Blood Pact: Demonology 101 at 90 in the end of Mists

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill finishes out with demon form.

You just boosted your warlock to 90, and now we have all basic warlock at 90 laid out for you:

Long-time readers will know that demonology AKA "demo" isn't my favorite warlock spec, but as I admitted to a friend recently, I can't recall seeing a "bad" demo warlock in organized raid. Demo 'locks are such well-oiled machines that once it clicks in your mind how to play, it's hard to not rock the meters.

Pets, talents, glyphs

Demonology: study of demons; why go petless? Exactly, so it's completely natural that the Grimoires of Supremacy (GoSup) and Service are best for demonology. The two pet talents end up about equal in terms of overall damage.

Grimoire of Service (GoServ) is recommended because the cooldown lines up well with demo's other cooldowns, and it also becomes the best Grimoire when AoE is a major element of a fight. But when you're out by yourself, having the supreme voidlord is not unusual.

I've covered pet abilities from Sacrifice and Supremacy in other articles. Service just lets you have a second demon out, which does not necessarily have to be the same as your first demon. Typically a Service demo will run double felguards, so that she may Felstorm all the things.

The base talents sound like a broken record at this point. To be fair, they're the base talents because they're good for just about anything. Here they are again:

  1. ​Soul Leech -- Passively affects your filler. Easiest to learn.

  2. Mortal Coil -- Another heal.

  3. Soul Link / Sac Pact -- Split damage with and heal your pet or a shield using your pet's health.

  4. Burning Rush -- I like to be speedy.

  5. Grimoire of Supremacy (voidlord) or Grimoire of Service (felguard) -- We already talked about this.

  6. Archimonde's Darkness -- Main DPS CD for level 90 group activities.

Demonology is decently mobile with effective use of Metamorphosis, so it doesn't like Kil'jaeden's Cunning (KJC) as much as the other two specs, but you can still find it useful when learning.

Glyphs -- ahhhh, now we get some variety! Glyph of Imp Swarm is not as necessary as it was in tier 15. Top-line theorycrafting indicates that it's not a DPS increase, but it is good for burst damage. Glyph of Demon Training can add some armor to your voidwalker or some health to your felguard, which can help you in soloing stuff with the voidwalker or if you want to use Sac Pact with a felguard.

Finally, a popular demo-only glyph is the Glyph of Demon Hunting, which gives the warlock the stance Dark Apotheosis so that she may take on tank-like abilities. This is probably the most recommended soloing glyph, but since you won't use this this stance regularly in group adventures, I won't go much into it. Warlock tanking is one of those love-it or hate-it subjects that needs more than a paragraph to go into.

Explain demonic fury, please: Metamorphosis is no longer a cooldown; we can slip in and out of form whenever we want. Being in demon form will drain a little bit a fury every second, so you can't be in it forever. The basics:

  • The bar goes to 1000 or 100% fury.

  • When you're in caster form, you fill the bar up by casting spells.

  • When you're in demon form, you drain the bar down by casting spells.

Dark Apotheosis will fill the bar up and drain it down depending on what you cast.

What spells do I use?

Demonology has a lot of abilities, but not a lot of actual buttons. See, demonology is all about the transformation into one badass mother-fellin' demon, and your action bar is going to reflect that. As usual, I will include popular abbreviations in parentheses.

Normally, you stand around as a caster, and this is what you'll probably have somewhere on your bars:

  • Metamorphosis (Meta) -- Demonology's signature ability; transforms you into a big purple (or green) demon that does more damage.

  • Corruption (Corr) -- The single-target DoT button.

  • Hand of Gul'dan (HoG) -- The small AoE DoT button, though it also does a bit of direct damage. The DoT itself is called Shadowflame.

  • Shadow Bolt (SB) -- Your main filler. Has a chance to spawn a Wild Imp.

  • Soul Fire (SF) -- A nuke that's cast on Molten Core procs and as an execute (through infinite Molten Core procs during execute range). Has a chance to spawn a Wild Imp.

  • Molten Core (MC) -- The main passive that procs a faster Soul Fire cast for you (stacks to 10). Shadowflame and Wild Imp casts will proc this buff.

  • Hellfire (HF) -- Demonology's AoE lets you get up close and personal with mobs.

  • Imp Swarm (IS) -- To save you the headache of finding this spell when you glyph it, it's on the General tab of your spellbook. Y'know, where you find things like your racial. You need a target to summon imps because they immediately attack.

  • Demonic Leap (Leap) -- ...Because if you're going to wipe and/or die in fire, you might as well do it spectacularly.

So you've hit Metamorphosis at some level of fury. The most you'd need to add to your bar would be Carrion Swarm, which is a knockback that only works in Meta form. Otherwise, everything transforms! I'm indicating the change between spells with a ">>" arrow.

  • Corruption >> Doom -- The powerful long-lasting DoT that spawns Wild Imps on its ticks.

  • Hand of Gul'dan >> Chaos Wave (CW) -- This is a good burst small AoE spell if you need it (like, on sparks on Lei Shen) but it's usually not worth the fury cost to use on single target.

  • Shadow Bolt >> Touch of Chaos (ToC) -- Filler nuke for Meta; this differs from Shadow Bolt in that it's instant cast, which makes demon form really mobile without losing much damage. It extends Corruption's DoT.

  • Soul Fire -- Stays exactly the same, except now it drains fury instead of generating it.

  • Hellfire >> Immolation Aura (IA) -- IA is a buff that deals AoE damage like Hellfire, adding even more mobility without sacrificing damage.

Additionally, Fel Flame becomes Void Ray (VR) in Metamorphosis and your Curses become Curse Auras that affect nearby targets with the same curse. Other general warlock abilities you should have within reach:

Priority rotations

Think of demonology play as having two phases: caster and demon. They intertwine at advanced levels (veterans, think of slipping in to Meta when HoG is in the air), but we're going to lay them out separately for the beginners. Having Imp Swarm introduces another advanced subtlety, but if you're just out to kill things, cast it when you want a burst of fury.

Caster form:

  • Apply Corruption & keep it up if needed.

  • Apply HoG. Try to recast so the Shadowflame DoT stays up as much as possible.

  • Cast Soul Fire if Molten Core procs are high (8-10).

  • Cast Shadow Bolt as filler.

Demon form:

  • Apply or refresh Doom. It should still be up by the time you reenter Meta.

  • Cast Soul Fire with Molten Core. You can save Molten Core procs for caster form's fury generation if you wish.

  • ToC spam.

At 25% target health, the passive Decimation kicks in with the net effect that you'll always have Molten Core, so your filler turns into Soul Fire.

For AoE, demonology is really simple: Hellfire/IA. You can use Chaos Wave for small-area burst and you can also multidot, but who doesn't want to freak out their raid with a sudden pulsing fire effect on the floor? Honestly.

Finally on the Timeless Isle

By the time you get to the upper levels of yaungol and Ordos's actual terrace, you're probably comfortable with how your spells work together. Up here I still use my supremacy voidlord no matter my spec, because the distance makes it easy to take down the mobs. You can use Dark Apotheosis if you really love it.

Let's have a mob summary:

  • Berserkers will charge and knock you down. They have a small melee-range circle of fire and have a self-buff for hitting really hard. A voidlord will handle them easily.

  • The red cloud serpents spawn fire circles and have a breath effect. Again, voidlords make these cake.

  • The Chanters are caster mobs that for the most part don't really hurt for warlocks. They summon a golem that can hit your voidlord for a whopper at low levels; just cast some AoE when it spawns to grab its attention.

  • The Kilnmasters will charge you if you don't let your pet pull, spam a nasty cone of fire, and will hit harder when they have a kiln out.

  • High Priests are like Kilnmasters and Chanters combined, and will also heal themselves for a significant chunk. It's best to do these with a group, though it is possible at higher gear and skill levels to solo one of these as a warlock.

  • Molten Guardians just have a smoldering pattern of fire that they spam; once you do a few, you'll see where the line, the small arc, the big arc occur.

  • Ordos himself: Don't stand in fire and if you get a debuff, get away from other players.

Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DOTs, demons and all the dastardly deeds done by warlocks. We'll teach you how to get green fire and what a warlock is really all about, even if you're just looking for a loot list or a 101 guide at 90.