Warlock Talents & Builds – WoW Classic

  • Author: Zephan
  • Date: December 2, 2021
  • Updated: October 28, 2023
  • Expansion: WoW Classic

Shadow Mastery + Ruin (SM/Ruin, 30/0/21)

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(The Curse of Exhaustion spell is only useful on Kel’Thuzad, and Improve Curse of Agony only applies to the base damage, so you are free to move those talents around. Depending on the amount of hit you have you can also put fewer points into Suppression. The rest is pretty much mandatory, though.)

With the removal of the debuff limit in Season of Mastery, the SM/Ruin-spec is the go-to spec. It is a good all around build, uses an Imp as a pet which brings extra stamina for your party, and does great cleave damage. There are several perks in the affliction tree, but the main reason you spend so many talent points there is for the “Shadow Mastery”-talent, which increases your shadow damage done by 10%, and the Siphon Life talent which gives you access to another DoT ability. Another perk of SM/Ruin is that you have both Grim and Destructive Reach, this allows you to always stand at max range for all your abilities. SM/Ruin is also good for content that isn’t raid-related , such as PvP, grinding, or anything else.

Demonic Sacrifice + Ruin (DS/Ruin, 7/21/23)

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(“Improved Succubus” and “Fel Stamina” in the Demonology tree are filler talents that aren’t important for the overall build. “Improved Voidwalker” is not a filler talent as it influences the Sacrifice Shield your VW gives you (comes in handy for Vaelastrasz). You can exchange the four points in “Cataclysm” for the “Intensity”, “Improved Searing Pain”, and “Pyroclasm” talents, the 3sec stun works great on trash packs.)

As a DS/Ruin Warlock you sacrifice your Succubus with the spell “Demonic Sacrifice” to gain a 15% increased Shadow damage buff. 15% increased damage from “Demonic Sacrifice” beats 10% increased damage from “Shadow Mastery” making this a more effective single target damage output build (as long as there is no forced movement). This means on fights with multiple targets or forced movement you can expect SM/Ruin to outperform DS/ruin, and on fights like Patchwork where there is just a single target with no movement: DS Ruin will come out on top.

In raids, there is utility for both these talent specs: DS/Ruin can provide different strengths of Healthstones, whilst SM/Ruin specced Warlock can provide Blood Pact for the tank group. Which talent build to use is therefore something you have to coordinate with your guild members.

There are no other good talent builds for Warlocks to use in PvE. A 30/21/0 (SM/DS) talent build lacks “Improved Shadow Bolt”, “Bane” and “Ruin” which are all very important talents. And since there are no spammable fire spells in 1.12+ you can’t spec full Destruction either. The only possible PvE build that’s not SM/Ruin or DS/Ruin would be MD/Ruin (0/30/21) with a Succubus, but that’s simply a downgraded DS/Ruin build.


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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5 months ago

when you said “With the removal of the debuff limit in Season of Mastery, the SM/Ruin-spec is the go-to spec. “, you refer to “Season of Discovery”?

Reply to  Infusiones
5 months ago

This page is not updated for Season of Discovery, but was updated for Season of Mastery.

SM/Ruin may be the go-to spec for Season of Discovery, but in Phase 1 we cannot reach those talents, so that wont be true until later.

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