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 [patchnumber]. After all, those faces are not going to melt themselves…
Updated [guideupdated] to World of Warcraft [patchnumber]
Shadow Priest changes in WoW Patch [patchnumber]
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.
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.
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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Lord Rhyolith is a fiery giant, and one of the bosses of the Firelands raid. Sadly, when fighting Lord Rhyolith, ranged DPS don’t get the fun job of steering the boss around the room – instead you’ll be responsible for damaging the various adds that will spawn during the fight.
During the main phase of the fight, Rhyolith won’t be doing any direct damage to the raid. Instead, he’ll wander around the room under the subtle guidance of the melee DPS – read our guide to fighting Lord Rhyolith as melee DPS and our main article on Lord Rhyolith tactics to see how it works.
Lord Rhyolith actually has three unit frames – one for his body, and one for each of his feet. Although your main job is to DPS the adds rather than the boss, you may occasionally find yourself with some downtime, at which point you should feel free to hit Rhyolith. If your aim is just to damage him, always target his body, rather than his feet.
Your raid leader may occasionally require you to join the melee DPS in applying damage to one of Rhyolith’s feet – this is what steers him in a particular direction. You should only ever do damage to one of Rhyolith’s feet if specifically requested to do so. Make sure you’ve targetted the correct foot!
Rhyolith will summon adds approximately every 25 seconds. These adds will be either Fragments of Rhyolith (in which case 5 mobs will spawn at once), or Sparks of Rhyolith (in which case only one mob will spawn).
Sparks of Rhyolith throw out constant AoE damage, so your tank will move them away from the raid. You should DPS them down as soon as they appear. Sparks gain a stacking buff which increases the damage they do, but also increases the damage they receive – so the longer they’ve been active, the faster they’ll drop.
Fragments of Rhyolith do comparitively little damage, and should be taken down with AoE damage. The important job here is to make sure they die within 30 seconds of spawning. Any Fragment left alive after 30 seconds will rush at a random raid member and explode, doing some nasty damage. Fragments are priority targets over Sparks: they need to die, and die fast.
There’s fire on the ground. You know what to do.
Rhyolith will cast Concussive Stomp every 30 seconds. As well as dealing out some raid-wide damage, this ability will create volcanoes on the ground. Volcanoes will occasionally erupt, dealing fire damage which will be spread among the raid at random. When Lord Rhyolith steps on a volcano, it becomes a crater, and those are the things you really need to watch out for.
As soon as a crater is created, it will emit Lava streams. The streams will start at the crater and move outwards in all directions. Don’t get in the way – if you stand in a Lava stream it will do what fire does best and burn your feet off.
After 10 seconds, the streams will explode, doing damage to anybody stood in them. So, once again: do not stand in the fire. The streams don’t move very quickly, so as long as you’re paying attention you should be able to avoid them.
When a crater has finished spewing lava, it will become a lava pool – a pool of fire on the floor which you should, that’s right, not stand in.
Phase 2 begins when Rhyolith reaches 25% health. He’ll discard his armor, assume his true form (spoiler: his true form is fire), and attack the raid. Your job here is simply to DPS him as fast as you possibly can. He won’t summon any more adds, but there will probably still be fire on the ground, so watch your step. Rhyolith will be throwing out increasing amounts of damage, so the sooner he dies the more likely you are to be alive to witness it.
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Where’s the best place to be when fighting a spider? That’s right: as far away as possible. Which is why, when fighting the spider boss Beth’tilac, ranged DPS have the least arachnophobia-inducing job. Here’s our guide to defeating Beth’tilac as ranged DPS:
For this fight, as we detailed in our main Beth’tilac tactics guide, your raid will be split into two groups: one to stay on the ground level and one to climb up to Beth’tilac’s web level. As a ranged DPS, you’ll probably be assigned to the Ground Level Group (if you’re not, use the tactics for the Web Level Group from our guide to fighting Beth’tilac as melee DPS).
You’ll remain on the ground throughout the entirity of this fight. Your job is to handle the various adds that spawn. There are three types: Cinderweb Spinners, the smaller Cinderweb Spiderlings, and the big Cinderweb Drones.
You should spend the first phase of this fight in the southwest corner of the room. Stack up there as soon as you can. Your raid leader should have placed raid markers in each of the other three corners, and you will have been assigned a particular corner to focus on. You don’t need to worry about your assigned corner until Cinderweb Spiderlings start appearing (see below), but take a note of where it is right away.
At the start of the fight, Beth’tilac will move up to the web level, and Cinderweb Spinners will start to spawn. They’ll initially appear hanging from the bottom of Beth’tilac’s web, but they should be within range of your attacks immediately. Start DPS on the Spinners as soon as they appear.
More spinners will appear each time Beth’tilac casts Smoldering Devastation. You should repeat the same process each time they appear: DPS them down as fast as you’re able.
Watch out for the webs that Spinners occasionally throw out. Once a player becomes encased in a web, she’ll be unable to perform any action until she’s freed. Switch to targeting webbed players as soon as they get caught, especially if it’s a healer or a tank.
The Ground Floor Group tank will grab the Drones when they appear. You’ll need to DPS them down quite quickly – they have an energy bar just like Beth’tilac, and if it runs out before they die, they’ll head up to the web level to steal energy from Beth’tilac instead, which is not a good thing.
Make sure not to stand in front of the Cinderweb Drones. One of their attacks is a cone attack which will really give you a headache if you’re caught in it.
This is your time to shine. Your most important job in this fight is to deal with these little critters. The Spiderlings will spawn from each corner of the room except for the southwest corner (where you should be stood). Remember your assigned corner, and go spank those spiders. You should use a combination of AoE damage and slowing abilities to slow the Spiderlings down and damage them in place. If any Spiderlings reach a Cinderweb Drone, the Drone will be healed.
When Beth’tilac decends from the web level to the ground, Phase 2 begins. The aim here, as with most burn phases, is to kill her before her damage becomes too much for the tanks and healers to deal with. If you’ve saved your burst DPS cooldowns and trinkets for this phase, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem taking her down before she manages to brew up an entire potful of Tank Soup.
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The first boss you’re likely to encounter in the Firelands raid is Shannox. Ranged DPS have an easier job in this fight than healers or tanks, but it can still be a little tricky to figure out the mechanics of this fight.
First of all, take a look over our guide to Shannox tactics to give you a good idea of Shannox tactics. You’ll see that your primary job is to avoid traps, and your secondary job is to focus DPS on your assigned target.
You’ll most likely have two tanks for this fight – one on Shannox himself, and one on Riplimb. Rageface (Shannox’s other dog) can’t be tanked and is going to be a constant pain in the neck for you throughout this fight – perhaps even literally.
Once the tanks have positioned Shannox and Riplimb, spread out. The healers will be doing the same, so coordinate your position relative to the rest of the raid.
Your raid leader will assign a DPS target for you. This is most likely to be Riplimb, but you may be asked to DPS Shannox instead. Either way, this target will be your sole target for most of the fight – there’s very little target switching required.
Don’t stand in the … well, you get the idea
Your primary task during this fight is to avoid the traps that Shannox regularly drops. This takes priority over everything, even DPS. The traps in this fight look like standard Hunter traps, and are easy to spot.
There are two types of trap. The first is an Immolation Trap, which will burn your lovely shoes right off if you stand in it. It’s not an instant kill, but it throws out some nasty damage, and you’ll have a ‘fire hurts more’ debuff at various points during the fight, so be nice to your healers and don’t stand on the fire traps.
The second type of trap is called a Crystal Prison Trap, and is basically an ice-block. Stand on this nasty little device and it’ll encase you in crystal. You won’t be able to do anything at all until the crystal is shattered. That means that the rest of the raid will have to stop what they’re doing and DPS your prison to free you. The crystals have lots of health, so this is a distraction you don’t need.
There’s another fight mechanic which effectively counts as a third type of trap. When Shannox throws his spear he’ll do colossal damage to anybody standing in the way. If you’re standing in the circle of fire once the spear comes down you’re virtually guaranteed to die. It’s easy to avoid – just look out for the big pillar of fire and make sure you step away from it as soon as it appears.
The secondary effect of Shannox’s spear throw is lots of little fires that appear on the ground after the spear throw triggers. There’ll be a lot of them, which can be quite panic-inducing the first time you see it, but – like the spear throw itself – they’re easy to avoid. They appear in a spiral pattern, moving outwards from the spear’s point of impact. Just make sure you’re not standing directly on one of them. They don’t have any AoE effect, so there’s no need to run right out of the spiral. Just move away from the individual fires.
The ‘hitting things’ part
Once you’re confident in your trap-avoidance skills, the actual DPS mechanics of this fight are pretty easy. Keep up sustained DPS on your assigned target, and watch the health meters of all three opponents. You’re aiming to kill both dogs when Shannox is on about 35% health.
Once the dogs are dead, Shannox will enrage and start doing very unpleasant things to your poor tanks. This is a classic burn phase, so DPS like a loon. Your big DPS cooldowns should all be saved for this phase. With a bit of luck, you should be able to take Shannox down before he turns the tanks into liquid smears of shame.
If your single-target DPS is particularly hard-hitting, your raid leader may assign you to hit Rageface instead of Riplimb. Rageface can’t be tanked, and will regularly pick a random raid member to be mean to. Once Rageface has picked his target the only way to distract him is giving him a firm, hard smack on the nose. In this case, the smack needs to take the form of a 30k crit. Unless and until Rageface receives 30,000 points of damage from a single blow, he’ll continue to maul the poor unfortunate soul he’s targeted. Luckily, while he’s doing so he gains a debuff which makes each shot that lands on him much more likely to be a critical.
If you’ve been assigned to Rageface-distraction duty, your job is to hit him with a high-damage strike as soon as he picks a new target. After that, you can kite him until he picks a new target, then repeat the process.
When Shannox throws his spear, Riplimb will grab it and run back to Shannox to return it. If you have any slowing abilities, this is the time to use them. Riplimb can be slowed, and doing so will really help your tanks.
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It’s time to melt some faces! I’m not entirely sure why shadow priests are so associated with faces and the melting therof, but it seems to be a Thing, so hey. In any case, if there are faces in your future which you wish to melt, here’s a guide to the shadow priest glyphs, gems, stat weightings, and rotation you’ll need, plus advice on enchants, reforging, and more, for World of Warcraft Patch 4.3.
Updated March 6th 2012 for Patch 4.3
Shadow Priest Changes in Patch 4.3
Short version: None.
Long version: absolutely, totally, utterly nil, nothing, nada, nuts-all.
Our Tier 13 bonuses are fun, but they don’t change our rotation, gearing, or anything else.
DPS Rotation / Priority
Shadow Priests don’t have a strict DPS rotation – instead, they operate on a priority system.
Absolute first priority is to keep all your Damage Over Time spells ticking on the target: Vampiric Touch, Devouring Plague, and *Shadow Word: Pain *. Use an addon like DOTimer to track these.
Next, cast Mind Blast whenever it’s off cooldown, unless your Empowered Shadow buff is about to drop off or has dropped. If it is or has, carry on with your priorities but wait for a Shadow Orb to proc before casting Mind Blast.
If the target is below 25%, also cast Shadow Word: Death whenever it’s off cooldown.
Finally, if everything else is on cooldown and your DOTs are still ticking, cast Mind Flay. This will also refresh your Shadow Word: Pain.
DO NOT worry about Shadow Orbs (one of the Shadow specialisations) unless Empowered Shadows is about to drop or has dropped. Mind Blast does so much damage that you should cast it whenever it’s off rotation, regardless of how many Orbs you have. DO NOT cast Shadow Word: Death when a target is above 25% health.
Cooldowns: Use Dark Archangel and Shadowfiend as soon as you need the mana, unless you are sure you won’t run out of mana in the current combat, in which case use them on cooldown. Whilst it’s not a cooldown spell, you can also use Shadow Word Death (provided you’re specced into Masochism, as our standard spec is) to regenerate mana reasonably quickly.
Shadow Priest Talent Spec
The theorycrafting experts consider this talent spec to be overall the best option for Shadow Priesting in 4.3.
That spec leaves 2 spare points. Good options for those two points are:
- 1 point for 3⁄3 in Mental Agility, bottom tier of Discipline. Reduces your mana cost for instant cast spells, potentially increasing DPS in longer fights.
- 1 or 2 points in Inner Sanctum, 2nd tier of Discipline. The bit we care about here is that it boosts your movement speed by an additional 2% or 4% whilst you have Inner Will up, and movement speed is likely to boost DPS in many situations.
- 1 point in Psychic Horror, 2nd from top tier of Shadow. A short CC/disarm. No DPS benefit, but VERY useful against bosses like the 2nd in Grim Batol which are affected by disarm. Your tank will love you.
- 1 or 2 points in Phantasm, 3rd Tier in Shadow. Gives you a 50% or 100% chance for Fade to remove movement impairing effects. Primarily PvP oriented, but useful in some circumstances.
For raiding, Mental Agility and Inner Sanctum are probably the way to go.
Stats, Reforging and Gems
Intellect and Spellpower are FAR more important than any other stat. Gem and enchant for them whenever possible unless a single gem will enable you to reach haste cap (see below).
Reforge Hit, Spirit, Crit and Mastery to Haste if you can. If not, reforge Crit (by preference) and Mastery to Spirit (not Hit) until you hit 17% hit cap (Spirit also boosts Hit for shadow priests). Finally, reforge anything left to Mastery.
What, you’re saying don’t go for Hit Cap? Yes. There’s a fair amount of debate about this in the Shadow Priest community, but it appears that both Intellect and Haste are more valuable than Hit.
Shadow Priest enchants
It’s worth checking to make sure your own professions can’t provide better buffs than these, by the way!
Arcanum of Hyjal
Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect
Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
Enchant Bracer – Mighty Intellect
Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery
Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
Enchant Boots – Lavawalker
Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent
Enchant Weapon – Superior Intellect
At last, a simple choice!
Prime Glyphs: Glyph of Mind Flay, Glyph of Shadow Word: Death, Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain
Major Glyphs: Glyph of Fade, Glyph of Psychic Scream, Glyph of Spirit Tap
Minor Glyphs: Glyph of Fading, Glyph of Levitate, Glyph of Shadowfiend
Yes, Shadow Priests actually have useful minor glyphs!
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