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Shadow Priest DPS Guide — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3

Last updated on Jun 09, 2020 at 13:57 by Publik 32 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Shadow Priest guide for World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3. Here, you will learn how to play as a Shadow Priest in both raids and Mythic+ dungeons: from the very beginning to maximizing your DPS.

If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic Shadow Priest DPS guide.

1.

Shadow Priest Overview

Shadow is currently on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to single-target damage, but what it lacks in single-target it compensates for with its high multi-target damage due to its DoTs and talents that increase its burst AoE. While the spell priority system may seem simple at first glance, the true mastery of your Shadow Priest comes from how well you can perform your rotation whilst also respecting mechanics. Optimizing Insanity generation is key and it is this Voidform Icon Voidform and Insanity management that allow for a fun and fairly fast-paced playstyle, when done correctly.

2.

Shadowlands Changes for Priests

We are maintaining a list of changes for Priests for Shadowlands, the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, which you can access using the link below. We also have pages for the new Covenant abilities and Anima Powers.

3.

Patch 8.3 Changes for Shadow Priest

To view the full list of changes to Shadow Priests in Patch 8.3, take a look at our overview below.

Numbers wise, estimates point to the changes being a reasonably heavy-handed change, especially considering one of them reverts a change made previously that gave Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash some viability. The biggest change to our playstyle will be using Auspicious Spirits Icon Auspicious Spirits more consistently on fights that have long-lived adds or single-target encounters. Overall, you can expect to do close to 10% less damage once the patch drops, which will be quickly gained back with a few new pieces of gear.

In addition, we have:

4.

Shadow Priest Strengths

  • Good sustained multiple target damage
  • Option to provide valuable execute damage if you take the talents for it
  • Decent self-healing through Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch, scaling well with additional targets
  • Situationally good group utility in the form of Vampiric Embrace Icon Vampiric Embrace
  • Fairly strong burst AoE if you take the talents for it
5.

Shadow Priest Weaknesses

  • DoT management requires a lot of focus and can take away a lot of globals when facing a couple of targets
  • Lack of good DPS cooldowns means that Shadow has low burst potential
  • Weak single target damage
  • Voidform Icon Voidform is prone to mistakes and can punish the player quite harshly when you mess up
6.

Shadow Priest Viability in the Current Patch

With Patch 8.3, Shadow received some expected nerfs to our DoTs and spread cleave ability. While this is definitely our largest strength, Shadow was incredibly far ahead compared to others in this regard, and similar fights are coming with Ny'alotha. Shadow will still perform strong throughout the raid and it will be a good addition to any raid roster, but stacking 5 Shadow Priests will probably not be desirable.

7.

Changelog

  • 09 Jun. 2020 (rotation page): Updated Mind Sear/Mind Blast target usage to match SimC.
  • 25 May 2020 (azerite traits and gear page): Added note about triple Spiteful Apparitions build.
  • 25 May 2020 (Corruption page): Update after corruption vendor has been added.
  • 04 Apr. 2020 (talents page): Swapped out Mindbender in favor of Lingering Insanity for general use.
  • 04 Apr. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Added note about Il'gynoth in Mythic difficulty.
  • 04 Apr. 2020 (gear page): Removed old Corruption section in favor of the new dedicated page.
  • 04 Apr. 2020 (azerite traits and gear page): Clarified the use of Heart of Darkness in the builds section.
  • 04 Apr. 2020 (easy mode page): Added note about talents and more detail for Azerite Traits.
  • 30 Mar. 2020 (Corruption page): Added page.
  • 22 Feb. 2020 (simulations page): Removed Magicsim
  • 22 Feb. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Small tweaks to fights post mythic-launch.
  • 27 Jan. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Guide updated with tips for bosses on Normal and Heroic difficulty.
  • 26 Jan. 2020 (gear page): Added more detail for Corruption gear and effects.
  • 14 Jan. 2020 (mythic+ page): Reviewed page for Patch 8.3 and the new affix.
  • 14 Jan. 2020 (gear page): Added Corruption and Ny'alotha gear for Patch 8.3.
  • 14 Jan. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Guide added.
  • 14 Jan. 2020 (Essences page): Added the new essences from Patch 8.3.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (Crucible of Storms page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (stats page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (FAQ page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (talents page): Updated usage Shadow Crash vs. Auspicious Spirits.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (how to improve page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (azerite traits and gear page): Added note about the new Heart of Darkness trait and updated possible builds for Patch 8.3.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (easy mode page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (simulations page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (rotation page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (spells page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (addons page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (this page): Added section about changes from Patch 8.3.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (The Eternal Palace page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (enchants page): Added the new re-usable Augment Rune from Patch 8.3.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 09 Oct. 2019 (Essences page): Add detailed descriptions for each essence for Shadow Priests.
  • 06 Oct. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Added more tips to a few bosses.
  • 05 Oct. 2019 (talents page): Slight changes on the viability of Mindbender and Fortress of the Mind.
  • 05 Oct. 2019 (Essences page): Updated Memory of Lucid Dreams description.
  • 05 Oct. 2019 (rotation page): Slight change to the conditions for Mindbender usage.
  • 05 Oct. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Added more notes on popular builds.
  • 05 Oct. 2019 (mythic+ page): Small change to the recommended talent tree.
  • 05 Oct. 2019 (this page): Added a small section about Patch 8.2.5 changes.
  • 05 Oct. 2019 (addons page): Added a mouseover macro for DoTs.
  • 05 Oct. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Added more tips.
  • 26 Sep. 2019 (rotation page): Removed pre-combat buffing with Halucination as it was hotfixed.
  • 09 Aug. 2019 (mythic+ page): Updated tips for dealing with the seasonal affix.
  • 14 Jul. 2019 (easy mode page): Added Essence recommendations.
  • 14 Jul. 2019 (simulations page): Added racial comparison results.
  • 14 Jul. 2019 (talents page): Updated with Conflict and Strife Essence PvP Talent mention.
  • 14 Jul. 2019 (gear page): Updated with The Eternal Palace gear.
  • 14 Jul. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Added mention of new The Eternal Palace and Mechagon traits.
  • 09 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Guide added.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (FAQ page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (how to improve page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (simulations page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (gear page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (addons page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (enchants page): Updated for the release of Patch 8.2.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (stats page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (rotation page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (Essences page): Page added.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (talents page): Updated for patch 8.2 changes to Auspicious Spirits.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (spells page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (easy mode page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (this page): Updated for Patch 8.2 changes.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (mythic+ page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 11 May 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Updated talent suggestions and added tips for Uu'nat.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Fixed some mistakes in the Viable Azerite Builds paragraph.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (gear page): Elaborated on the strength of Crucible of Storms gear.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (rotation page): Reformatted the page slightly.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (this page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (simulations page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (mythic+ page): Updated for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (stats page): Updated for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (addons page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Guide added.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (enchants page): Updated for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (rotation page): Updated for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (talents page): Updated for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (gear page): Updated for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (how to improve page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (easy mode page): Updated for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (FAQ page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 14 Apr. 2019 (spells page): Updated for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 26 Feb. 2019 (talents page): Updated several talent descriptions to be more accurate.
  • 26 Feb. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Added some additional nuance to how Searing Dialogue and Thought Harvester affect the rotation.
  • 26 Feb. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Updated several talent suggestions and playstyle tips.
  • 26 Feb. 2019 (mythic+ page): Updated to be more in line with the current dungeon meta.
  • 26 Feb. 2019 (easy mode page): Updated the Stat Choice section.
  • 26 Feb. 2019 (FAQ page): Added a new section and updated several already existing ones.
  • 26 Feb. 2019 (rotation page): Updated the Legacy of the Void opener and updated the Searing Dialogue/Thought Harvester section.
  • 08 Feb. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Added a section explaining the two current best Azerite builds.
  • 08 Feb. 2019 (gear page): Added a Best in Slot list for Battle of Dazar'alor loot.
  • 29 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added the remaining talent advice and boss tips.
  • 28 Jan. 2019 (talents page): Updated to be more in line with current talent preferences.
  • 28 Jan. 2019 (rotation page): Added explanation regarding how Searing Dialogue/Thought Harvester affect the rotation.
  • 28 Jan. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Added explanation regarding how Searing Dialogue/Thought Harvester affect the rotation.
  • 28 Jan. 2019 (this page): Updated for Battle of Dazar'alor.
  • 24 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Filled in most of the talent advice and boss tips.
  • 24 Jan. 2019 (stats page): Swapped around Intellect and Haste/Crit in the stat priority.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Season 2.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (this page): Slightly updated the paragraph about Shadow's viability in the current patch.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added boss tips for Shadow Priest in Battle of Dazar'alor.
  • 17 Dec. 2018 (this page): Slightly expanded the paragraph about Shadow's viability in the current patch.
  • 17 Dec. 2018 (FAQ page): Added several new sections to the page.
  • 16 Dec. 2018 (easy mode page): Made it clearer how best to use Mind Flay.
  • 16 Dec. 2018 (mythic+ page): Updated with more accurate talent and Azerite trait advice.
  • 16 Dec. 2018 (rotation page): Added some notes on optimal Mind Flay/Mind Sear usage.
  • 12 Dec. 2018 (talents page): Updated talent recommendations.
  • 12 Dec. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated some of the talent recommendations and fight tips.
  • 12 Dec. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Made a separate chart for Middle Ring traits and updated trait descriptions.
  • 12 Dec. 2018 (this page): Added the change to Legacy of the Void to the 8.1 changes list.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (this page): Updated for Patch 8.1 changes.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Patch 8.1 changes.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated for Patch 8.1 changes.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (addons page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (spells page): Updated for Patch 8.1 changes.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (gear page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (mythic+ page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (how to improve page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (FAQ page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated for Patch 8.1 changes.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (enchants page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (talents page): Updated for Patch 8.1 changes.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (simulations page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (stats page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (rotation page): Updated for Patch 8.1 changes.
  • 04 Oct. 2018 (rotation page): Added opener rotations and slightly changed the section regarding Dark Ascension.
  • 04 Oct. 2018 (gear page): Added a section regarding Mythic+.
  • 04 Oct. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Restructured the Azerite page.
  • 04 Oct. 2018 (talents page): Updated Legacy of the Void description.
  • 04 Oct. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated now that proper conclusions can be drawn based on data.
  • 04 Oct. 2018 (enchants page): Updated Potion of Rising Death description based on recent hotfixes.
  • 20 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated based on recent Simcraft fixes and in game hotfixes.
  • 11 Sep. 2018 (talents page): Updated several talent descriptions to be more accurate.
  • 11 Sep. 2018 (enchants page): Updated outdated information.
  • 11 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated after seeing data from the first week of Uldir.
  • 11 Sep. 2018 (this page): Updated for Uldir launch.
  • 05 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Restructured playstyle advice and updated talent suggestions.
  • 04 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Preliminary updated for Uldir launch.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (FAQ page): Added a section about Mind Flay.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated links to Azerite charts.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Added Deadly Navigation as possible weapon enchant.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Removed the suggestion of Spiteful Apparitions for dungeons.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (easy mode page): Changed talent advice.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Updated cheat sheet and elaborated on Auspicious Spirits.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (stats page): Changed stat priority.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (spells page): Added a section regarding baseline utility Shadow has.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Elaborated on how to best use Dark Void.
  • 20 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for the latest hotfixes.
  • 16 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated links to Azerite charts.
  • 15 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Updated talent cheat sheets.
  • 15 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated links to Bloodmallet's sims.
  • 15 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated rankings to the most recent data.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (how to improve page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (this page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (stats page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 10 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Reformatted Azerite page.
  • 09 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Removed Legion info and added a placeholder for Uldir.
  • 09 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Added Mythic+ page.
  • 09 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added generic traits and rankings.
  • 03 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Overhauled the Multiple Target Rotation section.
  • 02 Aug. 2018 (FAQ page): Added Shadow Priest FAQ page.
  • 29 Jul. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated existing info and added trait rankings.
  • 29 Jul. 2018 (rotation page): Slightly adjusted Mindbender timings and adjusted Dark Ascension opener.
  • 29 Jul. 2018 (simulations page): Added Magicsim as an additional simming tool.
  • 27 Jul. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added Azerite page.
  • 23 Jul. 2018 (easy mode page): Adjusted talent advice.
  • 19 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Description of Anund's Seared Shackles updated.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (rotation page): Made several updates.
    • Added additional explanation regarding Dark Ascension.
    • Updated rotation section to reflect the pre-patch better.
    • Made it so that Shadowfiend disappears from the rotation when Mindbender is selected.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Updated to include recommended legendaries.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (talents page): Updated talent recommendations.
  • 17 Jul. 2018 (this page): Updated for BfA pre-patch.
  • 22 Jan. 2018 (gear page): Updated for Season 2.
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