Affliction Warlock PvP Rotation and Playstyle (Dragonflight / 10.0.7)
PvP requires you to perform various actions in the course of a duel, match, or battleground: interrupting/silencing enemies, damaging them, bursting them down, defending yourself, keeping yourself alive, etc. It is a game mode that fully utilizes your kit, especially spells that are rarely used in PvE. On this page, we go through all the spells you need to use in PvP as an Affliction Warlock, how you should use them, and we explain what your playstyle should be.
This page is part of our Affliction Warlock PvP Guide.
Playstyle for Affliction Warlocks
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 avoid damage through clever use of mobility. Most of your damage will come from your DoTs ( Agony, Corruption, Unstable Affliction) and you will score kills with Malefic Rapture and Drain Life. What makes this specialization tricky is finding time to deal damage or cast while trying to stay alive. You will survive by using your mobility in the forms of Demonic Circle, Demonic Gateway to avoid your enemies. Additionally, Howl of Terror and Mortal Coil are ways to peel for yourself.
Generating and Spending Soul Shards
Understanding how to generate and spend Soul Shards is crucial to maximizing your damage as an Affliction Warlock. Before going over the rotations, this section will talk about the basics.
Agony damage will sometimes generate 1 Soul Shard. This is the only way for Affliction Warlocks to get Soul Shards and this is why it is extremely important to maintain Agony on as many enemies as possible.
So now that you know how to generate Soul Shards, here is how you will spend them:
- Malefic Rapture costs 1 Soul Shard and deals damage to all enemies that have your DoTs on them. This should be used when you have multiple DoTs on multiple enemies to maximize your spread damage. Ideally, press this when you have Corruption, Agony and Unstable Affliction up on all targets in the Arena. Remember that Phantom Singularity and Soul Rot also contribute to Malefic Rapture's damage. Keep in mind that this ability has a 100 yard range, and will not affect enemies out of line of sight.
- Rapid Contagion costs 3 Soul Shards and increases the rate at which your DoT effects deal damage. This can be casted when interrupted and should be used when you have many DoT effects up or are locked out.
Before Gates Open
You should cast Create Soulwell to create Healthstones for you and your teammates. Additionally, cast Soulburn as the Soul Shard is refreshed but you will keep the Soulburn buff.
The opener refers to your team's opening sequence of abilities as soon as you get out of the gates and enter combat. The main goal in the opener as an Affliction Warlock is to maintain max distance while applying your DoT effects.
This is the rotation you should use on your target at the beginning of the game.
- Cast Demonic Gateway from your pillar to another part of the map.
- Use Demonic Circle and place it behind a pillar close to your Demonic Gateway.
- Apply and maintain Corruption and Agony on all enemies.
- Agony is an important source of damage and spread pressure.
- It is very important to keep it active on all enemies, including pets, at all times because it generates Soul Shards and gives you stacks of Inevitable Demise.
- Cast Unstable Affliction on your primary target and any enemies around you.
- Cast Curse of Tongues on casters or healers and Curse of Exhaustion on melee.
- 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.
The best way to generate pressure and create win conditions is to maximise your spread damage output. 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 play out your burst window.
- Apply Corruption to all targets.
- Apply Agony to all targets.
- Cast Unstable Affliction to all targets.
- If your enemy stays in your line of sight:
- Use Soul Swap on difficult to reach targets, such as enemy healers far away.
- Use Phantom Singularity.
- Cast Soul Rot.
- Use Summon Darkglare.
- Use Malefic Rapture until all Soul Shards have been spent.
- Cast Drain Life to deal spread damage and make Drain Life cast on all targets affected by Soul Rot.
- Cast Drain Soul if you have a Nightfall proc.
Sustained damage is damage you do when your burst cooldowns are not available.
- Maintain Agony on all enemies.
- Never let this fall off any enemies at any point of the Arena match.
- This is your primary ability for generating Soul Shards and gives you stacks of Inevitable Demise. Additionally, Agony stacks up to 18 and deals less damage at 1 stack if it is reapplied. Maintaining it will keep it at 18 stacks!
- Maintain Corruption on all enemies.
- Cast Unstable Affliction on all enemies.
- Use Phantom Singularity on your primary kill target. This increases your spread damage and will heal you for some of the damage that is dealt. Be mindful as this can break CC every time it ticks around the target.
- Use Soul Rot to deal spread damage and make Drain Life cast on all targets affected by Soul Rot.
- Cast Malefic Rapture when you have Soul Shards and have as many DoTs on as many enemies as you can. This is where the pressure from Affliction Warlocks will come from.
- Channel Drain Life if you have 50 stacks of Inevitable Demise.
- Cast Drain Soul if you have a Nightfall proc.
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 will not be interrupted while this is active, so you can use this time to cast Fear to stay alive or 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. This can be empowered by using it together with Soulburn
Demonic Circle 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.
Curses allow you to weaken a target based on which curse you use on them. Effectively using a curse on an enemy could prevent a lot of damage that the target will deal. If you take Amplify Curse, remember that there effects are significantly improved. Here are the curses that you have and the best time to use them:
- Curse of Weakness increases the time between the enemy's attacks. This should be used on a melee DPS to prevent incoming Physical damage. However, this is a low priority spell and should only be used when moving when DoT maintenance is not required. This is the best spell to use against a Warrior's Spell Reflection as it has no adverse effect on you.
- Curse of Tongues increases the cast time of all spells the enemy casts. This should be used on a caster DPS to prevent or slow down incoming spell damage.
- Curse of Exhaustion reduces the target's movement speed. This is a very flexible Curse and can be used to slow down melee DPS or slow down enemy healers to make them easier to crowd control.
- 21 Mar. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.7.
- 16 Mar. 2023: Updated for Dragonflight Patch 10.0.7.
- 30 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.5.
- 11 Dec. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight Season 1.
- 22 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
- 30 Jul. 2022: Updated for Shadowlands Season 4.
- 31 May 2022: Reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
- 02 Mar. 2022: Updated for Shadowlands 9.2.
- 17 Nov. 2021: Updated for Shadowlands 9.1.5.
- 06 Jul. 2021: Updated for Shadowlands Season 1.
- 30 Mar. 2021: Updated for Shadowlands 9.0.5.
- 01 Jan. 2021: Updated for Shadowlands Season 1.
- 05 Dec. 2020: Updated Rotations to include Covenant Ability.
- 29 Nov. 2020: Removed outdated Traits and Essences.
- 14 Oct. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands pre-patch.
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