Shadow Priests – How to Build a DPS Machine
Are you ready to crack those DPS problems that keep you from joining raids or PvP events?
Over the past month I have been fiddling around with the shadow talent tree hoping to boost my stats. The problem I ran into was with every increase in this talent tree I lost something big in another area.
Back and forth I went trying to come up with the right combination until I finally settled on something that I feel is perfect for people who want a flexible shadow priest. A shadow priest who can handle the DPS requirements of raids, take out PvP opponents with burst damage, and of course level up quickly.
Keep in mind additional rows will open up after every 5 talent points used.
Row 1 (Spirit Tap, Improved ST, and Darkness)
The 1st row is built around increasing your spell damage and regenerating mana. Any Priest knows you need a substantial amount of mana when healing others, so this will be important. Make sure you use 3 talent points in the Spirit Tap. I recommend skipping over the Improved Spirit Tap and focus on filling the Darkness ability with all 5 points.
Row 2 (Shadow Affinity, Improved Shadow Word: Pain, and Shadow Focus)
Add all 3 points to the Shadow Affinity and gain a 25% decrease in threat from Shadow spells. Also, fill the Shadow Focus with all 3 pts. You want to decrease as much mana cost as possible and this removes 6%.
Row 3 (Improved Psychic Scream, Improved Mind Blast, and Mind Flay)
You will need to fill the IPS if want the Silence ability (which I recommend). Plus, putting the lone point in Mind Flay will allow you to slow opponents by 50% – great for PvP priests.
Row 4 (Veiled Shadows, Shadow Reach, Shadow Weaving)
The two important abilities here are Shadow Reach and Weaving. Placing 2pts in Shadow Reach will give you an extra 20% range on Shadow Spells. Putting 3pts in Shadow Weaving will add a 100% chance to increase your Shadow damage by 2% for 15 seconds.
Row 5 (Silence, Vampiric Embrace, Improved Vampiric Embrace, Focused Mind)
Adding the 1pt needed for Silence allows you to keep an opponent from casting spells for 5 seconds, again great for PvP, especially against enemy spell casters.
Vampiric Embrace and Improved Vampiric Embrace should both be filled as well and will keep your health ticking along nicely during solo play or to top up after copping a few whacks in a tough dungeon. During a 5 minute period, any Shadow spell damage will revert 15% health to you and 3% to party members. The IVE allows a 67% health reimbursement. Then of course Focused Mind should be filled to reduce mana costs on all Mind spells by 15%.
Row 6 (Mind Melt, Improved Devouring Plague)
I’m not big on 4% critical strikes for Mind Melt, so unless you’re really heavy on PvP, I skip it. Fill up the Improved Devouring Plague talent… you will increase the total damage duration by 15% and deal a 15% instant strike of the total damage caused over time.
Row 7 (Shadowform, Shadow Power)
It’s very important to add the talent point needed for Shadowform. It adds 15% damage, decreases 15% damage to you, and reduces threat by 30%. However, the big boost is a 100% crit hit with Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, and Vampiric Touch. Fill the Shadow Power as well so you can increase your Mind Blast, Flay, and SW: Death spell crit damage by 100%.
Row 8 (Improved Shadowform, Misery)
You definitely want to add the 2pts needed for IS. It allows you to remove movement impairing effects 100% of the time you use the Fade ability. Good for PvP, and good for running away from monsters… not that you’ll be doing any of that with this build… right? Improved Shadowform is also great for PvP when you’re trying to get a cast off on a melee class like a rogue or enhancement shaman who hit you with a flurry of attacks, no more watching your casting bar stay still!
Row 9 (Psychic Horror, Vampiric Touch, Pain and Suffering)
You will have to fill each one of these abilities in order to hit the next row. You’ve got a good fear spell here, and then Vampiric Touch and the nasty Pain and Suffering both boost your shadow damage.
Pain and Suffering is especially nasty for Shadow Priests as it refreshes your Shadow Word Pain ticks for even more damage.
Row 10 (Twisted Faith)
Place 5pts. here so you can increase your spell power by 10% of your total Spirit. There is also additional help to your Mind Blast and Flay by 10%. Combining spirit heavy gear with this talent can result in some really nice boosts to spellpower, so consider giving that a go if your bank account is up to the challenge.
Row 11 (Dispersion)
There will be times that this can be extremely useful – its a real “get out of jail free card, and can be intensely annoying to PvP opponenets. Its also gotten me out of more certain deaths than I care to recall.
Add a point here to finish out the tree and reduce your damage taken by 90%, regenerate mana over 6 seconds at 6% of total per second and eliminate several movement impairing effects.
Specialize Your Shadow Priest From Here
What to do with the other 20 points?
When you’re finished here you can go back and add the extra 20 points to your Shadow tree, or give your Priest a nice boost in other areas. Since I’m not sure what you use a lot, this will be up to you. In the end though, having a Shadow talent pool like this will help you become one of the better DPS dealers in your guild, make you survivable in groups and very hard to kill in PvP.
My personal pick for the last 20 points is putting it all into holy healing talents to make me useful in small parties, but if you’re into PvP I think its pretty hard to go past putting the rest into the balance.
That’s all there is to it. If you’re really mad keen on leveling quicker check out my Horde Leveling Guide front page for info on some commercial guides… They’re not really necessary, but are admittedly a nice luxury to have.