PvE Demonology Warlock DPS Guide

PvE Demonology Warlock DPS Guide
  • Author: Luxrah
  • Date: May 28, 2024
  • Updated: May 28, 2024
  • Expansion: Cataclysm

Warlocks are one of four pure DPS classes in Cataclysm Classic, with three different talent trees offering different approaches to dealing damage. The Demonology specialization may be overshadowed a bit by its Affliction siblings in this expansion, but the build still offers solid damage and utility and can even surpass Affliction in the right circumstances.

Demonology Warlock DPS in Cataclysm

Warlocks have changed quite a bit with Cataclysm. Our entire Soul Shard system has been revamped, so we no longer having to clutter our bags or endlessly farm mobs before any serious PvE encounter. We now have a new system that allows us to store up to 3 Soul Shards. Soul Shards are no longer required for most of our abilities, and instead, Warlocks will now use our Soul Shards to empower our abilities through a new mechanic called Soulburn.

Additionally, Warlocks gain revamped versions of the two powerful Guardian spells, Summon Doomguard and Summon Infernal, which act as major cooldowns. Those two spells play a vital role in addition to the new abilities we gain access to, specifically Demon Soul and Dark Intent, with the former being a powerful offensive cooldown while the latter works as a Haste-increasing buff.

Furthermore, the traditional Warlock curses have been broken down into two separate categories, Curse and Bane. This allows us to debuff our targets with even more effects at the same time such as Curse of the Elements and Bane of Agony, further improving both our damage output and the utility we provide.

As for Demonology Warlocks specifically, the build remains the most pet-focused of the three Warlock trees, with a healthy dose of Metamorphosis to buff the Warlock’s personal damage. The specialization has seen a boost to its damage overall with the new Hand of Gul’dan spell and a few new talents, including Inferno, Cremation, and Impending Doom, the last of which increases the uptime on your strongest cooldown. In heavy AoE encounters, the build can even surpass its Affliction Warlock siblings in terms of damage output.

Demonology Warlock Strengths & Weaknesses


  • Excellent Single-Target and AoE Damage
    Between you and your Felguard you can do some impressive damage to single and multiple targets alike. Demonology Warlocks can even surpass the damage of Affliction Warlocks as the number of enemies gets larger.
  • Strong Burst Damage
    Metamorphosis is a powerful cooldown that you can combine with other buffs to do some big on-demand damage when the situation calls for it.
  • Great Utility
    Warlocks have many utility-oriented spells and effects that can be used to aid their allies. They can provide Healthstones, and Soulstones which act as both a preventive measure against death and now also as a “Battle Resurrection” spell, summoning through Ritual of Summoning for their allies, and curses that weaken their enemies. Demonology Warlocks also bring Demonic Pact, a 10% Spell Power raid buff that only one other spec can bring (Elemental Shamans with Totemic Wrath), and their Felguard can apply the Legion Strike healing reduction debuff.


  • Awkward Positioning
    Shadowflame and Immolation Aura both require being close to your enemy, and Shadowflame must be aimed. You’ll therefore need to worry more about your positioning than most caster DPS. Your Felhunter and Felguard also need to be in melee range of the enemy, so both you and your pets will be a little more in the thick of things than most ranged DPS. This also means that anytime you need to move out of an area to avoid mechanics, your DPS may go down.
  • Gear Depenedent
    Just like with most specializations in the game, Demonology Warlock requires a considerable amount of gear until its true potential can be experienced. As such, the specialization feels underwhelming until acquiring a considerable amount of Haste and Mastery.

Best Races for Demonology Warlock in Cataclysm

Wow Horde Crest Horde


Orcs are the strongest option for Demonology Warlocks in the Horde due to the combination of Blood Fury and Command.

  • Blood Fury gives you an extra DPS cooldown in the form of a buff to your Spell Power.
  • Command will cause all of your pets to do more damage.
  • Hardiness can be useful, but rarely will make a difference in raids.


The new Horde race is also a very good option for a Demonology Warlock, with a steady 1% increase to casting speed. They also get an option to aid their mobility, and their non-combat racials are very useful as well.


The Berserking racial is strong for most casters, and the Demonology Warlock is no exception. Trolls also have some other useful racial abilities for the build.

  • Berserking gives you a 10 second Haste buff every 3 minutes, giving you an extra cooldown to use when you want to blast.
  • Regeneration gives you a little extra survivability.
  • Beast Slaying is free bonus damage any time you’re fighting a Beast type enemy. That includes two bosses in the Blackwing Descent raid.
  • Da Voodoo Shuffle is nice to have for mobility.

Wow Alliance Crest Alliance


Viciousness is the only Alliance racial that has a direct impact on your damage as a Demonology Warlock. Worgens have more to offer the build as well.

  • Viciousness increases your Crit by 1%, making every point you get from gear or consumables worth a little more.
  • Darkflight gives you useful mobility cooldown.
  • Aberration increases both your Nature and Shadow Resistance by 64 at level 85, which is a nice little boost to your survivabilty.
  • Flayer is nice if you want Skinning. Unlike most other profession racials, this one remains useful even once you’ve reached the skill cap.


Although the Expansive Mind racial has been nerfed to increase only your mana pool and not your Intellect, it’s still a decent trait for a Demonology Warlock. Gnomes also have a couple other tricks up their sleeve that won’t necessarily help your damage but are still useful.

  • Expansive Mind allows you to spend more time dealing damage before you need to start Life Tapping for mana. Since it’s a percentage and not a flat increase, the bonus gets better with your gear.
  • Escape Artist lets you break out of roots and slows.
  • Arcane Resistance gives you a modest little survivability bonus on any encounters that have Arcane damage.
  • Engineering Specialization is helpful if you want to level Engineering.


About the Author


I've been playing World of Warcraft on and off since vanilla, usually as a healer or caster and often as a guild leader. I play both retail and classic. I also love RPGs, sandboxes, and sims.
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