Affliction Warlock PvP Talents and Builds (Shadowlands / 9.2.5)

Last updated on Jul 30, 2022 at 20:19 by Chanimal 6 comments

Choosing the right PvP and PvE talents is a prerequisite to proper performance in PvP. This guide goes through the various talent choices available to you as an Affliction Warlock and gives you the best combinations you can take.

This page is part of our Affliction Warlock PvP Guide.


Talent Choices for Affliction Warlocks

Level Choices
15 Nightfall Nightfall Inevitable Demise Inevitable Demise Drain Soul Drain Soul
25 Writhe in Agony Writhe in Agony Absolute Corruption Absolute Corruption Siphon Life Siphon Life
30 Demon Skin Demon Skin Burning Rush Burning Rush Dark Pact Dark Pact
35 Sow the Seeds Sow the Seeds Phantom Singularity Phantom Singularity Vile Taint Vile Taint
40 Darkfury Darkfury Mortal Coil Mortal Coil Howl of Terror Howl of Terror
45 Shadow Embrace Shadow Embrace Haunt Haunt Grimoire of Sacrifice Grimoire of Sacrifice
50 Soul Conduit Soul Conduit Creeping Death Creeping Death Dark Soul: Misery Dark Soul: Misery

While the above table provides a generally accurate overview of the viability of talents, some finer points are discussed in the sections that follow, and we recommend you read those for a deeper understanding.


Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Inevitable Demise Icon Inevitable Demise is the best choice in this tier. This gives you a reliable way to burst an enemy down without having to use cooldowns. Before using Drain Life Icon Drain Life, make sure the enemy does not have any interrupts to stop you from channeling Drain Life. This also synergizes very well with the Night Fae covenant ability for Warlocks, Soul Rot Icon Soul Rot allowing for Drain Life Icon Drain Life to be cast on multiple targets.


Tier 2 (Level 25) Talents

Writhe in Agony Icon Writhe in Agony is the best choice in this tier. This makes your Agony Icon Agony significantly stronger and is an increase to your spread pressure.


Tier 3 (Level 30) Talents

Dark Pact Icon Dark Pact is the best choice in this tier. This defensive talent sacrifices a portion of your health for a massive shield. This option is significantly better than Demon Skin Icon Demon Skin for defensive purposes.


Tier 4 (Level 35) 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 being instant cast without costing a Soul Shard.


Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents

Versus most teams, Howl of Terror Icon Howl of Terror is the best choice in this tier. This is an instant, off the global cooldown AoE Fear that will help deal with melee that are targeting you or one of your teammates. Additionally, it is very useful against teams trying to run away from you on the pillar.

Against Warrior teams, Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil is an alternative choice due to Berserker Rage Icon Berserker Rage reducing the effectiveness of Howl of Terror Icon Howl of Terror.


Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents

Grimoire of Sacrifice Icon Grimoire of Sacrifice is the best choice in this tier. The talent gives you one of your pet abilities and deals a significant amount of passive damage. It also removes the potential enemy strategy of killing your pet, which has very low survivability.

A quick note on pets: Against a team that has multiple magic crowd control for your healer (Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap, Hammer of Justice Icon Hammer of Justice), you can sacrifice your Imp for Singe Magic Icon Singe Magic. Against any other composition, you should sacrifice your Felhunter for Spell Lock Icon Spell Lock.


Tier 7 (Level 50) Talents

Dark Soul: Misery Icon Dark Soul: Misery is the best choice in this tier. Because Dark Soul significantly increases your Haste, this will be your primary offensive cooldown.


PvP Talents for Affliction Warlocks

You can choose 3 of the following PvP talents. The two mandatory choices are the most essential, with the third being switched out depending on the matchup.


Mandatory PvP Talents

Rapid Contagion Icon Rapid Contagion gives you on-demand burst damage and has a very short cooldown. This should be used in every game when you have your DoTs on multiple targets.

Rampant Afflictions Icon Rampant Afflictions is another mandatory PvP talent. This makes it so Unstable Affliction Icon Unstable Affliction can be used on up to 3 targets. Because your win condition will be to rot the enemy team with your AoE pressure, this is a must have talent to play. For 2v2, this can be skipped depending on the matchup.


Situational PvP Talents

Essence Drain Icon Essence Drain causes your Drain Life Icon Drain Life to reduce your target's damage dealt to you by 9%, stacking up 4 times to a total of 36%.

Deathbolt Icon Deathbolt deals 50% of the remaining damage on your DoTs in a quick cast which is dealt over 3 seconds and is undispellable. This talent is very powerful when stacked with Soul Rot Icon Soul Rot, Phantom Singularity Icon Phantom Singularity, and damage modifiers such as Dark Soul: Misery Icon Dark Soul: Misery. In general, this talent is better for 2v2 rather than 3v3 as it requires a lot of setup.

Nether Ward Icon Nether Ward surrounds the caster with a shield that lasts 3 sec, reflecting all harmful spells cast on you. This is a strong talent against classes with magical spells. This should be used versus teams with casters on it.

Amplify Curse Icon Amplify Curse increases the effectiveness of your Curse of Tongues Icon Curse of Tongues, Curse of Exhaustion Icon Curse of Exhaustion and Curse of Weakness Icon Curse of Weakness spells significantly. Coupled with Sacrolash's Dark Strike Icon Sacrolash's Dark Strike, this is an excellent situational talent against teams without a decurse.

Shadow Rift Icon Shadow Rift creates a portal that teleports anyone inside the targeted circle to your Demonic Circle: Teleport Icon Demonic Circle: Teleport after 2 seconds. This talent is useful as it can be used very creatively to kite or create kill opportunities.



  • 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 9.1.
  • 30 Mar. 2021: Updated for Shadowlands 9.0.5.
  • 08 Jan. 2021: Updated for Shadowlands Season 1.
  • 14 Oct. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands pre-patch.
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