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Destruction Warlock DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents (Legion 7.1)

Last updated on Oct 25, 2016 at 21:06 by Furty 147 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Destruction Warlocks in World of Warcraft Legion 7.1. We detail what each of the talents do and in which situations they should be taken.

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

About Our Author and Reviewer

This guide has been written by Furty who raids in Serenity, one of the top World of Warcraft guilds. He plays most classes at the highest level. You can follow him on Twitter and watch him play on Twitch.

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Gahddo, a prominent warlock theorycrafter who maintains the Warlock profiles and rotations in Simulation Craft.

1. Talent Choices

Level Choices
15 Backdraft Backdraft Roaring Blaze Roaring Blaze Shadowburn Shadowburn
30 Reverse Entropy Reverse Entropy Cataclysm ? Cataclysm Mana Tap Mana Tap
45 Demonic Circle Demonic Circle Mortal Coil Mortal Coil Shadowfury ? Shadowfury
60 Eradication Eradication Fire and Brimstone ? Fire and Brimstone Soul Harvest ? Soul Harvest
75 Demon Skin ? Demon Skin Burning Rush Burning Rush Dark Pact ? Dark Pact
90 Grimoire of Supremacy Grimoire of Supremacy Grimoire of Service Grimoire of Service Grimoire of Sacrifice Grimoire of Sacrifice
100 Wreak Havoc Wreak Havoc Channel Demonfire Channel Demonfire Soul Conduit Soul Conduit

Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind Icon Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind Icon Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

2. Talent Cheat Sheets

Optimizing talents on a contextual basis is the highly recommended method of setting up your build, as many talents offer unique strengths in the right situation. I have decided to list a "cheat sheet" of sorts below, however, to help with a quick set up that should be just fine for most encounters. If you want to fully optimize your ability to play this specialization, I recommend reading the entire talents section here to gain additional insight on when swapping your talents would be beneficial.

2.1. Raid Encounters

This build is an excellent starting point as a standard raid setup.

2.1.1. Heavy Cleave/AOE

2.2. For General Use

These talents provide good quality of life and do not require much set up or ramp up, making them solid choices for leveling, dailies, and assorted world content.

3. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Backdraft Backdraft Roaring Blaze Roaring Blaze Shadowburn Shadowburn

Tier 1 talents offer a variety of potent damage increases.

Backdraft Icon Backdraft is currently a competitive choice on single target and cleave, but falls slightly short to Roaring Blaze Icon Roaring Blaze. This is only a good choice if you are a newer Destruction player or cannot fully grasp how to play with Roaring Blaze Icon Roaring Blaze.

Roaring Blaze Icon Roaring Blaze is the best talent for single target and low target cleave (especially potent when combined with Havoc Icon Havoc). It requires a slight adjustment in playstyle in order to reach high levels of effectiveness; you should aim to buff every other Immolate Icon Immolate with at least 3 Conflagrate Icon Conflagrates overall when using this talent.

Shadowburn Icon Shadowburn can be a good option when you can consistently make use of the Soul Shard refund it provides. There are not many situations where this is the preferred talent, but it can be good for lower levels of Mythic+ where adds die very quickly.

4. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Reverse Entropy Reverse Entropy Cataclysm ? Cataclysm Mana Tap Mana Tap

Tier 2 talents offer passive damage increases and some powerful AoE burst.

  • Reverse Entropy Icon Reverse Entropy reduces the cast time of Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt and Rain of Fire Icon Rain of Fire by 0.5 seconds and causes them to restore 35% of maximum Mana on cast.
  • Cataclysm Icon Cataclysm is an ability that deals a powerful burst of shadowflame damage to all targets within 8 yards.
  • Mana Tap Icon Mana Tap is an ability that consumes 25% of your current Mana in exchange for 10% increased damage for 20 seconds.

Reverse Entropy Icon Reverse Entropy is our best talent for most situations, as the reduced cast time is a huge plus and it eliminates wasted globals on Life Tap Icon Life Tap. It is also impossible to use incorrectly, making it a good choice for players of all levels.

Cataclysm Icon Cataclysm is a good alternative for fights where you can reliably land it on a group of stacked targets, such as large dungeon packs.

Mana Tap Icon Mana Tap sims well but is a poor option in practice.

5. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Demonic Circle Demonic Circle Mortal Coil Mortal Coil Shadowfury ? Shadowfury

Tier 3 talents focus on additional crowd control and some defensive utility.

  • Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle summons a circle that you can teleport to, which clears all movement slowing effects.
  • Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil horrifies a target for 3 seconds and heals you for a percentage of max health.
  • Shadowfury Icon Shadowfury stuns all enemies within 8 yards for 4 seconds.

Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle is the default choice on this tier as crowd control is typically not beneficial in raids. The additional mobility from this talent can be invaluable, however, making it the best choice when approaching raid encounters.

Shadowfury Icon Shadowfury can be quite useful in Mythic dungeons, but does not see much use in raids. Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil is fairly useless as it has a shorter duration than Shadowfury Icon Shadowfury and only affects a single target. It is worth noting that the heal from Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil only happens if the target is successfully horrified, so it cannot be used on a raid boss for a little bit of extra healing.

6. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Eradication Eradication Fire and Brimstone ? Fire and Brimstone Soul Harvest ? Soul Harvest

Tier 4 talents offer some interesting augments to existing abilities and a DPS cooldown.

  • Eradication Icon Eradication causes Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt to increase the damage you deal to that target by 12% for 6 seconds.
  • Fire and Brimstone Icon Fire and Brimstone causes your Incinerate Icon Incinerate to also hit all enemies near your target.
  • Soul Harvest Icon Soul Harvest is a DPS cooldown that increases all your damage by 20% for 10 seconds. The duration is increased by 2 seconds for each target afflicted with Immolate Icon Immolate, to a maximum of 30 seconds.

Eradication Icon Eradication is the best choice here, as you can keep a high uptime on the buff without too much effort. Fire and Brimstone Icon Fire and Brimstone is a viable alternative when you are dealing damage to at least 4 or more targets for an extended period, though is a very poor choice for short term AoE. Soul Harvest Icon Soul Harvest is a good choice for burst AoE, especially when combined with Cataclysm Icon Cataclysm. It is also good for pushing an important damage check.

7. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

Demon Skin ? Demon Skin Burning Rush Burning Rush Dark Pact ? Dark Pact

Tier 5 talents improve personal survivability and mobility.

  • Demon Skin Icon Demon Skin augments Soul Leech Icon Soul Leech so that it passively recharges at a rate of 1% of maximum health per second, and can now absorb of to 20% of your maximum health.
  • Burning Rush Icon Burning Rush increases your movement speed by 50% until cancelled, at the cost of 5% of your maximum health per second. You also cannot be slowed below 100% of your normal movement speed while it is active.
  • Dark Pact Icon Dark Pact sacrifices 20% of your demon's current health (or your health, if no demon is present) to shield you for 400% of that value for 20 seconds.

Burning Rush Icon Burning Rush is typically the default choice here, as Warlocks have no baseline movement speed abilities. Even though Demon Skin Icon Demon Skin and Dark Pact Icon Dark Pact can provide powerful defensive utility, the mobility provided by Burning Rush Icon Burning Rush often results in more lifesaving potential in raids, allowing you to quickly avoid lethal mechanics. Moving faster also saves you DPS, as you spend less time moving.

Demon Skin Icon Demon Skin is the best choice on low or no mobility fights, as it provides the most damage reduction. Dark Pact Icon Dark Pact can be useful if you are required to soak a specific mechanic, but otherwise is inferior to the other available options.

8. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Grimoire of Supremacy Grimoire of Supremacy Grimoire of Service Grimoire of Service Grimoire of Sacrifice Grimoire of Sacrifice

Tier 6 talents improve your pets, or remove them entirely.

  • Grimoire of Supremacy Icon Grimoire of Supremacy allows you to permanently use Doomguards and Infernals as pets.
  • Grimoire of Service Icon Grimoire of Service allows you to summon a second demon of your choice for 25 seconds which deals 100% increased damage.
  • Grimoire of Sacrifice Icon Grimoire of Sacrifice allows you to sacrifice your demon to gain Demonic Power Icon Demonic Power, which causes your spells to sometimes deal additional shadow damage to nearby targets.

Grimoire of Service Icon Grimoire of Service is the clear choice for most raid encounters, as it offers the best overall single target damage and improves your burst. Grimoire of Sacrifice Icon Grimoire of Sacrifice starts to pull ahead in situations where you can regularly take advantage of the splash damage, such as dungeons, or encounters such as Cenarius. Generally on fights with 2 or more targets for a portion of the fight the Grimoire of Sacrifice Icon Grimoire of Sacrifice is the preferred option.

Currently, Grimoire of Supremacy Icon Grimoire of Supremacy is not recommended, as the loss off the Summon Doomguard Icon Summon Doomguard cooldown combined with the Grimoire of Service Icon Grimoire of Service cooldown is not worth it. Grimoire of Supremacy Icon Grimoire of Supremacy is a good choice for questing and world content, however, as the sustained damage mob to mob is more valuable than the increased burst every few minutes. The infernal also makes a pretty good tank, which is useful for leveling warlocks.

9. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Wreak Havoc Wreak Havoc Channel Demonfire Channel Demonfire Soul Conduit Soul Conduit

Tier 7 talents alter the playstyle and offer large damage increases.

Channel Demonfire Icon Channel Demonfire is the best choice for pure single target on low movement fights, such as Nythendra. You should use this ability on cooldown, unless you are capped on Soul Shards.

Wreak Havoc Icon Wreak Havoc is used to maximize your 2 target cleave. It should be taken any time you feel you could be getting a lot more damage out of Havoc Icon Havoc if it was not limited by the cooldown. It is a good choice on fights with 2 or more targets for a portion of the fight.

Soul Conduit Icon Soul Conduit is good for single target and cleave, especially if there is a bit more movement involved. This is the best hybrid talent that you can use on any fight type and still experience success.

10. ChangeLog

  • 25 Oct. 2016: Updated talents following the swap of Demon Skin and Demonic Circle in Patch 7.1.
  • 17 Oct. 2016: Updated talents a bit.
  • 14 Sep. 2016: Minor updates for clarification. Added some hard numbers to some descriptions.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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