Shadow Priest

Patch 8.3

Written by Kuriisu Last Updated: 10th Jan, 2020

Some content in this guide is based on PTR/early data

Updates will be made after raid progress is finished and more accurate information is available.

Azerite Traits

Chorus of Insanity: Overall probably 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 weakest only during mass AoE where you can't apply that many vampiric touches. This trait also scales well with our talents and other traits.  auspicious spirits talent actually reduces the damage of this trait as the trait has a hidden damage increase when the talent is not selected, however trait still scales very well with talent due to insane insanity generation.

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: Massive AoE trait, mostly 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 some of the best AoE damage in the game currently. 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 essences that shadow priests use.

Memory of Lucid Dreams (Default Raid Major Essence) + (Default M+ Minor Essence)

  • 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.

Blood of the Enemy (Potential M+ Major Essence  + Default 2nd Minor Essence if you've reached a neck level of 65)

  • 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.

Essence of the Focusing Iris (Default Raid Minor essence + Default M+ major essence)

  • 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.

Recommended Essences

Default Raid Picks

Major: Memory of the Lucid Dream

Minor: Essence of the focusing iris +

Default M+ picks

Major: Essence of the focusing iris / blood of the enemy

Minor: Memory of the lucid dreams / Purification protocol



[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 2nd 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 TitanForging 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 %. 

The best way to find the best gear, Azerite Traits & Essences for your character is to "sim" your character

Find out how to sim