Destruction Warlock Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.1

Last updated on Jul 08, 2021 at 10:58 by Motoko 34 comments
General Information

Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits are the most important character customization options in Shadowlands. They have a substantial impact on your toolkit and performance as Destruction Warlock. This page's purpose is to help you pick the right options according to the content you intend to do in Shadowlands.

1.

Introduction: Prerequisites

This page assumes that you are already familiar with Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits. If that is not the case, we have a number of pages that can help you get up to speed:

  • Covenants Guide, which explains what Covenants are, what perks they bring, and how you can join one;
  • Warlock Covenant Abilities, which lists all the abilities that Warlocks gain by joining each Covenant;
  • How To Change Covenant?, which tells you how you can switch Covenant (rejoining a former Covenant will require you to perform a number of tasks to regain their trusts);
  • General Soulbind Guide, which explains what Soulbinds are and how you can pledge yourself to them to open up their Soulbind tree;
  • Warlock Conduits, which lists all of the Conduits available to Warlocks.
2.

Summary of the Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits

Focus Covenant Soulbind Advised Tree
Raiding Necrolord Plague Deviser Marileth Destruction Warlock Marileth Raiding tree
Mythic+ Night Fae Korayn Destruction Warlock Korayn Mythic+ tree
Torghast Night Fae Niya Destruction Warlock Niya Torghast tree

Covenants are generally close in terms of performance with some favouring specific types of content:

Necrolord are the preferred choice due to superior single-target while still maintaining good AoE potential.

Kyrian can make use of Havoc Icon Havoc to refresh Scouring Tithe Icon Scouring Tithe's cooldown and gain 5 shards at the same time, making that Covenant a strong contender for dungeons and situations where adds are dying frequently.

Night Fae offer a much needed mobility for one of the most immobile spec in the game, and are close to Necrolords in terms of overall output, while offering the benefit of an early 2 potency Conduit Soulbind with Dreamweaver.

Please refer to the best Covenant section for more information on how to pick the best Soulbind, and why Necrolords is the better Covenant.

2.1.

Best Conduits for Destruction Warlock

In the list below, you will find the best Conduits, organized by type. For more information, please refer to the Conduits section of this page.

  • Best Potency Conduits: Fatal Decimation Icon Fatal Decimation and Ashen Remains Icon Ashen Remains for single-target, at 2 targets Duplicitous Havoc Icon Duplicitous Havoc is the clear winner and with more targets Infernal Brand Icon Infernal Brand becomes increasingly appealing. Soul Eater Icon Soul Eater offers a strong alternative up to 4 targets. Soul Tithe Icon Soul Tithe has the potential to perform with frequent cleave and targets dying.
  • Best Finesse Conduits: Demonic Momentum Icon Demonic Momentum for additional mobility in raid and Fel Celerity Icon Fel Celerity for the rest of the content where pets may die or need to be replaced by a different one.
  • Best Endurance Conduits: Diabolic Bloodstone Icon Diabolic Bloodstone is the most impactful option while doing instanced content, especially raids, but beware that multiple warlocks will reduce the effectiveness. Resolute Barrier Icon Resolute Barrier is an alternative, especially when doing solo content or when the incoming damage comes in spikes.
3.

Why Necrolord is the Best Covenant for Destruction Warlock

Necrolord is the most competitive PvE option for Destruction Warlock. It offers very strong output across the board in most situations,especially single target. It offers 2 solid and competitive Soulbinds, enabling a certain degree of flexibility and the possibility to off-spec Demonology with optimal Soulbinds.

Despite the nerfs, the Covenant ability Decimating Bolt Icon Decimating Bolt is still the most powerful tool available to Destruction Warlock for both single-target and Havoc Cleave. Please notice the buff effectiveness is lowered to 40% when talented with Fire and Brimstone Icon Fire and Brimstone.

While Fleshcraft Icon Fleshcraft does not add any sort of mobility, baseline Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle and the associated Finesse Conduit Demonic Momentum Icon Demonic Momentum can help mitigate the issue, along with Burning Rush Icon Burning Rush.

For additional thoughts and information on the other Covenants and their Soulbinds please read section further below.

3.1.

Necrolord Soulbinds

Necrolord offers 2 very capable and competitive Soulbind options, due to strong, unique Conduits:

Plague Deviser Marileth is the best single-target choice with the added benefit of additional buffs through the recently buffed Volatile Solvent Icon Volatile Solvent.

Bonesmith Heirmir is the close second-best option.

Below are detailed the best Soulbinds, with a focus on the trees. For more information about exactly which Conduit to use, please refer to the Conduits section of the guide.

  1. Marileth Tree
  2. Heirmir Tree
4.

Best Conduits for Destruction Warlock

This section only covers which Conduits you should pick. For detailed explanations on what all of the Warlock Conduits do, check out our Warlock Soulbinds and Conduits Page below.

4.1.

Best Single-Target Potency Conduits for Destruction Warlock

  1. Ashen Remains Icon Ashen Remains
  2. Fatal Decimation Icon Fatal Decimation (Necrolord only)
  3. Infernal Brand Icon Infernal Brand
4.2.

Best Cleave/AoE Potency Conduits for Destruction Warlock

  1. Duplicitous Havoc Icon Duplicitous Havoc
  2. Infernal Brand Icon Infernal Brand
4.2.1.

Talent Notes for Cleave/AoE Potency Conduits

There are a few considerations to be made regarding specific talents:

  • Duplicitous Havoc Icon Duplicitous Havoc performs at its best between 2 and 4 targets, whenever you frequently cleave with Havoc.
  • Infernal Brand Icon Infernal Brand value might spike on lower target count, depending on talent setup, but is in general a very solid and well rounded pick that retains value when additional targets enter the fight.
4.3.

Best Finesse Conduits for Destruction Warlock

Finesse Conduits are mostly mobility and utility focused and therefore are affected by the type of content the player is facing and what situation is more likely to happen.

When there is a desire for additional mobility, especially in raid, Demonic Momentum Icon Demonic Momentum helps managing long distance movements.

If there are frequent pet swaps, Fel Celerity Icon Fel Celerity can help mitigate the otherwise atrocious Pet Summon cast. Mostly situational.

Shade of Terror Icon Shade of Terror can be considered when additional crowd control is needed on targets affected by multiple periodic damage effects, and Fear would otherwise break instantly.

4.4.

Best Endurance Conduits for Destruction Warlock

Endurance Conduits offer various means of survivability and their effectiveness depends once again on the type of content the player is facing:

  1. Resolute Barrier Icon Resolute Barrier is best used during solo activities or when there are frequent spikes of incoming damage.
  2. Diabolic Bloodstone Icon Diabolic Bloodstone offers noticeable sustain in group activities, as long as other members are using the Healthstones provided by the player and not other Warlocks.
5.

Other Covenants for Destruction Warlock

5.1.

Kyrian: Scouring Tithe

Kyrian have a strong single-target ability that can be used in conjunction with Havoc, in order to secure both the ability reset and the 5 shards if the Havoc target dies during the debuff. That possibility alone can propel the value of the Covenant past Necrolord, but remains quite situational, especially considering it does not generate shards normally, meaning it is hard to justify when competing against Incinerate Icon Incinerate.

5.2.

Night Fae: Soul Rot

Arguably the second most appealing option, Night Fae, offers superior mobility, capable stacked cleave and a set of unique Conduits only slightly behind Necrolord ones in terms of overall output. While it may lack in overall damage, it is easily compensated by the accessibility of Dreamweaver and the higher flexibility, allowing it to take any of the other 2 specs without the risk of suboptimal Soulbinds. While Soul Rot Icon Soul Rot may not be the most exciting ability, nor the most synergistic, it does the job well enough and offers additional sustain if the situation arises.

5.3.

Venthyr: Impending Catastrophe

Venthyr are the 4th and last option, leaning towards AoE with an uncapped Impending Catastrophe Icon Impending Catastrophe, which is a DPS loss in AoE situations when either Fire and Brimstone Icon Fire and Brimstone or Inferno Icon Inferno are talented. Door of Shadows Icon Door of Shadows is a decent mobility option if you can stomach the cast time, but the biggest positive factors are the Nadjia and Draven Soulbinds.

6.

Other Soulbinds for Destruction Warlock

Below, we go over the Soulbinds of each other Covenant and in what situations you might consider them. The advice below applies to all Renown levels, unless otherwise specified.

6.1.

Kyrian Soulbinds

  • Pelagos is the best cleave soulbind, being slightly behind in both single-target and AoE scenarios.
  • Kleia is the best option across the board, ever so slightly behind in single-target, but getting stronger and stronger with more enemies.
  • Forgelite Prime Mikanikos is technically the better single-target option by a tiny margin.
6.2.

Night Fae Soulbinds

  • Niya is a well-rounded option, fighting for the top spot in any situation.
  • Dreamweaver has the quickest access to additional Potency and is the option at full tree.
  • Korayn is especially strong in Mythic+, where it is possible to retain a very high uptime on First Strike Icon First Strike.
6.3.

Venthyr Soulbinds

7.

Changelog

  • 08 Jul. 2021: Added detailed soulbinds for other covenants.
  • 28 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 21 Mar. 2021: Updated Mythic+ Soulbind choice.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 22 Nov. 2020: Page added.
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