good time to get caught up on your chosen class' mechanics and playstyle in order to get a good start in the new expansion. With that in mind, we've spent the past few weeks discussing the various specs and how they'll play. This week, we add to the collection with a guide to unholy death knights in PvE. As a reminder, the following guide is for the basics of the class and spec.

Unholy basics

Unholy, much like its sister trees, remains more or less unchanged in basic look and feel. Of course, there's enough tweaks that there's stuff to learn, but if you liked the way unholy played back in patch 4.3, you'll like the way it plays in patch 5.0.4 and Mists of Pandaria. The biggest change you'll notice is that the new version of Ebon Plaguebringer no longer has the magic damage debuff or the third disease. They have upped the damage on our strikes to compensate, but it's one more little piece of unholy look and feel that's gone.

Unholy is, of course, played with a two-handed weapon enchanted with Rune of the Fallen Crusader, as you will need its power to get the most damage from your strikes, and in Unholy Presence. You will also want to make sure you have your ghoul out as much as possible, as it makes up a not insignificant amount of your damage. If you don't want to deal with a pet or want to dual wield, you're better off switching to frost DPS.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Death knight class achievements

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

Like just about every Blizzard fanboy these days, I have been playing a lot of Diablo III. And while playing it, I have indeed been looking to complete achievements whenever I can. A lot of Diablo achievements are similar to WoW achievements, but one category Diablo III has that WoW doesn't is class achievements.

This is understandable. There are a lot of reasons WoW doesn't have class achievements. It's harder to level multiple characters and get them all. It's harder to implement flashy achievements that could force you to put a group at a disadvantage. People could focus on gaining achievement points rather than winning a battle. That said, I still think there's some merit to the idea.

One of the best reasons to have class achievements, I think, is as a possible teaching tool. There's still not a really solid, in-game way of teaching you how to play your class, but a few achievements that rewarded you for using certain skills in certain ways might just be a good start. Sure, you could just cheese them anyway, but if you tried to get them legitimately, you could very well find yourself learning how to play along the way. This week, we'll brainstorm a few death knight achievements and see how they could help a lot of people play the class better.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Ghostcrawler discusses death knights

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

To say that the death knight community has been a little grumpy this past week is probably an understatement. Essentially, what happened is that we got a post from Ghostcrawler discussing some of our Mists of Pandaria beta issues, and in almost all cases, he wasn't quite on board with our complaints. This week, we'll hit some of the highlights of what Ghostcrawler said and what they mean for our class, as well as look at some of the changes we have seen coming from the beta.

It's not a disadvantage -- it's a feature

In the list of perennial death knight complaints, there are three that are probably pretty near the top and have been for a while. First, unholy pets and summons do not scale with mastery. Second, unholy has very little in the way of burst AoE. Finally, critical strike is incredibly undervalued for frost due to Killing Machine.

Ghostcrawler pretty much breezed through all three of these complaints with a classic "working as intended." That's not to say he didn't explain all three reasonings to some extent, but they all boiled down to the idea that the dev team is perfectly happy with the skills working this way, because they're all calculated differences that separate the death knight trees from each other.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: 5 common death knight mistakes

A blood elf death knight outside molten core
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

A guide that tells you how to play is pretty helpful, don't get me wrong. But just reading that and following along often isn't enough. Sometimes, we make mistakes anyway. If it were simple as reading a guide, we'd all be in heroic raid groups never doing any less than 40,000 DPS on Madness of Deathwing and/or never dying due to our constant chain of Blood Shields while tanking. But human error will always enter into things.

Of course, realizing what mistakes you're making and getting them fixed is easier said than done, especially when they're being yelled at you by an irate guild leader or that especially grumpy member of your Raid Finder group. This week, we'll look at some of the most common mistakes death knights make and offer some short and sweet commonsense tips to avoiding them.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: BlizzCon cause and effect for death knights in patch 4.3

darkmoon arena
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

So the past few weeks have actually been pretty exciting for death knights. We saw a lot of new info come out of BlizzCon, including getting a couple long-standing questions answered with new updates to the patch 4.3 PTR. Today, we'll cover the basics of what we discussed with the devs at BlizzCon and see what fruit those discussions have borne on the PTR itself.

Bloody questions

One of the first questions asked at the Class Q&A on BlizzCon 2011 day two was more of a laundry list of blood death knight grievances, such as our issues with spike damage and with avoidance working against mastery. While we have gotten a good bit of dev love on the forums on these beefs, it was actually pretty nice to see it answered candidly on stage, if only to see a dev give an on-the-spot, straight-up answer.

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: The care and feeding of pets


Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly peek into the world of the death knight from WoW.com's resident undead slave, Daniel Whitcomb.

While we're not strictly a pet class, per se, no-one can deny that we probably have the largest menagerie outside of Hunters and Warlocks, depending on how we're specced. It could stand to be a bit more diverse (where's my glyph of the geist, Blizzard?), and it could stand to smell a bit nicer, but it does the job quite admirably. As a long time lover of the use of death knight pets, I've decided that this week is as good as any other to take a peek at those pets, both the common and the talented.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Guides, Talents, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Elementary death knight macros

Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly peek into the world of the death knight. Your host, Daniel Whitcomb, is enjoying the most wonderful time of the year, when a death knight can hang around in his natural habitat all day long without seeming creepy. Or no creepier than usual, at least.

As you approach the end game of WoW, one thing you may find out quickly is that the proper use of macros is a great way to take your game to the next level. Sometimes they streamline moves, other times they allow you to perform actions that would be otherwise impossible. Death knights are definitely no exception, and though we'd be here all week if I went through all the ins and out of macro theory, or even death knight macro theory, I figure right now is still a good time to get you started.

Let's look at a few basic essential macros for the various roles and trees of the class.

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Filed under: Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Instances, Raiding, Guides, Death Knight, Macro Anatomy, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Patch 3.2 Death Knight changes in-depth

See how nerfed I am?
Welcome to Lichborne, the Death Knight column, with your host, Daniel Whitcomb.

On my first read-through of the Patch 3.2 Death Knight patch notes, I had to chuckle a bit. If the theme of the Retribution overhauls was making Retribution DPS a bit more complicated, it was definitely very much about the simplification for Death Knights. Simplification is a relative term, of course, given that rune rotations are still in full effect, but there has been some streamlining of techniques and adjustment of cooldowns that will lead many of us to do some tuning up on our rotations. Let's take a deep look at the changes and see what they'll mean for us going forward into Patch 3.2.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: One more round of Death Knight changes in 3.0.8


Welcome to Lichborne. Your host is inflicted with the space plague this week, but has done his best to write for you people anyway, so be grateful, you hear?

We've covered 3.0.8 pretty extensively, between Mike Sacco's coverage of the initial round of changes and our week before last discussion, but the devs weren't done yet. With 3.0.8 likely to make it to live servers in the next week or two, this is probably a good time to discuss the Death Knight tweaks that have gone in the last few PTR updates.

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Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Bosses, Death Knight, Inscription, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Talents for catching up


Welcome to Lichborne, where Daniel Whitcomb is doing some last minute agonizing over what face to give his Death Knight on Thursday.

So there are quite a few of us, I imagine, who are still on track to switch to a Death Knight, or at least play one quite extensively, immediately when Wrath of the Lich King hits the live servers. But the fact remains that you'll be 15 levels behind everyone to start, and if you have friends to catch up to, you're going to want to get up there pretty quickly, most likely. Even if you plan to take it slow, you'll still want a good effective leveling build, most likely. So today, we'll look at three solid solo DPS builds from each tree, and discuss how to use them most effectively for grinding and leveling.

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

Lichborne: Unholy Blight, or I spent 51 points for this?

Welcome to this week's edition of Lichborne, where Daniel Whitcomb is totally bumming out that he won't be getting a sweet axe on his Death Knight.

I know a few of you have been asking for some good solid builds for powerleveling your Death Knight through Outland and through to Northrend, and I'm hoping to deliver soon enough, but unfortunately, it's hard for me to recommend something when it could very well change another couple times before release.

We're getting down to the wire, though, so it's likely the trees will solidify soon, and I'm hoping to have some recommendations on good Death Knight builds in the next week or two. For now, I've decided to take a look at one of the 51-point Death Knight talents to give you a taste of how things change in Beta. Specifically, I'm talking about Unholy Blight.

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

Lichborne: Death Knight glyphs

Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly weekend look at the first hero class, the Death Knight. Daniel Whitcomb is back after dealing with some light administrative work back at the Ebon Hold.

Inscription seems to be coming on to the beta server in bits and pieces, especially when it comes to the much looked for glyphs. One or two classes seem to trickle in each build, and in the latest build, it is the Death Knight's turn. Today, we'll take a quick look at the new Death Knight glyphs, and figure out how useful they'll be to the various playstyles and specs of the Death Knight. As always, it's worth noting that these are beta numbers, so things could change by the time Inscription and Death Knights see the light of day on live servers.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Expansions, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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