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Shadow Priest DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents (Legion 7.1.5)

Last updated on Jan 14, 2017 at 09:03 by Furty 176 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Shadow Priests in World of Warcraft Legion 7.1.5. We detail what each of the talents do and in which situations they should be taken.

The other pages of our Shadow Priest guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author and Reviewer

This guide has been written by Furty, who has an illustrious history in the World of Warcraft raiding scene and race for World First. He has been a member of guilds such as Serenity, Midwinter, and many more, and is currently raiding in Myst. He plays most classes at the highest level. You can follow him on Twitter and watch him play on Twitch.

This guide has been reviewed by Juzu, a Shadow Priest who plays in Method. You can watch his stream on Twitch.

1. Talent Choices

Level Choices
15 Twist of Fate Twist of Fate Fortress of the Mind ? Fortress of the Mind Shadow Word: Void Shadow Word: Void
30 Mania Mania Body and Soul Body and Soul Masochism ? Masochism
45 Mind Bomb Mind Bomb Psychic Voice Psychic Voice Dominant Mind ? Dominant Mind
60 Lingering Insanity Lingering Insanity Reaper of Souls ? Reaper of Souls Void Ray Void Ray
75 San'layn San'layn Auspicious Spirits Auspicious Spirits Shadowy Insight Shadowy Insight
90 Power Infusion Power Infusion Misery Misery Mindbender Mindbender
100 Legacy of the Void Legacy of the Void Shadow Crash Shadow Crash Surrender to Madness Surrender to Madness

Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind Icon Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind Icon Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

2. Talent Cheat Sheets

While optimizing talents on a contextual basis is the highly recommended method of setting up your build, the talent builds listed below work great for specific purposes.

2.1. Raid Encounters

2.1.1. Single Target

2.1.2. Light Cleave

2.1.3. Surrender to Madness

2.1.4. Mythic+

2.2. For General Use

This build is an excellent starting point for questing and general purpose usage.

3. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Twist of Fate Twist of Fate Fortress of the Mind ? Fortress of the Mind Shadow Word: Void Shadow Word: Void
  • Twist of Fate Icon Twist of Fate grants you a 10-second buff each time you damage a target whose health is below 35%. The buff grants you 20% increased damage and 20% increased healing, and it does not stack.
  • Fortress of the Mind Icon Fortress of the Mind causes Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay and Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast to deal 10% more damage and generate 20% more Insanity.
  • Shadow Word: Void Icon Shadow Word: Void is an active ability with 3 charges and a 20-second recharge time. It deals Shadow damage to the target, and generates 25 Insanity.

Twist of Fate Icon Twist of Fate is the default choice for nearly every fight.

Fortress of the Mind Icon Fortress of the Mind is viable against a single target, but as soon as there is even one additional target, Twist of Fate is better.

Shadow Word: Void Icon Shadow Word: Void can be used to quickly re-enter Voidform Icon Voidform (given its ability to generate Insanity), but it does significantly less damage than the other talents. It could serve as a leveling talent, but nothing more.

4. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Mania Mania Body and Soul Body and Soul Masochism ? Masochism
  • Mania Icon Mania passively increases your movement speed by 1% for every 3 Insanity you have.
  • Body and Soul Icon Body and Soul causes Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield to increase your target's movement speed by 40% for 3 seconds.
  • Masochism Icon Masochism causes Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend's DoT to act as a HoT instead, when cast on yourself, and also causes you to take 10% reduced damage while it is active.

The best choice in this tier is Body and Soul Icon Body and Soul, as it gives you a useful speed boost and the Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield also grants you some added survivability. Using it has no drawbacks anymore, now that Power Word: Shield no longer applies Weakened Soul.

Alternatively, you could use Masochism Icon Masochism in case you need to use your Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend on yourself often.

Mania Icon Mania is generally not worth taking during raiding, since it is only good when you need to continue moving and when you do not need Voidform Icon Voidform. It can work for leveling or solo content.

5. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Mind Bomb Mind Bomb Psychic Voice Psychic Voice Dominant Mind ? Dominant Mind
  • Mind Bomb Icon Mind Bomb replaces Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream. Mind Bomb has a 30-second cooldown and it places a debuff on the target which detonates after 2 seconds (or if the target dies before then), stunning all enemies within 8 yards for 4 seconds.
  • Psychic Voice Icon Psychic Voice reduces the cooldown of Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream by 30 seconds.
  • Dominant Mind Icon Dominant Mind changes Mind Control Icon Mind Control to allow you to also control your own character during this time (by turning the mind-controlled target into a pet). However, Mind Control can no longer be used against players, and it gains a 2-minute cooldown (up from not having a cooldown).

Mind Bomb Icon Mind Bomb is a good default talent; it is very useful in Mythic+ dungeons, and certain raid encounters as well (e.g. Il'gynoth). It also lines up perfectly with Sephuz's Secret Icon Sephuz's Secret if you are using that legendary.

Dominant Mind Icon Dominant Mind can theoretically provide a DPS boost in some cases, but it is a very niche talent.

Psychic Voice Icon Psychic Voice should not be taken.

6. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Lingering Insanity Lingering Insanity Reaper of Souls ? Reaper of Souls Void Ray Void Ray
  • Lingering Insanity Icon Lingering Insanity causes the haste bonus to fade by 2% per second upon exiting Voidform Icon Voidform, rather than ending immediately.
  • Reaper of Souls Icon Reaper of Souls allows you to cast Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death on targets below 35% health (up from 20%), and it always generates 30 Insanity as though it had killed the target.
  • Void Ray Icon Void Ray causes Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay damage to grant you a 6-second buff that increases the damage done by Mind Flay by 10%. This effect stacks up to 4 times.

Lingering Insanity Icon Lingering Insanity is the best option for most situations, as the bonus Haste is very valuable. When paired with Legacy of the Void Icon Legacy of the Void, a high uptime on the bonus Haste can be achieved.

Reaper of Souls Icon Reaper of Souls is the best choice if you are playing with the Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness talent.

Void Ray Icon Void Ray should be avoided in its current state.

7. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

San'layn San'layn Auspicious Spirits Auspicious Spirits Shadowy Insight Shadowy Insight

San'layn Icon San'layn is the best option on pure single target, particularly if you have a good amount of Mastery or have several  Icon Touch of Darkness relics.

Auspicious Spirits Icon Auspicious Spirits is the best talent for 2+ targets. It is also a competitive option on single target, and will be a better choice for you if your build is very Critical Strike heavy.

Shadowy Insight Icon Shadowy Insight should not be taken.

8. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Power Infusion Power Infusion Misery Misery Mindbender Mindbender
  • Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion is an active ability with a 2-minute cooldown. It grants you a 25% increase in haste and Insanity generation for 20 seconds.
  • Misery Icon Misery causes Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch to also apply Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain.
  • Mindbender Icon Mindbender replaces Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend. Mindbender has a 1-minute cooldown (down from a 3-minute cooldown for Shadowfiend), and each attack the Mindbender makes generates 4 Insanity.

The default choice in this tier should be Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion. This acts as a strong DPS cooldown, providing more Insanity and higher damage for a short period of time. This is an especially good choice for encounters that call for periods of burst damage.

Misery Icon Misery is the best choice when you need to apply DoTs to multiple targets in succession. It is a great choice for Mythic+ dungeons if you want to improve your damage on trash packs. On raid encounters, it should be carefully considered. While it may provide a potent damage and quality of life increase on an encounter such as Il'gynoth, consider that the damage gained may not be as helpful for your raid as having Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion available to deal with the important cruxes of the encounter.

Mindbender Icon Mindbender should be avoided, currently.

9. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Legacy of the Void Legacy of the Void Shadow Crash Shadow Crash Surrender to Madness Surrender to Madness
  • Legacy of the Void Icon Legacy of the Void allows you to active Voidform Icon Voidform when you have 65 or more Insanity.
  • Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash is a slow moving projectile that hits all targets within 8 yards for heavy Shadow damage, on a 30 second cooldown.
  • Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness is an active ability with a 10-minute cooldown. It lasts until you exit Voidform Icon Voidform, and during this time all your abilities generate 100% more Insanity that normal, and you can cast while moving. When Surrender to Madness ends, or you run out of Insanity, you die. Horribly.

Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness is the best option for single target and cleave on encounters that are likely to be shorter than approximately 200 seconds. It should always be paired with the Reaper of Souls Icon Reaper of Souls and Auspicious Spirits Icon Auspicious Spirits talents to allow for maximum Insanity generation.

Legacy of the Void Icon Legacy of the Void is a strong talent choice with applicable use in a variety of situations. It will be the strongest option on single target fights that are longer than approximately 200 seconds. It will also be the strongest option on fights longer than than 200 seconds with any number of targets that are not stacked. It should be paired with Lingering Insanity Icon Lingering Insanity for maximum effect.

Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash is a strong talent in situations where there are several targets that are stacked together. Just like Legacy of the Void Icon Legacy of the Void, the encounter should be longer than approximately 200 seconds before it begins to pull ahead of Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness. It is roughly even with Legacy of the Void Icon Legacy of the Void on 2 targets, but begins to pull noticeably ahead in situations with sustained 3+ stacked targets. It is also an exceptional option for farming Mythic+ dungeons.

10. ChangeLog

  • 14 Jan. 2017: Added a Surrender cheat sheet and time stamps for the end tier talents.
  • 10 Jan. 2017: Revamped talent section. Added cheat sheet talent builds and updated talents for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 16 Nov. 2016: Updated the Body and Soul description to account for its current movement speed bonus and duration.
  • 10 Oct. 2016: Updated Void Ray description, moved Power Infusion to being the recommended choice, and removed a mention about Mangaza's Madness influencing talent choice.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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