Warlock Affliction Talent Builds

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The Affliction tree improves the strength of your DoT and drain spells. It is widely considered to be the best grinding spec thanks to the near complete lack of downtime and the ability to take on multiple mobs at the same time.

Tier 1

Suppression rank 5/5
Reduces the chance for enemies to resist your Affliction spells by 10%.

Comment: Suppression acts as +hit gear that only works for your Affliction spells, meaning that each rank of Suppression gives you +2% hit for your DoTs, Fear, Death Coil, etc. +hit causes your spells to suffer fewer level-based resists. This helps save on mana lost from resists and time used to cast the spells. To see more on the effects of +hit, look up "spell hit" on wowwiki.

Solo: *** - Saves mana and improves DPS, especially against higher level targets. Difficult to fit into builds.
Raid: *** - Makes gearing up easier for the Affliction DPS Warlock, but it's hard to fit into most builds. Note it doesn't affect Shadow Bolt, and therefore it does not at all "replace" +hit.
PvP: *** - Helps prevent Fears and Death Coils from being resisted - very nice. See note.

Notes: You only need a combined bonus of +3% total hit for PvP against most targets. Also, it works to counteract talents like Iron Will that lower the chance of certain classes to be Feared. Keep in mind that this talent ONLY works for Affliction spells.

Improved Corruption rank 5/5
Reduces the casting time of your Corruption spell by 2.0 sec.

Comment: Corruption is near worthless with a cast time. WIth this talent, it becomes a nice instant DoT option.

Solo: ***** - Reduces amount of time it takes to put out a Corruption, helps kiting, lets you ignore pushback by damage.
Raid: **** (***** For Affliction) - A significant increase in DPS, but there's little room for it in certain heavy Destruction builds. Not always useful against trash.
PvP: ***** - Almost every build should include this talent, especially for the arena.

Notes: Does not affect Seed of Corruption in any way.

Tier 2

Improved Curse of Weakness rank 2/2
Increases effect of Curse of Weakness by 20%

Comment: Increases the attack power reduction on Curse of Weakness from 350 to 420 (max rank).

Solo: * - You're better off using Curse of Agony in almost every solo scenario.
Raid: * - As far as I know, CoW doesn't stack with Demoralizing Shout, which therefore makes this a waste of a curse slot.
PvP: ** - CoW is an underestimated spell for longer match-ups. However, this talent isn't crucial.

Notes: For arenas, it is generally only taken by Warlocks who know they won't need Fel Concentration.

Improved Drain Soul rank 2/2
Returns 15% of your mana if your target is killed by you while you drain its soul. In addition, your Affliction spells generate 10% less threat.

Comment: When you or your pet land a killing blow while channeling Drain Soul on a mob, you regain 15% of your total mana. This means you'll probably need a DoT on your target or a Shadow Bolt/Incinerate traveling to it while you're channeling Drain Soul on it to get this talent's bonus.

Solo: **** - Very nice for minimalizing downtime. Also, if you use a Voidwalker/Felguard to grind, your DoT's will pull that much less agro. However, Affliction has a lot of mana management options and Demo or Dest builds won't always be able to fit this talent in.
Raid: **** (Or less) - Don't expect to get the mana to proc in raids. The threat reduction's usefulness varies depending on how much you DoT/Drain, obviously. Overall DoT's don't have as much DPS as nukes, and therefore less threat.
PvP: 1/2 - Don't bother.

Notes: Highly recommended at later levels if you insist on grinding with Destruction or Demonology, with a Voidwalker/Felguard out. Send a Shadow Bolt and right when the missle leaves your hand, cast Drain Soul. Your finishing bolt will kill the target and you'll get the Soul Shard and the mana bonus.

Improved Life Tap rank 2/2
Increases mana awarded from your Life Tap spell by 20%

Comment: Increases rate of mana received from Life Tapping, reduces the number of times you have to Life Tap overall, and improves health:mana ratio when using Life Tap. Very good talent.

Solo: **** (*** For Affliction) - Helps you grind efficiently as possible. Fewer points for Affliction builds as they have Dark Pact. Still very useful though.
Raid: **** - Fewer, faster, health efficient Life Taps = more DPS and better healer efficiency.
PvP: *** - Great for long battles. Not as useful for short battles (like for a Warlock/Mage 2v2 arena team).

Notes: You'll almost always want this talent if you're going to have more than five points in Affliction.

Soul Siphon 2/2
Increases the amount drained by your Drain Life spell by an additional 4% for each Affliction effect on the target, to a maximum of 60%.

Comment: Every Affliction DoT, Curse, and Drain (?) effect on the mob improves the amount of damage Drain Life does.

Solo: ***** (*** Demo/* Dest) - An extremely powerful talent for drain tanking or just draining life if you're using a pet to tank the mob. Mileage with Demonology and Destruction may vary depending on playstyle.
Raid: ** (* Demo/Dest) - Helps to "reload" as an Affliction spec, but Shadow Bolt has much higher DPS. Relieves the healers a little.
PvP: *** - Mileage greatly varies depending on what team you're running and what bracket.

Notes: As of 2.3, this talent no longer affects Drain Mana.

Tier 3

Improved Curse of Agony rank 2/2
Increases damage done by your Curse of Agony by 10%.

Comment: Increases the damage done by CoA. Since CoA is such a useful curse, it wouldn't seem to hurt to improve its damage by 10%. However, the talent cost is a little high the justify the improvement of only one spell, especially of one that takes 24 seconds to do its full damage.

Solo: ** - Every increase to DPS is welcome for grinding and farming builds, but the overall increase from this talent isn't very much. A decent filler talent.
Raid: 1/2 - Most raiders will use CoEl, CoS, or CoD instead.
PvP: ** - CoA is a good source of DPS for Affliction builds, but it's not crucial. You'll be using CoT and CoEx more often in the arena.

Notes: This talent works AFTER +spell damage, unlike its old version before 2.0.

Fel Concentration rank 5/5
Gives you a 70% chance to avoid interruption caused by damage while channeling the Drain Life, Drain Mana, or Drain Soul spell.

Comment: A great talent that allows you to use drains even while something is hitting you. Essential for grinding.

Solo: ***** (** for Dest/Demo) - Absolutely essential for drain tanking.
Raid: * (** in 5 mans) - Rarely useful in raids, as you shouldn't be taking hits anyway. In 5-man instances, it helps you mitigate some damage if you pull agro, but draining just pulls more agro.
PvP: ***1/2 - Incredible for certain strategies. Otherwise it just makes for a decent "instant" option. Make sure to bait out and dodge Kick/Pummels.

Notes: For more information on drain tanking, please see my FAQ.

Amplify Curse rank 1
Instant cast, 3 min cooldown: Increases the effect of your next Curse of Doom or Curse of Agony by 50%, or your next Curse of Exhaustion by 20%.

Comment: Every three minutes you can make your CoA/CoD do significantly more damage, or your CoEx into a great snare. Can't really be used in emergencies, but nifty for the point nonetheless. Also, it's a requirement for CoEx.

Solo: ** - An Amped CoA will help you with certain bosses and difficult encounters, but considering the nature of the spells that Amp Curse affects, it isn't crucial.
Raid: * - Meh.
PvP: *** - Great when used with CoEx against melees or the flag carrier.

Notes: When used with CoA or CoD, it scales BEFORE +dmg gear, making it lackluster for any curse besides CoEx.

Tier 4

Grim Reach rank 2/2
Increases the range of your Affliction spells by 20%

Comment: Improves range of DoT's, Death Coil, and Drain's to 36 yards, Fear to 24 yards. Extremely useful especially considering Affliction's playstyle.

Solo: **** (Less for Dest) - Allows you to pull from further away, saving you a hit or two from mobs and making pulls easier.
Raid: **** (Less for Dest) - Every step you have to take to readjust to the mob is a loss in DPS. This increases your effective radius in battles. Also helps you outrange those 30 yard radius AoE spells.
PvP: ***** - A must-have for Affliction builds. Extra range on Fear, Drains, and CoT is very useful.


Nightfall rank 2/2
Gives your Corruption and Drain Life spells a 4% chance to cause you to enter a Shadow Trance state after damaging the opponent. The Shadow Trance state reduces the casting time of your next Shadow Bolt spell by 100%.

Comment: Every tick of Corruption and Drain Life will be potentially devestating for your opponent. Most effective when you can Corruption multiple targets.

Solo: *** - Shadow Bolting from an NF proc during drain tanking will hurt your DPM a little, but help improve your grinding speed. Also pretty good for taking on multiple mobs.
Raid: * - A very slight improvement to the DPS of your Shadow Bolt spam, considering the global cooldown.
PvP: *** - Provides good, but completely unreliable burst damage to Affliction.

Notes: While grinding, it procs about every other battle or so, in my experience.

Empowered Corruption rank 3/3
Your Corruption spell gains an additional 36% of your bonus damage effects.

Comment: Adds +36% to Corruption's +damage coefficient, making it 128%, from 92%.

Solo: **1/2 - Improves the DPS of your Corruption spell, but only if you have +dmg.
Raid: **** (Less for Demo/Dest) - Essential to Affliction DPS later on.
PvP: *** - Improves the DPS of your Corruption spell, but there isn't always room for it in PvP builds.

Notes: For leveling builds, don't put points into Empowered Corruption unless you have a significant amount of +dmg gear.

Tier 5

Shadow Embrace rank 5/5
Your Corruption, CoA, SoC, and Siphon Life also cause the Shadow Embrace effect, which reduces physical damage caused by 5%.

Comment: Your DoT's all apply an additional debuff that reduces the amount of physical damage the target deals. Does not stack with itself, even among multiple Warlocks. Putting one point in is useful to provide an additional "Affliction effect" for Soul Siphon's bonus.

Solo: * - 5% less damage isn't that big of a deal, considering the way a Warlock grinds. Put one point in if you have it to improve the bonus from Soul Siphon.
Raid: * (or ****) - For 25-man raids, your guild might want to have a consistent Warlock invest into this talent. 5% reduced melee damage is useful, but since it doesn't stack and has a heavy talent point cost you only want one Warlock to invest in it.
PvP: **** - Only put one point in. SE is essential to builds like 23/38, that can't reach UA or Contagion but need dispel protection. SE counts as a magical debuff and will help protect your DoT's from dispels.

Notes: This talent gets low ratings, but putting at least one point in it is useful to improve Soul Siphon and to make it harder to dispel you in PvP.

Siphon Life rank 1/1
150 Mana, 30 yd range, Instant cast: Transfers x health from the target to the caster every 3 sec. Lasts 30 sec.

Comment: High mana cost, low damage DoT with a long duration. If Siphon Life ends early due to dispels of the mob dying, it is very mana inefficient. However, an extra DoT is an extra DoT, and the health you gain from Siphon Life is useful. Plus, it's a prerequisite for Shadow Mastery.

Solo: *** - Good, but with a high mana cost. If mobs are dying too fast for Siphon Life to work well, don't use it in your rotation.
Raid: **** - Good for further increasing DPS and keeping a minor HoT on you. Not always useful against trash, but that's the nature of Affliction.
PvP: ***1/2 - The extra DoT is pretty good, but it probably won't be competing with 41 talents for the point.

Notes: Siphon Life on several targets at a time is pretty nice for the healing. Just remember you spent a ton of mana casting them, and you might end up Life Tapping to make up for it anyway.

Curse of Exhaustion rank 1/1
108 Mana 30 yd range Instant cast: Reduces the target's speed by 30% for 12 sec. Only one Curse per Warlock can be active on any one target.

Comment: CoEx is a low mana cost, 0 cooldown, 36 yard range snare that suffers no diminishing returns. Its weakness? It takes up a curse slot and is beat out by most other snares in the game. This means you either need to outrange or counter stuff like Intercept or Sprint or you need a teammate who can help you do that. An incredibly useful skill, but some do not like it.

Solo: ** - Only useful if you need to kite an elite mob and Fear isn't an option. Note that most elite quest mobs in the Outlands are immune to Fear AND Snares now.
Raid: * (**** for 5-man/heroics) - The best curse to swap out for CoR when using Fear as a CC in dungeons. It lets you kite mobs in certain situations, which makes it potentially a wipe-saver. Very underestimated.
PvP: **1/2 - With Shadowstepping Rogues, mace stunning Warriors, and Druids to hold you in place, this talent has lost much of its worth in the arenas. Still has its uses however, especially in the BG's.

Notes: I should apologize for the rating this talent had in the earlier version of this guide. I didn't have heroic experience yet and there wasn't much feedback on CoEx in the forums at the time of writing.

Tier 6

Shadow Mastery rank 5/5
Increases damage dealt or life drained by your Shadow spells by 10%.

Comment: A very good talent. 10% more damage to all of your spells is good.

Solo: ****1/2 - 10% of damage almost means you kill 10% faster. No reason to skip this talent.
Raid: ***** - No reason to skip this talent.
PvP: ****1/2 - No reason to skip this talent.

Notes: SL/SL builds will always take DK over SM because at PVP viable levels of gear, DK will always provide more damage than SM point-by-point.

Tier 7

Contagion rank 5/5
Increases the damage of Curse of Agony, Corruption, and Seed of Corruption by 5% and reduces the chance your Affliction spells will be dispelled by an additional 30%.

Comment: Slightly improves the damage of your DoT's and makes them harder to dispel. Every failed dispel costs your opponent mana and a global cooldown - pretty nice, since the weakness of Affliction before BC was dispels.

Solo: ** - A very minor increase to damage considering the cost in talent points. Generally you'll only get it as a prerequisite to Unstable Affliction.
Raid: ** - See above.
PvP: **** - Every time your opponent fails to dispel your DoT's, he has to try to dispel them again. Every additional dispel he has to cast costs him mana and a global cooldown. Protects your instants well when you can't use UA.


Dark Pact rank 1/1
20 yd range, Instant: Transfers a lot of mana from your pet to you.

Comment: An incredible talent. It gives you a source of mana that doesn't consume your health, which is helpful in all forms of gameplay.

Solo: ***** - It pretty much allows you to grind non-stop. Make sure to use it with an Imp or Succubus (with mana-cost abilities turned off).
Raid: **** - Makes you less reliant on healers for mana, greatly increasing your longetivity. Be careful if you use this with a CCing Succubus, you don't want those to run out of mana.
PvP: ** (*** in BG's) - It's best not to spam this very often in the arena, because your Felhunter is mana dependent. In BG's, you have a little more time to regen between battles.

Notes: Be careful when using this spell with a Felhunter or Succubus - their mana pools are important!

Tier 8

Improved Howl of Terror rank 2/2
Reduces the cast time of Howl of Terror by 1.5 seconds.

Comment: Turns Improved Howl of Terror into an instant PBAOE Fear. An incredible ability, despite having a shorter duration than Fear/Seduce but being on the same diminishing returns. Considered by some to be the "true" 41 Affliction talent.

Solo: **** - Helps you deal with certain hairy situations better and makes you better at multi-pulling.
Raid: ** - Fears are dangerous in dungeons, but so are mobs that agro on your healer. Instant Fear is very useful in such a situation. It's also good for certain encounters like the endurance section in Blood Furnace.
PvP: ***** - The applications of instant AoE Fear in PvP are endless. Still counterable by WotF and other similar abilities though.

Notes: Note that Howl of Terror has a maximum duration of 8 seconds, instead of 15 (or 12).

Malediction rank 3/3
Increases the damage bonus effect of CoS and CoEl by an additional 3%.

Comment: Improves the effectiveness of your main raid curses, but considering the talent cost and the location of this talent on the tree, it's not very popular.

Solo: 1/2 - You should be using CoA instead of CoS in just about every solo PvE situation.
Raid: **** - A larger raid could use one or two Warlocks with three points in this talent to maximize CoS/CoEl potential, but the increase per talent point isn't substantial.
PvP: 1/2 - Not useful for an Affliction Warlock by any stretch of imagination.

Notes: Only for hardcore raiding builds.

Tier 9

Unstable Affliction rank 1/1
30 yard range, 1.5s cast time: Causes 1050 damage over 15 seconds. If Unstable Affliction is dispelled, it will deal 1550 damage to the dispeller and silence them for 5 seconds.

Comment: Another extra DoT, but with a cast time. On dispel, deals huge damage (a 200% +dmg coefficient!) and silences the dispeller. This is very good, Affliction was vulnerable to dispels before BC. UA doesn't completely remove this weakness, but it helps. As an Affliction Warlock, you have the option of spending 1.5 seconds to cast UA to deal some extra damage and to protect your DoT's.

Solo: *** - An extra DoT. It will probably replace Immolate as your opener.
Raid: ***** - If you add it to your DoT chain, UA increases your DPS considerably.
PvP: ***** - See comment. Whereas Contagion only makes it harder for healers to dispel DoT's, UA forces them to make a decision as they must either eat the huge damage + silence, or let your teammate take the full DoT damage?

Notes: For those deciding between 41/0/20 and 40/0/21, UA beats out Ruin in long PvE battles until higher levels of gear (~30% crit, hit capped).. Generally for PvP UA will be taken over Ruin.

Also, Contagion and UA are NOT counter-intuitive. The point of UA is not to force a healer to be hit and silenced - a 1.5 cast spell that hits for a few thousand and silences for 5 seconds would be incredibly overpowered. It's there as a threat to seriously kick a healer's ass for dispelling his teammates.

UA is also helpful for protecting your Fear's and even stuff like Frost Nova.

UA can crit; it seems that it is affected by the healer's crit chance rather than your own, which is advantageous against Paladins.

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