Unholy has come a long way over the course of the BFA beta, having been nigh unplayable prior to the hefty talent shake up, which no one saw coming. Unholy plays much the same as Legion at its core but is no longer funneled into ST or AoE exclusively and is a much more versatile spec because of it.
Overall, if you enjoyed Unholy throughout Legion, you will certainly have a good chance at liking it in Battle for Azeroth. Unholy is also viable in more than just one aspect of the game, which was hardly seen throughout Legion now that it has a larger toolkit that can handle different AoE scenarios, such as using Epidémie
or Chancre impie
, while still keeping respectable single target damage.
Another noteworthy change is that the cooldown reduction of Sombre transformation
from Voile mortel
still exists and is now baseline, similar to the talent Shadow Infusion
in Legion, effectively making the cooldown of Sombre transformation
slightly smaller (which will decrease even further as the expansion goes on, since the GCD/min will increase with our increasing haste values, leading us to cast more Voile mortel
s per minute).
Gameplay -- The “Wound” system
While mostly unchanged, there are very important to note is the changes with Frappe purulente
/ Blessure purulente
(the “wound” system). With the change from an 8 wound cap to a 6 wound cap, Frappe purulente
now applying 2-3 wounds down from 2-4 and Apocalypse
costing 4 wounds; Opener rng is effectively eliminated, Apocalypse
will always follow 2 Frappe purulente
All in all, these minor changes reduce the amount of variance when it comes to the wound system, leading to the system feeling more fair and predictable
Talents/Spells -- CliffnotesTous serviront
- This is one of the largest issues with current unholy, yet it still exists as a talent. Ideas such as making it transform while Sombre transformation
is active, making it scale with our mastery or even just giving us a replica of our current pet. All of us agree that Alfred the Archer needs some changes or to be unfortunately removed, else it looks like it will see no use just like throughout LegionBanter - Technical Issues of AWS
While the talent has various AI issues, and could see some rare use in PvP (in its BfA iteration), the talent will likely never see play with its current iteration (same mechanics as Legion, but without the perk of no CD on Réanimation morbide
). The biggest issue, AI aside, is where it gains damage; the only secondary stat that actually increases its damage is Versatility, which is not a sought after stat for Unholy. The fact that he also cannot use
anymore highlights just how useless Skulkerdad is.
If there is a rework in a later patch, with the AI issues get ironed out, and the pet can acquire scaling with mastery (similar to our friend Gary the Gargoyle), we could see this talent being popular in a later patch cycle. However, I don’t think anyone would be sad to see our Skelebro go.Pestilence and the L90 Talent Row
- Having no clear single target application feels problematic with this row, Pestilence
feels like a worse version of Infected Claws and Blizzard outlined they do not wish for us to use Mort et décomposition
or Defile single target. Replacing Pestilence
with something passive would answer these concerns.
Banter: An important issue that the Pestilence
debate has raised is Unholy’s lack of strong sustained AoE, an area where Frost shines. Some of the various suggestions people have to improve or change Pestilence
involve removing this one weakness that Unholy has, in comparison to Frost.
So while this talent could be made more appealing, this is also an area where Frost becomes more appealing in comparison (constant and reliable AoE through Frostscythe spam, or Breath of Sindragosa), which is important when balancing two DPS specs for a class.
Unfortunately, not changing this talent will leave the row completely useless for single target. Pestilence
doesn’t have to change, but something on this row doesInvocation d'une gargouille
- Dark Arbiter
has a successor in Invocation d'une gargouille
, functioning much the same as Arbiter did in Legion but with a nerfed ramp up (2 Runic Power - 1% increased damage). Lasting 30 seconds on a 3 minute cooldown, it covers more of Furie sanguinaire
and aligns with the racial: Berserker
. Consequently, baseline Invocation d'une gargouille
has been removed.
The variance of Dark Arbiter
is something that many people didn't like about the talent. Amazing pulls could give you an adrenaline kick with an 80 million damage Arbiter, but a lackluster pull could also make you feel really bad with a 30 million DA. I’m sure most raiders know the pain of their Death Knight’s comparing how big their Dark Arbiter
pulls were, almost as if they were overcompensating for something (their mechanical prowess, obviously).
Essentially, the reduced proc rate of Malédiction soudaine
(through the loss of Double Doom, and the loss of being able to take this alongside Frénésie impie
) will reduce the variance of the new Invocation d'une gargouille
; since a higher percentage of your Voile mortel
s used to empower Gary will now come from building Runic Power instead of from procs.
Something that has been pointed out though, is the distribution of critical strikes. Crit’s will still contribute to the randomness involved, and thanks to the increased duration/number of casts, could be more of a determining factor in how big your Garg is.Epidémie
- Overall this talent is very satisfying, with the change from costing 1 rune with 3 charges (Legion), to 30 runic power with no charge (BfA). This removes the need to use Voile mortel
in AoE scenarios and gives us a source of active AoE detached from Mort et décomposition
windows. Armée des damnés
- At first glance, this talent seems very boring for its row but it fills the same niche as our T20 set bonus and can be very strong when paired with Epidémie
in M+ so that you can use Army of the Dead for multiple bosses for a decent chunk of damage.
However, Tzo did point out that this talent can be used in conjunction with Monstruosité repoussante
, which will certainly lead to some ‘interesting’ PvP situations.Utility
- So far the utility is solid within the Unholy talent tree, getting 2 dedicated utility rows. We have the ability to slow packs through DnD with Poigne des morts
- replacing our spammable 50% - 10 second snare in Debilitating Infestation in Legion. Portée de la mort
- a budget grip cooldown that probably won’t see use outside of leveling or some battlegrounds, and we still get to keep Asphyxier
, albeit with a slight nerf. We also have Pacte mortel
back which is amazing for self utility. We get to keep Spell Eater as a talent, and Marche spectrale
still exists, now in the form of a talent (sadly, for some), but is pretty cool since it works as an additional movement CD; it does not replace Avancée de la mort
The addition of Avancée de la mort
gives us an overall superior option for movement speed increase. The longer duration, the ability to use spells when it's active and the knockback immunity are all aspects that render this new spell far better than Marche spectrale
. Being able to use both for an encounter will certainly make future encounters interesting.Defensives
- It is worth noting that Robustesse glaciale
got buffed to 30%, which can help out with dps DKs being viable for longer when pushing M+. Unholy still has Carapace anti-magie
, and now Pacte mortel
, but we unfortunately no longer have Unholy Endurance, which will be greatly missed.
Baseline Unholy feels a lot more like a complete spec in Battle for Azeroth than Legion Unholy did without the Artifact/Legendaries. The Azerite traits offered in dungeon gear seem to be somewhat bland at first glance. One of the more interesting ones, Supérulence
, adds some interesting gameplay into the mix with being able to burst wounds quickly to build up strength. This trait seems to be hilariously overtuned for AoE scenarios, and will likely see a “cap” (or a nerf) being added in the future. Ulcérations
is probably the best trait in terms of Quality of Life, with a second effect of boosting the %chance of getting the maximum 3 wounds off Frappe purulente
by a considerable amount.
Outside of the two aforementioned traits though, no other Azerite traits seem to offer any big gameplay changes, contradictory to the original pitch for Azerite traits ,where they were conceived as “filling holes that losing the Artifact would create”. But instead, the design consensus ended up being to make certain Legion spells baseline (Apocalypse
), as well as polishing the talent tree/adding some there (As we’ve seen with countless specs, Blood and Frost included).
This is not a critique at the design team/overall design direction for classes in BfA. We are simply just very interested to see if Azerite traits will eventually contain more depth, as none of them really seem to fit any of these holes, but instead mostly just give you some incredibly minor passives; something, again, leaving the traits looking quite bland.
This could easily change in the future though, with the eventual tuning pass, and the ability to acquire more of these traits. I’m going to laugh if they actually do this lol xd.
- Overall the level 90 talents need to be rearranged or replaced, most notably Pestilence. This could be done in multiple ways, either with a small talent reshuffle or a new talent entirely to give the row some depth. (Tzo)
- Epidémie affected by Malédiction soudaine. (Urioh)
- Change up Portée de la mort in some way.
This could be either through adding in pet grip, which is useful in both PvP and PvE, giving us grip that has 2 charges on a longer recharge or something that doesn’t require a killing blow to reset. The extra range is nice but not enough to warrant picking it in any difficult scenario, even for encounter’s where it would make sense, such as Aggramar. Another solution would be to remove the secondary component (Reset with experience/honour), and add Autorité impie’s perk as its second component (again, two charges of grip). (Tzo)