A shadow priest cheat sheet


I get asked questions about shadow priesting from time to time on this blog and frankly i’m no expert at face melting.  My answer is go to www.shadowpriest.com and read up.  I imagine Elitest Jerks has similar information somewhere.

In the last month or so I have been DPSing a bit more as shadow spec and I seem to be doing ok, so here is my notes from my shadow cheat sheet.

Keybinds and macros

Keybinds and such like are personal preference but here is what i’m using:

Vampiric Embrace (bound to number 1 key), Vampiric Touch (2), Devouring Plague (3), SW: Pain (4)

I have other stuff bound to the other number keys like Shadowfiend and Dispersion, but exactly what they are bound to isn’t too important as I click them with the mouse if needed.  Actually i’m still probably using the mouse to renew DoTs too much ATM.

I have the following macros bound to my mouse wheel.  They are used for both healing and shadow, so only use the first line if you only need the shadow part.

Mouse wheel up
/cast [stance:1,harm] Mind Blast
/stopmacro [stance:1]
/cast [target=mouseover,help] [help] [target=targettarget,help] [ ] Prayer of Mending

What does this do?  In shadowform cast Mind Blast (on current target), otherwise cast PoM on mouse-over target > target > targettarget > self.

Mouse wheel down
/cast [stance:1,harm,nochanneling] Mind Flay
/stopmacro [stance:1]
/cast [target=mouseover,help] [help] [target=targettarget,help] [ ] Power Word: Shield

What does this do?  In shadowform, if not channeling, cast MindFlay (on current target), otherwise cast PW:S on mouse over target > target > targettarget > Self.  You may notice that it will not cast Mind Flay if I am already channelling (Mind Flay).  Generally I don’t clip Mind Flay ticks, although sometimes I get excited and clip them to cast Mind Blast.  Just imagine the crazed, part-time DPS madly scrolling his mouse wheel alternately up and down in between renewing DoTs 😉

Spell priority

Boss casts: Vamp Embrace, Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, Devouring Plague, Mind Flay, SW: Pain

Generally maintain DP and VT.  Don’t renew DoTs until they have done their final tick.  Priority is MB then DoTs then MF as filler.  I’m currently using Power Auras to track the remaining duration of my DoTs and this works well.

Vampiric Embrace

On 4000 DPS VE returns 1000 HPS to me and 200 HPS to each party member.  I like VE and use it on all the bosses. It heals me quite well and party members a little.  I’m currently spec’ed to Improved Vampiric Embrace, but see spec below for more comments.

Stats and stat weights

Target 289.55 hit rating (11%).  Gear for hit then spell power.  Chaotic Skyflare Diamond for meta.

These are the stat weights i’m currently using. I’ve added a ‘Shadow hit’ and ‘Shadow’ scales to Pawn to help evaluate gear.  The plain Shadow scale has hit = 0.  These are from www.shadowpriest.com.

  • Meta gem = 70 (Chaotic Skyflare Diamond)
  • Red gem = 23 (Runed Cardinal Ruby)
  • Yellow gem = 19.2 (Potent Flawless Ametrine)
  • Blue gem = 14.5 (Purified Dreadstone)
  • 1 SP = 1
  • 1 Crit = 0.72
  • 1 Haste = 0.68
  • 1 Spi = 0.25
  • 1 Int = 0.22
  • 1 Hit = 1.53


This is my current spec with Improved Vampiric Embrace.  This isn’t the max DPS build for shadow, but it is close enough.

With the recent buff to Improved Shadow Tap i’ll probably spec to this next time I respec.  Much as I love the idea of Vampiric Embrace its not overly awesome.  It really could do with a buff to either make it raid wide or preferably double the party heal component (or both).

Major Glyphs

Glyph of Shadow – While in Shadowform, your non-periodic spell critical strikes increase your spell power by 10% of your Spirit for 10 sec.

Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain  – Increases the damage done by your Mind Flay spell by 10% when your target is afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain.

Glyph of Mind Sear – Increases the radius of effect on Mind Sear by 5 yards.

Mind Sear is not the recommended third choice, Mind Flay is.  I find the increased radius on Mind Sear generally more useful for DPSing groups of adds and the like, which is something shadow priests do very well.  I also find it very useful soloing for killing more things faster.  I don’t find the reduced range of Mind Flay a huge issue and I like the reduced movement sped when soloing and in 5 mans.

Thats it!  The rest is mostly not dying, not wasting global cool downs and killing what ever you are told to.  🙂

Good luck!


5 Responses to A shadow priest cheat sheet

  1. Abi says:

    “I don’t find the reduced range of Mind Flay a huge issue and I like the reduced movement sped when soloing and in 5 mans.”

    The glyph no longer reduces the movement speed of the targets, just increases the range =).

  2. BobTurkey says:

    You’re right. So it’s just 10 extra range for Mind Flay vs 5 extra radius for Mind Sear.

  3. Abi says:

    Yep. Either glyph works and if you’re feeling crafty you can carry a couple of each around to swap out for certain fights. If it’s more of an AoE fight, Mind Sear might work a bit better for you but if being at max range is imporant, swap it out for Mind Flay.

  4. Laquanda Conwell says:

    Sup, just found your site on google. You have a ton of sweet posts!

  5. […] world of dps.  Though all three of them gave me fantastic tips, Bobturkey’s link to his how-to guide for shadow priests was particularly helpful, especially where he lays out his […]

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