Forced Conscription: When to Use Army of the Dead

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Spell_DeathKnight_ArmyOfTheDeadEvery max-level DK has a delightful little spell at their disposal called Army of the Dead. For those of you who haven’t seen it, quizzed your friendly local death knight about it, or read the link, here’s the lowdown on it:

  • 6-second channel, totally unlike any other DK spell. Each second summons an Army of the Dead Ghoul. They like to arrange themselves in a half-moon around you; it kinda looks like Thriller.

  • It has a 20-minute cooldown, halved to 10 with 2/2 Night of the Dead. Unholy DKs will have this roughly every boss fight in a raid; others might have it every other boss fight (or every fight if you wipe a couple times.)

  • While channeling, the DK takes 50% less damage from all sources. All of them.

  • Once summoned, Army of the Dead Ghouls behave a lot like the unnamed ghouls summoned when an non-Unholy DK casts Raise Dead, leaping straight into combat with a delightful “eeeeaugh!” - but with one important difference: Army of the Dead Ghouls will taunt enemies. They will taunt anything not marked as a raid boss. This includes trash, instance bosses, adds of raid bosses, you name it. On the other hand, they will not taunt anything whose level is ?? (Boss).

  • From my personal experience, they don’t like to change targets once they’re on a given target, but their given target at the beginning will be slightly random if there’s multiple choices because they’re summoned in a wide circle around you. However, sometimes they do seem to change targets, and I can’t find any rhyme or reason why.

As you can imagine, the Taunt feature is both a lifesaver and a total pain in the ass. For example, I once saved a Heroic UP run after the tank was wiped at 5% on Ymiron by letting my Army tank the boss. Sure, he only has to hit them once or twice to smush them, but that’s 6-12 hits that I or someone else doesn’t have to take. But at the same time, you’ve probably been in a group with a DK who’s summoned zombies that bring Gluth’s dinner to him like they have invisible maitre’d outfits on.

Make no mistake, the ghouls are a DPS boost - a pretty significant one. Not quite the most damaging thing you can do with 5 seconds of your time, but on fights where you can use them, it’s worth it. That said, where should you go for it? Here’s what I’ve found, in the places I’ve been.


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