Demonology Warlock playstyle and rotation guide

Patch 9.2.5 Last Updated: 8th Aug, 2022
Sjeletyven Demonology Warlock Author
Sjeletyven

Playstyle & Rotation

Opener (Night Fae)

  1. Precast Demonbolt
  2. Soul Rot (if Niya)
  3. Grimoire: Felguard (if talented) 
  4. Summon Vilefiend
  5. Build to 5 shards with Shadow Bolt
  6. Call Dreadstalkers
  7. Build to 5 shards if Call Dreadstalkers was not instant cast.
  8. Summon imps with Hand of Gul'dan on 3 shards and demonbolt/shadow bolt to build shards
  9. When Grimoire Felguard has less than 5 seconds left cast Hand of Gul’dan until 0 shards
  10. Use any stat trinkets like Sinful Gladiator's Badge of Ferocity
  11. Summon Demonic Tyrant
  12. Use Soul Rot (if Dreamweaver)
  13. Demonic Strength (if selected)

Here is a short video introduction on how you want to play Demonology on single target:

General Rotation/Priority List

  1. Bilescourge Bombers (if talented)
  2. Demonic Strength (if WIlfreds is NOT equipped)
  3. Summon Vilefiend (if WIlfreds is NOT equipped)
  4. Call Dreadstalkers
  5. Use Hand of Gul'dan when at 3 or more shards
  6. Use Demon Bolt when you have demonic core proc / about to cap demonic core procs
  7. Use Shadow Bolt

Demonic Tyrant setup mid fight

  1. Make sure you save at least 2 demonic core procs
  2. When tyrant is on 20 second cooldown assuming wilfreds legendary, or 15 seconds if NOT using wilfreds build to 5 shards
  3. Cast Soul Rot if Using the Niya Soulbind and follow step 1-11 in the “Opener” Section

Multi-Target

Multi-target will follow the same Tyrant setups as Single Target but with the addition of implosion cycles after. See video for reference.

  1. Build to 4-5 shards
  2. Hand of Gul’dan
  3. Demonbolt / Shadow Bolt
  4. Hand of Gul’dan
  5. 1 spell that is NOT Hand of Gul’dan
  6. Implosion

With 2+ demonic core procs starting from 5 shards it is possible to do a Hand of Gul’dan->Demonbolt->Hand of Gul’dan->Demonbolt->Hand of Gul’dan before casting 1 spell and then implosion. This is known as a “triple cycle”.

It's important to keep using dreadstalkers on cooldown inside this rotation not only for the damage but for the steady influx of demonic core procs.

Advanced trinket usage

This section goes into detail on how to use the most popular trinkets.

Soulletting Ruby has a huge potential if used correctly. Use this on the target that will be the lowest % health when the “soul” reaches you. Travel time scales linearly from 0-8 seconds over 0-40 yards. Travel time is determined the moment you cast the trinket regardless of your movement after the fact. If used in combination with Sinful Gladiator’s Emblem you want to be as close to the boss as possible and press the trinket right after Demonic Tyrant. If used as the only on use trinket aim to receive the buff right before summoning your tyrant.

Shadowed Orb of Torment has a massive duration but it is important to press it BEFORE you start your tyrant setups, as channeling mid setup is less than optimal.

Playstyle

Resource Management

Demonology is a spec that is unlike any other. It is essentially a dot spec but your dots are demons on the ground that follow you around and do your bidding rather than debuffs on a specific target. As such you can keep your resources and damage rolling in both demonic core procs for fast shard regen and demons going from pack to pack in M+ or entering a new phase in a raid encounter.

For the Necrolord Demonbolt build it is more about keeping the summons “rolling” throughout the fight and setting up good demonbolt casts on the lowest % hp target available, similar to how Soulletting Ruby functions.

Cooldown Management

Summon Demonic Tyrant is our biggest cooldown and getting the most out of this, especially when Demonic Consumption talent is selected is what makes the biggest difference in single target damage. Do NOT be afraid to use this on cooldown both in raid and mythic+ even if it's going to be a slightly suboptimal setup beforehand. More Tyrants = more damage. Not only because of the damage it does but it extends all your demons allowing each cast to have more value than they would have had without the tyrant active.

It's important to line up your cooldowns properly. This is an area that comes with practice and experience but assuming wilfreds legendary you are playing with roughly 1 minute 5 seconds cooldown on tyrant which means that you will be holding Vilefiend for each tyrant if selected and using Grimoire Felguard with every other tyrant if selected.

Pet Choice

Demonology Warlocks get their own unique pet, Felguard. This is your choice of pet 90% of the time because it can stun and interrupt your target and choosing another pet is a BIG damage loss on cleave/aoe. The single target loss from picking another pet can be outweighed by its utility (see below).

You can in some instances choose to play with Summon Imp in instances where a magic dispel is valuable. For example Kul’tharok in Theater of Pain and Devos in Spires of Ascension. I would only do this if you are playing Dreadlash as the loss of demonic strength if selected as a talent is too big.

In 9.2 the changes to succubus makes it a really strong single target choice for Necrolord Demonbolt builds.

Movement

You should try to plan your movement as much as possible with a well placed Demonic Circle and Demonic Gateway. Its usually a good idea to hold 1 demonic core proc outside of tyrant setups for movement.

Survivability

Soul Leech shields you for 8% of the single target damage done by you and your pets and heals you for 25% of the shields value through its interaction with Soul Link. This in combination with 10% more Stamina from Demonic Embrace, Mortal Coil and Dark Pact as a default talent choice we are probably the tankiest caster in the game to any mechanic that is not a flat out one shot that requires immunity.

Tl;dr: If you are dead then you either stood in the fire for a very long time or the rest of your raid is already on the floor.

The Key to Demonology

If I could sum up how to perform on Demonology in 2 sentences it would be; Clean tyrant setups on cooldown, and clean implosion cycles on aoe. Practice makes perfect and I would 100% recommend spending time on dummies to get the muscle memory of tyrant setups and implosion cycles down.