Shadow Priest - What can be done now and what should be done for The War Within

The spec is currently in one of the worst states I’ve ever seen it, right after being one of the best last season, so what happened?

Shadow was underdeveloped at the launch of Dragonflight, which has happened every expansion launch since BFA, but we got pretty heavy tuning later in the first patch. By 10.0.7 the spec was in a fantastic spot and despite there still being some obvious flaws I actually believe this is the best version that Shadow has ever had, it was so fun to play, felt rewarding playing well and you could see how they could make the spec even better. I specifically remember a moment in a +28 Nokhud on the first pull thinking to myself “This is the most fun I’ve ever had playing shadow”. Hardcast a few VT’s, hit a shadow crash, get into Voidform, mind sear every few casts and machine gun apparitions while dodging mechanics with void bolt and instant mind blasts/spikes, such good gameplay.

The main flaw with 10.0.7 version was button bloat. Having 2 filler spells that were confusing to know when to press was awkward. Spells like Mindgames and Divine Star/Halo were just extra buttons that didn’t really matter to the rotation. Shadow Crash’s cooldown was long and it was annoying having to estimate how long the current pull would take to have it up for the next, plus Shadow Crash was awkward to aim and frequently bugged out on terrain or just missed because of slow travel time. We also lacked movement utility which saw us unviable for Raszageth without external help in phase 1.

The announced 10.1 rework was surprising to a lot of us and felt completely unnecessary, but there was hope that the flaws of the spec would be addressed and we would be in a better state.

What should have been changed

  • An alternative talent option(s) to shadow crash for aoe.
  • Mobility added through a displacement of some kind.
  • Fix the filler spells so you know when your supposed to use which.
  • Remove some button bloat spells like Mind Games and Divine Star/Halo (or make DS/H less attractive for shadow).
  • Better talent balancing to allow for even more build diversity.

If those issues were addressed the spec would have been nearly perfect.

What was actually changed with the 10.1 rework

First of all, yes we were powerful in 10.1, but there’s a difference between tuned well and designed well. I think the rework made our design way worse but because of the good tuning and insane utility overlap with the m+ pool we became part of the god comp and it was hard to complain, now that we are tuned bad it is highlighting all the bad design choices that were made with this rework.

Mind Sear was removed and more power was added to Psychic Link to replace it. IMO this was a terrible direction to go in because we already had the choice to play a Psychic Link build and removing that choice made the spec a lot less diverse. Shadow Crash used to start our insanity generating engine to allow Mind Sear to do our uncapped aoe, and with Mind Sear gone we now do basically nothing beyond 8 targets. Removing Mind Sear required a complete rethink of how we do aoe, Shadow Crash VT application should have been uncapped and Psychic Link should do less damage beyond X targets, instead we are locked into the 8 random targets that Shadow Crash hit for our entire aoe and if doing a large enough pull were screwed.

The Mind Spike Talent now replaces Mind Flay. Having multiple filler spells was mis-labeled as button bloat by people who didn’t fully understand the way the spec was played. Using Mind Flay when static and saving instant Mind Spike charges for movement was terrific to play with, and removing that combined with the shadowy insight nerf almost completely killed our ability to do damage while moving for more than 1-2 globals. With the change Mind Spike was just better than Mind Flay in most cases and essentially removed the specs most iconic spell.

What should be done now

Single target we are (tuned) somewhat fine, maybe needs a small buff but the major problem is our aoe.

The aoe tuning is non-existent, I started writing this post before the announced 15->25% Psychic Link buff and that is not even close to enough, I feel like even at 35-45% it might not be good enough with the current meta because its all about uncapped aoe.

Give Shadow Crash a 2nd charge, There are so many situations where it would help and is the bare minimum the spell needs to massively improve the gameplay.

With Voidform essentially dead because of our tier set it really highlights how terrible our dot extension in aoe is. 10.0 we could use mind sear with mental decay (dots were more of an insanity generator rather than our actual damage), 10.1 we relied on void bolt and on large packs get a second crash in so we could be competitive on very large pulls, but now we are limited to 8-10 targets and still requires some VT hardcasting. Bring back aoe dot extension, IMO if you’re playing optimally refreshing dots in aoe shouldn’t be a thing, the most commonly said solution is for Mental Decay to work with Shadowy Apparitions instead of our filler.

These 3 simple changes would be enough to tide over pve shadow until the next expansion.

  • Tune Psychic Link correctly.
  • Shadow Crash 2nd charge.
  • Mental Decay works with Shadowy Apparitions instead of filler.

What needs to be done for The War Within

I made another post going into detail for rework suggestions, but to make it simple I would revert back to the 10.0.7 build and use that as the starting point. The spec was so much more fun to play with that concept than we have now. It is absolutely criminal that you made that version of shadow mid patch and reworked it before the next raid.
See this post for my full rework suggestions for shadow: Shadow Priest Needs Another Rework - #173 by Kaldemic-frostmourne


Agree with everything stated here.

agreed. mind sear was so much fun when you were able to pull off the free cast. I want ghosts coming out of my body!


Bring back the the true shadow g.o.a.t imo, WoD shadow priest. Iykyk. Also, slightly longer casts of mind flay (2ish second channels feels more spammy than it should), and instant mind blasts that dont interupt channeling. So weird that they added that. Made a huge deal about it cause community had been asking for it, then just ninja remove for no reason (unless i missed a blue post)
Edit: spell name, spelling


I member when everyone hated the state of shadow at the beginning of DF…

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The state of shadow was terrible at launch, I mentioned we got heavy tuning throughout the patch.

DECEMBER 19, 2022 (one week after the season started)

  • [With weekly restarts] Vampiric Touch damage increased by 10%.
  • [With weekly restarts] Shadow Word: Pain damage increased by 10% for Shadow only.
  • [With weekly restarts] Shadowy Apparition Damage increased by 10%.
  • [With weekly restarts] Devouring Plague damage increased by 10%.
  • [With weekly restarts] Void Bolt damage increased by 20%.
  • [With weekly restarts] Mind Blast damage increased by 20% for Shadow only.
  • [With weekly restarts] Mind Spike damage increased by 20%.
  • [With weekly restarts] Mind Flay damage increased by 20%.
  • [With weekly restarts] Idol of Y’shaarj increases damage done by 5% when Mindbender is summoned on a feared target (down from 15%).
  • [With weekly restarts] Increased the mana cost of Power Word: Shield to 5% of base Mana for Shadow only (was 4%).

JANUARY 9, 2023

  • [With weekly restarts] Focused Will provides 10% damage reduction for Shadow (down from 15%).
  • [With weekly restarts] Mind Blast damage increased by 15% (Shadow only).
  • [With weekly restarts] Mind Flay damage increased by 15% (this includes Mind Flay: Insanity, but not the proc from Idol of C’Thun).
  • [With weekly restarts] Mind Spike damage increased by 15%.
  • [With weekly restarts] Void Torrent damage increased by 15%.
  • [With weekly restarts] Devouring Plague damage increased by 15%.
  • Developers’ notes: These changes are aimed at improving Shadow’s single target DPS. The change to Focused Will is a targeted change for PvP to reduce Shadow’s survivability.

10.0.5 - January 25, 2023

  • Divine Star now generates 6 Insanity.
  • Halo now generates 10 Insanity.
  • Mindgames now generates 10 Insanity.
  • Psychic Link now also functions with Mind Games, Void Bolt, and Void Torrent.
  • Resolved an issue causing the Shadow versions of Halo and Divine Star to cost less mana than the Holy versions.

After the 10.0.5 changes we were really in a good spot, and there’s definitely some changes I missed but this is all I could find for the first season.


And then suddenly loved it when they buffed the numbers until it was OP despite the gameplay being the exact same thing that they claimed to hate.


Absolutely not. Shadow Crash and Tormented Spirits are already both incredibly strong. Having to cast DoTs should be part of the gameplay of a DoT spec, and is the only way to make Psychic Link reasonable (because it adds opportunity cost)

Yeah this sucks a lot, especially in a season with a lot of tiny useless mobs in every pull that soak up the VTs from Crash. Uncapping AoE DoT application is not it though.

This just isn’t true, but also that’s how caster movement should work across the board. You should suffer for poorly planned movement, and any movement over long distances.

Just ask for no CD at this point, clearly having decisions on when to use it isn’t something you want.

1-3 targets you should manually cast VT and SW:P separately, 4-10 you should Crash + a few manual casts, above 10 DoTs shouldn’t be part of how you deal damage because at that point you’re in 4fun brain off territory where good design goes out the window.

Honestly though, the biggest crimes in the current Shadow tree are Misery and Distorted Reality. Misery being hard locked, completely unavoidable is garbage. Just delete SW:P and stop pretending there’s 2 DoTs if that’s going to stay. The actual solution should be to make it a choice node with something you’d always want over Misery for 1-3 target situations, though.

Distorted Reality has gotten dumber and dumber thanks to buffs and increased insanity generation over the expansion. It should be what you pick on Council fights, and that’s basically it. Picking it on ST is awful. The easiest fix is to make Devouring Plague compress with haste instead of double dipping. Make it always last 4 GCDs (without DR) and 8 (with DR), then tune ME/DR numbers. This keeps the “mastery minigame” relevant for the entire expansion, instead of ending up with 80-90% DP uptime without DR every tier (leading to completely justified insanity generation nerfs), because your insanity generation and spending both scale with haste.


The difference with the spec was night and day after the changes, The tuning changed the builds and how we play, surely you know this.

My point was that removing Mind Sear was short sighted because we have not other uncapped aoe (other than divine star/halo/holy nova & initial shadow crash dmg). By choosing to remove Mind Sear they should have reworked the rest of our aoe package, by doubling down on Psychic Link they should have also reworked it to reduce damage over X targets and uncap our dot spread, I don’t see how this is controversial if tuned correctly.

Damage while moving wasn’t meant to be a main focus of this thread but your right, you should be rewarded for planning/playing well, the problem is that we don’t have as much readily available instant casts as we used to. Biggest hole from last season (and previous expansions) is void bolt, semi replaced with Shadow Word: Death but not nearly as good.


So your solution to 10+ targets is? kinda the whole point of this thread is finding a short and long term solution to this. We don’t do damage to targets that have no dots on them.

If your biggest problems with the spec are Misery and DR then we are on different planets in regards to Shadow.

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Sear that benefits from mastery directly instead of via DoTs. Making sure to tune it to only actually use it at clown target counts. Ideally my solution is “Shadow doesn’t do damage to that many targets”, but unfortunately M+ exists.

Definitely. I want specs (not just Shadow) to be distinct from each other, fill different roles etc. M+ existing makes that impossible (it forces every spec to do burst, AoE, have little to no setup time, also do ST in the same build etc), but that doesn’t change my opinion on what is good design.

Obviously if it’s just about power level/making the spec meta, your suggestions are good, but I just… don’t care about that. It’s not particularly interesting to discuss because the answer is obviously just “make every number bigger, remove CDs and caps”.

Good, bring back Mind Sear and my suggestions about uncapping Shadow Crash and reducing Psychic Link are unnecessary.
“Shadow doesn’t do damage to that many targets” is a terrible suggestion.

It doesn’t necessarily make it impossible, this season the M+ meta is still being figured out but currently the main combinations are; tank (PPal/VDH), heal (Disc/Rdruid), aug, prio dmg (rogue/mage), full aoe (boomy/dh). With our current build we fit into the prio dmg role but are tuned nowhere near well enough. If we had Sear back we could potentially be a full aoe or a mix.

That is not my point at all… I want the spec to be fun and unique to play but being viable is the bare minimum that any spec should request, IMO that was accomplished very well with the late S1 version, and reworking away from that was a mistake. Dismissing what I’m suggesting with “make every number bigger, remove CDs and caps” is not helpful.

I’m curious what your opinion on the late season 1 version is.

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Because M+ exists and suffocates design space by requiring every spec to do everything, yes.

It does, because M+ is inherently very burst and AoE focused. Specs that don’t provide both of these simply don’t work. Sure there’s mildly distinct flavors of doing those things, but there’s no room for actual sustained damage or specialist specs in either ST or AoE (unless they’re grossly overtuned). You can’t have a spec like old Feral that just murders 1 target, or even really the versions of WW that only do AoE. Spread AoE/cleave has practically no (additional) value, because you end up stacking things anyway.

It was fun to play, but way too mobile (in terms of “fun to play at the expense of good design/game health” it was probably the best version this expansion). It had most of the same issues as the current spec as well (Misery, too much insanity, MG existing, Halo/DS existing, PI existing, DR was luckily weak at the time).

MD Sear was stupid and shouldn’t have given a full 100 insanity’s worth of channel.

It had build diversity, which some people value but I don’t.

Crash CD was an awkward length and should’ve been made longer rather than shorter.

Right so the solution is to just ignore that third of the game and turn the spec into a something that is never viable for M+ or AoE and only sees play when tuned well for ST or council fights. Just so it can have the coveted unique title of “terrible at aoe”.

“Being fun at the expense of good design” is a bad mentality towards class design. But I agree that our mobility was a bit too good.

Well that’s your opinion to have then, but I find 1 build for ST and another for AoE with next to no flexibility to be bad game design.

One of the worst takes I’ve ever seen.


Nope, it unfortunately exists and has to be designed around. Doesn’t mean I have to actively campaign for that degeneration.

It’s really not. People keep asking for things like charges on abilities, more mobility or more resource generation/higher resource caps, all of which quite easily become detrimental to gameplay depth. There needs to be friction like that, you can’t just always be given the “most fun” solution.

I’m playing a DoT spec, I want to actually press my DoTs.

I guess I worded it poorly, of course there can be bad design that is fun. What I meant was if something is fun but overpowered there should be a way to tune it so it maintains that ‘fun’ while not being too good.

Nothing stopping you from spamming VT if that’s how you want to play.

If there was more build diversity then there could be a viable dot focused build if that’s what you prefer playing.

I care about the health of the spec, I want it to be both viable and fun. If you don’t care about that then why are you even here.

I keep suggesting that we just give our dots an AoE cast like Sunfire. We can keep the 8 target limit otherwise psychic link would become OP. To many of our procs and abilities depend on having dots on our enemies including our mastery so we can’t be locked out of AoE for 20 seconds because shadow crash is on cc.

Also Shadow crash is still too slow and inaccurate in dungeons, it’s a relic from WotLK when it was a dungeon boss spell that was meant to be dodged. I suggest we make shadow crash a powerful aoe burts spender with a faster missile fired at a target rather than the ground. This will keep an iconic looking spell while turning it back into a pure damage dealer rather than a frustrating way to apply dots.

Put Shadow Crash and Psychic Link on a choice node so people can choose between stronger AoE and single target priority. Mind sear would be unnecessary this way as psychic link would fill that roll without forcing you to stand still and channel all the time in AoE situations.

The class requires another rework, but this solution fixes our main issue of being powerless in AoE situations while Shadow Crash is on cc. I don’t care about tuning numbers yet, just give us the basic toolkit that any dps requires and you can nerf or buff if needed later.

This isn’t even worth responding to, what an absurd thing to say.

That’s what Shadow as a whole should be. Having different builds within a spec just means people inevitably end up forced into builds they don’t enjoy because there will inevitably be a best build. Just look at all the people complaining any time SFP/DA is best, or CoP when that existed, or Sabertooth for Feral for like 6 years.

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I was being flippant but also responding to your 0head take on shadow crash cooldown being too short at 30 seconds.

That’s true, because the devs hardly ever balance talents that aren’t meta outside of major content patches. When a particular build emerges as the best it is very likely to stay that way throughout that season (and sometimes entire expansions or more), so bad luck if you don’t like that gameplay. Examples are Voidform being dead this season along with AS and Yoggers, I would be surprised if they got any real tuning throughout the season.

It was. Felt awkward needing to decide whether to manually cast or wait sometimes. Just make manual cast between Crashes the correct play. That way Crash is still there to speed up the on-pull setup but doesn’t replace DoT management entirely.

Obviously, people have their own preferences and ideal solutions to the issues surrounding shadow and Priest as a whole.

I will agree to the point about Shadow Crash and its friction to Shadow as a whole… not just its target cap and cooldown timer.

I agree Shadow should be treated like a DoT spec in the sense that dots should matter. Matter in terms of actually applying them with the effects they provide and the damage it deals.

But Shadowcrash in of itself is just an overall TERRIBLE spell. Its mechanically out of touch with the modern gameplay wow has become with the constant movement required in every facet the game caters too.

So instead of suggesting a way to make Shadowcrash better and less annoying to deal with, it think we should incorporate a better spell used for the purpose that Shadowcrash accidentally got with the application of Vampiric Touch and combined synergy with Misery.

I’ve listed many options but I think Cascade would be amazing to fill the role that Shadowcrash does as it is not limited by targeted area and follows your targets as they move and the splitting effect is both cool visually and it can bounce to new targets after you already casted Cascade.

Also, Unholy Nova would be another candidate to replace Shadowcrash.

But even if we got a better spell mechanically over Shadowcrash, the question about targets and cooldown still stands.

I think giving the dot spreader spell a LONG timer like 60 seconds would be just fine, but its cooldown is reduced when your Shadowy Apparitions hit a target or are spawned. In addition I think Metal Decay should just be affected with Shadowy Apparitions.

So now we have a long cooldown spell to spread dots which prevents abuse while also making a dot based spec spend more time manually casting at least VT while not wasting your time as the dot duration could be extended passively through Shadowy Apparitions which both justify the long cooldown of a dot spreader and reduces its cooldown. It creates a good gameplay loop synergy that rewards the player when they actually play the spec instead of just halting your entire spec because the targets moved and you are forced to manually cast VT which then reduces your time to do any real damage via Psychic Link which just throttles down the spec immensely.

Then with the Mind Sear argument…

I always enjoyed Mind Sear. However, I did not like the incarceration in 10.0 with Mind Sear being an AOE spender. But the problem with Mind Sear is similar to the perceived problem with Mind Flay and Mind Spike in that in the past when Mind Sear did equal or better damage than Mind Flay, no one used Mind Flay and just used Mind Sear. This meant that Mind Sear had to do less damage than Mind Flay in order to justify having both spells. This only became a problem when they changed Mind Sear to deal damage to the target [harm] that was the focal point of your Mind Sear as in wrath, Mind Sear did ZERO damage to the target and only the ripple effects from that target dealt damage to other targets.

So firstly, I think having Mind Sear be optional is the right call. Make it a choice node with Psychic Link so the player has to make the hard choice between active and passive AOE with the Active only affecting close proximity targets while Psychic Link has 40 yard range from target.

Then make Mind Sear damage matter with supporting talents and cooldown changes.

I suggested that the passive effect of Mass Hysteria from the Legion artifact weapon should be baked into Voidform in that your periodic damage increases gradually while Voidform is active. Lean into the split of damage profiles in DA = Non-Periodic and VF = Periodic damage.

This would make Mind Sear scale with Voidform and Psychic Link could have the baseline damage increase statically or dynamically via supporting talents.

To keep Mind Flay a superior option over Mind Sear for single target, have a talent that enhances Mind Flay damage by a % per each of your DoT spells the target is afflicted with. I call this talent Void Ray.

Then for extra flavor, my idea for a revamped Idol of Y’Shaarj would be to enhance your Mind Spells in a way beyond just damage increases while Mind Bender is active. With this direction, Mind Sear would Spawn a Shadowy Apparition each time it deals damage (or critically strikes) a target up to a max of (5). Then the other Mind Spells get enhanced in their own respective way. But those are not relevant in this thread.

With the TWW expansion adding the Hero Path feature to talents, I think that would prove to be a perfect medium to lean into a Periodic and Non-Periodic damage builds as I have already outlined a possible direction to achieve this in previous threads.

Some of the suggestions I made could find a place in those trees in order to prevent both confusion as to what path of talents to take in the shadow tree and really dial in a gameplay style that helps streamline what spells are your main priority spells and possibly ignore/drop other spells.

So those are my opinions and justifications on those issues.

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Having are ability to AoE tied to a cooldown is literally the primary problem with Shadow Crash. Tying it to a longer cooldown would be even worse, especially in cases where the mobs die too quickly for your cooldown mechanic to kick in. It would be better to just have AoE baked into our dot application.
I don’t care much about buffing the damage of our dots, i much prefer actively doing damage then just letting dots tick on their own.

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