Affliction Warlock playstyle and rotation guide

Patch 10.0.5 Last Updated: 30th Jan, 2023
Wexi Affliction Warlock Author

Playstyle & Rotation

General Rotation:

Modern WoW classes don’t have a strict rotation but a priority for spells. For Affliction Warlock, they look like this:

  1. Never drop your dots, such as UAAgonyCorruption, and SL. (Try to refresh dots when there are <5 seconds left if playing PI instead of default pandemic timers)
  2. Never drop Haunt and SE debuffs
  3. SRPS, and VT on cooldown
  4. DG when SRPS, and VT are up
  5. Don’t overcap on shards
  6. Try to keep up Dread Touch debuff as much as possible, especially if your strong dots are up, such as SRPS, and/or VT. That means you don’t want to overlap Dread Touch debuff too much unless you are close to overcapping on shards
  7. Spam MR to 0-1 shards if your strong dots are up
  8. Use Drain Life if you have ID stacks >45
  9. Use Soul Tap if you have <4 shards
  10. Use Drain Soul or Shadow Bolt as your filler spells

As a side note, don’t forget to use MR when you have TC talented and already have two stacks of it up. The same goes for Nightfall and Drain Soul/Shadow Bolt, respectively, but this buff has much less priority, so if you don’t have any free globals for it, it’s not a big deal to lose the buff or overcap it a bit.

Also, try to line up SRPS, and VT if possible, but it doesn’t look like a big deal to use them on cooldown with the current Affliction playstyle when Dread Touch is talented. Without Dread Touch, you would want to “bank” shards when your strong dots are up and want to try lining up SR with PS or VT.


Unlike the General Rotation opener, here is a strict sequence of spells.

  1. Soul Tap 2 times 5 seconds before the pull
  2. Pre-cast Haunt 2 seconds before the pull
  3. UA
  4. Agony
  5. Corruption
  6. SL
  7. PS or VT
  8. SR
  9. DG + On-use trinkets, potion, etc.
  10. MR 1-2 to not overcap on shards too much
  11. Drain Soul or Shadow Bol until 3 stacks of SE
  12. Spam MR
  13. Proceed to normal rotation

Multi Target:

On Multiple Targets, you go with the same priority of spells as ST but use SoC instead of MR if there are three or more targets stacked. Keep Agony on up to 5-8 targets, and don’t overcap on shards. SE is worth keeping up to only 2 targets if there is a 2Target boss fight. Not worth bothering if that’s AoE.


Warlock is an easy class when it comes to survivability. It has 2 powerful defensive cooldowns as UR and DPSoul Leech, which is a passive absorb with a talent, a passive damage reduction through Soul Link, and an on-demand heal from Drain Life which can easily save your life with few additional talents picked for it. Thus Warlock barely needs any external attention from healers and can sustain itself solo if required.

If you are talking about mobility, Warlock also has no issues with it, but you need to think ahead and pre-plan to be good at it. Demonic Gates and Demonic Circle are great mobility spells, but they need some planning to be really useful. In Dragonflight, we also get Burning Rush which is much easier to use, but you still need to spend a global for it.