A Destro Lock’s Guide to Patch 4.0.1


Something’s in the air tonight, and it’s not love or other cheesy stuff. It’s the event of the year, starting earlier than expected for most of us, leaving us wanting more. No it’s not the elections, the Superbowl or the premiere of the last Harry Potter movie; it’s Cataclysm. Last wednesday patch 4.0.1 was released to the public and now we’re all feeling a mix of confusion, bewilderement, awe and ‘wtf happened to my character?’-itis. But no worries, here’s your fellow warlock to explain it all.

First thing’s first, here’s a short list of the things I will discuss in this guide.

  1. Talent Specs: An Overview
  2. Glyphs in Cataclysm
  3. A new Destro Lock Rotation
  4. Reforging: What stats, how and why?

Talent Specs: An Overview

I will only cover possible destro lock specs, since this guide is all about destruction warlocks anyway. When you go to your Talents, you will get to choose one of the three possible specs. Only when you have put 31 points in one spec, will you be able to choose talents from other specs. Here’s my personal choice.

Destruction Talent Tree

Bane: Reduces casting time of your Shadowbolt, Chaos Bolt and Immolate spells by 0.5sec. I think it’s pretty obvious why this is a must-have talent. The sooner you can cast those Chaos Bolt and Immolates, the higher your dps.

Shadow and Flame: Increases damage done by your Shadowbolt and Incinerate spells by 12%. Enough said.

Improved Immolate: Increases damage done by your Immolate spell by 20%. Since Immolate pretty much is our opening spell and 20% is a huge increase, it’s a no brainer that this is a very important talent.

Improved Soul Fire: You increase your spell haste by 15% for 15 sec after you deal damage with Soul Fire. I don’t know about you, but 15% additional haste seems like a huge boost to me.

Emberstorm: Reduces the casting time of your Soul Fire by 1 sec and of your Incinerate by 0.25 sec. Since we already learned that casting Soul Fire gives us an additional 15% haste, it’s important to reduce it’s casting time, so we can get this effect as much as possible. Also Incinerate is basically our spam spell, so the faster we can cast it, the better.

Improved Searing Pain: Searing Pain is not a part of our rotation, therefor it’s pretty useless to put talent points in this.

Aftermath: Your Rain of Fire has 6% chance to stun targets for 2sec., and your Conflagrate has 50% chance to daze the target for 5sec. This isn’t the most useful talent ever, but it isn’t entirely useless either. 50% chance on daze means that one out of two Conflagrates will daze your target, which is always nice, and 5sec. is quite a long time.

Backdraft: When you cast Conflagrate, the cast time or your next three Shadowbolt, Incinerate and Chaos Bolt spells is reduced by 30%. Lasts 15sec. This really is an amazing talent. Basically, after you cast Conflagrate, you can go Incin, Incin, Incin or throw in a Chaos Bolt when it’s off cooldown. Definately take this talent in your spec.

Shadowburn: The most important use of this spell is that it creates Soul Shards, which you can use for Soul Fire, Soul Link, etc.

Burning Embers: Your Soul Fire and Imp’s Firebolt cause a Burning Ember damage-over-time effect equal to 30% of the damage done, lasting 7sec. There are two reasons to take this talent: for starters your Imp is your pet of choice, so anything that causes him to do extra damage, is a great bonus, and secondly, you need this to get the Empowered Imp effect.

Soul Leech: The importance of this talent is that it helps you with your health and mana regeneration. We all know warlocks are squishy, so why not self-heal a bit?

Nether Ward: This absorbs your Shadow Ward and turns it into a more powerful Nether Ward. Since we lack survivability skills in PvP and sometimes even in PvE, this can be quite useful.

Fire and Brimstone: Increases the damage done by your Incinerate and Chaos Bolt spells to targets afflicted by immolate by 6% and increases critical strike chance of your Conflagrate by 15%. This is one of the most important talents of the entire tree, and if there’s any doubt in your mind about whether or not to take this talent, that involves all spells included in your rotation, then you have a lot to read up on warlocks.

Shadowfury: It stuns. Very useful in PvP, less useful in PvE, but helps you to get the additional point needed to move down a row.

Nether Protection: This talent is crap, since it only reduces damage from one magic school. We’re here to do crazy imba dps, not to sacrifice our points in crap talents.

Empowered Imp: A destro locks’s pet of choice should always be the Imp, hence I shouldn’t even have to explain why to take this talent.

Bane of Havoc: Banes the target for 5min, causing all damage done by the warlock to other targets, to also be dealt to the baned target. This could seriously increase your AoE damage, and basically lets you kill 2,3, whatever number of enemies all at the same time!

Chaos Bolt: Take it. It’s our most powerful spell up to date.

Now I’ve covered all basic destro talents, I’ll talk about the additional talents from the Affliction and Demonology tree that could work with a Destro spec.

Demonology Talent Tree

Demonic Embrace: Increases your total stamina by 4% with one point and 7% with all three points. This will not help your dps at all, so don’t take this talent. You’ll get enough stamina from your gear.

Dark Arts: The most notable thing about this talent is that it reduces the cast time of your Imp’s Firebolt spell. Since the imp does about one fourth of your total dps, this is a talent worth putting points in.

Fel Synergy: Heals your pet for 15% of the damage done by you. Not all that useful, especially not in PvE.

Affliction Talent Tree

Doom and Gloom: Increases the critical strike chance of your Bane of Agony and Bane of Doom by 4% with one point and 8% with two points in this talent. Although at first this might not seem useful, it actually is. Now you can put a Curse and a Bane on a target, and our most desired bane of choice is naturally Bane of Doom. If it can crit more often, this will definately increase our dps.

Life Tap: Increases the amount of mana award by your Life Tap spell by 10% (one point) and 20% (two points). This talent is very useful, considering the main reason why use Life Tap is to refill our mana sources. The more mana regenerated, the more we can spam those Incinerates, AoE spells, etc. Although I chose Doom and Gloom over this, because I hardly run out of mana anyways, that doesn’t mean this isn’t a valuable choice too. Personally, I will take this talent as soon as I level up and can spend more talent points.

Improved Corruption: Now you can cast Corruption, Curse of Elements and Bane of Doom on one single target. Increased damage for your Corruption spell can sometimes come in handy, especially during boss fights, but it’s not as important as the other two talents here, so I advise you to keep it for later – until we hit level 84 or so, to put talent points here.

Other Specs

Other possible specs are 0/5/31 with 2 points in Fel Synergy rather than something from the Affliction tree, or a second 0/5/31 build which takes Demonic Embrace rather than Fel Synergy but also drops Improved Soul Fire to gain Nether Ward Protection (more of a PvP build), and 5/0/31 that drops Dark Arts to gain 3 points in Corruption, which would of course mean you definately include Corruption in your rotation. What build you choose is up to you, and all depends on your personal playstyle and what you want to accomplish in the next expansion.

Glyphs in Cataclysm

With the changes in the Glyph system, there are now three kinds of Glyphs: Prime Glyphs (aka the useful ones), Major Glyphs (aka the sort-of-useful ones) and Minor Glyphs (aka useless crap).

It’s pretty obvious what Glyphs we’re going to choose as Prime Glyphs: Glyph of Immolate, Glyph of Incinerate and Glyph of Conflagrate. Glyph of Incinerate can be changed by Glyph of Imp, which may possibly provide more dps. This is something for the very theorycrafters under us, and I can’t be bothered to do the maths.

Your most important major glyph is Glyph of Life Tap. This reduces the cooldown of your Life Tap, so you can do it faster if necessary, when you’re being drained from mana because you have to SoC all those mobs.

All minor glyphs are really quite useless. The only ones that still provide some use in my opinion are the Glyph of Drain Soul, Glyph of Souls and Glyph of Enslave Demon. But basically you can glyph whatever you want here and you won’t lose any dps at all.

A new Destro DPS rotation

Basic things first, with the introduction of Banes, you can now cast a Curse and a Bane on one target. Naturally, you will cast Curse of Elements and Bane of Doom if you’re battling a single target, for instance a raid boss. Keep in mind that only one Bane per warlock can be active on any one target, meaning that you cannot cast Bane of Doom on a boss and Bane of Havoc on a mob.

Apart from that, not much has changed from our preCata rotation. No searing pain, no shadow bolts. Immolate, Chaos Bolt, Conflagrate, Incinerate, Incinerate, Incinerate (spam) will get you a long way already. Also, our pet of choice is always the Imp. Have it out at all times, and have Fel Armor activated.

Single Target: CoE > BoD > Corruption > Immolate > Chaos Bolt > Conflagrate > Soulburn > Soul Fire > Incinerate (spam) > Conflagrate > Incinerate (Spam) > repeat. You can throw in Summon Doomguard for additional dps.

When focusing on multiple targets, our rotation changes slightly. If there are a small number of mobs (2-3) we would like to destroy, Bane of Havoc comes in handy, because 15% of all damage we deal to another target, is dealt to the baned target as well. For instance, when attacking two mobs, you cast Bane of Havoc on one of them, and then dothe normal single target rotation on the other. The target with Bane of Havoc will receive 15% of the damage you do on the other target. Keep in mind that Bane of Havoc can only be cast on one mob, and only one Bane can be active per warlock.

If there are more than two or three mobs attacking, Seed of Corruption still proves its worth, as it casts an AoE attack on all nearby mobs. Summon Infernal if possible, because he’s a pretty powerful AoE dps too. Multiple target rotation: CoE > BoD > Corruption > Summon Infernal > SoC > Immolate > SoC > Conflagrate > SoC > Chaos Bolt > SoC > Soul Fire > Soul Fire > Incinerate (spam). Life Tap whenever needed.

Reforging: what stats, how and why?

The most important stat, as usual, is our hit rating. Because of some talents dropping, we no longer need ‘just’ 14% to reach the hit cap; we now need 17%. If you haven’t reached this cap, then gem for hit rating: blue gems are hit rating gems from now on. If this doesn’t suffice, you can reforge some of your secondary stats (preferably the useless spirit or crit rating) in hit rating.

Once you’ve reached the hit cap, lets talk about the stats that are now pretty much useless, like spirit. Reforge spirit into something more useful, for example mastery rating. Each point of mastery increases fire damage by an additional 1.25%, which is huge, so this is likely to become one of our most important stats in the future. When you’re done reforging spirit, you can also reforge crit rating in the more useful mastery rating.

Before patch 4.0.1, my warlock managed to do up to 6k single target damage, with only the Fel Armor buff and Imp. Yesterday, with my new talent spec, glyphs and reforged armor I tried out again and easily got 9k dps on a single target, without summoning a guardian and with a rotation I still had to get used too. This patch is a major dps increase for destro locks, so take advantage of it 🙂


5 Responses to “A Destro Lock’s Guide to Patch 4.0.1”

  1. 1 Blair

    I like your Destruction Warlock guide its very well thought through and explained, however i would like to point out one flaw in your guide and that is Bane of Havoc.

    You say that this ability “basically lets you kill 2,3, whatever number of enemies all at the same time!” infact this ability can only be applied to one enemy at a time, and only one Bane per Warlock can be applied to enemies at any given time.

    Other than that i do think your guide is very well thought out and set up and would definatly help people who would be looking to set their Destruction Warlock up.

    • Thank you for the nice comment and constructive criticism. In fact, I was trying to point out that when battling 2-3 enemies, it’s sometimes better to use Bane on Havoc on one enemy, and your single target rotation on the other, than using Seed of Corruption to target all enemies. Bane of Havoc doesn’t drain mana the way SoC does, and would possibly do more damage when the number of enemies is low (2-3). While rereading the guide, I realise my explanation there was totally confusing, and needs clarification. Thanks for pointing that out. 🙂

  2. 3 arivin

    Nice guide, very thorough, thanks.
    Arivin of mannoroth

  3. 4 koenigseg

    i wouldnt waste my global cd on corruption, and redoin it everytime its off, u better off castin incinerate at that time alrdy

    • Not really. By the time Conflagrate is ready, you can easily cast Corruption, whereas Incinerate takes a lot longer to cast, and will actually make sure you won’t get to cast Conflagrate twice during one Immolate, which is initially throwing 10k dps away (which comes from casting Conflagrate twice).

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