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Most of these tactics assume that your opponent will do the most common thing the class does. You will probably fight people with several different tactics. So if someone kills you, go back in the combat log and see what kinds of things they did that messed you up. Often the choice of pet makes a huge difference. Duels are a good way to practice and prepare for PvP.
A few general tips:
- The spec of choice for PvP at the moment is Affliction. Affliction is arguably the most powerful PvP spec due to high sustained damage and great control options. Though Destruction has high dps, you are a stationary turret susceptible to stun, silence, and interrupt effects. Demonology can be a solid choice with the Felguard, but not so much after it got nerfed.
- Keep your First Aid skill as high as possible. Not only is it handy when you Fear/Death Coil/Seduce an enemy in PvP/Arena, but it is more handy than food to regen health after Life Tap in an instance with long fights since it can be used in combat and heals faster (though it is slightly more expensive).
- Utilize time... unlike most class/builds, for the Warlock (especially Affliction) the longer the fight goes on, the more likely the Warlock will win. Thus controlling your opponent through CC and kiting is extremely advantageous. The Warlock class is not a "burst damage" class, even as Destruction... so don't treat them as if they are.
- Although many trinkets and equipment provided by Engineering have been removed from use in arena, there are still enough viable abilities that warrant investment into the Engineering profession. Almost all are still usable in battlegrounds, and in world pvp they can be life-saving.
- Learn the value of one of our most important spells (level 80): Demonic Circle (and the corresponding ability: Demonic Circle: Teleport). Once created, the Warlock can summon themselves instantly to the circle, even when under the influence of a snare or trap affect. In addition, the teleport ability will allow the Warlock to teleport up hills, through walls, and around pillars. For pvp, especially arena, this skill is invaluable especially when confronted with melee classes. *Howl Of Terror is one of your best moves against all melee classes, and is also useful for interrupting a spellcaster. Use Death Coil (warlock ability) only as a last resort when Howl of Terror is on cooldown.
- If you get jumped by someone and take heavy damage early, attempt Howl of Terror with a Fear follow-up or Seduce them and bandage yourself. If at all possible, hold off using your potion or Healthstone until you've bandaged. Obviously there are exceptions, but it is generally better to do first. First Aid has a 60 second cooldown, while Healthstones have a 2 minute cooldown, and potions can only be used once per battle, so it is possible to bandage multiple times in a long fight if you use it early. Sacrificing your Voidwalker, if you have them out, can buy you some time to Fear / heal as well if there are no other options.
- Every caster has a defense against melee attackers. Priests have Power Word: Shield, absorbing damage. Mages use crowd control tactics with Polymorph and also use eluding spells like Frost Nova or Blink. Druids can use Roots and Travel Form to escape melee. Our main defense, Fear, is easier to remove or be immune to than some others. Make sure to remember Death Coil (only when the others are not a viable option), Seduction, and Howl of Terror (when facing multiple enemies). Soul Link also helps reduce the hurt. If you have it, there should rarely be a time when you do not have it on (having an Imp out is one of those times, as it will die quickly). When you're being attacked by someone with many interrupts (namely a Rogue) or being attacked very quickly (namely a Hunter with a cat pet) it can be difficult to cast Fear. In these situations, open with Howl Of Terror (Death Coil (warlock ability) if on cooldown) and follow it up immediately with Fear.
Pets offer a wide range of offensive and support abilities to the Warlock. The downside is a Warlock can only have one summoned at a time.
- The Imp is a very poor pet for PvP. Any class can easily kill it because of its frail defenses. Save it for raiding or dungeons.
- The Voidwalker has long been viewed as a poor PvP pet; however since WOTLK the Warlock's survivability has gone down considerably forcing the Warlock to look to other sources to stay alive. With new additions, the Voidwalker now has two main reasons to be used in PvP: Consume Shadows and Sacrifice. Consume Shadows now reveals all stealthed units within 30 yards, allowing the detection of both Rogues and Druids. Sacrifice grants the warlock a shield, which is the most powerful 'non-divine' shield in the game with a base hp of over 8,000 (level 80) and over 11,000 when improved with talents. Combined with Fel Domination the Warlock can summon back-to-back shields that prevent interruption and pushback on spell casting for over 20,000 hp, effectively doubling a level 80 Warlock's health. Be warned, Mages love to spell-steal this ability.
- The Succubus is generally the best insurance while soloing when you are open to PvP attacks. Seduction works wonders. With you and your pet both having a form of Crowd Control, you can tag-team the opponent in a way. If they attack you, Seduce, if they attack her, Fear. Unless she is in combat, your Succubus should be invisible, and therefore there should be almost no way for them to prevent at least 1 attempt to Seduce (unless you are attacked by another Warlock who can see her and Banish her; in which case you Banish their pet as well). Even if you are fighting a class that has the PvP trinket to remove Fear, they will use their trinket to remove the Seduction and won't have it again for another 5 minutes. With a 1.5 second casting time, recasting Seduction isn't hard (instant with talents). They will be open to your Fear as well, but since they are more likely focusing on you, any class that has an interrupt will prevent that. She also offers solid DPS once the fight actually begins and you don't have to worry about her DPS stopping if she is out of mana, as you would have to consider with the Imp. Largest concern is she will die quickly to any enemy attack, so be prepared to summon a new pet upon the loss of her.
- The Felhunter is typically regarded as the best PvP pet. It's Fel Intelligence buff gives a good Mana increase to all party members within range. The Felhunter even does moderate dps if you're an Affliction Warlock, because of its Shadow Bite ability which does bonus damage for every DoT on the target. And probably the most useful spell for the Felhunter is Spell Lock, which can interrupt and silence casters.
- The Felguard is only available to Demonology-specced Warlocks. It makes a great PvP pet with its damage output, stun, minor healing decrease, and AoE damage.
- The Infernal is fun in PvP, but not something you can really rely on with the 10 min cooldown. The Infernal does moderate DPS as well as an AOE effect that also damages nearby enemies. It is best to use in a battleground situation with a lot of people (such as Alterac Valley). Don't summon this if you are dying, though, because it does disappear when you die. You CANNOT use this in arenas.
- The Doomguard is a even more fun than the Infernal, intended for one-on-one or small group PvP. It does respectable DPS and its abilities are extremely viable in PvP. However, its low health won't help it much in large scale PvP since it looks pretty damn scary and everyone will want to focus on it. If you have a healer with you, remind them to keep it healed and you can have lots of good times with it. It will have all of its abilities except Dispel on auto-cast. It is recommended to take Rain of Fire off auto-cast since it will not only stop it's movement if it's chasing someone, but it wastes it's mana for a low amount of damage. If there is a nice group to cast it on, you won't need auto-cast since you can command it to use the ability itself. Cripple will help it catch anyone trying to kite it. War Stomp can interrupt casting and it works on a sizable area (same as Tauren racial ability). Dispel can be used just as the Priest's Dispel Magic ability can - to remove debuffs from friendly units or to remove buffs from enemies. One of the downsides of the Doomguard compared to Infernal is that it can itself be Feared; one way to remedy this is to cast Rank 1 Curse of Recklessness on it; this will only last 2 minutes but if you know you're going to PvP soon, it can help. As with Infernals, you CANNOT use this in arenas.
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The central problem with Rogues, from a Warlock's point of view, is the fact that Warlocks don't in general have any defenses against melee damage from other players -- Warlocks wear cloth armor and lack melee damage absorption. Some abilities of these types do exist but are interruptible (Fear, Howl of Terror), pet-dependent (Seduction, Sacrifice) or talent-dependent (Soul Link) -- moreover, all of them are easily dispellable. The same applies to Warriors, but Rogues' ability to prevent their target from taking any kind of action while doing massive melee damage is particularly devastating to Warlocks. A Rogue is a Warlock's natural enemy. More to the point, Rogues even go so far as to specifically seek out Warlocks as targets. Various PvP guides for Rogues advise them to attack Destruction Warlocks in particular saying Destruction warlocks are easy to defeat. Unfortunately. Rogues are a very tough class for Warlocks, but it isn't all doom and gloom. Rogues have the lowest defense in the game (Priests have Power Word: Shield, Mages have Frost Armor, and you have Soul Link). Most Warlock tactics are the same for Rogues regardless of their spec.
- Fear then DoT as soon as possible. Your goal is to use DoTs as a weapon against the Rogue's infamous ability of Stealth, while at the same time inflicting reasonable damage on the Rogue. Rogues are frail at range so DoT as much as you can while kiting them, use Curse of Exhaustion to give yourself time to reinforce their damage taken with another DoT. Avoid melee as Rogues will stun or even cripple you when they finally do get their chance, focus on moving and using your pets to their outmost capabilities. DoTing early can also force the Rogue to utilize his Cloak of Shadows (CoS), which although effectively giving him immunity from your spells, gives you a chance to kill him during the CoS cooldown. If you have Felhunter out, then the more DoTs on, the more damage Shadow Bite will give you.
- Rogues can now start pulling Cloak of Shadows on at level 58. This gives you even more incentive to put as many DoTs on him as you can to lure the CoS out of him. CoS makes them effectively spell immune for 5 seconds. With a 58+ Rogue, try to get all your key abilities out when you can. If you wait too long the Rogue will pull on CoS and attempt to burst you down you in those 5 seconds (or rack up enough cp and Stunlock you during CoS, the impact of this however is largely reduced when you have enough stamina while having Soul Link up and your pets seducing or stun the rogue). Your Demonic Circle ability is your best friend during this horrible spell's duration.
- The Succubus (as mentioned above) is the ideal pet for situations that you are jumped by a Rogue. If they try to stun lock you with the Succubus out, it will be much easier than if they crit Ambush followed by a Backstab before you move. Seduce them ASAP, move away, and bandage. If possible avoid using your potion or healthstone at this point unless they break out of the seduce. If they use their trinket to break it, recast it right away. Curse of the Elements and Soul Fire are handy on a seduced target regardless of the class. Immediately after the Seduction breaks hit them with Curse of Agony (or Corruption if you have it as an instant-cast from Affliction) to keep them from stealthing. It's ideal to keep 2 DoTs on them throughout the fight so they can't use Vanish. They will most likely use Sprint to close the distance, which is your cue to begin casting Fear. Their speed bonus will turn against them when they're running away from you and opening up the distance again. If they manage to Gouge you before you can cast Fear, hit them with Death Coil as soon as they hit, followed by Fear. Teleporting away can give you enough time to cast a Fear if needed as well.
- No Rogue in his right mind would focus his attention on your Voidwalker, but sacrificing it for the shield should give you some time to Fear. The Voidwalker's Consume Shadows is also useful since WOTLK has gave this spell a stealth detection feature. Finally, if you have Fel Domination, you can Sacrifice the Voidwalker and then immediately summon a second pet, either a Void for a second shield (note when summoning a new void, you wont be able to get a second shield out before the CD is off, since the shield will still be on the same CD as the old one) or a Succubus for the Seduction.
- If you are specced Demonology, then you will have a Felguard. Now a Felguard can be used in your advantage against a Rogue. When you know you're about to be attacked by a Rogue this is the best situation to be in. First put the Felguard on defensive mode then put your Felguard on stand, you will then want to get a little distance from the Felguard. Then you jump around in the same spot trying to avoid a Ambush or Backstab, naturally the Rogue is gonna attack! Once the Rogue does it's first hit (don't worry it won't hurt to much because of Soul Link), Bam the Felguard has locked on and used Intercept and therefore stunned the Rogue for 3 seconds and disabling the Rogue to hit you twice. The good thing about this is the Rogue stunned you before you stunned it, therefore you will be free to run. As you're running use some DoTs to make the Rogue use CoS, the Rogue will naturally Stealth again because it can't catch up. Once the Rogue does this, the pet will disengage and go back to where it was. At this point it is optional to use a Health Stone while you run in circles so the Rogue has a hard time catching up. By the time the Rogue attacks again, your pet's charge should be cooled down. If so, the Rogue is royally boned. You must then wait again for the Rogue to make his next move then Bam!! (Not again he cries!) This time he can't CoS, so run back, DoT and Death Coil, then Fear and finish him of by running in circles and DoTing or Drain Life. If your pet's charge is on cooldown, you will just have to take the first 3 or 4 shots, which if you have plenty of health should be fine (if you don't believe you can take 3 to 4 shot then use a Healthstone or Potion ), then use Death Coil. Then fear and DoT spam Fear or run in circles and DoT, or DoT and Drain Health. The Felguard is by far the best pet to use against our most feared class.
- In general keep your distance, placing any instant DoTs you can. Kiting is the way to go. If the rogue gets upset enough about the Seductions to focus on the Succubus, take the opportunity to Fear. Keep in mind that Undead Rogues will have Will of the Forsaken, and many opponents may have items that can cancel fear and charm effects (such as Insignia of the Alliance (Warlock). Rogues are all leather, so melee damage of the sort that the Succubus can dish out will actually be somewhat effective. They tend to have a fair amount of Stamina, but not a huge amount, so a well-timed Immolate plus Shadow Bolt will hurt them. Chances are high that he'll now try to gain on you, stun, and heal. Try not to expose your back to him - this allows you to avoid Backstab, which does a lot of damage. Also try to avoid facing him, as the Rogue's Gouge ability only works from the front. The best (and hardest) place to be is facing his back. Try running through him, jumping and spinning around if necessary. If you're stun-locked AND don't have out a Succubus AND your Death Coil is on cooldown (even the best stun-lockers slip up for a split second sometimes) you could be in trouble. The hitpoints gained from a Healthstone might help get over the initial Ambush or similar attack, but don't count on it. There isn't much you can do against the poisons Rogues are so fond of putting on their weapons, and don't try to outlast him in melee. He'll win.
- Proper gear helps immensely. Rogues deal out a lot of critical damage so the more resilience you have the better. Battling rogues in PvE gear only makes things that much tougher. With little or no resilience, it's a losing fight to battle a Rogue.
- You have to have some luck too. Trinket equipped, cooldowns up, etc.
- Your Demonic Circle is very useful when encountering a Rogue as an escape. If you are in a BG or an arena match where you suspect your opponent is stealthed, drop that circle and move away.
- Demon Armor does not provide a SP buff as Fel Armor does, but the armor buff will help a great deal against a Rogue. Like Demonic Circle, you might not be able to activate this before a Rogue attacks, but doing so even during the midst of a fight can improve your chance to win. Once you obtain some distance, you can always recast Fel Armor.
- If a Rogue initiates an attack with Sap, NEVER trinket out of it. If you do he will immediately cast a second stun and it is practically game over at that point. You will just have to take some pain from a forthcoming attack.
- Rogues are understandably overconfident when fighting Warlocks. However, that is an opportunity for a Warlock to exploit. I.e., most Rogues will typically utilize the same attacks repeatedly against a Warlock. Most Warlocks resign themselves to thinking that once a Rogue opens up on them it's basically a trip to the graveyard coming up, so they don't learn how to fight a Rogue so much as just expect to lose. Know this: There is no way no how you aren't going to take serious damage from a Rogue. A good Rogue can completely shut down a Warlock and take no damage. No matter how well the best Warlocks play, they will take a fair amount of damage from a Rogue.
- Read up on how Rogues attack their opponents and understand their basic attacks. Rogues have 5 stuns, etc,: Cheap Shot, Sap, Kidney Shot, Gouge, and Blind. Many Locks don't know exactly how a Rogue works. Of the 5, you will likely encounter two the most, Cheap Shot and Kidney Shot. Rogues typically open with Sap. Many Locks panic and think that right away they must get away. (This is why PvP gear is essential while fighting a Rogue.) However, a good Lock knows that they will not get killed from Cheap Shot or from the attacks that immediately follow. However, Kidney Shot can be the nail in the coffin as it is a finishing move which will stun you for much longer than Cheap Shot could. The takeaway from this is: don't trinket out of Cheap Shot because a potentially far worse stun is coming up. Trinket out of Kidney Shot instead.
This is the crucial problem with Rogues--their seemingly endless supply of stuns. We can only trinket out of one, so make sure it's a good one! Moreover, each talent tree for Rogues has its preferred stunlock combos. You must understand the basics of each tree. For example, Gouge only works if the Rogue is facing you and it breaks as soon as you receive damage. Therefore Gouge is usually used by a Rogue to set you up for a stronger forthcoming attack.
- Duel, duel, duel. Practice will only help you. The table is tilted away from Locks towards rogues for sure, but you can win.
- Victory need not mean killing the Rogue. It is well known in the game that the Rogue versus Warlock match up is one-sided. Signal for help. Pop Healthstones, pots etc. If you manage to put up a reasonable fight and get away from the Rogue, you don't have to be Rambo and stick around. If he stealths to regain energy, then get on your mount and bolt. It will infuriate a Rogue to know that he got the jump on a Warlock and couldn't get the kill. As long as you survive to take out his other teammates you are doing just as well.
Note to Demonology Warlocks with talent tree maxed out- USE METAMORPHOSIS! Not only does it freak the Rogue out when you turn to this huge demon with a bunch of unique moves, that 600% armor really helps against their Stunlock, Destroy combo.
Trinket Kidney Shot
- [Affliction] Hard (Fear, use your DoTs, and then just play tag)
- [Demonology] Hard to Medium Hard (Use Metamorphosis and attack him, while making sure he is DoT'd.
- [Destruction] Very Hard (Good luck on this one)
Warriors become more and more a challenge to Warlocks as you progress in level, and become nearly as hard as Rogues at max-level.
As with Rogues, your chances of success are increased the more you can stay out of melee range. Run around a lot -- run through them if they're on top of you. Warriors can't attack you if you're behind them. Anything that's instant-cast is good, because Warriors can Pummel to interrupt your casting, and having all your Shadow spells shut down is crippling. So the most likely way to win is to keep them covered with instant-cast DoTs and stay out of melee range.
Your primary defense, Fear, is all but useless against warriors. It's perfectly reasonable to want to kite a Warrior with Fear in the lower levels or when their abilities are on a cooldown -- although the problem is that pesky diminishing returns counter. Undead Warriors with WotF also make Fear less useful, as do Fear-canceling items. The 3 most annoying abilities they can use against your Fear (not horror from Death Coil or charm from Seduction however, see next paragraph) are:
- Berserker Rage, usable only in Berserker Stance every 30 seconds, breaks Fear and makes them immune to Fear for 10 seconds. The warrior also gains triple rage from taking damage while affected. This is the most common method used to break Fear because of its quick cooldown and its Fear-breaking action. Also note that Fury specced Warriors become a greater threat with Berserker Rage, as their 20- talent talent Intensify Rage will cut the cooldown of their Berserker Rage ability from 30 seconds down to 27 (Not much, but it does hurt).
- Recklessness, usable only in Berserker Stance, will make them immune to Fear, increases their damage taken by 20%, and all of their hits will be criticals for 15 seconds. Has a 30 minute cooldown and is a level 50 skill. If you do not seduce the warrior, Recklessness will generally kill you.
- Death Wish (21 point Fury talent) breaks Fear and makes them immune to Fear, increases their damage dealt by 20%, but increases damage taken by 5% for 30 seconds (3 minute cooldown). If you do not chain-seduce the Warrior, Death Wish will generally kill you.
Remember that when a Warrior breaks your Fear with one of these skills, your next Seduce will also be halved in duration. Thus, it is better to open with Seduction and avoid Fearing the Warrior. It is quite possible (and entertaining!) to catch a Warrior in Battle or Defensive stance and Fear him, although on the occasion when said Warrior has Death Wish, you will wish you had just Seduced him instead.
Also note that a warrior will also try to either Hamstring, fear or stun you pet.
If you have it, Curse of Exhaustion can help you keep one step ahead while running away, but it is likely to be countered with Intercept (30 second cooldown, 20 second cooldown if he is an Arms spec and has the 26-point talent Improved Intercept). There is also a trinket that Blacksmiths get from the Thorium Brotherhood that makes them immune to Fear for 20 seconds. So if you're against any high level Warrior that has any skill at all, your Fear will not be much use. Curse of Weakness may seem tempting, but it makes little difference when taking into account the melee DPS of a Warrior and the cloth armor of a Warlock.
The Succubus is the ideal pet for Warrior encounters; although the Voidwalker sacrifice has its perks, you can still be shield bashed and pummeled through the absorption shield. The Imp can do some damage if you can keep it away from you and thus the Warrior. The Felhunter offers nothing but its meager melee damage. If you get the jump on them with a Succubus: Seduction, Curse of the Elements, Soul Fire is a nice way to start any fight (especially if you are Destruction spec). Also, all those fancy abilities that prevent Fear do NOT prevent Charm (remember you will likely have DoTs on them by the time they use their fear immunity abilities, so plan ahead). As with the Paladin bubble, coaxing them to use their Fear immunities early in the fight (namely before you DoT them) will work to your advantage if you have a Succubus out.
As with all classes restricted to melee DPS, Demonology Warlocks can use Metamorphosis and Immolation Aura to their advantage. Coupled with the Voidwalker's Sacrifice ability, this makes for a healthy amount of DPS if you can't get away from them in time. This does work better with Warlocks whose stats focus primarily or strongly on bonus spell damage.
Kiting is the name of the game at higher levels. When they Hamstring you, jump around them like crazy and use instant-cast abilities to minimize the damage you take. If you manage to get enough lead time, make the most of it with an Immolate or Shadow Bolt. Don't die without using your Healthstone and Death Coil.
Utilize your Demonic Circle AFTER you get them to charge. If timed correctly, the fight is yours after a successful teleport, especially with Curse of Exhaustion.
Above all, keep your health above 30%, or one solid execute will find you running back to your corpse.
- [Affliction] Medium
- [Demonology] Medium Hard
- [Destruction] Hard
- Priests can be a challenge, but there are some tools warlocks have to help out (namely the Felhunter).
- If you have a Felhunter out, it will be hard for you to lose if you use its silence and devour magic abilities appropiately. If you don't, managing to fear them and summon one will change your odds drastically (remember that the priest PvP trinket will remove fear though). The Felhunter can not only fulfill its usual role of interrupting healing, but it can devour any priest DoTs such as Shadow Word: Pain from you and devour their Power Word: Shield. With its innate mage resistance, it is also less likely to be feared, or if it is, it doesn't usually last as long. (It can also devour Mind Control if they try to use you for some twisted purpose.)
- The Voidwalker sacrifice will be dispelled by any good priest, and the Imp or Succubus will fall to Shadow Word: Pain pretty quickly.
- At certain times, the Succubus can also be used but overall the Felhunter will be a better support pet for this fight. A Voidwalker's bubble can be removed through mass dispel, so be careful not to waste this ability.
- Fighting discipline priests is mainly an endurance battle since they many many tools to heal themselves and not many spells to damage you. Most discipline priests wear at least two pieces of the pvp healing set and two pieces of the pvp dps set for added resilience. You need to keep your DoTs up on them and fear them as much as possible. Most critical is interrupting those timely heals through fears, deathcoil, or felhunter. Often the fight can be swung 180 degrees in the time of one priest heal. If you are Destruction, an important note to remember is that Chaos Bolt pierces through their Power Word: Shield. Always be prepared for the priest to Psychic Scream, so save your trinket and your racial abilities (undead) to neutralize this threat. Often you will see the fear coming as the priest suddenly charges straight at you.
- Holy priests are similar to discipline priests, but are much easier to kill because they lack the defenses a disc priest has.
- Ah, your evil twin. Shadow priests have a similar play style to warlocks (DoT, fear, drain/nuke, repeat). However, Priests are more defensive with Power Word: Shield and heals, including a 15% defensive bonus from Shadowform. As a warlock, you have a big offensive advantage over them with your demon and more cc spells. DoT them, CC them, and the fight should be yours.
- One of the most valuable spells to use against Priests would be your Shadow Ward as many Priest spells are shadow. It will absorb over 3000 shadow damage and can be cast every 30 seconds.
- If they star using Mind Spike, you need to interrupt this immediately. If you don't, expect to eat a Mind Blast crit followed by Shadow Word: Death. Use Fear or something similar.
Trinket Psychic Scream
- [Affliction] Easy - Medium
- [Demonology] Medium
- [Destruction] Medium - Hard
- Pop up your Shadow Ward before they do.
- If you are Demonology a Felhunter brought out with Fel Domination can help out.
- This is the time to make use of Banish! They can banish your pet and any warlock whose worth his salt should, but the high resistance of the Felhunter (you are using it, right?) can make them waste precious time and mana when they have to cast it several times for it to stick. With both of the pets out of the fight, your spec will play a major part in the difficulty of the fight. Destruction warlocks will probably have the greatest advantage in this situation and demonology will have the most trouble.
- The same curses work on them as the ones for priests, Curse of Tongues and Curse of the Elements. All your shadow spells are subject to getting through their Shadow Ward, which takes usually ~1.5 Shadow Bolts or 5 ticks of Corruption for Rank 4, which means countering a Shadow Ward with a Devour Magic will often put you ahead. Landing a fear will help turn the tide, especially if your pet comes out of banish to use its abilities while they are feared.
- Chain fear! If you manage to chain your fears on the warlock, you can maintain your DoTs on him while letting DoTs on yourself expire.
There is no specific strategy to use or tactic to expect. The bag of tricks is too deep to take everything into account. Practice dueling with fellow warlocks and it gets easier. An undead warlock will have a slight advantage due to Will of the Forsaken. But a Blood Elf Demonology warlock (Demon charge in Demon form) can get up close and give you a quick interrupt via Arcane torrent.
The mage vs warlock setup heavily favors the warlock, especially if he has the felhunter out. Most of the mage's defensive abilities are about kiting melee targets and blowing them up before they can do harm, not about a caster that does comparable damage, has more crowd control options available, and potentially huge stamina and resists. Overall remember your best defense against a mage is time. Mages deal an immense amount of damage in such as short peroid of time, so you need to keep them in a cc chain long enough for your dots to work their magic. When not being feared, spell lock them with your felhunter, or teleport out of range of their spells using your Demonic Circle. The longer the fight lasts, the more likely you will be the victor.
- Most PvP Mages are frost specced, which is unfortunate because they have four freeze options (Frost Nova, Glyph of Cone of Cold, Freeze from Water Elemental, and Deep Freeze.) Ice Lance deals an enormous amount of damage if you are frozen, so you need to silence this spell immediately.
- Frost mages will try to get close to you. It is best to avoid this because they are trying to freeze you. Your Demonic Circle can be a huge help in this situation.
- Curses can be removed instantly by mages, though if you catch them off-guard you may slip one in while they're trying to figure out what to do first (Curse of Tongues is ideal). Furthermore, removing the curse comes at the cost of time, which works in your favor (DoTs). Fear is handy, though they can remove it once with their PvP trinket (and again with WotF if they are undead). Corruption is the most reliable DoT to use on them since they can remove your curses and use Fire Ward to weaken (or completely absorb) the damage of Immolate.
- Expect to be Counterspelled early, as such you often should first place your instant cast spells on them. Dequeuing a fear will often make them waste their counterspell. Counterspell has a 24 seconds cooldown.
- If you have the Felhunter out, use Devour Magic regularly to remove any magic debuffs on you and then heal the Felhunter. The Felhunter can remove the two specifically annoying abilities. Namely it can remove Polymorph, which is something mages usually use early in the fight, and it can remove the 4 second silence if they have Improved Counterspell. The frost effect from any frost spell can also be devoured. Use Spell Lock to shut their casting down. When possible, pay attention to their spells and try to figure out where they have their talent points. Spell locking a line they are fully specced in is obviously much more useful.
- The Succubus can use her seduction on mages if you are polymorphed, and it is a good idea to seduce several seconds after they polymorph you (your succubus should be invisible anyway). This way, polymorph will break before seduce does and you will have the upper hand. Your PvP trinket will break polymorph, but they can recast it right away (though for a lower duration of course) and set up a Pyroblast or take out your pet.
- Fire mages are a formidable opponent. They will use Dragon's Breath when they get the chance, then quickly Blink away to use [[
- Save your Howl of Terror for when the Mage uses Mirror Image. Typically I will DoT each with Curse of Tongues and Corruption, you can find the actual mage by their buffs, since they will have many more. The actual mage will most likely be moving as well.
- The easiest of the mages to beat, arcane mages lack the control options that frost and fire has. They will cast Slow on you, so your felhunter can devour this.
- [Affliction] Easy - Medium
- [Demonology] Easy - Medium
- [Destruction] Easy - Medium
Trinket Deep Freeze
As of 4.0.6, feral druids lost the ability to break fear through the use of Berserk. This change heavily favors the warlock because it it make it much easier to cc the druid. The general strategy with druids is to establish all of your dots, plus Haunt if affliction. The Druid can heal through them, but it will be relatively easy to keep them feared and your dots refreshed. They will eventually end up out of mana after healing through them, making the match essentially yours. The Felhunter is by far your best option when dealing with any kind of druid; however the Succubus has its place as well... but a succubus isn't recommended unless you are full destruction and not utilizing very many DoTs. Be aware that a smart druid will root your pet and/or cyclone them out of a fight. With any luck it will be roots, which will still allow your felhunter to silence the druid so long as it is somewhat close. Watch for the druid to cast Cyclone before healing. Save your trinket for this moments; or keep your Felhunter nearby and ready to silence the druid. Although Cyclone is a pain, if your dots are up and ticking and your felhunter is silencing the druid, there is no need to utilize your trinket; take the time to enjoy some hp refill through Siphon Life and plan your next move.
- The Feral variety of druids are your most dangerous opponent since they share many similarities with rogues and warriors. Their largest concern are their burst damage and stuns. You need to keep your distance, which can be difficult between the druids fear breaks and charges. The succubus is a great pet choice in this situation because it could allow you to regain some distance when locked up. without a succubus, you may have to rely on Deathcoil or Howl of Terror (if affliction). Throw out a fear, wait for them to break it and charge (which they most certainly will), then use your Demonic Circle and teleport away. Once their charge is on cooldown and they are out of melee range, the fight will have shifted into your favor. Most druids at this point will switch forms and begin healing or spell casting to snare you.
- Save your Demonic Circle for immediately after Feral Charges or you will find the druid back on-top of you without any way of escape. I try to avoid using this for roots... instead relying on my deathcoil or fears to save me. Your trinket is best used in die-or-use-it situations, be it for roots or cyclone.
- Expect this fight to last a while, even if you do everything perfectly, killing a druid is no fast task. If they are forced out to heal / range dps, then you need to move into full dps. Get all of your dots up and keep them up; Siphon Life is a great help to keeping your mana full if you have the talent, along with Haunt. You can curse the druid with Curse of Tongues; however, much of the druids heals are instant and the druid can easily remove the curse. Keeping Curse of Agony seems to stay up longer as the druid is less likely to waste the GCD or mana to remove it; however they will be quick to remove CoT when they find themselves slow to cast. Curse of Exhaustion is also a great choice for druids, keeping them somewhat more manageable.
- At some point you will find yourself surrounded by Treants. Some people like to use Howl of Terror and cast Corruption on each one, healing through Siphon Life... banishing one if I have to. Drain-tanking works well most of the time against Balance druids, as you can nearly gain as much hp as they can take withe moonfire / insect swarm spells.
- Restoration druids can be very annoying to kill, especially when you are facing them solo. They may try to annoy you by running around in Travel Form to avoid your DoTs, spamming HoTs, and removing virtually all curses you put on them. This is mainly an endurance battle, so they key to winning is to prevent them from healing by draining their mana. Even though Drain Mana was removed in 4.0.6., this is still straighforward though repeated use of your DoTs. Get them in range of your spells by spamming . A druid will remove your curses, so you must spam Curse of Exhaustion to keep them in range. Keep your mana topped off through Life Tap and keep your dots ticking. If the druid is inexperienced and chooses to go into tree form, they can be banished if you need a break to bandage.
- [Affliction] Easy - Medium
- [Demonology] Medium
- [Destruction] Medium
Your number one goal against a Hunter is to maintain melee range and stay alive long enough for your DoTs to kill them. This is not a simple task, but with draining life and snares, for the most part it is doable.
- Best pet to have out against a hunter in my experience would be the Voidwalker for their Sacrifice. Especially if you have Fel Domination and can re-summon one immediately, and if needed, sacrifice again, this will help provide you with enough buffer to survive long enough for your dots to work their magic. This however, doesn't take into account that a good hunter will use Tranquilizing shot (dispells 1 magic effect). Should you ask your voidwalker to Sacrifice, make sure you have some fodder magic buffs available.
- If you are Affliction, keeping Curse of Exhaustion up at all times will allow you to stay in their melee range. If you are not affliction, this task becomes harder and nearly impossible against a skilled hunter. However even if you don't stay in melee range, forcing the hunter to keep moving will cut their damage nearly in half. Utilize Siphon Life and Drain Life as much as possible (if spec'd for them) for the damage you will be taking is significant, even at melee range.
- Be cautious of a hunter's Traps, especially as you chase them or stay in melee range. Avoid these ground mines at all cost as they can swing the battle rather quickly into the hunters favor.
- Many Hunters today are part survival spec and thus will have another danger in their weaponry. Wyvern Sting will put you out of a fight for 12 seconds, after which it will apply a dot. Utilize your trinket immediately upon this spell as the hunter will be powering up for a massive barrage to break you of the sleep. If the hunter succeeds or follows with The Beast Within you will find the fight over before it begins. Trinket and fear as quickly as possible, forcing the Hunter to use their trinket or The Beast Within prior to when they would prefer. If you can force the hunter to use his trinket before any Beast Within abilities, you will be miles ahead.
- Finally, most dangerous of all, a beast-spec hunter will have The Beast Within. This nasty ability makes them immune to all fears and snares while simultaneously significantly increasing the damage of both them and their pet and increasing their speed. Surviving this spell is an extreme challenge... one of the best ways to do so is through Demonic Circle, especially if you have it well placed across a wall, up on a roof, or at least a long ways away (~40 yards). If you survive the hunter's red deathly form, the fight is yours. Fear both the hunter and his pet, dot up and Drain Life to replenish. Once through Beast Within, the hunter has only their trinket to escape fears and no way of refilling their own health.
- [Affliction] Medium - Hard
- [Demonology] Hard
- [Destruction] Hard
Paladins in Cataclysm are less scary to face than in WOTLK. With their multiple lives (not in arena, though) and their arsenal of buffs, they can still be a significant threat to warlocks.
- Keep Curse of Tongues up the entire fight, as this will help tremendously against their heals (for Affliction warlocks, Curse of Exhaustion is also a valuable curse, although most paladins will blessing their way free of its affects).
- Affliction grants the warlock a significant advantage when fighting a Paladin through Unstable Affliction, preventing the paladin from removing your dots. Destruction and Demonology Warlocks will find this fight much more difficult.
- Fear, fear, fear.
- Most of a paladin's damage is melee ranged and also mana based. Therefor you have a couple objectives; keep them out of melee range and force their mana pool to go to 0. They have few ways of breaking fear beyond the bubble or their trinket. Ideally we want the paladin to bubble as early as possible in a fight, since it will effectively reset the entire match. Use any opportunity you can to increase distance. No matter what spec you are, the warlock has longer range then the paladin by a considerable margin and keeping this advantage throughout the fight will be critical.
- Best Pet: For the most part, having out your Felhunter will be by far your best option; between the Devour Magic and Silence these little beasts will drive the Paladin to insanity. Remember the Paladin only has one tree of magic; Holy... if you can lock them out of this they are effectively without spells.
- Today the Paladin has several stuns at their disposal, trinket for the first one and use your Demonic Circle to escape after the second.
- Paladins will very greatly depending on the gear, skill, and spec of the paladin; so where one may be easy, the next could tear you to shreds. Never underestimate them, for in the hands of a master, the paladin can become your worst enemy.
- [Affliction] Medium - Hard
- [Demonology] Hard
- [Destruction] Medium - Hard
As with the Paladin and Druid the Felhunter is your best friend for fighting these healers. However, Shaman can make life a little harder for you by using Tremor Totems (which pulses once every 4 seconds)to get in the way of fear kiting, using Earth Shock to interrupt your casting and lock that school out for 2 seconds, and many shaman have much better DPS then paladins or druids. It is also pointless to cast Demon or Fel Armor since any good shaman will just purge it right away. Therefore (as with priests), be careful with any mod that auto-casts your buffs, as casting demon armor multiple times in a fight is an embarrassing way to go. If you are preparing for the fight it is advisable to buff yourself with everything you have, including Underwater Breathing and Detect Invisibility
- The first thing you need to when fighting a shaman is to check the ground for a Tremor Totem (they are green) and get rid of it ASAP. If you haven't cast anything yet, hitting it with your melee weapon or wand is often the fastest way. They also might use a Grounding Totem (dark blue). It is possible to create a macro which targets a Grounding or Tremor totem and then sends your pet to attack it. This kind of macro can be used even while channeling a spell like Shadow Bolt. Both totems work using similar mechanics - they 'pulse' at regular intervals. Using this knowledge to your advantage usually catches a shaman off guard, most consider themselves immune to fear with their totems up. The Grounding Totem will pulse when it is cast, and then every 10 seconds, adding a "Grounding Totem" buff to the shaman and his nearby party members. The next spell cast against the shaman will remove the buff, and redirect the spell to the Totem. The totem is immune to all debuffs, so that if you cast Fear or Corruption, the totem will tell you that it is Immune. However, Grounding Totems have 5 health, so any direct damage spell (Immolate, Shadow Bolt, esp. Searing Pain) directed at the shaman will redirect to the grounding totem and destroy it. A wand is useful for destroying a totem, or it can be handy to try to have your pet hit it, since the pet is usually right next to the shaman attacking when the totem is dropped.
- The Tremor Totem is not a constant protection like the Grounding Totem, but it too 'pulses' at intervals of 4 seconds if the shaman is within its range. The first pulse is right after casting. Each pulse removes any of your crowd control debuffs (namely Fear, Seduce and Sleep), but the pulses are 4 seconds apart. On occasion, it is possible to fear (with some duration) a shaman with a tremor totem because your fear lands right after a pulse. Another interesting bit of info is that tremor totems cannot remove horror (the effect inflicted by Death Coil) so it is possible to use Death Coil to get them out of their totems range. Tremor Totem now has a 40 yard range, making it even more important to destroy the totem, rather than force the shaman out of its range.
- After the totem has been taken care of - other shaman totems are of considerably less importance - try and see if you can get them to "waste" their earth shock on an Immolate or other fire spell, many times the shaman will Earth Shock the first casting spell you preform. If they fall for it cast fear as their earth shock is cooling down then fear kite/nuke them as you would most other classes.
- Another strategy to deal with their totems is to just kite the shaman out of the range of his totems, however any shaman worth their salt with Frost Shock and Earthbind Totem to keep you in range. Get your Felhunter to eat this debuff or destroy the totem, allowing you to run at full speed again. Realize all their shocks are on the same CD, so once they shock they cannot use any shock again for a brief period of time.
- The main shocks you will have to worry about are Earth Shock, which will interrupt you, and Frost Shock, to stop you from kiting. However the strength of one is the weakness of the other. If you are frost shocked, fear them (mind their totems). If you are earth shocked and they are not right on you, you can kite them and let your dots tick away, which will most likely lead them to frost shock you (then: see above).
- Sometimes a Shaman that is losing or low on health may try to shift into Ghost Wolf form to escape or close the distance. If you have your Felhunter out, you're in luck. The Ghost Wolf effect is considered a magical effect and can be devoured. Their Lightning Shield, Earth Shield, and water shields can also be devoured... be aware that water shield is free for them to cast and will still proc when you devour it. Be wary of the cooldown on your devour magic however, since it is handy to remove frost shock to stay out of range of those nasty windfuries. Unfortunately, Windfury is a buff they cast on their weapon and cannot be removed.
- With a Succubus out: The Seduction can be helpful, but keep in mind that it is also affected by the grounding and tremor totems. Also, many shaman have enough +spell damage to just about insta-kill any succi.
- With a Voidwalker out: Your pet is going to do little more than tickle them, since shamans can purge the sacrifice shield. Not the best pet to have in this situation.
- With an Imp: Try to keep it away from them, if you kite them or have a few moments before you engage, tell your imp to 'stay' so the shaman is less likely smack it in melee (although if they shock it and get a crit your poor imp may be doomed anyway). An imp can be very handy for quickly taking out totems however.
- With a Felhunter: Kiting is much more viable when you can remove frost shock from yourself. If you can land some dots on them and keep your distance you can hurt them a bit while minimizing your own pain (there is a 2 second difference between their shocks and your fel hunter's devour magic, so keep that in mind before deciding to try to win only by kiting. You have one of the most important abilities available when fighting a class that can heal itself, spell lock (so make sure to turn off auto-cast).
- Enhance Shaman: Recognized by their dual wielded weapons, these nasty characters can just about one-shot a poorly geared warlock and combined with a shock, kill most warlocks straight up. Keeping your distance is absolutely critical in this fight. Keep your Demonic Circle ready and utilize all your tricks... Curse of Exhaustion is a great tool for these guys.
- Restoration Shaman: Recognized by their key spell, Earth Shield, these are probably the hardest class/build to kill in pvp, rivaled only by the druid. That said, for a warlock this is an easier fight then a resto druid since you have time on your hand. Having your Felhunter out will a tremendous help here, for both Devour Magic to remove their Earth Shield and the Silence to help against their heals, they can be extremely helpful. This will be a battle of some length, so keep your health up and your mana topped off. Utilize Curse of Tongues to help slow those heals and lighting bolts while your dots keep them healing. As affliction, a full set of dots (all 7) should be enough to force the shaman into near heal-spams, which makes the fight yours, since your mana will outlast his. Keep wanding their totems since they will pickup some of your dots and increase the shamans mana regen. In arena, a mana-drain can help immensely against them. Once the mana is empty, the fight is yours.
- Elemental Shaman: Best way to recognize this build is the lack of dual wielding or Earth Shield. Keep up Curse of Tongues and Drain Life as much as you can, the shaman will out burst-damage you (possibly not as destruction) so be careful to keep interrupting his casts as much as you can. Remember that even if their tremor totem breaks the fear, it can still interrupt their cast. As affliction I have found that if you can get full-dots up on them before using your Demonic Circle to portal away, many shaman will stop to heal. From there I will utilize Curse of Exhaustion to kite them and let the dots tick. If you can force them into heal spams, the fight is yours.
- [Affliction] Medium
- [Demonology] Medium - Hard
- [Destruction] Medium - Hard
The new death knight class is a unique challenge to the Warlock class; most notable are their Interrupts and healing abilities. It is advisable to utilize as many instant cast spells as possible before moving into casting spells. One nice trick I have found is to throw up my instant dots before casting immolate. More often then not, the deathknight will interrupt my immolate, silencing my fire spells, but leaving all of my shadow spells still available to cast. In the past I often made the mistake of opening with Unstable Affliction, Fear, or Haunt; at which point the deathknight would silence all shadow spells, which includes most of the spells I have at my disposal.
- Deathknights do an incredible amount of damage in melee range, often while healing themselves (depending on spec), so it is vital that you keep the knight at range through fears, Demonic Circles, or Kite'ing. They are one of the few classes to not have many natural defenses to our main cc ability: fear. There is a frost talent which can help and they can use their magic shell, but compared with most other classes the DK class is very susceptible to our fear and has only the trinket as a defense to break fear once running. That said, they have a medium range shock which will slow you; and there are also talents available to a deathknight which increase their speed by 15%; both of which make keeping your distance a challenge. Finally they have Chains of Ice which will lock you down for a period of time. For me, I save my trinket to break this cc. I often find a quick fear and then running while keeping my dots ticking to be the best strategy. If the deathknight can't get to melee range, they won't have much luck killing you.
- For pets to have out, the succubus is great, but a smart deathknight will kill her before she has a chance to tell you how "she isn't touching you." For myself I am a huge fan of the voidwalker for their Sacrifice, but in this case the felhound works nearly as well, helping to keep the DK's buffs from stacking too high while adding considerable damage for you. Most Deathknights won't bother trying to kill your felhound if they can see and attempt to attack you.
- Utilizing your Demonic Circle at the right times is probably one of the largest items to master when dealing with a deathknight. If used at the wrong time, the deathknight will simply Death Grip you back within melee range. Ideally you use your teleport immediately after being Death Griped in order to re-establish distance... staying close will lead to your quick death.
- Watch for the Deathknight to cast his Gargoyle. This 'pet' can deal some significant damage and must be dealt with immediately upon its arrival. For me, I keep a macro to target the beast, which has relatively little health and dies quickly to dots.
- If the Deathknight has a ghoul by their side, fear it and dot it with Siphon Life (if spec'd for it), otherwise try to refrain from heavy DPS on the pet (see Mark of Blood below). Chain fearing their pet can be a pain, but for the most part, relatively easy and effective. If the pet ends up in melee range you will find its interrupts and dazes to be troublesome.
- Finally, be wary of the deathknight healing.... they have several abilities which allow them to do so. Simplest of all are when they deal damage, they get healed. If you keep your distance, this affect should be minimal. Secondly, the deathknight can heal through the use of bloodworms which deal you damage and heal the deathknight. These small bug-pets can be destroyed by a quick AoE, for me 1-2 ticks of Hellfire usually does the trick. Finally the Deathknight has Mark of Blood. Mark of Blood will refill a DK's health in a matter of seconds in larger areas like battlegrounds or 5v5 arena, where you may have DoTs up on several targets. This Ability will heal the DK for 4% of his health every time the marked target does damage. When you have multiple dots up on several targets, this can add up to 20% of their health every tick of your dots. In duel situations there is little that you can do except wait it out or dps through it with direct damage spells (ie: shadow bolt). Warlocks are especially susceptible to this ability as much of our damage is spread out across many seconds, and each "tick" will heal the DK.
- Remember for many deathknights, death is only the end of round one, with round 2 beginning immediately thereafter as they rise from the dead as a ghoul. Don't be too discouraged, for although the ghoul does a great deal of damage, it has a relatively low amount of health and dies quickly. Be aware that although the Deathknight's pet is fearable, the deathknight himself when in ghoul form is immune to fear. Curse of Exhaustion is a huge help to keep distance.
- [Affliction] Medium - Hard
- [Demonology] Medium - Hard
- [Destruction] Hard
Affliction Guide (Updated with 4.1)
There are many basic talents, but there are a few essential talents that are a must-have
Must-have talents 1.) Doom and Gloom-increases the damage of all of your banes 2.) Improved Corruption-makes an affliction warlock's corruption much more of a threat than another spec's 3.) Soul Siphon-not only increases all of your channeled damage spells, but also is required for Haunt 4.) Siphon Life- helps extremely with all classes, as it also works when stunned or feared 5.) Eradication- gives you a major damage increase and helps you use alot of spells in a short amount of time. 6.) Curse of Exhaustion 6.) Improved Howl of Terror- makes Howl of Terror one of the warlock's most useful spells 7.) Soul Swap- Without it, any affliction warlock would be toast when entering a battleground 8.) Shadow's Embrace- Increases all of the DoTs that a warlock deals 9.) Death's Embrace- for making sure the classes who are with low health, won't make it back up. 10.) Nightfall (warlock talent)- goes extremely well with Shadow's Embrace 11.) Everlasting Affliction- increases the critical chance of all of your DoTs other than your curses, and keeps corruption up 13.) Pandemic- lets you put on all of your DoTs in half the time as normal, and refresh your Unstable Affliction while healing yourself. 14.) Haunt- another DoT to add to your collection. It also heals you a bit for some more survivability. 15.) Dark Arts- Increases the damage that your main pet, which should be the Felhunter.
Then there are some talents which would be helpful, but do not make an enormous difference.
Useful talents 1.)Improved Life Tap-Useful when out of mana while in combat, but other than that, nothing 2.)Jinx- Used primarily to keep the Rage, Focus, and runic power regeneration down, but is also very useful for damage dealing as nearly all classes, including melee, use some type of move that Curse of the Elements would cover. 3.)