This is the Shadow Priest guide for Dragonflight written by twitch.tv/jaervenxd.
Hello, I’m Jaerv. A Shadow Priest main and enjoyer for Method that also dabbles in theorycrafting over at Warcraft Priests where I help out with everything from APL work, general theory testing and just coming up with all the not so smart ideas to try and implement.
Shadow Priest has historically been all about damage over time effects with a big value in spread cleave and cleave. Ever since Shadowlands however, Blizzard have decided to tune down on the strength of DoTs and because of that Shadow has been moving into more of a Single Target niche with some occasional strengths in stacked cleave/AoE. In Shadowlands it was in the way of Shadowflame Prism and Searing Nightmare whereas in early Dragonflight it was mostly from Inescapable Torment and Mind Sear.
In Dragonflight 10.1 however, we are moving back a little bit to the spread cleave niche that we once had. Not necessarily from an increase in damage from DoTs, but from an increased value in Psychic Link. They removed Mind Sear and added all our Single Target spells into Psychic Link, including Devouring Plague and Shadow Word: Death. So while our DoTs might not do the damage they once did, they are at an all time high in importance to your AoE rotation.
Shadow has also been given an extra layer of “raid value/utility” in the form of Twins of the Sun Priestess which allows you to always bring a Power Infusion to the group/raid without losing it yourself.
What has changed
Patch 10.1.7 Shadow Priest Changes
Angel's Mercy class talent was changed to just be a static 20-second reduction to the cooldown.
Dragonflight First Impressions
Shadow, and Priest as a whole has had many issues during the Beta cycle of Dragonflight with talent trees that have lacked any form of depth or logic, lack of communication from devs, and being told that we cannot have certain spells/utility while other classes were given the same things.
This has left a very bad taste in a lot of people's mouths and why you most likely have seen a lot of bad things said about Priest/Shadow leading up to Dragonflight.
I want to clarify that most of the bad things being said has had nothing to do with the throughput of either spec, or the viability of the specs in raids/dungeons. It has purely been gameplay related and how little work was done to fix the issues.
Shadow has however recently received a fair bit of throughput buffs and some small fixes to the tree that makes it a lot better than it was in Beta. Not yet perfect, but it's moving the right direction.
But with that said, we have to work with what we got.
As previously mentioned, most of the added value of Shadow will be coming from Power Infusion while still being tuned to be a competitive damage dealer.
You have very good consistent damage on Single Target, with the option of speccing into more AoE while keeping very good Single Target damage. Shadow also has very good self-healing and off-healing with Vampiric Embrace and Halo / Divine Star, and Dominate Mind will add some new and interesting strengths in certain dungeons.