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A Newbie Guide To Affliction!


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!


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.


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.


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

Hit to 15%

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



So You’ve Boosted a Warlock to 90!

Or the Beginners Guide to Destruction inxy

Meet Inxy, the not-so-newly boosted goblin warlock. She’s currently decked out in a mixture of the 483 boost gear and 496 Timeless Isle gear, with a 535 set of bracers for good measure. What’s this blog post about? It’s gonna be about the basics of playing a destruction warlock, and just how to handle gearing up though that pesky Timeless Isle, and getting a decent weapon and trinkets from Throne of Thunder.

A Basic Look at Destruction

So, the first thing you want to do when you log into your boosted character is to select your talents. talents

The first tier of talents is all about health management, and I nearly always go with Soul Leech. When you deal damage, it grants you an absorption shield equal to 10% of the damage dealt, capping at 15% of your health. This is kinda reminiscent of the death knight’s Death Strike, in that it provides you with a means of damage mitigation as well as attack. The other talents are okay if you need on-demand healing, but you have many other sources of that, make no mistake.

The second tier is your short-tem CC tier, and as you can see, I tend to opt for Mortal Coil. It causes an enemy to run around in horror 3 seconds, and restores 15% of your health. Shadowfury is good for if you need the AoE stun. Personally, I’ve never used Demonic Breath. Maybe the snare effect is good for PVP?

The third tier is all about damage reduction! I tend to stick with Soul Link. When you have a demon active, 20% of damage you take is transferred to it, and you are both healed for 3% of damage you do. If you opt to take Grimoire of Sacrifice as a talent however, then Soul Link increases your health by 20%. Dark Bargain makes you invulnerable for 8 seconds, then puts an 8 second DoT on you equal to 50% of the damage done. Sacrificial Pact sacrifices 25% of your demon’s health (Or yours if you have no demon), and puts an absorption shield on you equal to 400% of the health lost. Both are really good when you know that a massive damage spike is incoming. It’s a free choice here.

Fourth tier is all about self-preservation, at a cost. Burning Rush drains 4% of your health per second when activated, but increases your speed by 50%, and you can’t be slowed to below 100%. Useful for when you need to move quickly in a fight! Unbound Will removes harmful debuffs, and loss-of-control effects, at a cost of 20% of your health. Got a debuff you want to get rid of, but save a healer a job? Use this! Blood Horror is a PVP talent with only slightly situational benefit in solo content. For 5% of your health, it places a buff with 1 charge on you. When someone melees you, the charge is spent and the attacker flees for 4 seconds.

Fifth tier is all about your demons! All of these talents are close in performance to one-another, so go with what your situation requires. I tend to go with Grimoire of Supremacy when out-and-about in the world, or doing solo stuff (the Voidlord is an AMAZING personal tank), and Grimoire of Sacrifice in group content (raids, dungeons, world bosses and the like).

Tier six. Your DPS increasers. Kil’jaeden’s Cunning allows you to move when casting your spec’s filler spell. When doing solo stuff, I tend to stick with this one. Archimonde’s Darkness grants you two charges of Dark Soul, your major DPS cooldown. I tend to use this in raids. Mannoroth’s Fury increases the size and damage of your AoE for 10 seconds on activation, but honestly? It falls behind. It’s fairly situational in use.

Now then, how exactly does one do destruction?


You have 4 embers, and each one consists of 10 “emberbits”. Incinerate is your main method of filling them; each hit grants 1 emberbit, critical hits grant 2. Conflagrate grants emberbits in the same way; normal hits grant 1, crits grant 2. Immolate grants 1 emberbit on critical strikes only. Rain of Fire has a 12.5% chance of granting 1 emberbit on a hit. There are four ways of spending full embers. Chaos Bolt (your main nuke), Shadowburn (your execute), Flames of Xoroth (instant demon resurrection) and Ember Tap (your self-heal).

Important Spells

  1. Curse of Elements increases magic damage done to the target by 5% for 5 minutes. Always have this on your target. If there’s a rogue in your group, you don’t need to apply this; their poisons do that job for you. Happy days!
  2. Immolate. It’s your main DoT, keep it up constantly. Refresh it at around 5 seconds left to ensure it doesn’t drop off.
  3. Conflagrate on cooldown! This provides you with a buff called Backdraft, which lowers the cast time and mana cost of Incinerate and Chaos Bolt by 30%. It has two charges, and generally you don’t wanna keep more than 1, as it’s potential wasted charges in the future.
  4. Chaos Bolt is your main nuke. It costs 1 full ember, and it always critically strikes. In addition, the higher your crit rating, the bigger the boost to Chaos Bolt’s damage! You shouldn’t just spam them whenever you can however; I’ll go into more detail on this below.
  5. Shadowburn replaces Chaos Bolt in your rotation when an enemy reaches 20% health.

What do I do in cleave or AoE situations?

In a cleave situation, you want to start using Havoc. When you cast it on a target, it duplicates any single-target spell you cast on another target, up to three times (once, in the case of Chaos Bolt). So you Havoc an add, and fire an Immolate on a boss. It’ll hit the add too! In an AoE situation, you want to start using Rain of Fire, which is a targeted AoE spell. Does extra damage to immolated targets. You can use this in a cleave situation too, if the enemies are close enough together. You also want to start using Fire & Brimstone. This modifies a number of your single-target spells to affect a 10-yard area around the target. Spells affected are Immolate, Conflagrate, Incinerate, and any Curse Of… spells.

What major DPS cooldowns do I have?

Dark Soul: Instability is the first major one. On a 2 minute cooldown, it increases your critical strike chance by 30% for 20 seconds. Probably best to use this whenever it comes off cooldown for a serious DPS burst. Summon Doomguard/Terrorguard and Summon Infernal/Abyssal share a 10 minute cooldown, and summon a powerful demon to aid you for a full minute. The Doomguard is best on single target, the Infernal if you need some strong AoE.

When should I be casting Chaos Bolt?

  1. If you’re about to cap on embers. Generally, it’s recommended fire off one at about 3.5 embers, to prevent getting 4 full embers (it makes any future ember gain wasted, as you can’t go above 4)
  2. You are under the effects of Dark Soul, or powerful intellect/crit trinket procs. This is the point when you want to cast as many as you can, to take advantage of the potential massive damage boost!

Note that you can replace Chaos Bolt with Shadowburn when your target is below 20%, with the same criteria.

I’m using Grimoire of Supremacy. What demon should I use?

If you’re just mooching around the world (Timeless Isle for example), then you want the Voidlord. It’s a great personal tank, very resilient, very good at holding aggro. For group content, if it’s a single target fight, the Observer has a very slight DPS increase over the other demons. Fel Imp is good in fights where you change targets a lot, as it doesn’t have to run around all over the place, it’s a bit of a turret.

I’m using Grimoire of Sacrifice. Which demon do I kill?

Harsh way of putting it. It depends on what ability you want. You see, you have an ability called Command Demon, which changes based on what you have summoned or sacrificed.

  1. Fel Imp: Singe Magic, which removes debuffs.
  2. Felhunter: Spell Lock, an interrupt.
  3. Succubus: Whiplash, damage and knockback.
  4. Voidlord: Shadow Bulwark, boosts hp by 30% for 20 seconds.

Something’s attacking me! Help!

You have a number of cooldowns to help you defensively, don’t worry!

  1. Ember Tap. Costs 1 ember, heals you for a percentage of health, boosted by mastery rating. Instant cast. No cooldown.
  2. Unending Resolve.  Reduces damage taken by 40% and prevents interrupts and silences for 8 seconds. Instant cast. 3 minute cooldown.
  3. Soulshatter. Reduces your threat by 90% against everything in a 50-yard radius. Instant cast. 2 minute cooldown.
  4. Twilight Ward. Absorbs an amount of shadow or holy damage based on your spellpower for 30 seconds. Instant cast. 30 second cooldown.
  5. Healthstones! Restores 20% of your health. 2 minute cooldown.
  6. Howl of Terror. Causes up to 5 enemies in 10 yeards of you to flee for 20 seconds! Damaging them may break the effect. 40 second cooldown.
  7. Fear. Causes an enemy to flee for 20 seconds. 1.7 second cast time.

So how do I gear up on Timeless Isle? 

Simple. Open chests scattered around the isle and kill things! You may receive special tokens that when used, turn into an item level 496 (or 535 when used with a Burden of Eternity) piece of gear! You can only use cloth tokens though, warlocks can’t wear leather or anything like that.

But… How do I kill the elites there?

Oh it’s simple really. Have your demon tank for you, this negates a LOT of danger, and makes the Timeless Isle less dangerous for warlocks than nearly any other class. Remember that you have a way of healing your demon. Health Funnel siphons life from you to your demon!

  • Pink birds: Avoid their conal cast, Gust of Winf. When they start to use it, you see the area of effect on the ground. Step out of it.
  • Big blue crabs: Claw Flurry is what you wanna avoid here. When you see it begins to cast it, MOVE AWAY FROM THE FRONT OF IT. This one CAN kill you very quickly.
  • Turtles: When they spin, run away. When they do Snapping Bite, don’t be in front of it.
  • Tigers: Avoid the leap, it stuns you. Avoid the conal AoE, it puts a nasty bleed on you. You pull one, you tend to pull a few, so be wary.
  • Big snakes: They have 1 attack, it has a 3 second cast time, and it does 25% of your maximum health in physical damage. Ouch. Definitely have your pet take this one, while you stay far away and blast it to bits.
  • Froggies: Another you’ll need your pet to tank. Every time they attack, they also apply a DoT to their target. This deals periodic damage, and when it stacks to 10, the target dies. Pull them one at a time!
  • Elementals on the beach: Has a nasty cast called Steam Blast that hits in the region of 100k. Can be interrupted, can be kited. You move far enough away from them, they have to stop casting and move, as it has a range of only 10 yards.
  • Elementals in the cave: Use the blue campfires beforehand to place a buff on yourself that reduces fire damage. Interrupt their cast, even with the buff it’s nasty damage. Get out the circle when they cast Spiritflame Strike, it’s close to a one-shot.

Once you’re slightly better geared (496/535 in most slots), you can also take on a few of the Ordon enemies!

  • Ordon Fire-Watcher: Pyroblast hits quite hard, but if your voidlord has aggro, you’re golden. Try and avoid the areas Falling Flames hits, they do about 200k.
  • Ordon Candlekeepers: Breath of Fire needs to be dodged. When they start casting it, they don’t turn around to re-aim it. If given a chance, they’ll explode for a stun and big damage when near death. Shadowburn them fast!
  • Ordon Oathguards: Cracking Blow can be sidestepped. Generally it focuses this on your voidlord, so try not to stand directly behind it. When paired with another Ordon mob, they channel a 75% damage reduction on themself AND the other mob. Just damage through it, or interrupt it if you must. When it uses a shield ability, damage it from behind.
  • Burning Berserkers charge for a big chunk of health if you engage them from too far away. Avoid their small AoE. Can buff their damage dealt. Voidlord tank!
  • Blazebound Chanter: Pyroblast still hurts. Avoid falling flames. Summons a big-ass golem that hits VERY hard (think Vengeful Spirit from a Warbringer, only worse). To handle this, use a Rain of Fire on it when it spawns to get it to aggro onto you, then kite it.
  • Eternal Kilnmaster: Definitely send your voidlord in for this one. If you’re too far away, they charge like a Berserker only worse. Blazing Blow hits in a narrow cone centered on his target. Make sure it’s your voidlord! Summons a kiln that increases casting speed.
  • High Priest of Ordos: I really wouldn’t if I were you. They’re like the above 2 enemies combined on steroids.
  • Molten Guardians. Be at max range from them. Send in your demon. Move out of black things on the ground, it’ll erupt for massive damage. Horrid for melee characters, but you’re not melee, are you?

Honestly, those last 4 enemies should only really be tackled when you’re in decent gear, there’s so much that can go wrong with them.

I need a weapon! Should I buy one from the vendor?

I’d say no. Spend your Timeless Coins on Mogu Runes of Fate instead. These grant you a bonus roll from bosses in Throne of Thunder, with a nice chance to get some loot! Which bosses should you spend coins on?

  • Horridon: Dinomancer’s Spiritbinding Spire (2h staff), Venomlord’s Totemic Wand (1h wand)
  • Megaera: Fetish of the Hydra (offhand)
  • Dark Animus: Athame of the Sanguine Ritual (1h dagger)
  • Twin Consorts: Suen-Wo, Spire of the Falling Sun (2h staff)
  • Lei Shen: Lei Shen’s Orb of Command (offhand)

And while on the subject of coining bosses in ToT, you can’t go wrong with getting a trinket or two, especially if Timeless Curios are refusing to drop!

  • Council of Elders: Wushoolay’s Final Choice
  • Megaera: Breath of the Hydra
  • Dark Animus: Cha-Ye’s Essence of Brilliance
  • Lei Shen: Unerring Vision of Lei Shen

With your Timeless Isle armor, and Thone of Thunder weapons/trinkets, you’ll be ready for everything Siege of Orgrimmar has to throw at you! And it just so happens that the first boss, Immerseus, drops the best trinket for warlocks (and casters in general, it seems)! Go forth and claim your prize!

EDIT: I forgot to mention another method of getting some good gear, though in hindsight, it may seem obvious. When you have 50 Lesser Charms, turn them in at the Shrine for your Warforged Seals, and go find yourself a Celestials group (And Ordos, if you’re eligible!). 553/559 gear is not to be sniffed at!