Shadow Priest DPS Azerite Traits/Powers and Armor — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1.5

Last updated on Apr 16, 2019 at 15:43 by Isentropy 29 comments
General Information

This page contains rankings of Azerite traits and advice on which traits to choose for a Shadow Priest in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, Patch 8.1.5. Prior to using the traits, you will need to obtain the Heart of Azeroth Icon Heart of Azeroth, which you can find more information on in our Heart of Azeroth guide.

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 to a really good one, 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Laser Matrix/Archive of the Titans Icon Archive of the Titans trait in order to activate Reorigination Array Icon 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 Icon Death Throes and Searing Dialogue Icon 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 Icon Shadow Word: Pain in any situation. Searing Dialogue is an extremely strong AoE trait and also causes your Mind Sear to slow all targets hit by 30%, which is useful utility for dungeons situationally.

Thought Harvester Icon Thought Harvester will situationally be good for dungeon content, as the proc that increases Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear damage can provide you with some burst AoE damage if it procs at the right time. When combined with Searing Dialogue Icon Searing Dialogue, this combo gives Shadow some of the best AoE in the game.

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 Icon 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 Icon Heed My Call is a pretty good single-target trait which has an AoE component to it as well (albeit with a small range).

Elemental Whirl Icon Elemental Whirl / Earthlink Icon Earthlink / Unstable Flames Icon Unstable Flames all affect your stats and therefore do well in all situations.

Gutripper Icon 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.

Sanctum Icon Sanctum is pretty useful for fights where a lot of magic damage goes out. It turns Fade Icon Fade into a mini-defensive cooldown and it should be used as such if you have this trait.

Twist Magic Icon 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 Icon Longstrider is a strong option for mobility, which is one of the biggest weaknesses Shadow has.

Resounding Protection Icon 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 Icon Vampiric Speed can do a lot of healing whenever targets around you die frequently. The speed is a nice bonus too.

3. Viable Azerite Builds

Right now, Shadow has two primary Azerite builds that are both equally strong in their own right. While you will be able to find the strength of individual traits in the charts below, they do not show how certain traits interact with each other when combined — this section is intended to show the current prevalent builds and in what situations you would want to use them. Bear in mind that the below builds are not the only way for Shadow to be viable as a spec, they simply show ideal combinations that you should aim to get.

3.1. Chorus of Insanity/Spiteful Apparitions/Whispers of the Damned

Chorus of Insanity Icon Chorus of Insanity, Spiteful Apparitions Icon Spiteful Apparitions and Whispers of the Damned Icon Whispers of the Damned work off of each other extremely well, and so stacking these makes for a rather powerful combo that excels in pretty much all raid situations. This is currently the best combo for raiding, but you could see some success in dungeons with it as well, depending on the type of damage your group needs you to focus on.

3.1.1. Ideal Stacking Combos

The following is currently perceived to be the best combo, but it can be somewhat hard to get because you cannot obtain this trait combo from raids. It relies on gambling with your Titan Residuum, or saving up a large amount to get a specific piece.

An alternative build (which can be obtained entirely from the Battle of Dazar'alor raid) consists of using 3x Chorus of Insanity Icon Chorus of Insanity, 2x Spiteful Apparitions Icon Spiteful Apparitions and 1x Whispers of the Damned Icon Whispers of the Damned. This is also a solid build, but will be noticeably worse for fights that favour multi-dotting, due to how strong Spiteful Apparitions Icon Spiteful Apparitions is in those situations.

3.2. Thought Harvester/Searing Dialogue

Thought Harvester Icon Thought Harvester and Searing Dialogue Icon Searing Dialogue have great synergy with one another, as the additional damage Searing Dialogue adds to Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear scales with the proc of Thought Harvester. This is currently the predominant build for dungeons, providing you with great trash damage, though at the cost of some boss damage. If you decide to run this combo, then you will want to use one Thought Harvester Icon Thought Harvester trait and three Searing Dialogue Icon Searing Dialogue traits. The other two traits do not matter nearly as much and you are pretty free in choosing what you would like to use.

3.2.1. Rotation Changes and Details when Using Thought Harvester/Searing Dialogue

When using the Thought Harvester Icon Thought Harvester and Searing Dialogue Icon Searing Dialogue combo, your rotation changes fairly significantly. The below always assumes that you only use one Thought Harvester trait, as the most important part of the trait (the proc that increases your Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear damage by 150%) does not scale with having multiple Thought Harvester traits. Below we will explain how the rotation is affected, both in single-target and multi-target situations, depending on the amount of Searing Dialogue Icon Searing Dialogue you are using.

3.3. Rotation Change in Single-Target Situations

3.4. Rotation Change in Multi-Target Situations

As a general note, Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear becomes a much more prominent part of your multi-target rotation when you make use of this trait combo. This means that you want to focus less on multi-dotting and more on Mind Searing. A lot of this depends largely on how long targets will live, and also on the amount of Searing Dialogue Icon Searing Dialogue traits you have, so it is hard to say with complete accuracy just how differently you should play.

  • When you have one or two Searing Dialogue Icon Searing Dialogue traits, you want to drop Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast/Shadow Word: Void Icon Shadow Word: Void from your rotation in favour of Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear at 3 or more targets. You will still want to use Mind Blast/Shadow Word: Void occasionally for its Insanity generation, but there is no strict rule regarding this.
  • When you have three Searing Dialogue Icon Searing Dialogue traits, you want to drop Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast/Shadow Word: Void Icon Shadow Word: Void from your rotation in favour of Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear at 2 or more targets. You will still want to use Mind Blast/Shadow Word: Void occasionally for its Insanity generation, but there is no strict rule regarding this.

4. Current Strength of Individual DPS Traits for Shadow Priest

Below, you will find charts that show the strength of Azerite traits currently available within the game. The value of the traits is shown depending on whether you have one, two, or three of them. This is because for certain traits, their value gets better or worse depending on how many you have.

5. Single Target Azerite Trait Simulations

5.1. Outer Ring Trait Simulations for Single Target

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For the complete simulation results, check out Bloodmallet.com

5.2. Middle Ring Trait Simulations for Single Target

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6. AoE/Cleave Azerite Trait Simulations

6.1. Outer Ring Trait Simulations for AoE/Cleave

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6.2. Middle Ring Trait Simulations for AoE/Cleave

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7. Trait Descriptions

Below you will find descriptions for the traits available to you as a Shadow Priest, including both generic and spec-specific ones.

7.1. Outer Ring Traits for Shadow Priest

  • Chorus of Insanity Icon Chorus of Insanity grants you an amount of Critical Strike when Voidform Icon Voidform ends, depending on the number of Voidform stacks earned. This buff decays every second.
  • Whispers of the Damned Icon Whispers of the Damned increases the damage of your Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast/Shadow Word: Void Icon Shadow Word: Void and causes it to generate an additional 20 Insanity whenever it deals a Critical Strike.
  • Death Throes Icon Death Throes makes Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain deal more damage, as well as granting 5 insanity when a target afflicted by Shadow Word: Pain dies.
  • Spiteful Apparitions Icon Spiteful Apparitions makes Shadowy Apparitions Icon Shadowy Apparitions deal more damage to targets afflicted by your Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch.
  • Searing Dialogue Icon Searing Dialogue makes Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear deals more damage to targets afflicted by your Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain, as well as causing Mind Sear to slow targets hit by 30%.
  • Thought Harvester Icon Thought Harvester increases the damage of your Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch ticks and also causes your Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch damage to give you a chance to increase the damage of your next Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear by 150%.
  • Anduin's Dedication Icon Anduin's Dedication / Sylvanas' Resolve Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Reorigination Array buff, which you should always aim to have active while raiding in Uldir.
  • Barrage Of Many Bombs Icon 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 Icon Battlefield Focus / Battlefield Precision Icon 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 Icon Blightborne Infusion causes your spells to have a chance to increase your Critical Strike for 14 seconds.
  • Blood Rite Icon Blood Rite causes your spells to have a chance to increase your Haste for 15 seconds. Killing enemies refreshes this effect.
  • Champion of Azeroth Icon 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 Icon Collective Will / Stand As One Icon 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 Icon Combined Might / Stronger Together Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Glory in Battle / Liberator's Might Icon 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 Icon Incite the Pack causes you to occasionally increase your Mastery and that of up to two nearby allies for 20 seconds.
  • Laser Matrix Icon 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 Icon Reorigination Array buff, which you should always aim to have active while raiding in Uldir.
  • Last Gift Icon Last Gift / Retaliatory Fury Icon 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 Icon Liberator's Might gives your abilities a chance to give you Haste, and even more Critical Strike for 10 seconds.
  • Meticulous Scheming Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Retaliatory Fury gives your abilities a chance to give you a Mastery buff and a shield for 10 seconds.
  • Rezan's Fury Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Tidal Surge gives your damaging abilities a chance to deal some Frost damage to the target and slow it by 20%.
  • Tradewinds Icon 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 Icon Unstable Catalyst causes your spells and abilities to have a chance to create a zone standing in which increases your primary stat.
  • Treacherous Covenant Icon Treacherous Covenant increases your primary stat by a large amount while you are above 50% health. However, you take 15% increased damage while below 20% health.

7.2. Middle Ring Traits for Shadow Priest

  • Savior Icon Savior makes your heals on targets below 50% health have a chance to heal for an additional amount.
  • Azerite Globules Icon 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 Icon Blessed Portents grants your healing spells a chance to apply Blessed Portents to the target for 20 seconds. When the target falls below 50% health, Blessed Portents is consumed and heals them.
  • Blood Siphon Icon Blood Siphon passively increases your Mastery and Leech.
  • Bracing Chill Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Earthlink increases your primary stat, with the exact amount cycling between a minimum value and maximum value every 6 seconds.
  • Elemental Whirl Icon Elemental Whirl causes your damaging spells to have a chance to increase one of your secondary stats for 10 seconds.
  • Ephemeral Recovery Icon Ephemeral Recovery gives you a significant amount of Mana back whenever you go below 20% Mana. Can only happen once every 3 minutes.
  • Gutripper Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon On My Way passively increases your Versatility and Speed.
  • Overwhelming Power Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Woundbinder causes your healing effects to have a chance to increase your Haste for 12 seconds. Healing lower health targets will grant more Haste.

7.3. Inner Ring Traits for Shadow Priest

  • Auto-Self-Cauterizer Icon 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 Icon Azerite Fortification heals you when you are stunned, immobilized, or knocked back.
  • Bulwark of the Masses Icon 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 Icon Gemhide causes you to gain Avoidance and Armor for 10 seconds when you take damage that exceeds 10% of your maximum health.
  • Impassive Visage Icon Impassive Visage heals you when you take damage. It can not occur more often than every 6 seconds.
  • Longstrider Icon Longstrider increases your movement speed by a percentage of your highest secondary stat, with a maximum movement speed gain limit.
  • Personal Absorb-o-Tron Icon 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 Icon Resounding Protection causes you to gain an absorb shield every 30 seconds.
  • Sanctum Icon Sanctum causes your Fade Icon Fade to grant you a shield that absorbs Magic damage for 10 seconds.
  • Self Reliance Icon Self Reliance causes you to be healed every 3 seconds while no enemies are within 12 yards of you.
  • Twist Magic Icon Twist Magic causes you to heal yourself and 4 allies whenever you successfully dispel a buff on an enemy using Dispel Magic Icon Dispel Magic.
  • Vampiric Speed Icon Vampiric Speed causes you to self-heal and gain Speed for 6 seconds whenever an enemy you damaged dies.

8. 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.

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