Tag Archives: Macros

Macro: Clear Your Keybinds

Following up on my advice to trash all your keybinds, I found the following macro on Twitter from @pontelon:

/run for i = 1,120 do PickupAction(i) ClearCursor() end

This will remove everything from your bars in one fell swoop. (Be sure to get your secondary specs, too!)

Thanks, Pon! Great macro!


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Filed under Cyn's Guides To Almost Anything, Cynwise's Warcraft Manual

Cyn’s Guide to Holiday Macros

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Cyn’s Holiday Guide. Sometimes, it’s good to step back from PvP and enjoy the other parts of the game. No, really!

One of the tiresome things about most of the holidays in Azeroth is the number of repetitive actions you’re going to do, especially if you do them across many characters. With Brewfest you might have had to dig in your bags for a Complimentary Brewfest Sampler or Ram Racing Reins; with Hallow’s End, you’re constantly getting Handfuls of Treats and using Water Buckets.

You can drag most of the holiday items onto your action bars, but that takes up space, and has to be done on all of your characters. It’s a minor hassle, but still – it’s a hassle.

Holiday macros are the answer. Make a single macro for all the items, and it will choose the right one for the task at hand.

If you don’t know how to make a macro, don’t be scared – they’re easier than they look! I have some macro resources on this site, including an Intro to Macros which shows you how to make them from scratch.

For a holiday macro, you’ll want to make a new Macro in your General Macros tab. This will make the macro usable for all of your characters, which is what you want.

The basic idea is that as you go through a holiday and use items, you add those items to the holiday macro. Pretty soon you’ll have all the items needed for the event in your macro.

No more opening your bags, looking for where the Handful of Treats has gone off to this time! Click the pumpkin, click your macro, auto loot, and you’re done!

Start with a basic macro setup.

  1. Open the macro pane by typing /m or /macro.
  2. In your General Macro pane, select New.
  3. Leave the icon as a ?, and call it “Holiday Macro.” Click Okay.
  4. In the Enter Macro Commands field, type in “/use ” and then Shift-click on the item you want to use. Or, enter in the commands discussed below.

Let’s start with the current holiday, Hallow’s End.

/use Handful of Treats
/use Dousing Agent
/use Arcane Cleanser
/use Water Bucket

This opens the treats you get from the treat baskets, douse the wickerman, clean up your home city, and put out fires, all with the same button.

You may get an error if you have the Dousing Agent in your inventory but aren’t by the wickerman. If so, you can add the following at the bottom:

/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Here’s what I used for Brewfest:

/use Ram Racing Reins
/use Complimentary Brewfest Sampler
/use Elekk Dispersion Ray
/use Wolpertinger Net

The Ram Racing Reins are tricky, since they can disappear if you click on them with the Complimentary Brewfest Sampler in inventory and they’re not listed first. So make sure they’re first.

You can combine several different holidays in one, but one danger of that is that you’ll eventually bump into the 255 character limit. One way around that limit is to use the item ID, instead of the name. You can find the item ID by looking it up on Wowhead – the item ID is the unique part of the URL (wowhead.com/item=…).

The tricky part about using item ID instead of the name is that there might be different items used in quests between factions – Horde and Alliance often have slightly different versions of holiday quests, which usually results in different item IDs.

So, if you use item ID instead of item name, your Hallow’s End macro then starts looking like:

/use 37586
/use 68648
/use 68647
/use 69191
/use 70727
/use 32971

The other drawback of using IDs is that the code isn’t self-documenting – you can’t look at that and immediately see the macro does. I don’t recommend this unless you really are hurting on space.

I’ve gone ahead and added a Holiday page to the Macros section of this site, and will try to update throughout the year. Feel free to share your own holiday macros below!

(I just love the closing lines from the Orphan Matron; how will the kids ever fall asleep with all these heroes farming candy for them?)

Happy Hallow’s End!


Filed under Cyn's Guides To Almost Anything, Cynwise's Battlefield Manual

Warlock Macros in Cataclysm

I am a strong believer in using macros to help automate tasks.  They allow you to react quickly in game, switch targets, juggle multiple actions at once…

Yeah. I ❤ macros.

If you have never used macros before, you may find my Introduction to Macros post helpful. If you’re just getting started with macros for your warlock, you may find my first post on Warlock Macros useful, though it is becoming rapidly out of date, as both the macro syntax and warlock class have changed.

Let’s get down to some new macros.


Your Imp is now pretty damn good at PvP. It’s not just that he packs a wallop and can kill people on his own (because he can, daaaaamn) – no, it’s that he inherited the Felhunter’s friendly Dispel Magic.

If you run Destruction, you must have this macro:

/cast [@player] Singe Magic

and use it whenever possible. That Imp is going to burn the hostile magic off of you.  Affliction?

/cast [@mouseover] Devour Magic; [harm] Devour Magic

This will eat the buffs off of your mouseover target, or your target if your mouse isn’t pointing at something.

You know what else is pretty good? Fel Fire. You know why it’s good?

If you answered “green fire,” I will cut you. Yes, we know it’s green. Get past that.

No, it’s good because it’s an instant cast nuke with no cooldown. And that means you are, once again, a Shaman’s worst fucking nightmare.

To nuke those totems:

/cast [@mouseover,harm] Fel Flame; [harm] Fel Flame

Warlocks haven’t been able to use pet stomping totems for about a year, but with Fel Flame and a mouseover macro, we’re back in a big way. This macro will cast Fel Flame at your mouseover target (if you have one) or your target (if you don’t). When you see a totem forest, mouse over the totems and start spamming FF at them. If you don’t have a mouseover target, it will hit your target instead.

This type of macro is also really useful if you want to try using more mouseover targeting in general. You can put any spell in there and swap between your target and your mouseover target with impunity.

You know what else is kinda cool? Soul Swap and a focus macro.

/console Sound_EnableSFX 0
/focus [@mouseover]
/cast [@target] soul swap
/cast [@focus] soul swap
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()
/console Sound_EnableSFX 1
/clearfocus [@focus,dead]

Much like the Fear Focus macro (which you’re using, because you CC like a Pro, right?), this one:

  • Makes your mouseover your focus.
  • Sucks the DoTs off the target on the first press.
  • Shoots the DoTs onto the focus on the second press.
  • Clears your focus when the mob dies.

Awesome for handling adds on a boss, putting pressure on people in PvP, being popular at cocktail parties, whatever. Awesome.

Update 1/5/2011: There’s only one … itty bitty problem. Sometime in the past week, this macro became bugged, and now responds with the error message, “Spell Not Learned.” The answers I’ve seen on the forums is that you need to drop your current spec and respec to fix it, which is crazy, but there you have it. It *does* work, just… not right now. 😦

Moving on.

I tend to spam keys, which can be great for DPS but bad for channeled spells or targeting circles. Something about hitting a key repeatedly tells the UI “this person is a hyperactive moron who can’t make up his or her mind about Shadowfury…”

But I digress. Drain Life is definitely something you want to let tick through the whole way. So:

/cast [nochannelling] Drain Life

or, a slightly more complicated version (which I use):

/cast [mod] Drain Soul; [nochanneling] Drain Life

will prevent my spammy fingers from stopping DL before the healing ticks come through, and:

/cast !Shadowfury

keeps the circle from going in and out while I pound on the keyboard.

(I do not want to talk about the removal of Drain Mana.)

Improved Soul Fire is a totally hax buff, but keeping it up in PvP can be a pain. You’ll want to take advantage of burning a shard and making it instant cast, like so:

/castsequence reset=2,combat Soulburn, Soul Fire

If you’re Affliction, you can use this as well:

/castsequence reset=2,combat Soulburn, Seed of Corruption

Bang this key twice to empower your Soul Fire and Seeds, or just once if you want to do something else.

If you want to be extra special, add Curse of the Elements to the end. Since Soul Fire and Seed of Corruption has a travel time, you can sometimes get Curse of the Elements on before SF hits, giving you an additional 12% damage and lowering the target’s resistances. I usually don’t spam it, just tap it twice… but having the additional curse at the end is always nice if I’m on the run.

Speaking of being on the run, you need to be able to cast on the run, no matter what your spec. Make a macro solely for you instant cast spells so you can be dishing out the pain when on the move:

/castsequence reset=2,combat Corruption, Bane of Agony, Curse of the Elements, Immolate

I end with Immolate because I want something to let me know that I’m out of DoTs to cast without stopping. You can use Unstable Affliction or Fear here too, just give yourself something with a cast time so that you don’t cycle continuously through three DoTs and waste your mana.

At the same time, you should have a fairly standard setup for questing. This is less about doing the most DPS, and more about killing things in the most efficient manner possible.  For Destro I use:

/castsequence reset=2,combat Immolate, Conflagrate, Incinerate, Incinerate, Chaos Bolt, Fel Fire, Drain Life

This is pretty straightforward; just have a macro you can pound on that delivers the spells you need onto a mob as quickly as you can. I usually pop a Soul Fire before starting that one, but it’s not something I always have time to stand around for.


Here are some modified versions of macros I published in my first Warlock Macros post.

Buffs! Everyone likes them, and they’re a bit easier to manage now. I prefer a post-GY rez macro for when I’m coming back from the dead; I just hit it until all my buffs are back.

/castsequence reset=@player,2 Fel Armor, Soul Link, Unending Breath, Create Healthstone, Create Soulstone

Now that stones don’t cost shards, there’s zero reason not to buff yourself with them. Combine the above with:

/cast  Create Soulstone
/use [nocombat,help,nomodifier:alt] Soulstone; [nocombat,@player] Soulstone

which will apply a Soulstone to a player if one is targeted, or to yourself of not.


I’m obviously missing some abilities here – I’m not playing Demonology right now, and it shows, as I’m not really up to speed on the Felguard’s abilities or Hand of Gul’dan. I’m also somewhat focused on PvP right now, so haven’t dived into a lot of PvE-specific macros yet.

So, I’d love to see what you’re using – post your macros below in the comments!

(Don’t forget to look at Wowwiki for more Warlock Macros, too.)



Filed under Cynwise's Battlefield Manual, Warlockery

Warlock CC and You: How to Crowd Control Like a Pro in Cataclysm

I love Fear.

Let’s get that out of the way right now. There are a lot of things about playing a warlock that I like, and near the top of my list is Fear. That spell is bound to the 4 button in every spec I play.

I am going to quote from the great “How To Battleground” thread by Dusk:

These people want to kill you. You are a warlock. They all hate you.

They are going to go out of their way to harm you as deeply and as earnestly as they can, and then they are going to /spit and /lol at your corpse, because everybody hates warlocks.

They hate fear, they despise dots, your felhunter is a rage magnet and deathcoil once made the entire wow population cry floods of bitter tears for over a year.

You want to know why I quote from that thread so much? Not because it’s about Warlock PvP – though it is – but because it’s about what it is to be a great Warlock, a complete Warlock, a master of this crazy class.

And in PvP, that means you are a master of Fear. You rip control of other characters away from their characters, and then you kill them. And they can’t do anything about it.

But in PvE, Fear didn’t have the best reputation. It tended to send mobs scurrying hither and yon, sending them screaming into packs of their friends that the tank wasn’t quite ready to pull just yet.

That changed dramatically in Cataclysm.


I have been told that the new dungeons of Cataclysm are hard. That they are punishing. That they are not facerolls, where you can press your AoE spell of choice and go check Twitter!

I have also been told that there are damage dealers out there who have forgotten that when the going gets tough on the tank and healers, their job is to make it easier on those tanks and healers! That these people, playing DPS classes, are refusing to use crowd control! That they don’t even know what that is!

I have even been told that there are WARLOCKS out there who are refusing to use crowd control!

This cannot stand. Do you hear me? THE LINE MUST BE DRAWN HERE.


You bring shame upon this great class if you refuse to CC.

If you are a warlock, you have the best PvP CC in the game. Do you hear me? IN THE ENTIRE GAME. You have the biggest damn CC toolbox of any class. You have Fear, which when glyphed freezes the mob in place instead of running to bring their friends. You have Banish and are fighting an invasion of Elementals. You have slows, and stuns, and an instant terror that damages your opponent while healing you.

You have no excuses left, Warlocks. You are going to CC like a fucking pro, because Fearing things while killing them is what you do.


You want to know why CC looks hard in PvE? It’s not because people can’t open up their spellbook and drag Fear to their damn action bar. No, it’s because it involves multitasking. Instead of tracking one target, you have to track two. You have to watch your normal rotation as well as make sure CC doesn’t fall off.

The key is to not treat them as two targets.

Wait, what?

You heard me.

Don’t multitask – integrate your CC with your normal priority rotation instead. Monitor the CC just as you would any other DoT or CD. Do it in the same place on the screen, in the same mental space.

To do this you’ll need two things – a decent macro and a decent debuff tracker. Let’s start with the macro.


The Warcraft UI has a handy feature in it that allows you to track two targets at once – a Focus. Focus are an advanced kind of Target and is only available via macros and slash commands. Your Focus persists until you change it and is independent of your active Target.

If that’s confusing, think of it this way.

  • Your Target is set by tabbing or clicking on things. It shows up next to your character portrait.
  • Your Focus is set by macros, doesn’t care what you click on, and is separate from your Target. It shows up near the middle of the screen.

So what we’re going to do is use a macro to set your CC target as your Focus, while the thing you’re supposed to kill remains your Target.

Let’s take a look at a Fear Focus macro.

/focus [target=focus, noexists][target=focus, dead] mouseover
/cast [target=focus, exists] Fear; Fear
/stopmacro [nomodifier]
/clearfocus [modifier:ctrl]

This macro is straight off of WowWiki. It’s simple and does the job. (If you haven’t used macros before, here’s a brief tutorial.) Make one for Fear and one for Banish.

Here’s what it does when you press the button.

  • Sets your mouseover target – whatever your mouse is pointing at – to be your Focus, if you don’t have one. Then it casts Fear at it.
  • If you aren’t pointing your mouse at anything, it will cast Fear at your normal target.
  • If you press Ctrl while clicking the button it will clear your Focus.
  • It also clears your Focus when your Focus dies.

Here’s how you use it.

You’re in a dungeon, and the tank has marked the mobs Skull, X, and Moon.

  • You target Skull.
  • Put your mouse over Moon.
  • Press your CC button. Moon will become your Focus. You’ll cast Fear at it.
  • Cast your normal DPS spells against Skull.
  • When Fear is about to fade from Moon, refresh it by pressing the CC button again. Do not retarget.  CC will go to Moon, everything else goes to Skull.
  • When it is time to kill Moon, just shift your target to it. Don’t bother with your CC button or clearing the Focus.

The reason to use a Focus macro is so that you do not have to shift your targets back and forth. Your CC goes to one mob, everything else goes to the other mob.

If you’re having trouble understanding this, go to the nearest set of target dummies and try this macro out on two separate targets.


The Focus macro is only the first part of becoming an awesome Crowd Controller. The next step is making sure that your CC is always up, and that the mob you’re assigned to tank stays tanked. That mob is going nowhere while you are on duty. If it gets hit by an AoE attack, or someone tab-targets a DoT on to them, it does not matter.

They are going to stay put until you are damn well ready to kill them!

Remember that crazy thing I said about not multitasking? Well, the one thing you don’t want to do is have to track DoTs on two different mobs in two different places on your screen. Don’t focus solely on your target, because then you won’t see that your CC victim got hit with an AoE attack and is running loose. Don’t focus solely on your CC, or your DPS will suffer.

No, what you need is to unify your interface. Track your Focus CC alongside all of your other important DoTs and CD tracking.

I recommend the addon Need To Know for this.

I’ve covered my personal setup of Need To Know in more detail elsewhere, but the basic idea is to take only those the buffs, debuffs, and cooldowns you need to track and put them all into one central location, like so:

Here I’ve called out the essential things I need to track as a Destruction Warlock for DPS – Improved Soul Fire buff, Immolate duration on my target, Conflagrate CD – but I’ve added in a line for my CC, above my cast bar space.

But it’s important to note something – NTK isn’t monitoring CC on my target, it’s monitoring CC on my Focus. Once I start CCing that mob with the macro above, all I have to do is make sure that that bar stays up. If it breaks, the bar disappears and I recast. If it’s about to run out, I hit my CC button and recast Fear or Banish.

I don’t have to multitask to keep a mob under control. And neither do you. It is awesome when you don’t have to split your attention – just watch the NTK bars.

You set up your CC bar like other NTK bars, but with one key difference:

Instead of monitoring your Target, you monitor your Focus instead.

Also, since you will probably need to switch between Fear and Banish on different mobs, you can make NTK look for both in the same bar. I put all my CC into a single line – just separate them with commas.

These two things in combination make CC a breeze in dungeons. Do them, and Crowd Control becomes trivial. You will make it look easy, which is as it should be.

You’re a Warlock. You are the best damn CC class in the game.


The Glyph of Fear is what makes this all work, of course. It’s one thing to have a great CC toolkit for PvP, but the biggest problem with Fear before Cataclysm was how it sent mobs running all over tarnation, where they’d pull packs of their friends and make you less than popular among your PvE group. But you’re not limited to Fear.

Choose the right tool for the job. Fear is your default, but Banish is useful against Demons and Elementals. There are subtle differences between the two – Fear breaks on damage, Banish does not, but Banish is harder to chain – but they also give you the option of CCing two mobs at once (though you shouldn’t try DPSing the third.) Your Succubus’s Seduction ability is yet another CC option against Humanoid opponents, if you already have her out for her knockback.

You are the tank for your target and responsible for positioning; move them as necessary. You are not helpless in the face of AoE damage to your CC target. Many melee DPS classes rely upon area of effect spells as part of an effective rotation, and they sometimes errantly hit the CC target. Or, the tank might start AoE tanking and nick your mob – perhaps they didn’t pull the main pack far enough away, or things just aren’t going right. If this happens, you are not helpless.

  • Death Coil will break Fear and send the mob fleeing for a short burst of time, letting you reposition them away from the main fight. Reapply Fear when you get them where you want.
  • Searing Pain can be used to break Fear and draw the mob towards you. Position yourself in the direction you need the mob to go and use Demonic Circle to get out of harm’s way while you reapply CC.
  • Your Succubus has a knockback effect – Whiplash – and you can get your controlled mob out of the way of AoE with it. Blow a shard, summon the Succy instantly, then move the mob.
  • If your mob is Banished, casting Banish will break the banishment and move them towards you again. You can apply DoTs to make sure you have the mob’s attention, then reposition them as they come after you.

Howl of Terror and Death Coil are in case of emergency. These two spells are both very powerful when used correctly. If the tank totally loses aggro on a pack of mobs and they are all going towards the healer, Howl at them. Tanks don’t like gathering up fleeing mobs, but at least they’re not eating the healer. Death Coil is a similar tool; it can be used to peel a mob off a healer, but you aren’t in control with it. Use it as a way to seize control, since it’s an instant cast on a CD.

I personally also recommend that you glyph Shadowflame, as that will give you an awesome slow for PvP and PvE alike. It is a huge, huge slow – 70%! – but not everyone will want to spare the glyph slot. Consider it, at least.


I know that I can be… uh… enthusiastic? about Warlocks. But if you’re another DPS class with CC, you can absolutely take this approach and use it to become awesome Crowd Controllers, too.

Mages, if you can’t see that this works perfectly with Polymorph, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s bad enough you have Frost Nova, but there is no reason you can’t be sheeping and pigging and lord knows what else to mobs! Seriously, you have a rep to protect here! Are you going to let Warlocks show you up? Again?

(Also, buy my Tomes of Polymorph: Turtle off the AH. I have alts to support.)

And all the rest of you! Every DPS class with CC, no matter how good or how poor, can use focus macros and a good debuff tracker to ensure that they are controlling their assigned mob. Rogues have Sap. Ele Shammies have Hex. Druids have Hibernate and Entangling Roots. Hunters can trap and kite like no one’s business.

Every DPS needs to look at their bag of tricks and figure out what they can do. If you can’t CC, you can interrupt. Everyone has something. If you aren’t CCing, you should be on Interrupt duty. Period. End of story.

But this is what Cataclysm PvE is like; DPS needs to look at CC as something they have to do, and take pride in doing well.

And to my fellow Warlocks: I expect you to be among the best in the game. Show those Mages what we’ve got.

When everyone competes to be the best CCers, we ALL win.


Filed under Cynwise's Battlefield Manual, Warlockery

A Belated Introduction to Warlock PvP in Wrath of the Lich King

As the Wrath expansion winds down, I find more and more friends are spending time in the battlegrounds.  There’s not a lot of PvE content to keep people raiding, and the impending gear reset in Cataclysm is discouraging folks from grinding out gear on their alts.  So players go to where things are interesting, and battlegrounds are always interesting.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve fought 300 battles on that map, the next one is always going to be unique.

So a lot of folks are leveling new characters and getting them ready for Cataclysm, and that includes playing BGs.  If that character happens to be a warlock, then this post is for you.

I know that with each expansion, classes change, sometimes dramatically.  But — unlike the Emblem grind, which I think is honestly futile at this point if you’re not actively raiding — I think learning how to PvP on a class gives you a solid foundation upon which to build in the next expansion.  Generally speaking, the focus and playstyle of a class won’t change so radically that the time spent learning how to PvP in one patch is lost in another.  Yes, there are some major changes coming to Warlocks.  But Affliction locks are still going to dot dot fear run away and Destruction locks are still going to seduce nuke their way out of trouble.  Demo locks… well, they’re actually going to change a lot.  But I don’t know how to play a Demo lock in PvP yet, therefore I’m not worrying about it now.

So, while it might seem a little late in the expansion to start, here’s an introduction to Warlock PvP in Wrath of the Lich King.  Why?

Because it’s never too late to start being awesome.


Most of what I wrote early on in the expansion about Warlock PvP talents still holds true.

If you have chosen the path of AFFLICTION, then go 54/17/0 to start with.  There is a little wiggleroom in this spec, basically between how much you put in Shadow’s Embrace versus Eradication vs Improved Felpup, but it has all the bases covered.

If you have chosen the path of DESTRUCTION, you have choices:

  • 0/20/51 (Improved Succubus) gives you a very fast Seduction.  This is good for 1v1 or Arena.
  • 0/17/54 (Soul Leech) gives you self-healing, good for BGs, but no Seduce nukes.
  • 3/17/51 (Suppression) gives you hit, freeing up your gear to hit a bit harder.

If you have chosen the path of DEMONOLOGY, well, I’m not sure if I’m the right person to advise you.  I love playing Demo in PvE, but in PvP?  Haven’t been able to make it work.  I’d go with a 0/58/13 deep Demo build to start off with and see how that works.


There’s some flexibility in your glyph selection.  Here are some good ones.

The only Minor glyph you should take is Unending Breath.  This gives people with your Unending Breath buff a 20% swim speed increase, which can help in AB and Twin Peaks.

If you want to know what I specifically use, I use:

  • Quick Decay, Life Tap, and Soul Link for Affliction, and
  • Incinerate, Chaos Bolt, and Soul Link for Destruction.

I used to run Incinerate, Conflagrate, and Shadowflame back in 3.2.  You may find Conflagrate better to start with instead of Chaos Bolt until you’re used to the spec.


As a Warlock:

  • Keep at range.  You’re probably the sturdiest of all the cloth classes (with Soul Link active) but you’ll still go down to a Bladestorm.
  • Keep moving.  ALWAYS KEEP MOVING.  Cast, move.  Cast while moving.  You can stop when you’re dead.
  • Fear.  Fear.  Fear.  Howl of Terror.  Fear.  Death Coil.  Guess what kind of spell you should be casting all the time?
  • You have Shadow Ward.  Use it.
  • You have Demonic Circle.  It will save your life many many times, but only if you drop the circle first.  Get in the habit of dropping one all the time.

For Affliction:

  • Your mantra:  Dot ’em up, Fear ’em away, Drain ’em down.
  • Your tools of choice: Corruption, Unstable Affliction, Haunt, a lot of Curses, Drains, and Searing Pain.  Yes, Searing Pain.
  • Your demon of choice: the Felhunter.  Get a good pet macro and use your Felpup’s abilities.  Spell Lock will save your life, or kill a healer.  Lock healers down so dots can tick.  Devour Magic is awesome.  Learn to use both abilities.
  • Your voidwalker — remember him? — is AWESOME against rogues and good against other melee.  Sacrifice gives you an absorption shield you can trigger while stunlocked.
  • Corruption is your main source of damage.  With Siphon Life, you’ll get healing back too, so spread Corruption around to as many targets as you can in a BG.
  • Haunt and Unstable Affliction should be cast in rapid succession whenever you stop moving.  Keep in mind UA is no longer just a dot – it’s a dot that hurts enemy healers.  That makes it an AWESOME dot.
  • Improved Howl of Terror is for when melee gets too close.  Get them moving away from you and then RUN AWAY.
  • Curses should be chosen according to situation — Exhaustion for melee, Tongues for casters, Agony for general damage, Elements for getting through resistances.
  • The only time you cast Shadowbolt is when Nightfall procs.  Otherwise, Drain Life / Drain Soul / Searing Pain to fill in the time.
  • As soon as you get locked out of the Shadow school, switch over to Searing Pain.  Spam it – hard.

For Destruction:

  • Your mantra: Stand still, this won’t hurt a bit.  Oh wait, yes, it did.
  • Your tools: Immolate, then Chaos Bolt / Conflagrate / Shadowfury all at once.  Incinerate as secondary nuke.  Shadowfury, Seduction and Fear to hold them in place.
  • Your pet:  Succubus or Felhunter.  Use the Succubus’s Soothing Kiss on melee classes.  Seduce and Fear share diminishing returns, so think before you use it.
  • Destro excels at stacking burst damage and suddenly knocking 75% of someone’s health off in a GCD.  Timing combos to hit all at once puts tremendous pressure on enemy healers.
  • The most basic combo is CICD: Chaos Bolt, Immolate, Conflagrate, Dead.  Chaos Bolt has travel time, so after casting it you immediately put Immolate on the target.  Depending on range and Haste, Immo will land just before or just after the Chaos Bolt hits.  Follow up with a Conflagrate, and, for extra damage, a Shadowfury.  If they’re still alive, take advantage of Backdraft and hit them with hasted Immolate/Incinerates.  (If you have the Glyph of Conflagrate, Immolate is still on the target, so you can just Incinerate away.)
  • Keep Immolate on the target as much as you can.  Never cast Incinerate if Immolate is not present.  Use Shadowburn instead (or better yet, cast Immolate!)
  • Learn to weave your Seductions and Fears in with your nukes.  If you put Curse of the Elements and Immolate on a target, then Seduce, then CICD, then Fear, then Immolate and Incinerate, then Shadowfury, then Shadowburn… well, your opponent hasn’t had much of a chance to harm you, have they?
  • Curses: Elements gives you 12% damage bonus and lowers resistances.  Tongues can be okay against casters.
  • Use Corruption as a trash debuff to protect your Immolate.
  • When fighting pet classes, try to get the pet in with your Shadowfury.
  • Chaos Bolt cuts through all bubbles.  Bubbles hate Chaos Bolt.

For Demonology:

  • I… got nothing.  I have no idea how to play Demo in PvP.  Let’s revisit them in Cataclysm, because things are looking much better there.


You’re going to want macros.  Lots and lots of macros.

I have a very popular post on warlock macros that is unfortunately starting to age a bit. Macro syntax has improved since I wrote that, and I’d like to revisit it in a lot more depth – but I’m holding off for Cataclysm.  So here are some quick updates, in no particular order.

Totem stomping macros no longer work. You used to be able to send pets after specific totems, in order… but no more.  Sad warlock.  Use this mouseover petattack macro instead:

/petattack [target=mouseover]

As Destro, I modified my Chaos Bolt to shoot rockets if CB is on cooldown:

/cast Chaos Bolt
/use 10

And changed my Immolate macro to include Soothing Kiss:

/castsequence reset=target/combat,2 Immolate, Incinerate, Incinerate
/use 13
/use 14
/cast [@pettarget] Soothing Kiss

While playing Affliction, I used the following extensively:


/castsequence reset=target/combat,3 Corruption, Curse of Agony,  Fear, Frostweave Net, Drain Life
/cast [@target] Devour Magic
/use 13
/use 14

That lets me go dot dot fear, with an optional snare at the end.  I was of two minds about having the Felhunter’s Devour Magic in there; sometimes it worked great, other times it left DM on cooldown when I needed it.  The last two lines were to fire pump trinkets (I”m still using the Platinum Disks from WG, is that sad?)

Here’s the other mainstay of my rotation in Affliction:

/castsequence [mod] Unstable Affliction; reset=target/combat,4 Haunt, Unstable Affliction, Searing Pain, Searing Pain, Searing Pain
/use 10

This is my “stand-and-cast” macro, applying the two important shadow spells and then spamming Searing Pain on the target.  It also fires rockets at the target.

As always, the official macro page and WowWiki Warlock Macro page are great places to go for inspiration.


Here are some add-ons I find helpful with my warlock.

  • NeedToKnow – lets you track buffs and debuffs in highly visible bars.  I use this to make sure that Immolate is on the target, check to see if Backdraft or Backlash have procced, and track my Shadowfury / Chaos Bolt cooldowns with it.
  • SaySapped – lets people around you know that you’ve been sapped.  Rogues, we hates them, we hates them forever!
  • OmniCC – adds a countdown to any ability that’s on cooldown.  Great for tracking mutiple CDs at once.
  • DRTracker – tracks diminishing returns on your Fear and Seduce.  Very important!

I’m a big fan of NeedToKnow.  Here’s what my setup looks like:

I put the buff/debuff timers below the casting bar, and cooldowns above it.


Ready for more?

  • My Warlockery page is a summary of the posts I’ve done on Warlocks, and there are a lot of them.
  • I must link Dusk’s Guide to Warlocks in Battlegrounds every other week on Twitter.  It’s awesome.  It’s the reason I never wrote a post like this before — he covers a lot of ground and gives great advice.
  • The Warlock Resources section of Murloc Parliament is a great collection of how-to posts for the various specs and styles.  Good collection there.
  • I’m still in love with the Destruction Duel video, and wish more videos like this got made.

All set?  Great!  Good luck, and happy warlocking!


Filed under Cynwise's Battlefield Manual, Warlockery

Cyn’s Turkey Hunting Guide

Let’s say you’ve been asked to kill 40 turkeys. I don’t know why, maybe a friend dared you to do it.

And let’s say this friend said, not only do I dare you to kill 40 turkeys, I dare you to kill each one within 30 seconds of each other.

You should have two responses.

First, take this person off your friends list! What kind of friend would ask such a crazy thing of you?

Second, bet them 100g on the spot, because you’re going to kill those turkeys AND get paid for it!

Here’s what you do.

  1. Prepare yourself with some Tracker Snacks. If you can’t cook them yourself, find someone who can or buy them off the AH. Pay whatever outrageous prices people are asking, because time is money, friend!
  2. Go to the zone of your choice – Elwynn, Trisifal, the Fjiord, wherever – eat a Tracker Snack, enjoy watching your minimap light up with all those yellow dots, and then…
  3. Go scouting. Don’t skip this step! Ride around and find 2-3 groups of turkeys, all close to each other. In Elwynn I found a LOT of these areas -around Stone Carin Lake, Ridgepoint Tower, Jasperlode Mine – I settled for the far side of the Eastvale Logging Camp and Ridgepoint Tower. I hear the area south of SM in Trisifal is also good, but the specific spot matters less than that there are lots of Wild Turkeys there right now.
  4. Now you’re going to make a macro. If you’ve never made a macro, now’s a good time to start. If you don’t like using macros, tough, because your reputation and money are now on the line. And it’s a simple one — Line 1: /target Wild Turkey, Line 2: /cast (instant-cast damaging spell). That’s it. Put it on your action bar.
  5. Put on your speed boots – you have speed boots, right? – put your pet on passive, and go hunting! Always be moving to the next yellow dot. Ride whenever you are not in combat, and run when you are. DO NOT STOP TO LOOT. Kill turkeys until you’re tired of killing, and then kill some more. Don’t stop until you get [The Turkinator].
  6. /dance, then go kill 25 more Wild Turkeys – this time, loot them. You need the meat for quests.

Once all that is complete, go find your friend, gloat, and collect your bet.

(If the friend was hypothetical, you can just gloat to yourself.)

Enjoy your shiny new achivement!


Filed under Cyn's Guides To Almost Anything, Cynwise's Battlefield Manual

Warlock Keybinding and UI

Pink Elekk.png

The search for the perfect interface with World of Warcraft is much like the search for pink Elekks:  both are goals that really only exist in your mind.  The highly customizable WoW interface leads users towards finding a balance of changes to suit their needs.  With that customization, however, comes an onslaught of choices that players have to make about how their game looks.  And that tyranny of choice can sometimes be overwhelming.

I’ve received a lot of requests on Twitter to share my UI and keybindings for PvP.  I totally understand why people ask this; seeing how other players function inspires me in trying to optimize my interface with the game, of trying out new things, of thinking of ways to arrange functions that work better than the default, and better than what I have now.  I know I can always improve my layout.  Maybe looking at mine will help you with yours.

TL;DR version:  this is my UI.  There are many others like it, but this one is mine.


Any consideration of UI should really start with the very basic elements of the user’s interface, starting with the input devices.   My UI is completely based upon the limitations of my computing setup, where I play, and how I control my characters.   Your UI should take your setup into account, too.

I play on a laptop in various locations around the house — sometimes on a desk, but often in bed, at the kitchen table, or on a couch watching football.  Here is my black Macbook and Logitech trackball:

Cynwise's WoW Computer

I don’t know what your setup is like, but mine is space-constrained.  I do not have a numberpad, or extended keyboard.  I have a small screen (13″) so space is at a premium.  I have a touchpad, but vastly prefer the trackball for Warcraft, mostly because the trackball allows for easy right-clicking.  The touchpad requires an Option-Click and that is cumbersome, both in terms of time and muscle strain.

I know most players don’t like trackballs, and that most players prefer to not play on laptops.  But that’s okay!  I’ve got what I’ve got.  Yes, there are a lot of sleek rigs, cool mice and great keyboards out there.  If those are your thing, try them out.  For me, with all the locations I play in, an external keyboard is not possible.  While the trackball is not something I like lugging around the house, I found the cramping in my hands and difficulty in moving without it to outweigh the extra weight.  So the trackball goes with the laptop now.

Be honest with yourself when assessing your input methods, and don’t worry so much that the devices are holding you back until proven otherwise.


Before I show a single screenshot of my UI, I need to talk about keybinding.  My UI doesn’t make any sense without knowing how my keys are mapped out.  The title of this article gives away that I am an avid keybinder.  I bind everything that could be useful in combat to a key; there is very little clicking when I fight.  Some people can click icons effectively in combat — I am not one of them.  I think the improved reaction time you get from keybinding is essential to success in battlegrounds, Arena, and most PvE encounters, too.

I play with my left little finger resting on the tab key and my right hand on the trackball. (Yes, I tab target, I used to play affliction.)  The tab key provides an anchor for me to put three fingers on the 1, 2, and 3 keys, and my thumb on the space bar. The following picture lays out degrees of movement required to hit certain keys.

Keyboard Color Coded

Essentially, I consider my WoW keyboard as a one-handed input device, all radiating out from the Tab key.   Here’s how I think of each zone.

  • Dark red (Tab, 1-3, Q-E, Space) are no motion at all (or very little motion) and are therefore my primary action keys.  On my warlock, these are things like Immolate, Incinerate, Conflagrate.  I am hammering these keys EVERY combat.
  • Pink keys require minor reach, and so are filled with useful spells and abilities.  These will usually see some use in most combats.
  • Orange keys I can stretch to reach but don’t have to leave the Tab key, so they are more infrequent items.
  • Yellow keys require me to lift off of the Tab key and are infrequently-used abilities.
  • Blue keys are system keys and not used in combat.
  • White keys are movement keys, used as backup and for special modifiers (mounting, autorun).

This layout evolved from my original setup, which used the arrow keys to move and 1-10 to cast.  The left hand became my primary casting hand, while my right hand would move with the arrow keys.  (, and . were originally bound to strafing, actually.)  With the introduction of the trackball I realigned the keyboard for one-handed use, and only use two hands when typing text.

Once I had the keyboard divided into zones, I quickly noticed that I did not have enough room to bind all my abilities and the default system commands.  This was a big challenge for me to overcome; I couldn’t accept that it wasn’t necessary to have the PvP pane keybound, for instance.  The ASDW movement keys stuck around for a long time, but eventually, the need to have keys available won out.  You only really need a few system functions available.  Experimentation helps determine what ones you really need.


The hardest part of keybinding is not the honest assessment of your input devices and how you interact with them, honestly.  Organizing and mapping out your keys is the most daunting part of the process.  Trying to organize them logically is tough. Dual specs make it tougher, since now the same character can have two different keybinds.

And alts?  Trying to map out the keys on my alts made me cry.

The keys to managing all this is priority and consistency.  Priority is grouping your most important spells where your fingers are, and consistency is keeping similar functions in similar locations across characters.

Prioritization is very class-specific, and I’ll go into my warlock mapping in a little bit.  Consistency, however, is something that is independent of class and can be achieved by sticking similar things similar places on your keyboard.  So I use a standard way of mapping the keyboard to the screen, no matter what character it is:

Keyboard Bartender Map

There are, essentially, three full action bars worth of keys here.

  • Red keys are the top action bar on screen.
  • Pink keys are the middle action bar on screen.
  • Orange keys are the bottom action bar on screen.
  • Yellow keys are “stance keys” off to the side of the screen.
  • White keys are not displayed on screen.

You can use the default UI to do this mapping, but I prefer Bartender because it allows me to essentially provide a visual representation of the full keyboard on my screen, like this:

This is actual size, which means these buttons are all but unclickable.  I display this so that I can remember my “yellow” key mappings, and to give me a visual representation of the global cooldown.

Could I get away with hiding this?  Probably, on my warlock.  I do swap out some keys (-, =, p) if I need to have a quest item, bomb, or RP-GG keybound, but in general I have this list memorized.  But then I wouldn’t be consistent between characters.  And I like seeing the GCD spin.

Here’s the breakdown for those who would like to know more.

  • Red Keys (fingers at rest)
    • 1: Attack Macro — Immolate, Chaos Bolt, Conflagrate, Incinerate x5
    • 2: Incinerate
    • 3: Conflagrate
    • Q: Nuke Macro — Chaos Bolt, Immolate, Conflagrate, Incinerate x5, [alt] Soul Fire
    • W: Pet Special Ability, [nopet or alt] Drain Mana
    • E: Shadowfury
  • Pink Keys (one step removed, frequent use):
    • 4: Fear
    • 5: Life Tap
    • R: Death Coil
    • T: Demonic Circle: Teleport
    • A: Medic Macro — Healthstone / Health Potion / Lifeblood / Demon Armor
    • S: OH SH_T Macro — Every Man For Himself, Lifeblood
    • D: Buff Macro — Shadow Ward, [shift] Detect Invisibility, [alt] Unending Breath
    • F: Bandage Macro — Heavy Frostweave Bandage
    • `: Smart Mount/Dismount (shared with ,)
    • Z (not shown): Fel Armor/Soul Link Buff Macro
    • X (not shown): Demon Armor/Soul Link Buff Macro
  • Orange Keys (two steps removed, stretch):
    • 6: Howl of Terror
    • 7: Drain Soul
    • Y: Demonic Circle: Summon
    • U: Rain of Fire
    • G: Curse of Elements, Corruption x6, [alt] Curse of Agony
    • H: Shadowflame
  • Yellow Keys (must leave Tab to reach):
    • 8: Drain Life
    • 9: Drain Mana
    • 0: Food
    • -: Wand
    • =: RP-GG/Seaforium/Net
    • Delete: Reverse camera view
    • I: Inferno
    • O: Banish
    • P: Hellfire
    • [: Firestone Macro
    • ]: Create Healthstone
    • \: Toggle Vent
    • J: Shadow Bolt
    • K: Fishing
    • ;: Fel Domination, Summon Demon
    • ‘: Heal Pet/Consume Shadows [Voidwalker]
  • White Keys (non-combat:)
    • L: Quest Log
    • C: Character Pane, [shift] Currency Tab
    • V: Social Pane, Guild Tab
    • B: Open Backpack, [shift] Open all bags
    • N: Talent Pane
    • M: Map
    • ,: Smart Mount/Dismount
    • .: Autorun
    • /: Chat
    • Arrow Keys: Movement

You may find some of my Warlock Macros post helpful in understanding what I mean when I have multiple functions assigned to each key.


One of the trickiest things about dual-specs is keeping the keybindings consistent between your different specs. I try to keep everything consistent, except for the Red keys (1-3, Q-E), which I’ll dub the Red Zone.  I’m fortunate in that I have two extremely similar specs (one is Destro PvP, the other Destro PvE), which is pretty straightforward to switch between.

There are only a few differences here:

  • W: Pet Special is replaced by Curse of Doom.  This is because PvE Destro relies upon the Imp, who does not need his special abilities mapped.
  • E: Shadowfury is replaced by Rain of Fire.  My PvE build doesn’t have Shadowfury, and I use Rain of Fire all the time in instances.
  • J: Shadow Bolt is replaced by Soulshatter.  Soulshatter has no use in PvP, and there’s little need for a Destro lock to ever throw a Shadow Bolt in an instance.  (There is ALWAYS a better spell I could cast.)

I really try to maintain consistency between the different specs, especially in the Red Zone keys.  Even though E changes to a different spell, it’s still an AoE spell.  I don’t have to retrain my muscle memory to do something different, if I want to hit a lot of mobs I hit E.  And W is still a special attack, just a curse I don’t use very often.  (Curse of the Elements sees a lot of use in my PvE play.)

You’ll notice something else in this example: I don’t unmap U from Rain of Fire.  While it would free up a key for something else, I don’t want to have to relearn keys outside my Red Zone.  (The J Soulshatter/Shadow Bolt switch is my only exception here, and it’s not one I sit well with.  I just couldn’t rationalize putting Soulshatter in a PvP build, and occasionally I need to fling a Shadow Bolt at a fire-immune mob while questing.  But this doesn’t sit easy with me.)

Radically different dual specs present an interesting challenge.  Limiting the changes to the Red Zone helps keeps them manageable, because you can focus on grouping actions together.

I don’t have a screenshot of it anymore, but Affliction looked like:

  • 1: Curse of Agony, Corruption
  • 2: Haunt, Unstable Affliction
  • 3: Drain Soul, [alt] Drain Life
  • Q: Shadow Bolt
  • W: Pet Special
  • E: Seed of Corruption

These keys and macros, with appropriate timers and resets, allowed me to keep a boss fully dotted up with a minimum of changes.  I could spam AoE with seeds on E, and execute at 25% life with Drain Soul with 3.

The key to maintaining my sanity between the two, though, was keeping everything else exactly the same.  Yes, that meant I had Drain Soul in two places.  But it also meant that I could switch between the two without having to relearn the entire keyboard.

I love my Red Zone keys.


Now that I’ve gone on entirely too long about my keyboard bindings, let me talk about moving my character around.  I’m a trackball user.  It works like a 4 button mouse, so I can run, change camera positions, and strafe, all with different combinations of keys.  I’m right handed, so it is easier for me to strafe left (using my thumb) than strafe right (using my pinky).

I still have the arrow keys bound for movement. I used to use them all the time, but I honestly don’t think I’ve touched them in months.  Mounting and dismounting quickly is very important in battlegrounds, which is one reason I have it in the Red Zone (`) as well as near the arrow keys (,).  I do use Autorun (.) a lot while doing dailies, especially while flying… but it’s dangerously next to my dismount button.  This has led to some unfortunate hilarity.

Perhaps I should do something about this?



After all this discussion about keybinding, you’re probably expecting my UI to be a carefully planned out minimalist work of art.  It’s not.  Actually, it probably looks a lot like yours. Playing on a 13″ screen has drawbacks.  You have only a little space to put a lot of information that is dynamically changing. Your needs for one kind of fight might be different than another; certainly I wish I had less information in PvE and more information in PvP.

As I’ve been writing this post, I realize how much a work-in-progress my UI is. Even now I see things I want to change, to reconfigure, to take out, to add…

Enough excuses. This is my screen UI, there are many like it — but this one is mine.

I have two modes, in and out of combat.  Out of combat, I display extra bars with Bartender for items that I may need access to:

UI Shot - Cynwise, Stonehearth Field Marshall

Oh Bal, you tease.  We were just there to help!

When I enter combat, the bars to the left and right fade out completely. I do this to increase visibility and reduce distraction from the flow of numbers on the screen, like so:

UI Shot - Cynwise, The Azure Front, In Combat

(Yes, I normally play in windowed mode.)

Because they do not convey much information to me during a fight, my Bartender icons are very, very small on the screen.  The pet bar is right on top of it, but I rarely click it, instead preferring to control my pet with the keyboard.

If you are interested in which addons are used for which feature you see here, I have an annotated version of the combat UI. I’m using the following addons:

  • Bartender4
  • DeadlyBossMods
  • DoTimer
  • MikScrollingBattleText
  • MobInfo2
  • NeedToKnow
  • Omen
  • Quartz
  • Recount
  • SaySapped
  • SexyMap
  • WinterTime

In addition to the UI addons listed above, I also use:

  • Altoholic
  • Auctioneer
  • Cartographer
  • DagAssist
  • Gatherer
  • Outfitter
  • TrainWhistle

As I look at my screen, I see several areas which need improvement.

  1. Cooldown management and debuff timers are spread across three different addons, each giving me a little different view on what I need to know.  I should spend some time consolidating them and making it so that the information is consolidated so I do not waste so much space in displaying it.
  2. Combat text is in two places.  I like the information associated with MikScrollingBattleText, but I also want to know the location of the damage — you can’t hide behind a wall from a Warlock who has dotted you up.  I’d like to get the best of both worlds, but don’t know how yet.
  3. I am still uneasy with different Unit Frame addons.  I should try some out, since the default ones don’t convey enough information (and take up a lot of space.)

So, that’s my Warcraft interface.  While it’s not perfect — or a pink Elekk — it gets the job done.

But there’s always room for improvement.


Filed under Cynwise's Battlefield Manual

Warlock Macros

If you are new to macros, you may find my introduction to macros helpful before reading this post.

Within this blog, I’ve tried to balance class-specific examples with general principles. Yes, I pretty much speak only Warlock (and to a lesser extent Death Knight), but I try to make sure the basic underlying points are the same no matter what class you play.

This post is not like that.

See, when you start getting into specific class mechanics you find how each class, each spec even, has nuances and specifics that just don’t apply universally. And a discussion about scripting those nuances should be taken like code samples from a textbook; they might show how to do a task a specific way, but you’ll have to adapt them to suit your needs.

Enough with the self-justification. I love playing a Warlock and am proud of it. Here’s how I use macros to help me do it.


Warlocks have a variety of buffs that range from simple to apply (Fel Armor, Demon Armor) to complex (Spellstones and Firestones). Let’s start with the Armors.

For simplicity, I map the same logical concept to a key across characters, so Z is offensive buffs while X is defensive. On a DK this translates to Blood and Frost presences, but on a lock it’s Fel Armor and Demon Armor. These are the lead spells in front of macros that I can spam while rezzing from a graveyard to get back into the fight.

/castsequence reset=target/player,4 Fel Armor, Soul Link, Unending Breath, Detect Invisibility, Create Healthstone, Shadow Ward


/castsequence reset=target/player,4 Demon Armor, Soul Link, Create Healthstone, Shadow Ward

As soon as I rez I start running and spam Z. This applies buffs in order of importance, with Fel Armor and Soul Link being the only essential ones. The other instant cast spells are there for dispel protection, not for real utility. Create Healthstone is last so that if I need to replace a used one I can stop moving at the end of the sequence and create it; otherwise I stop to mount. These macros make use of a reset parameter to allow me to use them in combat to Stance Dance, swapping my armor out as the situation demands. The spellpower buff from Fel Armor is SO good that it’s hard to remember that Demon Armor is often a better option when melée closes the gap. It is equivalent to wearing mail, which is nothing to sneeze at. Resetting allows me to flip between the two as needed.

Next up is Shadow Ward.

/cast [mod:alt] Unending Breath; [mod:ctrl] Unending Breath; [mod:shift] Detect Invisibility; Shadow Ward

Shadow Ward is an easily overlooked spell that should be keybound for all warlocks, and not just PvPers. There is no excuse for not popping it as soon as you see a shadowform priest, affliction warlock, or unholy DK. Since it’s on my bar anyway, it makes a convenient place to store those other buffs for individual application with modifier keys.

Soulstones are a non-combat cast, so I don’t have this one keybound. It creates a Soulstone if you don’t have one already, and applies it to the target if one exists.

#showtooltip Create Soulstone
/cast Create Soulstone
/use [nocombat,help,nomodifier:alt] Demonic Soulstone; [nocombat,target=player] Demonic Soulstone

Related to the Soulstone macro are the Spellstone/Firestone macros. The Spellstone is an essential buff that is a real hassle to use; you have to apply it directly to your main hand weapon via the character pane and each stone has charges. These macros automate that. They will create the stone if it doesn’t exist and apply it to your weapon if it does, so you may need to fire it twice to get the buff.


#showtooltip Create Spellstone
/cast Create Spellstone
/use Grand Spellstone
/use 16
/click StaticPopup1Button1

And for the Firestone:

#showtooltip Create Firestone
/cast Create Firestone
/use Grand Firestone
/use 16
/click StaticPopup1Button1

I keep two copies because the Spellstone is superior for nearly every single Warlock build EXCEPT for deep Destruction, which is what I play right now. Since there is always a right choice as to which stone to use, I don’t try to save space by combining them — just use the appropriate one for your spec.

I don’t macro creating Healthstones or Ritual of Souls, though I do include using Healthstones in my healing macros.

Finally, before I started using an Abyssal Bag to hold my Soul Shards, I kept them in my normal bags and used a macro to clean them out when I needed more space.

#showtooltip Soul Shard
/run i="Soul Shard"d=GetItemCount(i)-10 for x=0,4 do for y=1,GetContainerNumSlots(x) do if (d>0) then l=GetContainerItemLink(x,y) if l and GetItemInfo(l)==i then PickupContainerItem(x,y) DeleteCursorItem() d=d-1 end end end end


Let’s start with the basic grinding macro most Warlocks should level with.

/castsequence reset=target/combat,4 Curse of Agony, Corruption, Immolate, Life Tap, Drain Life

This should be your primary weapon, stacking DoTs in order of least aggro and damage (and longest duration) first. Because the instant-cast spells are first, you can cast it while moving, tabbing your way through mobs with the first two spells until you settle on one to drain tank.

That’s actually a key point to go over – just because a combo is mapped in a macro doesn’t mean you should finish it. Sometimes the first few spells, or the first spell, is the only one you need. This macro can just be used to apply your two major Affliction DoTs, or it can be used to focus fire on a single one. Many of the macros I use are chosen so I can flip between a sequence, like setting up Affliction DoTs, and priority refreshes, where you rotate through CDs. For example:

/castsequence reset=target/combat,5 Shadow Bolt, Haunt, Corruption, Unstable Affliction, Curse of Agony

I use this to set up a mob with all the DoTs required for deep Affliction. But once that setup is done, it serves one purpose – Shadow Bolt filler. The rest of the time I’m using two buttons, one for instants and the other for spells I have to stop to use:

/castsequence reset=target/combat,4 Curse of Agony, Corruption, Death Coil


/castsequence reset=target/combat Haunt, Unstable Affliction

These two macros allow me a lot of flexibility in how I dot up a target, without requiring 4 buttons. On the run? 1,1. Have more time for setup? 2,1,1,2. Or 2,2,1,1. Refreshing dots on a boss? Haunt and UA cycle nicely (notice no timed reset there) while CoA is always ready to go after reset (Haunt refreshes Corruption).

I group the spells into instants and stationary casts for two reasons — how much moving I do on the battlefield, and how I map my keys. Keymapping is a whole post to itself, but suffice to say that there are only 7 keys I consider to be in the primary zone, and only 4 of them are for single-target damage spells. So I want to be able to go through my primary and secondary attack sequences with those 4 keys. For affliction, there are 6 spells you must use: Shadow Bolt, Haunt, Unstable Affliction, Corruption, Curse of Agony, and Drain Soul. These macros let me fit all those spells into 4 buttons.

Destruction spells are organized with the same goal in mind, though I don’t draw a distinction between instants and casting time spells; Destro pretty much requires to to stand and cast. There is a slight difference in playstyle worth noting. They both are priority-based systems when determining what to cast next, but unlike Affliction, which is about DoT refreshing, Destro is a cooldown-based spec. It’s a subtle difference, but worth noting as it affects macro decisions.

There are 4 spells that make up your primary rotation, with 2 optional curses, Elements and Doom, which I’ll talk about later. The rotation varies based on situation and cooldowns.

My first rotation starts with Immolate to get that DoT ticking immediately. There is then a brief pause while Chaos Bolt is cast and travels to the target, but then Conflag, CB, and the second Immo tick hit all at the same time for massive burst. Then Backdraft-enhanced Incinerates go to work.

/castsequence reset=target/combat,3 Immolate, Chaos Bolt, Conflagrate, Incinerate, Incinerate, Incinerate, Incinerate, Incinerate
/petattack [target=Fire Resistance Totem]

I like this for several reasons: it does a huge amount of burst on players while maximizing DoT uptime, it puts Immo right where I want it for later casts, and it’s mostly spammable, with the CDs refreshing at about the right point in the sequence. The CDs don’t line up exactly, but it’s good enough for trash mobs.

The second rotation is used when I have a lot of range on my target and need to drop them quickly, but they don’t have that much health. Sometimes called the CICD rotation (Chaos Bolt – Immolate – Conflag – Dead), it doubles as my default Chaos Bolt button.

/castsequence reset=target/combat,4 Chaos Bolt, Immolate, Conflagrate, Incinerate, Incinerate, Incinerate

This sacrifices DoT uptime for one massive burst of damage. Follow it up with Shadowburn or Shadowfury for extra punch!

The third rotation doesn’t use a new macro at all; it uses the reset features of the previous ones. For boss fights where I want to pump out damage I cast manually, based on cooldown priority. After the first sequence I’m spamming Incinerate while waiting for Conflag and CB to come off CD and keeping my eye on Immolate. Paying attention can yield very good DPS gains on longer fights, so the macros are used only for initial setup.

Now, Curses in Destro. Long fights where you’re the only spellcaster? Curse of Doom. In a raid and someone else has Curse of the Elements duty? Curse of Doom. All other times? Curse of the Elements.

Because of CoE’s wonderful 5-minute duration, you generally can cast it once and be done with it. I use the following to apply it and then optionally put Corruption on the target. I don’t reset it while on the same target so I can keep spamming Corruption if necessary.

/castsequence reset=target/combat Curse of the Elements, Corruption, Corruption, Corruption, Corruption, Corruption, Corruption, Corruption, Corruption

If I have to reapply CoE on the target I’ll just click off of them and retarget to reset the sequence.

This macro is actually very useful for Destro locks in movement-heavy fights or on Wintergrasp siege engines. You may not be able to cast your normal spells through the WG lag, but at least you can help other people take them down.


Playing a Warlock means you play with a demon out. Some builds specialize in specific pets, while others can use a variety of pets. It’s easy enough to leave them on autoattack, but you really miss out on a lot of their special abilities. I use a macro to access their primary ability from a single button:

/cast [pet: felhunter, target=player] Devour Magic; [pet:felhunter,mod] Spell Lock; [pet: Succubus, target=focus] Seduction; [pet: Voidwalker] Sacrifice; [pet: Voidwalker,mod] Consume Shadows; Drain Mana

You can also combine your different summoning spells into a single button.

/cast [mod:shift] Summon Imp; [mod:ctrl] Summon Felhunter; [mod:alt] Summon Voidwalker; Summon Succubus

This is useful when you don’t have a particular pet buffed. If you have the Fel Domination talent, though, you may want to get a particular pet out in a hurry. The following makes use of the /stopcasting command to let you cast two spells in sequence:

#showtooltip Summon Succubus
/cast Fel Domination
/cast Summon Succubus

This “whistle” summons my Succubus nearly instantly — I do have to stop moving to cast the Summon spell.

If you find yourself specializing in a single pet, you may find some focus macros to be very useful. This is a macro I use to do focused Seduction:

#show Seduction
/clearfocus [modifier:alt]
/focus [target=focus,noexists]; [target=focus,dead]
/clearfocus [target=focus,help]
/cast [pet:succubus,target=focus,exists,harm] Seduction; Seduction

Setting focus via macros is a whole separate post, but it’s worth experimenting to see what works for you.


Many of the macros here were originally from the WoWWiki page on Warlock Macros. I really recommend you spend some time over there looking at what other people have done and adapting them for your use.

And, despite what I said at the beginning of this post, I hope that even non-Warlocks can take some of the macro ideas presented here and find ways to make playing their own classes more enjoyable.


Filed under Cynwise's Battlefield Manual, Warlockery

An Introduction To Macros

Good macros are an essential part of battleground success. WoW macros are small scripts that automate your activities to some extent, allowing you to do more things with a single click. Coupled with keybinding, macros let you do amazing things in and out of combat. But even if you are a point-and-clicker, macros can help improve your play. Once you start using them you’ll wonder how you got by without them.

The idea behind using macros in battlegrounds is to make killing you opponents as easy as possible. You have too much to think about in a battle to be worrying about setting up your combos or selecting targets.  No, really!

I’ve held several macro classes in guild chat, and the biggest problem I see with macros — usually the only problem — is getting started making them. Their flexiblity and power can be intimidating. What I’d like to do here is start with the basics of designing and making macros.  Once we’ve covered that, I’ll follow up this post with specifics on the two classes I know best, Warlocks and Death Knights.

Ready? Let’s begin.

Neo Over UlduarMacros let you do things you never thought were possible!


Macros are small user-defined scripts that do stuff when you press a button.

What kind of stuff? Well, I think of macros as doing a few different kinds of things.

1. Space savers, allowing multiple abilities to be bound to a single button. These make use of modifier keys or different mouse buttons to work. These are really good for leveling.

2. Combos, which let you do several things at once, several abilities in sequence, or both. If you find yourself casting the same sequence of spells over and over again, a macro can do that for you.

3. Targeting and focus macros, which allow you to do things without changing your current target. This sounds more complicated than it is; I use target macros to apply bandages to myself, or do things to my pet, without having to switch my current target out.

4. Utility macros, which automate a lot of non-combat activities, like mounting the appropriate type of mount, pulling items from the mail, or telling people to click on your Doomguard altar.

These broad categories are how I think about my macros, but they’re just there to help me organize my thoughts about what I want macros to do for me.

For example, just about all my characters get the following macros while still in the starting area:

  • Attack/Grind
  • Bandage
  • Panic
  • Healing (Medic!)

As they get older, and I discover what things I do all the time with that class, more macros get added. But let’s stick to the basics for now and start making macros.


Let’s start with a simple attack macro for early level use. Using the default button layout, I would press one button for my ranged attack or nuking spell, and then another button for my autoattack, and make sure to not press my attack button again until the mob is dead.

That’s way too complicated!  I prefer “press 1 until dead.”

So what we are going to do is:

  1. Create a new macro.
  2. Start attacking the mob, even if they’re out of range.
  3. Cast your nuke.

(If you haven’t made a macro before, I really suggest you follow along and make one as we go. It helps to learn by doing.)

  • Open macro pane with /macro.
  • Choose either general or character specific.  Either will work for now.
  • Choose New Macro.
  • Choose icon ? and name it “Attack”.
  • Type: #showtooltip
  • Type: /startattack
  • Type: /cast Shadow Bolt (or whatever your low-level nuking spell is)
  • Save and drag icon to actionbar in the 1 position.
  • Press 1 until dead!

Here’s what we did:

First, you opened up the Macro Pane to access all your macros. You can have ones that are shared by all your characters, or character-specific ones.  How you organize them is really up to you, but I find putting character-specific abilities into the general tab only makes sense when they’re common macros I want to copy to other characters.  Even then it gets confusing.

Macro 1 - Blank.png

When you created a new macro, you have to select an icon and choose a name.  You can choose from the standard list of icons if you like, but I find the ? icon to be the most useful.  The ? icon looks to the macro text to determine what icon to show, which is very useful later on.  The line #showtooltip tells this icon, show the tooltip of whatever is active right now.  If you said #showtooltip Frostbolt, the Frostbolt icon would be displayed instead.  But we don’t want that, so just use #showtooltip.

Macro 2 - New Macro.png

The text we entered is WoW’s macro syntax.  The first line specifies the icon.  The next line, /startattack, tells your character to start attacking and do not stop.  This means, unlike your standard auto-attack button, if you press it repeatedly autoattacks will not toggle off.

Macro 3 - Attack.png

This is vital because the second line, /cast Shadow Bolt, can be used to fire SBs at your opponent while they close the gap.  You can usually squeeze off 2-3 before they get you, at which point you will start hitting them on the head with a stick.

PRO TIP:  If you have a pet, you can add in /petattack to have them start attacking while you are casting your nuke.


The attack macro is an example of letting you do two things at once: cast a spell and toggle auto-attack on. This works because these two actions do not share a cooldown, that period of time while the buttons refresh on you bars. But what happens as you level up and start casting more than one spell?

Well, you cast them in order using /castsequence. This command lets you press the same button but rotate which spell is cast. If, as a leveling warlock you find that you cast the same sequence of spells over and over, they can be combined into a single macro using /castsequence.

The sequence you should be using as a Warlock in her early years is: Curse of Agony, Corruption, Immolate, and then either Life Tap, Fear, Drain Life, wand, or melée attack. The first three spells are ordered to keep initial aggro low and match up durations as much as possible.

Open up your /macro pane again, and let’s make a new macro for this sequence.

  • Open macro pane with /macro.
  • Choose either general or character specific.
  • New macro.
  • Choose icon ? and name it “Grind.”
  • Type: #showtooltip
  • Type: /petattack
  • Type: /castsequence Curse of Agony, Corruption, Immolate
  • Save and drag icon to actionbar.

Now, this is good, but if for some reason I don’t cast all the spells on the first mob, I’ll be stuck in mid-sequence. Sometimes this doesn’t matter, but in this case it really does. So let’s modify it slightly so that the sequence resets when we switch targets.

/castsequence reset=target/combat Curse of Agony, Corruption, Immolate

This will work much better.

The reset variable is very flexible. You can do time-based resets in addition to combat resets, like so:

/castsequence reset=target/combat,4 Curse of Agony, Corruption, Immolate

This will reset your sequence after switching targets or 4 seconds of not pressing the button. Timer resets are good safety codes to include so you don’t get stuck with a spell you don’t want.


When you see me do this, RUN.


Everyone needs a panic button to hit when everything goes wrong. You can activate your racial defenses, pop a healing pot, use a healthstone, trigger a pvp trinket — and all at the same time! All of those little abilities can add up to a complete reset of a fight if you fire them all at once.

I find it helpful to have two panic buttons: one strictly for healing, the other to also remove snares, stuns, etc..

The key is finding abilities that do not share cooldowns. Potions and Healthstones are on separate CDs, as are racial abilities and Lifeblood. This means you can trigger them all at once.  Here’s a sample panic button:

/cast Every Man For Himself
/use Fel Healthstone
/use Lifeblood

This will invoke the human racial to break stuns or snares, use a healthstone, and cast the Herbalism HoT Lifeblood.  If you aren’t human, you can specify your own racial, or tell it to use a pvp trinket with the /use 13 or /use 14 command.

To make this into a stronger heal, you can add in some additional lines to use potions:

#showtooltip Fel Healthstone
/use Fel Healthstone
/use Lifeblood
/use [combat] Runic Healing Potion

See that [combat] modifier I added in there?  This will only consume a potion if I pop it in combat.  This limits my potion intake somewhat.

The key with these sorts of macros is experimentation.  Start simple and then add as you go.


So, that [combat] modifier isn’t the only modifier you can use on your macros.  Modifier keys let you change a button’s behavior by holding down the shift, ctrl, or alt/option keys, thereby effectively putting four actions into a single bar slot.

I’ll be frank; I used these a lot while leveling, but I hadn’t remapped my entire keyboard yet.  Now I find it’s better to have single keys bound to single functions, with only a few multi-function buttons for use out of combat.  Here’s an example for warlock buffs:

/cast [mod:alt] Create Healthstone; [mod:ctrl] Unending Breath; [mod:shift] Detect Invisibility; Shadow Ward

Each macro modifier tells what kind of modifier key is necessary to press the named spell. The icon will change as you modify it, so you can see exactly what you’re doing.

There are a lot of good uses for modifier keys in macros.  If you haven’t remapped your keyboard yet, they can really help keep all your important abilities at your fingertips.


Last, but not least, we come to utility macros.  Macros can be used to get all the gold or loot out of your mailbox, automate selecting a flying or land mount based on your zone, or tell you your location.  There are a lot of situationally useful macros that I use, but aside from mount macros they aren’t very useful in battlegrounds.

For more information on macros, may I recommend the following WowWiki pages:

In part two, we’ll dive into specific Warlock macros and how I use them.


Filed under Cynwise's Battlefield Manual