Shadow Priest DPS Mythic+ Tips — Shadowlands 9.1
In this guide, you will find tips and advice to tackle Mythic+ dungeons with your Shadow Priest in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1.
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.
If you are unfamiliar with Mythic+ and its associated general mechanics, you can read more about it on our Shadowlands Mythic+ Season 2 page below.
For a video walkthrough of Mythic+ as a Shadow Priest, check out my overview video. Look for a new video to kick off Season 2 soon.
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. New with Shadowlands we also have access to Mind Soothe and the only stamina group buff in the game with Power Word: Fortitude.
- 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 provides an interesting alternative to 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 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 to easily bypass this drop and continue on with the key. With the Translucent Image Endurance conduit, this also turns Fade into a small defensive.
- 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 dispels all Disease effects from friendly targets. This is fairly niche, but still situationally extremely useful.
- 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 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 as a talent.
- 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 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. Note that the damage of our DoTs also gets converted to healing, and that Void Eruption damage does too.
- 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 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 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 pulls a friendly party member towards you. It is not that useful generally, but can sometimes save someone.
- Mind Control is good to deal with 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 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, which replaces Psychic Scream in your spell book if you take it.
- 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
While almost any Covenant can produce good results as a Shadow Priest, the Night Fae Covenant is the clear winner in terms of dungeon content. Fae Guardians can be very versatile if played correctly, offering more Voidform uptime throughout the key. This is not a set-and-forget ability though, as it will take some timing to pull off good damage with the Grove Invigoration Soulbind trait.
Necrolord is a great second choice for Mythic+ content due to the versatility of the Covenant ability and competitive Soulbinds. Using Unholy Nova can be a bit tricky due to the square root scaling of the DoT, but can produce good results with 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, Emeni is the perfect choice for group throughput with Lead by Example, and finally Bonesmith Heirmir is great for personal throughput with Forgeborne Reveries and Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone.
Venthyr with 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 Prideful 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, 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 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 or Searing Nightmare, but with Pelagos and Combat Meditation you can still do great single-target burst every 3 minutes.
Due to the mostly lackluster Covenant abilities for Priest relative to some other classes, it is often "best" to choose the odd-man-out Covenant for your dungeon group to get the in-dungeon bonuses associated with that Covenant. For example, if no one in your push group is Venthyr, it might make sense for you to go Venthyr to secure those bonuses in the Venthyr dungeons: Sanguine Depths and Halls of Atonement.
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.
|15||✓ Fortress of the Mind||✓ Death and Madness||✗ Unfurling Darkness|
|25||✓ Body and Soul||✓ San'layn||? Intangibility|
|30||✗ Twist of Fate||✓ Misery||✓ Searing Nightmare|
|35||✓ Last Word||✗ Mind Bomb||✓ Psychic Horror|
|40||✓ Auspicious Spirits||? Psychic Link||✓ Shadow Crash|
|45||✗ Damnation||✓ Mindbender||✓ Void Torrent|
|50||✓ Ancient Madness||✓ Hungering Void||? Surrender to Madness|
- Death and Madness and 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 becomes a very solid passive damage increase when paired with 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 for more single-target heavy keys and 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, especially on Tyrannical affixes. That being said if you can efficiently get off lots of procs from Death and Madness it will be one of your top insanity generation abilities helping you sustain more AoE damage throughout the pack.
- Between Misery and 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 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 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 and Vampiric Touch active on as many targets as possible. Misery typically only beats out Searing Nightmare in cases where mobs are inherently more spread out, or the pack sizes are just too small for Searing Nightmare to make a dent in damage.
- For the Level 40 row you typically will be running 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 and pick up Auspicious Spirits instead. Furthermore, you can choose to use Psychic Link for those same situations and pair it with Talbadar's Stratagem. Typically this will only be useful on Theater of Pain or Spires of Ascension Fortified keys.
- When deciding between Mindbender and Void Torrent, the answer is generally dependent on it being Tyrannical or Fortified. Mindbender will be great passive Insanity generation on those large AoE packs, but fall behind quite a lot on any boss or Prideful pulls. The Rabid Shadows Conduit can also sway things more in Mindbender's favor, if you choose to run that Conduit. Keep in mind if you choose to run with Shadowflame Prism you should always use Mindbender.
- Ancient Madness, Hungering Void, and 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 is that it gives you an extra 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 talent you need to be engaging and finishing off a pack in between Voidform uses to get the most benefit. Typically if you do larger pulls casting two 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 providing a burstier 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 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, 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
Tier One Affixes
- Fortified increases the Health pool of all non-boss enemies by 20% and damage dealt by 30%.
- Tyrannical increases the Health pool of boss enemies by 40% and their damage dealt by 15%.
Fortified and 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 increases the damage dealt by enemies below 30% HP by 100% until they die.
- 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 mobs that you do not want to get any Bolstering stacks on at all costs.
- 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 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 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, otherwise we do not have many other options to lock down these targets.
- 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 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 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 afflicts players with a stacking DoT when they fall below 90%. Use Shadow Mend to help out your healer when outside of combat.
- 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 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 for Explosive weeks to get easy resets and lots of free Insanity. For this reason you should also try out Shadowflame Prism for synergy with Shadow Word: Death as well.
- Necrotic debuffs the target of enemy melee swings with a stacking healing reduction and minor DoT.
- Storming is another new affix in Shadowlands that essentially is the tornado version of 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.
Tormented is the Season 2 seasonal affix. With this affix you will find and potentially kill four lieutenants of the Jailer to give you Torghast-style Anima Powers in return. These powers are set in stone and specific to each of the tormented lieutenants you slay. The preferred options are ordered below per miniboss:
Soggodon the Breaker
- Regenerative Fungus
- Handbook of Uncivil Etiquette if you do not need the healing whatsoever
- Vial of Desperation
- Dagger of Necrotic Wounding (stronger for single-target)
- Champion's Brand (stronger for 2+ targets)
- Volcanic Plumage (can be taken if you want the extra crowd control)
Tyranical Final Power Suggestions
- Dagger of Necrotic Wounding
- Champion's Brand
- The Stone Ward
- Regenerative Fungus or Handbook of Uncivil Etiquette
Fortified Final Power Suggestions
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.
- Shadowflame Prism is our default Legendary for optimizing around 2-5 targets specifically, but can be tricky to pair well with 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 does not do well at to help fill the gap in your damage.
- Call to the Void can be an alternative choice to Shadowflame Prism if you want something that is easier to play with and generally versatile. This is a completely passive Legendary that will naturally give you more Insanity in things you are doing. Generally speaking this will always lose in overall damage to Shadowflame Prism, assuming perfect optimization of cooldowns.
You can also use 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 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.
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.
- 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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