Affliction Warlock Patch 9.1 Changes Analysis — Shadowlands 9.1

Last updated on May 05, 2021 at 23:02 by Motoko 29 comments
General Information

On this page, we tell you how the Patch 9.1 changes for Affliction Warlock affect the spec and what the current state of theorycrafting is.


Affliction Warlock in Patch 9.1: Chains of Domination

This page will go over how the changes currently on the Patch 9.1 Public Test Realm (PTR) will affect Affliction Warlocks, specifically how the changes impact the playstyle, best Legendaries, Covenants, etc. If you are simply interested in what the current changes are for Affliction Warlock on the 9.1 PTR, you can read our Patch 9.1 Warlock Changes.



Due to the nature of testing and ongoing development, any changes to Affliction Warlocks on the PTR are likely to be incomplete and/or not final. Make sure to keep checking this page over time for additional changes, and we highly recommend reviewing our Affliction Warlock guide once Patch 9.1 goes live for definitive thoughts on what changed and its impact on gameplay.


Base Spec Changes for Patch 9.1

The Malefic Rapture Icon Malefic Rapture nerf combined with the Agony Icon Agony and Corruption Icon Corruption buffs and the introduction of a new Withering Bolt Icon Withering Bolt Potency Conduit seem to promote a different usage of Malefic Rapture Icon Malefic Rapture by reducing its burst potential in favor of a higher sustained output.

When paired with Malefic Wrath Icon Malefic Wrath, Affliction's damage profile changes to a Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt/Drain Soul Icon Drain Soul-centric rotation by using Malefic Rapture Icon Malefic Rapture as a buffer to amplify the damage of your filler spells to extreme values.

As a result, this playstyle sacrifices mobility and requires a higher degree of uptime on the target to get the most out of it whereas previously Affliction Warlock enjoyed fairly high mobility outside burst windows while not suffering drastic damage losses from unpredictable movements.


Best Talents in Patch 9.1 for Affliction Warlock

Shadow Embrace Icon Shadow Embrace being positioned in the Haunt Icon Haunt row offers some meaningful choices in terms of what to pick, with both options being extremely close in terms of output.

Haunt Icon Haunt favors situations where single-target or quick-swapping is needed, but on the other hand, Shadow Embrace Icon Shadow Embrace allows for multiple applications of the debuff resulting in a higher potential damage in situations where additional targets will last a non-trivial amount of time. Shadow Embrace Icon Shadow Embrace also does not require extra GCDs for the upkeep meaning it could be the default choice with Malefic Wrath Icon Malefic Wrath and eventually the Necrolord Covenant.

Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption's buff also means Sow the Seeds Icon Sow the Seeds is much more valuable and will probably result in Vile Taint Icon Vile Taint being eclipsed from the choices in that row unless extremely specific situations arise.


Best Legendary in Patch 9.1 for Affliction Warlock

Please keep in mind the new Covenant-specific Legendaries have not yet been revealed or datamined in the current PTR build. Therefore, their effectiveness and power is still unknown.

The cumulative changes seem to consolidate Malefic Wrath Icon Malefic Wrath as the top choice for single-target.

The Sacrolash's Dark Strike Icon Sacrolash's Dark Strike nerf practically removes its relevance as the mass AoE slow with unlimited duration niche it had in the past (when coupled with Absolute Corruption Icon Absolute Corruption).


Best Covenant in Patch 9.1 for Affliction Warlock

With the new Soulbind rows being added the relative difference between Covenants seems to have shrunk, opening the possibility to play something different and at the same time be competitive with Night Fae. While Simcraft implementation is in its early stages it is hard to exactly quantify how good alternatives such as Bonesmith Heirmir will be in the grand scheme, but I will update this page as soon as I can provide concrete numbers on the new Soulbinds.



  • 05 May 2021: Page created.
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