The shadow priest is the only Damage spec available to the priest class in World of Warcraft. They specialize in damage over time spells which gradually lower HP as opposed to all at once. A very important skill that I want to touch on first is Mastery.
For shadow priests in World of Warcraft, each point of mastery offers an additional percentage chance to gain shadow orbs which stack up to 3 times and increase the damage of your next mind blast or mind spike. As of now, this is a mediocre gain but should still be utilized. As a general rule, you’ll want to prioritize stats in this order: Int, Crit, Haste, Mastery, and Hit (if not capped). You can also grab plenty of extra hit through using spirit gear now, since the talent “Twisted Faith” now grants 0.5 hit per 1 spirit at Rank 1 and 1 hit per 1 spirit at Rank 2.
Mind Spike will be available at level 81, and it is an interesting spell. Mind Spike is a 1.5 second cast just like Mind Blast which deals Shadowfrost damage and puts a debuff on the target that improves your next Mind Spike, stacking up to 3 times. The damage will be similar to Mind Flay. The main purpose will be to provide the priest with a quick nuke when things are dying too quickly to cast other spells, as it has no cooldown. For those who PVP, you might be happy to know it also provides a spell to cast when you are locked out of the shadow school of spells because it is classified as “shadowfrost.”
Things To Know About In PVP
With the “Shadowy Apparition” talent, you should almost never be standing still. Each time you deal damage with Shadow Word: Pain, you have a 12% chance to summon an apparition of yourself that walks toward the target and explodes. Moving increases the chance of summoning it by 60%, so there is really no excuse not to move in PVP. I prefer to start each fight with Vampiric Touch and Mind Blast because a Mind Blast critical will stun them for 2 seconds, giving you valuable time to apply the rest of your spells . That way I am free to cast Shadow Word: Pain on any others that join the fight, all while having a relatively easy time avoiding melees. For best results, keep within 5 to 20 yards of your target if you can. The apparitions move very slow and if your battleground opponents are smart, they’ll realize that they can kill them effortlessly as they have only 5 HP.
Spec into your CC abilities. It helps tremendously to spec into all your crowd control abilities: Improved Psychic Scream, Silence, and Psychic Horror.
When to use Psychic Scream : Use psychic scream when there are 2 or more enemies around ideally. At a 26 second cooldown with the Improved Psychic Scream talent, it is your shortest CC cooldown. Don’t be afraid to use it if you feel like you need to. My favorite is to use it on rogues after I trinket sap because it breaks their stealth and denies them the ability to harass until they can stealth again. The only problem with this trick is that they might not be in your range or they might not be planning to attack you. Practice good intuition. If you get sapped twice in a row, you can safely assume that the rogue is closely following you.
When to use Silence: If you’re fighting a healer, you’ll almost always want to save it for them. At a 45 second cooldown, it is your second shortest cooldown. Coordinating Psychic Scream and Silence together is the best way to overcome a healer. If there is no healer, again: Intuition is key. Watching the enemies cast bar can be a tip off on when to silence. When there is no healer, I prefer to use it to disrupt mage and warlock CC.
When to use Psychic Horror: Psychic Horror is best used like Silence except with Melees in mind. It is a 3 second stun and causes the target to drop its main hand and ranged weapons. It’s great against Rogues, Hunters, Death Knights, Warriors, and Retribution Paladins, but it comes with a lengthy 2 minute cooldown. I am also definitely not opposed to using this on healers either. Holy Paladins come to mind because they have bubble, an additional way to break out of your CC. On top of that, keeping one or two targets up at a time is no problem for them. Although the disarm does next to nothing on a healer, the extra 3 second stun could be enough time to get a kill.