PvP destruction guide

Last update: 2012-01-12
Version: 4.3


I am a casual player and I have more or less only played as a warlock. When I started doing PvP I picked the Destruction spec. I know that Destruction isn’t the best spec in the arena or dueling, but I play WoW for fun. There are several thread discussing the difficulties the Destrolock is facing and this isn’t one of those.

I want to create a little help for all those casual Destrolocks playing PvP and I hope all hardcore PvP warlocks can help the PvP Destruction community to create some tips & tricks for casual players. I want the information to be rather basic and not to detailed.

I will try to update this information as I learn more.

Priority list
You need to do decent damage and the the Destruction warlock is capable of doing pretty good damage in PvE. More or less you need to follow a prioritization list like the one you can find here:

The Destruction priority list in PvE is:
Improved Soul Fire.
Bane of Doom.
Chaos Bolt.
Hasted Soul Fire (from either Empowered Imp procs or Soulburn)

More or less this is the same in PvP, if your target was as dumb as a boss... Except doing decent damage you need to survive to be a good casual PvP Destrolock.
How would a PvP priority list look like for a casual player playing a Destruction warlock? My priority list should look something like this:

    Pet. Make sure you have a Pet, because without it you can’t cast Soul Link. I prefer running with the Succubus (arena, BG or duelling melee) or the Imp (BG or duels). Hundreds of thread discusses Pro and Cons with the pets, read one of those if you want details.

    Soul Link

    Armor. You need your armor. Demon armor if you are the kill target or if you are playing 2v2 and your teammate is a healer. Fel Armor in all other situations.

    Dark Intent. You need at least 10% haste. If you don’t have 10% haste unbuffed you need to apply Dark Intent. You will have an extra tick with your Immolate if you reach 10% or above.

    Curse of Elements. Curse of Elements when you are planning a nuke-chain.

    Soul Fire. Hasted Soul Fire From either Empowered Imp procs or Soulburn if you want to use a Soul Shard in an offensive manner. Most of the time I use my first Soulburn with my healthstone.

    Immolate. The single most important DoT which should be applied on your kill target all the time. Immolate is the Destrolock Akilles heal! A long cast time and a lot of classes can dispel it.
    To minimise the risk that Immolate will be interrupted, try to cast Immolate when target is CC’ed or not focusing on you.
    If dispeller’s are around you need to make sure to Conflagrate before Immolate is dispelled. You can do this by CC the dispeller and/or protect Immolate by applying other debuff like Corruption, Bane of XXX, Shadowflame and Burning Amber and hope that Immolate isn’t the one which will be dispelled.
    When you have casted an Immolate it take some time before you can cast a Conflagrate because of the lag between the client and the server, so many times it is wise to cast some instant spell after an Immolate and before you do a Conflagrate.

    Conflagrate. When you have the chance, do it! When Backdraft buff is active Chaos Bolt and Incinerate have a very high priority, but don’t stand still to long if melee is running towards you.

    Nether Ward. Almost all classes have some kind of magic damage. Are you only up against melee classes or you feel you are going to win the Nether Ward can have a lower priority.

    Shadowburn. If target has low health Shadowburn is great to create that extra pressure.

    Curses. Curse of Weakness if melee is hitting me. Curse of Tongue on casters.

    Shadowflame. From a defence perspective Shadowflame is great to run away from melee or used together with the portal. From an offensive perspective you can use Shadowflame to make sure the target is not running out of range. A bonus is that Shadowflame can protect Immolate.

    Bane of Doom. I prefer Doom over Agony because the longer duration. The spell does some damage but the main reason for this spell is the Immolate protection.


    Chaos Bolt.

    Incinerate & Fel Flame. If you are on the move use Fel Flame, otherwise Incinerate.
Crowd Control

Destrolocks have 4 powerful CC and they are Shadowfury, Fear, Howl of Terror and Death Coil. You can use these four together with the above spells in a variate of combination, but the most useful are the following:

  • Shadowfury => Fear (8 sec) => Curse and/or Bane of Doom -> Soul Fire or Incinerate => Immolate => Conflagrate
    I have only managed to do this a couple of times, but it is nice when it happens.

  • Shadowfury => Fear (4 sec) => Soul Fire or Incinerate => Immolate => Conflagrate

  • If you think the target will break the fear, run out of range or line of sight when feared, you can do the following:
    Shadowfury => Immolate => Conflagrate

  • You can replace Shadowfury with Death Coil in the above combinations.

    Always try to Shadowfury as many as possible! If you managed to CC several opponents it is very good to use Howl of Terror on those opponents.

    After the 4 second Fear, wait the 15 seconds when the Diminishing Return is reset.

    Destrolocks also have a fifth CC, which is Banish. Good to use against elementals and demons, but most of the time I focus on the master of those creatures.

    A very usefull link regarding Crowd Control, CC.
    Class information

      More or less useless to Fear, because they break it easily, but try a Seduce

      Don’t try to run away, because they will intercept you. Use your teleport to get away far enougth. Stay close to them but not in front of them.

      Keep a distance to them.

    Death Knight
      Keep a distance to them.

      Stay close to them. You do more damage in melee range than the hunter.

      They know how to dispel.

      If you are to close, they will Scream.

      Don’t fight in the middle of a totem garden.

      Keep a distance to the cat.

      They know how to interrupt your casting.

      Hopefully you already knew everything.

      A Paladin with a lot of mana is a holy Paladin who can heal.

    Some useful class links from a Warlock perspective:

    Nice to have addons:


    More information

    As a Warlock you will be the kill target a lot of times, so learning to keep your distance will save you a lot of headaches. The most important spell to help you to keep the distans is your Teleport, learn to use it. I think that I am the kill target 90% of the times, when I am playing 2v2. When you are the kill target it is not that easy to do high DPS and most temporary pick-up arena partners do not understand that...you will get some comments regarding low DPS.

    Using some kind of voice communication will greatly increase your chance to be in the winning team. I would recommend Skype so you are able to speak without pushing a key like Ventrilo.

    At least key-bind your most used spells, but isit is best to key-bind as much as possible.

    The following spells will prevent you to use fear, so learn how to recognize them.

    An excelent Warlock guide:

    Look at this guide for more information about stats, gemming and reforging:
    I actually think this is quite a cute thread. We'll no doubt see some comments on it about the dominance of affliction but I'm glad to see people like Kosholo are playing for fun and just want to share their thoughts.

    Let us know how you get on.
    lol dont fight in the middle of a totom garden :P <3
    Nice to see people trying to help out for in the lock community.
    I think something that was not stressed in this guide would be portal positioning in arena. Having your port in a strategic or well positioned place can turn the tables in a match.

    Also in the crowd control section you missed out seduction which is an excellent form of cc vs warriors as it is a charm not a fear.
    06/06/2011 06:09Posted by Phoru
    I think something that was not stressed in this guide would be portal positioning in arena. Having your port in a strategic or well positioned place can turn the tables in a match.

    I find it helps if you move it aswell. Otherwise people tend to know exactly where you've gone :(
    I have made some minor updates to the thread. For example 2 new links in the Class information section.
    Thumbs up Kosholo! I'm desperate for some decent advice on how-to-use and when-to-use for spells/abilities and warlock arena advice in general. I can't find good affliction guides and on my thread only 2 people replied how I should play in general. This is offtopic, sorry for that, but I really need some tips, tricks, hints,... You already helped me out a bit Kosholo, tyvm and your efforts are really appreciated!
    I suggest to use two more add-ons:
    RangeDisplay - Afflictions best friend, or detro to kite warriors (untill 5y - melee range, from 10 y intercept, so you have a window to kill very very slow :) )
    DiminishingReturns - to warn you when a dr is gone.

    Some updates to the original post.
    btw its spelled Rogue :P


    Stay close to them. You do more damage in melee range than the hunter.

    the amount of flamming i get for doing that in duels is unreal :S

    nice guide btw only ting is you missed gems and reforge order all of which confuse me as one destro lock is different from the next.
    The guide is still valid for 4.2 release.
    Nice thread to read! Glad to see help being provided for a "dying" PvP spec. :P

    I'm a huge fan of destro. Although we lack decent burst and suffer massively from dispell protection, destro can prove pretty damn good if in skilled hands.

    A few tips for general PvP/BG's/RBG's. I'm not an Arena Master or anything like that, I play with a frost mage for Conq cap, that's about it.

    In my opinion, Succubus is the superior pet for this spec:-
    Against casters, you have 4 interupts, even when cc'd. You get Deep Frozen ---> seduce = 0 damage done through the deep freeze...yay!
    Against melee classes, Seduce is a great gap builder. Damage removes the CC, so if immolate is up you maybe get 2-3 secs of seduce to either gain ground or whip out a quick CB/Incin...etc. Gaining ground will force them to use a gap closer (DG, Charge, SS, Kitty leap) which you can portal away from asap.

    Move your pet. If she is right next to you, she will (more than likely) get AoE feared/CC'd rendering her useless.

    Destro is about getting casts off between the 2-3 sec CC's you throw. Facing a class that cannot remove Immolate, it should be cast once in the entire fight, kept up with Fel Flame...Immolate is everything!!!
    When i Shadowfury, I rip off a quick combo - Shadowfury --> CB --> Insta SF --> Conflag = 30k damage on a average PvP geared target without crits. after that its a mix of seduce/Sahdowfury/FF kiting with the usual incinerate/CB/conflag when possible.

    I don't use Fear. It shares DM's with Seduce. It's a 1.5sec cast. Seduce isn't even casted by you thus giving you more time to do damage. plus fear can be broken by cute lil' kitty's eyelash flutters :(

    Use CoE. Use Nether Ward. Keep DI up (on your pet if you have no one else). Have a healthstone. Don't get caught without Demon Portal.

    The main thing you need to learn as a Destruction Warlock --> You are NOT a mage --> You will NOT burst someone down to half health in 2 spells.
    You are a clunky, slow, heavy caster, that takes 20/25% less damage all the time, and for that reason you deal considerably less damage.

    Hope this helps! :) Apologies if i said anything that has already been said! Bestest of luck :>

    Smack x

    usually go curse of elements(macroed in with petattack - petfollow macroed in with soul harvest), insta soul fire, immolate, conflagurate, incinerate, chaosbolt..

    that being said i like felhunter better than any other pet, cuz of moar intellect, mana regen and it is far superior vs casters/healers, many ppl say they cant pressure a healer/dispeller but a 6 sec silence is quite epic for that purpose, but in duels warr/rogue suduce peet is far superior

    most important thing vs melees is to keep demo circle up and use it wisely... glyph shadowflame as its the best slow ingame

    ul always get a immolate up as you cast shadowfury or coil if they trinket, fel flame is epic aswell when your opponent has low hp and got an interrupt rdy, get an extra conflag and it will be a win

    for PvP its rly important to look good, just bought a choppa and my skeelz increased by round 30%!!!

    nether protection use it vs every class!! except warriors i guess^^
    Don't try destro before 85 tho.

    For all you leveling locks, I'd suggest demo. The only spec which can actually burst something down in the world of burstcraft which is <85 pvp and it can escape melee with stun from pet and HoG.

    I too wish destro to be as awesome as it was in wrath.. The memories I have of that expac :)

    Don’t fight in the middle of a totem garden.

    haha epic <3
    the most common mistake i see warlocks do is to teleport when warriors charge is up or druids leap is up and rogues shadowstep is up etc.. (it goes for every1 with a "escape" mechanic) a good way to make em do theyr charge spell is shadowfury shadowflame and ktie while fel flaming or refreshing ur dots then they will charge then u teleport then u got a huge advanatge to cast some incinerates/chaos bolt
    dont understand why ppl use imp over succubus and felhunter tho i get the nice 6sec dispell but its so undependable and agensta acaster (wich usually is the one applying magic debuffs) isnt felhunter far better?

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