Shadow Priest DPS Azerite Traits/Powers and Armor — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1
1. Choosing Azerite Gear as a Shadow Priest
Most of the time, you will want to wear the piece of Azerite gear that has the highest item level for you. If you have two pieces of Azerite gear that have the same item level, then it is important to look at what Outer Ring traits they have. As a rule of thumb, the extra Intellect from the higher item level gear will make up for the difference between the traits.
Most of the generic Outer Ring traits are pretty good for Shadow, but some of our spec-specific Outer Ring traits are situational or flat out bad. In the case that you are comparing a mediocre trait (like Whispers of the Damned) to a really good one (like Chorus of Insanity), the decision of what piece of Azerite gear to wear can go beyond just the item level of the gear and in that situation it can be hard to figure out which is better without simulating your character using either Raidbots or Magicsim.
It is worth noting that if the difference between the traits is very small, then the higher item level pick will be more desirable. Azerite pieces have a high amount of Stamina, increasing your maximum health. This can make a noticeable difference in your survivability overall.
2. Choosing Azerite Traits as a Shadow Priest
The following sections will talk about the strength of our best traits and also the use cases for more situational traits. Note that we have below to help you compare all the relevant traits.
2.1. Outer Ring
These are the most powerful traits on your Azerite gear and will be the primary way to decide what piece of Azerite you should wear when they have the same item level.
Chorus of Insanity is our best trait by a significant margin, for no other reason than it gives you a lot of Critical Strike. This trait performs well in practically any situation, with it only losing value whenever you have downtime which causes your stacks to fall off. This trait can make up for a lot of item level depending on what trait you are comparing it to, so whenever you see Chorus of Insanity on your Azerite gear it is recommended to look at the rankings below or to simulate your own character.
Spiteful Apparitions is our second best spec-specific trait and it also does well in almost any situation, outside of situations where targets live for a really short amount of time. It is worth noting that Spiteful Apparitions gets a damage modifier of 75% whenever you do not have Auspicious Spirits selected as a talent. This is due to the fact that Auspicious Spirits scales with the damage of Spiteful Apparitions. This means that regardless of the level 75 talent you pick, the damage that Spiteful Apparitions provides is about equal.
Blightborne Infusion is one of the generic traits that is really strong in all situations because of how much Shadow likes Critical Strike as a stat.
Whenever you raid in Uldir, you will always want at least one Laser Matrix/ Archive of the Titans trait in order to activate Reorigination Array. It is impossible to make use of Reorigination Array outside of Uldir and as such, the value of Laser Matrix and Archive of the Titans drops in that case. While these two traits are not particularly bad, it may be worth swapping them out for traits that better accommodate whatever it is you are doing.
Death Throes and Searing Dialogue are both traits that perform very well in dungeons, or any time there is AoE. Death Throes provides value beyond just AoE, as you will use Shadow Word: Pain in any situation. Searing Dialogue is a strong AoE trait, but provides no value outside of that since you do not cast Mind Sear otherwise. It also causes your Mind Sear to slow all targets hit by 30%, which could be useful utility for dungeon situationally.
Thought Harvester will situationally be good for dungeon content, as the proc that increases Mind Sear damage can provide you with some burst AoE damage if it procs at the right time. However, this trait provides little single-target benefit and so it is not yet clear how worthwhile it will be in practice.
2.2. Middle Ring
Middle Ring traits have a lesser impact on your DPS and they are all fairly close to one another. They are therefore not that likely to impact your decision of what piece of Azerite gear to wear.
Overwhelming Power has the highest damage potential of all the Middle Ring traits, but has the downside of losing a stack whenever you take damage.
Heed My Call is a pretty good single-target trait which has an AoE component to it as well (albeit with a small range).
Gutripper does pretty good damage all-around, and interestingly procs more often against targets below 30% Health. This can make it valuable for fights where execute damage is important.
2.3. Inner Ring
Inner Ring traits are mostly focused on defense and utility.
Twist Magic provides a decent amount of healing when you get to make use of it often. This is mostly in PvP situations, but it is also a good trait for dungeons that require a lot of offensive dispels.
Longstrider is a strong option for mobility, which is one of the biggest weaknesses Shadow has.
Resounding Protection is a generic defensive trait and one of the best at that, as it will always provide you with defense and there is no way to waste it.
Vampiric Speed can do a lot of healing whenever targets around you die frequently. The speed is a nice bonus too.
3. Current Strength of Notable DPS Traits for Shadow Priest
In order to get these results, the traits were simulated against one another using a so-called "composite sim" in addition to single-target sims. With composite sims, instead of just doing a single Patchwerk no-movement sim on single target, you can do 2 targets, adds, and movement on a specific set schedule to model fights in the raid. We develop a "composite" model each raid tier that weighs out the different fight types based on when you see these mechanics in a raid. In other words, it gives you the average value that you might get out of something (in this case out of Azerite traits) over the course of the whole raid. The results listed here were generated using our Uldir composite. For more info on our methodology, you can read this article.
Any traits not mentioned in the tables below either do not provide any DPS benefit, or provide close to no benefit. For a more detailed analysis, including rankings of the best pieces of Azerite gear, you can look at this post.
3.1. Shadow Priest Trait Rankings
3.1.1. Legacy of the Void Composite Rankings - Outer Ring
3.1.2. Legacy of the Void Composite Rankings - Middle Ring
3.1.3. Dark Ascension Composite Rankings - Outer Ring
3.1.4. Dark Ascension Composite Rankings - Middle Ring
4. Trait Descriptions
Below you will find descriptions for the traits available to you as a Shadow Priest, including both generic and spec-specific ones.
4.1. Outer Ring Traits for Shadow Priest
- Chorus of Insanity grants you an amount of Critical Strike when Voidform ends, depending on the number of Voidform stacks earned. This buff decays every second.
- Whispers of the Damned increases the damage of your Mind Blast/ Shadow Word: Void and causes it to generate an additional 20 Insanity whenever it deals a Critical Strike.
- Death Throes makes Shadow Word: Pain deal more damage, as well as granting 5 insanity when a target afflicted by Shadow Word: Pain dies.
- Spiteful Apparitions makes Shadowy Apparitions deal more damage to targets afflicted by your Vampiric Touch.
- Searing Dialogue makes Mind Sear deals more damage to targets afflicted by your Shadow Word: Pain, as well as causing Mind Sear to slow targets hit by 30%.
- Thought Harvester increases the damage of your Vampiric Touch ticks and also causes your Vampiric Touch damage to give you a chance to increase the damage of your next Mind Sear by 150%.
- Anduin's Dedication / Sylvanas' Resolve causes your spells to have a chance to increase your primary stat for 10 seconds. If an ally dies nearby you also instantly gain this effect. Note that this is a PvP trait.
- Archive of the Titans is an Uldir-specific trait. It gives you a small primary stat buff every 5 seconds which stacks up to 20 times. Stacks only decay when out of combat. It also gives the Reorigination Array buff, which you should always aim to have active while raiding in Uldir.
- Barrage Of Many Bombs gives you a chance to fire a clusterbomb at your current target. When the bomb gets close, it explodes into smaller bombs which do AoE damage when they hit the ground.
- Battlefield Focus / Battlefield Precision gives your abilities a chance to apply stacks of a debuff to the target. This debuff causes them to take more damage from all raid members. Note that this is a PvP trait.
- Blightborne Infusion causes your spells to have a chance to increase your Critical Strike for 14 seconds.
- Blood Rite causes your spells to have a chance to increase your Haste for 15 seconds. Killing enemies refreshes this effect.
- Champion of Azeroth gives your abilities a chance to increase all your secondary stats for a minute, stacking up to 4 times. Getting a new proc will refresh the duration, so you will keep this at 4 stacks throughout an entire fight.
- Collective Will / Stand As One causes your spells to have a chance to increase your primary stat and maximum health. This effect is also applied to up to 4 nearby allies. Note that this is a PvP trait.
- Combined Might / Stronger Together gives you and 4 allies a bonus to one of your secondary stats or to your Spellpower / Attackpower (depending on your role), chosen at random, for 10 seconds. Note that this is a PvP trait.
- Dagger in the Back gives your abilities a chance to shoot a dagger at your target, applying a damage over time effect for 12 seconds, stacking up to 4 times. If you shoot this dagger when behind the target, it will apply 2 stacks.
- Filthy Transfusion gives your damaging ability a chance to do damage over 6 seconds to the target, healing you for the damage done.
- Glory in Battle / Liberator's Might causes your spells to have a chance to grant Critical Strike and Haste for 10 seconds. Note that this is a PvP trait, and attacking a member of the opposing faction significantly increases this chance, making these traits are much stronger in PvP content.
- Incite the Pack causes you to occasionally increase your Mastery and that of up to two nearby allies for 20 seconds.
- Laser Matrix causes your spells to have a chance to unleash a barrage of lasers which deal damage and heal injured allies for a small amount which is further split among them. It also gives the Reorigination Array buff, which you should always aim to have active while raiding in Uldir.
- Last Gift / Retaliatory Fury causes your spells and abilities to have a chance to grant Mastery and an absorb shield . Note that this is a PvP trait; also, taking damage from a member of the opposite faction has a chance to activate this effect, making these traits much strong in PvP content.
- Liberator's Might gives your abilities a chance to give you Haste, and even more Critical Strike for 10 seconds.
- Meticulous Scheming causes you to gain a buff for 8 seconds that transforms into a 20-second Haste buff after you cast 3 different spells while it is active.
- Relational Normalization Gizmo causes your spells to have a chance to grant you a primary stat and maximum health buff or Haste and 50% movement speed for 10 seconds. This trait is only obtainable through crafting Engineering goggles.
- Retaliatory Fury gives your abilities a chance to give you a Mastery buff and a shield for 10 seconds.
- Rezan's Fury causes your damaging abilities to have a chance to summon a Child of Rezan, which deals Physical damage to your target and causes them to bleed for additional damage over 12 seconds.
- Ricocheting Inflatable Pyrosaw causes your spells to have a chance to heal up to 4 allies for a large amount. This trait is only obtainable through crafting Engineering goggles.
- Ruinous Bolt gives your abilities a chance to summon a Soul (pet) by your side for 14 seconds. The Soul deals Shadow damage to a random nearby target.
- Secrets of the Deep causes your spells to have a chance to spawn a Surging Droplet nearby, which you can collect to increase your primary stat for 18 seconds. Rarely, a Void Droplet will be created instead, which increases your primary stat for twice as much as Surging Droplet's when collected.
- Stand As One gives your abilities a chance to drop a Banner for 6 seconds, which buffs you and 4 nearby allies with their primary stat, and increases maximum Health.
- Stronger Together causes your abilities to have a chance to plant a factional banner for 6 seconds, empowering yourself and up to 4 allies with the spirit of the Alliance.
- Swirling Sands causes your spells to have a chance to increase your Critical Strike for 12 seconds. This duration can be extended by landing Critical Strikes up to a maximum of 18 seconds.
- Sylvanas' Resolve gives your abilities a chance to give you a decent amount of primary stat, for 10 seconds. You also get this buff if an ally dies near you.
- Synaptic Spark Capacitor gives your abilities a chance to put a debuff on your target. This debuff will deal damage to enemies within 8 yards of the target with the debuff, and causes them to do 5% less damage to you. This trait is only obtainable through crafting Engineering goggles.
- Thunderous Blast gives your damaging abilities a chance blast the target for extra Nature damage, and cause the target to take 20% more damage from your next blast. When the bonus damage reaches 100%, the next blast will Critically Strike, and reset the bonus damage back to 0%.
- Tidal Surge gives your damaging abilities a chance to deal some Frost damage to the target and slow it by 20%.
- Tradewinds causes your spells to have a chance to grant you Mastery for 15 seconds. When this buff expires, it jumps once to a nearby ally at half duration and amount.
- Unstable Catalyst causes your spells and abilities to have a chance to create a zone standing in which increases your primary stat.
4.2. Middle Ring Traits for Shadow Priest
- Savior makes your heals on targets below 35% health have a chance to heal for an additional amount.
- Azerite Globules gives your damaging abilities a chance to apply a debuff to your target. This debuff stacks up to 3 times, and when it reaches 3, the target explodes, doing AoE damage.
- Blessed Portents grants your healing spells a chance to apply Blessed Portents to the target for 20 seconds. When the target falls below 35% health, Blessed Portents is consumed and heals them.
- Blood Siphon passively increases your Mastery and Leech.
- Bracing Chill causes your heals to have a chance to apply Bracing Chill to the target. Healing a target with Bracing Chill will heal for an additional amount and move Bracing Chill to a nearby ally, up to 6 times.
- Concentrated Mending causes your healing effects to have a chance to grant the target a HoT that heals every 2 seconds for 12 seconds. The amount healed doubles every 2 seconds.
- Earthlink increases your primary stat, with the exact amount cycling between a minimum value and maximum value every 6 seconds.
- Elemental Whirl causes your damaging spells to have a chance to increase one of your secondary stats for 10 seconds.
- Ephemeral Recovery gives you a significant amount of Mana back whenever you go below 20% Mana. Can only happen once every 3 minutes.
- Gutripper gives your damaging abilities a chance to deal additional Physical damage. This bonus damage occurs more often when the target is below 30% Health.
- Heed My Call gives your damaging abilities a chance to deal additional Nature damage to the target, and a smaller amount of damage to nearby targets.
- On My Way passively increases your Versatility and Speed.
- Overwhelming Power causes your damaging spells to have a chance to increase your Haste. The amount of Haste granted decreases every second or whenever you take damage.
- Unstable Flames causes your damaging spells to have a chance to grant a Critical Strike buff for 5 seconds, stacking up to 5 times.
- Woundbinder causes your healing effects to have a chance to increase your Haste for 12 seconds. Healing lower health targets will grant more Haste.
4.3. Inner Ring Traits for Shadow Priest
- Auto-Self-Cauterizer grants you a chance, when taking damage, to self-heal for a large amount and remove most bleed effects as well as slowing nearby enemies by 30% for 5 seconds. This trait is only obtainable through crafting Engineering goggles.
- Azerite Fortification heals you when you are stunned, immobilized, or knocked back.
- Bulwark of the Masses causes you to gain a moderate absorb shield when surrounded by 4 or more enemies, but can only occur once every 15 seconds.
- Gemhide causes you to gain Avoidance and Armor for 10 seconds when you take damage that exceeds 10% of your maximum health.
- Impassive Visage heals you when you take damage. It can not occur more often than every 6 seconds.
- Longstrider increases your movement speed by a percentage of your highest secondary stat, with a maximum movement speed gain limit.
- Personal Absorb-o-Tron grants you a chance, when taking damage, to gain a large absorb shield for up to 1 minute. This trait is only obtainable through crafting Engineering goggles.
- Resounding Protection causes you to gain an absorb shield every 30 seconds.
- Sanctum causes your Fade to grant you a shield that absorbs Magic damage for 10 seconds.
- Self Reliance causes you to be healed every 3 seconds while no enemies are within 12 yards of you.
- Twist Magic causes you to heal yourself and 4 allies whenever you successfully dispel a buff on an enemy using Dispel Magic.
- Vampiric Speed causes you to self-heal and gain Speed for 6 seconds whenever an enemy you damaged dies.
5. Find Azerite Armor By Trait/Power
In the table below, you can see all of the Azerite gear available to your Shadow Priest. By using the + button located next to each item, you can expand the list of Azerite powers that this item possesses (to collapse the list, simply click the - button).
If you want to filter items according to the powers that they offer, you can use the filters below.
- 12 Dec. 2018: Made a separate chart for Middle Ring traits and updated trait descriptions.
- 10 Dec. 2018: Updated for Patch 8.1 changes.
- 04 Oct. 2018: Restructured the Azerite page.
- 20 Sep. 2018: Updated based on recent Simcraft fixes and in game hotfixes.
- 30 Aug. 2018: Updated links to Azerite charts.
- 20 Aug. 2018: Updated for the latest hotfixes.
- 16 Aug. 2018: Updated links to Azerite charts.
- 15 Aug. 2018: Updated rankings to the most recent data.
- 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
- 10 Aug. 2018: Reformatted Azerite page.
- 09 Aug. 2018: Added generic traits and rankings.
- 29 Jul. 2018: Updated existing info and added trait rankings.
- 27 Jul. 2018: Added Azerite page.
- Kul Tiran & Zandalari Druid Empowered Moonkin Form
- Allied Races: Are Mechagnomes and Vulpera Next?
- Titan Residuum Hotfix: January 16th
- The Story of Xal'atath in Patch 8.1.5
- Patch 8.1.5 Build 28938: Highlights
- This Week in WoW: January 15th
- What's Changing (and Not!) in Season 2
- Bruce (Brawler's Guild Mount) in Patch 8.1.5
- Feral Druid 8.1
- when to use blizzard/aoe as frost?
- Windwalker Monk PvP 8.1
- Unholy Death Knight PvP 8.1
- Survival Hunter PvP 8.1
- Subtlety Rogue PvP 8.1
- Shadow Priest PvP 8.1
- Retribution Paladin PvP 8.1