- Author: Zephan
- Date: August 30, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
In this guide, we will go through several key points of the Destruction Warlock’s gameplay and how you can perfect your playstyle.
Destruction Warlocks specialize in raining down Fel fire upon their enemies, wreaking havoc upon their bodies and minds. These corrupt sorcerers have reached such a high mastery over the nether that they are capable of unleashing pure chaos and wild flames upon any who dare cross their paths.
Unlike in The Burning Crusade, Destruction Warlocks will find themselves quite lower on the DPS charts when compared to other casters. Nonetheless, they bring in a very fun playstyle and quite a few interesting effects for the dungeon parties and raid groups.
We can compare a Destruction Warlock to a fire mage in a sense – their gameplay is based on procs and burst damage with high critical strikes.
Single Target Rotation
Before combat starts use Life Tap to get the extra spell power. Note that this is only applicable if you make use of Glyph of Life Tap, depending on your gear level (later phase items have significantly less spirit on them relative to other stats) making Glyph of Immolate a better option. If you use Glyph of Immolate you do not need to use Life Tap before combat, or any other time aside from when you need it for actual mana.
- Curse Application
- Curse of the Elements – No one else applies a damage % debuff
- Curse of Doom – When the target lives at least another minute
- Curse of Agony – When the target doesn’t live long enough for Curse of Doom
- Increases damage from Incinerate and enables Conflagrate
- Chaos Bolt
- This pet spell requires manual casting (see below)
- Life Tap to keep the buff up/mana.
Our curses tend to be the most important spells, they either provide the raid with one of the most important debuffs for casters namely 13% extra damage dealt (curse of the elements) or one of our highest damage per cast time spells (curse of doom / Curse of Agony), both of this means we want to get our curse up as soon as possible into the fight.
Immolate is our second most important spell, not only does it deal direct damage and damage over time, but it also boosts the damage from our filler spell, namely Incinerate and enables us to use Conflagrate.
Conflagrate consumes Immolate, unless we use Glyph of Conflagrate (making it a must-have) and deals its full damage once more, split over 60% Direct Damage and 40% Damage over Time. This ability is on a 10-second cooldown and ideally, we use it as frequently as possible during our fight.
Chaos Bolt is a stronger filler spell, besides looking cool it also can not be resisted, and pieces through all absorption effects. This spell is on a 12-second (10 with Glyph of Chaos Bolt) and just like Conflagrate we want to use it as much as possible.
Incinerate is the spell we want to be using whenever all of the above is taken care of, in other words, our “filler” spell. Incinerate benefits from Immolate as it increases its base damage, whenever Immolate isn’t up on the target we want to prioritize refreshing it over using our next Incinerate.
Firebolt is the filler spell from our machine gun imp, due to how pet spells work if we let the imp to its own devices for casting (auto-cast) there will always show up a casting gap between different Firebolt casts, this can be so bad that it results in a significant amount of DPS that is left on the table by our imp. Thankfully there is a simple fix to this, when we manually cast Firebolt these gaps can be prevented, just as with our own filler spell. A simple way to do this is by adding Firebolt into spells we already cast ourselves, such as Incinerate for example.
- Corruption – Useful, whenever you are on the move and don’t have any other instant-cast, spells you would rather be using.
- Shadowfury – The same reason applies here as to Corruption, on top of that it also has a lot of add management benefits.
- Life Tap – Unlike other specializations we don’t always make use of Glyph of Life Tap, depending on our gear level we might make use of Glyph of Immolate instead. Meaning we only need to use it for mana replenishment instead of every 40 seconds. Early on however we do use Glyph of Life Tap and you want to keep the spell power buff that it provides up at all times.
Just as with any specialization the predominant filler AOE spell is Seed of Corruption, in an ideal world we spam it on all of our targets as much as possible. Destruction Warlocks however also get access to Shadowfury; a fast cast and on short cooldown AOE ability, due to its fast cast we want to use this whenever possible unless we will need the stun for crowd-control / interrupting. Shadowflame also deserves a mention, whenever we are in melee range it’s a good idea to use, especially against bigger groups, as the DoT component of this spell ignores the AOE Cap.
Spells, Cooldowns and Procs
“Life Tap – Unlike other specializations we don’t make use of Glyph of Life Tap, meaning we only need to use it for mana replenishment instead of every 40 seconds”
But than in glyph section it says we should use glyph of lifetap? Help?
Thanks for the feedback. This guide was written before we found out that Glyph of Life Tap early on is better compared to Glyph of Immolate for destruction. Since then I have updated the talent section but seems that I forgot to update this bit, thank you for catching the difference.
Updated and fixed now!
Usually the general advice is not to clip dots, such as Immolate. What is the situation with Curse of Agony, will it continue ticking on max dam if we clip it or rampu up restarts nevertheless it is clipped or not?
pretty decent guide but id prolly add shadowbalt into rotation and put the 2 points on destro for the proc chance drop / fireball as a filler all together its useless and id drop imp points and selfheal for extra int and fell armor on demo + the corruption on afly and lifetap for more mana and utility
https://www.warcrafttavern.com/wotlk/tools/talent-calculator/warlock?t=C2222266644aaaaaddcc1ggghhhimmmprrrmtttttwwwm1EEEEEIB2220066633bbbA2222266&g=bn1-041 id make it look something like this
Your proposed setup deals roughly 15% less DPS if you keep using incinerate, roughly 22% less if you start using shadowbolt.