Welcome back to another talent analysis here at Dreadblade. So far we’ve covered a disease-based tier (Tier 1) and a set of talents design to provide utility (Tier 2). Today the theme of our talent tier is a bit more muddled. Tier 3 (available at level 58) contains elements of both movement and control, as well as the two abilities most likely to be spelled wrong (is it Chillbains? Chillblain? Chilbain? Fuck it.). Despite people’s spelling troubles this tier offers a lot of utility if you know where to look.
Death’s Advance – You passively move 10% faster, and movement-impairing effects may not reduce you below 70% of normal movement speed. When activated, you gain 30% movement speed and may not be slowed below 100% of normal movement speed for 6 seconds. (30 second cooldown)
Chilblains – Victims of your Frost Fever disease are Chilled, reducing movement speed by 50% for 10 sec, and your Chains of Ice immobilizes targets for 3 sec. (Passive)
Asphyxiate – Lifts an enemy target off the ground and crushes their throat with dark energy, stunning them for 5 sec. Functions as a silence if the target is immune to stuns. Replaces Strangulate. (30 yard range, 1 min cooldown)
Each week it seems I have a different format with which t talk about the talent choices. This is because it seems each tier has a different way of looking at it, and some formats (PvE vs. PvP, or Tanking vs. DPS vs. Healing) seem to work better than others. For this tier I’m simply going to take a more detailed look at each talent choice.
You Should Probably Fear the Reaper
Death’s Advance has some interesting implications for PvE and PvP. Just about any website you visit looking for serious raiding advice and information with tell you to enchant your boots with “+ stat, + speed” because the minor run speed increase could save your life, your healer’s mana, etc. Well, now Death Knights have the option to grab a talent with a passive run speed increase, thereby freeing up that enchant. For my tanking spec that is currently an increase of +15 Mastery (switching from +35 Mastery/Minor Run Speed to +50 Mastery). This is already a very strong reason to take this talent, but its value is even greater than that when you add the extra 20% speed boost on use with a paltry 30 second cooldown. From a tanking perspective the Death Knight just got A LOT more mobile. A DPS player can expect to target swap faster, and have an ‘oh crap I’m in the wrong spot’ button.
Its value in PvP is obvious. A passive partial resistance to movement-impairing effects at all times (you will always move at least 70% of normal run speed) with full resistance to such effects available every 30 seconds. One of the weaknesses of a Blood DK in a PvP setting with experienced players is how easy they can be to kite around with the right class. This is a counter to the mobility issues Blood and Frost have experienced, but only time will tell if it will be enough.
Chilblains (yes, that’s the correct spelling) is a pretty cool ability, and if your guild was lucky enough to have a Frost DK at the beginning of T11 then congratulations, you killed Magmaw approximately 1,324% (rounded) faster than guilds without one. This is obviously a very powerful kiting ability, but it is still situational. There is going to be PvE encounters and PvP situations in which it shines, but it requires Frost Runes to activate the snare (Chains of Ice) and can actually be detrimental when adds need to be moved quickly.
This talent choice is also stronger for Frost DK’s than Blood or Unholy since they can trade using Frost Runes for Howling Blast (and therefore the Chilled effect) or CoI, giving them some powerful area control in both PvE and PvP situations.
Apshx…Screw It: Force Choke
A very interesting talent choice here. It gives Death Knights a legitimate stun that is not provided by their pet, which is something we have never had. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this talent. On one hand I think Blizzard has the right idea. Death Knights have desired a stun since Wrath, and now we have the option of getting one through our talent system. In fact, it strikes me as perfect in regards to the talent redesign undertaken with Mists. Here is a talent to take an ability you always had (Strangulate) and turn it into something you have been asking for (a stun). If you play-style would be enhanced with the use of a stun, here it is.
It’s really a question of how much mileage you can get out of a talent like this, and how you like to play. I can guarantee you I won’t be using this talent in a PvE situation as a tank, but I will consider it when specced as DPS, and it will definitely get a trial period in my PvP talent setup.