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Shadow Priest DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents (Legion 7.0.3)

Last updated on Aug 29, 2016 at 14:28 by Vlad 81 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Shadow Priests in World of Warcraft Legion 7.0.3. 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 Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Twintop, one of the main Shadow Priest theorycrafters, who also works on How To Priest.

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 Void Lord Void Lord 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 Shadow Crash ? Shadow Crash Mindbender Mindbender
100 Legacy of the Void Legacy of the Void Mind Spike ? Mind Spike 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. 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 (as well as Mind Spike Icon Mind Spike, if you have taken this talent) 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 30-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.

3. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Mania Mania Body and Soul Body and Soul Masochism ? Masochism

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.

4. 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 2 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).

The talents in this crowd control tier are situational, and you will mostly select them based on the requirements of the encounter.

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 is best used when the duration of your crowd control is more important than the number of targets you need to control, while Mind Bomb Icon Mind Bomb is good against a large group of enemies that need to be stunned.

5. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Void Lord Void Lord Reaper of Souls Reaper of Souls Void Ray ? Void Ray
  • Void Lord Icon Void Lord allows your Lingering Insanity Icon Lingering Insanity to persist for 8 seconds after you enter Voidform Icon Voidform the next time (as opposed to the buff ending immediately when you enter Voidform).
  • 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 and Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear (as well as Mind Spike Icon Mind Spike, if chosen) damage to grant you a 6-second buff that increases the damage done by Mind Flay and Mind Sear by 10%. This effect stacks up to 5 times.

Reaper of Souls Icon Reaper of Souls is the best choice in most situations due to it allowing you to stay in Voidform Icon Voidform longer towards the end of a fight, or, if you are facing multiple targets that will be below 35% health (such as adds).

Void Lord Icon Void Lord allows you to cast more abilities early on at the start of Voidform Icon Voidform (as you keep the Lingering Insanity Icon Lingering Insanity buff, as opposed to losing it right away). This helps if you want to do a lot of damage when entering Voidform and increases the damage of  Icon Void Torrent when used early on in Voidform.

Void Ray Icon Void Ray is powerful if you will be switching between single target filler damage with Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay and sudden AoE damage with Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear.

6. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

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

The best choice in this tier is Auspicious Spirits Icon Auspicious Spirits, and this should be the default talent. The passive Insanity gain you get scales with multiple targets and lets you stay in Voidform Icon Voidform longer.

The other two talents will not provide you with more DPS. San'layn Icon San'layn will give more consistent, but smaller damage increases, as well as improve your self and raid healing. The random nature of Shadowy Insight Icon Shadowy Insight generally means that you will not always be able to make the best use of it.

Note that if you are using the Mangaza's Madness Icon Mangaza's Madness legendary, you should take Shadowy Insight Icon Shadowy Insight instead of Auspicious Spirits Icon Auspicious Spirits. We explain why on the gear page.

7. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Power Infusion ? Power Infusion Shadow Crash ? Shadow Crash 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.
  • Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash is an active ability with a 30-second cooldown. It fires a slow-moving bolt of Shadow energy at the targeted location, which deals damage to all targets within 8 yards of its point of impact. Casting Shadow Crash generates 15 Insanity (regardless of whether or not any targets are hit).
  • 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 Mindbender Icon Mindbender, as it provides excellent Insanity generation which helps to extend Voidform Icon Voidform durations or to re-enter Voidform more quickly.

Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash is a great choice for fights where there are many adds that spawn together and which need to die quickly, especially if the timing and rate of their spawn is predictable.

Finally, Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion acts as a strong DPS cooldown, providing more Insanity and higher damage for a short period of time. If the encounter calls for periods of burst damage, then this is a good choice.

8. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Legacy of the Void Legacy of the Void Mind Spike ? Mind Spike 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 70 or more Insanity.
  • Mind Spike Icon Mind Spike replaces Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay. It has a 1.5-second cast time, and it deals Shadowfrost damage to the target. In addition to this, each Mind Spike cast on a target leaves behind a 10-second debuff also called Mind Spike, which can stack up to 10 times. Using Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast on a target that is affected by Mind Spike debuffs detonates them, dealing damage to that target and all nearby targets. The main target takes 200% of the damage that each Mind Spike that applied the debuff had done to them, while the other targets only take 100% of that damage. Casting Mind Spike generates 4 Insanity.
  • 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 150% more Insanity that normal, and you can cast while moving. When Surrender to Madness ends, you instantly die.

The most powerful talent in this tier (and arguably one of the strongest DPS cooldowns in the game) is Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness. However, given the difficulty of using this ability (and the fact that you die when it eventually ends), you will have to be extremely comfortable with the Shadow rotation in order to use it. Moreover, having high latency makes using the ability very difficult (and will likely lead to it being sub-optimal), as will encounters during which there is no target for you to attack. Since you die at the end of the ability, it is best reserved for the end of fights.

Alternatively, Legacy of the Void Icon Legacy of the Void is a great cooldown for those who are still trying to master the Shadow rotation or are unsure of what their exact role in the fight should be. It also works well in fights where there are periods of downtime with no targets to attack. Legacy of the Void lowers the Insanity requirements for entering Voidform Icon Voidform, which makes the gameplay more forgiving.

Finally, Mind Spike Icon Mind Spike is based used in situations where you need on-demand cleave damage, but aside from this it is not recommended and it provides less single target damage than the other two talents.

9. ChangeLog

  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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