Shadow Priest DPS Spell Summary — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1
On this page, we present you with all spells and procs that you need to understand as a Shadow Priest in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1.
1. Shadow Priest Spell Summary
If you are new to Shadow, this is a great place to start to get an understanding of how the spec works. On this page we will discuss what abilities you have, what they are used for within the specialisation, how they interact with each other and also with important cooldowns. If you already have experience with Shadow and are comfortable with it in Legion, it is recommended you skip this section and move on to the rest of the guide.
2. Main Resource for Shadow Priest
Insanity is your primary resource as a Shadow Priest. All of our offensive abilities generate Insanity. The goal is to generate 90 Insanity (60 Insanity with the Legacy of the Void talent) in order to enter Voidform, at which point you go into an enhanced state during which your Insanity is progressively drained and if you run out of Insanity, Voidform ends. Once you drop out of Voidform you will want to build Insanity again like before and then go back into Voidform, repeating the process. Insanity management is a crucial part of playing a Shadow Priest.
Mana is your secondary resource as a Shadow Priest. Most of our utility spells cost Mana to use, though managing Mana attentively is generally not required.
3. Basic Abilities for Shadow Priest
These are your core skills that are available regardless of talents, and form the core gameplay of the specialization.
Void Eruption has a 2.5-second cast time (reduced by Haste), at the end of which you enter Voidform. Void Eruption also deals a big burst of damage to all enemies within 10 yards of your target. The Shadow rotation is altered while you are inside of Voidform, and this is the part of the gameplay that is the most complex. During Voidform, the cooldown of Mind Blast is reduced by 1.5 seconds, and you gain 0.5% Haste per second (multiplicatively).
Void Bolt is an ability that replaces Void Eruption while Voidform is active. It is instant cast and it deals damage to the target, adding 3 seconds to the existing durations of Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch to the target and all nearby targets, on top of also generating Insanity. This is generally one of the most important spells for Shadow when in Voidform and is ideally cast on cooldown.
Shadow Word: Pain is one of your two DoTs. It deals Shadow damage to the target over time, and generates Insanity on application.
Vampiric Touch is one of your two DoTs. It deals Shadow damage to the target over time, heals you for 50% of the damage dealt, and generates Insanity on application.
Mind Blast deals damage to a single target, which has a 7.5-second cooldown, affected by Haste, and which generates a high amount of Insanity. It is generally one of your highest priority spells. Its cooldown is also reduced once you go into Voidform.
Mind Flay is a channeled spell that deals Shadow damage to the target and slows their movement speed by 50%. It generates Insanity, has no cooldown, and is used as a filler throughout your rotation.
Mind Sear is a channeled spell that deals Shadow damage to your target and all other targets within 10 yards. It generates Insanity per target hit and serves as the replacement of Mind Flay in the rotation if there are 3 or more targets. It is also our only baseline on demand AoE spell.
4. DPS Cooldowns for Shadow Priest
Shadowfiend has a 3-minute cooldown and it summons a shadowy fiend that attacks your target for 12 seconds. It is a fairly decent increase in DPS when used, and is considered an offensive cooldown. Ideally it should be paired with high Haste buffs such as high Voidform stacks and Bloodlust.
5. Utility Spells for Shadow Priest
Hallucinations is a passive ability that grants you 6 Insanity on successful Dispel Magic, Mass Dispel, Purify Disease, Vampiric Embrace, and Power Word: Shield casts. This reduces the penalty of having to spend globals on utility spells, as you do not lose any Insanity generation in the process.
Vampiric Embrace heals allies based on 85% of the single-target damage you do on a 2-minute cooldown. This is particularly useful in solo or up to 5-man content, but can also be useful for raids.
Mass Dispel removes all harmful Magic effects on up to 5 allies, and 1 beneficial Magic effect on up to 5 enemies on a 45-second cooldown. This is situationally very useful, particularly in dungeons. It does cost a lot of mana and has a fairly lengthy cooldown, however.
Purify Disease removes all Disease effects from friendly targets. This is generally niche in its use, but sees use in dungeons from time to time which still makes it a valuable addition.
Shadow Mend allows you to heal a friendly target. Mostly useful to sustain yourself when needed, but can also be used when off-healing is needed. The DoT it leaves behind on targets is negligible.
Power Word: Shield allows you to shield a friendly target. This is primarily used on yourself when you need to mitigate damage, but can also be used on other friendly targets.
Dispersion is your only baseline defensive spell as Shadow, reducing all damage taken by 75% but also preventing you from casting any spells for its duration. It also stops your Insanity from draining as long as you are dispersed and increases your movement speed by 50%. Dispersion has a 2-minute cooldown and is a solid defensive, even despite its downside of not being able to cast during it.
Focused Will is a passive ability, which causes melee abilities and attacks to reduce all damage you take by 15% for 8 seconds. This gives you some passive defense which is very welcome.
Silence allows you to prevent a target from casting for 4 seconds on a 45-second cooldown. If the target is immune to silence effects, it also works as a standard interrupt if you use it on a target while it is casting.
Psychic Scream fears up to 5 enemies close to you for 8 seconds on a 1-minute cooldown. Primarily useful to get enemies off you when you are alone.
Leap of Faith pulls a friendly party or raid member toward you. It has a 1.5-minute cooldown.
Mind Control allows you to take control of an enemy target for 30 seconds. This does not work on Demonic, Mechanical or Undead targets.
Shackle Undead allows you to prevent an Undead target from taking any actions for 50 seconds. This effect breaks upon any damage.
- 10 Dec. 2018: Updated for Patch 8.1 changes.
- 30 Aug. 2018: Added a section regarding baseline utility Shadow has.
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