Updated for patch 5.4
Shadow Priest PvP, arguably, has at times been pretty sweet. Priest specced to Shadow can do impressive amounts of damage in a short period of time and even have decent survivability.
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This guide is oriented towards level 90 Shadow Priest PvP. If you’re not level 90 you’ll have to adjust appropriately. To get to 90 ASAP grab this leveling guide.
Shadow Priest PvP Contents
- Shadow Priest, in brief
- Shadow Priest PvP Build
- Shadow Priest Glyphs
- Shadow PvP Stats
- Shadow PvP Gems
- Shadow Enchants
- Race Choice
- “How to Shadow” Videos
- Shadow Priest Macros
- Shadow Abilities
- Shadow patch notes
- Leveling Faster
Other Priestly Guides
- Shadow PvE
- Discipline PvE, Discipline PvP, Discipline PvP Gear
- Holy PvE
- Priest overview and Priest leveling
They have the DoTs, some limited healing/mitigation through Vampiric Embrace and Power Word: Shield, CC techniques, great buffs, powerful blasts, and more. The Shadowform increases damage and reduces incoming damage. Not bad.
See below for selected patch 5.3 and 5.4 notes. 5.3 brought some nerfs, but Shadow is still viable. You just have to play it a bit more cautiously.
The Short Shadow PvP Guide
Some quick notes on S. Priests, scroll down for more detail. See this post for 5.3 and 5.4 PvP changes
- The build and glyphs : here
- For some rotations you can see the Shadow PvE page or see below.
- Get 6% Spell Hit, then…
- Int and Haste, patch 5.3 changed Resilience and nerfed PvP power and cut the gem value of both in half.
- Reforge all other stats into Haste
- Gems and Enchants:
- Gem for Int and Haste. As gear gets over 500 (in 5.4) then gear more for Haste.
- How much Resilience?
- Everyone has a base of 65% Resilience (72% in 5.4) so you should gem for offense as you want to punch the other guy’s 65%.
- PvE gear of similar level is not a viable option as it lacks in PvP power. PvE gear of much higher iLevel is viable until you get better PvP gear.
- Troll, for Berserking or Undead for the escape from effects.
- Human, for the escape and the Spirit and the expertise.
- Gathering profs if you need the gold, Herbalism has a very strong Haste cooldown.
- Alchemy and Engineering for the useful potions and toys, Blacksmithing for the gem sockets.
- How to Kill the Other Guy
- See below.
Shadow Priest PvP Build
Feel free to comment on these talent picks. Keep in mind that talents can be easily switched anytime you’re out of combat. Pick the new talent, spend a tome, follow the prompts, and you’re done.
Important note: most all of the talents are viable in one situation or another. Depending on what you are doing you might want to try other picks. Use what works best for whatever form of PvP you are doing.
|Tier 1: Acquired at level 15 – Control
Tier 2: Acquired at level 30 – Movement
There are no bad choices here, pick what works best for your game.
Tier 3: Acquired at level 45 – Healing and Damage
Tier 4: Acquired at level 60 – Emergencies
Tier 5: Acquired at level 75 – Bonuses
Tier 6: Acquired at level 90 – Godhood. Well, maybe not.
The major glyphs have all the useful spell changes, the minor glyphs are just cosmetic. Shadow has a number of useful glyphs, and these are more or less in order of interest. Which glyphs will depend on exactly what your role is. How much healing are you doing, for example.
- Reflective Shield – Bouncing spells back is always a good thing.
- Glyph of Inner sanctum – Take a bit less damage and move a bit more quickly. With the Shadowform nerf this patch you will really want this glyph.
- Glyph of mass dispell can remove bubbles and ice blocks. Given the cast time of MD, though, this glyph would be better for BGs than Arena.
- Glyph of Inner Fire – a nice armor boost.
- Glyph of Prayer of Mending – Larger first hit of P of M.
- Glyph of Renew More heal in less time.
- Glyph of Fade – 10% damage reduction, need more be said?
- Glyph of Mind Blast crits will root your target.
- Glyph of Leap of Faith to grab healer, or other ally, from harm’s way and free him from effects.
- Glyph of Dispersion reduces the cooldown of Disp.
- Mind Spike – Faster casting of Mind Blast, works very well with the From Darkness Comes Light talent.
- Shadow Ravens – Changes the form of your orbs.
- Dark Archangel – Changes your form when casting Devouring Plague
- Shadowy Friends – Your non-combat pets are now shadowy.
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- Stats, best to worst: Spell Hit to 6% > Intel > Haste > Mastery > Crit > PvP Power > Resilience
- Note: 15% Spell Hit is required for raid bosses.
Hit and Expertise add in to your Spell Hit. You want a total of 6% Spell Hit. Spirit from gear and effects (and the Human racial) also factors in. In short, 6% Spell Hit should be easy.
Intelligence is your spell power and it adds a bit of Crit. It’s still you best damage stat.
Haste reduces casting time of all spells including damage, heals, CCs and utility. It reduces the Global Cooldown of instant casts and reduces the tick time between DoTs and Renew. With the large amount of CC and movement in PvP, fast casts are essential.
There are also certain haste breakpoints at which you gain extra ticks on your DoTs and Renew. The most important breakpoint is 24.97% for SW:P and DP, but 30.01% for VT is achievable with Grievous gear and should be obtained.
Crit increases the critical strike chance of all spells, both damage and healing. Burst is partically important when dealing with healers. Crit also increases the crit chance of Shadowfiend and Mind Bender.
Mastery sounds better than it is. It increases the chance for all your DoTs to tick twice. About the only times where Mastery will be better than Crit is in big fights, where you’re spreading your DOTs out among a lot of targets. For all the rest, go with Crit.
PvP Power is like attack power for PvP only. It adds directly to your damage and heals on other players and has zero effect outside of PvP. Nerfed hard in patch 5.3 it’s still decent, but the PvP Power on your gear will be enough.
Resilience is 72% is patch 5.4, regardless of gear. Stacking it isn’t necessary, but if you really want more there are the gems and there is also a set bonus from the two PvP trinkets, which adds about 10%.
Make sure you have your Spell Hit to 6% and reforge everything else into Haste, then Crit. Get a reforging addon to make that job easy.
Gemming Shadow Priests
Point for point Int is more valuable than PvP Power. The PvP Power and the Resilience gems no longer have double the stats of Int gems (they lost that in 5.3.) This means that we are no longer gemming for either. You should also have no need to gem for Hit, though if you DO then an Int/Hit gem is a good way to go.
- Meta: Burning Primal Diamond until you can get Tyrannical Primal Diamond. Sinister Primal Diamond could be an interesting choice if you do the legendary gem quests.
- Red sockets: Brilliant Primordial Ruby
- Yellow Sockets:Quick Sun’s Radiance or Reckless Vermilion Onyx
- Blue sockets: Mysterious Imperial Amethyst
- Prismatic (Belt buckle and Blacksmithing sockets:) Brilliant Primordial Ruby
If your gold stash is too low to buy all the best gems and stuff, check these gold tips.
|Meta||Sinister Primal Diamond: +324 Critical Strike, and chance on spell damage to gain 30% spell haste
Burning Primal Diamond: +216 Int & 3% Increased Crit Effect
Tyrannical Primal Diamond: +665 PVP Power and +775 Resilience, requires 27k earned conquest points and iLevel 476, cost 1k conquest points.
|Red||Brilliant Serpent’s Eye: 320 Int, self-only Jewelcrafting gem
Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 160 Int
|Yellow||Mystic Sun’s Radiance: 160 Resilience
Quick Sun’s Radiance: +320 Haste
|Blue||Stormy River’s Heart: +160 PvP power
Rigid River’s Heart: +320 Hit
|Orange||Reckless Vermilion Onyx: 80 Int, 160 Haste|
|Green||Vivid Wild Jade: +80 Res, +80 PvP Power|
|Purple||Mysterious Imperial Amethyst: +80 Int, +80 PvP Power
Veiled Imperial Amethyst: 80 Int and 160 Hit
|Prismatic||Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 160 Int|
|Cogwheel||Requires an engie helm, such as Energized Retinal Armor.
Quick Tinker’s Gear: 600 Haste
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 600 Mastery
Shadow Priest Enchantments
Short on gold? If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about fixing your poverty.
Helm enchants are gone in Mists of Pandaria, shoulder enchants are handled by the Inscription profession.
|Shadow Priest Enchantments|
|Weapon||Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit: Sometimes increases Int by 1650, might increase Spirit.|
|Shoulders||Secret Crane Wing Inscription: – 520 Int and 100 Crit rating, Requires Inscription 550.
Greater Crane Wing Inscription: +200 Int and 100 Crit
|Cloak||Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect: +180 Int
Lightweave Embroidery – chance for 2k Int for 15 sec, requires tailoring
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Super Resilience: +200 Resilience
Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +80 to all stats
|Bracers||Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect: +170 Int
Fur Lining increases Int by 500, requires leatherworking.
Socket Bracer – Pop in a gem, requires Blacksmithing 400
|Gloves||Enchant Gloves – Greater Haste: +170-Haste
Socket Gloves – Pop in a gem, requires Blacksmithing 400
|Belt||Livingsteel Belt Buckle: Gem slot for a nice Int gem|
|Leggings||Greater Pearlescent Spellthread: +285 Int and +165 Spirit
Greater Cerulean Spellthread: +285 Int and +165 Crit
|Boots||Enchant Boots – Greater Precison: +175 Hit rating
Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step: +140 Mastery, slight run speed increase.
|Rings||Enchant Ring – Greater Intellect: +160 Int, Requires Enchanting 550|
Professions for Shadow PvP
While none of the professions helps alot with high end PvP they all have some benefit. They’re expensive to level and if you just need gold then go with the gathering professions and work them. The crafts are for those who need every last bit of burning power. All of the regular professions offer a self-only buff of some sort.
Leveling any of the crafting professions will be expensive. Check out Tycoon if you are short on gold.
Since the gems with secondary stats (PvP Power, Haste, Etc.) have twice the value of those with primary stats (Int) you’ll see that Blacksmithing, which allows two more gem slots, will give you 640 PvP Power Vs the 320 or so Int bonus that the other profs give you.
Herbalism provides 2880 Haste rating every two minutes, so might be well worth considering.
|Tailoring||Cloak enchant sometimes adds 2k Int for 15 seconds. Make your starter PvP set.|
|Leatherworking||Bracer enchant adds 500 int.|
|Jewelcrafting||Make nicer gems for your own use.|
|Enchanting||Enchant both rings, for a total +320 Int gain.|
|Inscription||Shoulder enchant adds 520 Int and 100 crit.|
|Alchemy||More effect from your own potions. Adds 320 Int and an extra hour to your main flask.|
|Engineering||has lots of interesting toys, some of which have situational use, and Synapse Springs, which increases Int by 1940 for a short time. If you take this use a macro to activate it along with other short term buffs.|
|Blacksmithing||gives two extra gems slots. Since gems with secondary stats have twice the value of gems with primary stats Blacksmithing might be a very valuable profession. For example, you’ll be able to socket he two gems for 640 PvP Power instead of 320 Int.|
|Skinning||provides 480 crit rating|
|Herbalism||Small heal and Lifeblood (2880 Haste for 20 seconds)|
Race Choices for Shadow Priest PvP
Pandarens can be Priests, Orcs are the only race which cannot be priests.
The best race choice is the one that you want to play. Your skills will far outshadow any of the racials. That said, here’s a rundown of the racial bonuses.
- Horde: Troll (Berserking, VooDoo Shuffle), Uneaded (PvP – remove effects)
- Alliance: Human (Spirit, Escape, Rep gains)
Pandarens get to choose, once they leave the starting area, whether they will join the Horde or the Alliance.
- They can stun enemies with a strike of their hand, for four seconds. While you’re hardly melee, this will have some “I want to get away from you!” value.
- Rested (as from an Inn) XP lasts longer, for slightly faster leveling.
- Increased benefits from food buffs
- Good at Cooking.
- “Bouncy,” so take less falling damage when knocked off the lumber mill (not that you care since you have Levitate.)
Blood Elf – Best hair, no useful Priest abilities.
- Arcane Torrent restores some Mana and interrupts casting. Unfortunately, it’s point blank and won’t interrupt those melee types who will be in your face.
- Good with Enchanting
Goblin – Holy relics for sale! What? Of course they’re genuine! You calling me a con gob, bud?
- Rocket Jump is a nice escape from pesky melee types.
- 1% Haste is a nice stat for any Priest.
- Good with Alchemy
Tauren – You have no interesting Priest specific abilities and you’re the butt of cow jokes.
- War Stomp might have some use when mobs/melee get too close, allowing you to escape.
- Increased health isn’t increased by that much at high level, but is always nice.
- Good with Herbalism
Troll – Good Priest choice, and the best tusks anywhere.
- Berkerk is a nice spell casting speed increase, put it in a macro with the appropriate spells so it goes off when you need it.
- Damage increase Vs beasts is very nice when leveling, but has no PvP use.
- Reduced duration of movement impairing effects has some use. .
- Ranged weapon expertise is useless to you.
Undead – “And you are…?”
- Removing fear, charm, etc (Will of the Forsaken) is a nice PvP ability and has some PvE use.
- Cannibalism means never having to pack food/water in your bags and is a nice “in your face” for PvP.
- Drain Life (which also heals you slightly.) This ability is passive and so will be a general DPS (and self-healing) addition.
Draenei – regal enough to look the part.
- +1 to Hit helps it all situations. You only need 6% Hit for PvP, though.
- The heal is redundant, for Holy and Discipline. Shadow might find some use for it, since you won’t have to drop out of Shadowform to use it.
Dwarf – No “short jokes” please.
- Stoneform removes bleeds and reduces damage by 10%
- Ranged weapon expertise is useless to you
- Mace expertise will add to your Spell Hit rating if you’re equipping a mace.
- Good with Archeology
Human – Might be the best overall Priest choice.
- Increased Spirit helps a bit with mana regen, and it also adds a bit to your Hit rating due to your Spiritual Precision ability (roughly 0.5%.)
- Bonus to rep gains helps with faction grinding.
- Equipping a mace adds +1% to your Spell Hit rating via your Mace expertise.
- PvP trinket ability allows use of two DPS/Healing trinkets in PvP.
Gnome – Short and… well, er… short.
- Can escape from speed altering effects (Escape Artist,) which has PvP use and situational PvE use.
- Dagger expertise adds +1 to your spell Hit rating if you’re using a dagger.
- Increased mana pool helps, a bit.
- Good with Engineering
Night Elf – Look great in nice gear.
- Shadowmeld has its uses in PvP and can drop aggro in PvE. It can also break incoming spells if you time it just right.
- Being 2% harder to hit is nice.
Worgen – Oh my, Father Wolfie, What big teeth you have…
- 1% crit bonus is nice for heals or damage, even though Crit isn’t your best stat.
- Sprint-like ability (sprint) has its uses.
- Good with Skinning
Shadowy Videos for Mists of Pandaria
A nice discussion of talents, builds, and glyphs in 5.4.
Shadow Priest PVP DPS Rotation Guide
This is a basic “how to Shadow PvP” guide.
How Spectral Guise (tier 4 talent) works
Skill-Capped has a very nice collection of Priest PvP guides (all specs) and a lively forum. Not free, but $4 a month won’t break your budget. Check it out.
Here are some of the Skill-Capped videos:
Shadow Priest Macros
- #showtooltip 10
- /use 13
- /use 10
General Targeting – use this to target someone with a keypress, rather than clicking or tabbing. Best for Arenas, since you have only a few opponents. Make one for each opponent, eg: arena1, arena2, etc. You can also target your team members, just insert their name in place of arena1.
- /target arena1
You can do the same thing with “focus.”
- /focus [target=arena1]
Shadowfiemd– Summons the fiend if it’snot already up, makes sure it’s “defensive”, activates ShadowCrawl, and attacks.
- #showtooltip Shadowfiend
- /cast [nopet] Shadowfiend
- /cast Shadowcrawl
Focus Silence – Silences your focus target. Very nice for when he’s being annoying (such as casting something at your team.) You can also use [target=arena1] (or 2 or 3) for other targets.
- #showtooltip Silence
- /cast [target=focus] Silence
More S. Priest macros on Skill-Capped.
Shadow Priest Abilities.
These abilities define you as a Shadow Priest, all the other abilities and talents are common to any Priest.
|Mind Flay||10||Basic attack|
|Spiritual Precision (P)||20||Spell Hit gained from Spirit|
|Devouring Plague||21||Burn Shadow Orbs to throw damage and heal self.|
|Mind Blast||21||Basic attack, generate an Orb.|
|Shadow Orbs (P)||21||Used to power Dev. Plague and Psychic horror|
|Shadowform||24||Hmmm, I wonder what this couild be…|
|Vampiric Touch||28||Put a DOT on the opposition and gain mana.|
|Shadowy Apparitions (P)||42||A Shadowy suicide bomber you walks towards the enemy.|
|Mind Spike||44||Blasts the target and zaps your DOTs on same.|
|Silence||52||Time to shut up. The enemy, not you.|
|Dispersion||60||Massive damage reduction and regen mana|
|Vampiric Embrace||78||Heal allies while you do damage.|
|Mastery: Shadowy Recall (P)||80||More damage from your DOTs.|
|Void Shift||87||Swap health numbers with an ally, might restore some health if one or the other is very low.|
Shadow Priest Patch Notes
5.4 Patch Notes
- Nice: Leap of Faith no longer has a facing requirement. Quite nice every now and then when you just aren’t looking that way.
- SW: D Buff 1: Shadow Word: Death damage is now increased by 80% (over patch 5.3) when used on enemies that have less than 20% health, but the cooldown is no longer reset if the target does not die. This makes it much more lethal.
- SW: D Buff 2: Shadow Word: Death now deals 15% more damage.
- Shadow Word: Pain now deals 25% more damage.
- Significant Nerf: Shadowform now increases the Priest’s armor by 60%, but no longer reduces all damage taken by 15%. Casters will now do more damage to you. Ditto for any class doing magical damage, eg: Some DK and some Hunter attacks.
- Shadowy Apparitions now creates a shadowy version of the Priest that floats towards the target and deals damage. The apparitions are now treated as a missile, and is no longer an attackable creature. Pretty interesting change.
- Vampiric Touch now deals 20% more damage.
- Buffed: Angelic Feather now increases allies’ movement speed by 80%, up from 60%, and feathers placed in the world have a duration of 10 minutes (up from 5 minutes). This is a very nice speed boost. You can chain feathers for constant movement.
- Buffed: From Darkness, Comes Light – Shadow: Now has a 20% chance to activate its effect for Shadow Priests (up from a 15% chance). You’ll see a lot more procs if you have more than one target.
- Mindbender was nicely buffed and now deals 10% more damage, and mana return has been increased by 20%. You’ll still probably use the other talents, but this one now has more use in certain situations.
- Nerf: Psyfiend no longer benefits from Haste, its health has been nerfed by 75%, but fixed a bug where Psyfiend wasn’t being affected by base Resilience. It’s now very easily killed by anyone.
- Buff: Twist of Fate‘s damage and healing threshold to activate has been increased to 35% of the target’s base health, up from 20%. While this is nice, the Divine Insight talent is still much better.
Glyphs: Major Glyphs
- Replaced: Glyph of Dark Binding‘s effect is now baseline and has been replaced with Glyph of Focused Mending, which causes Prayer of Mending to only bounce between the target and the caster.
- Glyph of Fear Ward now reduces the cooldown on Fear Ward without reducing its duration.
- Glyph of Purify now causes Purify to heal the target for 5% of their maximum health after successfully dispelling a magical effect or disease (up from 3%).
- Glyph of Reflective Shield now causes Power Word: Shield to reflect 70% of the damage absorbed (up from 45%).
- Shadow PvP 4-piece set bonus is no longer an area-of-effect and only affects the character that dispels Vampiric Touch
- Shaman totems have been changed and it should be easier to land fears on the Shaman.
- S. Priests are still solid in 5.4.
The Fast Priest Leveling Guide
WoW has about a bazillion quests and sometimes one is left with the question, “where to go… how do I find… what to do next…?” Especially if you haven’t already leveled several characters to the max. Sometimes even if you have.
Leveling your Priest, of any build, doesn’t have to be an exercise in frustration. Snag yourself to an in-game leveling guide, like Zygor’s guide, and you will never again have to ask any of the “Where to go…” questions. Zygor’s gives you the fastest step by step path and is fully automated. This means that the guide knows where you are and updates your quests and directions as you move along (though it won’t play the game for you.)
Everything you need to know is contained within the guide and it’s displayed (in a moveable, resizeable window) on your main screen. You may never have to look at your quest log again, much less consult some website. It doesn’t matter whether you’re brand new to the World of Warcraft, are decked head to toe in heirlooms, or have grabbed many levels in the dungeons or through PvP, Zygor has your back.