Tuesday, November 2, 2010

4.0.1 Demonology Warlock Primer

For some time now, I've been running my second spec as Demonology. I primarily use the spec for the dailies that I run, but I've also lately found it quite fun in Battlegrounds. The spec is a great spec, and it deserves to be broadcast in it's own right.  I will still (and probably always) raid Affliction, but Demonology has strengths where Affliction has weaknesses, making it perfect for an alternate spec.

The Strengths
What strengths, you may ask.  Here's just a few:
  • Good Burst Damage.  
  • Great finishing damage (under 35% you really heat things up).
  • An engaging rotation.  Not just DoTs, but procs too.  
  • High Survivability.  For a 'lock, it's the best you can get.
  • A badass pet.  The Felguard really is the bomb. 
The Spec
Caught your eye yet?  Well, here's the spec: 0\31\5.

When reviewing this spec, recall my aim isn't necessarily to be the top DPS raid spec, but to have a solid spec that offers playability, survivability, and some fun AoE damage for when you want to pwn face.  It is always important to understand your overall goal before you spec.  This doesn't mean you can't tell me where you're going to put your raid points; I'd love to hear it and it might help others.

For my aims, I left out Improved Health Funnel, Mana Feed, and Master Summoner.  For IHF, I just generally don't use health funnel.  In PvE, it's usually not a big deal.  If you're an PvP person, this might be more useful for you.  For me, regular funnel works fine in a pinch, though I did end up glyphing it because there isn't a whole lot to choose from for minors anyways.

I didn't take Mana Feed because I feel like I have a ton of mana right now.  I can't see taking anything to help with mana consumption, because I'm hardly even life tapping as it is.  As for Master Summoner, demon summons are now made instant by burning a soul shard, plus the Demonic Rebirth talent weighs in with an instant, upon-death re-summon as well.  Thus, I didn't feel that Master Summoner was all that useful. 

I did fill up Bane and Improved Immolate.  I plan to use both spells a lot.  As I level, the difficult choice is going to be whether to go for Improved Corruption or Shadow and Flame next.  I like both talents, but am leaning towards S&F at this point.

The Glyphs
Here are the glyphs I'm going with:
  • Prime Glyph of Immolate - Periodic damage increase by 10%, yes please.
  • Prime Glyph of Incinerate - Provides a DPS buff for the spell you should be using during Molten Core procs.  I have Felguard now, but Incinerate seems to just be better.  Run your own tests on the dummy with each if you're curious.  Otherwise, Incinerate is probably the way to go.
  • Prime Glyph of Metamorphosis - Increases you time in demon form by 6 seconds.  Longer is better.
  • Major Glyphs - Shadowflame, Fear, Soul Link - I took Shadowflame and Fear because of the utility.  Soul Link increases damage shared by 5%, so it'll boost survivability as well.  I didn't see a whole lot would otherwise be useful, but these fit my aim.
  • Minor Glyphs - Unending Breath, Health Funnel, Drain Soul.  All pretty worthless, so just pick what you think you'll use the most.  Warlock minors still suck. Health funnel at least stops pushback, which could be useful.
The Rotation
Before you do anything, make sure your buff yourself.  All 'locks should be popping on their Fel Armor, but you'll also want to make sure your Soul Link is active.  All specs have it now, so make sure it's up.  Good stuff.

Above 35% Health
Bane of Doom > Corruption > Immolate > Curse of the Elements > Shadowbolt Spam; Use Hand of Gul'dan to refresh Immolate; Use Incinerate during Molten Core proc.

It's pretty simple, only a few dots to keep up.  Doom is the way to go for Demo.  Use CotE if it's not covered elsewhere (Moonkin, Unholy DK, or other 'lock).  Also similar to my Affliction rotation, I like to get on the instants quick before moving to cast times.  This is pure preference here, as we don't have a spell like Soul Swap to worry about.

When Molten Core procs, you want to weave in three Incinerates. You may also want to use a Soulburn + Soul Fire for an instant cast here, but mostly just make sure you don't waste your MC proc.  Since MC will proc off Immolate now, it's important to keep Immolate rolling.  This is a change from when it used to trigger off of Corruption, however we still use Corruption since it will help our DPS.

Under 35% Health
At this point, Soul Fire will become a part of our rotation.  Once you see Decimation proc, then you should spam soul fire as much as possible.  We still want to keep our DoTs up.  Refresh them as needed, the same way you did above, just make sure you weave Soul Fires enough to keep Decimation from expiring.  It shouldn't be an issue in most cases.  Additionally, you don't have to do anything special when MC procs here, just keep using Soul Fire (unless I can find some numbers to tell me otherwise).

This is where you get to be big, purple (epic), and winged.  It is perhaps my favorite part of the spec, though it is by no means the "main part" as you've seen so far.  Meta is mostly a "Super Trinket" in that it does a whole bunch of cool stuff, primarily boosting your damage and armor.  Awesome stuff.  As such, we want to use it judiciously.  It has a rather short cooldown (especially when talented) that is similar to a trinket, so you should plan according.  The glyph makes it last longer as well.   I would not recommend macro'ing this into a spell as we do our trinkets, since the key to proper Meta usage revolves around situational awareness.

You see, with Meta usage, we gain access to new spells while in demon form.  The two we're actually concerned about are Immolation Aura and Demon Charge.  The aura will give you a >1k DPS DoT that radiates from you in melee range, and the charge will get you in range to use it.  You have to be aware that the aura is a pretty beefy AoE, so don't get yourself killed by pulling aggro.  Charging in, popping the aura, a Shadowflame, and then a mobile Hellfire amounts to a ridiculous amount of AoE damage.  Even my uber-geared pally partner has a hard time keeping the mobs off me when I do this.  It's also great for farming. 

Apart from the AoE goodness, you will just want to cast as normal.  If you're using this on a boss fight, say, then after you charge in (being careful not to get yourself cleaved or whirl-winded or something), pop the aura and a quick Shadowflame, then go back to your normal rotation.  If you're under 35%, use Soul Fire just the same.  There really isn't too much of a "trick" as far as when/how to use meta, you just have to be smart about it.  Any time you'd be gimping your normal DPS with things like moving, or strange "stop casting" mechanics, or awkward boss phases, you probably want to save you "Super Trinket".  After all, if you pop it and then have to stand there waiting while the Black Knight talks and rezzes and all that crap, then you've wasted some good bonus time.  Think of it as a personal Heroism (that you can use multiple times in a longer fight) that you have to try and use at the best times possible.  Also, don't forget to use this on trash too, since it's a pretty short cooldown.

The Stats
From the same thread as my Affliction post, I nabbed:

Warlock_401_Demonology        Sta=0.0167  Int=3.8362  SP=2.5270  Hit=4.7846  Crit=2.6957  Haste=2.5169  Mastery=2.4201

Thus, Stat priority isn't all that different from Affliction, except for one notable change:
Hit (until capped)>Int>Crit>Haste>Spellpower>Mastery>>Stamina.

As you can see, Crit is valued a lot higher than for Affliction.  Crit is simply going to be a better stat on this build.  After all, Crit is synonymous with "burst" and this is a burstier spec.  Gem, enchant, and stack accordingly.  Still, apart from those considerations, you still have to hit cap (at 17%), and those other stats are still pretty good for you.  Nothing earth shattering here.

Wrap Up
That's it for this primer.  I want to again voice thanks to Abigore, who introduced me to the spec.  He tends to take a more serious, raiding approach to the spec.  If you're interested, I encourage you to head over to his neck of the woods.  I tried to just skim the surface and give the basics, but even that started to get a bit lengthy.  This is a really fun spec.  I run a lot of random crap in this and it keeps me on my toes watching procs, buffs, and thinking about when to pop meta. The survivability can also come in handy when you find yourself pulling off of the tank (whether it be your fault or the tank's)Plus, like I mentioned, it can be quite fun in BGs.  (I love popping out from behind a wall as a big scary demon... BOO!)  

As always, tips and feedback are most welcome.


  1. WHy is Hand of Guldan not in your rotation? It does massive damage (mine crits close to 15k) and refreshes immolate saving you a GCD.

  2. "Use Hand of Gul'dan to refresh Immolate"

    It is.

  3. With Immolate's duration and HoG's cooldown... you basically use it when you need to refresh Immolate, which is a several second window every time it's off cooldown.

  4. "Under 35% Health ... Additionally, you don't have to do anything special when MC procs here, as your Soul Fires will use it up."
    MC no longer does anything for Soul Fire. It changed in patch 4.0.1 at the same time they swapped MC from proc'ing on Corruption to Immolate. I'm unsure whether it's better to stick with SF in the execute phase or squeeze in 3x Incinerate. No doubt Elitist Jerks/ Simulation Craft will figure it out sooner or later.

  5. Ah, I must have missed that change. I'll keep m my eyes open for that mathification as well. Thanks.

  6. "You see, with Meta usage, we gain access to four new spells while in demon form."

    Isn't it 2 now? Demon Leap and Immolation Aura are still around but the taunt and melee cleave seem to be gone.

    Or I've simply gone blind or forgot to train.

  7. Ha, actually that's a typo. I believe it's two now as well. In any case, it's only those two we care about. I'll fix it.

  8. There, now it works either way. Clever no ;-p.

    Thanks for finding that.

  9. Thanks for the link love!

    I think 2/3 Shadow and Flame has been theorycrafted to provide more DPS than Improved Immolate, but either works fine.

    During Decimate, your rotation is the same as it is pre-Deci, you just replace Shadowbolt with Soul Fire but still use Incinerate x3 when MC procs. Without having enough points to grab Improved Soul Fire and Emberstorm, Soul Fire isn't the beast it used to be.

    Macro'ing Felstorm to Shadowbolt and Soul Fire is also a good idea since it deals ridiculous amounts of damage now and you want to blow it every cooldown.

    Hand of Gul'dan is the tricky part of our rotation since it has a 12 second cooldown, Immolate lasts 15 seconds, and HoG has a 2 second cast time (without haste, of course) with a 0.5 sec travel time.. so there is little margin for error. I just blow it as soon as it's off cooldown with the utmost importance lol.

    Demo is definitely a lot of fun currently, albeit a bit hard to master with an unforgiving rotation. My Felguard has beaten ME in DPS on AOE pulls.. it's nuts.


  10. Yeah, I'll need to work that out. So far I've just been loving instant cast soul fires in WG :-). Also, running around hellfiring is cool too.

    Thanks for that, as always, great advice.

  11. I like to use HoG earlier in my rotation, since it will boost my Felgaurd's DPS with the increased crit.

  12. Not a bad idea, especially if you're doing any PvP, to get used to using HoG early. It can be quite effective. I haven't had a chance to play with it enough to the point where I feel comfortable though. There's just a lot more to juggle for Demo than I'm used to (and it's a different type of juggle than Affliction).