So many of us on the Lich King realm took part in a friendly PvP session consisting of a lot of duels and some 3v3 matches near the nagrand arena. It was a lot of fun, but also educational as far as class mechanics stand right now.
I went with a 0/34/32 build with Unbreakable armor, chillblains, howling blast, deathchill, frigid dreadplate, and down to anti magic zone/bone armor in unholy.
Anti Magic Zone is incredibly useful. Yes, I can still be afflicted by magical CC's, but if I'm getting hammered by lots of spells, it's a VERY useful safehaven to retreat into while I wait for runes to recharge, or to counter big incoming spell cooldowns, such as a PoM Pyro. I can see this single talent being the sole reason to spec unholy for pvp, purely for the sake of going against casters. This is THE single best anti caster ability in the game right now. Wow. Incredible. It eats any incoming magical damage cast on me until the 30s duration is up, or it eats 10,000 magic damage, whichever comes first.
Lichborne is fantastic, and got the changes it needed. I can use it to break out of fear AND deathcoil, (since it technically makes you undead, and undead are immune to deathcoil), and it's off the gcd and costs no runes. That means you can actually use it as an emergency, on demand ability as it should be. Fantastic talent. The risks associated with being shackled/turn evil should be a fine counter. You trade being immune to a couple types of CC to being vulnerable to another. I.e. A deathknight who breaks out of a shadowpriests new horror effect "fear" bomb with lichborne now runs the risk of then being shackled by a skilled priest that drops shadowform. Seems fair. Given the trade off, though, it might need a lower cooldown to 3 minutes. 5 minutes is a bit much. If there was no downside to using the ability, 5 minutes would be more acceptable.
Chillblains makes my icy touch do what chains of ice should do: Snare the target so I can actually catch people for just long enough for me to do meaningful damage sometimes. Both Chains of Ice and Chillblains will be rather useless vs druids, though. Any non-spammable snare really is. Chillblains with icy touch is arguably better than chains of ice would be even with the shorter duration. Why? Because it does damage in addition to snaring, and it slows their attack/casting speeds, and it can crit, and it doesn't have a ridiculous 20 second cooldown. Even if the proposed Chains of Ice to 1 rune change goes in, I would still say that Chillblains with icy touch is far better. However, neither of those really solve the issue of keeping someone snared that can shapeshift, or dispel themselves. I still feel incredibly kitable even with chillblains, and it sucks. As a side note: I noticed that if you dispel chains of ice off yourself, it will THEN apply the snare debuff, so to get rid of chains of ice while rooted, you will have to dispel yourself twice to regain movement speed. Not sure if that's working as intended.
Frigid Dreadplate + Unbreakable Armor is absolutely fantastic vs warriors. I'm in greens and I can take down my fully geared s3 geared warrior buddy, who's dual wielding season 3 2hand weapons no problem. Between my great melee mitigation and combination of strikes + spell damage that cuts through armor, taking down warriors really isn't that difficult at all. This was probably my easiest fight.
Bone Armor needs some work. I really love the concept of this ability: In theory, it's great against things that hit slow and hard. What comes to mind when I think of that besides warriors? Mages and warlocks. It cuts dot damage nearly in half, which is very useful, and it cuts those big mage bolts in nearly half. So what's the problem, you ask? It's dispelable and spell stealable. I figured I had the one up on an arcane mage I was fighting by popping this up as he put up arcane power, thinking I'd be able to negate a lot of damage on his next spells. Not the case, sadly. He simply spell stole it, and it made me have a much harder time killing him. Warlocks simply devour it off of me within 1s of the start of the fight. This really needs to be a physical buff. Also, I have to wonder. Why does this have a double rune cost, but something that's obviously MUCH more powerful like anti magic zone, simply costs 1 unholy (which I like, btw). 1 frost 1 unholy for 40% reduction on the next 4 hits vs 1 unholy for 10,000 magic damage reduction for everyone under my safe bubble? Definitely doesn't seem proportionate.
All the ghoul talents = worthless for arena/duels. I could see them being midly entertaining in the battlegrounds. That's about it. I really feel like these need some work. They're still way too much of a pain in the rump to keep around, and I don't feel like wasting 8 points in unholy to make them worthwhile, if they're still going to be 100% useless in arenas/raids. That makes those 8 talent points not fun. If you're going to keep ghouls non arena/raid friendly, then those talents that buff the ghouls REALLY need to give great secondary benefits as well. I don't consider 5% strength to be worth 5 talent points at all in situations where I can't use the ghoul. 10%? Maybe, but still doubtful, especially when you consider how useful the other talents (such as unholy command) are in the context of something like the arena.
Shadow of Death I still don't like. 1% to all stats is a little deceiving. It's really just 1% to str/stam/agility. Nothing to really get excited over. Fun talent to use a few times, but the passive bonus is just very unexciting.
Corpse Explosion: Same thing here. Absolutely useless in arenas. I would probably never pick this up. That's really 3 talent points to make it decent that do nothing in competitive pvp. Fun for 5mans, though. Gets a nice "wow" factor when you use it in groups that haven't seen it. Pain in the ass to target corpses still, too. Too frustrating and situational for me to convince myself to pick up.
Also, I feel like the early tiers of blood really don't have much to offer for pvp utility. It's a bunch of nice passives that increase your crit, parry, or AP. That's great I suppose. But, it's not nearly as useful as things like Anti magic zone, chillblains, unbreakable armor, so I feel like those early blood talents just don't have enough to compete. In addition, speccing deep into blood makes you even easier to kite, so I tend to just shy away from the blood tree completely for pvp. It has way too many passives, some of which are very situational, and a lot of which require on scoring a KB, which are obviously useless in the arena. Talents such as vendetta and butchery that are must-haves for leveling, suddenly become obsolete and you never look at them again.
I still FIRMLY believe that death grip needs to cost a fixed amount of runic power instead of using an unholy rune. I find myself chasing after enemies often with a bunch of runic power saved up, and I try my best to save my unholy runes for a well-timed bone armor, a degeneration (If it worked. I'll get to that), plague strike.. I am going to plead with you devs and ask that you consider playing around with DG using RP instead. I REALLY hate how it uses an unholy rune in PVE even more than PvP. I pull a loose mob back to me, but every lost unholy rune is lost dps, and lost ability to apply diseases that I could then spread with a blood rune for a blood boil. I feel as if it really limits my dps/tanking rotation for the next 10 seconds once that unholy rune is down.
Degeneration appears to be broken, as it's currently not negating the effect of any druid hots I tried countering when fighting a balance druid.
Anti Magic Shell: I must say, this ability is pretty underwhelming. It only grants 11 runic power when it absorbs a spell? Really? That's kind of a let down. It doesn't stop any magical CC's. This ability is best used as a reactive ability to incoming cast-time nukes. I always have to keep an unholy rune handy just in case I manage to catch or counter a spell coming at me. Eh, I dunno. It's ok. It's not nearly as cool as I thought it was going to be. It holds no candle to anti magic zone, which is understandable I suppose.. But Anti Magic Shell just feels underwhelming at the moment. You spend an unholy rune for 5s worth of protection from some magical abilities (not all), and the amount of RP you absorb feels pathetic. This ability seems merely gimmicky at the moment. It pales in comparison to warrior shield reflect, which only costs 25 rage (easily gained with stuff beating the crap out of you and nuking you while you hit things), has only a 10 second cooldown, is technically 100% spell damage reduction, and it reflects (obviously) the spell back at the caster. Seriously. What the hell? Warriors base anti magic ability is far superior to anti magic shell in nearly ever way. Why? Oh, and spell reflect DOES stop magical CCs, in addition to spells. Not only that, but it reflects them. It's a very valid tactic to have warriors time it to reflect sheep back at mages. Sigh. Pretty disappointed with this ability so far.
Finally, I'm going to bring up something I've mentioned in another thread, but I feel as if it needs to be repeated and re-emphasized: Annihilation talent in frost needs to be moved to unholy.
There are a few reasons for this, so please hear me out:
First, a great tactic for deep frost builds is to lay into someone with a bunch of spells and strikes (this includes disease-based strikes), obliterate to remove the diseases, and then pop hungering cold. Then you can let your runes charge up while your target is frozen, pop a deathchill + howling blast + more strikes for great burst. This doesn't work, however, if you take annihilation. In addition, beyond combos like this, deep frost builds typically don't/won't use obliterate much. Finally, I find myself not wanting to use those big damage obliterates while specced deep unholy, simply because I hate losing all those debuffs I worked so hard at putting up, ESPECIALLY while specced for ebon plague bringer. If you are specced EP at the moment, you simply should not obliterate ever, even though obliterate is designed to best be used on heavy disease-afflicted targets. Is using obliterate and wiping those diseases + stat loss + 9% increased magic damage taken on the target worth snagging 800 more damage off of an obliterate vs another strike? No, of course not.
It's for these reasons that I firmly believe that annihilation would be a talent best served in the unholy tree.
I think that about wraps things up for feedback for this build. Hope this is useful to someone