Greetings, fellow adventurers! Welcome to our WoW Shadow Priest DPS guide, where we'll help you become a master of this class and thrive in any combat situation. Whether you prefer engaging in PvE or PvP encounters, we've got you covered. Our guide is suitable for both experienced players and those new to the game, as we provide a comprehensive overview of the Shadow Priest class with information on builds, gear, rotations, and more. With our guide, you'll have the knowledge and tools you need to overcome any challenge that comes your way. So, prepare yourself for the battles ahead, and learn the way to master Shadow Priest and how to play this class as efficiently as possible!
If you're accustomed to playing as a Shadow Priest in the previous expansions, in WoW Dragonflight you're in for a new experience. The game developers have been revamping the talent tries of all classes, and this presents an exciting opportunity to explore the Shadow Priest path anew.
One of the latest changes is an experimental talent build that allows you to personalize your Shadow Priest by selecting from two core cooldowns (Void Eruption or Dark Ascension) and adding Idol spells that suit your playstyle. With so many options to choose from, there's plenty to discuss about this revamped spec, and your playstyle can differ widely depending on which talents you pick.
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Shadow Priest Pros and Cons
To start off our Shadow Priest guide, we want to give you an overview of the spec's strengths and weaknesses. This information is crucial, especially if you're new to playing a Shadow Priest and want to understand the fundamentals of the class.
Let's begin with the positives, as there are many advantages to playing a Shadow Priest:
In order to fully experience the capabilities of this specialization, you must first reach the level cap. However, the leveling process can become tedious and dull towards the end. If you find yourself feeling exhausted and wanting to speed things up, we have a solution for you. Our Dragonflight Leveling 60-70 service is designed to help boost your character and get you to the level cap quickly. Our team of professional players offers fair prices and guarantees results, so you can focus on enjoying the game to its fullest potential.
Shadow Priest Basics
The gameplay of a Shadow Priest combines the fundamental concept of building and spending resources, which is used in other specializations, with the added twist of being an active Damage over Time (DoT) class that has numerous cooldowns to utilize. To effectively execute the rotation, one must prioritize maximizing uptime on their cooldowns and ensuring that all three DoTs are maintained on as many active targets as possible, with special emphasis placed on Devouring Plague.
It is safe to say that Shadow Priest is not the easiest class to play, but with enough dedication and the right knowledge you will surely master this class relatively quickly.
Another important aspect of Shadow Priest gameplay is your Shadowform. This is an aura that enhances your spell damage by 10%. Once activated, it remains active until you perish, and you should keep it enabled at all times. In case you enter Voidform, Shadowform will be temporarily disabled, but it will automatically reactivate once you exit Voidform.
Shadow Priest Resources
All offensive abilities generate Insanity, which should be utilized to cast Devouring Plague (50 insanity) or Mind Sear (50 insanity, or 25 per tick if talented). It's crucial to spend Insanity before reaching its cap, or else the damage output will be wasted. Refreshing an already active Devouring Plague is acceptable as it adds the existing DoT damage to the new one upon refresh.
Mana is the secondary resource for Shadow Priests. While most utility spells consume Mana, managing it isn't usually a pressing concern.
WoW Shadow Priest Core Abilities
The following abilities are your fundamental skills that remain accessible, regardless of the talents you choose. These abilities constitute the foundation of your gameplay style in this specialization.
- Shadowform is your default form that you will always want to have active as it provides a simple 10% damage buff. Note that when you enter Voidform, this buff disappears but will come back after you exit.
- Shadow Word: Pain is one of your two main DoT spells. It deals Shadow damage to the target over time and generates Insanity on application.
- Vampiric Touch is your other main DoT spell. It deals Shadow damage to the target over time, heals you for 50% of the damage dealt, and generates Insanity on application.
- Mind Blast deals damage to a single target, has a 9-second cooldown affected by Haste, and generates a high amount of Insanity. It is generally one of your highest-priority spells. You also gain an extra charge of this ability when you select the Shadowy Insight talent.
- Mind Flay is a channeled spell that deals Shadow damage to the target, slows their movement speed by 50%, and generates Insanity. It has no cooldown and is used as a filler throughout your rotation.
- Mastery: Shadow Weaving emphasizes having DoTs up on as many targets as possible. Depending on your Mastery rating, you deal (4.0% + gear rating) increased damage to targets for each of your three DoTs active. This is calculated per target, so spreading DoTs is very valuable, but only works with SWP, VT, and Devouring Plague.
- Focused Will is a passive ability that reduces all damage you take by 15% for 8 seconds when you are hit by melee abilities or attacks.
- Power Word: Fortitude is a group buff available to all Priests that gives everyone in your party 5% Stamina for 1 hour. This is an exclusive buff to Priests and cannot be obtained from scrolls.
- Mind Vision is a spell with limited use that lets you see far ahead if you know the name of a mob you want to target.
- Mind Soothe applies a buff to enemies in a 10-yard range that significantly reduces their aggro range. This can be used to skip past mobs while leveling or even inside of dungeons.
- Desperate Prayer is a self-heal spell and defensive that provides a good chunk of on-demand healing on a 1.5-minute cooldown. Adding this to our defensive toolkit makes us one of the best defensive ranged DPS specs out there.
- Fade is a powerful aggro-drop ability that reduces your aggro radius. It can come in handy if you accidentally pull threat on something. When paired with Mind Soothe in solo content, you can walk past almost any mob in the game without aggroing it.
- Psychic Scream fears up to 5 enemies within 8 yards for 8 seconds on a 1-minute cooldown. This is primarily useful to get enemies off you when you are alone.
- Flash Heal has replaced Shadow Mend in this expansion and is our main healing spell. It is castable in Shadowform but is generally less effective than Shadow Mend, albeit at a lower mana cost.
- Power Word: Shield allows you to shield a friendly target. This is primarily used on yourself when you need to mitigate damage but can also be used on other friendly targets.
- Hallucinations is a passive ability that grants you 4 Insanity on successful Dispel Magic, Mass Dispel, Purify Disease, Vampiric Embrace, and Power Word: Shield casts. This reduces the penalty of having to spend globals on utility spells, as you do not lose any Insanity generation in the process.
Shadow Priest Stat Priority
The following is the usual order of prioritization for Shadow Priest stats:
- Critical Strike = Versatility.
Intellect is the most valuable stat for us, surpassing all others by a significant margin. As long as a gear piece provides an increase in Intellect, a higher item level is generally preferable to optimal secondary stats.
After Intellect, Haste and Mastery are the preferred secondary stats, with Haste having significant scaling potential for most of our spells. While Mastery requires proper execution to be fully utilized, it remains a valuable stat for us, with the exception of certain pet spells like Idol of Yogg-Saron.
Critical Strike is still a relevant stat, but its value has diminished due to changes in Dragonflight Shadow Priest's talents and abilities, making it potentially inferior to Versatility in certain situations.
This advice is general but adequate for gearing a Shadow Priest. It is essential to simulate your character on various fight types to determine the most suitable stats for your specific build. If you are not using Idol of Yogg-Saron, most of your damage will be affected by Mastery, making Haste and Mastery roughly equal in importance.
Best PvE Shadow Priest Builds
In Dragonflight Shadow Priest PVE build has changed significantly as the new expansion introduces a revamped talent system, which most players have enjoyed thus far. This updated system offers more alternatives for players to experiment with, resulting in greater flexibility and the ability to adhere to preferred playstyles.
In our guide, we will provide you with builds for both Raiding and Mythic+ content, highlighting the importance of talent setups in achieving success. However, it is important to note that having the correct talent setup does not guarantee success; teamwork and cooperation with your guild or party members remain crucial.
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The builds presented below are more suitable for raid encounters, however, nothing stops you from using them in, say, Mythic+ Dungeons if the situation is so required.
Shadow Priest Raid Build
This is a standard talent build focused on maximizing Insanity to enable more spells during Dark Ascension windows. The Idol of Y'Shaarj and Idol of C'Thun build paths provide the most significant buff to achieve a powerful passive combination. These talents also work well in a 1-minute cooldown cycle, making them suitable for nearly any single target situation. Mind Flay serves as your default filler spell with this build.
For players who prefer a different playstyle, it is possible to swap Screams of the Void and Idol of C'Thun for Mind Devourer and Idol of Yogg-Saron. If you choose to use Yogg-Saron instead of C'Thun, Mind Spike will serve as your default filler spell instead of Mind Flay.
If you're not a fan of playing with Mind Spike, you can choose to remove it and associated talents for a slight decrease in DPS of around 3.3%.
If Dark Ascension doesn't appeal to you, you can consider using Void Eruption instead, which deals similar damage. The main distinction between these two builds is the necessity of incorporating Void Bolt and the damage cycle switching to a complete 2-minute specialization.
As you see, there can be plenty of variants to this build, so let us summarize all of them in a short list:
Multi-Purpose Raid Build
We recommend starting with this more generalized Raid build if you're searching for a setup that can handle a broader range of encounters. This build may entail sacrificing some single-target damage, but it includes cleave talents that can effectively deal with situations such as frequent add spawns.
AoE Raid Builds
- 2-target - BIQAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAISSLSAAAAAAAAAAAAAISiSkm0gkkUSiEBpRSSi0IIBhUkWIJAA
- 4-target - BIQAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAESiIBAAAAAAAAAAAAACKRaJNSSSSJJSEkGJJJSjgEESRahkAA
During the raid, you may feel the need to optimize your build for encounters involving two or four targets. To address these situations, you can utilize the builds provided above.
The objective of this particular build is to achieve the greatest possible damage gains in Mythic+ encounters while minimizing the loss of single-target damage. The build is primarily centered around utilizing Mind Sear and Mind Devourer, and acquiring abilities that synergize with our AoE spender. Furthermore, the build maximizes Psychic Link damage, allowing significant single-target spells to cleave onto other enemies. Depending on the specific key being tackled, there is some flexibility in selecting certain abilities. Additional information regarding this can be found in the subsequent sections and on the Mythic+ page.
Shadow Priest Best in Slot Gear
The Crafting Order system, which was introduced in Dragonflight, has caused many players to become less concerned with obtaining the best-in-slot gear. Nonetheless, such gear remains the most potent equipment that one can acquire, and the pursuit of these items is one of the primary motivators for players to engage in PvE content.
It is worth noting that the most powerful gear for a given specialization may vary based on your current stat and the type of content you are participating in, be it PvP or PvE.
|Helm||Draconic Hierophant's Archcowl||Raszageth the Storm-Eater|
|Shoulder||Draconic Hierophant's Wisdom||Broodkeeper Diurna|
|Cloak||Decorated Commander's Cindercloak||Eranog|
|Chest||Draconic Hierophant's Vestment||Kurog Grimtotem|
|Wrists||Vibrant Wildercloth Wristwraps with Blue Silken Lining||Crafting|
|Gloves||Draconic Hierophant's Grips||Dathea, Ascended|
|Belt||Magatha's Spiritual Sash||Kurog Grimtotem|
|Legs||Leggings of Swirling Runes||Halls of Valor|
|Boots||Sandals of the Wild Sovereign||Raszageth the Storm-Eater|
|Ring #1||Seal of Filial Duty||Broodkeeper Diurna|
|Ring #2||Signet of Titanic Insight||Crafting|
|Trinket #1||Voidmender's Shadowgem||Shadowmoon Burial Grounds|
|Trinket #2||Whispering Incarnate Icon||The Primal Council|
|Weapon||Final Grade||Algeth'ar Academy|
The list above serves as a guideline, not an absolute rule. Depending on your specific situation, you may need to make adjustments.
Above we have provided a comprehensive list of the best equipment available. While raid items are prioritized where appropriate, dungeon pieces are also included if they're significantly better. In certain cases, alternative options are also provided. The most desirable tier pieces are Helm, Shoulders, Chest, and Gloves based on their stats. Even if you acquire Legs, it's still recommended to equip them for the set bonus but aim to replace them later on.
Best Embellishments and Crafted Gear
Now let us talk about the crafted gear available for Shadow Priest. First off, we highly recommend crafting Elemental Lariat as your first item, and then any tailoring piece that has Haste/Mastery stats using the Blue Silken Lining Embellishment. Craft it on the slot where you'll gain the most significant benefit. When using the Elemental Lariat Neck, consider using different gem types to avoid overlapping procs and maximize uptime. These two embellished items will be the best-in-slot (BiS) throughout Mythic, so focus on obtaining them first.
Here are the recommended items to craft:
- Elemental Lariat;
- Blue Silken Lining;
- Signet of Titanic Insight;
- Vibrant Wildercloth Shawl;
- Vibrant Wildercloth Girdle;
- Vibrant Wildercloth Wristwraps;
- Vibrant Wildercloth Slacks.
As your third crafted item, consider using the Alchemical Flavor Pocket. This optional crafting reagent can be added to an embellished slot, but it won't take up one of your two embellished items. Therefore, you can have two embellished pieces and a third one with the Alchemical Flavor Pocket. This can be a substantial boost for when you are seconds ahead of the timer in M+ and do not have time to eat after death.
Best Enchants and Consumables
Regardless of your preferred content, failing to use enchantments will always leave you at a disadvantage. Enchantments provide valuable primary and secondary stats that can never be overlooked. If you're unsure about which options to choose, we've got you covered with a ready-made solution. In the table below, you can find the most potent options to enhance your gear.
To further increase your character's power, using consumables such as food, potions, and flasks that provide temporary boosts to a character's stats is essential. Using consumables is essential for maximizing performance in high-end content. See the list of the most suitable consumables for Shadow Priest below:
The number of phials you can make use of in Dragonflight may vary depending on the situation. To determine the most effective option, refer to the table below:
- Phial of Charged Isolation - Perfect for encounters where you can keep your distance from allies;
- Phial of Static Empowerment - Good choice for encounters with both static and movement stages;
- Iced Phial of Corrupting Rage - Use this when you are sure you are going to avoid almost all incoming damage;
- Phial of Tepid Versatility - This is a compromise between offensive and defensive bonuses.
WoW Shadow Priest Rotation
Quite obviously, you will have to adapt your rotation depending on the current situation or encounter’s specifics. Below we described both single-target and AoE rotations for Shadow Priest in Dragonflight 10.1.
SIngle Target Rotation
Shadow Priest’s single-target rotation is pretty complex and requires time to get used to it:
- To start, apply and refresh Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain using Vampiric Touch.
- Use Mindbender and Dark Ascension, then continue with Power Infusion when Void Eruption or Dark Ascension is active.
- Sync your trinkets and cooldowns.
- Cast Mind Blast if Mindbender is active and you're about to cap your charges.
- Use Devouring Plague to keep your uptime at maximum while avoiding Insanity caps.
- If Mindbender is inactive, use Mind Flay: Insanity instead, unless you need to dump Insanity before using Void Torrent.
- When the target's health is below 20% or Mindbender is active, use Shadow Word: Death.
- If all three DoTs are active, cast Mindgames, delaying it to line up with Dark Ascension if possible.
- Use Shadow Crash and Void Torrent with three active DoTs and Mind Flay: Insanity with Screams of the Void for a full channel.
- Use Mind Spike with Surge of Darkness procs and Halo if needed, although it is neutral in terms of DPS.
- Finally, use Mind Flay as your main filler and interrupt it when necessary. In case you need to move without procs, use Shadow Crash, Shadow Word: Death, Divine Star, and Shadow Word: Pain in that order.
To maximize the value of refreshing your DoTs, it's important to wait until they reach certain thresholds. This window is set at 30% of the total duration for each spell, which means you should refresh them when they're at or below the following times:
- Vampiric Touch - when 6.3 seconds remaining
- Shadow Word: Pain (with Misery) - when 6.3 seconds remaining
- Devouring Plague is not a traditional DoT spell, but it can still benefit from this system. It adds the old DoT damage to the new DoT damage and increases the duration based on the ticks remaining.
Unlike Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague operates differently when it comes to refreshing. Instead of rolling over its damage, it adds duration based on the remaining ticks. To get the most out of Devouring Plague, you should aim to maintain its uptime as much as possible without capping on Insanity. This will help you maximize your Mastery bonus.
When playing as a Shadow Priest, you'll have to adapt your gameplay based on the number of targets you're fighting and how long they'll remain active. To help you make these decisions, refer to the following list:
- For fights with two or more targets, use Halo on cooldown. While it can also be used for single target damage, it's not worth it to drop it or only use it for healing in fights against just one target.
- For fights with three or more targets, use Mind Sear instead of Devouring Plague.
- For fights with eight or more targets, prioritize Inescapable Torment over high-priority Mind Blast actions. You should still use Mind Blast as a low-priority action to generate Insanity, as you won't be prioritizing Inescapable Torment damage at this target count.
The rotation itself can be described as follows:
- Keep Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain active on all targets. Stop manually applying DoTs when inside of Voidform at 6+ targets.
- Cast Mindbender on cooldown.
- Cast Dark Ascension.
- Cast Power Infusion with Void Eruption or Dark Ascension active.
- Sync any trinkets you have with your cooldowns.
- Cast Mind Blast with Mindbender active if facing less than 8 targets.
- Cast Mind Sear to spend Insanity. See advanced usage guide below for more details.
- This is your high priority section used for Void Torrent. If you have at least Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain active and will not cap Insanity, cast this and then follow it up with Mindgames for a big Psychic Link burst.
- Cast Shadow Word: Death on any mob that will die in 5 seconds or less for Death and Madness insanity gain.
- Cast Mind Blast. Make sure your Vampiric Touch is spread first.
- Cast Mindgames with Psychic Link talented.
- Cast Mind Flay: Insanity.
- Cast Mind Spike with Surge of Darkness procs.
- Cast Halo unless adds are coming within ~20 seconds.
- Cast Shadow Word: Death while Mindbender is active and the target has equal to or less than 20% health.
- Cast Mind Flay as your main filler. Interrupt this whenever another spell becomes available.
- Use the following spells in order should you need to move and do not have procs to consume: Shadow Crash, Shadow Word: Death, Divine Star, Shadow Word: Pain.
Shadow Priest Leveling Guide
Despite the noticeable ease of the leveling process in Dragonflight, there are still ways to expedite and optimize your progress. One such method is implementing a specialized build that enables you to swiftly clear out large groups of enemies. Below, you'll discover the most effective talent configuration for this specialization to maximize your leveling potential.
With this build and all the crazy utility and self-healing a Shadow Priest is capable of, you are sure to fight your way up to level 70 relatively quickly. Also note, that you may benefit from playing in War Mode (in Dragonflight Shadow Priest PVP builds has also been changed significantly), as it not only increases the amount of experience you receive, but also provide very useful additional talent options, such as:
- Driven to Madness - this talent is a solid choice for open-world activities.
- Void Origins - if you prefer fast-paced gameplay, this talent may be your best bet. With instant-cast Void Eruption or Dark Ascension, it's a blast to use.
- Catharsis - this talent can be useful for solo leveling, as it provides a good balance of damage and self-healing.
If you find yourself exhausted from the leveling process, don't forget about the vast array of end-game content that awaits you at level 70. This includes Raiding and Mythic+ dungeons, which offer the opportunity to acquire the most formidable weapons and armor available. However, these activities require the support of a skilled party to ensure successful completion.
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The Best Primordial Stones for Shadow Priest
The 10.0.7 patch in the game introduced a highly anticipated feature - the Onyx Annulet ring. By inserting different Primordial Stones into the ring, you can gain valuable effects that are not available through any other means. If you're wondering which Primordial Stones to use for your specialization based on the activity you're engaging in, keep reading this section of the article.
Or, if you do not have access to the stones mentioned above, you can use others, based on the following tier list:
Here your choice should not be different from your M+ Primordial Stones:
How to Become a Better Shadow Priest in Dragonflight
In this part of the article, we aim to provide some helpful tips for Shadow Priest in the 10.1 patch that can assist in improving your gameplay. These tips comprise of the following points:
- To become proficient in your specialization, it's important to familiarize yourself with your class's abilities and talents. Take the time to learn how they work together and manage your resources efficiently. This will help you maximize your performance.
- Regularly practicing your rotations is essential to ensure that you're maximizing your damage output. By doing so, you can build muscle memory and react quickly to in-game situations.
- Focusing on acquiring better equipment with the appropriate stats for your specialization, such as Intellect, Haste, and Mastery, can significantly enhance your effectiveness. You can obtain gear through a variety of means, including questing, dungeons, and raids.
- Before participating in any encounter, it's advisable to research and understand the mechanics of the battle. This will allow you to prepare accordingly and optimize your rotation for the specific encounter.
- Effective communication with your team is critical in group content. Coordinate with your team to ensure you're using your utility abilities effectively and supporting one another.
- Experimenting with different talents and abilities can help you determine what works best for your playstyle and the content you're engaging in. Take the time to try out different options to find the optimal combination.
Other Articles to Read
At SkyCoach, we're dedicated to providing comprehensive guides for all aspects of WoW. Our blog features a diverse range of articles on various classes and specializations. For instance, if you're interested in playing as, say, Blood Death Knight, you can find our guide on the topic here.
If you're looking to explore the role of a full healer, we have the Preservation Evoker Guide available for you as well. And if you're interested in mastering the Enhancement Shaman specialization, we highly recommend our Enhancement Shaman Guide. All our guides cover everything you need to know to complete the spec's encounter with minimal effort and attempts. Be sure to check it out!
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This guide provides comprehensive information on how to play Shadow Priest in World of Warcraft. Make sure to read it carefully and learn about the essential aspects of the class, including gear, talents, rotations, and playstyle, to help you maximize your damage output and excel in both PvE and PvP content. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can become a skilled and effective Shadow Priest.
Remember to keep practicing and experimenting with different tactics to find what works best for you. We'll keep updating this guide with any changes that occur, so be sure to stay with us. Good luck on your journey as a Shadow Priest, and we'll see you in the game!
Are Shadow Priests good in Dragonflight?
Yes. This specialization is quite popular among players and more than capable of being useful in both PVE and PVP.
Is Shadow Priest hard to play in WoW?
Shadow Priest is not the easiest class to play. This spec’s gameplay can be considered challenging due to their reliance on managing resources effectively, timing their spells correctly, and maintaining multiple damage-over-time (DoT) effects on targets. Additionally, Shadow Priests have a relatively complex rotation, which can take some time to master.
What is the best weapon for a Shadow Priest?
For now, the best weapon for Shadow Priest is the Final Grade staff, which you can loot from Algeth'ar Academy or as a reward from Great Vault.
What is the best profession for a Shadow Priest?
Tailoring has long been a favored option for this specialization due to its ability to enable players to create their own armor. This can be particularly advantageous when undertaking end-game content, where equipping the most exceptional gear can significantly impact one's performance. However, in practice (especially after the Crafting Orders became a thing) your profession is not going to significantly affect your performance.