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The Best Destruction Warlock PvE DPS build

The Best Destruction Warlock PvE DPS build

One of the best DPS builds for the Warlock class in WoW: Battle for Azeroth

 Destruction Warlock PvE DPS Build
Odealo's Pocket Guide
Updated for Patch 8.2.0

You can find all our Pocket Guides for other World of Warcraft classes right here: Best WoW Builds

Spec Overview

Destruction, unlike two other Warlock specs, prefers the direct approach to combat. Applying curses or hiding behind hordes of summoned demons feels just too cowardly to this kind of Warlock, and after all, blowing something up is way more fun than watching it slowly decay over time. The main strong point of the spec is its strong Burst Damage which, combined with low ramp-up time lays foundations for an excellent priority-target killer. It also, just like two other Warlock specs, brings one of the best mobility cooldowns in the entire game to the table.

 Pros  Cons
 Great Burst Damage potential  Below average combat mobility
 Strong Cooldowns  Straightforward (boring) Talent choices
 Low ramp-up time  Damage output is dependant on cooldowns
 Good cleave damage  

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Statistics Priority

  1. Intellect -  Primary stat for Destruction, it increases Warlock's Spell Power which a damage boost to his spells
  1. Mastery - Destruction's Mastery: Chaotic Energies works a bit like Versatility with a random element added, it increases damage done by each spell by a random amount, and lowers damage taken from any source by a random amount.
  1. Haste - Lowers time needed to cast spells and increases tick-rate of damage over time effects. The cooldown of the
     Conflagrate is also decreased by Haste. This stat also affects your Demons.
  1. Critical Strike - Gives your spells a chance to do Critical Damage, and flat out increases damage done by Chaos Bolt which always Critically hits, scaling 1 to 1, which means 1% bonus damage for 1% Critical Strike. Critical Damage done by
     Immolate has a double chance to generate a Soul Shard. This stat also affects your Demons.
  1. Versatility - Straight up Damage Done increase and Damage Received reduction. This stat also affects your Demons.


The Best Talent Choices

Level 15: 
Recommended choice - Eradication
Eradication - Chaos Bolt now increases the Damage you do to the Target by 10% for 7s. This is the Recommended Choice because it scales the best with good Gear. You should consider picking Flashover if you are still gearing up.
Flashover increases damage done by Conflagrate by 10% and allows it to add an additional charge of Backdraft. This is the best choice for AoE Damage, you should also consider picking it over the Eradication for single target DPS if your Gear is not of the highest grade, as mentioned before. Soul Fire allows you to generate more Soul Shard fragments; it is the worst choice overall.

Level 30: 
Recommended choice - Internal Combustion
Internal Combustion - Your Chaos Bolt now consumes up to 5s of Immolate's Damage over Time and deals it to your Target instantly. This is the best choice for a single target DPS boost; mind the time left on your Immolate to avoid losing Damage.
Reverse Entropy has a chance of increasing your Haste by 15% for 8 seconds after you cast a spell; this effect occurs about 2,5 times per one minute. This is the best choice for 2+ Targets and Mythic+ progression. Shadowburn is a talent best suited for leveling, as it refreshes its charges when Target dies during its uptime.
Level 45: 
Recommended choice - Burning Rush or Demon Skin

Burning Rush - Burns you for 4% of your maximum HP per second, and increases your base movement speed by 50%, movement impairing effect can't slow you down below your base movement speed; it lasts until canceled. This is the best choice for mobility-based encounters, as it allows you to dodge Raid mechanics and reposition more efficiently.

Demon Skin -  your Soul Leech now recharges 0,5% of your max HP per second and absorbs 15% of maximum health. Pick this for more static and damage-received heavy encounters.

Dark Pact converts 20% of your current HP into a shield that absorbs damage equal to the 250% of the amount converted. The more HP you have, the more effective this becomes, so it is at its best when used preemptively, and that is not always possible, making it largely situational.

Level 60: 
Recommended choice - Cataclysm
Cataclysm - Deals high amounts of AoE damage in the 8yd radius, and has 30s Cooldown. This is the best choice for single target damage, that also gives you some extra AoE potential.
Fire and Brimstone makes your Incinerate hit all enemies around your primary target for the 40% damage, each additional hit generates a Soul Shard fragment. This is purely AoE Talent that should be picked for 2+ stacked Targets encounters.
Inferno is an AoE Talent that gets outperformed by Cataclysm when it comes to single target DPS and by Fire and Brimstone when it comes to AoE.

Level 75: 
Recommended choice - Demonic Circle
Demonic Circle - Marks a spot with the Demonic Circle, you can Teleport to the marked location once every 30 seconds, Teleportation removes all movement impairing effects. This is the best option for Raiding and Mythic+ progression as it enhances your mobility, and lets you avoid some of the Mechanics with ease. It is also the most fun Talent to use.
Darkfury is a straight up 15s Cooldown reduction on your Shadowfury, which improves your Crowd Control potential in Dungeons and Mythic+. Mortal Coil combines a Horrify effect with self-heal which is useful in Dungeons, and situations when you don't need extra mobility offered by the Demonic Circle.

Level 90: 
Recommended choice - Grimoire of Supremacy
Grimoire of Supremacy - Each Soul Shard spent when your Infernal is active now increases damage done by your Chaos Bolt by 8%. This talent boosts your Damage significantly and gives you the best Burst potential, it also scales well with good Gear.
Roaring Blaze adds a Damage over Time effect to your Conflagrate, it is the best choice for AoE heavy encounters.
 Grimoire of Sacrifice allows you to absorb the power of your Demon pet by sacrificing it in order to occasionally deal additional Shadow Damage. It is the worst choice in general, and should not be considered.

Level 100: 
Recommended choice - Dark Soul: Instability
Dark Soul: Instability - Increases your Critical Strike chance by 30% for 20 seconds, it has 2 min Cooldown. This is the best Talent choice when it comes to Burst Damage potential. it works best paired with the Grimoire of Supremacy.
Channel Demonfire Launches 15 bolts of Felfire at random targets, affected by tour Immolate, over 3 seconds; these bolts do splash damage. This talent is great for AoE heavy encounters and synergizes well with Cataclysm. Soul Conduit gives your Soul Shards a 15% chance to be refunded after use. It is a versatile, passive and boring talent that works quite well in most situations, but is not capable of giving you a visible edge in any of them.


The Basic Rotation

As a Destruction Warlock, the goal of your rotation is to generate Soul Shards via builder Spells in order to spend them for large amounts of damage. This spec doesn't have to follow a strict priority list and can seize opportunities as they arise.

Use the following priority list to maximize your Single Target Damage output:

  1. Immolate should be maintained at all times
  1. Chaos Bolt at 5+ Soul Shards
  1. Cataclysm on Cooldown
  1. Conflagrate on 2 charges
  1. Chaos Bolt to maintain Eradication
  1. Conflagrate for Soul Shard generation
  1. Incinerate for Soul Shard generation
Destruction Warlock cooldown management:
Summon Infernal can generally be used on Cooldown but should be delayed whenever there is an AoE phase coming up, or CD of the Dark Soul: Instability is about to finish.  + 
Dark Soul: Instability can generally be used on Cooldown, or in combination with Summon Infernal (you should delay Dark Soul: Instability if Infernal's CD is about to finish); make sure to refresh Immolate on your Target, and stack up on Soul Shards before activating it.  ⇒ 
Your Cooldown management depends mainly on the encounter Length. In a short (~3min) Encounter, you should use your second Dark Soul: Instability on cooldown, because Infernal will not come back up in time. In a fight that is a bit longer (~4minutes), it is beneficial to hold on to your second Dark Soul: Instability use until Summon Infernal  CD resets. If a fight is long enough for 4 Dark Soul: Instability uses (more than 6 minutes long) you should aim to combine your fourth Dark Soul: Instability with a Third Summon Infernal (this will align well if you use both Dark Soul: Instability and Summon Infernal  at the start of combat, and then on every cooldown).


Tips and Tricks for Improving your Gameplay

  1. Mind your cooldowns, and always try to maximize damage gain from them (look at the Cooldown Management section for details).
  1. Always stack up on Soul Shards before using your Infernal, this will maximize your Damage gained from Grimoire of Supremacy.
  1. Always maintain your Immolate at over 5sec uptime to avoid losing damage from Internal Combustion. Remember that Cataclysm also refreshes Immolate.
  1. Always analyze your mistakes and try to improve!

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This is an early version of our guide, we plan to upgrade upon it, and add further sections. So please leave your suggestions in the comments section below. We would also like to state that this is meant as a pocket guide and therefore we will not go into too much detail (please visit more specialized sites for a much more in-depth build/stat/gear/rotation analyses).

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