Shadow Priest Frequently Asked Questions — Shadowlands 9.0.5

Last updated on Mar 05, 2020 at 12:33 by Publik 27 comments
General Information

On this page, we go over several of the most frequently asked questions regarding Shadow Priest in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth Shadowlands 9.0.5. 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 Haste rating as possible, however past 30% Haste, Critical Strike, or Versatility these stats do start to take on Diminishing Return values. This starts at 19% for Mastery.

You can learn more about the stat priority on our dedicated stats page.

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.

For more detail about racials as a Shadow Priest, check out my video guide.

3.

Does Applying DoTs to Secondary Targets Increase Single-Target DPS?

Yes, but only for certain reasons. A good example here is the Council of Blood encounter in Castle Nathria. Since the bosses reset their HP when one dies the damage that is healed is effectively "pad" or extra damage that does not help kill the boss. However, because of interactions with Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch with Shadowy Apparitions Icon Shadowy Apparitions, Dark Thoughts Icon Dark Thoughts, and importantly Auspicious Spirits Icon Auspicious Spirits it is worth to leave Vampiric Touch on off targets for priority target damage. That being said it is NOT worth to do the same for Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain.

If you want to learn more about the rotation and when to DoT which targets check out our rotation guide below.

4.

Do I Use Misery or Searing Nightmare 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 Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare primarily excels whenever targets are stacked in an area. Misery Icon Misery provides you with a fairly DoT-heavy playstyle and so ideally requires there to be a relatively small amount of long living enemies. Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare tends to perform better when there are larger groups of enemies that do not necessarily have to live for a long time, but since Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare 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 Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare and Misery Icon Misery largely comes down to how you pull the dungeon. If you prefer a more classical Shadow playstyle that leans heavily on you multi-DoTting, 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 large amount of AoE burst damage, then Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare will do that for you. If you are not sure, it is suggested you pick Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare 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.

For a deeper discussion on when to use which talents check out out full guide on the talents page.

5.

Which Level 50 Talent do I Use for Dungeons?

Every option in this row has a clear path to success in terms of dungeon content, that all depends on how you pull the dungeons and what you can afford to do. Both Ancient Madness Icon Ancient Madness and Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness are great talents for Mythic+, but depending on how you plan on pulling the dungeon you can see one or the other pulling ahead. Ancient Madness Icon Ancient Madness provides you with a larger burstier Voidform Icon Voidform and does better with bigger pulls, less of them. Surrender to Madness on the other hand does better with smaller pulls but more of them, especially if you can alternate between Voidform and Surrender to Madness on each pack. For most keys and especially if you are not sure exactly how you will end up pulling the dungeon, Surrender to Madness should be your default pick, it is very flexible and easy to use inside of a dungeon environment.

What about Hungering Void Icon Hungering Void? With current gear levels you can actually match Voidform Icon Voidform uptime with Hungering Void compared to Surrender to Madness, making it a great generic choice depending on how you pull the dungeon. If you find yourself fighting too many packs without Voidform while using Hungering Void, you probably should have taken Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness instead.

If you want to learn more about Hungering Void Icon Hungering Void you can check out Publik's YouTube Video going over the talent.

For a deeper discussion on when to use which talents check out out full guide on the talents page.

6.

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. You typically want to start thinking about re-casting Mind Flay about halfway through the channel to make sure that if you get a Dark Thoughts Icon Dark Thoughts proc you have enough of a cast left to fit in that global cooldown.

Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay has a base channel time of 4.5 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 triple that of the global cooldown, and so as a rule of thumb you can say that Mind Flay has a duration equal to 3 global cooldowns, or 3 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 3 global cooldowns worth of time.

The above is relevant because Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay deals its damage over 6 ticks, over the course of its duration. Since we have established that Mind Flay does its damage over 3 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.

If you want to learn more about the rotation check out our rotation guide below.

7.

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.

Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague is a very unique DoT, but does benefit from certain refresh mechanics. Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague rolls over damage when refreshed, meaning that whatever damage the DoT has left when you refresh the DoT gets carried over and added as a multiplier to the new DoT's ticks. As such refreshing has no "cost" associated with it, even though we spent the insanity to cast the spell. This should not really change your rotation much, just do not feel like you have to wait for the current DoT to finish before recasting it. You still want to try and refresh around 1s remaining to get maximum DoT uptime for our Mastery: Shadow Weaving Icon Mastery: Shadow Weaving.

If you want to learn more about the rotation check out our rotation guide below.

8.

Changelog

  • 03 Dec. 2020: Added link to video guide on Racials for that question.
  • 23 Nov. 2020: Clarified a few answers based on Shadowlands data.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
Show more
Show less