I’ll be honest: Destruction Locks nowadays are few and far between. With the majority of raiding Warlocks going for the Destro/Demo hybrid build, and many of those who aren’t going Demon or Aff, well… we are a dying breed. Unfortunately, this makes us a dying breed that seems to have very little idea of how to spec! There is not a great deal of discussion of the spec, and as I am a total slouch at theorycrafting, this is kinda based upon what I think. If I had endless pots of gold (note: I want a leprechaun for Christmas!), I’d respec more often and test stuff out. Unfortunately, I am but a poor struggling Warlock with mouths to feed (damn hungry minions!)
Part A: The Spec
Now, my spec is not the optimal raid spec. The Hybrid Specs are the most effective for damage output, but when you are a die hard Destro spec lover like myself, you just need to deal with feeling a little gimped and move on. If I can’t get to the last talent in the tree, well… I just don’t feel right. Strange but true.
I will admit, there are a couple of… interesting choices in that spec. Don’t get me wrong, i know it is far from perfect! However, I’ll discuss these shortcomings as we go. I don’t want to talk about every talent – if I view it as a bit of a ‘no brainer’, I probably won’t mention it.
1. The Destruction Tree
Improved Shadow Bolt: While I don’t throw Shadow Bolts like I used to, having ISB means that I save the mages the effort of keeping stacks of Scorch up for much less effort than what it takes them. Sure, I lose a little bit of DPS, but utility is a wonderfully awesome thing that should never be underestimated. DPS can be found most anywhere: utility and versatility can not. Please note – if you regularly run with more than one Warlock, co-ordinate your Shadow Bolting. If more than one person casts it, it cancels out the previous one. Don’t waste raid DPS by having every lock cast it! Also remember to let your Mages know they don’t need to Scorch (I forgot that myself today, whoops!)
Aftermath: Ignore the daze effect – it’s not that important – and focus on the increase to your Immolate. An additional 6% to your always up (it is always up, isn’t it??) DoT is awesome.
Demonic Power: The faster your Imp can cast, the more likely Empowered Imp will proc.
Intensity: Utterly useless within itself, but essential for ->
Backlash: An additional 3% to your spell crit rating! You might not get too many instant cast procs off it, since you wont often be being hit (I hope), but that 3% crit makes it all worth while
Pyroclasm: I find that Conflagrate crits a LOT. That increase to spell damage after a crit is always nice, especially since that’s when I unleash the big guns in my rotation
Conflagrate/Backdraft: I never used to have Conflagrate and Backdraft. I found keeping Conflag in my rotation made it feel really clunky and awkward thanks to the annoying GCD. However, I have recently fallen in love with Backdraft, so I have learned to live with the GCD and it’s clunkiness.
Chaos Bolt: This for me tends to hit reasonably hard, especially for a short cast. It also times well with the rest of my rotation – it comes up just as I am ready to cast Conflag, which makes me happy.
Cataclysm: Mana Schmana… sure, it’s nice to not Life Tap as often, but I don’t think the savings work out to enough DPS to warrant it
Shadowburn: Too annoying to work into a rotation, especially when you are throwing Soul Fires
Destructive Reach: I currently have no real threat issues, and the range is a moot point when my CoA won’t reach anyway
Improved Searing Pain: unexciting damage, definitely unexciting threat generation… save it for the tanking, kiddies
Nether Protection: Highly situational, I haven’t found much of a use for it personally. Heck, I didn’t even have it in BC when a lot of Warlocks had it!
Soul Leech/Imp Soul Leech: OK, so Imp Soul Leech has raid utility… I really ummed and ahhed over this one. I might let you have it, I suppose, if you can find somewhere better to lose the points from.
2. The Demonology Tree
Improved Imp: Imp Imp is a wonderful talent for a spec that is so pet dependent to work
Improved Healthstone: Not really required, but the raid appreciates nice cookies, and the points have to go somewhere to get further down.
Fel Synergy: My Imp has a nasty habit of occasionally getting hurt a bit, and this is an attempt to balance it out. I felt the 1/2 was more beneficial than the 2/2 personally, but really, this isn’t an essential.
Demonic Embrace: While extra stamina is always nice (especially in Ulduar I hear), I didn’t want to invest points in this personally that I could spend elsewhere. The one point is a filler point to get me further down the tree
Fel Vitality: Makes you and your pet’s hardier and gives you more mana. Intellect also adds a small small SMALL bit of crit to your Imp
Demonic Aegis: I really like having the best type of Fel Armor. Every bit of extra damage counts!
3. The Affliction Tree
Suppression: I am WAY off hit capped, so I need this talent. If I was hit capped I would consider investing these points into Improved Corruption or within the Demonology tree.
Improved Curse of Agony: This really is a dead point that should be somewhere else – I am too cheap to replace my old Glyph of CoA, so I still cast this to make me feel a little less like I am wasting a glyph slot.
Part B. Spell Rotation
a) Trash/Bosses when you are low on shards
Shadow Bolt – CotE– Immolate – Incinerate (until 5 seconds left on Immol) – Conflagrate – Chaos Bolt – Immolate etc etc
# Refresh ISB and CoA where necessary
# Feel free to use CoD on bosses if someone else is covering CotE – it doesn’t stack!
#Communicate with other locks to see who else has and is casting ISB – if someone else is covering it, don’t bother with it!
b) Boss Fights
Shadow Bolt – CoD– Immolate – Incinerate (until 5 seconds left on Immol) – Conflagrate – Chaos Bolt – Soul Fire – Soul Fire – Immolate etc etc
I have dropped Corruption from my rotation – I know it’s recommended to use it, but I got more DPS out of a slightly cleaner rotation. Realistically, it isn’t a very difficult spell to keep up, I am just rather lazy. If you have trouble with your rotation, consider dropping Corruption or CoA. Keeping ISB up is a little tiresome, but it helps the raid in the long run. The reason why I put my two Soul Fires there is because Backdraft reduces their cast time by 30%, making it a much more efficient spell than it usually is.
As I said – this is not the optimal raid spec. However, unless you are in a guild which expects you to be optimal spec, I see no reason why you can’t spec Deep Destruction and still do decent damage. Not to mention, we all know Destruction is more fun!