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Affliction Warlock PvP Guide (Legion 7.2)

Last updated on Jun 05, 2017 at 12:10 by Mysticall 3 comments

Table of Contents

Introduction

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play an Affliction Warlock in a PvP environment. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, artifacts, gameplay and rotation, and useful racial bonuses. It is most applicable to Arena content, but most talents and racial bonuses will work in Rated Battlegrounds and skirmishes.

About The Author

This guide has been written by Mysticall, a seasoned PvP player who has repeatedly achieved Arena Master and 2300 rating. You can watch his stream on Twitch, and you can also check out his YouTube channel.

1. Spec Overview / Place in the Current Meta

Affliction Warlocks are in an excellent spot in terms of 3v3 Arena. They not only have the strongest spread pressure, but they also have the ability to burst enemy players down. If left unchecked for even a few seconds they can easily apply their DoTs and begin melting entire teams. Even if an Affliction Warlock is being focused by enemies, most of their damage is instant and will slowly pressure down teams.

2. Gear

With regards to gear, the biggest change in Legion is that there is no more PvP gear. Your strength in PvP will be determined based on the average item level of your gear (as displayed on your character sheet). For example, the base item level at level 110 is 800, so your stats in PvP will be adjusted accordingly. For every 10 item levels you gain, your stats are increased by 1%.

The implication is that it does not matter where your gear comes from, and all that matters is its item level. Gear from quests or PvE content is just as good as gear you get as a reward from PvP (which, in fact, will be very similar to PvE gear; there are no more PvP stats on gear).

Practically, you will simply look to collect gear with the highest item levels possible, and the stat distribution on the gear will not matter.

3. Artifact Traits

Below, we will explain what the recommended order for artifact traits is, if you wish to maximise your PvP potential. It is quite possible that your artifact path (at the time of reading this guide) differs from our suggestions. If this is the case, do not worry, and use the information below to help you understand your traits and guide your future choices.

If you have suddenly decided that you want to turn to PvP, the best thing to do in your artifact progression is continue to your closest Golden trait, and then follow the recommendations below. Picking up the most useful traits ( Icon Sweet Souls and  Icon Long Dark Night of the Soul) along the way is a great way to boost your potential.

3.1. First Golden Trait

The first Golden trait you should go for is  Icon Harvester of Souls.

  1. Take  Icon Crystalline Shadows.
  2. Take  Icon Inherently Unstable. Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction is the primary source of your burst spread and single target pressure.
  3. Take  Icon Sweet Souls. Because you and your teammates will have Healthstones, this will increase your survivability when you are being focused.
  4. Take  Icon Inimitable Agony. Agony Icon Agony will be your overall highest damaging ability. This trait increases its damage and is an overall damage increase.
  5. Take  Icon Shadows of the Flesh. This trait increases the absorb from the passive Soul Leech Icon Soul Leech and is an overall increase to your survivability.
  6. Take  Icon Harvester of Souls. This trait is strong because Corruption Icon Corruption should be on every enemy and this will result in more damage and more self healing.

3.2. Second Golden Trait

The second Golden trait to take is  Icon Wrath of Consumption.

  1. Take  Icon Perdition. This increases the Critical Strike of all of the Affliction Warlock's main abilities, resulting in an overall damage increase.
  2. Take  Icon Wrath of Consumption. This is not too useful in Arena, but can be taken advantage of if you can kill weak enemy pets.

3.3. Remaining Traits

After this, you should head for your last Golden trait,  Icon Soul Flame, picking up any remaining traits after that. Although there is no particular order you need for the rest of the traits, it is best to leave  Icon Seeds of Doom to the end.

4. Relics

Relics are disabled in PvP, so they are not a concern to you.

5. Talent Choices

Regular talents work in both PvP and PvE content (although they may sometimes work differently in the two environments, which is indicated by their tooltips). In other words, they are always active.

On the other hand, Honor talents are inactive outside of a PvP environment.

5.1. Regular Talents

5.1.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Writhe in Agony Icon Writhe in Agony is the best choice in this tier. This is a strong talent for maximizing spread pressure on enemy teams. However, if you want to focus on single target damage, Malefic Grasp Icon Malefic Grasp is the best choice in this tier.

5.1.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Absolute Corruption Icon Absolute Corruption is the best choice in this tier. This makes your Corruption Icon Corruption significantly stronger and is an increase to your spread pressure. Once again, if you want to focus on single target damage, Contagion Icon Contagion is the better choice.

5.1.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Howl of Terror Icon Howl of Terror is the best choice in this tier. This is a great talent against teams that will likely be stacked.

If you are playing a team with two melee that will be focusing you, Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle is the best choice in this tier. This will make it easier for you to avoid or get away from teams when using their burst cooldowns.

5.1.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Siphon Life Icon Siphon Life is the best choice in this tier. This talent gives you an additional DoT that you can apply to enemies for even more spread pressure.

5.1.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

Demon Skin Icon Demon Skin is the best choice in this tier. This talent increases your overall survivability by making Soul Leech Icon Soul Leech stronger.

5.1.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Grimoire of Service Icon Grimoire of Service is the best choice in this tier. The abilities that this talent gives your pets makes it the best talent in this tier.

5.1.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Phantom Singularity Icon Phantom Singularity is the best choice in this tier. This talent is the best choice because it deals a good amount of damage as well as heals you for 30% of the damage done.

5.2. Honor Talents

5.2.1. Tier 1 Talents

If you are an Orc, Relentless Icon Relentless is the best choice in this tier. If you are any other race, Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is the best choice in this tier, which provides a standard PvP trinket effect.

5.2.2. Tier 2 Talents

Mind Quickness Icon Mind Quickness is the best choice in this tier. The Haste gained from this talent is a great increase to your overall damage.

5.2.3. Tier 3 Talents

If you are playing against a team with a melee, Curse of Weakness Icon Curse of Weakness is the best choice in this tier. Use this if you feel you will not survive if being targeted by the melee.

If you are playing against a team with a casters on it, Curse of Tongues Icon Curse of Tongues is the best choice in this tier. Use this against enemy casters as often as you can.

5.2.4. Tier 4 Talents

If you are playing against a team with a lot of spells that can be reflected, Nether Ward Icon Nether Ward is the best choice in this tier.

If you are playing against a team with two melee who will focus you, Casting Circle Icon Casting Circle is the best choice in this tier. This ability will allow you to get important damage or crowd control on enemy teams.

5.2.5. Tier 5 Talents

Endless Affliction Icon Endless Affliction is the best choice in this tier. Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction is the most important ability for spread or single target pressure. This talent makes Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction last longer and is an overall increase to your damage.

5.2.6. Tier 6 Talents

Amplify Afflictions Icon Amplify Afflictions is the best choice in this tier. This talent will help you apply your DoTs much quicker and give you more time to use other abilities.

6. Racial Bonuses

Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.

6.1. Horde

Orc is the best race for Affliction Warlocks, thanks to the passive Orcs have (Hardiness Icon Hardiness) reducing all stuns greatly improves survivability.

6.2. Alliance

The Human bonus (Every Man for Himself Icon Every Man for Himself) is a great way to escape stuns.

7. Playstyle

The Affliction Warlock has two roles when in an Arena: keep applying spread pressure and survive. Affliction Warlocks are powerful because they have strong AoE damage and the ability to crowd control enemy teams. Most of your damage will come from your instant-cast DoTs (Agony Icon Agony and Corruption Icon Corruption) and you will score kills with Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction. What makes this specialization tricky is determining when to use your Unstable Affliction. It is important to note that healers can dispel this and you should try to use this spell when they do not have a dispel at the ready. If you are in a situation where you have 5 Soul Shards and the enemy healer is able to dispel, use Unstable Affliction on multiple enemies and not just one. You will survive by using Fear Icon Fears and Howl of Terror Icon Howl of Terror on enemies. You can also use your Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway to create distance.

7.1. Before Gates Open

Have a plan for who you will be mainly using your crowd control on. Affliction Warlocks are able to use their main crowd control, Fear Icon Fear, along with Howl of Terror Icon Howl of Terror (if talented into it) or Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil.

You should also use Create Soulwell Icon Create Soulwell to generate Healthstones for you and your teammates. This is key to survival with the Artifact Trait  Icon Sweet Souls.

You will also want to use Summon Felhunter Icon Summon Felhunter. This gives you access to the Spell Lock Icon Spell Lock ability. It is important to note that with the talent Grimoire of Service Icon Grimoire of Service gives you access to a second interrupt if you use Grimoire: Felhunter Icon Grimoire: Felhunter.

7.2. Offensive Playstyle

7.2.1. The Opener

The opener refers to your team's opening crowd control chain and damage done as soon as you get out of the gates. The main goal in the opener is to force your enemies to use their cooldowns.

If the enemy healer uses their trinket in the opener, they are in trouble. In the opener, Affliction Warlocks should focus on applying their DoTs to every enemy on the other team.

This is the rotation you should use on your target at the beginning of the game.

  1. Cast Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway from your pillar to another part of the map.
  2. Use Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle (if talented into it) and place it behind a pillar.
  3. Apply and maintain Agony Icon Agony on all enemies.
    • Agony Icon Agony is your biggest source of damage and spread pressure.
    • It is very important to keep it active on all enemies, including pets, at all times.
    • This helps you generate Soul Shards much quicker.
  4. Apply and maintain Corruption Icon Corruption on all enemies.
  5. Once you have Agony Icon Agony and Corruption Icon Corruption on all enemies start using Siphon Life Icon Siphon Life to them.
  6. Once you have at least 3-4 Soul Shards and the enemy healer in crowd control you will be able to use your burst rotation.

7.2.2. Burst Damage

The best talent setup for Affliction Warlocks is the "spread pressure" build for strong spread damage. It is important to note that you should be focusing on spread pressure rather than single target. With that said, the following is how you will burst if you have crowd control on the enemy healer and are trying to secure a kill.

  1. Refresh Agony Icon Agony.
  2. Refresh Corruption Icon Corruption.
  3. Refresh Siphon Life Icon Siphon Life.
  4. Use Phantom Singularity Icon Phantom Singularity.
  5. If the enemy cannot dispel, do the following on your kill target
    1. Cast Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction
    2. Cast Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction.
    3. Use  Icon Reap Souls.
    4. Cast Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction.
  6. Do the following if the enemy healer can dispel
    1. Use Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction on multiple enemies.
    2. When the enemy healer dispels, cast Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction on your kill target.
    3. Cast Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction on your kill target.
    4. Use  Icon Reap Souls.

7.2.3. Sustained damage

Sustained damage is damage you do when your burst cooldowns are not available.

  1. Maintain Agony Icon Agony on all enemies.
    • Never let this fall off any enemies at any point of the Arena match.
  2. Maintain Corruption Icon Corruption on all enemies.
  3. Once you have Agony Icon Agony and Corruption Icon Corruption on all maintain Siphon Life Icon Siphon Life to them.
  4. Cast Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction on a single enemy if the enemy healer cannot dispel, or on multiple enemies if they can.

7.3. Defensive Techniques

Unending Resolve Icon Unending Resolve is your primary defensive ability and should be used if your healer has no defensive cooldowns and you are at high health. You cannot use this when you are stunned. You will not be interrupted while this is active so you can use this time to cast Fear Icon Fear to stay alive or Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction for damage.

Healthstone should be used when you are at very low health and your healer does not have defensive cooldowns to keep you alive.

Demonic Circle Icon Demonic Circle, i talented, should be placed away from the enemy team, but close to your healer. Make sure you coordinate when you will be using this so your team can position themselves accordingly. You will want to use this when the enemy team is using their offensive cooldowns and you need to create distance between you and them. Use the same concept when you need to take Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway.

Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal should be used to stun enemies that are trying to chase you. This will typically best used when enemies are using their burst cooldowns and you are close to dying.

Curse of Weakness Icon Curse of Weakness should be used on a melee DPS to prevent incoming physical damage.

Curse of Tongues Icon Curse of Tongues should be used on a caster DPS to prevent or slow down incoming spell damage.

8. ChangeLog

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  • 05 Jun. 2017: Guide created.
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