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Demonology Warlock DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (BfA 8.0.1)

Last updated on Jul 16, 2018 at 21:48 by Furty 16 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Demonology Warlock core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft BfA 8.0.1. 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 Author

This guide has been written by Furty, who has an illustrious history in the World of Warcraft raiding scene and race for World First. He has been a member of guilds such as Serenity, Midwinter, and many more, and is currently raiding in Future. He plays most classes at the highest level. You can follow him on Twitter and watch him play on Twitch.

1. Ability Priority List for Demonology Warlock

Demonology Warlock revolves around a system of generating demonic forces. The more active demons you have, the more damage you and your Demonic Tyrant will deal. In addition to straight damage, you will also receive more procs of Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core, which feeds back into more Soul Shard generation, and by extension, more demons.

1.1. Single Target Priority for Demonology Warlock

  1. Cast Call Dreadstalkers Icon Call Dreadstalkers whenever available.
  2. Cast Grimoire: Felguard Icon Grimoire: Felguard (if talented) whenever available.
  3. Cast Demonic Strength Icon Demonic Strength whenever available.
  4. Cast Summon Vilefiend Icon Summon Vilefiend whenever available, but ensure every second cast will occur right before and overlap with your Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant cast.
  5. Cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan if you have 4-5 Soul Shards.
  6. Cast Demonbolt Icon Demonbolt if you have 2+ stacks of Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core.
  7. Cast Power Siphon Icon Power Siphon (if talented) to generate Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core.
  8. Cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan with 3 Soul Shards.
  9. Cast Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt to generate Soul Shards.

1.2. Cooldown Usage for Demonology Warlock

Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant is our main cooldown in the pre-patch, as well as Battle for Azeroth. The Demonic Tyrant lasts 15 seconds and increases the duration of all your existing demons by 15 seconds. He also grants a buff that increases all of your demons' damage by 15% for the duration.

Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant should not be used thoughtlessly. Setting up for the Demonic Tyrant is an important part of playing the specialization properly. Here is a list of tips before using each Demonic Tyrant:

  • Cast Power Siphon Icon Power Siphon (if talented) about 10 seconds before your Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant to allow you to generate some quick Soul Shards for extra Wild Imps.
  • Ensure Summon Demonic Tyrant will occur while your Dreadstalkers are active.
  • Ensure Summon Demonic Tyrant will occur while your Vilefiend is active, if you are talented into Summon Vilefiend Icon Summon Vilefiend.
  • If you are using Nether Portal Icon Nether Portal, it should be cast about 15 seconds before you intend on using Summon Demonic Tyrant.

You want as many demons active as possible for your Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant to extend and empower, which will greatly transform the effectiveness of this cooldown. Experienced players will be able to slightly manipulate the effect of other cooldowns, such as Summon Vilefiend Icon Summon Vilefiend or Grimoire: Felguard Icon Grimoire: Felguard, by extending their effects right before they would normally expire.

1.3. Opening Sequence for Demonology Warlock

  1. Use Potion of Prolonged Power Icon Potion of Prolonged Power.
  2. Pre-cast Demonbolt Icon Demonbolt.
  3. Cast Demonic Strength Icon Demonic Strength.
  4. Cast Summon Vilefiend Icon Summon Vilefiend.
  5. Cast Call Dreadstalkers Icon Call Dreadstalkers.
  6. Cast Grimoire: Felguard Icon Grimoire: Felguard.
  7. Cast Demonbolt Icon Demonbolt (if you have Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core).
  8. Cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan.
  9. Cast Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant.

1.4. Multiple Target Priority for Demonology Warlock

Demonology has little variation in playstyle when multiple targets are present. Implosion Icon Implosion is the only baseline ability that is not a part of the single target rotation which we must take note of. When dealing with multiple stacked targets, we will often use Implosion Icon Implosion for additional damage. This also enables more Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core procs in the short term, which we can use for more resources to fuel Hand of Gul'dan.

  1. Cast Call Dreadstalkers Icon Call Dreadstalkers whenever available.
  2. Cast Demonic Strength Icon Demonic Strength whenever available.
  3. Cast Summon Vilefiend Icon Summon Vilefiend or Soul Strike Icon Soul Strike whenever available.
  4. Cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan if you have 4-5 Soul Shards.
  5. Cast Implosion Icon Implosion to detonate Wild Imps on 5+ targets.
  6. Cast Demonbolt Icon Demonbolt if you have 3+ stacks of Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core.
  7. Cast Power Siphon Icon Power Siphon to generate Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core.
  8. Cast Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt to generate Soul Shards.

If there are a large number of targets and no damage priorities, such as during dungeon trash, you should no longer cast Call Dreadstalkers Icon Call Dreadstalkers and Summon Vilefiend Icon Summon Vilefiend, instead opting to use your Soul Shards on more Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan casts and more frequent Implosion Icon Implosions.

If you have talented heavily into additional AoE, such as the talent Bilescourge Bombers Icon Bilescourge Bombers, you should use such abilities more or less on cooldown, or when you judge you will get maximum benefit out of them. For example, it is worth holding on to Bilescourge Bombers for 15 seconds if it allows you to hit multiple extra targets that will spawn.

1.5. Nether Portal

When using Nether Portal Icon Nether Portal, you will want to maximize the amount of summons you can receive during the skill's duration. You'll want to follow this general rotation when using Nether Portal:

  1. Cast Nether Portal Icon Nether Portal.
  2. Cast Call Dreadstalkers Icon Call Dreadstalkers.
  3. Cast Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt.
  4. Cast Summon Vilefiend Icon Summon Vilefiend.
  5. Cast Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt.
  6. Cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan.
  7. Cast Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt.
  8. Cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan.
  9. Cast Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant (if available).
  10. Cast Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt.
  11. Cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan.
  12. Cast Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt.
  13. Cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan.

Supplement the Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt casts in the above rotation with Demonbolt Icon Demonbolts where possible using your Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core procs. If you get a lot of procs early, you can squeeze in an extra Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan before activating Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant.

During the opener, you should also be sure to use any additional summons or cooldowns, such as Grimoire: Felguard Icon Grimoire: Felguard or Power Siphon Icon Power Siphon, before using Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant.

2. Important Notes for Demonology Warlock

2.1. Soul Shards

All Warlocks use Soul Shards as their primary resource. Properly managing your Shards is crucially important to success, as they control the size of your demon horde. Incorrectly dumping Soul Shards at the wrong time can have domino effects that reduce your damage output, particularly around the time Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant is coming off of cooldown.

Keep a careful eye on your Call Dreadstalkers Icon Call Dreadstalkers cooldown, as you will always want to have a pair of Soul Shards ready. One important change from Legion is the Soul Shard cost of Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan; this spell now costs a maximum of 3 Soul Shards. The important takeaway of this is that with maximum Soul Shards, we can now cast Hand of Gul'dan and Call Dreadstalkers back to back.

If you are talented into additional summons, such as Summon Vilefiend Icon Summon Vilefiend or Grimoire: Felguard Icon Grimoire: Felguard, be sure to take their Soul Shard cost into account when approaching a Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant cast. Typically you want to get these summons out fairly early, squeeze in a Call Dreadstalkers Icon Call Dreadstalkers cast as well as 1-2 casts of Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan, then activate your Demonic Tyrant. Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core management, along with your use of Power Siphon Icon Power Siphon, is the crucial variable that determines how many demons you can make ready for this powerful cooldown.

2.2. Managing Demonic Core

Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core is our main proc, and almost a secondary resource of the specialization. If you played Demonology in Warlords of Draenor or earlier, you will notice Demonic Core and Demonbolt are almost exactly the same as Molten Core and Soul Fire. Demonic Core enables the use of Demonbolt Icon Demonbolt, which in other words, enables us to generate a lot of Soul Shards quickly. Demonic Core has a maximum of 4 stacks, which makes proper management of this ability a necessity for skillful play.

Each time you are approaching a Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant usage, you will want to have at least 2 stacks of Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core. This will allow you to quickly generate Soul Shards to pump out as many summons as possible leading up to Demonic Tyrant. If you are using Power Siphon Icon Power Siphon, you should use it to add an extra pair of Demonbolt Icon Demonbolts to put towards a few extra Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan casts.

If you are in a situation where you are making frequent use of Implosion Icon Implosion, you can be a lot more liberal with your use of Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core stacks. Your damage will benefit a lot more from the increased Wild Imps you can fling at the adds, rather than having a maximum power Tyrant. You will still want to ensure your Tyrant is powering up a few waves of un-detonated Imps, but you should not feel like you have to save stacks of Demonic Core that you could be using for cleave.

2.3. Demon Choice

Always use a Felguard, your Demonology-specific demon. Your Command Demon Icon Command Demon ability is now Axe Toss Icon Axe Toss, which should only be used if you need a stun. It is recommended that you leave the Felstorm Icon Felstorm and Legion Strike Icon Legion Strike abilities on auto-cast. If you want to optimize cleave and AoE, however, Felstorm can be separately keybound as used tactically for a larger than average amount of targets.

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

2.4. Movement Management

While it is difficult to describe the best ways to position and move during a dungeon or raid encounter, it is essential to your success as a Demonology Warlock. Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway can be highly effective on many encounters, and is under-appreciated by many players and raid groups. Think of Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway as a raid cooldown that can instantly teleport your entire raid group 40 yards, and the potential this ability holds quickly becomes clear. Ask your group if they want Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway anywhere specific; if not used for your strategy, use it instead as a personal cooldown.

Demonbolt Icon Demonbolt can be used strategically to cover movement, as it is the only instant cast we have access to. You can mitigate the need to move by positioning in locations central to fight movement. For instance, if a boss is being kited in a circle, you should stay on the inside of the kite path to ensure minimal movement. You should also determine how your Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle can make a fight easier for you. There are many boss mechanics that can be trivialized with a clever portal, which can free you up to deal a lot more damage.

2.4.1. Quiet Movement

Many players will unconsciously move during fights, despite it being unnecessary. For example, sometimes the boss or adds will be moved by the tank a couple yards, and though you are still in range to cast, you subconsciously mirror that movement, costing you global cooldowns. Consciously work to "quiet" your movement, and reduce unnecessary movement to a minimum. The best way to see this in action is to take a video of your raid, then watch yourself play. Most players will be surprised by the amount of wasted movement they commit. When you are forced to move, make your path as direct and decisive as possible.

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