Unleashing the Warlock Within: Cynwise

Posted: April 23, 2013 in Unleashing the Warlock Within

Muahahaha! Hail and greetings all!

One of the things I really like about playing Warcraft is that it’s not always about your destination, but it’s more often about experiencing the journey to get there. There are a few times when you reach an epic moment in the game that stops you and gives a reason to pause. For me, completing the warlock green fire battle against Kanrethad Ebonlocke is up there at the top of my list of epic moments. I’ll even go so far as to put his name up there on par with the Lich King when it comes to memorable moments. Yep, I said that and I mean it.


First, let me explain a few things. I went into this famous warlock vs. warlock fight without having read anything about it. I did my best to avoid anything that talked about it including videos, blogs, websites, twitchTV and everything else. Why? Well, for me it was for the challenge and for the surprise. So much of the game is written about and even video clipped showing you everything with step-by-step instructions. You can find guides and information everywhere now on just about everything.

Don’t get me wrong. I think that having so much out there about the game is great because I can remember when there was next to no resources outside of asking in /general chat. Does anyone else remember when you needed information and it wasn’t listed on the Thottbot or Alakazam’s website and you felt like smashing your face against your computer screen? OMG, things have sure changed because now we have WoWInsider, MMOChampion, AskMrRobot, IcyVeins, ElitistJerks, Noxxic, El’s Anglin, Warcraftmounts, Warcraftpets, and countless more. That’s not even mentioning all of the Youtube channels, TwitchTV, Podcasts, Blogs, forums, and everything else.

While having all of this great information only a Google search away is nice to have at our disposal, I feel that sometimes for me it takes away from the excitement and wonder of experiencing something when it feels new. The MV raid? I watched videos and read guides then I did the LFR with my guild, and then completed it with my raid team. *Yawns* While all of it was good fun because I enjoyed it with friends I quickly felt bored with it after my 3rd run in LFR. It lost it’s appeal. After that it became, “Omg, not this again.” And so I didn’t want the warlock epic quest line to be like that for me.

I’d like to toss out a special thanks to some of my guildies that had faith in me and probably think I’m a bit off my rocker ;p so a big thanks to Desdeny, Mycale, Bloodylock, Nagrats, Martensen, Havah, my raid team and a special thanks to Rho for giving me the tome to start the quest line. Without Rho’s kind gift, I’d probably still be farming for the drop!


Now that it’s over

After completing the fight, I’ve been going back and watching videos and reading strat guides and comparing my notes to what’s out there. While I’m sure there’s a lot of different ways to complete the fight you still can’t escape the underlying mechanics. Like most fights, it really is all about the mechanics and timing. While dps does help, I’ve read a few posts where ‘locks in ilvl 470ish gear are completing it which tells me how important getting the mechanics down can be. I’m also glad to know that there’s a trick or two I learned during my experience that I haven’t seen on any of the guides as well. Was I frustrated as I took my lessons and beatings from Kanrethad? You bet. Did I love every minute of it? Omg yes! Truth be told I didn’t keep track of my wipes because I didn’t want a number to frustrate me or make me feel demoralized.


Now that it’s over I have an idea of how many times I did wipe based on my repair bills which gouged me for a little over 12k in gold. Every 4 to 5 wipes it cost me about $300.00 gold in repairs. Since I lost 12,000 in gold we can divide by 300 (per cost of each repair) which equals 40 repairs and then multiply that by 4 or 5 wipes so that puts me between 160-200 attempts. It was brutal, but I’m glad I didn’t do it any other way. The most frustrating part was wiping sometimes because I forgot to do a certain mechanic or two after I was already getting past them. Mainly it was because of an often simple or stupid mistake on my end. There is some space and leeway for recovering during the fight, but not much.

I’m a little dismayed by some of the sites I’ve been to and reading some of the comments from certain types of players. You know the uber elite-types who “downed” a hard boss such as Kanrethad in only 3 to 4 tries. No offense, if a player says they defeated Kanrethad in less than 10-20 tries without reading a strat then they’re lying. Do I care if some of these players lie about their success? No. What I do care about is how they make others feel about not having defeated Kanrethad at this point. If you’re a warlock who’s still beating your head on your desk like I was then have faith, you’ll get him…trust me :) The fight is one long dance and once you find your stride, and get your own rhythm in repeating the steps then the next thing you know it’s over and you’ll have you’re green fire. And a beautiful Fel green it is!

My only advice is if you do run into any of the moronic types who think they’re all that and bucket of wings, ignore them because they’re fools. I plan to do a post to talk about the Kanrethad fight and no, I’m not giving away spoilers if at all possible, but I do plan to give my honest assessment of the entire questline and what I liked and didn’t like about the experience. If you would like some tips on the Kanrethad fight shoot me an email and let me know where you’re having the problems and I’ll do my best to help.


Enough about Kanrethad, let’s talk about Cynwise!

At this point, I don’t think there’s a warlock alive who doesn’t know Cynwise or about his blog over at Cynwise’s Warcraft Manual. Over the years he has been one of the warlock bloggers who has been an inspiration for me, as I’m sure he has been for countless others, and it’s humbling to highlight him here on my blog. His series about The Decline and Fall of Warlocks in Cataclysm helped put the problems facing warlocks center stage and in the spotlight. From his research and strong arguments as to why players were leaving their ‘locks in Cataclysm, Blizzard couldn’t ignore the problem any longer when it came to redesigning the warlock class. So from me, and I’m sure the rest of the warlocks who have survived the downfall and rebirth of our wonderful warlock class, I’d like to give Cynwise a very respectful, sincere, and grateful /bow and salute.

Cynwise was even so kind as to include several screenshots with the instructions for me to choose whatever I’d like to use for the post – Gah! The pressure! To make it easier I’ll include them all and let you choose which you like ;p All of you know I love cool screen shots, and I love a cool tmog set so I couldn’t choose between them.

Warlock Name: Cynwise

Server: Medivh-A, US (though I moonlight on Drenden-H)

Guild Name: <Waypoint>, a cartography guild.

How long have you been a warlock? I’ve played a warlock since 2008. Cynwise was the fourth character I rolled. She leveled as Affliction and I’ve played every spec since then.

What specs are you currently running? Destruction PvP. I have a Demo offspec that I tank old raids in, but mostly I use it to decipher demonic texts while questing.

What’s your favorite specialization and what do you find most appealing about the playstyle? This is like asking to choose between your favorite children!

Currently I enjoy playing Destro because of the surging rhythm of burst you get with it. It’s highly mobile in PvP (yes, even casting Chaos Bolt) and offers a good balance of burst, pressure and control which previously was lacking in Warlock pvp specs. Demo intrigues me in PvP, but I’m frankly not nearly good enough Rush at it.

There have been times and places where certain specs have been my favorite. Affliction PvP post-3.3.5 (end of Wrath) was excellent – I think that was my favorite time to play Affliction, even though the toolbox in Cataclysm was deeper. Demonology was wonderful to play in PvE during that time, too.

What’s your favorite spell and why? Oh my, so many. Demonic Circle: Teleport, probably? Fel Flame? Chaos Bolt? Dark Apothoesis? Burning Rush? The toolbox is so deep. Let’s go with Chaos Bolt. (Drain Mana and Blood Fear, I still miss you.)

What addons do you currently use besides the basic DBM and Recount?

  • _NPCScan
  • Addon Control Panel
  • Auctioneer
  • BG Defender
  • ElvUI
  • FocusHeals
  • Healers Have To Die
  • GronkIt!
  • HroomHroom
  • Ookin’ Dooker!
  • Postal
  • Skada, not Recount
  • The Alternative
  • Weak Auras
  • Wowhead Looter


Some of these are pretty standard quality of life addons (NPCScan, ElvUI, Auctioneer, The Alternative).

I used to use SaySapped but migrated its functionality to an addon I wrote for myself (GronkIt!) that does a bunch of custom chat frame messages, says, and yells. I then split off some of those features into addons like HroomHroom, which announces when a heroism-type effect is used on you. I can’t say enough good things about SaySapped.

Another addon which is a must-have is Healers Have To Die. It tells me who the healers are on both sides and lets me know when my nearby friendly healers are getting attacked.

BG Defender automates the callout of incs in battlegrounds. I consider it more essential than Battleground Targets, which I don’t run anymore.

Weak Auras has replaced Need to Know in my current setup, partly because ElvUI handles dot tracking and partly because I wanted more conditional proc/event tracking. I have a few Weak Auras set up that have really improved my Shadowburn usage.

Ookin’ Dooker! is a silly addon that I adore. It filters all incoming and outgoing cursing into Hozenspeak! I can curse like a sailor and it comes out at a nice PG-13 rating. This prevents me from making missteps when kids are online in /g.


Do you prefer using a minion or using the Grimoire of Sacrifice? It depends. I prefer Sacrifice now for both playstyle and RP reasons, but there are distinct advantages to having your pet out in PvP. I’m still struggling to like Supremacy. Who are all these new demons, anyways!?

Which is your favorite demon to command and why? Tie between the Felpup and Succy. It depends if I can knock anyone off of the Lumber Mill or not.

Do you use any macros and if so which one? I use a lot of macros, though honestly not as many as I did back in Cataclysm. Here are a few.

Pump Macro, ties in several abilities into a single burst:

/use [spec:1] Dark Soul: Instability; [spec:2] Dark Soul: Knowledge

/use Volcanic Potion

/use Potion of the Jade Serpent

/use 14

/use 10


Farm with Fel Flame (allows you to FF one target until dead, then automatically switch to next target):

/cast [mod:shift, @focus] Fel Flame;Fel Flame

/use 10



Cast Havoc on my focus (if there is one), mouseover target, or primary target:

/use [@focus,harm][@mouseover,harm][harm] Havoc


To reapply buffs quickly upon resurrection in a BG GY:

/castsequence reset=5 Dark Intent, Grimoire of Sacrifice, Create Soulwell, Underwater Breathing, Crystal of Insanity


To make sure I use my guild standards when farming bosses for rep, so I tie them into CB:

/cast [mod:shift, @focus, harm] Chaos Bolt; Chaos Bolt

/use 10

/use Battle Standard of Coordination

/use Standard of Unity

/use Banner of Cooperation


Help!, aka the panic button:

/use Dark Regeneration

/use Healthstone

/use Alliance Battle Standard

/use Ember Tap

/use Master Healing Potion


Shadowburn This (stop what you’re doing and cast Shadowburn):


/cast [mod:shift, @focus,harm] Shadowburn; Shadowburn

/use 10

Your most (favorite / embarrassing / funny / proud / memorable) moment while playing your warlock was? I was running Jade Temple on my locked 85 warlock and pulling about 120k on the boss. The fight finishes (very quickly) and there’s silence in chat. Suddenly, the hunter pipes up: "calm down lock ur making us look bad"… Yep.

What flavor are your warlock cookies? Fel salsa.

What is your favorite dungeon or PvP battleground and why? Anything but Strand of the Ancients. I used to like Strand well enough until enough people took South Graveyard. (Don’t take South GY.) Seriously, I really like the CTF ones (Warsong Gulch, Twin Peaks) and the node control ones (Arathi Basin, Battle for Gilneas) much more than the PvW ones (IoC, Strand).

Who is your favorite raid boss and why? BQL, because I can pull insane numbers there with the first bite. Not ashamed to admit I like the big numbers!

What is your least favorite spell and why? Eye of Kilrogg, but ONLY because I feel defenseless using it. It’s a situationally useful spell, I just wish I didn’t feel like a rogue was going to jump me whenever I cast it.

If you could make up and give your warlock any title you wanted, what would it be? Mine are actually very simple and specific to her character: Colonel, to represent a high PvP field rank but outside of the traditional Alliance military structure, or Lady, to represent some kind of minor ennoblement and representing one of her childhood ambitions.

What do you like most about playing a warlock? Being able to have a constant war between the ends justifying the means, and living with the consequences of that philosophy.

If you could add, change or remove anything with regards to the warlock class what would it be? … I went through that exercise in Beta. I’m pretty happy with where they ended up. :D

Do you have any tips you can offer for newer warlock players, or to those who are new to your specialization?

  1. There isn’t a best spec. Try them all. Try the one which appeals to you and see how you like it. Each one has a different feel and fantasy in Mists (unlike Cataclysm).
  2. You have a deep toolkit, use it. Warlocks don’t have escapes, but we do have defensive CDs. Learn to use them.
  3. Positioning is really important. Kiting is essential. If you run into a cloud of melee, you are going to die horribly. Keep your distance. To quote Dusk of Uldum, "Kite like it is your job and you are paid a lot of money to do it well."
  4. Every demon brings something different to the table. Don’t let them overwhelm you, but try to figure out how to use their abilities to your advantage.


How can readers get in touch with you? cynwiseofstormwind@gmail.com / @wowcynwise / http://cynwise.wordpress.com

  1. well congrats on your green fire my friend. it still eludes myself. though ive encountered a few glitches such as being behind pillars completely out of LoS and having the fel pupys still dispelling my enslavement.

    and regardless of what elitists might say, im really not sure i even care if i ever get it. th reward is not really worth the task. what gets to me is that rogues got their own questline….and they got a legendary at the end of it. we are in a way getting boned by only getting a cosmetic effect. however a cool effect it is…its really not worth (in your case) 12k in repairs. not imo anyway. i might try it here or there, and maybe one day. but again grats!

    • Hey Sev!

      Well, cosmetics aside – I was in it for the fun and not for the colo reallyr. I miss the old class questlines that made the classes feel special, even individual. So to me it was worth it. Plus, I love a good challenge from time to time. It keeps me from getting bored ;P Check you’re email box in a bit! Let me know if those tips help.

      • Mooftak says:

        As someone who missed the class specific quests, I can sympathize with what you’re saying. I wish they were still around and still gave some class specific mounts. I do enjoy my felsteed, but it would have been pretty gnarly to do a specific warlocky quest for it. Anyways, grats on the green fire!

        As far as the Cynsight (har har har), that was some fine unleashing. These posts do keep me logging my “main” warlock alt, or sometimes my alt warlock alt (forsaken) and chipping away at that xp. It competes with gearing my newly 90 hunter, and it makes me sad panda that pandas can’t be locks (that double rested xp bonus is ftw for folks like me), but the fire to get chaos bolt is still burning. Sorry for that pun.

        Keep it up, and thank you to Cynwise for the pvp thoughts.

  2. Congratulations on your green fire! I wish I were an epic mogger and then I would know, but what is Cyn wearing, I love both of the outfits. I know, I know, we got all this great Cynwise information and I’m worried about what she’s wearing.

    12,000 gold. Translated to me that would be every penny my Warlock has and I don’t even want green fire. Typical RNG nastiness that I got that Tome almost immediately and then two more.

    • Tome!

      Omg, you’re so funny and such a Tmog fiend. I still think you should take Sasche. So many good Tmog sets go well with Fel green :P

    • Cynwise says:

      I usually want to know what folks are wearing, too. :D

      I talked a bit about the Just Plain Folks outfit on GMY – http://gomogyourself.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/making-it-work-reclaiming-a-main-through-fashion/ – but I have changed it around slightly (and am wearing it now on the Armory, http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/medivh/Cynwise/simple.) The biggest changes are the Gossamer Belt and the Informant’s Gloves. I do change my weapon mogs around a bit – using the Staff of Justified Sins in most of these shots.

      She looks very unassuming this way, like a regular person just trying to make her way across a BG. :D

      The white outfit deserves a full writeup, but it’s based on the Buccaneer’s Vest and Stoneweaver’s Leggings (from Uldaman), coupled with the Aurora Shoulders and gloves. I think that’s the Healer’s Staff of the Forest, as well. Flying Tiger Goggles, I think, and … Dark Cloak of the Marsh? Moorabi’s Drape? Something like that for the accessories.

      I should do a writeup on that outfit. :)

      • Hey Cynwise,

        I think we could spend a few hours talking about Transmog! Gah! While Amijade is normally sporting the Silver-Thread set, I do have two or three sets I switch out from time to time. I’ve been drooling over the Betrayer set from the gold level scenarios and eventually plan to get that for my Ally warlock. When I try the set on Amijade it looks very odd on her. Her skinny little Undead body as compared to the horns on the helm looks way out of proportion. On my human, the Betrayer set looks amazing.

        Do you think they’ll ever add dyes, or a way to do modifications on color changes to different aspects of an item piece? There’s so many cool items, but we’re dramatically limited by only the few colors they are offered in. I’m sure if they did that it would be a huge gold sink as well. I would just have to hand them over all my gold because I know I’d waste…er…spend a lot for that kind of option.

        Thanks again for taking part!

  3. dakotarick says:

    Congratulations on the green fire!

    • Hi Navie,

      Why thank you very much! Good luck on you and the hubby scoring Blizzcon tickets! Let me know if you get lucky and plan to go. I want to see pics if you do!

    • Navimie says:

      And I totally forgot to comment about Cynwise, who is a rather cool character – and she is always well dressed – not too flashy, just the right amount of simple to lull you into the false sense of security that she isn’t dangerous…

      • Cynwise says:

        I’m totally harmless! Look at me, I’m dressed like a mid-40s NPC, how could I *possibly* be dangerous? :D

      • Tyraeon says:

        Lol a woman that does not look harmless is the most dangerous one…I say keep her away, make her a friend or stab her in the dark when she is least expecting…else run the ef away ^^ no offense Cyn.

      • Cynwise says:

        None taken. Running away is a good option when I get irritated, though. :)

  4. theerivs says:

    I prefer to make it rain…er I mean snow.

  5. Wow, congratulations! I admire your stick-to-it-ivness! I’m still working on hitting lvl 90 (pathetic!)

    • Jodi,

      You know you’re always too kind in your comments, some people see it as a sign of being a little nutty I think :) No worries on getting to 90. Just play and have fun at your leisure. It’s a game right? Don’t make it a job because then you won’t want to login. Whatever time you spend, enjoy it.

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