Priest Shadowlands Leveling Guide From 1 to 60

Last updated on Oct 24, 2021 at 10:38 by Publik, Clandon, and Niphyr 1 comment

Table of Contents


Leveling in Shadowlands

Welcome to our Priest leveling guide. Here you will find all you need to know to level up your Priest efficiently. Leveling received a lot of changes in Shadowlands, which we have documented in our Shadowlands Leveling Changes page. In addition, we now have a revamped Leveling guide, complete with detailed information on XP, mounts, addons, consumables, tips, and more. We encourage to read it to increase your leveling speed even more.

Whether you choose to level solo or in a group, the Priest offers lots of fun abilities and options while leveling up in Shadowlands. You have a strong DPS specialization with the newly reworked Shadow Priest and can also chose between two different healing specializations if you ever want to heal a dungeon or group environment. While questing you will find yourself being a Damage over time machine as Shadow, and starting at level 30 you get access to a monster AoE ability with Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare to be able to pull as many mobs as you want with.


Best Leveling Spec for Priest in Shadowlands

Priests have three specializations to choose from while leveling: Shadow, Holy, or Discipline.

Generally speaking you should always level as Shadow since it is the only DPS specialization and therefore much faster. That being said, Discipline is still somewhat offensive so if you really like that spec you could make that work as well.

If you want to ever venture into dungeons while leveling, Holy or Discipline are great options to get faster dungeon queues and heal through that content. This can also be something you prefer to do while leveling in large group to make it easier to pull larger mob sizes.


Ability Unlocks for Priest Leveling in Shadowlands

The following abilities are ones that all Priests will learn regardless of specialization. Depending on your specialization you will have access to much more abilities to help fill out that specialization completely.

Until you are level 10, use Smite Icon Smite as your filler ability and keep up Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain once you get that ability. This, paired with using Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast, will be your rotation until you decide to pick a specific specialization to level as starting at level 10.

  • At level 1, you unlock Smite Icon Smite, which is a casted ranged ability that will act as your filler spell for several levels.
  • Level 2 gives you access to your first damage over time spell with Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain. You should generally try to keep this up on as many mobs as possible. Be sure to still pull with Smite Icon Smite and then use Shadow Word: Pain to optimize damage.
  • Starting at level 3 you get access to your first healing spell with Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal. This is a quick but somewhat Mana costly spell you can use to heal yourself or allies.
  • Level 4 gives you Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield, which gives you your first type of Discipline spell that typically rewards predicting when someone will take damage, rather than reactively healing them back up.
  • At level 5 you get another Shadow themed spell with Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast. This is a harder-hitting spell than Smite Icon Smite and should be used on cooldown.
  • Once you reach level 6 you get access to our group buff, Power Word: Fortitude Icon Power Word: Fortitude. Make sure to keep this up at all times on yourself and other allies for increased health pools.
  • Level 7 gives you your first crowd control ability with Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream. You can use this to AoE fear enemies that are nearby for a quick getaway.
  • At level 8 you get Desperate Prayer Icon Desperate Prayer which is a great self-heal that also acts as a small defensive.
  • Level 9 gives you the ability Fade Icon Fade to remove all your threat for the next 10 seconds which is a great spell while doing dungeons or leveling to shift aggro to another player or even your Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend pet that you learn at later levels.
  • Right before you can start doing dungeons you learn Resurrection Icon Resurrection at level 10, to help recover a pull gone wrong after combat if someone dies.
  • Level 14 brings you our iconic execute spell with Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death. This ability also damages you as the caster, so be sure to use it wisely. Typically, it is only worth it to use this ability when the mob is below 20% health.
  • Level 21 gives you the Levitate Icon Levitate spell, which is not used very often, but can make traveling down cliff sides easier and safer to get around quickly.
  • At level 22 you get Mind Vision Icon Mind Vision, which is a unique spell that allows you to see through a target's point of view, which can be handy to scout out an area for treasure chests or rare NPCs. Note that you can re-cast this on a new mob as long as they are in range while currently Mind Visioning another mob.
  • With level 24 you learn Dispel Magic Icon Dispel Magic to remove 1 beneficial Magic effect from an enemy target.
  • Level 28 teaches you Shackle Undead Icon Shackle Undead, which lets you fully incapacitate an Undead enemy for 50 seconds, preventing all actions they take for the duration. This typically will not get used much unless you find yourself leveling in a heavily crowded undead area like the Plaguelands.
  • At level 33 you learn the passive spell Focused Will Icon Focused Will, which causes all melee attacks against you to reduce you damage you take by 15% for 8 seconds, making it the perfect solo-leveling spell for survivability.
  • Level 34 brings Mind Control Icon Mind Control to your spellbook to allow you to take control of any enemy (does not work on Demonic, Undead, or Mechanical beings).
  • After a long hiatus of not learning anything, level 42 teaches you Mass Dispel Icon Mass Dispel to give you a group wide AoE magic dispel from 5 beneficial effects from enemies and 5 harmful effects on allies.
  • Level 49 teaches you the Leap of Faith Icon Leap of Faith spell to grip an ally to your character. This ability is very fun to use to mess with people, but outside of that does not really have much benefit.
  • At Level 52 you learn your first new spell after leveling in Shadowlands, with Mind Soothe Icon Mind Soothe. This has the potential to be very useful while leveling to help you skip past mobs while leveling, especially when combined with the reduced aggro radius from Fade Icon Fade.
  • The last spell all Priests learn is at level 58, with Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion. Which is a powerful cooldown that gives the ally (or yourself) you cast it on increased Haste.

Ranked Spell Unlocks for Priest Leveling in Shadowlands

Several of our spells get more powerful with Rank 2 version as you level up, especially as you get up past level 30.

  • At level 17 you learn the second rank of Fade Icon Fade, which allows you to use the spell as a small stealth, allowing you to fade past mobs from a smaller aggro range.
  • Level 27 gives you the second rank of Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain that simply increases the duration of the DoT by 4 seconds.
  • Once you reach level 46 you get the second rank of Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death which reduces the cooldown of the spell by 10 seconds.
  • Level 54 teaches you the Rank 2 version of Mass Dispel Icon Mass Dispel which allows you to dispel certain things that are typically not dispellable by other classes.
  • At Level 54, you learn the second rank of Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream, letting it withstand 20% more damage before breaking.

Best Heirloom Items for Priest Leveling in Shadowlands

When choosing Heirlooms it generally is advantageous to pick items that have Haste on them. Haste is the most impactful stat in terms of gameplay on your Priest and generally allows you to kill enemies much faster than you would otherwise.



  • 22 Feb. 2022: Reviewed for Patch 9.2; no changes are needed.
  • 24 Oct. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.1.5; no changes are needed.
  • 29 Jun. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Revamped page for Shadowlands, with subpages for each spec.
  • 12 Mar. 2019: Reviewed Disc Section for 8.1.5. No changes required.
  • 10 Dec. 2018: Updated for Patch 8.1 changes.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Added Holy section.
  • 12 Aug. 2018: Consistency updates to give all leveling guides a similar feel.
  • 10 Aug. 2018: Updated Priest leveling guide. Now covers Shadow + Discipline from Level 1 to 120.
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