Shadow Priest DPS Guide — Shadowlands 9.1

Last updated on Sep 09, 2021 at 08:18 by Publik 32 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Shadow Priest guide for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1. 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 TBC Classic content, please refer to our TBC Classic Shadow Priest guide.

1.

Shadow Priest Overview

Shadow Priest has received a large rework going into Shadowlands and plays like a brand new car. There are amazing choices on the talent tree and the playstyle harkens back to old versions of the spec while giving it new life and purpose as a DoT spec again. Voidform is now a hard hitting 1.5 minute cooldown, and gives you better defined peaks and valleys of damage without the spec feeling punishing. 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.

2.

Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +Top tier single target damage, with flexibility in multi-target
  • +Option to provide valuable AoE damage if you take the talents for it
  • +Amazing self-healing through Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague, scaling well with additional targets
  • +Situationally good group utility in the form of Vampiric Embrace Icon Vampiric Embrace and Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion
  • +Great talent options to adapt to many situations
  • +All four Covenants are viable for most PvE content, even at the top end
X Weaknesses
  • -DoT management requires a lot of focus and can take away a lot of globals when facing a couple of targets
  • -Lining up cooldowns can be tricky depending on fight timings
  • -Need to plan out movement specifically, cannot just stop casting whenever you want
  • -Lots of spells and abilities, which could be overwhelming depending on talents
3.

Patch 9.1 Changes for Priests

We are maintaining a list of changes for Priests, so you can see what changes with every patch of Shadowlands. Be sure to also check out Shadow's specific changes this patch.

Shadow has been gifted lots of changes going into Shadowlands, with a rework of Voidform Icon Voidform and a return of some old spells with a bit of a twist. If you have ever enjoyed a DoT class before you have to try out this spec come Shadowlands!

If you are looking for a video version of this guide, you can check out Publik's Shadow Priest 9.1 Survival Guide on his YouTube channel.

4.

Leveling a Shadow Priest

If the new changes to Shadow Priest sound interesting and you would like to level a fresh Priest, check out the leveling guide below to get you to max level with ease!

After getting to max level, or once you feel more comfortable with the spec, you should check out the suggested Addons page to get you started on mastering your Shadow Priest.

5.

Basics of Shadow Priest Gameplay

Shadow Priest gameplay combines the basic builder-spender idea used in other specs, while twisting in being an active DoT class with lots of cooldowns to use. The basics of the rotation involve getting as much uptime as possible on your cooldowns while making sure to keep up all 3 of your DoTs on as many active targets as possible, especially Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague.

If you are curious if maining a Shadow Priest is right for you, check out Publik's YouTube video that goes over this decision.

If you are new to Shadow Priest, or maybe just want a quickstart guide to the spec, we suggest first looking through the Spell Summary first, as well as the Easy Mode page linked below. This will get you up and running on your Shadow Priest in no time!

If this is not your first time playing Shadow Priest you can jump right into the Talents and Rotation sections of the guide to start mastering the ins and outs of playing your Shadow Priest in a PvE environment.

6.

How to Gear Up as a Shadow Priest

While gearing these days can seem overwhelming or challenging, there are a few things to keep in mind that will make this process a bit less painful. Check out the gearing page to decide what pieces to aim for from various forms of content, which includes the current Best in Slot from this tier. There is also a dedicated section on the new Shards of Domination and Domination Sockets to help you navigate this new system.

With any gearing setup if you are looking to optimize your character you should always make sure you are using the correct consumables, gems, enchants, and more on your Shadow Priest. All the little things can add up to a noticeable difference in damage! The stats page goes over each stat in depth and why we like (or do not like) each secondary enhancement.

7.

Shadow Priest in Shadowlands

With the expansion launch you are now able to collect Legendary Powers and craft your Legendary Item of choice. Check out the guide below on what to craft and where the power drops from.

Another large system inside of Shadowlands revolves around the Covenants. There are a total of four Covenants to choose from, and each one gives you 2 new abilities for you to use while a member of that Covenant. One ability is signature to that Covenant, like Door of Shadows Icon Door of Shadows, and another is class specific, like Mindgames Icon Mindgames. In addition to getting these new spells, you are also able to spec out one of three Soulbinds to further augment your character with Conduits and Soulbind traits. To figure out which Covenant and Soulbind is best suited, below you can read through the our dedicated guide.

8.

End-Game as a Shadow Priest

Once you have your character prepared you are ready to dive into various forms of end-game content. We have dedicated pages for Raiding, Mythic+, Torghast and PvP depending on what you are interested in. Each one will go over various talent and build changes best for that form of content. Our Raiding, Mythic+, Torghast and PvP guides can help you maximize your character for each of these environments, regardless of your focus in end-game content.

9.

Improving as a Shadow Priest

If you are struggling to perform on your Shadow Priest we have compiled a list of mistakes and how to overcome them on your Shadow Priest as well as general questions answered on the FAQ page. You can also try simulating your character to make sure you are using the optimal build for your character.

10.

Changelog

  • 08 Sep. 2021 (gear page): Updated 2nd BiS trinket after new sims for Forbidden Necromantic Tome have finished.
  • 30 Jul. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Update several Soulbind paths with better Conduit suggestions with notes pending your Legendary usage.
  • 30 Jul. 2021 (Sanctum of Domination page): Update tips for Ner'zhul.
  • 23 Jul. 2021 (talents page): Adjusted PvP talent suggestions.
  • 23 Jul. 2021 (gear page): Clarified upgrade path for Shards of Domination.
  • 18 Jul. 2021 (gear page): Swapped out trinket charts for links to the Priest sim page.
  • 13 Jul. 2021 (gear page): Clarify domination socket note.
  • 13 Jul. 2021 (Patch 9.1 Analysis): Added new hotfixes and remove PTR blurb.
  • 12 Jul. 2021 (Sanctum of Domination page): Clarified talents on a few bosses after more testing.
  • 11 Jul. 2021 (mythic+ page): Added specific Tormented Anima Power suggestions for Mythic+ affixes.
  • 08 Jul. 2021 (Sanctum of Domination page): Extra points added from day one of the raid.
  • 06 Jul. 2021 (Patch 9.1 Analysis): Removed Anima Power section.
  • 06 Jul. 2021 (easy mode page): Added video link.
  • 06 Jul. 2021 (talents page): Updated video link.
  • 06 Jul. 2021 (rotation page): Added note about Pallid Command CD syncing.
  • 06 Jul. 2021 (Legendaries): Updated video link.
  • 06 Jul. 2021 (mythic+ page): Finalized updates for Patch 9.1.
  • 06 Jul. 2021 (stats page): Updated video link.
  • 06 Jul. 2021 (enchants page): Updated video link.
  • 06 Jul. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated video link.
  • 06 Jul. 2021 (gear page): Added video link and updated gear rankings from latest hotfixes.
  • 06 Jul. 2021 (this page): Updated video link.
  • 03 Jul. 2021 (Sanctum of Domination page): Guide created.
  • 01 Jul. 2021 (gear page): Added Tome of Insight as 2nd BiS trinket.
  • 30 Jun. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Clarified Covenant choice and Soulbind choice.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (enchants page): Removed Intellect gem for Patch 9.1 and added note for new socket item and Chest enchant.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (addons page): Reviewed for Patch 9.1; no changes are needed.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (easy mode page): Reviewed for Patch 9.1; no changes are needed.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (gear page): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (Torghast): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (stats page): Reviewed for Patch 9.1; no changes are needed.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (talents page): Added more clarity to talent choices for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (spells page): Reviewed for Patch 9.1; no changes are needed.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (how to improve page): Reviewed for Patch 9.1; no changes are needed.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (this page): Added note about Domination Sockets for Gear page.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (Patch 9.1 Analysis): Added all changes with up to date commentary.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (simulations page): Reviewed for Patch 9.1; no changes are needed.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (Legendaries): Adjusted rankings and item slot suggestions as per Patch 9.1 changes.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (FAQ page): Reviewed for Patch 9.1; no changes are needed.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (mythic+ page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (rotation page): Added more detail for Shadowflame Prism and added mention of the bugged behavior for Dark Thoughts with Void Torrent.
  • 21 Jun. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Added more detail to strengths and weaknesses for each covenant, updated Conduit suggestions, and updated soulbind paths for 9.1.
  • 02 May 2021 (Patch 9.1 Analysis): More PTR changes from the latest build affecting base spells, Legendaries, and Conduits.
  • 22 Apr. 2021 (Patch 9.1 Analysis): Added initial content.
  • 18 Apr. 2021 (Torghast): Small change in power tier lists.
  • 12 Mar. 2021 (rotation page): Clarified opener with Talbadar's Stratagem.
  • 11 Mar. 2021 (Castle Nathria page): Add Mindgames tip for Sire Denathrius.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (Torghast): Removed powers that no longer exist and added new ones for patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (Castle Nathria page): Updated page for 9.0.5 Priest changes.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (easy mode page): Page reviewed for 9.0.5 and no changes were needed.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (rotation page): Added extra opener for Shadowflame Prism.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (rotation page): Updated rotation for 9.0.5 and specified changes with Shadowflame Prism.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (stats page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (gear page): Added Valor section.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (spells page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (gear page): Added note about Tablet of Despair.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (gear page): Removed note about Tablet of Despair.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (talents page): Updated talent suggestions for Patch 9.0.5 and Shadowflame Prism.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (enchants page): Updated default potion for typical item levels for 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (mythic+ page): Updated for 9.0.5 changes.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (Legendaries): Updated Legendary rankings as per the recent Patch 9.0.5 changes.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated Covenant suggestions for 9.0.5 changes.
  • 01 Mar. 2021 (Torghast): Updated tier rankings for powers and called out Twisting Corridors specifically.
  • 13 Feb. 2021 (Castle Nathria page): Added Mythic Generals talent/legendary suggestions.
  • 11 Feb. 2021 (mythic+ page): Added link to Surrender to Madness spreadsheet.
  • 10 Feb. 2021 (easy mode page): Updated rotation to be more clear when selecting certain talents.
  • 07 Feb. 2021 (gear page): Added overall BiS list.
  • 07 Feb. 2021 (rotation page): Removed Searing Nightmare from single target rotation.
  • 24 Jan. 2021 (Castle Nathria page): Updated Night Fae CDs for Sludgefist.
  • 22 Jan. 2021 (Legendaries): Clarified Talbadar's Stratagem buff and created Legendary Crafting order rankings.
  • 16 Jan. 2021 (rotation page): Added note about Void Torrent in Voidform and added racials to opener section.
  • 15 Jan. 2021 (Castle Nathria page): Made more specific talent recommendations on boss fights.
  • 11 Jan. 2021 (Castle Nathria page): Updated legendary and talent recommendations for several bosses.
  • 11 Jan. 2021 (Legendaries): Updated Legendary rankings for Talbadar's Stratagem.
  • 11 Jan. 2021 (easy mode page): Updated stat priority.
  • 11 Jan. 2021 (gear page): Updated BiS lists as per stat priority change.
  • 11 Jan. 2021 (rotation page): Updated Devouring Plague usage in multi-target and added Mind Blast to opener before Voidform.
  • 11 Jan. 2021 (talents page): Updated suggestions with Psychic Link when using Talbadar's Stratagem.
  • 11 Jan. 2021 (enchants page): Updated enchant backups as per stat priority change.
  • 11 Jan. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated notes on a few Conduits.
  • 11 Jan. 2021 (stats page): Updated stat priority from new Mastery calculations.
  • 05 Jan. 2021 (Torghast): Updated Horrific Dictionary note about stacking.
  • 05 Jan. 2021 (simulations page): Added embedded video to the page.
  • 05 Jan. 2021 (mythic+ page): Added embedded video to the page.
  • 05 Jan. 2021 (addons page): Add embed video to the page.
  • 04 Jan. 2021 (Torghast): Updated power rankings after recent changes.
  • 03 Jan. 2021 (addons page): Add suggested WeakAuras section.
  • 03 Jan. 2021 (Torghast): Added embedded video guide.
  • 03 Jan. 2021 (this page): Added embedded video to the page and a link to the guide playlist.
  • 03 Jan. 2021 (Legendaries): Added embedded video to the page.
  • 03 Jan. 2021 (mythic+ page): Added links to a few WeakAuras and added specific lists for Surrender to Madness death triggers.
  • 03 Jan. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Added embedded video guide.
  • 03 Jan. 2021 (enchants page): Added embedded video guide.
  • 03 Jan. 2021 (talents page): Added embedded video guide.
  • 03 Jan. 2021 (stats page): Added embedded video guide.
  • 03 Jan. 2021 (rotation page): Added embedded video guide.
  • 03 Jan. 2021 (Castle Nathria page): Added embedded video link and added quick tip for Shriekwing.
  • 28 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Updated talent suggestions on Sun King and Council of Blood. Added more tips for Generals, Denathrius, and a few Mythic notes.
  • 22 Dec. 2020 (rotation page): Specifically called out Mind Sear and Mind Flay target changes and clarified Void Bolt in AoE.
  • 16 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Reigned in talent options even more, and added more tips for most of the bosses. Changed legendary for Sun King.
  • 15 Dec. 2020 (enchants page): Updated weapon enchant suggestion for raid.
  • 15 Dec. 2020 (Legendaries): Fixed gear slot for Echoing Call to the Void for all types of content.
  • 14 Dec. 2020 (rotation page): Fixed up note on Mindbender/Shadowfiend Insanity gain uses.
  • 10 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Removed Huntsman Psychic Link bug and added cooldown timings for Sludgefist.
  • 09 Dec. 2020 (mythic+ page): Added detail about Covenant suggestions to the page.
  • 09 Dec. 2020 (enchants page): Added note about Intellect gems from BfA.
  • 09 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Updated Huntsman and Hungering Destroyer suggestions and notes.
  • 08 Dec. 2020 (enchants page): Added clarifying note on weapon enchant.
  • 07 Dec. 2020 (gear page): Fixed Raid BiS weapons and adjusted pre-raid Trinket BiS.
  • 07 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Added note about Searing Nightmare usage on Kael'thas; adjusted talent choices.
  • 07 Dec. 2020 (enchants page): Added Armor Kits and slightly adjusted Potion recommendation.
  • 07 Dec. 2020 (rotation page): Slight readability fix with Shadowfiend in opener.
  • 04 Dec. 2020 (Legendaries): Fixed typo in statement on Haste-heavy Gloves from raid/dungeons.
  • 04 Dec. 2020 (rotation page): Updated opener with Potion/Trinket usage and removed bad Mind Blast line in opener.
  • 03 Dec. 2020 (Legendaries): Added link to video guide.
  • 03 Dec. 2020 (Torghast): Added link to video guide.
  • 03 Dec. 2020 (addons page): Added link for specific UI setup.
  • 03 Dec. 2020 (this page): Added link to a video on maining a Shadow Priest.
  • 03 Dec. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Added link to video about Covenant Choice.
  • 03 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Updated page for Normal/Heroic launch.
  • 03 Dec. 2020 (FAQ page): Added link to video guide on Racials for that question.
  • 01 Dec. 2020 (rotation page): Fixed bug with Unholy Nova opener and added extra Devouring Plague note if Insanity capped.
  • 01 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Added placeholder Castle Nathria page.
  • 29 Nov. 2020 (Legendaries): Updated Eternal Call to the Void Crafting Slot recommendation
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (Torghast): Page added.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Updated for Shadowlands launch with Pre-Raid and Raid BiS lists
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (how to improve page): Page reviewed for Shadowlands launch and no changes needed.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (FAQ page): Clarified a few answers based on Shadowlands data.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (addons page): Updated macros for Searing Nightmare + SW:P.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (enchants page): Updated for new Shadowlands consumables and enchants.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (stats page): Updated stat rankings for Shadowlands launch.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (mythic+ page): Updated guide for all new affixes and legendaries to use for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (rotation page): Updated rotation for all Covenant abilities and changes for Shadowlands launch.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (talents page): Updated for Shadowlands 9.0.2 Launch
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (spells page): Reviewed for Shadowlands launch and fixed some typos.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Updated for Shadowlands Launch by removing Azerite/Essences, updating default Talents, and adding Power Infusion to the rotation.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (this page): Updated sections for new Shadowlands systems and content.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (simulations page): Page reviewed for Shadowlands launch and no changes needed.
  • 20 Nov. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Page added.
  • 20 Nov. 2020 (Legendaries): Page added.
  • 26 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Updated suggestions for Mindbender and Ancient Madness post pre-patch tuning.
  • 26 Oct. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Updated suggestions for Mindbender and Ancient Madness post pre-patch tuning.
  • 19 Oct. 2020 (rotation page): Clarified Unfurling Darkness usage.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (spells page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (this page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (addons page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (easy mode page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (simulations page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (mythic+ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (how to improve page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (FAQ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (rotation page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (The Eternal Palace 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 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020 (Crucible of Storms page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 06 Oct. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Added more tips to a few bosses.
  • 05 Oct. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Added more tips.
  • 09 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Guide added.
  • 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 (Uldir 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.
  • 11 May 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Updated talent suggestions and added tips for Uu'nat.
  • 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 (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 (Crucible of Storms page): Guide added.
  • 26 Feb. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Updated several talent suggestions and playstyle tips.
  • 29 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added the remaining talent advice and boss tips.
  • 24 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Filled in most of the talent advice and boss tips.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added boss tips for Shadow Priest in Battle of Dazar'alor.
  • 12 Dec. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated some of the talent recommendations and fight tips.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated for Patch 8.1 changes.
  • 04 Oct. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated now that proper conclusions can be drawn based on data.
  • 11 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated after seeing data from the first week of Uldir.
  • 05 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Restructured playstyle advice and updated talent suggestions.
  • 04 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Preliminary updated for Uldir launch.
  • 09 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Removed Legion info and added a placeholder for Uldir.
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