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Destruction Warlock PvP

Undead Warlock

Updated for Warlords of Draenor 6.2

Is there any value to a Destruction PvP build? Yes. There are Destro ‘locks in the top 100 ranks of Arena. Good enough. Let’s get started.

See our main Warlock PvP page for tips, the DPS page if you’d really rather raid, and our Warlock leveling page if you need to get a bit higher in the level department, first.

The 6.2 patch does not directly affect you, though it hit the other two specs pretty hard. You lose some damage from Corruption and your Shadow Bolt, but that’s about it. The Warlords changes were more interesting, see those here.
Skill-Capped, to become a better Warlorck

Destruction Contents


Destruction PvP Talents

Crossed off talents are pretty useless for Destro PvP. All the others have at least situational use.

Destruction PvP Talents for Warlords

Our picks are checked: Best talent

DR = Diminishing Returns. The second (or third) CC of a type has half the duration of the previous one of the same type. So stun #1 might last 6 seconds, #2 (any stun) lasts half as long as normal, #3 is half that.

Tier 1, level 15:

  1. Dark Regeneration is a decent “heal over time” and the +25% to healing received for those 12 seconds can be a lifesaver against melee cooldowns,  plus it works well with your Create Healthstone.
  2. Soul Leech will put up nice shields, but you’re generally busy DOTting, and not Haunting or Draining. Also, the numbers just aren’t that great.
  3. Best talent Searing Flames gives you the most self-healing of the three picks. More healing from your Ember Tap is a good thing and the cost is reasonable.

Tier 2, level 30:

Mortal Coil for Arena and Shadowfury for more general PvP

  1. Howl of Terror lets you leap in and Fear the Healer and his protectors, so is a solid talent.
  2. Best talent Mortal Coil combines a brief fear (single target) with a small heal. In regards to only arenas,  Mortal Coil is the best choice here. It allows you to lock a target out without DRing the stuns of your teammates and when combined with the Glyph of Havoc allows you to double Mortal Coil and then double Chaos Bolt two targets which builds additional pressure.
  3. Best talent Shadowfury briefly stuns all nearby enemies and is generally your best option of this set. It has a short cooldown and can really help peel for your team. Being instant cast it can be used to interrupt and the 30 yard range doesn’t hurt.

Tier 3, level 45:

  1. Soul Link is a solid talent for many situations, such as DOT cleaves.
  2. Best talent Sacrificial Pact goes well with your Grimoire of Sacrifice and makes for a pretty solid shield.
  3. Dark Bargain throws up a shield which blocks all damage and then returns part of it to you after the shield drops. Best used in situations where you know you’ll be facing large bursts. If it’s dispelled you get no benefit.

Tier 4, level 60:

  1. Blood Horror helps keep those pesky melee types off you (one per cast.) It’s of no use Vs casters. It can be reflected, so stay alert to what is attacking you (Warrior) and what they are doing. It DRs with your Mortal Coil, which decreases its value if you took that talent. Still, it’s nice if you’re constantly trained by melee.
  2. Burning Rush is pretty useless in Arena, but has its uses in PvE and situations where your health is not really a concern or where movement is more important, such as dealing with flag carriers in BGs.
  3. Best talent Unbound Will eats 20% of your Max HP (which cannot be reduced) and is otherwise an extra PvP escape trinket, which is useful, and it’s usable while mounted, stunned, feared, etc. Note that spells like Unstable Affliction will go off if dispelled with UW, doing critical damage and silencing you. Provides no immunity after the spell goes off. Aside from that, UW is a lot more useful against casters than Blood Horror. Use with care, 20% health is significant.

Tier 5, level 75:

  1. Grimoire of Supremacy gives you a tougher pet, which is nice with your Soul Link. It’s more powerful and, with the Observer, you get a Spell Lock (Optical Blast.) Note that your Glyph of Demon Training does affect the Grimoire of Supremacy demon. It doesn’t do much for your burst, which Destro is all about.
  2. Grimoire of Service pretty much only gives you a spell lock on a 2 minute CD. Also does nothing for your burst.
  3. Best talent Grimoire of Sacrifice is nice, especially when you’re going to lose the pet a lot anyway. Finish it off and get the buff. You’ll lose your Soul Link, some damage, and Devour Magic, but if the pet is going away anyway you might as well get the buff (+25% damage and a small heal.)
    1. Sacrifice your FelHunter for Spell Lock, if you need a Silence
    2. Imp for Singe Magic, if you need a dispel.
    3. Void Walker for Shadow Bulwark, if you need to survive.

Tier 6, level 90:

  1. Best talent Archimonde’s Darkness is the best choice here. You get more uses of Dark Soul: Instability. Works well with Cataclysm.
  2. The other two talents,Kil’jaeden’s Cunning and Mannoroth’s Fury, are mainly for PvE.

Tier 7, level 100:

  1. Charred Remains gives you more embers at the cost of a lot of damage. That’s a pretty heavy price, but a lot of people really like this talent for the greater ember generation.
  2. Best talent Cataclysm is a long cast (3 sec, reduced by Haste) which just begs the other team to interrupt you. Nice damage, esp. if you can sync it up with Dark Soul: Instability and/or your partners can stun the enemy dispellers for that three second cast.
  3. Demonic Servitude – The demons just aren’t that useful.

Get better: Skill-capped has a lot of great stuff for Warlocks. Videos, forums, etc. Join up and get better!


Destruction Glyphs

Major Destro Glyphs

  • Glyph of Conflagrate is mandatory for every Destruction build because being able to slow a target with Conflagrate without depending on Immolate is huge.
  • Glyph of Healthstone doubles the healing of your Healthstone turning it into an extra powerful survival tool in arenas.
  • Glyph of Ember Tap synergizes well with Searing Flames and will increase your healing output by a decent amount. You just have to be aware on how much damage is coming to avoid using it when it’s too late and you simply get burst down through the HoT.
  • When queuing arenas with Mortal Coil swap into Glyph of Havoc. It will replace either Glyph of Ember Tap or Glyph of Healthstone – normally Glyph of Ember Tap – but it all comes down to personal preference.
  • Glyph of Eternal Resolve for 10% damage reduction vs everything.
  • Glyph of Dark Soul for half the cooldown and half the duration. Twice as many Dark Soul’s ain’t bad.
  • Glyph of Havoc more charges with a longer cooldown.

Minor Glyphs

Most of these are just cosmetic, so grab whatever you like. A few do have some use, though.


Destruction PvP Stats

  • Primary: Int
  • Secondary: Critical Strike = Mastery > Versatility > Multistrike > Haste

Look for gear with Crit & Mastery, or Versatility if only one of the pair is available. Try and avoid Multistrike and Haste.

Mastery is just a nice overall damage increase.

Crit helps you to generate Embers.

Versatility increases all damage (not nearly as much as Mastery, though,) self-heals, and your damage reduction.

Multistrike gives you one chance at an additional 30% attack.

Haste just doesn’t do much for you and doesn’t scale well.



Destruction Gems and Enchants

There is no PvP gemming in Warlords Season 1 or 2. The sockets do not exist on PvP gear.

If you’re using a PvE piece with a socket then gem for Mastery. There are no Warlords gems with primary stats (such as Int.) There are no socket colors or meta gems.

Short on gold? If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about fixing your poverty.

Enchants are only available for Neck pieces, rings, cloaks, and weapons. There are no Int enchants, only the secondary stats. Look for Mastery on all of these enchants. The weapon enchant is Mark of Bleeding Hollow, the others are all Gift of Mastery.



Gearing Your Destruction Warlock

PvE Gear? Maybe. PvP gear has two ratings, one for PvE and one for PvP. Season 1 honor gear, for example, is 620/675. If your PvE piece then is 675 then it’s just as good (assuming equal stats.) If it’s higher, or has better stats, then it’s better. If it has a gem socket then and is only 670 then it’s better.

PvE pieces might also have +Avoidance or +Leech or another tertiary stat. PvP gear does not.

As for trinkets you definitely want the PvP trinkets as they come with 15% damage reduction.

Set Bonuses and Gear Choice

Honor gear has two choices for every slot, with different stats, and the Conquest gear has three. For the pieces that would have a set bonus, though, only one choice of the three has the bonus.

The Set Bonuses are:

  • 2 piece Set (Destruction): When Immolate is dispelled, the cast time of your next Chaos Bolt is reduced by 50%. The healer dispels your spell and you start casting.
  • 4 piece Set (Destruction): Reduces the cooldown of Conflagrate by 3 sec. More Conflagrates isn’t a bad thing.

Another set bonus is from your PvP trinkets. If you equip two then you get a 15% damage reduction Vs players.

For the Conquest gear the third option requires Revered rep with your home faction. The other pieces, and the honor pieces, do not require rep. Again, only one choice has the set bonus, and it may or may not have the best stats.

For example:

A Possible Gearing Scheme

Note that Warlords Season 2 gear is Warmongering. That shouldn’t change much about the stats or gearing order.

Ideally you want Crit & Mastery. Crit & Vers or Mastery & Vers is your 2nd pick.

  1. Trinket pair first, for the damage reduction.
  2. Weapon ASAP, for the stats and the spellpower.
  3. 4 piece set bonus (4 of the 5 possible set pieces)
  4. off piece (last of the set pieces.) Go with the item that has the best stats from here on out.
  5. Cloak, Rings, Neck, because they call all be enchanted.
  6. Boots, belt, etc.

The Actual Pieces – honor pieces will be the same, except for the rep pieces. Gloves are your “off piece” of the set pieces. Simeilar pieces will be available in patch 6.2, just with the warmonger prefix.




How to Burn Them Down

Stack stuff properly and your enemies will die screaming.

This video covers talents, glyphs, rotations, and a bit of arena work.

Doing some damage in the BGs. No “How to” here, just a Destro ‘lock putting down some big numbers.



Professions for Destruction

All of the professions provide some benefit for any class/spec, though clearly some are better than others. Even the gathering professions have some value, though you might be better served by using those to build a larger gold stash.

In Warlords all of the profession bonuses are dead. No more Cloak Enchants that adds Int or AP. No more Blacksmithing sockets that add extra gem sockets. They’re all gone.

Warlords professions are a lot easier to level, though. And the crafting professions can make raid quality gear and upgrade it to the top tier, such as item level 715 in patch 6.2. That won’t quite match the Conquest gear, but it’ll be real close to the honor gear. The catch is that it’s extremely expensive to level the gear to 715. Cheaper to do the honor/conquest gear.

Your garrison profession building, with follower, will let you create materials faster and give you access to some cool stuff.

All of the gathering professions, since the profession bonuses are dead, are just for the gold of gathering mats for crafts.

Tailoring Cloth armor and the bits to upgrade the stuff.
Leatherworking Leather armor, and some tents that will add 10% to all of your stats outside of the raid or rated PvP.
Jewelcrafting Gems, of course, mounts, and nice rings and neck items.
Enchanting Warlords enchants and illusionary enchants, which will change the look of your current enchant.
Inscription Caster staves and the bits to upgrade, glyphs, some trinkets, and misc other stuff.
Alchemy Chemicals! All kinds of useful potions, transmutes, etc. Four free useful potions every day from your follower.
Engineering Rockets, shields, gliders, and more. As with the tents they’re not usable in raids or rated PvP. Googles and guns, upgradable.
Blacksmithing Weapons, upgradable, and maybe a couple of useful items, such as keys.


Destruction Warlock Races

Worgen WarlockRace choice is pretty simple, play what works for you. If you really want to be efficient then play a Human.

Orcs, Gnomes, Undead, and Trolls are the next tier and the rest are, well, the rest.

Pandarens cannot become Warlocks. Neither can Tauren, Draenei, or Night elves.

Horde Races

  • Orc
    • Blood Fury increases spell damage. Just the thing for those times when you’d really like a bit more burst. Stick this in a macro with your opener(s.)
    • The tiny pet damage boost (on command) is still a nice it.
    • Decreased stun duration
  • Undead– What’s better for demon summoning and Affliction then being already dead?
    • Will of the Forsaken is a nice ability (anything that breaks Fear, etc is a nice PvP skill.)
    • Cannibalize is useful when you just have to rub it in to that other player you just killed. Maybe that’s good enough reason to go Undead.
    • Touch of the Grave drains life and heals you for the same amount. It replaces the old Underwater Breathing ability.
    • Indefinite Underwater Breathing might have some use.
  • Blood Elf – Can a magically addicted elf make a good Warlock?
    • Arcane Torrent is a nice spell interrupt with some PvP utility, but it’s melee range and you don’t want to be in melee range. It does restore some mana, so it isn’t completely useless.
    • And ok, Blood Elves look good. A truly devastating Warlock Ability. Really.
    • Good with Enchanting.
    • +1% to Crit rating.
  • Troll
    • Hmmm… Increased casting speed, when Berserk, is very nice. Stick in a macro with your openers.
    • Increased XP from beast Slaying (not from slaying Worgen, sorry.)
    • Reduced duration of movement impairing effects is always nice.
  • Goblin  – Souls for sale? A Goblin Warlock will give you a great “deal” on your soul. 
    • Goblins can Rocket Launch forward, or away, which is be a nice escape ability.
    • Increased Haste is one of your best stats, so this is nice.
    • Improved Alchemy skills allow better effects from your own potions.

Alliance Races

  • Human
    • The Human escape ability is a nice DPS skill as it allows you to use two DPS trinkets.
    • Go Human if you want to waste less time gaining faction.
    • Added Versatility makes you a bit tougher and adds a bit to your damage.
  • Gnome – Tech and Demons, together again? Why would a Gnome be a Warlock?
    • Escape artist is very nice for PvP, as is their small size. The latter makes it harder on those who click on their targets.
    • Gnomes get a slightly increased mana pool.
    • Good with engineering, which allows you to blow up opposing players in addition to draining their souls.
  • Dwarf  – The Dwarves dug too deep… they found Warlocks.
    • Stone Form is a nice PvP talent in that it will wash away that bleed that the Rogue or Feral just put on you and reduce damage by 10%. It also removes various magical effects.
    • +2% to critical effects from your damage and heals. This is not +2% to your Crit rating, but to the damage actually done. For example, a 1500 damage crit become 1530 damage with this racial.
  • Worgen  –“Destruction” just fits, somehow…
    • They can periodically move quickly, which has its uses,
    • Worgen have a reduced duration of curses and diseases (affecting them.)
    • Increased crit chance isn’t as valuable as the Goblins’ Haste, as it’s your weakest stat.
    • Good with skinning, but since other players can’t be skinned…



Certain macros are very helpful in bundling abilities, targeting enemies, and so on. Go here if you want to learn about creating macros. Bind each macro to a key and then use the key instead of clicking the enemy nameplate and then clicking the ability.

Arena 1/2/3 and Focus Macros

You should make as many, or few, of these as work for you. Each is a separate macro. Note that ‘@arena1′ is the same as ‘target=arena1’. You can also use these to attack your focus or mouseover targets. In theory you could make a set for every targetable ability you have, but start with one or two and go from there. 

  1. /cast [@arena1] Fear
  2. /cast [@arena2] Fear
  3. /cast [@arena3] Fear
  4. /cast [@focus] Fear
  5. /cast [@mouseover] Fear

Banish Him!

Will cast Banish on an enemy pet. Mouseover it and hit the key.

/cast [target=mouseover, exists] Banish; Banish

Cry Havoc!

This will cast Havoc on your mouseover target or, if there isn’t one, on your main target. You can also make one for your focus target by using ‘@focus’ or ‘target=focus’.

/cast [target=mouseover, exists] Havoc; Havoc




How to Get your Warlock to the Level Cap, ASAP

Get to the level cap, ASAPWarlock leveling is pretty easy, regardless of spec, the only question is how to do it all quickly. And then you have those other alts you want to level though those 100 levels.

With the thousands of quests to 100 and a bazillion mobs to kill (not to mention other players, but they don’t count here) sorting out which quests are best and which series of quests will get you to 100 the fastest is important, which is why we highly recommend Zygor’s Guide.

Zygor’s is an in-game guide and it nearly automates the whole leveling process: you just pick your starting point, at any level, and the guide tracks which quest you’re on, tracks the quest objectives, and automatically advances and updates as you complete your tasks and quests.

In addition, a waypoint arrow is set automatically, so you never have to wonder where to go. All of the important quest info is included in the guide so you never have to wonder what to do. You’ll find that it’s vastly superior to the in-game questing help.

Playing with Heirlooms and/or Recruit a friend? Gaining a few levels in the dungeons or in PvP? Zygor’s has your back. The guide knows what level you are and will correctly suggest where to go next and will let you dump all of your obsolete quests. You will probably never need to look at your quest log again.

Grab your copy here and get to 90 as fast as possible, or read our review, first.

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