Shadow Priests source their might from the dark powers of the Void. But they always keep in control and never lose their minds. Although, sometimes thay might get madly… lethal.
Let’s take a closer look at the weakest and the strongest aspects of this specialization:
- Wonderful multi-dot allowing to deal damage to dissociated targets;
- Strong execute
- Long damage dealing acceleration.
Basic information on the spec:
A Shadow Priest has 2 resources. Mana – the one all specs of the current class have. Shadow uses this resource for various auxiliary and healing spells. Their main resource, however, is Insanity. All the key attacking abilities generate this resource. It is spent with an accelerating rate once you enter Voidform.
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(Area of Effect) is basically the area where this of that effect is actuated regardless of whether its damage or healing. This command is usually used to act in a team/raid on several targets. It is also used to describe any ability of a Boss with the aforementioned effect.
Buff stands for any positive effect. Always reflected to the left of the mini-map, by its upper edge.
Burst is an ability to do – in multiple ways – massive damage within a short period of time.
Gear is what it is.
GCD (Global Cooldown) is the overall ability recovery time.
Debuff stands for negative effect. By default, it’ reflected to the left of the mini-map by its lower edge.
DoT stands for Damage over Time.
DPS (Damage per Second) is a measure that reflects the damage done within one second.
Cleave is an ability to damage secondary targets through damaging the main one with no (or minor) loss in the damage done to the main target.
Cooldown (often CD) primarily refers to the ability recovery time. Can be often applied to bursts and various protective abilities.
Melee and Range. Melee is the close-range combat zone, also used in the titles of all the classes and specs that do effective damage in this zone. Range usually refers to a zone that is not a close-range one and is used, respectfully, in the titles of all classes and specs that do effective damage remotely.
Trait is a name for the ‘talents’ your azerite armor has.
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Mind Blast deals Shadow magic damage to a selected target and generates 14 Insanity. CD 7.5 secs.
Void Eruption costs 90 Insanity, deals Shadow magic damage to all enemies within 10 yards and activates Voidform. In Voidform, the ability is replaced with Void Bolt.
Void Bolt is an instant cast dealing Shadow magic damage to a selected target, and prolonging Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch by 3 secs on the selected target and all the enemies in close vicinity. Generates 20 Insanity. Restoring time 4.5 secs.
Vampiric Touch deals Shadow magic damage for 21 secs and restores the Priest Health equal to 50% of the damage dealt by it. Whoever dispels your Vampiric Touch, runs away for 3 secs.
Shadow Word: Pain is an instant spell dealing minor Shadow magic damage, and more damage over the following 18 secs. Generates 4 Insanity.
Mind Flay is a channel spell dealing damage over 3 secs and slowing the target down by 50%. During its whole active period, generates 14 Insanity.
Mind Sear – close to Mind Flay, but it doesn’t slow the target, plus it can be used at ally. This ability simply does aoe damage around the target.
Shadowfiend summons a familiar who’s going to attack your target for 12 secs. Grants 3 Insanity for each Shadowfiend attack. CD 3 min.
Shadowform, once activated, increases the whole magic damage delivery by 10%.
Mastery: Madness increases the damage by Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Touch and Void Bolt by 9.6% + Mastery Rating.
Mind Sear – The target radiates dark energy, dealing 3 sec to all enemies within 10 yards. Generates 5 Insanity over the duration per target hit.
Voidform is triggered upon a successful utilization of Void Eruption. This form replaces Shadowform increasing your shadow magic damage by 20%, reducing the restoring time for you Mind Blast by 1.5 secs, and increasing your Haste by 0.5% per sec. When you’re in this form, your Insanity level will drop at an increasing pace until it’s at 0 after which your Voidform will be over, and your Shadowform will be back.
Shadowy Apparitions make the critical strikes by your Shadow Word: Pain‘s periodic effect summon a shadowy spirit which flies slowly to the target. Once the spirit reaches the target, they deliver minor Shadow magic damage.
Vampiric Embrace enables you for 15 secs to restore the closest ally Health equal to 85% of the damage you are dealing with your single target spells. CD 2 min.
Dispersion transforms you into a ‘cloud for 6 secs. In this form, you take 75% less damage but you lose the ability to attack and cast any spells. Can be used when stunned, numbed or feared. Casting this spell also cancels any movement-impairing effects on you, it also makes you immune to them for the whole active period of Dispersion. During this action while in Voidform, your Insanity reduces 100% slower
Power Word: Shield allows you to tag an ally or yourself with a damage absorbing effect which can absorb a medium amount of damage. The shield’s active time – 15 secs. CD 7.5 secs.
Shadow Mend restores medium HP to an ally but leaves behind an effect which deals damage once a sec for 10 secs or until the target leaves combat. The damage equals 50% of the healing produced.
Fade annuls your menaces for 10 secs. CD 30 secs.
Silence tags your target with numbness for 4 secs. If the target is not a player, a successful cast interruption would prevent the target from casting another spell from the same school for 4 secs.
Mind Vision enables you to see the world with your selected target’s eyes for 1 min.
Resurrection allows you to resurrect an ally out of combat.
Mind Control allows you to control one selected enemy if their level is no more than 1 point higher than yours. The spell can be used on any enemy except for demons, mechanisms and the undead. It is on the same diminishing as disorientation effects.
Levitate allows you to tag a friendly target with a positive effect for 10 min which enables them to float in the air above the ground, the water, and reduces the falling speed. Any incoming damage cancels the effect.
Mass Dispel allows you to cancel all the negative effects on 5 allies and 1 positive effect on 5 enemies within the area with 15 m of radius. Allows to dispel special spells which may not be subject to regular dispels. CD 15 secs.
Psychic Scream makes 5 enemies within the range of 8 m run away in terror for 8 secs which is a disorientation effect. CD 1 min.
Purify Disease cancels all the disease effects on an ally. CD 8 secs.
Dispel Magic cancels 1 positive magic effect on your enemy.
Shackle Undead allows you to paralyze an Undead enemy for 50 secs. Any damage dealt to the target cancels this effect. Only one enemy can be subject to the spell at a time.
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General information. On achieving several new levels you’ll get access to new talent ‘Tiers’. Talents may have different effect on abilities: add new features, replace old ones, modify passively different effects and spells. Talents can be changed in Sanctuaries or any recreational zones. However, if you don’t have any of those places nearby you can use the Codex of the Tranquil Mind which allows you to switch channels within a minute. You can’t change talents in combat. You can’t change a talent if the talent you’ve picked in the last Tier is on Cooldown. You’ll have to wait until it’s restored first.
Tier 1. Lvl 15
* Shadow Word: Void is used by default.
Tier 2. Lvl 30
* Body and Soul is the default choice.
San’layn can be used if your raid needs an additional saving cooldown.
Intangibility. Is used if you need an additional save for yourself.
Tier 3. Lvl 45
- Twist of Fate. Applying attacking spells on targets with below 35% Health, you get a 10-sec buff increasing all your outgoing damage by 20% and also increasing the efficiency of your healing by 20%.
- Misery. Vampiric Touch also tags the target with Shadow Word: Pain.
- Dark Void. Unleashes the explosion of dark energy around the target, dealing shadow damage and applying “Shadow word:pain” to all nearby enemies. Generates 30 insanity.
* Twist of Fate is used in raids, this is your execute.
Dark Void a standard choice for m+ and AOE.
Misery is not used.
Tier 4. Lvl 60
- Last Word. Reduces cooldown of Silence by 15 sec.
- Mind Bomb. Replaces Psychic Scream. Inflicts the target with a Mind bomb, after 2 sec or if the target dies, it disorients all the enemies within 8 yards of the target for 6 sec.
- Psychic Horror. Terrifies the target in place, stunning them for 4 sec.
* A situational tier. Choose what you need for an the encounter.
Tier 5. Lvl 75
- Auspicious Spirits. Shadowy Apparitions deal 100% more damage and generate 2 Insanity.
- Shadow Word: Death instant deals major Shadow magic damage to a target. Applied to the targets with 20% or less HP. Generates 15 Insanity. If the spell kills the target, it generates 30 Insanity. 2 charges. CD 9 secs.
- Shadow Crash. Hurl a bolt of slow-moving Shadow energy at the destination, dealing Shadow damage to all targets within 8 yards. Generates 20 Insanity.
*Auspicious Spirits is the best talent in this tier.
Shadow Word: Death and Shadow Crash are worse for any situation.
Tier 6. Lvl 90
- Lingering Insanity. When Voidform ends, its Haste bonus fades by 1% every 3 sec, instead of ending immediately.
- Mindbender. Replaces Shadowfiend. Summons, for 15 secs, a Guardian which would attack your target. Every attack generates 6 Insanity.
- Void Torrent – channel a torrent of void energy into the target, dealing Shadow damage over 4 sec.Insanity does not drain during this channel. Generates 30 Insanity over the duration.
* Lingering Insanity is the most effective talent for any encounter.
Mindbender and Void Torrent are not used anywhere.
Tier 7. Lvl 100
- Legacy of the Void. Void Eruption’s cast time is reduced by 40% and may be cast anytime your Insanity level is 60 or higher. Voidform increases spell damage by an additional 5%.
- Dark Ascension. Immediately activates a Voidform, then releases an explosive blast of void energy, causing shadow damage to all enemies within 10 yards of your target. Generates 50 Insanity..
- Surrender to Madness. All your insanity- generating abilities generate 100% more Insanity and you can cast while moving for 1 min.Then, you take damage equal to 90% of your health and cannot generate Inanity for 15 sec. 3 min cd.
*Legacy of the Void the best talent for most of the cases, allows to keep up high uptime of Voidform and long buff uptime for haste. Surrender to Madness and Dark Ascension are not used anywhere.
Here you can find the final build:
- Shadow Word: Void
- Body and Soul
- Twist of Fate single / Misery Multitarget
- Mind Bomb
- Shadow Crash / Auspicious Spirits against longliving multitarget
- Lingering Insanity
- Legacy of the Void
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In BFA typical sets were removed and Azerite armor took their place. Now every chest/helmet/shoulders have a few rings for traits.
So there is a very locked combination of traits for Shadow Priests:
* *It is the list of the best traits only so we recommend to use raidbots.com to see other good traits/combinations.
We recommend to use Herodamage and AzeritePowerWeight addon. Import the addon command from the site and you can easily compare your azerite in the game:
( AzeritePowerWeights:2:"herodamage.com - Stacks_1T_T24":5:258: 405=10, 575=8.09, 193=7.42, 82=6.84, 196=6.62, 562=6.07, 522=5.97, 526=5.97, 236=5.74, 192=5.31, 479=5.17, 488=5.17, 494=5.17, 157=4.92, 501=4.87, 30=4.79, 492=4.52, 486=4.52, 485=4.51, 504=4.48, 483=4.47, 482=4.41, 505=4.39, 194=4.34, 480=4.21, 404=4.13, 195=4.13, 478=4.12, 521=4.12, 481=4.11, 523=4.09, 561=3.90, 495=3.86, 489=3.86, 403=3.56, 498=3.26, 576=3.07, 560=2.53, 156=2.50, 459=2.47, 31=2.41, 493=2.38, 487=2.38, 21=2.19, 500=2.19, 22=2.17, 499=1.92, 166=1.80, 38=1.70, 491=1.69, 497=1.69, 18=1.59, 541=1.57, 490=1.47, 496=1.47, 462=1.46, 461=1.35, 115=-0.10: )
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These ratings are based on simulations, statistics of WarcraftLogs and players experience.
The damage dealing model with Shadow Priest looks as follows: there are 2 phases – during the first one you generate Insanity, in the second one you activate Voidform and try to keep it on for as long as possible. A grand share of the damage dealing are DoTs which helps you deal major damage to several long-living targets. This advantage is particularly obvious as compared to the others when you have targets located remotely from each other.
Insanity generation phase:
- Mind Blast per CD.
- Maintain Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch.
- The rest of the time use Mind Flay.
Having collected 100 Insanity (or 60, if talented with Legacy of the Void), you can enter Voidform by using Void Eruption. From this moment on, you start spending your Insanity, and the spending is getting faster with every second you spend in the form; and Void Eruption is replaced with Void Bolt.
- Void Bolt per CD.
- Shadowfiend at 10+ stacks of Voidform.
- Mind Blast. per CD
- Maintain your Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch DoTs. – Prolonging your Void Bolt DoT should be enough, but under the risk of losing one of the DoTs, you need to apply them manually.
- Mind Flay, if all the above is done.
If you’re combating against several targets, maintain DoTs on all of the reachable long-living targets (long-living = 20+ secs). Keep in mind that in Voidform your Void Bolt prolongs your DoTs on all the enemies within the 8-m range around the main target which allows you to clear up a huge number of GCD for maintaining DoT. The rest of the priorities coincide with those for single target.
If your targets are short-living, maintain the DoTs only on the main target which should be later hit with Mind Flay.
Shadowfiend and Mindbender should be utilized as frequently as possible and only during active Voidform. They should also intersect with various enhancements of Haste Rating, for example, Power Infusion, Bloodlust / Heroism, a huge number of Voidform stacks etc.
Void Torrent is also to be used as frequently as possible, and only from Voidform, because it deals more damage on its own, plus it helps prolong the form as it does not spend Insanity for its operation.
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The basic priority rating for the characteristics is as follows:
Haste = Crit > Mastery > Versatility > Intellect
This specialization’s Mastery increases the damage by Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Touch, Void Bolt, Void Eruption, Mind Flay and Mind Sear.
Haste increases the casting speed, reduces the intervals between your DoTs’ ticks, reduces GCD. It also reduces the restoring time of your Mind Blast, Void Eruption and Void Bolt.
Crit is overall good for your DPS and it sims well.
The last 2 characteristics are quite close to each other and they are bad, so you shoud try to avoid them. That’s why is recommended, once you receive new equipment, you use Simcraft or Raidbots.com. There is no way to get a more precise answer to which stat to focus on first, but through a simulation.
Based on the aforementioned characteristics and results of your character’s own simulation results, you can draw conclusions on Gems, Chants and Raid Chemicals.
- Flasks and Potions:
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Kick with a modifier, with the Shift key held, the ability is applied on a remembered target, without – on the current one.
A macro for instant triggering of Dispersion
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- Leveling. If your character has been inactive since the previous expansions, the best option to level up it is by Timewalking dungeons. You will gain a lot of experience, but there is one big disadvantage of leveling this way. Timewalks are available only for one week during a month, but Overgear is always here.
- Equipment. At high level, the most important thing for you will become your gear. WoW is a multiplayer game, that’s why we recommend for you to play it with your friends, or to find a new friends for mythic+ runs. If you have any trouble with it – Overgear may help you to find not just friends for a run, but a complete well geared and experienced group that also will be glad to trade all the loot you need.
- Raids. Raids are the top-tier PvE content in the game. That’s why the equipment’s base ilvl is higher than anywhere else. These dungeons require knowing all the tactics and have a good gear to kill the bosses. The possibilities of Overgear might let you skip those criteria.
Azerite. It is also not the best idea to forget about the Heart of Azeroth and not to feed it with more Azerite. Ignoring this won’t make your character stronger. The easiest way to do it – just complete all the world quests with Azerite rewards everyday. You can get extra azerite from Island Expeditions. Companions can be found at Overgear.