Affliction Warlock DPS Mythic+ Tips — Shadowlands 9.1

Last updated on Sep 08, 2021 at 17:49 by Motoko 37 comments
General Information

In this guide, you will find tips and advice to tackle Mythic+ dungeons with your Affliction Warlock in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1.

1.

Mythic+ Introduction for Affliction Warlock

Mythic+ has become a large part of the World of Warcraft endgame, but the sheer amount of different variables has left many players feeling overwhelmed. The group composition, weekly affixes, the item level of the group, the keystone level, and the experience and comfort level of the group are just several of the factors that will influence how you approach each dungeon. The purpose of this page is to prepare you for the key differences that set Mythic+ apart from the typical World of Warcraft endgame experience, including talents and rotational anomalies that may not be obvious at first glance.

Affliction Warlocks are currently a solid ranged DPS spec, offering sustained damage with frequent burn cycles. While the spec lacks immunity, the good mitigation and self-heal, coupled with the main spender that works both in single-target and multi target make it a versatile choice, with a unique toolkit comprised of Healthstones, Soulstones, skip-enabling Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway, AoE crowd control abilities such as Shadowfury Icon Shadowfury and Howl of Terror Icon Howl of Terror, and uncapped AoE spells.

If you are unfamiliar with Mythic+ and its associated general mechanics, you can read more about it on our Shadowlands Mythic+ Season 2 page below.

1.1.

Season 2 Anima Powers for Affliction Warlock

The new seasonal affix Tormented Icon Tormented populates the dungeons with 4 servants of The Jailer that, once slain, will offer a choice among 3 fixed powers based on the player's role.

Each Servant will have their specific powers listed with our recommendation in bold as follows:

1.1.1.

Soggodon the Breaker

The Stone Ward Icon The Stone Ward is the generic and well-rounded pick; it is especially useful for Affliction as it has among the highest sustain across all specs already.

1.1.2.

Incinerator Arkolath

Signet of Bolstering Icon Signet of Bolstering is very situational, but can be powerful in dungeons with lot of trash pulls and Raging Battle-Axe Icon Raging Battle-Axe is currently rather underwhelming, leaving Champion's Brand Icon Champion's Brand as the only go-to choice.

1.1.3.

Oros Coldheart

Regenerative Fungus Icon Regenerative Fungus can offer some overall decent sustain and is the default choice since Handbook of Uncivil Etiquette Icon Handbook of Uncivil Etiquette does not buff player damage if the pet is the one interrupting a cast.

1.1.4.

Executioner Varruth

Dagger of Necrotic Wounding Icon Dagger of Necrotic Wounding offers a very noticeable DPS increase, and is numerically better than Champion's Brand Icon Champion's Brand unless doing massive pulls throughout the instance. Volcanic Plumage Icon Volcanic Plumage offers the utility of an AoE knock-up effect but is limited to 4 procs per minute, has a 2.5-second delay, and has fairly underwhelming damage all things considered.

1.2.

Affliction Warlock Mythic+ Rotation

While both single- and multi-target rotations do not differ substantially from the standard priority outlined in Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities page there are few points worth noting:

  • Due to the nature of pulls, with constantly dying targets, Affliction can make great use of Soul Shard sniping using both Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction and Drain Soul Icon Drain Soul when talented in order to collect additional Soul Shards and squeeze extra damage over the course of the full run.
  • Maximise cooldown efficiency, aiming for the highest number of casts while not wasting activation on pulls that are about to die, in that situation is better to get to 5 shards and start the next pull with max resources.
  • Haunt Icon Haunt when talented is always worth casting in any situation, and is better cast on targets affected by Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction.
  • Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction is also worth casting in any situation. With few targets, the damage is relevant and is generally buffed by Haunt Icon Haunt, and with more and more targets, it still retains value with the ability to generate shards on dying targets, making it useful in any practical situation.
  • Agony Icon Agony's shard generation has diminishing return past 4 targets, which means it is extremely important to have it on up to 4 targets. Past that value the damage gain is still worth the global cooldown, however it should not be prioritised above spending shards or preparing/using cooldowns.
  • Shadow Embrace Icon Shadow Embrace stacks should not be prioritised past 1-2 targets. The 3rd and 4th targets are optional and should be considered a low priority optimisation whenever there are free globals to be spent with filler (ideally Drain Soul Icon Drain Soul for an easier upkeep).
1.3.

Opening Sequence with Phantom Singularity or Vile Taint talented

  1. Pre-cast Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption.
  2. Apply Agony Icon Agony on up to 4 targets initially.
  3. Apply Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction on the target with Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption.
  4. Cast Haunt Icon Haunt on the target with Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption.
  5. Cast Phantom Singularity Icon Phantom Singularity if talented on the target with Haunt Icon Haunt.
  6. Cast Dark Soul: Misery Icon Dark Soul: Misery if talented.
  7. Cast Vile Taint Icon Vile Taint in a position to hit as many targets as possible.
  8. Cast your Covenant ability.
  9. Cast Summon Darkglare Icon Summon Darkglare and use trinkets/racials.
  10. Cast as many Malefic Rapture Icon Malefic Rapture as possible during this window.
  11. Proceed to refresh DoTs as they fall off, and slowly start building up Shadow Embrace Icon Shadow Embrace stacks.
1.4.

Opening Sequence with Sow the Seeds talented

  1. Pre-cast Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption.
  2. Apply Agony Icon Agony on up to 4 targets initially.
  3. Apply Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction on the primary target.
  4. Cast Haunt Icon Haunt on the primary target.
  5. Cast Dark Soul: Misery Icon Dark Soul: Misery if talented.
  6. Cast your Covenant ability.
  7. Cast Summon Darkglare Icon Summon Darkglare and use trinkets/racials.
  8. Cast as many Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption as possible.
  9. Proceed to refresh DoTs as they fall off, and slowly start building up Shadow Embrace Icon Shadow Embrace stacks.
1.5.

Affliction Warlock Utility

While damage is the bigger reason to bring an Affliction Warlock, the class itself offer a noticeable amount of crowd control and various supporting abilities:

  • Recently reintroduced, the Curses can offer some advantage against specific dangerous enemies: Curse of Tongues Icon Curse of Tongues can reduce the amount of interrupt required by the group, while Curse of Weakness Icon Curse of Weakness alleviates the incoming damage on tank from auto attacks. Last but not least, Curse of Exhaustion Icon Curse of Exhaustion can be used to slow targets in situations where kiting is required. While these effects can be noticeable, it is better to use curses on a few key targets, as the time spent to apply these effects is time not spent doing damage.
  • Healthstone Icon Healthstones have a 1-minute cooldown and heal for 25% of max health, allowing for an emergency heal for each player.
  • Soulstone Icon Soulstones offer a combat resurrection that can be used both reactively and preemptively in the case of a death run.
  • Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway offers the unique ability to skip certain parts of the map, depending on the dungeon in question, avoiding specific pulls.
  • Shadowfury Icon Shadowfury helps alleviating pressure on the tank during big pulls as it is a 3-second AoE stun.
  • Fear Icon Fear and Banish Icon Banish are both spammable crowd control abilities that can be used to interrupt a cast in a pinch or to remove temporarily a target from combat.
2.

Mythic+ Talents for Affliction Warlock

Level Choices
15 Nightfall Nightfall Inevitable Demise ? Inevitable Demise Drain Soul Drain Soul
25 Writhe in Agony Writhe in Agony Absolute Corruption ? Absolute Corruption Siphon Life Siphon Life
30 Demon Skin ? Demon Skin Burning Rush Burning Rush Dark Pact ? Dark Pact
35 Sow the Seeds Sow the Seeds Phantom Singularity ? Phantom Singularity Vile Taint Vile Taint
40 Darkfury Darkfury Mortal Coil Mortal Coil Howl of Terror ? Howl of Terror
45 Shadow Embrace Shadow Embrace Haunt Haunt Grimoire of Sacrifice ? Grimoire of Sacrifice
50 Soul Conduit Soul Conduit Creeping Death Creeping Death Dark Soul: Misery Dark Soul: Misery
2.1.

Talent Explanations

Most of our explanations are geared towards keystones that challenge the current item level of your group. If you are doing keystones that are well below the current power level of the group, you should default to our build recommended above, as you will likely be able to do pulls much larger than intended, which skews the talent choices towards AoE and burst focused choices rather than builds that support sustained damage.

2.1.1.

Tier 1/Level 15

Drain Soul Icon Drain Soul is the default choice, offering good damage on itself but above all the ability to snipe Soul Shards on dying targets which happens very often during dungeons, allowing for more resources and in return more Malefic Rapture Icon Malefic Raptures.

Inevitable Demise Icon Inevitable Demise can be an interesting choice on harder content, because it allows to gain additional sustain and DPS when doing smaller pulls without being too intrusive in a otherwise much busier rotation when the target count rises.

2.1.2.

Tier 2/Level 25

Absolute Corruption Icon Absolute Corruption is the neutral/passive choice for Mythic+ as it increases your AoE without compromising your single-target situations, its main benefit is freeing some globals dedicated to Corruption uptime.

Writhe in Agony Icon Writhe in Agony should be taken on high Mythic+ keys as it greatly increases our multitarget damage. Its downside is that you need to cast more Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption to maintain Corruption Icon Corruption uptime without Absolute Corruption Icon Absolute Corruption.

Siphon Life Icon Siphon Life can be considered on Tyrannical Icon Tyrannical weeks to increase damage on bosses, and is the superior choice for strict single/two target scenarios.

2.1.3.

Tier 3/Level 30

Dark Pact Icon Dark Pact is a great choice for challenging keystones, as the cooldown is often necessary to survive lethal boss abilities or the more difficult trash pulls.

Burning Rush Icon Burning Rush is the best choice for any situation where you feel Dark Pact Icon Dark Pact is unnecessary.

2.1.4.

Tier 4/Level 35

Phantom Singularity Icon Phantom Singularity provides strong AoE damage and is slightly ahead in single-target. It is the default choice for whenever more damage is required on 1 to 3 targets on weeks like Tyrannical.

Sow the Seeds Icon Sow the Seeds is a potential option for groups doing very large pulls, as the damage per Soul Shard of Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption outvalues Malefic Rapture Icon Malefic Rapture in stacked AoE with this talent enabled.

Vile Taint Icon Vile Taint is a middle ground option offering both decent single and multi target capabilities but introducing additional setup time in order to get the most out of Malefic Rapture Icon Malefic Rapture windows. Unlike Phantom Singularity Icon Phantom Singularity, it makes Malefic Rapture Icon Malefic Rapture damage scale on multiple targets. Another benefit is being able to set up burst windows every 20s compared to 45.

2.1.5.

Tier 5/Level 40

Darkfury Icon Darkfury can be used to provide more frequent access to AoE stuns.

Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil is the default choice, offering both burst heal on demand and another form of Crowd Control.

Howl of Terror Icon Howl of Terror offers an AoE fear, which can be useful to handle difficult pulls and is best paired with some form of slow.

2.1.6.

Tier 6/Level 45

Haunt Icon Haunt is typically our best choice for damage, regardless of the affixes.

Grimoire of Sacrifice Icon Grimoire of Sacrifice is a small damage increase especially multitarget and can provide some utility and quality of life, as it grants the player the ability to interrupt casts from ranged or sacrifice Summon Voidwalker Icon Summon Voidwalker for an additional defensive cooldown.

Shadow Embrace Icon Shadow Embrace can be an alternative in very high keys where targets last long, but in general due to reset on death mechanic and no ramp up requirements Haunt Icon Haunt is better suited for dungeons.

2.1.7.

Tier 7/Level 50

With the new spender taking a large part of our overall damage, being able to generate additional Soul Shards make Soul Conduit Icon Soul Conduit a compelling choice.

Creeping Death Icon Creeping Death is the passive choice, not requiring any cooldown planning but being numerically worse than the alternatives.

Dark Soul: Misery Icon Dark Soul: Misery is the preferred choice as it offers both stronger sustained and incredible burst potential over the course of 30 seconds. If you expect hard packs and bosses this is the best choice.

3.

Stat Priority for Affliction Warlock

  1. Intellect;
  2. Mastery;
  3. Haste;
  4. Critical Strike >= Versatility.
4.

Pet Choice for Affliction Warlock

The Felhunter is the best choice offering comparable single-target damage and an interrupt or purge, but consider swapping to Imp if you need a dispel.

If you are using Grimoire of Sacrifice Icon Grimoire of Sacrifice we recommend sacrificing the Felhunter to provide your group with an extra interrupt. If you need an extra cooldown to survive, you can also sacrifice a Voidwalker before a difficult boss to gain access to the Shadow Bulwark Icon Shadow Bulwark cooldown.

5.

Trinket Considerations for Affliction Warlock in Mythic+

When choosing your trinkets, we recommend simulating yourself on Raidbots using the Patchwerk option for raids and single-target, and Patchwerk with 4-5 targets or Hectic Add Cleave for an educated guess on multi-target performance in Dungeons. Usually, trinkets that proc stats are more versatile and better performer than than single-target spell damage procs, unless overtuned.

You can also get a quick overview of good Mythic+ Trinkets on our Gearing page, specifically the Simulation chart for multi-target scenarios.

6.

Legendary Powers for Mythic+

Depending on your role within the group, party composition, affixes, and key level one Legendary Power might be more appealing than another. That said the best option overall remains Perpetual Agony of Azj'Aqir Icon Perpetual Agony of Azj'Aqir as it increases shard generation from Agony, allowing for more Malefic Rapture Icon Malefic Rapture or Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption casts. While not offering the same amount of damage increase Sacrolash's Dark Strike Icon Sacrolash's Dark Strike can also be considered for its utility, especially during Necrotic week.

For more details about Legendary Powers, please visit our dedicated Legendary Powers guide.

7.

Covenants and Soulbinds for Mythic+

All four covenants and their varied Soulbinds all have different advantages for Mythic+ and it is very hard to recommend a "best" one, as it depends yet again on party composition, affixes, and level of the key.

A quick breakdown on each covenant ability strength:

  • Kyrian Scouring Tithe Icon Scouring Tithe can offer additional shards every 40 seconds by sniping a dying target. However, since Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction and Drain Soul Icon Drain Soul cover the same role, the gain is often not that impactful.
  • Necrolord Decimating Bolt Icon Decimating Bolt offer increased single-target potential, often helpful when handling high health targets, especially when coupled with Emeni soulbind. Fleshcraft Icon Fleshcraft is a decent shield option.
  • Night Fae Soul Rot Icon Soul Rot give better cleave damage and burst on-demand with the added bonus of additional sustain through AoE Drain Life Icon Drain Life, if the situation demands it.
  • Venthyr Impending Catastrophe Icon Impending Catastrophe allows for AoE smart curse application in 1 GCD and some mediocre damage over time. Nadja soulbind offers mass confusion on Door of Shadows Icon Door of Shadows arrival, for additional crowd control potential.

For more in-depth recommendations on Covenants and Soulbinds, please visit our dedicated guide.

8.

Changelog

  • 08 Sep. 2021: Updated Anima Power recommendations.
  • 30 Jul. 2021: Updated talent row 45 recommendations.
  • 11 Jul. 2021: Added Anima Power recommendations for the Tormented seasonal affix.
  • 28 Jun. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 31 Jan. 2021: Added openers for multi-target situations and few key differences from the default.
  • 31 Dec. 2020: Updated Tier 4 talents description.
  • 07 Dec. 2020: Page updated for Shadowlands season 1.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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