Shadow Priest DPS Mythic+ Tips — Shadowlands 9.2.5

Last updated on Aug 03, 2022 at 16:35 by Publik 33 comments
General Information

In this guide, you will find tips and advice to tackle Mythic+ dungeons with your Shadow Priest in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.2.5.


Shadow Priest in Mythic+

Shadow has seen a big playstyle change in dungeons, as we now have access to plenty of AoE abilities on top of our ramp-up time being effectively eliminated.

For a video walkthrough of Mythic+ as a Shadow Priest, check out my overview video.


Shadow Priest Mythic+ Rotation

Both the single-target and multi-target rotations do not change in Mythic+ content. For more information about the Shadow Priest DPS rotation, refer back to the Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities page.


Shadow Priest Utility

Shadow Priest provides support for the party through providing extra healing, an AoE fear, offensive and defensive dispels, and a potential single-target stun if you pick it as a talent. Additionally, Shadow has a unique form of crowd control in the form of Mind Control Icon Mind Control. New with Shadowlands we also have access to Mind Soothe Icon Mind Soothe and the only stamina group buff in the game with Power Word: Fortitude Icon Power Word: Fortitude.

  • Power Word: Fortitude Icon Power Word: Fortitude gives everyone in your party an extra 5% Stamina, which provides a unique boost to help survive some of those hard-hitting abilities.
  • Mind Soothe Icon Mind Soothe provides an interesting alternative to Shroud of Concealment Icon Shroud of Concealment that might help your group skip past a more deadly Mythic+ pack depending on the available space. Being able to cast this on multiple enemies at a time could help us become a good alternative in this space.
  • Fade Icon Fade has a few good pieces of utility to call out, the most important being the aggro drop mechanic. If you find yourself getting aggro over tank on pull you can use Fade Icon Fade to easily bypass this drop and continue on with the key. With the Translucent Image Icon Translucent Image Endurance conduit, this also turns Fade into a small defensive.
  • Dispel Magic Icon Dispel Magic allows you to dispel beneficial buffs from enemies. This is extremely useful in dungeons, as a lot of mob packs in many of the dungeons tend to have some kind of buff that they cast on themselves. While this is more important in some dungeons compared to others, it is still very valuable to be able to do it.
  • Purify Disease Icon Purify Disease dispels all Disease effects from friendly targets. This is fairly niche, but still situationally extremely useful.
  • Mass Dispel Icon Mass Dispel remains a really useful ability to have in our arsenal. Dispelling is very important, and Mass Dispel allows for both offensive and defensive dispels. The fact that you can dispel multiple enemies or friendly targets with just one global is situationally very strong, although Mass Dispel does have a fairly lengthy 45-second cooldown now. With the release of Shadowlands you can now Mass Dispel off Bursting as well.
  • Silence Icon Silence serves as both a silence effect as well as an interrupt. Though its baseline cooldown is longer than most interrupts in the game at 45 seconds, we do get the ability to reduce that cooldown by 15 seconds if we take Last Word Icon Last Word as a talent.
  • Psychic Horror Icon Psychic Horror stuns a single-target for 4 seconds at a 45-second cooldown. It is handy for some dungeons to lock down dangerous targets.
  • Vampiric Embrace Icon Vampiric Embrace heals allies based on 85% of the single-target damage you do on a 2-minute cooldown. It can be very powerful depending on the situation, especially when combined with San'layn Icon San'layn. Note that the damage of our DoTs also gets converted to healing, and that Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption damage does too.
  • Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend can be useful for off-healing. There will not be a lot of situations where you will want to do this, but the option is there should it be needed.
  • Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield has no cooldown, which allows you to liberally use shields on your party members if you feel you need to help out the healer a bit. Casting a shield on someone does give them the Weakened Soul Icon Weakened Soul debuff, preventing you from shielding them again for 7.5 seconds. Also bear in mind that you have a fairly small Mana pool as a Shadow Priest!
  • Leap of Faith Icon Leap of Faith pulls a friendly party member towards you. It is not that useful generally, but can sometimes save someone.
  • Mind Control Icon Mind Control is good to deal with Bolstering Icon Bolstering if you really do not want a mob in the pack to get Bolstering stacks. While mobs are Mind Controlled, they can not get affected by Bolstering.
  • Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream fears up to 5 enemies close to you for 8 seconds, but damage can break this early. Psychic Scream is primarily used as an AoE interrupt in dungeons. The same goes for Mind Bomb Icon Mind Bomb, which replaces Psychic Scream in your spell book if you take it.
  • Shackle Undead Icon Shackle Undead is not entirely useless because there are a large amount of Undead mobs in some of the dungeons. You have the option to Crowd Control them as Shadow if needed.

Best Mythic+ Covenant for Shadow Priest

For Season 4 you have some flexibility as far as what Covenant works for Shadow Priests. The primary options are Night Fae or Necrolord. Both have their strong suits and many players will stick with Necrolord as it is the default choice for Raids and single target. Since Season 4 dungeons have rotated the available pool you no longer run dungeons that have a specific covenant requirement, meaning you can feel free to pick the covenant you prefer.

Necrolord the default choice for Mythic+ content due to the versatility of the Covenant ability and competitive Soulbinds. Using Unholy Nova Icon Unholy Nova can be a bit tricky due to the square root scaling of the DoT, but can produce good results with Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion in AoE. In addition to a strong ability you also have access to three very competitive Soulbinds for Mythic+. Each one offers a unique benefit depending on what you are looking for in the key. Plague Deviser Marileth is a great choice for dungeons where you can get good use out of Volatile Solvent Icon Volatile Solvent or you want more single target. Emeni is a good choice for group throughput with Lead by Example Icon Lead by Example. Finally, if you are looking for more trash damage Bonesmith Heirmir is great for personal throughput with Forgeborne Reveries Icon Forgeborne Reveries and Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone Icon Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone.

When choosing Night Fae getting access to our covenant ability Fae Guardians Icon Fae Guardians can make you very versatile if played correctly, offering more Voidform Icon Voidform uptime throughout the key. This will generally do less boss damage than Necrolord, but getting more Voidform uptime can still net in more overall damage.

Venthyr with Mindgames Icon Mindgames falls into a single-target benefit only here, and typically will not produce great overall dungeon damage. However, this ability will be great for boss damage and Shrouded damage, even providing some defensive capability for hard-hitting Tyrannical bosses. Another great part about Venthyr is that with Nadjia the Mistblade you get access to Thrill Seeker Icon Thrill Seeker, which scales incredibly well in dungeons and gives you lots of mini-bursts of Haste throughout the dungeon.

As a Kyrian, you will find fitting Boon of the Ascended Icon Boon of the Ascended in your rotation to be a bit challenging as it wholly consumes your rotation while active. This is specifically problematic on AoE where we would rather be casting Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear or Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare, but with Pelagos and Combat Meditation Icon Combat Meditation you can still do great single-target burst every 3 minutes. While this does a lot of damage for the healing priest specs it is not suggested to use as a Shadow Priest.

Check out the full Covenant guide below to see what Covenant is best for you in Mythic+.


Mythic+ Talents for Shadow Priests

Below are the suggested talents for Mythic+. These talents are recommended for all groups and keys at the current time.

Level Choices
15 Fortress of the Mind Fortress of the Mind Death and Madness Death and Madness Unfurling Darkness Unfurling Darkness
25 Body and Soul Body and Soul San'layn San'layn Intangibility ? Intangibility
30 Twist of Fate Twist of Fate Misery Misery Searing Nightmare Searing Nightmare
35 Last Word Last Word Mind Bomb Mind Bomb Psychic Horror Psychic Horror
40 Auspicious Spirits Auspicious Spirits Psychic Link ? Psychic Link Shadow Crash Shadow Crash
45 Damnation ? Damnation Mindbender Mindbender Void Torrent Void Torrent
50 Ancient Madness Ancient Madness Hungering Void Hungering Void Surrender to Madness ? Surrender to Madness
  • Death and Madness Icon Death and Madness and Unfurling Darkness Icon Unfurling Darkness can both produce good results in Mythic+ Dungeons, however depending on your build setup and ability to snipe mobs efficiently you might find yourself leaning towards one option versus another. Unfurling Darkness Icon Unfurling Darkness becomes a very solid passive damage increase when paired with Misery Icon Misery, but make sure you take advantage of this increase on cooldown (every 15s) otherwise you will not get the full benefit of this choice. For this reason you typically choose between Fortress of the Mind Icon Fortress of the Mind for more single-target heavy keys and Death and Madness Icon Death and Madness otherwise. Death and Madness has the advantage of being incredibly flexible on almost every trash pull in the game if used correctly, but typically does not offer much benefit at all on Boss encounters, where it might make more sense to pick Fortress of the Mind Icon Fortress of the Mind, especially on Tyrannical affixes. That being said if you can efficiently get off lots of procs from Death and Madness Icon Death and Madness it will be one of your top insanity generation abilities helping you sustain more AoE damage throughout the pack.
  • Between Misery Icon Misery and Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare you will find two very different playstyles, both of which can be very competitive. For most dungeons and affixes you will find Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare being the better choice and inherently more damage due to the amount of strong stacked and uncapped AoE potential of the ability. It can be a little different to use than what you are used to, but offers some great benefits once you start to master the spell. Misery Icon Misery on the other hand plays very similar to how Shadow typically has played in dungeons in previous iterations, offering an easier way to keep both Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch active on as many targets as possible. Misery Icon Misery typically only beats out Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare in cases where mobs are inherently more spread out, or the pack sizes are just too small for Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare to make a dent in damage.
  • For the Level 40 row you typically will be running Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash for just about every key. It is versatile and not target-capped making it a great pickup for Mythic+. That being said, on certain keys where mobs are often spread you can opt to run Misery Icon Misery and pick up Auspicious Spirits Icon Auspicious Spirits instead. Furthermore, you can choose to use Psychic Link Icon Psychic Link for those same situations and pair it with Talbadar's Stratagem Icon Talbadar's Stratagem. Typically this will only be useful on Theater of Pain or Spires of Ascension Fortified Icon Fortified keys.
  • When deciding between Mindbender Icon Mindbender and Damnation Icon Damnation, the answer basically comes down to what legendary you are currently using. With Shadowflame Prism Icon Shadowflame Prism being our best single target legendary and a great 5 target cleave legendary you will almost always run this in Mythic+. Because of this you will mostly be using Mindbender to pair well with that choice. If you ever take a different legendary you could consider swapping to Damnation Icon Damnation for more single-target damage compared to Void Torrent Icon Void Torrent.
  • Ancient Madness Icon Ancient Madness, Hungering Void Icon Hungering Void, and Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness all offer unique playstyles that can be beneficial depending on how you pull the dungeon from pack to pack, and how many mobs are in each pack. The effective benefit of Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness is that it gives you an extra Voidform Icon Voidform rather than being stuck to only have one every 1.5 minutes. So in order to get maximum benefit out of the Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness talent you need to be engaging and finishing off a pack in between Voidform Icon Voidform uses to get the most benefit. Typically if you do larger pulls casting two Voidform Icon Voidforms will end up losing damage, as the pack typically will not live the full 30s. This is where the other side of the talent argument comes in with Ancient Madness Icon Ancient Madness providing a burstier Voidform Icon Voidform that is more ideal for doing larger packs that last 10-15, but less overall pulls. If you find yourself pulling 1 pack at a time you will likely see that Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness is the better pickup for the overall dungeon, which will suit most use cases. Hungering Void will be an interesting pick, as due to our current levels of gear you can basically match Voidform uptime with this talent compared to Surrender to Madness.
  • For more elaborate information on what to pick on the level 30 and level 50 rows, check out the FAQs.

Note that the talents recommended above are specifically for Mythic+. If you wish to see a more general overview of Shadow talents, you can check our main page below.


Important Notes for Surrender to Madness

Due to the nature of Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness, it is somewhat buggy which mobs it does or does not work consistently. This list below will be a constantly evolving list of mobs that do or do not work with this spell to help you with using this talent. In addition to the below list, check out Trusty Peaches spreadsheet for a boss by boss breakdown of where you can and cannot use the spell.

If there is a mob missing from this list, just let me know on Discord (Publik#5576) or Twitter.


Mobs that DO NOT work with Surrender to Madness

The following mobs do not consistently trigger the "death" part of the talent.

  • The Manastorms — De Other Side. The bosses do not actually die, so do not cast Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness during this fight. You can do it on the "last" rotation of the encounter, but give yourself plenty of room after they die (at least 5-7s).
  • An Affront of Challengers — First boss of Theater of Pain. The bosses all share a "death" tracker, so you can only Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness the last boss to die. Note that during this encounter you can use this on Xira the Underhanded, this boss disappearing counts as it dying.

Mobs that DO work with Surrender to Madness

The following mobs consistently trigger the "death" part of the talent, even if that is not obvious. This is not an exhaustive list, just pointing out things that might not be obvious.

  • Hakkar — The Son of Hakkar in De Other Side. The adds on this boss do successfully trigger the death effect.
  • Echelon — Undying Stonefiend in Halls of Atonement. These adds are tricky, but you can use Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness on them if you time it correctly. When their health hits 0 they turn to stone, but the death event does not actually get triggered until a player with Stone Shattering Leap Icon Stone Shattering Leap breaks that mob specifically. So be careful here.
  • Trash before Devos — Spires of Ascension. The mini-boss adds here DO work with the death effect, but it is significantly delayed, happening 10s or so after they actually die.
  • An Affront of Challengers — Xira the Underhanded in Theater of Pain. While the bosses do not trigger this, the rogue boss mob that spawns on players DOES trigger the death successfully.

Mythic+ Affixes

There are now three weekly affixes and one seasonal affix. The first affix is available instantly at level two and three, the second affix starts at level four, the third affix is enabled at level seven, and finally the seasonal affix is at level ten.

Going into Shadowlands, we have three new affixes: Skittish Icon Storming, Inspiring Icon Inspiring, and Skittish Icon Spiteful. To counter these new affixes, they have removed Teeming Icon Teeming and Skittish Icon Skittish.


Tier One Affixes

  • Fortified Icon Fortified increases the Health pool of all non-boss enemies by 20% and damage dealt by 30%.
  • Tyrannical Icon Tyrannical increases the Health pool of boss enemies by 40% and their damage dealt by 15%.

Fortified Icon Fortified and Tyrannical Icon Tyrannical are the two affixes every player will see. These affixes shift the focus of dungeons from boss to trash depending on the week. Shadow Priests will excel during Fortified weeks as our multi-target damage has a short ramp up time and then will sustain at decent numbers without the use of cooldowns. During Tyrannical weeks, Shadow has plenty of talent options to shake up its damage allocation depending on where your group needs damage.


Tier Two Affixes

  • Raging Icon Raging increases the damage dealt by enemies below 30% HP by 100% until they die.
  • Bolstering Icon Bolstering buffs remaining enemies Health pools and damage dealt by 20% when an enemy dies nearby. To counter this affix, DPS all mobs down evenly and focus your casts into high Health mobs if there are any. As Shadow, you can also Mind Control Icon Mind Control mobs that you do not want to get any Bolstering stacks on at all costs.
  • Sanguine Icon Sanguine places a pool of blood on the ground when a mob is slain. This pool will heal remaining enemies who stay inside the zone and also damage players.
  • Bursting Icon Bursting forces enemy mobs to detonate when slain, afflicting the group with a stacking debuff that causes players to suffer damage every four seconds. When handling the Bursting affix, ask how many stacks your healer can handle and try to not mindlessly DPS and exceed your healers stack limit.
  • Inspiring Icon Inspiring is similar to Beguiling back in Battle for Azeroth, and you can counter it by Crowd Controlling the affected Inspiring mob. If the mob happens to be Undead you can do this with Shackle Undead Icon Shackle Undead, otherwise we do not have many other options to lock down these targets.
  • Skittish Icon Spiteful brings another effect from Battle for Azeroth back, this time in the form of a Corruption effect where a mob would target and chase you down. These mobs spawn whenever any mob dies. You can either choose to CC this mob and wait for the health to passively tick, or try and kill it down. This mob is not affected by Shackle Undead Icon Shackle Undead so you will have to just run away otherwise get hit by very hard hitting melee swings. I would also suggest using this WeakAura to clearly see if the mobs are targeting you.

Tier Three Affixes

  • Volcanic Icon Volcanic spawns volcanic plumes underneath and around players when in combat with any enemy. When damaged by Volcanic, players suffer 50% of their maximum Health pool in damage and are knocked into the air. The more enemies you are in combat with, the more Volcanic that will spawn.
  • Grievous Icon Grievous afflicts players with a stacking DoT when they fall below 90%. Use Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend to help out your healer when outside of combat.
  • Quaking Icon Quaking will periodically attempt to interrupt casters by creating a damaging zone around each player. About 3 seconds after the zone forms, it will deal 20% maximum Health in damage to each player caught in the zone, as well as interrupting any hard casts being finished during the shockwave.
  • Explosive Icon Explosive will occasionally spawn Explosive Orbs that need to be targeted and burned down within a short period of time or they will deal significant damage to the party. Explosive Orbs are not cleavable and the amount of orbs that spawn scales with the amount of enemies pulled. You should always use Death and Madness Icon Death and Madness for Explosive weeks to get easy resets and lots of free Insanity. For this reason you should also try out Shadowflame Prism Icon Shadowflame Prism for synergy with Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death as well.
  • Necrotic Icon Necrotic debuffs the target of enemy melee swings with a stacking healing reduction and minor DoT.
  • Skittish Icon Storming is another new affix in Shadowlands that essentially is the tornado version of Volcanic Icon Volcanic. While in combat you will see grey swirls on the ground indicating a tornado is about to spawn in that location. Do your best to dodge these as they are active for 10 seconds after spawning and will knock you back if you get hit.

Seasonal Affix

Shrouded Icon Shrouded is the Shadowlands Mythic+ Season 4 seasonal affix. Not only does the affix change up routes inside of dungeons, but Season 4 also brings new dungeon into the pool. New dungeons in combination with a new affix will be a bit of a learning curve but there is some similarity in the new dungeons.

The Shrouded Icon Shrouded Affix allows you to choose a particular secondary stat to gain throughout the dungeon. Each time you find and dispatch a Dreadlord you will gain a stack of the bounty you choose. As a Shadow Priest you should always take the Bounty: Haste Icon Bounty: Haste buff, but could also pick Bounty: Mastery Icon Bounty: Mastery if you want some more burst. You need to select this buff at the start of the key; I have made a simple aura to remind you to do this here.

The new dungeon pool includes the following dungeons:

Each of the mega dungeons made over the last few expansions will still be split into each of their respective halves. To help out in gearing this season be sure to check out the gear guide.


Legion Timewalking Affix: Infernal

While Legion Timewalking is active you can venture into old Legion dungeons with a new season affix, Infernal Icon Infernal. This will replace Tormented Icon Tormented for these specific dungeons.

Three of the bosses in the dungeons will have a beacon next to them, which will summon one of three lieutenants that each have their own mechanics. For the most part this affix does not require anything out of the ordinary to overcome, just make sure you dodge projectiles and soak where needed. There is no benefit to killing them other than if you skip it you will have to kill it with the boss instead.

You can learn more about the specific commanders of the Infernal Icon Infernal and their abilities in our full affix guide below.


Mythic+ Legendary Powers

To use these Legendaries you first need to craft them, make sure you check our full guide on how to craft and acquire these legendary items.

  1. Shadowflame Prism Icon Shadowflame Prism is our default Legendary for optimizing around 1-5 targets specifically, but can be tricky to pair well with Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare. Searing Nightmare will break even at 5 targets, and then clearly start winning after that. For this reason you can use this Legendary to excel at the packs where Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare does not do well at to help fill the gap in your damage.
  2. Talbadar's Stratagem Icon Talbadar's Stratagem becomes competitive for specific dungeons that feature more spread out targets. You can pair this legendary up with Psychic Link Icon Psychic Link to get massive Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast damage. This becomes slightly better this patch with the increased value and casts of Mind Blast with the T28 2 and 4 set bonuses.

You can also use Twins of the Sun Priestess Icon Twins of the Sun Priestess as a legendary if you are running with another DPS that gets substantial gain out of getting that Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion at the same time as you. This is highly dependent on your group and cooldown timings, though. I would only suggest running this in non-pug groups since this requires a high level of coordination.

With Patch 9.2 once you get your Memory of Unity Icon Memory of Unity you will pair up the above choice with your corresponding Covenant legendary. Check out the legendary guide below for more details.


Trinket Considerations for Shadow Priest in Mythic+

With the amount of trinkets to choose from in the game, you should try simming your character on Raidbots using Patchwerk and Light Movement to optimize for raids and single-target encounters and DungeonSlice for Mythic+ fight styles.

Check out the BiS and Gear page to learn more about good trinkets to use on your Shadow Priest.



  • 03 Aug. 2022: Added Shrouded WeakAura.
  • 23 Jul. 2022: Page reviewed for Season 4 with new information on the Shrouded Affix.
  • 31 May 2022: Page reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 22 Feb. 2022: Add details about dealing with the new affix as a Shadow Priest.
  • 01 Nov. 2021: Add note about the Infernal Affix and Pallid Command in Mythic+.
  • 11 Jul. 2021: Added specific Tormented Anima Power suggestions for Mythic+ affixes.
  • 06 Jul. 2021: Finalized updates for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Updated for 9.0.5 changes.
  • 11 Feb. 2021: Added link to Surrender to Madness spreadsheet.
  • 05 Jan. 2021: Added embedded video to the page.
  • 03 Jan. 2021: Added links to a few WeakAuras and added specific lists for Surrender to Madness death triggers.
  • 09 Dec. 2020: Added detail about Covenant suggestions to the page.
  • 23 Nov. 2020: Updated guide for all new affixes and legendaries to use for Shadowlands.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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