PvE Destruction Warlock Talents, Builds & Glyphs

wotlk pve destruction warlock talents builds

Destruction Warlocks talents all are lined with a focus to increase our Fire Damage as much as possible, through talents such as Improved Immolate, Emberstorm, Pyroclasm, Shadow and Flame, Fire and Brimstone, or new Fire Damage Spells namely Conflagrate and Chaos Bolt. Additionally Destruction also brings extra support and control to the raid in the form of Improved Soul Leech, Shadowfury, and Aftermath. The Destruction Warlock also isn’t the only one shedding our Fire Damage, he brings along his best pall “The Machine Gun” Imp, which gets buffed to teeth with Demonic Power, Empowered Imp, Ruin, and Improved Imp.

wct destruction talents
Link to this talent build

This talent build includes all the mandatory talents to full fill your role optimally and deal as much damage as possible, these are highlighted in red. As you can see this talent build still leaves you with 2 (+3*) optional talents that you can spend as you please, either to further increase your damage or quality of life options, these are highlighted in the above picture in yellow and blue.

* Three more optional talents when you aren’t using Demonic Aegis

Mandatory and optimal
Offensive Options
Utility Options


The following is a summary of all the most important talents, what they do and why you should have them, or what choices you have.

Not only does this talent to cause our Machine Gun Imp to hit harder with his Firebolt, it also increases the health provided by Blood Pact. Blood Pact is one of the support reasons that Destruction Warlocks are brought for to raids, so improving upon it is always a good idea.

  • Increases your total Stamina by 10%.

More health isn’t too important from a DPS perspective, but it also doesn’t hurt us to have some more of it. We also need a specific amount of talent points in this tier to move over to the next tier of talents, which this achieves.

  • When active, 20% of all damage taken by the caster is taken by your Imp, Voidwalker, Succubus, Felhunter, Felguard, or enslaved demon instead. That damage cannot be prevented. Lasts as long as the demon is active and controlled.

We want at least one point into this talent, and not only to move over to the next talent tier. The Imp has the least amount of health of all the Warlock Demons, making them extra squishy. A single point into Fel Synergy will help keep your Imp alive, you can put a second point into this talent but diminishing returns will kick in quickly (in other words the added healing will be less compared to the first point due to overhealing).

You Imp having more health increases his survivability, along with the extra mana extending his mana pool increasing his DPS potentially on longer fights. The same benefits hold true for the caster himself (although less significant).

Fel Armor provides us with additional spell power both from the inherent spell power of the spell and through the conversion of spirit. This talent boosts both, it should be noted that Destruction doesn’t always run Glyph of Life Tap, which would make us not focus or prioritize spirit on our gear as much as other specializations, making this talent a (really) little bit less valuable. Put simply in the first couple of phases when you are running Glyph of Life Tap this talent is one of the better ones to increase your throughput, however once we swap in Glyph of Immolate odds are other optional Offensive Talents might become better (as always you should sim your personal case).

Whilst we don’t cast a lot of Shadow Bolts and Soul Fires, we do cast Immolate whenever it’s not up on the target, as well as Chaos Bolt whenever it comes off cooldown. Additionally, we don’t spec into Improved Shadow Bolt as we don’t cast Shadow Bolt as stated before, and we need 5 points into this tier to move up to the next one.

  • Increases the periodic damage done by your Immolate by 6%, and your Conflagrate has a 100% chance to daze the target for 5 sec.

Immolate is one of our core damage over time abilities additionally, the more damage our immolate causes, the more damage the resulting conflagrate will do as it scales off immolate. Talking about conflagrate this talent also adds a daze effect to the spell, increasing the use case as a source of minor crowd control, used smartly in raids this can be a life safer on occasions.

  • Reduces the Mana cost of your Destruction spells by 10%.

This talent causes us to save mana, which in turn saves Life Taps, even if not for a single fight, it is more than likely to occur over the entire duration of the raid.

  • Reduces the cooldown of your Succubus’ Lash of Pain spell by 6 sec. and reduces the casting time of your Imp’s Firebolt spell by 0.5 sec.

One of the talents to truly give the Machine un Imp its nickname. The faster our Imp casts don’t only increase the DPS it deals, but also slightly increases the uptime Empowered Imp has. The more casts = the more crits = the more crits for us.

  • Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Destruction spells and your Imp‘s Firebolt spell by 100%.

Destruction Warlocks crits a LOT, especially with talents such as Devastation, Fire and Brimstone, Empowered Imp. On top of that the biggest share of our damage comes from spells which can crit, Immolate, Incinerate, Conflag and Chaos bolt. Ruin is mandatory for most Warlock Specializations, but Destruction arguably benefits the most from it.

  • Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting or channeling any Destruction spell by 70%.

Intensity is incredibly useful as 2/2 allows us to achieve pushback immunity in combination with a paladin Concentration Aura. Not only that but we need the talent points to go up to the next tier of talents, making this essentially free while other specializations need to make sacrifices to get this.

  • Increases the range of your Destruction spells by 20% and reduces threat caused by Destruction spells by 20%.

Most other specializations also need Grim reach to fully benefit from the additional range Destructive Reach provides, because they still got to maintain corruption as well on the target which would otherwise require you to move back in. Destruction doesn’t make use of Corruption, meaning they only have to move in for their curse, which depending on the curse duty they have frees them up most of the time to stand free casting at the additional distance Destructive Reach provides. And before I forget it, who can say no to reductions in threat?

  • Increases the damage done by your Immolate spell by 30%.

Immolate is a core spell of Destruction, it deals direct damage which can crit, provides a powerful debuff, boosts the base damage from Incinerate, and enables us to use conflagrate, in other words a beast of a debuff we want up at all times. Conflagrate doesn’t only require immolate to be up on the target, but also scales with the damage the debuff provides, dealing 40% upfront and 60% over the duration of the spell. In other words, the stronger our immolate, the stronger our conflagrate.

  • Increases the critical strike chance of your Destruction spells by 5%.

Devastation is one of the many talent options Destruction Warlocks have to increase their crit chance. Furthermore, who doesn’t like free crit?

  • Increases the damage done by your Fire spells by 15% and reduces the cast time of your Incinerate spell by 0.25 sec.

Almost all of Destruction’s damage is fire, with the exceptions being our curse and Shadowfury (or Seed of Corruption during pure AOE). So increasing that damage by a massive amount is a no-brainer, the same goes for reducing the cast time of our filler spell which is cast the most of all the spells we use.

Conflagrate consumes Immolate unless we use Glyph of Conflagrate. Using Glyph of Conflagrate we don’t have to reapply our Immolate every time we use it (before It ends) and this in turn saves us a bunch of casts, resulting in a significant DPS gain. Whenever conflagrate deals critical damage it also procs Pyroclams, a buff which increases the damage we deal. With talents such as Devastation, Empowered Imp, and Fire and Brimstone we can expect relatively high uptimes for Pyroclasm.

Some additional self-healing is always welcome, but healing is the healers job and we don’t want to steal their parses (What healer parses are worth is another discussion…), the real reason we max out this talent is to unlock Improved Soul Leech, more about this in the Improved Soul Leech section.

  • When you critically strike with Searing Pain or Conflagrate, your Fire and Shadow spell damage is increased by 6% for 10 sec.

When Searing Pain (which we hardly use) and more importantly Conflagrate critically hit they can proc Pyroclasm. This buff lasts 10 seconds (the same duration as the cooldown on conflagrate) and increases our damage dealt by 6% when maxed out. It should also be noted that thanks to the plenty of crit-related talents conflag will crit more often than not.

This talent doesn’t increase the total damage of these spells by a flat percentage but rather increases the amount of damage they gain from spell power.

  • Your Soul Leech effect also restores mana to you and your summoned demon equal to 2% of maximum mana, and has a 100% chance to grant up to 10 party or raid members mana regeneration equal to 1% of maximum mana per 5 sec. Lasts for 15 sec.

Improved Soul Leech is one of the main reasons Destruction Warlocks are brought to raids when they are. This provides the raid with Replenishment, other classes that can do this are Retribution Paladins (Judgement of the Wise), Shadow Priests (Vampiric Touch), Survival Hunters (hunting party), and Frost Mage (Enduring Winter).  We only need to put a single point into this talent to provide replenishment to the raid, we can put a secondary point to increase the amount of mana we gain and increase the uptime of the buff for the raid (though less compared to the initial one point).

  • When you cast Conflagrate, the cast time and global cooldown of your next three Destruction spells is reduced by 30%. Lasts 15 sec.

Whenever we cast Conflagrate (ideally as much as possible) the next three casts will be cast 30% faster. This effect stacks with other cast speed-increasing buffs such as Bloodlust (do note that the 1 seconds hard global cooldown cap still applies and Incinerate will hit it when combined with other effects).

  • Shadowfury is unleashed, causing 968 to 1152 Shadow damage and stunning all enemies within 8 yds for 3 sec.

The next ability we get from our talents is Shadowfury. This spell is a fast-casted AOE damage and stun ability which also tends to have a short cooldown of 20-seconds. All the things one can wish for essentially. Traditionally this talent is only thought of as a PVP talent however, it has great use in PVE as well. It provides solid DPS for the short cast time, as well as another tool to be used to manage adds in a raid, which in turn can save the skin of you or one of your raiding buddies.

  • Increases the damage done by your Imp by 30%, and all critical hits done by your Imp have a 100% chance to increase your spell critical hit chance for your next spell by 100%. This effect lasts 8 sec.

Even here far down the talent tree we find buffs for our little friend “The Machinegun” Imp. This talent further increases how hard Firebolts hit the enemies in their faces. On top of that it also provides us with a 100% crit chance whenever our Imp also lands a critical hit, so to cut it short: The Crit chance from the Imp is now our Crit chance*.

* it should be noted that it isn’t a true 1 on one conversion as there is an ICD, etc.


Talk about a great second-to-last option for talents! Boosting the importance of Immolate even further by increasing the damage our Incinerate (filler spell good for x % of our damage) and Chaos Bolt. Along with increasing the crit chance of our conflagrate by a whopping 25%, which in turn increases the uptime on Pyroclasm.

  • Sends a bolt of chaotic fire at the enemy, dealing 1429 to 1813 Fire damage. Chaos Bolt cannot be resisted, and pierces through all absorption effects.

The most iconic Wrath of the Lich King Destruction spell, as all the previous castable abilities we gained in this three were already available in the previous expansion, this one is all new and shiny. Chaos Bolt functions as a slightly better / stronger filler spell, we use it whenever it comes off cooldown instead of Incinerate for that reason.

  • Increases your chance to hit with spells by 3%, and reduces the mana cost of your Affliction spells by 6%.

Suppression got changed to give Hit chance for ALL specializations instead of only for Affliction. This makes it a highly valuable talent, especially early on when we might still be scavenging to for hit rating on our gear. Even when hit rating in plenty full available it can still open up options for gearing that will result in higher DPS (mostly related to boss parsing as there you need the most hit chance at 17%).

Improved Corruption might stand out as the odd duck in this list, after all, we don’t use Corruption in our normal rotation or it is in the niche situation where we got to move and already have used all of our other instant cast spells. Well, the reason isn’t Corruption, but instead its AOE counterpart Seed of Corruption. As Destruction we still use Seed of Corruption as our main AOE spell, being able to boost this along a couple of percents shouldn’t be neglected if you care about clearing trash.

Fel Armor provides us with additional spell power both from the inherent spell power of the spell and through the conversion of spirit. This talent boosts both, it should be noted that Destruction doesn’t always run Glyph of Life Tap, which would make us not focus or prioritize spirit on our gear as much as other specializations, making this talent a (really) little bit less valuable. Put simply in the first couple of phases when you are running Glyph of Life Tap this talent is one of the better ones to increase your throughput, however once we swap in Glyph of Immolate odds are other optional Offensive Talents might become better (as always you should sim your personal case).

  • Increases your critical strike chance with spells by an additional 3% and gives you a 25% chance when hit by a physical attack to reduce the cast time of your next Shadow Bolt or Incinerate spell by 100%. This effect lasts 8 sec and will not occur more than once every 8 seconds.

Backlash provides us with a small amount of crit chance, and on top of that whenever we get struck by physical damage we get compensated by our next Destruction cast being instant, in an ideal world we get struck as minimal as possible of course.

Whilst we only need a single point into this talent to provide Replenishment for the raid, we can still consider adding in a second point to increase the amount of mana both we and our pet receive. This also increases the uptime from Replenishment (if there are no other providers) This in turn can be a DPS increase for our personal DPS by preventing Life Tap, and that of the raid too.

  • Increases the amount of Health restored by your Healthstone by 20%.

If you want to fully complete the role of support you can consider putting points into Improved Health Stone. Each rank of Improved Healthstone creates healthstones with different IDs which allows them to be stacked, another benefit (also means you don’t need to take all ranks).

With Fel Domination we get a new spell to more quickly summon our Machine Gun Imp. Whilst useful in sticky situations where we lose our Imp, in an ideal world we don’t lose our Imp. It would be more useful if it were instant cast, but we miss out on Master Summoner so we know it won’t be.

  • When active, 20% of all damage taken by the caster is taken by your Imp, Voidwalker, Succubus, Felhunter, Felguard, or enslaved demon instead. That damage cannot be prevented. Lasts as long as the demon is active and controlled.

Whilst mostly considered a Demonology Talent, Destruction also can easily access Soul Link. It won’t increase our DPS but significantly increase our survivability which can come in clutch for progression raiding.

  • You have a 100% chance to heal your pet for 15% of the amount of spell damage done by you.

We already put a single point into this talent to reach the next tier and keep our Imp alive. You can opt to put one more point into it if you find your pet dying frequently, do know that with the second point diminishing returns kick in, as more of that second point will turn into overhealing.

  • Reduces all damage taken by 6%.

Another talent that can come in handy for progression is Molten Skin, this will add some extra damage mitigation and survivability.

  • After being hit with a spell, you have a 30% chance to gain Nether Protection, reducing all damage by that spell school by 30% for 8 sec.

Nether Protection isn’t what it used to be, it no longer provides us with complete immunity which was the biggest benefit for certain boss fights. Now instead it gives us 30% absorption for 8 seconds, which is still useful for progression but won’t help us ignore mechanics.


With talents out of the way, it is time to go over our Glyphs. Glyphs are a new addition to the class build mechanic introduced in Wrath of the Lich King. Glyphs can be crafted by the new profession Inscription.

Recommended Glyphs

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  • When you use Life Tap or Dark Pact, you gain 20% of your Spirit as spell power for 40 sec.

This glyph is great for any Warlock spec. It provides a significant amount of spell power for little effort. Most often we have to Life Tap anyway within 40 seconds or we have to move somewhere and have no other instant casts to use. Later on into the expansion gear drops in the amount of spirit it has and the overall amount of other stats increase the damage from Immolate significantly, to the point that Glyph of Immolate becomes the better option.

  • Increases the periodic damage of your Immolate by 10%.

Immolate is our most important damage over time ability, it adds additional damage to Incinerate, Chaos Bolt and enables us to use Conflagrate. The additional damage Immolate receives from this glyph also translates to Conflagrate as this damage is calculated based on a percentage of Immolates damage. However early on in the expansion Immolate doesn’t deal enough damage on its own compared to the amount of spell power gained from using Glyph of Life Tap, this changes roughly around the last phase.

Not having to reapply Immolate after each and every Conflag is a huge damage boost. This is a must-have talent.

Boosting your predominant filler spell damage by 5% should be a no-brainer.

Can rarely be beneficial to have your Demonic Circle back up.

  • Increases the damage your Fear target can take before the Fear effect is removed by 20%.

This is another situational Glyph, the biggest benefit is in fights with adds that need to be feared.

  • Your Drain Soul ability occasionally creates an additional soul shard.

Overall most Minor Glyphs are situational however, this one always comes in handy. We use Drain Soul liberally, whenever we have to finish off a mob. Extra Soul Shards always come in handy whether it is for Summoning, Healthstones, Soulstones, Soul Shatter, etc…

It doesn’t happen too often that you will need to summon closely before combat, so the benefit of this is rather a small bit of convenience.

  • Increases the swim speed of targets affected by your Unending Breath spell by 20%.

Who doesn’t like to take an ice-cold bath out in the Howling Fjords?

Unlike in previous expansions, there aren’t a lot of worthwhile to enslave demons inside raids, If I am mistaken please correct me and I’ll be sure to add them here inside a list.


About the Author


I am a Classic Warlock enthusiast and in general like theorycrafting. I am the owner and admin of the best community in the whole wide world, being the Classic Warlock Discord. This is the home of some of the best Warlocks in this game and the basis for theorycrafting and figuring out the optimal plays for us warlocks. My aim is to make sure this up-to-date information is out there everywhere to be found and to give back to the community.
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1 year ago

Is it possible to remove/change those red marks on the talent trees? It makes it nearly impossible to see the numbers for each individual talent … seems like the person that designed that never looked at it to realize that it blocked the numbers! Thx in advance

1 year ago

you recommend glyph of Siphon Life as an utility glyph, however, the build does not have Siphon Life so it would do nothing

1 year ago

Any consideration to Glyph for Chaos bolt?

1 year ago

Decent but not perfect it put 2 points in shadowbolt rather then imp for that extra dmg prock when u have you chaosbolt window also make chaos bolt glyph viable since it enables you to cast more chaos bolts during long fights and you dont need soul leach since its the healers job to keep you alive wasted points same with imp you keep it for the buff nothing more you are the dmg dealer not the pet in WOTLK unlike other expansions

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