Please Note: Not much, has changed in terms of feats and rotation since this guide was last updated. I am currently testing Fiery Bolt vs. Blades of Vanquished Armies to see which one actually does more DPS since BoVA is really annoying to use now. Any difference should be minor.
There’s really only one way to build Hellbringer effectively, and it’s to focus on stacking Soul Investiture to it’s maximum of 5 stacks and keeping it there to maximize the bonus 20% encounter damage max stacks gives us when we take Risky Investment. This setup also buffs the damage and health of our Soul Puppet, which isn’t really the selling point of the build, but it is a nice bonus.
Power of the Nine Hells: This feat is a must have. It grants encounter powers without a Curse Consume or Curse Synergy effect the ability to summon a Soul Puppet. This means that encounter powers like Hellfire Ring try to summon a Soul Puppet on every tick of damage. If we already have a Soul Puppet spawned, this will grant us a stack of Soul Investiture.
Warlock’s Curse: Our Curse Class Mechanic states that our encounter powers that do not have a Curse Consume or Curse Synergy effect will Curse all targets hit. Curse deals some damage over time, but with this feat we deal an extra 12% damage to anything we curse. Since the build revolves around skills that do not consume or remove curses, this is the only option that makes sense. The fact that it’s actually a huge damage increase is just a bonus. If you’re using All Consuming Curse you can get this uptime to close to 100%, but if not you will have to rely heavily on hitting as many enemies as possible with Hellfire Ring.
Risky Investment: The feat the whole build revolves around. 20% encounter damage is huge. Keeping your stacks at the maximum of 5 isn’t hard when you have Power of the Nine Hells, but it is very important!
Creeping Death: Creeping Death vs. Executioner’s Calling is actually a pretty close choice. Creeping death averages to around 10-11% of my outgoing damage, while Executioner’s Calling will average out to around 10%. This gives Creeping Death a very slight edge.
Soul Spark Recovery: Using this feat we can reduce our cooldowns by 3 seconds every time we use a fully stacked Soul Scorch. This is amazing, and with the amount of Soul Sparks we get from crits and from Hellish Rebuke if you’re using No Pity No Mercy we can actually get more cooldown reduction out of this feat than the other choice. Plus, this feat allows us to take control of our cooldown reduction instead of relying on the Soul Puppet, who has a habit of standing in red at the worst possible moments.
Below are the two setups for both Single Target and Multiple Targets (or AoE) rotations. I strongly recommend switching between the two on the fly seeing as there are only some minor changes between them to get the most damage output possible.
Hadar’s Grasp: While some other options look like better alternatives due to their higher magnitude, Hadar’s Grasp holds it’s own due to proccing weapon enchantments like Bilethorn multiple times. Infernal Spheres is also extremely inconsistent but I am still in the process of testing Spheres vs HG. For now at least I recommend using Hadar’s Grasp.
Hellfire Ring: Hellfire Ring does so much for Warlocks that we use it both in AoE and Single target rotations. It stacks Soul Investiture and Curses anything it hits. If you aren’t using All Consuming Curse which I recommend not using for Single Target situations, keeping the target inside Hellfire Ring is one of the most important things to master.
Killing Flames: Killing Flames is the highest magnitude Single Target spell we have and it hits like a truck. It deals more damage the lower the health of our target. Honestly replacing this with anything else just doesn’t make sense.
AoE (Multiple Targets):
Fiery bolt: Does good upfront damage and curses targets that are hit which when paired with the Warlock’s Curse feat increases our damage to those targets by 12%.
Note: Blades of Vanquished Armies does almost the same amount of damage, but might be theoretically better when paired with our Lostmauth’s set since it triggers multiple hits. I’m not sure if this procs the set bonus multiple times however, and BoVA is a pain to use.
Hellfire Ring: Hellfire Ring is not only an amazing AoE dot that can absolutely melt anything that stands in it, but it also does a lot of different things for the Warlock. It is one of our main ways to stack Soul Investiture and it Curses any targets it damages. If you aren’t using All Consuming Curse it’s very important that you hit as many targets as you can to maximize the damage increase from Warlock’s Curse.
Killing Flames: Killing Flames is a skill with a very low cooldown and a very high magnitude. When we reduce the cooldown with Soul Scorch the cooldown drops even lower. While it might seem counter intuitive to think that a single target skill out damages all other AoE options in an AoE rotation, it’s the truth and it does so consistently. With the added bonus of adding another stack of Soul Investiture when we kill the target with Killing Flames, it’s an amazing skill.
Class Features (Single Target):
No Pity No Mercy: No Pity No Mercy buffs our main damaging At-will and allows it to both deal more damage faster, and to generate Soul Sparks. In Single Target situations you will be filling in time between your cooldowns with your At-wills. This additional Soul Spark generation means you’ll have more cooldown reduction, and can cast your big single target encounter powers more often.
Dust to Dust: There’s no reason to use All Consuming Curse while there’s only one target, since we can just apply Curse with Hellfire Ring consistently and get the extra 5% bonus damage from Dust to Dust. Using Flames of Empowerment would be another option, but Flames of Empowerment is only a 3% damage increase vs 5% from Dust to Dust.
Class Features (Multi Target):
No Pity No Mercy: No Pity No Mercy buffs our main damaging At-will to both deal more damage faster and adds the additional effect of Soul Spark generation, allowing us to reduce our cooldowns more often with Soul Scorch.
Dust to Dust: This is where things can get a little complicated. If you can hit a majority of targets with Hellfire Ring you will deal significantly more damage using Dust to Dust. However, cursing all targets like this is hard and sometimes just flat out impossible. Assuming you can consistently apply Curse to your targets with Hellfire Ring, use Dust to Dust.
– or –
All Consuming Curse: All Consuming Curse is great for making sure you can apply Curse to a large number of targets quickly. If you’re having trouble getting large groups to clump together inside the admittedly small radius of Hellfire Ring to get Cursed, swap to All Consuming Curse and apply the effect with your At-wills.
These spells are the same between both Single Target and Multi Target rotations.
Hellish Rebuke: Hellish Rebuke is a large burst of damage followed normally with a dot. When we use No Pity No Mercy we buff Hellish Rebuke‘s upfront damage in exchange for the dot. This has been the go to At-will for warlocks for years and there’s a good reason for that. It does very solid damage for an At-will and when we buff it with No Pity No Mercy it’s even better. It’s high magnitude paired with the buff from NPNM and it’s additional proc if the target hits the warlock make it a very high damage At-will that is useful in any situation.
Dark Helix: Dark Helix is a spell you don’t want to spam. With Dark Helix equipped when we kill an enemy we gain a charge. We only use Dark Helix when it’s stacked up 3 charges for a massive damage hit. When at 3 charges this At-will hits harder than some of our Encounter powers, with a magnitude of 285! I’ve seen this crit for over 400k and with almost zero cast time it’s just free damage.
These Spells are also the same between both Single Target and Multi Target rotations. I will specify when I recommend using each daily listed.
Tyrannical Curse: Use Tyrannical Curse when there is only one target. It has a high magnitude of 900 and increases your damage dealt to that target by an additional 15%. In order to maximize your damage output you want to use your artifact first, drop Tyrannical Curse, then Tunnel Vision(I cover this in the ‘mounts’ tab), and finish your rotation with Killing Flames.
Soul Siphon: Soul Siphon is fantastic for quick engagements with multiple targets. It does two hits for 450 magnitude each, adding up to a total of 900 to all enemies around you in a large area. Seriously undervalued AoE daily, I don’t know why more Warlocks aren’t using this.
Important Note: You can use Tyrannical Curse in situations where there are more than one target and it works well for long engages. I would recommend doing this if your group isn’t just melting everything. If the engagement lasts long enough for you to get value out of the full duration of Tyrannical Curse it will do far more damage in the long run since it splits 15% of the damage you deal to one target between all targets in the area. I run Soul Siphon a lot since with my damage output I can burst most AoE pulls too quickly to get value from Tyrannical Curse.