Shadow Priest Shadowlands Leveling Guide From 1 to 60

Last updated on May 31, 2022 at 00:05 by Publik 12 comments

On this page, we will go over everything you need to know to Level up your Shadow priest to get ready for Shadowlands end game content. Make sure to use the slider to make the guide adapt to your level. If you are looking for more generic leveling guide you can refer to our Priest leveling guide.


Gear Options

When it comes to gearing out your Shadow Priest you should always take the piece that has a higher Intellect value, typically referenced by the item level of that piece. Intellect is far and away our better stat, and will make everything you do hit harder and kill mobs quicker.

If you want the video version of leveling in Shadowlands you can watch this video to get my suggestions for leveling as a Shadow Priest. The video primarily focuses on 50-60.


Level by Level Rotation and Talents

Move the slider below to make the guide update to your level!

Level: 1

Talents to Level Up as a Shadow Priest

Your first talent row unlocks at Level 15.

Your talent set up should be as follows.


Rotation to Level Up as a Shadow Priest

Starting at Level 1, you only have Smite Icon Smite, so just spam this for now.

  1. Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain is your first damage-over-time spell. This should be put up on nearly every mob you fight and can be very helpful for tagging enemies quickly. Make sure you still pre-pull with Smite Icon Smite then apply Shadow Word: Pain.
  2. Use Smite Icon Smite as a filler spell.
  3. Keep up Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain on as many targets as possible.
  4. Keep up Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch on as many targets as possible. Only use Vampiric Touch on targets that will live for longer than 5 seconds.
  5. Use Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain to keep a DoT running on any target you are in combat with. Try to refresh only when it has a few seconds remaining.
  6. Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast is a hard-hitting single-target spell you should pre-pull with and use on cooldown.
  7. At level 6 you learn Power Word: Fortitude Icon Power Word: Fortitude; make sure you keep this buff up on yourself and allies at all times.
  8. Use Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream to fear mobs away if you ever pull too much or need to get away from enemies.
  9. Shadowform Icon Shadowform is the most iconic Shadow Priest ability thematically; just make sure this is active at all times for that free damage increase.
  10. Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay brings in our Shadow Priest filler spell to replace Smite Icon Smite from the rotation. This ability will also help you generate much more Insanity so that you can spend it on Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague.
  11. Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague gives you something to spend your Insanity on. You should try and use this to maximize uptime but while also avoiding hitting max Insanity (capping).
  12. Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death is our primary execute ability and should ideally only be used on targets less than 20% health. When using Death and Madness Icon Death and Madness make sure to use this to get resets on as many mobs as possible.
  13. Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend is a pretty underwhelming cooldown for it being 3 minutes to recharge; for the most part you can just save this for harder boss/elite type mobs.
  14. At 23 you get your major DPS cooldown with Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption which turns into Void Bolt Icon Void Bolt once you are inside of Voidform Icon Voidform. It has a relatively short cooldown so use this often enough for a big burst of damage. When inside of Voidform Icon Voidform, make sure to use Void Bolt Icon Void Bolt on cooldown.
  15. Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear is the AoE filler version of Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay and should replace Mind Flay as your filler starting at 2 or more targets.
  16. Use Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast to pre-pull and then on cooldown. If you have a Dark Thoughts Icon Dark Thoughts proc try and only use this while channeling Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay or Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear.
  17. Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion is another major cooldown added to your kit you should use in conjunction with Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption.

In addition to these active abilities you will also gain some passive abilities that will impact how you play as you level up:

  • At level 10 you also gain our baseline Mastery ability, Mastery: Shadow Weaving Icon Mastery: Shadow Weaving. This does not change your playstyle much; just know that you will deal more damage to targets if they have your DoTs active on them.
  • Shadowy Apparitions Icon Shadowy Apparitions spawns out a ghostly version of yourself every time you cast Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast, Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague, or Void Bolt Icon Void Bolt if that target has Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch active. This drastically increases the value of Vampiric Touch, so make sure you DoT up most mobs with it unless they will only live a few short seconds.
  • Dark Thoughts Icon Dark Thoughts puts more value than ever on our filler abilities to generate free charges of Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast. This goes hand in hand with increasing our damage through our Mastery as well. Try to use these procs while channeling one of your fillers as much as possible for maximum damage.

Shadow Priest War Mode Talents for Leveling

In this section we will go over each of the War Mode/PvP talents you should consider using while leveling up.


Shadow Priest PvP Talents for Leveling

  1. Until you get access to more options, Psyfiend Icon Psyfiend will do a sizable chunk of damage on a relatively low cooldown.
  2. For the first few levels you can also use Mind Trauma Icon Mind Trauma and Void Shield Icon Void Shield, although I would suggest swapping these at Level 23.
  3. Driven to Madness Icon Driven to Madness is a great option for open world, since Voidform Icon Voidform itself is not up as often as it used to be.
  4. Void Origins Icon Void Origins is my personal favorite option, as instant-cast Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption is truly fantastic to play with.
  5. Greater Fade Icon Greater Fade is a great option to fill out your last PvP talent for almost any build. The built-in move speed and mini-immunity are extremely nice to have while leveling.


Congratulations on reaching Level 60! Now that you have hit Level 60 we recommend looking at our Easy mode page and Talents section to learn how to play at max level.



  • 31 May 2022: Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 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.
  • 23 Jul. 2021: Adjusted PvP talent suggestions.
  • 29 Jun. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 13 May 2021: Made the DoTs section a bit more clear.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 05 Jan. 2021: Added embedded video to the page.
  • 20 Nov. 2020: Updated leveling guide for Shadowlands launch.
  • 19 Oct. 2020: Updated note about Devouring Plague once reaching Level 11.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Guide added.
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