Shadow Priest DPS Easy Mode — Dragonflight 10.2
On this page, we explain how to easily play Shadow Priest in World of Warcraft — Dragonflight 10.2, using the simplest rotation, talent tree, stat priority, gear setup, etc., without sacrificing performance.
This section is intended for players who are new to the game or class, have no intentions of raiding Mythic difficulty, or simply want a more straightforward way to play their specialization without being overwhelmed by the numerous priorities and active abilities that need to be taken into consideration for optimal play.
The video version of this guide is also available if you would like to watch along as I talk about Shadow Priest.
The Basics of Shadow Priest
Shadow Priest has evolved into a more modern builder spender spec specializing in damage over time (DoT) effects. At a high level, the spec mostly revolves around keeping your DoT effects up on as many targets as possible while also building Insanity to spend on spells that cost Insanity. The rest of this page is dedicated to getting you to that goal in the easiest way possible to reduce the demands of the specialization at the top end of play without causing a large drop in numerical output.
If you are completely new to Shadow and need more information on the abilities available to you, you can check out our Spell Summary page. There were a lot of changes to Shadow Priest going into Dragonflight, so it might be helpful to read that page just to see what all is different!
Best Shadow Priest Talent Build for Beginners
These choices are optimized for ease of use. Although some talents might offer marginally higher gains when played perfectly, these talents often result in damage losses if not used correctly. The talents recommended here aim to present the best setup with little punishment for unfamiliarity or mistakes.
This build avoids taking actives that can clutter the rotation and instead buffs the spells you would normally press. This build should work reasonably well in most content. However, you can experiment with your choices in the bottom section or even using Void Eruption.
- Dark Ascension as your main cooldown
- Psychic Link and Shadow Crash for AoE
- Mental Decay should limit how often you need to re-apply DoT effects in single-target.
- Idol of C'Thun and Idol of Y'Shaarj offer damage patterns that work in all content.
If you are looking to optimize talents, you can make the following adjustments:
- Single Target: Drop Shadow Crash and Whispering Shadows for Maddening Touch. This is a relatively small gain and does mean you might need to manually refresh DoTs throughout the fight.
- Overall damage: Swap out Auspicious Spirits for Void Torrent. For Mythic+ or cleave scenarios, drop Insidious Ire to get Idol of N'Zoth and select Malediction to still path into Idol of C'Thun.
If you are looking for the absolute best talents for Shadow, which do not compromise on performance for ease of use, you can find a more in-depth analysis on our full talents page below.
Stat Choice for Shadow Priest Beginners
Currently, you will want to prioritize stats as follows:
- Critical Strike;
Typically, you will be looking for Haste/Mastery pieces, but because of the strength of Intellect, having anything at a high item level will be a good place to start. While learning fights, you will get more value out of Haste stacking as it can help cover up mistakes more than other stats.
While the stat priority for classes is normally the same for both the Beginner page and our full guide, subtle differences can still occur. If you want to see the full explanation of the stat priority and the absolute top choices for the priority, head to our full stats page below.
Beginner Rotation for Shadow Priest
Before getting into the priority list, I wanted to break down the goals of playing Shadow Priest. These goals will help describe the why behind the full-on priority list, hopefully giving it more context.
- Maintain Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain roughly up to 12 targets. Use Shadow Crash to help with this.
- Maintain uptime of Devouring Plague on as many targets as possible that will live the full duration.
- Use short cooldown Insanity generating spells to make sure you do not lose uses of them. This includes spells like Shadow Word: Death, Mind Blast and Surge of Insanity procs.
- Use your long cooldown spells ideally when you will not lose uses of any short cooldown spells, being sure not to hold too long to still take advantage of any active buffs.
If you can get these goals right, the rotation should make more sense and fall into play naturally.
Before you start combat, make sure you have Shadowform active and use Vampiric Touch to start combat.
- Keep Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch applied on all targets. Note that with Misery, you should always use Vampiric Touch to refresh either of these DoTs, unless you are moving. Shadow Crash should also be used to make this more efficient.
- Cast Shadowfiend or Mindbender on cooldown.
- Cast Dark Ascension or Void Eruption on cooldown.
- Cast Power Infusion on cooldown (make sure you cast it on an ally if using Twins of the Sun Priestess).
- Spend Insanity on Devouring Plague.
- Cast Shadow Word: Death.
- Cast Mind Blast whenever available to generate Insanity.
- Use any procs of Surge of Insanity with Mind Flay: Insanity.
- Cast Mindgames.
- Cast Halo.
- Cast Mind Flay to generate Insanity as your filler spell.
Note that in AoE, when talented into Distorted Reality, you can try and maintain Devouring Plague on multiple targets to increase overall damage.
For a more in-depth priority list that includes all talents and all the edge cases for the rotation, check out the complete guide to fully master your Shadow Priest.
- 06 Nov. 2023: Updated talent build and add rotational goals for Patch 10.2.0.
- 04 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.7.
- 13 Aug. 2023: Update video link.
- 23 Jul. 2023: Reviewed from the recent hotfixes.
- 10 Jul. 2023: Add new talent strings for 10.1.5.
- 27 Jun. 2023: Update default build.
- 20 Jun. 2023: Add clarifying notes about Distorted Reality.
- 01 May 2023: Updated for Patch 10.1.0.
- 20 Mar. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.7.
- 24 Jan. 2023: Update talents for 10.0.5 builds.
- 21 Dec. 2022: Update talent suggestions to be simpler to start with.
- 11 Dec. 2022: Reviewed for Dragonflight Season 1.
- 28 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight launch.
- 07 Nov. 2022: Updated Marileth soulbind calc to remove Dissonant Echoes conduit.
- 31 Oct. 2022: Updated talent builds to no longer suggest Psychic Link.
- 25 Oct. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
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