When the Lich King's control of his death knights was broken, his former champions sought revenge for the horrors committed under his command. After their vengeance was won, the death knights found themselves without a cause and without a home. One by one they trickled into the land of the living in search of a new purpose.
Death knight crest

Death knights (introduced in Wrath of the Lich King) boast powerful melee abilities, as well as plate armor. These warriors supplement their strength with dark magic. Calling upon a rune system of magic, the death knight may summon unholy, blood, and frost spells. The criterion for creating a death knight is the existence of a level 55+ character on the player's account on any realm[1].

The death knight is the first hero class in World of Warcraft. Death knights start at level 55 in Acherus: The Ebon Hold over the Eastern Plaguelands, with multiple spells and abilities ready to use, and a set of uncommon gear. When departing Ebon Hold, they have a full set of rare gear ready for Outland. Through the death knight-specific quests in this necropolis and the surrounding areas, they learn to master the power of the death knight and learn to use this new power for the will of the Lich King. Quests take them outside the necropolis and into an area within the Scarlet Enclave.

Before patch 5.3, players could only create one death knight per realm, so long as they have a level 55 character already and Wrath of the Lich King on their account. Now players are able to create multiple death knights on one realm. Currently, the Pandaren are the only race that cannot become death knights.

Lore Edit

Death knight is a name shared by several organizations of powerful necromancers. These orders share a few things in common, including riding horses with horned skulls and many of the same abilities. Playable death knights, however, are specifically death knights of the Scourge.

Immortal Soldiers Edit

File:Dwarf death knight.jpg


The original death knights were created for Orgrim Doomhammer by Gul'dan as powerful soldiers of the Horde. These death knights were created by placing the souls of the slain warlocks of the Shadow Council into the corpses of fallen Stormwind knights, the first of whom was Teron Gorefiend. Unlike modern death knights of the Scourge, these ghoulish fiends were not battle hardened warriors; they were insidious necromancers who possessed superior intellect and tremendous magical power. They often favored the use of terror tactics and reanimated the corpses of enemy soldiers who fell in battle to serve them as mindless undead minions.

Most of these death knights were destroyed during and after the Second War, either killed by the Alliance or transformed into liches by Kil'jaeden.

Champions of the Lich King Edit

Years after the destruction of Draenor, the immensely powerful Lich King created a new breed of death knights: malevolent, rune-wielding warriors of the Scourge. The first and greatest of these was the Lich King's chosen champion, Prince Arthas Menethil, once a mighty paladin of the Silver Hand who sacrificed his soul to claim the runeblade Frostmourne in a desperate bid to save his people. The rest are primarily made up of other fallen paladins whose souls were twisted and bound to the will of the Frozen Throne [2].

Unlike Gul'dan's death knights, these dark champions possess unholy strength; however, they do not possess free will and their minds are inexorably entwined with and dominated by the Lich King's vast consciousness. Despite the potential loss of free will, some powerful mortals are intrigued by the promise of immortality and pledge their souls freely into the Lich King's service to achieve it. Baron Rivendare is an example of this.

In the years since Arthas shattered the Frozen Throne and merged with the Lich King, the power and fury of the death knights has only grown. Now these unrelenting crusaders of the damned eagerly await the Lich King's command to unleash their fury on Azeroth once again. Unlike death knights of the Old Horde, the Scourge's death knights are not limited to their use of ranged spell casting abilities. In addition, these tireless death knights are considerably stronger, faster, and more agile than they were in life. However, both generations are equally destructive and terrifying to engage in the field of battle.[3]

The Ebon Blade Edit

A new group of death knights, the Death knights of Acherus, was later created by the Lich King to garrison the necropolis of Acherus: The Ebon Hold for the ultimate purpose of assaulting Light's Hope Chapel and destroying the Argent Dawn. In the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, these death knights are freed from the will of the Lich King and ally themselves with their former factions. Working closely under the guiding blade of Highlord Darion Mograine and the bolstered Argent Crusade, the newly-freed death knights have begun their march to Northrend.

The Knights of the Ebon Blade is a faction consisting of the renegade death knights that broke free of the Lich King's control after the battle of Light's Hope Chapel (in other words, player-created death knights). Led by Highlord Darion Mograine, the Knights of the Ebon Blade have allied themselves with the Alliance and the Horde with the help of Highlord Tirion Fordring of the Knights of the Silver Hand, and have pledged to do their part in defeating their former master, the Lich King. Their main base is Acherus: The Ebon Hold, taken from the Scourge after breaking free. It should be noted that the Knights of the Ebon Blade are not a separate player faction such as the Alliance and Horde. For the purposes of gameplay, player-created death knights still belong to either the Alliance or Horde depending on their race/faction.

Notable death knights Edit

Horde Horde 15

Neutral 15 17px Teron Gorefiend
Neutral 15 17px Ragnok Bloodreaver
Neutral 15 17px Gaz Soulripper


Neutral 15 17px Arthas Menethil
Neutral 15 17px Alexandros Mograine
Neutral 15 17px Baron Rivendare
Neutral 15 17px Lord Alexei Barov
Horde 15 17px Trag Highmountain
Horde 15 17px Deathbringer Saurfang

Ebon Blade Knights of the Ebon Blade

Neutral 15 17px Darion Mograine
Horde 15 17px Koltira Deathweaver
Alliance 15 17px Thassarian

Shadowfang Keep

Neutral 15 17px Commander Springvale

Races Edit


The death knight class can be played by the following races, with the following stats: Death knight races

Role Edit

In general, the death knight can be considered a hybrid melee class that combines damage dealing and tanking, somewhat akin to warriors. They wear plate armor and are able to dual-wield or use two-handed blade weapons (and maces, as revealed later). Like druids and monks, they tank without shields. Their tanking mechanics involve high armor and a high chance to parry.[4] Death knight tanks depend on a combination of high damage abilities, in addition to high threat abilities.

Like every other class, the death knight has three different specializations; the differences between them are not as clear-cut as those of other classes, both for PvP and PvE environments. Notably, death knights can tank or deal damage regardless of specialization, although a careful selection is still required to bolster their preferred role. In patch 4.0.1, the roles became more defined, with Blood becoming the Tank specialization tree, and the others being DPS.

Blood enhances the death knight's melee abilities and damage and vastly improves the ability to heal itself. As the name suggests, the special abilities it grants through talents are based on the Blood Runes. Blood also provides healing utility to party and raids and has some very useful buffs and debuffs that the death knight can cast on others. Blood is considered the tree for soloing and should be given a thought when it comes time to level your Death Knight.

Frost enhances melee abilities and focuses on increasing both AoE and single target damage. It provides some very powerful direct damage abilities.

Unholy enhances the death knight's diseases and damage over time spells, making them effective at AoE DPS. It also provides the death knight with a ghoul who is a permanent pet, a gargoyle guardian he or she can summon, and stronger diseases.

The Rune System Edit

Death knights use a unique rune-based resource system to govern their spells and abilities. Three rune types exist: blood, frost, and unholy, each with an attached color and symbol. Using certain abilities exhausts one or more runes, starting a cooldown of 10 seconds. After the cooldown, the runes refresh. The haste stat reduces the cooldown of runes. Death knights can use spells to turn a rune into a Death Rune, which can be used as a blood, frost, or unholy rune.

In addition, whenever they use a rune ability against a foe, it builds up a certain amount of Runic Power. Runic Power is consumed by certain abilities, which the death knight can use while his/her runes are on cooldown.[5] All abilities that use Runic Power use a set amount. Death knights cannot reallocate the number and type of runes - they are fixed to two runes of each type.[6]

The original player frame for death knights shown at BlizzCon was changed as feedback showed it was not ideal for displaying rune power for players.

Specializations/stats Edit


Skills/Glyphs Edit


Suggested professions Edit


  • Template:Prof and Template:Prof are logical choices for any Plate armor wearing class. This allows crafting decent armor as one levels and sometimes good weapons also. Death knights need to play catch up usually, since they start leveling from the mid 50s. So, they have to visit several low level zones to build up their Mining skill.
  • Template:Prof and Template:Prof can be useful for death knights with non-Template:Spec specialization who need quick potion heals and various buffs from elixirs and flasks. These professions are also good all around for making money and supplying guild runs.
  • Template:Prof is good for any non-healing class for non-combat health regeneration and provides good buff foods.
  • Template:Prof is good for any non-healing class for in-combat health regeneration and low downtime regeneration.
  • Template:Prof is good for leveling cooking.

Notes Edit

Media Edit

Art Edit

Videos Edit

See also Edit

Patch changes Edit

References Edit


External links Edit

Template:Elink Template:Elink




Template:Elink Template:Elink Template:Elink Template:Elink


Template:Elink Template:Elink Template:Elink Template:Elink

Template:Classfooter Template:Warcraft RPG classes Template:WoW RPG classes

da:Death Knight de:Todesritter es:Death Knight fr:Chevalier de la Mort (Classe jouable) it:Death Knight pl:Death Knight

Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references/> tag was found