Affliction Warlock DPS Guide — Shadowlands 9.0.2
Welcome to our Affliction Warlock guide for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2. 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 Classic DPS Warlock guide.
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 ability to the raid, which can be an invaluable mobility cooldown.
Strengths and Weaknesses
- High single target damage
- Very strong burst during cooldown windows
- High cleave damage
- Spread cleave
- High mobility
- Flexible toolkit
- Ramp up time for some of its damage
- Burst damage requires a setup period, where you can be punished by movement
- Weak AoE damage
Shadowlands Changes for Warlocks
We are maintaining a list of changes for Warlocks for Shadowlands, the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, which you can access using the link below. We also have pages for the new Covenant abilities and Anima Powers.
Affliction Warlocks have undergone a substantial change moving from Battle for Azeroth into the Shadowlands. Unstable Affliction has moved from the default single target Soul Shard spender to the previous iteration of Damage over Time spell with no Soul Shard cost associated, albeit limited to only 1 target this time. In its stead a new more versatile spender has been introduced: Malefic Rapture, a spell that hit any target in line of sight, with damage scaling based on the number of periodic effect active on each target.
Another change, result of the "unpruning" is the reintroduction of Curses baseline for all the 3 specs: Curse of Tongues, Curse of Weakness, Curse of Exhaustion, which provide additional utility tools without impacting the gameplay much.
Last but not least there has been a talent tree shuffle, which you can view in details in Affliction Talents page, the introduction of Demonic Circle baseline and the return of Howl of Terror as talent option.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 competitive 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 looks to be a prime contender for Castle Nathria progress, offering mobility, multi-target potential, and most importantly execute damage without sacrificing its single-target prowess.
- 25 Nov. 2020 (enchants page): Updated the food section to the correct secondary.
- 24 Nov. 2020 (Torghast): Page added.
- 24 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Added disclaimer about Bloodmallet sims.
- 24 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Updated secondary stat priority in relationship with Intellect.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (this page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, added new systems section and moved spec viability from FAQ.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (FAQ page): Updated for Shadowlands.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Updated for Shadowlands.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (how to improve page): Updated for Shadowlands.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (spells page): Updated for Shadowlands.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (talents 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 (rotation page): Updated page for Shadowlands release, removed Essences, Azerite and updated consumables.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (addons page): Updated for Shadowlands.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, removed Corruptions and updated stat priority.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for Shadowlands release: new gems, enchants and consumables added.
- 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 (mythic+ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (rotation page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (addons page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (spells page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (simulations page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (easy mode 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 (this page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (Ny'alotha 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 (Battle of Dazar'alor 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.
- 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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