3.1.3 Warlock Raiding Guide


Hello all, and welcome to my Warlock guide to 3.1.3 raiding. First, let me tell you a bit about myself and why I decided to write this guy. I have been playing WoW and a warlock since Spring 2006. I leveled to 60 in Vanilla, leveled to 70 in BC, and now 80 in WotLK. I am in a casual raiding guild that is currently progressing through Ulduar 10. I do not have the most raid experience, and I do not confess to knowing everything about the game, but I do feel that I have a strong handle on the warlock class, and I have read many many guides/comments/discussions on the best specs and why. So, with that, I will talk about what to expect from this guide. This guide will focus on the best specs/rotations/spells/pet selections for a warlock in dungeons, heroic dungeons, and raids. I hope you enjoy and, as always, any comments/suggestion/advice is greatly appreciated. 🙂
The Destruction Specs
Currently, the top DPS spec is Destruction with Imp. Soul Leech. Here is a link to the spec:

I will now go through and explain the talents, how they help you, and why they’re in this build.

Bane: This talent, maxed, reduces the cast time of your Immolate and Chaos Bolt by .5 seconds each. Less cast time=more time to cast other spells=good.

Cataclysm: This talent reduces the mana cost of ALL destruction spells by 10%. The less time you spend lifetapping, the more pew pew.

Aftermath: Increases the periodic damage of Immolate by 6%…the daze aspect isn’t much help in a raid/heroic setting as most mobs will be immune to it.

Ruin: One of the core talents of this build…it makes your critical strikes hit for 200% increased damage instead of 150% increased damage. Destruction is all about crits and big numbers, so this is a must have.

Demonic Power: You will always be using the Imp with a destruction build, and the imp will account for about 8-10% for your total damage. Reducing the cast time of the imp’s firebolt=more damage.

Intensity: Really more of a filler talent, and necessary to get Backlash. You shouldn’t be getting hit much in a heroic/raid, so the reduced push back is kinda useless.

Destructive Reach: Please not you will only put one talent point into this talent! Increased range is always good to keep out of the mob’s way, plus the reduced threat is always nice, but really more of a filler talent.

Devastation: Another core Destruction talent. 5% increased crit chance for destruction spells? Yes please!

Improved Immolate: Immolate is a main spell in the Destruction rotation. Increased damage is always good.

Backlash: 3% more crit=good. The other aspect of this talent is fairly decent, especially when soloing. It gives you a 25% chance to get an instant cast Incinerate or Shadow Bolt.


Conflagrate: Ahhh, Conflagrate, how I love thee. One of the core spells in a Destruction warlock’s rotation, and this is the talent that will teach it to you. Note: There is only one rank of this spell. It scales with your Immolate and Shadowflame spells.

Soul Leech: Kind of a PvP talent, but a pre-requisite to Improved Soul Leech which is very nice for PvE.

Pyroclasm: This talent increases your Fire spell damage by 6% for ten seconds after you crit with Conflagrate. Since you’ll be critting with Conflagrate about 50% of the time, a very nice talent.[

Shadow and Flame: Alright, this talent is kinda complicated. All spells have a coefficient – the longer the cast time of a spell, the larger a coefficient. The coefficient determines how much of your Bonus Spell Damage the spell receives. If you had 200 bonus spell power, and a spell that hit for 200 normally with a 1.0 coefficient, that spell would then hit for 400. This talent basically increases the coefficient of Chaos Bolt and Incinerate.

Improved Soul Leech : This talent gives you 2% of your mana back every time Soul Leech is activated, as well as providing Replenishment to the raid. Replenishment is important for healer’s mana regen, but many classes have the ability to spec into Replenishment. Your guild may ask you to spec into this talent, but it is also good because it decreases the amount of times you Life Tap by A LOT.

Backdraft : Whenever you cast Conflagrate, the cast time of your next three destruction spells and their global cooldown’s is reduced by 30%. This allows you to cast more spells quicker, which=good.

Empowered Imp: The first part of this talent is very nice. The second is kinda lackluster. In addition to increasing the imp’s DPS, this talent makes it so that whenever your imp crits, your spell crit chance is increased by 20% for your next spell. (Note: In the next pacth, 3.2, this talent is slated to change so that you get a 100% increased crit chance on your next spell. This should balance out the Fire and Brimstone nerf mentioned below.)

Fire and Brimstone: Increases the damage of your Chaos Bolt and Incinerate to targets affected by your Immolate (which should be up at all times) by 15% and the crit chance of your Conflagrate spell is increased by 25% at all times. Pretty self explanatory why you should take this talent. (Note: In the next pacth, 3.2, this talent is getting nerfed so that the damage of Chaos Bolt and Incinerate will only be increased by 10% when Immolate is active. Tests show the above buff to Empowered Imp balances this out.)

Chaos Bolt: This talent teaches the spell Chaos Bolt (remember to train all ranks!) which is a key part in the Destruction rotation. More on that later.

Moving to the Demonology tree for 13 points…

Improved Imp: Increases the damage of your imp’s firebolt by 30%.

Fel Synergy: You heal your pet for 15% of the spell damage done by you. Keeping your imp alive improves your DPS, so this talent is very nice.

Demonic Embrace: Only put two talent points into this talent! Increases your stamina by 7%. More stamina is always good, and is necessary on some fights, such as Malygos. If you really want to, and you’re a nice person, you can move these two points to ImprovedHealthstone…your raid will love you.

Fel Vitality : Increases the Stamina and Intellect of your demons by 15% which increases their health and mana. Also increases your health and mana by 3%.

Demonic Aegis: Increases the effect of Demon Armor and Fel Armor by 30%. This talent is very very good. To put it in perspective, your max rank of Fel Armor will go from +180 spell power + 30% of spirit to +240 spell power + 39% of spirit.

Well, that’s the top Destruction DPS spec in all its glory. Wait, what’s that? You need more hit? You don’t want Soul Leech? Never fear, there is a spec just for you!

Changes in this spec:

1. You will have three points in Suppression, which will increase your chance to hit with ALL spells by 3%. The hit cap is 17% and all warlocks should reach that as soon as possible. If you are at the hit cap your spells will never miss. However, they may still be resisted and dodged, as hit has no effect on these mechanics. A lot of gear has hit on it, but it takes quite a bit of hit to reach the 17% cap. If you cannot find the gear to get hit, you may wish to spec into this talent. Please note that a Boomkin’s Improved Faerie Fire as well as a Shadow Priest’s Misery will each add 3% hit to the mob (they do not stack.) Therefore, with one of these spells on an enemy, you would only need to get 14% hit through talents/gear, and with one of these spells AND Suppression, you would only need 11% hit through gear. Also, please note that there are potions available, such as the Elixir of Accuracy that also improve your hit.

2. You will have another talent point in Destructive Reach and will have a talent point in Shadowburn. Both these points are fillers, so feel free to move the point in Shadowburn to Shadowfury . However, you will not be using either of these spells in a typical Destruction rotation.

3. You will have neither the Soul Leech or Improved Soul Leech talents.

This spec is mainly used if you want the three points in Suppression for the hit, and you will be using life tap more often with it.

Here, I will cover the spells you will be using in a Destruction rotation.

Immolate – Ahhh, the first spell a warlock gets. Have fond memories of it? Well, get used to it, because this spell should ALWAYS be up on your target. You should not be casting other spells unless your target has the Immolate debuff. No cool down, 2 second cast.

Conflagrate – Consumes an Immolate or Shadowfury debuff (more on this later) to do damage. Will crit often once you’re specced right. 10 second cool down, instant cast.

Chaos Bolt – GREEN FIRE! Pierces through absorption effects (i.e. A priest bubble, does not pierce through paladin bubbles though. A priest bubble absorbs, while a paladin bubble provides immunity. Blizzard’s tricky, eh?) and resistances to deal damage. 12 second cool down, base 2.5 second cast.

Incinerate – Your filler spell. You will be casting this a lot. Deals damage, and deals even more damage if the mob as the Immolate debuff on it. No cool down, 2.5 second cast.

Life Tap – Quite possibly the quintessential warlock spell. Makes it so you don’t run out of mana. You will be using Life Tap more in a non Imp. Soul Leech build.

The Destruction rotation is less an actual rotation and more a priority list:

1. Make sure Immolate is always up on a target. I repeat: ALWAYS. Not sometimes, not 80% with a 5% margin of error, not even most of the time. Without Immolate on a target, you cannot cast Conflagrate and Incinerate will hit for less. Once Immolate is on the target, proceed to step 2. Do not spam cast this spell.

2. Use Conflagrate. If this spell is on cool down, proceed to step 3.

3. Use Chaos Bolt. If this spell is on cool down, proceed to step 4.

4. Spam Incinerate until either Immolate needs to be refreshed, or Conflagrate/Chaos Bolt comes off cool down. Then proceed with normal priority rotation.

5. Throughout all of this, you will need to be casting Life Tap at various points. If you are using the Destruction build with Imp. Soul Leech, do not Life Tap until you are almost out of mana, then Life Tap to almost full mana. I know this may not seem fair to the healers, but it is actually less detrimental to your dps than if you life tapped continuously throughout the fight. Besides, unless you are in an AOE intensive fight, you should not be getting hit and the healers will have you topped off in seconds.

HOWEVER, if you are using the second destruction spec with Suppression, you will be life tapping throughout the fight. This is done for two reasons. One, you will not be getting mana back from Imp. Soul Leech so you will be losing mana at a faster rate. Second, you will have the Improved Life Tap Glyph (which I will discuss below.) What you have to do is try and estimate how many times you will have to life tap throughout a fight and then break those up throughout the course of the fight. That sounds complicated, I know, so what I usually do is wait until I am down to around 75% then I life tap. That way I always have mana and the healers don’t have heart attacks.

Glyphs, Pets, and Miscellanea
Always use the Imp pet. Always.

If you are using the Destruction spec with Imp. Soul Leech, you will be using the following glyphs: Glyph of Conflagrate (this keeps your Conflagrate spell from consuming your Immolate debuff), Glyph of Immolate (moar deeps), Glyph of Incinerate (moar deeps again.) Your three minor glyphs can be whatever, but I personally prefer: Glyph of Unending Breath, Glyph of Souls, and Glyph of Drain Soul. Our minor glyphs kinda suck, so it’s pretty slim pickings.

If you are using the Destruction spec with Suppression, use the same glyphs as above except replace the Glyph of Immolate with Glyph of Life Tap. This glyph makes it

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