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On this page, we list your Destruction Warlock coreabilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of WarcraftMoP 5.4. We also explain whento use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtletiesthat you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a DestructionWarlock.
The other pages of our Destruction Warlock guide can be accessedfrom the table of contents on the right.
1. Single Target Rotation↑top
Your single-target rotation is based on the following priority list.
The idea is to keep a relatively high amount of Burning Embers, so that youcan always cast Chaos Bolt and Shadowburn when they will be dealingmore damage (trinket proc, Dark Soul, etc.). Note that using Shadowburnwill considerably increase your mana regeneration, but it will not affect yourgame play in any way.
Remember to apply and maintain Curse of the Elements if no oneelse in your raid/party can provide the same debuff.
2. Multiple Target Rotation↑top
When fighting multiple enemies, you will always want to keep Rain of Fire up.
When fighting 2 or 3 enemies, stick to your single-targetrotation on one of them. Keep Immolate applied on them (onlyif the adds will live longer than just a few seconds) anduse Havoc on Chaos Bolt (if no target is below 20% health)or Shadowburn (if there is a target below 20% health).
When fighting 4 or 5 enemies, use Fire and Brimstoneto apply Immolate, and cast Conflagrate and Incinerate(in that order of priority). When you do not have enough Burning Embers,refresh Immolate manually, as a filler. Note that if youonly have one Burning Ember, we suggest you to use Fire and Brimstone+Conflagratefirst, since it will likely refund the Burning Ember to youimmediately, allowing you to use Immolate. If you use Immolate first,you do not get the Burning Ember back and you may have to wait for a few secondsbefore you can start using Conflagrate. Finally, the aforementioned AoE adviceabout Havoc, Chaos Bolt, and Shadowburn still applies for4 and 5 enemies.
When fighting 6 or more enemies, using Havoc+ Chaos Boltis no longer worth it, unless damaging the boss at the same time is important.The cut off point for Shadowburn is higher because Shadowburn only uses 1charge of Havoc (Chaos Bolt uses 3), so you will want to stop using Havoc+ Shadowburn at around 12 enemies.
Note that when fighting enough enemies (it depends on Critical Strike chance, but isusually around 7), using Fire and Brimstone+ Incinerate will make you gain1 Burning Ember per cast, which means that you will be able to (and you should)just spam Fire and Brimstone+Incinerate.
For single-target and multiple-target DPS, your demon of choice is theFelhunter (or the Observer), if you have all the raid buffs. If your raidis missing the 12% armor reduction and the +4% physical damage taken debuffs,then you are better off using the Succubus instead.If you use Grimoire of Service, use the Felhunter.
For fights where you often have to switch targets (and these targetsare not right next to each other), use the Imp (or the Fel Imp) or theSuccubus (or the Shivarra).
Dark Soul: Instability is your main DPS cooldown. It increases your criticalstrike chance by 30% for. Use it on cooldown and try to max out your Burning Embers before using it, so that you can cast Chaos Bolt as many times whileyour critical strike chance is increased. If you have trinkets from Tier 16,then you definitely need to read this sectionto learn how these trinkets change the way you use Dark Soul.
Summon Doomguard and Summon Infernal share a cooldown. As such,you will have to decide which of the two you will use. These two abilitiesare on a 10-minute cooldown, so you will realistically only use them once perfight. Summon Doomguard is better when fighting 3 enemies or less,while Summon Infernal is better when fighting 4 enemies or more.
In addition, you have a number of defensive and offensive cooldowns,the majority of which depends on your choice of talents. We detailall these cooldowns in a subsequent section.
5. Optional Read: Mastering Your Destruction Warlock↑top
Overall, playing a Destruction Warlock is not difficult, and following thepriorities listed above will yield excellent results. Despite this, there area few concepts that we feel require a bit of additional explanation for you tofully understand your class.
5.1. Burning Embers
You have 4 Burning Embers. A Burning Ember is a container with 10 graduations. When the container is full, the Burning Ember can be used and you will be able to start filling the next Burning Ember (provided that they are not all full).
Out of combat, you will always end up with exactly 1 full Burning Ember. The other 2 (or 3 with Glyph of Burning Embers) Burning Embers will slowly decay if they are filled. The first Burning Ember will slowly regenerate if it is not full.
During combat, Burning Embers are generated through the use of your core abilities.
Burning Embers will mostly be consumed with the following two abilities.
5.2. Refreshing Your DoTs
As a Destruction Warlock, a small part of your DPS comes from a DoT: Immolate. Even though, DoTs are much less important to DestructionWarlocks than they are to Affliction or Demonology Warlocks, you shouldstill know how to refresh them optimally.
Pandemic is your level 90 ability. It causes the remaining durationof your DoTs to be added to the new duration when you refresh them, up to 50%of the base duration.
If a DoT has a base duration of 24 seconds and you refresh it when there are10 seconds remaining, the new duration will be 34 seconds, thanks to Pandemic.
5.2.2. How do DoTs benefit from statistics?
DoTs benefit from your statistics at the time when the DoT was cast orrefreshed. This means that the DoT will take into account your haste,spellpower, etc. at the time when you cast the DoT, and it will not beaffected by any change in your stats while the DoT is running.
5.2.3. Pandemic and Statistics: When to Refresh?
The implication of Pandemic and the fact that DoTs benefit fromyour statistics as they were when you applied them is that whenever aDoT has less than 50% of its normal duration remaining, you shouldrefresh it, if you have better statistics than when you cast it(trinket proc, Dark Soul, potion, encounter-specific buff, etc.). Otherwise, refresh the DoT when it is about to expire.
This is especially important during Dark Soul: Instability becauserefreshing Immolate with +30% critical strike chance willcause each of the ticks to have a higher chance to be a critical strike,greatly increasing your Burning Embers generation rate. In additionto Dark Soul, both Tier 16 set bonuses cause your critical strike chanceto sometimes temporarily increase. The ideal Immolate is the one with thehighest increase critical strike chance. That said, if your currentImmolate was not applied with a very high critical strike chance andyou have an Intellect trinket proc, you should refresh it.
By default, you can summon one of four demons to help you fight your foes. Exceptfor the Voidwalker, they are all viable for raiding.
Finally, you have the Command Demon ability, which, if put onyour action bar, will change with the demon you are using. For theVoidwalker, the Felhunter, and the Succubus, this ability will cast theirmanual ability.For the Imp, it will cast Cauterize Master.
5.3.1. Grimoire of Supremacy
Grimoire of Supremacy is a Tier 5 talent that improves your demonsand gives them better abilities.
The Observer remains the demon with the highest DPS.
Finally, you have the Command Demon ability, which, if put onyour action bar, will change with the demon you are using. For theObserver, the Shivarra, and the Voidlord, this ability will cast theirmanual ability.For the Fel Imp, it will cast Cauterize Master (as it does for the Imp).
5.3.2. Felguard/Wrathguard as Destruction
By using Flames of Xoroth, you can use a Felguard/Wrathguard as a DestructionWarlock. Spec into Demonology, summon your Felguard/Wrathguard, then spec into Destruction.Casting Flames of Xorroth will revive your Felguard/Wrathguard, but it will only lastfor about 25 seconds. Since it has a very powerful AoE ability, this trick can be usefulin some AoE-heavy fights, where you will summon your Felguard/Wrathguard every minute.
Shadowburn is the soul and essence of the Destruction specialisation. Onsingle-target fights with only a single boss to hit, Destruction Warlocks arealready decent enough. On fights where you can cycle through many adds, including somethat are below 20% health, Destruction Warlocks are probably the best specialisationin the game.
The key is to use Havoc with Shadowburn as often as possible.Havoc allows you to cast Shadowburn 3 times before its effect runs out (againstonly once for Chaos Bolt). So you should always focus on targets lowerthan 20% health so that you can use Havoc and Shadowburn. Often, you will nothave enough Burning Embers to cast Shadowburn more than once or twice whileHavoc is up. Even so, you should always try and use Havoc for Shadowburnand not Chaos Bolt, because one cast of Shadowburn during Havoc is worthmore than a cast of Chaos Bolt during Havoc. It is acceptable to postponeusing Havoc for a few seconds if an add is about to drop below 20% health.
Also, if a target dies less than 5 seconds after you attacked it with Shadowburn, you regain 2 Burning Embers, so this is another reason whyproper usage of Shadowburn is crucial. Ideally, you should try and damageevery add that is about to die with Shadowburn. In turn, this will give youBurning Embers that you can use to keep spamming Shadowburn.
5.5. Backdraft, Incinerate, and Chaos Bolt
Prior to Patch 5.4, it was advised to only use Backdraft on Incinerate, but with the buff that Chaos Bolt received,you now have a lot more liberty for consuming your charges ofBackdraft. This means that you should not hesitate to consumecharges of Backdraft with Chaos Bolt, when you want to castseveral Chaos Bolts in a short period of time. The rest of the time,simply consume your procs of Backdraft with Incinerate.
5.6. Trinket Procs with Chaos Bolt and Shadowburn
If you have Purified Bindings of Immerseus (any version), you have areliable Intellect trinket proc with a 115-second internal cooldown.This changes the way you want to use your abilities (namely Chaos Boltand Shadowburn).
Even if you do not have Purified Bindings of Immerseus, the other Tier 16trinkets are so strong that Dark Soul: Instability should no longer be seenas a major dumping period for Burning Embers. Without the Immerseus tirnket, you shouldtry to maintain a relatively high level of Burning Embers during Dark Soul (1.5-2 BurningEmbers, for example). This way, if a trinket procs during Dark Soul, you will have BurningEmber to spend on Chaos Bolt or Shadowburn for a massive damage increase.
5.7. More on Cooldowns
In addition to your Dark Soul: Instability, Summon Doomguard,and Summon Infernal, you have other defensive and offensive cooldowns,the majority of which will depend on your choice of talents. We present themin this section, but first, a we need to say more about your Doomguard andyour Infernal.
5.7.1. Doomguard and Infernal
For most situations, summoning a Doomguard is your best choice.In case you are faced with a large number of enemies that you wish to useextra burst on, you should use Summon Infernal.
Summon Doomguard/ Summon Infernal will summon a Doomguard/Infernalto fight by your side for 45 seconds. The ability has a 10 minute cooldown,meaning that it will realistically only be usable once per fight. YourDoomguard/Infernal's damage will scale dynamically with your own Spell Powerand Critical Strike Rating, so any change in your stats after your Doomguard/Infernalhas been summoned will affect him.
5.7.2. Defensive Cooldowns
You have a total of 6 defensive cooldowns, 3 of which dependon your choices of talents.
For other Warlock specialisations, this number of defensive cooldowns canbe explained by the fact that they need to often use Life Tap toregenerate mana, so having these cooldowns is a means of compensating forrequiring more healing from the healers.
5.7.3. Offensive Talent Cooldowns
Grimoire of Service is a Tier 5 talent that enables you to summon an additionaldemon to fight for you for 20 seconds. This ability should be used on cooldownand preferably when you have a trinket/weapon enchant proc or when you deal increaseddamage on the boss, as your demon benefits from a number of your stats.
Mannoroth's Fury is a Tier 6 talent that enables you to greatly increase the damageand area of your AoE spells. Use it whenever you need to do heavy AoE damage. It has a1-minute cooldown, which lets you use it many times a fight.