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General Build Information

Since the revamp of the Demonology talents with patch 1.6, several warlocks have tried putting 30 points into Demonology instead of Affliction to acquire the Master Demonologist talent instead of Shadow Mastery, while still spending 21 points in Destruction to acquire Ruin; some have found they like this build even more than SM/Ruin. Not only does the Succubus's MD buff add 10% to all damage the warlock causes, if the warlock uses Demonic Sacrifice on the Succubus, the 15% increase in Shadow damage is greater than the 10% increase from Shadow Mastery.


The advantages of this build are the increased power and utility of your pets -- since such talents as Fel Intellect, Fel Stamina and Unholy Power improve every pet, while Improved Imp/Voidwalker/Succubus improve specific ones -- and great flexibility, as Master Demonologist and Demonic Sacrifice give a wide range of benefits to select from based on the situation. The radical change in specialization can be almost like respending your talent points, and all it costs is a Soul Shard. Also, Demonic Embrace gives you a large stamina boost.

The threat reduction of the imp stacks with the threat reduction of Salvation or Tranquil Air Totems. This combined with Improved Shadow Bolt, [Bane] and [Ruin] makes for a tankfriendly warlock with high DPS.


The disadvantages of this build are that you become flexible but not versatile -- you can radically change what you excel in just by summoning another demon, but of course only one pet can be out at any one time; you can never be simultaneously excellent at both offense and defense -- and that many of your talent points are effectively locked away and not in use if you don't have a pet out, or if your pet dies. Unless you're in a Battleground, you resurrect petless, which means that warlocks are more handicapped than other classes immediately after resurrection, and a Demonology-heavy build emphasizes this -- although it also mitigates it to some extent by providing quick and mana-cheap summons. Whereas Shadow Mastery synergizes well with the Destruction talents, the Succubus-dependent bonuses are the only Demonology talents that synergize this way, meaning that you don't get as much out of your Destruction points if you don't have your Succubus around.

There are other disadvantages of MD/Ruin. In order to match the damage capabilities of SM/Ruin, MD/Ruin specced warlock has to use Succubus and can't keep any other pets up. This may be taken unfavorably by warlock's group members, because warlocks are liked in part for their Imps' [Blood Pact] buff (+42 to +54 Stamina, depending on talents ). However, lack of Blood Pact is not a big problem for warlock himself, because stamina gained from 5-point Demonic Embrace talent usually exceeds the benefit of Blood Pact. It should be noted that Demonic Embrace also increases stamina from buffs such as Power Word: Fortitude or Blood Pact. MD/Ruin builds have no points left to spend for Affliction talents, most notably Improved Corruption.

MD/Ruin specced warlocks may also have problems in PvP combat against some classes, because they lack an important kiting spell - Curse of Exhaustion; being less able to keep enemies away, they have to rely on their increased stamina for their survival.

Specific Talent Build Examples

Succubus Heavy

Blizzard Talent Calculator Links

Basic Combat Information

Like all Shadow-Ruin builds, shadow damage is your bread and butter. Unlike SM/Ruin, [Demonic Immolation Passive] will see some use because it also gains +10% damage from the Master Demonologist talent and generates less initial damage than your [Shadow Bolt] while still dealing significant total damage.

Typical Combat
  1. Send in your Succubus
  2. Hit the mob with Curse of Elements just before she starts to attack them so that her [Lash of Pain] gets the curse's damage bonus.
  3. Cast Corruption
  4. Cast [Immolate]
  5. Begin spamming [Shadow Bolt]
  6. If your Succubus dies somewhere along the line, hit [Fel Domination] and resummon before the mob reaches melee.

All Succubus

With 8 points in Demonology and 2 points in Destruction dedicated to making your succubus a hooved can of butt-kicking with wings, she constitutes a significant and long-term portion of your DPS in addition to supplying you with a blanket 10% damage bonus on everything you do. Having her out and keeping her out and attacking the target is pretty much vital to this specific build.

Imp Heavy

Blizzard Talent Calculator Links

Basic Combat Information

With good Itemization this build is based around working heavily as part of a group. While you won't have quite the damage output of the Succubus Heavy build, you'll be generating far less aggro allowing your DPS to remain a lot more constant. When combined with [Life Tap], you can keep up a constant stream of damage for a long time.

Typical Combat
  1. Let MT build up aggro.
  2. Cast [Curse of the Elements].
  3. Repeatedly cast Shadow Bolts and your Imp's Firebolts.

Imp Heavy

In an end-game group, you'll pretty much be limited to casting a single curse (either CoE or CoS) and spamming Shadow Bolts along side your Imp's Firebolts. You might find some variety when mobs run by using [Curse of Recklessness] to reel them in.