This article will cover the fastest and best ways to gear for Arena and Battlegrounds as a Warlock. Generally, there are two avenues that you can pursue in order to obtain your gear. Dungeons and raids provide PvE gear while Battlegrounds offer honor gear. As a warlock, you generally want to be wearing large amounts of PvP gear because resilience is invaluable. If you’re wearing best-in-slot PvE gear, you’re not going to survive against other players.
For starters, you’re going to want to obtain pieces from the Fireweave and Emberfire crafted sets. If you have all 8 pieces from the crafted set(s), you should be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1300-1500 resilience. When I first hit 85 I had these sets crafted right away, and it made a HUGE difference. BGs went from frustrating and dull to highly enjoyable!
The Crafted Gear:
Although there are two different sets, Emberfire and Fireweave, I believe a mix of both sets provides the most optimal stats when gearing as a Warlock. Always keep in mind the order Intellect>Haste>Mastery>Crit when gearing as an Affliction Warlock. However, you should always achieve necessary Spell Penetration and Spell Hit values before going for any of these stats. (Information on Spell Penetration/Hit farther below)
To craft these items, you will need the following materials: 74x[Bolt of Embersilk Cloth], 20x[Volatile Water], 12x[Volatile Air], 32x[Volatile Fire]
How to Spend Your Honor
The biggest upgrade that you can buy from honor is 2 pieces of the Bloodthirsty Gladiator’s Felshroud set. You should buy the [Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Felweave Amice] and the [Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Felweave Handguards], seeing as these are the cheapest pieces. The reason for buying two mainset pieces is to obtain the 2 piece set bonus of +70 intellect and +400 resilience. Even though you have crafted pieces in the glove/shoulder slots, this is still the biggest upgrade that you can get simply because the 2 piece set bonus is incredible.
Following this upgrade, I would recommend purchasing the [Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Medallion of Tenacity] if you do not already have a PvP trinket. If you still have the level 80 epic PvP trinket, you should buy upgrades for slots without resilience. Ex: neckpiece, rings, cloak, etc.
Spell Hit Rating and Spell Penetration
Spell penetration and spell hit often confuse people, but it’s all really quite simple. You need 195 Spell Penetration to cover buffs like Shadow Protection and the Shadow Resist aura that Paladins have. You need a further 45 penetration to cover Mage Armor, but I don’t gear for this. As for Spell Hit, you need 4% hit for PvP. There are no longer any racials that can cause spells to miss, so 4% is the number you’re always going to want.
The best way to get 195 Spell Penetration is to simply gem 4x[Stormy Ocean Sapphire], which takes you up to 200 Spell Pen. The extra 5 isn’t necessarily a waste because it will still be of some use against Mage teams. You always want to have over 195 Spell Pen, and you want to get as close to 195 as possible; this is the best way to gear for your Spell Pen since no Intellect/Penetration purple gems currently exist.
As for Spell Hit, you are going to be constantly changing your gear/gems to maintain the 4% number as you get upgrades and new pieces. Ultimately, 410 Hit Rating provides 4%, and you should always have at LEAST 4%, but you should go over as little as possible. It’s quite easy to get close to 4% hit through gemming Intellect/Hit in blue sockets, and by using the Reforge function available to you.
In terms of weapons, you’re going to need to do instances, heroic instances, or raids in order to obtain one. The best weapon for PvP is the Tier 1 or Tier 2 Dagger, but you need conquest points and/or rating to buy one of these. There are numerous caster weapons in heroics, but there are a few that I believe are best itemized for a Warlock.
[Modgud's Blade] – This item is obtained by killing General Umbriss in Heroic Grim Batol.
[Biting Wind] – This item is obtained by killing Grand Vizier Ertan in Heroic Vortex Pinnacle
[Blade of the Burning Sun] – This item is obtained by killing Rajh in Heroic Halls of Origination.
There is only one real option for your offhand slot, and that happens to be the [Battle Tome]; an easy-to-obtain crafted item. It is the only offhand with resilience available before the Vicious Gladiator’s offhand, so I strongly suggest that you invest in it! The materials are: 10x[Resilient Parchment], 8x[Inferno Ink], 24x[Volatile Life], and 6x[Volatile Fire].
Trinkets, Rings, and Neck
If you can grind the honor for it, I would strongly recommend buying [Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Insignia of Dominance] if you’re playing as Affliction, and [Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Badge of Dominance] if you’re playing Destruction or Demonology. If you’re still working on your honor grind, you should be using the [Witching Hourglass] trinket that drops off the last boss of Heroic Blackrock Caverns.
For rings, you should grind the honor for [Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Band of Accuracy], and also the [Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Band of Cruelty]. You also have the option of using [Lavishly Jeweled Ring] from Heroic Deadmines. I am currently using this ring due to the hit and socket it has. One thing to note is that it has an item level of 346, whereas both PvP rings have an item level of 352. If your resilience is too low I wouldn’t recommend using this item. If you feel like you could drop a bit of resilience, I would recommend using [Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Band of Accuracy] and [Lavishly Jeweled Ring] as your two rings.
For your neck slot, you should try to obtain the [Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Pendant of Alacrity]. Another option for those of you with little-to-no spell penetration is the [Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Pendant of Diffusion]. Note: You will probably end up replacing this neck with the Alacrity neck once you are able to put enough Spell Pen gems in your gear. If you do not have the honor to spare, you should be using [Pipefish Cord] from Heroic Throne of the Tides. Alternatively, you can spend Justice Points on [String of Beaded Bubbles].
Enchants and Item Enhancements
You should generally be using the cheaper enchants for crafted gear, although you can still go with the top-of-the-line enchants if you’re willing to foot the bill. It can be quite expensive to buy the best enchants because [Maelstrom Crystal]s are still very rare, causing these enchants to be unbelievably expensive.
Head – [Arcanum of Hyjal] Requires revered reputation with Guardians of Hyjal. You can get your reputation up to revered by simply questing in Hyjal if you don’t want to do instances. I did this while waiting in battleground queues.
Shoulders - [Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone] Requires exalted reputation with Therazane, revered provides a lesser version of this enchant. You will need to complete all Deepholm quests in order to become Neutral with this faction. You can then do dailies for reputation, as well as instances while wearing the tabard.
Cloak – [Enchant Cloak - Greater Spell Piercing] or [Enchant Cloak - Greater Intellect] You should be using a cloak enchant corresponding to your Spell Penetration gearing choices.
Chest – [Enchant Chest - Mighty Resilience]
Bracer – [Enchant Bracer - Greater Speed] or [Enchant Bracer - Speed]
Gloves – [Enchant Gloves - Greater Mastery] or [Enchant Gloves - Haste]
Belt – [Ebonsteel Belt Buckle]
Legs – [Powerful Enchanted Spellthread] or [Enchanted Spellthread]
Boots – [Enchant Boots - Lavawalker] or [Enchant Boots - Earthen Vitality]
Main Hand – [Enchant Weapon - Power Torrent] or [Enchant Weapon - Hurricane] If you can afford Power Torrent, it’s the best enchant you can buy. Don’t buy Power Torrent if you plan on replacing your weapon soon.
Offhand – [Enchant Off-Hand - Superior Intellect]
There are generally only a few different gems that you are going to use as a Warlock.
Meta – [Forlorn Shadowspirit Diamond] is a great meta gem for Affliction. I would use [Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond] as Destruction or Demonology.
Red – [Brilliant Inferno Ruby]
Yellow – [Reckless Ember Topaz] or [Willful Ember Topaz]
Blue – [Stormy Ocean Sapphire], [Veiled Demonseye], or [Timeless Demonseye] if you don’t need Spell Hit or Spell Penetration.
If you have any questions, I encourage you to post them below! I am more than happy to answer all of them!