The warlocks of Azeroth wield pure fel energy, raining all sorts of curses, hexes, and bolts of eldritch magic down upon their foes. Commanding demons to do their biddings, warlocks refuse to shy away from measures deemed too dangerous by others.
Some choose to make pacts with demons out of the belief that the denizens of the Twisting Nether will one day rule all of existence. Others follow them solely in pursuit of the power offered for their obedience. Others still turn the tables on the demons and wield their powers in defiance of their masters. For a pact goes both ways, and the warlocks who serve Azeroth refuse to be the puppet.
If you dare to continue walking this path, then prepare a suitable host to wield this power. Find and choose someone worthy amongst the races of Azeroth to become a warlock. Today, we’ll be going over the best races for warlocks in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. We’ve got iconic options for Horde and Alliance players, as well as different types of gameplay.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Best Race for PVE Warlock: Mechagnome/Troll
Given that all three specs for warlock are about dealing damage, it’s pretty easy to pick one race that works for all of them. Thankfully, there are quite a few good options so you have your pick of whatever suits your tastes. Here’s our best races for warlocks when you play PVE.
Let us preface this by saying you can just go Human if you absolutely hate how Mechagnomes look. We get it, and the difference between them isn’t worth making you detest your character’s existence. With that out of the way, let’s go over why the best race for warlock is Mechagnome.
The cybernetic cousins of gnomes are known for their incredibly powerful racial passives and for looking like they’re wearing a diaper. Of particular note is Combat Analysis, a buff that steadily ramps up to give you more of your primary stat over forty seconds.
This buff persists as long as you stay in combat, making it one of the most substantial racial buffs in the game. Given how long most boss fights are (especially in raids), you’ll be getting max value from this racial 90% of the time. Especially since the bulk of your damage comes from ramping up DOTs and setting up massive empowered blasts.
On top of that, you have an Emergency Failsafe passive that immediately restores 15% of your max health when you fall below 20% HP. Between this and your healthstone, you should be able to come back from the brink of death multiple times in a fight despite being a squishy caster.
For those who are hellbent against Mechagnomes, we recommend going Human, as the bonus to their secondary stats from The Human Spirit is just consistently good. Having a free stun cleanse from Will to Survive is also very nice for cheesing some fight mechanics.
Technically speaking, Troll is the best Horde race for warlocks. This is entirely due to the sheer haste buff you receive from Berserking being absolutely bonkers. Your haste is increased by a whopping 15% for ten seconds, basically a mini-bloodlust.
While it’s on a three-minute cooldown, just line it up with your major cooldowns during a burn phase to gain tremendous value from it. Otherwise, the rest of the Trolls’ racial abilities are fairly minor. Regeneration gives you a bit of combat health regen, which is nice, but unlikely to make a notable difference.
Da Voodoo Shuffle reduces all movement impairing effects, but given you have Demonic Gateway and Demonic Circle for mobility, it probably won’t make a huge difference. Though it can be rather nice if the movement debuff also has a damage component attached to it, meaning the DOT falls off you sooner.
Alternatively, you can go Orc, as they fall just a tiny bit behind Troll. Thanks to Blood Fury providing a large primary stat boost for fifteen seconds, it’s comparable with Berserking’s performance. Additionally, the Orcs’ Command passive will boost all of your pets’ damage by 1%. This is especially notable for demonology warlocks who summon multiple minions.
Best Race for PVP Warlock: Human/Orc
Once again, we see the classic Human vs. Orc conflict embodied in the two best races for PVP. This is entirely due to both races having abilities that mitigate/cleanse stuns and provide pretty good stat buffs.
As we’ve mentioned in our other guides, the Humans’ Will to Survive is fantastic for opening up a PVP trinket slot to something besides the standard Gladiator’s Medallion. Especially since Patch 9.2 gave more unique effects to play around with.
On top of that, the extra secondary stats from The Human Spirit are always appreciated. Especially since stacking versatility is so important to avoid being blown up as a squishy caster and break through enemies’ defenses.
While Hardiness’s 20% reduction to being stunned may not seem like a lot at first, it can mean the difference between life or death in PVP. As diminishing returns kick in, what might be a one-second stun becomes completely unnoticeable.
On top of that, Blood Fury is an amazing damage boost when you can execute your enemy. Just pop it along with all of your major cooldowns and laugh as you slam a couple empowered blasts into the enemies’ immolated face.
Also, considering that most players don’t bother with killing pets/minions, the 1% damage boost from Command makes them more of a threat than usual.
Best Race for Lore Warlock: Gnome/Orc
Honestly, we would have chosen the Draenei if they could be warlocks. Given how poorly that’s gone for them in the past, though, their race shuns the warlock path. Instead, we’ll settle for the Gnomes!
Any veteran WoW player will attest to how memorable Gnome warlocks are, namely due to it horribly backfiring on them. This probably is due to their race’s tendency to dive too deeply into forbidden knowledge and believe they can outsmart whatever force they’re trying to harness.
Wilfred Fizzlebang is a notable example. He once attempted to summon and bind a demon for the players to fight against in the Argent Tournament. The summoning ritual went wrong, and he ended up summoning Lord Jaraxxus (ILLIDARI LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION), who proceeded to immediately immolate the tiny gnome.
Let’s see if you’ll be another casualty of the Gnomes’ hubris or if you’ll actually dominate the demons of the Twisting Nether.
Oh boy, do the Orcs have a history with warlocks. The entire Warcraft franchise started because Orcs learned how to become warlocks from Kil’jaeden and invaded Azeroth.
The most infamous warlock of them all, Gul’dan, is the definitive Orc warlock. He guided the Orcs of Draenor into drinking the fel blood, helped open the Dark Portal, and ravaged the land the Azeroth. He’s been such a thorn in Azeroth’s side that even an alternate version of him summoned the Burning Legion for a third assault on our world.
Yet despite all of that, the Orcs continue to foster those with the potential to be a warlock. Ultimately, fel energy is just another power source to be mastered, and to combat evil, you must sometimes wield it as well. Just try not to repeat the mistakes of the past this time.
Best Looking Race for Warlock: Dark Iron Dwarf/Undead
Alliance: Dark Iron Dwarf
Given that warlocks are all about fire and fel, they tend to look rather evil and menacing. Thankfully, the Dark Iron Dwarves already match that aesthetic — they’ve got glowing, molten eyes and past dealings with Ragnaros!
Imagine a swarm of demons crashing through and slaughtering your enemies as fel flames burn all around them. Then you step forward, hooded in dark robes, as your army bows in respect. Only your eyes stand out from the darkness, but to them, that only makes you far more terrifying than any demon.
It’s a good thing you’re already a corpse — you probably no longer care about your flesh burning away. The flames that devour everything around you are almost pleasant to be by. That low throaty chuckle that your kind is known for rasps out among the dying breaths of your foes.
Demons and death go hand in hand, no? Then you must deliver, for they still seem to be alive. A blast of flame scours their body until they look just like you. Except you’re still moving and them…well, not so much anymore.
Best Race for Warlock in WoW Classic and Burning Crusade: Gnome/Undead
Gnomes are undeniably the best race for warlocks in Classic WoW. Thanks to their Expansive Mind racial passive, you have a permanent 5% boost to your Intelligence. This is your primary stat, affecting how much mana you have and boosting your crit chance with your spells. Needless to say, it’s very good.
Having Arcane Resistance is also rather nice, given how common arcane damage is in Classic. Escape Artist is also great, given that you want to keep your distance from most foes due to how squishy you are. Being able to run away is an important part of staying alive.
As for the Horde, it depends on which era you’re playing in. During Classic, the Undead are the best race for warlocks due to their Will of the Forsaken granting immunity to fear. Due to how common it is for bosses to have fear mechanics, this can drastically decrease your down time from running around like a chicken. On the rare occasions you have to tank certain fights, Shadow Resistance can be useful for surviving spells aimed your way. Plus, you can top off your health a bit with Cannibalize when the situation permits it.
Come Burning Crusade though, Orcs become the best race for warlocks due to Blood Furybeing reworked to account for casters. Now the ability will also buff your damage from spells, making Orcs a viable and strong choice as warlock. Additionally, the 5% boost to your pet’s damage from Command is rather nice, as long as they stay alive long enough in a fight. Remember, AOE damage from most encounters will kill your pet.
Join the High Ground
And that’s it for our take on the best races for warlocks in World of Warcraft. If you have a different opinion or any comments that you want to share, subscribe and leave a comment below!