Cataclysm Talents: Affliction Warlock
January 21, 2011
There are generally two different talent specializations that I would recommend for an Affliction Warlock. This article will discuss both specs, and the advantages offered by both.
Maximum Damage Output Specialization – 31/7/3
Utility-Oriented Defensive Specialization – 31/10/0
Maximum Damage Specialization
This spec is generally used if you are looking to maximize your damage. This specialization can be useful for comps like Rogue/Warlock/Shaman or Mage/Warlock/Shaman where your games are largely based on the early offensive pressure you can put out - 31/7/3. This is also a great spec if your games are relatively fast.
Tier 1 Affliction Tree
- [Doom and Gloom] – 2 points. The extra 4/8% crit for Bane of Agony is a decent damage increase.
- [Improved Life Tap] – 2 points. Life Tap costs a large amount of health now, so the extra mana gain really helps your healer out. Additionally, it saves you quite a few GCDs (Global Cooldowns) throughout a match.
- [Improved Corruption] – 3 points. This talent adds a large amount of damage to your highest damage DoT spell [Corruption].
Tier 2 Affliction Tree
- [Jinx] – 2 points. This talent gives your Curse of Elements a 20/40 yard range AoE effect with one application of the spell. This saves you many GCDs in addition to providing a magic debuff. It will also keep healers in combat should you use it on a player near them, preventing drinks in certain situations.
- [Soul Siphon] – 2 points. This spell adds a good amount of damage to you [Drain Life] and [Drain Soul] spells, and allows you to spec into [Soul Swap] which you will 100% need as any Affliction build.
- [Siphon Life] – 2 points. This talent gives your Corruption spell a 25/50% chance to heal you for 1/2% of your total hp. This amounts to a large amount of self-healing in any game; you should always put 2 points in this.
Tier 3 Affliction Tree
- [Curse of Exhaustion] – 1 point. This spell is incredibly powerful right now, allowing you to put an instant-cast 50% slow on any target with one GCD.
- [Eradication] – 3 points. This talent gives your [Corruption] a 6% chance to increase your casting speed by 6/12/20% for 10 seconds. This talent is one of the best in the Affliction tree and you should always put full points in it.
Tier 4 Affliction Tree
Tier 5 Affliction Tree
Tier 6 Affliction Tree
- [Everlasting Affliction] – 3 points. Greatly increases your overall damage. In addition to greatly increasing your DoT crit chance, it saves you many globals by resetting the duration on [Corruption] every time you cast [Drain Life] or [Haunt] on a target with a previously applied [Corruption].
- [Pandemic] – 2/2 points. This spell saves you halves your Global Cooldown every time you use a Bane or Curse spell. Over a game, this saves you a great deal of GCDs.
Tier 7 Affliction Tree
- [Haunt] – 1 point. This ability does considerable damage on initial impact, as well as greatly increasing the damage of your DoT spells on the target afflicted by [Haunt]
Once you have chosen the above talents in the Affliction Tree, continue on to the Demonology tree.
Tier 1 Demonology Tree
- [Demonic Embrace] – 3 points. This talent gives you a large boost to your HP, and you should spec for this with every PvP spec.
- [Fel Synergy] – 2 points. This talent really helps your healer out, especially for teams that like to put DoTs on your pet.
Tier 2 Demonology Tree
- [Demonic Aegis] – 2 points. This is another talent that should be incorporated into every Warlock PvP specialization. Your Fel Armor does twice as much healing, in addition to making your Demon Armor give a +30% healing bonus. This is invaluable when you are taking heavy damage.
Following these Demonology points, continue on to the Destruction tree to finalize this spec.
Tier 1 Destruction Tree
- [Shadow and Flame] – 3 points. With this talent, you will see a large increase in damage when you use instant [Shadow Bolt] procs generated by [Nightfall] or Glyph of Corruption. Additionally, the +5% crit debuff on the target you [Shadow Bolt] adds a significant amount of damage.
Talents that I did not choose
- [Improved Fear] – This talent is definitely useful, and I might consider taking it again after the upcoming patch. I find myself using Curse of Exhaustion quite frequently, as well as having slows from my partner(s) such as Crippling Poison and Chains of Ice.
- [Death's Embrace] – I do not see myself picking up this talent unless it is changed in some way. In order for your DoTs to benefit from the increase in damage, you have to reapply them when the target is at or below 25% HP. It does give a nice boost to the effectiveness of [Drain Life] when you have low health, but I still do not believe this talent is worth choosing.
- [Soulburn: Seed Of Corruption] – Only worth it for PvE situations. Even in Rated Battlegrounds this talent has extremely poor utility. It puts your [Soulburn] on cooldown for 45 seconds, and it is rare that I can even find a situation to use it.
- [Demonic Rebirth] – This spec can be useful if you find your pets are dying frequently. I used to select this talent so that I could use all of my Soulburn cooldowns on Soulburn Spell Locks and not worry about my pet dying. When you Soulburn another Felhunter, it resets the cooldown of [Spell Lock] in arena. If you find your team and/or healer have a hard time keeping your pets alive, this talent might be worth choosing.
- [Master Summoner] – This spell is somewhat useful due to the decrease in pet mana cost. [Life Tap] takes a large chunk of your HP, and sometimes you aren’t able to [Life Tap] right when you need that new pet. The summoning speed portion of the talent isn’t that useful, seeing as you will rarely hard summon a pet in Cataclysm Arena.
Alternate PvP Specialization with Utility Talents
This is an alternate specialization to the Maximum Damage output one discussed above. Most of the spec is the same – 31/10/0 – although a few points were changed. I picked up [Improved Fear] and [Demonic Rebirth] with one point in [Master Summoner]. This spec will have less damage than the one above, but you gain a slow applied following the end of a [Fear], an instant pet summon via [Demonic Rebirth] should yours die, and a reduction in pet summon mana cost by putting one point in [Master Summoner]. This spec can be useful for comps like DK/Warlock/Paladin where you have a much more defensive/outlast type of playstyle.
For Battlegrounds, I would generally recommend the more defensive, utility-oriented spec of 31/10/0 that I mentioned above. With various cleave and AoE damage, your healers are not going to be able to put healing priority on your pet. In fact, most healers don’t even have pet bars displayed with their BG healing UI. So be sure to get [Demonic Rebirth] if you’re doing Rated Battlegrounds.
As always, thanks for reading, and I will happily answer any questions if you post them in the comment section below.