Player Spotlight: Sjeletyven

Hello everyone! Welcome to the twelfth RaiderIO Player Spotlight. My name is Samantha aka Vitaminpee. With this series, I am aiming to highlight the amazing players of World of Warcraft regardless of their chosen class, specialization, language, and/or region. I hope to bring you valuable information and help you learn more about your favorite top players or discover new ones from around the world.

What an exciting period it has been with all the time trials and cups! This week, I interviewed master Warlock Sjeletyven. Sjeletyven competed in the 2018 MDI and the MDI All Stars tournament at Blizzcon as a member of Method Pogchamp, and the first Western MDI Cup 2019 on team Fallen Ones. According to a recent report on the State of the Meta classes in the first MDI West Time Trials by Alcaras, the Demonology Warlock population was in the middle of the pack for frequency of DPS composition in timed time trials runs. While Sjeletyven also competes as a Rogue, Mage, and Havoc Demon Hunter, he was the only Warlock to complete runs ranking in the top 8 of his region in order to compete in the first MDI Cup West. Today, Sjeletyven shares his thoughts with us about Warlock, multiclassing, and tips for competing at the highest levels of the game.

“Constantly refining the way you play to be more efficient will eventually lead to good results. I sincerely believe that there is no such thing as perfect play, but one can aspire to get close.”

VitaminP: Hi Sjeletyven! Can you please tell us a little more about yourself?

Sjeletyven: My real name is Sivert Johansen and I am 27 years old from Norway. I’ve been a Warlock main since I started playing the game at the end of Vanilla, but I didn’t enter the competitive scene until Mythic+ was released in Legion. Lucky for me, the Corruption ring slow was a thing in Legion, so my Warlock was useful for the entirety of the expansion. Outside of being a huge WoW nerd, I also love playing my guitar and creating music. You may have heard some of my classic parody songs such as “Please Bench Naguura” and “It’s Depleto.”

VitaminP: What are the greatest strengths of Warlock in high Mythic+? Which spec is the strongest and why?

Sjeletyven: With the addition of Reaping as the seasonal affix, constant AoE blast is in high demand, so Demonology is the Warlock spec that best fills that role. Affliction and Destruction are not bad specs, but they are too reliant on their big 3-minute cooldowns to do any “real” damage and, as a result, they feel lackluster in between cooldown windows.

Demonology brings everything you want for Mythic+ from a damage perspective. It has low cooldown AoE from Bilescourge Bombers or Demonic Strength, high single-target burst damage from your Demonic Tyrant, and surprisingly good mobility since you get instant cast procs that you can do on the move.

In January 2019, Blizzard accidentally broke the game by buffing the Azerite trait called Explosive Potential by 100%. With the help of some unintentional bugs, this caused Demonology DPS to skyrocket. The bugs have since been fixed along with a 30 % nerf to Explosive Potential, so our damage is now on more “earthly” levels. However, we can still pull insane numbers on single target with good play and a dash of luck.

One of the more humorous moments that happened during this short time period was that I did such insane DPS to the Tidesage Council boss in a Shrine of the Storm key once that it actually made me disconnect from the game mid-fight. In this clip, you can see what Demonology looked like pre-nerf:

VitaminP: What do you think are the weaknesses of Demonology Warlock in Mythic+? If any, what are some other classes you like to bring to your Mythic+ groups to fill in the utility gaps?

Sjeletyven: It is time to address the giant elephant in the room. Demonology does not have an interrupt without losing massive amounts of AoE damage by summoning a Felhunter instead of a Felguard. Additionally, Demonology does not provide support to the tank in terms of slows or crowd control on bigger trash pulls. That being said, you will sometimes have to sacrifice doing optimal damage in order to play it safe by summoning your Felhunter in certain situations like the Tidesage Council boss fight in Shrine of the Storm to avoid wiping the group. Because of this, you generally want to run double melee as the other two dps spots when playing Demonology to cover for the lack of interrupt, which fits well with the current “meta” of bringing at least one rogue and another melee into your group composition.

However, you can sometimes make up for your lack of utility by being creative with what do you have. For example, finding innovative ways to use your Demonic Gateway can be quite useful in certain scenarios. Here is a clip showing one of the many creative ways I found early in the expansion to save my group time:

VitaminP: What are your go-to talent builds and Azerite traits for Demonology in Mythic+? What changes might you make for different dungeons/affixes?

Sjeletyven: The level 30 talents are largely user’s choice with Bilescourge Bombers taking the slight edge. If your tank decides to stand still and facetank mobs, every other Demonology DPS talent is pretty standard. This is my go-to build:

The level 45 and 75 rows are your situational talents. For more mobility, run Burning Rush and Demonic Circle. For more self-healing, run Dark Pact and Mortal Coil. In addition to the self-healing aspect of Mortal Coil, this talent also brings a powerful 3 second single-target crowd control spell that does not share diminishing returns with stuns, giving some much needed utility to the group.

As far as Azerite traits, having 3x Explosive Potential is definitely the way to go for Mythic+ in addition to 1x Demonic Meteor and 1-2x Baleful Invocation. This combination of traits highlights Demonology’s strengths, which are sustained cleave and single target damage.

VitaminP: We saw that you played Warlock for the time trials in MDI but that you played other meta melee classes (i.e. Rogue/Demon Hunter) in the first Western MDI Cup. What were the reasons for this? Was it difficult to transition from Warlock to these other classes so quickly or do you have much experience playing these classes on live servers?

Sjeletyven: Playing a Warlock during Time Trials was a comfort pick for the most part. It worked out, but the inability to be a Night Elf for Shadowmeld and the strength of Rogue and Demon Hunter in Mythic+ caused me to swap for the first Cup once I had a bit more practice on the tournament realm. I’ve been playing a Demon Hunter on live servers as an alt for the entirety of BFA which helped with understanding melee mechanics, but I think people underestimate the power of playing something you’re comfortable with. For example, Drjay and I proved in the 2018 MDI that being able to play cleanly brings a lot of speed to a dungeon run, regardless of whether or not your class is the current “meta”. Djfroosh has also demonstrated the same with his Elemental Shaman during this first MDI so far.

VitaminP: Last year during MDI and live key pushing, you were very involved in making strats and callouts in your Mythic+ groups. Do you have any advice on strat-making for keys on live/tourney servers that may help beginners learn how to maximize their potential?

Sjeletyven: Having intimate knowledge of every single ability from every trash mob has a big impact on making an educated guess on how big you can pull in a dungeon with minimal risk. Both for tournament play and high key pushing, the priority is to be able to successfully execute the strategy 99/100 times if you’re going to pull it off in a high-pressure situation. For the one time it doesn't go as planned, always be ready to recover. Being able to quickly analyze and fix a stressful situation is often what separates a depleted key from a completed key.

“There are alot of small factors that add up at the end of a dungeon. It’s a lot about keeping the pain train rolling. I call it the ABC rule: Always Be Casting.”

VitaminP: What do you think are some of the differences between a good Warlock player and a really great one? What are some things that make a huge difference?

Sjeletyven: There are alot of small factors that add up at the end of a dungeon. It’s a lot about keeping the pain train rolling. I call it the ABC rule: Always Be Casting. Also using your cooldowns on cooldown is something that is greatly undervalued. It is called a cooldown because it is supposed to be on cooldown! I think it’s a better approach to find later that you’ve used your cooldowns too many times and learn when and where to dial them back a little for the future rather than chronically underusing your cooldowns because you’re waiting too long for the perfect moments.

If you are unfamiliar with how Demonology AoE works, I go into a lot more detail in this guide I made on how to effectively use Implosion cycles in Mythic+. While it is all relatively basic, understanding it at a deep level is what really enables good gameplay.

VitaminP: Regardless of how well you’ve pushed every season with Warlock on live servers and time trials, what changes to Warlock would you like to see Blizzard implement in order to bring them more in line with the current Mythic+ melee classes such as Rogue, Windwalker Monk, Havoc Demon Hunter, and Death Knight?

Sjeletyven: The damage that warlock brings is completely fine, but the lack of interrupt and tank support shows when you compare it to the likes of Mage or Shaman. Being given a baseline interrupt and any form of reliable slow would go a long way to make Warlock great again.

VitaminP: What advice do you have for aspiring Warlocks in Mythic+? Are there any specific tools you can’t live without?

Sjeletyven: For my fellow Warlock friends, I want to emphasize that playing what you enjoy should always be the main priority. If you have fun doing something, then you are more likely to get better at it. Most people do not play the game at a competitive level, so don’t worry yourself with what is considered “meta” or “viable”. I would rather have a motivated and skilled Destruction or Affliction Warlock in my group than someone who just rerolled to a meta class and isn't enjoying him/herself.

Strategy is a big part of Mythic+, so helping your team improve on strategy and pathing can make you a very valuable asset to a group. Mythic Dungeon Tools is a very precise addon that allow you to create paths and explain them efficiently to your group if they have the addon, whether you are running with a set group of friends or pugs. Thanks to its creator Nnogga, the theorycrafting of running dungeons fast has been significantly improved since its inception.

As for gameplay tips and tricks, a simple principle that has helped me improve a lot is to be conscious of my actions. This means that every button I press, whether it’s moving my character or casting a spell, I assign a reason as to why I pressed that button. For example, if I dodge a mechanic, I ask myself: did I take the correct path? Was I able to cast anything on the move there? Constantly refining the way you play to be more efficient will eventually lead to good results. I sincerely believe that there is no such thing as perfect play, but one can aspire to get close

Another tip is to be able to draw important information from the game. Addons such as WeakAuras and Bigwigs/Littlewigs or Deadly Boss Mods are tools that make this significantly easier, since you can track important information such as procs, cooldowns, and dungeon timers as well as centering this information on your UI. It's all about personal preference in the end, but a cluttered UI leads to a worse overview of any situation you might find yourself in. Please feel free to come to my stream and ask me any questions about Warlock, UI design, or just Mythic+ in general!


About the Author

Vitaminpee mains a Brewmaster and loves to do competitive Mythic+. She is the Social Media Manager for Big Dumb Gaming and a partnered Twitch streamer who plays all tanks at max level and loves pushing keys with her teammates Synecdoche, Oddy, Sham, Hodonn, and Comfykins.