Anyone who reads this blog will know that I’m a Demonology Warlock through and through. Despite this, there are still times when even I need a different spec, and when dual-specs were added into the game, I decided to make my secondary spec an exclusive PvP one, based around Destruction. Let’s take a look at it in detail, and the accompanying glyphs and rotations.
This spec doesn’t actually have any Affliction talents because it’s really a deep Destruction build. The talents in this tree which would be good for PvP are really too far down the tree to get without going for a hybrid spec, so I haven’t taken any.
Improved Healthstone – Two points here ensure that when I use my Healthstone, I get the most out of it. Since we don’t have any proper healing abilities (other than Drain Life, etc), it’s pretty important that we can restore as much health as possible.
Fel Synergy – Even with the changes to pets and how they scale compared to the character’s stats, most demons will still die very fast. Because my main PvP pet with this spec is the Felhunter, providing constant heals to the pet is definitely necessary.
Fel Vitality – As well as increasing your health (and mana) even more, this also increases the survivability of your pet(s). A mandatory talent for PvP.
Soul Link – A talent which I would attempt to include in almost any Warlock build, whether PvP or PvE, its importance cannot be understated. By transferring a large amount (a whole 20% without a glyph) of the damage you take to your pet, this is a brilliant and staple Warlock talent. It keeps you alive, mitigates the damage you take, and ought to be mostly cancelled out by the Fel Synergy talent.
Fel Domination – In PvP, if your pet dies it’s imperative you summon another as soon as possible, or you’re probably going to die pretty fast. Fel Domination cuts the time of your next by a huge 5.5 seconds.
Demonic Aegis – By increasing the effectiveness of Demon Armor and Fel Armor, you’re giving a 30% buff to one of your most valuable buffs. Now, I’m a bad person sometimes, and I’ll use Fel Armor in PvP, but the recommendation is definitely to use Demon Armor – it will keep you alive, increase the healing you get, and generally make you less squishy.
Master Summoner – As mentioned, talents which decrease the time taken to summon a demon are great. Two points here will slash your summoning times across the board, Fel Domination active or no Fel Domination active.
Bane – A straight forward talent which reduces the time it takes to cast some of those key Warlock spells. A full five points needed.
Aftermath – As well as increasing the damage done by Immolate (which will help hugely as Immolate ought to be up most of the time, as we’ll discuss later), filling this talent means that Conflagrate, a very important Destruction nuke spell, will daze the target, letting you get out of range, cast another spell, halt their attack, etc.
Molten Skin – A basic talent with the effect of reducing all the damage you take. A no brainer.
Shadowburn – A useful little spell which provides us with an instant cast nuke ability. While it costs us a soul shard, if the target dies within 5 seconds of it being cast, we get the shard refunded. This makes this a spell which is best cast when the opponent is on very low health, as a finishing move, although it can always be cast before that point if need be. I personally love this spell – it’s finished a close match in my favour many times.
Ruin – If you crit, you crit a lot harder. Destruction PvP is all about crits and burst damage, so this is an excellent talent.
Intensity – Caster classes are all very vulnerable to having their spells interrupted or pushed back, and this talent helps to alleviate that problem by reducing the pushback to Destruction spells by 70%.
Destructive Reach – While the threat-reducing part of this talent is pretty useless in PvP, 20% more range to your spells is good, since it means you can cast from further away, giving those nasty melee classes less chance of stopping you. You also might out-distance some other casters.
Backlash – I love this talent, I really do. As well as 3% more crit chance, it allows for the possibility that when you’re hit by a melee attack, your next Shadow Bolt or Incinerate will become instant cast, providing you with a powerful, instant nuke.
Improved Immolate – A large increase to Immolate damage, which works well together with Aftermath.
Devastation – All your Destruction spells have 5% more chance to crit. No more needs to be said.
Nether Protection* – This is very much the anti-caster ability of the tree. Whenever you’re hit by a spell, you have a fairly high chance to become somewhat resistant to that type of spell for a short time, which is handy if you’re fighting, say, a Druid who only uses Balance spells or a Mage who is only using Arcane.
Emberstorm – All your fire spells become 15% more powerful, which is a very nice damage addition, and Incinerate casts faster, too.
Conflagrate – This spell is one of the best nukes we have as a class, and I personally adore it. The only requirement is that you have an Immolate (or Shadowflame) debuff up on the target, and then it will get rid of that debuff to instantly deal all the damage a full duration of that DoT would cause. The 10 second cooldown means it can be used pretty frequently, and because it’s instant, it allows for very high burst damage if followed by something equally powerful, like Chaos Bolt.
Soul Leech – As I’ve said, Warlocks can’t really heal directly through spells, so any passive health regeneration is good regeneration. With this talent maxed out, all your main Destruction spells have a change to heal you for a fifth of the damage they cause, which is great considering the damage you’ll be causing will be pretty high.
Backdraft – Adding to the awesomeness of Conflagrate, this talent means that whenever you nuke someone you’re also going to be able to follow up with Destruction spells which take much less time to cast. Pew pew!
Shadowfury – A trademark of the Destruction tree, this instant cast AoE spell is one of the best ways we can control an opponent, or even multiple opponents, by stunning them in place and dealing some minor damage.
Fire and Brimstone – This talent gives us bonus damage to spells which hit opponents that are affected by Immolate, giving us another reason to keep that DoT up. Additionally, it further improves Conflagrate by increasing its chance to crit by 25%!
Chaos Bolt – Not only is this spell a powerful nuke under normal circumstances, it also has the brilliant effect of being able to pierce absorption abilities. Now, unfortunately, this does not include something like Ice Block or Divine Shield – these make you immune, as opposed to absorbing damage. Thing Chaos Bolt will go through are things like Mana Shield, Power Word: Shield and Shadow Ward – basically, anything which says “absorb” when you get hit, instead of “immune”.
*Contrary to popular belief, this protects your whole body, not just your nether.
In my spec, I haven’t bothered with any minor glyphs, because there aren’t really any which are fantastic for PvP. However the major ones are very important.
Glyph of Healthstone – In conjunction with the Improved Healthstone talent and Demon Armor, your Healthstones are going to heal you for almost twice as much, and if the heal happens to crit… Well, let’s just say that I once healed myself like that for over 9000 12000.
Glyph of Fear – Fear might not be what it used to be in PvP, thanks to all the effects and abilities which can break it, but the main cause of it being broken is still damage. This glyph means that the enemy will run in fear for that little bit longer, even if you’re nuking them down as hard as you can.
Glyph of Conflagrate – As if Conflagrate was not awesome enough already, we can stop it removing the DoT it requires when it’s cast by glyphing for it with this. So, the Immolate or Shadowflame effect can continue, leading to multiple Conflagrates per DoT, and tasty things like that.
Obviously in PvP there is no set rotation like there is in PvE. Everything is much more situational dependent, but a basic routine would look something like the flow diagram below:
As well as nuking and bursting and all that, remember the many CC options we have to keep enemies under control. As well as Fear, we have Shadowflame, with its 70% movement penalty, Shadowfury, our instant AoE stun (which works just fine in solo battles too) and the effect of the Aftermath talent, which dazes the enemy.
Depending on your pet, there are options there too. Using a Succubus will provide you with Seduction, whereas the Felhunter will give you Spell Lock. The debate rages as to which is better, but I just prefer the puppy.
The best crowd control option however, is just to kill them, and with the burst damage of this tree, that’s certainly possible in a short space of time. Finishing the enemy quickly is hugely preferable, as in an extended fight you’ll find yourself with lots of things on cooldown and not a lot to cast, so don’t dilly dally!