Are any Non-soul link builds popular at high ratings anymore anywhere? I really can't remember the last time I've seen a UA lock anywhere. Even on burn teams, I've typically been seeing warlocks as some sort of SL/SL or Felguard variant lately.
I have a couple ideas to sort of ease the reliance on soul link for group play for affliction, but I've given up hope on the destro side.
For affliction, I'm still convinced that moving soul siphon down to deep affliction would be the best way to go, but improving it more than it currently is. It's a pretty potent talent, but I think adding soul siphon to benefit siphon life the same way it does drain life would be a fantastic start, especially on a build that also contains Contagion. You could also possibly put mana drain scaling back into this talent as well if it's that deep, and deep enough so that even level 80 builds can't have both this and Soul Link.
In addition, I think that malediction could also be used to improve Curse of Tongues and Exhaustion by, say, 3/6/9% to improve their effectiveness in PvP as well.
That would provide a blanket of extra HP regen through better siphon life scaling, and more effective debuffs all around, which is what affliction is all about.
I think that with the proper pet resilience scaling (which is needed no matter what), this could probably put affliction back on the map for viable specs in any format.