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Destruction Warlock PvP Guide (Legion 7.3)

Last updated on Sep 18, 2017 at 16:40 by Mysticall 6 comments

Table of Contents

Introduction

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play a Destruction Warlock in a PvP environment. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, artifacts, 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.

About The Author

This guide has been written by Mysticall, a seasoned PvP player who has repeatedly achieved Arena Master and 2300 rating. You can watch his stream on Twitch, and you can also check out his YouTube channel.

1. Spec Overview / Place in the Current Meta

Destruction Warlocks are capable of some of the strongest single target damage in the game. Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt is one of the most feared spells in the game, and for good reason. If you give a Destruction Warlock a chance to chain together multiple Chaos Bolts, the game will surely be over.

2. Gear

With regards to gear, the biggest change in Legion is that there is no more PvP gear. Your strength in PvP will be determined based on the average item level of your gear (as displayed on your character sheet). For example, the base item level at level 110 is 800, so your stats in PvP will be adjusted accordingly. For every 10 item levels you gain, your stats are increased by 1%.

The implication is that it does not matter where your gear comes from, and all that matters is its item level. Gear from quests or PvE content is just as good as gear you get as a reward from PvP (which, in fact, will be very similar to PvE gear; there are no more PvP stats on gear).

Practically, you will simply look to collect gear with the highest item levels possible, and the stat distribution on the gear will not matter.

3. Artifact Traits

Below, we will explain what the recommended order for artifact traits is, if you wish to maximise your PvP potential. It is quite possible that your artifact path (at the time of reading this guide) differs from our suggestions. If this is the case, do not worry, and use the information below to help you understand your traits and guide your future choices.

If you have suddenly decided that you want to turn to PvP, the best thing to do in your artifact progression is continue to your closest Golden trait, and then follow the recommendations below. Picking up the most useful traits ( Icon Demonic Durability and  Icon Planeswalker) along the way is a great way to boost your potential.

3.1. First Golden Trait

The first Golden trait you should go for is  Icon Dimension Ripper. This golden trait gives you the potential to have even more burst damage.

  1. Take  Icon Crystalline Shadows.
  2. Take  Icon Master of Disaster.
  3. Take  Icon Demonic Durability.
  4. Take  Icon Soulsnatcher.
  5. Take  Icon Shadows of the Flesh.
  6. Take  Icon Chaotic Instability.
  7. Take  Icon Dimension Ripper.

3.2. Second Golden Trait

The second Golden trait to take is  Icon Conflagration of Chaos.

  1. Take  Icon Devourer of Life.
  2. Take  Icon Planeswalker.
  3. Take  Icon Residual Flames.
  4. Take  Icon Conflagration of Chaos.

3.3. Remaining Traits

After this, you should head for your last Golden trait,  Icon Lord of Flames, picking up any remaining traits after that.

4. Relics

Relics are disabled in PvP, so they are not a concern to you.

5. Talent Choices

Regular talents work in both PvP and PvE content (although they may sometimes work differently in the two environments, which is indicated by their tooltips). In other words, they are always active.

On the other hand, Honor talents are inactive outside of a PvP environment.

5.1. Regular Talents

5.1.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Backdraft Icon Backdraft is the best choice in this tier. This talent gives you the ability to have shorter cast times for your sustained damage spell, Incinerate Icon Incinerate, or your burst damage spell, Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt.

5.1.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Reverse Entropy Icon Reverse Entropy is the best choice in this tier. This increases the damage of your important damaging spell, Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt.

5.1.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) 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.

5.1.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Soul Harvest Icon Soul Harvest is the best choice in this tier. This ability is a strong offensive cooldown and should be used when you have the ability to maximize your pressure on the enemy team.

5.1.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

Demon Skin Icon Demon Skin is the best choice in this tier. This talent increases you and your pet's overall survivability by making Soul Leech Icon Soul Leech stronger.

5.1.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Grimoire of Service Icon Grimoire of Service is the best choice in this tier. The abilities that this talent gives your pets makes it the best talent in this tier.

5.1.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Channel Demonfire Icon Channel Demonfire is the best choice in this tier. This talent represents a large increase to your single target damage. Additionally, it does great spread pressure if a team is stacked.

5.2. Honor Talents

5.2.1. Tier 1 Talents

If you are an Orc, Relentless Icon Relentless is the best choice in this tier. If you are any other race, Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is the best choice in this tier, which provides a standard PvP trinket effect.

5.2.2. Tier 2 Talents

Mind Quickness Icon Mind Quickness is the best choice in this tier. The Haste gained from this talent is a great increase to your overall damage.

5.2.3. Tier 3 Talents

If you are playing against a team with a melee, Curse of Weakness Icon Curse of Weakness is the best choice in this tier. Use this if you feel you will not survive if being targeted by the melee.

If you are playing against a team with a casters on it, Curse of Tongues Icon Curse of Tongues is the best choice in this tier. Use this against enemy casters as often as you can.

If you plan on trying to kill someone in a stun and want to be aggressive, Curse of Fragility Icon Curse of Fragility is also a great talent choice. This talent can be taken whenever you want to be the aggressive team and try to get quick kills.

5.2.4. Tier 4 Talents

If you are playing against a team with a lot of spells that can be reflected, Nether Ward Icon Nether Ward is the best choice in this tier.

If you are playing against a team with two melee who will focus you, Casting Circle Icon Casting Circle is the best choice in this tier. This ability will allow you to get important damage or crowd control on enemy teams.

5.2.5. Tier 5 Talents

Focused Chaos Icon Focused Chaos is the best choice in this tier. This increases the damage of your strongest ability, Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt, drastically. With this talent you have the ability to do large amounts of damage in short amounts of time.

5.2.6. Tier 6 Talents

Fel Fissure Icon Fel Fissure is the best choice in this tier. This is a great talent when setting up for a kill on an enemy player. Try to coordinate with your team to make sure your kill target is stunned while you are using Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolts.

If you are playing with a teammate that does not have many stuns, Entrenched in Flame Icon Entrenched in Flame is the best choice in this tier. This gives your Conflagrate Icon Conflagrate a reliable root affect. This will help you or you teammates get away from the enemy team.

6. Racial Bonuses

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

6.1. Horde

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

6.2. Alliance

The Human bonus (Every Man for Himself Icon Every Man for Himself) is a great way to escape stuns.

7. Playstyle

The Destruction Warlock has two roles when in an Arena: set up kills with large Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolts and survive. Destruction Warlocks are powerful because they have strong single target damage and the ability to crowd control enemy teams. Most of your damage and kills will come from your Chaos Bolts. You will survive by using Fear Icon Fears and Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coils on enemies. You can also use your Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway to create distance.

7.1. Before Gates Open

Have a plan for who you will be mainly using your crowd control on. Destruction Warlocks are able to use their main crowd control, Fear Icon Fear, along with Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil.

You should also use Create Soulwell Icon Create Soulwell to generate Healthstones for you and your teammates.

You will also want to use Summon Felhunter Icon Summon Felhunter. This gives you access to the Spell Lock Icon Spell Lock ability. It is important to note that with the talent Grimoire of Service Icon Grimoire of Service, you will gain a second interrupt if using the Felhunter.

7.2. Offensive Playstyle

7.2.1. 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, Destruction Warlocks should focus on using Immolate Icon Immolate, Incinerate Icon Incinerate, and Conflagrate Icon Conflagrate to generate Soul Shards.

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

  1. Cast Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway from your pillar to another part of the map.
  2. Use Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle (if talented into it) and place it behind a pillar.
  3. Apply and maintain Immolate Icon Immolate on all enemies to generate Soul Shards.
  4. Cast Incinerate Icon Incinerate to generate Soul Shards.
  5. Use Conflagrate Icon Conflagrate to slow the enemy player and generate Soul Shards. With the talent Backdraft Icon Backdraft, Conflagrate Icon Conflagrate will also reduce the cast time of your Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolts or Incinerate Icon Incinerates.
  6. Once you have at least 4-5 Soul Shards and the enemy healer is in crowd control, you will be able to use your burst rotation.

7.2.2. Burst Damage

Although Destruction Warlocks have some of the strongest sustained damage, the Soul Harvest Icon Soul Harvest talent gives them a cooldown to use as part of their burst rotation. It is best to use this cooldown when you have 4-5 Soul Shards available. The great thing about Destruction Warlocks is that even after Soul Harvest is over you will still have strong damage output.

  1. Make sure you have 2-3 stacks of Backdraft Icon Backdraft.
  2. Use Curse of Fragility Icon Curse of Fragility (if you have taken this talent).
  3. Use Havoc Icon Havoc on the enemy you are not targeting.
  4. Use Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil on the enemy you are focusing.
  5. Use Soul Harvest Icon Soul Harvest.
  6. Cast Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt.
  7. Cast  Icon Dimensional Rift if you have 2+ charges.
  8. Use Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal if the enemy team is stacked or you need an interrupt.
  9. Use Conflagrate Icon Conflagrate to generate Soul Shards.
  10. Cast Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt.
  11. Cast Incinerate Icon Incinerate as a filler.
  12. Use Channel Demonfire Icon Channel Demonfire if the enemy team has no interrupts.

7.2.3. Sustained damage

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

  1. Apply Havoc Icon Havoc and follow it up with a Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil to prevent enemy players from interrupting your damage.
  2. Maintain Immolate Icon Immolate on all enemies.
  3. Cast Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt when you have 5 Soul Shards.
  4. Cast  Icon Dimensional Rift when you have 2+ or more charges.
  5. Use Rain of Fire Icon Rain of Fire if multiple targets are stacked and you are about to cap on Soul Shards.
  6. Use Conflagrate Icon Conflagrate to generate Soul Shards and generate stacks of Backdraft Icon Backdraft.
  7. Cast Incinerate Icon Incinerate to generate Soul Shards.
  8. Channel Channel Demonfire Icon Channel Demonfire when the enemy team has no interrupts. This ability deals large amounts of damage it is important to be able to channel this for the full duration.

7.3. Defensive Techniques

Unending Resolve Icon Unending Resolve is your primary defensive ability and should be used if your healer has no defensive cooldowns and you are at high health. You cannot use this when you are stunned. You will not be interrupted while this is active so you can use this time to cast Fear Icon Fear to stay alive or Chaos Bolt Icon Chaos Bolt for damage.

Healthstone should be used when you are at very low health and your healer does not have defensive cooldowns to keep you alive.

Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle, if talented, should be placed away from the enemy team, but close to your healer. Make sure you coordinate when you will be using this so your team can position themselves accordingly. You will want to use this when the enemy team is using their offensive cooldowns and you need to create distance between you and them. Use the same concept when you need to take Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway.

Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal should be used to stun enemies that are trying to chase you. This will typically best used when enemies are using their burst cooldowns and you are close to dying.

Curse of Weakness Icon Curse of Weakness should be used on a melee DPS to prevent incoming physical damage.

Curse of Tongues Icon Curse of Tongues should be used on a caster DPS to prevent or slow down incoming spell damage.

8. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 18 Sep. 2017: Made multiple changes for Patch 7.3
    • Updated recommended tier 5 and 7 regular talents.
    • Updated recommended tier 6 honor talents.
    • Updated sustained and burst damage rotations.
  • 22 Jul. 2017: Guide created.
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