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Demonology Warlock DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoW 4.3.4)

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Contents


In this article, we list your Demonology Warlock (WoW 4.3) core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation). We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that playing a Demonology Warlock will face you with. The other articles of our Demonology Warlock guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the left.

1. Incinerate and Shadow Bolt Rotations↑top

Demonology Warlocks have two viable rotations:

  • The Incinerate Rotation, which relies on Incinerate Icon Incinerate;
  • The Shadow Bolt Rotation, which relies on Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt.

These two rotations perform similarly in single target fights, but the Shadow Bolt Rotation is harder to play. In multiple target fights, the Shadow Bolt Rotation makes it easier to keep your DoTs up on several targets.

2. Basic Single Target Rotation↑top

Make sure to apply Curse of the Elements Icon Curse of the Elements on the target if no one else is providing this debuff (Assassination Rogues, Balance Druids, Unholy Death Knights or other Warlocks).

Finally, for both rotations, you should keep in mind that the priority is slightly different if you have the 4-Part Tier 13 Set Bonus, in which case we suggest that you read this section.

2.1. Incinerate Rotation

The priority system for the Incinerate Icon Incinerate rotation is:

2.2. Shadow Bolt Rotation

The priority system for the Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt rotation is:

3. Basic Multiple Target Rotation↑top

The multiple target rotation depends on how many enemies you are facing and how long these enemies will live. Use the following guidelines, but do not hesitate to adapt your playstyle to your particular situations.

3.1. Persistent Enemies

If your enemies will live for a longer period of time, then make use of the following guidelines:

3.1.1. Against 2-3 Targets

You should keep DoTs up on all targets:

After your DoTs are up, you should continue with the rest of your single target rotation on one target. You should try to use Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt on each of the targets, alternatively, to keep up the Shadow and Flame Icon Shadow and Flame debuff. If the enemies are together and you are in melee range, you should also use Shadowflame Icon Shadowflame.

Note that, for this situation, you are advised to use the Shadow Bolt talent build and rotation.

3.1.2. Against 4-5 Targets

Against 4-5 enemies, you should apply Immolate Icon Immolate and Corruption Icon Corruption to the enemies and then channel Hellfire Icon Hellfire while standing among them.

Shadowflame Icon Shadowflame should still be used. If you are aiming to maximise your DPS for this particular stage of the fight, you should use your Felguard minion and cast its Felstorm Icon Felstorm.

3.1.3. Against 6 or More Targets

Against 6 or more enemies, you should stop using your DoTs and instead you should simply channel Hellfire Icon Hellfire and cast Felstorm Icon Felstorm and Shadowflame Icon Shadowflame.

3.2. Short-lasting Enemies

If the targets you must AoE will live for such a short amount of time that applying your DoTs on them is not worth it (10 seconds or less), then simply use Shadowflame Icon Shadowflame and channel Hellfire Icon Hellfire among them.

4. Minion↑top

For both single target DPS, you should almost always use a Felhunter.

For AoE DPS, you should always use a Felguard.

Some subtleties exist, regarding minion usage, that are very important to your DPS. We cover them in a subsequent section.

5. Armor↑top

You should use Fel Armor Icon Fel Armor, as it increases your spell power, thus increasing your DPS.

6. Dark Intent↑top

Deciding who to cast Dark Intent Icon Dark Intent on should be done with the best interests of the raid in mind. If your raid is in need of more healing, then you should pick a suitable healer class. Otherwise, you should choose a suitable DPS player.

In a subsequent Dark Intent section, we provide you with rankings of different classes and specs that should enable you to make the best decision regarding Dark Intent.

7. Cooldowns↑top

As a Demonology Warlock, you have 3 DPS cooldowns: Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis, Demon Soul Icon Demon Soul and Summon Doomguard Icon Summon Doomguard/Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal. We will outline them briefly here, and then cover their usage in more detail in a subsequent section.

7.1. Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis is your main DPS cooldown, and using it properly is crucial to your DPS. The general idea is that Metamorphosis should be used on cooldown, in order to maximise its uptime.

7.2. Demon Soul

Demon Soul Icon Demon Soul is a DPS cooldown that has different effects, depending on what minion you have active when you cast it. As a Demonology Warlock, you will obtain the biggest gain from using it with a Felguard. This will lead to you switching between your Felguard and Felhunter.

Essentially, Demon Soul should be used on cooldown.

7.3. Doomguard/Infernal

Summon Doomguard Icon Summon Doomguard and Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal share a cooldown. As such, you will have to decide which of the two you will use. These two abilities are on a 10-minute cooldown, so you will realistically only use them once per fight. Summon Doomguard Icon Summon Doomguard is better for single-target damage, while Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal is better for multiple-target damage.

8. Optional Read: Mastering Your Demonology Warlock↑top

While the priorities we list above will prove sufficient for you to do excellent DPS, there are various other things you should know about playing a Demonology Warlock.

8.1. Incinerate Versus Shadow Bolt

As we mention on our Talents page, and as you can see from the priorities we listed, there are two different playstyles you can adopt as a Demonology Warlock, each with its own distinct talent build.

The only important difference between the rotations of the two specs is the filler spell that they use.

In single target fights, the two rotations will yield similar DPS, although the Incinerate Icon Incinerate rotation is somewhat easier to execute. In multiple target fights (when up against 2 or 3 enemies for extensive amounts of time), the Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt rotation will provide more DPS, although this is slightly more confusing to execute.

8.2. Refreshing Your DoTs

As a Demonology Warlock, a great part of your DPS comes from your 3 DoTs (Immolate Icon Immolate, Corruption Icon Corruption and Bane of Doom Icon Bane of Doom). For this reason, you must strive to maintain 100% uptime on all of them.

As a general rule, you should aim to refresh your DoTs just as they are about to expire (before the final tick of the DoT).

There are a few subtleties that you should understand, though, to maximise the damage you gain from your DoTs. Namely, you must understand how your DoTs are affected by your current buffs and procs and you must also understand what DoT clipping is.

8.2.1. Dynamic Power of DoTs

Your DoTs take into account all of your statistics at the time when the DoT is cast (in the case of Immolate Icon Immolate, also when it is automatically refreshed by Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan). This means that a DoT cast while under the effects of many self buffs and procs will be very strong for its entire duration, even if these buffs and procs expire in the meanwhile.

Conversely, gaining new buffs or procs will not affect the DoTs that you have on the target at the time. Those DoTs will continue to work based on your original statistics.

This raises the question of when and how it is best to refresh your DoTs. For example, is it worth refreshing a weak DoT (that still has more than a few seconds on its duration) simply because you gained extra procs? To answer this question, you also have to understand what DoT clipping is.

The following section should answer all other questions you may have.

8.2.2. DoT Clipping

DoT clipping refers to the action of refreshing a DoT before its final tick has occurred. If you refresh a DoT while it had 2 or more ticks left, all ticks except for the final one will be "wasted". The final tick will be added to the new duration of the DoT (which will, therefore, be extended to include it). Furthermore, the final tick of the previous DoT, when becoming part of the new DoT, will be modified to your current statistics, and not the statistics of the old DoT.

What this means, in simpler terms, is that:

  • If you refresh a strong application of a DoT with a weaker one, between its penultimate and last ticks, the final tick will become weak.
  • If you refresh a weak application of a DoT with a stronger one, between its penultimate and last ticks, the final tick will become strong.

While this is how DoTs work for all Warlock specialisations, it is of particular importance for Demonology, because Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis provides a very big boost to your DoTs.

As a result, if your DoTs have been applied under the effects of Metamorphosis (with additional buffs and procs, generally), you should let them fully expire before refreshing them, as this ensures that the final tick of the DoT will remain strong. If your DoTs have been applied without buffs, but you are now under the effect of buffs, you should refresh the DoTs right before the final tick occurs.

8.3. Single Target Rotation in Detail

This section will cover several very important concepts pertaining to your rotation. Understanding these concepts will improve your performance.

8.3.1. Molten Core Procs

Thanks to your Molten Core Icon Molten Core talent, each time your Immolate Icon Immolate DoT ticks, you have a 6% chance for your next 3 Incinerate Icon Incinerate spells, cast within 15 seconds, to deal 18% increased damage and have a 30% reduced cast time.

As you can see in the priorities listed at the start of this page, this proc grants Incinerate Icon Incinerate a higher priority than normally. Whenever you benefit from this effect, you should make sure to consume all 3 charges.

8.3.2. Shadowflame

Shadowflame Icon Shadowflame has a higher priority than Incinerate Icon Incinerate or Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt (depending on your spec), provided that you are in melee range of the target.

In most encounters, it should be relatively easy to stay in melee range, so you should aim at doing this whenever possible. If, however, the fight mechanics require you to be elsewhere, it is not worth moving to melee range just to use Shadowflame.

8.3.3. Rotation with 4-Part Tier 13 Set Bonus

If you have the 4-Part Tier 13 Set Bonus, then it is imperative to use Soulburn Icon Soulburn on cooldown. This ability becomes your first priority.

In most situations, you should use Soulburn Icon Soulburn with Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire (making Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire instant cast).

If you are pet twisting (see below), then you will use Soulburn to summon a Felhunter, one or more times per fight.

Be sure not to use up all 3 of your Soul Shards (see below).

8.3.4. Soul Shards

Soul Shards are a type of secondary resource system. You have a maximum of 3 Soul Shards. Outside combat, they are easily regenerated by casting Soul Harvest Icon Soul Harvest. In combat, however, you cannot regenerate your Soul Shards through any reliable means (only by getting killing blows).

As a Demonology Warlock, there is only one ability that requires Soul Shards to cast: Soulburn Icon Soulburn. This means that you are limited to three Soulburn uses per fight.

The only exception to this rule is when you have the 4-Part Tier 13 Set Bonus. In this case, any time you cast Soulburn Icon Soulburn with Soul Fire Icon Soul Fire, the cost of Soul burn (1 Soul Shard) will be refunded to you. This makes it possible to cast Soulburn on cooldown.

8.3.5. Pet Twisting

Pet twisting refers to the practice of switching between minions during the encounter. Generally, you will only do this once, as part of your opening rotation, since this is where it is most beneficial and least problematic.

The reason for this is that Demon Soul: Felguard Icon Demon Soul: Felguard is much better than Demon Soul: Felhunter Icon Demon Soul: Felhunter, but your Felhunter does more damage than your Felguard. As such, you want to use want to use Demon Soul Icon Demon Soul with your Felguard, and then switch back to your Felhunter for the rest of the fight.

Essentially, you will start the fight with your Felguard, and after using Demon Soul: Felguard Icon Demon Soul: Felguard (as well as his own Felstorm Icon Felstorm ability), use Soulburn Icon Soulburn to instant cast your Felhunter, so that you do not waste any time casting the long Summon Felhunter Icon Summon Felhunter spell while your cooldowns are active.

Pet twisting later on in the fight should mostly be reserved for times when there is a long transition phase where there is nothing to DPS. In case you want to pet twist later on in the fight, here is what you should do:

  • Shortly before your Demon Soul Icon Demon Soul becomes available, summon a Felguard (this will take 6 seconds).
  • Cast your Felguard's Felstorm Icon Felstorm.
  • Use Demon Soul: Felguard Icon Demon Soul: Felguard.
  • When Felstorm is over, use Soulburn to summon a Felhunter.

8.3.6. Optimal Opener

Taking into account pet twisting, here is the best spell sequence to use at the start of an encounter:

  1. Have your Felguard out.
  2. 5 seconds before the pull, cast Soulburn Icon Soulburn. This will allow you to instant cast summon your Felhunter later (Soulburn will give you a 15 second window).
  3. Cast Soul Harvest Icon Soul Harvest. This will return your Soul Shard.
  4. 1 second before the pull, use your Volcanic Potion.
  5. As soon as the boss is pulled, cast the following spells:
    1. Curse of the Elements Icon Curse of the Elements (unless someone else is providing the debuff).
    2. activate your Moonwell Chalice trinket (if you are using it).
    3. cast your Felguard's Felstorm Icon Felstorm.
  6. Cast Demon Soul: Felguard Icon Demon Soul: Felguard and any on-use trinket you have (assuming you are not using Moonwell Chalice).
  7. Cast Incinerate Icon Incinerate or Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt (depending on which you are using) to apply the Shadow and Flame Icon Shadow and Flame debuff to the target (unless it is already being provided by someone else).
  8. Apply Immolate Icon Immolate on the target.
  9. Cast Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis.
  10. Apply Bane of Doom Icon Bane of Doom on the target.
  11. Apply Corruption Icon Corruption on the target.
  12. Summon your Felhunter. This should be instant cast, thanks to the Soulburn you cast earlier. Also, your Felguard's Felstorm should have ended by now.
  13. Cast Hand of Gul'dan Icon Hand of Gul'dan.
  14. Cast Immolation Aura Icon Immolation Aura (provided you are in melee range).
  15. Cast Shadowflame Icon Shadowflame (provided you are in melee range).
  16. Summon your Doomguard, if you have enough procs (Enchant Weapon - Power Torrent and Lightweave Embroidery, Volcanic Potion, and Moonwell Chalice all up at once, ideally).

8.4. Moonwell Chalice

The Moonwell Chalice trinket, obtained from the Molten Front dailies, has particular importance for Demonology Warlocks. This is because its on-use Mastery effect can be very well combined with Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis, greatly increasing your DPS.

Despite its rather low item level, this trinket remains excellent for Demonology Warlocks until Tier 13 trinkets are available.

8.5. Notes on Cooldown Usage

More than for either of the other Warlock specialisations, Demonology is affected greatly by proper cooldown usage. In this section, we will outline everything you need to know about maximising the DPS you gain from your cooldowns.

8.5.1. Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis provides you with a 20% damage increase for 30 seconds (36 seconds with Glyph of Metamorphosis) and enables the use of special abilities, most importantly Immolation Aura Icon Immolation Aura.

It is your biggest DPS cooldown, and how you use it will make or break your Demonology DPS.

It should be noted that despite having a 3 minute cooldown, the cooldown of Metamorphosis varies, as it can be reduced from its base cooldown of 3 minutes by procs from your Impending Doom Icon Impending Doom talent.

Your Mastery (Master Demonologist Icon Master Demonologist) is recorded when you cast Metamorphosis, and it affects the damage you deal while you are in Metamorphosis. Further changes to your Mastery will not be taken into account while Metamorphosis is active. As such, if you have trinkets that increase your Mastery (most notably, Moonwell Chalice), you should have these active before you cast Metamorphosis.

While you are in Metamorphosis, if you are in melee range of your enemies, you should cast Immolation Aura Icon Immolation Aura.

As Metamorphosis increases your damage done, you should aim to use this at the same time as Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp, trinket procs, Volcanic Potion as well as your other cooldowns.

8.5.2. Demon Soul

Demon Soul Icon Demon Soul is a powerful DPS cooldown that grants you a different buff depending on what minion you are using at the time. As a Demonology Warlock, the biggest gain will be from using it with a Felguard active (Demon Soul: Felguard Icon Demon Soul: Felguard). This will increase your haste by 15% and your damage by 10%, for 20 seconds. You will most likely only use Demon Soul: Felguard once per fight.

The rest of the time you will use Demon Soul: Felhunter Icon Demon Soul: Felhunter. This will increase your periodic shadow damage by 20%, for 20 seconds (this only affects Bane of Doom Icon Bane of Doom and Corruption Icon Corruption).

Essentially, you should use this ability on cooldown, making sure that it is used as many times as possible during the encounter. It is best to use Demon Soul at the same time as Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp, trinket procs and your Volcanic Potion.

8.5.3. Doomguard/Infernal

For most situations, summoning a Doomguard is your best choice. In case you are faced with a large number of enemies that you wish to use extra burst on, you should use Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal.

Summon Doomguard Icon Summon Doomguard/Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal will summon a Doomguard/Infernal to fight by your side for 45 seconds. The ability has a 10 minute cooldown, meaning that it will realistically only be usable once per fight. Your Doomguard/Infernal benefits from your own Critical Strike Rating and spellpower, at the time of summoning him. He is not affected by your haste, and any change in your stats after your Doomguard/Infernal has been summoned will not affect him.

This makes the ideal time to use your Doomguard/Infernal when you have as many of the following buffs as possible:

This generally makes the best time to use your Doomguard/Infernal at the start of the fight, unless a burn phase at another time requires that you delay it until then.

8.6. Dark Intent

Dark Intent Icon Dark Intent is a unique spell, similar in a way to Arcane Mages' Focus Magic Icon Focus Magic. Dark Intent is a buff that you can apply on a party or raid member. This effectively links the two of you together, granting you certain benefits. Namely:

  • Both you and the recipient of Dark Intent gain 3% haste.
  • When either you or the player you are linked with scores a damage over time or healing over time critical effect, the other one will gain a buff:
    • If you score a critical effect, the other player's periodic damage and periodic healing will be increased by 1% for 7 seconds, stacking up to 3 times.
    • If the other player scores a critical effect, your periodic damage and periodic healing will be increased by 3% for 7 seconds, stacking up to 3 times.

Note that, if two Warlocks exchange Dark Intent Icon Dark Intent, the effect will not stack (i.e., each Warlock will get a gain of 3% haste, instead of 6%).

Dark Intent, therefore, is most beneficial when cast on a player who:

  • performs many periodic damage or period healing spells.
  • has a high chance to score critical effects with these spells.
  • is performing a role (DPS/healer) that is crucial to the encounter.

If your raid is progressing on an encounter where you are wiping to overwhelming damage, then you should cast Dark Intent Icon Dark Intent on a healer. If your raid is progressing on an encounter where you are wiping due to insufficient DPS, then you should cast Dark Intent on a DPS player. Refer to the table below to see what are the best classes to cast Dark Intent on.

Healers DPS
  1. Restoration Druid
  2. Holy Priest
  3. Restoration Shaman
  4. Discipline Priest
  5. Holy Paladin
  1. Shadow Priest
  2. Fire Mage
  3. Balance Druid
  4. Elemental Shaman
  5. Frost Mage

8.7. Curses

As a Demonology Warlock, you have the possibility of applying one of several curses on the target. You are limited to only having one curse on each target active at any one time. Your choice is between:

None of these curses offers a DPS boost to you. You should only apply a curse if no one else in the raid is able to provide that debuff on the target.

Exceptionally, you can make it a habit to always apply Curse of the Elements Icon Curse of the Elements on the target at the start of the fight. This curse lasts 5 minutes (meaning you will not have to refresh it often, if at all) and it is not provided by very many classes.




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