Shadow Priest DPS Stat Priority — Dragonflight 10.2

Last updated on Nov 07, 2023 at 10:19 by Publik 50 comments
General Information

On this page, you will find out the optimal stat priority for your Shadow Priest. We first present the stat priority, before delving into more complex explanations. Our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Dragonflight 10.2.

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


General Stat Priority

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

The general stat priority for a Shadow Priest is:

  1. Intellect;
  2. Haste;
  3. Mastery;
  4. Critical Strike;
  5. Versatility;

Intellect is our best stat, beating everything quite handily. This means gaining item level will typically be better than always having the most optimal secondary stats, as long as that piece is an Intellect increase. After Intellect, you ideally want Haste and/or Mastery on just about every piece of gear you can access. Haste has huge scaling potential with almost every spell in our toolkit, making it incredibly valuable. Mastery generally rewards playing well and directly buffs every spell in our kit. Critical Strike is typically right behind both of these stats and slightly better than Versatility.

This is pretty generic advice but should be good enough for starting to gear your Shadow Priest. Be sure to sim yourself on various fight types to get an idea of what stats YOUR character wants.

When you sim your character, be cautious about any crazy changes with gems/enchants when the amount gained is lower than 0.5%. This is typically the threshold for margin of error and something you should take with a heavy grain of salt. Furthermore, just doing single-target no-movement sims (Patchwerk) is not always realistic when it comes to the value of stats like Haste. These are all tools, not something that should ever be followed blindly.


Secondary Stat Diminishing Returns (DR)

Keep in mind that secondary stats diminish in value. This point starts to diminish for Haste, Critical Strike, and Versatility at 30%, meaning it takes more rating starting at this point and rising from there to get a percentage point. For Mastery, this starts at 19% for Shadow Priests since our Mastery point conversion value is at 0.5, bringing the cap to 15%. We have 4% base Mastery, giving us a start to the diminishing return value at 19%. These are not points to aim for; just keep in mind once you hit these points, you will see the value of that stat diminish slightly.

What this typically means is that as you approach the first or second thresholds, it might make sense to start allocating enchants or gems in another stat to continue to get maximum benefit.

These statistics have been obtained by combining common sense, in-game testing, and simulations using SimulationCraft.


Secondary Stat Optimization

As you get towards end-game gearing in the patch, you might notice your sims producing some unusual results. In this section, I am going to go over more advanced secondary stat optimization to help you understand what your goals should be with stats as you reach the top item level. Everyone will have slightly different gear, and you will want to adjust this to what makes the most sense for your character.

Note that I strongly suggest still using Haste and Mastery stats on all crafted pieces as a strong base for your gearing.

This advice comes directly from simming different targets, movement and adding in adds to see how these change stats. If you follow the advice below, you will be well-rounded to handle these cases; as always, you can sim your own character if you are looking for something more specific.

THESE ARE NOT CAPS. THEY ARE GOALS. Your own sims will fluctuate around this depending on specific trinkets or other special effects.

  1. Gear up your character, prioritizing getting as much Haste and Mastery as possible. Acquiring Intellect is your top priority.
  2. Get to roughly ~30-35% Haste
  3. Get to roughly ~19-21% Mastery
  4. Start moving Secondary Stats into Critical Strike > Versatility

See each section below to understand things in more detail.


Early Gearing

If you are just gearing your Shadow Priest, you should not drop everything to achieve the first goal. Instead, you should balance out your stats and bring up Haste and Mastery simultaneously. Once you get a decent amount of gear, then you can start optimizing as the goals describe.

This means you should NOT blindly get to 30-35% haste while ignoring Mastery. Instead, you should gradually acquire as much of both stats as you can until you start getting to more end-game gearing setups. This means roughly try and keep these stats even in terms of rating up until you start hitting the DR threshold.



Your rough goal should be anywhere in the 30-35% range. You will find that Voidform Icon Voidform builds lean more towards 35% and Dark Ascension Icon Dark Ascension builds lean more towards 30%. Balance this out for how you like to play.



Your next goal should be getting to the first diminishing return value for Mastery, at 19%. This is less important than the haste goal, but once you reach 30-35% haste, you should then roughly move enchants/gems to favor more Mastery up until 19%-21%. This will hit a point where you will roughly get the ratings to be equal in the 5500-6000 range.

When using Dark Ascension Icon Dark Ascension, you might notice sims favoring even going above 19% depending on your build. This can make sense in certain scenarios, but usually, when factoring in multi-target and movement, those stats make more sense elsewhere at that point. This stat does very well if you do not need to move; as you get comfortable with mechanics, you can start matching sims a bit more.

Note that in Season 3, you should keep in mind how your sim handles optimizing your secondary stats when using Nymue's Unraveling Spindle Icon Nymue's Unraveling Spindle since this gives a large chunk of Mastery available on our 2-minute bursts. Since this is just flat rating you, might see your sim drop a bit more on Mastery so that it does not devalue the trinket as much.


Final Stat Tuning

Once you reach ~30-35% haste and ~19-21% Mastery, you can make the choice to start moving any excess stats of Haste/Mastery into Critical Strike or even Versatility.

There are several ways to do this; choose whichever makes sense for you:

  • Swapping out Gems
  • Swapping out Enchants
  • Adjusting Temporary Rune on your Weapon
  • Finding other pieces of gear, likely in slots like Wrists or Cloak

The goal of your gearing at this point would be to get the most value out of your stats without subjecting them too much towards diminishing returns.

There are many, many different "Best-in-Slot" setups with this, and you should not blindly copy what another player is doing. The important thing is to get your character setup to follow the goals outlined above, recognizing there are several paths to doing that with different items.

In addition, depending on the items in your current gear set, you might see Critical Strike and Versatility be more competitive than normal. Cantrip items such as Vakash, the Shadowed Inferno Icon Vakash, the Shadowed Inferno or trinkets like Belor'relos, the Suncaller Icon Belor'relos, the Suncaller scale with Critical Strike and Versatility, but not Haste and Mastery. The more of these items you use it is normal for your sims to start showing more value in Crit/Vers.

As a final note, there is not anything special really about Critical Strike over Versatility. Sims show a lean towards Critical Strike (roughly 1%), but Versatility is close behind regardless of builds. For this reason, you should feel free to use either of these to help top off your gearing.


Gems, Enchants, and Consumables

The gems, enchants, and consumables you will use are directly derived from your stat priority. You can find our advice on this topic on our dedicated page.


Shadow Priest: Getting a Better Understanding


Stats Explained

Intellect is your primary stat. You should look for this stat in all of your upgrades. It provides you with Spell Power, which increases the damage of your spells.

Critical Strike increases your chance to critically hit with all spells and abilities.

Haste increases your spell-casting speed and the tick rate of your periodic effects.

Mastery (Mastery: Shadow Weaving Icon Mastery: Shadow Weaving) increases the damage of your spells for each damage over time effect you have active on that target. This only works with Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch, and Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague. While Voidform Icon Voidform is active, you get the benefit on every target as if they had all three dots active.

Versatility increases all your damage and healing done, and decreases all damage taken.



  • 07 Nov. 2023: Add note about Crit/Vers scaling with cantrip items.
  • 06 Nov. 2023: Updated stat thresholds and goals for Patch 10.2.0.
  • 04 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.7.
  • 13 Aug. 2023: Add video link.
  • 10 Aug. 2023: Add secondary stat deep dive section for optimizing top end gear.
  • 23 Jul. 2023: Reviewed from the recent hotfixes.
  • 10 Jul. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.5.
  • 25 May 2023: Add extra note about Ominous Chromatic Essence.
  • 22 May 2023: Add more detail on Haste soft caps.
  • 01 May 2023: Updated stat priority references to bugs that were fixed in 10.1.0.
  • 20 Mar. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.7.
  • 24 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.5.
  • 11 Dec. 2022: Reviewed for Dragonflight Season 1.
  • 28 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight launch.
  • 25 Oct. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
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