Recently we had a look at the glyphs available to us as Warlocks, and this week I wanted to take a closer look at our talent tree. What do our talents actually do, and when are they useful?
It’s going to be a fairly brief look, just to give us an idea of what they can be used for, with a focus on PvE content. For a more in-depth look at each talent, I suggest you head on over to Warlockery who is taking a much closer look and examining all aspects of the talents.
Tier 1 Talents (level 15)
I’m personally quite fond of this talent. It’s a nice heal for yourself with a 2 minute cooldown, which means that you can choose when to use it yourself. In addition to healing you for 30% of your health (over 12 seconds), it also increases healing done to you by 25%. This means that you heal yourself and it gets easier for the healers to bump you up at the same time!
I usually use this on fights where I want some control over my own health, for example for Blade Lord Ta’yak and running down the whirlwind alley.
When specced into Soul Leech some of your offensive abilities (depending on your specialisation) will provide you with an absorption shield for 15 seconds that will absorb some of the damage.
Except for times when either of the other two talents might be useful, this is most likely your best choice since it’s passive and doesn’t require any extra attention from you.
The changes made in 5.4 turns Drain Life into a fairly good self-heal, and can be useful when soloing. Yes, you can use it when raiding, but do remember that any second that you’re using Drain Life, you’re not casting a spell that does more damage!
Tier 2 Talents (level 30)
Sends a cone of breath in front of you, slowing all enemies within 10 yards by 50% for 6 seconds. Mainly useful for PvP, or if your raid requires some kind of crowd control on a fight.
The new version of our old Death Coil, which causes the target to run in horror for 3 seconds and heals you for 15% of your maximum health. While the horror effect won’t work on bosses, the heal will and means that this is one of the most useful talents that you can take in this tier. Self-healing is never a bad thing!
I use this talent on pretty much every boss fight where I don’t feel that Shadowfury is useful.
This ability stuns enemies within eight yards for three seconds. It’s nice for PvP, but there are also a few boss fights where this may be useful. Usually ones where there are adds that can be crowd controlled. Personally I use this talent on fights like Will of the Emperors to stun the Emperor’s Rage mobs as they come running, or stunning adds on Elegon etc.
Tier 3 Talents (level 45)
If you have a demon up, you and your demon will share 20% of the damage done to you. 3% of the damage you deal will also be converted to healing for you and your demon. If you use the Sacrifice talent, and don’t have a demon up, you will instead receive a 20% health bonus.
I use this talent a fair deal, it’s very useful for taking less damage and getting passive healing.
This causes your demon to sacrifice 25% of its health to provide a 10 second shield that absorbs 400% of the health sacrificed. If you don’t have a pet, it will take the health off of you instead. One possibility is to use this during an AoE phase, since your demon generally will take a lower amount of AoE damage, so the lost health won’t kill it – and instead you get a nice absorption.
It’s an interesting talent, and the absorption shield can definitely be useful in some fights.
Using this gives you a full absorption for eight seconds, where you take no damage. After the eight seconds, you will take 50% of the damage you absorbed as a DoT over eight seconds. This can be really useful in some fights to prevent you from large damage, as long as your healers are aware that you will need some healing after it wears off.
Tier 4 Talents (level 60)
This is an instant cast ability that lasts for 1 minute, with a 30 second cooldown. When someone hits you with a melee attack, they are basically feared (it counts as a horror effect though and won’t apply dmr for Fear) for 4 seconds. It only has one charge though, so you’ll want to time it well. It’s mainly a PvP ability.
Increases your running speed by 50%, but drains 4% of your health every second while active. This ability can be really neat at times when you need to move quickly, but don’t necessarily have to worry about taking damage.
I sometimes use it on Will of the Emperors to quicker get into range of adds, or moving up and down the whirlwind alley on Blade Lord Ta’yak.
Costs 20% of your max health and removes magic effects, movement impairment and loss of control. For example it can be used to break out of the fear on Grand Empress, or the Amber Prison on Wind Lord, or the Petrification by trash in Mogu’shan.
Another time when it can be useful is on the first boss in HoF. While it won’t break you out of his mind control, the 20% health removed will help your raid members to quicker get you below 50% to free you.
Tier 5 Talents (level 75)
Grimoire of Supremacy
With this talent your demons are replaced with stronger ones, that deal 20% increased damage and have slightly different abilities. In 5.4 this is the best talent for Affliction Warlocks, but works well for Destruction and Demonology as well.
Grimoire of Service
This will summon a second demon that will fight for 20 seconds, on a 2 minute cooldown. Demonology Warlocks currently fare very well with this grimoire since it allows them to time it with their other cooldowns and abilities and get some good burst numbers.
Grimoire of Sacrifice
With this talent you will sacrifice your demon for a buff to your own damage. It means no micro-managing your pet, and can be useful on certain fights. Destruction generally is the spec that does best with this talent (but all three are very close in damage currently), but in fights with more than one target GoSac tends to pull ahead.
Tier 6 Talents (level 90)
This talent causes your Dark Soul ability to have two charges, making it one of the best talents on this tier.
This was changed in 5.4 to only allow you to cast Incinerate, Shadowbolt or Malefic Grasp (depending on your spec) while moving. It can still be used in a movement heavy fight, but is nowhere near as good as it used to be.
This makes the radius of your AoE spells about five times bigger. which makes the talent useful in some fights if there’s a lot of AoE damage needed.