Warlock Class Overview

Last updated on May 07, 2024 at 00:00 by Crix

Warlocks are well known for their dark magic, demons and unique playstyle. Warlock is able to apply deadly Curses and spells that rot their enemies slowly over time, summon and control demons to do their bidding, and conjure fiery magicks to demolish their enemies in an instant.


Introduction to Warlock

Warlock Class Crest Cataclysm Guide WarlockWarlock is a powerful class, able to draw from many different magics to summon and control many types of demons to do their bidding. With comes with the ability to choose between three powerful specializations, all of which are used to assault their foes with lethal damage. Warlocks also bring important curses and banes to afflict enemies with deadly debuffs, as well as conjuring very helpful items to aid your raid members in combat, such as Create Healthstone Icon Create Healthstone and Ritual of Summoning Icon Ritual of Summoning.


Warlock Specializations

Warlock Warlock is able to choose from three specializations: Affliction, Demonology, and Destruction.

  • Affliction Affliction — deals less single-target damage, and significantly less AoE damage than Demonology, but has exceedingly higher multi-target cleave damage than both Demonology and Destruction. This specialization focuses around DoT management, catering to a very specific type of gameplay.
  • Demonology Demonology — In terms of what deals the most damage, all three specs are viable and do respectable damage, however Demonology is the go-to spec, dealing higher single-target damage than the other specs while bringing some of, if not the highest AoE damage in the game when played right. Most Warlocks you see will be Demonology for this reason.
  • Destruction Destruction — Destruction deals less single target than Demonology and is on par with Affliction, even doing slightly more single target damage. While it has the worst AoE out of the three specs, it has great priority cleave with Bane of Havoc Icon Bane of Havoc and a much more forgiving rotation. Destruction is the heavy-hitter for Warlock, dealing huge, single hits with Fire spells.

What Specialization Should I Play?

All three specializations for Warlock are viable and all three do competitive damage. Which you chooose is dependent upon the gameplay style you prefer. Regardless of the specialization you choose, all Warlock players will have no problem finding a place inside of a raid group through-out the entirety of Cataclysm. You are also able to swap freely between the specs to fit your raids needs or your gameplay. With the ability to dual spec, you'll find many Warlocks playing Demonology for the single target boss encounters and swapping to either Affliction or Destruction for the cleave and multi target encounters.



AfflictionAffliction is the Damage over Time specialization. This spec specializes in applying Damage over Time spells, called DoTs, like Corruption Icon Corruption, Bane of Doom Icon Bane of Doom, Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction, that will slowly rot away the target, with spells like Haunt Icon Haunt and Curse of the Elements Icon Curse of the Elements that significantly buff those DoTs. In the past this was the powerhouse spec for Warlocks and is still a very strong spec going into Cataclysm. Affliction falls slightly short in single-target in comparison to Demonology, but it still competitive. Affliction shines in any multi-target and cleave situations, able to apply all of their many DoTs to all targets, and thanks to Soul Swap Icon Soul Swap you're able to very quickly copy all the DoTs from one target and put them onto another instantly. Affliction still boasts the strongest execute in the game with Drain Soul Icon Drain Soul and will always have a coveted spot for that reason alone.



DemonologyDemonology is the master of demons, able to summon and control powerful demons like Summon Felguard Icon Summon Felguard and Summon Felhunter Icon Summon Felhunter. Unlike in Wrath of the Lich King, where Demonology was only brought for their Demonic Pact Icon Demonic Pact, in Cataclysm, they are now a premiere specialization, boasting some of the highest single target and AoE damage in the entire game, while still bringing Demonic Pact Icon Demonic Pact to the raid. Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis is one of the strongest cooldowns in the game for both single-target and AoE thanks to the added Immolation Aura Icon Immolation Aura only able to be used while in Meta form.

Demonology has a unique playstyle involving something called Mastery Gear Swapping, which is simply swapping a set of gear on with as much Mastery as possible, then when you use Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis it will snapshot and keep that Mastery on while in Demon Form, even after you swap your normal gear back on. You also get to do something called Pet Twisting due to the new ability Demon Soul Icon Demon Soul, which gives you a different buff depending on which Demon you have out. Normally you'd think to use Summon Felguard Icon Summon Felguard with Demonology, but its damage is really bad on single targets, while the Felhunters main ability Shadow Bite Icon Shadow Bite was significantly buffed in Cataclysm so you want to use that most of the time. Seeing as the Demon Soul Icon Demon Soul buff for Felguard is really good, and the buff for Felhunter is pretty bad, you will incorporate Pet Twisting to use Demon Soul Icon Demon Soul for your Felguard, then immediately swap your Felhunter out. All in all, Demonology is a powerhouse in Cataclysm and the go to spec for most Warlocks.



DestructionDestruction Warlocks are once again a glass cannon single-target damage dealer. Much like Wrath of the Lich King, Destruction focuses on hard hitting Fire spells like Conflagrate Icon Conflagrate, Incinerate Icon Incinerate, Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt and Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire to nuke any target in their way. This specialization does not have as much single target damage as Demonology, nor the multi target and cleave capability as Affliction, but is still very competitive and is a really fun class to play with a powerful Summon Imp Icon Summon Imp to help blast away and give you more of a fun rotation than your used to thanks to Empowered Imp Icon Empowered Imp. Thanks to the new talent Bane of Havoc Icon Bane of Havoc, Destruction also boasts some really high cleave damage as well. Destruction is in a much better spot than it has been in previous expansions and you can expect to see many Destruction Warlocks in Cataclysm.


How Viable is Warlock in Cataclysm?

Warlock Class Art WarlockWarlock is extremely viable and a highly sought-after class for all of Cataclysm; Warlocks will consistantly be one of the premiere damage dealers throughout the entire expansion. You will have no issues at all finding a spot in any raid purely for your damage output and the ability to stack multiple Warlocks. As a Warlock you will be able to swap between specs freely, filling any role the raid needs in terms of single-target, multi-target, cleave or AoE damage. Warlock comes packed with a plethora of demons that bring not only damage, but also their own utility, as well as the large toolkit of utility spells the warlock brings itself with things like Demonic Pact Icon Demonic Pact, Ritual of Souls Icon Ritual of Souls, Ritual of Summoning Icon Ritual of Summoning, Curse of the Elements Icon Curse of the Elements, a battle res with Create Soulstone Icon Create Soulstone and much more. Warlocks will be in high demand for all PvE content.


Best Races for Warlock

WarlockWarlock is able to play as any race except the Tauren for Horde and both Draenei and Night Elf for Alliance. Mentioned below will be the breakdowns of each race and the racials the provide access to.


Horde Races

For Horde, every Race besides Tauren can be played as Warlock. Orc is the superior option due to the powerful Blood Fury Icon Blood Fury, increasing your Spell Power for 15 seconds on a 2 minute cooldown and used for snapshotting certain spells, Command Icon Command which increases your Demons damage by 5% and Hardiness Icon Hardiness for you PvPers. Of all the options listed below, Blood Elf and Undead bring the least amount of benefit for Warlock.

  • Orc Orc — The best pick for all three Warlock Specializations. Blood Fury Icon Blood Fury is an on-use ability that gives you 584 spell power for 15 second on a 2 minute cooldown. This synergizes well with your other Warlock cooldowns like Demon Soul Icon Demon Soul and Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis and is also used to snapshot and buff your Summon Doomguard Icon Summon Doomguard. Command Icon Command increases the damage your demons do by an additional 5%. Your Felguard and Felhunter do an insane amount of damage in Cataclysm, so this just adds to it. Hardiness Icon Hardiness is great for those of you that enjoy PvP.
  • Goblin Goblin — One of the new races introduced in Cataclysm, Goblins are a good choice and second only to Orc. Time is Money Icon Time is Money gives you 1% Haste and Rocket Jump Icon Rocket Jump can be used to quickly propel you ahead and help you dodge mechanics. Better Living Through Chemistry Icon Better Living Through Chemistry can be helpful only if you're Alchemy and Best Deals Anywhere Icon Best Deals Anywhere will help you receive the best possible Gold discount from vendors to help save you a little bit of money.
  • Troll Troll — Troll is another runner-up to Orc, with it's powerful Berserking Icon Berserking that gives you 20% casting speed for 10 seconds on a 3 minute cooldown Regeneration Icon Regeneration can be helpful as this increaeses your Health regen by 10%. The rest of the racials are worthless.
  • Blood Elf Blood Elf — Blood Elf brings nothing to the table for Warlocks besides looks. Arcane Affinity Icon Arcane Affinity only increases your Enchanting skill by 10. You gain an increase to Arcane Resistance with Arcane Resistance Icon Arcane Resistance and Arcane Torrent Icon Arcane Torrent can have some niche uses in PvE content.
  • Undead Undead — Much like Blood Elf, Undead bring nothing to the table for Warlocks in PvE content. Shadow Resistance Icon Shadow Resistance for some slighly shadow resistance and Will of the Forsaken Icon Will of the Forsaken to help escape any charm, fear or sleep effects.

Alliance Races

For Alliance, there are four races you can choose from, with Draenei and Night Elf being left out. Worgen is the best pick for Alliance as they are the only race that brings any racials that help you in any PvE content. They get flat 1% crit, as well as Running Wild Icon Running Wild, which acts like a Sprint, allowing you to quickly get to and from. Gnome, Human and Dwarf don't bring much to the table.

  • Worgens Worgen — Worgens are the best pick, bringing you 1% crit with Viciousness Icon Viciousness and a sprint type ability with Darkflight Icon Darkflight. You also can gain some Shadow and Nature resistance with Aberration Icon Aberration.
  • Gnome Gnome — Gnomes bring you 5% more Mana with Expansive Mind Icon Expansive Mind and a way to escape any movement speed reductions or immobilizations with Escape Artist Icon Escape Artist
  • Human Human — The only helpful thing Humans bring to the table for PvE content is Diplomacy Icon Diplomacy, which increases all rep gains by 10% and Will to Survive Icon Will to Survive to help escape any loss of control that your character might get in raid.
  • Dwarf Dwarf — The only thing Dwarves bring that can help you with PvE content is Stoneform Icon Stoneform.

Gearing and Stats

WarlockWarlock can only wear Cloth, as it's always been. They can also use Daggers, one-handed Swords, Staves and Wands. While you will typically being using a one-handed weapon paired an offhand, you may find yourself using a Staff frequently.

All three specs want pretty much the same stats. Intellect being the main stat that should be on every piece of gear. After that you want to make sure you that obtain Hit cap(17% or 1742 Hit Rating). This will ensure that non of your spells miss. After that you want to reach the soft Haste cap of 21.4% and 25% if you can as this means you'll have an extra two ticks of damage from Immolate Icon Immolate and Corruption Icon Corruption. After that comes Mastery, which is a new, powerful stat that does something different depending on your spec.

  • Affliction — Increases all your Shadow damage over time spells by 13%. Each point of Mastery increases the damage by an additional 1.63%
  • Demonology — Increases all your demons damage and damage you deal while in Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis Demon form by 18.4%. Each point of Mastery ncreases damage by an additional 2.3%
  • Destruction — Increases all fire damage you deal by 10.8%. Each point of Mastery increases fire damage by an additional 1.35%

Those that plan to play Demonology will hear the term 'Mastery Set" used frequently when playing Cataclysm. This is in reference to having access to another set of gear that contains as much Mastery as possible. You completely forgo any other stats and look to have purely as much Mastery you can add with Gems, Reforging, Enchants, etc. This is because as Demonology your Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis will snapshot how much Mastery you have, meaning you get to keep that Mastery even after you take the gear off.


Warlock Addons and Macros

Addons and Macros can greatly improve your quality of life while playing. Listed below are some of our recommendations on Addons and Macros to help get the most out of your time playing the game.



  • 05 May 2024: Page added.
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