WoW 9.2 Destruction Warlock Guide
Last modified 3 months ago
Kyrian - Scouring Tithe
Applies a DOT effect that lasts 18 seconds. If the enemy dies while it is active, you generate 5 Soul Shards. If they survive, the cooldown is reset.
The interesting thing about Scouring Tithe for Destruction is that you can Havoc the effect. This means that it can be applied to two mobs at once, potentially double dipping the effect. If one mob were to die while the other survives the DOT, you will receive both 5 Soul Shards and the cooldown reset on Scouring Tithe. This makes it a decent option for 2 target Destruction settings.
Necrolord - Decimating Bolt
Hurls bolts of Decimating magic at you target, dealing Shadow damage and increasing the damage of your next three Shadow Bolt or one Drain Soul casts by 100%. Decimating Bolt's damage and the SB/DS damage amplification is increased based on the remaining health of your target.
Both Decimating Bolt and Shard of Annihiliation are strong effects for Destruction, making it the higher simming option (over Night Fae) in pure single target encounters.
Night Fae - Soul Rot
Wither away all life force of your current target and up to three additional nearby, causing your primary target to suffer 200% the damage of the surrounding targets over 8 seconds. For the next 8 seconds, casting Drain Life will cause you to also Drain Life from every enemy affected by Soul Rot at no mana cost.
While there is no synergy between Soul Rot and Havoc, the baseline damage of the ability is strong in both single target and AOE settings. Night Fae also brings exceptionally strong Soulbinds and abilities which pair well with Destruction and the toolkit it brings. This makes Night Fae the best Covenant for Destruction Warlocks in 2+ target settings and very close to Necrolord in single target.
Venthyr - Impending Catastrophe
Calls forth a cloud of chaotic anima that travels to your targeted enemy, dealing Shadow damage to enemies in its path. When it reaches the target it explodes, applying Curse of Weakness or Curse of Tongues and also a DOT effect that lasts 12 seconds.
Impending Catastrophe is not target capped and brings with it a good bit of utility with the passive curse application. Sadly this ability is drastically under tuned even in heavy AOE settings which makes it and the Venthyr covenant a subpar choice for Affliction. The fact that Destructions toolkit can also be tweaked to bring a strong AOE profile (with and without Rain of Chaos) makes this option redundant and Venthyr a subpar Covenant.
Overall your best covenant choice is Night Fae due to the nature of Soul Rot and the powerful interactions it has with Night Fae Soulbinds and how universally applicable it is compared to other Covenant abilities. Night Fae also has very strong 2+ Target scaling with its Covenant legendary, Decaying Soul Satchel. Soulshape it also easily the best Covenant utility ability for its "blink" effect.
Necrolord does sim a bit higher in pure single target than Night Fae, but most setting where you are playing Destruction consist of 2+ targets.
Kyrian - Pelagos
Scouring Tithe increases your Mastery for 10 seconds. Collecting orbs increases the duration.
Combat Meditation provides a substantial Mastery buff every so often while also having the potential to increase the buffs duration it orbs are collected.
Let Go of the Past
Using a spell or ability reduces Magic damage taken by 1% for 6 seconds. Stacks 3 times.
A minor Magic damage reduction that can be maintained for the majority of most encounters.
Necrolord - Plague Deviser Marileth
While channeling Fleshcraft, you are immune to crowd control and you regenerate 2% health every 1 sec. If you finish the full channel, you gain 3 sec of crowd control immunity, during which you regenerate 2% health every 1 sec.
Can be a strong effect in certain PVE based situations and certainly PVP. There shield Fleshcraft provides is large and the regenerate health portion from Ultimate Form makes it an even stronger defensive.
Activating your Necrolord class ability summons Kevin's Oozeling to fight alongside you for 20 sec. His attacks cause your enemies to take 6% additional damage from you and he periodically grants your allies an absorb shield that absorbs X damage.
A strong damage amp of 6% that is tied directly to your Decimating Bolt ability. This new trait alone has greatly increased Plague Devisers value in 9.1, making him a very strong choice.
Night Fae - Dreamweaver
Field of Blossoms
Activating your Night Fae class ability puts flowers at your feet for 12 sec that increase your Haste by 15% while you stand with them.
Field of Blossoms turns your Soul Rot cast into a strong Haste amp every minute. When paired with other cooldowns and the new Dream Delver ability, this makes Dreamweaver your best Soulbind choice.
Dealing damage or healing a target grants you 1% increased damage or healing to that target for 4 sec, up to 3%.
The Dream Delver effect is essentially a permanent 3% damage increase on your target as long as you remain engaged in combat/attacking it. It's important to note that DOT effects do indeed refresh the ability.
Venthyr - Nadjia
While in combat, gain a stack of Thrill Seeker every 2 seconds or 4 stack from killing an enemy. At 40 stacks, they are consumed to grant Euphoria, increasing Haste by 20% for 10 seconds.
Thrill Seeker provides a substantial Haste increase once you reach 40 stacks which can be exceptionally strong if paired with CD's or other effects. Had added value in multi-target add based settings.
The duration of incoming interrupts, snares and root effects are reduced by 25%.
A small quality of life increase in certain spots if need be. Note that this is the trait connected to the second Potency slot for Nadjia. If you are playing two Potency conduits you will have this effect.
The first enemy you damage is marked as your adversary. You deal 3% increased damage to them and they deal 1.5% less to you. You may only have 1 adversary at a time.
Dauntless Duelist is a strong option in single target settings but is connected to a Finesse conduit. At times this may be a better option than another Potency conduit.
These are the recommended best universal Soulbinds for Destruction Warlocks. It is important to note that in certain scenarios a different Soulbind might pull ahead slightly.
Chaos Bolt and Incinerate deal X% increased damage to targets afflicted by Immolate.
Conflagrate increases your remaining Immolate damage by X% until Immolate expires or is refreshed.
Combusting Engine is a mediocre Conduit for Destruction however is better in single target and Infernal Brand until you obtain your 4 piece, which then has IB as a better choice over CE.
Havoc transfers X% more damage.
Duplicitous Havoc is a very strong option for Destruction in two target settings, which is where Destruction excels. Being able to provide a large amount of on demand burst for priority adds or a second boss target is exceptionally strong and this Conduit makes that even stronger.
Your Infernal's melee attacks cause its target to take X% increased damage from its Immolation, stacking up to 10 times.
Infernal Brand is a strong option when paired with Rain of Chaos and once you obtain your 4 piece tier set. The Blasphemy infernals are affected by the Conduit.
Soul Eater (Night Fae)
Soul Rot's damage and radius is increased by X%.
Soul Eater is a strong option in both single target and AOE due to how strong the DOT based effect it applies is. Destruction's conduits are limited power wise compared to other specs which makes Soul Eater and even stronger option for Night Fae.
Your typical Potency Conduit setup will consist of Ashen Remains, Soul Eater and Duplicitous Havoc. If there is a row in your Soulbind that offers a Potency choice and a DPS trait in another row (still in the same tier) I would suggest placing Duplicitous Havoc there.
Demonic Circle: Teleport increases movement speed by X% for 5 sec.
The cooldown of Fel Domination is reduced by X sec.
Usually your second best option if looking to choose another Finesse Conduit. While pets do not die often, there are times where you will need to resummon in combat.
Your Eye of Kilrogg is no longer stealthed and can now place your Demonic Circle. You must be within line of sight of the Eye of Kilrogg to place the Demonic Circle. Increases movement speed by X%.
While Kilrogg's Cunning certainly sounds exciting it is sadly nowhere near as useful as it may seem. Still a decent option if Fel Celerity or Demonic Momentum are not of interest.
Shade of Terror
Your Fear effects can withstand X% more damage before breaking.
Shade of Terror does have its uses however Fear itself is rarely ever cast in PVE based content due to the risky nature of the spell and mobs having a chance to pull others.
Drain Life heals for X% of the amount drained over 10 sec.
Accrued Vitality is a niche Conduit that holds very little relevancy in PVE. Typically the only time you are interested in casting Drain Life is while playing Inevitable Demise, which rarely is the right choice. While it can contribute more healing if you are near death, there are better Endurance options.
Anyone that consumes your Healthstone infuses you with X% leech for 6 sec.
Diabolic Bloodstone is a throwback to the Legion "Sweet Souls" artifact weapon trait. It is a very strong effect but only occurs when someone uses one of YOUR Healthstones, not any Warlocks.
Attacks received that deal at least 5% of your health decrease Unending Resolve's cooldown by X sec. Cannot occur more than once every X sec.
While not as strong as Diabolic Bloodstone usually, Resolute Barrier can be a solid choice in setting where there is semi-frequent incoming damage which allows for more Unending Resolve casts over the fight.
Conflagrate has 1 additional charge and has its recharge time reduced by 3.0 sec.
Cinders is your best legendary for raiding UNTIL you obtain your 4 piece tier set. It synergizes well with Roaring Blaze and Backdraft while also smoothing out how Destruction plays as a whole. Having access to 3 stacks of Conflagrate makes a large difference in how competitive Destruction can be.
Chaos Bolt increases the damage of Chaos Bolt by 25% and reduces the cast time of Chaos Bolt by 20% for 4 sec.
Madness becomes your best legendary in both single and two target encounters once you obtain your 4 piece.
Damage done by you or your primary demon has a chance to grant the other one 10% increased damage for 15 seconds.
Demonic Synergy is your best universal legendary for Warlocks. While it is only considered "BIS" by Affliction, it is still a decent option for both Destruction and Demonology until better legendaries can be crafted.
Every Soul Shard you spend reduces the cooldown of Summon Infernal by 1.5 sec.
Wilfred's is a throwback to a Legion legendary and is a decent choice for Destruction. It sees most of its play in Mythic + where you can reduce your Infernal cooldown to two minutes or less. Pairing that with the Rain of Chaos talent makes for a very strong AOE damage profile every two minutes or less.
Each target affected by Soul Rot increases your haste and critical strike chance by 5% for 8 sec.
Decaying Soul Satchel is the Night Fae Covenant Legendary. While the Crit % effect is additive, the Haste portion is multiplicative allowing the Warlock to reach 150% + levels of Haste with ease under the right effects. The fact that it is tied to Soul Rot makes it an exceptionally strong CD on a 1-minute cooldown.
The talents listed above are considered to be the best build for both single target and two target Destruction once you obtain your 4 piece tier set. Soul Conduit pulls ahead of DSI due to the increased amount of Chaos Bolt casts it brings, which leads to more 4 piece procs.
The talents listed above are considered to be the best AOE build of Destruction. While Rain of Chaos is RNG based, it scales exceptionally well in 3+ target settings. This makes it a great choice for heavy AOE/Mythic + settings. When paired with Soul Conduit and your 4 piece tier set, Destro has some if the highest sustained AOE in the game.
It is VERY important to note that until you obtain your 4 piece tier set for Destruction, you will play a different build of talents. That build consists of Dark Soul: Instability over Soul Conduit and a different Legendary. Once your set is acquired, you shift to playing the build mentioned above.
Level 15 Talents
Conflagrate deals 25% increased damage and grants an additional charge of Backdraft.
Flashover is your best option when it comes to Mythic + however falls short to Eradication when it comes to single/two target based encounters.
Chaos Bolt increases the damage you deal to the target by 10% for 7 sec.
Eradication is your best option when it comes to both single and two target encounters. With the increased shard generation and Rain of Chaos uptime your 4 set brings, it leads to a higher Eradication uptime as well.
Burns the enemy's soul, dealing Fire damage and applying Immolate. 45 second cooldown. Generates 1 Soul Shard.
Soul Fire is in an awkward state. With Flashover being a great option in every setting and Eradication being a close second, Soul Fire simply falls short. It is important to note that it can be cast in a havoc window.
Level 30 Talents
Your Soul Leech absorption now recharges at a rate of 0.5% of maximum health every 1 second and may absorb up to 15% of your health.
Demon Skin is a strong option in setting where there is a lot of frequent, sustained periodic incoming damage as your absorption shield will be higher.
Increases movement speed by 50% but damages you for 4% of your max health every 1 second. Movement impairing effects may not reduce you below 100% movement speed.
Burning Rush is typically the default choice in this row due to the incredible amount of mobility it provides. Note that Demon Skin and Dark Pact can be better options at times if fights have little movement.
Sacrifices 20% of your current health to shield you for 250% plus an additional X for 20 seconds. Usable while suffering from control impairing effects. 1 minute cooldown.
Dark Pact is an exceptionally strong cooldown in settings where there is infrequent large burst of timed damage (Sludgefist for example) where it can be used to mitigate incoming damage.
Level 40 Talents
Reduces the cooldown of Shadowfury by 15 seconds and increases its radius by 2 yards.
A decent option in Mythic + for more frequent stuns and utility. Radius extension is not as impactful as it seems.
Horrifies the enemy target into fleeing, incapacitating for 3 seconds and healing you for 20% of the maximum health. 45 second cooldown.
An exceptionally strong personal heal on a 45 second cooldown. The heal effect works on all targets regardless of incap potential.
Howl of Terror
Lets loose a terrifying howl, causing 5 enemies within 10 yards to flee in fear, disorienting them for 20 seconds.
Sadly has very little use in both Mythic + and Raiding due to the lack of Fear casts that are used in both settings.
Level 25 Talents
Your spells have a chance to grant you 15% Haste for 8 sec.
Reverse Entropy is a mini Heroism/Bloodlust when it procs and has on average a 30-40% uptime per encounter. It is normally your best option barring being in a strong Shadowburn setting.
Chaos Bolt consumes up to 5 sec of Immolate's damage over time effect on your target, instantly dealing that much damage.
Internal Combustion's damage scales with haste and is generally a nightmare to play at lower levels. It does scale better later into expansions with secondary stat stacking but is not currently a real option.
Blasts a target for Shadowflame damage, gaining 50% critical strike chance on targets that have 20% or less health. Restores 1 Soul Shard and refunds a charge if the target dies within 5 sec.
Shadowburn was recently changed to now refund a charge if the target dies within 5 seconds, greatly increasing its potential for play. It is very strong in settings where mobs are dying frequently and can be used in Havoc windows for extra value. It is also a spell Destruction can cast on the move, which the spec is lacking.
Level 35 Talents
Rain of Fire damage is increased by 20% and has a 20% chance to generate a Soul Shard Fragment.
Fire and Brimstone
Incinerate now also hits all enemies near your target for 40% damage and generates 2 Soul Shard Fragments for each additional enemy hit.
Sadly Fire and Brimstone is drastically undertuned damage wise and the shard generation it brings can be made up for via Cataclysm, Havoc and other methods in AOE.
Calls forth a cataclysm at the target location, dealing Shadowflame damage to all enemies within 8 yards and afflicting them with Immolate. 30 second cooldown.
Cataclysm is the go to talent choice due to it being strong in both single target and AOE. Being able to apply Immolate on pull to multiple mobs is incredibly impactful and it is also cast on CD in single target simply due to the damage it does.
Level 45 Talents
Conflagrate increases your Immolate, Incinerate, Channel Demonfire, Soul Fire and Conflagrate damage to the target by 25% for 8 sec.
Roaring Blaze is your best single target and two target talent until you obtain your 4-Piece tier set. You are able to maintain near 100% uptime playing the Cinders legendary while also gaining additional value in Havoc windows. This effect does not buff Chaos Bolt.
Rain of Chaos
While your initial Infernal is active, every Soul Shard you spend has a 15% chance to summon an additional Infernal that lasts 8 sec.
Rain of Chaos becomes your best option in every setting once you obtain your 4-Piece tier set. While there is an element of RNG with Rain of Chaos, the synergy it has with your tier set makes Destruction one of the best AOE specs in the game while also having respectable single target.
Grimoire of Sacrifice
Sacrifices your demon pet for power, gaining its command demon ability, and causing your spells to sometimes also deal additional Shadow damage.
This talent sadly has been undertuned and in need of a massive overhaul for years. It is not played anywhere in PVE.
Level 50 Talents
Every Soul Shard you spend has a 15% chance to be refunded.
Once you obtain your 4-Piece tier bonus, Soul Conduit becomes your best option (over DSI) in single target and AOE due to the synergy it has with the tier set.
Launches 15 bolts of felfire over 3 sec at random targets afflicted by your Immolate within 40 yds. Each bolt deals Fire damage to the target and Fire damage to nearby enemies. 25 second cooldown.
Channel Demonfire is a mediocre target option that also brings a bit bit of stacked AOE potential as it will cleave onto surrounding mobs. Both SC and DSI are typically better options in PVE.
Dark Soul: Instability
Infuses your soul with unstable power, increasing your critical strike chance by 30% for 20 sec. 2 minute cooldown.
It is VERY important to note that this is a rough outline of desired secondary stats. Your stat weights will be different than mine due to varying gear sets and other external factors. The best way to tell what your own stat weights are is a raidbots.com Top Gear sim with Gems and Enchants taken into account. If you don't want to do that then you can just follow this.
2-Piece: Ritual of Ruin
Every 10 Soul Shards spent grants Ritual of Ruin, making your next Chaos Bolt or Rain of Fire consume no shards and have no cast time.
This bonus was overhauled mid PTR to make it a consistent 10 shards to proc the 4-piece effect. While the 2-piece on its own is not incredibly powerful, the 4-piece effect brings a ton of value in both single target (enough to shift our best talents) and AOE alike.
Mythic +: B-
4-Piece: Avatar of Destruction
When Chaos Bolt or Rain of Fire consumes a charge of Ritual of Ruin, you summon a Blasphemy for 8 seconds.
Destructions 4-Piece is incredibly strong in sustained AOE where you can chain cast Rain of Fire for an extended period of time. It is also relatively strong in single/two target and can be "held" for important burst portion of a fight, giving this bonus some extra value in progression based settings.
Mythic +: A+
Grants a large amount of critical strike and gains value in settings where adds are dying. Best on-use option for Destruction Warlock in both Raid and Mythic +.
Trinket sims very well due to the nature of sims however performs worse in actual play due to other possible effects.
Strongest equip based trinket you can acquire outside of the current raid. Has a 1-time chance per day to grant you a "triple stat increase" after consuming buff food of a different stat, which is the best simming version.
Gear, Consumables and Enchants
Flask - Spectral Flask of Power
This is your only option when it comes to Flasks in Shadowlands.
Potion - Potion of Spectral Intellect
This is your best option over Phantom Fire as it is far more consistent and scales in 2+ target settings.
Shadowcore Oil - Apply to Weapon hourly and deals Shadow damage.
A minor DPS increase but is cheap to craft that also persists through death.
Veiled Augment Rune - Increase Intellect by 18 for 1 hour. Single Use.
Provide a small stat boost however are very expensive. Can be acquired through LFR and Mission Table.
Heavy Desolate Armor Kit - Increases Stamina by 32 for 1 hour. Persists through death.
Cheap to craft and provides an extra bit of survivability.
Enchants and Gems
The openers and rotations listed below are what you want to follow in a normal opener and setting. At times these may change due to fight mechanics or needing to hold CDs.
1. Precast Incinerate
2. Precast Cataclysm
3. Summon Infernal
4. Conflagrate (and Soulletting Ruby, if equipped)
5. Soul Rot
6. Dark Soul: Instability, Trinkets and Racials
7. Spectral Intellect Potion
8. Chaos Bolt dump
9. Resume normal priority rotation
Cinders of Azj'Aqir allows you to maintain nearly a 100% uptime on Roaring Blaze if played optimally, even within Havoc windows.
If you are playing a Madness build your rotation will change slightly when it comes to Chaos Bolt casts. See below for a more in-depth breakdown.
1. Cataclysm (If talented, if not you can spread a few Immolates)
2. Summon Infernal
3. Soul Rot (If talented)
4. Dark Soul: Instability, Trinkets and Racials
5. Spectral Intellect Potion
5. Rain of Fire (3+ Targets)
7. Resume normal rotation while using Havoc when available
Rain of Fire is a DPS gain at 3 or more targets outside of Havoc. It is a DPS gain at 5 or more targets inside a Havoc window. This will determine whether your Havoc is used to build shards via Conflagrate and Incinerate, or to cast Chaos Bolts.
If you are playing the Inferno + Soul Conduit build of Destruction you heavy AOE rotation will vary based on shard generation. Fore a more in-depth look you can reference the YouTube guide at the bottom of this page.
Outside of major CD's Destructions rotation is very simple. You want to maintain Immolate while filling with Conflagrate/Incinerate casts to generate Soul Shards and Chaos Bolt to spend them. A few important things to remember are...
If playing a non Madness builds
1. Maintain as high of a Roaring Blaze (if talented) uptime as possible by spacing out Conflagrate casts.
2. Be sure to cast Cataclysm on cooldown unless adds are spawning soon.
3. Cast your Infernal and Dark Soul both on cooldown. This means that your first Infernal window will sync with your first Dark Soul. They will then sync back up at the 6 minute mark without any cooldown reductions.
4. Be sure to save your final Dark Soul for your final Infernal cooldown if the fight is of shorter duration.
If playing a Madness build
1. Be sure to not overcap on shards which can be challenging at times during your Infernal window.
2. You want to cast Chaos Bolts in mini "dump window" which could look something along the lines of
This ensures you get both the CTR from Madness as well as the damage increase it brings. You typically approach said window by building to 3.5+ shards and then dumping based on Soul Conduit refunds and shard generation.
3. During periods of excessive shard generation or Soul Conduit refunds it is fine to cast multiple Chaos Bolts back to back, to avoid overcapping on shards.
There are a couple different ways to use your Havoc window which depends on the setting you are in. At times it will be used for shard generation to fuel more Rain of Fire casts. If you are looking to use Havoc in a setting where there are two targets, there are a few general guidelines you can follow.
1. Try to enter the Havoc window with 2.5-3.5 Soul Shards.
2. Apply Immolate to both targets as long as they are going to live for 6+ seconds.
3. Be sure to apply Roaring Blaze (if talented) by Casting Conflagrate ASAP.
4. Be sure to not shard cap and be mindful of shard generation with Conflagrate/Incinerate casts.