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The Best Affliction Warlock PvE DPS build

The Best Affliction Warlock PvE DPS build

The best Afflictions Warlock DPS build for raiding in Bfa and Patch 8.1

Affliction Warlock PvE DPS Build
Odealo's Pocket Guide
Updated for Patch 8.1.5

You can find all our Pocket Guides for other World of Warcraft classes right here: Best WoW Builds

Spec Overview

Affliction Warlocks use dark powers to curse enemies, inflicting terrible pain corruption not only to their bodies but also souls. Cursed victims die slowly in agonizing pain, while their torturers watch the wicked spectacle with delight. In Battle for Azeroth Affliction specializes in high Sustained Single and Multi-Target Damage that comes mainly from Damage over Time spells. They are also very mobile and have an impressive utility toolkit.

 Pros  Cons
 Good Mobility  Rather weak AoE damage without specialized Talent build
 High Sustained Single-Target Damage  Long ramp-up time
 Very good Cleave  Very weak Burst AoE Damage
 Very High Burst-Damage potential  Some set-up is required before Burst Damage phases
Impressive utility toolkit  
 Ability to damage spread out Targets (thanks to DoTs)  

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Statistics Priority

  1. Intellect - This is Affliction Warlock's primary statistic. It increases your Spell Power which in turn provides a damage boost to your Spells.
  1. Haste - Reduces your casting time, and increases the tick-rate of your Damage over Time spells. Haste also reduces your global Cooldowns and affects your Demon Pets.
  1. Mastery - Affliction's Mastery: Potent Afflictions increases damage done by your DoT spells (Unstable Affliction, Seed of Corruption, Corruption, Agony).
  1. Critical Strike - Increases your chance to do Double (Critical) damage with your Spells and Abilities.
  1. Versatility - Reduces your Damage Taken while also increasing all your Damage Done.


The Best Talent Choices

Level 15: 
Recommended choice - Deathbolt
Deathbolt - Deals Damage equal to the 30% of your DoT's remaining Damage on the current Target. This gives you the highest boost to Single-Target DPS and has nice synergy with the Summon Darkglare.
Nightfall grants your Corruption's periodic damage Ticks a 25% chance to increase Damage of your next Shadow Bolt by 25% and make it an instant cast. This provides lower Damage boost than Deathbolt, and clogs up your rotation, making you starve for free Global Cooldowns. Drain Soul is a replacement for Shadow Bolt, it deals channeled Damage, that is increased by 100% against Targets below 20% Health, over 5 seconds; if your Target dies during the channeling, you gain a Soul Shard fragment. This might greatly help with your resource generation in the Add-Heavy encounters and Mythic+ but is generally much weaker than the  Deathbolt.

Level 30: 
Recommended choice - Siphon Life
Siphon Life - A spell that deals Damage over 15 seconds, while also Healing you for 30% of the Damage dealt. This provides you with the highest Single-Target Damage boost of this row, combined with some extra Healing.
Writhe in Agony increases maximum stacks of your Agony by 5 (from 10 to 15). This might be useful when fighting multiple stacked enemies, but is rather weak and should not be considered. Absolute Corruption increases Damage done by your Corruption by 15% and makes it permanent. This is the best choice for Multi-Target Raid encounters and Mythic+, especially if the Targets are far apart from each other.

Level 45: 
Recommended choice - Burning Rush
Burning Rush - Increases your movement speed by 50%, but damages you for 4% of your maximum HP every second, you can't be reduced below base movement speed during uptime; it lasts until canceled. This Talent greatly boosts your mobility and lets you lower your Downtimes significantly because of that. It has fewer uses in static encounters, however, and should be swapped as needed.
Demon Skin makes your Soul Leech absorb Damage equal to 15% (up from 10%) of your maximum Health and its Absorption is recharged at the rate equal to 0.5% of your max HP per second. It is a good choice for more static and damage-received heavy engagements. Dark Pact converts 20% of your current HP into a shield that absorbs Damage equal to 250% of the converted Health. This must be used while on High Health in order to be useful, making it very weak as a reactive Cooldown. It works best as a Telegraphed Damage soaker.

Level 60: 
Recommended choice - Phantom Singularity
Phantom Singularity - Deals Damage, over 16 seconds, to your Primary Target and all Targets within 15yd around it, healing you for 25% of the Damage dealt; it has a 45-second cooldown. This helps with your Single and Multi-Target Damage, gives you some extra Burst AoE potential, and makes you harder to kill, thanks to the Healing that it provides.
Sow the Seeds makes your Seed of Corruption embed a Demon Seed into one additional nearby Target. This Talent makes your Seed of Corruption descent for pure AoE scenarios but provides much less value than the Phantom Singularity in almost all cases. Vile Taint causes the ground around your primary Target to explode with vile energy, inflicting Shadow damage over 10 seconds to all Targets within a 10yd radius, the movement speed of all affected Targets is also reduced by 30%; it has 1.5-second Cast Time, 20-second Cooldown, and costs 1 Soul Shard. This is a good AoE Talent, but using it over the Phantom Singularity noticeably lowers your Single-Target Damage output.

Level 75: 
Recommended choice - Demonic Circle
Demonic Circle - Marks a spot with the  Demonic Circle, you can Teleport to the marked location once every 30 seconds, Teleporting removes all movement impairing effects. This is the best option for Raids as it boosts your mobility, and lets you flat out skip or ignore some of the encounter Mechanics. It is also the most fun Talent to use.
Darkfury provides you with the 15-second Cooldown reduction on your Shadowfury, which improves your Crowd Control capabilities during the Mythic+ progression. Mortal Coil is the Horrify effect combined with a self-heal and is useful mainly in Dungeons, and situations when you don't need extra flexibility or mobility provided by the Demonic Circle.

Level 90: 
Recommended choice - Haunt
Haunt - A tormented Soul Haunts your Target, dealing moderate Damage, and increasing all Shadow Damage you deal to the Target by 10% for 15 seconds if Haunted Target dies during the uptime, Haunt's Cooldown is reset; it has 15-second Cooldown. This is the best choice for the Single-Target DPS.
Shadow Embrace causes your Shadow Bolt (or Drain Soul if you have picked the corresponding Talent) to also increase your Damage dealt to the Target by 3%, this effect stacks up to 3 times, and lasts 10 seconds. This effect falls behind Haunt when it comes to the Single-Target DPS, and keeping it stacked up on multiple Targets is nearly impossible without ruining your rotation and overall Damage output. Grimoire of Sacrifice allows you to absorb the power of your Demon pet, to occasionally deal additional Shadow Damage, by sacrificing(killing) it. You also gain your Demon's main ability. This is the worst choice in general, it has some uses in the Mythic+, however.

Level 100: 
Recommended choice - Dark Soul: Misery
Dark Soul: Misery - Increases your Haste by 30% for 30 seconds; it has 2-minute Cooldown. This is the best choice for Single-Target DPS, which also gives you more Burst Damage potential.
Soul Conduit makes your Soul Shards refound themselves 15% of the time. This Talent adds RNG to your gameplay and gets outclassed by the other two choices when it comes to the generated value. With Creeping Death your Unstable Affliction, Siphon Life, Corruption, and Agony will deal their full Damage 15% faster. This works best when there are multiple long-lived Targets in the Encounter, as it lets you Cleave them more effectively.


The Basic Rotation

Affliction Warlock's rotation revolves around maintaining the Damage over Time effects on your Target while spending Soul Shards to increase DPS.

Use the following priority list to maximize your Single Target Damage output:

  1. Corruption, Siphon Life and Agony should be maintained at all times
 +  + 
  1. Dark Soul: Misery into Unstable Affliction dump followed by Summon Darkglare (Start this sequence when your Summon Darkglare is about to come back up, you might also want to refresh all your DoTs in order to ensure that Darkglare deals as much Damage as possible)
 ⇒  ⇒ 
  1. Unstable Affliction when full on Soul Shards
  1. Haunt on Cooldown
  1. Phantom Singularity on Cooldown
  1. Unstable Affliction into Deathbolt on Cooldown
  1. 1 Unstable Affliction should be maintained at all times if you have Soul Shards
  1. Shadow Bolt to avoid Downtime
Use the following priority list when fighting against multiple Targets:
  1. Agony and Siphon Life should be maintained on as many Targets as possible unless they are about to die, and Seed of Corruption should be used to apply and maintain Corruption on as many Targets as possible
 +  + 
  1. Seed of Corruption in order to spend Soul Shards (only if fighting 5+ stacked Targets)
  1. Unstable Affliction on 5 Soul Shards
  1. Phantom Singularity on Cooldown
  1. Summon Darkglade after refreshing as many DoTs on as many Targets as possible
  1. Shadow Bolt to avoid Downtime


Tips and Tricks for Improving your Gameplay

  1. This might sound counterintuitive but always cast Deathbolt on Cooldown, do not delay it in order to refresh your DoTs. This will boost your overall Damage output.
  1. Refresh your dots only if they are below 30% of their max duration (in order to capitalize on the Pandemic mechanic - when you refresh a DoT that is below 30% of its duration the new duration will be added to the previous DoT's remaining Timer), but NEVER let them wear off completely or you will lose on Damage.
  1. Always be Casting! Use your filler abilities to avoid Downtime, and cast instant spells when relocating.
  1. Use your Cooldowns properly, and don't hold on to them for too long, as it will make you lose Damage! (check the Rotation Section for more details on Summon Darkglare and Dark Soul: Misery usage)

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This is an early version of our guide, we plan to upgrade upon it, and add further sections. So please leave your suggestions in the comments section below. We would also like to state that this is meant as a pocket guide and therefore we will not go into too much detail (please visit more specialized sites for a much more in-depth build/stat/gear/rotation analyses).

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