Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Shadow Priest in the Shadowlands: Class Recommendations and Spec Highlights

Recommended Posts



Update: the Shadow pre-patch guide is ready and you can check it out here:
Shadow Priest Shadowlands Guide

We're continuing our look at the class changes and highlights coming in Shadowlands and the pre-patch, helping players make the choice on which class to play, as we move to one of the specs with the most changes so far, Shadow Priests. Our guide writer Publik went all out for this one, as there's a lot to cover, and we also have videos for the various sections to enhance the overview. We have a look at changes to spells, new baseline  and original spells, all the Covenant ability options, talents, legendary effects, the works. Publik seems very happy with the changes and is quite excited for the spec in Shadowlands, so you should seriously consider Shadow as a pick!

Exciting Changes for Shadow Priest in Shadowlands

One of the best new features in Shadowlands is Covenants, but unfortunately for Shadow Priests none of these abilities are particularly exciting and most don't even interact with our spec right now. That being said, Shadow Priest plays like a brand new car in Shadowlands and has some exciting new abilities that have been added alongside old ones returning. Let's go through some of these changes in this article.


Changed Spell Functionality

  • Voidform Voidform. This change is HUGE. Whatever you thought about Shadow Priest in BfA or Legion its time to give this another spin because this specific change makes it play like a whole different beast. We are no longer a "slow ramp" DPS class, but now have a way to control our damage and have periods of large impactful damage and it just feels great to play.
  • Mind Flay Mind Flay. The duration was increased here mostly to make things feel better with our new Dark Thoughts Dark Thoughts passive, which is awesome. 
  • Mind Sear Mind Sear. The duration was also tweaked here which not only helps with Dark Thoughts Dark Thoughts but also makes it much easier to cast Searing Nightmare Searing Nightmares in a single channel.
  • Shadowy Apparitions Shadowy Apparitions. A much needed rework to the spell to make it feel impactful, and man is it cool to see all the spirits fly!
  • Void Eruption Void Eruption. Cast time to get into Voidform Voidform is now 1.5s baseline which is awesome! This brings what used to be a talent baseline into the spec.

New Shadow Priest Spells

  • Dark Thoughts Dark Thoughts.This has a large potential to give some very interesting decisions to your Shadow Priest gameplay, especially considering that you can potentially bank up these charges and blast them into a single target for big priority target damage. Once they get the tuning right this can be the cherry on top of the other changes brought to the spec.
  • Devouring Plague Devouring Plague. The master disease DoT is back! This time with a twist on the insanity mechanic...it COSTS insanity. This change brings Shadow into the likeness of a builder spender spec, but now with Devouring Plague Devouring Plague as the core spender and damaging ability of the spec. In addition to being a massive DoT it also does a reasonable amount of upfront damage, giving us some real burst potential when activating Voidform Voidform.
  • Mastery: Shadow Weaving Mastery: Shadow Weaving. Out with the old and in with the new, our old Mastery didn't really change what we did and no one really cared about it, but now this Mastery gives a heavy reliance on DoTing as many target as possible with our Void-y goodness, which just plays so much more into the specs fantasy, and gives us a great stat to shoot for in addition to just going for Haste.

New Baseline Priest Spells

  • Desperate Prayer Desperate Prayer. A great self-healing option brought back to our kit baseline that also functions as a mini-DR. All around great spell to have!
  • Mind Soothe Mind Soothe. Very interesting return for this spell that could give us some much needed utility in Mythic+ to let your group skip past certain mob packs that you don't want to kill. You can cast this on as many mobs as you want and it works for your whole party!
  •  Power Infusion Power Infusion. Another spell that was brought back...kind of. It no longer gives us insanity generation like it did in Legion, and unfortunately the cooldown is de-sync'ed with Voidform Voidform which is just really disappointing. We now have 3 cooldowns: Shadowfiend Shadowfiend (3m CD or 1m CD with Mindbender Mindbender ), Power Infusion Power Infusion (2m CD), and Voidform Voidform (1.5m CD).
  • Shadow Word: Death Shadow Word: Death. More baseline execute is back in business for Shadow Priests, and with Death and Madness Death and Madness talented you can truly be an execute machine, provided you don't accidentally kill yourself with it.


New Covenant Abilities

Night Fae Ability - Fae Guardians Fae Guardians  - 1.5min CD

Call forth three faerie guardians to attend your targets for 20 sec.

Starting off with my current favorite, Fae Guardians is the first and only Covenant ability that has some interaction with our new Shadow Priest toolkit. While this ability is active you get 3 main effects depending on abilities that you cast.

  • Wrathful Faerie: Direct attacks against the target restore 0.5% Mana or 3 Insanity. Follows your Shadow Word: Pain Shadow Word: Pain.
  • Guardian Faerie: Reduces damage taken by 10%. Follows your Power Word: Shield Power Word: Shield.
  • Benevolent Faerie: Increases the cooldown recovery rate of a major ability by 100%. Follows your Shadow Mend. (Note: Automatically gives you this benefit after activating the ability.)

TLDR this ability is giving us more insanity over the duration which we can use to cast more Devouring Plague Devouring Plagues (or Searing Nightmare Searing Nightmares if talented) and also giving us more casts of Shadowfiend Shadowfiend or Mindbender Mindbender, not to mention the fact that the animation is quite awesome as well.

Necrolord Ability - images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSAUSRMybRbhLGHGyCjqLV Unholy Nova - 1m CD

An explosion of dark energy infects enemies within 15 yds with Unholy Transfusion, and heals up to 6 allies. Unholy Tranfusion: Deals Shadow damage over 15 sec. Allies who damage this target are healed for (4% of Spell power).

Next up is one of many boring Covenant abilities for Shadow Priest. Even though this puts a DoT on our targets it has no interaction with any of our abilities that interact with DoTs, making this a "use on CD" ability that you don't need to think about, as long as your are in melee range. Hopefully this gets changed to have some good interaction with our spec considering it is a DoT after all!

Venthyr Ability - ability_revendreth_priest.jpg?35789 Mindgames - 45s CD

Assault an enemy's mind, dealing Shadow damage and briefly reversing their perception of reality. For 5 sec, the next X damage they deal will heal their target, and the next Y healing they deal will damage their target. Reversed damage and healing generate up to 20 Insanity.

From a PvE perspective this is easily our worst Covenant ability right now. I can definitely see the potential for the PvP power of this ability, but unfortunately that was done at the cost of its usefulness in raiding. Similar to Unholy Nova for Necrolords, you won't really notice casting this and in fact in AoE it isn't even worth casting this ability. Really hoping they give this ability some love from the PvE perspective because I would love to go Venthyr for their aesthetic! 

Kyrian Ability - Boon of the Ascended Boon of the Ascended - 3m CD

Draw upon the power of the Ascended for 10 sec, granting you access to Ascended Nova, replacing Mind Flay with Ascended Blast, and increasing movement speed by 50%. Upon expiration, releases an Ascended Eruption: Explode for Arcane damage to enemies and healing to allies within 15 yds, based on number of targets. Damage and healing increased by 3% for each stack of Boon of the Ascended.

This option is the ugliest of the four in my opinion. When using this ability you STOP being a priest for 10s and shift into being a Kyrian. Kind of a neat idea, but in practice it just feels super disjointed to the spec and doesn't fit in well to our rotation and is sloppy to play with. Not to mention you have to be within 8yds of all your targets to get the maximum benefit out of using it...which is just super odd as a ranged class.

If you want some more information on what Covenant is best for you, check out my videos on each one here:


Talent Changes

There were a ton of talent changes going into the Shadow Priest rework, so let's start with what all has been removed in Shadowlands.

Talents Removed

  • Shadowy Insight. Reworked into our Dark Thoughts Dark Thoughts passive
  • Shadow Word: Void. Now given 2 charges of Mind Blast inside of Voidform Voidform baseline
  • Dark Void. Reworked into Searing Nightmare Searing Nightmare (see below)
  • Shadow Word: Death. Reworked and made baseline
  • Shadow Crash. Redesigned
  • Lingering Insanity. Removed
  • Dark Ascension. Removed

Talent Changes and New Options

  • Death and Madness Death and Madness. Holy mother of execute is this talent fun to play with. You become an execute machine and can really pump out some awesome damage....just be careful not to kill yourself with this ability, it can hit you really hard!
  • Unfurling Darkness Unfurling Darkness. On its own this might sound a little...weird. But paired with other talents like Misery Misery and/or Psychic Link Psychic Link makes this incredibly fun to play with.
  • Searing Nightmare Searing Nightmare. As if having Devouring Plague Devouring Plague wasn't already a good enough option to spend our insanity, this talent gives us an AoE spender as well. You become an absolute AoE mad genius with this spell and it really helps to spread our SW:P out as well.
  • Psychic Link Psychic Link. This is a defining talent for Shadow Priests as it really gives us a bonus is spread target cleave which has always been a great strong suit for the spec, this talent just takes that to another level.
  • Shadow Crash Shadow Crash. Kind of out of left field we got some interesting Shadow Crash Shadow Crash changes that make it a weird hybrid Single Target and Stacked Cleave ability. Not sure where this could be used, but we'll see.
  • Damnation Damnation. You like multi-target? You like DoTing? Well here is the talent for you! Gives us a great option for quickly DoTing a target and we can even do it on the move. PvPers are probably rejoicing everywhere.
  • Ancient Madness Ancient Madness. Not the most exciting talent in the world, but gives our Voidform Voidform some extra oomph to really make it decimate our targets.
  • Legacy of the Void Legacy of the Void. This is Blizzard's attempt at still fitting in "old shadow priest" into the existing talent tree, but it still has lots of work to be done before it gets there. But with enough tuning and changes it might make sense.
  • Surrender to Madness Surrender to Madness. What used to be a very dull and not-worth-the-risk option is now a power-house of an ability due to the fact that it gives you a "free" Voidform Voidform when used, and even if your target dies (which consumes the insanity generation portion of the cooldown) you still keep the full Voidform Voidform, giving you a huge boost in Voidform Voidform uptime.

Now our talent tree looks something like this:

Level 15 TalentsFortress of the Mind Fortress of the Mind / Death and Madness Death and Madness / Unfurling Darkness Unfurling Darkness;
Level 25 Talents: Body and Soul Body and Soul / San'layn San'layn / Intangibility Intangibility;
Level 30 Talents: Twist of Fate Twist of Fate / Misery Misery / Searing Nightmare Searing Nightmare;
Level 35 Talents: Last Word Last Word / Mind Bomb Mind Bomb / Psychic Horror Psychic Horror;
Level 40 Talents: Auspicious Spirits Auspicious Spirits / Psychic Link Psychic Link / Shadow Crash Shadow Crash;
Level 45 Talents: Damnation Damnation / Mindbender Mindbender / Void Torrent Void Torrent;
Level 50 Talents: Ancient Madness Ancient Madness / Legacy of the Void Legacy of the Void / Surrender to Madness Surrender to Madness;

This is my favorite part about the Shadow Priest rework, hands down. Having these options about where to put our damage and how we deal it is great to play with and gives you lots of answers to various dungeons and raid designs.


Legendary Effects

While there are other generic Legendary effects, I'm only going to touch on the ones specific to Shadow Priest (although you can check out the rest of the Priest ones here and generic ones here).

  • Shadowflame Prism Shadowflame Prism. Great synergy with the Night Fae Covenant ability and the Rabid Shadows conduit could make this particularly strong for that Covenant, but otherwise probably won't be used much and isn't that exciting.
  • Eternal Call to the Void Eternal Call to the Void. Tentacles are back! This is a returning artifact trait from Legion that gives us some flavor back to our spec, but doesn't provide that much interaction and unfortunately doesn't work on AoE right now (only spawns from Mind Flay Mind Flay , not Mind Sear Mind Sear).
  • Talbadar's Stratagem Talbadar's Stratagem. An interesting addition to the Legendary catalog that when paired with Psychic Link Psychic Link + Misery Misery + Unfurling Darkness Unfurling Darkness can be a real interesting combination.
  • Painbreaker Psalm Painbreaker Psalm. Right now our weakest option, but can provide some cool playstyle choices if paired with Death and Madness Death and Madness. Could be a solid Mythic+ Contender.

I've gone over each legendary that Shadow has in detail in the videos below:




Shadow Priest is a monster of a spec to play in Shadowlands. If you have ever enjoyed decimating your targets with Shadow and Void energy, you NEED to try this spec out in Shadowlands. You have lots of different ways you can deal damage depending on the playstyle you want or need, and the spec has a great sense of flow and never has dull moments.

Check out Publik's other content here:


Other Spec Highlights:

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually like all the covenant abilities, but that's because I moved away from Shadow in part because they nerfed much of the ability of spriests to off-heal as a passive effect of their dps. Yes, I get that that was done in part to give spriests a distinctly different role, but healers gots to healzzzzz!!!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Staff
      Here comes the official megadungeon preview, as the Broker city of Tazavesh gets a detailed look, including everyone's favorite (and only) Infinite pirate dragon.
      Take a Day Trip to Tazavesh, the Veiled Market (source)
      Gather your party and discover exotic wares and strange creatures in the new eight-boss Mythic mega-dungeon; Tazavesh: the Veiled Market. Set in a bazaar of the mysterious brokers, you’ll face off against dastardly assassins, four-armed broker guards, an infinite pirate dragon, and other enemies as you chase down a wayward broker before she can unleash the might of a stolen artifact to realize her own designs.
      This Mythic-only instance can reward players with loot coveted by broker society—including a dazzling assortment of weaponry, otherworldly pets, and a mount.
      Meet Your Guide: Al’dalil
      To gain access to Tazavesh, the Veiled Market you’ll complete a short series of quests beginning with the Innkeeper, Host Ta’rela, in The Idyllia section of Oribos. In “The All’ey Cat of Oribos” you’ll be asked to meet up with a mysterious contact named Al’dalil who will introduce you to the world of the cartels, their complicated relationships, and their propensity for ingenious wordplay. He’ll act as your guide from time to time as you make your way through the dungeon.
      Bosses: 8
      Difficulty: Mythic
      Players: 5
      The ruthless cartel boss So’leah means to conduct a heist that spans the realms in order to claim Progenitor secrets. Her only opposition is the disgraced broker Al’dalil and his ragtag crew who must navigate the mysterious Veiled Market and stop So’leah before she claims this forbidden power.
      Zo’phex the Sentinel- To gain entry into the cosmic wonders hidden beyond the gilded gates of Tazavesh, all must pass the sentinel, Zo’phex.  Obsessed with security, Zo’phex ensures any contraband is immediately incinerated along with anyone holding the offending items.
      The Menagerie- The Xy cartel “acquire” rare and valuable items to sell within their menagerie. Nothing is off-limits, exotic beasts, forbidden technology, even cursed artifacts are all on display. They guarantee to have your heart’s desire, as long as you can pay the price.
      Mailroom Mayhem- Something has gone wrong at the Primary Office for Sending Things (P.O.S.T.), Dimensional portals are scattering deliveries and the automation that runs the office is malfunctioning. If the chaos is not sorted soon, the city could go postal.
      Au’myza’s Oasis- The drinks are ethereal, the ambiance intoxicating, and the live performers may not leave that way if they fail to please the crowd. Within Tazavesh, this is the only neutral space where brokers from every cartel gather to deal in the shadows.
      So’azmi- Among brokers who live by the blade, none match So’azmi’s skill. Cartel So’s lethal assassin, So’azmi is always perfecting his technique. As such, it gives him great pleasure to instruct his enemies in the art of fighting before delivering his final stroke.
      Hylbrande- Left to guard an ancient Titan artifact, its recent theft has awoken, Hylbrande, Sword of the keepers. The only hope of escape is to dismantle the myriad of security protocols at Hylbrande’s command or become permanent residents of the tomb.
      Timecap’n Hooktail -Months of planning went down the latrine when So’leah appeared in the middle of Timecap’n Hooktail’s heist and stole her prize. Consumed by rage, the pirate queen unleashes her true form and rampages over anyone caught in her path.
      So’leah- So’leah’s thirst for power culminates in this final battle. Unleashing a force she does not fully understand, the cartel boss is transformed into a creature of unbridled ferocity. As rampant energy spills from the artifact, So’leah must be stopped before her actions tear down Tazavesh’s foundations.
      Are you ready to test your bartering skills against the best? We'll see you in the market.
    • By Starym
      Something's happening with Shadow this week specifically, as it finally got to 1st place in both the overall and boss-only Castle Nathria log rankings, but now it's also very steeply climbing in Mythic+ as well, arriving in the top 5! The week also saw the huge meta-driven top 3 specs come back down to earth and lose their giant gains from last week, with Fire still keeping a small bit of it.
      Note: The logs are based on POINTS, and not actual damage or healing, meaning they log the timed completion for the specs, with higher keys getting more points, obviously. The time in which the dungeon is completed is also a factor, but a much, much smaller one, as it grants very few points if you do it significantly faster than just any in-time completion. We're also using the Normalized Aggregate Scores numbers, for clarity, meaning the top spec is marked as 100 and then the rest are ranked in relation to that peak point.
      This past week was Tyrannical, Bursting, Explosive (and Prideful).
      As mentioned in the intro, Shadow is having one hell of a week in the top percentiles, as it's suddenly climbed not only to the absolute No.1 spot in Nathria, but it's also gained a whopping 4 spots in Mythic+, jumping from 9th place into 5th! It also messed up everything above it as it passed through, as the former No.5, Elemental, went down to 8th, and Affliction and Fury also passed it by, with Unholy pushing past Havoc and Marksmanship to end up in Shadow's former 9th slot. At the bottom we see Enhancement jump 3 spots, as this week's absolute bottom is taken by Arms.

      Mythic+ All Keys 95th Percentile Data by Warcraft Logs.
      Interestingly, the top 3 specs very much kept their big leads from last week in the more general population, with Fire moving even further ahead of everyone else. Shadow didn't gain as much, only jumping 2 spots, but Affliction and Unholy are the prime movers here instead, with Marksmanship and Elemental dropping a couple of spots as a result. Enhancement is doing even better here, rising 4 spots after a long time near the bottom as well.

      Mythic+ All Keys All Percentile Data by Warcraft Logs.
      High Keys
      M+15 is still extremely even with it's spec distribution, with the top 2 specs swapping out again this week, Outlaw retaking its very top spot. Marksmanship has had a rough week here as well, dropping 4 spots to 9th to make way for Havoc, which continues its rise in the 15s, as well as Balance, Shadow (on the climb ere as well) and Assassination. 

      Mythic+15 All Percentile Data by Warcraft Logs.
      And finally we're on to crazy town, where any comparison to the previous week doesn't make much sense, as we see Havoc at the top this time around, with the previous No.1 once again moving from the top to the literal bottom as Subtlety just jumps from top to bottom every other week in this +20 madhouse!

      Mythic+20 All Percentile Data by Warcraft Logs.

      For even more in-depth data for each individual key head on over to Warcraft Logs. And if you're interested in more info on the specs themselves you can always check out our class guides or our extensive Mythic+ guides as well, which have tier lists, dungeon rankings and more.
    • By Stan
      Check out the Warlock class changes that went live in Patch 9.1 Build 38627!
      Haunt and Shadow Embrace (Level 45 Talents) now increase the damage of pets and guardians. Demonology
      From the Shadows (Level 35 Talent) now increases your pet's Shadowflame damage. Destruction
      Eradication (Level 15 Talent) now increases the damage of pets and guardians. PvP Talents
      Rapid Contagion - For the next 15 sec, all of your periodic damage over time effects occur 30% 33% more often. Legendary Powers
      We've datamined 4 new Warlock Legendary Powers in this build. Note that these are likely to change in next week's update.
      Contained Perpetual Explosion - Impending Catastrophe's final explosion damage is increased by 50% plus 10% for each enemy target hit on the way to its final target. Decaying Soul Satchel - Each target affected by Soul Rot increases your Haste and Critical strike chance by 50% for until cancelled. Languishing Soul Detritus - When Scouring Tithe generates Soul Shards, gain 100% increased movement speed and 100% increased critical strike chance for 8 sec. Shard of Annihilation - Decimating Bolt also increases the critical strike chance and critical strike damage of Shadow Bolt by 15%.
    • By Stan
      Death Knights received new PvP talents in this week's 9.1 PTR update and multiple PvP talents have been updated.
      Death Knight
      PvP Talents
      Delirium - Your Howling Blast and Frost Strike apply Delirium to the target. A disease that debilitates the target's movement, reducing the cooldown recovery rate of movement enhancing abilities by 25%. Stacks up to 2 times. Lasts for 15 sec. Howling Blast applies Delirium, reducing the cooldown recovery rate of movement enhancing abilities by 50% for 12 sec. Decomposing Aura - All enemies within 10 8 yards slowly decay, losing up to 3% of their max health every 2 sec. Stacks up to Max 5 times. stacks. Lasts for 6 sec. Cadaverous Pallor, Transfusion, and Necrotic Strike have been removed. Deathchill - All targets within 5 8 yards are afflicted with Deathchill when Remorseless Winter is cast. Last Dance - Reduces the cooldown of and duration of your Dancing Rune Weapon by 50%. Reduces the cooldown of Dancing Rune Weapon by 50% and its duration by 25%. Life and Death - When targets afflicted by your Festering Wound Virulent Plague are healed, you are also healed for 10% 5% of the amount. Strangulate ranged changed to 15 yards (was 30 yards). Dead of Winter - After your Remorseless Winter deals damage 5 times to a target, they are stunned for 4 sec. However, your Remorseless Winter's cooldown is increased by 25 sec and its radius is reduced to 5 yds. Remorseless Winter's cooldown is increased by 25 sec. Raise Abomination cooldown increased to 2 minutes (was 1.5 minutes). Death's Echo (New PvP Talent) added - Death's Advance, Death and Decay, and Death Grip have 1 additional charge.  Necrotic Wounds (New PvP Talent) added - Bursting a Festering Wound converts it into a Necrotic Wound, absorbing 5% of all healing received for 12 sec and healing you for the amount absorbed when the effect ends. Max 6 stacks. Adding a stack does not refresh the duration. Spellwarden (New PvP Talent) added - Rune of Spellwarding is applied to you with 100% increased effect. Bitter Chill (New PvP Talent) added - Chains of Ice reduces the target's Haste by 12%. Frost Strike refreshes the duration of Chains of Ice. Doomburst (New PvP Talent) added - Sudden Doom also causes your next Death Coil to burst up to 2 Festering Wounds and reduce the target's movement speed by 45% per burst. Lasts 3 sec. Blood for Blood has been redesigned. Heart Strike deals 60% increased damage, but also costs 3% of your max health.
    • By Stan
      You can buy gear tokens in Patch 9.1 that give you loot appropriate for your current level and loot specialization.
      Korthian Armaments are purchasable from the Death's Advance quartermaster for 1,000 Stygia each at Friendly with the new faction. The gear token is Bind to Battle.net account, meaning you can send it to your alts.
      Datamining hits at Item Level 200 "Korthian Armor" pieces that you get from the tokens, e.g. Korthian Caretaker's Cinch, Korthian Attendent's Blade, etc. You can find a full list of items here.

  • Create New...