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Joined: 10 May 2011
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re: Panda's Guide to Locks


Yea. Cause I'm bored.

This will primarily focus on destro and demo, though affliction will be covered (but affliction is boring as hell and has no useful fun things to do, so...).

Things true for any spec:

  1. Never cap your resource (embers, fury, shards). For demo, this includes not capping on Molten Core procs.
  2. Corollary to the above, dump your resource when high.
    • For Destro, embers should be dumped at 3.5 embers (non 2pc). 2.8/3 embers (2pc).
    • For demo, fury should be dumped at 850-900 fury, down to 600 fury.
      MC procs should be dumped from 9 down to 6-7, unless you are close to a Dark Soul (more on that later)
    • For afflic, shards should be dumped at 3 shards down to 2, unless you are close to a Dark Soul. If you are using SB:H, always keep 2 shards for that. If you are not, always keep 1 shard
  1. Wow this thing sucks at numbering. Anyway, DS (dark soul) is your primary cooldown, and it is a MASSIVE dps boost. Bigger than any trinket or legendary proc. You MUST make sure you use this effectively. This means pooling resources, making sure you have an adequate burn window, and deciding whether or not to use the glyph of dark soul or not.
  2. Always be casting. Always be casting. ALWAYS BE CASTING. ALWAYS BE CASTING. Drill this into your mind. All specs have a very long casting (2+ second) filler (Shadowbolt for Demo, Incin for destro, Drain Soul for afflic). Make it a habit to be casting this whenever you are trying to decide what to do. It is OKAY if you cap for a second, it is OKAY if you let a charge stand for a second too long. It is OKAY if DS is off cooldown for a bit longer. It is NOT okay to not be casting. This means movement. When you have trained yourself correctly it should feel like someone is punching you in the gut if you move without a plan, or if you move and you know you didn't save a cast. Sometimes its unavoidable. Thats okay. But you should always blame yourself first and try to do it better next time. This is THE BIGGEST way to get dps back. Simply by casting.
  3. Know your instantcasts, know the fight, and save instacasts for movement. Within reason of course.
    • For demo, you have so much to do on the move. These are Chaos Wave/HoG on a charge system, ToC in demo form, corruption/doom, Demonic Leap (to get into demo form and blink), and Life Tap. Since CW/HoG is part of your rotation, and ToC burns fury, your best bet for movement is to always save life tap for movement. Do not life tap standing still unless you are <15% mana, or about to go into burn/execute and need mana for SF. Remember you don't use mana during meta, so pop into that for MC/SF dumping and you will end up only needing to life tap once or twice during an encounter. Demo is the best for movement, bar none. Done correctly you lose NO DPS during movement. EVER.
    • For destro, you're fucked. You have Conflag, and HERE IS THE KEY: shadowburn during execute. NEVER spend that 2nd charge of conflag. ALWAYS save it for movement. NEVER burn your last charge of shadowburn for the same reason, UNLESS you are dumping during DS/pot and/or the target is about to die.
    • For afflict, this means your dots (aside from UA). Remember pestilence gives you a ~5 second window to refresh your dots. If you know movement is coming up, don't refresh your dots until you have to move. This is really key (and fun!) to practice on maidens. If you can maintain 99% dot uptime on maidens I salute you, because I certainly cannot.
  1. Your 10 minute cooldown. I always forget this asshole. Here's a hint: just use him on the pull okay. Depending on whether you lust or not at pull, this ends up being roughly identical dps to using him during execute. Yep. Use it early so you don't forget. Or maybe you're not as bad as me at using CDs lol. DS (demonic servitude) makes this super, super easy. Macro it to your dark soul (if you took grimoire of service. If not, even easier!). More on this later.
  2. Track your dots. Yea this is a no brainer. You need 100% uptime. Another extremely easy way to get your dps. If you literally just 1. never cap your resource 2. always be casting SOMETHING, ANYTHING 3. Keep dots up, your dps CANNOT be low enough to be a "detriment" to the group. It just cannot. You will be fine. Even if you just macro DS to your filler, ignore all procs, etc, you will do "okay".
  3. Last, but not least, the difference between a "decent" lock and a great one: you have to track your trinkets. You have to learn how to burst during trinkets. You just do. I have a weakauras string (that i'll import when not lazy) which should lump all of your trinkets and shit into one simple, big, aura, that if you see it you know when to dump your crap.
  4. Stat weights for every spec: Get mastery. It is good for every specFor destro, secondary is crit. For demo, secondary is noone cares, do whatever you want. For afflic, its haste.
  5. Most importantly, remember that as locks you are superior to every other class (ESPECIALLY THOSE USELESS MAGES). Flaunt that green fire everywhere you go.


Onto the spec specific shit!


This seemingly simple spec has actually gotten somewhat tricky with the 2pc/4pc. More on that later. Also correct usage of FnB and Havoc is key to maximizing this class's cleave potential.

Meaningful talent choices:

Take Grimoire of Sacrifice. Whats that? You want all your spells to hit 25% harder? Okay!

For single target/short cleave fights take Charred Remains. This playstyle is very fast paced compared to normal. Be warned.

For AoE take EITHER Cata OR CR. Generally speaking Cata for thogar and darmac. CR for everything else.

DS is only taken if you are super lazy and/or haven't realized how good CR is now.

Okay man I just got into the middle of this and realized how much I effort this


Okay. How to train yourself to be a good destro player. These are cumulative practices, aka keep practicing everything up to that "rank".

  1. Practice immolate uptime. Refresh at <5 seconds. Good.
  2. Add in conflag/incinerate. Use a conflag charge at 1.5-1.8 charges left. Keep 1 charge rolling always for movement phase. Practice using that charge and moving around, then continue normal rotation. 
  3. Add in dumping embers. Chaos bolt at 3.5 embers (no 2pc), or 2.8-3 embers (2pc).
  4. Practice dumping embers WITHOUT consuming backdraft charges. Remember conflag gives you 3 charges. CB consumes all 3. What you want to do is ask yourself these series of questions whenever you go to conflag.
    • Am I over 3 embers?
      • If yes, then CB first, then conflag and go into incin mode
    • Am I close to 3 embers?
      • If yes, conflag first, then spend one ember on incin, then CB, then spend remaining incin
    • Otherwise, conflag away
  1. Wow numbering again. Now practice using DS. Proper use of DS: when you are at 1.5-2 charges remaining, and you have 3.5 embers saved. Pop DS, then start dumping CB (down to 0 embers). Incinerate whenever you're out (and obv keep immolate up), and then as soon as you hit 1 ember dump it into CB again until DS runs out.
  2. Now track your 4pc, and any procs. Practice dumping CB during procs. Dump ONE ember regardless of procs on the 4pc ASAP. Even during execute, where normally you would shadowburn instead.
    • UNLESS YOU ARE <10 seconds out from a DS, in which case go and build embers (3-3.5) for DS. Heck, actually you can pop DS early to take advantage of proc + DS.
  1. Now practice using havoc on cooldown. Create a mouseover for havoc (you NEED one) and practice using this mouseover to havoc your second target while keeping normal rotation (including CDs, dumping, proc tracking) on main target. Havoc that second target with the mouseover, without target swapping, whenever havoc is off CD. Drill it into your mind to use CB right after each havoc, regardless of other concerns. Marvel as your dps skyrockets. [yes I know we should strive to use SB instead for havoc, but if you already knew that you didn't need this guide].

And now I'm lazy and I'm going to go to sleep. Fight specific guides incoming tomorrow.


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