WoW 9.2 Affliction Warlock Guide
Last modified 9 months ago
Kyrian - Scouring Tithe
Applies a DOT effect that lasts 18 seconds. If the enemy dies while it is active, you generate 5 Soul Shards. If they survive, the cooldown is reset.
Scouring Tithe's DOT effect does count towards Malefic Rapture's DOT count and is also extended by Summon Darkglare. The 18 second "reset" clause does make for awkward refresh timing and rapture windows however. It also has very little AOE implications outside of the shard generation if your target dies.
Necrolord - Decimating Bolt
Hurls bolts of Decimating magic at you target, dealing Shadow damage and increasing the damage of your next three Shadow Bolt or one Drain Soul casts by 100%. Decimating Bolt's damage and the SB/DS damage amplification is increased based on the remaining health of your target.
When you Pair the Malefic Wrath Legendary with shard of Annihilation, Necrolord does pull ahead of Night Fae in pure single target.
Night Fae - Soul Rot
Wither away all life force of your current target and up to three additional nearby, causing your primary target to suffer 200% the damage of the surrounding targets over 8 seconds. For the next 8 seconds, casting Drain Life will cause you to also Drain Life from every enemy affected by Soul Rot at no mana cost.
The Soul Rot effect is a strong DOT in both single target/AOE which counts towards Malefic Raptures DOT count and also is extended by Summon Darkglare. Being such a strong option in both setting makes Night Fae the best Covenant option when it comes to Affliction.
Venthyr - Impending Catastrophe
Calls forth a cloud of chaotic anima that travels to your targeted enemy, dealing Shadow damage to enemies in its path. When it reaches the target it explodes, applying Curse of Weakness or Curse of Tongues and also a DOT effect that lasts 12 seconds.
Impending Catastrophe is not target capped and brings with it a good bit of utility with the passive curse application. The DOT effect does count towards Malefic Rapture and is also extended by Summon Darkglare. Sadly this ability is drastically under tuned even in heavy AOE settings which makes it and the Venthyr covenant a subpar choice for Affliction.
Overall your best covenant choice is Night Fae in AOE and most situations due to the nature of Soul Rot and the powerful interactions it has with Night Fae Soulbinds and how universally applicable it is compared to other Covenant abilities. Soulshape it also easily the best Covenant utility ability for its "blink" effect.
Necrolord does indeed perform better when playing the Malefic Wrath Legendary with Shard of Annihilation in pure single target and brings a strong execute damage profile.
Kyrian - Pelagos
Scouring Tithe increases your Mastery for 10 seconds. Collecting orbs increases the duration.
Combat Meditation provides a substantial Mastery buff every so often while also having the potential to increase the buffs duration it orbs are collected.
Let Go of the Past
Using a spell or ability reduces Magic damage taken by 1% for 6 seconds. Stacks 3 times.
A minor Magic damage reduction that can be maintained for the majority of most encounters.
Necrolord - Plague Deviser Marileth
While channeling Fleshcraft, you are immune to crowd control and you regenerate 2% health every 1 sec. If you finish the full channel, you gain 3 sec of crowd control immunity, during which you regenerate 2% health every 1 sec.
Can be a strong effect in certain PVE based situations and certainly PVP. There shield Fleshcraft provides is large and the regenerate health portion from Ultimate Form makes it an even stronger defensive.
Activating your Necrolord class ability summons Kevin's Oozeling to fight alongside you for 20 sec. His attacks cause your enemies to take 6% additional damage from you and he periodically grants your allies an absorb shield that absorbs X damage.
A strong damage amp of 6% that is tied directly to your Decimating Bolt ability. This new trait alone has greatly increased Plague Devisers value in 9.1, making him a very strong choice.
Night Fae - Dreamweaver
Field of Blossoms
Activating your Night Fae class ability puts flowers at your feet for 12 sec that increase your Haste by 15% while you stand with them.
Field of Blossoms turns your Soul Rot cast into a strong Haste amp every minute. When paired with other cooldowns and the new Dream Delver ability, this makes Dreamweaver your best Soulbind choice.
Dealing damage or healing a target grants you 1% increased damage or healing to that target for 4 sec, up to 3%.
The Dream Delver effect is essentially a permanent 3% damage increase on your target as long as you remain engaged in combat/attacking it. It's important to note that DOT effects do indeed refresh the ability.
Venthyr - Theotar
Your spell and abilities have a chance to summon two allies. Standing in the shade they provide increases your Mastery by 524.
Soothing Shade is a large Mastery increase that is available in the very first row. The "shade" effect however is a ground placed effect in which you need to stand to receive the buff.
Door of Shadows has 2 charges, but its cooldown is increased by 30%.
Adds a bit mote value to Door of Shadows in certain settings as you most likely aren't casting it on cooldown.
Token of Appreciation
Grants a shield that absorbs damage to allies who aid you with healing or beneficial magic effects. You will only shield each ally every 20 seconds.
Token provides a bit of raid healing/utility while also being connected to Theotar's second Potency conduit slot. This will be your default choice in most settings.
These are the recommended best universal Soulbinds for Affliction Warlocks. It is important to note that in certain scenarios a different Soulbind might pull ahead slightly.
Shadow Bolt deals X%/Drain Soul X% increased damage per damage over time effect you have active on the target.
Withering Bolt is your strongest single target Conduit and is played in every setting.
Agony and Unstable Affliction damage have a X% chance to reduce the cooldown of Summon Darkglare by 5 sec.
With Darkglare now being a 2 minute cooldown in 9.2, this conduit has lost a lot of value in settings it was previously played and most likely needs an overhaul.
Malefic Rapture deals X% increased damage to targets suffering from Unstable Affliction.
Focused Malignancy is your best single target based Conduit for Affliction. It also has some relevancy in multi-target pulls if there is a priority mob that needs to be killed quickly.
The duration of Agony is increased by 6.4 (226 ilvl) sec.
Rolling Agony is a massive quality of life increase in Mythic + where you are juggling 4 or more Agony applications at a time. It also allows for more casts before they need refreshing and does also increase the range you enter pandemic.
Soul Eater (Night Fae)
Soul Rot's damage and radius is increased by X%.
Soul Eater is a strong option in both single target and AOE due to how strong the DOT based effect it applies is. Affliction's conduits are limited power wise compared to other specs which makes Soul Eater and even stronger option for Night Fae.
Your typical single target Potency Conduit setup will consist of Focused Malignancy, Soul Eater and Withering Bolt.
If you are in a 3+ target setting (like Mythic +) then you can play Rolling Agony over either Focused Malignancy or Withering Bolt for an increased Agony duration. This makes DOT maintenance and Seed spam much easier in multi-target settings.
Demonic Circle: Teleport increases movement speed by X% for 5 sec.
The cooldown of Fel Domination is reduced by X sec.
Usually your second best option if looking to choose another Finesse Conduit. While pets do not die often, there are times where you will need to resummon in combat.
Your Eye of Kilrogg is no longer stealthed and can now place your Demonic Circle. You must be within line of sight of the Eye of Kilrogg to place the Demonic Circle. Increases movement speed by X%.
While Kilrogg's Cunning certainly sounds exciting it is sadly nowhere near as useful as it may seem. Still a decent option if Fel Celerity or Demonic Momentum are not of interest.
Shade of Terror
Your Fear effects can withstand X% more damage before breaking.
Shade of Terror does have its uses however Fear itself is rarely ever cast in PVE based content due to the risky nature of the spell and mobs having a chance to pull others.
Drain Life heals for X% of the amount drained over 10 sec.
Accrued Vitality is a niche Conduit that holds very little relevancy in PVE. Typically the only time you are interested in casting Drain Life is while playing Inevitable Demise, which rarely is the right choice. While it can contribute more healing if you are near death, there are better Endurance options.
Anyone that consumes your Healthstone infuses you with X% leech for 6 sec.
Diabolic Bloodstone is a throwback to the Legion "Sweet Souls" artifact weapon trait. It is a very strong effect but only occurs when someone uses one of YOUR Healthstones, not any Warlocks.
Attacks received that deal at least 5% of your health decrease Unending Resolve's cooldown by X sec. Cannot occur more than once every X sec.
While not as strong as Diabolic Bloodstone usually, Resolute Barrier can be a solid choice in setting where there is semi-frequent incoming damage which allows for more Unending Resolve casts over the fight.
Malefic Rapture increases the damage of your Shadow Bolt/Drain Soul by 35% for 10 sec, stacking up to 3 times.
Corruption damage is increased by 25%, and each time it deals damage any of your Curses active on the target are extended by 2 sec.
Sacrolash's Dark Strike brings a considerable buff to Corruptions damage while also allowing any active Curses to become "permanent" as long as Corruption itself is maintained. The legendary was overhauled in 9.1, removing the perma-slow effect.
Targets that die with your Agony or Corruption applied to them grant you Wrath of Consumption, increasing all periodic damage dealt by 6% for 30 sec, stacking up to 5 times.
Wrath of Consumption is a niche, yet extremely powerful legendary in the right setting. If you are able to stack and then chain the 30% DOT damage increase this legendary becomes exceptionally strong. Mythic + and raid encounters with frequent add spawns (Council of Blood) are where you want to consider playing Wrath.
Damage done by you or your primary demon has a chance to grant the other one 10% increased damage for 15 seconds.
Demonic Synergy a solid option for Affliction Warlocks in 2+ target settings. The damage proc is RNG but brings with is a substantial boost in cleave based encounters.
Each target affected by Soul Rot increases your haste and critical strike chance by 5% for 8 sec.
Decaying Soul Satchel is the Night Fae Covenant Legendary. While the Crit % effect is additive, the Haste portion is multiplicative allowing the Warlock to reach 150% + levels of Haste with ease under the right effects. The fact that it is tied to Soul Rot makes it an exceptionally strong CD on a 1-minute cooldown.
Decimating Bolt also increases the critical strike chance by 100% and critical strike damage by 50% for Drain Soul or Shadow Bolt.
Shard of Annihilation id the Necrolord Covenant Legendary. It is primarily single target focused but greatly empowers your next 3 Shadow Bolt/1 Drain Soul Casts.
The talents listed above are considered to be the best single target build of Affliction. For a more detailed talent breakdown, see below.
The talents listed above are considered to be the AOE build of Affliction. Siphon Life can be played in place of Writhe in Agony for a more priority based AOE profile if need be. Absolute Corruption can be played if DOT maintenance is of concern, but it should not be selected if playing Sow the Seeds. For a more detailed talent breakdown, see below.
Level 15 Talents
Gives Corruption a chance to cause your next Shadow Bolt
to be instant cast and deal 50% more damage.
Nightfall's proc rate does scale with multiple Corruptions
active however is typically overshadowed by Drain Soul.
Agony increases the damage of your next Drain Life by 15%. This effect stacks up to 50 times.
Strong on 2+ target settings where you can accrue
stacks quickly but is also overshadowed by Drain Soul
due to shard sniping and Shadow's Embrace stacking.
Drains the targets soul, causing Shadow damage over 4 seconds. Damage is increased by 100% against targets that are below 20% health.
Drain Soul is you defacto, go-to option in the 15 row for both Mythic + and Raiding. It brings with it the potential to "Shard snipe" adds as well as being a substantial damage increase in execute. Drain Soul is a channeled effect.
Level 25 Talents
Writhe in Agony
Agony's damage now starts at 4 stacks and may now ramp up to 18 stacks.
Corruption is now permanent and deals 15% increased damage.
This effect is played in multi-target/council based settings where having permanent Corruption is both a QOL increase as well as a DPS increase, allowing for movement as well as the casting of other spells. A strong option for Mythic + however it loses value if paired with Sow the Seeds.
Siphons the target's life essence, dealing Shadow damage over 15 seconds and healing you for 30% of the damage done.
Siphon Life is your best option in both single and two target settings due to it being another DOT for Malefic Rapture's damage amp as well as the extra damage it brings itself.
Level 30 Talents
Your Soul Leech absorption now recharges at a rate of 0.5% of maximum health every 1 second and may absorb up to 15% of your health.
Demon Skin is a strong option in setting where there is a lot of frequent, sustained periodic incoming damage as your absorption shield will be higher.
Increases movement speed by 50% but damages you for 4% of your max health every 1 second. Movement impairing effects may not reduce you below 100% movement speed.
Burning Rush is typically the default choice in this row due to the incredible amount of mobility it provides. Note that Demon Skin and Dark Pact can be better options at times if fights have little movement.
Sacrifices 20% of your current health to shield you for 250% plus an additional X for 20 seconds. Usable while suffering from control impairing effects. 1 minute cooldown.
Dark Pact is an exceptionally strong cooldown in settings where there is infrequent large burst of timed damage (Sludgefist for example) where it can be used to mitigate incoming damage.
Level 35 Talents
Sow the Seeds
Seed of Corruption now embeds demon seeds into 2 additional nearby enemies.
Sow the Seeds is especially powerful in 3+ target settings (like Mythic +) and makes Seed of Corruption you Soul Shard spender in those settings over Malefic Rapture.
Places a Phantom Singularity above the target, which consumes life of all enemies within 15 yards, dealing Shadow damage over 13 seconds and healing you for 25% of the damage. 45 second cooldown.
This is your go to single target talent in the 45 row that also has a bit of pulsing AOE damage. It also counts as an extra DOT for Malefic Rapture and does not cost a Soul Shard.
Unleashes a Vile Taint explosion at the location, dealing Shadow damage over 10 seconds to all enemies within 10 yards and reducing movement speed by 30%. 30 second cooldown. Costs 1 Soul Shard.
Vile Taint is played in 3+ target settings where you can put its short cooldown to good use. It also counts as an extra DOT for Malefic Rapture does does cost a Soul Shard, unlike Phantom Singularity.
Level 40 Talents
Reduces the cooldown of Shadowfury by 15 seconds and increases its radius by 2 yards.
A decent option in Mythic + for more frequent stuns and utility. Radius extension is not as impactful as it seems.
Horrifies the enemy target into fleeing, incapacitating for 3 seconds and healing you for 20% of the maximum health. 45 second cooldown.
An exceptionally strong personal heal on a 45 second cooldown. The heal effect works on all targets regardless of incap potential.
Howl of Terror
Lets loose a terrifying howl, causing 5 enemies within 10 yards to flee in fear, disorienting them for 20 seconds.
Sadly has very little use in both Mythic + and Raiding due to the lack of Fear casts that are used in both settings.
Level 45 Talents
Shadow Bolt and Haunt apply Shadow Embrace, increasing your damage dealt to the target by 3% for 16 sec. Stacks up to 3 times.
While Shadow's Embrace grants 1% less of a damage amp than Haunt, Embrace can be stacked and maintained on multiple targets via Shadow Bolt or Drain Soul.
A ghostly soul haunts the target, dealing Shadow damage and increasing your damage dealt to the target by 10% for 18 sec. If the target dies, Haunt's cooldown is reset.
Haunt is your best option when it comes to single target damage as Affliction. While it does not deal much damage on its own, the 10% increase it brings is very significant.
Grimoire of Sacrifice
Sacrifices your demon pet for power, gaining its command demon ability, and causing your spells to sometimes also deal additional Shadow damage.
This talent sadly has been undertuned and in need of a massive overhaul for years. It is not played anywhere in PVE.
Level 50 Talents
Every Soul Shard you spend has a 15% chance to be refunded.
Affliction spends Soul Shards on Malefic Rapture and Sow the Seeds. While this ability is not terrible, it is overshadowed my Dark Soul and what it does for the spec.
Your Agony, Corruption, Siphon Life, Phantom Singularity, (Vile Taint) and Unstable Affliction deal their full damage 15% faster.
Creeping Death sadly is not an option in any setting. It is counterintuitive with Malefic Rapture, undertuned damage wise and also does not increase Shard generation.
Dark Soul: Misery
Infuses your soul with the misery of fallen foes, increasing Haste by 30% for 20 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
Dark Soul: Misery is the go to talent for Affliction in every PVE setting there is. The fact that is syncs with every Darkglare and every other Phantom Singularity/Soul Rot window makes it an even better choice.
2-Piece: Deliberate Malice
Malefic Rapture's damage is increased by 15% and each cast extends the duration of Corruption, Agony, and Unstable Affliction by 2 sec.
The DOT extension this tier bonus brings is synergistic with the Malefic Wrath legendary for Affliction while also making multi-dot maintenance a bit easier. The 15% Rapture damage increase does help a bit with the nerf's Affliction received in 9.1, but sadly is not enough to return it to its former glory.
Mythic +: C-
4-Piece: Calamitous Crescendo
Mythic +: C
Grants a large amount of critical strike and gains value in settings where adds are dying. Best on-use option for Affliction Warlock in both Raid and Mythic +.
Strongest equip based trinket you can acquire outside of the current raid. Has a 1-time chance per day to grant you a "triple stat increase" after consuming buff food of a different stat, which is the best simming version.
It is VERY important to note that this is a rough outline of desired secondary stats. Your stat weights will be different than mine due to varying gear sets and other external factors. The best way to tell what your own stat weights are is a raidbots.com Top Gear sim with Gems and Enchants taken into account. If you don't want to do that then you can just follow this.
Gear, Consumables & Enchants
Flask - Spectral Flask of Power
This is your only option when it comes to Flasks in Shadowlands.
Potion - Potion of Spectral Intellect
This is your best option over Phantom Fire as it is far more consistent and scales in 2+ target settings.
Shadowcore Oil - Apply to Weapon hourly and deals Shadow damage. Persists through death.
A minor DPS increase but is cheap to craft that also persists through death.
Veiled Augment Rune - Increase Intellect by 18 for 1 hour. Single Use.
Provide a small stat boost however are very expensive. Can be acquired through LFR and Mission Table.
Heavy Desolate Armor Kit - Increases Stamina by 32 for 1 hour. Persists through death.
Cheap to craft and provides an extra bit of survivability.
Enchants and Gems
The openers and rotations listed below are what you want to follow in a normal opener and setting. At times these may change due to fight mechanics or needing to hold CDs.
Synergy Single Target
1. Precast Haunt (3 Seconds Before Pull)
2. Precast Unstable Affliction
5. Siphon Life
6. Phantom Singularity
6b. Cast Decimating Bolt (If Necrolord)
7. Dark Soul: Misery
8. Soul Rot
9. Trinkets, Racials and Int Pot
10. Summon Darkglare
11. Malefic Rapture Spam
You can delay initial Raptures and instead cast Drain Soul for a few seconds to fish for Demonic Synergy procs. Be sure to Rapture once though of Shard capped. You want to finish casting all of your Raptures before your buffs fall.
Malefic Wrath Single Target
1. Precast Haunt (3 Seconds Before Pull)
2. Precast Unstable Affliction
5. Siphon Life
6. Phantom Singularity
6b. Cast Decimating Bolt (If Necrolord)
7. Dark Soul: Misery
8. Soul Rot (If Night Fae)
9. Trinkets, Racials and Int Pot
10. Summon Darkglare
11. Malefic Rapture x3
12. Drain Soul until 3 Seconds on Wrath
13. Malefic Rapture
14. Drain Soul until 3 Seconds on Wrath
15. Malefic Rapture
16. Resume Normal Wrath Buff Maintenance Rotation
The main change with playing Malefic Wrath is that you will want to maintain the damage buff as close to 100% of the time while also having a few shards pooled for your "Rapture Window" every minute as Night Fae. Necrolord does not have said windows therefor 100% uptime is easier to obtain. It is important to space out your Raptures properly to avoid the buff falling. Your 4 piece tier set makes MW buff maintenance easier with procs.
1. Precast Seed of Corruption
2. Precast Unstable Affliction (If Possible)
3. Apply Agony To Targets
4. Dark Soul: Misery
5. Soulletting Ruby (If Equipped)
6. Cast Haunt on Unstable Affliction Target
7. Soul Rot
8. Trinkets, Racials and Int Pot
9. Summon Darkglare
10. Seed of Corruption Spam
It is very important for Soul Rot to be the last spell you cast before Darkglare and then Seed spam due to the Haste and Crit bonus that Decaying Soul Satchel brings with it. You want your main STS window to be buffed by that effect. Also note that you can pop your Dark Soul before or mid Agony casts depending on the estimated lifespan of the pack.
Afflictions rotation is relatively simple outside of your Malefic Rapture windows. You will want to maintain your DOT effects and Haunt/Shadow's Embrace while refreshing in their Pandemic window. Pandemic is essentially the fact that you want to refresh your DOT's when they reach 30% or less of their remaining duration. This will add that remaining duration onto the new DOT application without and damage being "lost".
While it is not a massive DPS loss to refresh before your Pandemic window, it is still something to min/max. Refreshing DOT on the move however is a DPS gain (over casting nothing) and is one of the main perks of Affliction, it's incredibly mobile.
DOT Pandemic Rage
Agony - 4.5 Seconds
Corruption - 4.2 Seconds
Siphon Life - 4.5 Seconds
Unstable Affliction - 6.3 Seconds
Outside of DOT maintenance you will have your Malefic Rapture windows every minute playing Relic of Demonic Synergy. You will want to pool 5 Soul Shards and hold your Phantom Singularity for your Soul Rot then cast all of your Malefic Raptures while they are both active. Malefic Raptures damage is based off Mastery and the number of active DOTs.
If you are playing the Malefic Wrath Legendary you will have your initial Rapture window on pull with Darkglare but will then cast 1 Rapture every 5-6 seconds to maintain the effect at three stacks. If you are Night Fae you will want to try and pool a few shards for your 1 minute Rapture windows even with Malefic Wrath. As Necrolord you simply maintain the buff.