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.

specI 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

i) Yeses!

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!

14 Responses to “Stalking that Weird and Wonderful Creature, the Destruction Warlock”
  1. I raid as Destruction and have no problems putting out good numbers, really, it’s just when compared to other Warlock specs it’s a lower dps output than a hybrid. I just find it to be more fun.

    Whats been working for me lately is-

    CoE, Immolate, Chaos Bolt, Conflag, Incinerate X times

    Using Conflag this early means you get to use it again below the 5 second mark on Immolate if you use the glyph. I’m sure your Mages (and other casters) appreciate the ISB buff =)

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  2. I don’t actually have the Conflag glyph… I have thought about getting it, but my mind still has trouble with the whole idea of Conflag being good, it was just drilled in in BC that it was bad!!

    I currently use Glyph of Immolate, Glyph of Imp (I consider both of these essential for a Destruction Warlock) and Glyph of CoA, which isn’t too bad.

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  3. [...] discusses her deep Destruction build at Destructive [...]

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  4. Rockeroad says:

    Sar ima critique your build cuz im like that… im a warlock lover like you

    FYI CoA is no longer a dps increase in the destro rotation. As of now it is not BECAUSE destro no longer has molten core. Also replace the glyph of CoA w/ the conflag glyph. And the glyph of imp should be glyph of life tap. Highest dps glyph for warlocks AND you can work it into a 20 sec rotation.

    One last thing: do you have any affliction warlocks in your raid? If so you can take out the points in imp Sbolt, affliction uses sbolt in a set rotation. It will never ever ever ever drop (trust me, i am affli).

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  5. Rockeroad says:

    I think my post sounded mean…i didnt mean for it to be =(. I am a nice person =D

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  6. Conflag was changed to do X amount of damage and now does 70% of Immolates damage. The glyph makes it not consume Immolate when you use it so you can use it like a normal spell now. It deals a ton of damage now, especially with the Immolate glyph and all of the talents boosting fire/immolate damage. It’s definitely worth replacing the CoA glyph with Conflag, IMO. I use Imp, Immolate and Conflag as my glyphs but whichever works best for you of course =)

    Fear.Wins last blog post../target /Penance /hide

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  7. Blanket statement first: I actually haven’t replaced my glyphs. That requires a wee bit more gold, not to mention dedication to min maxing that I currently just don’t have. So, if I don’t replace my glyphs any time soon, don’t read that as an indication of me ignoring advice! I just only use glyphs my Scribe can personally make.

    @Rockeroad I really don’t like the idea of the glyph of Life Tap myself… just something that rubs me the wrong way about gaining more DPS through Life Tapping… I’m funny like that. The Glyph of Conflag is more appealing to me that the LT glyph

    As for the aff locks, well, we just don’t have one. Our other locks are all sorts of weird specs, and I do know of at least a couple who don’t have ISB. I am generally pretty wary of speccing based on what other people may or may not have anyway, since there is nothing to say that person might want a couple weeks off or something! That and there is the fact that nothing further down the tree is especially appealing at this point, and I would need to invest points in the Destro tree to progress regardless.

    @Fear.Win I’ll have to get the Conflag Glyph (if my Scribe has it… I honestly can’t remember)since it does look pretty good. I have this annoying ‘blindness’ to Conflag (I think I admitted this in the post) from lecturing people throughout BC ‘No Conflag! No Conflag!’

    Thanks, as always, for the feedback guys!

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  8. Oh… and I don’t have 4set T7, which also makes the Life Tap Glyph less appealing. Forgot to mention that!!! <3

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  9. I run as hybrid, and have done it before it was fashionable. Glyph of Life tap at this point is moronic, since everybody is in a hurry to replace their T7s. I replaced all of mine but the shoulders with Ulduar 10 gear- and hopefully some ulduar 25 stuff will come my way soon.
    T7 is not spectacular to begin with, and it would appear that T8 ain’t much better. Thus, the glyph of Life tap seems somewhat pointless to me.

    Also, Destructive Reach is a must for a destrolock nowadays- the fihts in Ulduar are very very intense and mobile and you just need each and every help to not overaggro. At least one point in it a must.

    Also- Demonic Embrace needs 3 points. Ulduar is all about survival, and funny enough less about DPS.
    ISB= waste of points since the afflocks or meta locks will cover that, plus it cannot compete with Scorch.
    CoA is useful in short fights when you don’t want to use CoD, after all it is extra damage.

    HYbrid has some advantages that cannot be ignored- extra about 300 SP and 10% crit should not be passed by anyone

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  10. @soopermouse

    The main thing here is that this spec needs to be altered for where you are at in your raiding and what sort of gear you have. As someone who is not raiding Ulduar, and does not have very good gear, Destructive Reach is basically useless to me – I do not have good enough gear to pull aggro.

    As I stated in an above comment, none of the other Warlocks I run with have ISB, and the Scorch debuff is equal to the ISB debuff, and is also a heck of a lot easier for a Warlock to keep up than a Mage.

    At the end of the day, I am not aiming for top DPS in this spec. I am aiming for decent damage, sure, but also some utility, and I don’t need to have things in my talent build which are specifically for Ulduar, since I don’t and wont raid in Ulduar. I also did not say at any point that this is the spec I would recommend for other people to use – I simply said this is the spec that I use, and these are the reasons why.

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  11. Also, as a quick update, I have recently updated my spec to 3/14/54, aiming for 0/17/54 (more than likely) as soon as I can get enough hit to start shifting points. Probably won’t happen anytime soon, with the return to work for the next 3 months killing any raiding chances for me.

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  12. fair enough.
    It is worth mentioning however that you do not need to be hard hitcapped for 25 mans. Remember that the chances to have a draenei and a moonkin in a 25 man are very close to 100%, which means you get 4% hit from the raid buffs. You will probably need it in 10 mans though.
    I apologize if I sounded overtly critical. I am an old raider, and I tend to view the class through its raid utility.

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  13. @soopermouse Oh, you didn’t come across as overcritical, and as someone who used to be a relatively hardcore raider, I totally understand your perspective.

    As for the hit, well… I only have 8% hit on my gear, so I do need that extra 3% desperately, even with Draenei and Oomkin around :-)

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  14. have you tried the ebonweave set? it is pretty decent and has a tron of hit. Alternatively, farm EoE normal until teh chest drops

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