Affliction Warlock DPS Guide — Shadowlands 9.2.5

Last updated on Aug 16, 2022 at 01:30 by Motoko 39 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Affliction Warlock guide for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.2.5. 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 TBC 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
  • +Strong AoE with Sow the Seeds Icon Sow the Seeds
X Weaknesses
  • -Ramp-up time for some of its damage
  • -Burst damage requires a setup period, where you can be punished by movement
  • -Weak quick AoE burst; damage profile is centered around spikes every minute
3.

Patch 9.2.5 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 from the previous patch, 9.2, to hear our thoughts on the tier set bonuses that arrived at that time.

3.1.

Mage Tower Challenge

From Patch 9.1.5 onward, both Legion Timewalking and the Mage Tower have returned. As such we have created a separate guide detailing what you can expect from the Mage Tower challenge available to Affliction Warlocks.

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 Sepulcher of the First Ones continues trending downward at the moment of writing. Bonus set gains are more or less in line with other classes but the starting point was lower than most of the other spec and the tier set bonuses do not incentive new or unexplored avenues of play. The heavy reliance on Malefic Wrath Icon Malefic Wrath legendary also reduces Affliction mobility substantially creating a situation where the spec not only is below average in its single target output but also is quite immobile.

11.

Changelog

  • 16 Aug. 2022 (gear page): Updated raid/combined/dungeon BiS lists and dungeon trinkets section.
  • 16 Aug. 2022 (Legendaries): Updated legendaries slot recommendations.
  • 30 Jul. 2022 (mythic+ page): Updated Season 4 affix.
  • 30 Jul. 2022 (Sepulcher of the First Ones page): Updated page for Season 4.
  • 30 Jul. 2022 (Sanctum of Domination page): Updated legendaries for Season 4.
  • 30 Jul. 2022 (Castle Nathria page): Updated legendaries for Season 4.
  • 30 Jul. 2022 (gear page): Added Season 4 sections and BiS lists.
  • 31 May 2022 (Legendaries): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (Torghast): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (FAQ page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (how to improve page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (simulations page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (gear page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (addons page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (enchants page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (stats page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (mythic+ page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (rotation page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (talents page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (spells page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (easy mode page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 31 May 2022 (this page): Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 08 Apr. 2022 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated Venthyr section.
  • 10 Mar. 2022 (Patch 9.2 Analysis): Updated to reflect the set bonus buff.
  • 10 Mar. 2022 (Sepulcher of the First Ones page): Updated last bosses section.
  • 10 Mar. 2022 (mythic+ page): Updated talent recommendations.
  • 10 Mar. 2022 (gear page): Updated trinket section.
  • 28 Feb. 2022 (Sepulcher of the First Ones page): Page added.
  • 22 Feb. 2022 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated for Patch 9.2.
  • 22 Feb. 2022 (Legendaries): Updated for Patch 9.2.
  • 22 Feb. 2022 (rotation page): Updated pet section for Patch 9.2.
  • 22 Feb. 2022 (gear page): Added tier section and created BiS list for Patch 9.2.
  • 22 Feb. 2022 (easy mode page): Updated for Patch 9.2.
  • 22 Feb. 2022 (this page): Updated for Patch 9.2.
  • 22 Feb. 2022 (enchants page): Updated for Patch 9.2.
  • 22 Feb. 2022 (Patch 9.2 Analysis): Updated to reflect Patch 9.2 launch.
  • 22 Feb. 2022 (stats page): Updated for Patch 9.2.
  • 22 Feb. 2022 (mythic+ page): Updated Season 3 affix.
  • 15 Jan. 2022 (Patch 9.2 Analysis): Page added with initial thoughts and information.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (Patch 9.1 Analysis): Updated for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (simulations page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (Torghast): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (gear page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (stats page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (FAQ page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (Sanctum of Domination page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (Legendaries): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (rotation page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (this page): Updated for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (addons page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (easy mode page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (mythic+ page): Updated for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (talents page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (spells page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (enchants page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 01 Nov. 2021 (how to improve page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 08 Sep. 2021 (mythic+ page): Updated Anima Power recommendations.
  • 08 Sep. 2021 (gear page): Updated trinket section following Forbidden Necromantic Tome change.
  • 26 Aug. 2021 (gear page): Removed Castle Nathria BiS list, as it is not relevant anymore.
  • 24 Aug. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated Mythic+ Soulbind recommendation.
  • 30 Jul. 2021 (mythic+ page): Updated talent row 45 recommendations.
  • 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 (how to improve page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (easy mode page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (simulations page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (spells page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (talents page): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (this page): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (mythic+ page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (gear page): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 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 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (enchants page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (stats page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (Torghast): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (Legendaries): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Jun. 2021 (FAQ 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 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (easy mode page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (gear page): Added Valor Upgrade section for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (enchants page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (stats page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (mythic+ page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (this page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (talents page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (spells page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 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 (rotation 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 (rotation page): Updated opener, added selectors for covenants, and expanded few sections.
  • 01 Feb. 2021 (stats page): Updated Mastery stat explanation.
  • 01 Feb. 2021 (gear page): Updated trinket section.
  • 01 Feb. 2021 (Legendaries): Updated Synergy as the recommended mythic+ legendary craft, updated reasoning and use cases for some legendary choices.
  • 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 (easy mode page): Clarified shard usage on AoE.
  • 17 Jan. 2021 (talents page): Reworded talent row 2 and 4 for better clarity.
  • 31 Dec. 2020 (mythic+ page): Updated Tier 4 talents description.
  • 28 Dec. 2020 (Legendaries): Updated dungeon Legendary recommendation.
  • 28 Dec. 2020 (gear page): Added Sun King Salvation as another source of drop for the Abominable Anima Spherule weapon token.
  • 28 Dec. 2020 (rotation page): Added Shadow Embrace lines.
  • 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 (talents page): Updated talent choices, explanations and builds after further testing and simulations.
  • 03 Dec. 2020 (stats page): Stats ranking updated following simulation profile optimisations.
  • 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.
  • 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 (easy mode page): Updated secondary stat priority in relationship with Intellect.
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (Torghast): Page added.
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Added disclaimer about Bloodmallet sims.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for Shadowlands release: new gems, enchants and consumables added.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (FAQ page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (rotation page): Updated page for Shadowlands release, removed Essences, Azerite and updated consumables.
  • 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 (talents page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, removed Corruptions and updated stat priority.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (addons page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (spells page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (this page): Page updated for Shadowlands release, added new systems section and moved spec viability from FAQ.
  • 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 (Ny'alotha page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (mythic+ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (this page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (rotation 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 (talents page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (spells 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 (easy mode 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 (Crucible of Storms page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 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.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Updated after recent raid nerfs.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Guide added.
  • 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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