Destruction Warlock Spell Rotation (5.0.4)

Today the patch finally went live on EU realms as well, meaning that everyone now should have their updated Warlocks. As mentioned previously we’ve had quite a few changes to the Warlock class and I will try to write down the basic rotations at 85.

This is not the be all end all guide, but just the pure basics to get you started with your changed rotation as Destruction.

The Basics

We no longer need 17% Hit, but only 15% (1537 rating at 85).

You now pick a specialization, but the actual talents are the same for each one. To change your talents you don’t have to visit a Class Trainer anymore, but you do have to visit one if you wish to switch from one specialization to another. Switching talents now is similar to switching glyphs, and you need Dust of Disappearance just the same as well.



You can pretty much choose whatever you want for your talents depending on your personal preference and the boss mechanics. The one talent that actually has a bearing on your actual dps is the tier 5 talent where you choose your grimoire. The suggested one for Destruction is Grimoire of Supremacy, which turns your demons into the stronger versions. Supposedly at 85 Grimoire of Sacrifice may yield a little bit more dps, so you can go for that if you prefer. As for me, I’m sticking with Supremacy, because hey… those demons look awesome!

Stat Priorities

Intellect > Hit (15%) > Haste > Crit > Mastery


Major: Burning Embers, the rest you can choose depending on the fight
Minor: Your choice (I personally like Nightmares)


As Destruction you’ll want to use the Felhunter, or if you chose to go with Grimoire of Supremacy, the updated version; the Observer.

Spell Rotation

Use your dps cooldown Dark Soul: Instability every cooldown, but try to do it when you have as many Burning Embers as possible so that you can cast several Chaos Bolts.

Also, try to save up Burning Embers for when the boss is about to hit 20% so that you can use several Shadowburn straight off.

And obviously don’t forget to use your Summon Doomguard (or Summon Terrorguard if you went with the Supremacy talent.)

Enjoy your new Warlock changes and let’s get out there and dominate!


Destruction Warlock Spell Rotation (5.0.4) — 12 Comments

  1. Not a bad rotation. I have two suggestions that you might find helpful though. The first is to try to build up to 3 or 4 Burning Embers before the boss reaches 20%. I suggest this because Shadowburn is an instant cast you can spam, and it seems to have better damage compared to Chaos Bolt due to its crits. My second suggestion comes in response to Dark Soul: Instability. I would suggest that you cast Incinerate rather than Chaos Bolt since Dark Soul: Instability adds to crit chance and Chaos Bolt will alway critically strike on its own (at least according to your link and my in-game spellbook).

    • Chaos Bolt and Incinerate are both viable to use during Instability. The tooltip for CB says that increased crit % = increased dmg, so 30% increased crit means a much bigger CB hit 🙂

  2. Can you please clarify why we prioritise Shadowburn over Chaos Bolt below 20%?

    My Chaos Bolts are hitting for a LOT more than Shadowburn, and I can’t imagine this is offset by the reduced cast time.

    Unless I need burst <20% (e.g. on Spine), I'm sticking to Chaos Bolt. Am I missing something?

    • The reduced cast time is 2.5 seconds(ish) compared to instant, which is quite a big difference.

      Also, I’m a little surprised that your Chaos Bolts are hitting for more than Shadowburn (maybe you have lots of crit?). If they really are a lot higher though, and you feel that you get more dps out of it.. Go for it 🙂

      In general Shadowburn should hit higher though, if one looks at the tooltip.

      Shadowburn: Instantly blasts the target for (3365 ( + 350% of SpellPower) * 1) Shadow damage.

      Chaos Bolt: Unleashes a blast of chaos, causing (2164 ( + 225% of SpellPower) * (1)) Shadow damage.

      • One difference that needs to be considered is that CB always crits, whereas SB doesn’t. This offsets the damage formula.
        Looking at EJ, their pre-raid sim shows CB hitting for 254k and SB hitting for 197k. I guess their Sim says that the reduced damage is offset by the instant cast versus slow cast, whereas my unscientific gut-feel says that Ember’s shouldn’t be wasted on a lower damage ability.
        Hmmm… maybe SB is better for execute, but I still feel that I’m missing the HUGE CB hits that makes Destro so fun.
        After an expansion of Mages and Shadowpriests boasting of their record crits, it’s nice to be able to compete 🙂

  3. I don’t understand why people are saying to use the observer over the fel imp. I tried it myself, and my dps went down. Am I doing something wrong?

    • It’s the pet that’s been showing as the highest in the Simcraft that’s been done. However, that’s all done on T13 Heroic gear – so if you have a different gear sets the results may end up different. Also, it’s all still pretty new, so it might turn out that another pet ends up better 🙂

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