Affliction Warlock DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Shadowlands 9.1
On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Affliction Warlock in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1. 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.
If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our TBC Classic Affliction Warlock talents.
Talent Choices for Affliction Warlock
|15||✗ Nightfall||? Inevitable Demise||✓ Drain Soul|
|25||✓ Writhe in Agony||✓ Absolute Corruption||✓ Siphon Life|
|30||? Demon Skin||✓ Burning Rush||✓ Dark Pact|
|35||✓ Sow the Seeds||✓ Phantom Singularity||? Vile Taint|
|40||✗ Darkfury||✓ Mortal Coil||? Howl of Terror|
|45||? Shadow Embrace||✓ Haunt||✗ Grimoire of Sacrifice|
|50||✗ 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 Still Mind and Codex of the Still Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.
Do note that the builds suggested above do not account for specific fights in the current raid tier; that said, we do have a dedicated page that covers a boss-by-boss talent recommendations, which you can find linked below.
For specific Mythic+ advice, which typically involves having a set-up that can perform both in single target *and* AoE, and this set-up can also be influenced by affixes and other things like party composition and pull layout. Check out our dedicated M+ page below.
How To Use Affliction Warlock Talents
Since several talent choices have an effect on your gameplay, we recommend reading our rotation page linked below to find out how to adapt your playstyle and priority based on your selected talents.
Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Affliction Warlock
|✘ Nightfall||? Inevitable Demise||✔ Drain Soul|
- Nightfall grants Corruption ticks a 25% chance to cause your next Shadow Bolt to be instant and deal 50% increased damage.
- Inevitable Demise makes Agony ticks give a buff that increases the damage of your next Drain Life by 15% stacking 50 times.
- 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.
Nightfall is currently overshadowed by the other 2 options, but can be considered in situations with frequent but brief movements.
Drain Soul is a competitive single target choice with the added bonuses of shard generation and execute damage choice.
Tier 2 (Level 25) 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.
In multi-target scenarios you have the option to run either Writhe in Agony or Absolute Corruption: the former should be taken in stacked AoE situations where you can easily refresh Corruption with Seed of Corruption, while the latter should be considered whenever targets are spread or to reduce the Corruption upkeep and free global cooldown to use somewhere else.
Tier 3 (Level 30) 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.
Tier 4 (Level 35) 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 the default choice for pure single target.
Sow the Seeds is the best choice with 3 or more targets, at the expense of single target damage.
Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents for Affliction Warlock
|✘ Darkfury||✔ Mortal Coil||? Howl of Terror|
- 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.
- Howl of Terror causes the 5 nearest enemies within 10 yards to flee for up to 20 seconds on a 40-second cooldown. Damage may break the effect earlier.
With Demonic Circle becoming baseline Mortal Coil is now the default choice for most situations. 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.
Howl of Terror is perhaps the more dungeon oriented option in the row, allowing yet another form of AoE disruption on a relatively short cooldown.
Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents for Affliction Warlock
|? Shadow Embrace||✔ Haunt||✘ Grimoire of Sacrifice|
- Shadow Embrace enables Shadow Bolt and Drain Soul to increase the damage dealt to the target by 3% stacking 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 should be considered in situations where there are 2 to 3 targets alive for long period of time.
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.
Tier 7 (Level 50) 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.
Dark Soul: Misery is the standard choice for most raid encounters, as it delivers the strongest 1-2 target damage.
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.
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.
Warlock generic PvP Talents
- 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.
- Amplify Curse empower your next curse effect.
- Bane of Fragility reduces the target's maximum health by up to 10% by 15 seconds, which is very desirable when setting up bursts.
- Casting Circle is a 1 minute cooldown ability that creates an area where you are immune to silence and interrupts for 8 seconds. Removes silence/interrupt immunity from Unending Resolve.
- Gateway Mastery increase your gateway's range by 20 yards, and reduces the duration of the debuff placed on players using it by 15 seconds, making it a good choice when increased mobility is needed.
- Nether Ward summons a shield lasting 3 seconds and reflecting back all harmful spells targeted at you. Has a 45-second cooldown and it is extremely valuable when facing caster teams.
- Demon Armor increases max health by 5% and armour by 90%, making it an extremely useful choice against melee heavy teams.
Affliction Warlock PvP Talents
- Rampant Afflictions increase the target limit for Unstable Affliction to 3.
- 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.
- Bane 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.
- Deathbolt is a 40-second cooldown nuke that deals 40% of the total remaining damage over time effects on the target. It is generally used to catch people off guard and burst them.
- Soulshatter consumes up to the 5 nearest Corruptions dealing 10% of their maximum health and returning 1 Soul Shards for each enemy hit.
- 28 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
- 17 Jan. 2021: Reworded talent row 2 and 4 for better clarity.
- 03 Dec. 2020: Updated talent choices, explanations and builds after further testing and simulations.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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