Please note that this guide will always be a work in progress as things change quite often! Discussion is always highly encouraged.
Table of Contents – COMING SOON (Hopefully…)
Hello and welcome to the Legion Affliction Guide! I am Grima and I will be your tourguide of sorts today. I main warlock for the US guild Team on Tichondrius, and have played warlock since Wrath of the Lich King. In my free time you can find me on the warlock discord, the Ask Mr. Robot discord, or playing some Overwatch, I’m currently working on my associates in arts (eventually my bachelors in psycology). You can follow me on twitter @Grimasoul
Anyways on with the show. The Affliction spec has undergone some pretty drastic changes from WoD to legion, moving away from drain / tunnel spec to a full on DoT monster with many a way to amplify your DoTs and make them as efficient as possible. Sadly Legion brought about in it’s wake a lot of pruning, but affliction ends up in a not terrible state once the artifact gets rolling. The affliction warlock’s primary strengths come into a multi target fight where you can transition into a varity of tunnel targets, allowing you to activate various artifact abilities, and pump a large ammount of damage into a boss while still maintaining a nice spread damage on multiple targets. It does tend to fall off due to a long ramp-up time on single target due to the stack mechanic on agony, and has quite a bit of DoT micromanagement to keep up with your melee and fire mages.
7.1 changes (Whooo)
Oh and there’s a lot! Here’s a compiled list right at the top of this guide:
- Soul Effigy is no longer effected by AoE. RIP dank memes.
- Demon Skin and Demonic Circle have swapped places (WTF blizz, I thought you wanted us to be tanky?) (lol jk, honestly this change wasn’t that bad in retrospect).
- Haunt damage improved (lolz)
- Phantom Singularity damage improved (I’ll get to this in a bit)
- Drain Soul damage improved (Again big woop)
- Unstable Affliction no longer snapshots (Scratch that, “Ignites” is the better term for what it used to do). What it does now, is you may have up to five separate UA’s per target (I advise not to cleave this DoT under really any circumstances).
- Agony damage improved
- Corruption damage improved
- Drain damage improved
- UA damage improved
No longer generates shards, it’s now entirely a damage dot.
New shard generator. Still has the ramp up damage. Shard generation has changed as well. Shard generation is no longer based on a flat % chance to proc on tick, nor is it the ramping % chance to proc on tick that was present in alpha. Instead every agony tick adds 0-32 invisible “soulbits”, and when you hit 100 soulbits you gain a shard. You can still get bad shard RNG, but overall it is far more consistent than live. The amount gained per tick is reduced by the total number of agonies you have out, but it is still a large dps gain to have a lot of agony’s out. The end result of this, is that your shard generation is not a linear result of how many agonies you have out, but has a logarithmic return on shard gen vs how many agonies you have out. For the more mathematical look on how shards are generated (http://www.askmrrobot.com/wow/theory/mechanic/spell/agonysoulsharddriver?spec=WarlockAffliction&version=live)
Seed of Corruption:
Has been buffed considerably. Long cast time but always spreads Corruption on detonation, and does considerably more damage than it does in 6.2.3. This can be talented (read more later) to seed 4 other targets around the current target.
Shard consumer, now works like ignite. When Unstable Affliction is re-applied to a target, the remaining damage of the previous dot is added into the new dot, making it so that you will never lose damage on this (Unless the target dies before hand). A few notes on UA (Unstable Affliction):
- UA Does not gain bonus ticks (currently) from haste.
- UA only has 4 ticks total.
- DoT lasts 8 seconds, reduced by haste.
- 7.1: Each cast of UA creates a separate DoT on the boss (So essentially you’ll have 5 UA dots just chilling out on your screen)
- If a target(s) dies before UA expires it refunds a soul shard.
7.1: Each UA active on the boss
Base “Filler” spell. Heals for a lot, and deals ok-ish damage.
You’ll see this term a lot when researching Warlock. Basically, it’s a mechanic that allows you to refresh DoTs and ‘add’ the full duration as long as the DoT has <30% time remaining. This means you won’t waste any DoT time as long as you refresh your DoTs under 30%.
And now we’re starting to get to the meat and Potatoes, of the affliction spec.
- Haunt: Pretty much useless in its current rendition. Does decent damage but drain soul provides a shard, which will yield more damage most of the time. It is not bad for soloing some content, and can crit quite hard so it may be something to look at with pvp (especially in bgs).
- Writhe in Agony: Defacto talent for any fight without adds, or any situation where you know your drain life time will be minimal to non existent.
- Drain Soul: Provides shards when targets die and about a 2x damage increase from Drain Life. pretty solid talent
Verdict: You basically pretend that you have 2 options here, Writhe in Agony and Drain Soul. Writhe is better when you’re not spending as much time draining (high movement or council fights) or when you need boss damage. and Drain Soul will be better when you’re able to snipe adds for bonus shards and more UA. In general, it’s best to take Writhe in Agony because it’s your highest source of damage after UA. (In reality 99.99% of the time, you’ll be taking Writhe anyways; as Drain Soul’s damage is 10% behind Writhe, in single target, and Writhe is just so strong of a talent as an affliction warlock).
- Contagion: Your unstable affliction increases your damage dealt to the target by 15%. This now applies to the UA that does the application.
- Absolute Corruption: Makes Corruption permanent (or 60 seconds in PVP) and makes it do 25% more damage. Lots of situations where this lets you drop a DOT from your rotation, or cheese encounters for Compound Horror Procs.
- Mana Tap: Maintenance buff that costs 30% of your Current Mana for a 10% damage increase for 20 seconds. If you’re sadistic and like maintenance buffs, make sure you are using this before you lifetap for maximum benefit, along with making sure its up BEFORE any Unstable Afflictions are cast.
Verdict: This will basically come down to fight. If you have lots of adds that will be up for a while or out of range, you want Absolute Corruption. Otherwise you’re likely going to run contagion. Fights like council fights can also lend to Absolute Corruption to give you more free GCDs while keeping this damage running. The use case for mana tap for Affliction is when you have long lived adds that are not a priority to burst down and where you have the globals available to use it. It may be used in Council fights, but those typically are based on a target priority and would likely benefit more from Contagion as a result, or Absolute Corruption to free up globals. My recommendation is to skip mana tap all together, as Contagion and Absolute Corruption have much better mechanical synergy with the affliction warlock. (Techinicaly speaking, Mana Tap is actually better on 3 or more targets, but it is absolutely cancerous to play with).
- Demonic Circle: Spell is almost the same, except now you need to create a cancel aura macro to make it work properly. See Macros section for more info on this.
- Mortal Coil: Works exactly as it does on live, including not healing or doing damage to bosses.
- Howl of Terror: AOE fear instead of getting shadowfury. Very sad. But hey, at least it’s an instant cast… Unlike shadowfury..
Verdict: 2 abilities are beyond useless in PvE, so now we have portal as baseline as it’s ever been since June 2016. (smh, you only have one choice here).
- Siphon Life: Provides an extra DOT that deals as much as an unbuffed Corruption, similar duration, and heals you for all the damage it deals in addition it counts for extra damage on Shadow Bite. This will have some places to shine when you need the bonus healing, or have a situation where putting this up on 2-3 targets will provide some solid dps gains. Often used in conjunction with Absolute Corruption. NOTE: This spell IS affected by mastery.
- Sow the Seeds: Causes your Seed of Corruption to fire off up to an additional 4 targets. This takes seeds from doing some damage and primarily used to spread corruption quickly, to doing a LOT of aoe damage, and is really awesome to watch.
- Soul Harvest: Provides a 20% damage boost for 10 seconds +2 seconds per agony you have active. This has a lot of uses for when you need the damage boost for ~15 seconds. You should typically have this at 14 seconds at a minimum.
Verdict: This tier has lots of choices. Most unused talent may be Siphon Life. Its damage is decent, and gives an extra proc chance on Sac (more on this later), but it really won’t be shining unless you’re on 3-4 targets. The main niche of this will come into play if situations arise when you need to be super tanky to avoid / help with some mechanics. Sow the Seeds is pretty self explanatory, if you are short on Brostorm or KappaBeams, you can help your raid by padding AOE as well. Soul Harvest was changed with about 2 months left into the beta for the better. Take it if you have any DPS checks, no aoe, or just hate Siphon Life. (I’d like to add something, concerning Soul Harvest. Namely it sucks; first off it’s duration is too short to be worthwhile, secondly Siphon Life does more damage in the first place. Do yourself a favor, and don’t use Sow the Seeds (it’s straight up padding).
- Demon Skin: Causes your Soul Leech to passively regen over time, and provides an absorb shield up for up to 20% of your max HP. 7.1Not really a 7.1 note, but REMEMBER soul leach is a 15% shield that generates from your damage. This move is NOT as bad as presumed.
- Burning Rush: Copy Pasta ability from live.
- Dark Pact: Works like Sacrificial Pact on live. Awesome damage reduction Cooldown.
Verdict: This is a fight by fight, depending on the damage reduction, or Burning Rush. Any fight that has a reliable burst of damage every minute (IE: Ursoc charge) take Dark Pact. If the fight has any major mechanics that wreck your mobility (Cenarius dryads), take Burning Rush. Demon Skin is an excellent spell for moderate sustain damage (Cenarius is again an excellent example).
Tier 90: (i.e., there’s only one choice!)
- Grimoire of Supremacy: Gives you the ability to summon your Doomguard / Infernal as permanent pets instead of 3 min cooldowns. Doomguard has an interrupt and massive slow, and Infernal has an offensive dispel and an AoE stun. Infernal has been buffed significantly from the WoD version and is now a decent option for AoE damage. The biggest benefit with this talent is your ability to swap from single target to AoE in between pulls as needed in an instance, which is very powerful in mythic + dungeons where you cannot swap talents.
- Grimoire of Service: Gives you a cooldown every minute and a half, giving you (Generally) a bonus Felhunter that deals twice damage that the standard one deals. Your go-to talent for anything that is purely single target. This does cost a shard so it’s kind of annoying to use on single target. NOTE: GoServ Felhunter will interrupt when it spawns, giving you a bonus interrupt in Mythic+
- Grimoire of Sacrifice: This has been dramatically changed from the WoD version. Legion Sacrifice causes ALL spells to periodically pulse for AoE damage, and it does quite a bit of damage. This is a great option to gain passive cleave damage for sacrificing a single target cooldown. The only downside is that you will be losing your pet Command Demon ability, specifically losing your only interrupt. There’s also some funky things you can do with Effigy placement, causing AoE damage to actually hit your effigy and deal damage to the boss. n.b. Grimoire of Sacrifice is 33% less powerful for Affliction than for Demonology or Destruction.No longer funky things with effigy. Thanks 7.1. This spell was drastically nerfed just before beta ended and really doesn’t do enough damage to be useful in most cases.
Verdict: This revolves into 2 things. Pure single target, service is SLIGHTLY ahead of supremacy by 0.5% on most logs, slightly further on sims. This is the go to for your Ursoc fights. Otherwise supremacy is pretty much the go to for everything else. It gives you a Stun and solid AOE in M+, and lets you hot swap to a single target pet just before a boss. Many of the top aff parses are also using supremacy simply because you just set doomguard on a target and forget about him while you focus on maintaining Contagion (Yay Doomguard!). I generally recommend Gsup
- Soul Effigy: Definitely the best to use if you need single target damage, or it’s a single/ 2 target fight. Targeting this thing is still a pain, so it’s recommended to sacrifice your focus target and use that.
- Phantom Singularity: Probably most useful for mythics and / or aoe fights where you’re lacking in Brostorm and Kappabeams. Now hotfixed for double damage. May be useful? Time will tell with how much damage it is doing now.
- Soul Conduit: This is a weird talent, and probably not as recommended for affliction simply because of how our spender works. We only have 1 soulshard spenders, which means this will feel very feast or famine, and with Compounding Horror, we have a very conservative play style in single target. Definitely strong on fights where you have no reason to drop effigy for most of the fight like Il’gynoth in The Nightmare.
Verdict: Due to shard generation changes, this (again) will depend on your fight. Phantom Singularity does a monstrous amount of damage now, and has a 25 yard radius so it hits just about everything in range of the boss. if you dont need the aoe, look between Soul Conduit and Effigy. Some add control fights, you’re going to want to run Conduit as you’re going to spend more time pumping UAs that get refunded into burn targets, and this just gives you more soulshards to use. Any time where sustained single target is more important, even on multi target fights, you will still want to run Effigy because of the damage boost. For single target you 100% want to run effigy, but thats only 1-2 fights currently in Nightmare, and no fights in The Nighthold. (again since our shard generation is based off of a logarithmic growth, Effigy is taken 95 – 99% of the time just so we can have something that resembles shard rng. (That being said, Phantom Singularity is great for cheesing mythic 2s, and is very good on mythic Il’gynoth).
- Intellect: Increases our spell power and overall damage output.
- Haste: Decreases the period between DOT ticks, decreases our channel time and cast time, and decreases our GCD
- Mastery: Increases the damage done by Corruption, Unstable Affliction, Agony and Siphon Life.
- Critical Strike: Gives our abilities the chance to deal double damage.
- Versatility: Increases our damage and healing by a flat %, and decreases our damage taken by a flat %.
Affliction ST Stat Weights:
- Mastery: 1.03
- Int: 1
- Haste: 0.86
- Crit: 0.76
- Vers: 0.58
NOTE: It’s highly advisable to still maintain ~20% Haste with affliction to have a good shard generation. Also remember that after your mastery hits 140%, the scaling on it will start to dip drastically because Secondary stats aren’t as prevalent as ilvl increases (840 -> 850 may be a 50 mastery increase, but 880 -> 890 may only be a 20/10)
Affliction MT Stat Weights:
- Mastery: 1.2
- Int: 1
- Haste: 0.95
- Crit: 0.95
- Vers: 0.75
Mastery >> Int > Haste = Crit >> Vers. Due to the lack of Drain Life uptime. NOTE: The value of mastery goes up in multi-target fights, making it the clear winner over haste even in ST.
Overall, as an affliction warlock I personally value Haste (up to 20 – 25%); Then all of the Mastery
Here is a link to the sims on H Ursoc single target. And as you can see Mastery is the clear winner in single target (and 3 – 4 target cleave), As far as AoE is concerned and high SoC uptime,
Haste is the clear winner, stat wise. (It’s actually Crit > Mastery ~ Haste in Aoe for Affliction); for the most part you should strive to have as much mastery as humanly possibly (A safe spot to strive for is 120% mastery with 20% haste for shard rng, and approx 10% crit). Correction, Due to perdition scaling. Crit should be equal to haste (at least 15%)
The thing about Soul Conduit, is it’s actually not 20%. It’s actually 25% and the reason being, it doesn’t remember the shards refunded. So, say you cast UA and that shard gets refunded since Soul Conduit doesn’t remember that it refunded that shard, it has an equal chance of refunding it again.
Shard Generation explained (yay math stuff).
Shard generation is based off of a logarithmic / Square Root growt; meaning in order to derive the percentage of shards you’ll be gaining, you’re looking at this formula here. x / sqrt(# of targets). (Really it’s 0.16 / sqrt (# of targets afflicted by agony) At 4 agonies you’re looking at 100% increased shard generation.
The 20% haste cap is not a thing anymore.
As affliction, you may have heard of the 20% haste cap. But it’s not a thing, I’ve spoken with gahhdo to confirm this. What your weights should look like is
- Mastery = 1.09
- Crit = 1.02
- Int = 1
- Haste .95
- Vers = .85
And the reason crit is so much better than haste, is because of perdition.