Unstable Affliction
Spell shadow unstableaffliction 3.png
  • Unstable Affliction
  • Level 13 Affliction warlock ability
  • 40 yd range
  • 1% of base mana
  • 1.5 sec cast
  • Afflicts one target with (184% of spell power) Shadow damage over 16 sec.

    If dispelled, deals (460% of Spell power) damage to the dispeller and silences them for 4 sec.
  • Rank 2: Refunds 1 Soul Shard if the target dies while afflicted.
    Rank 3: Unstable Affliction's duration is increased by 5 seconds.
Usable by
Class Warlock
School Shadow
Cooldown None/Global Cooldown
Other information
Level learned 13
Rank levels 43 (rank 2); 56 (rank 3)
Improvements [Bane of Shadows], Creeping Death, [Mastery: Potent Afflictions], [Rampant Afflictions], [Rot and Decay]
Related debuffs
Spell shadow unstableaffliction 3.png
  • Magic
  • Unstable Affliction
  • Suffering (23% of spell power) Shadow damage every 2 sec. If dispelled, will cause (460% of spell power) damage to the dispeller and silence them for 4 sec.
  • Duration: 8 seconds

Spell holy silence.png
  • Magic
  • Unstable Affliction
  • Silenced.
  • Duration: 4 seconds

Unstable Affliction is a level 13 Affliction warlock ability that places a damage over time debuff on the target. If the debuff is dispelled, the dispeller will be dealt substantial damage and silenced for 4 seconds.

Rank 2 is learned at level 42, causing it to refund 1 Soul Shard if the target dies while afflicted. Rank 3 is learned at level 56, increasing the duration to 21 seconds.



  • Creeping Death - Causes Unstable Affliction to deal its damage 15% faster.

PvP Talents

  • [Bane of Shadows] - Causes each tick of Unstable Affliction to strike the target a second time for 20% of the damage while active.
  • [Rampant Afflictions] - Unstable Affliction can now be applied to up to 3 targets.
  • [Rot and Decay] - Each time Drain Life deals damage it increases the remaining duration of Unstable Affliction your target by 1 second.


Tips and tactics

  • This is a great spell for warlocks in arena. With all the curses a warlock has, a priest will be forced to dispel, which results in the direct damage.
  • In PvE, this spell is just another DoT. Most raid bosses do not dispel, and therefore the damage and silence of effects of dispelling this spell are wasted.
  • In PvP, it can help prevent your DoTs from being dispelled safely, as its secondary effects can cause significant damage to the dispeller.

Patch changes

  • Shadowlands Patch 9.1.0 (2021-06-29): Fixed an issue that prevented Unstable Affliction from contributing towards [Soul Leech] absorb when [Rampant Afflictions] was selected.
  • Shadowlands Patch 9.0.1 (2020-10-13): Redesigned. Soul Shard cost removed. Duration increased to 16 seconds (was 8 seconds). No longer increases the target's damage taken. Only one instance may be applied at a time and is now limited to one target.
  • Battle for Azeroth Patch 8.1.0 (2018-12-11): Damage reduced by 9%.
  • Battle for Azeroth Patch 8.0.1 (2018-07-17): The effect from the former talent [Contagion] has been built into Unstable Affliction.
  • Legion Hotfix (2017-06-15): Unstable Affliction's dispel backlash can no longer be reflected or grounded.
  • Legion Patch 7.1.0 (2016-10-25): Redesigned.
    • The Warlock may now afflict a target with up to 5 Unstable Afflictions at once.
    • Now learned at level 14 (was 10).
    • Damage increased by 5%.
  • Legion Hotfix (2016-09-23): Unstable Affliction damage increased by 15%.
  • Legion Hotfix (2016-08-11): When Unstable Affliction is dispelled, it now deals 120% of the remaining spell damage (was 200%).
  • Legion Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19): Redesigned. Damage per tick increased by 138%, duration reduced to 8 seconds (down from 14). Damage when dispelled is now affected by remaining duration. Now cost a Soul Shard instead of mana.
  • Warlords of Draenor Patch 6.2.2 (2015-09-01): Now deals 10% less damage in PvP combat.
  • Warlords of Draenor Patch 6.2.0 (2015-06-23): Now deals 12% more damage.
  • Warlords of Draenor Hotfix (2014-12-15): Unstable Affliction's damage has been increased by 20%.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.4.0 (2013-09-10): Damage has been increased by 21%.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.2.0 (2013-03-05): Unstable Affliction's Backlash effect is now always a critical hit and deals approximately 15% more damage.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28): Now an Affliction specialization ability available at level 10. Duration reduced from 15 to 14 sec. No longer limited to one target.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.1.0 (2011-04-26): Damage done when it is dispelled has been doubled, but this damage can no longer be critical. Damage dealt by Unstable Affliction when it is dispelled now properly benefits from [Shadow Mastery].
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.6 (2011-02-08): Silence effect has been reduced to 4 seconds, down from 5.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.1 (2010-10-12): Now a primary spell in the Affliction tree.
  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.3.0 (2009-12-08): The feedback damage from when this spell is dispelled is now affected by resilience as intended. Tooltip clarified to state that this spell is exclusive with Immolate.
  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.2.0 (2009-08-04): [Immolate] and Unstable Affliction: All ranks of these two spells will now overwrite each other.
  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.1.0 (2009-04-14): Feedback damage from dispelling this debuff will no longer be modified by effects on the victim which modify the damage the victim does.
  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.0.8 (2009-01-20): Will now gain the correct damage modifiers for the creature type of the target.
  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14): Silence effect reduced to 3 seconds, down from 5.
  • Bc icon.gif Patch 2.3.0 (2007-11-13): The silence from this ability is now subject to diminishing returns.
  • Bc icon.gif Patch 2.2.0 (2007-09-25): This spell will no longer fail when a Warlock deselects their target midway through the cast.
  • Bc icon.gif Patch 2.0.3 (2007-01-09): The feedback from dispelling Unstable Affliction is now affected by [Shadow Mastery].
  • Bc icon.gif Patch 2.0.1 (2006-12-05): Added.

See also

External links