With 4.0 literally on top of us, I thought it was high time I got off my rotund rear and wrote a guide to what I think is the best spec for Destro Warlocks.  This, of course, comes with the previously mentioned caveat that I haven’t played in the beta or the PTR, and so I could make a mistake.

Destro Click me to go to the talent calculator page

We are forced to put 31 talents into Destruction, which really makes those choices a bit of a no brainer.  However, for those who might be curious, I have highlighted my choices below.  To be fair, it’s more a matter of ‘what don’t I need’ than ‘what do I need’ with these trees.  But hey… let’s see anyway.

Bane (3/3): A reduction of cast speed wasn’t the first thing I reached for, simply because I wasn’t sure how Haste works out in 4.0.  However, it is a handy talent to have, and you are forced to choose it to progress further down the tree.

Shadow and Flame (3/3): I think Shadow and Flame is worth having solely for the 12% increase to Incinerate.  However, the Improved Shadow Bolt is always nice for those looking for utility, and if you are lacking an equivalent buff in your raid, it could be very handy.

Improved Immolate (2/2): Again, kinda a no brainer.  20% to your Immolate is pretty shiny.

Improved Soul Fire (2/2): Improved Soul Fire changes up the Warlock rotation, giving us a hard hitting opener.  Improved Soul Fire causes you to receive a 15% increase to spell haste for 15 seconds if you hit a target at 80% or greater health.  Think of it as a reverse execute.  I’m not sure yet how this pans out mathematically, but you’ve got to spend the points somewhere regardless.

Emberstorm (2/2): Another boring, make you cast faster talent (this time affecting Soul Fire and Immolate).

Improved Searing Pain (2/2): This talent confuses me, as it would confuse anyone who hasn’t played PTR or beta.  I’ve heard talk that Blizzard have buffed the holy hell out of Searing Pain, although this spell still scares me.  An increase in damage is fine, but is it accompanied by an increase in threat generation?  Because, really?  More threat?  I’ll test Searing Pain out when the patch hits and see what happens.  It is also worth noting that it only increases the crit chance of Searing Pain when the target has less than 50% health.  Searing Pain is probably not worth casting before that point.

Aftermath (0/2): PvE stuns are a snore.  Especially when half the crap in an instance is immune to your stun effects anyway.  If you are lacking in stun effects in your raid, I guess you consider it, but I am not seeing any PvE raiding worth in this talent.  Probably a fight specific talent.

Backdraft (3/3): Pretty similar to the old Backdraft (as in, y’know… not new).  Just as worthwhile as before.

Shadowburn (1/1):  Shadow damage, but it will be interesting to play with, considering the new Soul Shard mechanic.  I imagine it will kick absolute arse on long boss fights with more than one target  (something in the style of High King Maulgar).

Burning Embers (2/2): Finally, getting to the new stuff in the tree!  Burning Embers puts a DoT on the target, caused by your Imp’s Firebolt or your Soul Fire, equal to 30% of the damage dealt by said spell.  The DoT lasts for 7 seconds.  Again, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.  Things I would like to know: do you and your Imp have separate Burning Embers DoTs?  I am guessing that it can not proc while it is up, although it may be that it refreshes if it procs while it is going.  Lots of question marks here, but it’s nice to see something new and interesting.

Soul Leech (2/2):  Same ‘blah, play nice with the others’ raid utility as Soul Leech and Improved Soul Leech, condensed down into two talent points.  No reason not to take it, really, and I’d make a comment about utility here if every other bastard didn’t have some form of Replenishment as well.

Backlash (0/3): It’s PvE.  Stop getting hit, foo’.

Nether Ward (1/1):  Eh.  It might be useful, and I had to throw a point somewhere.  Basically takes Shadow Ward, and makes it better by turning into a damage absorption bubble of every magical flavour.  No, it won’t stop that Rogue from hurting you when he stabs you in the kidney.

Fire and Brimstone (3/3):  Increases damage, increases this, Increases that.  You know the drill: it makes you hit harder, it makes you crit more, you want it.  Because, really, Destruction Warlocks are like diamond connoisseurs – the small ones are pretty, but the big ones are so much better.  And yeah, I had to use diamond there, because the other things that are better big, just aren’t pretty when they are small.  No one likes a small yacht.  Just ask Ghostcrawler.

Shadowfury (1/1): I’m not enthused at all about Shadowfury.  I know a lot of people who think it’s an exciting PvE spell, and it does give us a little more mobility, but I have just plain never liked it.  I put a point into it because I had to, more than anything else.  I’m totally not all about the Shadow either: while I have always thought it would be nice to have to use a mix of shadow and fire in our rotation, the buffs we receive to fire through specialising in Destruction make me disinclined to use Shadow spells.

Nether Protection (0/2):  PvE raiding.  Stop pulling aggro, foo’.  Or, you know, only spec into this when the situation requires it.  Which won’t be too often, except for if you are Lock Tanking. 

Empowered Imp (2/2): Imps handing out Instant Soul Fires, hopefully like candy.  Which leads to (hopefully) more Burning Embers uptime.  Nommy.  … OK, so maybe not like candy.  4% seems pretty low.  I’m hoping this gets increased or something. 

Bane of Havoc (1/1): The other new hotness in the Destro tree.  To be honest, my first thought was ‘This is REALLY going to screw some people over in PvP’, but it will also be pretty damn awesome in PvE as well. Add fights?  Whoo hoo!  For those who can’t click through to wowhead, bane of havoc causes 15% of the damage dealt to other targets to also hit the baned target.

Chaos Bolt (1/1): Do you have to ask?  It’s shiny, it’s fun, and we hopefully get to use it quite a bit.

Crap in the other trees

This was actually a more difficult decision process than the Destruction tree.  I decided to go with the following:

Improved Corruption (2/3): I’ve heard that Corruption is working its way into the Destro rotation.  However, if it is not, then of course you do not want this. 

Dark Arts (3/3):  More Firebolts = More chances for Empowered Imp and Burning Embers to proc. Just makes sense, really.

Thoughts, queries, notions, theories?  Fire away in the comments!

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13 Responses to “4.0 – Destruction Derby”
  1. Good news everybody! Your talent tree pretty much lines up with what EJ are saying atm.

    They have the point in shadowburn in nether protection instead though. I’m going to have to say I see shadowburn being more useful in raids though, use it while moving if you can. Perhaps even a mini execute just for destruction?

    I think that netherward is going to be a lot more useful to, especially if healer mana is as big a deal as its been made out to be. Any fight with spell damage? Use it!

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  2. Disagree in regards to Nether Protection. Healing is much harder, and any DPS worth their salt should be doing whatever possible to make healers’ jobs easier. I use Nether Ward/Nether Prot multiple times every boss fight in heroics in beta, because healer mana matters THAT MUCH.

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  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Saresa, Velidra. Velidra said: RT @Saresa: New blog post: 4.0 – Destruction Derby http://www.destructivereach.com/2010/10/4-0-destruction-derby/ [...]

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  4. Honestly Sar, I think that point for point that’s what I had for my destro tree at 80… of course given that I know very little of warlock mechanics, I just based it solely on what I know of how to spec dps. The improved corruption bit had me a little shaky in my own right, and idk.. Nether prot seems like an odd place to put 2 points because it only lasts for 12 seconds AFTER getting hit by a spell. Maybe it’s just me but it seems like the bubble, regardless of how small it might be, is better than the idea of more minor protection from a random errant 2nd spell… Guess we’ll have to see.
    Achloryn´s last blog post ..40what

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  5. Instead of putting points in Corruption, may I suggest putting them into [Doom and Gloom]? With instant-cast minions of the doomguard and infernal flavor (on a 10min CD), you need to have BoA or BoD on them so that they attack it. I prefer agony as it has a shorter CD (great when questing to have that extra dps for 45s), especially on those quicky fights. Might as well get the increased damage, if you’re gonna use it.
    elkagorasa´s last blog post ..Youre all in the Beta now!!

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  6. [...] Destructive Reach: Warlock 4.0 – We’re a Talented Bunch [Guide to Speccing] | 4.0 – Destruction Derby [...]

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  7. @Velidra yeah, that was a tough choice. I went Shadowburn, like I said, because I personally want to see how it pans out with the Soul Shard mechanic.

    @Hake like I said, I haven’t been in beta. I just find it hard to believe that we would have to use a spell absorb effect THAT often in 4.0.1. I can think of a handful of raids where it might be useful… but not THAT useful. Remember, everyone is also getting a lot more stamina, and if you need to be able to heal yourself, you should have a variety of other options at your disposal as well.

    The thing a lot of people seem to be getting confused with is that this is NOT Cataclysm yet. We are still running raids that we already know. And, frankly, at the risk of sounding like a pompous arse, for most of Wrath I found healing to be rather boring. I’m drooling at the chance to dust my tree-that-was off and heal. Healer mana matters THAT much because healer mana wasn’t even a real consideration in Wrath.

    Achloryn makes a good point regarding Nether Protection as well – you have to actually get hit in the first place for it to kick in. Let’s say your bubble doesn’t absorb all the incoming damage… I find it hard to believe you will take that much more after that point unless you are doing something bad on the majority of fights, like standing in the fire. It’s probably not worth the trouble.

    @Achloryn really, I think it’s kinda 50/50 there on what you take. Neither spell looks especially appealing to me, and when I first did my tree a couple weeks ago, I DID have the points in there. I can’t see it being especially useful… but then, I can’t see much else being useful either.

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  8. [...] *Carlyn has only ever been Demonology.  Here are some resources for Affliction and Affliction and Destruction. [...]

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  9. Here’s a mechanic I’ve discovered which comes in handy during raids (tested live last night in ICC10):

    Soul link is no longer a talent, but a learnable spell, so having it up decreases your incoming damage by applying it to the imp. Since he’s not exactly the most resilient of your minions, if you are taking damage during the AOE portion of any boss fight, he goes down pretty fast. That is, unless you put 2/2 into Fel Synergy. Doing so negates the damage you take via Soul Link (yay for healers), and makes sure that ol’ Impsy doesn’t succumb to an untimely demise (yay for Empowered Imp – which procs often I’ve noticed).

    It’s a strange mechanic, but I’ve tested it and it works quite well. Just my $0.02. Cheers!

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  10. Also, while 2/2 Aftermath may not be ideal for pve pertaining to the 12% stun on Rain of Fire, overlooking the second benefit (100% chance for Conflagrate to apply a 70% movement speed decrease on the target) is unwise in my opinion. It’s not AS crucial in the current content, but I’ve used that before as a way to slow a mob which has targeted anyone other than the tank. On several occasions, this has allowed the dps in the group time to nuke down the target, or give the tank time to regain aggro. That’s going to be a big deal in the future. Long story short, I’d move the 2/2 from Nether Protection into Aftermath. Hope this helps!

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  11. I wanna try out Destro from Affliction… Do you have any good links to 4.01 Rotations for PVP and/or PVE?
    sirfwalgman´s last blog post ..What The Fuck!

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  12. Well I just kinda skimmed over the text for the most part but I was just wondering if this is meant for raiding, or just pve in general? Personally to me pve = raiding so any non raiding time is usually spent pvping (yay for dualspec) :P

    shadowfury and shadowburn points could be much better placed if it’s for raiding, such as in imp bane of agony on the affliction section to increase the crit chance on your bane of doom, anyway that’s just what i’ve noticed. Not sure why you “had” to spec into shadowfury despite not liking it, tbh, better to go into backlash to get necessary points just because “It’s a raid, stop getting hit foo” doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to ever get hit. You can watch your aggro all day long, that doesn’t mean that sometimes things dont just happen. and when those things do happen it’s really nice to get that free incin

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  13. [...] Destructive Reach: 4.0 Destruction Derby [...]

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