PvE Destruction Warlock DPS Guide

PVE Destruction Warlock DPS Guide WotLK 3.3.5a

Welcome to the home page of our Destruction Warlock Guide for WoW: Wrath of the Lich King! This guide aims to take an in-depth look at everything to do with Destruction Warlocks; each facet of what it takes to play the class to its fullest will have its own guide and be described in detail.

This overview page will cover the role and viability of Destruction Warlocks in Wrath of the Lich King.

Destruction Warlock in Wrath of the Lich King

Destruction Warlocks specialize in burning their enemies to a crisp with Fel Fire, turning their very souls to ashes. This specialization unleashes impressive Direct Damage, while also being capable of dealing large amounts of Burst Damage. Destruction Warlocks, however, suffer from the lack of an execution tool – where Affliction Warlocks benefit from Drain Soul, Demonology Warlocks benefit from Soul Fire.

While Destruction Warlocks in The Burning Crusade era found themselves claiming high spots on the Damage Meter, Destruction Warlocks in Wrath of the Lich King unfortunately often find themselves in a spot below most other classes. However what they trade in terms of throughput them make up in the shape of support with Soul Leech and Blood Pact. Moreover, what Destruction doesn’t have any immense cooldowns it does has a lot of burst damage with conflagrate and chaos bolt, making them excel in fights that require quick takedown of adds. On top of that Shadowfury and Conflagrate (Aftermath) can help provide add control in sticky situations.

Destruction Warlock gets dethroned as single-target damage dealer. However, there is an upside. Destruction Warlock provide the raid with replenishment and health, as well as great add control.

Destruction Warlock Strengths & Weaknesses


  • Replenishment
    Destruction is the only Warlock specialization who can bring a Replenishment buff to the raid. This is done through Soul Leech, which also tends to be a good talent from a personal DPS point of view. There are other classes that can also bring this buff such as a Shadow Priest or Retribution Paladin, sometimes based on the raid composition it can be beneficial to instead bring a Destruction Warlock (for example when already running a Discipline Priest or Protection and Holy Paladin in 10 mans).
  • Blood Pact
    Additional health is always welcome, especially during progression that doesn’t go as smoothly as we hope. Warriors also can provide us with additional health thanks to commanding shout. However, the imp can provide this buff without the need of being in the melee range of the caster, on certain encounters this can be a plus.
  • Sustained Damage
    Where Affliction Warlock has a build-up time and both Affliction and Demonology see a ramp-up in their damage when nearing the end of the boss, Destruction does sustained damage all the way through and doesn’t see big ramp-ups or slowdowns. This is beneficial mostly on single-target mobs that require a lot of switching or are short-lived. There are no surprises, you know (roughly) what you are getting yourself into.
  • Add management
    Something that often is forgotten and understandably so as this is relatively niche, is add management as a Destruction Warlock. The toolkit of a Destruction Warlock provides us with Shadowfury and Aftermath. Shadowfury whilst great for some quick AOE damage, also provides us with a AOE 3 second stun that is only on a short 20-second cooldown. Another tool in our arsenal is Conflagrate along with Aftermath, this provides us with a single target daze every 10 seconds. Both of these combined can certainly make certain fights a lot simpler or turn a bad situation around, whether for you or by saving the life of a fellow raider.


  • Lowest throughput of all three specializations
    It isn’t a secret that the damage that Destruction deals is lower compared to both Demonology and Affliction. However, in the first couple of phases this difference isn’t as big as it is often made out to be. Whilst perhaps not optimal from a speedrunning perspective, the Destruction Warlock definitely is a viable option.
  • No big cooldowns
    Where Demonology Warlocks have Metamorphosis which they can pop during essential moments, Destruction Warlock doesn’t have any big cooldown. This results in consistent damage, but also lacks out on using a big cooldown in combination with raid cooldowns or boss phases.
  • No execute damage
    Both Affliction and Demonology gain damage for specific spells once the boss reaches low health, in the form of Drain Soul and Soul Fire respectively. Sadly there is no “Soul Bolt” for Destruction which increases their damage as the fight comes near an end. We might be top of the meters, but once the health starts melting from the boss we will quickly be outpaced by other Warlocks.

Destruction Warlock Utility

Besides their damage, Destruction Warlocks bring the following raid buffs & debuffs to a raid:

  • ReplenishmentImproved Soul Leech
    This talent not only provides us and our pet with additional mana, but also up to 10 fellow raiders. Additional mana can notable make encounters easier on the healers or increase the damage from casters. Other casters that can provide a similar buff are Survival Huner, Retribution Paladin, Shadow Priest.
  • Health buff (does not stack)Blood Pact
    Sometimes that little tiny bit of extra health can be the difference between life or death. Destruction Warlocks already run around with their Machinegun Imp out, making it an obvious choice to provide additional health with Blood Pact. Warriors can also provide a similar buff in the form of commanding shout.
  • AoE StunShadowfury & Aftermath
    The toolkit of a Destruction Warlock provides us with Shadowfury and Aftermath. Shadowfury whilst great for some quick AOE damage, also provides us with a AOE 3 second stun that is only on a short 20-second cooldown. Another tool in our arsenal is Conflagrate along with Aftermath, this provides us with a single target daze every 10 seconds. Both of these combined can certainly make certain fights a lot simpler or turn a bad situation around, whether for you or by saving the life of a fellow raider.
  • Fel Healthstone
    Who doesn’t like some green healthy fel candies? Healthstones have been a staple provided by Warlock since the dawn of time, saving people’s lives and helping your raid deal with high burst mechanics. At least 1 Warlock will be mandatory to have in every raid, just for these alone.
  • Combat ResurrectionDemonic Soulstone
    Warlocks are 1 of the 2 classes that possess the ability to resurrect someone in combat, which is always going to be a massive boon for your raid. With every expansion there are more and more methods of wipe prevention, so Soulstones lose a small bit of value, but are still incredibly handy to have.
  • 13% increased spell damage taken debuff (does not stack)Curse of the Elements
    This debuff was unique to Warlocks in previous expansions, with Affliction Warlocks offering an enhanced version. This is no longer the case, as Death Knights (Ebon Plaguebringer), Druids (Earth and Moon), or other Warlocks specializations can all provide the same bonus. Affliction Warlocks lose a lot of DPS from having to use this curse over Curse of Agony or Curse of Doom, so you generally won’t be the one to use this debuff, but it’s still an option in your toolbox.
  • 5% spell crit debuff (does not stack)Improved Shadow Bolt
    The Improved Shadow Bolt talent has been redesigned in Wrath. and there are no two ways about it, this was a pretty significant nerf for Warlock utility. It now increases the chance for the target to be crit by spells by 5%, which is a debuff that we share with Fire (Improved Scorch) and Frost (Winter’s Chill) Mages. You still take the talent, but largely not for the utility aspect — though you may get use out of it in 10-man raids if there’s no Fire Mages around.
  • 5% reduced armor (does not stack) & reduced attack power (does not stack)Curse of Weakness
    This curse gets a minor buff in Wrath, providing the same 5% armor reduction debuff that a Druid’s Faerie Fire does, along with its previous attack power reduction effect, which still doesn’t stack with other similar effects. Whilst very useful, this curse suffers from the same issues as Curse of the Elements: you lose too much DPS if you use it as an Affliction Warlock. Luckily, Druids are better at providing the armor reduction debuff, while other classes are better at providing the attack power debuff, so you generally will never need to use this one.
  • 30% cast speed slow (does not stack)Curse of Tongues
    This handy little debuff has seen a pretty significant nerf, with its cast speed slow reduced to 30% down from 70%, but besides that, is still pretty good. Rogues can also apply it with their Mind-numbing Poison, but Warlocks are generally better at it thanks our 30 yard range. Similarly to other curses, you generally don’t want to use this as it’s a major DPS decrease, but there occasional boss fights (f.e. Sindragosa and her Blistering Cold) where it can come in handy.
  • Increased intellect (does not stack) & increased spirit (does not stack)Fel Intelligence
    This handy little passive buff that your Felhunter pet offers combines Divine Spirit from a Priest with the Arcane Intellect of a Mage. However, it is a weaker version of both even if buffed with Improved Felhunter. In most raids, there will be both Mages and Priests so you will most likely only benefit your mates with this in five-mans.
  • Ritual of Summoning
    Being able to quickly get everyone where they have to be is a major boon like it has always been. There’s a massive convenience change to summoning in Wrath: instead of manually having to summon each player individually, you summon a summoning stone, that everyone can use to summon others. This will save you many Soul Shards and a lot of time.


I hope this guide provides you with all the information you need to make the best out of a Destruction Warlock. Please navigate to the other pages to get information on gear, rotation, talents, and more.

Thank you for taking the time to read our Destruction Warlock guide for Wrath of the Lich King. I hope it was helpful, and if you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to leave a comment below, or find me as Zephan on the Warlock Classic Discord.


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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