Classic Shadow Priest DPS Guide

Last updated on Dec 02, 2020 at 10:24 by Niphyr 6 comments

Welcome to our Shadow Priest DPS guide for WoW Classic, tailored for PvE content. Here, you will learn how all you need to know to play the Priest class as Shadow DPS. Click the links #below to navigate the guide or read this page for a short introduction.

If you were looking for TBC Classic content, please refer to our TBC Classic Shadow Priest guide.

As a Priest, you have the ability to heal yourself and group members as a Holy or Discipline Priest, or do damage as a Shadow Priest. Healing Priests are the typical RPG style reactive healer with many tools to keep your allies healthy. Damage dealers focus on the Shadow Priest tree to supplement their own damage as well as the damage of their allies.


Shadow Priest in the Season of Mastery

Although the Season of Mastery brings with it a number of changes to how you may experience the content of WoW Classic, these tweaks do not include any adjustments to how you play Shadow Priest. As such, this guide will cover all you need to know regardless of which version of Classic you wish to play.

However, due to certain pieces of content from later Phases now being available at an earlier date, gearing recommendations for Shadow Priest will be different. Because of this, we have created additional pages detailing your best in slot items for both pre-raid gear and the current raids available.


Priest Strengths as a DPS

  • Not gear dependant
  • Brings the sought after debuff Shadow Weaving Icon Shadow Weaving
  • Fantastic duelling and world PvP ability

Shadow Priests main role in PvE content is providing the Shadow Weaving Icon Shadow Weaving debuff, unfortunately though only one debuff can be applied at a time so there is only a need for a single Shadow Priest in the entire raid. For PvP shadow is a particularly strong duelling and world PvP class due to self healing, shields and great utility with many iconic spells like Vampiric Embrace Icon Vampiric Embrace and Shadowform Icon Shadowform.


Priest Weaknesses as a DPS

  • Healing Priest are typically more desired.
  • Utilises large amounts of mana to DPS, requiring significant mana consumables to try and remain competitive.
  • Only one Shadow Priest desired per raid group.

In PvE Shadow priests can have difficulty finding a raid or guild that does not already raid with one. This is because the Shadow Weaving Icon Shadow Weaving debuff is only applied once to a boss, multiple shadow priests with their low damage are often asked to instead swap to healing.


Race Overview for Priest

There are 5 races that can be a Priest in WoW Classic: Human, Dwarf and Night Elf if you are Alliance, Undead and Troll if you are Horde. In addition to the standard racials, Priests also get two abilities that are unique to the race you are playing. You get the first at Level 10 and the second at Level 20. The only thing you need to do is complete short quests each time that involve you having to talk to certain NPCs. In the table below, you will find an overview of the benefits each Priest race gets, including the aforementioned abilities unique to each race.

Race Racial Level 10 Level 20
Human Perception Icon Perception Desperate Prayer Icon Desperate Prayer Feedback Icon Feedback
Dwarf Stoneform Icon Stoneform Desperate Prayer Icon Desperate Prayer Fear Ward Icon Fear Ward
Night Elf Shadowmeld Icon Shadowmeld Starshards Icon Starshards Elune's Grace Icon Elune's Grace
Undead Will of the Forsaken Icon Will of the Forsaken Touch of Weakness Icon Touch of Weakness Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague
Troll Berserking Icon Berserking Hex of Weakness Icon Hex of Weakness Shadowguard Icon Shadowguard

Best Alliance Race for Priest

Dwarf is considered to be the best PvE and PvP race for Alliance. This is primarily due to the strength of Fear Ward Icon Fear Ward, but Desperate Prayer Icon Desperate Prayer and Stoneform Icon Stoneform are also very useful in their own right. The Human and Night Elf racials do not match up to this, though this certainly does not mean that you have to be a Dwarf for groups or raids to take you.


Best Horde Race for Priest

Neither Troll nor Undead has particularly amazing racials for PvE, but Undead has a great racial for PvP in the form of Will of the Forsaken Icon Will of the Forsaken. The self-healing that Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague provides every 3 minutes is also not bad, and it gives you a little extra damage. As a Troll, you get Berserking Icon Berserking, which is decent in its own right, but the output increase overall is not that big of a deal. The utility and superior PvP racial that Undead offers is, therefore, more highly valued most of the time.


Best Professions for Healing Priests

A really popular combination, especially for first-time characters, is Alchemy and Herbalism. This combination allows you to level Alchemy, and both use and sell the consumables you create to fund the other aspects of your gameplay.

Engineering has many perks that are useful in Dungeons, Raids, and PvP. It can be expensive to level, so taking Mining with it initially is advised to be a bit more self-sufficient. It is particularly valuable for PvP as there are multiple items that provide additional crowd control and stuns.

Tailoring is a very popular profession, due to the gear that can be crafted. Tailoring pairs up well with Enchanting as you can Disenchant Icon Disenchant your crafted items, and create enchants which can be sold to other players.


Viability of Priest

While Priests are very sought after in all content, this is usually as a healing Priest. As a healing Priest, you are very useful for both PvE and PvP content, while a Shadow Priest is very good for PvP, but not as good for PvE. Shadow Priests are mostly brought to raids to buff the damage of your shadow-damage dealing allies through Shadow Weaving Icon Shadow Weaving, so you never need more than one Shadow Priest in your raid. Your raw damage was not as good as what a Warlock could do, even when we take away the inhibitions of threat and Mana, on top of taking up too many debuff slots in the process.



  • 02 Dec. 2020 (gear page): Updated for Phase 6 release.
  • 09 Aug. 2020 (gear page): Updated for Phase 5 with BiS alternatives.
  • 28 Jul. 2020 (enchants page): Updated for Phase 5 AQ release.
  • 21 Apr. 2020 (enchants page): Further updates for Phase 4.
  • 16 Apr. 2020 (gear page): Updated for Phase 4 ZG release.
  • 16 Apr. 2020 (enchants page): Updated for Phase 4 ZG release.
  • 06 Mar. 2020 (gear page): Updated format of guide.
  • 11 Feb. 2020 (gear page): Updated for Phase 3 BWL release.
  • 11 Dec. 2019 (gear page): Added link to PvP BiS.
  • 11 Nov. 2019 (gear page): Added raid BiS and updated for Phase 2.
  • 11 Nov. 2019 (stats page): Added more specific details to stat descriptions.
  • 11 Nov. 2019 (rotation page): Updated rotation. Added more downranking information.
  • 11 Nov. 2019 (talents page): Added more specific details to optional talent descriptions
  • 11 Nov. 2019 (spells page): Removed mention of Divine Spirit.
  • 14 Oct. 2019 (enchants page): Updated consumables.
  • 20 Aug. 2019 (gear page): Page added.
  • 20 Aug. 2019 (enchants page): Page added.
  • 20 Aug. 2019 (stats page): Page added.
  • 20 Aug. 2019 (rotation page): Page added.
  • 20 Aug. 2019 (talents page): Page added.
  • 20 Aug. 2019 (spells page): Page added.
  • 20 Aug. 2019 (this page): Shadow Priest guide added.
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