Shadow Priest Patch 9.2 Changes Analysis and Tier Set Thoughts
On this page, we tell you how the Patch 9.2 changes for Shadow Priest affect the spec and what the current state of theorycrafting is.
Shadow Priest Patch 9.2 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 9.2 and 9.2.5 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 9.2, you can also check out our Patch 9.2 Overview page.
Base Spec Changes for Patch 9.2.5 and Season 4
Starting with Season 4 Shadow Priest has received a few changes to the AoE abilities that will make participating in Mythic+ much more enjoyable output wise.
- Mind Sear damage increased by 30%.
- Shadow Crash damage increased by 25%.
- Searing Nightmare damage increased by 15%.
While these changes will not make Shadow insane in dungeons, it will mean you can do competitive damage with some other AoE specs that was much more difficult before. See the list below for some rotation changes this will cause:
- Misery is still better than Searing Nightmare on 2-target encounters.
- If you are playing Searing Nightmare and happen to be fighting 2 targets you will use this over Devouring Plague.
- Starting at 3 targets and up Searing Nightmare is better than Misery. This means running Misery in dungeons will not be suggested.
- Shadow Crash is still worse than Auspicious Spirits on 1 and 2 targets. It becomes equal on 3 consistent targets and better starting at 4 targets. This will cause it to be more widely used in Dungeons and could see some use on very specific raid encounters in Season 4.
- Shadowflame Prism remains a DPS increase up to 5 targets, at which point it becomes break even with Searing Nightmare. This means when fighting more than 5 targets you should prioritize Searing Nightmare over optimal Shadowflame Prism damage.
Base Spec Changes for Patch 9.2
Aside from upcoming system changes detailed below there are no baseline spec changes for Shadow Priest going into 9.2.
Shadow Priest Tier Set Bonuses in Patch 9.2
Patch 9.2 is coming with the return of Tier Set bonuses. While these are currently a work in progress, they have a massive potential to shape the spec's damage profile and other options.
- 2-set: Shadow Priest 2-Piece — Casting Devouring Plague has a 40% chance to grant Dark Thoughts. Casting Searing Nightmare has a 25% chance to grant Dark Thought.
- 4-set: Shadow Priest 4-Piece — Consuming a Dark Thoughts causes your shadow to animate, dealing (208% of Spell Power) Shadow damage over 6 seconds to all enemies within 10 yards of your target.
As our first and likely only tier set of the expansion this is surely going to be a nice damage increase for Shadow Priests. Starting with the 2-set, it effectively rewards you for playing the spec as you would normally should you have the opportunity to weave in the extra Dark Thoughts procs. The best part about this is that it works on single-target with Devouring Plague AND in AoE with Searing Nightmare. Normally these are somewhat low priority in our rotation and certainly do not happen often but this bonus combined with the 4-set starts to shape why this is so powerful. The 4-set bonus takes the increased chance of Dark Thought procs and gives that an even larger boost by causing a pet to spawn for 6 seconds after consuming these procs. This pet is similar to the Call to the Void Legendary as it casts a Mind Sear-like channel at your target for the duration that AoEs things in a 10-yard radius. Consuming multiple Dark Thought procs in a row causes this pet's duration to be extended.
Pros and Cons
Below I have listed out my general pros and cons of this set bonus as it stands now:
- Works in single-target and AoE, making it useful for almost all forms of content.
- Does quite a lot of damage if you can maintain good uptime and maximize Dark Thoughts procs.
- Creates a more competitive 2nd Legendary choice environment with Talbadar's Stratagem instead of always using Shadowflame Prism. (More detail below)
- The 4-set bonus currently scales with Haste and Mastery, making it a great scaling addition to our kit.
- Dark Thoughts procs are capped at 1 charge, making this more punishing than it otherwise would if it could stack.
- While we do get procs in AoE, weaving in Dark Thoughts procs feels a bit odd and will be very damage-tuning-dependent.
- Giving us more procs of Dark Thoughts does increase the traffic in the rotation which could make the rotation more overwhelming depending on your Covenant and Legendary choices.
- Effectively destroys the viability of the Kyrian Covenant. This was already the busiest Covenant to play during our cooldowns, and having to now weave in Dark Thoughts procs completely overshadows using either Ascended Blast or Ascended Nova during your cooldown window. At the moment you would only use the Covenant ability to proc Soulbind abilities.
Talent Changes for Patch 9.2
While Shadow Priest does not have any specific Talent changes, coming into 9.2 we might end up swapping into using more of Damnation depending on the tuning of our upcoming Tier Set bonus. Sims for this are still a work in progress but as we end up running into Insanity overflow issues Damnation might become the default choice in this row for raiding content.
Legendary Changes for Patch 9.2
- Pallid Command has been nerfed by 40%. Bringing it to our 2nd best legendary overall, behind Shadowflame Prism.
This patch brings with it the eventual ability to equip two Legendaries at the same time. Specifically this lets you eventually equip a legendary with the Covenant specific power available to you. As a Shadow Priest our only viable Covenant legendary power for raiding is Pallid Command. The other three options do not function well with our kit in raiding to make them useful, making Necrolord our clear covenant choice after you get access to two legendaries in a raiding environment. Unfortunately with the nerf to Pallid Command this means you should swap to using Shadowflame Prism until you get access to this second legendary power.
For Mythic+ Bwonsamdi's Pact might end up being a useful alternative to Necrolord's single target damage as the downtime you are waiting on cooldowns for is somewhat balanced out by downtime between packs.
Kyrian and Venthyr legendaries to not work well with our base kit and the new tier set, making both of these extremely sub-par options overall. Venthyr has some potential but not enough consistency to warrant using it for any progression content in my opinion.
As for our second Legendary options we more or less have two choices: Talbadar's Stratagem or Shadowflame Prism. Each of these will likely have their own place in the meta depending on the fight and as such I would recommend everyone have both of these crafted and ready to upgrade when the patch comes out. Talbadar's is a naturally strong single-target option that is inherently buffed in this patch due to our Shadow Priest 2-Piece creating more Mind Blast casts. Similarly Shadowflame Prism also benefits from these increased casts and will continue to be a competitive option, especially in AoE. Best options between the two are still being finalized, it is likely it could come down to your conduit ranks of Rabid Shadows on what to use in single target.
Be sure to check out the dedicated page on Shadow Priest Legendaries to learn more.
Conduit and Soulbind Changes for Patch 9.2
There are no changes coming for Conduits or Soulbinds in this patch.
- 29 Jul. 2022: Added changes for 9.2.5 and Season 4.
- 22 Feb. 2022: Updated changelog from Pallid Command nerfs.
- 15 Jan. 2022: Added Patch 9.2 changes and initial thoughts.
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