Demonology Warlock PvP Guide in Battle for Azeroth (BfA 8.0.1)

Last updated on Nov 23, 2018 at 11:58 by Mysticall 12 comments

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play in a PvP environment. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, PvP talents, gameplay and rotation, and useful racial bonuses. It is most applicable to Arena content, but most talents and racial bonuses will work in Rated Battlegrounds and skirmishes.

1. Spec Overview / Place in the Current Meta for Demonology Warlocks

Demonology Warlocks are the strongest Warlock spec right now. They have the same crowd control as all the other specs, but they are much harder to kill. They have utility in the form of Fear Icon Fear and a passive defensive, Soul Link Icon Soul Link, that makes them a bad target to focus. If the Demonology Warlock is left unchecked, they can easily burst an enemy down in seconds.

1.1. Strengths of Demonology Warlocks

  • Great control
  • Decent mobility
  • Strong consistent damage

1.2. Weaknesses of Demonology Warlocks

  • Limited mobility
  • Predictable burst damage
  • Very few defensive cooldowns

2. The stat priority for Demonology Warlock in PvP is as follows:

The stat priority for Demonology Warlock in PvP is as follows:

  1. Intellect;
  2. Haste;
  3. Versatility;
  4. Critical Strike;
  5. Mastery.

Intellect is the best stat in all situations. Haste is the strongest secondary stat at all times due to it reducing the Global Cooldown on abilities and reducing your cast time. Versatility is also strong because it increases the damage you deal and reduces the damage you take.

3. Azerite Traits for Demonology Warlocks

Azerite traits are unlocked in you helm, shoulders and chest. With each Azerite level in your neck, you get closer to unlocking the center trait in your gear. These traits vary from increasing damage or healing of certain abilities to helping increase your survivability. Depending on what traits you use, it can completely alter your playstyle and what talents you should be using.

3.1. Outer Ring

Below are the best Outer Ring traits.

  1. Shadow's Bite Icon Shadow's Bite
  2. Battlefield Focus Icon Battlefield Focus
  3. Forbidden Knowledge Icon Forbidden Knowledge
  4. Supreme Commander Icon Supreme Commander

There is one trait you are going to want in all pieces of your Azerite gear and it should be Shadow's Bite Icon Shadow's Bite. This will increase both your sustained and burst damage. You will have many Dreadstalker pets active and it will benefit you if the enemy team tries to kill them. If you do not have gear that has this trait, Battlefield Focus Icon Battlefield Focus is great for increasing damage dealt to your target for all of your teammates. Forbidden Knowledge Icon Forbidden Knowledge and Supreme Commander Icon Supreme Commander both increase the damage to some of your crucial spells. These traits will increase your sustained damage.

3.2. Middle Ring

Below are the best Middle Ring traits.

  1. Overwhelming Power Icon Overwhelming Power
  2. Heed My Call Icon Heed My Call
  3. Elemental Whirl Icon Elemental Whirl
  4. Earthlink Icon Earthlink

The Middle and Inner Rings are important for additional damage. Elemental Whirl Icon Elemental Whirl, Overwhelming Power Icon Overwhelming Power, and Earthlink Icon Earthlink give an increase to your stats. These are minor stat boosts, but still increase your damage. Heed My Call Icon Heed My Call will help increase both your single target and spread pressure.

3.3. Inner Ring

Below are the best Inner Ring traits.

  1. Resounding Protection Icon Resounding Protection
  2. Gemhide Icon Gemhide
  3. Azerite Fortification Icon Azerite Fortification
  4. Impassive Visage Icon Impassive Visage

All of these traits give you additional ways of surviving. These are all passive, but are crucial to have.

4. Gear Recommendations

4.1. General Guidelines

In general, Demonology Warlocks want to get trinkets that line up well with Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant. These trinkets can have a passive or on-use effect. The stat you want to be increasing is Intellect. The reason you want to increase Intellect is because it drastically increases your overall damage output.

To be successful in 3v3 arena, you need to have at least 2 pieces of gear with the Shadow's Bite Icon Shadow's Bite trait. You will also want either Earthlink Icon Earthlink or Heed My Call Icon Heed My Call in the second tier.

Below, we list the items that have these traits.

4.1.1. Helms

4.1.2. Shoulders

4.1.3. Chest

4.2. Recommended Items

Dread Gladiator's Badge Icon Dread Gladiator's Badge is strong for the Versatility and the on-use Intellect effect. The 2-minute cooldown is not the same cooldown as Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant, but it should still be used every time you want to use your burst rotation.

Dread Gladiator's Insignia Icon Dread Gladiator's Insignia has a good amount of Versatility on it and has a passive effect. This effect increases your Intellect. This increases your sustained damage.

4.3. Weapon Enchant

Enchant Weapon - Quick Navigation Icon Enchant Weapon - Quick Navigation is the best weapon enchants. This enchant provides a proc that gives you more Haste. This reduces the cast time of your important spells and results in an increase to your overall damage.

5. Talent Choices for Demonology Warlocks

Level Choices
15 Dreadlash Dreadlash Demonic Strength Demonic Strength Bilescourge Bombers Bilescourge Bombers
30 Demonic Calling Demonic Calling Power Siphon Power Siphon Doom Doom
45 Demon Skin Demon Skin Burning Rush Burning Rush Dark Pact ? Dark Pact
60 From the Shadows From the Shadows Soul Strike Soul Strike Summon Vilefiend Summon Vilefiend
75 Darkfury Darkfury Mortal Coil Mortal Coil Demonic Circle Demonic Circle
90 Soul Conduit Soul Conduit Inner Demons Inner Demons Grimoire: Felguard Grimoire: Felguard
100 Sacrificed Souls Sacrificed Souls Demonic Consumption Demonic Consumption Nether Portal Nether Portal

While the above table provides a generally accurate overview of the viability of talents, some finer points are discussed in the sections that follow, and we recommend you read those for a deeper understanding.

5.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Against teams with 2 melee on it, Dreadlash Icon Dreadlash is the best choice in this tier. This increases your spread damage when the enemy team is stacked.

Against any other team, Demonic Strength Icon Demonic Strength is the best choice in this tier. This gives you a strong on-demand burst cooldown.

5.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Power Siphon Icon Power Siphon is the best choice in this tier. This gives you more on-demand damage by sacrificing two of your imps. This results in two charges of Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core, giving you instant Demonbolt Icon Demonbolts.

5.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Demon Skin Icon Demon Skin is the best choice in this tier. This is a great passive defensive talent that will keep you alive most of the time. However, against teams with multiple crowd control abilities and stuns, Dark Pact Icon Dark Pact is another option. You sacrifice 20% of your health for a large shield on you. This can be used while stunned and should only be used if your healer is in crowd control.

5.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Soul Strike Icon Soul Strike is the best choice in this tier. This is a strong talent that gives you more on-demand damage and generates a Soul Shard.

Quick note: you should already be using this ability off cooldown, but you should also be using it to kill Shaman totems

5.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

If you are playing against at least one caster, Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil is the best choice in this tier. This gives you extra control over the enemy caster(s) with instant crowd control.

If you are playing a team with two melee that will be focusing you, Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle is the best choice in this tier. This will make it easier for you to avoid or get away from teams when using their burst cooldowns.

5.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Inner Demons Icon Inner Demons is the best choice in this tier. This talent passively increases your sustained damage by summoning a Wild Imp every 12 seconds.

5.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Sacrificed Souls Icon Sacrificed Souls is the best choice in this tier. This increases your strong damaging abilities for each pet you have active. This works well with Inner Demons Icon Inner Demons and is crucial for landing kills.

6. PvP Talents for Demonology Warlocks

The first PvP talent tier will give you a choice between Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion, Relentless Icon Relentless, and Adaptation Icon Adaptation. Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is the best choice in this tier. It is great for removing crowd control on you that your healer cannot dispel. You will normally save your trinket for a stun, followed by Demonic Circle: Teleport Icon Demonic Circle: Teleport.

You can choose 3 of the following PvP talents. Each of them has their uses, but some are better for certain strategies than others. The top three choices are the most useful, but can be replaced with other PvP talents, depending on your team's goal.

Call Felhunter Icon Call Felhunter gives you an interrupt that locks an enemy in that school for 6 seconds. This PvP talent is crucial to stop incoming crowd control or, more importantly, to interrupt a healer that is casting a powerful spell.

Master Summoner Icon Master Summoner makes your Call Dreadstalkers Icon Call Dreadstalkers instant. This is crucial to increase your sustained damage.

Nether Ward Icon Nether Ward surrounds the caster with a shield that last 3 sec, reflecting all harmful spells cast on you. This is a crucial talent to take against all casters. You also want to use this talent versus teams with a Shaman, Death Knight or Demon Hunter. This is because their kicks are magical and this will prevent you from being interrupted while it is active.

Call Fel Lord Icon Call Fel Lord summons a Fel Lord at a location that will stun anyone that enters its ring. This ability is crucial against melee who try to ignore it. This also increases your survivability if you stand by your Fel Lord. You should replace Nether Ward Icon Nether Ward for this PvP talent.

Curse of Weakness Icon Curse of Weakness reduces the Physical damage dealt by the player effected with this curse. This will prevent enemy melee from dealing their maximum damage when they use burst cooldowns. You should replace Nether Ward Icon Nether Ward with this PvP talent.

7. Racial Bonuses for Demonology Warlocks

Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.

7.1. Horde

Orc is the best race for Demonology Warlocks, thanks to the passive Orcs have (Hardiness Icon Hardiness) reducing all stuns greatly improves survivability.

7.2. Alliance

The Human bonus (Every Man for Himself Icon Every Man for Himself) is a great way to escape stuns. However, because you will the primary target for most people, the racial from Void Elves (Preternatural Calm Icon Preternatural Calm) will help you cast your spells without a delay.

If you do not what to play Human or Void Elf, the Iron Dwarf racial (Fireblood Icon Fireblood) is a great defensive that can also help increase your burst damage.

8. Playstyle for Demonology Warlocks

The Demonology Warlock has one role when in an Arena: survive. Demonology Warlocks have powerful crowd control in the forms of Fear Icon Fear, Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil, and Axe Toss Icon Axe Toss. On top of this, they have passive defensives, such as Soul Link Icon Soul Link, that make them very hard to kill. Although they focus on surviving and peeling for their team, they also have strong sustained and burst damage. If a Demonology is able to free-cast abilities, they can easily use their pets and artifact weapon to quickly kill an enemy.

8.1. Before Gates Open

Have a plan for who you will be mainly using your crowd control on. Demonology Warlocks have Fear Icon Fear, which is very powerful.

8.2. Offensive Rotation

8.2.1. The Opener

The opener refers to your team's opening crowd control chain and damage done as soon as you get out of the gates. The main goal in the opener is to force your enemies to use their cooldowns.

If the enemy healer uses their trinket in the opener, they are in trouble. In the opener, Demonology Warlocks should focus on putting down a Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway and place your Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle in a safe spot behind a pillar.

This is the rotation you should use on your target at the beginning of the game.

  1. Cast Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway from one side of the map to the other.
  2. Use Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle to make it easier to get away from enemies.
  3. Use Fear Icon Fear to get away from enemies or on the enemy healer.
  4. Generate Soul Shards by using Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt and Soul Strike Icon Soul Strike.
  5. Use Call Dreadstalkers Icon Call Dreadstalkers off cooldown.
  6. Use your Felguard's special ability, Felstorm Icon Felstorm off cooldown.
  7. Use Demonbolt Icon Demonbolt when you get a Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core proc and you have 3 or less Soul Shards.
  8. Cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan when you have 3 or more Soul Shards.
    • Hand of Gul'dan will summon Wild Imps for each Soul Shard used to cast it.
  9. Get crowd control on the enemy healer (you can use Fear Icon Fear, Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil, Axe Toss Icon Axe Toss or have a teammate do this).
  10. Use your burst rotation.

8.2.2. Burst Damage

When you have the enemy healer in crowd control and you are trying to kill an enemy, you use your burst damage.

  1. You will want 2+ Wild Imps active before you start bursting.
  2. Use Power Siphon Icon Power Siphon.
  3. Use Demonic Strength Icon Demonic Strength.
  4. Use Demonbolt Icon Demonbolt.
  5. Use Call Dreadstalkers Icon Call Dreadstalkers.
  6. Use Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan at 3+ Soul Shards.
  7. Use Soul Strike Icon Soul Strike.
  8. Use Demonbolt Icon Demonbolt.
  9. Use Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan.
  10. Use Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant.
  11. Use Implosion Icon Implosion if your target is at low health.

The great part about Demonology Warlocks, is that you do not have to wait long to use this burst rotation again. This rotation, except for Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant, can be used every minute.

8.2.3. Sustained damage

Sustained damage is damage you do when your burst cooldowns are not available.

  1. Generate Soul Shards by using Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt and Soul Strike Icon Soul Strike.
  2. Use Soul Strike Icon Soul Strike off cooldown.
  3. Use Call Dreadstalkers Icon Call Dreadstalkers off cooldown.
  4. Use your Felguard's special ability, Felstorm Icon Felstorm off cooldown.
  5. Use Demonbolt Icon Demonbolt when you get a Demonic Core Icon Demonic Core proc and you have 3 or less Soul Shards.
  6. Cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan when you have 3 or more Soul Shards.

8.3. Defensive Techniques

Soul Link Icon Soul Link is your main defensive ability. This ability splits the damage between you and your pet. For this reason, it is very important to keep your pet alive. If you find that the enemy team is focusing your pet, try to get away and re-summon it or have your healer keep it alive.

Call Fel Lord Icon Call Fel Lord is another strong defensive ability. If you are being focused by two melee, use this and stand in the ring. The Call Fel Lord Icon Call Fel Lord will consistently stun and deal damage. If the enemy team tries to ignore it, they will likely have to run away or use important defensive cooldowns.

Fear Icon Fear also has defensive uses. It might be hard to cast this if the enemy team is focusing you, but try to use it when they do not have interrupts available. Use this to help you or your teammates get away from an enemy.

Use Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway when you are overextended or to create distance between you and the enemy team. Using this effectively can completely negate an enemy team's cooldowns.

9. Best Team Compositions for Demonology Warlocks

Now that you have the correct talents and understand your damage rotation, it is time to step into the arena with your team. With spells like Demonbolt Icon Demonbolt and decent crowd control, Demonology Warlocks should play defensively, but also have the ability to kill an enemy in a stun.

9.1. 2v2 Arena

In 2v2 Arena, there are not many options. Your primary goal is to get a full Fear Icon Fear on the enemy healer and a Axe Toss Icon Axe Toss on the enemy DPS. This will prevent anyone on the enemy team from interrupting your burst rotation and especially Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan. If you are playing with a healer that has a reliable stun (Hammer of Justice Icon Hammer of Justice, Mighty Bash Icon Mighty Bash or Leg Sweep Icon Leg Sweep), they can stun the enemy DPS while you Fear Icon Fear the healer. You can then follow up with another stun on your kill target.

Here is a list of the best team compositions for 2v2:

  • Demonology Warlock + Holy Paladin;
  • Demonology Warlock + Restoration Shaman;
  • Demonology Warlock + Restoration Druid;
  • Demonology Warlock + Discipline Priest.

9.2. 3v3 Arena

Your role in 3v3 is similar to 2v2 Arena. It is best to be playing with another caster so you are not the only person being interrupted. Try to use your burst rotation when the enemy team does not have any interrupts. Use Fear Icon Fear on the enemy healer and Axe Toss Icon Axe Toss on your team's kill target. It is important to note that Fear Icon Fear should also be used to help your teammates. If you or a teammate is struggling to stay alive, use Fear Icon Fear on an enemy DPS without a trinket. If they both have trinkets, use it on whichever enemy you want.

Here is a list of the best team compositions for 3v3:

  • WLS (Demonology Warlock + Arms Warrior + Holy Paladin/Restoration Shaman);
  • FLS (Demonology Warlock + Feral Druid + Restoration Shaman);
  • Demonology Warlock + Elemental/Enhancement Shaman + Restoration Druid/ Holy Paladin;
  • Shadowplay (Demonology Warlock + Shadow Priest + Holy Paladin/Restoration Druid).

10. Useful Macros for Demonology Warlocks

Macros are crucial to be successful in PvP. They allow players to use abilities on enemies without having to target them. This helps increase overall damage/healing and general awareness in the arena. Here are a few macros that all Demonology Warlocks can benefit from.

10.1. Fear 123 Macro

  • #showtooltip Fear
  • /cast [target=arena1] Fear

Using this macro will cast Fear Icon Fear on arena enemy 1. This makes it easier to crowd control an enemy while staying focused on your target. If you want macros for the second and third enemies, simply change the arena1 to arena2 or arena3.

10.2. Fear Focus Macro

  • #showtooltip Fear
  • /cast [target=focus] Fear

If you find that you do not have much room on your action bars, you can use a focus macro. This is much simpler to use than the arena123 macro. Put an enemy on focus and this macro will cast Fear Icon Fear on that player while you are still focused on your target.

10.3. Axe Toss Focus Macro

  • #showtooltip Axe Toss
  • /cast [target=focus] Axe Toss

Put an enemy on focus and this macro will use Axe Toss Icon Axe Toss on that player while you are still focused on your target.

10.4. Spell Lock Focus Macro

  • #showtooltip
  • /cast [target=focus] Spell Lock

This macro will use Spell Lock Icon Spell Lock on whichever enemy you have on focus. Because you will be primarily using Spell Lock Icon Spell Lock on the enemy healer, you should only need this focus macro.

10.5. Mouseover Banish Macro

  • #showtooltip Banish
  • /cast [@mouseover] Banish

This makes it so you can use Banish Icon Banish on another Warlock's demon or an elemental pet while still damaging your main target.

11. Changelog

  • 23 Nov. 2018: Added Gear Recommendations section.
  • 16 Oct. 2018: Updated guide for patch 8.0.1.
    • Added Stat Priority.
    • Added Azerite traits.
    • Added Talent Table.
    • Updated all regular talents.
    • Updated Burst Damage and Sustained Damage section.
    • Removed Gear section.
    • Removed Artifact Traits and Relics sections.
  • 02 Jun. 2018: Added an Arena Compositions section.
  • 19 Apr. 2018: Made several updates to the guide and its structure.
    • Added sections for Macros, Strengths, and Weaknesses.
    • Moved Gear, Artifact Traits, and Relics sections to the end, since they are not that important.
  • 29 Jan. 2018: Fixed link to second artifact trait.
  • 21 Jan. 2018: No major changes needed for patch 7.3.5.
  • 08 Dec. 2017: Several changes made for patch 7.3.2.
    • Updated "About the Author".
    • Changed recommended Tier 4 regular talents.
  • 21 Sep. 2017: Several changes made for Patch 7.3.
    • Removed Artifact Trait descriptions.
    • Changed recommended tier 4 and 7 regular talents.
    • Changed recommended tier 3 honor talents.
    • Updated burst and sustained damage rotations.
  • 01 Jul. 2017: Updated recommended Tier 3 regular talent and added Demonic Circle as something to do in the opener.
  • 26 Apr. 2017: Guide added.
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