WoW: Cataclysm Classic Death Knight class changes guide & new abilities

James Lynch
Death Knight WoW Class

Introduced in the most World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, the Death Knight has proved to be an impressive class. They were admittedly very strong in the original release of Wrath, and that remained equally true in the reissued version of the expansion.

In Cataclysm, they look set to continue that run of good form. Though the class does not benefit from a glut of new abilities between expansions, the additional options in its available toolkit should allow it to remain a formidable option.

The changing of the talent trees also makes a ton of sense. The more well-defined roles of each spec allow it to settle into the next expansion with a clear purpose, and Death Knight players should be pleased with how the class performs in the most difficult content.

Here’s our guide to all the major changes coming to the Death Knight in Cataclysm Classic.

New Death Knight spells and abilities

hearthstone death knight

Level 81: Outbreak

In what should become a bit of a staple, Outbreak infects the target with both Frost Fever and Blood Plague simultaneously and at no rune cost. It’s a solid part of any damage-over-time rotation and allows the Death Knight to add damage stacks to multiple mobs quickly. It also has a useful, if not overpowered, cooldown of a minute.

Level 83: Necrotic Strike

Necrotic Strike is an impressive ability that should add utility to both the PvE and PvP toolkit for Death Knights. It outputs basic damage that is relatively competitive in its own right, but it also adds a debuff that absorbs healing based on the damage done in the first instance. This is useful in several scenarios in Cataclysm, and while it won’t blow people away, it should be a solid part of most rotations.

Level 85: Dark Simulacrum

Though it can be a little finicky to get right, Dark Simulacrum does have significant potential if used correctly. Essentially, it allows the Death Knight to strike a target, applying a debuff that lets the character copy its target’s next spell before turning it back on them. Depending on how situationally aware your opponent is in PvP, it can be very strong if used at the right time.

Talents, Masteries, and Spec changes

The Death Knight in WoW

Many Death Knight players may not want sweeping changes heading into Cataclysm Classic, but they’re going to get them anyway. The headline news is that this is the expansion where Blood Death Knights switch over to becoming purely a Tank spec, rather than a hybrid setup. As part of this, several Tanking talents will move from the Frost and Unholy trees over to the new Blood tree.

Blood Presence and Improved Blood Presence are a big part of this, offering big reductions to incoming crit chance for Blood DKs.

Frost is likely to be the premier DPS melee class in the earliest throes of the game, as its focus on Dual Wield dovetails nicely with the way the talents are set up. Unholy is all about handing out as many afflictions as possible to get passive damage output as high as possible during cooldowns.

All three Death Knight specs are a fun choice with varied options for those who may want to try different styles throughout the expansion. The class is likely to be competitive across the board as well, making it a safe bet, regardless of the content you want to prioritize.