Warlock PvP Guide
Boatschl last edited by Boatschl
WoW Classic - Warlock PvP Guide
Hello everyone, I am Boachl or Boatschl and you might have seen my WoW Classic Compendium. If you came here are looking for advice on how to play Warlock in PvP and you might have realized that there are a lot of videos and guides out there that are either incomplete or littered with false information so I am trying to rectify this. As always please keep in mind that as always some thoughts reflect my own view of the game which might not be the same way you feel (especially the section where I talk about the different matchups might ring some bells).
In this guide I will get into details about how to play a warlock successfully in PvP. If you are looking for a guide for leveling or PvE you have come to the wrong place, but check out the works of Kargoz and Alive, they offer in my PoV the best advice on either subject!
Since PvP in is WoW is pretty dynamic and the outcome of a fight usually depends on a lot of factors you have to know all your spells very well, have a basic understanding of what the other classes can do and will do to you and always watch out for your own HP and mana bar. Addons that show your cooldowns, show what the enemy is casting and track their HP and mana are essential, but we do not know yet what Addons will be available in the 1.13 client.
Before we dive into the details for warlocks, here are the most important tipps I can give you for PvP:
- Always watch your surroundings. Being aware of an approaching Warrior that wants to charge you can mean the difference between life and death.
- Communication is key. No matter if you are sitting in a voice chat program like Discord or are just relying on the battleground chat (/bg), always let the others in your group know what is happening. You are defending the flag in Arathi Basin and have two people coming for you? Ask for help!
- Identify the biggest threat. In a group, check for enemy healers. Before engaging someone check their portrait, what gear do they wear? If you see e.g. a Warlord’s helmet, Goblin Rocket Helmet or that iconic red hat from Stratholme you know what you are up against and can estimate the gear level the other has. In the open world you probably do not want to engage that beefy R14 Warrior or T3 Mage in your blue robes…
- Keybind everything: PvP is all about reacting quickly, if you are clicking, you are losing.
Warlocks are a great class to PvP with as they offer great damage, a lot of utility spells and powerful defensive options. No matter if engaged in the open world, playing in a battleground or duelling in front of Orgrimmar or Ironforge, you can never go wrong in choosing the Warlock. Leveling is a breeze thanks to their pet and the ability to fear targets and once you reach level 60 things get even better every day. Similar to Warriors Warlocks tend to scale very well with gear which is great but on the other hand means that they start off rather weak, while classes like Frost Mages or Rogues require literally no gear to be competitive. Once a certain gear threshold is reached though they become an unstoppable power house. With that being said, let’s dive right in.
Warlocks have a huge array of spells at their disposal, only second to shamans, so make sure you have all action bars active in your UI. Also for PvP you want to bind all important spells, cooldowns, potions, engineering gadgets etc. to key bindings easily accessible even in stressful situations. In this chapter I will only list spells, that are relevant for PvP.
Note that I use italic text in case a spell has only an very advanced use that is not suitable for new players.
Direct damage spells
- Shadow Bolt: Bread and butter spell in PvE, heavy nuke on a 3 second cast timer (2.5 if talented) that can realistically only be used if the target is CC’d or otherwise occupied
- Searing Pain: Quick 1.5 second cast nuke spell that deals fire damage and is mostly used when specced into the Destruction tree
- Shadow Burn (Talent): Instant cast shadow spell, great for finishing off enemies, requires a Soul Shard (which is refunded if the target dies shortly after use)
- Soul Fire: Heavy nuke fire spell, mostly used when specced into the Destruction tree, 60 second CD, requires a Soul Shard
- Conflagrate (Talent): heavy instant cast nuke, that requires the Immolation DoT to be on the target. The DoT is removed in the process and has a 10 second CD.
Damage over time spells
- Corruption: DoT that deals shadow damage over 18 seconds, must be talented to be instant cast, can proc Nightfall talent
- Curse of Agony: DoT dealing ramping up shadow damage over 24 seconds, can deal 50% more damage using the Amply Curse ability (Talent)
- Siphon Life (Talent): DoT that deals moderate shadow damage over 30 seconds and transfers the damage dealt to the caster
- Immolate: deals moderate fire damage immediately and leaves a moderate DoT on the target, which enables you to use Conflagrate (Talent)
- Drain Life: channel to drain health from the target and transfer it to the caster
- Drain Mana: channel to drain mana from the target, can be handy against healers
- Drain Soul: when the target dies while under channeling this, awards one Soul Shard, always cast if the target is about to die unless your bags are full
- Fear: Fear the target for up to 20 seconds
- Howl of Terror: Fear up to five targets near the caster for up to 15 seconds, great for getting rogues out of stealth, 40 sec CD
- Death Coil: Your oh-shit button, horrifies the farget for 3 seconds, deal moderate damage and heal yourself for the damage done. Instant cast, 120 second CD. Note that this the best defensive tool the Warlock has but the cooldown is fairly long, so make sure you use it correctly. Also horrify is not the same effect as fear so they do not share the same diminishing returns cooldown.
Advanced: Generally people will try to dodge this skill at all cost (e.g. Ice Block from a mage) and since this spell has the same animation as Shadow Bolt, you can try to trick someone to use a valuable cooldown if you get a Nightfall proc (instant cast Shadow Bolt).
- Banish: Banishes the target demon for up to 40 seconds, only useful when fighting another Warlock, but keep in mind that trying to banish a Felhunter has high chance to fail because of its high resistance
Only one curse can be active per warlock per target. Only Mages and Druids can remove curses.
- Curse of Agony (“CoA”): see DoTs, default choice when multi dotting
- Curse of Tongues (“CoT”): increases enemy’s cast time by 60%, always use this against any casters, especially healers
- Curse of Elements (“CoE”): increases fire damage done to the target by 10% and decreases their resistance to fire damage by 75, best used before casting Soul Fire combo on a CC’d target
- Curse of Shadows (“CoS”): increases shadow damage done to the target by 10% and decreases their resistance to shadow damage by 75, best used before casting shadow bolt on a CC’d target
- Curse of Exhaustion (Talent): Slows down the movement speed of the target by X% (depends on how many talent points you invest), situational but good for kiting
- Advanced: Curse of Recklessness (“CoR”): Makes the target fear immune so this has only one limited use as rank 1 spell: In a duel against any class that can fear you can use this when the opponent uses their Shadow Reflection trinket (from Engineering) to reflect this onto yourself to make yourself fear immune.
Warlocks have a varied toolbox of defensive spells to choose from, some of them require some setup before a fight though.
- Health Stone: same as a healing potion on a two minute cooldown, cost one Soul Shard to conjure
- Spell Stone: must be equipped in the offhand, passively increases spell critical strike chance by 1% while equipped and once consumed gives a shield that absorbs 900 magic damage and removes any magic effects from the caster, 180 second CD, does not scale with gear, can be dispelled
- Soul Stone: resurrects the target, more useful in world PvP than in battlegrounds since you spawn with half HP and mana and no pet, 30 minute CD
- Shadow Ward: absorbs 675 shadow damage, 30 second CD, keep this up when fighting other warlocks or shadow priests, can be dispelled, does not scale with gear
- Demon Armor: increases armor, shadow resistance and gives health every 5 seconds, keep always up
- Soul Link (Talent): transfers 30% of the damage to your pet and increases your damage by 3%, can be dispelled, but only from your pet!
- Detect Invisibility: increase detection to invisible units, not to be confused with stealth detection though (so it does not help against Rogues!), useful so other more important buffs do not get dispelled immediately
- Unending Breath: never run out of air, useful so other more important buffs do not get dispelled or in world PvP
- Rain of Fire: unless you are fighting a giant 40 vs 40 battle you only need rank 1 of this spell to attempt to reveal a stealthed Rogue or Druid in cat form or night elf using its racial
- Life Tap: convert the caster’s health into mana, quite handily the best spell in your arsenal
You can’t talk about Warlocks without talking about Soul Shards. They are created upon death of an enemy that yields either experience or honor by channeling the spell Drain Soul on them and they are one of the reasons why Mages are more popular than Warlocks (besides Mages being able to create their own food and water). Soul Shards are needed as a reagent to most of the utility spells a warlock has at his disposal, so make sure you have enough of them but they take up inventory space.
Warlocks have four demon pets at their disposal. Controlling your pet well is key to being successful in PvP and having the correct pet out when getting ganked can oftentimes mean the difference between life and death.
All demons have four abilities, but those spells cannot be dragged onto your action bar by themselves, so you will need to use the following macro instead:
where X is the position on the pet bar (starting at 1). NOTE: The syntax might change slightly in the Classic client.
The Imp is the least favorable pet in PvP since it has no defensive options while offering only small offensive capabilities in combination with a low health and mana pool. The Imp’s skills are: an aura that gives Stamina to the whole group (stacks with Priest’s stamina buff), a Fire Bolt damaging spell, a Fire Shield that acts like thorns and Phase Shift which makes the Imp untargetable but unable to cast spells (except the aura). It does not cost a Soul Shard to summon so you will need to use it if you run out of shards or are e.g. getting ganked while running to a dungeon.
The Voidwalker is the Warlocks tanking pet in PvE scenarios as it has two spells that generate threat as well as a lot of health and armor. Nevertheless it can be very useful in PvP because of its ability called Sacrifice. When used the Voidwalker is sacrificed (no sh*t!) to give the caster a substantial shield that absorbs any incoming damage and prevents losing cast time, so it is basically a stronger version of the Priest’s Power Word: Shield ability. When specced into the Demonology talent tree a second Voidwalker can be called almost instantly to give a second shield, resulting in an insane amount of survivability. Requires a Soul Shard to summon.
The Succubus has two useful abilities, the first of which is a very strong CC that charms the target. While the spell lasts the target cannot move or use any skills or items but damage taken removes the effect immediately. The beauty of the succubus (besides looking awesome) is that she can CC the target while the Warlock itself is e.g. stunned by a Rogue. The second ability is granting invisibility to itself so the Succubus cannot be targeted by a mage or hunter before the fight even starts. If you are playing Alliance remember that the undead racial ability Will of the Forsaken can remove the Charm effect. Requires a Soul Shard to summon.
...is the best PvP pet. In all seriousness though, the Felhunter is an awesome companion that has very limited use in PvE but was probably originally designed with PvP in mind. It has a Counter Spell (Spell Lock) on a 30 second cooldown, which silences the target for three seconds and also prevents casting from that school of magic for 8 seconds if it lands while the target is casting. Furthermore it has Devour Magic, which is the same as the Priest’s rank 1 dispel, and can target friend or foe on a 8 second CD. But that’s not all, it also has an aura that increases your party’s stealth detection, has high resistance values by itself (120 at level 60) and a skill that reduces the targets damage if hit by a melee attack. Requires a Soul Shard to summon.
The infernal is a special kind of pet as it is not under the permanent control of the Warlock. After a 2 second cast a meteor falls down from the sky, stunning anyone hit and an Infernal is summoned under the control of the warlock. The infernal does decent damage and has an AoE immolation aura that can get prowling enemies out of stealth (similar to the Shaman’s Magma Totem). Besides costing a reagent to summon (50 silver) it is a very dangerous companion as the Infernal can break out the Enslave Demon spell at any time, attacking the caster instead of the opponent it was meant to kill. The Warlock can enslave the infernal again if it breaks out though (Enslave Demon requires a Soul Shard).
The Doomguard is the other pet that is not under the warlocks permanent control and has no use in PvP, since Curse of Doom, which has only a tiny chance to spawn the Doomguard if it kills the enemy, does NOT work on enemy players. I only mentioned it for the sake of completeness.
If you are playing Alliance you have two options to choose from: Gnome and Human.
Gnomes will always be the preferred choice since they get a 5% bonus to their total intellect (scales with gear) and also get the awesome racial ability Escape Artist which removes movement impairing effects, but if you like the aesthetics of humans more, go for it! Keep in mind that Alliance Warlocks always face one major issue: At least ¼ of the Horde’s population will be Undead players that have access to Will of the Forsaken (racial ability removes Fear and Charm), so while in PvE Alliance Warlocks will always outperform Horde Warlocks mainly because of Blessing of Salvation, in PvP playing Horde is the preferred choice.
On the Horde side there are again two choices and there is no clear winner between playing Orc or Undead. Undead Warlocks get Will of the Forsaken, giving them the edge when fighting other Warlocks and Priests, Orcs on the other hand get a passive 25% stun resist, which is very handy against Rogues and Warriors which are the classes that Warlocks usually struggle the most against.
But as in my other guide I suggest playing the faction and race that is most aesthetically pleasing to you since if you spent multiple hours per day looking at your character, you have to like looking at it. Luckily warlock’s PvP and PvE sets look pretty cool so there is some silver lining for the min-maxers out there.
There are three different talent specializations you may go for as a Warlock and, opposed to PvE, every talent tree is viable in PvP and offers a unique play style: Conflagrate, Soul Link and SM Ruin.
Before we dive into the talent trees I want to highlight a couple of talents that come very early in one of the trees and are part of most PvP talent specs:
- 5/5 Improved Corruption (req. 0 Points in Affliction): Makes your Corruption spell instant cast. Without this talent the spell is useless, so this is almost always mandatory
- 2/2 Improved Life Tap (req. 5 points in Affliction): Increases the mana gained when using Life Tap by 20%
- 5/5 Demonic Embrace (req. 0 points in Demonology): Increases your total stamina by 15% but reduces your total Spirit by 5%. More HP will never hurt and it scales with gear, the loss in Spirit is irrelevant
- 1/1 Shadow Burn (req. 10 points in Destruction): Instant cast shadow damage spell that uses a soul shard (refunded if the target dies right afterwards). Great finishing move or to prevent an enemy capping a point in Arathi Basin
TL;DR: Very offensive talent spec that is susceptible to crowd control effects, suitable for group play.
The destruction tree focuses on improving your Shadow Bolt as well as all of your fire spells. The reason it is not used in PvE is the absence of a reliable fire nuke spell (they introduced Incinerate in TBC to address this) since Searing Pain creates a high amount of threat and does not scale very well with +spell damage (1.5 cast time means only +43% of your +spell damage is applied to the spell).
This spec leaves the most room for variation but will always use 31+ points in the Destruction tree. It scales very well with +spell damage and crit gear since it revolves around blowing people up in seconds (similar to fire mages) but keep in mind that the early BiS items for Warlocks like the Felcloth Shoulders only boost your shadow damage, while this spec heavily relies on fire damage (but not completely). Also be aware that your spells will eat through your mana bar like cake and you will need a lot of soul shards to be competitive. DoTs are only used to supplement your damage. The key talents in the tree are:
- Conflagrate: The reason we go deep into the Destruction tree, hits like a truck and is instant cast
- Emberstorm: More fire damage, more pain
- Ruin: Increases critical strike damage so crits deal double the damage of normal hits
- Shadow Burn: Instant casts are king in PvP
- Bane: reduce cast time on Shadow Bolt and - more importantly - Immolate
After getting Conflagrate you have multiple options how to distribute your points, so you can tailor those to your playstyle:
- Spend 7 points in Affliction to get Improved Corruption and Improved Life Tap
- Spend more points into destruction to get Pyroclasm (you can move the two points from Improved Searing Pain there if you like)
- Get Demonic Embrace (+15% stamina) and Improved Health Stone from Demonology
- Go deeper into Affliction to get Nightfall (not optimal though since you will not use Corruption as often as in the other specs)
Note: In the first row choosing between Improved Shadow Bolt and Cataclysm (-5% mana cost) is a matter of preference, as neither will make a huge difference but I personally prefer the former as the effect also works for Shadow Burn (and Mind Blast from a Shadow Priest).
Your main combo is applying Immolate and then immediately using Conflagrate. Always keep in mind though that Conflagrate requires and removes your Immolation DoT and the combo is quite mana intensive. Searing Pain is a mini nuke with a 1.5 second cast timer so it can be woven in quite handily and is more reliable than Shadow Bolt unless the target is CC’d or occupied with someone else and you can spec into 10% more crit for it.
In case you have a target CC’d your full nuke combo will be: Curse of Elements to boost your fire damage, Soul Fire, Immolate, Conflagrate and then Shadowburn. This will leave you without much left in your arsenal if the target is not dead yet but if Soul Fire crits your foes won’t stand for long.
Since this spec has less defensive tools than the other two the Succubus is a very handy pet to offer you some defensive capabilities. But the Voidwalker or Felhound can be solid as well. Rogues and Warriors pose the biggest threat to you.
Demonology: Soul Link
TL;DR: Godly duelling spec that offers great survivability but requires some gear to get going.
In full BiS T3 gear this spec is considered to be the best duelling spec in the game. It centers around your pet and makes you incredibly tanky. Since it lacks many talents that boost your damage directly (like e.g. Shadow Mastery or Ruin) it requires a bit of +spell damage gear to get going. The most important talents are:
- Soul Link: Transfers 30% of the damage taken to your pet, also increases damage by 3%
- Master Demonologist: Provides a unique buff to you and the pet while it is alive
- Imp: +10% fire damage
- Succubus: +10% shadow damage
- Voidwalker: +10% physical damage reduction
- Felhound: +60 spell resistance
- Fel Domination + Master Summoner: Summon a new pet within 0.5 seconds, 15 minutes CD
- Improved Voidwalker: Increases the shield gained from sacrificing the pet by 30%
After getting the Demonology tree’s final talent Soul Link you want to spent 7 points into the Affliction tree (Improved Corruption and Improved Life Tap), but afterwards you have two options, both of which are viable and depend a bit on your playstyle:
- Spend the remaining points in the Affliction tree to get Nightfall (chance to get a instant cast shadow bolt): 20/31/0
- Go into the Destruction tree to get faster cast time on Shadow Bolt and Shadow Burn (instant cast finisher): 9/31/11
Note: If you feel like you are using the Imp occasionally, move some points from Fel Intellect/Stamina over.
You are a tanky caster, so play like it. You main damaging spells are Corruption, CoA, Shadow Bolt and Drain Life. One thing to keep in mind when playing against Priests and Shamans is that Soul Link is a magic effect that can be purged from your pet (not from you though), so keep an eye out for it.
When you face an opponent and have the wrong pet out you can always switch to another pet in half a second using Feld Domination but keep in mind that it has 15 minutes cooldown.
Since the talent Master Demonologist provides you with a unique buff you will have to adapt to the situation at hand: If you are more afraid of Rogues and Warriors than casters, the Voidwalker is the obvious choice at it makes you more tanky and you get access to the shield. Once the shield is up you can always pop Feld Domination to get a second Voidwalker out if needed (don’t forget to recast Soul Link!) within half a second.
The Felhunter on the other hand makes you more resilient against casters while also giving you access to Counter Spell and Dispel and should be the default choice in battlegrounds.
The Succubus can be useful if you get jumped by rogues a lot for the Charm and it also boosts your Shadow Bolt damage in group play.
- 20/31/0 Soul Link + Nightfall (3 points in Improved Imp are more or less filler)
- 9/31/11 Soul Link + Shadow Burn
Affliction: Shadow Mastery + Ruin - Affliction
TL;DR: DoT centered jack-of-all-trades spec that is great for PvP, raiding and farming alike but lacks in survivability.
SM Ruin or 30/0/21 is one of the two go-to talent specs for PvE raiding and farming but it also works very well in PvP. You will lack the burst of the Conflagrate build or the tankiness of Soul Link, but if you are a casual player and don’t feel like respeccing a lot, this spec allows you to farm very well, raid and also do PvP at 90% efficiency. Depending on whether your main focus is PvE or PvP you can move some points in the Affliction tree around at your convenience. The early and later points are all set so there is some room in the middle and you want to always reach exactly 30 points here. One other advantage of this spec is that it is less gear dependant than the other two specs. Key talents in the Affliction tree are:
- Shadow Mastery: +10% damage for your DoTs and Shadow Bolt
- Siphon Life: Long lasting DoT that leaches health
- Nightfall: each Corruption tick has a 4% chance to give you an instant cast Shadow Bolt
- Improved Corruption and Improved Life Tap, as explained above
In a raid you will never use Curse of Agony, so you might as well move those points into Amplify curse or Curse of Exhaustion for better kiting if you like.
In the Destruction tree you are going for everything that boost your shadow bolt as well as the 21 point talent Ruin that increases your critical strike damage of (mainly) your Shadow Bolt, since DoTs cannot crit in Classic.
This spec makes you the master of DoTs so you want to get Corruption up on as many targets as possible to get Nightfall procs while maintaining Siphon Life and CoA on your main target. Fear is your main defensive tool so make good use of it. Naturally dispels are your biggest enemy. Therefore Priest, Rogues and Warriors pose the biggest threat to you (also Paladins in a group setup). When the target is feared go for Shadow Bolt but be aware that once it lands the Fear will almost certainly break. When duelling against pet classes always get Corruption up on the pet as well.
Your pet of choice in battlegrounds will be the Felhound. The Succubus is not as useful since you want to stack up your DoTs (unless you are duelling) while the Voidwalker is weaker in comparison to the Soul Link spec. In the open world you want to use the Voidwalker for tanking mobs so you can stay close to full HP and have the emergency shield in case a gank happens.
In this chapter I want to go into a bit of details how to play against all classes. No matter if you fight in the open world, a battleground or in a duel usually one player will have better gear than the other so you will never fight on even footing but the following factors, besides gear, can tilt the odds in one's favor:
- Availability of cooldowns
- Engineering gadgets
- Potions and buffs
- Additional mobs pulled while farming
Therefore for my threat level assessment I am assuming that you are fighting a 1 vs. 1 on roughly the same gear level.
Threat level: High, skill matchup
Preferred Pet: Felhunter
Mirror matches are always hard, no matter the class, since it comes down to skill, gear, availability of cooldowns and a bit of RNG. Always keep up your dots and try to bait out his Felhunter’s Spell Lock to get the upper hand. Banish his pet in case it is not a Felhunter. If you are Undead your Will of the Forsaken will come in very handy. Always keep CoT up on the enemy!
Threat level: Moderate
Preferred Pet: Felhunter
Mages offer strong burst damage with a variety of instant casts and decent survivability if specced into Frost. Keep up your dots as you will usually win this matchup if you can outlast the mage’s initial burst. You can use your insignia or the Felhound’s Devour Magic to get rid of the polymorph but smart mages will also apply the Detect Magic debuff to you that will eat up the Devour. Against Frost mages your priority for the dispel should be the freeze effect on yourself to prevent their Shatter combo, while when fighting vs. an Arcane mage try to dispel his Arcane Power (glowing effect). Popping a Spell Stone can help to survive the burst.
Threat level: high vs. Shadow, moderate vs. healer
Preferred Pet: Felhunter
Against Shadow Priests: Shadows are very strong duelists and they will instantly remove any dots you put up on them, but they also eat through their mana bar even faster than you do. On the other hand they do not have any hard burst combo and if you can lock them out of their shadow tree, you should be able to get the upper hand.
Against Healer: As with all healing classes they will try to outlast you while doing constant minor damage to you. Priest have one important spell to look out for though: Manaburn, so you have to kill them before your mana runs out. Always keep CoT up!
Threat level: Low
Preferred Pet: Felhunter or Voidwalker
Most druids will spend at least 21 points into their healing tree to get Nature’s Swiftness (next spell is instant cast), so their damage output is low, but killing them can be extremely tricky. In a battleground or open world scenario it is more likely that additional enemies will engage the fight before you can kill the druid. As with any healer they will try to chip you down and if you get low on HP be careful that a Bear Form’s feral charge into Bash combo can kill you. The Felhunter’s aura helps detecting prowling cats so they cannot get the initiation.
*Threat level: Moderate
Preferred Pet: Felhunter
Fighting Shamans can be tricky, since they have a lot of tools tailored to fighting casters. Always destroy their Grounding and Tremor Totems using your wand as soon as they get placed. Earth Shock is an easy to land interrupt on a 5-6 second cooldown, so you should mainly rely on your instant cast spells and dots. Be aware that a well geared elemental shaman (look for the red T2.5 set with the spikes) can theoretically one shot you if all spells crit. Don’t even bother sacrificing your Voidwalker since the shield will get purged the second it goes up. Always keep CoT up! Enhancement Shamans usually pose the least threat since their only gap closer is Frost Shock and Ghost Wolf.
Threat level: Low
Preferred pet: Felhunter
No matter what spec the paladin is running, their chances of killing you are very low, but if they are specced into holy (most of them are) it will take quite a while to kill them. Always keep CoT up! Their best defensive tools are their bubble as well as Lay on Hands as a last resort.
Try not to fall of your chair though...
Threat level: Moderate
Preferred pet: Voidwalker or Succubus
Hunters pose a very high threat level early on in the content, since Warlocks start off weak while Hunters start strong but scale very bad into later content so all in all I’d only put them in the middle of the pack. If you get inside the hunter’s dead zone (where he can’t reach you with his melee or ranged weapon you) you can kill him quite quickly, but getting there is the tricky part. Try to fear the pet. The Hunter’s combo is usually getting you into his Trap and then bursting you with Aimed Shot but the Trap’s effect can be removed using Devour Magic.
Threat level: High (esp. if specced into Arms)
Preferred pet: Voidwalker or Succubus
Warriors scale even harder with gear than Warlocks do. They start off as a wet noodle since they either have no HP or deal no damage, but once they get items like Ashkandi, Rank 13 PvP or T2.5 set they start to become an unstoppable wrecking crew. Your best bet against warriors is trying to keep them at distance. Arms is their preferred PvP spec and their ultimate, Mortal Strike, hits like a truck. There are several key points to fighting warriors:
- They can only charge you while out of combat and in Battle Stance
In Battle Stance they cannot use Berserker Rage, which makes them immune to fear, so following a charge they will usually switch to Berserker Stance
- They can Intercept you once in Berserker Stance (charge + 3 second stun, 30 second CD)
- Death Coil works even if they are immune to fear and it is vital to have this skill available (be wary of the shadow reflection trinket!)
- If they reach you once they will immediately put up Hamstring on you (slow, can even root you with a talent)
Therefore to beat warriors you have to get them away from you after they have used their Intercept ability (and are still alive) so the Succubus is a very handy pet against them or you try to use consumables like grenades.
Threat level: High
Preferred pet: Voidwalker or Succubus
In World of Roguecraft you will get jumped on by many a Rogue and you will never see them coming… Rogues deal high amounts of damage while being able to constantly CC you and your Insignia does not remove stuns which makes them one of the hardest opponents to face.
Their combo usually looks like: Cheap Shot (stun from stealth) followed by a Kidney Shot (more stun), then a Gouge (disable, so they can regenerate some Energy) followed by more damage. Afterwards they can Blind you to regenerate or bandage or Vanish to get another opener on you and start from the beginning. On the other hand they are relatively squishy so if you can get out of their stun onslaught and a fear up they are usually easy picking. One thing to know about rogues is that they heavily rely on their cooldowns of 3-5 minutes and they are pretty weak without them. In battlegrounds they have limited use as they lack a gap closer once revealed but in the open world they will always engage you if you are either low on HP or engaged with another mob or player.
After all that fighting now let’s talk about what makes a good partner for you to play with. There is no 2 vs 2 arena in the game but that does not mean you cannot team up with a buddy, and in fact it is actually a great idea to do so. If you can assemble a full party or even a full raid group of 10 or 15 people for WSG or AB respectively, even better!
Obviously all healing classes make great wingmen for you, but I want to highlight three classes that provide the most utility to your team. Two of my suggestions help you with your biggest weakness, which are melee classes like Rogues and Warriors.
The first class that makes a great buddy team is the Priest. If it is a healer he can top you off, provide you with a shield that prevents you losing cast time when hit and most importantly dispel all those magic and poison debuffs from you. A PvP specced healer might even have Power Infusion at their disposal for you to boost your damage by 20%. But Shadow Priests make an equally good partner since they provide the same shield and dispel capability while simultaneously having great damage themselves and they also boost the shadow damage you do via Shadow Weaving. Since Priests are usually the highest priority to kill make sure you keep your buddy alive by keeping your enemies feared. Outside of battlegrounds your Soul Stone goes onto the priest. Their Stamina buff gives you 700 more HP if talented.
The second class I want to mention is your good caster cousin the Mage. The reason they make great partners is their wide array of snares, slows and Polymorph, basically everything that gets those pesky melees away from you. Once everything is in CC, nuke one target down immediately and move on. On a more macro level you can give them health stones while they give you food and water, and who does not like a free drink?!
The third class I want to mention is the Shaman, especially if specced into the 30/0/21 elemental and restoration spec many people go for in PvP. While neither of you gains anything from the Windfury totem (the random Warrior in your BG group will love it though), Shamans have way more in their arsenal. Strong heals, purging of enemy buffs, constant cast interrupts thanks to Earth Shock, insane burst damage capabilities as well as Grounding, Tremor or Poison Cleansing Totem area valuable assets to have.
Items and professions
I don’t want to give any BiS lists here but just want to mention a couple of noteworthy items and consumables and I also want to talk a bit about Engineering, since no PvP guide is complete without talking about this completely ludacris profession.
- Insignia of the Alliance/Horde: must have for everyone, the warlock’s version of it removes Polymorph, Charm and Fear effects (does NOT remove stuns!), requires PvP rank 2. Remember that the Warrior’s, Shaman’s and Hunter’s own insignia does not remove Fear effects!
- Skull of Impending Doom: held in the offhand, when activated grants a 60% movement speed boost for 10 seconds at the cost of some HP and mana, awarded by a quest in the Badlands. Since this items periodically damages you it will break all different kinds of CC like Polymorph, Blind etc, but make sure you click it off (with a macro)!
- Tidal Charm: trinket that can be used to stun the target for 3 seconds, 15 minute CD, drops off a rare spawn in Arathi Highlands
- Blue PvP Set (Rank 7,8,10): very solid set that provides you with a decent amount of spell damage and stamina, and it is quite obtainable by a couple of weeks farming pvp, especially if you find a premade group.
The 4-piece set bonus (3-piece for the epic set) reduces the casting time of your Immolation by 0.2 seconds (below the GCD with the Bane talent) and the gloves provide 50% push back protection when casting Searing Pain.
- Epic PvP Set (Rank 12,13): Very strong as it provides massive amounts of spell damage and stamina, but likely out of the reach for most people
- Dreadmist T0 set: Gives decent amounts of stamina, so for a fresh level 60 those items are not too bad.
- Felheart T1 set (from Molten Core raid): The T1 set for warlocks is horrible for raiding, as it does not provide you with enough spell power or hit rating to be worth it. In PvP however it is actually quite powerful, since it gives a sizable amount of stamina and you don’t need hit in PvP anyways so if you can grab a couple of pieces it is definitely worthwhile. The 5 pieces set bonus gives your pet 100 resistance to all schools of magic, which makes especially your Felhunter basically immune to spells (especially if you get Master Demonologist).
- Other PvE sets (ZG, T2, T2.5, T3) : They are all very good, if you can get them! Once you get T3 basically no one can stop you anymore...
When looking at an item I suggest looking for the following stats: +spell damage and stamina. In PvP you need 3% hit, as your chance to miss is only 3% against a level 60 target, so you don’t have to gimp your other stats for it. Unless you run a Destruction build critical hit chance is also not as important as for, e.g. Mages, since DoTs cannot critical strike at all, so you only need it for your Shadow Bolt. The last stat that is really good for PvP is reducing the target’s resistances since in Classic resistances can go below zero(!), but those items only get available in AQ or later.
If you equip your blue gear from any of the BiS lists out there you will end up at around or even below 3000 HP, which is not enough for PvP, so you will have to make some tradeoffs between +spell damage (from your BiS list) and stamina (“of the Eagle” items or e.g. T0 set) early on. Once you get either your T1 set or the blue PvP set things start to get better. Also keep in mind that PvPing wearing head pieces like Spellweaver’s Turban or Crimson Felt Hat makes you a magnet for other classes since everybody sees that your gear level and HP pool are relatively low.
The Bloodvine tailoring set from ZG is BiS for raiding but not great in PvP because of the complete lack of stamina while having too much hit for PvP.
There is no doubt among the player base that Engineering is a must-have if you are serious about PvP. Contrary to other professions like Alchemy, that can be used to create items or potions for yourself and others, most Engineering items require you to have a sufficiently high skill to use them. But keep in mind that many on-use items have a slight chance to fail, although the pros will always outweigh the cons. The most notable items are (keep in mind you cannot switch any items besides weapons while in combat!):
- Grenades (made from Iron or Thorium) : After a short cast time (can be cast while moving!) you throw a grenade that incapacitates the target for 3 seconds and deals moderate damage (Thorium Grenades do higher damage but are more costly). Any damage taken during that time will remove the effect. They can be tricky to land at first but after some practice you will get used to them. To hit the target it must be inside the green targeting circle by the time the casting bar finishes (so the throw animation does NOT influence this!). Use this frequently while kiting but keep in mind that your dots will remove the effect on their next damage tick.
- Goblin Rocket Helmet: When used you charge at an enemy and incapacitates them for up to 30 seconds (same as the grenade), but also stuns you for a brief moment. The best use for this is if you are fighting someone and a second person appears. Further uses are to prevent a healer from casting (must be timed correctly and there should not be any dots on the target) or if you are carrying the flag in WSG and someone runs at you head first to cross the gap. 20 minute CD.
- Reflector trinkets (Shadow, Fire, Frost): When activated reflects any incoming spells from that school of magic against the caster. Last for 5 seconds and has a 5 minute CD.
- Goblin/Gnomish Rocket Boots: Increases your run speed for 20 seconds, has a chance to fail, cooldown is 5 or 30 minutes
There are many more useful gadgets, so be sure to check them out at WoWHead
All potions and elixirs created by an alchemist can be traded or sold, so there is no need for having skilled alchemy on your main character, but I quickly want to highlight some of the amazing potions you can create with it. All potions share a common cooldown of 120 seconds so you can only use one per fight.
- Limited Invulnerability Potion: Makes you immune to physical attacks for 6 seconds, a Warlock’s favourite potion so always get some of those
- Living Action Potion: Makes you immune to Stun and Movement Impairing effects for the next 5 sec. Also removes existing Stun and Movement Impairing effects.
- Free Action Potion: Makes you immune to Stun and Movement Impairing effects for the next 30 sec. Does not remove effects already on the imbiber. (requires fishing materials to make)
- Invisibility Potion: Makes you invisible for 18 seconds, great for avoiding or setting up ganks in the open world (there is also a lesser version that is cheaper)
- Swiftness Potion: Increases run speed by 50% for 15 seconds, very cheap and useful if a fight goes south or if you are carrying the flag in WSG
- Major Healing Potion: this one should be obvious, restores between 1050 and 1750 HP
Blizzard’s current plan is that battlegrounds will not be available upon launch, but only after a couple of months. When the PvP system launches only WSG and AV will be available, AB is added later down the road.
For a win in any of the three battlegrounds you get 3 Marks of Honor, a loss will grant you one. You can turn those marks in for additional honor. Generally speaking a fast win or lose will always grant you more honor per hour than a lengthy zerg battle (can happen especially in AV). Leaving a battleground early gives you a 15 minute deserter buff that you have to wait out before queueing again.
Warsong Gulch (WSG)
Game mode: Capture the flag, 10 vs. 10, get 3 flags to win
Tipps: Your job is usually to kill the enemy’s flag carrier. Always go with your team and don’t get caught up fighting in the middle of the map while the flag carrier runs past you. In a pug the “Skull of Impending Doom” is an essential item if you want to carry the flag yourself out of the enemy’s base quickly.
Watch out for: Druids. They are by far the best flag carriers in the game because they can heal themselves and get out of CC when switching between animal forms. A R13 druid can easily win the match by himself if played right.
Arathi Basin (AB)
Game mode: Conquest, 15 vs 15, hold enough of the 5 capture points to reach 2000 points for victory
Tipps: Warlocks are made for this game mode, their kit makes them excellent for capturing or defending points (although Hunter’s are the best defenders in general). If you see an enemy capturing a point, cast an instant cast damaging spell or use your wand, putting up a DoT or Rain of Fire on them does not cancel the capturing process.
Watch out for: Rogues. If you are alone defending a flag and the rogue saps you he can capture the point before you get out. Even if he cannot kill you he can stall you long enough that you can never take it back. In that case the Succubus is your best friend. The Felhunter’s Paranoia aura is really good as well though if you react quick enough and put a DoT up on the Rogue.
Alterac Valley (AV)
Game mode: Assault PvPvE, 40 vs. 40, defeat the opposing faction leader to win
Tipps: Because of the massive scale individuals do not matter that much in this mode. To defeat the opposing faction leader you will need a decent tank and a couple of healers, but you need at least two bunker’s destroyed before pulling the adds. If you get agro while fighting inside the keep simply die and do NOT run out, as this will leash the mob and reset him. Alliance have a seizable advantage here since the bridge leading to the keep is easier to defend than the Horde’s side (in the 1.12 client there was a backdoor though that involved a very precise jump).
Watch out for: Healers. There are quite a few choke points on this map and a couple of healers in the backline can really ruin your team’s day. Also always leave 1-2 people defending the bunkers you are trying to destroy, having a bunker retaken in the last second by a sneaky Rogue often decide the game.
Rewards: Reaching Exalted in AV is actually fairly easy to do during an AV weekend and even if you are only want to do PvE doing so is highly recommended. The epic offhand items you can get at Exalted are T2 level gear and the ring is solid as well.
Ranking up in the PvP system gives you access to the following rewards. For all gear pieces keep in mind that you do not need a specific rank to equip them but can only but them as long as you have the rank for it! Everything up to and including rank 10 is obtainable even for relatively casual players, above that the grind gets real...
- Scout/Private: Tabard
- Grunt/Corporal: Insignia
- Sergeant: 10% vendor discount, blue cloak
- Senior/Master Sergeant: blue necklace
- First/Master Sergeant: blue bracers
- Stone Guard/Knight: combat health and mana potions (very cheap but limited to 5 pieces), officer tabard
- Blood Guard/Knight-Lieutenant: blue boots and gloves
- Legionnaire/Knight-Captain: blue chest and leggings
- Centurion/Knight-Champion: Battle Standard (drop to the floor to give +15% health aura, has 1500HP)
- Champion/Lieutenant Commander: blue helm and shoulders
From here on it gets dicy...
- Lieutenant General/Commander: 100% mount (does not require epic riding skill)
- General/Marshal: epic gloves, leggings and boots
- Warlord/Field Marshal: epic helm, shoulders and chest
- High Warlord/Grand Marshal: epic weapons
Thanks for reading!
Images from Imgur apparently did not work, what did I do wrong?
@Boatschl I'm not sure. You can also just drag the image into the editor or upload from your PC. DId you mean the thumbnail?
@Boatschl Oh I see. Just send it to me on Discord Melderon#1287 and I'll get it on there
@Melderon The images are there, the links work (I uploaded them to imgur since I didn't know what else to do with them), but they only show the alt. text. There are three of them, one for each talent spec.
I see where it says "Talent" I'm assuming that's where you want the images. If you highlight that text and click the link tool, you should be able to paste the URL there. BUt I'm assuming you already tried that. Did that help
@Boatschl forgot to tag you in the previous post. Anyway, if that doesn't work, you can always send it over in discord
@Melderon solved it, forgot the ! in the markup
@Boatschl cool. Also, try and re-paste the thumbnail link. It gets cropped on the first try for some strange reason
@Boatschl Per latest "Its Not a Bug" list:
Soul Link cannot be dispelled by dispelling the Warlock’s pet.
Appreciate the guide Boatschi, good information that will be very useful for PvPer's.
you ranked rewards, can you ranke the classes pvp wise also? many guides don’t include that info...