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#0 - 2009/10/02 05:29:17 PM
I don't play Shadow in Raids, so this is the result of a lot of research from people who do rather than from a lot of personal experience. I wrote this a week or so ago for my blog,, but I thought I'd post it here because I hope it's useful information to people.

The original article is at:

For starting Discipline Priest there is an FAQ here:

Holy Priests I'll try and have one up soon.

A list of common questions people look for when they first start. This isn’t really high end discussion and some things are glossed over. Furthermore, I rarely raid as shadow anymore so much of this comes from (I hope) thorough research. Big thank you to the sites out there like and the various shadow blogs (Shadowaffinity for example) for their great information.

What’s the spec to use?

    The standard PvE spec is this:

    The two points in Veiled Shadows are optional and could be moved to Improved Vampiric Embrace. However the reduced cooldown on Shadow Fiend is a nice mana boost and adds a small DPS burst in certain situations.

    For PvP your spec would look something like:

How much Spell Hit and Spell Penetration do I need?

For PvE:

Spell Hit:

    To have a 100% chance to hit you need 17%.
    You get 3% from Misery, 3% from Shadow Focus.
    So you need 11% from gear. If there is a Dranei in your party (not your raid, your party) you only need 10% because of their Racial Ability.
    26.23 hit rating = 1% hit.
    So with no Dranei you need 289 hit rating. With a Dranei you only need 263 hit rating.
    Don’t take any Spell Penetration

For PvP:

    Spell hit required: The cap is 4% against players of your level. However it depends on the talents of the target. For example, Paladins get a 30% resistance to having their spells dispelled so you could benefit from extra hit against these targets although it’s certainly not worth getting 30% more hit to work around this talent.

    Spell Penetration reduces the targets spell resistance by 1 point. Around 100 is easy enough to get and should serve in most fights to remove much of a Paladin or Priests resistance against your Shadow spells. While more than this can be of benefit, Spell Penetration is a wasted stat against targets with no Spell Resistance and so it’s not always wise to get too much Spell Penetration.

Stat Weightings

    Gear is very complicated at the moment and when you pick up a new piece of gear with different stats it can be hard to work out whether it’s a real upgrade. Using a lot of maths which people have done you can work out a value to give to each piece of gear to decide which will give you the most DPS. You can use an Add-on like Pawn and put these values in and it will help you quickly work out which is best by printing a value on the tooltip.


    Values change slightly depending on your current gear level and set bonuses.

    But roughly speaking:

  • Tier 7: -------------------------- Tier 8: -------------- Tier 9: -----------------

  • Intellect: 0.22 --------------- Intellect: 0.22 ------ Intellect: 0.23 ---------

  • Spirit: 0.34 ------------------ Spirit: 0.34 --------- Spirit: 0.34 -----------

  • Spell Power: 1 -------------- Spell Power: 1 ----- Spell Power: 1 -------

  • Hit: 1.46 --------------------- Hit: 1.51 ------------- Hit: 1.55 --------------

  • Crit: 0.71 -------------------- Crit: 0.71 ------------ Crit: 0.75 -------------

  • Haste: 0.65 ------------------ Haste: 0.62 --------- Haste: 0.63 -----------

How much Haste Rating should I get?

    Thanks to:

    Haste does a few things for you. It decreases your global cooldown and increases your casting speed. The Shadow Priest rotation is rather restrictive. Haste helps you cast faster but Mind Blast still has a cooldown, Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plague still last the same amount of time, and Haste doesn’t affect these except for slightly increase how quickly you can apply them.

    The benefit of Haste is that it reduces your global cooldown so you can cast your spells faster and this lets you squeeze more Mind Flays into your rotation between your other spells. Mind Blast, fully talented, has a 5.5 second cooldown which lets you cast one full Mind Flay and 2 ticks of a second in this time. To increase your DPS you are interested in fitting extra Mind Flay ticks into this cooldown. The following gives you an idea of how much haste you need to fit extra ticks in:

    Mind Flay Ticks ---- Haste Required ---- Haste Rating --
    6 ---------------------- 8.5% ---------------- 274 HR --------
    7 ---------------------- 22% ---------------- 703 HR ---------
    8 ---------------------- 31.5% -------------- 1025 HR -------
    9 ---------------------- 39% ---------------- 1276 HR --------

    This is for perfect conditions. Because of latency and your reflex time, more haste than this is needed in practice.

When can I start doing Heroics/Naxx/Ulduar/Trial of the Champion?

This will obviously change depending on the rest of the raid group. Sartharion 25 man can be done relatively easily with 7 or 8 well geared players. So if you were in a raid with 24 well geared players your DPS wouldn’t matter. The amounts I’m giving are rough guesses from my experience as a raid leader assuming you are beginning raiding with similarly geared players.

    Heroics: 2k DPS

    Naxxramas: 2k DPS ten man , 2.5k Heroic DPS (remembering you need 17% hit)

    Ulduar: 3k DPS 10-man, 3.5k DPS 25-man. For the Keepers, 3.5k DPS 10-man. 4K DPS 25-man

    Trial of the Crusader: 3.5k DPS 10-man. 4k DPS 25-man

What is my Rotation?

Thanks to:

Single target DPS –

    Shadow Priests don’t have a rotation they follow, rather they have a priority system. You cast whatever spell is top of the priority list and not on cooldown/already applied.

    The only time this is not true is when the fight first starts. For the opening the key is to stack Shadow Weaving nice and quickly so you can get SW:P on the target with the Shadow Weaving benefits. Once your opener is complete you follow your priority list

    Opener: Vampiric Touch, Devouring Plague, Mind Blast, Mind Flay, Shadow Word: Pain Shadow Word: Death, Mind Blast.

    Priority: 1. MB 2. VT 3. DP 4. MF

Two to three targets -

    For 2 or 3 mobs the ideal rotation is to DoT them all up whilst casting Mind Blast whenever it’s ready. This means Devouring Plague, Vampiric Touch, Shadow Word: Pain on the main target. Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain on the other 1-2 targets. Use Mind Blast whenever you can.

    Make sure none of the DoTs fall off the other targets by refreshing SW:P with Mind Flays and by recasting Vampiric Touch just as it ends. If you are having difficulty maintaining DoTs on all three targets, without missing refreshes or Mind Blasts, then you are better off doing single target DPS on just one target.

Four targets or more -

    For four or more targets just use Mind Sear alone without DoTs. Mind Sear at this point is doing more damage than DoTs or Mind Blasts would.

Heroism/Bloodlust uptime -

    I used to wonder whether when I had Bloodlust it was worth solely casting Mind Flays. It is not. When Bloodlust is up you are able to fit extra Mind Flay ticks in between your Mind Blast cooldowns. However your overall priority remains pretty much the same.

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#17 - 2009/10/05 09:37:19 AM
We have added this FAQ to the collection of guides and stickable stuff atop the Priest forum: