Todays Topic: Shadowbolt vs. Incinerate
When it comes to raiding as Demonology, there are 3 major spec choices to pick from – Felguard/Emberstorm (0-41-30), Demonic Tactics/Conflagrate (0-40-31) and Metamorphosis/Ruin (0-56-15). As a Warlock, you have 2 nuke options with Shadowbolt and Incinerate.. but which is better?
Honestly, it just depends on your spec.
The first two spec options are fire-heavy builds that give enough room in Destruction to pick up the Emberstorm talent. This increases your fire damage output and lowers the cast time of Incinerate, ideally making it the much better option.
Going with a Meta/Ruin build only leaves 15 points for Destruction to pick up Improved Shadowbolt, Bane & Ruin, thus leaving out Emberstorm. Without the boost to fire damage missing and spending 5 points in Improved Shadowbolt, Shadowbolt becomes the ideal nuke.
What if you leave ISB out of your Meta/Ruin build?
Even if you opt to leave ISB out of your Meta/Ruin build, Shadowbolt will still provide more damage by picking up Bane (your only other tier 1 option) because Shadowbolt is a 3 second cast by nature and receives more of a spellpower scaling bonus than Incinerate does at a 2.5 base cast time (without Emberstorm). Remember, the longer the cast time the more spellpower bonus that spell receives and that talents that reduce cast times do not cause the spell to scale less.
The bottom line? If you can’t pick up 5/5 Emberstorm, Shadowbolt is king. Even with Improved Shadowbolt being changed to mimic Improved Scorch/Winters Chill, without Emberstorm it will do more damage than Incinerate.