Shadow Priest DPS Spec, Builds, Talents, and Glyphs (MoP 5.4)

Shadow Priest Art Image
General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent and glyph choices for Shadow Priests in World of Warcraft MoP 5.4. We detail what each of the talents and glyphs 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 runs Shadow Orbs and Mind Spikes and works on How To Priest.

1. Talent Choices↑top

Level Choices
15 Void Tendrils Psyfiend Dominate Mind
30 Body and Soul Angelic Feather Phantasm
45 From Darkness, Comes Light Mindbender Solace and Insanity
60 Desperate Prayer Spectral Guise Angelic Bulwark
75 Twist of Fate Power Infusion Divine Insight
90 Cascade Divine Star Halo
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  • Performance-enhancing
  • Survival
  • Crowd Control
  • Movement
  • Utility
  • Situational

There is no longer such a thing as a default build. Most of the talents are now viable. They can easily be changed, thanks to Dust of Disappearance Icon Dust of Disappearance (and Tome of the Clear Mind Icon Tomes of the Clear Mind from level 86 to 90). You will frequently find yourself changing talents and glyphs between encounters, in order to adapt your play style to different mechanics. Therefore, it is important to understand what each of your talents does and how they affect your play style.

2. Tier 1 Talents↑top

Tier 1 talents offer you a choice between 3 crowd-control abilities.

  • Void Tendrils Icon Void Tendrils roots up to 5 enemies in place for up to 20 seconds. Killing the tendrils cancels the effects. The targets must be in the 8-yard proximity of the main target of the spell.
  • Psyfiend Icon Psyfiend spawns a friendly NPC that casts fears on nearby enemies.
  • Dominate Mind Icon Dominate Mind takes control of an enemy player or NPC.

These talents have, at best, situational uses. They may be useful in some encounters, but most likely will only be used during trash and questing. Your choice will be largely irrelevant.

These talents do not influence your performance in any way, their uses being entirely situational. We advise that you choose the talent you prefer the most, or that one which applies best to the conditions of the encounter.

That said, Void Tendrils Icon Void Tendrils may prove more useful than other choices, since it allows you to root enemy adds.

3. Tier 2 Talents↑top

Tier 2 talents offer you a choice between 3 means of improving your mobility.

  • Body and Soul Icon Body and Soul increases the movement speed of the target of your Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield and Leap of Faith Icon Leap of Faith by 60% for 4 seconds.
  • Angelic Feather Icon Angelic Feather allows you to place up to 3 feathers on the ground. Collecting a feather (running through it) increases the player's movement speed by 80% for 6 seconds. Placing feathers has no cooldown, but you only gain a new feather every 10 seconds.
  • Phantasm Icon Phantasm causes your Fade Icon Fade to remove all movement-impairing effects from you. It also makes you unslowable for 5 seconds.

We recommend choosing Body and Soul Icon Body and Soul or Angelic Feather Icon Angelic Feather. Body and Soul is a bit better, because it offers an immediate movement-speed increase whenever someone needs it, as opposed to Angelic Feather, which takes more time since you need to spawn the feathers. The added time to set up Angelic Feathers will also result in a loss of DPS. Be wary, however, that the Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shields you cast to provide the Body and Soul buff will apply the Weakened Soul Icon Weakened Soul debuff on the target, so make sure not to inconvenience any Discipline Priests who are trying to do their job. Conversely, note that you cannot provide the boost if the player is already affected by Weakened Soul, so be on the look-out for that.

Angelic Feather is a close second to Body and Soul, though, so if you think you will need the extra 20% movement speed that Angelic Feather offers, or if you think the 6-second duration of the Body and Soul buff will not be enough, then you should go with Angelic Feather.

It is important to note that neither Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield nor Leap of Faith Icon Leap of Faith will take you out of Shadowform Icon Shadowform when you use them.

Phantasm Icon Phantasm is more of a PvP talent, with situational uses at best.

4. Tier 3 Talents↑top

Tier 3 talents offer you a choice between 3 performance-enhancing abilities.

  • From Darkness, Comes Light Icon From Darkness, Comes Light passively grants you a 20% chance, whenever your Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch ticks, to cause your next Mind Spike Icon Mind Spike to not consume your DoTs, to be instant-cast, to cost no mana, and to deal 50% additional damage. You can have a maximum of 2 charges of this buff at one time.
  • Mindbender Icon Mindbender is an improved version of Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend, which it replaces. The Mindbender has a lower cooldown, and provides you with more damage and mana regeneration.
  • Solace and Insanity Icon Solace and Insanity causes Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay to deal 33% more damage on targets affected by Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague, for each Shadow Orb with which Devouring Plague was cast.

Currently, Solace and Insanity Icon Solace and Insanity provides the highest DPS gain, provided that you can afford to stand and channel Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay following the applications of Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague. In case the encounter requires very heavy movement, it may not be the best choice.

Mindbender Icon Mindbender is a good choice for fights where you have to move a lot (since it can be cast while moving), or for fights where you need some timed burst DPS to burn down a target.

From Darkness, Comes Light Icon From Darkness, Comes Light is also a good choice. The Mind Spike Icon Mind Spikes you can get off thanks to this talent are a nice DPS boost, and they do not negatively affect your rotation. If you are multi-dotting targets with your Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch, then you will get more procs of this talent. Even so, it is not normally better than Solace and Insanity Icon Solace and Insanity.

5. Tier 4 Talents↑top

Tier 4 talents offer you a choice between 3 abilities that improve your survivability.

  • Desperate Prayer Icon Desperate Prayer is an instant-cast self-heal that heals you for 30% of your maximum health, with a 2-minute cooldown.
  • Spectral Guise Icon Spectral Guise allows you to enter a pseudo-stealth state (you remain in combat), leaving behind an illusion of yourself. The effect lasts for 6 seconds, or until you receive 3 attacks.
  • Angelic Bulwark Icon Angelic Bulwark is a passive ability that grants you a damage absorption shield, for 20% of your maximum health, each time you drop below 30% health. The effect has an internal cooldown of 90 seconds.

Here, the choice comes down to either Desperate Prayer Icon Desperate Prayer or Angelic Bulwark Icon Angelic Bulwark. We prefer Desperate Prayer, because it can be used on-demand. Angelic Bulwark can be great when it procs, so it is useful for fights where you often drop below 30% health (progression content, most likely).

Spectral Guise Icon Spectral Guise does not have any meaningful PvE applications.

6. Tier 5 Talents↑top

Tier 5 talents offer you a choice between 3 performance-enhancing abilities.

  • Twist of Fate Icon Twist of Fate passively increases your damage and healing by 15% for 10 seconds, each time you damage or heal a target that is below 35% health.
  • Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion is a 2-minute cooldown that increases your spell casting speed by 20%, reduces the mana cost of all your spells by 20%, and increases all damage done by 5%, for 20 seconds.
  • Divine Insight Icon Divine Insight grants you 5% chance, each time Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain deals periodic damage, to reset the cooldown of Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast and cause your next Mind Blast (cast within 12 seconds) to be instant cast and cost no mana.

Twist of Fate Icon Twist of Fate is currently the best choice. Note that you can increase the uptime of the buff by making sure to damage low health adds regularly, if the encounter provides such an opportunity.

Divine Insight Icon Divine Insight is a good choice for fights where there is heavy movement and multiple adds, since it gives you something to cast while moving (Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast when the talent procs). These extra Mind Blast casts result in more Shadow Orbs, allowing you to cast Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague more.

Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion is currently the worst of the three talents in this tier.

7. Tier 6 Talents↑top

Tier 6 talents offer you a choice between 3 abilities that deal damage to and heal multiple targets.

  • Cascade Icon Cascade is a sort of "chain heal" or "chain lightning", depending on how you wish to use the spell. The initial bolt heals or deals damage to its first target, after which it splits in two, each bolt jumping to targets that are far away, until it eventually stops.
  • Divine Star Icon Divine Star resembles a yo-yo, in the sense that the ball of energy travels in a path away from you (in front of you), and after reaching a certain point (24 yards away), it returns. Both on the first, as well as on the second trip, it heals allies in its path, and damages enemies.
  • Halo Icon Halo causes an effect around you, which expands up to a 30-yard radius. Allies who are inside it are healed, while enemies are damaged. The highest amounts of healing/damage are received by the targets who are around the 25-yard mark.

Quite simply, you should choose the tier 6 talent based on the positioning of the targets you are attacking.

If the targets are spread out, then you will want Cascade Icon Cascade.

If the targets are stacked loosely (ideally in a line, although we cannot quite see this happening very often), then Divine Star Icon Divine Star can shine. Note that Divine Star also provides a very high amount of healing, making it quite useful during heroic progression. Divine Star is also good if you need to fight in a small space, which does not allow you to fulfill the positioning requirement of Halo Icon Halo (see below).

Finally, Halo Icon Halo will work well if the targets are close to each other, and if you can position yourself in such a way as to be 25 yards away from them.

If you are using these talents exclusively against a single target (in which case they will all hit their target), then Halo provides the highest DPS, again, provided that you can stand 25 yards away from the target.

8. Major Glyphs↑top

There are a few Major Glyphs you should consider, though none of them provide a DPS increase. Below, we group them together by category.

8.1. Healing

  • Glyph of Focused Mending Icon Glyph of Focused Mending causes your Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending to only bounce back and forth between yourself and your initial target. This makes Prayer of Mending an excellent survival ability, providing you with a nice amount of healing.
  • Glyph of Vampiric Embrace Icon Glyph of Vampiric Embrace increases the amount of healing provided by Vampiric Embrace Icon Vampiric Embrace by 25%, and reduces the duration over which this heal happens. This makes the heal from Vampiric Embrace more bursty.
  • Glyph of Prayer of Mending Icon Glyph of Prayer of Mending increases the initial heal of Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending, at the cost of one charge. This glyph is useful particularly for the times when you use Prayer of Mending as a self-healing ability.

8.2. Damage Reduction

  • Glyph of Inner Sanctum Icon Glyph of Inner Sanctum provides you with a 6% spell damage taken reduction while Inner Fire Icon Inner Fire is active. This is particularly useful during progression content.
  • Glyph of Fade Icon Glyph of Fade reduces all damage taken by 10% while Fade Icon Fade is active. This can turn Fade into a useful minor survival cooldown in times of raid damage.
  • Glyph of Inner Fire Icon Glyph of Inner Fire increases the armor you gain from Inner Fire Icon Inner Fire by 50%. This is useful if you expect to take considerable Physical damage during the encounter.

8.3. Utility

9. Minor Glyphs↑top

All Minor Glyphs are of purely cosmetic value, and they do not influence your gameplay at all.

10. Changelog↑top