Shadow Priest DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Dragonflight 10.2.7

Last updated on May 09, 2024 at 14:10 by Publik 52 comments
General Information

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Shadow Priest in both single-target and multiple-target situations. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Dragonflight 10.2.7.

If you were looking for WotLK Classic content, please refer to our WotLK Classic Shadow Priest rotation.

1.

Shadow Priest Rotational Primer

The Shadow Priest rotation revolves around a modern version of a builder/spender style of play that also mixes in damage-over-time effects. You use abilities that generate Insanity and then spend that Insanity on Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague.

The video version of this guide is also available if you would like to watch along as I talk about Shadow Priest.

1.1.

Shadow Priest Rotation for Beginners

If the rotations below seem overwhelming, you might benefit from visiting our Beginner page, which outlines a close-to-optimal rotation in simpler terms.

The content on this page is purely PvE-related. If you are looking for PvP Rotation Tips, please visit our PvP page below.

If you are completely new to Shadow and need more information on your abilities, you can check out our Spell Summary page.

1.2.

Shadowform

Shadowform Icon Shadowform is an aura that increases your spell damage by 10%. You should always have Shadowform active (you only need to activate it once, and it will remain active until you die; entering Voidform Icon Voidform will temporarily deactivate it but then automatically reactivate it when you exit Voidform).

2.

Shadow Priest Rotations

The sections below explain your rotation as a Shadow Priest. Click the different boxes to switch the desired fight type.

3.

Shadow Priest Rotation

Use the buttons below to swap to the various talent presets for Single Target and AoE for Dark Ascension Icon Dark Ascension and Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption variants. You can also use the checkboxes to individually add or remove items and the rotation will dynamically update.

Void Eruption - ST Void Eruption - AoE Dark Ascension - ST Dark Ascension - AoE
Active Talents Passive Talents On-Use Trinkets
Halo Icon Halo Surge of Insanity Icon Surge of Insanity Nymue's Unraveling Spindle Icon Nymue's Unraveling Spindle
Divine Star Icon Divine Star Unfurling Darkness Icon Unfurling Darkness Belor'relos, the Suncaller Icon Belor'relos, the Suncaller
Mind Spike Icon Mind Spike Distorted Reality Icon Distorted Reality Spoils of Neltharus Icon Spoils of Neltharus
Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption Inescapable Torment Icon Inescapable Torment Ashes of the Embersoul Icon Ashes of the Embersoul
Dark Ascension Icon Dark Ascension Mind Devourer Icon Mind Devourer Desperate Invoker's Codex Icon Desperate Invoker's Codex
Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash Deathspeaker Icon Deathspeaker Erupting Spear Fragment Icon Erupting Spear Fragment
Mindbender Icon Mindbender Idol of C'Thun Icon Idol of C'Thun Irideus Fragment Icon Irideus Fragment
Void Torrent Icon Void Torrent Shadowy Insight Icon Shadowy Insight Beacon to the Beyond Icon Beacon to the Beyond
Season 3 Set Bonus Insidious Ire Icon Insidious Ire Conjured Chillglobe Icon Conjured Chillglobe
Season 4 Set Bonus Idol of Yogg-Saron Icon Idol of Yogg-Saron Iceblood Deathsnare Icon Iceblood Deathsnare
Shadow Priest Explained Single-Target Rotation AoE Rotation
3.

Single-Target Rotation Goals for Shadow Priest

Before going in-depth with the priority list, I wanted to break down the goals of playing Shadow Priest. These goals will help describe the why behind the full-on priority list, hopefully giving it more context.

  1. Maintain Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain roughly up to 12 targets.
  2. Maintain uptime of Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague on a single target without capping on Insanity.
  3. Use short cooldown Insanity-generating spells to make sure you do not lose uses of them. This includes spells like Void Bolt Icon Void Bolt, Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast, and Surge of Insanity Icon Surge of Insanity procs.
  4. Use your long cooldown spells, ideally when you will not lose uses of any short cooldown spells, being sure not to hold too long to still take advantage of any active buffs. This includes spells like Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend, Void Torrent Icon Void Torrent, and Mindgames Icon Mindgames.

If you can get these goals right, the rotation should make more sense and fall into play naturally.

3.

AoE Rotation Goals for Shadow Priest

WARNING: Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash is not selected in the table above or you are not using an AoE preset. Please select this above to see an accurate example of an AoE opener. AoE content as a Shadow Priest without this will be torturous.

The Shadow Priest multi-target rotation is very similar to the single target priority list above, with only small differences. Our AoE damage is mostly unlocked by performing our single target rotation well. If you can do that well, you just need to maintain DoTs, and things should fall into place naturally.

During AoE you will be using any tools you can to maintain Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain on several targets. You should try to maintain these DoTs on up to 12 targets roughly. Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash should be able to cover 8 stacked targets. Do not bother manually DoTing any target that will not last for at least 18 seconds.

The other change is when using Distorted Reality Icon Distorted Reality you can spread Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague to as many targets as possible; otherwise, continue to only keep it active on a single priority target. Check out the dedicated section on Devouring Plague below to learn more.

  1. If the pack is big enough, you should strongly consider using your cooldowns. Getting as many casts of your cooldown without losing uses of it or not having it for a boss is the biggest point of improvement most players can make in dungeons. This includes Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption, Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion, and Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend.
  2. At this point, your highest priority is maintaining DoTs. You should pick a main priority target to funnel in your Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague into. This is typically the target with the highest amount of HP, or a particularly powerful enemy.
  3. Use spells to generate Insanity, like Void Bolt Icon Void Bolt, Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast, and Surge of Insanity Icon Surge of Insanity. Get these on cooldown quickly so you can blast with your bigger spells.
  4. Use bigger cooldown spells like Void Torrent Icon Void Torrent, Mindgames Icon Mindgames, and Divine Star Icon Divine Star to do small burst damage.
  5. Fill with Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay.
3.

Single-Target Opener for Shadow Priest

Note that this opener assumes you get unlucky with procs and does not account for getting any of Deathspeaker Icon Deathspeaker, Shadowy Insight Icon Shadowy Insight, or Mind Devourer Icon Mind Devourer procs. Be sure to follow the priority list as noted below. These openers are just a snapshot of the opener up till your first cast of Void Torrent Icon Void Torrent.

This opener assumes you started with 24 Insanity via pre-pull activities with Divine Star Icon Divine Star. See the section below on the Pre-Pull rotation to learn more.

The placement of the trinkets selected in the table above are optimized below for just using a single on-use trinket. When using double on-use trinkets you should check with sims to know which order it prefers to use them in. Results in the table below will not always be accurate when selecting two on-use trinkets due to the trinket lock-out.

  1. Pre-Cast Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch
  2. Cast Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend.
  3. Cast Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast twice.
  4. Cast Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption
  5. Use your combat potion Elemental Potion of Ultimate Power Icon Elemental Potion of Ultimate Power.
  6. Use Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion and any stat-based racial abilities. Make sure to cast Power Infusion on an ally if using Twins of the Sun Priestess Icon Twins of the Sun Priestess.
  7. Cast Void Bolt Icon Void Bolt
  8. Cast Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague
  9. Cast Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast
  10. Cast Void Torrent Icon Void Torrent.
  11. Continue with the priority list as described below.
3.

Single Target Priority List for Shadow Priest

The single-target rotation relies on the following priority system of abilities.

If you are looking for something easier to digest or you are just getting started, I strongly suggest looking at the Beginner page page. The rotation guide below is meant for advanced users who want to min/max their rotation as much as possible.

  1. Keep Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain active by using Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch to apply both DoTs. Refresh these during the proper pandemic window (see below).
  2. Cast Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend.
  3. Cast Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption to enter Voidform Icon Voidform. Make sure Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast charges are on cooldown before entering Voidform.
  4. Cast Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion.
  5. Sync any trinkets you have with your cooldowns (see trinket section).
  6. Cast Void Bolt Icon Void Bolt.
  7. Spend Insanity on Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague with high priority if it is not active, about to expire, Mind Devourer Icon Mind Devourer is active, or you are about to cap out on Insanity.
  8. Cast Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast if capped on charges and Mind Devourer Icon Mind Devourer is not active.
  9. Cast Void Torrent Icon Void Torrent if Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague will last for at least 2.5 seconds and Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast will not cap charges during the channel. Full channel this cast.
  10. Fully deplete Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast charges as long as Mind Devourer Icon Mind Devourer is not active.
  11. Full channel Mind Flay: Insanity Icon Mind Flay: Insanity.
  12. Cast Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death if the target is below 20% health.
  13. Cast Mindgames Icon Mindgames.
  14. Deplete the rest of your Insanity on Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague regardless of duration during Voidform Icon Voidform.
  15. Cast Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay. Interrupt this for any other action as it becomes available.
  16. Use the following spells in order should you need to move and do not have any other casts to use: Divine Star Icon Divine Star, Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death, or Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain.

Note: the pandemic window for our DoTs is 30% of the total duration. This means to get optimal value out of refreshing DoTs, you want to wait until they are at or below the following thresholds:

  • Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch - 6.3 seconds;
  • Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain (with Misery Icon Misery) - 6.3 seconds;
  • Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague does not work like a traditional DoT spell, but it will add the old DoT damage to the new DoT damage as well as the time till the next tick;

Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague does not follow the same refresh rules as these two DoTs, instead, roll their damage over and add duration based on time to the next tick. The way you typically want to play around with this is to maximize the uptime of the DoT as much as possible without capping on Insanity. You want to do this for optimal uptime on our Mastery bonus.

3.

AoE Opener for Shadow Priest

WARNING: Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash is not selected in the table above or you are not using an AoE preset. Please select this above to see an accurate example of an AoE opener. AoE content as a Shadow Priest without this will be torturous.

This is meant as a very basic example for opening on a pack in an AoE environment. The exact mob count and way the mobs are grouped will naturally change what you will do from pull to pull, especially depending on your cooldown state. Use this as a starting point along with the general priority list.

The placement of the trinkets selected in the table above are optimized below for just using a single on-use trinket. When using double on-use trinkets you should check with sims to know which order it prefers to use them in. Results in the table below will not always be accurate when selecting two on-use trinkets due to the trinket lock-out.

  1. Cast Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch on any targets as the pack is being grouped up with Fade Icon Fade (see below).
  2. Cast Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash to put up DoTs on targets once everything is grouped.
  3. Cast Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend.
  4. Cast Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast to get the cooldown reset before going into Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption. Skip this if the pack will not live long enough to get your full Voidform Icon Voidform out.
  5. Cast Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption
  6. Use your combat potion Elemental Potion of Ultimate Power Icon Elemental Potion of Ultimate Power unless you want to save for an upcoming pack or boss.
  7. Use Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion and any stat-based racial abilities. Make sure to cast Power Infusion on an ally if using Twins of the Sun Priestess Icon Twins of the Sun Priestess.
  8. Continue with the rotation as normal.

Note if the pack has more than 8 targets or they are too spread for Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash You should do your best to pull with the tank by using Fade Icon Fade to not get aggro but still putting your DoTs up as the pack gets pulled.

3.

AoE Priority List for Shadow Priest

If you are looking for something easier to digest or you are just getting started, I strongly suggest looking at the Beginner page page. The rotation guide below is meant for advanced users who want to min/max their rotation as much as possible.

  1. Keep Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain active by using Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch to apply both DoTs. Refresh these during the proper pandemic window (see below).
  2. Cast Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend.
  3. Cast Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption to enter Voidform Icon Voidform. Make sure Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast charges are on cooldown before entering Voidform.
  4. Cast Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion.
  5. Sync any trinkets you have with your cooldowns (see trinket section).
  6. Cast Void Bolt Icon Void Bolt.
  7. Spend Insanity on Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague with high priority if it is not active, about to expire, Mind Devourer Icon Mind Devourer is active, or you are about to cap out on Insanity.
  8. Cast Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast if capped on charges and Mind Devourer Icon Mind Devourer is not active.
  9. Cast Void Torrent Icon Void Torrent if you are not saving for adds coming soon and Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast will not cap on charges during the channel. Full channel this cast
  10. Cast Mind Flay: Insanity Icon Mind Flay: Insanity, aim to full channel this but you can cancel early if a higher priority action is available AND you have gotten through at least half the cast.
  11. Fully deplete Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast charges as long as Mind Devourer Icon Mind Devourer is not active.
  12. Full channel Mind Flay: Insanity Icon Mind Flay: Insanity.
  13. Cast Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death if the target is below 20% health.
  14. Cast Mindgames Icon Mindgames.
  15. Deplete the rest of your Insanity on Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague regardless of duration during Voidform Icon Voidform.
  16. Cast Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay. Interrupt this for any other action as it becomes available.
  17. Use the following spells in order should you need to move and do not have any other casts to use: Divine Star Icon Divine Star, Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death, or Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain.

In addition to the AoE priority list above, keep in mind these important target swaps:

  • 12+ targets: Threshold for manually DoTing targets, typically not worth ever going over this (including the 8 from Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash).

For specific tips about playing Shadow Priest in Mythic+, feel free to check out that dedicated page below. From a rotation standpoint, things will follow the priority list above.

3.

Specific Trinket Usage

Any on-use trinket offering a stat bonus should ideally be used inside your cooldowns to get the most benefit. Any exceptions to this are noted below.

  1. Use Nymue's Unraveling Spindle Icon Nymue's Unraveling Spindle right before casting Mindbender Icon Mindbender.
  2. Use Nymue's Unraveling Spindle Icon Nymue's Unraveling Spindle right before casting Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend. For every other cast just use before cooldowns.
  3. Use Belor'relos, the Suncaller Icon Belor'relos, the Suncaller if adds are up, or save it if they are coming in soon. Make sure you are within melee range of all targets. If you are using double on-use, hold this as your second on-use trinket and just use it off-GCD when possible. Our cooldowns do not buff its damage whatsoever.
  4. Use Darkmoon Deck Box: Inferno Icon Darkmoon Deck Box: Inferno (and other Darkmoon trinkets) on cooldown.
  5. Use Conjured Chillglobe Icon Conjured Chillglobe on cooldown.
  6. Use Iceblood Deathsnare Icon Iceblood Deathsnare if adds are up, or save it if they are coming in soon. Otherwise, use this on cooldown.
  7. Use Beacon to the Beyond Icon Beacon to the Beyond if adds are up, or save it if they are coming in soon. Otherwise, use this on cooldown.
  8. Spoils of Neltharus Icon Spoils of Neltharus - Sync with Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion, do not fish for a particular buff.
  9. Use Erupting Spear Fragment Icon Erupting Spear Fragment if adds are up or Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion is active.
  10. DEFAULT: Sync all other trinkets with Voidform Icon Voidform, Dark Ascension Icon Dark Ascension, or Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion. If the cooldown is a minute or less, use it on CD. Lastly, use it if the fight will end before your cooldowns will come back up.
  11. Use Desperate Invoker's Codex Icon Desperate Invoker's Codex as your last priority trinket if you are using double-on-use trinkets. This should always be used on cooldown if it will not kill you.

For on-use trinkets that ONLY deal damage, you can use them on cooldown, starting with Patch 10.1; Shadow Priest has no modifiers to buff them. The exception is when using double on-use, where you do not want to use a damaged on-use trinket if it means you cannot use a stat on-use trinket with cooldowns later. When in doubt, you can sim your character and see how the sim uses the trinket.

If you are using Balefire Branch Icon Balefire Branch you should try and weave in a Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield cast in pre-pull to limit taking damage while the trinket is active.

4.

Pre-Pull Rotation

If you would like a more comfortable opener, you can use a longer opener to pool Insanity with Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash, Halo Icon Halo, and Divine Star Icon Divine Star. The goal of this is to get to your first Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague faster than you would normally. This is not a massive DPS gain, but it is there if you want to min/max. These spells should be used so they do not pull you into combat (specifically Divine Star and Shadow Crash). Note that based on talents, this is how SimC behaves.

  1. Divine Star Icon Divine Star x4 = 24 Insanity over 45 seconds (see note below)
  2. Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash x2 + Divine Star Icon Divine Star x2 = 24 Insanity over 20 seconds
  3. Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash x2 + Halo Icon Halo x1 = 22 Insanity over 20 seconds
  4. Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash x2 = 12 Insanity over 20 seconds
  5. Halo Icon Halo x1 = 10 Insanity over 1.5 seconds

With Divine Star Icon Divine Star, you can technically cast it more than 3 times in the opener to get even more Insanity, but this requires 45 seconds of planning pre-pull. Casting it 4 times (45 seconds) gives you enough Insanity to have Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague be your first global after Dark Ascension Icon Dark Ascension.

Another micro-optimization is playing more around Twist of Fate Icon Twist of Fate. Particularly in the opener, getting this buff active for the start of an encounter, especially if lusting on pull can be valuable. One way to try and proc this is by speccing into Renew Icon Renew and/or Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending and casting this on tanks before the pull starts. This is a pretty low-effort way to potentially get procs of this on pull. You can even use this trick elsewhere, like during downtime or intermissions, to try and proc it as well.

Aside from that, here are your normal opener activities:

  1. As a Blood Elf you can use Arcane Torrent Icon Arcane Torrent before pulling, do not use this during your rotation after this.
  2. Make sure Shadowform Icon Shadowform is active.
  3. Make sure Power Word: Fortitude Icon Power Word: Fortitude is active.
  4. Pre-cast Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield if using Balefire Branch Icon Balefire Branch.
5.

Important Notes for Shadow Priest

5.1.

Season 4 Set Bonus

The Season 4 set bonus for Shadow Priest is as follows:

  • 2-piece set bonus: Priest Shadow 10.1 Class Set 2pc Icon Priest Shadow 10.1 Class Set 2pc
  • 4-piece set bonus: Priest Shadow 10.1 Class Set 4pc Icon Priest Shadow 10.1 Class Set 4pc

Largely speaking, this set bonus does not have large implications for our gameplay and rotation. It encourages you to spend Insanity and your Shadowy Insight Icon Shadowy Insight procs as you would normally play, while also changing some talent choices along the way. In particular, builds with Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption get stronger with this tier set in general.

While generally the rotation does not change for maximizing overall damage, the Priest Shadow 10.1 Class Set 4pc Icon Priest Shadow 10.1 Class Set 4pc in particular might incentivize you to pull around this effect. Depending on your gear levels, this should have relatively high uptime this season, but there is still some optimization if you are trying to save that 10-second burst window for an important part of an encounter or for the top of your burst.

The tricky part with this optimization is that holding Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague can have very costly effects to your damage. You need to be extra careful when trying to play around this set bonus. For this reason, most people do not need to bother tracking or playing around this proc, but you will likely see more experienced Shadows playing around it. Taking a damage loss at the end of a pack to make sure you have this burst for the start of a very important pack coming up next with cooldowns could be a large damage gain in coordinated groups.

5.2.

Devouring Plague Refreshing

Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague is a relatively unique DoT that works differently from Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch or Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain. As such, you must understand how it works at a high level to avoid misuse of its unique effects.

When refreshing Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague, it rolls over any damage remaining on the future ticks and adds that in the form of a modifier to the new DoT ticks. This effectively means that when you are in a case where you often hit or get close to 100 Insanity (referred to as capping), you can freely refresh Devouring Plague and not lose any damage , assuming the target lives for the entire DoT duration. It is important to note that no part of this process is snapshotting stats but instead converting future damage ticks into a modifier value to the new ticks. Because of this period, Intellect and Haste's changes do not change how the rollover happens; it always works the same way regardless.

While the damage does roll over regardless of when you use Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague the exact timing of the refresh is important. Shadow Priests Mastery, Mastery: Shadow Weaving Icon Mastery: Shadow Weaving, benefits from uptime of Devouring Plague. So to get the most damage out of the DoT, you want to only refresh the DoT when it has less than a GCD remaining, or you are getting close to capping on Insanity (deficit of ~20 or less) to get maximum damage out of our Mastery. Furthermore, playing like this also gets the most value out of the Insidious Ire Icon Insidious Ire talent if you are using that.

This mechanic is mostly passive but can be used to your advantage to burst down a specific target. By banking up 100 Insanity (or 150 with Voidtouched Icon Voidtouched) you can use multiple Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague casts back to back and get a new DoT with much more powerful ticks in the same amount of time as a singleDevouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague. Otherwise, if your target lives, you should always prioritize keeping the DoT active on the target for as long as possible for maximum benefit with our Mastery. While maximizing this, make sure you are also NOT capping on Insanity. Juggling these two conditions will be how you master this spell.

For most types of content, you should play completely normally; there is nothing to game with how this works unless you are trying to burst something down specifically. Just play normally and enjoy not losing damage when you would have otherwise capped Insanity.

If you want to see this change explained in video form, I go over this in more detail in this video.

5.2.1.

Multi-Target

Now that Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague is our only Insanity spender, I wanted to briefly cover multi-target. The way you play with this strictly depends on if you are playing with Distorted Reality Icon Distorted Reality or not. When you are NOT using Distorted Reality, you should maintain Devouring Plague on just a single target, even in AoE. Pick the one that is the most important to focus down. You could spread this if there are more than one big priority targets you care about, but that is almost always an overall DPS loss. By casting more Devouring Plagues with Mind's Eye, you will lose overall uptime of the DoT, leading to a loss because you will be casting more spells when the target does not have the DoT active. This is why, with Mind's Eye, you should not spread Devouring Plague.

Alternatively when using Distorted Reality Icon Distorted Reality you should spread Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague around to targets that will live for at least half the duration. This can be hard to know from just looking at health, but generally, you can just spread this blindly. You can still tunnel on one target, but that will typically be a DPS loss with this talent compared to just using Mind's Eye Icon Mind's Eye instead. When doing this, make sure you are still casting spells on targets with Devouring Plague active for the Mastery benefit. Even while spreading, you should still have it active on at least 1 enemy.

5.3.

Fade Pulling

For dungeon pulls specifically, you should always be pulling WITH the tank, not after. By getting proper setup as the tank is pulling by putting up Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch ASAP, you will further increase your damage in the pack without suffering from loss in casting our Insanity spenders. This is only possible by using Fade Icon Fade as a threat drop, as the tank is pulling to be able to DPS before the threat is fully established. Mastering this is crucial to doing well in Mythic+.

5.4.

When to refresh Vampiric Touch with Unfurling Darkness

The Unfurling Darkness Icon Unfurling Darkness talent can be a bit awkward to play around with, but if you do you think of it less as having to cast an extra Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch and more like a cooldown, you press every 15 seconds; that should make more sense. Generally, you want to try and use Vampiric Touch every 15 seconds to process this "extra" damage and then re-cast Vampiric Touch again (ideally on a different target to help with DoT uptimes) for that damage bonus. You only have 8 seconds to use this free cast, so use it wisely.

Depending on how much other stuff to do, you do not need to go out of your way to cast this every 15 seconds, especially if this means losing Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague casts. It will mostly be passive damage naturally as you refresh your Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch and then re-cast it for the benefit. Do not let the buff expire and play naturally.

5.5.

Optimizing Mindbender/Shadowfiend Usage

Both Mindbender Icon Mindbender and Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend are guardians that scale with your stats, which means using them in combination with, for example, Intellect, Haste, or Mastery procs is ideal. However, it is not ideal to delay them too much for both to accomplish this. They are not big enough damage increases to warrant doing so, and maximizing the number of casts is more important. If you lost a Mindbender/Shadowfiend cast because of delaying it too much, then that will almost definitely not have been worth it. This is especially true for Mindbender, which has a short cooldown of 1 minute. When using Inescapable Torment Icon Inescapable Torment, mastering this is important to get full damage out of the cooldown.

However, there is an additional aspect to consider here. Both Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend and Mindbender Icon Mindbender generate an amount of Insanity whenever they hit their targets. Both pets generate 2 Insanity per melee swing. This is particularly useful in AoE when getting consistent Insanity generation is more difficult.

As a general rule of thumb, you will want to use Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend or Mindbender Icon Mindbender right before going into Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption or Dark Ascension Icon Dark Ascension.

5.5.1.

Idol of Y'Shaarj Optimization

Idol of Y'Shaarj Icon Idol of Y'Shaarj further empowers each cast of Mindbender Icon Mindbender with the following benefits based on the state of the target you cast it on if you are talented into it:

  • If the target has more than 80% health: Devoured Pride Icon Devoured Pride - You and your pet gain 5% more damage
  • If the target is enraged: Devoured Anger Icon Devoured Anger - Dispel the effect and increases your Haste by 5%
  • If the target is stunned: Devoured Despair Icon Devoured Despair - You gain 5 Insanity per second
  • If the target is feared: Devoured Fear Icon Devoured Fear - You and your pet gain 5% more damage and do not break Fear effects
  • If none of the other conditions are met: Devoured Violence Icon Devoured Violence - Your Mindbender Icon Mindbender will last an additional 5 seconds.

It is important to know that, generally speaking, these buffs are very close together in terms of DPS gain. That being said, here is the rough ranking in order of priority:

  1. Devoured Despair Icon Devoured Despair
  2. Devoured Anger Icon Devoured Anger
  3. Devoured Pride Icon Devoured Pride and Devoured Fear Icon Devoured Fear
  4. Devoured Violence Icon Devoured Violence (Default)

Note that while in AoE environments, Devoured Despair Icon Devoured Despair becomes even further ahead and is clear the best option if you can proc it. Unfortunately, talenting into Psychic Horror Icon Psychic Horror is typically not worth as a Shadow Priest, so coordinating this benefit with others in your group can be challenging.

Since these buffs are almost always within margin of error of each other, you should play normally and not try and go out of your way to min/max this buff since that could end up costing you damage. The optimization here is every time you are about to cast Mindbender Icon Mindbender, consider the above table to try and get a bit of extra damage but do NOT delay the cast.

5.6.

When to use your Racial Abilities

Depending on the race you decide to play, you will get various amounts of spells that you can use to buff your character further. Unfortunately, not all of these are useful. Use this section if you are curious about how to use them in combat.

Note that as of writing, the DPS difference between the various racial buffs is anywhere between 1-2%. Because this is so small, picking a race just for the DPS output is generally not suggested. Often, you will get more value out of picking the one that has better non-DPS options, such as Goblin's Rocket Jump Icon Rocket Jump or Dwarf's Stoneform Icon Stoneform.

  • Fireblood Icon Fireblood, Berserking Icon Berserking, Blood Fury Icon Blood Fury, and Ancestral Call Icon Ancestral Call should be synced up with Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion to maximize damage.
  • Lightforged Draenei's Light's Judgment Icon Light's Judgment should be a low-priority action above your fillers. It gets better with adds and is worth saving and using for them.
  • Blood Elf's Arcane Torrent Icon Arcane Torrent should only be used before combat; it is a DPS loss to use during combat.
  • As a Zandalari Troll, I suggest sticking with Embrace of Pa'ku Icon Embrace of Pa'ku for your Embrace of the Loa Icon Embrace of the Loa.
  • Nightborne's Arcane Pulse Icon Arcane Pulse is not worth using for DPS purposes.
  • Vulpera's Bag of Tricks Icon Bag of Tricks is not worth using for DPS purposes.
6.

Changelog

  • 09 May 2024: Add option to cancel Mind Flay: Insanity in AoE situations.
  • 07 May 2024: Reviewed for 10.2.7.
  • 02 May 2024: Increase priority of Void Bolt and correct opener from this change.
  • 26 Apr. 2024: Adjust Mind Flay: Insanity and Mind Spike: Insanity priority in AoE.
  • 25 Apr. 2024: Add new video link and clarify Nymue trinket usage with Shadowfiend.
  • 22 Apr. 2024: Update rotation for Season 4 with new placeholder builds and options.
  • 19 Mar. 2024: Reviewed for Patch 10.2.6.
  • 08 Feb. 2024: Add aoe rotation video link.
  • 15 Jan. 2024: Reviewed for 10.2.5.
  • 02 Jan. 2024: Add more detail around spending stacks of Death's Torment in the tier section.
  • 03 Dec. 2023: Add section on optimizing Idol of Y'Shaarj.
  • 03 Dec. 2023: Add clarifying note about how the 4pc set bonus works.
  • 24 Nov. 2023: Remove Power Word: Shield action during movement.
  • 19 Nov. 2023: Add extra SW:D line when only using the 2-piece set bonus.
  • 07 Nov. 2023: Adjust movement GCDs in main rotation priority.
  • 07 Nov. 2023: Small clarifying update to using Belor'relos, the Suncaller.
  • 06 Nov. 2023: Updated for Patch 10.2.0 and the new Season 3 set bonus.
  • 04 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.7.
  • 13 Aug. 2023: Update video link.
  • 09 Aug. 2023: Removed Shadow Word: Death in Void Eruption opener when using Inescapable Torment.
  • 09 Aug. 2023: Added note to the Dark Ascension opener to make it clearer.
  • 08 Aug. 2023: Adjust Dark Ascension opener to account for Distorted Reality.
  • 26 Jul. 2023: Adjust sections for Divine Star and Mindgames usage to set them at a lower priority.
  • 23 Jul. 2023: Reviewed from the recent hotfixes.
  • 10 Jul. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.5 and small update to Voidform opener.
  • 27 Jun. 2023: Rotational updates for Shadow Word: Death depending on talents selected. Clarify some Distorted Reality usage.
  • 20 Jun. 2023: Update Devouring Plague refreshing details.
  • 15 Jun. 2023: Clarifying note to Void Torrent around Devouring Plague.
  • 06 Jun. 2023: Add note clarifying Void Torrent should always be fully channeled.
  • 01 Jun. 2023: Clarifying note about how the tier set bonus works.
  • 26 May 2023: Add a note about tier set optimization in Mythic+.
  • 22 May 2023: Add more detail on using Halo, Divine Star, and Shadow Crash during pre-pull. Add note about Spoils usage.
  • 18 May 2023: Correct typo in the intro section.
  • 05 May 2023: Clarify Shadow Crash usage is only for refreshing DoTs.
  • 03 May 2023: Lower priority for Shadow Word: Death.
  • 02 May 2023: Clarification for Dstar and Halo and expanded on Distorted Reality in Devouring Plague section.
  • 01 May 2023: Significant updates to support the 10.1 rework.
  • 20 Mar. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.7.
  • 25 Feb. 2023: Clarify Void Torrent use in opener.
  • 23 Feb. 2023: Fix issue with Void Torrent in single target, should only cast with all 3 DoTs active.
  • 03 Feb. 2023: Adjust high priority Mind Flay: Insanity action to only use when Void Torrent is not available.
  • 31 Jan. 2023: Correct high priority Mind Flay: Insanity line with Cthun when not taking Mindbender. Condense AoE rotation down to be easier to read.
  • 24 Jan. 2023: Update rotation guide for 10.0.5 with Void Torrent usage.
  • 12 Jan. 2023: Remove Mind Sear usage on single target.
  • 11 Jan. 2023: Rotational updates for 10.0.5, mostly formatting changes with some small clarity updates.
  • 04 Jan. 2023: Small clarification on Devouring Plague refresh notes and add some Trinket notes.
  • 03 Jan. 2023: Update openers with more detail. Split them out by cooldown to be easier to maintain.
  • 01 Jan. 2023: Lower priority on Shadow Word: Death with Inescapable Torment.
  • 29 Dec. 2022: Add new logic for Mind Flay: Insanity and change default checkboxes.
  • 11 Dec. 2022: Added section discussing Tier 29 set bonus rotational changes.
  • 28 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight launch.
  • 09 Nov. 2022: Added extra note about Mind Spike vs. Mind Flay with Mind Melt and Idol of C'Thun.
  • 08 Nov. 2022: Moved racials out of the rotation into their own section. Fixed opener to be easier to read.
  • 07 Nov. 2022: Made some parts of the rotation around Mind Blast easier to read.
  • 05 Nov. 2022: Cleaned up Devouring Plague lines to be more clear.
  • 03 Nov. 2022: Updated the rotations filler sections to be clearer. Added a new section on how to use Mind Sear.
  • 02 Nov. 2022: Made it clearer when to use your filler spells with the bottom section.
  • 26 Oct. 2022: Added more rotation switches to make things easier to look at.
  • 25 Oct. 2022: Adjusted priority of Shadow Word: Death, Mind Flay, and Mind Spike.
  • 25 Oct. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
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