PvE Affliction Warlock Rotation & Cooldowns 

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The rotation of an Affliction Warlock has remained almost identical to its WotLK Classic iteration, with only a few things that have changed overall. The playstyle still revolves around DoT effects uptime, powerful direct damage spells, and an extremely powerful Execution Phase. The most prominent change for Affliction Warlocks is that Unstable Affliction can now be refreshed during the Execution Phase, meaning that their overall performance is massively improved while their rotation is also far easier whenever they reach the Execution Phase.

In this section of the guide, we will go over the rotation and abilities of an Affliction Warlock, in both Single-Target and AoE/Cleave encounters.

Single-Target Rotation

  1. Cast Dark Intent on another caster before the fight begins
  2. Prioritize Demon Soul and Summon Doomguard for Burst Phases
  3. Apply Shadow and Flame to the target
  4. Cast Curse of the Elements at the beginning of the fight
  5. Cast Haunt before applying any DoT effect
    • Cast Haunt on cooldown after the first application
  6. Cast Corruption
  7. Cast Unstable Affliction and refresh it once it expires
  8. Cast Bane of Doom for long fights
  9. Cast Bane of Agony for shorter fights
  10. Cast Drain Soul (Main Filler during the Execution Phase)
  11. Cast Shadow Bolt (Main Filler)

Traditionally, the standard Single-Target rotation for the Warlock class has always been split into two different parts: The Operner and the Rotation itself after the Opener. This specific split is especially important for Affliction Warlocks as they heavily rely on DoT effects. The reason why the Opener itself is so important is that your DoTs snapshot your current effects, with Corruption famously snapshotting your Spell Power, Haste Rating, Critical Strike Chance, and any other damage-increasing effects such as Haunt, Shadow and Flame, Shadow Embrace, Curse of the Elements, and Demon Soul.

This means that you will want to empower yourself as much as possible before applying Corruption to the target, especially since you will want to place it only once and refresh the duration of the empowered Corruption consistently. Unstable Affliction is also subjected to the same type of bonuses, however, you won’t be able to refresh it until you reach the Execution Phase.

The Opener should consist of applying Shadow and Flame to the target, followed by Curse of the Elements, Haunt. Ideally, you will want to stack 3 x stacks of Shadow Embrace before you also activate Demon Soul by casting 2 x Shadow Bolt plus the initial Haunt. Once you stack all of those effects, including a Volcanic Potion, you may cast Corruption which effectively ends your Opener.

After your Opener, the rotation itself is quite simple, with Haunt being used on cooldown to maintain the empowered Corruption, followed by Unstable Affliction as your most potent secondary DoT. Once you apply Unstable Affliction, cast Bane of Doom and simply use Shadow Bolt as your Main Filler. You will consistently refresh Unstable Affliction, Bane of Doom, and Corruption throughout the fight until your target reaches 25% HP, upon which, you will enter the execution Phase.

During the Execution Phase, you will want to make sure that you manage to cast an empowered version of Unstable Affliction, as you will now be able to consistently refresh it with Drain Soul. Since Drain Soul will become your Main Filler during the execution Phase, you will only have to worry about refreshing Bane of Doom and casting Haunt on cooldown, as both Corruption and Unstable Affliction will be automatically refreshed by your Drain Soul spam.

AoE/Cleave Rotation

  1. Cast Curse of the Elements at the beginning of a fight
  2. Spam Seed of Corruption if there are more than 4 targets
  3. Multi-Dot with Bane of Agony, Unstable Affliction, Corruption when there are 3 targets and proceed with the Single-Target Rotation
  4. Proceed with the Single-Target Rotation and use Soul Swap for Cleave scenarios where there are only 2 targets

AoE and Cleave are entirely different for Affliction Warlocks. Depending on the number of targets present, you will want to use different tactics.

For AoE encounters where there are at least 4 targets present, Seed of Corruption remains your most trusty weapon. Furthermore, through the Soulburn effect, you can now apply Corruption on an infinite number of targets that are present next to your main target, massively empowering your Multi-Dot AoE capabilities.

Any encounter that has 3 or 2 targets can be classified as a Cleave Encounter. You will want to Multi-Dot in such scenarios by performing your Single-Target rotation and applying Bane of Agony, Unstable Affliction, and Corruption to each of your targets. In Cleave Encounters with only 2 targets, this can be even more easily done with the new Soul Swap mechanic.


About the Author


Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
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