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How to level in Mists of Pandaria as a Destruction Warlock

Updated on June 11, 2012

In this article I'll show you the new Destruction spells and spec that will be available for Warlocks in Mists of Pandaria. I will post more articles to cover the other new specs for Warlocks in Mists of Pandaria. I will discuss all three specs: Affliction, Demonology and Destruction.

As a beta player I will continue to post articles about my experiences of leveling in Mists of Pandaria.

Click here to visit "How to level in Mists of Pandaria as an Affliction Warlock"


The name of the specialization says it all: this spec is all about doing massive damage and seeing those big numbers appear on your screen.
Other than Affliction, Destruction is much more based on casts with direct result instead of dots ticking away on a target.
Destruction is a specialization that has known quite some changes, making it somewhat hard to understand this spec and how to use it properly.

In Mists of Pandaria Warlocks are totally different to play from what Warlocks used to be, the way spells work are different and this requires some insight in these new spells and the combinations made between these spells. Luckily, Blizzard thought it might come in handy to tell what your core abilities are for each spec and put them in a window for a player to learn about their class. You can find this window under the default button "K".
In the picture below you see an example of this.

In the picture above six key abilities are shown. The first ability is a new one, and is similar like the Soul Shard system in the Affliction spec. Burning Embers are embers that are generated by two spells: Incinerate and Fel Flame. The point of these Burning Embers is that you want to save up some Embers to unleash devastating burst damage. Using Incinerate and Fel Flame you slowly build up more and more embers, and once you reach a "stack" of embers, you can use two other abilities: Chaos Bolt and Shadowburn.
Chaos Bolt is a cast ability which isn't very interesting at the moment in Cataclysm; you use it in your rotation and it deals slightely more damage than Incinerate. Chaos Bolt gets a huge revamp in Mists of Pandaria, for example: it always crits. The damage you deal with Chaos Bolt is obviously dependant on your spell power, but it is safe to say that it is one of the ultimate abilities that enemies need to fear once you'll able to cast it.
The other ability is Shadowburn. Shadowburn serves as an "execute" ability which becomes available once your enemy is below 20% health (and you have enough Burning Embers saved up). It doesn't deal as much damage as Chaos Bolt at the moment in the Beta, but this makes sense since it is an instant ability.
The last ability which is shown in the "Core Abilities" window is Immolate. Immolate is a spell that hasn't changed in the way it works; just keep it applied to your target at all times.

In the picture above you can see that when you reach three full stacks of Burning Embers, you're literally "on fire". This effect builds up more each time you gain a stack of Burning Embers.
There is also a glyph which makes the Burning Embers appear above the head (as you can see in the picture above), this glyph is called Glyph of Verdant Spheres.


I will give an example of a rotation you can use. In this example I'll set the scenario for a boss fight, so you shouldn't consider every spell in this rotation for killing normal mobs.

  • Curse of the Elements
  • Bane of Doom
  • Corruption (try to keep this up at all times during the fight)
  • Immolate (try to keep this up at all times during the fight)
  • Incinerate

Once you have enough Burning Embers saved up, use Chaos Bolt.
In between the time that you're able to cast a chaos bolt (or more, depending on how many Burning Embers you have saved up), you should always keep casting Incinerate (and redotting Corruption and Immolate).
When the boss reaches below 20% health you can either choose to keep casting Chaos Bolts, or switch to the ability that becomes available at this stage: Shadowburn. Shadowburn is an instant ability that doesn't deal as much damage as Chaos Bolt, but it can be quite useful in some situations, for example in a situation where you need to move around a lot.


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