Affliction Warlock 6.1 Summonstone guide

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  1. Unholysin

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    Affliction Warlock
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    About the author
    This guide is written by Xyronic, Raider and Theorycrafter in Limit. Xyronic has been raiding competitively since the beginning of Mists of Pandaria, but has been around since early Cataclysm.

    Spec Overview
    Affliction is a spec that focuses on managing several different buffs and debuffs in order to maximize damage output. While not necessarily the best warlock spec, it has one of the highest 40 second burst windows of any spec in the game. The spec itself is not very flexible, requiring a specific talent set usingDemonic Servitude, until you reach high enough haste levels to use Soulburn: Haunt. Resource management and foresight are staples of playing affliction.

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    Changelog
    • 4/12: A guide is born

    Demonic Servitude Rotation
    This is the basic rotation for affliction. Use this at lower levels of gear, and without tier 17 4-set.

    1) Keep Agony, Unstable Affliction, and Corruption applied to the main target at all times. Your uptime should should be no less than 95%.

    2) Save Soul Shards to cast Haunt under the following conditions:

    -You have a damage buff, such as Dark Soul: Misery, Bloodlust, or a trinket proc.

    -You have 4 shards. In this case, cast one immediately so as to not waste Nightfall procs.

    3) Channel Drain Soul.

    On 2 or more targets:
    • After applying your initial dots to the first target, Soul Swap your dots to the secondary target, and any further available targets.

    • Refresh all dots manually. Your dot priority is Agony, then Unstable Affliction, then, Corruption.

    Haunt the target that you are channeling Drain Soul on.

    Opener
    1. Draenic Intellect Potion.
    2. Pre-cast Unstable Affliction.
    3. Corruption.
    4. Agony.
    5. Haunt.
    6. Dark Soul: Misery.
    7. Drain Soul.
    8. Follow Priority.

    Soulburn:Haunt Rotation
    This is the advanced rotation for affliction. Use this at higher levels of gear, and after you’ve obtained the Tier 17 4-set. This is also the ideal talent for 2+ target cleave.

    1) Keep Agony, Unstable Affliction, and Corruption applied to the main target at all times. Your uptime should should be no less than 95%.

    2) Save Soul Shards to cast Soulburn:Haunt when your buff has less than 9 seconds left.

    3) Cast Haunt ONLY under the following conditions:

    -You have 3 shards, and a damage buff, such as Dark Soul: Misery, Bloodlust, or a trinket proc.

    -You have 4 shards. In this case, cast one immediately so as to not waste Nightfall procs.

    4) Channel Drain Soul.

    On 2 or more targets:

    • After applying your initial dots to the first target, Soul Swap your dots to the secondary target.

    • Refresh all dots manually.

    Haunt the target that you are channeling Drain Soul on.

    Opener
    1. Pre-cast Soulburn at -22 seconds. Soul shards passively recharge every 20 seconds, but the buff lasts for 30 seconds. This will allow you to start the fight with an extra soul shard.
    2. Draenic Intellect Potion.
    3. Pre-cast Haunt (with your Soulburn still active) at -2 seconds. At the same time, use your petattack macro to attack the boss.
    4. Soulburn: Soul Swap, instantly applying all three of your dots.
    5. Cast Summon Terrorguard.
    6. Dark Soul: Misery.
    7. Drain Soul.
    8. Follow Priority.

    Dark Soul Usage
    How you use Dark Soul: Misery depends mostly on where your raid is planning on using Bloodlust in the fight, and whether or not there are certain add phases in the fight where you’ll want to have a charge of Dark Soul available for. If your raid is using Bloodlust on the pull, and there are no add phases at any point in the first two minutes of the fight (roughly one minute thirty seconds if you have the Item - Warlock T17 Affliction 4P Bonus, give or take), you’ll want to use both of your Dark Soul charges with Bloodlust. The reason for this is percentage haste buffs stack with each other. The 30% haste from Bloodlust and the 30% haste from Dark Soul: Misery multiply off of each other to give you a total bonus of 69% haste. So, in order to take advantage of this multiplicative bonus, you want to use both of your Dark Soul charges, which conveniently last for the exact duration of Bloodlust. For the rest of the fight, your decision making regarding Dark Soul should be as follows;

    • Do not cap on Dark Soul charges. If you reach one charge with 20 seconds left on the second charge, use Dark Soul so as not to cap on charges if you get a doubleNightfall proc.
    • Use Dark Soul during add phases. Getting Dark Soul usage with your dots on multiple targets is a far greater damage increase than using Dark Soul during a trinket proc.
    • On single target, use Dark Soul during a trinket proc. Preferably a Haste trinket, since the haste rating is multiplied by the Dark Soul haste percentage, but another trinket proc is just as good.
    Multi-target Soul Shard Usage
    An often asked question in the Affliction warlock world is how to use Soul Swap and Soulburn: Haunt in multi-target situations. The question is how many targets (assuming an infinite amount of targets) at which it’s worth using Soulburn: Haunt instead of swapping dots to a new target. Efficiency-wise, whenever you cast Soul Swap, you are at worst saving 2 GCDs (5 GCDs if you swap a full duration set of dots,which you should be aiming to do) to cast a set of dots on a new target. Because of this, the damage scaling of Soulburn: Haunt, and the fact that Soulburn: Haunt costs two shards to Soul Swap’s one, it is never worth casting Soulburn: Haunt if there are 4 or more targets available, unless you already have dots ticking on every available target. It is ALWAYS better to use your shards to Soul Swap dots to a new target.

    About Soulburn: Soul Swap
    Because Soul Swap costs a shard to use in Warlords of Draenor, it is only worth casting Soulburn: Soul Swap on the opener, when using Soulburn: Haunt. Essentially, Casting Soulburn: Soulswap saves you two GCDs worth of casting dots at the cost of two Soul Shards. However, because you pre-cast Unstable Affliction in the Demonic Servitude opener, you actually only end up saving one GCD, making it not worth the two shard cost.

    Bonus Trinket procs in the Opener
    While this is relatively well known to many people, it’s still a rather obscure way of playing the game. Let me preface this tip with this; have you ever noticed how easily your trinket procs on the opener? Very, very rarely do both trinkets (assuming both trinkers are rppm) not proc immediately upon doing any damage whatsoever to the boss. As a warlock, you can game the system somewhat by having your pet proc your trinkets pre-combat (which doesn’t count as your first trinket procs), and then immediately following those trinkets get an extra set of trinkets which the game recognizes are your first trinkets. Using a fel imp (or a doomguard, if using Demonic Servitude), use a /petattack macro right before your first pre-cast. This will usually proc one or both of your trinkets, leading to a nice double trinket proc opener.

    Default Talents
    Level 15: Soul Leech

    Level 30: Shadowfury

    Level 45: Soul Link

    Level 60: Burning Rush

    Level 75: Grimoire of Supremacy

    Level 90: Archimonde's Darkness

    Level 100: Soulburn: Haunt

    Advanced Talents
    Level 15: Dark Regeneration, Soul Leech, Harvest Life

    Dark Regeneration
    Usually not taken because of how strong Soul Leech is. Has its own uses when burst healing is needed, such as during the magical soaking phase on Ko’ragh.

    Soul Leech
    The strongest option for the majority of encounters.

    Harvest Life
    Do not take under any circumstances.

    Level 30: Howl of Terror, Mortal Coil, Shadowfury

    Howl of Terror
    Breaks on damage limiting its usefulness on raid encounters.

    Mortal Coil
    Doesn’t provide the healing return to mobs that are immune to the horrify effect.

    Shadowfury
    Most adds are stunnable making this the go-to talent in general.

    Level 45: Soul Link, Sacrificial Pact, Dark Bargain

    Soul Link
    The best option for most raid encounters. With Grimoire of Sacrifice, you receive 20% extra health, instead of 20% damage reduction and 3% leech.

    Sacrificial Pact
    A decent 1 minute survivability cooldown. Best used for predictable damage on a relatively low timer.

    Dark Bargain
    Only used in scenarios where an immunity allows you to game a specific mechanic. It’s worth noting that Dark Bargain is considered an absorb, so it can be used even for mechanics that ‘pierce immunities’ (the orbs and magical shield on Ko’ragh, for example).

    Level 60: Blood Horror, Burning Rush, Unbound Will

    Blood Horror
    Never used in PVE.

    Burning Rush
    Your go-to talent in most situations, due to our lack of a baseline movement speed cooldown.

    Unbound Will
    Has its uses on encounters with important mechanics that need to be dispelled immediately, such as the disorient on Beastlord, or any stunning mechanic.

    Level 75: Grimoire of Supremacy, Grimoire of Service,Grimoire of Sacrifice

    Grimoire of Supremacy
    The default option for Affliction warlocks.

    Grimoire of Service
    Can be used for 25 second burst windows, but generally a dps loss. Only consider using with Demonic Servitude.

    Grimoire of Sacrifice
    Generally better at higher gear levels. Unfortunately, our current gear doesn’t quite give enough stats for this to be better than supremacy.

    Level 90: Archimonde's Darkness, Kil'jaeden's Cunning,Mannoroth's Fury

    Archimonde's Darkness
    You will use this on every encounter. Being able to bank a Dark Soul charge to use in ideal situations is far more valuable than a slight aoe burst, or a small movement cooldown.

    Kil'jaeden's Cunning
    Not worth taking in any situation. Affliction’s gameplay revolves around having both charges of Dark Soul to work with.

    Mannoroth's Fury
    Only used for burst AoE phases. In 99% of situations, you will want to take Archimonde’s Darkness over Mannoroth’s Fury in AoE situations, just because of the flexibility of having two Dark Soul charges.

    Level 100: Soulburn: Haunt, Cataclysm, Demonic Servitude

    Soulburn: Haunt
    The best two or more target talent for Affliction, as well as the best single target talent at higher haste levels.

    Cataclysm
    Rarely, rarely used. The only fight I would even consider taking this talent on this tier is Kromog, and only if your raid is having immense issues with hand damage.

    Demonic Servitude
    The best talent if you are unable to keep close to 100% uptime on Soulburn: Haunt.

    Glyphs
    Major
    Glyph of Eternal Resolve
    Removes the warlock shield wall Unending Resolve, and in place gives the warlock 10% passive damage reduction. Paired together with Soul Link, gives a warlock 28% passive damage reduction.

    Glyph of Siphon Life
    Provides a decent amount of self-healing throughout the fight. Especially good for fights where you are not always at 100% hp.

    Glyph of Unstable Affliction
    A dps increase of minimal proportions while you have no haste procs active. Replace with any needed major glyph as you see fit per fight.

    Situational
    Glyph of Soul Swap

    Useful for holding a full set of dots for a long period prior to a multidotting situation. Allows you to “bank” a shard’s worth of soul swapping for 30 seconds. Swap this for Glyph of Unstable Affliction for fights with intermittent soul swapping such as Oregorger’s roll phase.

    Glyph of Dark Soul

    Halves duration and cooldown of Dark Soul. Never taken as Affliction. Always a DPS loss.

    Glyph of Demonic Circle
    Lowers the cooldown of Demonic circle by 4 seconds. Only useful if you absolutely need Demonic Circle for a particular mechanic.

    Glyph of Soulstone
    Makes it so when you soulstone someone they resurrect with 100% hp, instead of 30%. Should only be taken if you are the only person able to Battle-res in your raid. You should not be battle-ressing if you have a druid or dk in your raid, as their res is instant. Could possibly be taken if you are soulstoning someone for a particular mechanic pre-fight.

    Glyph of Unending Resolve
    Reduces the damage reduction to 20%, and lowers the cooldown to 2 minutes. Generally only taken when you need the casting interrupt prevention. Could also be used if a fight has a high damaging ability on a 2 minute cooldown.

    Glyph of Strengthened Resolve
    Increases the damage reduction to 60%, and increases the cooldown to 4 minutes. Only used if you are planning to take a massive hit at very spaced out points in a fight. Together with Soul Link, your damage reduction is 68% while active.

    Glyph of Demon Training
    As most warlocks are capped by their energy, and this glyph makes your pet use energy less efficiently, this is a DPS loss. Do not take.

    Stats

    Intellect > Haste >= Mastery > Multistrike > Critical Strike > Versatility

    While Haste is the best single target stat for affliction warlocks, mastery is far more valuable for two or more targets, as well as playing the other specs. Haste also has large diminishing returns once you start getting enough soul shards to where you’re casting Haunt with no procs active.

    Intellect is our primary stat. All of our spells scale with spell power, which is given from Intellect.

    1 Intellect = 1 Spell Power

    Mastery Mastery: Potent Afflictions increases the damage of our three major dots – Agony, Unstable Affliction, and Corruption.

    1% = 35 Mastery Rating

    Critical Strike increases the chance to critically hit with abilities. This doesn’t have any special interaction with any Affliction spells.

    1% = 110 Critical Strike Rating

    Haste increases cast speed, DoT tick rate, and our GCD. For affliction, this means more nightfall procs, which means more haunts, which means more damage. Because affliction’s main filler is a 4 second channeled spell, the GCD cap of 1 second does not really matter. Affliction also gains 5% more haste from all sources through Eradication.

    1% = 90 Haste Rating

    Versatility increases all damage and healing done, and decreases all damage taken. While not a very good dps stat, it is a decent stat for progression, due to lowered damage intake.

    1% Damage/Healing/Absorbs = 130 Versatility Rating
    1% Damage Reduction = 260 Versatility Rating

    Multistrike causes abilities to have a chance to hit a second and a third time, each dealing 30% of the initial damage.

    1% = 66 Multistrike rating

    Enchants
    Rings: Enchant Ring - Gift of Haste
    Cloak: Enchant Cloak - Gift of Haste
    Neck: Enchant Neck - Gift of Haste
    Weapon: Enchant Weapon - Mark of Bleeding Hollow
    Gems: Greater Haste Taladite

    Once again – while haste is technically the best stat for Affliction, if you are planning on playing the other two specs for any fights in the instance, Mastery will overall be better. Unless gold is no object, use Mastery enchants.

    Consumables
    Food: Buttered Sturgeon
    Potion: Draenic Intellect Potion
    Flask: Greater Draenic Intellect Flask

    Gear
    Slot Item Source
    Helmet Shadow Council's Hood Kromog
    Necklace Gruul's Lip Ring Gruul
    Shoulder Earthripple Shoulderpads Kromog
    Cloak Runefrenzy Greatcloak Kromog
    Chest Shadow Council's Robes Flamebender
    Bracer Bracers of Enkindled Power Operator Thogar
    Gloves Shadow Council's Gloves Iron Maidens
    Waist Seeking Ember Girdle Beastlord
    Legs Shadow Council's Leggings Blast Furnace
    Boots Cavedweller's Climbers Gruul
    Ring Uk'urogg's Corrupted Seal Iron Maidens
    Weapon Inferno-Flame Staff Gruul
    Trinket Blackiron Micro Crucible Blackhand
    Trinket Darmac's Unstable Talisman Beastlord

    Blackrock Foundry
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    Oregorger
    Talents
    Default Talents

    Glyphs
    Use Glyph of Soul Swap in place of Glyph of Unstable Affliction

    Strategy
    Any time 30 seconds prior to the roll phase, inhale a set of full duration dots. When the roll phase starts, exhale to an ore crate, and soul swap those dots to as many crates as you can, using all of your shards. remember to drain soul crates as they die for free shards. In order to get more effective duration on your dots, use a pre-placed Demonic Circle: Teleport or a Demonic Gateway to get to the far side of the room before the rest of your raid.

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    [paste:font size="3"] Hans’gar & Franzok

    TalentsDefault Talents

    Glyphs
    Use Glyph of Soul Swap in place of Glyph of Unstable Affliction

    Strategy
    Do your 2-target opener on the pull. At some point during the plate/stamper phases (while one boss is untargetable), inhale a set of full duration dots. When the second boss becomes targetable again, exhale these dots onto the new target. To make life easy, drop a Demonic Circle: Teleport on your raids’ stack point for Smart Stampers. You can also drop a Demonic Gateway from roughly the center of the room to your raids’ stack point to make it easier for the rest of your raid.

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    Beastlord Darmac
    TalentsUse Unbound Will instead of Burning Rush

    Glyphs
    Use Glyph of Soul Swap in place of Glyph of Unstable Affliction

    Strategy
    Prior to Beastlord jumping onto the various beasts, inhale a set of full duration dots to exhale onto the new target. Do the same for when Beastlord jumps off of the beast. Drain soul Pack Beasts and Weapons as they die to gain extra Soul Shards. If you do not have Shadow Priests or Demonology Warlocks in your raid, feel free to Soul Swap dots to Weapons to make sure they die. This is not a single target gain for us, but if you do not have either of those two classes in your raid, chances are those weapons aren’t dying.

    Use Unbound Will when you are targeted with Conflagration. Your healers will thank you.

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    [paste:font size="3"] Gruul

    TalentsDefault Talents

    Glyphs
    Default Glyphs

    Strategy
    Single target patchwerk boss. Focus on your shard management, using your extra Dark Soul charges with trinket procs, and managing your buffs/debuffs perfectly.

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    Flamebender Ka’graz
    TalentsDefault Talents

    Glyphs
    Use Glyph of Soul Swap in place of Glyph of Unstable Affliction

    Strategy
    Inhale a full duration set of dots prior to the Cinder Wolf phase. When the dogs spawn, Soul Swap your full duration dots to all available targets. On Heroic, you will be able to Soul Swap dots to both dogs, then cast Soulburn:Haunt. On Mythic, you will just swap your dots to all 4 dogs. (Having Soulburn:Haunt up in not very viable, but possible. You would have to get 3 Nightfall procs in the time between you cast Soulburn:Haunt and the time the dogs spawn, and even then it would only last for a very short amount of time. Considering that Soulburn:Haunt is 20% extra damage per dog, and a full set of dots is 100% more damage, saving shards for Soul Swap is a safer style of play.)

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    [paste:font size="3"] Operator Thogar

    TalentsDefault Talents

    Glyphs
    Use Glyph of Soul Swap in place of Glyph of Unstable Affliction

    Strategy
    Inhale a full duration set of DoTs before any Man-at-Arms phase, or before cannons spawn. Save Dark Soul charges for Man-at-Arms. Use Demonic Circle: Teleport to avoid all but one of the Deforester’s Heat Blast, lowering the raid damage taken.

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    Blast Furnace
    TalentsDefault Talents (Soulburn:Haunt and Demonic Servitude are both completely viable here)

    Glyphs
    Use Glyph of Soul Swap in place of Glyph of Unstable Affliction

    Strategy
    Inhale full duration DoTs for priority targets, such as Bellows Operators and Primal Elementalists. When they spawn, swap dots to them for full duration and single target burst.

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    [paste:font size="3"] Kromog

    TalentsDefault Talents

    Glyphs
    Use Glyph of Soul Swap in place of Glyph of Unstable Affliction

    Strategy
    Inhale a set of full duration dots prior to hand and pillar phases. Exhale dots to hands that are usually slow to be DPS’d down (Usually the corners). Drain hands as they die to gain extra shards. Save both Dark Soul: Misery charges for the Frenzy phase during Bloodlust.

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    Iron Maidens
    TalentsDefault Talents

    Glyphs
    Use Glyph of Soul Swap in place of Glyph of Unstable Affliction

    Strategy
    If you are on the boat, inhale a full duration set of dots before going onto the boat. Exhale onto the boat boss. If you are not on the boat, exhale a full duration set of dots to swap to the third boss as the boat phase ends. Before going into the execute phase, inhale a set of dots to swap onto turrets. Continue doing this for the entire execute phase.

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    Blackhand
    TalentsOn Mythic, Take Unbound Will.

    Glyphs
    Default Glyphs. Use Glyph of Soul Swap in place of Glyph of Unstable Affliction if you are one of the dps on tanks.

    Strategy
    In phase 2, precast your Soul Swap with full duration dots prior to siege tank spawns. Exhale when the tank is slagged. Drain Soul the tanks as they die to gain extra shards. Save both Dark Soul: Misery charges for the third phase, during sub-20% execute and during Bloodlust.

    AddOns
    AffDots

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    This is a staple addon for Affliction Warlocks (as well as the other two specs). While not used for its original purpose anymore, it is still a very good dot tracking addon. The reason I choose to use this addon is for the lines which signify where you can reapply your dots to maximize Pandemic usage.

    WeakAuras

    WeakAuras can be used to track everything. Boss abilities, Spell Cooldowns – the possibilities are endless, as long as you know a tiny bit of Lua. If you could only download one addon in World of Warcraft – this is the one you should get.

    SINGLE TARGET
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    TWO TARGETS
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