Retribution Paladinretribution iconvsunholy iconUnholy Death Knight

Debating whether to play a Unholy Death Knight or Retribution Paladin? Knowing which currently performs better DPS in PvE might help make a decision.

This page analyzes multiple simulations for both Unholy Death Knights and Retribution Paladins using profiles and settings intended to achieve their maximum DPS. Multiple sim environments are used to test how they perform in various conditions. Is one the AoE king? Does one scale better with gear upgrades? Is one more bursty, and more reliant on big cooldowns? Below analyzes the data to find the strengths of each.

Simulation results were created with SimulationCraft
Using game data from Patch 10.0 WoW Dragonflight Pre-patch

  • Retribution Paladinretribution icon
  • Best boss DPS (in perfect settings)Retribution Paladin achieved 75.59% more maximum boss DPS than Unholy Death Knight when there was no movement or lag.
  • Best boss DPS (in realistic settings)Retribution Paladin achieved 69.12% more maximum boss DPS than Unholy Death Knight when dealing with occasional movement, lag and crowd-control.
  • Best AoE DPS (in perfect settings)Retribution Paladin achieved 70.45% more AoE DPS than Unholy Death Knight when there was no movement or lag.
  • Best gear scalingRetribution Paladin scaled better with increased item-levels, single-target DPS benefited 365.84% more from 282 ilvl to 308 compared to Unholy Death Knights.
  • unholy iconUnholy Death Knight
  • Least affected by movement (single-target)Unholy Death Knight’s single-target DPS was 516.91% less affected by increased movement compared to Retribution Paladins.
  • Simplest GameplayUnholy Death Knight has fewer damaging abilities which could indicate a simpler rotation.
  • DPS less dependant on big cooldownsUnholy Death Knight’s DPS is less bursty, meaning it had more consistent damage. With 72.94% less difference in lowest and peak DPS during a fight when compared to Retribution Paladins.

While the above highlights the DPS advantages between Retribution Paladin and Unholy Death Knights, the DPS potential should not be the only factor in your decision. Ultimately, you should also consider the playstyle that you enjoy most while crushing it in Mythics+ and Raids!


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