Tobold's Blog
Friday, March 13, 2009
Calling all shadow priests!

Although I've played my priest for 4 years, I played most of the time in various discipline and holy builds. I experimented only a bit with shadow, but that was quite some time ago, and the life of a shadow priest certainly has changed. So when patch 3.1 comes and introduces dual spec, giving me the opportunity to switch to shadow when the raid needs less healing and more dps, I'm woefully unprepared.

Luckily my guild currently has a surplus of healers, so I might have an opportunity to spec to shadow now for a while to practice. But while I found a bunch of different shadow talent builds, I'm not quite sure which talents are essential and which are just nice but fluff. And, more importantly, I have no idea about the spell rotation of a shadow priest in a raid.

Can anyone help me out with a link or advice on what spells shadow priests cast in a raid? The dps method I know for shadow priests, fear kiting a.k.a. face melting, is certainly for soloing only, and not applicable to raiding. So, what debuffs must a shadow priest constantly keep up on a tank and spank boss, and what spells does he cast in between debuffs to deal maximum damage?
Comments: - if it ain't there it ain't worth knowing!!
Two of the current builds going around -

Reduced Threat -

Improved Vampiric Embrace -

3.1 Build -

(sorry for the long link there its taken from mmo-champion latest PTR talent calculator)

As for rotation well there isnt one, There is however a priority list.

1 - Vampiric Touch - Try and keep this up as first priority.
2 - Devouring Plague
3 - Mind Blast
4 - Mind Flay

Now you're thinking... he missed our shadow word pain right? well because it gets automatically refreshed with mind flay shadow word pain is applied once unless during the fight it drops off and in this case will need to be placed after Devouring plague in terms of importance.

Boss Starter - VT - DP - MB - MFx1 - SW:P
- VT - MB - MFx2 - MB - MFx2 --- Once this is done it should be time to refresh both VT and DP and so you are in a nice groove with timings and can keep to the priority rotation above.

I strongly reccommend an addon called "DoTimer" it displays the time remaining on your dots and is a MASSIVE help to know when to reapply VT and Dp or throw out a quick MF to keep sw:p up.

In terms of trash Mind Sear is a huge spell and if there is loads of trash with low hp then you can just target any mob and cast mind sear.

BUT... if the trash is similar to say the packs of mobs in Obsidian Sanctum, its more dps to cast VT-DP and sw:p on one of them and then cast Mind Sear, the reason for this is that Mind Sear doesnt actually do any damage to its target at all so if you can cast a few dots on the mind sear target you will increase your aoe dps.

Flask is the frozen Wyrmm and food is firecracker salmon. Remember to keep inner fire up although its easier now the time was increased to 30mins.
For rotation I use: VT, MB, DP, SW:P, MF, MB, MF, MF, ...

I like using MB second to get Replenishment up as quick as possible. Now most people will put SW:P as fifth so you get the most damage from it, but in most cases (excluding bosses) the mob dies before this has much effect.

During large trash pulls, substitute MF with MS for the AoE, only using MF to reapply SW:P. Also make sure you have some way of knowing how many mobs are still up (i.e. Shift V) so you aren't still using MS with only your target left.

Some SPriests will point out that using SW:D will up your DPS quite a bit, but I only recommend using it if you're going to bubble. Sometimes I will bubble before a pull and use it in my initial rotation. The bubble will take the damage and you'll be fine, but it's really mana intensive so I don't use it a lot.
Did you just say surplus of healers?
Since WotLK, Shadow Word: Death hasn't been used in a lot of spell rotations. The damage it does isn't worth the cooldown compared to a Mind Blast crit. I sometimes add it in towards the end of a fight if I can soak the damage. Stopping to bubble yourself first is a massive waste of a GCD and will kneecap your DPS.

No one has talked about Spell Hit yet. Spell Hit is your #1 priority going from healing to dps. 289 is the shadow hit cap when you add in Shadow Focus and Misery. Misery is a debuff, so there's a chance your first cast or two might miss still.If you have a Draenei in your group, the hit cap falls to like 263. Getting +hit gear should be your first priority when building a shadow set. As you get further along in your set building, you'll feel like you're on The Price Is Right: Getting as close to 290 without going over.

Shadow Weaving is now a self buff rather than a mob debuff. This means that your Shadow Word: Pain, which refreshes with Mind Flay, needs to either a) be cast the first time after you've reached 5x Shadow Weaving or b) be recast once you reach 5x Shadow Weaving. This also applies to any other buffs that increase spell damage, such as trinkets.
Two glyphs of importance: Glyph of Shadow Word Pain causes mobs inflicted with SW:P to take extra damage from Mind Flay. Glyph of Shadow causes your MF and MB crits to boost your spellpower by a percentage of your spirit for a few seconds. Your third glyph at this point is pretty optional - Mind Flay if you don't mind losing the snare, SW:D for no real reason (it's no longer part of the mandatory rotation). I use glyph of PW:S for a little help soloing and for 5-mans when the healer needs a little boost.

Also, SW:D is still DPS that you can contribute while moving or if you have a free GCD before MB or a DoT comes up. It's better to cast SW:D than half of a MF in that time. It's almost always better to SW:D as you're changing position if you don't have an instant DoT that needs refreshing (assuming you won't kill yourself by casting it - hello Malygos sparks).
Someone beat me to it. Raider101 is a good resource to learn most of what you need without digesting a 30 page theorycrafting thread.

You're welcome :)
Good luck on your shadow priest experiment Tobold!

I'm ordinarily a Discipline spec healer but on occasion we have too many healers and I'm the first one called upon to make the switch to Shadow. My rotation is basically the same as others here but I like to work in Devouring Plague a little earlier:

Vamp Embrace -> SW:P -> Devouring Plague -> Vamp Touch -> Mind Blast -> Mind Flay x2 -> Mind Blast -> Mind Flay -> Vamp Touch

... and then keep renewing DoTs as they expire making sure always to follow up a fresh renewal of Vamp Touch with a Mind Blast.

It's remarkably easy to reach the hit cap as Shadow just with crafted/Emblem of Heroism reward items. My "hit set" is three Tailoring items (both Ebonweave pieces and Hat of Wintry Doom), and two emblem turn-ins: Encircling Burnished Gold Chains (neck) and Ward of the Violet Citadel (offhand). I don't swap in any other equipment.

Depending on the fight, I can be VERY high up on the meters including #1 on a recent Sapphiron kill (although to be fair, our Mage was busy cleansing a lot during that fight).

I still like healing a little better, I feel like I am more engaged in the fights instead of just standing back and hitting the same buttons over and over in a pattern. But when Dual-Spec comes out, I'll definitely be taking Discipline and Shadow as my choices. In fact, the two pieces of Tier 7 I have now are both from the Shadow set, and I still use them while healing (as they're better for Disc than the Holy T7 alternatives).

-Adam in Philadelphia
What Yane wrote, lol :D
Others have provided good suggestions. As someone who has leveled two priests to 70 (the shadow priest has retired and is still 70), I'd like to add that you should now be actively working on obtaining spell hit gear. It's the one biggest difference between healer and dps roles; and if you plan on raiding at all, you need to make sure you are spell hit capped. Other than that, focus on runed (red) gems for straight up damage on your gear.
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