Affliction Warlocks have a lot of new abilities and changes. Some changes in PvP I found are:
- Increased single target damage due to Malefic Grasp
- Increased burst damage
- Able to AOE stun with Shadowfury (sacrifices Howl of Terror or Mortal Coil)
- When paired with a druid, they have the ability to Rejuvenate and give Druids Demonic Circle
- Haunt has no cooldown but now uses Soul Shards
- Ability to summon 2 pets temporarily or an Observer instead of Fel Hunter. Observers can Spell Steal.
- Unending Resolve - ability to not be interrupt-able for 12 seconds
- Soul Link causes you to share health with your pet.
- Kil'jaeden's Cunning - cast while moving for 6 seconds
- Imps can Cauterize heal and possibly Mass Dispel (Sear Magic)
As said in my previous posts, Malefic Grasp is an extremely powerful channeled ability that warlocks can use to speed up their dots and do damage. The damage is near an execution drain soul. Having increased single target and burst damage is something many Affliction Warlocks dream of now and it's happening in Mists of Pandaria.
Shadowfury is such a nice ability to use in order to land some casts. Knowing you won't be interrupted every 20 seconds while your enemies are stunned is nice. The price of an AOE stun is not free. You will have to choose between using Shadowfury, Howl of Terror or Mortal Coil. Decisions decisions.
Symbiosis is such an insane ability between Druids and Warlocks. One of my most ambitious predictions for Mists of Pandaria is that Restoration Druids and Affliction Warlocks will basically overtake the dominant comps of Restoration Shaman and Affliction Warlocks. They will be the top 2 classes in Mists of Pandaria in my opinion. The synergy for Demonic Circle with a Restoration Druid is just crazy. Add that in to all the nifty abilities Restoration Druids and Affliction Warlocks are getting and we get an insane pairing.
Haunt requiring a Soul Shard is one of the biggest nerfs Affliction Warlocks have received. While there is a chance Warlocks don't always need a Soul Shard to use it, I still feel this is one of the biggest hits to Affliction Warlocks. This means Haunt isn't something you'll always want to spam as soon as your rotation hits it. You may have to choose a good timing for when you want that insane burst of Haunt + Malefic Grasp.
Observer is quite a strong pet. Seeing a pet Spell Steal my Sacred Shield on my Retribution Paladin was pretty frustrating. The ability to temporary summon 2 pets will also be quite an excitement to see. I can imagine skilled Warlocks being able to pull out an Imp to Defensive Dispel at a crucial timing.
Unending Resolve is a nifty new ability that lets Affliction Warlocks be immune to interrupts for 12 seconds and also take 50% less damage. Affliction Warlocks will be able to push in much more often now, especially if they know Demonic Circle and Unending Resolve are both up.
Soul Link has changed a lot in Mists of Pandaria. This new talent makes you share damage taken between your pet and you. Warlocks can take Soul Link and be quite creative with it. For example, I could see a Warlock on Dalaran Sewers sitting his pet behind boxes and letting it get healed while he goes out. Countering it wise, I can see people choo choo training a Warlock's pet since it's the same as hitting him!
Kil'jaeden's Cunning lets a Warlock move while casting for 6 seconds. As a melee player I HATE seeing more casting while moving. However, I can see Warlocks loving this. Paired with Shadowfury a Warlock will get his Fear when he wants it.
Pointed out by Hildegard, Imps are looking like an extremely viable pet. Perhaps they'll be a common off pet that Affliction Warlocks uses. Pet swapping in Mists of Pandaria no longer costs damage due to the changes in Dark Soul. Cauterize heal can easily save a Warlock's life more than once. The ability Sear Magic which is similar to Mass Dispel is no joke either. An Affliction Warlock that can clean an entire team of buffs or debuffs will not be funny. This is especially true when we look at how expensive Mass Dispel will be for Priests.
Affliction Warlocks Looking Good
As I said when talking about Symbiosis, I feel Affliction Warlocks are going to be awesome in Mists of Pandaria. They're getting lots of new abilities, and I'm excited for Vanguardy (my Warlock). I'm going to love Shadowfury into Fear into pushing up with Unending Resolve and Kil'jaeden's Cunning. I definitely see Affliction Warlocks being in the top tier comps along with Restoration Druids. Hit me back up in Mists of Pandaria if I'm proven wrong!
What specialization do you want to see next?