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WOW: Destruction Warlock guide (7.1.5)

Our constantly updated guide to playing the Warlock's Destruction specialization in World of Warcraft.

Posted in Class guides By Luis Magalhães Published

The Destruction Warlock is the brute-force counterpart to its Affliction and Demonology brethren. While it retains the ability to curse foes and summon demons to do its bidding, a Destruction player will spend most of his or her time raining fire and brimstone upon their enemies. As bluntly direct as this approach may seem in comparison to that of the other Warlock specializations, it still requires skill to pull off properly, and our Destruction Warlock guide is here to help.

As is typical of the class, Destruction Warlocks benefit from a big health pool and abilities than make them surprisingly resilient when compared to other cloth wearers. They can use this to their advantage by sacrificing health to refuel their mana, and while their most powerful spells cost Soul Shards, these are easy enough to replenish when using a proper rotation, such as the one we’ll detail in this guide.

Destruction is also the most versatile of all Warlock specialisations, performing well in every kind of encounter. Their first weakness - which is not especially problematic - is the lack of damage-per-second boosting cooldowns. While their overall damage is high, they may find themselves unable to push harder when up against the clock. Of bigger concern is their mobility though, which is limited. Destruction needs to stand still in order to do damage, with the single exception of their Artifact Weapon ability.

Destruction is a solid specialization for both endgame content and leveling progression though. Our recommended talent build and rotation will help you tackle any activity with ease.

Coming with the next update to this guide is a section that details the optimal way in which to level up your Destruction Artifact Weapon, and a breakdown of the way the several stats found in gear influence your abilities and damage output.

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Destruction Warlock talent build

This is the talent build we recommend for playing a Destruction Warlock on anything less than Mythic raiding difficulty. In addition, you should always have the Imp out as your permanent pet, as this is the one that benefits your abilities the most.

LevelTalent ChoiceReason
15Backdraft - Casting Conflagrate reduces the cast time of your next two Incinerates or Chaos Bolts by 30%.You’ll be using Conflagrate very often to replenish Soul Shards, so this will speed up your rotation considerably.
30Reverse Entropy - Chaos Bolt and Rain of Fire restore 35% of your maximum mana, and Chaos Bolt's cast time is reduced by 0.5 sec.Chaos Bolt is an important spell - your major Soul Shard spender - and this grants it a considerable upgrade.
45Demonic Circle - Summons a Demonic Circle for 6 min, allowing you to cast it again to teleport to its location and remove all movement slowing effects.Anchors you to a spot to which you can quickly go back to, a great time-saver during battles where you quickly have to move to specific locations. Be sure to cast it at the optimal location before initiating a boss encounter!
60Soul Harvest - Increases your damage and your pets' damage by 20%. Lasts 15 sec, increased by 2 sec for each target afflicted by your Immolate, up to a maximum of 35 sec.As discussed above, lack of damage-increasing cooldowns is one of the specialisation’s weaknesses - this helps mitigate that.
75Demon Skin - Your Soul Leech absorption now passively recharges at a rate of 1% of maximum health every 1 sec, and may now absorb up to 20% of maximum health.A further boost to your already impressive survivability.
90Grimoire of Service - Summons a second demon which fights for you for 25 sec and deals 100% increased damage. 1.5 min cooldown. The demon will immediately use one of its special abilities when summoned.Yet another cooldown to help you push for extra damage on a limited time window. If you end up spending most of your time on multiple-target situations (such as running dungeons), choose Grimoire of Sacrifice instead.
100Wreak Havoc - Havoc now lasts 20 sec, and has no cooldown.This is the most effective skill when fighting more than one enemy. If you are about to go into a single-target fight, switch to Soul Conduit, which passively replenishes your resources.

Destruction Warlock rotations

This is the optimal spell sequence, focused on generating Soul Shards and spending them to empower your hardest-hitting spells. Due to our build, some of your abilities will refund their Soul Shard cost, so don’t just enter a muscle-memory cycle of doing the rotation, and instead pay attention to your resources at all times.

There is no set number of Soul Shards that you should have at any given time - just plan your rotation ahead and make sure you have as many as you will need.

Destruction Warlock rotation - Single target

This is our recommended rotation for single-target fights.

ActionCondition / Further Instructions
1Life TapJust once every 20 secs, to earn the Empowered Life Tap buff.
2ImmolateAlways keep this on the target.
3ConflagrateWhenever available, if you are not at max Soul Shards.
4Summon DoomguardOr Summon Infernal if your Lord of Flames artifact trait is available.
5Soul Harvest
6Chaos BoltTo spend your Soul Shards.
7Dimensional Rift (Level 100 Artifact Weapon ability)If at maximum charges, or as a final burst of damage.
8IncinerateAs filler.
9Life TapIf at under 60% mana, and preferably when you need to move.
10Repeat from Step 1

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Destruction Warlock rotation - Multiple targets

Overall, this rotation is similar to the previous one, but there are some key differences - and keeping Havoc cast on your secondary target is crucial.

ActionCondition / Further Instructions
1Life TapJust once every 20 secs, to earn the Empowered Life Tap buff.
2ImmolateAlways keep this on the target (up to 3 different targets).
3ConflagrateWhenever available, if you are not at max Soul Shards.
4HavocKeep at all times on your secondary target (not the one you are targeting with your single-target spells).
5Summon Infernal
6Soul Harvest
7Rain of FireIf there are 4 or more targets closely bunched together.
8Chaos BoltTo spend your Soul Shards.
9Dimensional Rift (Level 100 Artifact Weapon ability)If at maximum charges, or as a final burst of damage.
10IncinerateAs filler.
11Life TapIf at under 60% mana, and preferably when you need to move.
12Repeat from Step 1

And so ends the first version of our Destruction Warlock guide. In future updates, we’ll includes sections on both your Artifact Weapon trait progression, and optimal gear selection. In the meantime, please leave any questions or comments below!

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