WotLK Classic Shadow Priest Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities

Last updated on Jan 01, 2024 at 13:56 by Abide 3 comments

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Shadow Priest in both single-target and multiple-target PvE situations in WotLK Classic. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS.

If you have not already, please read the Spell Summary page. Knowing how each spell and ability works in detail will greatly increase your understanding of the topics discussed on this page.


Spell Rotation for Shadow Priest in Wrath of the Lich King

Unlike most other classes, your rotation does not really differ between AoE and single-target. It mostly comes down to how long the mobs will live and how many mobs there are. If there are a few mobs that will live long, you will follow the single-target damage rotation. If there is a big pack of mobs that will die quickly, you will use your AoE.


Shadow Priest Single-Target Damage Rotation in Wrath of the Lich King

  1. Vampiric Touch IconVampiric Touch — This is your main priority to keep up. Whenever you use Mind Blast IconMind Blast while Vampiric Touch IconVampiric Touch is up, you will buff up to 10 players with Replenishment IconReplenishment.
  2. Devouring Plague IconDevouring Plague — A huge part of your damage, be sure to keep it up as much as possible. The combination of this being an instant-cast spell and the Improved Devouring Plague IconImproved Devouring Plague talent make this a decent spell to cast when moving.
  3. Mind Blast IconMind Blast — Use this on cooldown as it deals very high damage and procs some of your talents such as Improved Spirit Tap IconImproved Spirit Tap. With T10-4set, you will only cast Mind Blast IconMind Blast whenever you have no increased cast speed buffs.
  4. Mind Flay IconMind Flay — Mostly a filler spell. Mind Flay IconMind Flay has 3 ticks of damage over the course of the channel. If a higher priority spell needs to be cast while you are channeling Mind Flay IconMind Flay, make sure to stop casting right after one of these ticks goes off. Like Mind Blast IconMind Blast, this will proc Improved Spirit Tap IconImproved Spirit Tap, but Mind Flay will also proc Pain and Suffering IconPain and Suffering and constantly refresh the duration of your Shadow Word: Pain IconShadow Word: Pain.
  5. Shadow Word: Death IconShadow Word: Death — Use this when moving only.
  6. Shadow Word: Pain IconShadow Word: Pain — You have this at the bottom of the list as it should always be refreshed with your talent Pain and Suffering IconPain and Suffering. That being said, you still need to manually apply it the first time, but it should remain up for the rest of the fight after that. Be sure to wait until you have 5 stacks of Shadow Weaving IconShadow Weaving before you apply this as it will snapshot the stacks and keep the damage buff even when refreshed.

Shadow Priest AoE Damage Rotation in Wrath of the Lich King

Your AoE rotation will vary depending on the size of the pull and the mobs health. If you are facing very healthy enemies that will live for at least 24 seconds, you will want to follow the single-target rotation and apply your DoTs to high health enemies. If the pull is very large or the mobs will die before your DoTs would deal full damage, you will instead use your AoE ability Mind Sear IconMind Sear.


Shadow Priest Cooldowns in Wrath of the Lich King

Shadow Priest does not have many great cooldowns available to them, and most of the time you will not even be using the ones you have. For the most part, your cooldowns impact the raid and not yourself, so you will most likely only be using your cooldowns when your raid asks for them.

  • Fade IconFade — 24-second cooldown with Veiled Shadows IconVeiled Shadows. Fade IconFade is worth mentioning here as you have the talent Improved Shadowform IconImproved Shadowform, which makes your Fade IconFade remove any movement-impairing debuffs on you. This is great for getting out of annoying slows when trying to move.
  • Dispersion IconDispersion — 2-minute cooldown, 1.25-minute cooldown when using Glyph of Dispersion Icon Glyph of Dispersion. Greatly reduces your damage taken and restores a large amount of your Mana back to you. Typically you will use this to negate a raid mechanic, but the Mana restoration can also be utilized to keep your Mana high.
  • Inner Focus IconInner Focus — 3-minute cooldown. Typically you do not have Mana issues as a Shadow Priest, so feel free to use this with Mind Blast IconMind Blast for increased damage.
  • Shadowfiend IconShadowfiend — 3-minute cooldown with the Veiled Shadows IconVeiled Shadows talent. This one is a very simple Mana-restoration cooldown, use this whenever you are running low on Mana. If possible, you will want to pair this together with Hymn of Hope IconHymn of Hope for the temporary 20% increase to maximum Mana since Shadowfiend IconShadowfiend now restores 5% of your maximum Mana per attack.
  • Divine Hymn IconDivine Hymn — 8-minute cooldown. This is a major AoE healing cooldown. Ideally you will want to just DPS and not worry about this, but there are times where you will need to use this to help stabilize the raid's health. In that case you will want to pair it with Inner Focus IconInner Focus if available as Divine Hymn IconDivine Hymn has a high Mana cost.
  • Hymn of Hope IconHymn of Hope — 6-minute cooldown. This restores Mana to nearby allies with the lowest Mana overall and increases their maximum Mana by 20% temporarily. The only downside of this spell is the randomness of the targeting; it is possible that you will not be targeted by any of the ticks. You will want to use this cooldown in conjunction with other Mana-restoring cooldowns, such as Mana Tide Totem IconMana Tide Totem or even other Hymn of Hope IconHymn of Hopes, as the temporary 20% increase to maximum Mana amplifies the effectiveness of abilities that restore a percentage of your Mana pool. Try to coordinate this with your other raid members.


  • 01 Jan. 2024: Updated for Phase 5.
  • 09 Oct. 2023: Updated for Phase 4.
  • 12 Jan. 2023: Updated for Phase 2.
  • 02 Sep. 2022: Page added.
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