My name is Sjele. I mostly play a warlock as long as it is good, and when it is not, I cry as I reroll to whatever is better. I have been in the top 20 scene since Uldir, and I've been in Method since Sanctum of Domination.
Demonology is a fairly simple builder/spender class where you build resources and spend them on summoning demons. An easy way to think about it is that every demon is a damage of time effect (DoT), but instead of the effect being on a target, it is on the ground.
Demonology is good at single target burst and sustained cleave as long as it is stacked.
Movement during cooldown setup and spread cleave is a weakness of the spec.
In my opinion, demonology is extremely fun to play, and once you get into it, it feels very natural in terms of the "flow" of the gameplay.
Core Ability Overview
If you are already familiar with the core abilities of the spec, feel free to skip through this part.
It is more for new players that are going in completely fresh.
Demonology abilities can be sorted into three main “groups.” “Builders” that build or generate resources (Soul Shards). “Spenders,” that spend the soul shards, and “Cooldowns,” which are your heavier damage cooldowns.
How Imps work
Imps, when summoned, do not have a set lifespan as other demons do. They will last until they have emptied their energy bar, which is enough for 6 firebolt shots, or 40 seconds, whichever comes first. In most situations, they will empty their energy way before the 40 seconds mark is ever reached, but it's worth knowing about the interaction.
- Shadow Bolt: This ability generates one soul shard per cast. This is the lowest priority spell in your rotation.
- Demonbolt: This ability generates two soul shards but has a very long base cast time. You cast this when you have demonic core procs to generate shards. Demonic core stacks to 4 stacks.
- Soul Strike (talent): This ability commands your Felguard to strike the target and generates 1 Soul Shard. The best way to think about this ability is that it's an instant “shadow bolt” that deals increased damage.
- Hand of Gul’dan: This ability will spend up to 3 Soul Shards per cast and summon imps depending on how many shards were spent. If you cast Hand of Gul’dan on 3+ Shards, you will summon 3 imps. This is maximum efficiency. If you cast Hand of Gul’dan on 1 Shard, the Hand of Gul’dan cast will do the same damage, but it will only summon 1 imp because only 1 shard was consumed.
- Call dreadstalkers: This ability is your bread and butter as a demonology warlock. It summons 2 (or 3 with the talent Ripped Through the Portal) dreadstalkers that will fight for you for 12 seconds. When your dreadstalkers time out, they will give you 1 demonic core per dreadstalker. Although it has a 20 second cooldown, I don't list it under "cooldowns" because it is something you almost always want to press as soon as it becomes available, and it is integral to the "flow" of the spec.
- Vilefiend (talent): This talent shares a talent node with Soul Strike but is more single-target focused. It summons a Vilefiend to fight for you for 15 seconds. Usually, this ability is paired up with a Demonic Tyrant, which is covered in the rotation section of the guide.
- Summon Demonic Tyrant: Although this is technically a talent, I don't think there is a way to get around picking this up. It summons a Demonic Tyrant for 15 seconds, which will increase all damage done by your pets for its duration and extend any demons currently summoned by the same duration. For example, if you cast Summon Vilefiend and Call Dreadstalkers followed by demonic tyrant, they will have their base duration increased by 15 seconds. More on how to utilize this properly is in the rotation section. For the duration of the Demonic Tyrant, imps have their energy cost reduced to 0, essentially "freezing" their energy at whatever it was at the start of the Demonic Tyrant duration. This also applies to imps summoned during the Demonic Tyrant.
- Nether Portal (talent): This is a very powerful 3-minute cooldown that will summon additional demons to fight for you for every time you spend soul shards for 15 seconds after it's cast. This cooldown changes your rotation slightly during its duration but more on that in the rotation section of the guide. This cooldown is especially powerful when it's paired with the capstone talent Gul'dans Ambition. Gul'dan's Ambition summons a very powerful Pit Lord at the end of the Nether Portal based on how many demons were summoned during its duration.
- Grimoire: Felguard (talent): This ability summons an additional Felguard to fight for you for 17 seconds. It casts felstorm, legion strike, and the usual “felguard” abilities. Just as all your other demons, it can be extended by Demonic Tyrant.
- Guillotine (talent): FELGUARD THROWS THE HAMMER DOWN! It puts an AoE effect on the ground for 8 seconds and makes the basic attacks of your main Felguard cleave to enemies around the target. This ability is ok for AoE, but at the time of writing this guide, it is slightly underwhelming, doing about 4-5% of your AoE.
What has changed
Patch 10.2 Demonology Warlock Changes
Step by step guide to Nether Portal in 10.2 (will rewrite if there are changes)
- Talent into Nether Portal and Gul’dan’s Ambition
- Summon a Pit Lord
- LOOK HOW COOL HE IS!
- Change talents because he does absolutely no damage.
Patch 10.2 Changes Discussion
Now that the most important things are out of the way, let's get into 10.2 Demonology!
It is another patch with pretty major changes to Demonology. The idea behind a lot of the changes is to move damage from cooldowns such as Nether Portal, Gul’dan’s Ambition and Demonic Tyrant and put it into sustained dps with buffed base demons and increased damage from Shadow Bolt and Demonbolt.
They have successfully nerfed (at least for now) the Nether Portal tree into the twisting nether and in its current state (28th October) you will almost never see this played. They successfully increased the damage that imps and Felguard does by a significant margin by buffing the already existing Imp-erator talent, making it go from 2 to 1 point node, and Immutable hatred got a small buff, but the choice is helped by the fact that the alternative (nether portal tree) is severely under-tuned.
The new talents that are really worth mentioning are Fel Invocation and Shadow Invocation. These two talents buff Soul Strike/Vilefiend and Bilescourge Bombers respectively. Fel invocation is a MAJOR buff to vilefiends potential in multi target scenarios and it lets you do almost max single target, while providing a decent amount of cleave as well. If Soul strike is selected, this talent buffs its damage and makes it generate a soul shard. This is especially good in combination with what is called “naked tyrant” builds that we will get to in the talents section.
Shadow invocation buffs bilescourge bombers and gives your spells a chance to summon an additional bilescourge bomber at random. This is not a bad talent, but it is competing against other very powerful nodes such as Fel Invocation, Fel Sunder etc. If you select Bilescourge bombers instead of Demonic Strength, pick this talent.
With the removal of our old 10.1 tier set, which was hugely powerful, we are back to a 2 minute grimoire: Felguard. The talent is still pretty much mandatory and together with a lot of the changes allocating damage to base demons it means that Grand Warlock’s Design is very much back. The redesign to give the talent 30 seconds flat CDR makes it a lot more flexible, as you don't have to keep spending shards to gain the value of the talent. This increases the quality of life, but also is very good in boss fights or M+ situations where you have long periods of time where you cannot cast on anything (such as intermissions or travel time).
Patch 10.2 Demonology Patch Notes
- Developers’ note: Demonology’s damage profile is currently too reliant on Nether Portal and Tyrant windows. In Guardians of the Dream, we’re redistributing this power to other parts of Demonology’s rotation and decoupling the synergy between these two cooldowns so that they can stand on their own rather than being dependent on one another. We still want Nether Portal and Demonic Tyrant to be impactful, powerful cooldowns – just not the only source of meaningful output for a Demonology Warlock.
- Gul’dan’s Ambition has been redesigned – When Nether Portal ends, you summon a Pit Lord that serves you for 10 seconds.
- Grand Warlock’s Design has been redesigned – Summon Demonic Tyrant cooldown is reduced by 30 seconds.
- Ner’zhul’s Volition has been redesigned – Demons summoned from your Nether Portal deal 15/30% increased damage.
- Demonic Knowledge now has a 10% chance of causing Hand of Gul’dan to generate a Demonic Core (was 15%).
- Summon Demonic Tyrant has been redesigned – Summon a Demonic Tyrant to increase the duration of your Dreadstalkers, Vilefiend, Felguard, and up to 10 of your Wild Imps for 15 seconds. Your Demonic Tyrant increases the damage of affected demons by 15% while damaging your target.
- Demonic Core is no longer baseline.
- Demonbolt now grants the passive Demonic Core when learned.
- Shadow Bolt damage increased by 30%.
- Demonbolt damage increased by 15%.
- Vilefiend damage increased by 15%.
- Bloodbound Imps has been removed.
- Imp Gang Boss has been redesigned – Summoning a Wild Imp has a 15/30% chance to summon a Imp Gang Boss instead. An Imp Gang Boss deals 50% additional damage and Implosions from Imp Gang Boss deal 50% increased damage.
- All Nether Portal demons’ damage increased 30%.
- Gul’dan’s Ambition has been redesigned – When Nether Portal ends, you summon a Pit Lord that blasts your target for Fire damage every 1 second for 10 seconds.
- Demonic Tyrant’s Demonfire damage increased 30%.
- Reign of Tyranny has been redesigned – Summon Demonic Tyrant empowers 5 additional Wild Imps and deals 10% additional damage for each demon he empowers.
- Demonbolt damage increased 30%.
- Hand of Gul’dan damage increased 25%.
- Wild Imp damage increased 25%.
- Implosion damage increased 25%.
- Shadow Bolt damage increased 30%.
- Call Dreadstalkers damage increased 25%.
- Grimoire: Felguard damage increased 30%.
- Soul Strike has been redesigned – Your primary Felguard learns Soul Strike: Strikes the soul of the target, dealing Shadow damage.
- New Talent: Shadow Invocation – Bilescourge Bombers deal 20% increased damage, and your spells now have a chance to summon a Bilescourge Bomber.
- New Talent: Fel Invocation – Soul Strike deals 20% increased damage and generates 1 Soul Shard. The cast time of Summon Vilefiend is reduced by 0.5 seconds and your Vilefiend now deals Fire damage to nearby enemies every 1 second while active.
- New Talent: Spiteful Reconstitution – Implosion deals 10% increased damage. Consuming a Demonic Core has a chance to summon a Wild Imp.
- Imp-erator is now a 1-rank talent (was 2).
- Malefic Impact is now a 1-rank talent (was 2).
- Power Siphon now prioritizes Wild Imps that are not Imp Gang Bosses or empowered by Summon Demonic Tyrant.
- Amirdrassil, the Dream’s Hope (2) Set Bonus has been redesigned – Demonbolt applies a Doom Brand that explodes after 20 seconds, dealing Shadow damage to nearby enemies or Shadow damage to a single enemy. Hand of Gul’dan reduces the duration of your Doom Brands by 1 second per Soul Shard spent.
- Amirdrassil, the Dream’s Hope (4) Set Bonus has been redesigned – When Doom Brand explodes, you have a chance to summon a Doomfiend that casts Doom Bolt Volleys before departing. Each Doom Bolt Volley deals Shadow damage to up to 4 enemies or Shadow damage to a single enemy.
- Eye of Gul’dan now benefits from Haste and Critical Strike Chance.
- Pit Lord now benefits from Haste and Critical Strike Chance.
- Pit Lord’s Felseeker damage increased by 30%.
- Doom Brand now deals reduced damage beyond 8 targets.
- Doom Brand no longer deals damage when dispelled.
- Doom Brand damage increased by 150%.
- Doomfiend’s Doom Bolt Volley damage increased by 150%.
- Immutable Hatred has been redesigned – When you consume a Demonic Core, your primary Felguard carves your target, dealing Physical damage.