Shadow Priest Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, and ability priorities

by on August 28, 2012

Faces! They still exist in Mists of Pandaria, and they still need melting. Particularly Garrosh’s. So, as a Shadow Priest, let us get you up to speed on your talents, glyphs, gems, reforging, stats, and rotation – which have all changed this patch – with no walls of text required – just quick, simple get-started-now instructions for MoP and WoW Patch 5.4. After all, those faces are not going to melt themselves…

Updated 17th September 2013 to World of Warcraft 5.4

Shadow Priest changes in WoW Patch 5.4

Some changes to recommended talents and stats.

Shadow Priest “Rotation” and Priorities

Our rotation hasn’t massively changed from Cataclysm, but there are some twists and tweaks to it.

The guides below assume you’re using our standard talent build.

Single-target DPS

Note for old-school Shadow Priests: DoTs are no longer your top priority!

  • Top Priority: If you have three Shadow Orbs, cast Devouring Plague. If not, if Mind Blast is available, cast it.
  • Second Priority: If the target is below 20% health and it’s available, use Shadow Word Death. If Devouring Plague is up, cast Mind Flay.
  • Third Priority: If Shadow Word Pain or Vampiric Touch aren’t ticking on the target, cast them. Otherwise, use Mind Flay.


Simply attempt to get DoTs (Shadow Word Pain and Vampiric Touch) up on as many enemies as possible. Then use Mind Flay when Devouring Plague is up, use Devouring Plague when you have 3 Shadow Orbs, and Mind Blast on CD otherwise. Finally, try to use Shadow Word Death on targets below 20% health, and use Mind Flay if you need a filler.


  • Use Mindbender or Shadowfiend whenever it’s available.
  • Use Dispersion if you’re about to take damage or as a last resort if you need mana.
  • Void Shift can be used to save others or yourself: it swaps percentages of health.
  • Vampiric Embrace will heal nearby allies whilst you DPS.
  • Use Hymn Of Hope, which restores raid member mana, when your raid leader tells you to.


Remember to cast Power Word Fortitude and Inner Fire.

Also, remember to be in Shadowform.

Shadow Priest Talent Choices

MoP talents are very situational, and the theorycrafters are still deciding on the best ones to use. However, here’s a good general-purpose Shadow Priest talent build:

  • Tier 1: Void Tendrils
  • Tier 2: Angelic Feather – allows you to offer fellow players a movement buff.
  • Tier 3: Solace And Insanity
  • Tier 4: Desperate Prayer – powerful self-heal.
  • Tier 5: Twist of Fate
  • Tier 6: Halo – use on cooldown.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Shadow Priest

Intellect is king, followed by Hit/Spirit to the 15% Spell Hit Cap (5100 rating), then Haste to 18,215 Haste Rating, then Crit.

Reforging: Reforge to Crit and Mastery to Haste where you can until you have 18,215 Haste Rating or you can’t reforge to Haste any more. Then reforge remaining Crit and Mastery, plus Haste over 8085, to Hit up to the cap, then Crit.
Gems: Red slots: Reckless gems. Yellow slots: Quick gems. Blue slots: Quick gems.
Meta Gem: Burning meta gems.

Note – see the How2Priest guide below for more detail on Haste and Haste breakpoints.

Spriest Glyphs

Glyph choices for Shadow Priests are still very much up in the air, but here are some good options:

Major: Glyph of Inner Sanctum, Glyph of Mind Flay (Improves movement speed) and Glyph of Vampiric Embrace.
Minor: Whatever you like.

Shadow Priest enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Greater Haste
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Cerulean Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect


There’s a couple of excellent Shadow Priest guides out there:

  • How To Priest has a great Shadow Priest guide for Mists, although it is a bit densely written.
  • Icy Veins, as always, has a great guide to Shadow Priesting
  • Finally, as a WoW player, you should really check out the latest and greatest from the blogosphere on World of Warcraft, here at the Melting Pot.

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