Death Knight Deep Dive

Death Knight Deep Dive

Death Knights are Hearthstone’s newest playable class, joining the tavern with Hearthstone’s next expansion, March of the Lich King. Death Knights are a diverse class that can harness the powers of Blood, Frost, and the Undead to devastating effects. They also have a unique class mechanic and special deck building rules. Master them all as you prepare to make the most out of your Undead army!

Hero Power: Ghoul Charge

Death Knights have a 2-mana Hero Power called Ghoul Charge. Ghoul Charge summons a 1/1 Ghoul with Charge! Use it or lose it—the shambling Ghoul falls apart at the end of your turn. Luckily, Death Knights can make good use of minions that die in combat...

Class Mechanic: Corpses

Whenever a friendly minion dies, the Death Knight gains a Corpse. This special, class-specific resource can then be used to fuel and power up some of your cards. Each friendly minion leaves a Corpse behind, including minions you play, minions you summon with other cards, minions that are resummoned through the returning Reborn keyword, and the Ghouls summoned by your hero power!

Class Deckbuilding Mechanic: Runes

You may have noticed the colored symbols around the mana costs of some Death Knight cards. These are called Runes. There are three Runes, one for each Death Knight spec: red is Blood, blue is Frost, and green is Unholy. These Runes dictate which Death Knight cards can be added to your deck during deckbuilding.

When building your deck, you select a combination of three Runes, which determines which Death Knight cards you can add to your deck. You can choose to fully devote to one Rune (such as triple Blood) or you can go primarily into one Rune, while dipping into another (such as double Unholy, single Frost). This Rune system allows for incredibly varied and powerful Death Knight cards, while making sure any particular deck isn’t just the best at everything. Instead, each of the Runes specializes in certain types of cards and effects.

Blood Rune

The Blood Rune is the tankiest Rune. Blood cards tend to have board control effects, large minions, and cards that manipulate life totals.

Frost Rune

The Frost Rune has powerful burst potential. Frost cards tend to have lots of spell synergies, with direct damage, card draw, mana manipulation, and Freeze effects.

Unholy Rune

The Unholy Rune has the greatest command of the Undead armies. Unholy cards tend to be very good at summoning Undead minions, summoning swarms of minions, and generating and spending Corpses.

Generally speaking, the deeper you go into a particular Rune, the more you can tap into the types of things that Runes specializes in. Some of Death Knight’s most powerful cards require you to fully commit to one Rune, but sometimes tapping into a secondary Rune is a great way to cover your primary Rune’s weaknesses. For instance, the Blood Rune tends to play a few big minions and not many small ones, so you need to decide whether you want to run the very powerful triple Blood cards or if you’d rather add a single Unholy Rune for some Corpse generators.

Finally, there are also some Death Knight cards that don’t have any Rune restrictions. These cards tend to be general-purpose, workhorse cards that can go into just about any type of Death Knight deck.

Deckbuilder Tips

Gif of Arthas Legendary Portrait

In deckbuilding, your Rune selections will automatically update as you add cards to your deck. You can choose to either “Show All Runes” as you tinker, or you can uncheck that option and the deckbuilder will dynamically filter as you add cards to your deck, automatically hiding cards that are incompatible with your Rune selections.

You can also filter your collection by a particular Rune by searching for “runes:---” where the “-”s are replaced by “b” “f” or “u”. For example, the search “runes:bb” would return all your double-Blood cards, and the search “runes:u” would return all your single-Unholy cards.

Alternatively, you can search by the Rune, and enter the devotion to that Rune as a number. For example, the search “Unholy:1” would return all your single Unholy cards. You can also add a range. For example, the search “Frost:1-2" would return all your single and double Frost cards.

Frost is a special case because it is a Rune and a Spell School. To differentiate, you can now search for “school:frost” to return all Frost Spell School cards without also getting all the Frost Rune cards. You can also search “school:none” to find spells that don’t have any Spell School.

Use these tips to expertly navigate your Collection and flex your deckbuilding skills! Of course, players who don’t want to interact with the Runes and deckbuilding systems can continue using the easy deck code and auto-complete systems.

Massive 32-Card Core Set!

With the Rune system, there are only a certain amount of cards that any particular Death Knight has access to at any time. To make up for this, Death Knights have the biggest Core set of any class in Hearthstone!

When March of the Lich King launches, you will be able to complete a special Death Knight Prologue that follows the iconic story of Arthas Menethil’s decent into darkness as he becomes the Lich King. Complete that Prologue to unlock the entire 32-card Death Knight Core Set for free!

Path of Arthas Set

When March of the Lich King launches, there will also be a one-time, separate Death Knight-only set available to help Death Knights catch up with the other classes, called the Path of Arthas. The Path of Arthas is 26 distinct Death Knight cards* that are designed to be combined with the Death Knight Core set cards to form three Death Knight starter decks that you can immediately take onto the ladder.

* 11/10 Correction: The breakdown of Path of Arthas card rarities is 3 Legendary cards (1x), 3 Epic cards (2x), 8 Rare cards (x2), and 12 Common cards (x2) for 26 distinct cards and 49 total cards. This post has been updated to reflect that information.

The entire Path of Arthas is included in the March of the Lich King Pre-Purchase Mega Bundle. Once the expansion goes live, the Path of Arthas will also be available for standalone purchase in either normal (2000 Gold or 1500 Runestones) or Golden offerings (money or 7000 Runestones). The Golden version includes Golden copies of all the cards in the Path of Arthas and a bonus Diamond copy of the Lady Deathwhisper Diamond Legendary card.** Path of Arthas cards can’t be opened from packs, they can only be purchased as part of the pre-purchase Mega Bundle, purchased as a standalone purchase, or crafted.

** Lady Deathwhisper Diamond Legendary card will also be available for purchase as a standalone product.

Death Knight Preview Showmatch with Twitch Drops!

Join some of your favorite content creators as they explore each of the Death Knights’ Runes in a special showmatch TO THE DEATH... Knight. This special showmatch will be casted by community members Slysssa and Garrett!

12 creators will be split into three teams of four players, one for each Rune: Blood, Frost, and Unholy. Each team will have one member deep into their Rune, two members with one foot in each of the other Runes, and one Wild Card member that can play any Rune combination they want. For example, team Frost would look like this:

  • Player 1: Frost, Frost, Frost
  • Player 2: Frost, Frost, Blood
  • Player 3: Frost, Frost, Unholy
  • Player 4: Wild Card

Teams will play in a round-robin style format, with team placement and prizing being based on combined team scores.

Watch all the action live on the official Hearthstone Youtube channel or Twitch channel on November 16 and November 17, starting at 9 a.m. Pacific Time on both days. Make sure you tune in to see all the new cards in action and to see which Rune will reign supreme! Correction: Watch on Twitch for one hour on day 1 for a Murder at Castle Nathria pack; watch for one hour on day 2 for a March of the Lich King pack. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to link your Battle Net and Twitch account to be eligible for Drops.

Mana Crystals Page Footer Image

Join the Conversation