Welcome to the Darkxss guide on how to play Shadow Priests. In this guide I hope to cover the A-Z of shadow priests and all the tricks I use to boost my DPS. This entire guide is written from a raiding perspective and I’ll try keeping everything as simple as possible.
(This guide is written for the patch 3.3.5a for Warmane Servers)
PvE – Player versus Environment
PvP – Player versus Player
DPS – Damage per second
DOT – Damage over time
VT – Vampiric Touch
DP – Devouring Plague
MB – Mindblast
MF – Mindflay
SW: P – Shadow word: pain
SW: D – Shadow Word Death
CD – Cooldown
SP – Spellpower
DMG – Damage
BIS – Best in Slot
ICC – Icecrown Citadel
RS – Ruby Sanctum
1. Gear and Stats
5. Talent Builds
8. Food and Potions
1. Gear and Stats :
The three most important stats for any caster is Spellpower, crit and haste. Below is the equivalent SP given by each stat.
Spell power = 1 spell power
Critical strike rating = 0.76 spell power
Haste rating = 0.98 spell power
Hit rating = 1.88 spell power (when not hit capped)
Intellect = 0.22 spell power
Spirit = 0.59 spell power
The basic stat priority for a Shadow Priest is as follows:
Hit (until capped) > SP > Haste (till capped)> Crit > Spirit > Intellect
The caps to watch out for –
Hit Cap – 289 / 11% (For all races except Draenei) or 10% (If Draenei)
Haste Soft Cap – 1250
Haste Hard Cap – 1400
BIS Gear List :
Sanctified Crimson Acolyte Cowl (Obtained through ICC25hc using heroic token)
Amulet of the Silent Eulogy (Obtained from Gunship in ICC25hc)
Sanctified Crimson Acolyte Mantle (ICC25hc; heroic token)
Cloak of Burning Dusk (Obtained from Halion in Ruby Sanctum 25hc)
Sanctified Crimson Acolyte Raiments (ICC25hc; heroic token)
Bracers of Fiery Night (Obtained from Halion in Ruby Sanctum 25hc)
Sanctified Crimson Acolyte Handwraps (ICC25hc; heroic token)
Crushing Coldwraith Belt (Obtained from Lord Marrowgar in ICC25hc)
Plaguebringer’s Stained Pants (Obtained from Festergut in ICC25hc)
Plague Scientist’s Boots (Obtained from Festergut in ICC25hc)
Ring of Rapid Ascent (Obtained from Gunship in 25hc)
Ashen Band of Endless Destruction (Obtained by gaining exalted reputation with the Ashen Verdict)
Phylactery of the Nameless Lich (Obtained from Sindragosa in ICC25hc)
Charred Twilight Scale (Which is obtained from Halion in the RS25hc encounter.)
**Dislodged Foreign Object is the next viable option. (Obtained from Rotface in ICC25hc)
Shadow Silk Spindle (Obtained from Blood-Prince Council in ICC25hc)
Corpse-Impaling Spike (Obtained from Rotface in ICC25hc)
Royal Scepter of Terenas II (Obtained from Lich-King 25hc encounter) however if hard to get, use **Frozen Bonespike (From Marrowgar in ICC25hc)
2. Gemming :
Gemming shadow priests is relatively straight forward. I like to gem my character for all socket bonuses but the general trend I see is that when a person is haste capped they gem +23 SP gems in items which give bonus of 5sp or less. I leave the choice up to you.
If you wish to fulfill your socket bonuses gem as per the following in all your slots:
*Meta Gem: Chaotic Skyflare Diamond (+21 Crit Rating + 3% increased Critical strike damage)
Red: Runed Cardinal Ruby (+23 Spell Power)
Blue: Purified Dreadstone (+12 Spell Power, +10 Spirit)
**Yellow: Reckless Amertine (+12 Spell Power, +10 Haste)
* – If you plan to gem Runed Cardinal Rubies in all your slots make sure your meta gem is still active else would lead to a significant DPS loss. For the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond meta gem you need two blue gems to keep it active, so make sure you always have two blue gems to keep it on irrespective of the way you decide to gem.
** – If you are haste capped it is pointless for you to gem an additional 10 haste hence replace this gem with Potent Ametrine (+12 Spell Power, +10 crit).
3. Glyphs :
Glyph of Shadow
Glyph of Mind Flay
Glyph of Dispersion/Glyph of Mind Sear
Glyph of Dispersion may be a better choice to increase survivability in HC raids. Raiding is also about surviving and not just about DPS. Help your heals out, blow some defensive CDs too every once in a while J.
If you are facing intensive mana issues you can use Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain.
There are no fixed minor glyphs as they don’t help with your DPS so I’ll leave this bit up to you.
4. Enchants :
Head – Arcanum of Burning Mysteries (30 SP + 20 Crit obtained from Kirin Tor Reputation)
Shoulder – Greater Inscription of the Storm (24 SP + 15 Crit obtained from Sons of Hordir Rep)
Back – Greater Speed (+23 Haste Rating)
Chest – Powerful Stats (+10 All Stats)
Wrist – Superior Spellpower (+30 SP)
Hands – Exceptional Spellpower (+28 SP)
Waist – Eternal Belt Buckle(Added Gemming socket to waist item)
Legs – Sanctified Spellthread (50 SP + 30 spirit obtained from Tailoring)
Feet – Icewalker(Helps in moving faster which is helpful in some boss encounters) / Tuskarr’s Vitality (if hit capped)
1H weapon – Mighty Spellpower (+63 SP) or Black Magic (If not haste capped)
Staff – Greater Spellpower (+83 SP)
Various professions also give some item enchants as the profession bonus. (This will be covered in the professions section of the guide).
5. Talent Builds :
Shown below is the Normal/Cookie Cutter Spec which is mostly used by people who aren’t close to bis gear and don’t have a T10 4/5 set:
Shown below is the talent build for T10 4/5 Set
6. Rotations :
There are several openers for Shadow Priests that you can find online. I’m going to talk about the one which I find most efficient.
—–> For Normal/Cookie Cutter Spec:
VT > DP > MB > MF > SW: D > SW: P
The reason I use SW: D in my opener is in order to achieve faster 5/5 Shadow Weaving stack. Apply SW: P only after you achieve 5/5 Shadow Weaving.
Additionally use MB after every CD and use MF as a filler spell when your all 3 dots are ticking and MB is in CD.
I would recommend using Shadowfiend at the start of the fight.
—–> For 4/5 T10 Set:
VT > DP > MF > SW: D > MF > SW: P
Again SW: D is used in the opener to achieve faster 5/5 Shadow weaving.
Well all 3 dots are ticking use MF as your filler spell. You don’t need to use MB in this spec because MF does more damage at the same time and also we have dropped the MB Talents.
When is the best time for me to refresh my dots?
The best time to refresh your dots or MF is after it is done with it’s last tick. NEVER EVER clips your dots or MF spells until it is done with it’s last tick else will result in a major loss in DPS.
It is better to apply a dot late than to clip it. If VT and DP are about to get over at the same time then always cast VT first then DP.
7. Professions :
In this section I am going to talk about the various professions bonuses and what is the best for a shadow Priest.
I am a little lazy to type the entire bit here so I’m copy pasting from another website with minor edits in the middle by me.
If you have JC you can make gems that only a JC can put in his armor. The gems have bigger stats then the normal epic gems. For example the normal gem is Runed Cardinal Ruby and the Jeweler’s gem is Runed Dragon’s Eye. The downside is that you can only use 3 of the Jeweler’s gems in your armor.
So if you were to gem yourself with the bonus Spell Power gems you would get an additional 48 Spell Power from this profession, which is a lot.
Enchanting gives you enchants for your rings. You can use 3 different enchants:
Enchant Ring – Greater Spellpower + 23 spell power
You cant have these enchants if your not an Enchanter. Only the Enchanter’s rings can be enchanted.
Since we have two rings we get an additional 46 Spell Power from this profession.
Inscription gives you powerful enchants for shoulders (only available with 400+ inscription skill). You can have 4 different enchants:
Inscription of the Storm +70 spell power and 15 critical strike rating
Inscription of the Crag +70 spell power and 8 mana every 5 sec
This gives an additional 40 Spell Power.
This prof gives powerful cloak enchants (only available with +400 tailoring skill). You can Choose from:
Darkglow Embroidery chance to restore 400 mana when you cast a spell
Lightweave Embroidery chance to increase your spell power by 295 for 15 sec
Leg enchants a Tailor can make to sell:
Brilliant Spellthread +50 spell power and 20 spirit
Sapphire Spellthread +50 spell power and 30 stamina
I would call this the BIS profession for any cloth class. It gives maximum Spell Power throughput and should be a no brainer.
You can make 1 extra socket on your belt, bracers and gloves. You can make Eternal Belt Buckle that can be sold and used by people that dont have BS. Then you have the sockets for only the BS: Socket Bracer and Socket Gloves.
Since we get two added gemming slots in hands and wrist we can put 2 red gems thus giving us +46 Spell Power bonus.
Engineers tend to get a bit shortchanged in this department because many of their gadgets for purely cosmetic such as a portable mailbox called Moll-E and a Field Repair Bot etc.
However, they do have the ability to create certain gadgets that attach to their gear (much like an enchant). These gadgets provide a variety of benefits of increased speed all the way to rockets that are fired for damage. Like Nitro Boosts (for on your belt) and the Parachute Cloak.
This is more of a PvP profession I’d say but it is useful for PvE helping people move around fast and the hands hyper accelerator tinker gives some added haste which is nice.
You can make Alchemist’s Stone this is a trinket with the effect: Increases the effect that healing and mana potions have on the wearer by 40%. This effect does not stack.
If you have Alchemy you also get Mixology this doubles the duration of any elixir or flask used.
Also you have Flask of the North this is an non-consumable item that doesn’t provides bonuses comparable to those of other flasks or elixirs however it can be used in arenas.
Not that useful for PvE.
The 2 best professions for a Shadow Priest for PvE in my opinion would be Tailoring + Jewelcrafting followed by Tailoring + Engineering because the haste from hyperspeed accelerators makes your dots tick faster.
8. Food and Potions :
If you want to max out on the DPS your toon can do you should consider carrying the following consumables to raids with you –
1. Flask of the Frost Wyrm x 10 – A Spellpower Flask which gives added 125 Spell Power
2. Tender Shoveltusk Steak x 20 – Food gives +46 Spell Power or Fish Feast will also do the job. Can be learnt from cooking vendor in Dalaran. If you are low on haste you can get the recipe for +40 haste food as well.
3. Potion of Wild Magic x 40
4. Potion of Speed x 40
5. Intellect Scrolls – As they add to your crit.
Why the above-mentioned potions?
Potion of Speed – Because of the added haste and haste is good for shadow priests. It was feels like a faked Heroism 😛
But never use this potion along with Heroism because the effect wouldn’t be noticeable then.
Potion of Wild Magic – This potion provides us with Crit + SP. This potion is OP for us Shadow Priests in my opinion for the simple reason that our Shadow Word: Pain spell over utilizes this potion. If your talents are done right then for every MF spell you use , your SW: P spell automatically gets refreshed. So when this potion is used the SW: P spell keeps refreshing the crit on this spell as long as we don’t let this dot drop off. The spell power gets reset for this dot but not the crit.
When do I time my potions?
Well in a fight normally you can use just one potion. But there is a way to overcome this shortcoming. If your tank can have a pull countdown. Somewhere 3 seconds before the pull if you can use Potion of Wild Magic and immediately fade to reset the potion CD to 1 min and you can proceed with your opener. After 1 min you can use another potion and most ideally you would want to use Potion of Speed to cause some faster damage. Again never use Potion of Speed with Heroism it’s pointless.
Regular Mind Flay macro. Let’s you spam the Mind Flay key without fear of interrupting it.
(Avoid using this macro as far as possible but make sure you don’t clip the spell)
“#showtooltip Mind Flay
/cast [nochanneling:Mind Flay] Mind Flay”
Same thing as the macro above, just for Mind Sear.
(Avoid using this macro as far as possible but make sure you don’t clip the spell)
“#showtooltip Mind Sear
/cast [nochanneling:Mind Sear] Mind Sear”
Shadowfiend Shadowcrawl Autoattack Macro
/cast [pet, nomodifier] Shadowcrawl”
For more macros check out: http://www.wowwiki.com/Useful_macros…ests/archive_1
1. Deadly Boss Mods – http://legacy-wow.com/wotlk/Deadly%20Boss%20Mods
2. Needtoknow (Dot Timer,buff and debuff tracker) – http://legacy-wow.com/wotlk/NeedToKnow
3. Quartz Cast Bar – http://legacy-wow.com/wotlk/Quartz
For any queries feel free to drop a comment below or whisper me in game at Darkxss or Discotech.
Also any feedback, suggestions or criticism from any of you is welcome.
Hope this guide was of some help to you all.
* – I wouldn’t ever recommend this macro to anyone that didn’t have near perfect latency. What this macro basically does is it prevents you from sending the signal to start a new cast to the server while your client still registers an ongoing cast on your end. What happens as a result is you end up inserting a gap between Mind Flay casts equivalent to your latency. Above 100ms or so, this gap is very noticeable.
Thank you DarkenedHue for bringing up this point.