Affliction Warlock DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1
On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Affliction Warlock in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. We also have default talent lists for various types of content, such as raiding or Mythic+. If you play with Warmode on, we have your PvP talents covered as well.
1. Talent Choices for Affliction Warlock
|15||✗ Nightfall||✗ Drain Soul||✓ Deathbolt|
|30||✓ Writhe in Agony||✓ Absolute Corruption||✓ Siphon Life|
|45||? Demon Skin||✓ Burning Rush||✓ Dark Pact|
|60||✗ Sow the Seeds||✓ Phantom Singularity||? Vile Taint|
|75||? Darkfury||? Mortal Coil||✓ Demonic Circle|
|90||? Shadow Embrace||✓ Haunt||✗ Grimoire of Sacrifice|
|100||✗ Soul Conduit||? Creeping Death||✓ Dark Soul: Misery|
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 and 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. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Affliction Warlock
|✘ Nightfall||✘ Drain Soul||✔ Deathbolt|
- Nightfall grants Corruption ticks a 25% chance to cause your next Shadow Bolt to be instant and deal 25% increased damage.
- Drain Soul replaces Shadow Bolt, dealing channeled damage over 5 seconds, increased by 100% if the target is below 20% life. If the target dies during the channel a Soul Shard is generated.
- Deathbolt is a spell that deals 30% of the total remaining damage of your DoT effects, with a 30 second cooldown.
Deathbolt is the best option for single target.
Drain Soul could be a choice for encounters where you can constantly restock your Soul Shards, as you can get extra Soul Shards to fuel your damage. That said, it is not used at all, currently.
Nightfall could have potential on encounters where multiple targets are alive for extended periods combined with high movement, however, it does not seem to be up to par.
3. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents for Affliction Warlock
|✔ Writhe in Agony||✔ Absolute Corruption||✔ Siphon Life|
- Writhe in Agony allows your Agony damage to reach 15 stacks.
- Absolute Corruption increases Corruption's duration to permanent and increases its damage by 15%.
- Siphon Life deals damage over 15 seconds, healing for 30% of damage dealt.
Siphon Life is the default choice for single and two target situations.
On multitarget scenarios you have the option to run either Absolute Corruption or Writhe in Agony: the former should be taken whenever there are multiple targets that are distant from each other in order to save global cooldowns from corruption uptime, while the latter should be considered in cases where you can use Seed of Corruption to maintain Corruption on multiple stacked targets.
4. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents for Affliction Warlock
|? Demon Skin||✔ Burning Rush||✔ Dark Pact|
- Demon Skin grants Soul Leech a passive recharge rate of 0.5% of maximum health per second, and may now absorb 15% of maximum health.
- Burning Rush grants 50% movement speed in exchange for 4% maximum health per second, and prevents you from being reduced below base movement speed.
- Dark Pact grants a large shield on demand; 20% of your current health is sacrificed to shield you for 250% of the amount lost.
Burning Rush remains the most versatile option, as Warlocks have little base mobility. Burning Rush functions both as a means to stay in range and position aggressively, but also as a means of dodging mechanics. It is my opinion that movement speed offers the greatest defensive benefit in most situations, and you should default to this talent.
Dark Pact is a good option for encounters where you need to soak a mechanic or survive a telegraphed amount of high damage. It is important to note that the damage absorb is based on current health, rendering this ability useless as a reactive cooldown. For Dark Pact to be effective, it needs to be used while you are close to full health to mitigate a future amount of damage.
Demon Skin is a good choice for encounters with low movement and consistent damage intake, such as Mythrax Mythic.
5. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents for Affliction Warlock
|✘ Sow the Seeds||✔ Phantom Singularity||? Vile Taint|
- Sow the Seeds also embeds an additional Seed in a nearby target when Seed of Corruption is cast.
- Phantom Singularity deals AoE damage centered around the target's location for 16 seconds, healing you for 25% of the amount.
- Vile Taint creates a pool at the target's location, dealing Shadow damage over 10 seconds to all enemies within the 10-yard radius and reducing their movement speed by 30%.
Phantom Singularity is our default talent in virtually all situations.
Vile Taint is the talent that enables Affliction strong sustained AoE damage on at least 3 targets, at the noticeable loss of single target output.
6. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents for Affliction Warlock
|? Darkfury||? Mortal Coil||✔ Demonic Circle|
- Darkfury reduces the cooldown of Shadowfury by 15 seconds.
- Mortal Coil allows you to horrify an enemy and heal for 20% of your maximum health once every 45 seconds.
- Demonic Circle allows you to place a portal and teleport to it once every 30 seconds.
Demonic Circle remains the default option for raids, as it greatly enhances our mobility, particularly for mechanics that need to be kited away from the raid group. This button offers a lot of flexibility and creative use, so be sure to give it good thought before each pull.
Mortal Coil is a strong choice whenever you dont need the mobility given by Demonic Circle. It offers a noticeable heal on top of an additional form of Crowd Control, which can prevent a wipe, especially in Mythic dungeons.
Darkfury is an option for dungeons and Mythic+, allowing you to Crowd Control groups of enemies far more often.
7. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents for Affliction Warlock
|? Shadow Embrace||✔ Haunt||✘ Grimoire of Sacrifice|
- Shadow Embrace is applied by Shadow Bolt, increasing your damage dealt to the target by 3% for 10 seconds. This effect stacks up to 3 times.
- Haunt deals moderate damage and increased Shadow damage dealt to the target by 10% for 15 seconds. If the target dies during this time, the cooldown of Haunt is reset.
- Grimoire of Sacrifice allows you to sacrifice a pet and sometimes deal additional Shadow damage.
Haunt is currently the best talent on the tier in most raid and Mythic+ situations.
Shadow Embrace is slightly behind Haunt, but a viable option if you prefer something entirely passive.
Grimoire of Sacrifice could be an option for Mythic+, however, it is currently outscaled by the other 2 options while not providing any meaningful benefit, beside sacrificing Summon Voidwalker for an additional defensive cooldown.
8. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents for Affliction Warlock
|✘ Soul Conduit||? Creeping Death||✔ Dark Soul: Misery|
- Soul Conduit grants each Soul Shard spent a 15% chance to refund itself.
- Creeping Death causes your Agony, Corruption, Siphon Life, and Unstable Affliction to deal their full damage 15% faster.
- Dark Soul: Misery grants 30% Haste for 20 seconds, on a 2-minute cooldown.
Creeping Death has great potential for encounters with a lot of multidotting. Typically this talent is best utilized when there are 3 to 7 targets present for an extended period, and you are looking to increase the potency of your spread cleave. The downside of this talent is the amount of extra global cooldowns required for your DoT upkeep.
Dark Soul: Misery is the standard choice for most raid encounters, as it delivers the strongest 1-2 target damage. Due to the number of encounters with increased damage phases within Uldir, such as MOTHER or G'huun, this talent can leverage even greater damage when properly used. Dark Soul is also an option for high level Tyrannical keys.
Soul Conduit is currently outscaled in any situation by the other two options.
9. PvP Talents (War Mode)
Under our Talents section, there is the option to enter "War Mode". Enabling War Mode provides the following benefits:
- PvP talents enabled in the outdoor world;
- 10% increase in World Quest rewards at maximum level;
- 10% more experience gained while leveling;
- Earn Conquest Points which can reward gear every week.
With the benefits of enabling War Mode for leveling and PvE content, it is recommended you enable the feature. In most situations, this will allow for the maximum returns despite the risks. You will make yourself available for open world PvP, and the possibility to be "ganked" while leveling or doing World Quests exists.
9.1. Affliction Warlock War Mode Talents
In this section we will rank the PvP talents best for leveling and doing solo / small group PvE content. Below is a ranking of both General PvP Talents and Affliction Warlock-specific PvE talents.
9.1.1. General PvP Talents
- Relentless is a passive ability but it does not automatically remove crowd control abilities, but instead reduces the duration.
- Gladiator's Medallion is an on-use ability that removes all movement impairing effects and all loss of control effects.
- Adaptation automatically removes any loss of control effects that last 5+ seconds, a maximum of once per minute.
Adaptation is recommended for most players, as it is automatic and on a relatively short cooldown. This makes it the overall best choice with PvE in mind.
9.1.2. Affliction Warlock PvP Talents
- Endless Affliction causes your Unstable Affliction to deal the same damage as before, but its duration is increased by 6 seconds. This is useful for keeping the 10% increased damage debuff much more often despite not Unstable Affliction not actually dealing increased damage directly.
- Rot and Decay can be very useful in situations with high sustained damage intake. Combining this with Essence Drain greatly increases your survivability and sustainability and opens a lot of doors for soloing difficult content.
- Essence Drain stacks a damage reduction effect on enemies that are damaged by your Drain Life. You can reduce their damage by up to 25%, which is a large increase to your ability to survive and sustain.
- Curse of Shadows causes damage over time effects to strike an additional time for 20% of their original damage while active. This offers a little bit of extra burst damage on a short cooldown.
The curses can have exceptional use in very specific situations, but do not make for exceptional default picks. Curse of Fragility is the most used and generally most powerful of the three, and has a wide variety of niche applications.
- 10 Dec. 2018: Updated for patch 8.1. Updated paragraphs for Siphon Life and Vile Taint.
- 30 Oct. 2018: Updated talent choices.
- 01 Oct. 2018: Added additional context for talent usage in Uldir, updated talents/cheatsheets.
- 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
- 23 Jul. 2018: Updated Tier 3 talents.
- 21 Jul. 2018: Made Haunt the default talent again, swapped Vile Taint and Phantom Singularity priority, and added PvP (War Mode) Talents and explanations.
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