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Affliction Warlock DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (BfA 8.0.1)

Last updated on Jul 16, 2018 at 21:48 by Furty 26 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Affliction Warlock core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft BfA 8.0.1. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing an Affliction Warlock.

The other pages of our Affliction Warlock guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Furty, who has an illustrious history in the World of Warcraft raiding scene and race for World First. He has been a member of guilds such as Serenity, Midwinter, and many more, and is currently raiding in Future. He plays most classes at the highest level. You can follow him on Twitter and watch him play on Twitch.

1. Playstyle for Affliction Warlock

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.

1.1. Single Target Priority For Affliction Warlock

  1. Maintain your Agony Icon Agony and Corruption Icon Corruption effects at all times.
  2. Apply Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction if you have 4-5 Soul Shards.
  3. Cast Deathbolt Icon Deathbolt after applying Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Afflictions and refreshing Corruption Icon Corruption and Agony Icon Agony. The best possible usage is immediately after Summon Darkglare Icon Summon Darkglare.
  4. Cast Vile Taint Icon Vile Taint when available.
  5. Maintain at least 1 Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction.
  6. Cast Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt as a filler.

1.2. Cooldown Usage for Affliction Warlock

Summon Darkglare Icon Summon Darkglare is our main cooldown. Darkglare should be used once we have applied as many DoT effects as possible, in order to get the maximum value out of the 8-second extension. You should also ensure that the main target has as many DoT effects as possible, due to the increased damage Darkglare will gain.

1.3. Opening Sequence for Affliction Warlock

  1. Use Potion of Prolonged Power Icon Potion of Prolonged Power.
  2. Pre-cast Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt.
  3. Apply Agony Icon Agony and Corruption Icon Corruption.
  4. Cast Phantom Singularity Icon Phantom Singularity / Vile Taint Icon Vile Taint.
  5. Re-apply Corruption Icon Corruption, then Agony Icon Agony.
  6. Dump all Soul Shards into Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction.
  7. Cast Summon Darkglare Icon Summon Darkglare.
  8. Cast Deathbolt Icon Deathbolt.

1.4. Multiple Target Priority for Affliction Warlock

  1. Maintain Agony Icon Agony and Corruption Icon Corruption on up to 5 targets. If there are 2+ targets stacked together, use Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption to apply and maintain Corruption.
  2. Spend Soul Shards on Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption if there are 5+ targets stacked together.
  3. Cast Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction if you have 5 Soul Shards.
  4. Cast Phantom Singularity Icon Phantom Singularity / Vile Taint Icon Vile Taint (if talented).
  5. Apply Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction to each target individually.
  6. Cast Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt as a filler.

2. Important Notes for Affliction Warlock

2.1. Soul Shards

All Warlocks use Soul Shards as their primary resource. Properly managing your Shards is crucially important to success, as Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction increases all damage you do. We can also use Soul Shards for AoE damage and Corruption Icon Corruption application via Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption.

2.2. Agony

Agony Icon 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 very high sustained damage. The trade-off, however, is that Agony Icon Agony has a lengthy ramp-up period before it reaches full effectiveness. This means that if you let Agony Icon Agony drop on one of your primary targets for any reason you are going to be hemorrhaging DPS. Keeping careful track of your active Agony Icon Agony casts is the single most important priority of this specialization, and also the most punishing failure if you mess this up.

2.3. Unstable Affliction Usage

As Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction increases all damage we deal by 10%, we want to attempt to maintain as high an uptime as possible on this debuff. There are moments, however, where you may have to hold Soul Shards for a short period to the benefit of other effects:

  • You should have several Soul Shards ready as Summon Darkglare Icon Summon Darkglare is about to come off of cooldown, so you can apply several Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Afflictions and extend them.
  • You should have at least 2 Soul Shards ready for each Deathbolt Icon Deathbolt cooldown, in order to maximize its damage.

On multi-target, you should spread your Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Afflictions around the targets that have DoTs, in order to deal damage and apply the 10% increased damage debuff.

2.4. "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 remaining, and the new DoT's maximum duration will be added with the remaining duration of the current DoT.

For example, if you cast a fresh Agony Icon Agony while your current one has a duration of 3.5s, your new Agony will now have a duration of 21.5 seconds.

All your DoTs benefit from Pandemic with the exception of Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction. Instead, reapplications of Unstable Affliction are folded into the existing debuffs, compounding the damage. Think of multiple Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction applications as all separate debuffs, even though it shows up as a single debuff. They are all applied and expire independently of each other, but when their durations overlap they deal cumulative damage (this is a somewhat confusing concept — TLDR: if you overwrite your current Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction casts you do not lose any damage no matter when you refresh).

The Pandemic values for safe refreshes for your other DoTs are as follows:

2.5. Pet Choice

Using the Imp for its Blood Pact Icon Blood Pact aura and Singe Magic Icon Singe Magic ability is recommended, unless you require an interrupt or purge from the Felhunter.

2.6. Movement Management

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 Icon Demonic Gateway can be highly effective on many encounters, and is under-appreciated by many players and raid groups. Think of Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway as a raid cooldown that can instantly teleport your entire raid group 40 yards, and the potential this ability holds quickly becomes clear. Ask your group if they want Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway anywhere specific; if not used for your strategy, use it instead as a personal cooldown.

Agony Icon Agony and Corruption Icon Corruption can be refreshed when you need cover movement. Nightfall Icon Nightfall actually has a lot of potential on higher movement fights, particularly with cleave, as the instant Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt procs can be invaluable for filling global cooldowns.

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 on the inside of the kite path to ensure minimal movement. You should also determine how your Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle can make a fight easier for you. There are many boss mechanics that can be trivialized with a clever portal, which can free you up to deal a lot more damage.

2.6.1. Quiet Movement

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 yards, and 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.

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