Affliction Warlock Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, and ability priorities

Garrosh! Has lost! The Plot! Yes, Mists of Pandaria Patch [patchnumber] is here. We’ve already seen new gylphs, new talents, new stat, reforging and gem priorities and a new ability rotation / priority system, and now those are being changed still further? But if you’re staring around in confusion, fear not – this quick-start guide will get you up and causing agony fast in MoP, without having to read a wall of text!

Updated [guideupdated] for World of Warcraft Patch [patchnumber]

Affliction Warlock changes in [patchnumber]

Significant changes to talents, stat weight updates, Fel Flame nerfed, generally a lot of minor changes.

Affliction “Rotation” and Priorities

Affliction’s ability rotation has been considerably simplified in MoP, which is a bit of a relief. You’ll still need to keep track of multiple Damage Over Time spells, though – we recommend installing an addon like Need To Know to keep track of when your spells end.

Single-target DPS

Start out by casting Agony, Corruption and Unstable Affliction on your target.

  • Top Priority: If any of Agony, Corruption or Unstable Affliction are about to drop, re-cast them. It is particularly important not to let Agony drop.
  • Second Priority: If your DOTs have more than 8 seconds to run or Haunt has less than 2 seconds to run, and you have 4 Soul Shards or Dark Soul: Misery active, cast Haunt.
  • Third Priority: If you don’t have anything else to do, cast Drain Soul if your target is below 20% health, or Malefic Grasp otherwise.

If you need to refresh any of your Damage Over Time spells when the target’s below 20%, just use Soulburn, then Soul Swap to refresh all three.


Below 3 targets, just use your normal rotation and try and keep as many DOTs running on enemies as possible.

Against 3-4 enemies, keep DOTs up on all of them and fill remaining time with Malefic Grasp or Drain Soul.

Against 5 or more enemies, open with Soulburn followed by Seed Of Corruption, then attempt to use Soulburn->Soul Swap on as many targets as possible.

Affliction AOE has always been a bit tricky, and it continues to be so. If you’re new to multi-dotting, don’t worry if you don’t get it right straight away – practise makes perfect!


  • Use Dark Soul: Misery whenever it’s available, unless Time Warp/Heroism/Bloodlust is running, in which case wait for that to end.
  • Use Summon Doomguard for single-target DPS and Summon Infernal for multi-target DPS. Use whichever is most appropriate whenever available.
  • Use Life Tap when you run low on mana.
  • Use Soulshatter to drop aggro from monsters attacking you. Particularly important before using Life Tap!
  • Unending Resolve reduces damage you take – particularly valuable if you’re on low life thanks to Life Tap.
  • Soulstone now functions as a combat resurrection – remember to use it if no-one else can combat res.


Remember to summon a demon. If you’re using our default talents, use the Observer for single-target fights and the Fel Imp for multi-target fights.

Remember to cast Dark Intent, and summon a Soulwell if your party or raid wants one! Also, if no-one else in your raid or party can do so, cast Curse of the Elements on important targets.

Affliction Warlock Talent Choices

As you get more experienced with these talents, and MoP progresses, you’ll probably change them on an encounter-by-encounter basis – but here’s a solid talent setup to start playing with:

  • Tier 1: Soul Leech – makes all your damage spells heal you (a bit).
  • Tier 2: Mortal Coil – gives you a self-heal spell.
  • Tier 3: Soul Link – passive talent
  • Tier 4: Unbound Will – gives you a cooldown which removes movement impairing effects, mind control, and magic debuffs.
  • Tier 5: Grimoire of Supremacy – better demons!
  • Tier 6: Archimonde’s Vengeance – gives you more flexibility with Dark Soul.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Affliction Warlock

Intellect is the most important stat for Affliction warlocks, with Hit to hit cap (15% / 5100 ) followed by Mastery as the most important secondary stats.

Reforging: Reforge to hit cap first (15% / 5100), then reforge to Mastery. Reforge from Hit over cap, then Crit first.

Gems: Use Artful gems in Red sockets, Sensei’s in Blue Sockets and Fractured in Yellow sockets.

Meta Gem: Burning meta gem, whichever you can afford.

Note on Expertise: Expertise counts toward the Hit Cap, so if you can’t reforge to Hit, you can still reforge to Expertise.

Afflic Warlock Glyphs

A number of glyphs have situationally specific uses, but here’s a good no-downsides selection:

Major: Glyph of Soulstone, Glyph of Unstable Affliction, Glyph of Siphon Life

Minor: Your choice. No real effects in DPS terms.

Affliction Warlock enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery or Superior Expertise
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Cerulean Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect

There are a couple of great guides out there if you’re looking for more info to support your ‘flicking:

  • Megan O’Neill writes on Warlocks for WoW Insider, and is doing a great job covering everything you need to know aboutMoP
  • Icy Veins has a very good, highly detailed guide to Affliction – useful for the greater detail sections in particular.
  • Finally, as a WoW player, you should really check out the latest and greatest from the blogosphere on World of Warcraft, here at the Melting Pot.

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