Shadow Priest Shadowlands Leveling Guide From 1 to 60
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
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Talents to Level Up as a Shadow Priest
Your first talent row unlocks at Level 15.
Your talent set up should be as follows.
- Level 15: Death and Madness
- Level 25: Body and Soul
- Level 30: Misery or Searing Nightmare if you doing large pulls or lots of dungeons.
- Level 35: Psychic Horror
- Level 40: Shadow Crash
- Level 45: Void Torrent
- Level 50: Surrender to Madness or Ancient Madness if you do not like the Surrender to Madness playstyle.
Rotation to Level Up as a Shadow Priest
Starting at Level 1, you only have Smite, so just spam this for now.
- 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 then apply Shadow Word: Pain.
- Use Smite as a filler spell.
- Keep up Shadow Word: Pain on as many targets as possible.
- Keep up Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch on as many targets as possible. Only use Vampiric Touch on targets that will live for longer than 5 seconds.
- Use 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.
- Mind Blast is a hard-hitting single-target spell you should pre-pull with and use on cooldown.
- At level 6 you learn Power Word: Fortitude; make sure you keep this buff up on yourself and allies at all times.
- Use Psychic Scream to fear mobs away if you ever pull too much or need to get away from enemies.
- Shadowform is the most iconic Shadow Priest ability thematically; just make sure this is active at all times for that free damage increase.
- Mind Flay brings in our Shadow Priest filler spell to replace Smite from the rotation. This ability will also help you generate much more Insanity so that you can spend it on Devouring Plague.
- 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).
- 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 make sure to use this to get resets on as many mobs as possible.
- 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.
- At 23 you get your major DPS cooldown with Void Eruption which turns into Void Bolt once you are inside of Voidform. It has a relatively short cooldown so use this often enough for a big burst of damage. When inside of Voidform, make sure to use Void Bolt on cooldown.
- Mind Sear is the AoE filler version of Mind Flay and should replace Mind Flay as your filler starting at 2 or more targets.
- Use Mind Blast to pre-pull and then on cooldown. If you have a Dark Thoughts proc try and only use this while channeling Mind Flay or Mind Sear.
- Power Infusion is another major cooldown added to your kit you should use in conjunction with 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. 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 spawns out a ghostly version of yourself every time you cast Mind Blast, Devouring Plague, or Void Bolt if that target has 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 puts more value than ever on our filler abilities to generate free charges of 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
- Until you get access to more options, Psyfiend will do a sizable chunk of damage on a relatively low cooldown.
- For the first few levels you can also use Mind Trauma and Void Shield, although I would suggest swapping these at Level 23.
- Driven to Madness is a great option for open world, since Voidform itself is not up as often as it used to be.
- Void Origins is my personal favorite option, as instant-cast Void Eruption is truly fantastic to play with.
- 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.
- 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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