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Shadow Priest DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents (Legion 7.3.5)

Last updated on May 22, 2018 at 16:14 by Furty 261 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Shadow Priests in World of Warcraft Legion 7.3.5. We detail what each of the talents do and in which situations they should be taken.

The other pages of our Shadow Priest guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author and Reviewer

This guide has been written by Furty, who has an illustrious history in the World of Warcraft raiding scene and race for World First. He has been a member of guilds such as Serenity, Midwinter, and many more, and is currently raiding in Future. He plays most classes at the highest level. You can follow him on Twitter and watch him play on Twitch.

This guide has been reviewed by Atroxe, a Shadow Priest who plays in Encore, and by DjRiff, a theorycrafter at HowToPriest. You can watch Atroxe play on YouTube and Twitch, and you can watch DjRiff stream on Twitch.

1. Talent Choices

Level Choices
15 Twist of Fate Twist of Fate Fortress of the Mind ? Fortress of the Mind Shadow Word: Void Shadow Word: Void
30 Mania Mania Body and Soul Body and Soul Masochism ? Masochism
45 Mind Bomb Mind Bomb Psychic Voice Psychic Voice Dominant Mind ? Dominant Mind
60 Lingering Insanity Lingering Insanity Reaper of Souls ? Reaper of Souls Void Ray Void Ray
75 San'layn ? San'layn Auspicious Spirits Auspicious Spirits Shadowy Insight Shadowy Insight
90 Power Infusion Power Infusion Misery Misery Mindbender Mindbender
100 Legacy of the Void Legacy of the Void Shadow Crash ? Shadow Crash Surrender to Madness ? Surrender to Madness

Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind Icon Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind Icon Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

2. Talent Cheat Sheets for Shadow Priest

While optimizing talents on a contextual basis is the highly recommended method of setting up your build, the talent builds listed below work great for specific purposes.

2.1. Raid Encounters

2.1.1. Single Target & Light Cleave

2.1.2. Surrender to Madness

2.1.3. Mythic+

2.2. For General Use

This build is an excellent starting point for questing and general purpose usage.

3. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Shadow Priest

Twist of Fate Twist of Fate Fortress of the Mind ? Fortress of the Mind Shadow Word: Void Shadow Word: Void
  • Twist of Fate Icon Twist of Fate grants you a 10-second buff each time you damage a target whose health is below 35%. The buff grants you 20% increased damage and 20% increased healing, and it does not stack.
  • Fortress of the Mind Icon Fortress of the Mind causes Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay and Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast to deal 10% more damage and generate 20% more Insanity.
  • Shadow Word: Void Icon Shadow Word: Void is an active ability with 3 charges and a 20-second recharge time. It deals Shadow damage to the target, and generates 25 Insanity.

Twist of Fate Icon Twist of Fate is the default choice for nearly every fight.

Fortress of the Mind Icon Fortress of the Mind can be the best choice on purely single-target encounters, however, the presence of any additional adds greatly diminishes its potency versus Twist of Fate Icon Twist of Fate. It also suffers on high movement encounters, and therefore is a very contextual choice.

Shadow Word: Void Icon Shadow Word: Void can be used to extend Voidform Icon Voidform for a more prolonged stretch, however, it does significantly less damage than the other talents. It could serve as a leveling talent, but nothing more.

4. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents for Shadow Priest

Mania Mania Body and Soul Body and Soul Masochism ? Masochism
  • Mania Icon Mania passively increases your movement speed by 1% for every 3 Insanity you have.
  • Body and Soul Icon Body and Soul causes Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield to increase your target's movement speed by 40% for 3 seconds.
  • Masochism Icon Masochism causes Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend's DoT to act as a HoT instead, when cast on yourself, and also causes you to take 10% reduced damage while it is active.

Body and Soul Icon Body and Soul is a potent choice in any scenario, as the on demand movement it provides often proves an invaluable tool, particularly when progressing on new encounters. Mania Icon Mania can be an entirely viable alternative, however, we only recommended it for players with a very high equipped item level. This is because the average time and maximum stacks in Voidform Icon Voidform are much higher for these players, allowing them to stay at maximum Insanity for longer and make better use of this talent.

Alternatively, you could use Masochism Icon Masochism in case you need to use your Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend on yourself often.

5. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents for Shadow Priest

Mind Bomb Mind Bomb Psychic Voice Psychic Voice Dominant Mind ? Dominant Mind
  • Mind Bomb Icon Mind Bomb replaces Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream. Mind Bomb has a 30-second cooldown and it places a debuff on the target which detonates after 2 seconds (or if the target dies before then), stunning all enemies within 8 yards for 4 seconds.
  • Psychic Voice Icon Psychic Voice reduces the cooldown of Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream by 30 seconds.
  • Dominant Mind Icon Dominant Mind changes Mind Control Icon Mind Control to allow you to also control your own character during this time (by turning the mind-controlled target into a pet). However, Mind Control can no longer be used against players, and it gains a 2-minute cooldown (up from not having a cooldown).

Mind Bomb Icon Mind Bomb is a good default talent; it is very useful in Mythic+ dungeons, and certain raid encounters as well (e.g. Il'gynoth). It also lines up perfectly with Sephuz's Secret Icon Sephuz's Secret if you are using that legendary.

Dominant Mind Icon Dominant Mind can theoretically provide a DPS boost in some cases, but it is a very niche talent.

Psychic Voice Icon Psychic Voice should not be taken.

6. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents for Shadow Priest

Lingering Insanity Lingering Insanity Reaper of Souls ? Reaper of Souls Void Ray Void Ray
  • Lingering Insanity Icon Lingering Insanity causes the haste bonus to fade by 2% per second upon exiting Voidform Icon Voidform, rather than ending immediately.
  • Reaper of Souls Icon Reaper of Souls allows you to cast Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death on targets below 35% health (up from 20%), and it always generates 30 Insanity as though it had killed the target.
  • Void Ray Icon Void Ray causes Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay damage to grant you a 6-second buff that increases the damage done by Mind Flay by 10%. This effect stacks up to 4 times.

Lingering Insanity Icon Lingering Insanity is the best option for most situations, as the bonus Haste is very valuable. When paired with Legacy of the Void Icon Legacy of the Void, a high uptime on the bonus Haste can be achieved.

Reaper of Souls Icon Reaper of Souls is the best choice if you are playing with the Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness talent.

Void Ray Icon Void Ray is a niche choice that can be used in low Mythic+, but generally it should be avoided.

7. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents for Shadow Priest

San'layn ? San'layn Auspicious Spirits Auspicious Spirits Shadowy Insight Shadowy Insight

Auspicious Spirits Icon Auspicious Spirits is our go-to talent on the tier. San'layn Icon San'layn is quite far behind (given the gearing Shadow Priests prefer).

Shadowy Insight Icon Shadowy Insight should not be taken.

8. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents for Shadow Priest

Power Infusion Power Infusion Misery Misery Mindbender Mindbender
  • Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion is an active ability with a 2-minute cooldown. It grants you a 25% increase in haste and Insanity generation for 20 seconds.
  • Misery Icon Misery causes Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch to also apply Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain.
  • Mindbender Icon Mindbender replaces Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend. Mindbender has a 1-minute cooldown (down from a 3-minute cooldown for Shadowfiend), and each attack the Mindbender makes generates 8 Insanity.

Mindbender Icon Mindbender is the best choice for all situations and should be used inside Voidform Icon Voidform to extend it to the maximum. Ideally, you use Mindbender as you stop being able to keep up with the Insanity drain through using your rotational spells (Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast/Void Bolt Icon Void Bolt/Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay/Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death) and then ideally you drop out of Voidform shortly after your Mindbender ends.

Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion is only for extremely short fights that only last for one Voidform Icon Voidform. Mindbender Icon Mindbender will generally win in any other situation, even paired with Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness.

Misery Icon Misery is a good choice when you need to reliably apply pressure to a large amount of short(er) lived targets. It is a good choice for Mythic+ dungeons.

9. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents for Shadow Priest

Legacy of the Void Legacy of the Void Shadow Crash ? Shadow Crash Surrender to Madness ? Surrender to Madness
  • Legacy of the Void Icon Legacy of the Void allows you to active Voidform Icon Voidform when you have 65 or more Insanity and increases your Shadow damage by 5%.
  • Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash is a slow moving projectile that hits all targets within 8 yards for heavy Shadow damage, on a 30 second cooldown.
  • Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness is an active ability with a 10-minute cooldown. It lasts until you exit Voidform Icon Voidform, and during this time all your abilities generate 100% more Insanity that normal, and you can cast while moving. When Surrender to Madness ends, or you run out of Insanity, you die. Horribly.

Legacy of the Void Icon Legacy of the Void is the default choice and will serve you well in any situation.

Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness becomes an option on very short fights that will only last about two Voidform Icon Voidforms in total (one regular Voidform and your long Surrender to Madness Voidform).

Shadow Crash Icon Shadow Crash is a really good option for Mythic+ and is generally preferred in that scenario. It can also be used for single target, where it is practically identical to Legacy of the Void Icon Legacy of the Void in terms of output, making it a viable choice for most raid encounters as well.

10. ChangeLog

  • 22 May 2018: Updated tier 4, 5, 6, and 7 talent discussions slightly (no real recommendation changes).
  • 30 Nov. 2017: Added a new note about Shadow Crash in dungeons.
  • 28 Aug. 2017: Updated talent tiers 2 and 5 for Patch 7.3.
  • 20 Aug. 2017: Corrected spelling error.
  • 06 Jul. 2017: Fixed LotV description.
  • 19 Jun. 2017: Added notes on Auspicious Spirits vs. San'layn
  • 14 Jun. 2017: Adjusted talents further (higher priority on Mindbender in low target situations).
  • 12 Jun. 2017: Page reviewed and deemed updated for 7.2.5.
  • 01 May 2017: Marked Fortress of the Mind with an X (as in, not recommended), updated Surrender to Madness description.
  • 28 Mar. 2017: No changes needed for Patch 7.2.
  • 14 Jan. 2017: Added a Surrender cheat sheet and time stamps for the end tier talents.
  • 10 Jan. 2017: Revamped talent section. Added cheat sheet talent builds and updated talents for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 16 Nov. 2016: Updated the Body and Soul description to account for its current movement speed bonus and duration.
  • 10 Oct. 2016: Updated Void Ray description, moved Power Infusion to being the recommended choice, and removed a mention about Mangaza's Madness influencing talent choice.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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