Shadow Priest DPS Easy Mode — Shadowlands 9.2.5
On this page, we explain how to easily play Shadow Priest in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.2.5, 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 Basics of Shadow Priest
Shadow Priest has evolved into a more modern builder spender spec that specializes 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 in 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 Shadowlands, so it might be helpful to read that page just to see what all is different!
If you are more of a visual learner, you can watch the video guide version of this guide instead. I would suggest reading this side-by-side during the video to absorb the information the best.
Talent Choice for Shadow Priest
These choices are optimized for ease of use. Although some talents might offer marginally higher gains when played perfectly, these same talents often result in damage losses when utilized by many players. The talents recommended here aim to present the best setup that has very little punishment for unfamiliarity or mistakes.
- Level 15: Fortress of the Mind
- Level 25: Body and Soul
- Level 30: Misery
- Level 35: Last Word
- Level 40: Auspicious Spirits
- Level 45: Mindbender
- Level 50: Hungering Void
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. The only main change in single-target would be to swap into Twist of Fate instead of Misery. This makes the rotation a bit more involved as you need to pay more attention to keeping DoTs active.
Note that, in Dungeon content it is recommended that you swap Misery for Searing Nightmare, as Searing Nightmare excels in that environment for larger pulls in dungeons. For all other types of content we suggest you use Misery as you are starting out.
Stat Choice for Shadow Priest
Currently, you will want to prioritize stats as follows:
- Haste = Mastery;
- Critical Strike;
Typically, you will be looking for Haste/Mastery pieces, but because of the strength of Intellect, having Haste with anything at a high item level will be a good place to start.
While the stat priority for classes is normally the same for both the Easy Mode page and our full guide, subtle differences can still occur. If you want to see the full explanation of the stat priority, as well as the absolute top choices for the priority, head to our full stats page below.
Basic Rotation for Shadow Priest
- 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.
- Spend Insanity on Devouring Plague in single-target or Searing Nightmare when fighting 3 or more targets.
- Cast Mind Blast whenever available to generate Insanity, or use while channeling Mind Flay if you have a Dark Thoughts proc.
- Cast Shadow Word: Death if the target is below 20% HP, or if you are on the move, or while Mindbender is up with Shadowflame Prism.
- Cast Mind Flay to generate Insanity if there is only 1 target, or swap to Mind Sear if there are 2 or more targets.
- Cast Shadowfiend/ Mindbender right before entering Voidform.
- Cast Void Eruption to get into Voidform with at least 35 insanity to begin your 15s of burst damage. Sync this up with Power Infusion as a Necrolord.
- When in Voidform
- Activate Power Infusion to gain a burst of Haste; generally speaking, you should use this on cooldown.
- Spend Insanity on Devouring Plague. Your goal here is to make sure you do not waste Insanity by going over 100, so cast this often.
- Cast Void Bolt whenever available.
- Cast Mind Blast whenever available and when Void Bolt is on cooldown.
- Cast Mind Flay when there is nothing else to cast, cancelling it whenever there is a higher priority spell available.
For a more in-depth priority list and all the edge cases for the rotation, check out the full guide to fully master the rotation.
Covenant Choice for Shadow Priest
As a Shadow Priest if you want to deal the most damage possible I would suggest going with the Necrolord. The other Covenants are not terribly far behind when you are starting out gearing, but once you get access to using two legendary powers with the Memory of Unity power the gap becomes substantial. The full Covenants page goes into the specific strengths and weaknesses of each Covenant if you want more detail.
Necrolord for Shadow Priest
- Class Ability: Unholy Nova
- Covenant Ability: Fleshcraft
- Preferred Legendaries: Pallid Command and Shadowflame Prism
Necrolord Shadow Priests get access to Unholy Nova, an AoE DoT spell that spreads to enemies around the location of your current target. This also heals allies around that area for a burst of healing. Furthermore any damage you or your allies does to an enemy affected by the DoT get some healing back as well. Overall this is a very versatile ability that, paired with the square root scaling of the DoT damage, makes it useful in almost any PvE scenario.
Although certainly not as strong as Soulshape, the Necrolord Covenant ability Fleshcraft can be a great defensive in case of emergencies or even as a pre-pull shield to help out the healers. The other benefit is that while channeling this shield you get a 20% damage reduction aura, meaning you can use this to mitigate a big mechanic if DPS is not important.
Once you get access to Memory of Unity you can craft Pallid Command on any slot as a second equipped legendary. For Necrolord this means you'll pair this with Shadowflame Prism. Note that until you get this new memory you should use Shadowflame Prism as your primary legendary for PvE content.
Recommended Necrolord Soulbind
For most content you will want to run Plague Deviser Marileth due to his versatile soulbind traits, but should swap to Bonesmith Heirmir for AoE or Mythic+ content due to the strength of Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone.
You can read more about all of the Covenants and their strengths and weaknesses on the dedicated Covenant page.
Conduit Choice for Shadow Priest
Conduits as a Shadow Priest are generally pretty straightforward, with the main decision being on your 3rd Potency Conduit slot choice. Endurance and Finesse conduits are fairly lackluster aside from Translucent Image so you should feel free to use what you prefer.
Note that you should follow the Soulbind pathing described above, or the full paths in the dedicated guide for each Soulbind rather than just the rankings by themselves.
Best Potency Conduits for Shadow Priest
As mentioned in the list below Haunting Apparitions is the required Conduit you want to use in all situations specifically due to synergies with Auspicious Spirits and Haunting Apparitions, respectively. Your second slot is almost always going to be Rabid Shadows which has great synergy with our default legendary power Shadowflame Prism. As for your 3rd Potency slot, when you have it, you generally can pick between Dissonant Echoes or Mind Devourer based on your preference. Mind Devourer has good synergy with our Tier set, but Dissonant Echoes is still nice in single-target.
- Haunting Apparitions
- Rabid Shadows with Shadowflame Prism
- Courageous Ascension as Kyrian
- Dissonant Echoes or Mind Devourer
Best Endurance Conduits for Shadow Priest
For our Endurance or defensive conduits, you typically will only use one or two of these depending on the suggested Soulbind pathing. Translucent Image is the main one you want to aim for, turning Fade into a small defensive. After that feel free to use whichever you think you will get the most use out of.
Best Finesse Conduits for Shadow Priest
Finesse conduits as a Shadow Priest are fairly lackluster, and you should feel free to select whichever of these you would like. Generally the only one you will get much of any value will be Clear Mind anytime you actually go about dispelling (typically mythic+).
For more detail on conduit slotting and where to put them in each Soulbind you can read the dedicated Covenant page.
Legendary Choice for Shadow Priest
In the below table the slot in bold indicates the preferred item slot to craft that Legendary in. Each Legendary should be crafted with Haste/Mastery secondary stats. The first table goes over the non-covenant/primary legendary options. Use the second table for the stats/slot to use for crafting your second covenant legendary when you get Memory of Unity.
Primary Legendary Crafting Guide
|Raiding Single-Target — Necrolord, Night Fae, or Venthyr||Shadowflame Prism||Head or Gloves||Mueh'zala in De Other Side|
|Raiding Single-Target — Kyrian||Talbadar's Stratagem||Legs or Waist||Torghast (The Upper Reaches, Layer 3+)|
|Raiding Multi-Target||Shadowflame Prism||Head or Gloves||Mueh'zala in De Other Side|
|Mythic+||Shadowflame Prism||Head or Gloves||Mueh'zala in De Other Side|
|Torghast and Open World||Shadowflame Prism||Head or Gloves||Mueh'zala in De Other Side|
Secondary Legendary Crafting Guide (Covenant specific power)
Note: when using the Cord of Unity to craft your covenant legendary you can put the power on any available slot. Generally I would suggest crafting this on your worst slot you have at the time, you can always swap this later if you really want. The below suggests slots based on BiS gear from Mythic+ and Raid gear available.
|Kyrian||Spheres' Harmony||Waist, Feet, or Finger||Renown Level 48|
|Necrolord||Pallid Command||Waist, Feet, or Finger||Renown Level 48|
|Night Fae||Bwonsamdi's Pact||Waist, Feet, or Finger||Renown Level 48|
|Venthyr||Shadow Word: Manipulation||Waist, Feet, or Finger||Renown Level 48|
You can read more about all of the Legendaries and alternate recommendations for each style of content on the Legendaries page.
- 22 Jul. 2022: Added more detail in preparation for Season 4.
- 31 May 2022: Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
- 19 Mar. 2022: Updated Unity slots.
- 22 Feb. 2022: Removed Night Fae as a competitive option. Added more info on legendary crafting for 9.2.
- 01 Nov. 2021: Changed default Covenant suggestion to Necrolord.
- 06 Jul. 2021: Added video link.
- 29 Jun. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.1; no changes are needed.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Page reviewed for 9.0.5 and no changes were needed.
- 10 Feb. 2021: Updated rotation to be more clear when selecting certain talents.
- 11 Jan. 2021: Updated stat priority.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands Launch by removing Azerite/Essences, updating default Talents, and adding Power Infusion to the rotation.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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