Warlock Tips and Tricks and Specific Encounter Guides [4.3]
I know that MoP is "right around the corner" (a corner that lasts for months), but I still see a lot of people asking for help so I thought I'd write a guide on how to perfect (or at least improve) your Warlock skills. It includes tips and tricks (mostly for Demonology) and also a guide and point of view video for each individual heroic encounter.
My name is Josh, and I play Varaug, a Warlock on Ravencrest-EU. I am the guild master and raid leader of 8/8HC 10 man guild lnsomnia, and I hope my guide is helpful. Any feedback is appreciated and if you know anything useful or interesting that you think I should include then please let me know about it.
This guide assumes you know what you should talent, which glyphs do the most damage, what pet each spec favours and which spells do more pew pew than other spells. I will simply go over the finer points of being a Warlock.
(Please note that anything marked with an * is Demonology-specific information only and if you have no wish to learn about Demonology you can safely skip these parts).
1. Dark Intent
Dark Intent is a very powerful spell that we learn at 83. It places a buff on one target and ourselves that increases haste by 3%. You will receive a 3% periodic damage/healing increase (that stacks up to 3 times) for about 6 seconds every time the target crits with periodic damage/healing, and your target will receive a 1% periodic damage/healing increase (that stacks up to 3 times) for about 6 seconds every time you crit with periodic damage/healing.
1.1 Best raid dps gain
Of course, this means that it is partially a raid buff, as opposed to a personal buff. This means that when you apply it you should be thinking about which target is going to benefit the raid the most. To see some numbers simcrafted during 4.2, visit Kilee's Dark Intent topic on howtopriest.com.
4.3 brought Shadow Priest's tier 13 4 set bonus, which basically incorporates Mind Spike into their rotation. This results in them having periods of time during the encounter where they will have no DoTs on their target, so will not be able to keep your Dark Intent buff up. However, as a Shadow Priest's damage is still mostly comprised of damage over time spells, it is still a good raid dps gain to give them Dark Intent.
In general, the priority is:
Balance Druid >= Shadow Priest without T13 4pc > Shadow Priest with T13 4pc > Subtlety Rogue with Hemorrage glyph > Feral Druid > Survival Hunter
The most accurate personal results will be obtained by simcrafting your own raid members with and without DI and seeing how your dps changes depending on your DI target (Kilee's topic touches on how to do this in Simcraft).
(Note: if you are progressing on an encounter and your healers are struggling, it is okay to put it on them to help them out a bit. In this case, the specs that benefit the most are Restoration Druids and Holy Priests)
1.2 Best personal up-time
Different targets will also give you different up times on Dark Intent. As you might notice from the link above, Survival Hunters seem to give us the best personal dps gain (although this could also be due to the fact that the data was taken from simulations of only 10,000 iterations, as could any other slight variance in data).
If you are progressing, it is best to put it on the player that will benefit the raid most, only ever put it on the player that boosts your personal dps the most if you are looking to pad meters (trying to get ranked during farm, trying to show the Shadow Priest who's boss etc).
2. Gear swapping*
This is a very useful Demonology only trick that can really buff your first Metamorphosis. Because this is also your most important Metamorphosis (where all your procs line up and when you'll most likely have hero), this trick actually works out as about a 1.5k or more dps increase.
2.1 How Metamorphosis works
First off, it is useful to understand how Metamorphosis and your mastery work. Metamorphosis is essentially a buff that increases your damage by x % for 36 seconds (glyphed). This "x" is determined by your mastery (more mastery, more Metamorphosis damage). However, the Metamorphosis buff doesn't scale dynamically with your mastery, meaning that whatever x % damage increase you have from mastery when you first hit Metamorphosis, you will keep for 36 seconds regardless of if your mastery changes in this time. This, as you can see, leaves room for exploitation.
2.2 Making a mastery set
The idea is to make a full set of gear with as much mastery as possible. No other stat matters here, so you can use strength/agility/spirit items and mastery gems/enchants. You can probably squeeze between 3000-4000 mastery with a set like this. This is the set you need to be wearing before the encounter.
For help choosing pieces for your mastery set, here is a BiS mastery set and here is a mastery filter to show which items for each slot have the most mastery.
(Note: if you use that BiS mastery set, with full epic mastery gems, use a mastery elixir and the Moonwell Chalice, Soulshifter Vortex and Fire of the Deep/Spidersilk Spindle/whatever passive mastery trinket you use tricks below, you can reach 10654 mastery for your first Metamorphosis, which amounts to a 176% damage on the buff)
2.3 The macro
Then you make sure your tanks are doing a countdown pull, and just before they pull (similar to pre-potting) you activate Metamorphosis (with a ridiculous amount of mastery) and switch to your proper Demonology gear set. Easy.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to stick it all into one macro, so you don't have to press several buttons. This is what it should look something like:
2.4 Finer details
/use Volcanic Potion
/cast Demon Soul
One small thing I would like to mention here is your choice of trinkets in your mastery gear set. It is very beneficial to have a Moonwell Chalice (from the Firelands daily quest hub), as this will give you an extra 1700 mastery for your first Metamorphosis. If you are using this, make sure that you activate it before you use your macro, as there is a slight delay in the buff and if you have it as part of your macro, you won't benefit from the 1700 mastery.
Another trinket that we can use in the same was as Moonwell Chalice is Soulshifter Vortex. You can make this trinket proc by using Hellfire before pulling, the damage you do to yourself will proc the trinket and give you an extra 3278 mastery on your first Metamorphosis!
Now there is something else we can exploit. Normally, when ever you activate a trinket and then unequip it, the buff that you gain from the trinket disappears. What actually happens, however, is the buff stays very very briefly. Now, the way to exploit this, is to activate your trinket(s), swap to a passive mastery trinket(s) (Such as the tanking valor trinket, Fire of the Deep) and activate Metamorphosis, so that we benefit from both the mastery buff(s) and the mastery on our quickly equipped trinket(s).
This means your macro changes slightly to become this:
(Note: I'm not too sure on the details, but you won't always (but most often will) gain the passive mastery from the quickly equipped trinket (something to do with server lag/connection), but you shouldn't ever lose the mastery from Moonwell Chalice/Soulshifter Vortex, so there is nothing to lose by adding this additional line to your macro)
/equip Fire of the Deep
/use Volcanic Potion
/cast Demon Soul
Another important thing to consider about trinkets when gear swapping is the internal cooldown of each trinket. In short, if you want to use a trinket in your main set that has an internal cooldown (for me, this is Insignia of the Corrupted Mind), then it needs to be in the same trinket slot in both your mastery gear set and your demonology gear set. Otherwise there will be a long delay before you can make use of its proc.
If one of your mastery gear set trinkets is Moonwell Chalice (which it should be), then the trinket you want in the corresponding trinket slot in your demonology gear set is either Will of Unbinding (because it has no internal cooldown, so there is no delay before you can make use of it) or Cunning of the Cruel (for similar reasons).
Also, if you're really getting into it, you can start the fight with an Elixir of the Master and switch to your normal flask after using Metamorphosis. For this just add an extra line to the macro:
It is also worth mentioning that there is not an obtainable amount of mastery for your first Metamorphosis that will make using your Doomguard pre-pull be an increase over using your Doomguard when all your procs align at the start of the fight.
/equip Fire of the Deep
/use Flask of the Draconic Mind
/use Volcanic Potion
/cast Demon Soul
You can essentially start any fight with this trick, making it a valuable one to use.
3. Pet Twisting*
Another Demonology specific trick is the idea of pet twisting. This plays on using different demons to take advantage of the different Demon Soul buffs.
3.1 How Demon Soul works
Demon Soul is a 2 minute cooldown that gives a different buff depending on which pet we currently have out. Now, the Felhunter is our best single target damage pet, but the Felguard gives us the best Demon Soul buff. So clearly, the optimal way of using these is to have our Felguard out for when we use Demon Soul, and our Felhunter out for the rest of the fight.
3.2 How to pet swap
This is a very simple trick to execute:
1. Start the fight with your Felguard
2. Make sure to use Felstorm as soon as your pet is in range (makes the most of your Felguard being out)
3. Make sure to use Demon Soul and Soulburn some time between the start of the fight and the end of Felstorm (6 second duration)
4. When Felstorm finishes, use your Soulburn buff to instantly summon your Felhunter
Unless you have the trinket Moonwell Chalice (see below), you should only do this at the start of the fight, and then keep your Felhunter out for the rest.
Trinkets are a very important source of damage. To maximise your damage, it is useful to know which trinkets are the best, and how you should use them. For a general listing of how much dps each trinket is worth for each spec, I would visit this thread.
However, I greatly encourage you to simcraft with your own gear and different trinkets, as this will give you the most accurate representation of how they work. For example, simmed individually, heroic Will of Unbinding sims higher than heroic Insignia of the Corrupted Mind. However, simmed together, heroic Insignia of the Corrupted Mind and heroic Cunning of the Cruel is the best possible trinket combination (this might only be for Demonology, as I haven't simmed for any other spec, and this is only in my gear (405)).
4.1 Moonwell Chalice*
If you're Demonology, I would recommend using Moonwell Chalice until you get a 397 or higher Dragon Soul trinket (possibly 384, but you should simcraft to find out). This trinket has the same cooldown as Demon Soul, and roughly the same cooldown as Metamorphosis, meaning you can use them all at the same time (don't forget to Pet Swap (which will involve hard casting back to your Felguard before going through the steps listed in 3.2)!) for a massive Metamorphosis and huge damage (the 1700 mastery buff from Moonwell Chalice is perfect for Metamorphosis due to the "snap-shotting" mechanic mentioned in 2.1, as you essentially get the 1700 mastery buff for 36 seconds, as opposed to 17). If you are doing this, don't forget that there is a delay in the activation of the buff from Moonwell Chalice from when you use it, so to ensure you have the 1700 mastery for when you use Metamorphosis, make sure to use Moonwell Chalice slightly earlier than the rest of your cooldowns.
4.2 Insignia of the Corrupted Mind
This trinket procs a huge amount of haste. The most important thing to do when using this trinket is to make sure you save your Doomguard until it procs, and then use it.
4.3 Will of Unbinding
This trinket essentially gives you a ridiculous amount of Intellect. It stacks a small Intellect buff 10 times, so it has a (short) ramp up time. The buff lasts for 10 seconds, so you need to be careful not to let the buff fall off during any down time. In addition, using Hellfire does not proc this trinket, but Shadowflame does. This means that when you are aoe'ing, watch the buff. If it's about to fall off, cast Shadowflame (or, if it's on cooldown, which it could be as it's cooldown is greater than the duration of the trinket buff, cast Corruption or something similar to keep the buff stacked before returning to aoe).
4.4 Cunning of the Cruel
4.4.1 Living in a dream world
Cunning of the Cruel is an incredibly powerful trinket for Warlocks. The proc happens all the time and amounts to insane damage (usually about 8% of a Warlocks damage). The damage it does is also a cleave, so whenever there is more than one target, the value of this trinket increases a lot. Being a "Shadowbolt Volley", the proc benefits from Affliction's passive 30% increased shadow damage, Demonology's passive 15% increased shadow damage and Destructions 8% Improved Soul Fire damage buff, making it viable (and best in slot) for all 3 specs.
4.4.2 Living in reality
However, Cunning of the Cruel is part of the "Shared Boss Loot" table, and has been given a ridiculously small chance to drop. From wowhead, this chance is given to be 0.7%.
Now, let's do a little (just a little) bit of statistics/maths:
Because there is a fixed chance of it to drop and a fixed chance of it not to drop, we can model the situation binomially. This means that we can say:
(number of Cunnings that we would expect to drop is equal to the number of bosses we kill that can drop it multiplied by the probability of it dropping from one boss, which makes perfect sense).
Re-arranging this we get:
So if we want 1 Cunning to drop, the number of "chances" we need to see it is:
Now, Cunning can only drop from the first 6 bosses. And, from the first 6 bosses, there is a total of 7 chances it can drop (there are 12 pieces of loot from the first 6 bosses, but 5 of these are definitely tier). So, the number of weeks (at 7 chances a week) it takes to see Cunning becomes:
n = 1/0.007 = 142.857…
That's essentially 5 months.
Furthermore, if (like me), there is someone else in your raid group who also wants Cunning (a Shadow Priest perhaps), and he is most likely to have a higher loot priority than you when it first drops, this time becomes 10 months.
What I'm basically trying to say is: don't plan your gear around getting Cunning, as it is very likely you won't get one. Don't save up your dkp or loot priority or anything waiting for it, as you'll be very disappointed if it doesn't drop.
5.1 Summon the right pet with one button
Assuming you want to start the fight with your Felguard, this macro will ensure that all your pet-swapping will work, and that you only need to use one button to summon either your Felguard or your Felhunter (the macro will summon whichever one you need):
/cast [pet:Felhunter] Summon Felguard; [pet:Felguard] Summon Felhunter; Summon Felguard
5.2 Quality of life: Hellfire
I don't know about anyone else, but I normally move a little bit if I want to stop a cast. However, with Hellfire, this won't work. The easiest way to get around this is to make a macro that will cast Hellfire the first time you hit it, and stop casting Hellfire if you hit it mid-channel:
/cast [nochanneling] Hellfire
/cancelaura [channeling] Hellfire
6. Heroic Encounters
Here I will just list some basic tips or tricks for each heroic encounter in Dragon Soul.
If your guild kills this fast (going 2 healers/having them within multi-dotting range/stacking them on top of each other), then I would recommend Demonology for this fight, as it has great burst. Of course, Affliction and Destruction will also both be very viable due to multi-dotting and Bane of Havoc, respectively.
As a Warlock (especially with the nerf) you can soak the double stomp with the 20% damage reduction from Soul Link (25% if glyphed). If you're Demonology and you're in Metamorphosis when the double stomp hits, it won't even tickle you! If you are worried about if it might kill you or not, you can always Soulstone yourself beforehand for a quick res if you happen to die (this is assuming your raid has someone else who can combat res in case someone else dies and your Soulstone is on cooldown).
If you place your teleport where the tank will be tanking your boss, you can easily get back within melee range for Shadowflame (or stomp soaking) after a black blood phase. Also, don't forget that during the black blood phase, you can still dps the boss and not get hit by the black ooze if you find the right position behind a pillar.
If you are a gear-swapping, pet-twisting Demonology Warlock here, and the fight is lasting around about 2 minutes, then I would recommend you reforge your gear to as much haste as possible. This is because your first Metamorphosis will have all the mastery it needs from the gear swap, and the fight is so short that you might not even get another full Metamorphosis off. The extra haste you can get from doing this will help you do more damage and might also make it possible for you to squeeze in another Metamorphosis at the end.
PoV Demonology Warlock:
(Note: I did the gear-swapping trick and reforged all my gear to haste. I got ranked 7th best Demonology Warlock for Morchok HC 10 man and 28th best dps in the world and I don't even have legendary staff, Cunning of the Cruel or a decent racial (and I forgot to use my second potion… but shhh… :P). I bet you want to try it now ;D)
6.2 Yor'sahj the Unsleeping
If your raid has a generally low aoe set-up, it might be worthwhile to go Demonology here, however, any spec can work (I would choose Affliction > Destruction due to rain of fire not doing very much aoe).
Due to the large amount of combinations that will lead to adds spawning (5 out of 6 using the priority we use), try to make sure you make the most out of your Felguard (as it's main attack is a cleave), particularly Felstorm which does a lot of aoe damage. However, if you are doing this make sure that you switch to your Felhunter for any combinations that don't have adds.
It might be useful here to place your teleport under the boss, so that you can stack up quickly after killing the ooze.
If you are using Will of Unbinding here, make sure not to let the stacks fall off (see 4.3).
PoV Demonology Warlock:
6.3 Warlord Zon'ozz
Again, I would say that any spec is viable here. I would lean towards Affliction, due to it's powerful multi-dotting (useful on the eyes) and it's very strong execute. However, Destruction will also be viable (make sure to put Bane of Havoc on Zon'ozz when you go to dps the eyes) and Demonology also works fine (make sure to save your cooldowns for massive damage during the final burn).
If there is space, you should ask if you can stack with the melee, as Shadowflame will be a damage increase. It would also be useful to put your teleport wherever you need to be stacking so you can get there quickly after dps'ing the eyes, and not waste time travelling.
Because this fight involves using Heroism at the end of the fight, and the boss will probably die during the 40 second Heroism buff, it is probably beneficial to use your Doomguard before the burn (due to it lasting fairly longer than 40 seconds), so that you can make the most of this long-lasting, powerful single target cooldown.
If your guild uses a tactic that involves running out of the group with Disrupting Shadows to be dispelled, it is useful to face your back to the group so that when you get dispelled and knocked back, you will be knocked back into the group. If you happen to be in Metamorphosis, you can quite happily face the group and continue dps'ing, then Demonic Leap back into the group when you get knock-backed, and look like the most awesome thing to grace Azeroth.
PoV Demonology Warlock:
(Note: I need to re-record this video, as I was using an add-on that was out of date and made me lag terribly)
6.4 Hagara the Stormbinder
I wouldn't recommend Demonology for this fight, unless you need to supply the 10% spell power buff. Affliction and Destruction will both prove stronger for multi-dotting the crystals during the frost phase.
As a Warlock here, there is a very neat trick that you can do during Lightning phase. Your pet chains the lightning, so it is possible to use your pet in the chain. The way I use this is that I put my pet in position further down the chain, and put a portal in position next to the pet, then I chain as normal with the rest of the raid group and teleport to my portal to chain the last bit. It speeds it up quite nicely. For a look at what I'm saying, watch the video below and skip to 2:46 (for the lightning phase).
If you are doing this, then make sure you put your pet on passive when you're moving it into place, and put it back to assist (or spam your /petattack macro) after the lightning phase.
Also, if you place Bane of Doom on her right before she enters a frost/lightning phase, you will get a tick during her feedback after the phase (assuming your raid completes the phase in less than a minute).
PoV Demonology Warlock:
There is nothing much to say about this fight. The quicker your guild kills this, the more dps you'll do as Demonology, but Destruction is a fine alternative and Affliction can also work (unless your guild struggles for dps).
One thing I'll mention is that Heroic Will isn't on the global cooldown, so if you want to maximise your dps, you can save your Life Taps for when you use Heroic Will. Essentially, wait until 0.5 seconds left of Fading Light / Hour of Twilight, use Life Tap and hit Heroic Will. If you time this well you should return to the shadow realm still in your Life Tap global cooldown, and you won't have lost any dps. However, don't try this if you lag or are prone to lag spikes.
PoV Demonology Warlock:
6.6 Warmaster Blackhorn
I would not recommend Demonology for this fight, even if your raid needs the 10% spell power buff. Destruction and Affliction however, are both great specs for this fight.
If you are playing as Destruction, then make sure you run to the end of the ship at the start of the fight and put Bane of Havoc and Curse of the Elements (if you stand on the railing you can also get a 3rd instant cast off, but best place a teleport within range in case you fall off!) on Goriona as she flies past (Bane of Havoc double dips from Curse of Elements, so do your best to get both on).
It is possible to soak a twilight barrage on your own with Shadow Ward and glyphed Soul Link, but it can be iffy. If possible avoid getting hit by these unless you're confident you can survive it (Soulburn: Healthstone can help you survive one).
As Destruction, you can use Shadowfury to stun every sapper. If you're not Destruction and your guild desperately needs someone to stun them, then you can use your Felguard, which has a 4 second stun on a 30 second cooldown.
For phase 2, make sure you are hitting Goriona while she's up (as Destruction, you can Bane of Havoc Warmaster but do your best to make sure he doesn't go sub 80% as this will end up giving him more vengeance stacks than necessary). The best way to avoid shockwave is to place your teleport on one side of Warmaster and then make your way to the other side of him whenever you have time to move (during instant casts, I recommend). In addition, make sure you aren't too close to him, as getting interrupted by his roar will be a nasty dps loss. You can still Shadowflame him while staying out of range of his roar.
PoV Destruction Warlock:
6.7 Spine of Deathwing
There is only one spec choice here in my opinion: Demonology. The others just won't do enough damage to the Burning Tendons to be viable.
Start with your Felhunter on this fight, as you won't be popping Demon Soul near the start.
I will go over two things here, breaking Fiery Grip, and burning the Burning Tendons.
First of all, make sure you are watching your timer for Fiery Grip. Pre-cast so that the stun gets broken quicker. Be careful how much damage you do, as you will probably have 2 grips per lift, and you don't want the corruption to die until after the lift. One trick to do here is to put Bane of Doom on the Corruption when there is about 15 seconds left until the grip, so that you get a nice big tick just as it grips. This won't be enough to break it, but it helps. Also, take into account the travel time of your spells. Say if you cast before the grip, the grip might stun someone while your spell is still in the air. This means that even if you're the one who gets stunned you can still do some damage to it.
Second of all (and most importantly), burning the Burning Tendons. Warlocks are not the best class for this. In fact, they're pretty awful for it, but if you get the execution right you can still pull off about 1.2 or 1.3 million on each (first) lift.
There are two methods that I know of for maximising your damage on these, one involves Bottled Wishes, which is the one I will discuss, and the other involves Moonwell Chalice, which I will briefly discuss and mention why I don't use it.
Bottled Wishes is a trinket you can buy from the valor vendor for 1650 valor points. It has base haste and a spell power on use with a 1 minute 30 seconds cooldown. The length of this cooldown is the key to it's usefulness. It basically means that it will be available for every lift, which is what you want. Demon Soul, on the other hand, has a 2 minute cooldown, and will typically only be available for every other lift. Metamorphosis has a dynamic cooldown which has a chance to be reduced each time your filler spell lands. To ensure that you have this available for every lift, it is useful to reforge to a bit more haste than usual (I go for about 2300). You can also replace your Metamorphosis glyph with the Corruption glyph, as you won't need the extended duration of Metamorphosis (each tendon is available for roughly 18 seconds) and the instant cast Shadow Bolt procs will be a dps increase.
Now, there are several key things you can do before the tendon is exposed to maximise your damage:
1. As Amalgamation is about to die (before it starts casting Nuclear Blast), hard cast summon your Felguard.
2. As it is dying, use Drain Soul (if you need soul shards) or spam Fel Flame to keep your Will of Unbinding stacks up (if you are using this trinket)
4. Immolation Aura
5. Doomguard (if you use this on the 1st lift, you can use it again on the 3rd plate)
As soon as the tendon is exposed:
1. Pop a macro that will use Curse of the Elements (if you're the only one supplying the debuff), Soulburn, Demon Soul and Bottled Wishes
2. Bane of Doom (to get your Doomguard attacking straight away)
3. Felstorm as soon as your Felguard is in range
4. Follow your normal rotation, consuming your Soulburn buff to summon a Felhunter after the 6 seconds of Felstorm
5. If there isn't enough time to cast your filler spell before the plate closes, use Fel Flame
The macro that I use is this:
The wording of this means that I can button bash it while I'm waiting for the Burning Tendons to appear, and it will only use all my cooldowns when the target becomes available.
/targetexact Burning Tendons
/cast [target=target, exists] curse of the elements
/cast [target=target, exists] soulburn
/use [target=target, exists] Bottled Wishes
The second method of doing this is pretty much the same as the first except that you replace Bottled Wishes with Moonwell Chalice (make sure you use Moonwell Chalice before Metamorphosis, so that you actually get the buff). The downside to this however, is that this trinket is on a 2 minute cooldown, and the time between each lift is roughly 1 minute 45 seconds. However, there is a way that this can be worked around. Because Metamorphosis snapshots your mastery, if you use Moonwell Chalice about 15 seconds before you need to nuke, you will still get the entire buff for the entire nuke. This will also mean it should be off cooldown by the time you approach the second lift (you can also go further by using Moonwell Chalice 35ish seconds before the nuke (if you can time it right!), followed by Metamorphosis 18 seconds before the nuke. With a Metamorphosis lasting 36 seconds you will still have Metamorphosis for the entire nuke, and you knock 35ish seconds off your Moonwell Chalice cooldown). Furthermore, the time between the 2nd are 3rd lifts will be about 2 minutes due to having to roll him as well, so you can potentially have Moonwell Chalice available for every tendon.
The reason I don't do this is that it's awkward and when I did do it I didn't see much of a significant damage increase, and our guild wasn't struggling on doing enough damage on them. So, for quality of life, I went with Bottled Wishes.
(Note: a few guilds can now kill a tendon in 1 lift, meaning using Moonwell Chalice wouldn't be very awkward)
A further point I would like to say about this fight, is that your Dark Intent is actually best placed not on a Shadow Priest, as they nuke the tendon with Mind Spike and Mind Blast, and no DoTs at all. This means that neither of you will have any benefit from Dark Intent, and you should place it on a Boomkin, Ele Shaman or even a Survival Hunter (if you're desperate) instead.
PoV Demonology Warlock:
6.8 Madness of Deathwing
Ah, so you've reached Madness HC, eh? The good news is that if you managed Spine, you'll manage this. However, don't relax, as Spine was more of a focus on gear, Madness is more of a focus on strategy and there are a lot of mistakes that can wipe your raid.
If you're wondering what spec you should go for this fight, the answer is Affliction. It is a multi-dotters heaven (make sure to switch glyph of Unstable Affliction with glyph of Bane of Agony) and Affliction does the most damage to the Congealing Bloods (pretty much the only important part of the fight) than Demonology or Destruction.
Make sure you stay on top of where your pets are. When the Corrupting Parasite explodes, your pets can be killed, so make sure they are out of range of the ability. It is even more soul-crushing when it's your Doomguard that gets slapped. To avoid this, make sure you're well away from the time zone when you spawn him. Also, if your guild uses a tactic where a Shadow Priest soaks an Impale, this involves everyone getting out of melee range. If you don't move your pet, the Mutated Corruption will whack them.
Your ability to multi-dot may depend on the rest of your guild's dps. If you multi-dot the wings/arms on platforms that you're not on, you might end up pushing too much damage and causing your raid to all die. It is fairly safe to multi-dot between everything on your own platform however, and I recommend keeping Bane of Doom on the Wing/Arm and Bane of Agony on the Mutated Corruption. This means that when the bolt is about to come, you can pre-soul swap from the Mutated Corruption and get your DoTs onto the bolt as soon as possible.
When the regenerative bloods spawn, you should ignore them (unless your tank tanks them next to the corruption, in which it is okay to aoe them as this will do more single-target damage to the Mutated Corruption through Spellweave) until the Mutated Corruption dies. Once the Corruption is dead, and the parasite has spawned, the most effective method of single targeting the parasite is by aoe'ing the bloods on top of it. Now, your most effective method of aoe'ing on this fight changes due to Spellweave. This means that you aren't looking to do the most damage, you're looking to do the most "ticks" of damage. Shadowflame ticks very fast, so using this causes a lot of Spellweave. Soulburn: Seed of Corruption is also very good as this will put Corruption on every blood and each tick of each corruption will cause Spellweave to every blood. If you have time, DoTing them all with Unstable Affliction is also a good idea, but if you don't, using Rain of Fire is your best option as this ticks fast than your Seed of Corruption cast.
You probably want to save your cooldowns for the Mutated Corruption, to ensure that you don't get more than two impales. They might also be needed on the Wings/Arms to beat the Cataclysm timer (particularly on the 4th platform).
I won't discuss a particular strategy here, as your guild might do it differently to how we do it, so I will just talk about how best to aoe the Congealing Bloods.
First of all, make sure that you glyph Shadowflame to provide a 70% slow, the slows are vital in giving you enough time to kill the bloods. They don't all spawn at once, so I would Rain of Fire as they are spawning, and then quickly switch to Soulburn: Seed of Corruption. Then use Shadowflame (you should already be in melee range when they spawn). After this use Rain of Fire to kill them off. Infernal is a very good cooldown here, and you should make sure you use it (I generally use it on the 2nd set of bloods).
PoV Affliction Warlock:
7. Further reading
If you want even more information, then I would suggest checking out these links:
MMO-Champion Warlock Index (Includes spec guides, how to Simcraft, add-ons and a general help thread)
Elitist Jerks Warlock Forum (Includes more in-depth spec guides and Simcraft for Warlocks)
Warlock vs Dragon Soul by Sparkuggz
I might have missed a few things, and if I have I'll make sure to edit as appropriate. Also some videos I might re-record. A section on add-ons might be useful? Or how to use Simcraft? Either way, thanks for reading my guide and I hope it helped. Again, if there's anything you want to contribute don't hesitate to let me know!