This is something I’ve been wanting to write ever since I did the post on Destruction talents back when Legion was in alpha. There’s been quite a few changes since then, but most things have stayed the same and it’s essentially an updated version of that post, but with me going over one of the builds that currently works best. Today I’m focusing on the PvP side with a look at a specific build for Destruction Warlocks.
Also, please be aware that I’m not claiming that this is the best build to go and that playing this build will make the problems that Destruction Warlocks currently have, disappear. Right now, it’s the most mobile build and least dependent on casting.
So, I can spam Shadowburn now?
That’s right! Shadowburn is a level 15 talent that costs 1 Soul Shard with no cooldown. It doesn’t exactly hit like a truck, nor is not viable otherwise this build wouldn’t work and I’d be wasting my time. As long as you have Soul Shards, you can cast as many as you like.
At the moment, it’s almost impossible to do some meaningful testing because of how some classes are incredibly imbalanced. With all the Paladins, Death Knights, Subtlety Rogues and Fury Warriors being far stronger than any other class, it’s difficult to see how things will work. This is why I’ve kept with a “Shadowburn” build to minimize how often I need to cast. Most of it is keeping up Immolate on as many targets as you can to get more Soul Shards, but also you should avoid capping them so they don’t go to waste. This way, Shadowburn acts as your filler and burst. Sure, you’ll be casting an Incinerate here and there and Dimension Rifts (which is your strongest spell when especially stacked three times and works extremely well with Firestone), but you’ll mostly be casting Shadowburn.
For this build to even work, there are two talents that are mandatory to take, well three if you consider Shadowburn, but that’s a given considering the point of this particular build! Soul Harvest and Soul Conduit are the ones that make this build work well at the moment. We’ll go into more detail but for, let’s take a look at the main talent build and what I’ve been using to get this mega mobile play style.
It’s a clear choice here. Not taking Shadowburn would be a crime against this build, since the whole point of it is to take Shadowburn. Roaring Blaze is a dreadful talent that doesn’t add much and conflicts with two PvP talents, Incineration and Cremation. Backdraft is meant for you to throw out Chaos Bolt and Incinerate faster and more often, and I’m still at a loss to why it’s been taken from Destruction’s baseline toolkit and without it, the spec feels slow.
In this row, all three talents aren’t bad, but they’re not the best either. Reverse Entropy is a only beneficial for reducing the cast times of both Chaos Bolt or Rain of Fire and to gain back 35% of your mana after using Chaos Bolt. Cataclysm is too risky to pull off since anyone can just run out of it, not to mention the high chance of being stunned or interrupted. Mana Tap is the obvious choice for this build because it grants you +10% damage on all your spells for 20 seconds (25 if you use it twice in a row) at the cost of 40% of your current mana. Since Shadowburn doesn’t hit as it is, we need all the damage we can get on it!
This row is one of the two rows that deals a large blow to Destruction’s utility. The addition of the cast time on Shadowfury has made it very unattractive compared to Mortal Coil (great with Havoc or Bane of Havoc), but since we’re taking Firestone over Bane of Havoc, Mortal Coil quickly loses it’s value. Demon Skin is the talent to choose from because it provides you with a big passive absorb that regenerates by 1% of your health every second, up to 20%. It’s mostly good during the start of fights where you shrug off a bit of damage you don’t need to worry about!
There’s only one talent in this row that should be chosen for this build, and that’s Soul Harvest. Eradication’s +12% damage bonus is active only for 6 seconds after casting Chaos Bolt and Fire and Brimstone (another baseline ability taken and slotted into the talent tree) is essentially an area of effect (AoE) talent that makes Incinerate hit all targets within 8 yards. It’s a solid PvE talent and it could even be useful in Rated Battleground’s for extra cleave damage (RBGs). Soul Harvest provides a +20% damage bonus for 10 seconds, increased by +2 seconds for every target with Immolate on it prior to being cast. It’s a weaker version of Dark Souls, but it’s an extra burst cooldown to beef up Shadowburn’s damage.
This row is dreadful. The reason is because Warlocks no longer have Demonic Circle baseline and have to choose either Dark Pact or Demonic Circle. Burning Rush is a talent that is only taken for PvE or solo play for the movement speed increase and even still, it’s a horrible talent. I haven’t heard of any positivity coming from this talent. Despite the gap opening possibilities of Demonic Circle, it’s not great when melee classes (especially now that Demon Hunters have more mobility than Rogues) have almost a 100% uptime on Warlocks. Demonic Gateway is a 2 minute cooldown and Conflagrate doesn’t slow targets anymore. In it’s current form, Dark Pact is much stronger and absorbs a hefty amount of damage (20% of you or your demon’s max HP x 400%) on a short, 1 minute cooldown and it’s strongest when sacrificing your HP instead of your pet. It’s just too strong not to take right now.
Ahh, the Grimoire row. Grimoire of Sacrifice is the better talent for this particular build because it adds extra damage while spamming Shadowburn. All your damaging spells have a chance to inflict additional shadow damage to the target and all targets within 8 yards (?). The cleave damage is just too strong, despite not gaining an ability from the demon you sacrifice. In arenas you’re likely to use Grimoire of Service or Supremacy for spell lock against other casters. Besides, Dark Pact is better when sacrificing your own HP.
This row is another easy one as Soul Conduit has great synergy with Shadowburn as every soul shard you spend has a 20% chance of being refunded. There have been times were 5 shards were refunded in a row, allowing me to Shadowburn for a while. Wreak Havoc is great for focusing on two targets and Channel Demonfire is too weak for a tier 100 talent and it requires Immolate on the target and for you to channel it while standing still, but I feel Soul Conduit has the best synergy with this Shadowburn build.
PvP Honor Talents
Choosing the right PvP talents depends on you’re facing and what talents you’ve chosen in your main talent tree. Most of them are just plain bad, whereas some of them work really well.
In this tier, it’s all down to you and whatever you prefer. I simply chose the Gladiator’s Medallion because it’s what I prefer.
Mind Quickness is a decent talent that simply provides a flat 6% haste bonus and honestly, it’s only taken because the other two are incredibly lacking. Train of Thought increases your damage by 15% but being attacked cancels it for 8 seconds. Since you’re going to be attacked almost 100% of the time, it’s safe to say it’s not worth taking. Initiation gives your damaging abilities a 30% increased critical strike chance against targets at or above 80%. It’s a subpar talent that’s only useful when targets are at or above 80% health. With Mind Quickness, it’s always active and there are no downsides.
Moving on, the third tier is completely optional and depends on who you’re facing. Currently Curse of Weakness is much more beneficial because every PvP match seems to contain melee 80% of the time, so de-buffing them for -25% physical damage for 10 seconds is a great choice, and a bonus is that it has the shortest cooldown out of the other two curses. Curse of Tongues is just good against casters and Curse of Fragility is nice little talent that can be used to simply reduce a target’s max HP by 20% and is effective on any class, but has a 45 second cooldown. Curse of Weakness is just better right now so that you don’t take as much of a battering against the super powered melee classes right now. Again, it depends on which classes/specs you’re battling against.
Row four is an interesting one. You have Essence Drain, which reduces the damage of the target you Drain Life by up to 50% (increases over the duration). This is a good talent if you’re constantly taking a lot of damage, but a huge downside to it is that you’ll get interrupted or stunned, unless you combine it with Unending Resolve. You can either go for Casting Circle or Nether Ward (reflects spells cast on you for 5 seconds) depending on your own preference and whether or not you’ll be facing a melee or caster class. I choose Casting Circle because it’s against both melee and casters by giving you immunity to interrupts, even though I’m not a fan of how it currently works and that it forces you to sit within the circle and take the damage that’s being thrown at you. It doesn’t feel like great gameplay. Also, Death Knights will more than likely grip you out of the circle.
This row is a slightly disappointing one. Incineration is extremely dull, giving your Incinerates to ability to refresh Immolate. Fel Fissure isn’t so bad, but it requires Chaos Bolt to work, as it reduces the healing targets take by 50% within 5 yards for 10 seconds. Cremation can be quite strong as a burst talent. It causes Conflagrate to take an additional 6% HP from the target, while consuming Immolate. I’ve chosen Cremation because Chaos Bolt isn’t used with this build, Incineration is boring and it deals an extra bit of burst damage, especially when using it with Havoc. With Cremation and Conflagration of Chaos (elite Artifact trait), Conflagrate takes priority over Shadowburn, even with Firestone because of the scaling critical damage from the elite Artifact trait.
Now we come to the main event. Firestone. Oh boy I love this talent! It gives two Soul Shards and increases your critical strike chance by 100% for 7 seconds and it only has a 45 second cooldown. Even without the 100% critical chance, it serves as a solid soul shard generation spell and you probably will want to use it when you have two or three shards so you don’t waste any shards. Firestone is a strong burst cooldown, giving your Shadowburn spam a bit more of an oomph. Try it with Havoc and you’ll see HP bars drop! It does work nicely with Chaos Bolt, but the damage isn’t enough to justify the lengthy cast times at the moment. It’s also perfectly fine however going with the Burning Legion talent for quicker Internals or Bane of Havoc with Mortal Coil for some nasty AoE crowd control.
That’s all there is to it! Legion is still in beta and everything is subject to change, so this may all not be viable when it goes live, however Blizzard have said that the mechanics are pretty much “set in stone” and it’s all just down to tuning, which is apparently coming in the next build. What other builds have you put together? Or if there’s a particular build you’d like for me to try out, be sure to let me know.
Have an awesome week! (what’s left of it)