Shadow Priest Patch 9.1 Changes Analysis
On this page, we tell you how the Patch 9.1 changes for Shadow Priest affect the spec and what the current state of theorycrafting is.
Shadow Priest Patch 9.1 and 9.1.5 Changes Overview
For this section of the guide I will go over all the important changes you need to know as a Shadow Priest going into Patch 9.1 and 9.1.5 of Shadowlands. A full list of changes to the entire Priest class can be found on our dedicated pages below. For an additional list of content from Patch 9.1.5, you can also check out our Patch 9.1.5 Overview page.
Base Spec Changes for Patch 9.1.5
For the most part, Shadow remains mostly unchanged going into Patch 9.1.5. The following changes have no significant impact on our choices or damage profile.
- Psychic Link now deals 60% of Mind Blast's damage to targets with Vampiric Touch active, up from 50%.
- Surrender to Madness now lasts up to 30s, up from 25s.
- Festering Transfusion damage has been doubled. This is still not competitive enough to use as a Necrolord in single-target, but could be considered for certain AoE situations.
Base Spec Changes for Patch 9.1
Shadow Priest has a few base spec changes that will have some impact to our damage profile.
- Devouring Plague DoT and initial damage nerfed by ~24.5% (18% round one and 8% the second week of 9.1).
- Shadow Word: Pain damage buffed by 25%.
- Vampiric Touch damage buffed by 25%.
While no doubt a small DPS nerf for single-target, this change seems focused around giving the spec back more multi-target damage (including spread target) that seemed lost after the rework going into Shadowlands. In single-target and paired with the Legendary and Conduit changes below we are looking at a sub-5% DPS loss, while in multi-target we will start seeing DPS gains at or above 3 targets in the single percentages. Even with this change Shadow Priests will no doubt still have some of the best single-target in the game. It just is not not quite as overpowered as it was in 9.0.5.
Talent Changes for Patch 9.1
Shadow Priest currently has no talent changes for 9.1.
Legendary Changes for Patch 9.1
In 9.1 our two strongest Legendaries both received nerfs. Aside from these changes we also have new Legendaries for each Covenant generic to Priests that were added
Current Legendary Nerfs
- Shadowflame Prism damage nerfed by 15%. Its Insanity generation and Mindbender increase were unaffected, so in reality this is not a 15% total damage nerf.
- Talbadar's Stratagem damage increase nerfed by 8%.
- Spheres' Harmony — Essentially makes Kyrian Shadow Priests sync their cooldowns with Power Infusion naturally; can be good for single-target but will generally speaking still be behind Shadowflame Prism.
- Pallid Command — For the most part this is a set-and-forget Legendary that will spawn a pet to deal damage for you. This is an extremely buggy Legendary and as such will likely not see any use until these bugs are fixed, specifically with Haste, Voidform, and Mastery scaling. If and only if these bugs get fixed you could see some fantastic single-target damage with this Legendary.
- Bwonsamdi's Pact — This Legendary's effect can be weird to read, but essentially this just duplicates the power of a specific Faerie from Fae Guardians. You can change which one is duplicated throughout the duration, but if using this you are likely going to want to duplicate the Benevolent Faerie for the extra CDR. Unfortunately this does not give much power, as it only affects Voidform's cooldown and not Power Infusion as well. De-syncing these cooldowns too much just stops being beneficial. This will likely not see any common uses in PvE scenarios.
- Shadow Word: Manipulation — This Legendary is also quite strange, and will likely not see use in PvE. In a nutshell this gives you a burst of Critical Strike after one of the Mindgames "shields" expire, meaning that if the damage absorb shield is consumed you will get a percentage of Critical Strike based on how long the debuff had left on that target. While this certainly could give you more burst, it is entirely out of your control if and when this breaks leading to inconsistent damage and a potentially wasted Legendary effect. In optimal cases this could be strong in single target, but due to the lack of control you likely will not use it much.
These changes do not seem to affect the power dynamic of our Legendaries, and we will likely still see Shadowflame Prism reign supreme for all Covenants. With the addition of our third Potency Conduit getting Rabid Shadows significantly improves this Legendary, while Mind Devourer does not. Unfortunately, with the nerf to Devouring Plague Mind Devourer also took a DPS nerf as well. Pending bug fixes, it is likely that all Covenants will want to use Shadowflame Prism.
Conduit and Soulbind Changes for Patch 9.1
There are a few changes to our Soulbind setups going into 9.1, with the major one being each Soulbind now having a few extra rows of traits and 1 extra Conduit slot as well. The traits are still being tuned but I will list a few below that could be interesting.
- Nadjia the Mistblade — Fatal Flaw — decent enough Critical Strike on a somewhat regular cadence.
- Theotar the Mad Duke — Party Favors — 3% Haste buff for 1 hour per day; terrible interaction but will be a solid increase in DPS.
- Forgelite Prime Mikanikos — Soulglow Spectrometer — Rotating damage increase that cycles fully every 15s; overall no downsides and can be slightly optimized around.
- Bonesmith Heirmir — Carver's Eye — Hitting an enemy above 90% HP gives a decent Mastery buff that stacks. This will likely be very strong for Mythic+ damage.
- Bonesmith Heirmir — Mnemonic Equipment — Another great trait from Heirmir, this plays well with Twist of Fate.
- Niya — Bonded Hearts — Fantastic trait that makes one of the best Soulbinds even better; you just need to be in a group with a non-Night Fae!
The other change that is Shadow-specific is a nerf to our BiS Conduit, Dissonant Echoes. This change nerfs the base damage increase to Void Bolt from 35% down to 15%. On the surface this is a pretty solid nerf, but it was clearly ahead as our BiS conduit so it is not surprising. Ordinarily this nerf would be enough to consider us swapping around Conduits, but because they are also adding a 3rd Potency slot to all Soulbinds it will likely still be a default choice for one of those 3 slots. This will be later determined on final sims.
In addition to the Dissonant Echoes nerf, our Clear Mind Finesse Conduit was also nerfed across the board. This is not a DPS loss by any means, but something to keep in mind.
- 01 Nov. 2021: Added Patch 9.1.5 changes.
- 13 Jul. 2021: Added new hotfixes and remove PTR blurb.
- 06 Jul. 2021: Removed Anima Power section.
- 29 Jun. 2021: Added all changes with up to date commentary.
- 02 May 2021: More PTR changes from the latest build affecting base spells, Legendaries, and Conduits.
- 22 Apr. 2021: Added initial content.
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