Affliction Warlock Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.0.5

Last updated on Mar 09, 2021 at 16:15 by Motoko 26 comments
General Information

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.


Introduction: Prerequisites

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

Focus Covenant Soulbind Advised Tree
Raiding Night Fae Niya Affliction Warlock Niya Raiding tree
Mythic+ Night Fae Niya Affliction Warlock Niya Mythic+ tree
Torghast Night Fae Korayn Affliction Warlock Korayn 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: Cold Embrace Icon Cold Embrace and Focused Malignancy Icon Focused Malignancy for up to 3 targets, at which point Rolling Agony Icon Rolling Agony and Corrupting Leer Icon Corrupting Leer become better. Soul Eater Icon Soul Eater offers a strong alternative up to 4 targets.
  • Best Finesse Conduits: Demonic Momentum Icon Demonic Momentum for additional mobility in raid and Fel Celerity Icon 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 Icon Diabolic Bloodstone is the most impactful option while doing instanced content, especially raids, but beware that multiple Warlocks will reduce the effectiveness. Resolute Barrier Icon 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 Icon Inevitable Demise over the default Drain Soul Icon 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 Icon Soul Rot offers a 1-minute cleave ability with the additional buffs through Niya (Grove Invigoration Icon Grove Invigoration) and later Dreamweaver (Field of Blossoms Icon Field of Blossoms), and its synergy with Inevitable Demise Icon Inevitable Demise both offensively and defensively should not be underestimated. Additionally, Soulshape Icon Soulshape is by far the best mobility option, giving up to 3 Blinks per activation.

Last but not least, the Night Fae are extremely accessible, offering the second Potency Conduit at Renown rank 13 on Dreamweaver, for the opening of Mythic Raid Week, giving a distinct advantage over other Soulbinds and Covenants.

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:

Dreamweaver is the best option at around Renown level 13 in 2 to 4 target cleave, thanks to early double Potency.

Niya edges out in both single-target and pure AoE over Dreamweaver, but requires full Renown to unlock the second Potency Conduit and Niya's Tools: Poison Icon Niya's Tools: Poison or Niya's Tools: Burrs Icon Niya's Tools: Burrs.

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.

  1. Dreamweaver Tree
  2. Niya Tree

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

  1. Cold Embrace Icon Cold Embrace
  2. Focused Malignancy Icon Focused Malignancy

Best Cleave / AoE Potency Conduits for Affliction Warlock

  1. Rolling Agony Icon Rolling Agony
  2. Corrupting Leer Icon Corrupting Leer
  3. Focused Malignancy Icon Focused Malignancy

There are few considerations to be made regarding specific talents:

  • Cold Embrace Icon Cold Embrace's effectiveness is directly tied to player ability to maintain stacks of Shadow Embrace Icon Shadow Embrace, which becomes gradually harder until 4 targets when it is advised to not prioritise it.
  • Soul Eater Icon Soul Eater performs at its best between 2 and 4 targets.
  • Focused Malignancy Icon 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 Icon Demonic Momentum helps managing long distance movements.

If there are frequent pet swaps Fel Celerity Icon Fel Celerity can help mitigate the otherwise atrocious Pet Summon cast. Mostly situational.

Shade of Terror Icon 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 Finesse 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:

  1. Resolute Barrier Icon Resolute Barrier is best used during solo activities or when there are frequent spikes of incoming damage.
  2. Diabolic Bloodstone Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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.


Kyrian Soulbinds

  • Pelagos the best Soulbind for all situations.
  • Kleia is around 6% behind, but starts losing ground the more targets are involved.
  • Forgelite Prime Mikanikos, is the worst of the 3 in single-target but manages to beat Kleia with multiple targets.

Necrolord Soulbinds


Venthyr Soulbinds

  • Nadjia the Mistblade is overall the strongest option, being vastly superior in cleave and slightly ahead until 5+ targets.
  • Theotar the Mad Duke is trailing close at the 2nd spot, taking the head with heavy AoE situations.
  • General Draven is slightly behind in all situations making it a mediocre pick.


  • 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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