Destruction Warlock DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Shadowlands 9.0.2

Last updated on Nov 23, 2020 at 20:02 by Motoko 4 comments
General Information

On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Destruction Warlock in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2. 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.

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

1.

Talent Choices for Destruction Warlock

Level Choices
15 Flashover Flashover Eradication Eradication Soul Fire Soul Fire
25 Reverse Entropy Reverse Entropy Internal Combustion ? Internal Combustion Shadowburn Shadowburn
30 Demon Skin ? Demon Skin Burning Rush Burning Rush Dark Pact ? Dark Pact
35 Inferno Inferno Fire and Brimstone ? Fire and Brimstone Cataclysm Cataclysm
40 Darkfury Darkfury Mortal Coil Mortal Coil Howl of Terror ? Howl of Terror
45 Roaring Blaze Roaring Blaze Rain of Chaos Rain of Chaos Grimoire of Sacrifice Grimoire of Sacrifice
50 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.

1.1.

Raiding

Do note that the builds suggested above do not account for specific fights in the current raid tier; that said, we do have a dedicated page that covers a boss-by-boss talent recommendations, which you can find linked below.

1.2.

Mythic+

For specific Mythic+ advice, which typically involves having a set-up that can perform both in single-target and AoE situations, and this set-up can also be influenced by affixes and other things like party composition and pull layout. Check out our dedicated M+ page below.

1.3.

How To Use Destruction Warlock Talents

Since several talent choices have an effect on your gameplay, we recommend reading our rotation page linked below to find out how to adapt your playstyle and priority based on your selected talents.

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

Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire can be used to increase Soul Shard generation and is especially strong when paired with Havoc Icon Havoc.

4.

Tier 2 (Level 25) 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 on separate 12-second recharge timers. It costs 1 Soul Shard but refunds the cost if the target dies within 5 seconds, and also has 50% additional Critical Chance on targets below 20% health.

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 and two targets scenarios. You should always try and refresh your Immolate Icon Immolate before Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt dumps.

Shadowburn Icon Shadowburn is the only form of execute available to Destruction, and despite being somewhat a situational choice it is quite potent in those situations where adds are constantly dying.

5.

Tier 3 (Level 30) 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.

6.

Tier 4 (Level 35) 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 sustained AoE. You should use this talent for any fight with 4+ 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 40) Talents for Destruction Warlock

Darkfury Darkfury Mortal Coil Mortal Coil Howl of Terror ? Howl of Terror

Darkfury Icon Darkfury can be used to provide more frequent access to AoE stuns.

Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil is the default choice, offering both burst heal on demand and another form of Crowd Control.

Howl of Terror Icon Howl of Terror offers an AoE fear, which can be useful to handle difficult pulls and is best paired with some form of slow.

8.

Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents for Destruction Warlock

Roaring Blaze Roaring Blaze Rain of Chaos Rain of Chaos Grimoire of Sacrifice Grimoire of Sacrifice
  • Roaring Blaze Icon Roaring Blaze causes Conflagrate Icon Conflagrate to passively burn the target for additional damage over 6 seconds.
  • Rain of Chaos Icon Rain of Chaos causes each Soul Shard spent to have a 15% chance to spawn an additional Infernal that lasts 10 seconds.
  • Grimoire of Sacrifice Icon Grimoire of Sacrifice sacrifices your demon, causing your spells to occasionally deal additional Shadow damage.

Rain of Chaos Icon Rain of Chaos is the default choice for practically any situation, especially with 2 minutes Infernal.

Roaring Blaze Icon Roaring Blaze is currently outperformed in its cleave niche by Rain of Chaos Icon Rain of Chaos.

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

9.

Tier 7 (Level 50) 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 Rain of Chaos Icon Rain of Chaos 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.

Warlock generic PvP Talents

  1. Essence Drain Icon Essence Drain stacks a damage reduction effect on enemies that are damaged by your Drain Life Icon Drain Life. You can reduce their damage by up to 25%, which is a large increase to your ability to survive and sustain.
  2. Amplify Curse Icon Amplify Curse empower your next curse effect.
  3. Bane of Fragility Icon Bane of Fragility reduces the target's maximum health by up to 10% by 15 seconds, which is very desirable when setting up bursts.
  4. Casting Circle Icon Casting Circle is a 1-minute cooldown ability that creates an area in which you are immune to silence and interrupts for 8 seconds. Removes silence/interrupt immunity from Unending Resolve Icon Unending Resolve.
  5. Gateway Mastery Icon Gateway Mastery increase your gateway's range by 20 yards, and reduces the duration of the debuff placed on players using it by 15 seconds, making it a good choice when increased mobility is needed.
  6. Nether Ward Icon Nether Ward summons a shield lasting 3 seconds and reflecting back all harmful spells targeted at you. It has a 45-second cooldown and it is extremely valuable when facing caster teams.
  7. Demon Armor Icon Demon Armor increases max health by 5% and armour by 90%, making it an extremely useful choice against melee heavy teams.
10.1.2.

Destruction Warlock PvP Talents

  1. Focused Chaos Icon Focused Chaos increases the damage of your Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt by 40%, 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. 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.
10.1.3.

Conflict and Strife

One of the Essences introduced in Patch 8.2 enables a specific PvP talent based on the specialization. Destruction Warlock get Demon Armor Icon Demon Armor. Being a purely utility spell, it is hard to recommend the Essence; while the extra survivability granted by Demon Armor Icon Demon Armor may be nice, losing a more impactful major often means you take longer to kill your target, thus in the end taking more damage.

11.

Changelog

  • 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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