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    Heroes WoW Member empire809's Avatar
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    Dec 2016

    PvE Shadow Priest Guide

    Shadow Priest, when played properly, is one of the highest dps classes of the expansion. When you factor in the ability to throw Shields with the added benefit of your dps also healing the raid they become a powerful staple for every raid.

    Stat priority
    As with any non-healing class, you need to cap hit before you focus on any other stat. In 3.3.5 WOTLK the spell hit cap is 17%, you get 3% from Misery and 3% from Shadow Focus, making the hit % that you need on your character sheet 11%.

    After capping hit you focus on stacking haste. Your target haste value is 1290, going beyond 1290 makes the effectiveness of haste vs spellpower or crit drop drastically.

    After your hit and haste are capped crit and spellpower are roughly equal regarding DPS increase. With the gear levels it takes to cap haste you should be sitting around 3k-3.5k spellpower and 30%-35% crit.

    In short, your priority is:
    11% hit on character sheet > 1290 haste rating > as much spellpower and crit as you can stack while maintaining hit/haste caps.

    Zul'Grub bosses require 150 spell penetration, if you want to do decent dps in ZG you need to cap spell pen. Any blue sockets should be used for spell pen first, and would be above haste in your stat priority. This will decrease your dps in most PvE situations outside of ZG, but will make you melt people in PVP.

    Class Mechanics

    Refreshing DoTs
    "DoT clipping" is recasting a DoT spell before all of the ticks in the first cast have occurred.
    DoT clipping results in a dps loss, which is bad when dps is your job.
    Minimize the dps loss of DoT clipping by refresh your DoTs at the last possible second before they expire. There are a number of good GUI add-ons that do a much better job of cooldown monitoring than the stock blizzard UI, I will add a PowerAuras set/section here at some point...

    Mind Blast – and why it’s terrible
    Mind Blast is ONLY used if you do not have T10/T11 4p set bonus.
    Using Mind Blast with this bonus WILL LOWER YOUR DPS.

    Misery, Shadow Weaving, Pain and Suffering
    These 3 talents are not only critical SP mechanics, but understanding how they work together makes an almost 2k difference in your DPS at high gear levels.

    Misery: Your Shadow Word: Pain, Mind Flay and Vampiric Touch spells also increase the chance for harmful spells to hit by 3% lasting 24 sec, and increases the benefit from spell power gained by your Mind Blast, Mind Flay and Mind Sear spells by 15%.

    Shadow Weaving: Your Shadow damage spells have a 100% chance to increase the Shadow damage you deal by 2% for 15 sec. Stacks up to 5 times.

    Pain and Suffering: Your Mind Flay has a 100% chance to refresh the duration of your Shadow Word: Pain on the target, and reduces the damage you take from your own Shadow Word: Death by 30%.

    If you don’t start your rotation with SWP, MF, or VT you automatically have a 3% miss chance. Don’t start a pull with any other ability!

    Shadow Weaving is critical to your DPS output and must remain at max stacks.
    You MUST refresh your DoTs AFTER this has reached 5 stacks, and while you will manually refresh DP and VT, SWP is refreshed by MF via the Pain and Suffering talent.
    Pain and Suffering refreshes for SWP WILL NOT apply this damage buff to SWP you MUST manually cast SWP. (More on this in the rotation section)

    There are 2 variations to a Shadow Priest spec, one if you do not have the T10/T11 4p set bonus, and one if you do. The difference: do you need to include Mind Blast in your rotation or not? If you have the set bonus, and no longer cast mind blast, the 5 points you spent lowering the cooldown are utterly useless and become discretionary points to spend increasing utility.

    Discretionary points are not included in the images. You can put these points wherever you choose, I will make some recommendations below this section.

    Without T10/T11 4p you spec 8/0/58
    There are 66 mandatory DPS affecting talents, and 5 discretionary talent points.

    With T10/T11 4p you spec 8/0/53
    There are 61 mandatory DPS affecting talents, and 10 discretionary talent points.

    Discretionary Points:
    With either of the above specs I HIGHLY recommend that 5 of your discretionary points go in the following 2 talents:

    Improved Power Word: Fortitude – This not only gives you a passive health boost, but provides a sizable health boost to the entire raid.

    Meditation – Without this you will likely have mana issues.

    If you have T10/T11 4p and have 5 extra points you can use any of the following (recommended are bold):

    Improved Power Word: Shield –because Shadow Word: Death is a necessary part of our rotation, and because damage in general can’t always be avoided.

    Improved Vampiric Embrace – makes things easier on your healer and almost guarantees you won’t die to unavoidable damage when combined with Imp PW:S.

    Absolution – This talent is most useful if you raid ZG alot, because you’ll likely be a Mass Dispel bot at some point.

    Psychic Horror – Give you another CC button aside from fear, and if a boss is vulnerable to disarm, the tank will take less damage for 10 sec. The only boss fight this is really useful on is Raptor boss in ZG.

    Mental Agility – If you still have mana problems after putting points in Meditation and properly utilizing Dispersion, you're doing something else wrong because you still shouldn't need this talent...

    Short Version:
    Maintain your 3 DoTs > use Shadow Word: Death and Shadowfiend on CD > Use Mind Blast (if no T10/T11 4p) > spam Mind Flay

    I'll give specific fight examples, but essentially what you're trying to do is: get Misery up immediately, then stack Shadow Weaving with the fewest casts possible, refresh your DoTs so they benefit from Shadow Weaving, Mind Blast (if you don't have T10/T11 4p set bonus always cast MB before an MF or a DoT refresh), then you spam Mind Flay while refreshing your DoTs.

    If you can position yourself before pull (Professor Putricide):
    Mind Flay (to trigger Misery and 5 stack Shadow Weaving) > Vampiric Touch > Shadow Word: Pain > Devouring Plague > Shadowfiend > Shadow Word: Death > spam Mind Flay

    If you position yourself after pull (Blood Queen Lana'thel):
    Shadow Word: Pain (x2 if you need that long to move into position) > Mind Flay (until Shadow Weaving 5 stack) > Devouring Plague > Shadow Word: Pain > Vampiric Touch > Shadowfiend > Shadow Word: Death > spam Mind Flay

    There are 2 mandatory DPS increasing glyphs of note for Shadow:

    Glyph of Mind Flay - Increases the damage done by your Mind Flay spell by 10% when your target is afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain.

    Glyph of Shadow - While in Shadowform, your non-periodic spell critical strikes increase your spell power by 30% of your Spirit for 10 sec.

    For your 3rd glyph you can choose between the following 3. Listed in order of recommendation.

    Glyph of Dispersion - Reduces the cooldown on Dispersion by 45 sec.
    Ensures you NEVER run out of mana if cycled on cooldown after the end of combat

    Glyph of Shadow Word: Death - Targets below 35% health take an additional 10% damage from your Shadow Word: Death spell.
    Provides a marginal DPS increase on longer fights (ZG mostly).

    Glyph of Mind Sear – Increases the radius of effect on Mind Sear by 5 yards.
    Can be a minor DPS increase, but rarely.

    Engineering is the best profession until you reach your haste cap, at which time its effectiveness falls off in favor of the spellpower and crit available from the combination of Tailoring, Jewelcrafting, and Blacksmithing.

    Best case scenario: you have another char for mining, or another means of acquiring ore and rocks. If this is the case you just pickup Tailor, JC, and engi; later replacing engi w/ BS (after haste cap)

    If you don't have another source of ore and rocks it's a lot more work, but you might have to do a few hours of ore farming before you drop mining. (DKs and feral druids make great farming chars)

    Helm – Arcanum of Burning Mysteries (Kirin Tor Rep)
    Shoulders – Greater Inscription of the Storm (The Sons of Hodir Rep)
    Cloak – Lightweave Embroidery (if tailoring) or +23 haste (enchanting)
    Chest - +10 Stats (enchanting)
    Bracers - +30 Spellpower (enchanting)
    Belt – Eternal Belt Buckle (Blacksmithing)
    Gloves - +28 Spellpower (enchanting) – and an additional socket if you’re a blacksmith
    Legs – Sanctified Spellthread (if tailor) or Brilliant Spellthread if you have to have it made
    Boots – Tuskarr’s Vitality (enchanting) – Icewalker is useless when compared to the movement speed.
    Weapon – Black Magic or Mighty Spellpower


    Socket bonuses are generally not ifmportant in T10 or lower gear, if it's convenient to activate them based on what you NEED to socket for hit>haste caps, then do so.
    HOWEVER, if you have T11 the socket bonuses are essentially an epic gem equivalent and should ALWAYS be socketed appropriately. haste+spirit gems can be helpful at this gear level.

    Meta –
    Chaotic Skyflare Diamond (

    Activate your meta with a
    Nightmare Tear ( and a Purified Dreadstone(; then ignore blue sockets.

    An argument can be made for using Purified Dreadstone( inevery blue socket due to the spellpower buff from SWD crits, however this should only be considered if you're at haste cap without gemming haste in your blue sockets.

    If you’re below haste cap:
    Red – Reckless Ametrine (
    Yellow and Blue – Quick King’s Amber(

    As you approach your haste cap with higher gear levels:
    Red – Runed Cardinal Ruby(
    Yellow - Reckless Ametrine (

    Fallen Heroes Custom Items
    Because they have the same set bonuses, T11 is better than T10 in every way.

    Legendary 1 items:
    Dagger + offhand is better than the staff. (Needs testing after Staff changes)
    Spellblade of the Nexus – best main hand until LK SP mace, which is better than everything but L2.
    The Frigid Guidance – best offhand until L2
    Wand of the Forgiven – best wand until LK, which is better than everything but L2.

    Combat Pets:
    Chi-Ji is best until you reach haste cap (obtained from Wandering Isle boss)
    Argi is best after approx. 1200 haste (obtained from website store)

    Last edited by empire809; 05-18-2018 at 05:56 AM. Reason: added spell pen to stat priority section

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