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Demonology Warlock: Mists of Pandaria Rotation Changes, Talents, and Glyphs (Patch 5.0.4)

5 replies to this topic Started by Damien, Aug 06 2012 10:42 PM news mop warlock demonology rotation talents glyphs
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Posted 06 August 2012 - 10:42 PM

  • Damien
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This article is no longer being updated. Please check our Demonology Warlock guide, which is fully compatible with Mists of Pandaria, and is being constantly updated. Thank you.

In preparation for the updates to our guides for Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4, we are releasing articles such as this one, explaining what has changed for a particular class and spec, and what the new rotation is likely to be.

Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress (both from Blizzard's side and from our own) and that this article assumes you are at least somewhat familiar with the Cataclysm version of the Demonology Warlock rotation and playstyle (such as from reading our guide).

We will first list the most important changes to the Demonology Warlock Cataclysm abilities, and then we will proceed to explaining the (likely to be) optimal rotation. Keep in mind that we do not document every single change or new ability, only those that impact the rotation.

Finally, we will give you some information about the most useful talents and glyphs you should choose.

Removed Abilities and Mechanics

Many abilities from the Affliction and Destruction specialisations have been removed. Most of those that remain are not available to Demonology Warlocks in Mists of Pandaria: Bane of Agony, Bane of Doom, Curse of Tongues, Curse of Weakness, Death Coil, Drain Soul, Immolate, Incinerate, Rain of Fire, Searing Pain, Seed of Corruption, and Soul Swap.

In addition, many Demonology-specific talents, abilities, and mechanics have been removed: Demon Armor, Demonic Empowerment, Infernal Awakening, Aura of Foreboding, Cremation, Fel Synergy, Mana Feed, and Shadow and Flame.

Changed Abilities and Mechanics

There have been a number of minor changes, such as:
  • Twilight Ward replacing Shadow Ward, and absorbing Shadow and Holy damage (instead of only Shadow damage);
  • Ritual of Souls being renamed to Create Soulwell, or Create Soulstone being renamed to Soulstone;
  • Fel Armor being a passive skill, increasing Stamina and Armor, and increasing healing generated through your own spells and effects;
  • Howl of Terror now being a Tier 2 talent and having been slightly redesigned (as we will see in the talent section);
  • Enslave Demon increasing the time between the target's attacks by 50% and reducing the target's casting speed by 50%;
  • Curse of the Elements now only increasing magic damage taken by 5% and no longer inflicting a magic resistance reduction;
  • Soul Harvest now being a passive ability that makes you regenerate health out of combat (previously, it had to be cast, while out of combat, to regenerate health and Soul Shards, which are now an Affliction-specific resource);
  • Demonic Rebirth now having a 20-second duration, up from 10;
  • Dark Intent now being a raid-wide buff providing +10% spell power.
In addition to these minor changes, some of your important spells have been redesigned.
  • Soul Fire still has a 4-second cast, but each cast now has a 100% chance to be a critical strike and the damage of the spell is increased by your critical strike chance.
  • Demonic Leap used to only be available during Metamorphosis and used to stun and damage enemies around the landing area. In Mists of Pandaria, this ability activates Metamorphosis and it can only be used to move a short distance. It no longer damages or stuns the enemies.
  • Hellfire can now be channelled while moving. Previously this was granted by your Inferno talent.
  • Hand of Gul'dan no longer increases the chance that Warlock demons will critically hit against the target. Instead, it applies Shadowflame, which deals damage over 6 seconds, reduces the enemy's speed by 30%. Hand of Gul'dan no longer has a cooldown. Instead, it uses a system of charges. Using Hand of Gul'dan consumes a charge and you need at least 1 charge to use this spell. Every 15 seconds, you regenerate a charge, up to 2 charges.
  • Molten Core no longer affects the damage and the cast time of Incinerate, which is now a Destruction-only spell. Instead, it reduces the cast time and the mana cost of your next Soul Fire by 50%.
  • Molten Core has an 8% chance to proc when Shadowflame or a Wild Imp (a new ability, see next section) deals damage.
  • Decimation, in a similar manner as the old talent of the same name, is a passive ability that causes your Soul Fire and Shadow Bolt to have a 100% chance to grant you Molten Core when cast on a target below 25% health.

New Abilities

  • Dark Soul: Knowledge is a new DPS cooldown that is specific to Demonology Warlocks and that grants +12516 Mastery Rating for 20 seconds on a 2-minute cooldown. Other Warlock specialisations have their own variant of the spell.
  • Unending Resolve provides 50% damage reduction for 12 seconds, on a 3-minute cooldown.
  • Demonic Gateway is your level 87 spell. It is an extremely interesting ability, the usefulness of which will soon be very obvious to you. It creates a gateway between your current location and the location that you click (the maximum distance seems to be about 100 yards). The gateway initially has 0 charges and will generate a new charge every 15 seconds, up to a maximum of 5 charges. A charge is consumed every time someone steps in the gateway (on either end). Stepping through the gateway, on either end, will transport you to the other end. It will also apply a buff to you, which prevents you from using the gateway for the next 15 seconds and reduces your threat for 15 seconds.
  • Curse of Enfeeblement reduces the physical damage done by your target by 20% and increases the casting time of all its spells by 50%.
  • Wild Imps is a passive ability that causes your Shadow Bolt, Soul Fire, and Touch of Chaos abilities to summon a Wild Imp that will cast 10 Firebolt before disappearing. This effect has a 20 seconds cooldown.
  • Pandemic is your level 90 ability. It causes the remaining duration of your DoTs to be added to the new duration when you refresh them, up to 50% of the base duration.
In addition, all your talent tiers giving you new abilities, as we describe in the talent section.

Finally, you get many new abilities that are only available after using Metamorphosis, as we will see in the next section.

Demonic Fury and Metamorphosis

Demonic Fury is your new resource in Mists of Pandaria. It will greatly influence your play style as you will build Demonic Fury with your damaging abilities before using Metamorphosis to gain access to abilities that will consume your Demonic Fury.

Your bar of Demonic Fury has a maximum capacity of 1000. Out of combat, you will rapidly regenerate up to 200 Demonic Fury. Additional Demonic Fury must be generated during combat by using your abilities (all your offensive abilities generate Demonic Fury). In demon form, Demonic Fury decays at a fixed rate of approximately 6 Demonic Fury per second. In addition, many of your abilities are transformed into Demonic Fury-consuming abilities.

When your amount of Demonic Fury reaches below 40, your demon form will automatically be removed. Independently of your amount of Demonic Fury, you can cancel your demon form at any time by using Metamorphosis again.

In Cataclysm, Metamorphosis was only granting you Demonic Leap and Immolation Aura.

In Mists of Pandaria, Metamorphosis transforms some of your abilities. Hover over the tooltips to see how much Demonic Fury each ability generates/consumes.
  • Hand of Gul'dan becomes Chaos Wave, which damages all enemies within 6 yards of your target (reducing their movement speed by 30% for 6 seconds) and has a 100% chance to trigger Molten Core.
  • Curse of the Elements becomes Aura of the Elements, which applies Curse of the Elements to all targets within 20 yards of your target (or of yourself, if you have no target).
  • Curse of Enfeeblement becomes Aura of Enfeeblement, which applies Curse of Enfeeblement to all targets within 20 yards of your target (or of yourself if you have no target).
  • Corruption becomes Doom, which deals a large amount of damage over time and summon a Wild Imp every time a tick critically hits.
  • Hellfire becomes Immolation Aura, which, once activated, will grant you the same AoE damage as Hellfire, just that it does not need to be channeled (i.e., you can do other things while it is pulsing) and it no longer deals damage to you.
  • Shadow Bolt becomes Touch of Chaos, which deals slightly less damage than Shadow Bolt, but is instant-cast and adds 6 seconds to the duration of your Corruption DoT, to a maximum of 27 seconds (18 seconds + 50%).
  • Fel Flame becomes Void Ray, which deals damage to enemies in a 20-yard line in front of you and extends the duration of Corruption DoT, in the same manner as Touch of Chaos.
In addition, Metamorphosis grants you Carrion Swarm, which deals AoE damage, knocks back enemies, and interrupts spell casting.

Casting another ability than those mentioned above while in demon form will cancel demon form.


By default, you can summon one of five demons to help you fight your foes.
  • The Felguard will be your demon of choice for raiding. It will automatically cast the following abilities: Legion Strike and Pursuit. It can also cast Felstorm and Axe Toss.
  • The Imp may have its uses for raiding, though it does not do as much damage as the Felguard. It will automatically cast the following abilities: Firebolt, Singe Magic, and Blood Pact. It can also cast Flee if you instruct it to.
  • The Succubus may have its uses for raiding, though it does not do as much damage as the Felguard. It will automatically cast the following abilities: Lash of Pain, Seduction, and Lesser Invisibility. It can also cast Whiplash if you instruct it to.
  • The Voidwalker will be your demon of choice while leveling up. It will automatically cast the following abilities: Shadow Bulwark, Suffering, and Torment. It can also cast Disarm if you instruct it to.
  • The Felhunter will be your demon of choice for PvP, though its spell can have some use in PvE. It will automatically cast the following abilities: Devour Magic and Shadow Bite. It can also cast Spell Lock if you instruct it to.
As in Cataclysm, you have two demons that you can use as DPS cooldowns: a Doomguard ( Summon Doomguard) for single-target damage or an Infernal ( Summon Infernal) for AoE damage.

Also, you have the Command Demon ability, which, if put on your action bar, will change with the demon you are using. For the Voidwalker, the Felhunter, and the Succubus, this ability will cast their manual ability. For the Felguard, it will cast Felstorm. For the Imp, it will cast Cauterize Master, which does not seem to be otherwise available.

Grimoire of Supremacy is a Tier 5 talent that improves your demons with better abilities. The Wrathguard remains your demon of choice.

Your demon DPS cooldowns are replaced by more powerful versions: a Terrorguard ( Summon Terrorguard) for single-target damage or an Abyssal ( Summon Abyssal) for AoE damage.

Your Command Demon ability will cast the manual ability of your demon, except for the Fel Imp, for which it casts Cauterize Master (as it does for the Imp).


Your rotation has undergone drastic chances since Cataclysm. You will have two rotations, one for building up Demonic Fury, another one for spending Demonic Fury.

To build Demonic Fury, use the following rotation. For mana regeneration purposes, you will probably have to often make use of Life Tap.

When you reach 1000 Demonic Fury, you should cast Metamorphosis to enter your demon form. Then, use the following rotation until you run out of Demonic Fury. Even though Touch of Chaos is low on the list, you should give it a higher priority if Corruption needs to be refreshed.

If you are in melee range of your target, you can also activate Immolation Aura.


In Mists of Pandaria, you will gain a number of cooldowns (offensive and defensive), the majority of which are obtained through your choices of talents (as we explain in our talent section).

Your offensive cooldowns should be used as often as possible and combining them will usually grant you an increased effect: You have a variety of defensive cooldowns, which you should use to help your healers or bypass encounter mechanics:

AoE Rotation

Your AoE rotation will change according to the number of enemies, just like it did in Cataclysm. You can follow these rough guidelines.

Against 2 or 3 enemies, stick to your normal rotation and keep Corruption up on all targets. Additionally, use Command Demon to make your Felguard cast Felstorm.

Against 4 or more enemies, keep channeling Hellfire, all the while applying and refreshing Corruption on 3 or 4 enemies.

In Demon Form, apply Doom on as many enemies as possible, cast Chaos Wave as often as possible, and activate Immolation Aura. In addition, cast Void Ray to refresh Corruption, which you will have previously applied on as many targets as possible. Finally, you can use Carrion Swarm if knocking back the enemies is not going to be a problem.


Tier 1 talents give you the choice between self-healing talents.
  • Dark Regeneration is a 3-minute cooldown that restores some of your life and increases healing received for 12 seconds.
  • Soul Leech is a passive ability that grants self-healing capabilities to your three most important offensive abilities.
  • Harvest Life is an improvement over Drain Life, which it replaces. It deals AoE damage and regenerates more health, between 3% and 4.5% maximum health per second, depending on the number of enemies.
Whichever you will choose will depend on the encounter. Dark Regeneration is ideal for occasionally healing yourself, especially since you will often be using Life Tap. Soul Leech is best if you need a constant source of self-healing. Harvest Life can only be used if there are enough enemies to attack.

Tier 2 talents offer crowd control abilities. For this tier of talents, you will base your choice on personal preference or on the type of crowd control your raid will require.

Tier 3 talents offer damage reduction mechanics.
  • Soul Link causes the damage you and your demon take to be shared. However, your demon's health is reduced by 50%.
  • Sacrificial Pact is on a 1-minute cooldown and causes your demon to sacrifice half of its current health to give you a shield for 200% of the sacrificed health. If you do not have a demon out, your health is sacrificed instead.
  • Dark Bargain is on a 3-minute cooldown and prevents all damage for 10 seconds. After the 10 seconds are up, the damage prevented is dealt over 20 seconds.
Dark Bargain looks the most attractive to us because it will enable you to bypass encounter mechanics that would otherwise kill most other classes. It can also be used to soften the damage you take at critical times, so that your healers can focus on other raid members. Soul Link and Sacrificial Pact will have more occasional uses.

Tier 4 talents offer crowd control and utility abilities.
  • Blood Fear is an improvement over Fear, which it replaces. It is instant cast and no longer has a mana cost. Instead, it costs 10% of your maximum health.
  • Burning Rush sacrifices health and increases your movement speed.
  • Unbound Will removes all magic and movement-impairing effects, as well as effects that cause loss of control of your character. It costs 20% of your health.
These abilities have mostly been tailored for PvP. They might have occasional use in PvE, depending on encounter mechanics.

Tier 5 talents provide various modifications to your demons.
  • Grimoire of Supremacy replaces your minions by more powerful demons that deal 20% more damage.
  • Grimoire of Service is a 2-minute cooldown that enables you to summon a second demon for 20 seconds.
  • Grimoire of Sacrifice sacrifices your demon to increase spell damage by 30% to 50% (depending on the specialisation) and to regenerate 2% of maximum health every 5 seconds. Resummoning a demon cancels the effect. Finally, you gain one of your demon's abilities:
  • Imp: Singe Magic;
  • Voidwalker: Shadow Bulwark;
  • Felhunter: Spell Lock;
  • Succubus: Seduction;
  • Felguard: Pursuit.
Grimoire of Supremacy and Grimoire of Sacrifice will probably be the preferred choice as they are entirely passive. Grimoire of Service will be useful when you need an additional DPS cooldown.

Tier 6 talents provide various means of increasing your DPS.
  • Archimonde's Vengeance is a 1-minute cooldown that causes the enemy to suffer 50% of all damage you take for 12 seconds. When Archimonde's Vengeance is not on cooldown, enemies who attack you suffer 10% of all damage they deal to you.
  • Kil'jaeden's Cunning is a 1-minute cooldown that enables you to cast and channel while moving for 6 seconds. When Kil'Jaeden's Cunning is not on cooldown, you can cast and channel while moving, but at the expense of a 50% casting speed reduction and a 20% movement speed reduction.
  • Mannoroth's Fury increases the area of your AoE spells by 500%.
All of these talents have situational use. Archimonde's Vengeance is useful when you take a large amount of damage. We have yet to see how it will interact with Dark Bargain. Kil'Jaeden's Cunning will be preferred in heavy-movement encounters. Mannoroth's Fury will be nigh-mandatory for AoE-heavy fights, where enemies are not clumped together.


The following major glyphs will be useful to Demonology Warlocks: Your minor glyphs are mostly cosmetic, but we believe that Glyph of Nightmares and Glyph of Unending Breath will be very useful while leveling up through Pandaria.

Tanking as a Demonology Warlock

Glyph of Demon Hunting is a major glyph that turns your Demonology Warlock into a decent backup tank.

This glyph teaches you Dark Apotheosis, which is a battle stance that grants you damage reduction and increased threat generation. The damage reduction is further enhanced by your Mastery. In addition, you gain access to your demon spells just as if you had cast Metamorphosis.

Finally, some of your spells are replaced. To play as a tank, simply perform your demon form single-target or AoE rotation, and use Provocation and Fury Ward when needed.

This concludes our Demonology Warlock preview for Mists of Pandaria. We hope you have enjoyed reading it and that it proved useful to you. As always, we are looking forward to reading your opinions on the matter!

Posted 07 August 2012 - 01:49 PM

  • Zagam
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Let me tell you one thing...I cannot wait for this to happen. Warlocks are finally receiving the love they have long been overdue. I can get rid of 16 of my keybinds and play with 10?! My wrists, fingers, and brain thank the developers who decided that having to use 20+ abilities in a fight was a bit ridiculous. Bring on Mists!!!


Spike Flail - US-Mal'Ganis

13/13M / Alpha Testing

Posted 13 August 2012 - 07:55 AM

  • Damien
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With the last beta build (15961), Grimoire of Sacrifice increases the damage of your single-target spells by 30% to 50%, depending on the spell and your Warlock specialisation and grants you one of your demon's abilities. Also, it no longer increases maximum health and it no longer has a doubled effect for the first 15 seconds.

Posted 24 August 2012 - 11:56 AM

  • Jayde103
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I have one question about what I've seen here, as opposed to what Demo locks currently do. You only mention the Felguard/Wrathguard as our minion of choice. Does this mean for both AOE and single target encounters? Apologies if that seems like a stupid question, I haven't been lucky enough to test any of the raids, and only a few of the 5mans.
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Posted 24 August 2012 - 12:03 PM

  • Damien
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I have one question about what I've seen here, as opposed to what Demo locks currently do. You only mention the Felguard/Wrathguard as our minion of choice. Does this mean for both AOE and single target encounters?

Apologies if that seems like a stupid question, I haven't been lucky enough to test any of the raids, and only a few of the 5mans.

This isn't a stupid question :)

The Felguard is the demon of choice in both single-target and multiple-target/AoE situations, by a fair margin.

Posted 24 August 2012 - 12:25 PM

  • Jayde103
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Awesome, thanks! =) I will admit though, I liked the upgrade to the felguard under Grimoire of Supremacy, but wasn't too fond of what they chose for the felhunter. lol
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