Hearthstone: Death Knight Class Full Explanation

Show your opponents the justice of the grave and the true meaning of fear

by Tom Cunliffe
Key art for Hearthstone''s March of the Lich King expansion, which focuses on The Lich King riding his horse, Invincible. He is surrounded by various characters featured in the expansion; primarily ones from Death Knight cards
Image via: Blizzard Entertainment

The Death Knight is Hearthstone‘s second additional playable class and by far the most complex with its unique class-specific mechanic and deck-building rules. This guide will cover everything you need to know about Death Knights in Hearthstone, including how the new Corpse and Rune mechanics work, their Hero Power, and general strategies.

Hearthstone Death Knight Strategies, Resources, Deck Building, and Abilities

The Death Knight class in Hearthstone revolves heavily around their unique Corpse mechanic, which is a unique resource that powers up their cards based on the number of friendly minions that have died. The player must also choose a combination of three Runes, which dictates what cards they can place in their decks. Death Knight cards are themed around their class in World of Warcraft, focusing on Undead minions and Shadow and Frost spells.

Corpse Mechanic Explained

Image via; Blizzard Entertainment

Corpses are a resource completely exclusive to Death Knights. When a friendly minion dies, the player receives a corpse added to the Corpse Counter underneath their mana crystals. Corpses can be spent in various ways using Death Knight cards, such as Battlefield Necromancer, which uses a Corpse every turn to summon a 1/2 Risen Footman with Taunt. The majority of Death Knight cards and decks all focus on generating and spending Corpses for powerful effects.

Death Knight Hero Power


The Death Knight‘s Hero Power is Ghoul Charge. It costs two mana and summons a 1/1 Frail Ghoul with Charge that dies at the end of the turn. This allows the player to gain a Corpse while picking off enemy minions, which is especially great in the early game.

Death Knight Runes and Strategies


The player must choose any combination of three Runes before building a deck, which represents the three Death Knight Specializations: Blood (red), Frost (blue), and Unholy (green). A large number of Death Knight cards have Rune requirements, which need to match up with the Runes chosen. Some will require the player to fully dedicate themselves to a single Rune, while others may only require one or two.

Blood cards focus on board control; filling up your side of the board with powerful minions and removing your opponents while simultaneously empowering yourself. Soulstealer is a particularly powerful card that destroys every minion on the board while gaining a Corpse for each death.

Frost is tailored towards pure damage output. Mana manipulation, Freezing, and card draw all synergize together for powerful burst combos. Frostwyrm’s Fury is a signature Frost card that deals 5 damage, Freezes all enemy minions, and summons a 5/5 Frostwyrm.

Unholy is primarily minion-focused, flooding the board with various Undead and using their Corpses to your advantage. Lord Marrowgar is the Unholy Death Knight‘s trump card, raising all Corpses as 1/1 Risen Golems with Rush, and buffing them by +2/+2 for any minions that won’t fit.

Death Knight Hero

Image via; Blizzard Entertainment, art by Alex Horley

The Death Knight is represented by The Lich King (Arthas) in Hearthstone. Arthas is arguably the most prolific villain in the Warcraft franchise, serving as the main antagonist in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne and World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.

The Lich King is voiced by Michael McConnohie, who has provided the character’s voice since World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.

Hearthstone is free to play on PC and mobile devices.

- This article was updated on December 9th, 2022