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Starym

Shadow Priests in Patch 9.1 So Far

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Shadow Priests got some changes in the latest PTR build, so we thought it was time to check in with our guide writer Publik to see how significant they and the smaller ones are for the spec and how it plays.

Publik on Shadow on the 9.1 PTR

So far in the 9.1 cycle Shadow Priest has received mostly minor changes, but when put together will result in some shifts in damage patterns for the spec. Most of our changes came recently, with tuning to our damage over time spells and nerfs to our best legendaries. These changes result in a small nerf to single target (less than 5%) but do provide small bonuses to multi target damage.

To start out with, our best conduit, Dissonant Echoes Dissonant Echoes, was heavily nerfed. With this it no longer becomes the clear BiS conduit for the spec, but will likely still be used since we will get a total of 3 potency slots for our Soulbinds in 9.1. The major changes we recently got were a nerf to Devouring Plague Devouring Plague by ~18%, and buffs Shadow Word: Pain Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch Vampiric Touch by 25% to try and compensate. Overall quite a balanced change and on the surface looks positive for the spec. Our single target was always one of the best available, but past that we struggled to keep up. This change should directly fix some of these problems to some degree.

Finally, Shadowflame Prism Shadowflame Prism and Talbadar's Stratagem Talbadar's Stratagem were both nerfed. These were the de facto legendaries for the spec, so it is not totally surprising, but they weren't exactly as crazy as some other class legendaries available in the game, so it was a bit of a weird change. The Shadowflame Prism nerf takes off about 15% damage from the hits, but does not nerf the actual Mindbender Mindbender/Shadowfiend Shadowfiend extension, making the nerf smaller than it may seem on paper. Talbadar received a much smaller nerf, only about 8%, but still feels a little out of place since most Covenants would have preferred using Shadowflame Prism anyways even in single target. Couple these changes together and we will likely still be using Shadowflame Prism for all forms of content, especially now that we can pick up the Rabid Shadows Rabid Shadows conduit without losing Haunting Apparitions Haunting Apparitions or Dissonant Echoes Dissonant Echoes. Talbadar's unfortunate nerf will cause its performance to suffer, especially since the nerf to Devouring Plague Devouring Plague also results in an indirect nerf to the Mind Devourer Mind Devourer conduit that would have paired well with this legendary.


Overall these changes look fairly reasonable, but there are some residual effects that still need sorting out. Initial sims show that the single target loss is quite small, and we did gain a bit in multi-target, which both seem like positive directions for the spec. Some of these include the Searing Nightmare Searing Nightmare balancing against Devouring Plague Devouring Plague on 2 targets is now in question, in addition to the already mentioned indirect nerf to one of our weaker conduits, Mind Devourer Mind Devourer. More testing will be needed to confirm these theories and to see if any of the weird residual effects start to cause issues. All of these changes are just on the PTR so nothing is final, especially considering we are still missing our Priest class covenant legendaries that have yet to be published.

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