Simple Shadowpriest guide

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Simple Shadowpriest guide Empty Simple Shadowpriest guide

Post  Amourus on Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:00 am

There are numerous things that effect a players DPS and it is important to get to grips with each area to maximise damage output. The main elements which will effect your damage are: Rotation, Gear, Talents and Glyphs. This guide has been written in my own words from what i have gathered over the past years, special thanks to the people at ElitistJerks and who do alot of theory-crafting and debating which contriuted to this brief guide.

VT: Vampiric Touch
SW:P: Shadow Word: Pain
DP: Devouring Plague
MF: Mind Flay
MB: Mind Blast
MS: Mind Spike
SW:D: Shadow Word: Death
SF: Shadow Fiend
VE: Vampiric Embrace
ES: Empowered Shadows (New Mastery Buff)
DE: Dark Evangelism (Disc Talent, 5 Stacks, DoT Buff)
AA: Arch Angel (Discipline Talent, DPS Cooldown)


The Rotation::

Single Target Priority System:
1) Keep all DoTs up on the target (VT, SW:P, DP). Make sure you refresh your DoTs just before they fall off, you can no longer clip DoTs and they will continue to tick from where they left off unless you let them fall off the target.

2) Maintain ES Buff, This is our Mastery, the Buff will increase your DoT damage by a percentage dependant on how much Mastery you have. This effects VT, SW:P, DP and MF. Keep it active at all times by using up whatever shadoworbs you have using MB.

3) Use MB whenever you get a Shadow Orb(s) regardless of time left on ES, This will do more damage than a mindflay and will refresh your ES buff so don't worry if you already refreshed it recently. Do NOT use MB without orbs because you risk having MB on cooldown when ES needs to be refreshed.

4) Use MF to deal damage, maintain DE buff from the Discipline Tree and gain more Shadow Orbs.

5) Use SW:D if the target is below 25% health, if glyphed you should be able to use two at the same time.

6) Use MS if the target has a low health pool to start of, such as the Vapours on the Ripsnarl encounter in Deadmines. DoTs will not have much time to tick in these cases, MSx3 MB.

7) Use your AA cooldown AFTER you have reapplied DoTs, so that you have maximum time to use MF and have time to get your DE buff back to 5 stacks before refreshing VT and DP.

Cool Use SF on Cooldown, this maximizes damage as they do hit significantly when they are out. This give maximum damage and mana return.

My Opening Rotation: (Start of Fights)
1) Vampiric Touch, SW:Pain, Devouring Plague + Shadowfiend
2) Mindflay (Atleast 5 Ticks to get Evangelism and Continue Until I Get One Shadow Orb),
3) Mindblast (to get Empowered Shadows from the Orb),
4) Refresh DoTs so they benefit from EmpShadows and Evangelism.
5) Pop Archangel for First time, and continue with Rotation Above.

General Tips:
1) DoT Damage is calculated by the players stats when they are cast, this includes buffs like DE, ES and Trinket Procs.

2) If you have a trinket proc about to run out, for example 1900 spellpower, it is worth refreshing VT and DP early so they benefit from the buff even when it has gone.

3) This also applies at the start of fights, refresh your DoTs as soon as you get your first ES buff from using MB with atleast one Shadow Orb, so they benefit from ES.

4) As always if there is a phase of a fight where the boss takes more damage, an example being on Magmaw where his head is exposed, try to save your CDs like SF and AA for these parts of the fight.

5) Any Fights where there are multiple Targets with High HP, such as the 'Omnotron Defence System' you should apply VT and SW:P to both Targets to maximise DMG Output.


Your Gear:
Your gear will definately affect your damage, bad trinkets especially.
For Shadowpriests Intellect is your primary stat, it will increase the damage of all spells. As a Shadowpriest your best secondary stat is Haste, Haste will increase the amount of times your DoTs tick in the time they are on the target which increases our DPS significantly.

Your Stats Priority is as follows:
Intellect > Hitcap > Haste > Crit > Mastery

When deciding on new items look primarily at whether or not it has Haste, if not and your old items does it probably isnt worth swapping unless it has alot more intellect.

For a BiS (Best in Slot) list try looking at, or

Shadowpriests do rely on gear alot more than other classes, without Haste our DPS is terrible even with the correct rotation. Once we have higher levels of gear and therefore more Haste and Intellect on items our DPS will increase significantly.

Stat Values/Gemming Guide:

Intellect is our number one stat, so the values for other stats have been calculated in terms of intellect. Below is the value of each stat in terms of ''intellect points'', (from ElitistJerks)

Int: 1.0000
SP: 0.7841
Haste: 0.5844
Crit: 0.4480
Mastery: 0.4366

When gemming your gear you should calculate what the value of each gem is and whether or not it is better to get the socket bonus or gem pure Int.

As Intellect is better than any secondary stat a Reckless Ember Topaz is better than a Quick Amberjewel for a yellow socket. The Reckless Ember Topaz gem would give 31.6 points, whereas a Quick Amberjewel would give 23.4 points. (Worked out by multiplying each by their value).
For Blue sockets gem Purified Demonseye if you want the socket bonus.

For example, if you have a yellow socket then putting a Reckless Ember Topaz in the socket would give (20x1)+(20x0.5844) = 31.6 points. Whereas putting in a red Brilliant Inferno Ruby would give you 40 points, so it would be better to use a the red gem. However if the socket bonus was to be worth 8.4 points or more (8.4 intellect or 14.3 haste) then it would be better to use a Reckless Ember Topaz as you would then also benefit from the socket bonus.

Alot of socket bonuses are not worth gemming for because Brilliant Inferno Ruby works out to be better, the maths is quite simple and this section of the post should have helped with gemming issues.

For your Meta Gem, Burning Shadowspirit Diamond is unquestionably the best.



With the current talent tree it is clear which talents will give a DPS increase and which are for PvP/CC. After taking all of the DPS talents you will be left with 2 extra talent points to spend. In my talent build i spent these 2 extra points in Phantasm. This is because it allows me to remove movement impairing effects on boss fights that allows me to move back into range faster, or avoid something that would otherwise kill my character.

An example of where this helps sustain dps would be the Commander Ulthok encounter in Throne of Tides. The boss casts a curse of exhaustion on players which slows movement speed and casting speed (lowering dps), by using the Phantasm talent to remove this debuff you get rid of both effect and are no longer effected by the slow cast times.

Other options of talents to go for would be:
Psychic Horror, Mental Agility, Power Word Shield.



For Shadow there are 4 Prime Glyphs to take into consideration:
Glyph of Mind Flay
Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain
Glyph of Shadow Word: Death
Glyph of Dispersion

For Maximum DPS you should clearly use the first 3, however make sure you have Glyph of Dispersion learnt and have some dust ready to switch it over in case you need it for a certain encounter. If you do need it swap it with Glyph of Shadow Word: Death.

Glyph of Fade
Glyph of Psychic Scream
Glyph of Spirit Tap

These are the three that I personally use, if you are frequently asked to dispel it may be worth changing Glyph of Spirit Tap with Glyph of Dispel Magic.

Glyph of Fading
Glyph of Levitate
Glyph of Shadowfiend
Glyph of Fortitude

This comes down to personal opinion, I would take the top 3. It is rare that you have to buff mid-fight, and the mana cost was reduced this patch anyway. Note that no Minor glyphs have a great impact on your DPS.


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