Destro Warlock AoE Grinding

I still remember the first time I saw a Frost Mage AoE grind. It was in northern Dragonblight, up at the Scarlet Crusade base. This little gnome would round up the Crusaders into a tight herd on his mechanostrider, slow them, freeze them, blink to a safe distance, and then annihilate them with a Blizzard. This crazy little man would pull entire camps, kill them all, and ride away without a scratch.

I was stunned by not just the carnage, but the sytle and élan by which it was achieved. I admit: I was really quite jealous of Mages in that moment.

What I didn’t know at the time is that Warlocks are equally capable at AoE grinding, but with a fundamentally different style. The Warlock Way isn’t to avoid the enemy, it’s to frustrate their attempts to stop us, to turn their own life force against them, and when all else fails — to nuke them down while we laugh at their feeble attempts to stop us.

There are at least four styles that I know the different specs can use to kill many mobs in a single blow.

  1. Destro Locks are uniquely suited to AoE grinding because of both the buffs we have on Rain of Fire and Shadowfury.
  2. Affliction Locks excel at a completely different style of taking out lots of mobs, a style I’ve dubbed the Kali style, which involves casting instant DoTs on the run and then spamming Seeds of Corruption and Drain Life. This style leaves a trail of dead as Affliction locks NEVER need to stop.
  3. Demo Locks can use their Felguard, Metamorphosis’s Immolation Aura, and Hellfire to gather mobs and turn the mob’s aggro against them.
  4. And all warlocks can send a pet to gather up mobs and return them to the master, killing them however the warlock chooses.

Today I’m just going to talk about Destro’s AoE grinding. The core idea is to gather up the mobs with you (and your pet), hit them with Shadowfury, Shadowflame (especially Glyphed Shadowflame), and Rain of Fire, all while absorbing damage with your Voidwalker’s Sacrifice, Soul Link, and your own high Stamina. The more defensive talents you have, the better you will fare.

The process is relatively straightforward:

  1. Round up the mobs while mounted into a tight area.  If you get knocked off, don’t panic, just move on to step 2.  Try to get just to one side of the pack.
  2. Shadowfury the mobs to stun them in place.  You’ll dismount at this point and your Voidwalker will spawn.
  3. Turn and face the mobs and hit them with Shadowflame.  This will put a DoT on them and do great damage for little mana; however, you have to practice to make sure you can aim your cone well.
  4. Trigger your Voidwalker’s Sacrifice spell as you get a little distance on the pack of mobs.  If you’re facing Shadow spells, you can also toss Shadow Ward on for good measure.
  5. Rain of Fire the pack until they die.  This usually takes 1-2 RoFs for most PvE mobs.

Sometimes it helps to actually see a technique in action.  So, I made a little video to show how this works in practice.  (Go easy on me, this is my first video post.)

So there you have it.  Obviously Warlock AoE grinding takes some practice and a good health pool.  Soul Link will really help you out here, but it’s by no means essential.  What is essential is keeping a good tab on your cooldowns, health, and mana, and the willingness to adapt when things go wrong.

Happy grinding!


Filed under Cynwise's Battlefield Manual, Warlockery

10 responses to “Destro Warlock AoE Grinding

  1. Nice vid Cyn! (still adapting to the American accent – why it comes as a shock, I don’t know!)

    I didn’t understand any of the Warlock stuff, but I enjoyed watching you on the Flying Carpet.

    • Thanks! Funny, yes, I hadn’t even considered my accent here. Definitely American.

      I’ll try to use less warlock jargon on my next one. Live and learn!

  2. I like this post, and it makes me want to try that on my ‘lock.

    … I wonder if I can build a spec around AoE leveling like I did for my Frost mage ages ago.

  3. Inquisitor

    I’ve been experimenting with AoE grinding on a 60-something Disc priest, recently.

    1/3 spirit tap, 2/2 reflective shield, glyphed Holy Nova.

    I can take 10 even-levelled mobs in 20 seconds (no point going for more, with the new AoE damage cap), for half my mana bar, and spirit tap is a guaranteed proc.

    I blow through an Inner Fire, two PW:Ss, and all the healing I get from the Holy Novas doing it, of course, but that’s okay.

    The PW:S hastes my HNs almost down to the GCD cap, which helps.

  4. Funny. I just re-specc’d into the oh-so popular 0/13/58 spec which drops the shadowfury talent. I do so miss the instant-cast aoe with stun, especially with instances like hCOS. Stunned by mobs of zombies, shadowfury, and keep running.

  5. Cyn, I can’t see vids while I’m at work so I’ve been trying to remember to watch this thing at home. Yet here we are almost a month after it’s been posted and I still haven’t watched it.

    Give me a reminder tonight or something, I need to see the CynVids!

  6. Kaladar

    Nice vid! Interesting to hear people’s voice vs just reading them in guild/twitter chat, etc.

    I level and instance primarily as Affliction, but I do have a destruction build as my alt-spec. I’m tempted to get those spells lined up in order and pull this off.

    I’m sure your gear is parsecs better than mine, but Locks can make stuff die while nekkid. Will be something fun to try. I need to work on my Destro rotation just on general principle, too.

    • Thanks! I enjoyed making this one and have a few more planned. The Destro rotation is a lot of fun — I should do a post on how it works one of these days.

      And I discovered that I could do about 980 DPS while in an evening gown as Destro — though I ran out of mana in about 30 seconds. 🙂 I’ll have to try it as Affliction, which is now my second spec. (I’ve dropped my raid spec and have two PvP specs.)

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