Mists of Pandaria Shadow Priest Glyphs
Guild Wars 2 Headstart Hiccups

My Shadow Priests' Patch 5.0 Talents and Changes in Playstyle


Now that I have my glyph choices squared away, I thought it was time to share the direction I'm heading with talents for my shadow priests* since we're about to have Patch 5.0 land upon all of us, bringing us into this new talent world order.

It quite honestly feels odd, after years of playing, to have so few talents to choose from. Luckily, that marries well to the limited amount of time I've had to screw around in the BETA to see which ones I'd most like to have in the live game.

Tier 1, Level 15

Despite how tempting it would be to have a tentacle monster forest at my beck and call to root down my enemies (i.e. Void Tendrils), I went with the Psyfiend here. It's fabulous fun to have a shrieking little friend causing my enemies to flee in terror. What's not to love?

Tier 2, Level 30

Since this is my leveling build, I've gone with Phantasm. It allows you to remove damaging effects and disencumber yourself by hitting fade. The other real possibility in this tree, Angelic Feather, will go in my second build, to be invoked if I have a raid situation that needs the extra speed for allies.

Tier 3, Level 45

Given how much I love my shadowfiend, turning her into an exquisitely evil and more frequently deployable mana regen machine by choosing Mindbender was a no brainer for me.It will be interesting to see if Shadow Word: Insanity ends up being more DPS or not (that all being relative depending upon one's ability to watch DoTs and CDs and react accordingly).

Tier 4, Level 60

This tier is all about self-preservation. Since I am tired of having way too many rarely-used "oh shit" spells crowding up my bars, I went with Angelic Bulwark which will passively try to save me from anything terrible I stumble into by shielding me and regenning health.

Tier 5, Level 75

My first look at Twist of Fate was initially due to it being an old friend name and icon-wise. But it stayed in my talent tree due to it being a nice passive DPS boost on low health targets. I'll pop Power Infusion into my second shadow build, which is intended to be more suitable for raiding, as the increased haste and mana regen on demand could definitely come in handy.

Tier 6, Level 90

Since I haven't gotten to 90 in the BETA (and frankly, I don't want to ruin all the surprises or get burnt out playing at max level before Live launches), I haven't yet gotten a chance to play with these talents yet. But they seem to be pretty interchangeable from their descriptions and what I've read from other BETA-goers. I thnk I'll go with Divine Star on my leveling build and Cascade (with its higher mana cost) to my raiding build.

Changes to Shadow Priest Playstyle Along with the Patch

Give up any latent thoughts you may have of trying to keep your old rotation in the new frontier of 5.0 and beyond. It simply won't be possible. Here's why:

  • Mind Flay no longer refreshes Shadow Word: Pain. You have to manually keep an eye on it and refresh as needed.
  • Devouring Plague now requires shadow orbs instead of mana. Ideally, you'll want to wait for all 3 orbs to be present to get the most plague for your buck.
  • You build up shadow orbs through damaging targets with Mind Blast or Shadow Word: Death. The latter can generate 2 orbs if it is the killing blow on your target.

What this means for your rotation is you'll now need to keep a closer eye on your Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word Pain (my favorite DoT timer for helping with that in the past has been Need to Know) and refresh them at the last possible moment. You'll want to use Mind Blast every time it is off cooldown, Devouring Plague every time you have 3 orbs available, and fill in with Mind Flay when nothing else is up. And don't forget to deploy your Mindbender/Shadowfiend early and often. When dealing with a group of 4 or fewer mobs, you'll want to DoT with VT and SW:P and DPS down the main target, using plain old Mind Sear instead of DoTs for groups of 4 or more.

I have long loved using my Devouring Plague and being a DoT machine. But I am OK with the changes in my rotation that are coming with this patch. I'll blame that easy going stance on having been a long-time boomkin as well. Adapting to all of their changes over the years, and feeling in a way I can't quite put my finger on that this new shadow priest playstyle is more cosmicly linked to boomkininess, is giving me a purple calmness. I'm looking forward to trying out the new talents and abilities in the next few weeks on my shadow priest ladies.

See you in game!

* That's not a typo. I have a gnome and a Forsaken shdow priest at max level tyvm.