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PVP DKs -- any thoughts on DW Frost?
  • I saw on Arena Junkies it appears to be the new hotness. I guess the KM buff has made the burst potential insane. Anyone tried it? I'm waiting until I can get a PVP 359 to go with the 359 one-hander I have. I have the same concerns I've seen voiced elsewhere, but it sounds pretty crazy when the stars align.

    Anyway, if anyone has dabbled, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
    a/k/a Victarious
  • It's quite nice, actually. I've been one for a few weeks now. It works best with an Apparatus trinket from the Firelands; it's actually more about that than the KM buff IMO. You see the trink stacks up to 5 from crits (KM gives your frost strikes auto-crit) and then you pop it along with DPS cooldowns (the Apparatus fully stacked gives 2500 additional mastery for a while) and then howling blast the hell out of everything (for extra fun pop Empower Rune Weapon for 8 of them as fast as you can spam them).

    In case you were wondering, Obliterate isn't something you really use. It's all Howling Blast and Necrotic Strike (to burn the unholy runes and put healing pressure on). There's some pocket cases where Oblit is useful, but for the most part it's all about Howling Blasts and Necrotic Strikes.
    The chintacle can sense fear.
  • Interesting. I had seen the Apparatus mentioned, but not in a way that led me to believe the style was reliant on it. I know the trinket and it makes a lot of sense. I wonder how it would be without it?

    Some follow up Qs, if you have a moment later:

    - How's your RP generation? I've read that you in essence have to spam HB, which isn't a whole lot different than 2H, but it does take away your ability to be more liberal with NS, as well as maybe using some of your other utility.
    - Are you still speccing into Desecration? To build on the first point, if you're using your death runes on HB instead of NS, is it worth it to spec Desecration, or do you get more mileage out of say Hand of Doom or Imp. Blood Tap?
    - How do you perform while Apparatus/PoF/trink/whatever else is on CD? How does it stack up to 2H Frost in that regard?

    Thanks Mal, and I'd love to hear more testimonials if anyone has any.
    a/k/a Victarious
  • Without the trinket it's still effective. I can kill people without popping trinket or dps cooldowns; in fact you can kite other melee and soften them up while they fight through chains and chillblains. The trinket just takes it over the top.

    -RP generation is dandy; if anything it's a lot more. See, you see it as less necrotics ... but in truth I burn more runes/generate more RP. Why? Because 2/3rds of the time I don't care whether someone is right next to me or running away. I don't care if I'm rooted. I don't care if death grip is on cooldown. The enemy is still getting frosty love from four death runes at up to 20 yds. away :)

    -Yep, still specc'd into Desecration. All you have to do is hit one necrotic to put it on the ground; spamming necrotic isn't necessary. Some people like the improved strangulate, but at the same time the extra disease damage you get on the way to desecration actually matters as well.

    -Performs fine without the CDs. Feels same as 2H without the CDs; if anything, it feels like it brings more pressure due to the two weapons.
    The chintacle can sense fear.
  • Very interesting. From what I have been reading online, it sounded like the idea was to churn out harder hitting Frost Strikes. It sounds like you're focusing much more on the HB spam aspect and viewing what other people see as liabilities as advantages. Very cool. One thing I wonder is how much different your performance would be as 2H. For me, when I go for a kill as 2H I rely a lot on NS/FS, and have found the damage (slash absorbs) superior to HB/FS. With an HB spam, I wonder what the difference in damage would be. Obviously your FS will hit much harder, and I'm guessing HB would be a little harder from the additional runeforge (Razorice?) and the added mastery on your gear.

    One other n00b question I forgot: what presence are you in? No one online has been real clear about that.
    Post edited by Hoff at 2011-08-04 19:31:12
    a/k/a Victarious
  • Unholy. Whether for PvP or PvE, it's always, always Unholy.

    Yeah the second runeforge is razorice, and I wouldn't call 20% harder a 'little' extra ;) And trust me, the DW Frost thing is all about the HBs; the frost strikes are nice rune dumps, but 16-20k HB crits are what people are buzzing about. As for anything being superior to HB you forget several key factors, the first of which being that if you catch anyone else in the HB it is immediately superior to the strikes; chances are you'll catch several people in anything other than 2s arena (in BGs I've caught I think 8-10 before when clumped together on a flag). Even against a single target the HB applies chillblains and frost fever, debuffs that actually tick for quite a bit of damage and slow.

    EDIT: oh, and the mastery isn't just for the HB; it also applies to the frost damage in frost strike ;)
    Post edited by Maloch at 2011-08-04 19:38:52
    The chintacle can sense fear.
  • I guess my counter-argument (not to be contentious, but as a point of curiosity) would be:

    In a group on group situation - say, at a flag - I've often found that if you can burn one man down quickly, then start in on AOE, your odds of victory go up quite a bit. What I like to do is lay down DnD and an HB for chillblains/disease, then single out a target to burn. A healer if I can get to one, or a target of opportunity of not. At that point, I've found NS/FS (as 2 hand) to be a quicker kill more often than HB/FS; using NS "spam" and dropping Frost Strikes on KM proc/RP cap. If I can burn that one player down in a few GCDs, then turn my attention back to the group, things tend to go better. Maybe that's a playstyle thing, I don't know.

    What I'm saying is that, outside of Razorice buff (which has to stack on a single target), I don't see how DW is a lot better than 2H if your entire focus is HB spam. Obviously with Apparatus it's a different story as more KM procs fuel it faster and it is a big spike in mastery. But outside of that, if you're prioritizing HB over FS, I can't see it being this huge difference. Especially factoring in the additional RP gain using a 2H nets you, which leads to FS, which leads back to more potential HBs if you get lucky with Runic Empowerment procs. The added RP also help make sure you can pop IBF or Lichborne DCs.

    Now, if as you say, the RP gen is a non-issue, then DW would seem to be the obvious choice. But what I have been reading on AJ is a lot of people (not all, in fairness) saying their RP generation feels much lower than with 2H. Furthermore, I assure you that what I read was VERY focused on increased FS damage thanks to KM procs, and not on HB crits (which I have a hard time believing play a huge role given the low amount of crit on gear). That's why I originally mentioned "having" to HB spam as opposed to "getting" to. What I read was people saying "if you don't HB spam, you won't have RP to take advantage of all your killing machine procs and your damage will suffer." Well, that's not a direct quote, but.

    I'm not trying to throw it in your face after you tried to impart some knowlegde on me -- you know I appreciate it -- but some of what you're saying is different that both what I read and what was in my head, and I'm just trying to reconcile that. :)
    a/k/a Victarious
  • k
    The chintacle can sense fear.
  • Glad I was able to get a hold of you online, Mal. Appreciate you straightening some things out for me. I'm looking forward to trying DW out soon!
    a/k/a Victarious
  • So....what made the difference in your thoughts? Inquiring DKs want to know!
  • Nothing really, Mal just talked to me about some of his real-world experiences with using the spec. I think I was being a little hard-headed and putting too much stock in second- and third-hand knowledge as opposed to the testimony of a player I know whose abilities I have no doubt of. I think there's still value in 2H - since dusting off my PVP gear I have had a pretty nice week of things - but the damage increases are hard to argue. Mal has seen it as have many people on AJ. Like Mal was saying, if you play it right, RP shouldn't be an issue. If nothing else I won't like it and go back, but it will be something new to try. I'm not much for Unholy so I want to boost my performance as Frost as much as possible.
    a/k/a Victarious
  • But in fairness to me (I love me!) I have had a pretty good few days with my 2H spec. I have taken down the majority of other DKs (of all stripes) I have come across, which is always an ego-booster. Battlegrounds have been kind to me and I do like the excess of RP 2H brings even when throwing a lot of NS, Chains, DnD, and so on.

    Obviously the games won't always be that good but I'll take it when I can get it! :)
    Post edited by Hoff at 2011-08-05 02:09:22
    a/k/a Victarious
  • Just 'rent' the 1H weapons until you're sure; bank the honor for both, go runeforge them, then use them for an hour and see how you like it. Worse case you vendor them back one at a time (to better burn the honor you've gained) and rock on with 2H. I don't know whether you'll prefer it or not without the Apparatus; I literally had it sitting in my bag when the change came, so I haven't played without the thing.
    The chintacle can sense fear.
  • I'll probably try it with one weapon and the 359 Lava Spine in my bank. Thanks for the tip on renting, though.
    a/k/a Victarious
  • Hmm, the wind may have shifted. I'm watching the top teams and comps and almost universally they're going back to 2H frost/unholy. I'll have to study it this week as next week I'll be buying conquest weapons and don't want to screw up =P
    The chintacle can sense fear.
  • Heh. I tell ya, I'm still excited to try it, still going to buy honor weapons at least. What's happened for me is that, not to be braggy (well maybe a little), I've been doing very well with 2H. Now, non-rated BGs are not exactly stiff competition, but nonetheless. Warlockia and I are going to start arena-ing this weekend, so that will be a fairer test.

    I keep seeing reports that "all the top DKs are 2H" and I had been dismissing that but if you're seeing it in top-ranked teams, maybe there is some truth to it.
    a/k/a Victarious
  • For a while there it seemed lots of folks were gravitating towards DW (and you were right about the whole saving up for frost strike spam at max RP; I've been doing it 'my way' and not the 'right way' lol) but as the season progresses it seems there was a lot of hype about it. I'm thinking it's because in PvE DW frost really is the premiere frost spec, and folks were taking it into arenas/BGs and doing well with it. In RBG it may still be the superior spec due to the natural clumpings on flag carriers and such, but yeah, for 3v3 specifically I've noted zero dual wielders in the top DK teams. As you get more and more people DW's value goes up a bit due to its natural reliance on HB spam.
    The chintacle can sense fear.
  • As an aside it also appears that the Apparatus has fallen out of favor; obviously it's better with DW than 2H, so that's likely part of it. In the same vein top frost DKs have gone back to gemming either straight resil or a combo or resil and strength to counter the fact DKs are trained in Arena after the DS nerf.
    The chintacle can sense fear.
  • Maloch said:

    (and you were right about the whole saving up for frost strike spam at max RP; I've been doing it 'my way' and not the 'right way' lol)


    Vindication! But I meant what I said; I should have been listening to you more than I was. I'm a big believer in finding what works for you and rolling with it and obviously you found something very effective.

    DW probably makes more sense as you said for BG where there's more HB targets, and you can focus more on tearing @#$% up than control and management.
    a/k/a Victarious
  • Actually, it appears we're misinterpreting the data a bit. Taken from yet another pvp thread:

    "I am somewhat lost as to what you are getting at here...as long as your gear gives you 2% hit with DW you will not miss anything including auto attacks. Regardless of what you think DW does more damage by a good margin than 2H. I and many other top ranked DK's have tested it. ."

    In response to the question of why we're seeing top rated teams having DKs with 2H specs when DW is superior:

    "Most of the top DK's will switch between unholy and frost depending on the comp they are playing with as well as the comps they are facing...so expect them all to be using 2H."

    That explains a lot of why the DKs normally had an unholy and frost spec that were both pvp oriented. For those of us stubbornly clinging to frost only (or who only play melee comps) it appears DW frost is better. Although I am finding the Apparatus is falling out of favor even with dual wielders as it makes you give up a wee bit too much resilience in this day and age where DKs are getting trained.
    Post edited by Maloch at 2011-08-10 17:06:58
    The chintacle can sense fear.
  • Thinking over this I'm still wondering if it just wouldn't be best to go 2H regardless. The reason is that then you can still go Unholy if you want later, and it is better against caster comps when you can work Oblits in more after NS is stacked up.
    The chintacle can sense fear.
  • One last update: curious as to how I'd react to each I went DW and 2H today for several BGs; DW just plain feels better, more fluid, as if I have more options. The 'smart' decision if you know you'll be going unholy is 2H; the 'damn it I like frost better' decision really is DW IMO.

    But I did shelve the Apparatus. The on-use strength is good, and I do need the resil to counteract being trained.
    The chintacle can sense fear.
  • Okay, so, question, and I'm not trying to start a fire here. But how is it that you feel like you have more options as DW? You have less runic power (not a crippling amount, and I understand you've never felt lacking in that department, but still) and you lose Oblit from your arsenal (not that you COULDN'T use Oblit, but that it's not commonly done, as you have said). Is there a tradeoff I am missing as it relates to utility?
    a/k/a Victarious
  • Actually I DON'T lose oblit from the options. It does better constant pressure, and I can actually bank more runic power for bursts when rooted due to HB generating it. The ability to gain runic power from simply hitting an opponent doesn't work when you can't hit them. It also allows me to stack more mastery since hit becomes a non-issue thanks to Nerves of Cold Steel. As a result the frost strikes hit even harder.

    Or, you know, basically look at everything I said above sans Apparatus ;)
    Post edited by Maloch at 2011-08-10 19:01:36
    The chintacle can sense fear.
  • Gotcha. I know initially you said it was something you really don't use, but I can see the value in using it as DW as it will hit much harder than 2H's version. Yeah, it definitely sounds very strong. If you do your mad experiment I would love to hear the results :)
    a/k/a Victarious
  • Thing is, I'm finding frost strike hits nearly as hard as Oblit with how much mastery I've got stacked. By 'saving' the runes from Oblit I can instead NS 4 times, HB twice (or 2 NS 4 HB, depending on how much healing debuff I need to stack), then frost strike 4 times in a row with at least 1-2 or more KM procs damn near guaranteed. That's some serious burst and a healer's nightmare. Given that my frost strikes hit for near my glyphed and talented oblit I'm going to switch it out for a bigger RP cap and better disease damage :)
    Post edited by Maloch at 2011-08-10 19:17:56
    The chintacle can sense fear.
  • Some observations!

    So last night I got a 359 PVP sword to go with my 359 Lava Spine, and gave DW a try. I have to say that I'm suitably impressed. I immediately noticed an uptick in damage, though not a huge one. As far as resources go, I didn't notice much of a change. There may have been a couple times I was "cold," but with frost's RNG nature, I can't say I wouldn't have been cold as 2H as well.

    Stacking Necrotic Strikes was less viable than as 2H. Not due to rune/RP concerns, but due to the fact that NS only hits with your main hand weapon. Stacking the absorb is still nice, but as a tactic it's probably only viable if another DPS is with you. But, you have enough resources to keep Desecration down.

    As for Obliterate, I'm actually thinking of dropping Runic Power Mastery to get Annihilation back. OB is a great situational tool, and while I did okay without it, there were a few times I missed not having it.

    Of an interesting note: I ran TB today as 2H with reforging to haste, as I had been dabbling as Unholy. This was common before the 4.1 Frost buffs. I have to say, it was just fine. Had no problem bringing people down. If I keep my Unholy spec for arena, I think I will just stay as 2H Frost for BGs. In my personal opinion, going from 2H to DW is a bigger jump in PVE than in PVP.

    Of course this is all two days' worth of experience. I'll share more if I find anything odd. :)
    a/k/a Victarious

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