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 10.2.5 Changes
Starting the week of January 23rd the following hotfixes were applied:
- Mind Blast damage increased by 10%
- Devouring Plague damage increased by 10%
- Shadowy Apparitions damage increased by 20%
- Psychic Link now causes direct damage spells to inflict 30% of their damage on all other targets afflicted by your Vampiric Touch (was 25%)
Patch 10.2 Shadow Priest Changes
- Power Infusion Haste reduced to 20% (was 25%) and duration reduced to 15 seconds (was 20 seconds).
- Shadow Word: Death now deals 8% of the Priest’s maximum health in damage when it fails to kill a target instead of the backlash damage being based on damage dealt.
- Tithe Evasion now reduces Shadow Word: Death damage dealt to the Priest by 50% (was 75%).
- Mass Dispel cooldown is now 2 minutes (was 45 seconds).
- Surge of Insanity now triggers from every 2 casts of Devouring Plague instead of every cast of Devouring Plague
- Shadow Crash damage is now reduced beyond 5 targets
- Shadow Word: Pain damage increased by 17%. Not applied to PvP combat.
- Shadow Apparition damage increased by 17%. Not applied to PvP combat.
- Vampiric Touch damage increased by 25%. Not applied to PvP combat.
- And more…
New Set Bonus
- (2) Set Bonus: Shadow Word: Death triggers 2 additional times at 15% effectiveness. Triggers again 1 additional time at 15% effectiveness if Deathspeaker is active or your target is below 20% health
- (4) Set Bonus: Each time you take damage from Shadow Word: Death, gain a stack of Death’s Torment, increasing the initial damage of your next cast of Shadow Word: Pain by 225% or the damage of your next Shadow Crash by 50%, stacking up to 12 times
There a lot of additional changes to both Priest and Shadow, with things like talent changes in the class tree, Power Word: Life rework, improved Mass Dispel removed etc.And Shadow changes like Mind Flay/Mind Spike damage and Insanity tuning, Deathspeaker bug fixes and Surge of Insanity tuning.You can read all changes to 10.2 over here.
First Impressions 10.2
Shadow is in a very tough spot in 10.2 since Blizzard kept over-nerfing the spec because of how it was doing in Mythic+ during Season 2. Some might say warranted, others might say that they overdid it. I’m somewhere in the middle of that.Yes, we were too strong at the start of the Season, but after the first few nerfs, damage was no longer the reason why Shadow was brought to every key in the so called “Godcomp”. It was the mandatory utility it brought with Mass Dispel, Power Infusion, Mind Soothe etc. Together with a much needed prio-damage profile. But they kept nerfing the damage over and over again in hopes to break up the meta.Now in 10.2, we are keeping all of the nerfs that we got, but they also nerfed all the utility that we told them was the issue. So we are just left here, with nothing left, no AoE damage, no utility, no purpose.
With the loss of T30 Tier Set, apparitions and Yogg’saron is also left in the dirt, since it was only being kept alive because of the tier set. The continuous nerfs to the base spec has just left it holding on for dear life, and it really showed this PTR cycle where we were actually really strong at the start, because the new Tier Set was very strong. But now that we are close to release, even that has received nerfs over and over again, so we are left in a position where we kinda don't do anything really good. We are bottom 3-5 in Single Target, and dead on arrival in Mythic+