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[H2P] Shadow Raiding: the Primer, 5.4 Edition!

[H2P] Shadow Raiding: the Primer, 5.4 Edition!

Postby Woaden » 19 Aug 2012, 02:14

Updated 9-10-2013 to Patch 5.4.0 (Build 17359)

Deutscher MoP Schattenpriester Guide von Thorsten: Klick. Es ist eine großartige ressource für deutschsprachige Schattenpriester.

If you didn't already know: I'm kind of big deal :D Jokes aside I wrote the WotLK PvE Shadow Sticky of the same title and was extremely active on several forums. Real life pulled me away from WoW during the Cataclysm expansion, but I have decided to come back for MoP. As such I want to again become a contributor to the Shadow Priest community by sharing information I've both gathered and acquired. I will do my best to respond to replies but there are also many, many other knowledgeable Shadow Priests that use these forums who would be happy to help you.

This a guide for people wanting to play a Shadow Priest at max level in PvE content with a strong emphasis on Raiding. I will try to keep this as fact based and amateur friendly as possible. Be warned though that I intend this to be fairly comprehensive (aka long), so feel free to skim through to sections most relevant to you. I will be offering my opinion and thoughts at various points along the way but they will be labeled as such. I will also pull a lot of my information from other sources that will be properly cited. I plan on keeping this up to date.

Abbreviations to become familiar with as a Shadow Priest:

BiS – Best in Slot
CC – Crowd Control
DoT – Damage over Time
DI – Divine Insight
DP – Devouring Plague
FDCL – From Darkness, Comes Light
(G)CD – (Global) Cool Down
LCP – Legendary Cloak Proc
LMG – Legendary Meta Gem
LoF – Leap of Faith
MB – Mind Blast
MF – Mind Flay
MF:I – Mind Flay: Insanity
MS – Mind Sear
MSp – Mind Spike
PP – Pseudo Power or Stat Weightings
PW:S – Power Word: Shield
SO – Shadow Orb
SW:D – Shadow Word: Death
SW:P – Shadow Word: Pain
Tick – The part of your DoT that inflicts damage
ToF – Twist of Fate
VE – Vampiric Embrace
VT – Vampiric Touch

A more complete list of abbreviations can be found at:
Veiled's post here.
Elethia's post here.

Table of Contents:
USE THIS. Clicking these links will take you directly to that section and at the end of every section there is a link that will take you back here.

I. Specialization
II. Talents
III. Glyphs
IV. Rotation
V. Strategies
VI. Gear / Reforging
VII. Gemming
VIII. Enchanting
IX. Consumables
X. Professions
XI. Races
XII. Addons
XIII. Macros
XV. Links and Misc
XVI. Changelog

I. Specialization

Welcome to Shadow! Merely by selecting your spec at level 10 you get access to all the most important Shadow spells. What this does is hack down the talent tree a good bit and is one of several changes for MoP. This quite thankfully (imo) includes a change to a DoT centric Mastery. Below are the Spells and Abilities associated with selecting the Shadow Specialization and the levels at which they become available. All numbers are for characters at level 90:

Mind Flay 10

Spiritual Precision (Passive) 20

Devouring Plague 21

Mind Blast 21

Shadow Orbs (Passive) 21

Shadowform 24

Vampiric Touch 28

Shadowy Apparitions (Passive) 42

Mind Spike 44

Silence 52

Dispersion 60

Psychic Horror 74

Vampiric Embrace 78

Mastery: Shadowy Recall (Passive) 80

Void Shift 87

For more in depth information on individual Talents, Abilities and mechanics please visit:
Lux et Umbra - A Priest Mechanics Guide

This part is somewhat fuzzier than in the last expansion. There's a lot that is situational or preference based and as such there's not a whole lot of "wrong" choices. Please be aware that as long as you're alive and out of combat you can change individual talents as long as you have the reagent on you. The same can be done with Glyphs.

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II. Talents

Every 15 levels you'll get a new Talent point to spend on one of three Talent tree options. You must select one and only one of the Talents on each tier. Please be aware that as long as you're alive and out of combat you can change individual talents as long as you have the reagent on you.

What follows is a brief description and overview for each Talent.

Tier 1 - Level 15:
This first tier is a choice for what kind of CC you want, and we actually have some great choices this time! They're all low CDs and will not have any direct effect on DPS so this will be a choice for you based on the content you're doing, your role in the raid, and personal preference.

Void Tendrils

    - Unless adds are immune to rooting this is by far the best option for CC.
    - If the mobs attack the Tendrils that means less time possibly hitting other people, making this dual use as a brief AoE 'tanking' CD.
    - There is only a 10 second gap between the duration and CD meaning potentially high uptime.
    - Very useful in Heroic 5's dungeons and world PvE content.
    - Subject to Diminishing Returns in PvP.


    - A combination of break on damage and the random nature of fear / flee make this more than likely a PvP only Talent.
    - Affected by the Glyph of Psychic Scream.

Dominate Mind

    - A reworked and more powerful version of Mind Control.
    - Not limited to Humanoids and no increase to time between attacks.
    - Rumors abound as to it's possible PvE uses...

Tier 2 - Level 30:
This Tier is all about movement. My personal choice is here is Body and Soul. More below.

Body and Soul

    - Basically if you need to move cast PW:S on yourself and zip a couple dozen yards in no time flat.
    - It will not remove movement impairing effects already present.
    - My personal choice

Angelic Feather

    - When one person runs over a feather it is consumed, multiple people can NOT benefit from a single feather.
    - Allows for longer and faster periods of increased movement vs. Body and Soul.
    - May be difficult to use efficiently in chaotic / crowded encounters.
    - Great utility for assisting with kiting.


    - While this does not have a direct CD, Fade has a baseline 30 second CD which trickles down to this.
    - Can be stronger in PvP situations.
    - Has some synergy with Glyph of Fade.

Tier 3 - Level 45:
This is our first Tier with real DPS Talents.

From Darkness, Comes Light

    - With the 5.4 proc rate buff it will be our go to for encounters with a lot of adds and movement.
    - Scales very well with Multi-DoTing.


    - Will be the best choice for mana intensive encounters.
    - May be an option on high movement encounters or for predictable burst.

Solace and Insanity

    - Relies on being stationary for the entire DP duration.
    - Insane burst damage.

Tier 4 - Level 60:
This is the I-don't-want-to-die Tier. It's mainly a choice between a Proc and an on use ability.

Desperate Prayer

    - Can be cast in Shadowform.
    - Off the GCD.
    - A staple of raiding, an added layer of survivability.
    - For those who don't want to rely on the proc based Angelic Bulwark.

Spectral Guise

    - Does not appear to have a legitimate PvE use in the context of Raiding at this time.

Angelic Bulwark

    - Lower CD than Desperate Prayer and triggers automatically when needed.
    - This is essentially an equal Talent to Desperate Prayer.
    - Will NOT trigger if you go from 31% to 0%, instead you will die.

Tier 5 - Level 75:
This Tier is where things get interesting in my opinion.

Twist of Fate

    - Buffed in 5.4 to activate at 35% making it the general choice for Tier 16.
    - Amazing for encounters with mobs dying regularly.

Power Infusion

    - Due to the changes to RPPM for 5.4 and our high level of Haste this has lost much of its value.
    - Stacks with other Haste effects including Troll Racial and Heroism.

Divine Insight

    - With our high Haste and opportunities for multi-DoTing will be a strong choice in Tier 16.
    - Scales very well with Multi-DoTing.

Tier 6 - Level 90:
Our third, but in a way the less important damage tier. It's a choice made based largely on the positioning of you, your raid and the mob(s) in the specific encounter. For those wanting to know more about our Tier 90 talents Twintop did an amazing analysis on them (updated for 5.2) and is worth a read.


    - Fights with spread out adds is where this shines.
    - Strong synergy with ToF.
    - While less rigid than Halo's range requirement it's still something to take note of.

Divine Star

    - Is a great choice for Heroic 5's, Challenge Modes, and world PvE.
    - For Healing intensive progression very useful to help healers at the cost of personal DPS.


    - Currently does the most single target damage overall.
    - You must get the addon Halo Pro or something similar to make full use of the spell.
    - This hits all friendly and hostile targets in range making it a guaranteed trinket proc ability and healing for a fair amount.

For more in depth information on individual Talents, Abilities and mechanics please visit Nysem's Lux et Umbra - A Priest Mechanics Guide

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III. Glyphs

Glyphs that are only usable by Holy or Disc will not be included in this list though they will be included in your Glyph tab in game. Please be aware that as long as you're alive and out of combat you can change individual glyphs as long as you have the reagent on you.

These are the only glyphs with any impact on your DPS. However many of the Major Glyphs we have access to just aren't that useful for PvE Shadow. As such I've separated them into three categories.

Very Useful:

    * Glyph of Inner Sanctum - Very nice defensive glyph. Added survivability means less pressure on healers and you will probably live longer. Will changing for long runs is a strong aspect to consider.

    * Glyph of Mind Flay - Potentially high uptime, making movement less painful. Less time moving equates to more DPS in encounters.

    * Glyph of Vampiric Embrace - Very nice glyph as the healing used from VE is best front-loaded rather than over time.

    * Glyph of Weakened Soul - Good for both using Body and Soul more often as well as relief from raid damage.


    * Glyph of Dispersion - With the current lack of mana issues and the minor reduction in CD this is a pretty throw away glyph.

    * Glyph of Fade - Decent defensive glyph choice. Has some synergy with Phantasm.

    * Glyph of Fear Ward - Not very useful, would only use in very specific Fear encounters (ie Sha of Fear, Grand Empress).

    * Glyph of Focused Mending - New for 5.4, high potential during AoE damage. Note that PoM will simply disappear if you first cast it on yourself with this glyph.

    * Glyph of Inner Fire - Many encounters contain significant damage that is Physical even when you're not getting melee'd. With the 5.4 Changes to Shadowform this glyph became even stronger against Physical damage.

Little to No Use:

    * Glyph of Binding Heal - You so rarely have a need to use Binding Heal that this glyph is just a waste.

    * Glyph of Dispel Magic - Increases damage by giving your Dispel some damage. However when stacked up against other Glyphs is relatively weak.

    * Glyph of Holy Nova - Does almost no damage, breaks Shadowform.

    * Glyph of Leap of Faith - Seems pretty useless atm.

    * Glyph of Levitate - Compared to the other movement abilities we have access to I would rate this among the bottom of the pack.

    * Glyph of Mass Dispel - Nerfed in 5.3 to no longer reduce the cast time. Without any pertinent encounters that even call for Mass Dispel this is quite useless in PvE.

    * Glyph of Mind Blast - Will have no effect on bosses and is random (aka unreliable).

    * Glyph of Mind Spike - Nerfed in 5.2 such that only Hard Casts of MSp will shorten MB's cast time, making this a very weak choice

    * Glyph of Power Word: Shield - Inside of Raid instances there will be relatively little need for you to use PW:S on yourself or the heal this would give.

    * Glyph of Prayer of Mending - Has no affect on DPS but there's some potential for synergy with Glyph of Focused Mending.

    * Glyph of Psychic Horror - The ability / need to Disarm enemies in PvE is so low that you'll likely never be using the ability anyway.

    * Glyph of Psychic Scream - You should almost never be using either ability in PvE content.

    * Glyph of Reflective Shield - Does not apply to Boss encounters in general and you're almost never going to be casting PW:S.

    * Glyph of Renew - Renew heals for a rather paltry amount for Shadow Priests and this does not increase it enough to be worthwhile.

    * Glyph of Scourge Imprisonment - Rarely, if ever, will you be using this ability and when you do reduced cast time will not matter.

    * Glyph of Shadow Word: Death - This was put in to retain CC breaking functionality in PvP and has negative ramifications in PvE content.

These will have zero affect on your DPS and as such just pick whatever you want. Here's my two cents:

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IV. Rotation

Opening Sequence:
This is not as important as it has been in previous expansions because we finally do not have "ramp up" buffs.

Halo ~ Potion + MB ~ SW:P ~ VT ~ Shadowfiend / Mindbender

Halo gets used at optimal distance to the Boss when the countdown is at 2 seconds. Then you should pop your potion and cast a MB at 1 second left on the countdown. Everything should hit right as the Boss becomes active.

There is no set 'rotation' for Shadow DPS, rather a hierarchy of spell priorities:

#1 - DP with SOx3
#2 - MB on CD, especially DI procs
#3 - SW:D x2 below 20%
#4 - MF:I while DPx3 is up
#5 - SW:P / VT
#6 - FDCL MSp procs
#7 - Halo / Cascade / Shadowfiend / Mindbender

MF when you don't have anything else to do :)

Try to use DPS cooldowns early and often only storing them up for Bloodlust / Heroism / Time Warp or Burn Phases.

'Complex' Priorities:
Alright, that was the SIMPLE version. With our current talents, abilities and mechanics there are many intricacies that the 'real' priorities list has a lot of qualifiers. After reading this section do yourself a favor and go whack a target dummy for a good while and get comfortable with the rotation. The more this becomes muscle memory, second nature, automatic, what have you the better you'll be able to perform when mechanics are involved in raids. You just have to pay attention to the mechanics while your fingers go about their face melting business.

Devouring Plague:
Insanity changes everything with this spell. Without Insanity as long as you cast DP after getting your 3rd SO and before your next SO generator comes off CD you're golden. In this case try to find a point in that window where you have procs up or the target has a damage taken debuff. However, with Insanity you want to get this out right after getting your 3rd SO so that you can get as much Insanity uptime as possible.

Mind Blast:
On CD, there is not any qualifier for this as unless you're currently casting a DPx3 this will be the most important spell to cast. More MBs in an encounter will likely be the best way improve your DPS.

Shadow Word: Death:
With the (I)CD change for 5.4 we will now always double tap SW:D. It's important to note that you should be attempting to snipe SW:D on adds before they die to increase your SO generation as well as just getting in more SW:D damage. This will be VERY important in Tier 16 encounters. You may find a mouseover macro helpful with this.

Mind Flay: Insanity
Our otherwise lowest priority spell now falls just below SO generators when DPx3 is active on the target. That means try to refresh VT and SW:P that will have - 1) less than ~8 seconds IF you do not have T15 2pc or 2) ~6 seconds if you have T15 2pc - left on their duration before you cast the MB that will generate your 3rd SO. That way your DoT uptimes will still be very high without losing any damage from MF:I. This means more planning in your rotation as you're approaching your 3rd SO. Be sure to recast MF:I one last time just before DP falls off the target and 'extend' that channel through till the next MB.

Tier 90 Talents:

Halo should be used pretty much only at the optimal distance as displayed by Halo Pro. For the average encounter you will not likely see a +/- 1 use of Halo or if you do not cast it exactly on CD, besides it's much better to hold onto it until a decent break in your rotation and you're at the proper distance.

Cascade you want to save for when you know it will hit multiple 'optimally' spread targets. This means multiple mobs far away from each other. Like on Horridon when balcony adds drop or Tortos when bats drop down / fresh turtles are up.

Divine Star will be up often and isn't critical to use on CD for DPS. This allows you to find decent breaks in your rotation where your only two options are Mind Flay or Divine Star for you to cast it. Higher priority times for it are during high raid damage, when you're in range for it to do damage twice to a single target or hit many targets.

Shadowfiend / Mindbender:
Our pets now update their stats dynamically, except for one special case. You must wait until AFTER Heroism / BL are cast to use them! Blizzard added in protection to keep them from double-dipping on this buff. Shadowfiends that are cast BEFORE Heroism will reset to their base swing timer for their duration, but when cast AFTER will update and benefit from the increase in Haste.

During your opener you will have roughly a ~10 second window in which to use Shadowfiend so that Jade Serpent potion will be up the entire time. Whether you use Weak Auras, ForteXorcist or some other mod to track your procs you should be able to see when you gain procs and how long they last. You want to aim for ~80%+ uptime on your opening buffs while Shadowfiend is active. That's your 10 second window. If you time it right you can have an opening Shadowfiend hitting for around 30%-40% more than normal: it makes a difference.

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V. Strategies

Many encounters involve movement, downtime and multiple targets. As a Shadow Priest you can't expect to do reasonable DPS unless you take advantage of our strengths and recognize our weaknesses.

Multiple Targets:
Many of the encounters we are seeing have many different mobs in them which is of course freaking awesome for us! I would suggest that you take the following as guidelines but you should use your own judgement and apply them to the reality of your situation and your capabilities.

If you're looking at 2-4 long lived mobs (including boss) you will want to keep both VT and SW:P up on them, while still doing your normal single target priorities.

For 5 long lived mobs you want to VT and SW:P all of them and use MS as filler.

More than 5 you're just spamming MS for maximum damage. NOTE: When MS spamming you will run yourself oom if you're not throwing out / maintaining a few VTs. So while your damage will be lowered slightly by throwing out VTs that damage loss is nothing compared to ooming and doing ZERO DPS.

For council style fights where you have ~4 targets with high health taking full damage: DoT them all. Anytime you can DoT the world and have them last their full duration that's what you're doing. DoT ALL the things. This takes some reflexes, practice and quick judgement but it's huge.

On Mind Sear - It's best to use a tank as your target so that you're more likely to hit all the mobs and so that you won't have to change targets and recast if you didn't select the longest lived mob.

In general times of movement aren't a big deal for us. Most of the time you'll have Glyph of Mind Flay up as well as the ability to use B&S or Angelic Feather. That means you'll spend a lot less time moving and won't have to worry too much about losing out on damage. If you have any instant cast proc abilities such as FDCL procs or DI MBs you'll want to use those first and spam SW:P if all else fails.

For long runs swapping to Inner Will can be useful where you wouldn't otherwise be using GCDs on damage. Such as Horridon between doors, Durumu maze phase, Iron Qon tornadoes and Lei Shen transition phase.

Quick Burn:
Pop everything! Engineer gloves, Berserking, Power Infusion, both Trinkets, Shadowfiend / Mindbender and Potion of the Jade Serpent. Those of you that did the Spine of Deathwing encounter in Dragon Soul or Ra-Den should have an understanding that for some fights your overall DPS means almost nothing but what you do during specific times matters a whole lot.

If you're looking at priority single target short lived mobs you'll want to revert to MSp spam with MB and SW:D when available. DoTs generally aren't worth casting because they won't have enough time to do any real damage before these types of mobs die.

Bloodlust / Heroism / Time Warp:
Your guild / group should ideally specify when this ability will be used in the encounter. There are many things to keep in mind and if lined up with other CDs this can be an especially massive increase in DPS. Definitely try to delay PI for a short time if you know Hero/BL will be used soon. The first thing you should hit is Shadowfiend / Mindbender AFTER Hero/BL goes out to get out the extra damage / mana return. You should be using Potions / Trinkets / CDs depending on what you have. You should be recasting VT and SW:P to take advantage of the increased Haste.

It's true that our utility has been slimmed in some ways but it has also been expanded in others. As 1/10th or 1/25th of a raid that strives for success you will need to be using your full toolkit to be a good raider. This can vary quite widely depending on Raid comps, strategy, Talents, Glyphs etc.

Baseline you have LoF. You have the ability to Void Shift. Depending on your spec you have Angelic Feather or possibly Body and Soul for times of movement. You may also have Void Tendrils. In a pinch you can always Psychic Scream (but be careful!). You can Silence / Interrupt casting mobs. You have Psychic Horror to Disarm enemies. You have VE for times of high raid-wide damage. You can survive unbelievable damage and flat out ignore some mechanics with Dispersion. You can Hymn of Hope to help out low mana healers. You can Mass Dispel to remove several Debuffs all at once, or you can just Dispel a buff off an enemy target.

Now there's really too many abilities and too many situations to even begin to describe all the ways you can use them. That means it's up to you to be aware of all the abilities you have and apply them to the situations you find yourself in.

We're a DPS spec. 99% of the time that's what we do. Just remember that if other raid members die you're much more likely to wipe. Remember that you do 0 DPS when you're dead. Remember that people have assignments in raids and you may have to help out. Know that you and others on your team will mess up occasionally and you may have to help recover from those mistakes.

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VI. Gear / Reforging

Blizzard has been doing a great job of streamlining gear stats and drops so that we can really use almost anything we can wear that has Intellect as the primary stat. In general going up a few item levels will be an upgrade to your DPS.

Much of the information in this section comes courtesy Twintop.

Crit, Haste, Hit, Intellect, Mastery and Spirit all have a DPS or PP value associated with them based off of thousands of runs through a program called Simcraft. Simcraft simulates the conditions of Boss encounters in several situations thousands of times over to determine potential DPS and will assign PP values to different gear statistics.

PP Stat weights (Best Two Per Fight (1 and 2 DoT; Normal, Big Add, Little Adds) T16H from here), for Shadow for 5.4.0, updated September 08, 2013):

This assumes you are already at the Haste GCD cap.

Crit = 0.65
Haste = 0.50
Hit = 0.58
Int = 1.00
Mastery = 0.66
Spell Power = 0.75
Spirit = 0.58

Please note that unlike previous expansions these scaling factors are averages based off of hundreds of simulations. More on Simcraft below.

Using this information Twintop has formed our BiS Ranking List:
Drye has also set up a BiS Gearset that can also be useful for Coining!

This is the tool that is used to get our stat weights (aka PP). Unlike in previous expansions you can't easily run yourself through Simcraft to get customized stat weights! This is because there are simply too many variables that come into play with analyzing stat priorities / weights / breakpoints. There's the 9 combinations of talents, different fight types and two kinds of secondary stat analyses that all need to be taken into account. With a dedicated machine (aka the Blowtorch) it takes around ~40 hours of simulations to produce the stat weights.

That said it can be useful alongside the BiS Lists for evaluating some combinations of gear setups for use on specific encounters with the caveat that it is to be used as a tool, but not as a bible. You can download this program and find more information at: http://simulationcraft.org/

Hit / Spirit:

NOTE: Reaching the Hit cap is the most important part of gearing in 5.4

Since Cata we've been able to use Spirit as a 1:1 stat for Hit. As such both are assigned the same PP value. The Hit Cap for a level 90 character against a level 93 Boss Mob break down as follows:

    * 5100 Hit rating (or 15%) is the cap for non-Dreanei Shadow Priests.
    * 4760 Hit rating (or 14% from gear + 1% Hit raciala) is the cap for Dreanei and races with Weapon Expertise bonuses using that weapon type.

This can get complicated once you take the new Amp trinkets into account. Spirit is Amplified while Hit is not and the rating displayed on your character sheet with it equipped is NOT the rating you have from gear, but the Amplified rating. Something to keep in mind.

Please note that if you are at or above Hit cap the PP values for both Hit and Spirit drop to zero. This may mean that to stay at Hit cap when acquiring new gear you'll likely be Reforging in or out of Hit / Spirit in a couple of different pieces. Shoot for at least to Hit cap without going too far over.

For more information Arlee's MoP Hit Cap FAQ

Before moving on please take some time to read Drye's [H2P] Shadow Haste Breakpoints - 5.4 thread as it's extremely helpful in understanding Reforging and Gemming alike. There's a general hierarchy of Reforging based on the PP values of each stat. In general:

Without 2pc T16:

    Hit to Cap > Haste to GCD Cap > Mastery > Crit > Haste beyond Cap

With 2pc T16:

    Hit to Cap > Haste to GCD Cap > 1 Mastery Rating : 1 Crit Rating > Haste beyond Cap

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VII. Gemming
Before moving on please take some time to read Drye's [H2P] Shadow Haste Breakpoints - 5.4 thread as it's extremely helpful in understanding Reforging and Gemming alike. There are no Epic gems so Rare quality gems are the best.

JCs should use Brilliant Serpent's Eye x2 in Red Sockets always.

Meta Socket:

Below 505 ilvl:

Red and Prismatic Sockets:
Blue Sockets:
Yellow Sockets:

505 - 550 ilvl:

Red Sockets:
Blue Sockets:
Yellow and Prismatic Sockets:

550+ ilvl:


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VII. Enchanting

Each Profession comes with its own unique perks (more on this in the Profession section), many of which fall into the category of Enchants. Aside from the occasional flavor perk, most of them will be a DPS increase over the standard Enchant. You should be using the highest one on the list as it applies to you. Those who want to save money (at the cost of DPS) can go with the lower level enchants.

PP values can be found in Twintop's Blog Post here.










Off Hand:


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IX. Consumables

While not contributing quite as much to DPS as Spell Priority or Gearing, using the proper consumables will have a significant impact on your DPS. Using the correct ones properly will sometimes be the answer to "Why is my DPS so low?”

Cauldrons have gone bye-bye in MoP and unless you have a nice guild that hands them out you need to keep at least a night of raiding's worth on you.

    * Flask of the Warm Sun - Crafted by a level 550 Alchemist. Should be taken before the first pull and refreshed every hour.

Banquets are commonly thrown down at the start and after wipes in most raids, so just eat that. With 5.4 your guild may also be using the new Noodle Carts so make sure to grab some food while it's out!

Keep a stack of the best you can get out of these just in case

Potion of the Jade Serpent should be used a couple seconds before the initial pull, before you enter combat and the boss becomes active. Since Blizzard instituted Potion Sickness you may only consume one potion during the course of an encounter, however if you take one right before the encounter starts you can 'cheat' in a second one after a minute. You should try to time that second one with Heroism / Time Warp / Bloodlust to increase it's effect. Combining these with certain Trinkets / CDs can also increase the magnitude of the effect.

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X. Professions
Gathering Professions make money, Crafting Professions increase DPS. It’s up to you how you go about balancing them.

Engineering and Blacksmithing are the two best professions currently with Tailoring not too far behind. The rest of the crafting professions are behind those and equal. Well not Jewelcrafting, that's the lowest of the crafting professions.

Alchemy (320 PP): +320 extra Intellect from Flask of the Warm Sun and last Twice as long. Alchemist's Rejuvinations. Potions stop working when you drop Alchemy.

Blacksmithing (Up to 434.28 PP): Adds an extra Prismatic (any color) socket to Wrists and Gloves. With Rare gems they give +320 extra Intellect. Sockets stop working when you drop Blacksmithing.

Enchanting (320 PP): +320 extra Intellect from Ring enchants. Gather Enchanting mats for your own (cheaper) use. Enchants stop working when you drop Enchanting.

Engineering (320 PP+): On use Synapse Springs (Mark II) New +208 secondary stat Cogwheel Gems. Gems and Enchants stop working when you drop Engineering.

Inscription (320 PP): +320 more Intellect from shoulder enchants. Enchant stop working when you drop Inscription.

Jewelcrafting (268.8 PP): Two gems with +320 more Intellect than Rare gems Brilliant Serpent's Eye. Gems stop being active when you drop Jewelcrafting.

Leatherworking (320 PP): +320 extra Intellect from bracer enchant. Enchant stops working when you drop Leatherworking.

Tailoring (346.32 PP): Lightweave Embroidery (Rank 3), Darkglow Emboidery and cheap leg enchants. Increased cloth drops from humanoids. Noteworthy that they craft Priest gear. Enchants stops working when you drop Tailoring

Skinning (312 PP): +320 Crit.

Herbalism (240 PP): Lifeblood (Rank 9) Can be used while stealthed or invisible.

Mining (0 PP): +480 Stamina.

More information can be found in Veiled's Best Professions by PP

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XI. Races
While a lot of people will chose what race they want to be based off of looks or casting animations there are other advantages to choosing a race. Here's a quick reference chart for DPS values followed by a list of Racials for each Race.

From Twintop's Blog Post:

Can be part of either Faction. Should become a popular choice for Priests.

    * Bouncy - Considering we can Levitate already, not very useful.
    * Epicurean - Arguably the MOST powerful racial ability for PvE content. With Mogu Fish Stew it's a +300 Intellect (300 PP) increase, almost as much as most professions. Food buffs go away if you are battle rezzed and don't factor into PvP.
    * Gourmand - Nice initial boost to Cooking at the start.
    * Inner Peace - Very useful for leveling when you can accumulate some rested XP.
    * Quaking Palm - A tiny extra CC.


A fairly common choice for Priests. Arguably some of the stronger overall racials for PvE and PvP.

    * Diplomacy - Very nice especially at the start of new content.
    * Every Man for Himself - Often abbreviated EMFH, one of the most powerful PvP abilities allowing you to have two DPS trinkets. Some use in PvE.
    * Mace Specialization - With the change to Expertise and Hit this will grant 1% Spell Hit if you are using a Mace.
    * Sword Specialization - No use for Priests as we don't hit things with our weapons.
    * The Human Spirit - Quite nice for Healing Priests, alright for Shadow.

While uncommon, they exist. Racials are generally not useful.

    * Crack Shot - Considering our ranged DPS comes from spells this does nothing for Priests.
    * Explorer - Archaeology can take a very long time to level and farm for artifacts, so this is quite helpful.
    * Frost Resistance - Even where encounters have Frost Damage is not significant enough to take into account.
    * Mace Specialization - With the change to Expertise and Hit this will grant 1% Spell Hit if you are using a Mace.
    * Stoneform - Decent minor defensive CD. Although it seems nice for PvP most classes constantly apply Bleeds and the 10% doesn't take off much damage.

Night Elf:
A popular choice though they don't offer much to Priests. I like the character models.

    * Nature Resistance - Even where encounters have Nature Damage is not significant enough to take into account.
    * Quickness - You won't be getting hit hardly if ever, so no real use.
    * Shadowmeld - Nice for avoiding repair bills when there's a wipe or dropping combat for a second in PvP.
    * Wisp Spirit - Not noticeable most of the time as Graveyards are usually quite near instances.

A very uncommon choice for Priests. Somewhat useful for PvP and healing in PvE.

Although fairly uncommon make a good choice for Shadow Priest. Males are quite large while Females are rather petite.

This Cata race has become more popular, solid choice for Shadow Priests. Unique idle animations / sounds.

    * Aberration - Even where encounters have Shadow Damage is not significant enough to take into account.
    * Darkflight - Very nice sprint ability, especially useful in PvP.
    * Flayer - Skinning is not a DPS Profession, so this does nothing.
    * Running Wild - Acts as a ground mount.
    * Viciousness - 1% Crit. Very nice DPS racial.


A very common choice for Shadow Priests. Abilities useful in both PvE and PvP. In my opinion the best casting animations in the game.

    * Cannibalize - Fun ability, not any real use in PvE.
    * Shadow Resistance - Even where encounters have Shadow Damage is not significant enough to take into account.
    * Touch of the Grave - New for MoP. Will add damage and self healing. Does not account for a significant amount of damage, but still a damage increasing racial.
    * Will of the Forsaken - A very nice PvP ability, making Undead a very popular choice for PvP.

A fairly uncommon choice for Priests as they don't offer any advantages to either DPS or Healing. They also tend to look clunky in Priest gear, larger target in PvP.

    * Cultivation - Herbalism is not a DPS Profession, so this does nothing.
    * Endurance - Stamina means nothing to us.
    * Nature Resistance - Even where encounters have Nature Damage is not significant enough to take into account.
    * War Stomp - Limited use CC even has little to no use in PvP.

A common choice for Shadow Priests. Abilities useful in both PvE and PvP. Tusks.

    * Beast Slaying - T15 has many encounters where either the boss or adds are Beast type mods making the best Race choice even better.
    * Berserking - Great DPS spell. One of the reasons Troll is an attractive race.
    * Da Voodoo Shuffle - Not the biggest difference, hardly noticeable in PvE or PvP.
    * Dead Eye - Considering our ranged DPS comes from spells this does nothing for Priests.
    * Regeneration - Hardly noticeable, no real impact on anything.

Blood Elf:
Usually selected by Healing Priests. Nice PvP ability.

    * Arcane Affinity - Nice initial boost to Enchanting at the start.
    * Arcane Resistance - Even where encounters have Arcane Damage is not significant enough to take into account.
    * Arcane Torrent - A second silence for PvP, while restoring mana. Not much use for PvE Shadow.

A newer race introduced in Cata. Has become fairly popular. Nice racials for PvE and PvP.

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XII. Addons
You can find some of my settings (and possibly all of them in the future) here:
My ForteXorcist, Gnosis & etc., MSV, HoF and TES Weak Aura Strings, Shadow and Disc Weak Aura Stings (coming soon).

For many more addons please see Veiled's DPS Addon Guide (MoP Edition)

Get one. Here's what I use.

Forte Xorcist is my personal favorite as it's the best at simultaneously lining up your casting order and keeping track of Multi DoT targets. Included Cool Down bar that automatically tracks things such as Internal Cooldowns on Trinkets and Procs. Highly customizable, very pretty.

Weak Auras is very powerful, and is the most graphic DoT / buff / Cool Down timer I’ve seen. Obscenely customizable. Pulls double duty by allowing you to track useful encounter buffs and debuffs.

Cast Bar:

That Blizzard one simply won’t do. Main reason: Latency. By the time the server responds back and tells you a cast has finished, that could be as much as half a second ago. Doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up. Any bar with Latency overlay will work.

Among all the castbars I've ever seen the best one by far is Gnosis. Made by the same author as the now defunct Mind Flay Clip, it’s simply a must have and in a class of its own.

Reforge Lite:

Automatically calculates the ideal reforge for you and then does it! Lightweight and easy to use:

Not Addons:
While these aren't things you'll be installing in your Addon folder, they are things that can be invaluable tools.

Leatrix Latency Fix:
Latency can be a huge factor for any DPS class, but because of our channeled spells we’re affected by it even more. It's a tiny little .exe that you download that changes how your computer sends information to Blizzard just making it faster. It is not malware, cannot get you banned, and can easily be reversed should you ever want to. Read more at it's download page:
http://www.wowinterface.com/downloads/i ... cyFix.html

World of Logs:
This is hands down the BEST way to analyze a raid's performance, including yours. There's some simple things like seeing who did how much damage to adds, who took too much damage from avoidable mechanics and who wasn't using their cooldowns. More advanced users can sort and view all sorts of information. The uses are almost unlimited in fight analyzing:

I highly recommend checking out Arlee's [H2P] How to Analyze SPriest DPS using WoL.

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XIII. Macros
A lot of these are very simple and can be modified to better suit your needs. Please submit your own if you think it would make a great addition!

Press once to Disperse, again to cancel if you don't need the full amount of mana or damage reduction. DO NOT button mash this because you'll immediately cancel it.

    #showtooltip Dispersion
    /cancelaura Dispersion
    /cast Dispersion

Devouring Plague:
These trigger the on use Engineer glove enchant and both trinkets any time they're off CD and you recast DP. 10 is the Item Slot number for Hands while 13 and 14 are your trinkets.

    #showtooltip Devouring Plague
    /use 10
    /use 13
    /use 14
    /cast Devouring Plague

Tier 90:
Spinalcrack's Tier 90 one button macro. Best macro ever. NAME THIS "T90" OR IT WILL NOT WORK!

    /cast Cascade
    /cast Divine Star
    /cast Halo
    /script m_c=GetSpellInfo(121135); m_ds=GetSpellInfo(110744); m_h=GetSpellInfo(120517)
    /run SetMacroSpell("T90", GetSpellInfo(m_c) or GetSpellInfo(m_ds) or GetSpellInfo(m_h))

Power Infusion:
Keeps PI on your bars after you change out of it so you don't have to remap it every time.

    #showtooltip Power Infusion
    /cast Power Infusion

Shackle Undead:
Easiest way to use Shackle is in a focus based macro such as this one. Feel free to augment the /clearfocus to suit you.

    #showtooltip Shackle Undead
    /clearfocus [mod:alt][@focus,dead][@focus,help][@focus,noexists]
    /clearfocus [mod:shift]
    /focus [@focus,noexists]
    /cast [@focus]Shackle Undead

Dominate Mind:
Basically the same as Shackle, but with the Dominate Mind talent instead:

    #showtooltip Dominate Mind
    /clearfocus [mod:alt][@focus,dead][@focus,help][@focus,noexists]
    /clearfocus [mod:shift]
    /focus [@focus,noexists]
    /cast [@focus]Dominate Mind

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Should I ever be using DP with only 1 or 2 Shadow Orbs?

No. You should be using DP ONLY with 3 Shadow Orbs. The only exception would be if the Boss is about to die within a few seconds and MB, SW:D, Halo, Shadowfiend / Mindbender all cannot be used. Otherwise wait for 3.

Why am I not putting out good numbers?

This is a complex question and more than likely you need to first read through this guide and make a post in the Gear Check / Fix Me forum.

The easiest answers are gear and rotation. Are you fully gemmed and enchanted? No? Fix that. Have you reforged your gear to the best possible stats you can get? No? Do that. Are you hitting your MB IMMEDIATELY when it's available and using DPx3 well? No? GO PRACTICE ON A TARGET DUMMY!

Should I Clip MF to cast higher priority spells?

Yes, unless DPx3 is active on the Target you should be using MF:I (if using that Talent) for its duration. You should be using Gnosis as your castbar. It will have ticks marked out for MF. IF you should clip a 'regular' MF you'll want to start casting the new spell immediately after a MF tick. If this is the first MF you've cast you'll want to Clip after the second tick.

Hexn made a very nice graphical representation of this:

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XV. Links and Misc.


Official WoW Priest forums
Can be a fun place to hang out it. Check it out sometime if you haven't.

MMO Champion
Your place for World of Warcraft news, Raid Comp tool and also has their own Priest forums.

Need to look up an item, spell or anything in WoW? Wowhead it.

Curse Addons, WoW Ace and WoW Interface
Get yourself some glorious addons!


Firstly I would like to thank all the great Shadow Priests before me that have contributed greatly to the collective and evolving knowledge available out there. There are also some who have helped me out personally. Some of the Priests that have lit the way:
Althor, Griemak, Izolight, Harb_ID, Muqq, Nysem, Veiled, Twintop, Kilee, Blackmorgrim, Elethia, Drye, Alayne (This list will surely keep growing)

ShadowPriest.com - The Shadow Priest community
For so many years this site has served as the largest gathering of Shadow Priests across the entire world anywhere on the internet. It's where countless theorycrafting, advice, and community posts have been made. Personally I discovered the site in BC and it helped go from a terribad to writing the WotLK Shadow sticky for the official forums.

You will be missed.

Veiled did a write up about the end of Shadow Priest (dot) com here. It's worth a read.


Constie of Malygos-US wrote:I was asked to heal once.

There were no survivors.

Heisenburgg of Kil'jaeden-US wrote:I'm going with haste because slow casting times are for dorks

Woaden of Kargath-US wrote:(on addons)
I would rather use a crutch than hopping around on one leg pretending I'm just as capable.

Twintop of Mannoroth-US wrote:Especially if SAs are derpy.

Which they are...just not herp-derpy, like before. ^^

Shardstorm wrote:No. UVLS is basically T15 on crack. Get it in and around you.

Llarold of Bleeding Hollow-US wrote:During a long run, Druid and Priest are boned, their dots tick and they weep openly.

Lowgan of Staghelm-US wrote:It shouldn't be orange for the Priest Legendary, it should just be a darker shade of Purple.

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XVI. Changelog:

Stat values added
BiS list added
Formatting changed
Added many on and off site links

Updated BiS list links
Filled in Hit section
Changed Reforge hierarchy

Updated the Updated to date / version

Added Races section
Updated Priorities and Rotation
Fixed Item Links
Added Website links
Added / Edited several descriptions

Updated Item Links
Some Reformatting
Orcs can't be Priests
Expertise grants Hit

Updated through Gemming
Added Q&A questions
Revamped Strategy section

Switched fully over to Wowhead links from Wowdb
MSp available @ 44 not 74
Updated Talent descriptions
UPdated PP values
Updated BiS List link
Updated Hit section
Updated Reforgeing
Updated Enchanting
Updated Addons

Added a few guide links
Cleaned up some formatting
Cleaned up some language

5.2 Updates!
Talent Description Updates
Talent Build Links Updated
Some Talent Links / Names Updated
Recategorized Major Glyphs
Updated Glyph Descriptions
Rotation Priorities Updated
Complex Priorities Updated
Updated Strategies
Tentative Update to Gems
FAQ Updated

Added Drye's [H2P] Haste Breakpoints 5.2

Final 5.2 Updates
SO MUCH Credit to Twintop

Implementing recent 5.2 changes
Updated PP values
Changed Simcraft description

T14 examples -> T15 examples
Talent descriptions updated
Add T90 link from Twintop
GoDB thumbs up
Reworked Complex Priorities section
Emphasized DPS improving advice
Tweaked Strategies
Updated Gemming
Updated Reforging
Updated / Added Macros
LONG overdue FAQ update

First round of 5.4 Updates

Updated the German Guide link

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Please if you want to share this, just link to here instead of reposting.

I am human, please correct me.

If anyone feels an addition or change is warranted, please suggest!
Last edited by Woaden on 01 Sep 2012, 10:26, edited 86 times in total.
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Re: [H2P] Shadow Raiding: the Primer, 5.4 Edition!

Postby Woaden » 10 Sep 2013, 05:20

Pre-5.4 Comments were removed to make way for fresh discussion.

As always: I am human, please correct me.

If anyone feels an addition or change is warranted, please suggest!
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Re: [H2P] Shadow Raiding: the Primer, 5.4 Edition!

Postby Chesuk » 11 Sep 2013, 06:34

I'm soooo sad. My english is not very well and the german guide is down. is there an other way to find that Guide in german?
I cann't find out how the GCD Cap is and how does it work :(
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Re: [H2P] Shadow Raiding: the Primer, 5.4 Edition!

Postby Woaden » 11 Sep 2013, 07:45

Chesuk wrote:I'm soooo sad. My english is not very well and the german guide is down. is there an other way to find that Guide in german?
I cann't find out how the GCD Cap is and how does it work :(

Thank you, the link is now fixed.

http://manaflask.com/de/guides/schatten ... -4-seite-1
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Re: [H2P] Shadow Raiding: the Primer, 5.4 Edition!

Postby Skadu » 11 Sep 2013, 21:11

Ok, kinda stupid question maybe.

for reference: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/i ... u/advanced

So, on gemming; i have UVLS, 539 ilvl, w/ LMG, and no t16 2pc, but i have t15 4pc. So that means i want to gem:

Yellow: Reckless
Red: Reckless
Blue: Energized


I was going by the picture but then right above it, it shows

Below 505 ilvl:

Red and Prismatic Sockets:
Brilliant Primordial Ruby
Blue Sockets:
Purified Imperial Amethyst
Yellow Sockets:
Reckless Vermilion Onyx

505 - 550 ilvl:

Red Sockets:
Reckless Vermilion Onyx
Blue Sockets:
Energized Wild Jade
Yellow and Prismatic Sockets:
Quick Sun's Radiance

So which way should i gem?
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Re: [H2P] Shadow Raiding: the Primer, 5.4 Edition!

Postby Woaden » 11 Sep 2013, 21:47

Yeah stays the same until you get SoO stuffs.

Edit: To clarify, see Veiled's post below. Nothing changed from 5.3 -> 5.4 if you don't have Siege of Orgrimmar gear.
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Re: [H2P] Shadow Raiding: the Primer, 5.4 Edition!

Postby Veiled » 11 Sep 2013, 21:48

Skadu wrote:i have UVLS, 539 ilvl, w/ LMG, and no t16 2pc, but i have t15 4pc. So that means i want to gem:

Yellow: Reckless
Red: Reckless
Blue: Energized


Skadu wrote:I was going by the picture

You shouldn't be going by the picture. You don't have a 550+ ilvl.

Skadu wrote:505 - 550 ilvl:

Red Sockets:
Reckless Vermilion Onyx
Blue Sockets:
Energized Wild Jade
Yellow and Prismatic Sockets:
Quick Sun's Radiance

This is for your ilvl, so this is how you should gem.
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*my tweets are my own and do not reflect H2P.
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Re: [H2P] Shadow Raiding: the Primer, 5.4 Edition!

Postby inad316 » 11 Sep 2013, 23:46

Veiled wrote:

You shouldn't be going by the picture. You don't have a 550+ ilvl.

Skadu wrote:505 - 550 ilvl:

Red Sockets:
Reckless Vermilion Onyx
Blue Sockets:
Energized Wild Jade
Yellow and Prismatic Sockets:
Quick Sun's Radiance

This is for your ilvl, so this is how you should gem.

Out of curiosity, whats the purpose of the purple tree of the picture. if you just told him to follow "505 - 550 ilvl". Isnt the purple side for people who are not 550+???
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Re: [H2P] Shadow Raiding: the Primer, 5.4 Edition!

Postby Wazounette » 12 Sep 2013, 06:01

I was a bit astonished by the "Wicked" gem for yellow slots, without UVLS, for 550+ ilvl.
As I'm not a native english speaking person, I shall assume I mistranslated and have to ask.
Are you really using expertise/haste gems? Is it because with the Drye bis-list you can't get hit-capped?

Besides, I want to thank you again for the work.
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Re: [H2P] Shadow Raiding: the Primer, 5.4 Edition!

Postby Skadu » 12 Sep 2013, 08:54

inad316 wrote:
Veiled wrote:

You shouldn't be going by the picture. You don't have a 550+ ilvl.

Skadu wrote:505 - 550 ilvl:

Red Sockets:
Reckless Vermilion Onyx
Blue Sockets:
Energized Wild Jade
Yellow and Prismatic Sockets:
Quick Sun's Radiance

This is for your ilvl, so this is how you should gem.

Out of curiosity, whats the purpose of the purple tree of the picture. if you just told him to follow "505 - 550 ilvl". Isnt the purple side for people who are not 550+???

That is why i was confused :D
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