Or the Beginners Guide to Destruction
Meet Inxy, the not-so-newly boosted goblin warlock. She’s currently decked out in a mixture of the 483 boost gear and 496 Timeless Isle gear, with a 535 set of bracers for good measure. What’s this blog post about? It’s gonna be about the basics of playing a destruction warlock, and just how to handle gearing up though that pesky Timeless Isle, and getting a decent weapon and trinkets from Throne of Thunder.
A Basic Look at Destruction
So, the first thing you want to do when you log into your boosted character is to select your talents.
The first tier of talents is all about health management, and I nearly always go with Soul Leech. When you deal damage, it grants you an absorption shield equal to 10% of the damage dealt, capping at 15% of your health. This is kinda reminiscent of the death knight’s Death Strike, in that it provides you with a means of damage mitigation as well as attack. The other talents are okay if you need on-demand healing, but you have many other sources of that, make no mistake.
The second tier is your short-tem CC tier, and as you can see, I tend to opt for Mortal Coil. It causes an enemy to run around in horror 3 seconds, and restores 15% of your health. Shadowfury is good for if you need the AoE stun. Personally, I’ve never used Demonic Breath. Maybe the snare effect is good for PVP?
The third tier is all about damage reduction! I tend to stick with Soul Link. When you have a demon active, 20% of damage you take is transferred to it, and you are both healed for 3% of damage you do. If you opt to take Grimoire of Sacrifice as a talent however, then Soul Link increases your health by 20%. Dark Bargain makes you invulnerable for 8 seconds, then puts an 8 second DoT on you equal to 50% of the damage done. Sacrificial Pact sacrifices 25% of your demon’s health (Or yours if you have no demon), and puts an absorption shield on you equal to 400% of the health lost. Both are really good when you know that a massive damage spike is incoming. It’s a free choice here.
Fourth tier is all about self-preservation, at a cost. Burning Rush drains 4% of your health per second when activated, but increases your speed by 50%, and you can’t be slowed to below 100%. Useful for when you need to move quickly in a fight! Unbound Will removes harmful debuffs, and loss-of-control effects, at a cost of 20% of your health. Got a debuff you want to get rid of, but save a healer a job? Use this! Blood Horror is a PVP talent with only slightly situational benefit in solo content. For 5% of your health, it places a buff with 1 charge on you. When someone melees you, the charge is spent and the attacker flees for 4 seconds.
Fifth tier is all about your demons! All of these talents are close in performance to one-another, so go with what your situation requires. I tend to go with Grimoire of Supremacy when out-and-about in the world, or doing solo stuff (the Voidlord is an AMAZING personal tank), and Grimoire of Sacrifice in group content (raids, dungeons, world bosses and the like).
Tier six. Your DPS increasers. Kil’jaeden’s Cunning allows you to move when casting your spec’s filler spell. When doing solo stuff, I tend to stick with this one. Archimonde’s Darkness grants you two charges of Dark Soul, your major DPS cooldown. I tend to use this in raids. Mannoroth’s Fury increases the size and damage of your AoE for 10 seconds on activation, but honestly? It falls behind. It’s fairly situational in use.
Now then, how exactly does one do destruction?
You have 4 embers, and each one consists of 10 “emberbits”. Incinerate is your main method of filling them; each hit grants 1 emberbit, critical hits grant 2. Conflagrate grants emberbits in the same way; normal hits grant 1, crits grant 2. Immolate grants 1 emberbit on critical strikes only. Rain of Fire has a 12.5% chance of granting 1 emberbit on a hit. There are four ways of spending full embers. Chaos Bolt (your main nuke), Shadowburn (your execute), Flames of Xoroth (instant demon resurrection) and Ember Tap (your self-heal).
- Curse of Elements increases magic damage done to the target by 5% for 5 minutes. Always have this on your target. If there’s a rogue in your group, you don’t need to apply this; their poisons do that job for you. Happy days!
- Immolate. It’s your main DoT, keep it up constantly. Refresh it at around 5 seconds left to ensure it doesn’t drop off.
- Conflagrate on cooldown! This provides you with a buff called Backdraft, which lowers the cast time and mana cost of Incinerate and Chaos Bolt by 30%. It has two charges, and generally you don’t wanna keep more than 1, as it’s potential wasted charges in the future.
- Chaos Bolt is your main nuke. It costs 1 full ember, and it always critically strikes. In addition, the higher your crit rating, the bigger the boost to Chaos Bolt’s damage! You shouldn’t just spam them whenever you can however; I’ll go into more detail on this below.
- Shadowburn replaces Chaos Bolt in your rotation when an enemy reaches 20% health.
What do I do in cleave or AoE situations?
In a cleave situation, you want to start using Havoc. When you cast it on a target, it duplicates any single-target spell you cast on another target, up to three times (once, in the case of Chaos Bolt). So you Havoc an add, and fire an Immolate on a boss. It’ll hit the add too! In an AoE situation, you want to start using Rain of Fire, which is a targeted AoE spell. Does extra damage to immolated targets. You can use this in a cleave situation too, if the enemies are close enough together. You also want to start using Fire & Brimstone. This modifies a number of your single-target spells to affect a 10-yard area around the target. Spells affected are Immolate, Conflagrate, Incinerate, and any Curse Of… spells.
What major DPS cooldowns do I have?
Dark Soul: Instability is the first major one. On a 2 minute cooldown, it increases your critical strike chance by 30% for 20 seconds. Probably best to use this whenever it comes off cooldown for a serious DPS burst. Summon Doomguard/Terrorguard and Summon Infernal/Abyssal share a 10 minute cooldown, and summon a powerful demon to aid you for a full minute. The Doomguard is best on single target, the Infernal if you need some strong AoE.
When should I be casting Chaos Bolt?
- If you’re about to cap on embers. Generally, it’s recommended fire off one at about 3.5 embers, to prevent getting 4 full embers (it makes any future ember gain wasted, as you can’t go above 4)
- You are under the effects of Dark Soul, or powerful intellect/crit trinket procs. This is the point when you want to cast as many as you can, to take advantage of the potential massive damage boost!
Note that you can replace Chaos Bolt with Shadowburn when your target is below 20%, with the same criteria.
I’m using Grimoire of Supremacy. What demon should I use?
If you’re just mooching around the world (Timeless Isle for example), then you want the Voidlord. It’s a great personal tank, very resilient, very good at holding aggro. For group content, if it’s a single target fight, the Observer has a very slight DPS increase over the other demons. Fel Imp is good in fights where you change targets a lot, as it doesn’t have to run around all over the place, it’s a bit of a turret.
I’m using Grimoire of Sacrifice. Which demon do I kill?
Harsh way of putting it. It depends on what ability you want. You see, you have an ability called Command Demon, which changes based on what you have summoned or sacrificed.
- Fel Imp: Singe Magic, which removes debuffs.
- Felhunter: Spell Lock, an interrupt.
- Succubus: Whiplash, damage and knockback.
- Voidlord: Shadow Bulwark, boosts hp by 30% for 20 seconds.
Something’s attacking me! Help!
You have a number of cooldowns to help you defensively, don’t worry!
- Ember Tap. Costs 1 ember, heals you for a percentage of health, boosted by mastery rating. Instant cast. No cooldown.
- Unending Resolve. Reduces damage taken by 40% and prevents interrupts and silences for 8 seconds. Instant cast. 3 minute cooldown.
- Soulshatter. Reduces your threat by 90% against everything in a 50-yard radius. Instant cast. 2 minute cooldown.
- Twilight Ward. Absorbs an amount of shadow or holy damage based on your spellpower for 30 seconds. Instant cast. 30 second cooldown.
- Healthstones! Restores 20% of your health. 2 minute cooldown.
- Howl of Terror. Causes up to 5 enemies in 10 yeards of you to flee for 20 seconds! Damaging them may break the effect. 40 second cooldown.
- Fear. Causes an enemy to flee for 20 seconds. 1.7 second cast time.
So how do I gear up on Timeless Isle?
Simple. Open chests scattered around the isle and kill things! You may receive special tokens that when used, turn into an item level 496 (or 535 when used with a Burden of Eternity) piece of gear! You can only use cloth tokens though, warlocks can’t wear leather or anything like that.
But… How do I kill the elites there?
Oh it’s simple really. Have your demon tank for you, this negates a LOT of danger, and makes the Timeless Isle less dangerous for warlocks than nearly any other class. Remember that you have a way of healing your demon. Health Funnel siphons life from you to your demon!
- Pink birds: Avoid their conal cast, Gust of Winf. When they start to use it, you see the area of effect on the ground. Step out of it.
- Big blue crabs: Claw Flurry is what you wanna avoid here. When you see it begins to cast it, MOVE AWAY FROM THE FRONT OF IT. This one CAN kill you very quickly.
- Turtles: When they spin, run away. When they do Snapping Bite, don’t be in front of it.
- Tigers: Avoid the leap, it stuns you. Avoid the conal AoE, it puts a nasty bleed on you. You pull one, you tend to pull a few, so be wary.
- Big snakes: They have 1 attack, it has a 3 second cast time, and it does 25% of your maximum health in physical damage. Ouch. Definitely have your pet take this one, while you stay far away and blast it to bits.
- Froggies: Another you’ll need your pet to tank. Every time they attack, they also apply a DoT to their target. This deals periodic damage, and when it stacks to 10, the target dies. Pull them one at a time!
- Elementals on the beach: Has a nasty cast called Steam Blast that hits in the region of 100k. Can be interrupted, can be kited. You move far enough away from them, they have to stop casting and move, as it has a range of only 10 yards.
- Elementals in the cave: Use the blue campfires beforehand to place a buff on yourself that reduces fire damage. Interrupt their cast, even with the buff it’s nasty damage. Get out the circle when they cast Spiritflame Strike, it’s close to a one-shot.
Once you’re slightly better geared (496/535 in most slots), you can also take on a few of the Ordon enemies!
- Ordon Fire-Watcher: Pyroblast hits quite hard, but if your voidlord has aggro, you’re golden. Try and avoid the areas Falling Flames hits, they do about 200k.
- Ordon Candlekeepers: Breath of Fire needs to be dodged. When they start casting it, they don’t turn around to re-aim it. If given a chance, they’ll explode for a stun and big damage when near death. Shadowburn them fast!
- Ordon Oathguards: Cracking Blow can be sidestepped. Generally it focuses this on your voidlord, so try not to stand directly behind it. When paired with another Ordon mob, they channel a 75% damage reduction on themself AND the other mob. Just damage through it, or interrupt it if you must. When it uses a shield ability, damage it from behind.
- Burning Berserkers charge for a big chunk of health if you engage them from too far away. Avoid their small AoE. Can buff their damage dealt. Voidlord tank!
- Blazebound Chanter: Pyroblast still hurts. Avoid falling flames. Summons a big-ass golem that hits VERY hard (think Vengeful Spirit from a Warbringer, only worse). To handle this, use a Rain of Fire on it when it spawns to get it to aggro onto you, then kite it.
- Eternal Kilnmaster: Definitely send your voidlord in for this one. If you’re too far away, they charge like a Berserker only worse. Blazing Blow hits in a narrow cone centered on his target. Make sure it’s your voidlord! Summons a kiln that increases casting speed.
- High Priest of Ordos: I really wouldn’t if I were you. They’re like the above 2 enemies combined on steroids.
- Molten Guardians. Be at max range from them. Send in your demon. Move out of black things on the ground, it’ll erupt for massive damage. Horrid for melee characters, but you’re not melee, are you?
Honestly, those last 4 enemies should only really be tackled when you’re in decent gear, there’s so much that can go wrong with them.
I need a weapon! Should I buy one from the vendor?
I’d say no. Spend your Timeless Coins on Mogu Runes of Fate instead. These grant you a bonus roll from bosses in Throne of Thunder, with a nice chance to get some loot! Which bosses should you spend coins on?
- Horridon: Dinomancer’s Spiritbinding Spire (2h staff), Venomlord’s Totemic Wand (1h wand)
- Megaera: Fetish of the Hydra (offhand)
- Dark Animus: Athame of the Sanguine Ritual (1h dagger)
- Twin Consorts: Suen-Wo, Spire of the Falling Sun (2h staff)
- Lei Shen: Lei Shen’s Orb of Command (offhand)
And while on the subject of coining bosses in ToT, you can’t go wrong with getting a trinket or two, especially if Timeless Curios are refusing to drop!
- Council of Elders: Wushoolay’s Final Choice
- Megaera: Breath of the Hydra
- Dark Animus: Cha-Ye’s Essence of Brilliance
- Lei Shen: Unerring Vision of Lei Shen
With your Timeless Isle armor, and Thone of Thunder weapons/trinkets, you’ll be ready for everything Siege of Orgrimmar has to throw at you! And it just so happens that the first boss, Immerseus, drops the best trinket for warlocks (and casters in general, it seems)! Go forth and claim your prize!
EDIT: I forgot to mention another method of getting some good gear, though in hindsight, it may seem obvious. When you have 50 Lesser Charms, turn them in at the Shrine for your Warforged Seals, and go find yourself a Celestials group (And Ordos, if you’re eligible!). 553/559 gear is not to be sniffed at!