Affliction Warlock DPS Guide — Shadowlands 9.1

Last updated on Jul 21, 2021 at 08:00 by Motoko 34 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Affliction Warlock guide for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1. Here, you will learn how to play as an Affliction Warlock in both raids and Mythic+ dungeons: from the very beginning to maximizing your DPS.

If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our TBC Classic Affliction Warlock guide.

1.

Affliction Warlock Overview

Affliction Warlocks excel at sustaining high single-target and multiple-target damage. Most of your damage comes from the application of harmful damage over time effects (DoTs). This allows them to effectively cleave on targets that are spread around an area, something many specializations struggle with or are flat out unable to do. Just like the other Warlock specializations, Affliction Warlocks bring the Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway ability to the raid, which can be an invaluable mobility cooldown.

2.

Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +High single target damage
  • +Very strong burst during cooldown windows
  • +High cleave damage
  • +Spread cleave
  • +High mobility
  • +Flexible toolkit
X Weaknesses
  • -Ramp up time for some of its damage
  • -Burst damage requires a setup period, where you can be punished by movement
  • -Weak AoE damage
3.

Patch 9.1 Changes for Warlocks

We are maintaining a list of changes for Warlocks, so you can see what changes with every patch of Shadowlands. Be sure to also check out Affliction's specific changes this patch.

4.

Leveling a Affliction Warlock

We have a dedicated leveling guide to help you get your Affliction Warlock to max level, complete with many tips and suggestions.

While playing with the default UI for the leveling is entirely possible, transitioning to a max level rotation with a substantially different UI layout can feel overwhelming and ultimately disorient or frustrate the player. We recommend instead to implement Layout changes gradually in order to allow yourself to acclimate to a more effective and personal UI. The Addon page below offers some recommended options.

5.

Basics of Affliction Warlock Gameplay

Affliction Warlock is a spec centered around Damage over Time effects, cooldown periods that require a setup to get the most out of them, and a relative amount of pet management. At its core the gameplay is about generating and spending the Warlock iconic resource: Soul Shards.

The fundamentals are simple: maintain Corruption Icon Corruption and Agony Icon Agony on the target(s), spend your Soul Shards on Malefic Rapture Icon Malefic Raptures or Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption and cast Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt in the downtime.

If you are a newcomer to the spec, but would like to learn the basics start browsing the Spell Summary and head over the page linked below

For those more familiar with Warlocks we invite you to check out the Talents and Rotation pages to have access to more detailed and in depth information.

6.

How to Gear Up as Affliction Warlock

Due the increased number of variables and additional systems, picking gear has become a much less intuitive and immediate process. Nevertheless you can find guidelines in how to best equip your Affliction Warlock in our dedicated gearing page, including the current Best in Slot equipment for the current tier.

Equipping gear is not enough, as you also need to choose the right consumables and gear augments to maximise your character potential. Below is listed a page that can guide you through those choices as well as a page to better understand the implications each stats has on your Warlock.

7.

Affliction Warlock in Shadowlands

With Shadowlands release, players gain access to multiple new systems.

First and foremost is the Covenant system, the most influential in terms of power progression, granting access to Soulbinds and Conduit customisation, which have a very tangible impact in the overall output. Making the right decision is paramount, so head to the page below to learn more.

Affliction Warlock Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits

Another means to acquiring additional power is given by the Legendary system, tied to a new crafting experience with limited resources, making it very important to identify the most effective choice in terms of upgrade. Follow the link for a detailed explanation of Legendaries and what to craft for what type of content.

Affliction Warlock Best Legendaries
8.

End-Game as a Affliction Warlock

Being geared and well equipped is only half of the journey, as the end game activities require each a different approach to the spec. In order to find out more information regarding how to better tackle these challenges check the pages below.

9.

Improving as a Affliction Warlock

Understanding your errors and refining your performance is a constant exercise, which can be frustrating or confounding at times. Below are listed some pages that offer tools and can point and help correcting those mistakes.

10.

Affliction Warlock Viability in the Current Patch

Affliction is a well-rounded specialization, with more upsides than downsides. It offers good single-target damage, extremely strong burst, unrivalled multi-target distant cleave, with a mobility matched only by Beast Mastery Hunters.

The only downside Affliction suffers from in this expansion comes from its lack of burst AoE. While its sustained AoE can be actually strong, it requires specific talent choices and a certain setup time, meaning it is not effective when targets die too quickly.

Affliction is a highly sought after spec in raids. A combination of good single-target, with the possibility to increase it even further if additional targets are present, high self-sustain, high mobility, high burst, and one of the best multi-target outputs often make Affliction one of the spec you may want to stack during progress.

Affliction Warlock is the best specialization to level with, as it is mobile and provides good damage to spread out targets. It is very mobile while leveling, as DoTs can be cast while moving.

Affliction in Sanctum of Domination seems to take a bit of a backseat for the time being during early progression, mostly due to how fights are designed and recent buffs to Destruction shifting the preference of the masses toward the latter. Numerically speaking, especially with Shards of Domination taken into account, Affliction is actually a competitive option compared to the other two warlock specs.

11.

Changelog

  • 21 Jul. 2021 (this page): Updated state of the spec for Sanctum of Domination.
  • 13 Jul. 2021 (Patch 9.1 Analysis): Removed PTR disclaimer.
  • 13 Jul. 2021 (Sanctum of Domination page): Removed PTR disclaimer.
  • 11 Jul. 2021 (mythic+ page): Added Anima Power recommendations for the Tormented seasonal affix.
  • 08 Jul. 2021 (rotation page): Updated selectors for Shadow Embrace.
  • 08 Jul. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Added detailed soulbinds for other covenants.
  • 07 Jul. 2021 (Sanctum of Domination page): Page created.
  • 30 Jun. 2021 (gear page): Added Sanctum of Domination bis list, updated trinket section and shard recommendations.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (addons page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (rotation page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (gear page): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (spells page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (mythic+ page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (Torghast): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (simulations page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (this page): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (Legendaries): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (stats page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (enchants page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (easy mode page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (FAQ page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (talents page): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (how to improve page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 27 Jun. 2021 (Patch 9.1 Analysis): baseline changes, legendary and covenant recommendations updated.
  • 05 May 2021 (Patch 9.1 Analysis): Page created.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (Legendaries): Added Malefic Wrath legendary as single-target option after 9.0.5 buff and expanded WoC case use.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (Torghast): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (this page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (rotation page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (mythic+ page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (easy mode page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (talents page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (stats page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (gear page): Added Valor Upgrade section for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (spells page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (enchants page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Feb. 2021 (enchants page): Swapped potion recommendation due to better usability and more consistency.
  • 01 Feb. 2021 (stats page): Updated Mastery stat explanation.
  • 01 Feb. 2021 (Legendaries): Updated Synergy as the recommended mythic+ legendary craft, updated reasoning and use cases for some legendary choices.
  • 01 Feb. 2021 (gear page): Updated trinket section.
  • 01 Feb. 2021 (rotation page): Updated opener, added selectors for covenants, and expanded few sections.
  • 31 Jan. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated Soulbind paths and reworded few paragraphs.
  • 31 Jan. 2021 (mythic+ page): Added openers for multi-target situations and few key differences from the default.
  • 17 Jan. 2021 (talents page): Reworded talent row 2 and 4 for better clarity.
  • 17 Jan. 2021 (easy mode page): Clarified shard usage on AoE.
  • 31 Dec. 2020 (mythic+ page): Updated Tier 4 talents description.
  • 28 Dec. 2020 (Legendaries): Updated dungeon Legendary recommendation.
  • 28 Dec. 2020 (rotation page): Added Shadow Embrace lines.
  • 28 Dec. 2020 (gear page): Added Sun King Salvation as another source of drop for the Abominable Anima Spherule weapon token.
  • 08 Dec. 2020 (enchants page): Added Armor Kits.
  • 07 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Boss guides added.
  • 07 Dec. 2020 (mythic+ page): Page updated for Shadowlands season 1.
  • 05 Dec. 2020 (enchants page): Swapped weapon enchant back to Celestial Guidance for better usability.
  • 04 Dec. 2020 (gear page): Updated Castle Nathria BiS list, added dungeons BiS list, and updated trinket recommendations.
  • 03 Dec. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Minor clean-up, swapped from Poisons to Burrs, since it keeps escaping the nerfs.
  • 03 Dec. 2020 (Legendaries): Added crafting strategy section.
  • 03 Dec. 2020 (stats page): Stats ranking updated following simulation profile optimisations.
  • 03 Dec. 2020 (talents page): Updated talent choices, explanations and builds after further testing and simulations.
  • 01 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Added placeholder Castle Nathria page.
  • 25 Nov. 2020 (enchants page): Updated the food section to the correct secondary.
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Added disclaimer about Bloodmallet sims.
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (Torghast): Page added.
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Updated secondary stat priority in relationship with Intellect.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (FAQ page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (how to improve page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, added Legendary and Conduits sections, and Castle Nathria BiS list
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (addons page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for Shadowlands release: new gems, enchants and consumables added.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, removed Corruptions and updated stat priority.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (talents page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (spells page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (this page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, added new systems section and moved spec viability from FAQ.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (rotation page): Updated page for Shadowlands release, removed Essences, Azerite and updated consumables.
  • 22 Nov. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Page added.
  • 21 Nov. 2020 (Legendaries): Page added.
  • 04 Nov. 2020 (rotation page): Removed some outdated info regarding pandemic.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (spells page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (addons page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (easy mode page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (simulations page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (how to improve page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (FAQ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (mythic+ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (rotation page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (this page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 14 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Updated Boss Tips and Talent/Essences selection.
  • 09 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Guide added.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Guide added.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Updated after recent raid nerfs.
  • 11 Feb. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Updated with better talent choices, and more tips.
  • 21 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Page added.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated for 8.1 Patch. Reviewed all talent suggestions.
  • 30 Oct. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated Uldir boss suggestions.
  • 07 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated for Uldir.
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