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

by on August 28, 2012

Garrosh! Has lost! The Plot! Yes, Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.4 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 17th September 2013 for World of Warcraft Patch 5.4

Affliction Warlock changes in 5.4

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.

If you’ve found this article useful, please consider sharing it using the buttons below!

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other posts from these categories: Archives

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Tanner August 30, 2012 at 1:53 am

Succubus: Seduction
Felhunter: Spell Lock
Voidwalker: Shadow Bulwark
Imp: Singe Magic
Felguard: Pursuit

These spells replace your “Command Demon” ability in your spellbook.

For those that want to know about the grimoire of sacrifice.


Hugh Hancock August 30, 2012 at 9:53 am

Thanks – that’s very helpful.


Jon August 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Question about stats. Seems hit is capped at 7.7% now and there is a need for expertise at 7.7% as well. The section here leaves out expertise and still says hit cap is 15%. Any chance anyone has clarification on this?


Hugh Hancock August 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Yep, I know this one’s pretty confusing at the moment. As of 5.04, Hit/Expertise to 7.5% is for non-casters – casters need Hit of 15%, no Expertise.


Matthew August 30, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Thanks for putting this together. You’re sticking with haste as better than crit and mastery. Is this a hold over from pre 5.04? Some people are recommending mastery>hate>crit now with the same rotation, possible because SB was replaced by MG.


Kissodeath September 3, 2012 at 5:26 am

I would reccomand mastery as i just reforged all my haste to it and saw 80k on maddness and 35 – 40 on most other fights. Zagam on icy viens is the on who lead me there read his affliction tips in the forums.


Hugh Hancock September 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Stat weights are all over the place at the moment. As a global recommendation, the research I’ve done suggests that Haste will probably do better for most Afflic locks than Mastery.

However, it’s SO up in the air right now that if you’re concerned about going beyond a quick-start setup I’d strongly recommend downloading Simulationcraft and using that to determine stat priorities for your character.


Kode September 18, 2012 at 7:06 pm

In regards to grimoire of sacrifice. I was curious if you leave up your demon and sacrifice it during a burn phase of a boss fight to get the buff, or do you just summon your demon and sac right away and just keep the buff up all the time. I currently have just been sacrificing the demon before the fight even starts, but wasn’t sure if i was doing that correctly.


Robert September 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I am guessing your stats are for the PVE scene since they do not include PVP resilience or PVP power. For those of us who do both, is there a happy medium or are two sets of gear mandatory?


ryan October 1, 2012 at 9:10 pm

I found an amazing aoe rotation for 4 or more enemies. Casting soulburn: seed of corruption, and then casting regular seed of corruption WITHOUT soulburn will put TWO seeds of corruption on the target. I just maelific grasp the target to get both to pop at once. Rinse and repeat this. The dps is amazing. Having corruption on every target refreshes soul shards quickly, so you never have to worry about running out. Also soulburn CoE when your shards are abundant.


Machinelf July 10, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Hi Hugh, to reduce clutter you can safely remove Shadow Trance from this list, it now just gives a free shard and is not duration dependent anymore.


Hugh Hancock July 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm


Reply September 23, 2013 at 4:47 am

Wonderful items from you, man. I’ve bear in mind your stuff previous to and you are simply too great.
I really like what you’ve bought here, certainly like what you are saying and the best way by which you assert it.
You make it enjoyable and you still care for to
keep it smart. I can’t wait to read far more from you.
That is really a terrific website.


My Van and I March 25, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Why not help a local business by making use of a local ‘man and van’ to shift our heavy boxes.


find a local man and van service March 29, 2014 at 8:38 am

I think that we should help a local business by hiring a local
‘man and van’ to transport our bulky boxes.


wholesale discount purses July 2, 2014 at 9:29 am

We are Chinese Handbags wholesaler, supply many kinds of women or men cheap Gucci Handbags,replica Gucci Handbags,wholesale Gucci Handbags,”Affliction Warlock Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, and ability priorities — MMO Melting Pot”, and other fashion accessories. All are excellent quality with good price.You can look our website wholesale discount purses.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: