PvE Destruction Warlock DPS Guide

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Addicted to Fel Magic and to the very concept of destruction, some of the few individuals who are part of the Warlock Coven simply wish to see the world burn as the Twisting Nether engulfs it all. Such individuals are named Destruction Warlocks, and they will stop at nothing to bring about a Fiery Apocalypse to all living things that cross their path.

This guide will teach you how to play a Destruction Warlock in PvE encounters, no matter if they are difficult dungeons or terrifying raids. We will be covering everything from enchants and consumables, to talents, rotations, macros, and addons.

Destruction in Cataclysm

Warlocks are among the classes that have changed considerably in Cataclysm! Their entire Soul Shard system has been revamped, with Warlocks no longer having to clutter their bags or endlessly farm mobs before any serious PvE encounter. They now have a new system that allows them to store up to 3 Soul Shards. Soul Shards are no longer required for most of their abilities, instead, Warlocks will now use their Soul Shards to empower their abilities through a mechanic named 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 they 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 them to debuff their targets with even more effects at the same time such as Curse of the Elements and Bane of Agony, further improving both their damage output and the utility they provide.

As for Destruction Warlocks specifically, their playstyle is somewhat similar to the way their gameplay functions in WotLK Classic, however, some things have been revamped, severely empowering their overall performance. While their rotation is almost the same as it was back in WotLK Classic, their DoTS can now innately deal critical strikes, making them much stronger. Soul Fire is now an integral part of the rotation as it massively empowers all of our Fire and Shadow Damage through the new Improved Soul Fire talent while Empowered Imp has been reworked in a way that our dear familiar can now grant us a proc which allows us to cast Soul Fire instantly. Additionally, they gain access to Bane of Havoc, an ability that is meant to improve their overall Cleave potential.

The rest of their abilities remain fairly similar, with Chaos Bolt, Conflagrate, and Incinerate representing the bread and butter of the specialization’s identity.

Destruction Warlock Strengths & Weaknesses


  • 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 Ressurection” spell, summoning through Ritual of Summoning for their allies, and curses that weaken their enemies. Destruction Warlocks can provide the replenishment effect for their raid or dungeon groups, through the Soul Leech talent.
  • Good Single-Target Damage
    Being known as somewhat of a middle child, Destruction Warlocks have a decently high Single-Target damage output which scales as the expansion unfolds. While weaker at the beginning of the expansion, their DPS scales as Deathwing’s end draws near.
  • Fun and Engaging Playstyle
    Since Destruction Warlocks have a generally low cast time for their spells and a lot of procs that reduce it even further or cause instant cast effects, there is close to no downtime between spells, effectively providing a fun and engaging playstyle for all who favor a DoT-heavy playstyle.


  • Gear Dependent
    Just like with most specializations in the game, Destruction 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 Rating and Critical Strike Rating.
  • Mediocre Cleave/AoE Damage
    While Destruction Warlock received Bane of Havoc as a tool to improve their Cleave potential, the reality is that their performance is considerably lower than other caster specializations. The same can be said about AoE Damage, with their overall performance being somewhat mediocre.

Best Races

Wow Horde CrestHorde

The horde has the better races from a PvE point of view, with most of their racial abilities providing direct damage-enhancing effects. The strongest available race for Destruction Warlock is Goblin with Time is Money and Rocket Barrage, followed by Troll as it has access to Berserking, and by Orc with Blood Fury and Command. Lastly, Blood Elves and Undead are both purely aesthetic choices as they have a similar overall performance in PvE.

Wow Alliance Crest Alliance

The Alliance has stronger PvP racial effects than PvE racials, with most PvE racial effects being represented by passive effects. Gnome is the strongest option due to Expansive Mind, followed by Worgen thanks to Viciousness. Both Humans and Dwarves are similar in terms of performance for PvE, being pure aesthetic options.


We hope this guide has been able to help you decide if PvE Destruction Warlock is the class/spec for you. Make sure to check out our other sections, such as talents, gear, gems, etc, to get more information on how to improve your performance as a Destruction Warlock in Cataclysm!


About the Author


Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
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