A Newbie Guide To Affliction!

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Here’s Raenah! And today, instead of nuking enemies to death as a Destruction warlock, she has decided to go Affliction. But how do we aff? Well, here’s a nice, basic guide!

Secondary Resource: Soul Shards!

These are what fuel your ability Haunt, as well as adding utility to other spells through the use of Soulburn. You regenerate them through procs of Nightfall, and through the use of Drain Soul.

Important Abilities

Your DoTs are your bread & butter here. Agony has no cast time, and each time it deals damage, it adds a stack to itself. The more stacks it has, the more damage it does! Ideally you want to refresh it before it drops off to preserve the number of stacks (which cap at 10). Unstable Affliction and Corruption are slightly simpler. The former has a cast time that can be reduced by a glyph, and the only maintenance they need is for you to refresh them before they drop off.

Haunt is your main debuff. It increases DoT damage on your target by 35% and lasts 8 seconds. It costs a shard to cast, and will be the main spender of them. You want to refresh Haunt as the debuff falls off, not before.

You have 2 channeled abilities which function as your filler. Malefic Grasp channels for 4 seconds, and ticks every 1. When it deals damage, it also forces your DoTs to tick for 30% of their usual damage. It cannot be cast while moving, unless you take Kil’jaeden’s Cunning as your level 90 talent. Drain Soul is your execute spell, and replaces Malefic Grasp in your rotation when your target is below 20%. It channels for 12 seconds, deals damage every 2, and refills soul shards when it deals damage every second time, or when it kills an enemy. When your target is below 20%, it deals double damage, and forces your DoTs to deal 60% of their damage per tick. Fancy!

Fel Flame is your movement DPS. It’s instant cast, but has an exorbitant mana cost that prevents spamming. It’s also rendered useless if you take KJC as your 90 talent (which makes Malefic Grasp your movement filler).

Seed of Corruption is your AoE spell. It places an 18 second DoT on your target, which then explodes when they take a certain amount of damage or die. This explosion damages all enemies within 10 yards. When used with Soulburn, the explosion also adds Corruption to each affected target.

Soulburn also has an affect on Soul Swap. Normally, Soul Swap copies your DoTs and allows you to paste them onto another enemy. You’d use this when you have superpowered DoTs thanks to trinket procs, Dark Soul and the like. Soulburn changes Soul Swap’s funtionality to instantly apply all 3 DoTs! This is useful at the pull of a boss, or when you want to apply all 3 DoTs quickly (when trinkets proc, for instance).

Curse of the Elements is simple. It places a 5 minute debuff on your target that makes it take 5% more magical damage. It’s passively applied by rogues and their poisons, so if a rogue is in your group, you don’t need to cast it! Soulburn makes it affect enemies in a 10 yard radius around the target.

Life Tap restores mana at the cost of health.

Dark Soul is your DPS cooldown. The affliction version is called Dark Soul: Misery, and increases your haste by 30%. Line it up with trinket procs, if you can, for added oomph!

Rotation

Well, it’s more of a priority-based system, really.

  • Curse of the Elements. More damage!
  • Agony. Refresh it before it drops off.
  • Unstable Affliction. Refresh it before it drops off.
  • Corruption. Refresh it before it drops off.
  • Haunt. Refresh just after the debuff drops, and if you don’t need to refresh a DoT first.
  • Malefic Grasp/Drain Soul. The latter in execute.
  • Fel Flame if you need to move.
  • Life Tap if needed to regain mana.

Looks simple, right?

Demon of Choice

You’ll want to stick with the Felhunter, or the Observer if you use Grimoire of Supremacy. The Imp is good if you are switching target a lot, as it doesn’t have to run all over the place, it just stands there like a turret, throwing those little fireballs. Cute.

DoT Snapshotting

When you cast one of your DoTs, it snapshots your stats when it takes effect. It then uses these potentially boosted stats in the damage calculation, so you want to refresh your DoTs when you have powerful haste/intellect procs from trinkets.

Bear in mind that snapshotting is going away in patch 6.0, which means your DoTs will dynamically update their damage as things proc and drop off.

Talents

Soul Leech is pretty much the default talent of tier 1. It passively provides you with a damage-absorbing shield when Malefic Grasp, Drain Soul, Haunt and Fel Flame deal damage, equal to 20% of the damage dealt. It caps at 15% of your total health.

Mortal Coil is the talent I usually opt for in tier 2, as it provides a heal! The horror effect is usually resisted by most raid mobs and bosses.

Soul Link is the best choice in tier 3 if you’re using a pet, whereas if you’re using Grimoire of Sacrifice, Sacrificial Pact is slightly better.

Burning Rush is the talent I usually take in tier 4, as fast movement can come in very useful in certain boss encounters.

Grimoire of Supremacy is the current talent of choice for affliction in tier 5, as it sims as being the highest DPS. If you don’t want to deal with the tiny amount of micromanagement you might have to do with your pet, however, then Sacrifice may be better for you.

Archimonde’s Darkness is your best choice in tier 6 for fights with little to no movement. Fights which require lots of movement will see Kil’jaeden’s Cunning become the best choice. Mannoroth’s Fury is… kinda bad for affliction, unless you’re using Seed of Corruption a lot, and even then I’d go with one of the others.

Glyphs

Glyph of Unstable Affliction reduces the cast time of the named spell by 25%.

Glyph of Eternal Resolve turns the eponymous ability into a passive one that reduces damage taken by 10%.

Glyph of Siphon Life causes your Corruption to heal you for 0.5% of your total health every time it deals damage.

Glyph of Healthstone turns your fel cookies into HoTs that restore double the amount of health they’d normally do, but over 10 seconds.

Glyph of Curse of Exhaustion makes this curse reduce an enemy’s movement speed by 70%, but makes the debuff only last 15 seconds instead of 30. It also incurs a 10 second cooldown.

Glyph of Verdant Spheres turns those shards that appear above your head into wonderous green balls, as seen at the start of the article.

And finally, a quick section on…

Stat Priority

Intellect
Hit to 15%
Mastery
Haste
Crit

Anyway, this should be all the basic information you need to start playing affliction! Happy cursing! And don’t stand in the soup.

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One thought on “A Newbie Guide To Affliction!

    Caewen said:
    May 14, 2014 at 3:15 am

    I used to play as affliction all the time, but ‘lost’ the rotation/spec when we got our big overhaul. Even with having the best gear I could get, my numbers just were bad, so I was forced to respec into one/both of the other two. I’ve always loved affliction, felt it was the most warlock-ey of the three. Very good guide!

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