Affliction Warlock DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Dragonflight 10.2
On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Affliction Warlock in both single-target and multiple-target situations. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Dragonflight 10.2.
If you were looking for WotLK Classic content, please refer to our WotLK Classic Affliction Warlock rotation.
Playstyle for Affliction Warlock
Welcome to our Rotation page for Affliction Warlocks. On this page, you will find everything you need to know about actually playing the spec in Raiding and Mythic+ scenarios.
If the rotations below seem overwhelming to you, you might benefit from visiting our Easy Mode page, which outlines a close-to-optimal rotation with much greater ease of use.
Since the content on this page is only relevant for PvE, we recommend the PvP page below in case you want specific PvP rotation information.
Affliction Warlocks aim to apply a series of damage over time effects to targets, weaving in empowerments and buffing them up where possible. Much of the optimization revolves around maintaining your active effects while ensuring you spend Soul Shards correctly.
Select Your Talents
By selecting talents and covenants below, the rotations in this guide will update accordingly.
- With the Haunt talent selected.
- With the Shadow Embrace talent selected.
- With the Drain Soul talent selected.
- With the Inevitable Demise talent selected.
- With the Phantom Singularity talent selected.
- With the Siphon Life talent selected.
- With the Vile Taint talent selected.
- With the Sow the Seeds talent selected.
- With the Summon Darkglare talent selected.
- With the Dread Touch talent selected.
- With the Doom Blossom talent selected.
- With the Tormented Crescendo talent selected.
- With the Soul Rot talent selected.
Single Target Priority for Affliction Warlock
- Maintain your Agony, Unstable Affliction and Corruption effects at all times.
- Apply Malefic Rapture if you are at maximum Soul Shards.
- Cast Malefic Rapture to avoid capping shards.
Opening Sequence for Affliction Warlock
- Apply Agony.
- Apply Corruption.
Multiple Target Priority for Affliction Warlock
- Maintain Agony and Corruption. If there are 3+ targets stacked together, use Seed of Corruption to apply and maintain Corruption.
- Maintain Unstable Affliction on the primary target.
- Cast Malefic Rapture if already at 5 Soul Shards to avoid capping.
We have a dedicated Mythic+ page if you want specific information about the best M+ Affliction Warlock rotation.
Important Notes for Affliction Warlock
All Warlocks use Soul Shards as their primary resource. Properly managing your Shards is crucial to success, as overcapping results in potential loss of damage.
Malefic Rapture Usage
Malefic Rapture at surface level is a pretty straightforward spell. Still, it has several implications that may not be that immediate at first glance.
Due to its linear scaling with each additional periodic effect on each target, to maximize the output, it is better to cast it with the highest amount of damage over time spells. This, in turn, means that it is tied to talent cooldowns such as Vile Taint, Phantom Singularity windows, and, to an extent, Summon Darkglare and Soul Rot.
To maximize the damage output is advisable to pool resources and cast as many Malefic Raptures inside these windows, essentially creating a 45-second or 1-minute cooldown loops, with few Malefic Raptures cast outside to avoid capping shards.
Agony is by far your most important spell, as it is the sole source of Soul Shard generation in the regular rotation. It also deals severe sustained damage. The trade-off, however, is that Agony has a lengthy ramp-up period before it reaches full effectiveness. This means that if you let Agony drop on one of your primary targets for any reason, you will hemorrhage DPS. Keeping careful track of your active Agony casts is this specialization's single most important priority and the most punishing failure if you mess this up.
"Pandemic" — Learning to Efficiently Refresh DoTs
Pandemic is a hidden mechanic that allows you to refresh certain timed effects early without penalty. You can refresh your DoT effects when they have less than 30% of their maximum duration. This will add the new DoT's maximum duration with the remaining duration of the current DoT.
For example, if you cast a fresh Agony while your current one has a duration of 3.5s, your new Agony will now have 21.5 seconds.
The Pandemic values for safe refreshes for your other DoTs are as follows:
- Agony: 5.4 seconds
- Corruption: 4.2 seconds
- Unstable Affliction: 6.3 seconds
- Siphon Life: 4.5 seconds
When Creeping Death is talented the values change as follows:
- Agony: 4.5 seconds
- Corruption: 3.5 seconds
- Unstable Affliction: 5.4 seconds
- Siphon Life: 3.8 seconds
After 9.2 changes, Sayaad (Succubus or Incubus) has a clear advantage in terms of single target damage, assuming no frequent distant target swap. However, pet choice is often dictated by the unique utility provided by each one: for defensive dispel, and if there are regular swaps between distant targets, Imp will provide the highest uptime. Use Felhunter whenever an interrupt or a purge effect is required. Voidwalker can offer some additional AoE due to its torment ability, but its most significant utility comes from a taunt. Succubus offers further crowd control and permanent slow on a single target, which may be helpful under certain situations.
While it is difficult to describe the best ways to position and move during a dungeon or raid encounter, it is essential to your success as an Affliction Warlock. Demonic Gateway can be highly effective in many encounters and is under-appreciated by many players and raid groups. Think of Demonic Gateway as a raid cooldown that can teleport your entire raid group 40 yards. The potential this ability holds quickly becomes clear. Ask your group if they want Demonic Gateway anywhere specific; if not used for your strategy, use it instead as a personal cooldown.
Agony and Corruption can be refreshed when you need cover movement. Nightfall has some potential on higher movement fights, particularly with cleave, as the instant Shadow Bolt procs offer another global cooldown where you can move without losing DPS.
You can mitigate the need to move by positioning in locations central to fight movement. For instance, if a boss is being kited in a circle, you should stay inside the kite path to ensure minimal movement. You should also determine how your Demonic Circle can make a fight easier for you. You can trivialize many boss mechanics with a clever portal, which can free you up to deal much more damage.
Many players will unconsciously move during fights, despite it being unnecessary. For example, sometimes the boss or adds will be moved by the tank a couple of yards. Though you are still in range to cast, you subconsciously mirror that movement, costing you global cooldowns. Consciously work to "quiet" your movement and reduce unnecessary movement to a minimum. The best way to see this in action is to take a video of your raid, then watch yourself play. Most players will be surprised by the amount of wasted movement they commit. When you are forced to move, make your path as direct and decisive as possible.
- 28 Nov. 2023: Updated multitarget section after 4p fix.
- 06 Nov. 2023: Updated for Patch 10.2.
- 04 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.7
- 10 Jul. 2023: Updated selector for Patch 10.1.5.
- 01 May 2023: Updated for Patch 10.1.
- 20 Mar. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.7.
- 24 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.5.
- 11 Jan. 2023: Updated opener and Darkglare sections.
- 11 Dec. 2022: Updated selectors for the openers and priority lists.
- 28 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight launch.
- 25 Oct. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
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