Patch 3.1: Death Knight Changes - Frost

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And now on to our chilly northern brethren, the Frost DKs. The forecasted changes had the entire tree being shuffled around due to moving PvP utility abilities higher up (presumably so that anyone can be competitive in PvP). What did this result in?


Icy Touch now causes Frost Fever to last 15 seconds.

Well, this means that in combination with Epidemic, Frost Fever will now last for an obnoxiously long time. Gotta love it.


Hungering Cold and Howling Blast have switched places in the talent tree.

I’d like to just go ahead and apologize to all dual-wielding DKs, because Blizzard basically sent you a letter, and all the letter said was BOHICA. One of the premier damage-dealing talents for a 0/32/39 or 0/31/40 dual-wield build (at least, last I checked y’all were still using it, because it’s independent of weapon damage) is now at the very bottom of the frost tree, and in its place is the uber-questionable Hungering Cold.

Howling Blast (Tier 11) now deals 50% additional damage to targets infected with Frost Fever. (Previously dealt double damage)

A slight damage nerf, and it’s way down at the bottom of the tree. Was Frost burst DPS that crazy? I’ve seen it be equal to other bursty builds, and even some sustained DPS builds, but I’m not sure it merited knocking 50% of its bonus damage off.

However, and to make this damage nerf possibly even worse, the official patch notes say the damage bonus is 20%. 50% is what’s implemented, 20% is what the notes say. Be prepared for this to get even lower than currently implemented, I guess.

Unbreakable Armor (Tier 8 ) now Reinforces your armor with a thick coat of ice, reducing physical damage from all attacks by 0.05 and increasing your strength by 25% for 20 sec. The amount of damage reduced increases as your armor increases. (Previously just increased armor by 25%, strength by 10%, and parry by 5%)

This talent now has even more damage-dealing use again too, so Frost Knights take note! 25% bonus Strength is nothing to sneeze at. For Frost tanks, they lose flat boosts to three different stats, resulting in what I feel is probably a loss of Parry overall. I’m also guessing that’s 0.05 per level or per X amount of armor, since this is straight from the files, but I couldn’t tell you for sure.

Blood of the North (Tier 8 ) now affects Frost Strike as well as Blood Strike. Blood of the North is 3 ranks instead of 5 for the same effect.

Sweet, 15% more damage to Frost Strike as well? That’ll help. I’ve always been a Frost Strike fan. Maybe it’s time to look at Frost DPS again… Guess that lowered talent point investment will help those of the frosty persuasion take more points in everything else, too.

Chilblains (Tier 7) now reduces movement speed by 15/30/45%. (Previously 10/20/30%)

Pure PvP utility. More slowing is never a bad thing and fits with the control & burst theme of the Frost tree overall.

Endless Winter moved from Tier 6 to Tier 4.

More PvP utility. (I gotta admit, though, I think a free Mind Freeze is probably attractive to more than just PvPers. Too bad there’s no way to reduce the cooldown.)

Chill of the Grave moved from Tier 5 to Tier 4.

A pretty standard Frost ability, now higher in the tree.

Runic Power Mastery moved to Tier 1 and is now a 2 point talent. Increases your maximum Runic Power by 15/30. (Previously 3 point talent that increased runic power by 10/20/30)

This is an odd change, but I can see why they did it… it’s handy to pretty much every tree, I gotta admit. The thing is, due to Blizzard standardizing on 40 RP cost for almost every RP dump, previously 2/3 was enough. Now you’ll always have 10 bonus RP. Wonder if it’d be possible to shuffle talents around and get this for my Blood build… bonus RP means a longer-lasting Dancing Rune Weapon. (Since Shadow of Death is going away, I have a few points in Unholy to free up…)

Black Ice (Tier 2) increases your frost damage by 4/8/12/16/20%. (Previously 6/12/18/24/30%)

A slight nerf to Frost damage. Seems designed to take dual-wielders down a peg, again. I really think Blizzard regrets putting dual-wield on the Death Knights and is just trying to make it continually less attractive until it finally goes away.

Glacier Rot moved from Tier 1 to Tier 5 and is now a 3 point talent. Now diseased enemies take 7/13/20% more damage from your Icy Touch, Howling Blast and Frost Strike. (Previously 5/10%)

This is hella sexy now for Frost damage. Howling Blast essentially turns into an AOE Obliterate, and Frost Strike into a RP-powered Blood Strike, by making them both gain bonus damage on diseased foes. It was good before - it’s better now.

Damn, Blizzard, y’all got me thinkin’ Frosty again.

Frost Aura: Replaced with Improved Frost Presence. Allows the deathknight to keep the health bonus of Frost Presence in any presence, and decreases magic damage taken while in Frost Presence.

Alas, no more raid-wide chromatic resistance. Sorry guys! Magic damage reduction is okay, though, I suppose. And more health never hurt anyone (unless you’re fighting Patchwerk).


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