Shadow Priest Frequently Asked Questions — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1

Last updated Today at 16:37 by Isentropy 26 comments

On this page, we go over several of the most frequently asked questions regarding Shadow Priest in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. This will be updated as more common repeated questions surface over the course of the expansion.

1. Is There a Haste Cap for Shadow Priest?

No, there is not a set amount of Haste that you need to get as Shadow in order for the spec to function, or after which the stat becomes incredibly devalued. The same goes for Critical Strike, Mastery and Versatility. You will generally want to aim to just get as much Critical Strike and Haste rating as possible, as there is no real point yet where these stats will stop being the best.

2. Which Race is Best for Shadow Priest?

All races are really close to one another in terms of the DPS benefit they provide you, so the answer to this is generally to just pick what you like. Perhaps more importantly, look at the benefits each of the races give you apart from DPS; for example, tools like Rocket Jump Icon Rocket Jump or Shadowmeld Icon Shadowmeld do not directly increase your DPS, but the utility they provide you can be way more useful to the group than any tiny DPS that another race could offer.

3. How Good is Shadow Priest in 8.1?

Shadow got a bit of a numerical buff with the changes it received in 8.1 and this leaves the spec in a decent spot going into the next raid tier. As for how the spec plays now compared to 8.0, it is a bit better, though do not expect any of its major problems to have been fixed. For a bit more info we recommend looking at the Shadow Priest Viability in the Current Patch paragraph on the Introduction page.

4. Do I Use Misery or Dark Void For Dungeons?

Both of these talents are excellent at what they do, but they both do it in slightly different ways. Misery Icon Misery primarily excels whenever there are targets spread around in an area, whereas Dark Void Icon Dark Void primarily excels whenever targets are stacked in an area. Misery provides you with a fairly DoT-heavy playstyle and so ideally requires there to be a relatively small amount of long living enemies. Dark Void tends to perform better when there are larger groups of enemies that do not necessarily have to live for a long time, but since Dark Void also applies Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain its benefit extends to more sustained fights as well.

Deciding which is better for which situation can be tough and depends on a few factors, including but not necessarily limited to the following.

  • How you pull in a dungeon; are you doing packs of 3 mobs at a time or are you pulling 10 mobs at a time?
  • Difficulty/Keystone level of the dungeon you are doing; how long are mobs generally going to be living?
  • Design of the dungeon; does this dungeon have a lot of forced big pulls or are mob packs generally small?

These factors will change a lot from run to run, but at the end of the day the choice between Dark Void Icon Dark Void and Misery Icon Misery largely comes down to personal preference. If you prefer a more classical Shadow playstyle that leans heavily on you multidotting, then you will find that Misery delivers that perfectly. If you like the idea of being able to spread Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain to large groups of enemies and having a bit more of a typical AoE playstyle instead of multidotting, then Dark Void will do that for you. If you are not sure, it is suggested you pick Dark Void because this will suit you well for almost any situation in dungeons, whereas Misery has a few more conditions it needs to meet for it to potentially be better.

5. Do I Use Legacy of the Void or Dark Ascension For Dungeons?

Both Legacy of the Void Icon Legacy of the Void and Dark Ascension Icon Dark Ascension are good talents that fulfill the same role of increasing Voidform Icon Voidform uptime, they just do it in different ways. Legacy of the Void provides you with a consistent and passive Voidform uptime increase through lowering the Insanity threshold to 60, in addition to decreasing the cast time of Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption and giving Voidform an additional 5% Spell Damage bonus. Dark Ascension gives you the flexibility to go into Voidform when you want to, either to skip the 0 - 90 Insanity ramp up or to benefit from the burst AoE that it provides. It may seem like the on demand burst AoE makes Dark Ascension the default pick here, but while that is certainly a strong part of the spell, over the course of the dungeon it generally does not really matter a lot compared to Legacy of the Void, which consistently boosts the amount of Void Eruptions you get. Dark Ascension increases your burst potential however, and is useful for short boss fights. Once again this choice largely boils down to what you prefer playing; Dark Ascension is a bit tougher to use properly but has slightly higher damage potential whereas Legacy of the Void requires no additional strategy to optimizing it and is just a stable damage & quality of life increase.

6. Do I Want To Intentionally Drop Out Of Voidform To Void Eruption Sooner?

The short answer to this is: no. By far the majority of the time you will just want to play the regular way, meaning that you keep optimizing your Insanity generation and keep actually casting spells. The only way to drop out of Voidform Icon Voidform on purpose is to just not cast spells at all so that is a massive opportunity cost. The only time this is even worth considering in the first place is if dropping out intentionally nets you an additional Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption on a really big pack of mobs. This is not very feasible as it assumes you have the time to drop out of Voidform by not casting, and then enough time to get enough Insanity to go back into Voidform, which you are unlikely to have the time for in the case that you are pulling a pack so big that you would even consider this.

7. When Do I Use Mind Sear In Dungeons?

Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear can be fairly confusing as a spell as you do not really get around to casting it very often in most scenarios. Mind Sear fulfills two purposes in our kit: it serves as a replacement for our filler spell, Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay, when you can hit 2 or more targets with it, and it also serves as our only baseline on demand AoE spell. The problem with the latter purpose is that Mind Sear as a global directly competes with Void Bolt Icon Void Bolt, Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast, and Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch in terms of damage and benefits of each of these spells, which does not happen very often in practice. You will almost always want to keep casting Void Bolt as long as you have at least one of your DoTs up (assuming that the DoT extension from Void Bolt is relevant; if your targets die before your DoTs original durations then Void Bolt does not do much in heavy AoE situations). Mind Blast only gets overtaken by Mind Sear at 4 or more targets and Vampiric Touch is worth more than Mind Sear, if it is able to do damage for approximately 10 or more seconds. On top of the other high priority globals Shadow is juggling, including our AoE spells we get through our talent tree, this leaves very little room for Mind Sear to be used often. In the case that casting the above spells is not worth it, you are probably pulling a very high amount of mobs (10 or higher), or just mobs that have very little health to begin with. So to sum it up: in the majority of situations you want to use Mind Sear as a filler spell in cleave/AoE situations or use it as your primary spell if you are fighting very large groups of mobs (as a rule of thumb, 10 or more mobs).

8. Should I Always Finish a Mind Flay Cast?

No, you should not. Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay is regarded as a filler spell, which means it is only used when nothing else more important can be cast. Since Mind Flay is the lowest priority on our priority list, you will always want to cancel it for spells above it, such as Void Bolt Icon Void Bolt or Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast. To add some more explanation as to why there is no punishment to cancelling Mind Flay early, we have to look at how channeled spells interact with the global cooldown nowadays.

Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay has a base channel time of 3 seconds, which is reduced by Haste. The global cooldown is imposed on most spells in the game and it prevents you from casting multiple spells at the same time; the base global cooldown lasts 1.5 seconds, which is reduced by Haste. As you may be able to tell, the duration of Mind Flay is double that of the global cooldown, and so as a rule of thumb you can say that Mind Flay has a duration equal to 2 global cooldowns, or 2 globals as they are popularly referred to. They both scale with Haste in the same way as well, so no matter your Haste, Mind Flay will always last exactly 2 global cooldowns worth of time.

The above is relevant because Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay deals its damage over 4 ticks, over the course of its duration. Since we have established that Mind Flay does its damage over 2 globals, we can state that Mind Flay does 2 ticks of damage per global. This means that there is no loss to cancelling Mind Flay early, as long as you do it after every global and not during a global.

9. When Should I Refresh My DoTs?

Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain both benefit from something we call 'Pandemic'. This means that you are able to refresh both DoTs when they are at 30% or less of their duration without getting penalized for this. What this essentially does is extend the window you have to refresh your DoTs. As an example, Shadow Word: Pain lasts for 16 seconds, so its Pandemic is 4.8 seconds. In other words, the best time to refresh Shadow Word: Pain is when it has 4.8 or less seconds left and if you do so at or below this threshold, it will add the remaining time to the original duration. If you were to refresh Shadow Word: Pain when it has 3 seconds left, that would leave the new duration at 19 seconds as an example.

10. Should I Use Dispersion As a DPS Cooldown?

No, you should not. There is no damage benefit to delaying the Insanity drain anymore and because of that, Dispersion Icon Dispersion should almost exclusively be seen as a defensive cooldown. The only time Dispersion should be considered to be used in an offensive way is if you are stunned, feared or otherwise prevented from casting spells in order to stop those things from you dropping out of Voidform Icon Voidform early. Only do this if you know you will not need the defensive benefit of Dispersion however, as the benefit of living outweighs any damage gain!

11. Changelog

  • 17 Dec. 2018: Added several new sections to the page.
  • 10 Dec. 2018: This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 30 Aug. 2018: Added a section about Mind Flay.
  • 02 Aug. 2018: Added Shadow Priest FAQ page.
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