Shadow Priest PvP Guide

90 Gnome Priest
7865
Dark Desires
A (not so) Sensual Shadow Priest PvP Guide

Hey all! Pythes here with a Shadow Priest PvP guide! This guide was created pre-5.2 but is based on information from the PTR, so should be fairly accurate. If 5.2 launches and I find that someone in here is wildly off base, I will edit. A few quick things

1) I am not, and do not claim to be, the best Shadow Priest out there. I’m not even close. But I do spend far too much time reading PvP forums, watching streams and experimenting for myself in game. So the follow is based on my experiences and a collection of Spriest knowledge from the community

2) This guide is about gearing, glyphing, and spec. This is not a “How to PVP” guide.

3) Do not use this guide as your shadow priest bible. It is here to GUIDE you. I’m very open to intelligent discussion and constructive criticism. Also I think I get into legal trouble if you make this your bible…(donations to the church can be made at www.onetruetang.com)

Contents:
Quick Reference
Stats
Gear
Gems
Glyphs
Talents

Quick Reference: (This is so you don’t have to look through the whole guide for basics, if you want an explanation to the information below, read the section.)

6% spell hit > PvP Resilience = PvP Power > Intellect > Haste (to 10%) Mastery = Crit > Haste
Red Socket: Willful Vermilion Onyx (Int and Resil)
Blue Sockets: Vivid Wild Jade (PvP Power and Resil)
Yellow Sockets: Mystic Sun’s Radiance (Resil)
Reforge: Crit -> Spirit (to hit cap)
THEN: Crit -> Mastery
Major Glyphs: Dark Binding, Mind Spike, Mind Flay, Mass Dispell
Minor: Doesn’t matter. Shadowy Friends is insta 2.2k rating tho. True story

Stats:

Hit
Can’t hurt it if you can’t hit it. And trust me you don’t want fears and silences missing. People never believe me when I tell them that; until you are at hit cap, hit is the single biggest DPS boost for any class. Try it, I’ll wait.
Done? Believe me? Sick, moving on.
Get as much of this as you can from spirit. Spirit gives us the benefit of hit AND we now get regeneration from it. You’ll still need a healthy dose of hit rating, but when reforging, there’s no point in reforging to hit over spirit.

Resilience
Some of you may be surprised that this is the next highest priority stat. Well here’s the thing. We are squishy. There’s no way around it. Yeah we can heal and PW:S is a sick nasty spell, but if you get 2-shotted you won’t have much time to get around to healing. This may change soon, with the 25% healing we get back from PvP Power in 5.2. But if it does, I’ll edit this. For now, Resil is king. Kill the king and wear his skin.

PvP Power
A direct increase to damage we do to players. And as of 5.2 25% of that we get as healing also. That’s pretty sick. How much better is it then intel? Minutely. The good news is, the way we are gearing right now, you will rarely run into a case where you have to choose one or the other. If you do happen to, take a picture then flip a coin.

Intellect
Pretty much the same as pvp power. Damage and healing buff. Slightly more healing then PvP Power, but slightly less damage, though again, the difference is minute.

Mastery
More dot ticks means more proc chances. Great if you are spec’d into From Darkness Comes Light and Divine Insight. If you feel the need to run only 1 or none of these talents, haste pulls up closer. But as far as I can tell, never completely passes mastery dps wise.

Haste
More haste = more dot ticks. The two breakpoints we’ll be worried about in pvp are:
~8.3% haste (~1340 haste): Extra tick to Devouring Plague and SW:P
~10% haste(~2020 haste): Extra VP tick
The next one is around 25% haste (~8k rating) I do not know if this will be obtainable in S13 gear or not, as the gear isn't on the PTR just yet.

Crit:
The Jury is out on whether Crit > Mastery or Mastery > Crit. I've seen it both ways. For rbgs i 100% recommend Mastery still. However for arena you will have to decide what fits your playstyle.

Gear
Gear is pretty straight forward. Get as much pvp gear as you can. There really is no benefit anymore to running any PvE gear. Though if you can get your hands on a Heroic DPS trinket or a DMC trinket (and are human) I suggest it.

As for weapons, there are multiple staves and MH/OH that are solid that you can get from level 90 instances. However if you are like me and cringe at the thought of a 20 min DPS queue, then just hop in the Arena of Annihilation and grab the blue staff from that quest. It’s a scenario, so the queue is typically < 1 minute :) .

Besides that, it’s straight honor/crafted gear for you my friend! I suggest gearing in this order:
PvP trinket of some sort (as long as it’s a 2min CD one)
Gloves
Main pieces (Chest, Head, Shoulders, Legs. You want your setbonus asap)
Bracers Belt Boots
On use spellpower trinket
Jewelry
Ofc grab your weapon as soon as you hit the seasonal conquest point requirement.

Gems:
Should come as no surprise based on the stats we need.
Red Socket: Willful Vermilion Onyx (Int and Resil)
Blue Sockets: Vivid Wild Jade (PvP Power and Resil)
Yellow Sockets: Mystic Sun’s Radiance (Resil)

Glyphs:
We have a LOT of choices for glyphs nowadays. But upon closer inspection, only a few are worth our time. In order no particular order:

Glyph of Dark Binding: You can now cast Prayer of Mending, Renew and Leap of Faith in Shadowform
Non negotiable. We need to be able to pop off our instant heals without having to burn the extra GCD to get back into shadowform.

Glyph of Mass Dispel: Reduces cast time of mass dispel by 1 sec
This is hugely important if you do arena and only marginally less important in RBGs. Having a quick mass dispel is the difference between a kill and your target getting healing up or escaping. Also amazing in RBGs for dispelling a Ring on your team or an AoE root

Glyph of Prayer of Mending: The first charge of your Prayer of Mending heals for an additional 60% but has 1 fewer charge
A great glyph for shadow priests. Makes our favorite instant heal even better, I strongly recommend this glyph for undergeared priests (overgeared ones too ;))

Glyph of Mind Spike: When you deal damage with Mind Spike the cast time of your next Mind Blast is reduced by 50% lasting 6 sec. This effect can stack up to 2 times
This glyph is amazing if you are using the talent From Darkness, Comes Light (see Talents). More instant mind blasts = more mobility and more orbs. If you are not using FDCL (idk why you wouldn’t) this glyph isn’t that great, as you have to Mind Spike to make it useful (duh) and Spriests rarely Mind Spike in PvP

Glyph of Mind Flay: Your Mind Flay spell no longer slows your victim’s movement speed. Instead each time Mind Flay deals damage you will be granted 15% increased movement speed for 5 sec, stacking up to 3 times.
Personally I like this glyph. I feel it gives us much more mobility and makes it easier to stay away from those pesky melee. This one is a personal choice

Glyph of Mind Blast: When you critically hit with your Mind Blast, you cause the target to be unable to move for 4 seconds.
I only mention this one because I see lots of Spriests using it. Skip this glyph. Our crit chance isn’t high enough for it to be worthwhile. Yes a 4 second root is nice, but there are much more useful glyphs then this. No sense wasting a slot.

If I didn’t mention a glyph, it’s because I didn’t think there would ever be a reason to use it. If you feel I am wrong, please use the comments for discussion.

Talents
Tier 1: (Summary, a complete tossup. Choose one that suits you best)

Void Tendrils: A aoe root on a 30 second cooldown. Great vs melee!
Psyfiend: Another fear is great. Gives us a bit more cc tho it DRs with Psychic Scream (obviously) which can be kind of a PITA. A great choice
Dominate Mind: Mind Control revamped. This is nice because it is a no CD cc, but takes us out of the game for the duration as well. The weakest choice in the tier imo but has great situational potential

Tier 2: (Summary: Take Phantasm, Body and Soul is decent)

Body and Soul: a 60% speed boost when we use PW:S. Which is great because we use it a lot! Gives us a nice mobility boost
Angelic Feather: 60% movement speed buff to any ally that walks through it. Meh, I’m personally not a fan as far as shadow goes. Only 1 charge tho 3 can be placed at a time. Personally I have better things to use my GCDs on
Phantasm: A great ability that allows us to be untargetable for 3 seconds after casting Fade. 3 seconds of free casting? YES PLEASE. The clear winner in this tier imo.

Tier 3: (Summary: Take From Darkness Comes Light, move on)

From Darkness Comes Light: 15% chance per Vamp Touch tick to proc a free, instant Mind Spike that doesn’t remove dots. Did I mention it causes mind spike to do 50% additional damage? Yes that too. An amazing (and required, imo) skill. The more VTs you have up, the more procs that roll in. ALSO can proc a free instant flash heal when healing. Take this.
Mindbender: Powers up shadowfiend and drops the CD to 1 minute. Good? Yes. Better then the other choices in this tier? No.
Power Word: Solace: Insanity for shadow priests. As of 5.2, it will double our mind flay damage when used on a target with 3 shadow dots on them. Basically this means when you have VT, SW:P and DP all rolling at once, Mind Flay will hit like a truck. This will be a great talent, just not on this teir. I wouldn’t take it over FDCL

Tier 4: (Summary: Toss up, choose the one you like best)

Desperate Prayer: Our old friend Desperate Prayer from the holy tree. Instant 30% of our health back on a 2 min CD. A great defensive CD to have in your arsenal.
Spectral Guise: Priest invis. It’s rather buggy (pets still attack etc) but great for dodging CC once you get the hang of it. Not great vs more then 1-2 people though, as you’ll pop out of stealth almost as soon as you cast it
Angelic Bulwark: When we drop below 30% health we gain a shield equal to 20% of our health for 20 seconds. 90 sec internal CD. A real nice passive ability to give us a bit more durability

Tier 5: (Summary: Shhh, just take Divine Insight…just take it)

Twist of Fate: 15% damage and healing buff when healing or damaging someone below 20% health. Situational and more PvE. Skip
Power Infusion: Off the old disc tree, increases spellcasting speed by 20% and reduces mana cost by 20%. A nice cooldown, but a clear #2 in this tier
Divine Insight: 5% chance on SW:P tick to reset Mind Blast’s CD and make it instant and free. Yes yes yes yes. Take this. Now. More Mind Blasts = more orbs = more damage/control. And mind blast hits like a truck. Can’t go wrong.

Tier 6: (Summary: Toss up, all fun. Choose your favy)

Cascade: Nice aoe damage/healing. Not so good if there’s no one near you.
Divine Star: Low-ish damage and healing, but great for quick heals and flag defending
Halo: Got nerfed in 5.2 to not pop players out of stealth, which was it’s primary use. Long cooldown compared to the others, but DAMN good damage/healing if they are at max range of the ring. Weak if they are right next to you.

Well that’s all for now! Would love discussion in the comments! Please call me out (gently) if I’ve made a glaring error. Enjoy pwning!
If you found this useful please request it for a sticky so others can see it too!
Edited by Pythes on 1/23/2013 6:06 PM PST
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90 Undead Priest
8305
1. Spriests aren't squishy at all x)
2. 6% spell hit > PvP Resilience=PvP Power > Intellect > Haste > Crit > Mastery
Between gemming resil or power, it all depends on your comp/playstyle and if you're doing rbgs or arena.

Haste is by far the best secondary stat for us, even passed the caps
Crit > Mastery is debatable, but I believe crit is better.
Edited by Jaosix on 1/23/2013 4:15 PM PST
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90 Gnome Priest
7865
1. Spriests aren't squishy at all x)
2. 6% spell hit > PvP Resilience=PvP Power > Intellect > Haste > Crit > Mastery
Between gemming resil or power, it all depends on your comp/playstyle and if you're doing rbgs or arena.

Haste is by far the best secondary stat for us, even passed the caps
Crit > Mastery is debatable, but I believe crit is better.


Squishy is relative i suppose. Now that hunters and warriors have been brought into line, it's certainly better. I still suggest gemming Resil whenever possible, even over pure PvP Power. But yes, it does depend on the comp and if you prefer arena or rbgs.
You certainly need more resil in arena, in rbgs the arguement could certainly be made for pvp power.

Where are you getting your numbers for haste? Most everything i've read/simmed shows mastery being better because of a proc chance. After 10% haste (Extra tick to every dot) mastery becomes MUCH better. So i guess i should change the priority to:
hit > Resil > Power > Intel > Haste (10%) > Mastery > Haste > Crit
But i promise crit is very bad for us. It's bad for most classes in pvp simply because people don't like to rely on RNG.

EDIT: Typos
EDIT2: Alright i took a look at some of the top spriests in 3s right now. They are completely split. The only common factor is they all get that 10% haste breakpoint, then reforge either Mastery > Crit or Crit >Mastery. So i guess it is a personal preference thing. I still recommend Mastery in rbgs, but i can understand why Crit would be taken in arena. The guide has been updated to reflect this.
Edited by Pythes on 1/23/2013 6:05 PM PST
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90 Undead Priest
8305
8085 is the 2nd haste cap, and even before/passed that, haste is still better. Faster globals and faster casts are a must for spriests in PvP

Crit is taken in arena because any extra burst from a mind blast/mind spike/devouring plague is great when going for the kill. It is pretty much personal preference though, which is why I'm reforged mastery
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90 Undead Priest
5155
I go haste>mastery>crit. I have haste at 14%, +5% with shadow form, giving me 19% haste total. Haste is strong IMO. Mastery over crit, is so when I'm getting trained, I get more insta procs so I don't have to hard cast as much and still getting out pressure. Resil, is a no brainier can't do dmg when your on the Defence all the time. Play with it yourself I have and I enjoy it.
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90 Undead Priest
11345
i would strongly advocate taking divine star over halo or cascade.

i like it infinitely better than halo.
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90 Undead Priest
5155
Its all situational.
-I pick Divine star for the survivability. getting 40K+ healed every 15 seconds for only 13k mana and being able to use it after being locked out of any tree is AMAZING. 5.2 (as of the patch notes for now) I will be using divine star almost 99% of the time Due to Halo not being able to get stealths out, also the divine star getting buffed, dmg and healing wise.

-Halo is amazing in RBG getting 60K-80K crits on multiple targets at once and Healing crits for 100K-200K. + you can somewhat control who you hit with it so you wont break the CC off the healers in the back.

-Cascade has its place, in Random BGs . If i want 1million dmg in one game throw cascade every time its up. I dont use in arena or RBG due to it breaks CC to much with no control over where it goes.

So personally i use them all.
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90 Gnome Priest
7865
01/23/2013 11:18 PMPosted by Médousa
I go haste>mastery>crit. I have haste at 14%, +5% with shadow form, giving me 19% haste total. Haste is strong IMO. Mastery over crit, is so when I'm getting trained, I get more insta procs so I don't have to hard cast as much and still getting out pressure. Resil, is a no brainier can't do dmg when your on the Defence all the time. Play with it yourself I have and I enjoy it.


Haste is very strong, i just find mastery to be much better post 10% simply because mastery allows us so much more mobility via procs

I'm also with you for divine star. I use that almost exclusively. The only time i'll take halo is on a flag carry map for popping rogues out. Yeah the heal on halo is nice but i like DS for aoe on the flag. Cascade i played around with briefly, but not enough control.
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90 Undead Priest
5155
I run as much haste as i can but i dont reforge mastery to haste so technically i play both mastery and haste. no crit though
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100 Dwarf Priest
13015
The reason crit is better than mastery is because crit effects more abilities. It is good with our damage abilities and heals where mastery only effects our 3 dots and mind flay (if I remember correctly).

Edit: I would suggest mastery for rbgs and crit for arena. Just my thoughts.
Edited by Ugueth on 1/25/2013 10:51 AM PST
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91 Blood Elf Rogue
10525
Glyph of Mind Spike only works for non-instant cast mind spikes so procs from From Darkness Comes Light no longer apply, makes it pretty useless imo.
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90 Human Priest
9360
Pythes - thanks so much for taking the time to create this guide. I've recently been doing a lot of Arenas on my Shadow priest, and the struggles there have sent me out into the Interwebs looking for as much information as I can.

If you are still reading your post, I have a question on tactics:

    How do you, as a Spriest, handle it when your target decides to run from you or Pillar hump? (and either the target, or their partner, keeps you slowed down/peeled)


More Detail:
In 2v2, recently I've been finding that my kill target (once they realize I'm focusing them) will just start to run away from me or pillar hump. I've blistered the air around me with curse words when, just as my Mind blast is about to land, the target runs around the corner of the pillar (or I'm mindflaying to slow them down and they still run out of range of all my spells). It has lead to some darkly funny scenarios where I'm chasing a person around and around a column (just envision a space alien with hitched up skirts waddling after someone in a circle, screaming widly, and you'll see why I just have to laugh at myself!)
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90 Undead Priest
10800
I was wondering, Staff or 1/OH and if 1h/OH, Dagger or Mace? I heard it doesnt really matter whether to pick staff over dagger/offhand.
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I was wondering, Staff or 1/OH and if 1h/OH, Dagger or Mace? I heard it doesnt really matter whether to pick staff over dagger/offhand.


Well, a staff and the 1h/oh combo should have roughly the same stats, but I think for the 1h/oh combo you can enchant both the 1h and the offhand, which may yield slightly higher stats. As for the type of 1h weapon, I believe it is a cosmetic decision. Find a cool dagger or mace to Tmog and pick the respective weapon.

Personally, for a priest, I'd prefer to use a staff because of the side of me that likes to RP, but the 1h/oh combo is probably the best option in regard to stats and enchant flexibility.

Edited for spelling... -.-

Edited again: It wasn't spelling, it was grammar.............. x_x
Edited by Gornok on 4/27/2013 8:43 AM PDT
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90 Human Priest
8215
like
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90 Human Priest
8215
>Alright a few things, first Crit stacking is what you do in arenas. It works for RBGs as well but you should be off healing arenas.

>Second, Glyph of Vampiric embrace. It's a huge increase for comps you will not get tunneled in and is the glyph of choice for RBGs for me.

Angelic Feather: 60% movement speed buff to any ally that walks through it. Meh, I’m personally not a fan as far as shadow goes. Only 1 charge tho 3 can be placed at a time. Personally I have better things to use my GCDs on


>This is the popular opinion but feather is actually a lot more viable than most people believe, frankly it's the best way to get fears out with guise.

>Halo's main use is off healing with huge heals.

Great guide though, thanks for taking the time to make it.
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