Affliction Warlock Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.1
Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits are the most important character customization options in Shadowlands. They have a substantial impact on your toolkit and performance as Affliction Warlock. This page's purpose is to help you pick the right options according to the content you intend to do in Shadowlands.
This page assumes that you are already familiar with Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits. If that is not the case, we have a number of pages that can help you get up to speed:
- Covenants Guide, which explains what Covenants are, what perks they bring, and how you can join one;
- Warlock Covenant Abilities, which lists all the abilities that Warlocks gain by joining each Covenant;
- How To Change Covenant?, which tells you how you can switch Covenant (rejoining a former Covenant will require you to perform a number of tasks to regain their trusts);
- General Soulbind Guide, which explains what Soulbinds are and how you can pledge yourself to them to open up their Soulbind tree;
- Warlock Conduits, which lists all of the Conduits available to Warlocks.
Summary of the Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits
|Raiding||Night Fae||Dreamweaver||Affliction Warlock Dreamweaver Raiding tree|
|Mythic+||Night Fae||Niya||Affliction Warlock Niya Mythic+ tree|
|Torghast||Night Fae||Niya||Affliction Warlock Niya Torghast tree|
Night Fae are the overall winners (even if numerically ahead by a tiny margin) due to a combination of strong output, accessibility, and superior mobility compared to the alternatives. While the best Soulbind depends on Renown level and the type of content, the whole Covenant offers a degree of flexibility not easily matched by the others, allowing both multi-spec potential and the luxury to optimise Affliction for multiple types of contents without frequently swapping Conduits.
Please refer to the best Covenant section for more information on how to pick the best Soulbind, and why Night Fae is the better Covenant.
Best Conduits for Affliction Warlock
In the list below, you will find the best Conduits, organized by type. For more information, please refer to the Conduits section of this page.
- Best Potency Conduits: Withering Bolt and Focused Malignancy for up to 3 targets, at which point Rolling Agony and Corrupting Leer become better. Soul Eater offers a strong alternative up to 4 targets especially with Dreamweaver.
- Best Finesse Conduits: Demonic Momentum for additional mobility in raid and Fel Celerity for the rest of the content where pet may die or needs to be replaced by a different one.
- Best Endurance Conduits: Diabolic Bloodstone is the most impactful option while doing instanced content, especially raids, but beware that multiple Warlocks will reduce the effectiveness. Resolute Barrier is an alternative, especially when doing solo content or when the incoming damage comes in spikes.
Why Night Fae is the Best Covenant for Affliction Warlock
Night Fae is the most versatile and competitive PvE option for Affliction Warlock. It offers very strong single-target DPS and the best cleave from 2 to 4 targets, with the possibility to elevate it even further by taking Inevitable Demise over the default Drain Soul. It is very versatile because at least 2 out of 3 Soulbinds are extremely competitive in multiple scenarios, allowing Affliction Warlocks to run (optimally) a Soulbind for raids and dedicate the other to Mythic+, for example.
The Covenant ability Soul Rot offers a 1-minute cleave ability with the additional buffs through Niya ( Grove Invigoration) and later Dreamweaver ( Field of Blossoms), and its synergy with Inevitable Demise both offensively and defensively should not be underestimated. Additionally, Soulshape is by far the best mobility option, giving up to 3 Blinks per activation.
For additional thoughts and information on the other Covenants and their Soulbinds, please read the section further below.
Night Fae Soulbinds
Night Fae offer 2 very capable and competitive Soulbind options due to strong unique Conduits:
Niya offers overall better results in mixed situations due to the versatility of her soulbind tree and is the better single-target choice before reaching max renown.
Below are the best Soulbinds, with a focus on the trees. For more information about exactly which Conduit to use, please refer to the Conduits section of the guide.
Best Conduits for Affliction Warlock
This section only covers which Conduits you should pick. For detailed explanations on what all of the Warlock Conduits do, check out our Warlock Soulbinds and Conduits Page below.
Best Single-Target Potency Conduits for Affliction Warlock
Best Cleave / AoE Potency Conduits for Affliction Warlock
There are few considerations to be made regarding specific talents:
- Soul Eater performs at its best between 2 and 4 targets.
- Focused Malignancy becomes gradually less impactful the more targets enter the fray, but is still generally a solid pick until 4 or more enemies.
Best Finesse Conduits for Affliction Warlock
Finesse Conduits are mostly mobility and utility focused and therefore are affected by the type of content the player is facing and what situation is more likely to happen.
When there is a desire for additional mobility, especially in raid, Demonic Momentum helps managing long distance movements.
If there are frequent pet swaps Fel Celerity can help mitigate the otherwise atrocious Pet Summon cast. Mostly situational.
Shade of Terror can be considered when additional crowd control is needed on targets affected by multiple periodic damage effects, and Fear would otherwise break instantly.
Best Endurance Conduits for Affliction Warlock
Endurance Conduits offer various means of survivability and their effectiveness depends once again on the type of content the player is facing:
- Resolute Barrier is best used during solo activities or when there are frequent spikes of incoming damage.
- Diabolic Bloodstone offers noticeable sustain in group activities, as long as other members are using the Healthstones provided by the player and not other Warlocks.
Other Covenants for Affliction Warlock
Kyrian: Scouring Tithe
Kyrian have a strong single-target ability that empower Malefic Rapture and can situationally provide 5 additional shards. Despite the repeated nerfs, the once overly powerful Pelagos Soulbind is still a compelling choice in single-target and cleave, however the lack of mobility options, slower access to the second Potency Conduit slot, and the fact it is the only notable option among its Covenant, make for an overall less appealing choice, mostly tailored towards those who are also looking to spec into Destruction or are captivated by Kyrian visuals.
Necrolord: Decimating Bolt
Once the default pick for any Warlock specialisation, due to an overtuned Decimating Bolt, Necrolord are now the 3rd best option in terms of output, with an emphasis on single-target scenarios. Emeni's Soulbind remains powerful, especially in group content when multiple people are sporting it, and the newly buffed Bonesmith Heirmir is finally appealing. That said the Covenant is better tailored towards Destruction and Demonology.
Venthyr: Impending Catastrophe
Venthyr are the 4th and last option, leaning towards AoE where they can compete with Night Fae, mostly due to Theotar the Mad Duke and Nadjia the Mistblade's powerful Conduits, capable of delivering a decent output despite the atrociously undertuned Covenant ability. Door of Shadows is a weak mobility option due to its cast time, but an option nevertheless, unlike what the Necrolords or Kyrian can offer.
Other Soulbinds for Affliction Warlock
Below we go over the Soulbinds of each other Covenant and in what situations you might consider them. The advice below applies to all Renown levels unless otherwise specified.
- Pelagos is the best option for spread multitarget.
- Kleia is the best AoE soulbind, also tied for best single-target option.
- Forgelite Prime Mikanikos is technically competitive in single-target with Kleia, but falls short everywhere else.
- Emeni lack of DPS node in the new trees made the once best option now the worst.
- Plague Deviser Marileth, after Patch 9.1 buffs, is the better single-target choice, roughly 1% above Bonesmith Heirmir.
- Bonesmith Heirmir is comparable with Plague Deviser Marileth, trading slightly worse single-target with overall better multitarget performances.
- Nadjia the Mistblade is overall the second-best option, trailing Theotar the Mad Duke.
- Theotar the Mad Duke is the best soulbind in any given circumstances, beside frequent heavy movements.
- General Draven is slightly behind in all situations, making it a mediocre pick.
- 08 Jul. 2021: Added detailed soulbinds for other covenants.
- 28 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
- 31 Jan. 2021: Updated Soulbind paths and reworded few paragraphs.
- 03 Dec. 2020: Minor clean-up, swapped from Poisons to Burrs, since it keeps escaping the nerfs.
- 22 Nov. 2020: Page added.
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