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Shadow Priest PvP Rotation and Playstyle (BfA / Patch 8.3)

Last updated on Feb 19, 2020 at 10:52 by Mysticall 7 comments

PvP requires you to perform various actions in the course of a duel, match, or battleground: interrupting/silencing enemies, damaging them, bursting them down, defending yourself, keeping yourself alive, etc.. It is a game mode that fully utilizes your kit, especially spells that are rarely used in PvE. On this page, we go through all the spells you need to use in PvP as a Shadow Priest, how you should use them, and we explain what your playstyle should be.

This page is part of our Shadow Priest PvP Guide.

1.

Playstyle for Shadow Priests

The main role for a Shadow Priest is complex. A large majority of the time, you will just try to stay alive. You will be the focus for many teams. Make sure your partners can help peel for you, so you can get away and cast. Not only that, but you will also have to help your teammates survive if they are being focused. There are two main things you will focus on as a Shadow Priest has in Arena.

The first is keeping you and your team alive. This is a weird role to have as a DPS specialization. Most DPS classes will just focus on using crowd control and doing damage. Shadow Priests have unique utility that no other casters have, such as abilities like Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield, Leap of Faith Icon Leap of Faith and Void Shift Icon Void Shift that help you and your teammates when being focused.

The thing you will focus on is to always have spread pressure on the enemy team. This can be difficult when being focused, but it is crucial. Shadow Priest AoE pressure is unmatched. Always refresh your DoTs and enter Voidform Icon Voidform when there is an opportunity to free cast.

1.1.

Before Gates Open

Before the gates open, know exactly who you will using crowd control (Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream and Silence Icon Silence) on. Another ability to coordinate is Void Shift Icon Void Shift; make sure not to overlap it with other defensive cooldowns. Make sure to use Power Word: Fortitude Icon Power Word: Fortitude on your teammates. It can be dispelled by abilities like Purge Icon Purge or Spellsteal Icon Spellsteal, so be prepared to apply it often.

2.

Damage Rotations

There are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Try to get into Voidform Icon Voidform as quickly as possible.
  • Most teams will focus you, so be prepared to cast spells as soon as you get the chance.
  • Try to "juke" enemies into wasting their interrupts. This means to begin casting a spell and canceling it to get the enemy team to use their interrupts on nothing.
  • Always keep your DoTs (Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain) on all enemies.
2.1.

The Opener

The opener refers to your team's opening crowd control chain and damage done as soon as you get out of the gates. The main goal in the opener is to force your enemies to use their cooldowns. If the enemy healer uses their trinket in the opener, they are in trouble. With a ranged Stun and Silence, Shadow Priests no longer have to overextend to get crowd control on enemies. This helps with survivability and damage output.

Likewise, if an enemy DPS uses their trinket, you can crowd control the healer and stun the DPS without a trinket. This means they can be burst down in a stun and possibly killed.

When opening do the following:

  1. Cast Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch. If you are using Misery Icon Misery, it should also apply Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain.
  2. Cast Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain if you are not using Misery Icon Misery.
  3. Cast Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast on the main target.
  4. Cast Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay as a filler.
  5. Use your burst rotation when you have enough Insanity to enter Voidform Icon Voidform.
  6. After your burst, perform your sustained damage rotation until your burst cooldowns are available.
2.2.

Burst Damage

When you have the enemy healer in crowd control and you are trying to kill an enemy, you use your burst damage. To use your crowd control, simply cast Mind Bomb Icon Mind Bomb or Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream on the enemy healer. Once it expires, use Silence Icon Silence.

  1. Use Void Eruption Icon Void Eruption to enter Voidform Icon Voidform.
  2. Use Psychic Horror Icon Psychic Horror on the kill target. If you are playing with a class that also has a stun you should use this after the stun. At the same time you should Silence Icon Silence the enemy healer.
  3. Use Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast when you get a Shadowy Insight Icon Shadowy Insight proc.
  4. Use Void Bolt Icon Void Bolt to extend the duration of you Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch's and Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pains.
  5. Use Mindbender Icon Mindbender if you are using this talent.
  6. Use Psyfiend Icon Psyfiend.
  7. Use Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay as a filler.
  8. Use Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death if you are using this talent and the enemy is at low enough health.

Make sure to refresh your DoTs by using Void Bolt Icon Void Bolt. This will drastically increase your damage output and lets you use more important spells. This also generates Insanity quickly.

2.3.

Sustained damage

Sustained damage is damage you do when your burst cooldowns are not available.

  1. Cast Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch. If you are using Misery Icon Misery, it should also apply Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain.
  2. Use Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain if you are not using Misery Icon Misery.
  3. Cast Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast.
  4. Use Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast when you get a Shadowy Insight Icon Shadowy Insight proc.
  5. Cast Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay as a filler.
  6. Refresh Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain.
  7. If you get interrupted use Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield.
  8. Use Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay as a filler.
  9. Use Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death if you are using this talent and the enemy is at low enough health.
3.

Cooldowns/Defensives

Dispersion Icon Dispersion is the main defensive cooldown for Shadow Priests. This reduces all damage done to you by 60%, but you cannot use any abilities while it is active.

Void Shift Icon Void Shift is another great defensive cooldown. With a 5-minute cooldown it is likely to only be used once a game, but can help stabilize your team instantly. This cooldown needs to be coordinated with your healer so there is no overlap with other cooldowns. Use this when being focused and swap your health with a teammate at higher health. Alternatively, you can use it on a teammate that is at low health. Keep all of this in mind when you are choosing your third PvP talent.

Vampiric Embrace Icon Vampiric Embrace is a defensive ability that, when used properly, can stabilize your team quickly. When you or your teammate is taking heavy damage and you have time to free cast, use this ability. Abilities like Vampiric Touch Icon Vampiric Touch and Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay can completely heal your team.

Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield is a versatile spell that helps your team. You can also use it to generate Insanity if you get interrupted on Shadow abilities.

Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend is a direct heal that can be used on teammates. This is a great ability when you are trying to get the enemy team to interrupt you or if there are no more interrupts left. Although it does not do a substantial amount of healing, it can help your healer if they are in crowd control.

4.

Macros

It is advised to use Macros to use abilities on enemies or allies without having to target them. For this reason, we have a page dedicated to them.

5.

Changelog

  • 19 Feb. 2020: Updated Burst and Sustained damage rotations.
  • 20 Jan. 2020: This page was checked for Patch 8.3 and no update was deemed necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2020: Page added.
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