Mists of Pandaria Shadow Priest Glyphs

Believe it or not, Mists of Pandaria finally delivers upon the promise of making minor glyphs…fun! That’s right, no more removing a reagent or adding some other utility function — you now get to pick your minor glyphs based upon what looks fun to you, not what makes the most sense for your pocketbook and bag space. But I am getting a little ahead of myself here.

First of all, there are no more Prime glyph slots. Just a total of 6 glyphs, split between major and minor. For major glyphs, shadowpriests can choose from these spec-specific glyphs:

  • Glyph of Mind Spike — 50% reduction in cast time of your next Mind Blast for 6 sec (stacks up to 2x)
  • Glyph of Mind Blast — 4 sec stun on target when Mindflay critically hits
  • Glyph of Dark Binding — can cast Prayer of Mending, Renew and Leap of Faith without leaving shadowform
  • Glyph of Shadow Word: Death — can cast SW:D at any time, but only does 25% damage on targets above 20% health, and casting SW:D now damages you for the amount it would for damaging a target above 20% health
  • Glyph of Psychic Horror — reduces cooldown by 10 sec
  • Glyph of Mind Flay — no longer slows target; instead every time it does damage your movement speed is increased 15%, stacking up to 3x
  • Glyph of Vampiric Embrace — converts an additional 50% of the damage you do into healing but reduces the duration by 5 sec

For leveling, I’ve chosen to go with Glyph of Dark Binding, Glyph of Mind Flay and Glyph of Mind Blast. I have to say I am not super enamored with the Mind Flay so if I find need for dispersion at 90, I may swap to that instead. I will also swap out the dark binding for Mind Spike at 90. If none of the above shadow specific glyphs appeal to you, you can choose from a glyph that buffs one of your utility spells. See Wowhead’s full list of Priest Glyphs for details.

Minor glyphs of interest include:

I will give you one guess as to which glyph I will equip first…Of course I have always wanted little shadowy friends! And then there’s the shadow ravens! How many times did I remark here and on twitter how shadow priests needed shadow ravens? TOO MANY TIMES! It’s like playtime for Anexxia with those two combined. Though I should not that the shadow ravens do not have as much visible time as I would like. And some of my noncombat pets are not as awesome in shadowform as regular form. Hmmmph. So, I am most likely looking at Glyph of Confession, Glyph of Shadow Ravens and glyph of dark archangel, with bouts of Glyph oh Shadowy friends.

What’s interesting to me, is none of these feel yet like “must take” glyphs, unlike previous go rounds with glyphs. It will be interesting to see if that is born out once the game hits live.

Shadow Priest FAQs V.2

Big DPS comes in small shadowy packages.

Q: Which is better, spirit or crit? And should I choose haste over mastery?

A: I go with the stat weightings provided by Shadowpriest.com:

  • Int = 1.00 (always normalized to 1)
  • SP = 0.79
  • Haste = 0.50
  • Crit = 0.42
  • Mastery = 0.42
  • Hit = 0.00* (see notes on hit)
  • Spi = 0.00* (see notes on spirit/hit)

Hit and spirit are given a 0 because after you hit your hit cap, it is entirely worthless to have additional hit. Your hands down most valuable stat is Intellect. Crit is still tasty, and Mastery has been improved, but haste is still the primary stat you will be looking for after Intellect.

Q: How much hit should I have?

A: That depends on your comfort level. The previous wisdom was you wanted to be hit capped, at 17%, for raid bosses. But since 4.0 dropped, hit cap has seemed a lot less important for shadow priests than our other stats. I personally run with 12.5-13.5% hit.

Q: What should I be reforging? Should I aim towards straight hit or spirit that gives mana regen and hit? Is there a plus to just doing hit?

A: My two most reforged stats are hit and mastery. I will also reforge off spirit when I feel I have enough hit. Whenever it is an option to do so, I reforge an undesirable stat into haste. My gear is a mix of hit pieces and spirit pieces. The only value to picking hit pieces of spirit pieces is to not have pouty PUG healer harangue you about “stealing” a spirit piece from them when you can’t possibly use spirit (when in fact you both have equal claim to it.)

Q: What is our best rotation?

A: If you are running in on a boss such as on Magmaw, you’ll want to toss out your instant casts on your way in, then hit your Vampiric Touch, and start on your mind flays. If you are stationary, start with the Vampiric touch then put up your other DoTs, then Mindflay. After Mindflay activates your archangel, pop it, then mindflay again twice to get your 5 stacks of Dark Evangelism which then buffs your periodic damage spells. Mindblast whenever it is up (in my experience I always have an orb or two up), and Shadow Word: Death only when your target is under 25% or when you start to get low on mana. And use that shadowfiend whenever he’s available.

Q: What about Mind Sear?

A: It’s horribly low DPS currently, but will be doubled in damage after patch 4.1 at which point we’ll see if it beats tagging adds with VT and single targeting them down.

Q: What are the must-have addons for raiding and heroics?

A: I keep it simple: Quartz Castbar to see when I should start queuing up my next spell, and Need to Know which allows me to track my DoTs. Omen and DBM for raiding. There are some shadow priest specific mods out there, but I’ve never used them.

Send in more questions via the comments and we’ll get to a V.3 yet!

The Changing Face of Spirit

Just when we had mages and warlocks conditioned to roll on +spirit gear, and shaman chastised for even thinking about taking a piece with some on it, Blizz had to go and change up everything for Cataclysm. But not everyone has gotten the message yet. And some have gotten the wrong impression that +spirit is now exclusively a healing stat.

Here’s the scoop.



Shadow Priests can and likely will take the Twisted Faith talent: Increases your shadow spell damage by 1/2%, and grants you spell hit rating equal to 50/100% of any Spirit gained from items or effects.

Holy and Discipline Priests have Meditation (Passive) – Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat. Holy Priests also have the Holy Concentration talent which increases the amount of mana regeneration from Spirit while in combat by an additional 10/20%.

Other Clothies

Mages have no spirit related talents.

Warlocks have no spirit related talents. Fel Armor no longer adds Spell Power from Spirit. Life Tap (and Glyph of Life Tap) no longer use Spirit for their various effects.


Balance Druids can and likely will take Balance of Power which increases nature and arcane spell damage by 1/2% and now increases spell hit rating by 50/100% of Spirit.

Restoration Druids have Meditation (Passive) – Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat.


Elemental Shaman can and likely will take Elemental Precision which now increases your Fire Frost and Nature damage by 1/2/3% and grants you spell hit rating equal to 33/66/100% of any Spirit gained from items or effects.

Restoration Shaman now get Meditation (Passive) – Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat.


Holy Paladins now get Meditation (Passive) – Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat.

What This Means for Master Looters and Raid Leaders

At this point in the game, someone’s undergeared alt may still see a +spirit piece as a major upgrade even if the spirit is a wasted stat for them. When you are comparing an ilvl 200 blue to a 232 epic, there is still likely a big upgrade there. But as of December 7, that’s when things get hairy.

Once Cataclysm drops, a mage or a warlock grabbing a piece of spirit gear from a priest of any flavor is akin to a DPS spellcaster grabbing a piece with dodge or a healing proc on it or a healer pitching a fit over wanting a weapon with hit on it. Yes, they should have it if it would otherwise be DE’d, but they shouldn’t be getting that item over the classes and specs that can actually use the spirit points.

The big question is, how do you want to handle the +hit gear? Yes, a shadow priest can use +hit. However, they are also able to gain hit fro the spirit gear for which they should now only be competing against other priests. It’s too soon to know (having not seen all the potentially gear from Cataclysm) if a shadow priest could conceivably obtain all their BiS pieces and hit the 17% hit cap without donning any pieces of hit gear. But if that does turn out to be the case, you may want to strongly consider giving warlocks and mages priority on the +hit cloth gear. What to do about weapons remains to be seen as well, until we know how Blizzard is choosing to itemize them.

Why These Stat Changes Now?

Why did Blizzard throw this big spirit monkey wrench into everyone’s gear bucket? All in the name of gear homogenization.

They didn’t want to have to create relics specific to each class. Or to have endless flavors of trinkets and weapons and off hands to allow for the variations that existed previously from class-to-class performing the same role. If you  play hybrids (which is almost exclusively what I play, and is exclusively what I’ve raided with) you’ve probably seen a number of times what a PITA it was to get the pieces that were right for you from an itemization standpoint, and often had to do some armor proficiency downranking to get them.

Hopefully, these changes will mean there won’t be another restoration shaman raiding with the same bracers for 10 months (/wave at Emtox), and that boomkins can stop having to mix and match cloth and leather.

Shadow Priest DPS on the PTR

image from farm5.static.flickr.com

The above is from the PTR today, self-buffed, no special food or elixirs/flasks, no mods to help me keep an eye on things like latency or procs. Just me on the heroic dummy.

Overall the DPS is OK. I do notice a few differences from PTR versus live:

1) Mind Flay’s damage is showing up as a DoT. However, the crit % was within 1% on live versus PTR, so it seems comparable in that way.  The average live tick, however, was a smidge over 3k. Could have just been lucky procs.

2) Vampiric Touch had 3% fewer crits on the PTR. versus live, however, its average tick was for 300 more.

3) In live, I consistently do more overall damage with devouring plague than with shadow word: pain (13.1% vs 11.3%). On PTR this has consistently been flipped, with SW:P on top (13.3 vs 11.1).

4) SW:P has gone from 1983 a tick on average on live to 2313 a tick on PTR. That seems like a small uptick, but since you keep your SW:P up all the time with your mindflays, it adds up.

5) I kept up the mind blasts in both places to keep the replenishment flowing, but the new talents etc. caused the DPS from it to be twice as high on the PTR (12.4k average versus 6k average.)

6) It is really weird for me to see the shadowfiend’s melee swings outpacing the improved devouring plague, but it’s true. The talents/glyphs I am using on the PTR give me a shadowfiend cooldown a minute which I took advantage of every time it was available. I should mention the damage from each of its strikes has also increased by 1k.)

Due to all the changes to mana regen, I’d been concerned about maximizing replenishment uptime. And the last time I’d been on the PTR I’d had to disperse a few times over the course of my 12min trial. But today, although I had to do that in live, I didn’t ever even dip below about 28k/32k mana. So I am waiting for the nerf bat to strike. One thing I could not really test is how much damage shadowy apparitions add to your arsenal. They’re not showing up on the logs yet as they are doing 0 damage. So they are just a pretty proc to look at for now.

Overall, I am cautiously optimistic about what shadow priest DPS will bring for Cataclysm. For theorycrafting on BETA shadow priest DPS and spells, head to shadowpriest.com.

Friday Five: Twitter Dev Chat Qs for the Class Designers

There's another WoW Developers BlizzChat happening on Twitter this Friday today from 5-6 PM PST with the class design team. Here are 5 questions I hope to see answered:

  1. Shadow Priests are losing some of their unique utility; what else is planned to enhance them, other than shadow orbs?
  2. Will a shadow priest be able to use Leap of Faith while in shadow form?
  3. Mind Spike as a nuke is great. What will keep shadow priests from spamming it non-stop, akin to warlocks and shadowbolt spam in BC?
  4. Preventing DoT clipping will make shadow priests and affliction locks easier to play. Was that an overall goal for many of your class changes; lower barrier to excelling?
  5. Are the announced level 80+ abilities intended for all players of a class, or will they be tied to specific talent trees?

What are the questions you have ready to ask in 140 characters or less tonight?

Friday Five: Cataclysm Priest Class Changes Reactions

  1. Leap of Faith (level 85): Pull a party or raid member to your location. Leap of Faith (or "Life Grip") is intended to give priests a tool to help rescue fellow players who have pulled aggro, are being focused on in PvP, or just can't seem to get out of the fire in time. Instant. 30-yard range. 45-second cooldown.

    Oh yeah, baby! I can pull back those sassy tanks if they let a mob get loose. Or I can bribe the mages to pull them out of whatever it is they seem to stand and die in, in exchange for a permanent lock on their Focus Magic. Mwhahahaha.

  2. All HoTs and DoTs will benefit from Haste and Crit innately. Hasted HoTs and DoTs will not have a shorter duration, just a shorter period in between ticks (meaning they will gain extra ticks to fill in the duration as appropriate).

    No more rethinking your rotation flow as your haste fluctuates. It wasn't a huge deal, but I suppose it's part of simplifying the play style that they are doing for all the classes.

  3. Preventing dot clipping is something we want to do in general. It obviously benefits Shadow priests just as much as warlocks.

    For some reason, they didn't include in the priest changes this tidbit from the lock changes: When reapplying a DoT, you can no longer "clip" the final tick. Instead, this will just add duration to the spell, similar to how Everlasting Affliction currently works. Presumably this means they are doing this for DoTs in general, not just warlocks. Thus, again, they're trying to make the rotation easier, and less affected by how well you can time your re-up casts. Another nod towards making it easier to do well as a SP, regardless of your quickness or your lag.

  4. Mind Spike (level 81): Deals Shadowfrost damage and puts a debuff on the target that improves subsequent Mind Spike damage. The intent of Mind Spike is to fill a niche missing in Shadow DPS, though it may be occasionally useful for healers as well. Mind Spike provides a quick nuke to use in situations where the priest doesn't have time to set up the normal rotation, such as when adds are dying too fast or you have to swap targets a lot. Spamming Mind Spike will do about as much damage as casting Mind Flay on a target afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain. The idea behind the debuff is that when you cast Mind Spike, we expect you to cast a lot of them; we don't intend you to fit it into an already full Shadow rotation. It also provides Shadow with a spell to cast when locked out of the Shadow school. (School lockouts will no longer affect both schools for multi-school spells.) 1.5-second cast. 30-yard range. No cooldown.

    It will be interesting to see if this plays out as intended (as a nice boost for smacking around adds) or if Shadow Priests, like warlocks in BC who stood around spamming shadowbolt, are just going to nuke with this. Probably depends upon the mana cost.
  5. Inner Will (level 83): Increases movement speed by 12% and reduces the mana cost of instant-cast spells by 10%. This buff will be exclusive with Inner Fire, meaning you can't have both up at once. Inner Fire provides a spell power and Armor buff; Inner Will should be useful on a more situational basis.

    I suppose this will be nice for running away from things. Except my cast bar is already full. Even before adding Mind Spike to it. So I suppose I'll have to make a macro for swapping to it then swapping back to Inner Fire, and assign it a key. I'm just a little underwhelmed is all. It's a nice to have but not a ZOMG how awesome!

For the full round-up, check out MMO Champion's Priest Changes post.

I'm not excited about the addition of shadow orbs (Casting spells grants a chance for Shadow Orbs to be created that fly around you and increase your shadow damage. This will help lower-level characters feel more like "Shadow priests" before they obtain Shadowform.). I have orbs on my shaman. I didn't need them on my shadow priest.

And by removing our misery hit debuff, they bring all of us casters closer together with less unique utility/abilities. So that, in their words, "In general we're going to push even harder in Cataclysm for bringing people you like to play with, not bringing people who have awesome buffs. The answer to almost every question of "But why would they bring me?" should be "Because you know what the hell you're doing." Which I thought was what they said when they made all the WotLK class changes… 🙂 At least some things stay the same


Shadowpriest FAQs, Vol. 1

shadow priest at a portal into the Emerald Nightmare

I’m not one to make a soup-to-nuts guide to shadow priesting — I wasn’t keeping a blog or journal going 3 years ago when I leveled either of my two shadow priests (one Horde, one Alliance), and plenty of other folks have done a great job of that already.

But that said, I do often get questions from new shadow priests, or most often, from healing priests looking to get crib notes for their shadow off-spec. Hence, some FAQs. If you have a question I haven’t answered here, leave it in the comments and I’ll answer it in Volume 2. A big THANK YOU to my tweeps who suggested some of the questions.


Q: Which is better, spirit or crit? And should I choose haste over spellpower?

A: I go with the stat weightings provided by Shadowpriest.com:

  • Int = 0.22
  • Spi = 0.59
  • Crit = 0.76
  • Haste = 0.98
  • SP = 1.00 (stat weights are normalized to SP)
  • Hit = 1.88

What this means is haste and spellpower are weighted almost the same, and hit is rated as more valuable right up until you reach your hit cap. Spirit and Int are your least valued stats, and better suited, perhaps, for your healing set. Crit is still tasty, but not as much as haste.

Q: What hit cap should I be targeting?

This gives me the leeway to wear primarily haste/sellpower gear, with a few pieces that are bulked up on hit (I used a hit trinket forever which meant I only had to wear 3 other hit pieces.) Here’s the breakdown:

  • 263 hit cap with 6 points in Shadow Focus and Misery plus a Draenei in your group
  • 289 hit cap with 6 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 315 hit cap with 5 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 341 hit cap with 4 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 368 hit cap with 3 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 394 hit cap with 2 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 394 hit cap with 2 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 420 hit cap with 1 point in either Shadow Focus or Misery
  • 446 hit without any points in Shadow Focus or Misery

Q: How about tips for the disc priest that only pretends to be shadow on those pesky low healer fights?!

A:The most important thing I can say to you is to invest in a DoT timer and resist the urge to clip your Vampiric Touch. Don’t put up your Shadow Word: Pain until you have 5 stacks of shadow weaving plus any other spellpower buff from trinkets, etc. Mind Flay is your all-purpose fill-in sell when Mind Blast isn’t up and it’s not time to refresh your DoTs. And finally, 4 or more targets are optimal for Mind Sear. Less than that and you are better off DoTing 2 and focus firing the other.

Q: How do you prioritize and balance haste/crit/sp, etc as you gear up?

A: Haste didn’t make it onto the scene until I was level 70 if I recall. So I can only answer from the 70-80 sphere. Spellpower is the end all be all stat, in my mind, as you level. Haste becomes attractive once you have better gear that gives you a solid mana pool. I didn’t start truly noticing haste’s discrete effect on my DPS output until it got up to about 19%. That is also the point at which I started using haste pots, rather than Wild Magic Pots, on boss fights. You should get the incidental crit you want/need as you go along as a secondary stat.

Q: Meteor Chaser’s Raiment or the T10 chest?

A: They both cost the same in badges, but unless you are doing hard modes and can get the max upgrade to the T10 chest, the Meteor Chaser’s Raiment is your best buy. For more details on the T10 versus the other emblem gear, see my Frost Emblem post.


Q: Shadow Word Death: Will this get me chewed out by the healers and kicked out of a group? 

A: If you have a healer who is not used to shadow priests, an ill-timed SW:D is likely to result in a tongue lashing. Because it’s rarely the case it’s used as the death blow for a mob, which means you, dear caster, get it back in your face in damage. And it’s rarely your best use of a GCD these days in bang for your buck, so it’s typically not part of a rotation, except for those folks who like to include it in their initial ramp up for their 5 stacks of shadow weaving. So, use it sparingly, and when it makes sense. Don’t use it when the entire team is taking AOE damage or you may die. Do use it when you are having to run around or being tossed up in the air to sneak in a little damage.

Q: What’s your rotation?

A: It varies depending upon the situation. In 5-mans, I tend to DoT the primary target then mind sear because everything dies too fast to make single targeting them down feasible (too often there’s not enough time for the DoTs to tick.) In raids, my boss rotation typically starts with a VT, then DP, MB, MF, MF then SW:P. That second go of MF is so my trinket’s 10 stacks of extra spell damage is up before I cast SW:P.

Q: What shadow priest mods do you use?

A: Apparently there are a few Shadow Priest-specific DPS and buff mods I have never heard of, because folks often ask me if I use them. I keep it simple: Quartz Castbar to see when I should start queuing up my next spell, and Need to Know which allows me to track my DoTs. Omen and DBM for raiding. Auctionator and Lil’Sparky’s Workshop for crafting, though the latter is giving me LUA errors now.

More soon. If you have a question, leave it below.

Countering a Misconception

On our Festergut 25 attempt this past Monday, I was blessed with being placed in the melee group. This meant I didn't get the barfs and could stand still and DPS the boss except when I was gifted with a spore I had to run to a ranged team. My DPS increased by 1300-1500 thanks to this placement And as expected, there was at least one public case of ruffled feathers over this placement.

Why did a shadow priest get this coveted placement over another DPS? Aren't shadow priests the class least affected by the having to run to and fro for Festergut? Alas, no, which should have been clear to the person asking me these questions if they had reviewed our raid logs. It takes a while for shadow priest DPS to ramp up. First, you have to get your 5 stacks of shadow weaving up. Next, you have to keep on refreshing that SW:P that you put up after those 5 stacks and during the use proc of your trinket, careful not to let it drop off. And finally, you want to keep your other DoTs up, without clipping them unnecessarily.

Yes, Devouring Plague is an instant cast. But Vampiric Touch isn't — it has a cast time so I can't cast it on the run. Ditto for Mind Blast. And Mind Flay is a channeled spell. And my Muradin's Spyglass rocks as long as I keep up my10 stacks at all times. So, not sure how one would come to think that the running in and out for spores would somehow not affect my DPS. I'm not just going to fling out DP until I am out of mana to try to keep the DPS flowing. And since you asked, no, in a fight with the entire raid taking damage, I'm not inclined to Shadow Word: Death myself either.

Being put on the spot, by someone I don't really know, who was jonesing for the special placement I'd gotten (which had netted me our #2 damage done slot overall for the fight, #4 on DPS) made me pretty uncomfortable. Personally, I wouldn't have brought it up in guild chat, or proceeded to whisper a guildie, asking them to justify why they deserved the spot. I stood in the middle because that's what my raid leader asked me to do, just as the prior week I'd stood at range, gotten the pukes just about every go, and done significantly less DPS.

This brings up a larger issue for me though which is not presuming to tell others how to play their class. Telling a guildie who excels at their class that they should do XYZ instead of what they are doing is out of line. Period. Firstly, it's not your business; if they want suggestions from the team they'll ask. And secondly, you don't top the damage charts by doing it wrong. You really don't. I promise. Facerolling OPd class du jour excepted, of course.

When in doubt, keep your opinions to yourself. When my guildie confessed he was jealous of my placement, after the harangue about my playing, I said "yeah." Because that much was apparent already, or we wouldn't have been having the conversation. A conversation that, to be totally honest, really turned me off. So next time you get the urge to offer some unsolicited advice to someone, considering keeping it to yourself. Or go tweet your thought or write a blog post. Your raid will be the better for it.

What to Wear: A Shadow Priest’s Guide to 10-man Icecrown Citadel Gear

As a follow-up to the 25-man list on Tuesday, I bring you the 10-man flavor.

Your boss-by-boss gear guide, after the jump.

Continue reading “What to Wear: A Shadow Priest’s Guide to 10-man Icecrown Citadel Gear”

It’s not Vile Sorcery…It’s the Badge Gear!

Since 3.2 dropped, I've noticed something afoot in my raids and 5-mans. And on WoW-Heroes for that matter. Our tanks are staying alive easier. Our healers yawn into their palms in heroic ToC. Suddenly our gear level is on par with being ready to step into 25-man ToC…but it's not vile sorcery — it's the badge gear!

Don't get me wrong — our guild has a number of skilled players who have been making serious efforts in raids all year long. But this past week was the first night that we ever cleared every boss up to Vezax in 3 hours and 15 minutes. We didn't all suddenly have more skill, or more experience. But we did have significant gear upgrades all around.

I personally upgraded my Naxx 10 OH in Ulduar, then used badges to upgrade my Naxx  25 chest to T8.5 and my T8 helm to 8.5. That may not sound like much upgrade-wise, but I can tell you my WoW Heroes suggested instances jumped to the highest available tier (as did a solid 30 of my guildies.) Previously, we had closer to 10 at that level, and I was not one of them.

Yes, I saw Gevlon's experiment with his raid of blue-clad (tho as he admitted class/buff optimized group). And they did great DPS. But I have also been raiding for well over 3 years now, through AQ in vanilla, to BT in BC, and now through Yogg Saron in Ulduar, and I can tell you for sure that a big dose of gear upgrades does make a visible impact on your raid. No, it can't take a mediocre group of layabouts and hand them success. But it can give you the extra bit of avoidance and dps and healing you need to push you into success.

As my raid leader Garkas said to me last week: "The line between success and failure can be a thin one." I'm glad Blizzard gave us all that extra edge — and the lockout period extensions — to help casual guilds like ours achieve our dreams.

Once I have time to catch my breath, I'll be posting a guide to upgrades to shoot for with your Conquest and Triumph badges.

Happy  Adventuring!