Destruction Warlock DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1

Last updated on Dec 10, 2018 at 18:55 by Motoko 51 comments

On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Destruction Warlock in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. We also have default talent lists for various types of content, such as raiding or Mythic+. If you play with Warmode on, we have your PvP talents covered as well.

1. Talent Choices for Destruction Warlock

Level Choices
15 Flashover Flashover Eradication Eradication Soul Fire Soul Fire
30 Reverse Entropy Reverse Entropy Internal Combustion ? Internal Combustion Shadowburn Shadowburn
45 Demon Skin ? Demon Skin Burning Rush Burning Rush Dark Pact ? Dark Pact
60 Inferno Inferno Fire and Brimstone ? Fire and Brimstone Cataclysm Cataclysm
75 Darkfury ? Darkfury Mortal Coil ? Mortal Coil Demonic Circle Demonic Circle
90 Roaring Blaze Roaring Blaze Grimoire of Supremacy Grimoire of Supremacy Grimoire of Sacrifice Grimoire of Sacrifice
100 Soul Conduit ? Soul Conduit Channel Demonfire ? Channel Demonfire Dark Soul: Instability Dark Soul: Instability

Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind Icon Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind Icon Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

2. Talent Cheat Sheets

These cheat sheets are meant to provide a quick reference; see the Talent breakdown for in-depth information.

2.1. Single Target

2.2. Two Targets

2.3. Four Targets (Mythic+)

3. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Destruction Warlock

Flashover Flashover Eradication Eradication Soul Fire Soul Fire
  • Flashover Icon Flashover causes Conflagrate Icon Conflagrate to deal 10% increased damage and grant an additional charge of Backdraft Icon Backdraft.
  • Eradication Icon Eradication causes Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt to increase the damage you deal to the target by 10% for 7 seconds.
  • Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire generates 4 Soul Shard Fragments, and has a 20 second cooldown. The cooldown is reduced by 2 seconds for every Soul Shard you spend.

Flashover Icon Flashover is the default option for single target, and AoE; however Eradication Icon Eradication scales better with gear so if you are high enough in itemlevel it should start pulling ahead in single target.

Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire can be used to increase Soul Shard generation. It should always be used before Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt so you can cash in on the cooldown reduction bonus. Currently, it feels a little too behind to recommend.

4. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents for Destruction Warlock

Reverse Entropy Reverse Entropy Internal Combustion ? Internal Combustion Shadowburn Shadowburn
  • Reverse Entropy Icon Reverse Entropy has a (2.5 RPPM) chance to grant you 15% Haste for 8 seconds on each spell cast.
  • Internal Combustion Icon Internal Combustion causes Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt to consume up to 5 seconds of Immolate Icon Immolate's damage over time effect on your target, instantly dealing that damage.
  • Shadowburn Icon Shadowburn is a new ability that has 2 charges, generates 3 Soul Shard Fragments on use, and applies a debuff that lasts 5 seconds. If the target dies while the debuff is applied, the charge of Shadowburn is refunded. Shadowburn has a 12-second recharge.

Reverse Entropy Icon Reverse Entropy is generally the best talent for 2 targets and above.

Internal Combustion Icon Internal Combustion can outperform Reverse Entropy Icon Reverse Entropy in single target scenario. You should always try and refresh your Immolate Icon Immolate before Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt dumps.

Shadowburn Icon Shadowburn is very situational, but can generate close numbers particularly if you can frequently cash in on the reset mechanic. That said, there appears to be no situations where this talent is a favourable choice in the current patch.

5. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents for Destruction Warlock

Demon Skin ? Demon Skin Burning Rush Burning Rush Dark Pact ? Dark Pact
  • Demon Skin Icon Demon Skin grants Soul Leech Icon Soul Leech a passive recharge rate of 0.5% of maximum health per second, and may now absorb 15% of maximum health.
  • Burning Rush Icon Burning Rush grants 50% movement speed in exchange for 4% maximum health per second, and prevents you from being reduced below base movement speed.
  • Dark Pact Icon Dark Pact grants a large shield on demand; 20% of your current health is sacrificed to shield you for 250% of the amount lost.

Burning Rush Icon Burning Rush remains the most versatile option, as Warlocks have little base mobility. Burning Rush functions both as a means to stay in range and position aggressively, but also as a means of dodging mechanics. It is my opinion that movement speed offers the greatest defensive benefit in most situations, and you should default to this talent.

Dark Pact Icon Dark Pact is a good option for encounters where you need to soak a mechanic or survive a telegraphed amount of high damage. It is important to note that the damage absorb is based on current health, rendering this ability useless as a reactive cooldown. For Dark Pact to be effective, it needs to be used while you are close to full health to mitigate a future amount of damage.

Demon Skin Icon Demon Skin is a good choice for encounters with low movement and consistent damage intake, such as Vectis or Mythrax.

6. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents for Destruction Warlock

Inferno Inferno Fire and Brimstone ? Fire and Brimstone Cataclysm Cataclysm
  • Inferno Icon Inferno causes Rain of Fire Icon Rain of Fire to have a 20% chance to generate a Soul Shard fragment.
  • Fire and Brimstone Icon Fire and Brimstone causes Incinerate Icon Incinerate to now also hit all enemies near your target for 40% damage and generating 1 Soul Shard fragment for each additional enemy hit.
  • Cataclysm Icon Cataclysm deals a large burst of AoE damage to enemies within 8 yards, once every 30 seconds.

Cataclysm Icon Cataclysm is the preferred choice for any encounter with 1 to 3 targets.

Fire and Brimstone Icon Fire and Brimstone will offer good damage and an influx of resources on fights with stacked cleave and AoE. You should use this talent for any fight with 3+ stacked targets.

Inferno Icon Inferno does not seem like it can compete with Fire and Brimstone Icon Fire and Brimstone for AoE, but could be used in situations where pure AoE is a necessity.

7. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents for Destruction Warlock

Darkfury ? Darkfury Mortal Coil ? Mortal Coil Demonic Circle Demonic Circle
  • Darkfury Icon Darkfury reduces the cooldown of Shadowfury Icon Shadowfury by 15 seconds.
  • Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil allows you to horrify an enemy and heal for 20% of your maximum health once every 45 seconds.
  • Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle allows you to place a portal and teleport to it once every 30 seconds.

Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle remains the default option for raids, as it greatly enhances our mobility, particularly for mechanics that need to be kited away from the raid group. This button offers a lot of flexibility and creative use, so be sure to give it good thought before each pull.

Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil is a strong choice whenever you do not need the mobility given by Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle. It offers a noticeable heal on top of an additional form of Crowd Control, which can prevent a wipe, especially in Mythic dungeons.

Darkfury Icon Darkfury is the standard option for dungeons and Mythic+, allowing you to Crowd Control groups of enemies far more often.

8. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents for Destruction Warlock

Roaring Blaze Roaring Blaze Grimoire of Supremacy Grimoire of Supremacy Grimoire of Sacrifice Grimoire of Sacrifice

Roaring Blaze Icon Roaring Blaze is the default choice for single target and anything with more than 3 targets.

If you need more burst or your gear supports it, Grimoire of Supremacy Icon Grimoire of Supremacy is the other option for single target and strictly the best choice for 2 targets.

Grimoire of Sacrifice Icon Grimoire of Sacrifice does not appear to be a contender, currently.

9. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents for Destruction Warlock

Soul Conduit ? Soul Conduit Channel Demonfire ? Channel Demonfire Dark Soul: Instability Dark Soul: Instability
  • Soul Conduit Icon Soul Conduit is functionally the same, however, the numbers have been tinkered with; each Soul Shard spent now has a 15% chance to refund itself.
  • Channel Demonfire Icon Channel Demonfire launches 15 bolts of felfire over 3 seconds at random targets afflicted by your Immolate Icon Immolate within 40 yards. The damage splashes to nearby enemies.
  • Dark Soul: Instability Icon Dark Soul: Instability infuses you with power, granting 30% Critical Strike chance for 20 seconds, on a 2-minute recharge.

Dark Soul: Instability Icon Dark Soul: Instability is the best choice for fights with 1-2 targets that are not stacked. This talent is ideal for pushing damage checks and should usually be paired with Grimoire of Supremacy Icon Grimoire of Supremacy for maximum output. See the Cooldown Usage section on our Rotation page for for information about how these cooldowns interact.

Channel Demonfire Icon Channel Demonfire is a viable option for situations where you need frequent cleave, like Mythic+ dungeons, due to its synergy with Cataclysm Icon Cataclysm.

Soul Conduit Icon Soul Conduit is a jack of all trades talent that is fine for any situation.

10. PvP Talents (War Mode)

Under our Talents section, there is the option to enter "War Mode". Enabling War Mode provides the following benefits:

  • PvP talents enabled in the outdoor world;
  • 10% increase in World Quest rewards at maximum level;
  • 10% more experience gained while leveling;
  • Earn Conquest Points which can reward gear every week.

With the benefits of enabling War Mode for leveling and PvE content, it is recommended you enable the feature. In most situations, this will allow for the maximum returns despite the risks. You will make yourself available for open world PvP, and the possibility to be "ganked" while leveling or doing World Quests exists.

10.1. Destruction Warlock War Mode Talents

In this section we will rank the PvP talents best for leveling and doing solo / small group PvE content. Below is a ranking of both General PvP Talents and Destruction Warlock-specific PvE talents.

10.1.1. General PvP Talents

  • Relentless Icon Relentless is a passive ability but it does not automatically remove crowd control abilities, but instead reduces the duration.
  • Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is an on-use ability that removes all movement impairing effects and all loss of control effects.
  • Adaptation Icon Adaptation automatically removes any loss of control effects that last 5+ seconds, a maximum of once per minute.

Adaptation Icon Adaptation is recommended for most players, as it is automatic and on a relatively short cooldown. This makes it the overall best choice with PvE in mind.

10.1.2. Destruction Warlock PvP Talents

  1. Focused Chaos Icon Focused Chaos increases the damage of your Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt by 65%, but no longer strikes additional targets affected by Havoc Icon Havoc. This is a great talent for boosting overall damage, and Havoc Icon Havoc can still be effectively used for Soul Shard generation.
  2. Cremation Icon Cremation causes Conflagrate Icon Conflagrate to deal up to an additional 3% of the target's maximum health in Fire damage if the target is afflicted by Immolate Icon Immolate. This is a really nice boost to your damage, and can be taken advantage of using Havoc Icon Havoc.
  3. Fel Fissure Icon Fel Fissure causes Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt to create a 5 yard Felfire pool under the target, reducing movement speed by 50% and reducing healing received on all enemies by 25%. This talent seems great in all situations, but particularly when you are dealing with multiple enemies at once.
  4. Entrenched in Flame Icon Entrenched in Flame causes to Conflagrate Icon Conflagrate to root targets for 3 seconds, and the root cannot be broken by damage. This is a nice quality of life boost and could be used instead of Fel Fissure Icon Fel Fissure.
  5. Bane of Havoc Icon Bane of Havoc causes Havoc Icon Havoc to become a ground targeted spell. Everything inside will be treated as it was debuffed by Havoc Icon Havoc.

The curses can have exceptional use in very specific situations, but do not make for standout default picks. Curse of Fragility Icon Curse of Fragility is the most used and generally most powerful of the three, and has a wide variety of niche applications.

11. Changelog

  • 10 Dec. 2018: Updated for Patch 8.1. Reviewed Level 15 and Level 30 talent advice.
  • 09 Nov. 2018: Updated talents section.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 21 Jul. 2018: Added PvP (War Mode) Talents and explanations.
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