Destruction Warlock Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, and ability priorities

Burn! BURN, you oversized, underwhelming Thrall stand-in! Yes, us Destruction warlocks should enjoy WoW Patch [patchnumber] – at least, those of us who are sick and tired of Garrosh (which, let’s face it, is pretty much all of us) will. With this quick-start guide, you’ll be able to get your talents and glyphs chosen, your reforging and gemming done for the right stats, and your DPS rotation sorted out in time to start burning Garrosh’s minions in no time. !

Updated [guideupdated] to World of Warcraft Patch [patchnumber]

Destruction Warlock changes in Patch [patchnumber]

Significant talent and rotation changes.

Destruction “Rotation” and Priorities

Destruction’s new ability rotation looks complicated, but actually is pretty simple. You’ve got two new resources – Backdraft and Burning Embers. So it’s basically “build up one, build up the other”.

Single-target DPS

Start out by casting Immolate on your target.

  • Top Priority: If Immolate is about to drop, re-cast it. If you have two “charges” of Conflagrate remaining, cast Conflagrate.
  • Second Priority: If you have more than 3 Burning Embers or you’re under a damage buff, cast Chaos Bolt, or Shadowburn if the target is below 20%.
  • Third Priority: Cast Conflagrate if you can. If not, cast Incinerate.

You can use Fel Flame instead of Incinerate, if you’re moving.

Note that you can get more complex with how you’re managing your resources here – see the guides in “Links” for more advanced strategies. This is a simple, easy-to-understand rotation.


Against up to 3 enemies, use your regular rotation, but keep Rain Of Fire up as a high priority.

Against 4 or more enemies, open by casting Rain of Fire, then Fire and Brimstone, then Immolate on one of your targets. Then cast Conflagrate, then Incinerate if you still have Burning Embers. As soon as a target drops below 20% health, use Havok then Shadowburn on it.


  • Build up as many Burning Embers as possible before using Dark Soul: Instability. Try to use Dark Soul: Instability as often as possible.
  • Use Summon Doomguard for single-target DPS and Summon Infernal for multi-target DPS. Use whichever one is more appropriate whenever available.
  • Ember Tap restores health, but at the cost of DPS, as it uses a Burning Ember. However, dead warlocks can’t DPS – so don’t be afraid to use it in an emergency.
  • Use Soulshatter to drop aggro from monsters attacking you.
  • Unending Resolve reduces damage you take.
  • Soulstone now functions as a combat resurrection – remember to use it if no-one else can combat res.


Summon an Observer. Remember to cast Dark Intent, and summon a Soulwell if your party or raid wants one!

Destruction Warlock Talent Choices

MoP talents are designed to be changed on a per-encounter basis – however, to start off with, here’s a solid general talent setup:

  • Tier 1: Soul Leech – makes all your damage spells heal you (a bit).
  • Tier 2: Mortal Coil – gives you a self-heal spell.
  • Tier 3: Soul Link – passive ability.
  • Tier 4: Unbound Will – gives you a cooldown which removes movement impairing effects, mind control, and magic debuffs.
  • Tier 5: Grimoire of Supremacy – Grimoire of Sacrifice is slightly better multi-target, but also more complex.
  • Tier 6: Archimonde’s Vengeance – gives you more flexibility with Dark Soul.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Destruction Warlock

Intellect is most important for Destruction warlocks. After that, it’s Hit to hit cap (15% / 1537 ) followed by Mastery.

Reforging: Reforge to hit cap first (15% / 1537), then reforge to Mastery. Reforge from Hit over cap first, then Haste.

Gems: Use Artful gems in Red sockets, Fractured gems in Yellow sockets and Sensei’s gems in Blue sockets.

Meta Gem: Burning meta gem, whichever you can afford.

Expertise: Note that Expertise counts toward the Hit Cap – so if you can’t reforge to Hit, you can still reforge to Expertise.

Destro lock Glyphs

A number of glyphs have situationally specific uses, but here’s a good no-downsides selection:

Major: Glyph of Conflagrate, Glyph of Ember Tap, Glyph of Siphon Life

Minor: Your choice. No real effects in DPS terms.

Destruction Warlock enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery or Superior Expertise
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Cerulean Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect

Here are some options for more information:

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