Windwalker has been enjoying a burst of strength so far in the Pre-Patch, some may say... too much. However, this is caused by a mix of factors, some of which will stick around in Dragonflight, and some that won't.
Windwalker's sudden strength in single target is due, almost entirely, to tuning. The talents in the tree have allowed for Windwalker to be tuned well enough to be strong in single target, and whether or not it remains so (I hope it does) will depend on balancing in Dragonflight. The first tier set in Dragonflight will help to keep Windwalker single target strong, but numbers tuning can easily push it in either direction. Getting Frappe du seigneur des Vents
back was nice, but most of the increase in single target damage has come from the increase in how strong Coup de pied du soleil levant
is and how often you cast it.
AOE has always been a strength for Windwalker, and with the overlap of Covenants, Legendaries, and new talents, that is simply magnified. Windwalker's AOE tools are less dependent on tuning, compared to the single target tools. In the Pre-Patch, Windwalkers are less reliant on
for AOE damage, so the eventual loss of Frappes ciblées
will not be as impactful on the strength of the spec in AOE as it would have been if the conduit disappeared in the middle of Shadowlands.
Overall, Windwalker's current power is due to a mix of tuning, overlapping systems, and the stars aligning. The prognosis for Dragonflight looks good right now, but is always at the whim of tuning.
It's pre-patch time, and as predicted, affliction was off to a banger start with the talent switchup, in addition to still having access to baseline covenant abilities and soulbinds. As predicted, the returning "bug" of Trait de décimation
again working on 3 charges of Drain d’âme
, instead of the 1 throughout all of shadowlands propelled affliction to the top spot in raid rankings, holding top damage spots on a large portion of the bosses in SoFo. Unfortunately, we flew too close to the sun, and this interaction was quickly nerfed in friday's hotfixes
. Even with this nerf, affliction will still continue to be strong throughout pre-patch... Just not brokenly so. This nerf also importantly brings Necrolord much more in line with Night Fae, although there is still a slight edge for Necrolord.
In addition to that strength, another returning talent has made affliction a top damage dealer on fights with a particular fated affix - combine the return Legion talent Flamme de l’âme
with the Chaos Mote fated affix, and you have a recipe for a ridiculous amount of exponentially scaling uncapped AoE damage. I don't really forsee this interaction getting nerfed - soul flame essentially needs this exact scenario of tons of small, low hp adds spawning consecutively in order to pull silly aoe numbers like this off, and without the chaotic mote affix existing in dragonflight, there likely won't be any issue, so enjoy it while you can in pre-patch.