Demonology Warlock DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoD 6.0.2)

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General Information

On this page, we list your Demonology Warlock core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft WoD 6.0.2. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a Demonology Warlock.

The other pages of our Demonology Warlock guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewers

This guide has been reviewed and approved by two prominent Warlock theorycrafters: Gahddo, who maintains the Warlock profiles and rotations in Simulation Craft, and Zagam, our in-house Warlock theorycrafter.

6.0.2 Transition Guide

If you want to read all about the Patch 6.0.2 changes and learn how they affect your character, make sure to read our Warlock Transition Guide!

1. Single Target Rotation↑top

Demonic Fury Icon Demonic Fury is your Demonology resource and managing it properly is very important. Demonic Fury is consumed when you enter Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis, something that you should do every time you deal increased damage (Dark Soul: Knowledge Icon Dark Soul: Knowledge, trinket procs, boss takes increased damage, etc.). The rest of the time, you need to keep building up Demonic Fury for the next activation of Metamorphosis.

Spending Demonic Fury during Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis and building it up outside Metamorphosis is done through two different rotations, which we present next.

For more information on your opening sequence, please refer to our dedicated section.

1.1. Building Up Demonic Fury for Metamorphosis

To build up Demonic Fury, use the following rotation.

  1. Keep Corruption Icon Corruption applied on the target.
    • Corruption is extended when you cast Touch of Chaos Icon Touch of Chaos while in Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis, so you will generally not have to refresh it manually. That said, if Corruption is about to drop and you have no reason to enter Metamorphosis, then you can refresh it manually. You do not lose ticks if you refresh it when it has 5.4 seconds remaining or less.
  2. Cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan when you have two charges.
  3. Cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan when you have a charge and the Hand of Gul'dan DoT has between 2 and 3 seconds left on the target.
  4. Cast Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire when you have more than 4 stacks of Molten Core Icon Molten Core or if the boss has less than 25% health (because of the increased amount of Molten Core procs you get on targets below 25% health).
  5. Cast Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt as a filler.

If you feel your Demonic Fury generation is not high enough, you can use Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire on Molten Core Icon Molten Core procs. This will increase your Demonic Fury generation and you will have less Molten Core procs to use during Metamorphosis, thus reducing your Demonic Fury consumption. In this case, casting Soul Fire has a higher priority than casting Shadow Bolt.

1.2. Spending Demonic Fury in Metamorphosis

Whenever you are going to deal increased damage for a given time window (Dark Soul: Knowledge Icon Dark Soul: Knowledge, trinket proc, boss mechanics, etc.), you should enter Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis and keep it active until you no longer deal increased damage or until you consume all your Demonic Fury. You can also enter Metamorphosis to burn your excess Demonic Fury, if you get to close to capping it.

While in Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis, use the following rotation.

  1. Apply Doom Icon Doom and reapply it when it has less than 18 seconds remaining.
  2. Use Touch of Chaos Icon Touch of Chaos, if you need to extend Corruption Icon Corruption or to prevent capping Demonic Fury.
  3. Use Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire on Molten Core Icon Molten Core procs.
  4. Use Touch of Chaos Icon Touch of Chaos, as a filler (if you still have Demonic Fury after spending all your Molten Core procs).

When the target is below 25% health, you will be able to cast Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire on demand, thanks to Decimation Icon Decimation. In this case, spam Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire while in Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis and cast Touch of Chaos Icon Touch of Chaos when you need to extend Corruption Icon Corruption. If your Demonic Fury generation feels too low to spam Soul Fire, you can cast Soul Fire from time to time and spam Touch of Chaos the rest of the time.

2. Demon↑top

Always use a Felguard, your Demonology-specific demon. If you chose Grimoire of Supremacy Icon Grimoire of Supremacy as your Tier 5 talent, then use a Wrathguard (the Felguard upgrade).

Remember to turn off your Felguard's Threatening Presence Icon Threatening Presence.

3. Multiple Target Rotation↑top

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

Against 3 enemies, start activating Immolation Aura Icon Immolation Aura during Metamorphosis.

Against 4 or more enemies, start spamming Hellfire Icon Hellfire instead of Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt, and use Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire if you are about to reach 10 stacks of Molten Core Icon Molten Core. Note that if Mannoroth's Fury Icon Mannoroth's Fury is active, you need to start spamming Hellfire Icon Hellfire instead of Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt as soon as you fight 2 enemies.

Against 6 enemies, stop using Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire.

Chaos Wave Icon Chaos Wave is not generally used in AoE situations, unless you want the target to die while you are in Demon Form. While Chaos Wave has a 100% chance to proc Molten Core Icon Molten Core, you will not use Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire for AoE damage, so the procs will mostly be wasted. Also, using Chaos Wave will deplete your Demonic Fury too rapidly, so you will prefer using Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan, which does more damage and generates Demonic Fury. See our Hand of Guldan section for more information.

That said, Chaos Wave Icon Chaos Wave is good for burst AoE damage (because your enemies will not live long enough for your DoTs and Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan to do any real damage to them or for Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan to tick at least twice). In this case, do the following:

  1. activate Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis;
  2. activate Immolation Aura Icon Immolation Aura;
  3. double-cast Chaos Wave Icon Chaos Wave.

4. Cooldowns↑top

Dark Soul: Knowledge Icon Dark Soul: Knowledge is your main DPS cooldown. It increases the effects of Mastery: Master Demonologist Icon Mastery: Master Demonologist by an additional 30% for 20 seconds. Use it on cooldown and always use it when you have enough Demonic Fury to stay in demon form for as much of the 20 seconds as possible. Ideally, you should make it so that you are near full Demonic Fury when Dark Soul comes off cooldown. To do so, you can simply not burn all your Demonic Fury in the preceding Metamorphosis phase.

Imp Swarm Icon Imp Swarm is granted by Glyph of Imp Swarm Icon Glyph of Imp Swarm, which you should almost always be using. Always use Imp Swarm together with Dark Soul: Knowledge Icon Dark Soul: Knowledge. The Imps will grant you Demonic Fury that will enable you to stay longer in Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis while Dark Soul is active, increasing your DPS as a result. There are a few subtleties regarding Imp Swarm and we advise you to read our Imp Swarm section to find out more.

Summon Doomguard Icon Summon Doomguard and Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal share a cooldown. As such, you will have to decide which of the two you will use. These two abilities are on a 10-minute cooldown, so you will realistically only use them once per fight. Summon Doomguard Icon Summon Doomguard is better when fighting 4 enemies or less, while Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal is better when fighting 5 enemies or more.

If you choose Grimoire of Supremacy Icon Grimoire of Supremacy, as a Tier 5 talent, then Summon Doomguard becomes Summon Terrorguard Icon Summon Terrorguard and Summon Infernal becomes Summon Abyssal Icon Summon Abyssal.

In addition, a number of defensive cooldowns are available to you to compensate for your frequent use of Life Tap Icon Life Tap, which is mandatory for Mana management. We detail these cooldowns in a Mana management section.

Finally, your talents give you a number of offensive cooldowns, which we detail in a talent cooldowns section

5. Optional Read: Mastering Your Demonology Warlock↑top

While the priorities we list above will prove sufficient for you to do excellent DPS, there are various other things you should know about playing a Demonology Warlock.

5.1. Metamorphosis and Demonic Fury

Demonic Fury Icon Demonic Fury is your Demonology Warlock resource. It will greatly influence your play style as you will build Demonic Fury with your damaging abilities before using Metamorphosis Icon 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 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.

Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis transforms some of your abilities. Hover over the links to see how much Demonic Fury each ability generates/consumes.

  • Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan becomes Chaos Wave Icon Chaos Wave, which damages all enemies within 6 yards of your target (reducing their movement speed by 50% for 6 seconds) and has a 100% chance to trigger Molten Core Icon Molten Core.
  • Corruption Icon Corruption becomes Doom Icon Doom, which deals a large amount of damage over time.
  • Hellfire Icon Hellfire becomes Immolation Aura Icon 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 Icon Shadow Bolt becomes Touch of Chaos Icon Touch of Chaos, which deals slightly less damage than Shadow Bolt, but is instant-cast and refreshes your Corruption Icon Corruption DoT.

In addition, you can use Demonic Leap Icon Demonic Leap to enter Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis. After transforming you into a demon, it will make you leap forward 15 yards.

5.2. Refreshing Your DoTs

As a Demonology Warlock, between 15% and 20% of your damage comes from your 2 DoTs (Corruption Icon Corruption and Doom Icon Doom). You must strive to maintain 100% uptime on all of them, which is not difficult. Corruption automatically gets refreshed by Touch of Chaos Icon Touch of Chaos. Also, you enter Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis often enough to refresh Doom Icon Doom in time. That said, there are a few general statements we wish to make about refreshing DoTs.

When you refresh a DoT, the remaining duration is added to the new duration, up to 30% of the base duration. So, if a DoT has a base duration of 24 seconds and you refresh it when there are 5 seconds remaining, the new duration will be 29 seconds.

DoTs automatically scale with your statistics, so there is no need to cast them while you benefit from trinket procs or other damage-increasing effects. In other words, snapshotting is gone, so do not bother taking it into account anymore.

5.3. Demons

By default, you can summon one of five demons to help you fight your foes. Except for the Voidwalker, they are all viable for raiding.

You also have two demons that you can use as DPS cooldowns: a Doomguard (Summon Doomguard Icon Summon Doomguard) for single-target damage or an Infernal (Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal) for AoE damage.

Finally, you have the Command Demon Icon Command Demon ability, which, if put on your action bar, will change with the demon you are using:

5.3.1. Grimoire of Supremacy

Grimoire of Supremacy Icon Grimoire of Supremacy is a Tier 5 talent that improves your demons and gives them better abilities.

The Wrathguard remains the demon with the highest DPS.

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

Finally, Command Demon Icon Command Demon gives you the following abilities:

5.4. Hand of Gul'dan

Your Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan spell has a system of 2 charges. When you use the spell, you consume a charge, which will regenerate automatically after 15 seconds. When you are out of charges, you cannot cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan.

The implication of this system is that you cannot maintain of 100% uptime on the short DoT that Hand of Gul'dan applies on your target. The best you can do is a 40% uptime, and this is what you should be aiming for.

5.4.1. How to Get the Best out of Hand of Guldan

The DoT that Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan leaves on your target stacks, but it would be a waste to double-cast Hand of Guldan with 2 charges just to apply the DoT with 2 stacks. What you want to do is to always apply Hand of Guldan when you have 2 charges or one charge, with the second charge becoming available within 4 seconds. This way, when the first Hand of Guldan is about to expire from your target, you can cast it again. It will refresh the DoT on the target, but the new DoT will have 2 stacks and the duration that remain on your first DoT will be added.

Since Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan travels quite slowly, you should do the second cast about 3 seconds before the DoT expires.

To sum it up:

  1. cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan;
  2. continue your rotation for 4 seconds;
  3. cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan again.

5.5. Molten Core

Molten Core Icon Molten Core is the only proc that you should have to watch out for. It has a chance to proc when you deal damage with Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan (DoT component) and Wild Imps Icon Wild Imps, an imp that is summoned (not more often than every 20 seconds) when you deal damage with Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt, Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire, and Touch of Chaos Icon Touch of Chaos. Chaos Wave Icon Chaos Wave damage always trigger Molten Core.

Molten Core Icon Molten Core stacks up to 10 stacks, which means that if you trigger it again before using it, you will not lose the proc.

Note that the imps from Imp Swarm Icon Imp Swarm will grant you a number of Molten Core Icon Molten Core stacks when you use this ability. This gives you a lot of Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire burst damage, so take this into account when using Imp Swarm.

Also, your Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt and Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire spells have a 100% chance to grant you a stack of Molten Core Icon Molten Core when the target is below 25% health.

While this does mean that you are free to spam Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire when the target is below 25% health, your Mana regeneration will probably not allow it.

5.5.1. More on Imp Swarm

Without Glyph of Imp Swarm Icon Glyph of Imp Swarm, you generate an average of 6 Imps every 2 minutes.

With Glyph of Imp Swarm Icon Glyph of Imp Swarm, you generate an average of 4 Imps every 2 minutes while Imp Swarm Icon Imp Swarm is not on cooldown. When you use Imp Swarm, you get 4 Imps, on a 2-minute cooldown.

Glyph of Imp Swarm Icon Glyph of Imp Swarm is not a DPS gain over the entire duration of a fight, but it can help when burst damage is required. In order to get the best out of this glyph, you need to use Imp Swarm Icon Imp Swarm together with Dark Soul: Knowledge Icon Dark Soul: Knowledge. This way, the Demonic Fury you get from the Imps will enable you to stay longer in Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis while you deal increased damage (due to Dark Soul being up).

The cooldown of Imp Swarm Icon Imp Swarm is reduced based upon your haste at the time of casting. This means that, if you cast it when you benefit from Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust, Heroism Icon Heroism, Time Warp Icon Time Warp, your legendary meta-gem, Berserking Icon Berserking, etc., the cooldown of Imp Swarm will be significantly shorter. So, do not hesitate to wait a bit for one of these buffs before casting Imp Swarm.

When the cooldown on Imp Swarm Icon Imp Swarm is significantly less than 2 minutes because of a haste buff, you have to delay casting it again until Dark Soul: Knowledge Icon Dark Soul: Knowledge comes off cooldown. This delay is a slight theoretical DPS loss, but it is more than compensated by the benefits you get from using Imp Swarm and Dark Soul at the same time. Also, while you wait, the off cooldown effect of the glyph can proc a few Imps on its own.

5.6. Opening Sequence

  1. precast Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire (i.e., before entering combat);
  2. cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan (right when the boss is pulled);
  3. apply Corruption Icon Corruption;
  4. cast Imp Swarm Icon Imp Swarm (active Berserking Icon Berserking before, if you are a Troll);
  5. cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan;
  6. activate Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis and use all your cooldowns;
  7. cast Doom Icon Doom;
  8. cast Touch of Chaos Icon Touch of Chaos;
  9. continue with your regular rotation.

5.7. Mana Management

Life Tap Icon Life Tap is your main source of Mana regeneration. You will need to use it roughly every 30 to 40 seconds. This ability costs health to use and for this reason, you are given a number of defensive abilities.

You have a total of 6 defensive cooldowns/abilities, 3 of which are granted by talents. You have to make use of them wisely to preserve your health and prevent your casts of Life Tap from giving more work to your healers.

  • Soulshatter Icon Soulshatter reduces your threat by 90% for all enemies within 50 yards. It has a 2-minute cooldown.
  • Unending Resolve Icon Unending Resolve reduces all damage taken by 40% and prevents your spells from being interrupted or silenced for 8 seconds. It has a 3-minute cooldown.
  • Dark Regeneration Icon Dark Regeneration is a Tier 1 talent that restores 30% of your health and that of your pet, and increases healing received by 25% over 12 seconds.
  • Sacrificial Pact Icon Sacrificial Pact is a Tier 3 talent that sacrifices 25% of your demon's health (or 25% of your health if you have no demon) to create an absorption shield on you for 400% of the sacrificed health.
  • Dark Bargain Icon Dark Bargain is a Tier 3 talent that prevents all damage from 8 seconds. When the effect fades, 50% of the damage prevented is dealt over 8 seconds.
  • Healthstone Icon Healthstones can be much more beneficial to Warlocks than they are to other classes, because of Glyph of Healthstone Icon Glyph of Healthstone. Do not hesitate to make good use of them!

5.8. More on Offensive Cooldowns

In addition to your Dark Soul: Knowledge Icon Dark Soul: Knowledge, Summon Doomguard Icon Summon Doomguard, and Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal, you have other offensive cooldowns, the majority of which will depend on your choice of talents. We present them in this section, but first, a we need to say more about your Doomguard and your Infernal.

5.8.1. Doomguard and Infernal

For most situations, summoning a Doomguard is your best choice. In case you are faced with a large number of enemies that you wish to use extra burst on, you should use Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal.

Summon Doomguard Icon Summon Doomguard/Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal will summon a Doomguard/Infernal to fight by your side for 45 seconds. The ability has a 10 minute cooldown, meaning that it will realistically only be usable once per fight. Your Doomguard/Infernal's damage will scale dynamically with your own Spell Power and Critical Strike, so any change in your stats after your Doomguard/Infernal has been summoned will affect him.

Ideally, you need to use your Doomguard/Infernal at the pull or when your raid uses Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Heroism Icon Heroism/Time Warp Icon Time Warp.

Everything we said in this section is still valid for Summon Terrorguard Icon Summon Terrorguard and Summon Abyssal Icon Summon Abyssal, if you choose Grimoire of Supremacy Icon Grimoire of Supremacy as your tier 5 talent.

5.8.2. Offensive Talent Cooldowns

Grimoire of Service Icon Grimoire of Service is a Tier 5 talent that enables you to summon an additional demon to fight for you for 20 seconds. The demon you summon matters very little for your DPS, so make your choice based on the special ability that each demon casts when summoned. Grimoire of Service should be used on cooldown and preferably when you have a trinket/weapon enchant proc or when you deal increased damage on the boss, as your demon benefits from a number of your stats.

Mannoroth's Fury Icon Mannoroth's Fury is a Tier 6 talent that enables you to greatly increase the damage and area of your AoE spells. Use it whenever you need to do heavy AoE damage. It has a 1-minute cooldown, which lets you use it many times a fight.