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Affliction Warlock DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents (Legion 7.3)

Last updated on Aug 28, 2017 at 22:09 by Furty 204 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Affliction Warlocks in World of Warcraft Legion 7.3. We detail what each of the talents do and in which situations they should be taken.

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

About Our Author and Reviewer

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.

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Deepshades, a top raider who plays in Method; you can his stream on Twitch and follow him on Twitter.

1. Talent Choices

Level Choices
15 Haunt ? Haunt Writhe in Agony Writhe in Agony Malefic Grasp Malefic Grasp
30 Contagion Contagion Absolute Corruption Absolute Corruption Empowered Life Tap Empowered Life Tap
45 Demonic Circle Demonic Circle Mortal Coil Mortal Coil Howl of Terror Howl of Terror
60 Phantom Singularity ? Phantom Singularity Sow the Seeds Sow the Seeds Soul Harvest Soul Harvest
75 Demon Skin ? Demon Skin Burning Rush Burning Rush Dark Pact ? Dark Pact
90 Grimoire of Supremacy Grimoire of Supremacy Grimoire of Service ? Grimoire of Service Grimoire of Sacrifice Grimoire of Sacrifice
100 Death's Embrace Death's Embrace Siphon Life ? Siphon Life Soul Conduit Soul Conduit

Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind Icon Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind Icon Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

2. Talent Cheat Sheets

Optimizing talents on a contextual basis is the highly recommended method of setting up your build, as many talents offer unique strengths in the right situation. I have decided to list a "cheat sheet" of sorts below, however, to help with a quick set up that should be just fine for most encounters. If you want to fully optimize your ability to play this specialization, I recommend reading the entire talents section here to gain additional insight on when swapping your talents would be beneficial.

2.1. Raid Encounters

2.1.1. Single Target

2.1.2. 2 Targets

Malefic Grasp Icon Malefic Grasp combined with Soul Conduit Icon Soul Conduit is also a great option if one target is a much higher priority than the other, as it allows you to focus your damage more.

2.1.3. 3 Targets

2.2. Mythic+

3. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Haunt ? Haunt Writhe in Agony Writhe in Agony Malefic Grasp Malefic Grasp

Tier 1 talents offer a variety of potent abilities and augments.

  • Haunt Icon Haunt is a powerful nuke on a 25-second cooldown that increases damage done to the target by 15% for 10 seconds. The cooldown resets if the target dies in that time.
  • Writhe in Agony Icon Writhe in Agony increases the maximum stacks of Agony Icon Agony from 10 to 20.
  • Malefic Grasp Icon Malefic Grasp causes your target to take 80% increased damage from your damage over time effects while you are channelling Drain Soul Icon Drain Soul.

Malefic Grasp Icon Malefic Grasp is the best option for single-target damage. It is also a good option for Mythic+, as the single-target benefit is noticeable and Writhe in Agony Icon Writhe in Agony will rarely have time to fully stack. For situations where multi-dotting is the priority, Writhe in Agony Icon Writhe in Agony should be your go-to talent. It is an exceptional choice for any encounter where 2-5 targets will be present for an extended period.

Haunt Icon Haunt is an option on multitarget encounters with high priority adds, as it functions as a powerful nuke. While there is no situation where this talent offers the maximum overall damage, it can be useful in certain situations.

4. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Contagion Contagion Absolute Corruption Absolute Corruption Empowered Life Tap Empowered Life Tap

Tier 2 talents offer a selection of flat damage increases.

Contagion Icon Contagion is the best option on 1-3 targets, however, it causes the rotation to become more involved as the number of targets increases, as you will want to maintain Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction on all targets as much as possible. When playing with Contagion Icon Contagion it is best to maintain 100% uptime on Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction during  Icon Reap Souls.

Absolute Corruption Icon Absolute Corruption is the best option for any situation where 4+ targets will be present for an extended period. It is also an acceptable option for 2+ targets if you find the Contagion Icon Contagion rotation to be overwhelming.

Empowered Life Tap Icon Empowered Life Tap falls noticeably behind the other options.

5. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Demonic Circle Demonic Circle Mortal Coil Mortal Coil Howl of Terror Howl of Terror

Tier 3 talents focus on additional crowd control and some defensive utility.

  • Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle summons a circle that you can teleport to, which clears all movement slowing effects.
  • Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil horrifies a target for 3 seconds and heals you for a percentage of max health.
  • Howl of Terror Icon Howl of Terror fears up to 5 enemies within 10 yard for 20 seconds.

Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle is the default choice on this tier as crowd control is typically not beneficial in raids. The additional mobility from this talent can be invaluable, making it the best choice when approaching raid encounters.

Howl of Terror Icon Howl of Terror is not particularly useful in PvE.

Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil can be used as a spot heal. It is worth nothing that it does have slight travel time, however, it can be a good instant cast to fill movement with.

6. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Phantom Singularity ? Phantom Singularity Sow the Seeds Sow the Seeds Soul Harvest Soul Harvest

Tier 4 talents amplify your ability to excel at different types of damage.

  • Phantom Singularity Icon Phantom Singularity places a singularity above your target, dealing AoE damage to targets within 15 yards over 16 seconds, and healing you for 20% of the damage dealt.
  • Sow the Seeds Icon Sow the Seeds causes your Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption ability to consume a Soul Shard, if available. In exchange, Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruption will now also be applied to 2 additional nearby enemies.
  • Soul Harvest Icon Soul Harvest is a DPS cooldown that increases all your damage by 20% for 15 seconds. The duration is increased by 2 seconds for each target afflicted with Agony Icon Agony, to a maximum of 35 seconds.

Soul Harvest Icon Soul Harvest is our go-to talent for raiding, offering the best overall single target damage and bringing some nice burst damage to the table. It gains potency on encounters where you can reliably extend the duration by having multiple instances of Agony Icon Agony applied, which are common in the Tomb of Sargeras.

Phantom Singularity Icon Phantom Singularity offers nearly the same single target and light cleave numbers as Soul Harvest Icon Soul Harvest at the expense of spreading out your damage rather than focusing it. The addition of an extra global cooldown and the general preference of burst damage over sustained damage means that this talent generally takes a back seat to Soul Harvest.

On encounters where there are consistently a high number of stacked targets (4+), Sow the Seeds Icon Sow the Seeds will pull ahead. It also increases your single-target damage in these situations, as the sheer number of exploding Seed of Corruption Icon Seed of Corruptions all hitting each target do overlap with their damage. It is a good option for Mythic+ dungeons, in particular.

7. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

Demon Skin ? Demon Skin Burning Rush Burning Rush Dark Pact ? Dark Pact

Tier 5 talents improve personal survivability and mobility.

  • Demon Skin Icon Demon Skin augments Soul Leech Icon Soul Leech so that it passively recharges at a rate of 1% of maximum health per second, and can now absorb of to 20% of your maximum health.
  • Burning Rush Icon Burning Rush increases your movement speed by 50% until cancelled, at the cost of 4% of your maximum health per second. You also cannot be slowed below 100% of your normal movement speed while it is active.
  • Dark Pact Icon Dark Pact sacrifices 20% of your demon's current health (or your health, if no demon is present) to shield you for 400% of that value for 20 seconds.

Burning Rush Icon Burning Rush is typically the default choice here, as Warlocks have no baseline movement speed abilities. Even though Demon Skin Icon Demon Skin and Dark Pact Icon Dark Pact can provide powerful defensive utility, the mobility provided by Burning Rush Icon Burning Rush often results in more lifesaving potential in raids, allowing you to quickly avoid lethal mechanics. Moving faster also saves you DPS, as you spend less time moving.

Demon Skin Icon Demon Skin is the best choice on low or no mobility fights, as it provides the most damage reduction. Dark Pact Icon Dark Pact can be useful if you are required to soak a specific mechanic, but otherwise is inferior to the other available options.

8. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Grimoire of Supremacy Grimoire of Supremacy Grimoire of Service ? Grimoire of Service Grimoire of Sacrifice Grimoire of Sacrifice

Tier 6 talents improve your pets, or remove them entirely.

  • Grimoire of Supremacy Icon Grimoire of Supremacy allows you to permanently use Doomguards and Infernals as pets.
  • Grimoire of Service Icon Grimoire of Service allows you to summon a second demon of your choice for 25 seconds which deals 100% increased damage.
  • Grimoire of Sacrifice Icon Grimoire of Sacrifice allows you to sacrifice your demon to gain Demonic Power Icon Demonic Power, which causes your spells to sometimes deal additional shadow damage to nearby targets.

Grimoire of Supremacy Icon Grimoire of Supremacy is currently the best Grimoire for every raiding encounter (approximately 4-5% better than Service on a single target).

Grimoire of Sacrifice Icon Grimoire of Sacrifice is a good option on 4+ targets. This is also a good option for Mythic+ farming.

Grimoire of Service Icon Grimoire of Service should only be used if you need a little extra burst to push a damage check.

9. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Death's Embrace Death's Embrace Siphon Life ? Siphon Life Soul Conduit Soul Conduit

Tier 7 talents offer powerful new abilities and Soul Shard return.

All three of these talents offer comparable numbers, though Soul Conduit Icon Soul Conduit is generally the preferred choice for single target due to ease of use. It is also the best option for quick target swaps which lends itself to fights with important add switches, such as Mistress Sassz'ine.

Death's Embrace Icon Death's Embrace loads a lot of your damage into the latter part of the fight, which makes it the best choice for fights where this represents the most important part of the encounter. It is an extremely potent choice when there are multiple targets sustained on low health for an extended period, such as The Desolate Host or the Demonic Inquisition encounters.

While Siphon Life Icon Siphon Life is a competitive choice in vacuum tests, it can feel clunky in practice and is generally poor when target swapping is a necessity.

10. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 28 Aug. 2017: Updated talent discussions.
  • 13 Jun. 2017: Updated talents for 7.2.5; removed Effigy mentions, added Death's embrace, and re-did talent builds based on the talent swaps.
  • 27 Mar. 2017: No changes needed for Patch 7.2.
  • 07 Mar. 2017: Updated single target talent builds and talent descriptions for T7.
  • 13 Jan. 2017: Updated 2 and 3 target builds to instead use Absolute Corruption.
  • 09 Jan. 2017: Fully updated for Patch 7.1.5. Also added several separate talent options based on number of targets.
  • 12 Dec. 2016: Updated Grimoires. Minor fixes to T1/T2 wording.
  • 30 Oct. 2016: Updated Mortal Coil description.
  • 25 Oct. 2016: Updated talents following the swap of Demon Skin and Demonic Circle in Patch 7.1.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 19 Jul. 2016: Fixed mention of Shadowfury instead of Howl of Terror in Level 45 talent explanations.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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