Shadow PvP: Legion Season 4

Priest
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Last Updated: 01JUL17
A special thanks to Lárisa-MoonGuard for reminding me that people enjoy this guide and I should update it.

Note: I am a Lv110 Panda. My avatar is showing a Lv85 Goblin silhouette which won't change, and I don't know why.

Welcome to Legion 7.2.5 Shadow PvP! I will try to focus on Shadow Priest PvP, and only briefly touch on the Legion PvP system. Sources are listed below the head of each section when applicable.

The Legion 7.2.5 conversation begins on page 22, post 2.

Please keep in mind that the best math and simulations to produce the most accurate numbers, and what talents should produce the best results can never be 100% accurate. Every situation is different, so please keep an open mind. This is a broad guide meant as a foundation to build upon.

I encourage open dialog and discussions with professional debating, to better help one another.

1) Prestige System
2) PvP Templates
3) Gear, enchants, trinkets, and bonuses?
4) Regular Talents
5) Honor Talents
6) Artifact Choices
7) Rated Rewards
8) Honor Rewards
9) Other

1) Prestige System
The new “Prestige System” was designed to reward AP, gold, and unique rewards. During your climb to Prestige 1, you earn special PvP talents and the amount of honor needed is half of all other Prestige Rank.

You start at Honor Rank 1 and can progress to Honor Rank 50, before "prestiging" to the next Prestige Rank. The higher you climb, the more PVP talents become available. (We’ll cover each talent further down). When you earn Honor Rank 50, you automatically rollover to the next Prestige Rank and Honor level 0. You do not lose any earned talents. You will earn an achievement, a reward, and a specialized icon next to your name in any Battleground or Arena.

These Honor Talents make a massive difference in your gameplay and were intended to replace set bonuses.

2) PvP Templates
To avoid a wide margin in gear as we have constantly seen in the past, a “Template” system was developed. Each Spec/Class has predetermined stats and values. The basic idea is that everyone has their gear adjusted to iLv900, and for each item level above iLv900, you will gain 0.1%. As an example if you have an item level of iLv920, when you enter you will get a 2% boost to your stats. All that matters are the item level in each slot and nothing else. You will see a buff when within instanced PvP called "Principles of War" that also explains this. These templates DO NOT apply in World PvP.

3) Gear, enchants, trinkets, and bonuses?
Concerning itemization. Remembering what we just covered, the only thing that matters within instanced PvP is the item level in each slot since your stats will be adjusted to predetermined values and enhance your item level.

As an example, you might catch me wearing my PvP outfit which is a hot mess of random items that increase my item level to iLV923, some of the item ungemmed and unenchanted. But when I run my weekly mythics, I use a proper set of balanced stats that is iLv915.

Enchants do not work. Equip bonuses do not work. Trinket functions do not work. And any type of bonus from gear does not work (such as [item= 137419]). This was to try and keep everyone in line with one another. In the past certain enchants, and especially trinkets, gave certain Class/Spec a massive advantage.

4) Regular Talents

Tier 1:
[Twist of Fate] comes out on top for damage every time.
[Fortress of the Mind] is sub par in comparison to ToF, especially since MF is only a filler spell that is rarely cast to completion.
[SW: Void] will allow you to enter quickly or maintain Void Form longer, but is another additional ability to use and doesn't compare to ToF.
Recommend: Twist of Fate.

Tier 2:
[Mania] is generally useless because you are almost always perma-snared, which completely neuters this ability.
[Body and Soul] is extremely useful because we are constantly casting PW:S, it is a good gap closer/opener that doesn’t require enemy combat, and is instant cast.
[Masochism] is more for leveling and questing. Shadow Mend has a fairly high cost, only allowing us five uninterrupted casts. Although turning the post cast DoT into a HoT and reducing all damage by 10% for the HoT duration, it doesn’t do as well utility wise as [Body and Soul]. It should be noted that the DoT from [Masochism] falls off if you break combat, does stack the more you cast Shadow Mend, and is not applied out of combat. The HoT from [Masochism] stacks the more you cast Shadow Mend, remains in or out of combat, and most important is dispellable (and can be Spell Steal by a Mage).
Recommend: Body and Soul.

Tier 3:
[Mind Bomb] replaces Psychic Scream and does a great job for control with its short cooldown, AoE application, and can be instant cast at range.
[Psychic Voice] does well in certain situation in which enemies are tightly packed and don’t have a way to easily break fear (generally Arenas against non-melee heavy teams).
[Dominate Mind] is useless as it does not work in PvP.
Recommended: Mind Bomb.

Tier 4:
[Lingering Insanity] is almost always the #1 choice, which lets us maintain high amount of Haste. Do not use if you choose the honor talent [Edge of Insanity].
[Reaper of Souls] is a great ability that aligns with the honor talent [Last Word] flawlessly, allowing SW:D to activate at 35% enemy HP, which means you can double silence when they are in that range.
[Void Ray] isn’t worth discussing as it is very rare to cast a full duration Mind Flay, coupled with the stacks falling off very quickly.
Recommended: Lingering Insanity.

Tier 5:
[San’layn] is a good talent for smaller fights, like arenas.
[Auspicious Spirits] is not worth taking since our template gives us <20% Crit.
[Shadowy Insight] is a great choice for larger fights like RBGs, since casting SW:P off the back of VT with the Tier 6 talent [Misery) gives us many MB instant cast procs. This allows us mobility and great Insanity generation.
Recommended: Shadowy Insight.

Tier 6:
[Power Infusion] is only taken in Arenas when the enemy team doesn't have a member that can dispell, purge, or steal it.
[Misery] is the best talent for RBGs and Arenas as it lets you cast your DoTs very quickly, and recast them quickly if dispelled. This allows more procs from [Shadow Insight] and healing from VT.
[Mind Bender] can be a useful ability, but is usually taken by Discipline Priests (when chosen). The issue with this ability is the Mindbender pet is susceptible to CC (fear, stun, etc). And if it is not attacking an enemy, it is doing nothing for you.
Recommended: Misery

Tier 7:
[Legacy of the Void] is the most chosen ability as it allows us to enter Void Form earlier and more often and grants an additional 5% damage while in VF. This keeps Void Form more active at +25% amage, more access to Void Bolt (and Void Torrent if you can cast it freely), and more reliable stacks of Lingering Insanity.
[Shadow Crash] is only taken when the honor talent [Edge of Insanity] is taken.
[Surrender to Madness] is never taken due to how difficult it is to keep VF up in PvP coupled with a long cooldown.
Recommended: Legacy of the Void.

Honor Talents

Tier 1:
[Gladiator's Medallion] Crowd Control break ability on a 2 minute CD.
[Adaption] Auto-Crowd Control break ability on a 1 minute CD. The problem with this is a smart player with spammable CC (Ex. Sap or Polymorph) will get this to proc by using their CC ability twice, and then open on you.
[Relentless] All CC reduced by 20%.
Recommended: Gladiator's Medallion.

Tier 2:
[Train of Thought] Not worth taking. You will always be taking damage as a Shadow Priest.
[Mind Quickening] Great talent as more Haste is more success.
[Initiation] Not really worth taking since our crit is low on our template.
Recommended: Mind Quickening

Tier 3:
[Void Shield] Not worth taking anymore since the change in 7.2.5 to VT, SL, FE (etc).
[Pure Shadow] Increases your Dispersion to 95% damage reduction during its duration and stops insanity drain for 6 seconds afterwards. Great choice for survivability and/or maintaining VF longer.
[Fleeting Embrace] Since the change to this in 7.2.5, it isn't even close in ability to PS.
Recommended: Pure Shadow

Tier 4:
[Driven to Madness] Great talent, but doesn't compare to the other two because Instant VF or EoF build is stronger than rapid Insanity generation.
[Void Origins] This is the most common ability chosen to get into VF instantly.
[Edge of Insanity] A good ability but requires a completely different set of Talents, Honor Talents, and game play style. (Will try and discuss this build below).
Recommended: Void Origins

Tier 5:
[Mind Trauma] Steals Haste from your enemy per one complete cast of Mind Flay. That part in bold is why this ability is terrible and not worth taking. We rarely complete a MF cast because it is filler and we are constantly CCed or interrupted.
[Shadow Mania] Good talent for Insanity generation, especially in large group fights like an RBG.
[Psychic Link] With the aforementioned talent [Misery] and {Shadowy Insight], we can deal a lot of Mind Blast damage, and then have 30% of it hit everyone around us.
Recommended: SM for Arena and PL for RBGs.

Tier 6:
[Psyfiend] Amazing ability to deal 15% HP of your enemy and inflict a -50% healing debuff. The major con about this ability is it has 10 HP and can be easily one shot, but cannot be targeted with macros. Used in conjunction with the talent [Lingering Insanity].
[Last Word] great way to destroy a healer who IS NOT on the silence DR for blanket silences. But it will still act as an interrupt if you catch them while casting. This ability is taken with the talent [Reaper of Souls].
[Void Shift] Generally Arena use only as a quick fix to being mongo-bursted by melee.
Recommended:
- Psyfiend if you are the only Shadow Priest in RBGs.
- Last Word if you are one of two Shadow Priests in RBGs.
- Void Shift if you are doing arenas against melee mongo keyboard facerollers.

<More to come>

Grand Marshal Merrik
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    Prestige 15, The Unrelenting
    The Bloodthirsty, Lord of War
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    Shadow since Beta & 94% of all PvP Achievements
(Reserved for upcoming Legion PVP Guide)
2/2 Twisted Faith is actually a relatively prominent choice among top PvP shadow priests. Aside from the obvious 1/1 Spi-Hit conversion and the added OOC regen, many consider it superior to improved mind blast. I personally prefer the added 2% shadow damage over imp MB which, in its current comparatively low-damage state, is very mediocre. Come the patch, this may change, but I don't find myself counting down the seconds on my MB cooldown like I did in wrath.

Aside from that, great guide. You might include the desired 4% hit cap in your early itemization as I see a lot of people requesting information on that in the forums at times.
Thanks

Would be good if we could get a comprehensive shadow PvP guide stickied, not sure if they do that for PvP though, and it'd mean you'd have to write alot more on other basic pvp things ( consider it plz :p )

2/2 Twisted Faith is actually a relatively prominent choice among top PvP shadow priests. Aside from the obvious 1/1 Spi-Hit conversion and the added OOC regen, many consider it superior to improved mind blast. I personally prefer the added 2% shadow damage over imp MB which, in its current comparatively low-damage state, is very mediocre. Come the patch, this may change, but I don't find myself counting down the seconds on my MB cooldown like I did in wrath.

Aside from that, great guide. You might include the desired 4% hit cap in your early itemization as I see a lot of people requesting information on that in the forums at times.


Thanks for your input! I can see how a flat 2% would prove useful, I just believed a quick CD MB that can maintain a Heal Debuff would be more useful.

At the very least, I will admit my being jaded as I really only play Rated BGs these days and that may be why I leaned more towards my choice. By having great input like, it will negate my subjectivity.



Awesome post. Voted for sticky and all that stuff.

Some thoughts:
  • From what I can see, most priests do take Twisted Faith.
  • The only time 240 spell penetration is necessary is against mages with a paladin resistance aura. I don't see that very often and feel perfectly fine at 201 (the cloak without the enchant or any gems), but I also only play arena.


Dusknoir, glad to see ya'.

Can you elaborate the choice to take 2/2 [Twisted Faith]? Besides the obvious +2% percent damage, is there itemization difference that allows us to tighten our stats closer, OOC Regen or just a more static way to keep constant DPS compared to having those points elsewhere?

As for the Spell Pen, I wasn't going to go into detail but I figured the extra effort might help explain the "bare minimum" +195 and the common +240 Mage. People could then have a better understanding and make their choice. I mainly do Rated BGs myself.

I will go adjust a few thing right now as well as add Weapons to the list. Thanks for your input!
Very good read, Merrik!
Good read.
Good guide.
01/28/2011 11:36 PMPosted by Merrik
If you do not have +195 Spell Penetration (Arenas) or +240 Spell Penetration (RBGs), your Shadow spells' damage can be reduced dramatically.


That is interesting. Normally I forget Spell Penetration and wonder why my damage is also tanking when trying to kill other players sometimes, aside from the constant "resist, resist, resist"

-----------------------------------------------

High Damage vs. Survival, is there a magic percentage or amount of resilience where you would notice yourself staying alive much longer through one or two people?
For Example: Could after reaching a certain amount of resilience gem int perhaps?
I myself would prefer the Survival route because I hate dying more than anything but just curious.

As for Twisted Fate with the Twin Disciplines thats an excellent 8% increase. Aside from that it gives me more room to play with gems as well instead of always having to worry about reaching a hit cap. Granted I pvp with some PvE gear because my main spec is Holy PvE and there is spirit all over it, I haven't completely grinded out my entire PvP set for shadow yet but it sure does feel nice not worrying about hit at all.
01/29/2011 10:34 PMPosted by Kreecher
If you do not have +195 Spell Penetration (Arenas) or +240 Spell Penetration (RBGs), your Shadow spells' damage can be reduced dramatically.


That is interesting. Normally I forget Spell Penetration and wonder why my damage is also tanking when trying to kill other players sometimes, aside from the constant "resist, resist, resist"

-----------------------------------------------

High Damage vs. Survival, is there a magic percentage or amount of resilience where you would notice yourself staying alive much longer through one or two people?
For Example: Could after reaching a certain amount of resilience gem int perhaps?
I myself would prefer the Survival route because I hate dying more than anything but just curious.

As for Twisted Fate with the Twin Disciplines thats an excellent 8% increase. Aside from that it gives me more room to play with gems as well instead of always having to worry about reaching a hit cap. Granted I pvp with some PvE gear because my main spec is Holy PvE and there is spirit all over it, I haven't completely grinded out my entire PvP set for shadow yet but it sure does feel nice not worrying about hit at all.


To answer your first question, those "Gem Specs" I listed are a foundation for the individual to build off of. How to Gem in Arenas and RBGs can vary as Dusknoir possibly insinuated. But there is a solid truth to it. You can build off of those specs for your own play style too, which is also what they can be used for. I'm personally sitting at 4130 Resilience and loving it.

As for the [Twisted Faith], it can give you more breathing room to itemize, but only slightly. When I began building my set before purchasing any item, I first figured out which items would get me as close as possible to Hit, the SPen. After that, I chose all the Haste items and built around that. Anything Crit or Mastery I was left with was to be reforged.

I don't use [Twisted Faith], I'm mainly a RBG'er. My mentality s staying alive as long as possible (situational speaking) versus being able to burn someone down. And when I do worry about burning someone down, I have the help of my team. But that doesn't make me right or wrong. Come next patch when [Mind Blast] damage is substantially increased, people may shift their points back into [Improved Mind Blast] to cast it more often.
Nice read, but you'll never make me competent at pvp. Also, voted for sticky.
no mention of the possibility of 4/5 mooncloth for the new 4p bonus?
You mention the both a high damage spec and survivability spec. Could you provide a link for each?
Sticky this naow! Very nice and complete guide.
01/31/2011 7:51 PMPosted by Adetitte
You mention the both a high damage spec and survivability spec. Could you provide a link for each?


By "spec" I meant "Gemming spec". I'm not happy with my current spec. I have Apparitions but I'm unsure I like them for RBGs. I'm still sorting through Recount numbers.

I'll get back to you soon though once I research more Arena folks.
+40 resi on chest really worth giving up +20 all stats?
You should also provide a list for when double 2pc bonus is being nerfed. Which is when shadow is going to favor 4pc mooncloth instead of satin. Since we will force to take a piece of spirit gear (spirit-hit) we can remove a piece of hit off-piece :)
02/01/2011 4:44 PMPosted by Extrameaty
+40 resi on chest really worth giving up +20 all stats?


The preferred method is +40 Resilience Chest for flat damage reduction versus 200 HP coupled with 20 Int / 20 Spi.

02/01/2011 5:07 PMPosted by Annasthesia
You should also provide a list for when double 2pc bonus is being nerfed. Which is when shadow is going to favor 4pc mooncloth instead of satin. Since we will force to take a piece of spirit gear (spirit-hit) we can remove a piece of hit off-piece :)


My "Double Dipping" discussion will be reworded for clarity. I tried to say that, lol.

Also I don't want to discuss the 4-Piece Mooncloth Bonus until it goes live as it may confuse new players. Wish they would put that on the Satin pieces.

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