How To Improve As Shadow Priest — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3

Last updated on Jan 13, 2020 at 13:57 by Publik 30 comments
General Information

On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Shadow Priest in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3. We list the common mistakes that you should try to avoid and the small details that can greatly improve your performance.


Pressing Buttons Faster

This might seem like a bit of a silly mistake to point that people might be making, but it is something seen fairly often. It is especially important for Shadow because you always have something to cast, and you operate at higher Haste levels than most specs in the game do. This means that it is easier to miss a cast here or there and over the course of a fight this can really add up. Try to always be mashing the next button you want to cast while you are casting your current spell to make sure you cast it as fast as possible.


Dealing with Movement Properly

Perhaps the biggest learning curve as a Shadow Priest is learning how to deal with movement during a fight. Shadow does not have any baseline mobility and can only get movement speed boosts from our talent tree, so Shadow has to be a bit more creative when it comes to movement. The punishment for messing up is fairly high, and we don't have any back-up to allow us to reposition quickly either, so it is important to master the following two guidelines:

First of all, it is important to understand the concept of something we call 'stutterstepping'. Stutterstepping essentially means that you are moving small distances in between your globals and fitting in any instant spells you may have to make sure you do not actually lose any casts. Luckily for Shadow, during Voidform Icon Voidform you get access to Void Bolt Icon Void Bolt which is instant and available every two globals. This means that you can move a few yards after every Void Bolt you cast if you wanted to. Playing around this is key to optimizing your damage, as you can sometimes move into position ahead of time if you know a mechanic will force you to move soon. You are slowly moving to your destination over a period of time but you will lose no casts in the process is the goal here. Using Void Bolt to cover your movement is the ideal scenario, but sometimes that is not enough. In the first place because you may not actually be in Voidform when movement happens, in the second place because certain fight mechanics do not give you the time to do this properly.

Secondly, you must learn to use Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain in cases of movement. When doing the rotation normally, Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay is your filler spell and generates 6 Insanity per global. If there is movement where the above explained stutterstepping does not cover it entirely, the second most ideal way to deal with movement is to use Shadow Word: Pain instead of Mind Flay. This is only a net loss of 2 Insanity and the most minimal net damage loss. It is also ideal if the cooldown of Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast is recharging or if (in the case that you have picked this talent) Shadow Word: Void Icon Shadow Word: Void is not sitting on 2 stacks so that you do not lose any casts over the course of a fight. As an alternative to Shadow Word: Pain, you can also opt to use Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield instead. This generates 6 Insanity and has the added benefit of giving you a bit of extra defense. If you take Body and Soul Icon Body and Soul as a talent, then it also provides you with a movement speed boost, making it easier to move to a better position afterwards.


Knowing How To Sim Yourself

Magicsim is an alternative simming tool to Raidbots that also uses SimulationCraft. It was designed by Shadow Priests (to be usable by everyone) and, unlike Raidbots, it puts more importance on the fight parameters and has the concept of "sim composites", which means averaging multiple sims together to get a more complete view of raid performance. This means you can sim things that are impossible in Raidbots, like Mythic+ composite sims, or sim to see which gear set would be optimal over an entire raid (if you do not like having multiple sets). It also allows for easy GUI controls for configuring every aspect of sims (even some that Raidbots does not expose). It is also the only sim tool which has a built-in 3D viewer for running reforge plots and viewing results seamlessly together. Unlike Raidbots, these sims currently run on a local copy of SimCraft but will be transitioning to online in the near future and will be continuing to compete with Raidbots to give a more accurate and easy-to-configure simming experience.



  • 13 Jan. 2020: This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019: This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 14 Apr. 2019: This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 10 Dec. 2018: This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
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