Mind Spike, it’s purpose…

I’ve made my thoughts on Mind Spike multiple times across several threads. But I decided to make a dedicated thread to it since I just keep seeing so many mixed directions and misinformed takes on Mind Spike that results in 1 of 2 scenarios.

Since I cannot post on the beta forms and even if I did, would probably get lost in the drama that is filling it up with let’s just say less constructive feedback since the blue post nuke some time ago.

I will post my thoughts here.

Scenario 1
People thinking Mind Spike should compete with Mind Flay as a filler in that it should replace Mind Flay entirely.

Scenario 2
People thinking Mind Spike should be outright removed.

What I don’t see much of, actually almost not at all is suggestions on how Mind Spike and Mind Flay can work together at the same time in having access to them both as we do now but having a clear defined reason to use one or the other.

First I will address the shortsighted takes from scenario 1 and 2

Scenario 1 shortsightedness…
What I have gleamed is that people should have a choice to take Mind Spike in order to use that instead of Mind Flay. Problem is that at that base level of choice, it offers no reason to pick one or the other aside from the preference of do you want to cast or do you want to channel? That in of itself is not reason enough to choose one or the other.

Simply having the option to cast one or the other just illustrates a waste of a talent point if you gain nothing from Mind Spike.

So that then leads to scenario 2

Scenario 2 shortsightedness…
To outright remove Mind Spike would solve the current issue of confusion in why use Mind Spike over Mind Flay, but would not address the very essence of WHY Mind Spike existed in the first place and what happened during its evolution and eventual removal and now it’s present resurgence. I would attribute its purpose is to have the ability to quickly deal out damage in a short burst. Think of kaioken technique Goku uses from DBZ, it’s not to be used all the time like his punches and kicks or a massive cooldown like spirit bomb, it’s for short bursts to get the job done.

So this leads into the last scenario that doesn’t get much attention.

Scenario 3
Mind Spike was first brought into the live game in Cataclysm. It existed alongside Mind Flay. Both Mind Flay and Mind Spike had uses that were clear and effective throughout Cata, MoP and WoD.

What caused the distinction between the 2 spammable abilities was the fact that Mind Spike removed your DOTs on targets.

So then you have to ask yourself why? why was this the route to take for Mind Spike? The answer was clear then just as it should be now since blizzard changed the dot removal aspect (major mistake) into what it is currently. The reason it has the dot removal aspect was to balance the ability. Since it had no cooldown and was not gated behind a resource cost, then it had to have some unique aspect that retained its purpose in having a quick kaioken burst effect without overtaking Mind Flay (as we see today).

Okay, so now we can see WHY Mind Spike removed dots. Now the question becomes, when do I use Mind Spike over Mind Flay if Mind Spike removed dots?

In Cata, you used Mind Spike in 2 situations ONLY. It was not to be touched during your normal gameplay loop with Mind Flay and dots.

You used Mind Spike to either burst down a target that spawned and will die fast OR during your Dark Archangel DPS cooldown on again a target that will die fast but just not as fast without the cooldown. A good example is bursting down the tentacles on Deathwings back in Dragon Soul Raid. Mind Spike was NEVER used on like a single target raid boss encounter where you actually keep your dots up all the time and thus not using Mind Spike.

Moving into MoP, Mind Spike was enhanced with Surge of Darkness, allowing the casting time to be removed from Mind Spike when you got a proc and in that state, not removing dots. So just like it is now. This allowed the ability to use Mind Spike into your normal gameplay loop without removing dots. But it was a choice with other common used talents, just like it should be a choice in the current talent trees.

Going into WoD, Mind Spike got enhanced again with the addition of Clarity of Power talent. This caused Mind Spike to deal 40% more damage to targets without dots on them. This also allowed Mind Blast to be a short cooldown like 4 sec and be instant cast all the time. This caused some interesting gameplay loops like dotless play and dot weaving. But the point was that it worked on the idea that you deal more damage to targets without dots on them.

So this brings us to the present and what to do with Mind Spike. It should once again be used for quick burst moments and therefore it should once again have its dot ripping affect returned. This alone will dissuade people from taking it for normal gameplay loop. This would ease the confusion on when to use it over Mind Flay.

The problem was that when the tree was first reintroduced with Mind Spike in it, Mind Spike was centrally located in the middle of the talent tree and I think because of this, people that didn’t play Shadow prior to Voidform had no idea what to make of Mind Spike and didn’t know that it already existed in the past and how it functioned during that period.

Because of this combination of lack of experience or understanding and it being centrally located, I conclude that the masses thought it was a core tenet of the new talent tree and should not be skipped over thus creating the confusion of it being a core gameplay loop spell. Hopefully now that the talent tree has since been cleaned up and played around with, with Mind Spike off to the side, it not longer creates this veil of confusion thinking it’s a core tenet of shadow when it never should have been and never was prior.

So that’s when you got a lot of people calling for the dot ripping aspect to be removed… and so it did but that didn’t solve the issue, it just made things more confusing.

That is why now hopefully everyone sees how problematic it is in this non dot ripping form vs having the dots removed.

What needs to happen is have the dot ripping affect returned and then amp up the damage on Mind Spike to compensate not being able to use on dotted targets.

Before it dealt increased damage in the past to targets without dots on them. It can do that again passively OR it can simply reduce its damage done to targets with dots on them or a combination of effects.

Point is to make it clear that Mind Spike is simply a tool for a specific type of situation that belongs outside the normal gameplay loop. It was a mistake to ever think it should be apart of normal gameplay and used all the time.


In single target mind spike is your filler unless you get an empowered mind flay, in aoe, you never use mind flay. Is the point of your post that we don’t use mind flay enough? Or that you don’t like having to use mind flay only used after devouring plague on single target?

You are only looking at it from a PvE perspective. In PvP, mind spike is the frost/shadow school of magic you can cast when countered out of other shadow spells.

My post was to clarify the original intent of Mind Spike when it FIRST was introduced into the game back in Cata and explain how it has evolved throughout its primary run from Cata, to MoP, to WoD.

Because what is happening is a lot of confusion on why Mind Spike is currently in the talent tree and a lot of people want it removed or changed in a way like having Mind Flay OR Mind Spike in having Mind Spike REPLACE Mind Flay.

I am pointing out that Shadow with Mind Spike played really well in 3 versions of the game during its initial run without any confusion with Mind Flay.

My post in not to explain how it currently works, it it simply to educate the portion of people that don’t understand how we ended up in this current implementation.

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I know how Mind Spike works. I know it’s frost/shadow and I know it’s PvP capability.

I was addressing the confusing and conflicting takes I keep seeing on the beta feedback thread as it’s clear they never used it prior to Legion as they would never make said absurd statements about how it should work like replacing Mind Flay or being removed completely if they did.

Because if it replaced Mind Flay, it would only cause further issues as what happened in the transition between WoD and Legion. It simply broke the spec not having Mind Flay. And to remove it outright is a short sighted fix because it is supposed to be apart from normal rotation. This is why Mind Flay should remain as the primary filler spell and Mind Spike should be used in a different manner apart from normal gameplay loop. It should change up your spell priority in quick burst moments.

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So people looking at how it functions now and trying to make sense of it in its current state are wrong because of how it functioned differently in a prior expansion?

People are wrong for being confused by how it is - NOW - because it functioned differently - THEN -

Or, hear me out one sec, it’s current implementation isn’t clear and there’s no peep from Blizz on its intended use so people are spitballing.

I get what you’re saying but folks have to work with what they have now - not pretend it exists as it once did in a prior expansion and try to play the same way with it even though they can’t.

Unless Blizz changes it, it will remain unclear as to it’s intent and that’s what everyone has to work with.


For sure blizzard dropped the ball. I am not disputing that fact.

What I am doing here is offering a 3rd scenario besides the primary 2 I keep seeing over and over again on the beta forums.

I keep seeing people demanding Mind Spikes removal OR it being a talent that replaces Mind Flay.

What I am addressing is that neither of those scenarios will have a positive outcome just like making Mind Spike NOT rip dot effects off target which now has caused this ever more confusing discussion as to what to do with Mind Spike.

Before they changed the dot ripping aspect of Mind Spike in the new talent tree, it was working as it did prior. Problem was people thought it was a now core mechanic and if you read blizzards initial post concerning Mind Spike, it did not read as such. It read as a choice to pick for a style of play, not a core feature of shadow as a spec.

But because of the placement of Mind Spike in the talent tree and a lot of misinformed people on how Mind Spike works with shadow as a dot ripping ability, people quickly demanded that the dot rip feature get removed instead of doing some digging and understand that Mind Spike worked well in the past and try to see how it do so. Instead blizzard caved and now we have the Mind Spike vs Mind Flay topic. The confusion still exists, it’s just morphed into a more confusing conversation.

To be clear, blizzard really gone and messed up Mind Spikes reintroduction.

The way it was presented assumed people know how it is supposed to work in conjunction with the rest of your abilities and the fact that it was centralized in the talent tree further added to the confusion of thinking it’s a core tenet of a gameplay loop and the fact that Dark Ascension did not include Mind Flay as the filler ability to get enhanced damage vs in Cata Dark Archangel did include Mind Flay really skewed the perception that Mind Spike was a replacement for Mind Flay as a filler.

That was a colossal failure on blizzards end. Which is why they really need to address it. But simply removing Mind Spike or having it replace Mind Flay will cause more harm and more confusion. That is why I am here providing a more complete in-depth history as to how we ended up where we currently are.

Or alternatively blizzard arbitrarily bolted old spells onto a spec without thought for how they actually worked with the new design elements that spec had, were chastised for it, and put their foot in it instead of building an actual coherent spec in response.

It’s nostalgia bait and nothing more.


Well yes, I think that is what lead to where we currently are.

In either case of blizzard throwing in Mind Spike into the talent tree for nostalgic purposes or had a clear intention still remained the same result of not properly informing the player base with a proper explanation or direction the spec should play as and what role features like Mind Spike should serve as.

I would agree based on the current incarnation of shadow and how it was handled during this beta process just screams that blizzard had no idea what they were doing. I get the feeling that they just threw random stuff at a wall to see what would stick, but then forgot to check on it and just left it there and ran out of time and just cleaned it up slightly by just hiding the mess under the rug and deal with it at later date.

But regardless if it was due to poor communication or a several lack of understanding on blizzard part when it comes to shadow priest, they simply dropped the ball. At this point I don’t think a reason is needed to understand that they did and they need to fix it.

Do they fix it by having a more in depth communication and discussion? Or do they need to spend some time to educate themselves on what exactly is the essence of shadow and priest in general to really get their ducks in a row before they once again come to sit at the priest table and spew even more clear disconnecting drivel about what they are doing when they have no clear understanding themselves? Who knows lol.

Blizzard created this mess. I’m just attempting to at least provide some level of background history that caused the lead up to this point with a mix of facts and my perception on how they delivered the current product of the talent tree.

I will add this though.
When blizzard changed the Mind Spike dot rip affect to NOT rip dots anymore, they did it with an added concern. So they knew making that change was not the right direction but did so cautiously based on what I would think was due from the player outcry.

Blizzards quote:

Mind Spike and Mind Flay coexisting is something we’re going to try but are wary of. Shadow has many spells to press rotationally, and this isn’t helping that. At the same time, being able to build your own Shadow Priest was a goal with this iteration and we believe the tree allows for that.

I think they should have explained at that point Mind Spikes role instead of just capitulate to the whims of the masses. Just goes to show as you pointed out, they didn’t have a clear direction OR they perhaps second guess themselves and in this case thought the community knew better? Not sure. But it was clear enough that they didn’t really want to make that change and had no intention of doing so before the player base outcry.

They could have and should have handled it better. That’s really all there is to say on that point.


Mind Spike ripping dots or doing extra damage against targets without dots clashes so hard with our current Mastery. It would have to have its damage buffed by so much for it to be used.

I do recognize that is the only downside.

However, I think that problem is easily addressed in a variety of ways.

  • Baked in damage increase into Mind Spike similar to WoD’s CoP like +40% on targets without dots.
  • Dark Ascension can have the Void Eruption/Voidform ability to to deal damage max mastery damage without dots on target.
  • keep the dots not ripping off from Mind Spike, increase base damage of Mind Spike by a massive amount, reduce the damage done to targets that have dots. This way it’s clear you do more damage to targets without dots vs with dots but you don’t have to worry about accidentally ripping dots off.

Any values can be adjusted as needed. I think the number adjusting although not ideal, it’s a better solution compared to a design conflict inherent in the spec.

And while they are doin all that, please add an animation. :relieved:


Once again you manage to share my thoughts on this perfectly.

I’m so tired of waiting for an expansion where they finally rebuild every class from thee ground up, unrushed and we’ll thoguht out.

So far I’ll be doing the same this expac. Play a bit then quit and return when I see huge changes… Just like sl

Maybe the next Future expansion will be The one… Here’s hoping for riot MMORPG tbh. As well as Diablo 4

There’s a problem with all of this and, in my opinion, the benefit of having OG Mind Spike is outweighed by the cost.

Addressing your solutions to Mind Spike’s bad interactions with mastery:

1 - Essentially reintroducing COP will result in people trying to play the spec that way exclusively, which means Blizzard will need to essentially try to design and balance shadow around three completely different playstyles: without Mind Spike, with Mind Spike, and COP only. Blizzard will fail in this regard, alienating people who don’t like whichever style wins out.

2 - Dark Ascension get’s Voidform’s mastery benefit is a terrible idea given that’s all Voidform currently does while Dark Ascension has half the cooldown and double the Ancient Madness benefit. This simply means that Voidform is only useful for triggering Yogg-Saron and nothing else, forcing Blizzard to either finally bury Voidform completely or rework it again to give it a job, which Blizzard won’t do.

3 - Same problem as #1, but reversed. People will try to make dotless a playstyle and Blizzard will need to try to balance three different versions of shadow.

There is a world where Mind Spike has a role in shadow, and that world was pre-2016. Mind Spike, in any incarnation, is a problematic ability to add to shadow at this point without significant redesign that Blizzard has indicated it isn’t willing to do. Blizzard won’t even increase the Mind Blast benefit on Manipulation or Whispers of the Damned (or Ancient Madness for Dark Ascension and Void Eruption, or C’thun with Mind Flay and Mind Sear, or Mind Devourer for Devouring Plague and Mind Sear) to make those talents meaningful without Mind Spike - why would we believe for even a moment that Blizzard will do the work necessary to make Mind Spike a healthy inclusion for the spec when they can instantly solve huge problems by simply removing it?

Mind Spike’s presence in shadow today is 100% a short-sighted attempt to “respond” to the community’s requests by returning the #1 most requested ability, but they didn’t redesign the spec to make the ability work and actively made the talents worse by warping half the tree around Mind Spike.


My suggestions are simply that, suggestions.

Mind spike can also bake in extra crit damage and crit chance on targets without dots on them. Or each successive mind spike on target puts a stacking debuff that increased crit chance or crit damage.

Again, just ideas.

But the point is that Mind Spike from the initial inception and for the entirely of its run was to grant the capability for shadow to set up quick burst damage moments.

Outside of cooldowns, that really does not exist. Everything is based on getting your dots out faster and getting them to tick faster/harder and trigger procs.

But nothing is on demand as you need it. If you think having no burst damage on demand is not wanted/needed then we simply disagree.

With the amount of crowd control priests are susceptible too, we can easily get shut down during our cooldown/procs and never have enough oomph to deal good quick damage in short bursts.

The main problem with your statement is coming from the standpoint that Mind Spike is to be a primary ability that must be taken and that should not be the case now or in any incarnation it is in for the majority of situations. However, it should be a choice for those that want the ability to deal quick upfront damage often at the expense of dealing more damage over time and on multiple targets.

Also, my ideas that address Mind Spike are not the end all be all that needs to be addressed with shadows talent tree as a whole. Your point about how it doesn’t currently fit or it still won’t fit with the current talent tree if my idea of it becoming a clear burst tool was to be considered has very little weight when compared to the tree and it’s multiple issues plaguing it. Obviously more work would need to be done to shadows talents as a whole. I am simply just pointing out the best direction Mind Spike needs to take, the direction of being a tool for quick burst as it always was and as it should be once again on the simple basis that we don’t have a tool that fits that criteria currently.

Finally, if blizzard really just brought back Mind Spike just because it can be another button to press instead of understanding the reason WHY it was missed, then they have a lot of work to do.

The reason Mind Spike is such a positive addition to Shadow was that it gave the spec an ability that did damage on demand without waiting for tick damage and without having a cooldown. So take Mind Spike away or not, the point was to bring that capability back into the spec and since Mind Spike filled that role rather well, it made sense to request it back to fill that role once again.

Also to be clear. Any of the issues plaguing shadows talent tree I don’t expect to be fixed anytime soon. That ship set sailed weeks ago if it not months by now. What I am discussing and pointing out is the missing talking point concerning Mind Spikes role for Shadow and simply making it replace Mind Flay or removed outright will still leave shadow lacking in the area of on demand quick burst.

These changes I would expect to see on 11.0 more so than any major 10.x content patches. But I am saying this now on its own thread because no one else is pointing out the facts that I am. Most talk revolve around PvE content and don’t even consider PvP or specific encounters where you need to target swap quickly where dots will not be fast enough or be immune. Example is the new DF dungeons with the Gnolls where I think the last boss you have to swap to the totem or whatever it summons and burst it down fast. Situations like that are what Mind Spike is supposed to be meant for. Not replacing the doting nature that shadow should remain and excel at.

Mind Spike is supposed to be a tool. It’s not any more complicated than that.

Another example of Mind Spike and the role it should play is to compare similar abilities of other class/specs.

I think Mind Spike is equivalent to Fire Mages Pyro Blast in that it deals a lot of damage but at the cost of a long cast time. But talents exist to help proc a faster cast or instant cast.

Also Frost Mages with Ince Lance dealing a lot of damage if you get procs or target is frozen, but outside that you would be better casting thinking like Frost Bolt.

Or Elemental Shamans in having Lava Burst procs for instant hard hitting spell for quick burst.

Or Affliction Warlock with instant cast Shadow Bolt proc where without it you focus more on dotting but with procs, you can amp up your burst on top of dots.

Mind Spike is Shadows version of a burst tool.

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Its initial inception was as much damage as mind flay plus SW:P going by that it doesn’t need to be anything more than it currently is. What would be nice is for them to remove WotD and the CD reduction on mind games. And maybe replacing the current mastery with something that works in all situations.

Are you referring to when it was introduced in Cataclysm?

Because no one used Mind Spike over Mind Flay + Shadow Word: Pain on long form/extended fights.

I already provided examples of when it was used and why. Never was Mind Spike a straight replacement for Mind Flay and Shadow Word: Pain where you can just remove them from your keybinds.

In every form Mind Spike was included in Shadows Kit, it never replaced the need to use Mind Flay and Shadow Word: Pain. Best case is in short burst moments which is what I am explaining. But obviously that idea goes out the window if Mind Spike didn’t rip away dots which is why we have people questioning why it currently exists because I agree in the current form it’s very confusing. But that’s is why this thread exists, to clear up the confusion surrounding Mind Spike and its current incarnation vs it’s past version and the role it played.

The only times it ever saw extended play it had either a set bonus propping it up or was underpinned by talents.

Those short-burst moments never existed. You either slapped full dots on an add or let the rest of the raid kill it.

As it is right now it would serve the exact same roll it served in Cata if WotD and the mind games CD reduction were removed.

This is simply not true.

Cataclysm Firelands. Burst the dogs down to stop from eating someone. Burst the spiders down that dropped down or spawned. Burst the fire hawk adds that spawn. Burst the fire elementals in ragnoros fight.

Cataclysm Dragonsoul. Burst the oozes. Burst the ship adds that spawn. Burst deathwings tentacle plates. Burst the tentacles that spawn in madness.

Bursting took a more back seat with the loss of Dark Archangel and the new talent system in MoP and WoD PvE and I can’t speak much on that as much because I was really only doing PvP during that time. But for PvP having instant cast Mind Spikes followed up with Shadow Word: Deaths and in WoD with harder hitting Mind Spikes and instant cast Mind Blast on short cooldown made the spec a dream to play.

To say we never target swapped to burst things down is severely downplaying Cata, MoP and WoD. You either never played during that time or forgotten much to even consider what your saying has any truth.