Warlock tactics

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Warlock tactics for Mists of Pandaria are presented below. Be advised that the article is significantly out of date, and that while it may contain some strategies and advice that is still relevant to the current game, much of its content may no longer be accurate.

Mists of Pandaria

General advice

Affliction

Demonology

Destruction


Opening remarks

The warlock is a very fun and rewarding class to play, but they take a lot of skill and finesse to play right. As a warlock, you will need to learn to use your pets, manage your threat, and collect Soul Shards. As you grow in levels, your strategies will change slightly, you will have to learn to adapt to new situations and new spells. But however your strategy adjusts, it can usually be boiled down into a few basic concepts.

Soul Shards

Main article: Soul Shard

Most often, soul shards will be used to regenerate a pet that has died. They can also be used to instantly swap pets on a 45 second cooldown (when done as part of rotation, this is known as "pet twisting" and as of Patch 4.2.0 is part of the Demonology rotation).

Destruction warlocks may often want to use [Soulburn] + [Soul Fire] as a quick way to refresh the [Improved Soul Fire] buff.

In PvP scenarios soul shards may be used for either purpose - an immediate pet summon if a pet is killed, or as a quick burst to finish weakened opponents off.

Pet Strategies

Imp

Forang Deathrattle, an orc warlock, and his imp.

Below level 8, a warlock will only be able to summon the Imp, which is a pet that casts fireballs at enemies.

In general, the Imp represents the mage type of pet; it excels at ranged/spell damage, but has very poor threat generation and low hitpoints. Therefore, for the most part, they are best suited for cases when you are in a group where someone else can tank. If you use the Imp alone, you are best suited using the pet to deliver the most amount of damage as it can, while you do the same. The key with the Imp is to kill the monster before it can do too much damage to either you or the Imp.

In end-game raids the Imp is the primary pet for Destruction-specialized warlocks. This is due to the synergy with the [Burning Embers] and [Empowered Imp] talents available only to Destruction warlocks.

Voidwalker

Bildros Nullvoid, a gnome warlock, and his voidwalker.

At level 8 you gain the ability to summon the Voidwalker. This pet is a tank, meaning he can absorb a lot of damage, but is not very useful at dealing it. The key ability of the Voidwalker is [Torment], a ability that generates high threat. What that means is that he can cause monsters to find him more threatening than you. That is a good thing, as letting the Voidwalker absorb damage will keep you from having to, and he has much better armor. And if it comes down to one of you being killed... well, better him than you.

Other abilities of the Voidwalker include Sacrifice, which hurts the Voidwalker by a percentage of health to give you a version of the priest spell [Power Word: Shield], [Suffering], which serves as a taunt, and [Consume Shadows], an out of combat pet self heal. Sacrifice can be particularly useful if your Voidwalker's health is low and he's about to die regardless.

The Voidwalker excels in situations where damage mitigation and survivability are key. Against weaker foes, it is quicker and simpler to use minions that deal more damage, if necessary using [Soul Harvest] regularly top-up your health. When facing more formidable opponents, the Voidwalker can allow you to triumph in encounters that you might otherwise not survive.

The tactics used with the Voidwalker are usually centered around letting him take the damage, while you hurt the monster in a controlled manner. While this may result in a slower kill, it allows the Voidwalker to retain aggro, and prevent the mob from coming after you. After ordering the Voidwalker to attack your selected target, most experienced Warlocks start out with [Bane of Agony]. Bane of Agony is applied before the other DoTs because it takes the longest to complete its full duration (24 seconds). After Bane of Agony comes [Corruption], and then either [Immolate] or [Unstable Affliction].

This DoT order has several advantages. First, it ensures that full damage from all the DoTs is done in the shortest amount of time. Second, it does the least amount of damage in the beginning. Neither Curse of Agony nor Corruption do any damage for 3 seconds after you cast them, and Curse of Agony starts off slow. This allows your Voidwalker to get a taunt in before you start really pissing off the monster. Third, it allows you the most flexibility. It's not uncommon for your Voidwalker to have his taunt resisted, but since the damage you've done is so low in the beginning, the monster might not turn to attack you. Even if it does, it won't be hard for the Voidwalker to get aggro back. If you see your Voidwalker being resisted, you can always hold off on your heavy DoT ( [Immolate] or [Unstable Affliction]) until after he's built up more threat.

The strategy of finishing off the monster after this depends on the talent spec of the Warlock. Affliction warlocks will usually use [Drain Life] and [Shadow Bolt], Demonology warlocks will use a combination of [Shadow Bolt] and later [Incinerate], and Destruction warlocks will use [Conflagrate] to finish the monster off.

In longer fights, you may need to use [Health Funnel] to give your pet some needed life, but be aware that those heals will raise your threat level a good amount, and may result in the monster going after you.

Succubus

Plague Fleshbane, a forsaken warlock, and his succubus.

At level 20, you will get the rogue pet, the Succubus. Besides having a 'distinct' look, the Succubus is capable of dishing out a lot of damage. She does less straight damage than the Felhunter, and doesn't have the range of an Imp, nor is she able to absorb as much damage as the Voidwalker. However, she has the middle ground in all of these areas and boasts a powerful mid-ranged attack ( [Lash of Pain]), the crowd control ability [Seduction], and the knockback ability [Whiplash]. She also comes with [Lesser Invisibility] and is therefore more of a "control"-type and PvP pet.

The tactics around the Succubus are similar to the Imp: deal damage fast and share the pain between you. Since aggro is not a concern, you're better off simply dealing as much as damage as you can, as quickly as you can.

Succubi can also be very useful in a group where a tank is already present. Having the ability to dish out more damage, and even the occasional bit of [Seduction] is definitely worth using. She also tends to create some oohs and ahhs because of her scantily clad appearance. The distinctive look of the Succubus will also make it clear what to target, and her reduced size compared to the Voidwalker makes fighting at close quarters easier.

Felhunter

Felbender Lara, a human warlock, and her felhunter.

At level 30 you get the Felhunter. The Felhunter is very useful against other casters, using spell lock, which interrupts an enemy caster's spell, and—for six seconds—prevents the caster from casting any spell from the same class of magic. The felhunter's [Devour Magic] ability removes positive magic on an enemy (similar to [Purge]) and heals the felhunter every time he performs it. The felhunter also comes with the [Fel Intelligence] buff providing mana and mana regeneration, although this does not stack with [Arcane Brilliance] from a mage or [Blessing of Might] from a paladin.

Due to the [Shadow Bite] ability, the felhunter is the strongest pet for affliction warlocks, and the strongest single-target pet for demonology warlocks.

The felhunter is also the best pet with which to practice a soloing technique called "drain tanking." Attack with the pet and apply DoTs of your choice. Eventually the aggro generated by your spells will pull the mob onto you, at which point begin spamming [Drain Life] to offset the damage you're taking from the mob, as well as Life Tapping to replenish your mana. Meanwhile, your felhunter should be ideally positioned to cast [Shadow Bite] behind the mob. Drain tanking is only feasible as a play style if you take some key talents in the affliction tree, but if done well you can take down mobs surprisingly fast and come out with only a small net loss of health/mana.

Infernal

Infernal TCG art

At level 50 you can learn [Summon Infernal]. The Infernal is considered a guardian, and so can be used at the same time as your current minion. The Infernal is not a pet you will be using frequently, seeing as it can only be summoned once every 10 minutes, and disappears after 45 seconds.

The spell to summon the Infernal has a 1.5 second cast time, and when the Infernal lands it will deal a small amount of shadow damage to all enemies around it as well as stunning them for 2 seconds.

The Infernal is not under the direct control of the warlock, instead automatically attacking any target afflicted with [Bane of Agony] or [Bane of Doom]. However, the Infernal comes with a good chunk of health, fire immunity, fear immunity, and a permanent immolation aura that deals fire damage to every enemy around it every 3 seconds. It also hits pretty hard, and tanks well in PvE if you ever decide to use it for that.

Its fear immunity makes it a useful tool against enemy priests.

The infernal is useful for attracting attention in group PvP. If you send your infernal in to attack an enemy group, chances are they will focus their firepower on the infernal, giving your group members an easier time.

Doomguard

Gahrunt Foulfang and his Doomguard

At level 58 warlocks can learn [Summon Doomguard]. Like the Infernal, the Doomguard is considered a guardian, can only be summoned every 10 minutes, and remains for only 45 seconds. The Doomguard can be summoned instantly, although it lacks the introductory damage and stun effect of the Infernal.

While the Infernal is stronger for AoE purposes, the Doomguard deals more single-target damage. Like the Infernal, the Doomguard is not under the warlock's control, but automatically attacks targets afflicted with [Bane of Agony] or [Bane of Doom] with his [Doom Bolt].

Felguard

The Felguard is the Demonology warlock's additional minion, attained via the Demonology primary ability [Summon Felguard].

The Felguard's aggro-holding ability is significantly better than the voidwalker's. This goes for his melee damage as well, comparable to the succubus, and for this reason makes them both obsolete for Demonology warlocks except for Sacrifice and [Seduction]. The Felguard's abilities include a 4 second stun, a healing debuff, and Felstorm which deals AoE damage similarly to [Bladestorm]. He is great for PvP and soloing, and can even hold his own in a raid if kept healed. When facing an enemy warlock who has one, it is advisable to banish it, hence removing the [Demonic Pact] buff this demon gives him.

Curses

Harrigan Soulsunder, a blood elf affliction-warlock.

A warlock is allowed one curse per target. Multiple warlocks can cast the same or different curses on a target. However, most do not stack (i.e. two [Curse of Tongues] will not delay casting time any more than one). The choice of curses to use depends on the situation. Get a feel for the duration of each curse or use an addon that tracks spell duration on targets so you can recast a curse when one wears off (namely [Curse of Tongues], [Curse of Weakness], and [Curse of Exhaustion]). The following is a list of curses and their effects:

  • [Curse of the Elements] - Reduces the target's Arcane, Fire, Frost, Nature, and Shadow resistance and increase magic damage taken by 8%. 5 minute duration. Reduces resistances by 183 at level 85.
  • [Curse of Exhaustion] - Slows the target's movement speed by 30%. 30 second duration. Tier 3 Affliction talent.
  • [Curse of Tongues] - Increases the casting time of the target's spells by 30%. 30 second duration.
  • [Curse of Weakness] - Decreases the amount of physical damage the target deals by 10%. 2 minute duration.

When you want to dish out damage, it is best to use [Curse of the Elements].

[Curse of Tongues] is best used against spell-casting enemies, as it will slow their spellcasting on you.

[Curse of Weakness] is obviously useful against melee types.

[Curse of the Elements] is useful for reducing a target's ability to resist a particular class of spells. This is very useful when grouped with Mages, Shadow Priests, other Warlocks, and perhaps Elemental Shamans and Death knights. In PvP, CoE entirely counteracts racial resistance traits such as [Shadow Resistance], but against specific buffs such as [Resistance Aura] or [Shadow Protection] leaves 12 resistance in place.

All in all, it is best to suit the curse to your immediate needs and be ready to shift them as your needs shift. Changing curses in mid-fight, especially in PvP, is quite handy.

Health and Mana Management

An ogre getting blasted by fel magic.

Warlocks are unique among mana-dependent classes in their ability to fuel their spells with their health, which they do by using [Life Tap]. They are also one of the two classes (the other being Shadow Priests) that can heal themselves by damaging or stealing health from enemies, via [Drain Life], [Death Coil] and [Corruption] when improved with [Siphon Life]. Furthermore, they can heal their pets like Hunters do, but unlike Hunters, Warlocks heal their pets by sending them their own health (with [Health Funnel]). Because of these facts, Warlocks have a different relationship with their health and mana bars than other classes do—health and mana are both resources that you can use, and there's even a conversion between the two, though it is one-way.

For one thing, Warlocks don't need to carry drinks around—a Warlock can just [Life Tap] until his/her health is low, then cast [Soul Harvest] to refill health. A useful trick is to switch to [Demon Armor] prior to Soul Harvesting to increase the amount of health generated - remember to switch back to [Fel Armor] once completed!

Melee classes are known for doing sustainable damage—that is, the damage they do doesn't directly deplete a limited resource. Spellcasters' damage is usually limited by their mana, but Warlocks have ways around this. If a pet or some allies are keeping a mob from attacking the Warlock directly, the Warlock can do quite sustainable damage by alternately using Life Tap and casting Drain Life on an enemy, and you might even end up with more health and mana than you started with. The Affliction talent [Soul Siphon] helps with this. If you have curses and/or DoTs on the mob at the same time, it can add up to a sizable contribution to the total damage done.

After the 4.0.3 changes to [Health Funnel], the health lost from casting it is minimal, so don't be afraid to use it to refill your pet's health whenever needed.

Gear preferences

Undeads being drained into a void.

(Changed for Cataclysm. Credits to Morzath of Area 52 and Docato of Thunderhorn for the original.)

Intellect and Spell Power (now found only on weapons) are the primary stats for a warlock. Leveling warlocks should primarily be concerned with maximizing the amount of intellect on their gear. All endgame warlocks need to maximize their intellect and spell power as well.

In the endgame, secondary stats become of greater importance, and depend on specialization and playstyle.

For PvP, warlocks should focus on resilience and haste. Resilience helps protect against enemy attacks, while haste allows quicker casting (to help against interrupting abilities) as well as increased DoT tick frequency (to offset dispelling).

For raiding, demonology warlocks should focus primarily on mastery and haste. Destruction and Affliction warlocks should focus primarily on haste, with destruction warlocks aiming to get extra ticks on [Immolate], for improved [Conflagrate] damage.

Spirit is absolutely, utterly useless for all warlock specs and purposes. All spirit should be reforged off as much as possible.

When coming to the choice of weapons, always choose the one with the best stats for whatever type of Warlock you are. Warlocks can either use a staff or a caster dagger or sword plus an offhand. There is no advantage either way, so pick the most powerful weapon available, regardless of type. The DPS of the weapon is completely irrelevant, as the Warlock should not be melee attacking.

With the advent of Cataclysm, wands are merely a "stat stick." The Shoot ability has no meaningful purpose beyond a cheap laugh.

How to Solo in PvE Against...

A forsaken warlock destroying an opponent's soul.

The general rule is that it is better to fight one mob at a time. Some classes can optimize by grouping several mobs at the same time, and then AoE, but that is generally not the case for a solo Warlock.

Two Even Level Mobs

Strategy 1

Send in your Voidwalker. Begin fighting mob #1 as if mob #2 wasn't even there. As long as you do nothing to aggro mob #2, he will beat on your Voidwalker for the simple reason that's who he saw first and he has no other aggro triggers. Having your Voidwalker taunt mob #2 is not required until you finish with mob #1. Once mob #1 is dead, proceed with killing mob #2 like you normally would solo a single mob. Somewhere in this, you may need to use [Health Funnel] on your pet. Be aware that this will cause a high level of threat, which will bring the second mob to you if you have not yet turned your Voidwalker's attention to him.

Strategy 2

If you have both [Amplify Curse] and [Siphon Life], you can implement another strategy which will kill them both more quickly. Send in your Voidwalker as with Strategy 1. Hit mob #1 with [Siphon Life], an Amplified Curse of Agony, [Corruption], and [Immolate]. These DoTs should be sufficient to kill the mob on their own. Turn your Voidwalker to attack mob #2, DoTing him with the same DoTs (you will not be able to [Amplify Curse] again for 3 minutes). Add a [Shadow Bolt] or two to ensure his death. Sometime during this process, the damage from the DoTs on mob #1 will do enough to make him attack you. Don't let this divert your attention from mob #2, mob #1 will drop dead on his own like he had a heart attack soon enough.

Strategy 3

This strategy is similar to Strategy 1 (admittedly I've only used it at low levels - pre suffering - and it works well). You first send your pet in to tank the two mobs, put all your dots on the one that your VW is primarily tanking, and then put all your dots on the mob that your VW isn't tanking. This will cause it to aggro you, so you fear it. While it's feared the dots are ticking off and the first mob is probably close to dead, so shadowbolt or whatever to finish it off. Now you can turn to the feared mob and finish it off however you like. Once you hit level 24 and your VW learns suffering, you can probably extend this strategy to 2 or 3 or even 4 mobs, depending on how long your VW will last against the unfeared mobs.

Three Even Level Mobs

[Fear] the highest-level (or elite) mob. Send your Voidwalker in to taunt the other two mobs, and then focus all of your and your Voidwalker's attention on the lowest-level (or caster), taking it down as fast as possible. Meanwhile, be scanning around for the highest-level mob coming back at you, and re-Fear it. Now focus on taking down the mid-level mob. If your Voidwalker is low on health, cast [Health Funnel]—or, if you have [Fel Domination], cast Sacrifice and summon a new one. Keep that pesky highest-level mob Feared. Once the mid-level mob is down, turn your Voidwalker's attention to the highest-level mob and taunt until it gains aggro (should be little trouble since you haven't done any damage to that mob). You may want to use First Aid or a  [Healthstone] at this point if you've taken a few hits. Take down the last mob at your leisure.

If you are feeling daring, you can play around with DoTting the first two mobs before controlling them. If anything goes awry and they gain too much aggro on you, you can always Sacrifice your Voidwalker and cast [Howl of Terror].

Four Even Level Mobs

Teresa Voidheart, a forsaken warlock.

Pull with a low cost curse (preferably Curse of Elements) Fear that mob (1) while sending your Voidwalker at (2). Use [Howl of Terror] to fear the remaining mobs (3) and (4). DoT up (3) and (2) (in that order) with everything you got: CoA, [Corruption] and [Immolate] and switch back to (3). [Shadow Bolt] 'till it drops. If (3) breaks fear early, tank it while killing it as fast as possible. Send the Voidwalker to (4) when it breaks fear. Mob (1) should break fear now too, due to longer duration on single target fear. Re-cast [Fear] on it. Take (2)'s remaining health with a [Shadow Bolt] or two. If you cant take its health away like that, tank it for a while (you should have aggro from it) and reapply DoTs. Now we only got (1) and (4) left, both effectively take out of the fight. Heal the pet (or Sacrifice it and summon a new), and keep (1) Feared until you feel comfortable with taking it out. Take your time on the last two, its a breeze comparing to what you just managed. Micro-management at its finest.

Five Even Level Mobs

Zenith Shadowforce, a human warlock and his felhunter

Soloing 5 mobs is very difficult, and should only be attempted at the higher levels when more crowd and aggro control techniques are unlocked (such as [Howl of Terror]). An affliction or demonology warlock will have an easier time due to stronger and more mana-efficient DoTs and/or an Improved Voidwalker for better aggro control and sacrifice.

Send in your voidwalker and begin stacking DoTs; Improved Corruption is a must, and Curse of Agony is probably the best curse to use. As the mobs begin to attack you, have your Voidwalker use his AoE taunt ( [Suffering]) and lure them back to him. He will probably lose health rapidly, so quickly [Fear] a high health or high DPS mob (preferably a mage) while re-applying DoTs. At this point, you should consider letting you voidwalker drop aggro on one mob as he will be starting to get to near-fatal HP levels by now, he'll be unable to match the aggro from your DoTs, and you're still on high HP yourself. Try and focus on DoTing the 3 mobs which the Voidwalker is tanking, and forget about the other 2 - the feared one won't cause any trouble and you can cope with being attacked by a single mob. Use some Destruction moves on 1 of the 3 mobs the voidwalker is tanking until it dies, and then move on to the second. Fear the last one on your Voidwalker before he dies and DoT/death coil the one that's attacking you. Get ready for the one that was feared first, because he'll be back at full health, but hopefully he's far away by now and has a long run to go. Get your Voidwalker to attack the returning mob, as you'll have a chance to heal him a little before the mob returns and your Voidwalker needs to start building aggro immediately. By now, the mob attacking you ought to be weak, so unleash a quick and devastating combo on it - e.g. immolate, conflagrate and shadowburn. A destruction warlock has an advantage here. DoT the remaining 2 mobs and prepare for the final struggle.

At this point, you won't be on high health and your Voidwalker won't be either, assuming you haven't sacrificed him already. If he is still alive, then as soon as he aggroes one, get ready to sacrifice him because he'll die quickly and you can't afford to heal him. Once he's gone, chain fear the remaining mobs and let your DoTs kill them slowly. Using high DPS moves is risky here as they can break fear more easily and they're less mana efficient. Use your healthstone to heal a little, and finish them off with [Shadowburn] or [Shadow Bolt]. If one of the mobs starts to run, let him go because he'll run back by himself or when you apply [Curse of Recklessness] and will be easy to kill, assuming your DoTs have not done so already. Finish the last 1 off by whatever means necessary. Sit, eat, drink, and re-summon the pet of your choice. This is a very hard tactic that requires good aggro management and a decent amount of experience.

Note: This has been written for a destruction warlock because Destruction is commonly considered the hardest talent specialization for solo PvE. Affliction warlocks have improved DoTs and demonology warlocks can re-summon the voidwalker and thusly their shield. Therefore, if you are not a destruction warlock, you should adapt the above to your style.

Using the above with 2 or more mobs, if you can stay alive long enough to kill one, then you have made progress. If you are forced to run for your life, then wait until you are back to full mana and health, and there will be one less mob to kill. That should make it a lot easier.

Elites at the same level

A silly warlock with his silly demons.

This is usually only possible if you can take them one at a time and avoid aggroing any nearby adds, even non-elite adds, and is also made progressively easier at lvls 60+ and with better +dmg, +stam, +int gear. There are several strategies you can use, depending on your build and the situation, but they all depend on the lock avoiding the heavy damage elites dish out.

Heavy Affliction locks can dot and kite using Fear and/or Curse of Exhaustion, the idea being to use Fear effects and CoEx to keep the mob off you while your DoTs tick away its life. If you use CoEx, it helps to have passive and active Speed buffs and effects. Since you can cast DoTs and CoEx while running away from the mob, you're pretty much running all the time in this scenario with the mob following you (hence the term 'kiting') except when you need to stop to cast Fear or turn around to cast Death Coil.

For an example of a lock dot kiting an elite, see this video of a 60 lock solo'ing Scholomance instance bosses.

Felguard Demo locks let their FG tank the elite, while they keep its health up with Health Funnel and Bandage, and mana up with Mana Feed. Certain curses like Weakness and Exhaustion help as well, though Recklessness will most likely do more harm than good since it buffs the elite's already high attack power and it has enough hp and armor to withstand the armor debuff. Also, Curse of Elements on the elite let you nuke it with Destro spells while your FG holds its aggro, just be careful not to pull its aggro from your FG though. A threat meter add-on is invaluable for maximizing your dps without pulling aggro from your FG.

Destro locks use Fear nuking, basically Curse of Elements/Agony -> Fear -> chain nuke -> repeat as necessary. What destro locks lack in CC and buffed minions they make up for in the ability dish damage quickly, so they depend on keeping the mob away with Fear while nuking it down as quick as possible, then re-Fearing before it can get back into melee range. Curse of Elements can serve two purposes here - help your Fear stick longer and buff your Shadowbolts, Shadowburn, and Shadowfury. Bring along plenty of mana pots and anything that provides or buffs mana regen.

The major caveat is if you use Fear, make sure there are no potential adds nearby. Even single non-elite adds can disrupt your strategy enough to cause you to die. Also, no matter what spec you are, keeping the mob's attention with a tanking minion (Voidwalker or Felguard) and keeping it alive with [Health Funnel] is your major priority should [Fear] not be an option.

Tactic 1

Ryno the Wicked, a gnome warlock
  1. Stay as far away as possible.
  2. Start with casting a [Shadow Bolt] to get some initial damage. This will aggro the mob.
  3. Cast [Fear]. It is advantageous to stay close to a wall, as the mob has less chance to run away too far from you.
  4. Depending on build and situation, cast DoTs or more [Shadow Bolt].

The strategy is dangerous if there is a risk that the mob will attract other of the same type. A Warlock using [Demonic Sacrifice] of the Voidwalker will regenerate health continuously, making the fight easier. (Unfortunately, [Demonic Sacrifice] was removed in patch 3.1) It can be a good strategy to use Curse of Doom in this type of fights, as it will lessen the chance for damage to the mob, interrupting the [Fear]. If possible, stay close to a wall or cave to eliminate the risk of the mob running too far away.

If a Voidwalker is available, it can be used get aggro in the beginning, giving enough time to apply some DoTs. However, it is important to take the aggro away quickly, as the Voidwalker usually can't survive elites more than a short time. When the Voidwalker lose aggro, set it on passive following. Sacrifice it if needed. You don't want it to run around, following the mob and maybe aggro other types of mobs.

There is a variation of this strategy:

  1. Stay as far away as possible.
  2. Use Voidwalker to get aggro.
  3. Apply DoTs carefully, you should not get aggro yet.
  4. Send a [Shadow Bolt].
  5. You will now get the aggro. Sacrifice the Voidwalker to get the protection buff.
  6. Cast another [Shadow Bolt]. You will be able to do this uninterrupted because of the shield.
  7. Use [Death Coil].
  8. You will now have time for 1 or 2 more Shadow Bolts and possibly a [Shadowburn].

This strategy will cost a Soul Shard. The strategy is fine if enough damage can be produced. If not, you will have an elite hitting on you and interrupting further spellcasting. As [Fear] isn't used, the risk of aggroing adds is much less, and the risk of the elite despawning because of running too far away is eliminated.

Tactic 2

  1. Enslave an elite demon
  2. Run (quickly to avoid breakage) to the elite mob.
  3.  ???
  4. Profit

This tactic works well in Outland where there are many demons wandering around, and is fun to boot!

Tactic 3

Augustus Corpsemonger, a human warlock.

This strategy is for Demonology specced warlocks who have the Felgaurd working for them. I suppose it could also be applied with the Voidwalker, but is much less effective because of it's weaker ability to hold aggro. A great addon for locks using this strategy is Omen3 because it tells you when you are about to pull aggro from your pet (or tank in other scenarios).

  1. Set up a macro with /petattack and /cast Immolate
  2. Cast Curse of Agony
  3. Cast [Corruption]
  4. Cast a few Shadow Bolts if needed to drop target to below 25% health. If at any point in this part of the sequence your DoTs run out, renew them. Use your best judgment in weather or not to renew Immolate.
  5. If your mana drops below 50%, consider casting life tap in order to keep your attacks constantly running.
  6. If you pull aggro, stop casting immediately and just wait for the Felhunter to pull again.
  7. Once target is below 25% health,renew CoA and Corruption if needed. Once again, Immolate takes a while to cast, but if it is a good mob you may want to renew it as well.
  8. Cast [Drain Soul] or if you used Life Tap before, cast [Drain Life]

Affliction Locks

With enough +damage gear, it is possible to kill several green or yellow mobs at a time, with Curse of Agony, Corruption, and Siphon Life.

Before you are high enough to acquire the key talents for heavy Affliction grinding (5/5 [Fel Concentration], [Improved Howl of Terror], [Dark Pact], [Unstable Affliction]), you will be running a Voidwalker:

  1. Send the Voidwalker to one target, apply the 3 DoTs to the target.
  2. Run to the next target, DoT.
  3. By now you should be able to have the Voidwalker aggro a new target. DoT this one after the Voidwalker hits it.
  4. Continue DoT-ing mobs till you feel you have enough, then Howl of Terror.

(If it gets hairy you can always Sacrifice the Voidwalker, use [Death Coil], single target [Fear], Howl of Terror, and/or healthstone to make this survivable.)

Once you've spent 41 points into the Affliction tree and acquired [Improved Howl of Terror], [Dark Pact] and [Unstable Affliction], the method changes quite a bit. You no longer need, or want to run a Voidwalker. Instead, you will run an Imp, with all auto-casts besides [Phase Shift] disabled. You want him to do nothing but provide free mana. You will be taking the damage:

  1. Open up on your first target with [Unstable Affliction].
  2. Begin running towards a second mob while casting all instant-cast DoTs ( [Siphon Life], [Corruption], Curse of Agony) on your first.
  3. Switch to your second target and repeat the instant-cast DoTs only, while running towards a third. Never stop moving.
    • Repeat to gather up 4-5 mobs, all mass-DoTed.
  4. Allow them to gather onto you, within melee range, and use the instant [Howl of Terror] to remove them from you.
  5. Life Tap once or twice to regenerate mana.
  6. Keep Drain Life on the highest health enemy (the last one that was DoTed) until he's dead.
    • When he dies, target the enemy with the next highest health and Drain Life him to death. Repeat until all tagged mobs are dead.
  7. Dark Pact to full mana. If done properly, you should be at 80% health or more, and full mana.


This method is known as "Drain-tanking" and is largely considered the most efficient, and sometimes even the most fun farming strategy. With practice and some +spell damage, this becomes very easy.

Raiding with a 0/21/40 Demonic Sacrifice/Shadow and Flame build by Vodkaboy

Raiding with this build is very easy, and despite information in the article below me, a well-geared 0/21/40 shadow warlock WILL be the highest damage dealer in nearly all instances and raids. When choosing talents, you need maximum points in anything that can boost Shadow Bolt damage ( [Demonic Aegis], Improved Shadow Bolt, [Bane], [Cataclysm],  [Devastation], [Destructive Reach],  [Intensity], [Ruin], [Backlash], [Soul Leech] (This build only allows 2/3 in Soul Leech), and [Shadow and Flame]). [Nether Protection] is also popular for fights such as Terestian Illhoof in Karazhan.

Before fights, summon a Succubus and sacrifice it (the +15% shadow damage buff will last 30 minutes). Once the tank obtains aggro, place [Curse of the Elements] on the mob and just fire away with shadow bolts until it's dead, watching your aggro. If another warlock is doing [Curse of the Elements], use Curse of Doom on bosses and Curse of Agony on trash mobs. No damage over time spells are necessary. With this build, there have been some reports of 10,000 shadow bolt crits, so DoTs that can't crit are virtually useless.

Raiding As An Affliction/Destruction Warlock (level 70) by Nezthulra - Anvilmar Server

Confessor Mildred, a forsaken warlock.

NOTE: This speccing is now obsolete to being the best DPS Warlock Speccing, due to the 0/21/40 specc, and due to Blizzard nerfing the affliction talent tree.


The following advice/information is based upon a 41/0/19 setup. With this setup you gain The Unstable Affliction talent from the Affliction tree, but you sacrifice the Ruin talent from the Destruction tree.

Before we get started, I recommend that all Warlocks obtain the following Addons to help you maximize your damage while using this specc.

  1. Omen - Threat Meter.
  2. Quartz - Spellcasting addon that compensates for bandwidth latency allowing you to cast spells faster.

In addition to the above addons, you should keep in mind the following:

  1. Curse of Doom is not better than Curse of Agony in the long run, unless you are fighting Curator!
  2. Maximize your spell hit rating with gems. Veiled Flaming Spessarite is excellent as it provides spell hit and damage.
  3. The Soulshatter, Shadow Ward, and Death Coil spells are your best friends and are widely underused by raiding Warlocks.
  4. Purchase Health and Mana pots from the Blade's Edge Quartermaster using 30 silver and 50 Apexis Shards - Cheap if you are doing dailies!
  5. It is a must to have at least 20 soul shards before raiding, and try to get more while running the instance.
  6. Obtain the  [Talisman of Ascendance] by reaching Revered With Argent Dawn. Follow the Argent Dawn reputation guide to maximize your playing time while doing this. Note that the spellcaster trinket from the Shattrath  [Badge of Justice] guy has a better trinket.

Lets get started by getting your buttons setup:

  1. Build your first macro
  • Type /m and hit enter in chat - this brings up the "Create Macros" window
  • Click "New"
  • Type a Name and click on an Icon
  • In the "Macro Commands" area type the information below
  • Note: There is no save or anything, you just drag the icon from the Macros window to Slot #2 on your castbar (slot #1 is probably your "Shoot" icon
  • Here is the macro content:
#show tooltip Pain (where Pain is whatever you want the tooltip to say when you mouse over it).
/cast Amplify Curse
/stopcasting
/castsequence Siphon Life

Now lets take a look at your talents/spells and how to use them (of course this is my setup, some talents require points to make casting times shorter)

  1. I have my buttons setup as:
  • Button 1 - "Pain"
  • Button 2 - Curse of Agony
  • Button 3 - Shadow Ward
  • Button 4 - Corruption
  • Button 5 - Unstable Affliction
  • Button 6 - Immolate


[Fear]

A goblin warlock.

Aside from demons, the Warlock also has another spell effective for Solo play: Fear.

If put to good use, Fear can actually neglect the need of demons up to level 20. A good Fear/PvP target works like this;

  1. Put Corruption on the target. This should aggro the target to you. (Corruption, and not CoA, is because the Corruption rids your pull of Global Cooldown.)
  2. Now, with the mob running towards you, cast Fear. This will cause the mob to run off.
  3. Now pop Immolate/CoA.
  4. When the mob comes running back, Re-fear.
    1. If the mob has low health) Now cast Drain Soul for a successive Soul, OR
    2. If the mob has 40% or more health left) Cast a Shadowbolt, and cast Drain soul.

What are the upsides of this tactic? Well, it can allow a lot of Soul saving for grouping. Also, when using this you technically don't have to worry about losing health, if timed right the mob won't be able to reach you.

Downsides? Well, you risk pulling more mobs, but that's cheap for a great PvE tactic, don't ya think?

Crowd Control Tactics

Mias the Putrid, another forsaken warlock.

At the release of The Burning Crusade, Warlocks also began being a prime Crowd Control choice for 5 man instances. There are several tactics to effectively render an enemy out of combat until the DPS (and you) take it down.

Glyphed Fear

When modified by [Glyph of Fear], [Fear] causes one enemy to tremble in fear duration of the spell, and has a chance to break on damage (most commonly direct damage).

  1. Tank pulls.
  2. Instantly cast Fear right after
  3. DPS the main target down
  4. Re-Fear if needed.

Banishing Elementals or Demons

Banishing, for the most part, requires no special tricks or advanced control tactics.

  1. Tank pulls
  2. Banish the Banish target.
  3. Re-Banish if required.

General Crowd Control Tips

  1. It's generally better to try and overwrite your Fear than waiting for the mob to come back.
  2. When seducing, keep some distance with the seduced mob and your tank, to prevent breakages.
  3. Recast Banish when there is 1 sec-.5 sec before it breaks.

Tricks with [Ritual of Summoning]

Roger Mortis, yet another forsaken warlock.
  • The summoning stone will remain after you leave an instance, so you can put up a stone, then hearth out to repair/respect and have your party summon you back.
  • By being quick, it is possible to drop a summon stone in lava, summon a player, and use [Demonic Circle] to facilitate a quick escape. You can then watch your summoned "friend" burn to death (used mainly as a prank).
  • In the past, it was possible to summon players underwater under the effects of [Unending Breath] to watch them drown. However, this technique is now nearly worthless since players have a 3 minute breath timer, more than enough time to quickly escape via a  [Hearthstone].

Novice Guide

With a Warlock comes many abilities to use to do massive damage and many cool things you may never have thought of doing. And spells are at their most effective point when done with the right combination of other spells, such as debuffs, damage over time spells, area of effect spells, and healing (or in the Warlock's case, healing and damaging) spells. This article will start out with some spells and descriptions, then it will show a way to combine them with some other spells. Then it will repeat that process after all combinations are covered. It may also cover a group of spells (Such as curses) instead of each individual spell to make it easier to read the article so you aren't reading similar looking sections.

Tactic One

This is a great tactic for single or a few mobs on you that begins with some Damage over Time spells and ends with the highly powerful and potent Soul Fire and the weaker, yet quick to cast, Searing Pain.

Drain Life

Main article: Drain Life

Drain life is a spell that will drain a small portion of your enemy's health and heal you with about the same amount every few seconds. What makes it so effective is that fact that not only does it damage your your enemy, it heals you at the same time!

Curses

Snarl Hellwind, an orc warlock

Curses are a group of debuffs that act as damage over time spells for the Warlock class. They are highly effective at causing your enemies to lose health when you may be low on mana, especially since they don't take too much mana either. It's also good to match with direct damage abilities.

Soul Fire

Main article: Soul Fire

A powerful spell with a long casting time. It is excellent for causing massive damage to attempt to keep your enemy from having a chance at all in combat. It is a spell that will make sure that you have the upper hand in fights.

How to use the spells effectively

When you start up the battle, open up with as many damage over time spells and debuffs as possible. Then, cast Soul Fire on the enemy once or twice depending on the amount of health the enemy has after the first cast. After that, you will want to case Searing Pain a few times while maybe casting Shadow Bolt if you prefer. And, while casting your direct damage spell, you will want to cast any debuffs that are low on time if the enemy still has quite a bit of health left. Also, use Drain Life to keep yourself healed.