Mythic+ Affix Guide — Updated for Shadowlands Season 3 Encrypted Affix and Legion Timewalking's Infernal Affix

Last updated on Mar 03, 2022 at 18:08 by Petko 3 comments

Affixes exist to make Mythic+ dungeons more interesting, rather than simply increasing damage and health requirements, by introducing dungeon-wide abilities that slow your group's progress through the instance.


Mythic+ Affixes

Mythic+ Affixes are special effects that are active in all Mythic+ dungeons each week. These serve to make dungeons more difficult, and they will change your approach to them from week to week.

For more information on how Seasons and other Mythic+ systems function, check out our main Mythic+ Overview page below.


Season 3 Level 10 Affix: Encrypted

Season 3 introduces a new Mythic+ Seasonal affix: Encrypted Icon Encrypted. This Seasonal Affix will appear only on keystone level +10 and above and is, in my opinion, one of the best affixes we have had in a while. So how exactly does Encrypted work?

It is quite simple: there are 3 Relics (or so called "mini-bosses") located in random packs across the whole dungeon, they always go together and have a set location changing on a biweekly cycle (Like Tormented Icon Tormented), and based on whichever you decide to kill first, you will get an aura buff after defeating the mini-boss that is summoned:

  • If you kill the Vy Interceptor first, the whole party will will gain Decrypted Vy Cypher Icon Decrypted Vy Cypher, increasing Haste by 15%, in addition to having an orb of energy that has a chance to proc damage on hit, for 45 seconds.
  • If you kill Urh Dismantler first, the whole party will gain Decrypted Urh Cypher Icon Decrypted Urh Cypher, giving you 200% cooldown reduction and restoring 10% of your maximum health and Mana every second for 10 seconds.
  • If you kill Wo Drifter first, the whole party will gain Decrypted Wo Cypher Icon Decrypted Wo Cypher, increasing your movement speed by 150%, gaining 15% damage reduction, and also giving you Stealth out of combat (similar to a Rogue's Stealth Icon Stealth) for 60 seconds.

Additional Abilities from the Encrypted Affix

  • The Wo Relic will have an active aura of 15% damage reduction toward nearby non-boss-enemies — Defense Matrix Icon Defense Matrix. Keep in mind, this does NOT affect boss fights, only trash packs. In addition, while the Wo Drifter is alive, it will only attack the highest aggro target (the tank) and will cast Burst Icon Burst every once in a while. If you fail to interrupt it, the whole group will take AoE damage, depending on how high the key is (the ability's damage scales with keystone level).
  • The Vy Relic will have an active aura of 15% Haste toward non-boss-enemies — Acceleration Field Icon Acceleration Field. Keep in mind, this does NOT affect boss fights, only trash packs and it disappears upon defeat. The Vy Interceptor is by far the most dangerous "mini-boss" and you should avoid Fusion Beam Icon Fusion Beam at any cost. It also teleports in a random location before casting it, and it can quickly turn lethal once you cross above the +16 keystone bracket. In addition, it will cast Shoot Icon Shoot on random targets, so if you are low health, you might want to use a defensive or just top yourself up with Cosmic Healing Potion Icon Cosmic Healing Potion.
  • Last but not least, the Urh Relic will cast Energy Barrage Icon Energy Barrage onto your party until defeated. In addition, the Urh Dismantler also has some unique abilities such as Force Slam Icon Force Slam and Deconstruct Icon Deconstruct; we refer to this "mini-boss" as the tankbuster since it makes your tank's life significantly harder.

Choosing Your Decrypted Cypher Buff

As complex as it sounds, it is actually really simple. Each of the Relics' auras will be active upon engaging the pack of mobs (all 3) are present at the same time). To gain a specific Decrypted Cypher buff, you must first kill the Relic with the bonus you desire. As an example:

  • I would like to gain the Decrypted Wo Cypher Icon Decrypted Wo Cypher buff, so first I have to kill the Wo Relic before the other two relics. Upon doing so, Wo Drifter will spawn which will grant me the Decrypted Wo Cypher Icon Decrypted Wo Cypher buff upon defeat.
  • If you recall from earlier, Wo Drifter has only one special ability, which is Burst Icon Burst and it should be a priority to interrupt.

What is the "Best" Decrypted Cypher Buff?

It is hard to answer this question, but from what we have seen so far, Decrypted Urh Cypher Icon Decrypted Urh Cypher has the biggest DPS impact since it helps you reset your covenant-specific abilities much faster, and that positively contributes toward everyone's DPS, since some classes do not scale well or need Haste at all from Decrypted Vy Cypher Icon Decrypted Vy Cypher. However, if you lack a Rogue's utility to use Shroud of Concealment Icon Shroud of Concealment, you might want to opt and go for Decrypted Wo Cypher Icon Decrypted Wo Cypher, which will ultimately help you skip past important packs of non-boss-enemies.

Throughout every "Season" in World of Warcraft, there will be a Seasonal Affix in Mythic+ that applies to all Mythic+ dungeons done within that Season on +10 and above. Along with Fortified Icon Fortified and Tyrannical Icon Tyrannical, this is the most impactful Affix and will shape the way you play in Mythic+ keys for the whole season.


Other Seasonal Affixes


Season 2 Level 10 Affix: Tormented

Season 2 introduces a new Mythic+ Seasonal affix: Tormented Icon Tormented. This Seasonal Affix will appear only on keystone level +10 and above and is similar to the Awakened Affix which was present during the last Season of Battle for Azeroth. So how exactly does Tormented work?

There are 4 lieutenants spread across the dungeon, which, upon death, drop additional powers similar to what Torghast has to offer. However, instead of being specialization-specific, they are role-specific — every DPS has the same powers, every Healer has the same powers, etc. As of now we do not know if the positions of the 4 lieutenants will swap on a weekly or bi-weekly cycle, just like the former Awakened Affix. We also know that if you do not kill a lieutenant, on the final boss encounter each lieutenant's aura is applied to the final boss, making it extremely hard to deal with. For now, we will take a closer look at what of each of those lieutenants do, and respectively, the auras they could provide:


Incinerator Arkolath

Incinerator Arkolath is the most dangerous out of the lieutenants. Its pulsating Soulforge Flames Icon Soulforge Flames aura will test the limits of your healer. This aura, after an initial adjustment, deals significant damage. This becomes extremely dangerous as soon as the key levels increase, meaning you will want to save cooldowns, both offensive and defensive, to be able to nuke it down fast. You will want to kill it every time and not leave its aura for the last boss. In addition to this aura, Arkolath has the following abilities:

  • Scorching Blast Icon Scorching Blast is a 6-yard AoE fire zone that does damage on impact and ticking damage for each second you spend in its zones. You want to avoid getting hit by these, and avoid being inside of the lingering fire patches at all costs. You will want a hefty amount of space when you engage Arkolath as he will use Scorching Blast every 8 seconds.
    • Each flame patch created by Scorching Blast Icon Scorching Blast stays around for roughly 25 seconds, so if you are limited in space always remember after on every third set of casts the first "fire zone" is about to despawn.
  • Melt Soul Icon Melt Soul is a magic debuff that must be dispelled as soon as it is applied. It goes on the highest-threat target, usually the tank, every 6 seconds.
  • Inferno Icon Inferno inflicts massive AoE damage to all players within 60 yards of Incinerator Arkolath. This makes the already-difficult lieutenant significantly harder.

Soggodon the Breaker

Soggodon the Breaker is otherwise known as a "tank buster" and is extremely dangerous for tank players. Its aura, Intimidation Icon Intimidation, causes players to take 50% extra Physical damage. A common strategy is to skip this enemy and have it enhance the last boss with its aura. If you decide, however, to fight it, here is what you should know:

  • Crush Icon Crush is a "tank-buster" ability dealing a massive damage to the target with the highest threat; in most cases that will be the tank. If the target is not in melee, Soggodon will grip them back as they cast the ability — it cannot be kited!
  • Massive Smash Icon Massive Smash grips all players in melee and binds them with Binding of Misery. If you do not kill the Bindings and escape the root effect before he finishes his Massive Smash cast, you will take lethal damage. You can use immunities or effects such as Blessing of Freedom Icon Blessing of Freedom, Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection, or Evasion Icon Evasion to dodge the cast. The health of each Bindings of Misery Icon Bindings of Misery also scales with dungeon level, so the higher dungeon you do the more health they will have, making it significantly harder to get out of them.
  • Seismic Wave Icon Seismic Wave is a massive AoE that deals unavoidable damage to the whole party within 60 yards. Try to use your personal defensive cooldowns when you are in danger or self-sustain abilities after the inflicted damage to help your healer!

Oros Coldheart

Oros Coldheart provides the easiest aura to take care of, Chilling Presence Icon Chilling Presence, which snares all nearby players by 50%. Do not let that fool you, as his abilities are extremely dangerous. As such, one of the common strategies as of now is to always skip this and let it transfer its aura to the last boss, meaning you will end up having reduced movement speed for the duration of the last boss. Oros also has 3 more abilities:

  • Biting Cold Icon Biting Cold is a DoT applied to a random target for 10 seconds and pulses in a 3-yard range around the victim. Make sure you are spread to not get cleaved and help your healer. Consider using a personal defensive cooldown when you get it.
  • Frost Lance Icon Frost Lance is a heavy-hitting frontal that must be avoided at all costs. You will also be knocked back should it hit you, so watch out for it!
  • Cold Snap Icon Cold Snap significantly increases the difficulty of the fight against Oros. The ability is similar to Skittish Icon Storming but it deals a lot more damage, so make sure to stay spread and never get hit by one of the swirls.

Executioner Varruth

Executioner Varruth is one of the toughest lieutenants to deal with. From his high melee attack damage, to his Thanatophobia Icon Thanatophobia aura reducing all healing receieved by 50%, Varruth will be a real challenge to any group looking to face him. However, with great danger comes a great reward, as Varruth often holds some of the best powers which are tied to Mythic+ affixes. He also has the following abilities:

  • Carnage Icon Carnage charges a random player within your party and applies a bleed to all players hit along the way. You can avoid its bleed by use of line-of-sight, but be aware that he is going to re-cast it. In addition, if you do this repeatedly he is going to end up just casting the bleed without actual charging in or doing melees. You can also use Stoneform Icon Stoneform, Phial of Serenity Icon Phial of Serenity, or Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection to remove the bleed effect if you have it, assuming you are a Dwarf, a Kyrian, or have a Paladin in your group, respectively.
  • Sever Icon Sever is a heavy-hitting tank ability that must be properly mitigated to ensure the survivability of your tank.
  • Wave of Terror Icon Wave of Terror requires a lot of team coordination. If you are not at least 8 yards away from an ally, you will get feared. You can counter the fear effect with an immunity, like Cloak of Shadows Icon Cloak of Shadows or the use of a Tremor Totem Icon Tremor Totem, but it is best to stay close to each other. In addition to the fear mechanic, you also receive unavoidable damage when he does the cast.

Legion Timewalking Affix: Infernal

Infernal Icon Infernal is only available during Legion Timewalking events and it does not interfere with the already-established affixes of Shadowlands Mythic+. This affix will appear only at 10+ Legion Timewalking dungeons and above.

When this affix is active, there will be 3 Infernal Beacons allocated around boss locations. If a dungeon has more than 3 bosses, then this affix will have set boss locations that do not vary between runs. Upon "activating" them you will enable the forces of the Burning Legion to invade, spawning a variety of mobs; be aware that these beacons will also activate automatically if the boss near them is pulled! The beacon will also spawn 1 of the 3 random lieutenants available, each of them having some unique abilities, but also something in common. So how exactly does it work?

Regardless of which lieutenant you have, they all will periodically spawn 3x Blazing Infernal which have a passive Immolation Icon Immolation aura that scales with keystone level. Upon killing an Infernal its aura will fade and spawn puddles on the ground that, upon soaking, grant you the Infernal Core Icon Infernal Core buff. This buff causes the player to radiate Infernal Heat Icon Infernal Heat, damaging all enemies, including bosses and other Infernal Icon Infernal mobs. Damaging an enemy with this buff also increases their damage taken by 1% per stack, with there currently being no cap on the stacks you can apply. As for the lieutenants, each of them has some unique features:


Observer Ongrax

  • The most important thing to remember for this Observer is to always interrupt its main ability Eye Beam Icon Eye Beam, which otherwise hits hard.
  • Observer Ongrax will periodically cast Observe Weakness Icon Observe Weakness that will apply a debuff to two players, increasing their damage taken by 50% and reducing their movement speed by 50%. Dispel this as quickly as possible, and be aware that the cast itself cannot be interrupted or otherwise stopped.

Commander Borramus

  • Commander Borramus will periodically cast Battle Frenzy Icon Battle Frenzy, which will Enrage him and all nearby demons. Tanks should be ready with strong defensive cooldowns. The cast itself CANNOT be interrupted.
  • Borramus will periodically cast Fel Bombardment Icon Fel Bombardment, which must be dodged.
  • Pay attention for Vicious Dreadstalker spawns. They will fixate a random player and apply Shadow Bite Icon Shadow Bite upon reaching them. The best way to deal with these is to nuke them down quickly. You can also dispel the Shadow Bite as it is currently a Magical debuff.

Infiltrator Deraxis


Final thoughts on the Infernal affix and useful tips

The Timewalking-only, Legion-based affix is quite interesting. It is easy to handle, which will be great if you are playing in uncoordinated groups (PUGs). You will also have the opportunity to create some risky strategies by pairing the Infernal affix with boss encounters if you would like to save some time! With that being said, here are some useful tips you want to keep in mind:

  • If you activate an Infernal Beacon and manage to wipe, the Affix's enemies will fully regenerate their HP, meaning you have to start from 100%.
  • If you decide to skip these beacons and engage the boss itself, the affix will trigger meaning that you will automatically fight its enemies with the boss, so do not skip them!
  • However, there is some benefit in pairing the last remaining Blazing Infernal with any boss due to the Infernal Heat Icon Infernal Heat debuff. This can make each boss fight much easier, especially if you are fighting them with the Tyrannical Icon Tyrannical affix active.

Fortified and Tyrannical

Every week, all Mythic+ Keys of level 2 or higher — in other words, every key — will be either "Fortified" or "Tyrannical". These two affixes alternate every week. These affixes are by far the most impactful on any given week, and will fundamentally affect how you approach the dungeon and how you set up your character in many cases.



Having Fortified Icon Fortified present will increase the difficulty of non-boss enemies by 30% and their health by 20%. Pay attention to the size of each pull to prevent your group from being overwhelmed by the extra risk.



Tyrannical Icon Tyrannical is an extremely dangerous affix, despite having been nerfed from 40% to 30% increased boss health. However, bosses still also deal 15% more damage on weeks with this affix. All in all, make sure to save your offensive and defensive cooldowns for the dungeon's boss fights when this affix is present.


Other Affixes


Level 4 Affixes



March 03 update: The Bolstering Icon Bolstering affix received further nerfs by not interacting with bosses anymore, meaning you can pull any non-boss-enemies on top of the boss and that will not influence it; this is quite a good quality change, making Bolstering much more appealing to be played on any week.

Bolstering Icon Bolstering activates whenever most non-boss enemies die, increasing the damage of all nearby enemies is by 20% and their health by 15%, stacking with each death. This is a particularly troublesome affix for PUG groups and notoriously known to be one of the hardest. One easy way to deal with it is to watch the quantity of each pull. The more mobs you have, the harder it becomes for them to die at the same time. Knowing when to stop using AoE-damage abilities and focus more on priority-damage instead will also make this affix easier to deal with.



Bursting Icon Bursting has been changed in Shadowlands compared to its effects in Battle for Azeroth. As a reminder, this affix causes most enemies to apply a stack of Burst Icon Burst to the entire party upon death. This effect stacks and its duration is refreshed with each additional stack. However, now, rather than dealing damage based on a player's maximum Health, it is a finite value that scales with the keystone level and caps out at +15. In addition, Burst is now considered a magic debuff and can therefore be dispelled by any Healer specialization. As a result, one of the most common strategies upon reaching high stacks is to use a Priest's Mass Dispel Icon Mass Dispel to remove all stacks of Burst from the party at once.



The Inspiring Icon Inspiring affix is one that is new to Shadowlands, and can add an immeasurable amount of extra difficulty in each group of mobs the affix is present for. It functions similarly to the Tides Emissary from the old Beguiling Icon Beguiling seasonal affix. Certain enemies throughout a dungeon will have the Inspiring Presence Icon Inspiring Presence buff attached to them, granting immunity to interrupts and crowd-control effects to enemies within 15 yards. However, it is important to know that the Inspiring Presence buff does not apply to the mob itself. This means that one of the best strategies when this affix is present is to crowd-control the Inspiring mob and pull it alone after the rest of the enemies are dead, or to pair it with a pack of non-caster mobs.



October 29 update: Raging Icon Raging was significantly nerfed going into Patch 9.1.5 of Season 2 in Mythic+. The value has dropped from 75% to 50% increased damage as soon as the non-boss-enemies reach 30% health left. This is a great change and it will make playing combinations like Fortified Icon Fortified and Raging Icon Raging much easier!

It is highly recommended to have an Enrage Dispel in your party in the form of a Hunter's Tranquilizing Shot Icon Tranquilizing Shot, A Druid's Soothe Icon Soothe, or a Rogue's Shiv Icon Shiv when combined with Numbing Poison Icon Numbing Poison. Make sure to use your group's utilities to help with survival.



The Sanguine Icon Sanguine affix has changed dramatically since Battle of Azeroth in that the duration of each pool of Sanguine Ichor Icon Sanguine Ichor has been reduced to 20 seconds from 60. Its function is otherwise the same: when most non-boss enemies are slain, a pool of Sanguine Ichor is left behind that will heal all enemies within it for 5% of their maximum Health per second. In addition, a player standing in this pool will take 15% of their maximum Health in damage per second. Both of these effects stack if multiple pools are overlapped. One of the easiest ways to deal with this affix is by making use of knockback effects such as Thunderstorm Icon Thunderstorm, Typhoon Icon Typhoon, and Ring of Peace Icon Ring of Peace as soon as an enemy's death creates a pool or the remaining mobs in a pull approach any Sanguine Ichor.



Skittish Icon Spiteful is another newly-implemented affix in Shadowlands. Whenever a non-boss enemy dies, a Spiteful Shade will spawn and fixate a random non-tank player. This is perhaps the hardest affix for players that play in melee, as each Shade's melee attack hits incredibly hard and can quickly prove lethal. However, their own health gradually reduces over time through All-Consuming Spite Icon All-Consuming Spite until the Shade eventually dies on its own. As such, a common strategy is to use crowd-control abilities to slow them down or to drag remaining enemies away from the Shades that have spawned.


Level 7 Affixes



Explosive Icon Explosive has also been changed in the Shadowlands compared to Battle for Azeroth. Now, the Explosives will no longer scale with the keystone level meaning that their health will be the same whether you are running a +10 key or a +25. However, if an Explosion Icon Explosion cast goes through it deals 40% of your maximum health in damage, so it is crucial to target the Explosives. Unfortunately, they are immune to damage from AoE abilities, so you will have to make use of single-target abilities instead. On an interesting note, stunned enemies are incapable of spawning Explosives which can make their use a valuable strategy. In addition, you can line of sight any existing casts of Explosion and completely negate the damage. Otherwise, pay attention to the pull size and always be mindful when this affix is present; the more enemies in combat, the more Explosives will spawn!



The Grievous Icon Grievous affix has received some quality of life changes in Shadowlands. While this affix is active, players will still receive a Grievous Wound Icon Grievous Wound that deals damage and stacks whenever they fall below 90% health in combat. However, the damage from Grievous Wound is now a static amount that scales with each keystone level up to 15 rather than being based on the player's maximum Health. In addition, direct heals on the target also remove a stack of Grievous Wound. Heal-over-time effects will not. It is also important to note that Grievous Wound also can stack up to four times on a player. Therefore, having good self-sustain is crucial in weeks with this affix active to either remove stacks with your own healing effects or negate them entirely by climbing back above 90% health.



February 20 update: The Necrotic Icon Necrotic affix was recently nerfed going into Patch 9.2 by having the duration of the effect dropped from 6 seconds to 5 seconds. The affix has already been nerfed several times, with its duration almost halved since the release of the expansion. This is great news for all of the tanks out there that are uncertain about playing on Necrotic weeks!

Necrotic Icon Necrotic is arguably the toughest affix for tanks, causing a stacking Necrotic Wound Icon Necrotic Wound debuff to be applied by enemy melee attacks. With every stack, your ability to be healed is reduced and the DoT ramps up. At 50 stacks you are immune to healing entirely. The most common strategy to mitigate this deadly effect is to kite away from melee as soon as you reach a reasonable amount of stacks. In addition, dropping out of combat immediately removes this debuff so a common strategy to do so is by using Shadowmeld Icon Shadowmeld if you are Alliance; Stoneform Icon Stoneform can also remove it. As Necrotic Wound is a Physical debuff, it can also be removed by a Paladin's Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection. Just keep in mind to remove the blessing instantly after receiving it, otherwise all enemies will attack the next-highest threat target. Finally, a Kyrian's Phial of Serenity Icon Phial of Serenity acts as an additional, Covenant-exclusive method of removing this affix's deadly debuff.



Quaking Icon Quaking periodically appears every 20 seconds as a circle around every player, even when not in combat. If a player is casting when this Quake Icon Quake effect finishes 2.5 seconds later, they will be interrupted and locked out of that spell school for 4 seconds. In addition, if you are within the circle of another player when the affix occurs you will be hit for 40% of your maximum Health. Otherwise, it does no damage. It is important to pay attention to any nearby allies, as "clipping" eachother will punish your team severely. Similarly, a healer being interrupted by this affix at a key moment can be deadly. Otherwise, Stay spread and keep a reasonable distance between everyone. A common strategy to more easily handle this affix is to have a balanced composition between ranged and melee.



In Season 2 of Shadowlands and onward, Skittish Icon Storming is fairly nerfed. Being hit by a Storming tornado now deals 12% of your Maximum Health rather than 15%. In addition, these tornadoes will despawn as soon as they hit a player. Tornadoes will also always go clockwise, which makes it slightly easier to sidestep out of their path. Finally, Storming tornadoes travel much slower, giving you more reaction time to avoid them!

A new affix in Shadowlands, Skittish Icon Storming is quite tough for any melee players looking to play it. While present, tornadoes are created and spiral outward from enemies when in combat. Coming into contact with these will cause damage and knock you into the air. Similar to the Explosive Icon Explosive affix, pulling large amounts of enemies at once will result in more of these tornadoes spawning at once. If you are a ranged player, stay out of melee and you will have an easy time dealing with it. In addition, when the mobs are under the influence of a stun they will not spawn any tornadoes!



Volcanic Icon Volcanic was slightly reworked coming into the Shadowlands. Its damage is now significantly lower, but at the cost of now launching you in the air and stopping your current cast if hit. Its effects are otherwise the same: when in combat with an enemy Volcanic Plume Icon Volcanic Plumes will occasionally appear under players. This is one of the easiest affixes to play with, but it can turn deadly if combined with any other dungeon mechanic. One important note to keep in mind is that the more enemies you fight, the more spawns of Volcanic Plume you will see! In addition, these plumes can only appear under a player that is not in melee range of an enemy.



  • 03 Mar. 2022: Bolstering affix received further nerfs.
  • 21 Feb. 2022: Fully updated for Season 3 of Shadowlands Mythic+.
  • 29 Oct. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.5, including the new Timewalking-only affix: Infernal.
  • 09 Jul. 2021: Fully updated for Season 2 of Shadowlands Mythic+.
  • 20 Jun. 2021: Necrotic nerfs reverted, mentioned Raging and Bolstering affix nerfs.
  • 18 Jun. 2021: Updated with several new abilities introduced to the Tormented Seasonal Affix; updated Necrotic and Storming affixes to reflect their massive changes.
  • 15 Jun. 2021: Added new Tormented Seasonal Affix.
  • 27 Apr. 2021: Updated the ways to skip Prideful affix.
  • 19 Apr. 2021: Guide Overhauled for Shadowlands Season 1.
  • 31 May 2020: Updated the description of Urg'roth's abilities slightly.
  • 10 May 2020: Updated the guide's descriptions and information about the Obelisk Mechanics of the Awakened Affix.
  • 16 Jan. 2019: Guide added.
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