Shadow Priest

Patch 8.3

Written by Kuriisu Last Updated: 19th Feb, 2020

Azerite Traits

Chorus of Insanity: Overall  our strongest trait, it gives massive amounts of Crit. With Lingering Insanity and legacy of the void this will give you a lot of Crit inside the voidform. This also helps the trait whispers of the damned for getting back inside voidform.

Spiteful Apparitions: Just like chorus this talent performs great in every situation. Its weak only during mass AoE where you can't apply that many vampiric touches. This trait also scales well with our talents and other traits.  

Whispers of the Damned: The damage boost to Shadow Word: Void is not the main reason the trait is great, but more so increased insanity regeneration. This trait also scales extremely well with secondary stats. However, it's not great for AoE as the global becomes less valuable the more targets there are; as the number of targets increases mind sear will start performing better and better.

Searing Dialogue:  AoE trait, sometimes used in m+. Requires dark void talent to work really well on massive pulls. 

Thought Harvester: Only really goes well when stacking Searing Dialogue traits. If it procs at the right time, it can provide shadow with really strong  AoE damage. You never want more then 1 of this trait, as we use it for 150% damage increase on mind sear, which does not scale with traits beyond 1st.

Azerite traits rotation changes

Searing Dialogue

Recommended Azerite Traits




Essences Overview

There are only really 3 major essences that shadow priests ever use.

Memory of Lucid Dreams 

Major - On use ability that increases our Insanity generation by 100% for 15 seconds. You want to use this as late as possible during your voidform, this has amazing synergy with Chorus Of Insanity and Lingering Insanity. (General rule of thumb is to use it either when you fall below 50 insanity or when you notice you can no longer keep up with the drain). The standard situation is about 24-26 without bloodlust and 30-35 with bloodlust, but don’t follow this blindy as there is a lot of RNG to our insanity regeneration and instead you should learn how to adapt and use it properly. Ideally you cast this instead of one cast of Mind Flay, following it up with Void Bolt. It is usable during dispersion, so if you make a mistake you can disperse, use Memory of Lucid Dreams and then exit dispersion and instantly Void bolt.

Minor - Passively refunds 1 second worth of Insanity drain and grants us some versatility, extremely good minor with a very good proc rate, once again, insane synergy with Chorus Of Insanity + Lingering Insanity.

Condensed Life Force

Major - On use ability, that spawns a Guardian of Azeroth that lasts for 30 seconds. While active Guardian impales the target every 2,5 seconds and each time he does we gain 2% haste, up to 10%.

Minor - Minor portion makes us randomly impale the target, increasing all our damage done by 3% for 6 seconds. Good on single target, potential pick depending on the fight and fight duration.

Essence of the Focusing Iris 

Major - On use ability that makes us channel a beam in front of us dealing high amounts of AoE damage, generally used as a major only in M+ where AoE is highly appreciated. Also, it can be viable to use in raiding such as on Azshara Heroic to nuke down a big pack of adds.

Minor - Passively grants us a lot of haste with 100% uptime.

Special Mentions

Worldvein Resonance power comes from the minor effect, which increases your intellect by up to 840 depending on how many lifeblood shards are around you, shards from friends also give you intellect. In theory this should be an amazing minor essence, but in practice things are a bit different; normal raid boss encounters have a lot of forced movement and a lot of zone denial, which often means you need to move and lose the benefit of the shard. This sims as the best minor essence, very slightly ahead of the focusing iris minor. Achieving 100% uptime on 4 shards is not realistic, whilst keeping 10 stacks of focusing iris (Focused Energy) however is very realistic. I would never recommend using this essence.

Purification Protocol - The Major is an on use ability that does a moderate amount of damage to enemies in the targeted zone, with a short cooldown. The Minor passively blasts a target for low amounts of AoE damage, with a high proc %.

This one actually does a lot of AoE damage and is competitive with Essence of the Focusing Iris due to the lower cooldown. The issue is that it's almost completely useless for single target, whilst the other option provides us with a lot of haste from the minor, making it good in both AoE and Single Target situations. I wouldn't recommend using this essence, however, If you’re all about that overall meter life in dungeons, give this a shot, it does really well.

Blood of the Enemy 

Major - On use ability that does moderate damage to enemies within 12 yards and also increases our crit chance and crit damage done to those targets. Potentially usable in M+.

Minor - Passively gives us stacks (up to 50) for each stack we gain a small amount of crit chance, once we reach 50 stacks we gain big amount of haste for 8 seconds instead.

Breath of the Dying minor blasts the target for moderate amount of damage and heals us in return for 50% of that damage done, on rank 3 proc chance is increased by 400% on targets bellow 20%. This becomes our best single target minor once we obtain rank 3.

Recommended Essences

Pure Single Target

Major - Condensed Life Force

Minors - Focusing Iris + Breath of the dying (only if rank 3+, Crucible of flame otherwise) + Memory of Lucid Dreams  

Multi Target Raid Fight

Major - Memory of Lucid Dreams

Minors - Focusing Iris + Blood of the Enemy + a flex pick depending on situation (Breath of the Dying for more ST, Purification Protocol for AoE)


Major - Focusing Iris

MinorsMemory of the Lucid Dreams + Blood of the enemy +  a flex pick depending on situation (Breath of the Dying for more ST, Purification Protocol for AoE)



[Cyclotronic Blast] - Scales with Chorus of Insanity so it is a very good trinket, it gives on demand 350-400k damage in seconds. There are overall better dps trinkets out there, but this one is extremely useful in high priority target situations. You use this trinket after you enter your second voidform.

Normally your big Void Form ends, which puts you at 100% crit chance, you quickly enter a new one, cast void bolt and then channel this trinket.


Corruption Overview

8.3 brings an end to Titan Forging and replaces it with a new mechanic, called Corruption. Every piece of loot that drops has a chance to corrupt, giving it an extra kiss and curse effect.

Every corrupted item has 2 affixes: an amount of corruption and what kind of benefit it provides. 

The higher your corruption, the higher the negative effect is. Because of this, it’s important to pick and choose the amount of corruption you have in total as well as what positive effects you are getting for that corruption; making the decision if it’s worth it to begin with.

In case an item has bad effects and you don’t like what it provides, you can always speak to MOTHER in the "chamber of heart" of azeroth and purify the item, removing the corruption in the process. 

The best positive effect right now for shadow seems to be infinite stars, flat critical strike % and flat haste %. 

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