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Blood Pact: Find greater knowledge in elites' tricks

Blood Pact Exploring off the tricks of the elite MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill finally landed a heroic-mode soulwell this Ji-Kun kill.

Every time we hit Ji-Kun, I try to place a soulwell mid-air. There isn't any performance-breaking reason to do this other than pure amusement as raidmates try to "grab the cookie from my jar, young grasshopper." But it's possibly my favorite use of KJC so far.

This isn't an trick that requires super skill. Mostly, it's whether or not you can time your cast, your latency, and the wind that grabs you off Gastropod Boulevard.

But what I do like to do sometimes is watch elite players from the top guilds in the world do fights in a crazy or simply slightly different way. Usually this involves watching a lot of soloing videos: e.g, Spygnesy, who just uploaded a warlock solo of Ragnaros in Firelands. But when it comes to minor tips for huge meter wrecking, I love watching Sparkuggz of play.

What I like about Sparkuggz's tricks is that he's usually stacking one or more effects for a particular stat and then playing the abilities that benefit the most from that stat. This sounds really obvious as a DPS trick, but the result is a fantastic demonstration of how that particular stat can affect a spec's particular playstyle.

You forgot demonology AGAIN

I didn't forget about demo in my haste post. It's more the case of I ran out of room for demo. I would love to go on for ten thousand words about the effects of a stat on every spec in every situation, but that's nine columns' worth of space more than I'm allowed per week under the Blood Pact title. That last column was 1446 words out of the 1500 limit. Whoopsy.

I also didn't post about demo right away because I don't particularly play demo, so it's harder for me to articulate the nuances as well as I can for affliction or destruction. So I bought myself a week to look at how demo 'locks do things.

Like, for example, Sparkuggz.

Haste as demonology increases the number of things you and your minion can do, which in turn increases your fury generation, which means you get to enter Metamorphosis more often. Haste also has cool effects like lowering the cooldown the glyphed ability Wild Imps. Wild Imps are important because they proc the Molten Core effect, but also because they are a large source of demo's overall damage.

We know that ability cooldowns can be changed mid-cooldown; after all, the old Metamorphosis's cooldown could be shortened by filler casts. So, how do you determine the cooldown if haste affects it? Simple: you use the ability when you have the most haste possible through buffs.

Sparkuggz stacks almost all the haste possible: Of course, if you're Alliance or don't have Herbalism as a profession or don't have a legendary meta gem yet, you might be out of luck for this awesome DPS trick.

Critical mastery of damage done

Some warlocks may be baffled by my inability to fall in love with a horde of imps at my side. Instead, I choose to burn my hands over and over again as my offspec, bathing myself in burning embers.

In my defense, I love watching the Skull Banner procs in raid appear on my Weak Auras. My guild happens to have a crazy number of warriors (four!) at the moment. Let's just say that Primordius is a blast as a destruction. I might be able to rank on World of Logs if I actually geared for destruction and played my rotation more seriously.

Sparkuggz also posted about how to work with critical strike procs in demonology to work some multiDoT magic on Council of Elders. While the heroic version of Cha-Ye's Essence of Brilliance will probably be out of reach of many hands, you can still try this trick if you can get LFR to cooperate with loot luck.

The critical strike trinket is not the main part of the video, however. The main magic in this DPS boost is due to increasing the damage done by Wild Imps.

First, the Grimoire of Sacrifice talent notably buffs the damage done by filler and execute spells in both affliction and destruction, but in demonology it buffs Wild Imps in addition to the typical filler, special, and execute spells. Second, gearing for mastery increases damage done in Metamorphosis but also damage done by all minions, including Wild Imps. Finally, the multiDoTing of Doom builds a large army of powerfully buffed minions to pair with the multiDoTing of Corruption to keep your own fury sated.

As icing on the cake, Mannoroth's Fury extends the range of Immolation Aura for an extra boss fire-lick.

Blood Pact Turning tricks of the elite into exploration MON
When will warlocks get to tank?

This is the question I really want to explore, but as Cynwise has pointed out to me, I will need to flesh out various terms and ideas before I even get down to discussing it.

Didn't Ghostcrawler confirm that warlocks are not meant to tank via the glyph of Dark Apotheosis? Why do we keep talking about it? We'll probably keep talking about it so long as this video keeps popping up to show that warlocks could tank in some future patch.

The caveat I bring up is that it's two highly geared warlocks player by highly skilled players, but done on LFR's far easier mode of raiding. The bones of warlock tanking are there, but I would argue there is still the work of tuning and also filling out some more abilities as a tanking warlock. (Should we spam Demonic Slash all day? Borrrring!)

Another question I have for warlock tanking is what flavor of tanks would we be. An interesting post in the official tanking forums goes over the descriptive styles of the five tank specs currently in the game. When comparing abilities over Twitter with others, I figured warlocks would follow the DK tank model of absorption and healing rather than a blocking, parrying, or even dodging model.

A tangent revolving around style is that tanks so far are de facto melee. Would a tanking demo 'lock be a melee caster by default, or could we have a minion-utilizing style instead? Transforming as a demonology player is definitely about becoming incredibly powerful, but it's also the spec concerned with the horde of minions. In his video, Sparkuggz uses the minion in the normal way, which is to generate fury. But in the final boss fight of the felfire questline, the Demonic Gateway stepped into the spotlight as a creative method of manipulating threat in order to direct damage to the enslaved Pit Lord instead of the player. Would a tanking warlock spec expand the repertoire of demons commanded by the warlock, or would we end up with the simple Fury Ward as a copy of Blood Shield?

Well. I think that's a topic to explore more for another week.

You forgot my favorite Youtuber!

I haven't gotten very far into the Youtube subscription scene when it comes to warlocks. There's Sparkuggz, Spygnesy, and Cobrak. However, I have a feeling there are some awesome warlock channels out there that I should be watching. If any readers have any suggestions for warlock research, video or otherwise, don't be shy! Leave a comment so I can better cover topics you like outside my usual corrupting and burninating grounds.

Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DOTs, demons and all the dastardly deeds done by warlocks. We'll coach you in the fine art of staying alive, help pick the best target for Dark Intent, and steer you through tier 13 set bonuses.

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