Affliction Warlock DPS Guide — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1

Last updated on Oct 12, 2020 at 20:56 by Motoko 1 comment
General Information

Welcome to our Affliction Warlock guide for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1. 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 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 Icon Demonic Gateway ability to the raid, which can be an invaluable mobility cooldown.


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

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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Curse of Tongues, Curse of Weakness Icon Curse of Weakness, Curse of Exhaustion Icon 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 Icon Demonic Circle baseline and the return of Howl of Terror Icon 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.

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.


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.


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.



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