Destruction Warlock DPS Guide — Shadowlands 9.0.2

Last updated on Nov 25, 2020 at 10:22 by Motoko 7 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Destruction Warlock guide for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2. Here, you will learn how to play as a Destruction Warlock in both raids and Mythic+ dungeons: from the very beginning to maximizing your DPS.

If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic DPS Warlock guide.

1.

Destruction Warlock Overview

Destruction Warlock is a very flexible specialization that can find ways to excel in a variety of environments. Destruction can deal a lot of burst to a single target, and also efficiently cleave and AoE several targets at once.

Destruction is almost always a viable candidate for progression fights, as it has the least ramp up time of any Warlock specialization. It can pressure priority targets easily, and also has strong cleave through Havoc Icon Havoc. Like all Warlock specializations, Destruction brings Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway, a powerful raid cooldown that can transport your entire group 40 yards instantly.

2.

Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +Low ramp up time
  • +Fantastic cooldowns
  • +Good burst on-demand
  • +Efficient cleave
  • +Flexible gameplay
X Weaknesses
  • -Average overall damage output outside of cooldowns
  • -Unexciting talents
  • -Low mobility
3.

Shadowlands Changes for Warlocks

We are maintaining a list of changes for Warlocks for Shadowlands, the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, which you can access using the link below. We also have pages for the new Covenant abilities and Anima Powers.

Transitioning from Battle for Azeroth into the Shadowlands, Destruction Warlocks did not face many changes beside some talents adjustments. In particular, Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire has been reworked into a fixed 45-second cooldown nuke that also applies Immolate Icon Immolate on the target and Rain of Chaos Icon Rain of Chaos has taken the place of the previous Grimoire of Supremacy, shifting towards a more versatile option, scaling better in multi-target situations.

Another change, a result of the "unpruning", is the reintroduction of Curses as baseline for all the 3 specs: Curse of Tongues Icon Curse of Tongues, Curse of Weakness Icon Curse of Weakness, Curse of Exhaustion Icon Curse of Exhaustion, which provide additional utility tools without impacting the gameplay much.

Last but not least Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle is now baseline and Howl of Terror Icon Howl of Terror has replaced it as talent option.

4.

Leveling a Destruction Warlock

We have a dedicated leveling guide to help you get your Destruction Warlock to max level, complete with many tips and suggestions.

While playing with the default UI for the leveling is entirely possible, transitioning to a max level rotation with a substantially different UI layout can feel overwhelming and ultimately disorient or frustrate the player. We recommend instead to implement Layout changes gradually in order to allow yourself to acclimate to a more effective and personal UI. The Addon page below offers some recommended options.

5.

Basics of Destruction Warlock Gameplay

Destruction Warlock is a fairly straightforward spec, leaning towards hard hitting direct damage spells strong and long lasting cooldowns, and a relative amount of pet management. At its core the gameplay is about generating and spending the Warlock iconic resource: Soul Shards.

The basics are simple: maintain Immolate Icon Immolate on the target(s), spend your shards on Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolts or Rain of Fire Icon Rain of Fire; cast Conflagrate Icon Conflagrate on cooldown and Incinerate Icon Incinerate in the downtime.

If you are a newcomer to the spec, but would like to learn the basics start browsing the Spell Summary and head over the page linked below.

For those more familiar with Warlocks we invite you to check out the Talents and Rotation pages to have access to more detailed and in depth information.

6.

How to Gear Up as Destruction Warlock

Due the increased number of variables and additional systems, picking gear has become a much less intuitive and immediate process. Nevertheless you can find guidelines in how to best equip your Destruction Warlock in our dedicated gearing page, including the current Best in Slot equipment for the current tier.

Equipping gear is not enough, as you also need to choose the right consumables and gear augments to maximise your character potential. The pages below can guide you through those choices, and help you better understand the implications each stat has on your Warlock.

7.

Destruction Warlock in Shadowlands

With Shadowlands release, players gain access to multiple new systems.

First and foremost is the Covenant system, the most influential in terms of power progression, granting access to Soulbinds and Conduit customisation, which have a very tangible impact in the overall output. Making the right decision is paramount, so head to the page below to learn more.

Destruction Warlock Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits

Another means to acquire additional power is given by the Legendary system, tied to a new crafting experience with limited resources, making it very important to identify the most effective choice in terms of upgrade. Follow the link for a detailed explanation of Legendaries and what to craft for what type of content.

Destruction Warlock Best Legendaries
8.

End-Game as a Destruction Warlock

Being geared and well-equipped is only half of the journey, as the end game activities require each a different approach to the spec. In order to find out more information regarding how to better tackle these challenges check out the pages below.

9.

Improving as a Destruction Warlock

Understanding your errors and refining your performance is a constant exercise, which can be frustrating or confounding at times. Below are listed some pages that offer tools and can point and help correcting those mistakes.

10.

Destruction Warlock Viability in the Current Patch

Destruction is a perfectly viable candidate for all content types. A very solid baseline toolkit makes the spec able to perform in any situation with a combination of very powerful cooldowns, one of, if not the strongest, 2-target cleave, and the ability to burst on-demand, even outside cooldowns.

While the performance on paper, or in an exclusive single-target scenario, may not be over the top, the ability to gain additional resources through Havoc and Immolate to funnel damage on a priority target makes the spec a strong candidate for any progress in raid.

In dungeons, Destruction has the ability to talent for one of the strongest AoE output, while also offering its signature cleave potential and very valuable damage mitigation.

In Castle Nathria, the spec looks to be one of the strongest DPS across all the encounters, resulting in a top choice for progress with a very powerful toolkit only lacking a strong execute.

11.

Changelog

  • 25 Nov. 2020 (enchants page): Updated the food section to the correct secondary.
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (Torghast): Page added.
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Added disclaimer about Bloodmallet sims.
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Updated secondary stat priority in relationship with Intellect.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (this page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (FAQ page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, added new systems section and moved spec viability from FAQ.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (how to improve page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (spells page): Page updated for Shadowlands release: added passive effect after level 50.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (talents page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, added Legendary and Conduits sections, and Castle Nathria BiS list
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (rotation page): Updated page for Shadowlands release, removed Essences, Azerite and updated consumables.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (addons page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, removed Corruptions and updated stat priority.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for Shadowlands release: new gems, enchants and consumables added.
  • 22 Nov. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Page added.
  • 21 Nov. 2020 (Legendaries): Page added.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (mythic+ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (rotation page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (addons page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (spells page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (simulations page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (easy mode page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (how to improve page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (FAQ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (this page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 14 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Updated Boss Tips and Talent/Essences selection.
  • 09 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Guide added.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Updated after recent raid nerfs.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Guide added.
  • 11 Feb. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Updated with better talent choices, and more tips.
  • 05 Feb. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Updated for Battle of Dazar'alor Heroic week fixes.
  • 21 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Page added.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated for Patch 8.1. Reviewed talent advice for all bosses.
  • 09 Nov. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated boss guide.
  • 07 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated for Uldir.
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