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This thread is part of a series of sub-class tutorials which will focus on guiding players through the process of conceptualizing and assembling their sub-class's build. The goal is to provide beginners with a resource where they learn the basics and end up with an understanding of how to advance from there. The following instructions consist of my personal recommendations and suggestions for a Shadow Priest Build. Please note that these are not the only viable builds, nor are they claimed as the best by any means. It is just a stepping-off point.

As a disclaimer, due to the nature of this guide, I will not be delving into Hybrid Builds. These are generally considered more advanced techniques and do not fall within the scope of this tutorial. By the end of this read, you should have the necessary tools to create your own Hybrid Builds should you desire to do so.

Prerequisites for this guide include an understanding of the following mechanics:
  • Basic understanding of gear
    • Rarity
    • Stats
    • Glyphs
  • Diminishing Returns
  • Reinforcement Runes
  • Augmentation Runes
If you do not feel comfortable with some of these topics, please refer to the Gear Guide for additional information.

Table of Contents

  • Post 1 - Overview
    • Shadow Priest Overview
    • Build Previews
    • Equipment
    • Constructing your Loadout - Phase 1
  • Post 2 - Abilities
    • Spells & Feats
    • Trinkets
    • Constructing your Loadout - Phase 2
  • Post 3 - Talents
    • Talent Table
    • Talent Builds
    • Constructing your Loadout - Phase 3
    • Combos & Mechanics
  • Post 4 - Gear
    • Primary Stats
    • Glyphs
    • Gear & Runes
    • Constructing your Loadout - Phase 4
    • Preparations
    • Consumables
  • Post 5 - Strategy
    • Playstyle Strategies
    • Constructing your Loadout - Phase 5
    • Endgame Builds
    • Advanced Mechanics

Shadow Priest Overview

Shadow Priests are deadly beings who curse their foes with dark magic. They can both whittle away at their opponents health or decimate them with a powerful detonation. Shadow Priests excel against a single foe at a time, but they also have the means to spread their infections throughout multiple enemies and watch them decay. Their attunement with this carnal force enables them to drain the life forces away from enemies and absorb it for themselves.

splash_2.pngWhile they are formidable in their corruption powers, they are also quite vulnerable to direct assault. Shadow Priests must rely on their burst detonation and overwhelming array of hexes to survive against their opponents. This raw power also comes at the cost of increased mana expenditure, so it is imperative that Shadow Priests have a means to regenerate their mana as it is the only thing keeping enemies at bay. Shadow Priests are selected for their damage dealing role in group situations. This comes at a cost to proper defenses and thus players must be cautious and precise when dealing with their enemies. Shadow Priests fill the glass cannon archetype which is one of the pillars of a role-based MMORPG.

Select the Shadow Priest as your class of choice if you are seeking a DoT and burst damage based solo experience as well as a powerful damage dealer to support your team.

Build Previews

There are an infinite number of potential builds for any class. I will do my best to narrow it down to a few specific play-styles. Please remember that you can easily blend the qualities of any of the builds below. The choices are limitless, just pinpoint abilities that enhance the functionality your priest is striving for. Ask yourself what role you are trying to play? Is your goal to be a glass cannon? Perhaps just looking to casually solo main story content and only dabble in group content occasionally? These decisions have drastic impacts on how your build should be designed. So make sure to reflect on this before committing sockets and gold! With that being said, below are 3 general path options.

Vampiric - Balance
1597340169477.png The Vampiric build's focus is on health and mana sustenance. While still being able to deal solid damage, their goals revolve around withering enemies away while maintaining mana for extended encounters. This approach benefits players who engage in content with prolonged conflicts such as Raids and Elder battles, however, it is just as useful for solo players who wish to avoid consuming large quantities of mana potions for their regeneration. The Vampiric build is a blend of powerful and regenerative health and mana spells to ensure the priest can continue pushing through to the next fight. This is an option to consider for those who are still in the leveling process and aren't interested in dealing maximum DPS just yet.

Soul Corrupter - Offensive
1597339968012.pngThis is the traditional glass cannon build. The aim is to cast a barrage of curses upon enemies and detonate them before they have a chance to inflict any lasting damage. The Soul Corrupter build focuses entirely on offensive talents and spells in favor of utility spells. This build tends to drain mana at a rapid rate but mitigates this through consumables and boosts. This type of build comes with another cost, and that is its deficiency in defense. If caught unawares, stunned or surrounded, those who wield this build must react quickly to counter their foes with a quick slowing effect and retreat to safety.

Mutagen - Defensive
1597341668183.png This style of build goes directly against the primary purpose of a Shadow Priest, but it is an option to explore. It is ideal for those who value defense, health and survivability while still retaining ample fire-power to defeat those who oppose them. This type of build is best for slow and steady players who are simply seeking an enjoyable and casual experience with the Shadow Priest. There is enough leeway for mistakes such that a single error won't result in your untimely demise. While their DPS cannot compare to those who follow the Soul Corrupter route, it is still well within the standard necessary to solo content.

Constructing your Loadout

Guides such as this can be understandably overwhelming to readers. Information overload can easily set in when there is a lot to digest. In some cases, players may come out of their read just as lost as before! That is why this section is here. The purpose is to help organize the choices you make throughout the guide into a step by step process so that you know exactly what you need to do in order to create your own personalized build.

This will be split up into separate phases, and after each major section we will come back to this and update it!

Phase 1: Understand Yourself

This is the foundation which will lay out your path going forward. The first decision you must make is figuring out which type of shadow priest you are. Is your goal to be a max DPS glass cannon? A stable and steady damage dealer with mana conservation? Or a solo priest with a healthy balance of damage and defense? Do you expect to play in parties a lot, and consistently participate in Elders or Raids, or prefer to explore the lands alone and battle foes single-handedly?

These are the important questions to ask yourself before going forward. Fortunately, most of these differences are basically talent changes or 1 or 2 spell swaps away. There isn't too much build variety for Shadow Priests in that sense. So don't feel locked into a single role. Try multiple builds out and see which one works for your style of play.

We will continue with this process later on!


There are also few passive gear runes which you should be aware of before moving forward. These are available either from crafted or Elder garb. We'll go over all of these runes in the table below.
Crafted Shadow Armor

Increases Shadow Mastery by X and Savagery by X.
This is a standard rune for any Shadow Priest. This rune increases both ability power and critical strike chance. Every sub-class has a similar rune on their crafted armor that boosts specific role-defining traits.
1597341799287.pngSpectral Acuity
Crafted Shadow Helms

Increases your Shadow Mastery by X.
You will notice Spectral Acuity+ runes often, but that is not the same as this. Those are Augmentation Runes, and will boost your Shadow Mastery by a paltry sum. Spectral Acuity (without the +) is basically a Reinforcement rune for Shadow Mastery, which will increase Shadow Mastery by a far greater amount. For some reason it has a unique name. Go figure!
Crafted Priest Shield

Increases Vitality and Armor by X, and your Block Chance by 15%
Fortified is the rune to go for if you find your defenses to be lacking. The 15% block chance and increase to armor and health are great bonuses.
1597341814415.pngSymbol of Power
Crafted Priest Shield

Increases Intellect and Will by X, and your Block Chance by 5%
Symbol of Power is your alternative shield rune. While the block chance is low and the Will bonus is negligible, the boost to Intellect will assist your mana sustain during extended conflicts.
1597341819190.pngElder Garde
Elder Armor

Reduces damage taken by Elders by X
You will find that with a decent build and healer, you will have no trouble staying alive against Elders. There is no situation where you as a Shadow Priest should be taking the brunt of the damage from an Elder boss at level. You should always run with a tank who is built specifically to absorb damage, so you can focus on dishing it out.
1597341824442.pngElder Bane
Elder Mace

Increases damage against Elder Bosses by X. Allows you to critically strike against Elder bosses. No benefit against normal enemies.
This is a must-have when fighting any Elder Boss. The damage increase is nice and all, but the perk of being able to critically strike against Elders is the most important feature. Without it, any points invested in Savagery and Brutality are nullified and your DPS against Elders will drop substantially. Since it has no benefit against normal enemies, some players make 2 weapons. One for Elders and another for all other content where they swap Elder Bane out for another rune. That isn't necessary, but if you want to min-max then go for it.
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Spells & Feats

Below we'll go over each of the shadow spells that you can slot onto your feat bar. This section will include a description, metrics and a breakdown of use cases.

What is X, Y, Z, K...?

In the ability descriptions below you will see phrases such as "Deals X (+Y)" damage. X and Y are variables which represent numbers, but how are they calculated? X and Y are both dependent upon the level and roll of the rune. Y, unlike X, is boosted by your Shadow Power. So if your Shadow Power is at 150% then the value for Y will be increased by 50%! (100% is the base). Any variable which can be boosted by Shadow Power is indicated as such by its orange coloring.

Shadow magic blasts your target, dealing X (+Y) Shadow damage and slowing movement speed by 45% (+Z) for 6 seconds.

Breakdown: Darkfrost isn't the greatest of DPS spells, and you may not find much use for it in group scenarios. That being said, it is a useful opener for solo sessions as the movement speed debuff will grant you enough time to build up your curses. I tend to use it for these situations and leave it untouched when performing as a pure DPS capacity in teams.
  • Type: Damage Dealer, Enemy Debuff
  • Acquisition: Dropped Shadow Mace
  • Base Mana Cost: 100
  • Base Cooldown: 10 seconds
  • Range: 40 meters
  • Base Casting Time: Instant
  • Target: Single

1597412046814.pngShadow Bolt
Launches dark energy that deals X (+Y) shadow damage over 12 seconds. Shadow bolt is considered a Curse.

Breakdown: Shadow Bolt is a staple DOT or Damage Over Time spell for your kit. On its own it may not seem very powerful compared to instant damaging spells, but stacking it with other DOTs or casting it against multiple targets will enable you to deal simultaneous ticks of damage across many enemies. Just don't recast it on an enemy while the effect is already ongoing otherwise you'll simply reset the duration and cost yourself additional mana. This also works in tandem with the Unstable Power ultimate which we will go over in detail later - but the abridged version is that it can be Detonated to deal its damage instantly under certain circumstances.
  • Type: DOT (Damage over Time)
  • Acquisition: Crafted Shadow Mace
  • Base Mana Cost: 50
  • Base Cooldown: 4 seconds
  • Range: 40 meters
  • Base Casting Time: 1.1 seconds
  • Target: Single

Summons a deathly grasp that deals X (+Y) shadow damage over 10 seconds. Gloom is considered a Curse.

Breakdown: Gloom is a staple DOT or Damage Over Time spell for your kit. On its own it may not seem very powerful compared to instant damaging spells, but stacking it with other DOTs or casting it against multiple targets will enable you to deal simultaneous ticks of damage across many enemies. Just don't recast it on an enemy while the effect is already ongoing otherwise you'll simply reset the duration and cost yourself additional mana. This also works in tandem with the Unstable Power ultimate which we will go over in detail later - but the abridged version is that it can be Detonated to deal its damage instantly under certain circumstances.
  • Type: DOT (Damage over Time)
  • Acquisition: Dropped Shadow Mace
  • Base Mana Cost: 100
  • Base Cooldown: 10 seconds
  • Range: 40 meters
  • Base Casting Time: Instant
  • Target: Single

1597413614306.pngShadow Orbs
Launches 3 orbs of shadow that deal X (+Y) shadow damage.

Breakdown: This ability is the core of being a shadow priest, but it requires the 5 talent Ultimate Unstable Power. With that Ultimate unlocked, Shadow Orbs will gain an additional property: Has a 40% (+Y%) chance to detonate all of your damage over time effects on the target. Curses, such as Shadow Bolt and Gloom deal damage over time and thus can 'prime' your target while Shadow Orbs will trigger a Detonation. This will allow you to deal massive single target burst damage by stacking multiple DOTs on a target before casting Shadow Orbs.
  • Type: Damage Dealer
  • Acquisition: Crafted Shadow Mace
  • Base Mana Cost: 150
  • Base Cooldown: 8 seconds
  • Range: 40 meters
  • Base Casting Time: Instant
  • Target: Single

1597414275308.pngShadow Blast
An explosion of shadow damage causes all nearby targets to take X (+Y) shadow damage

Breakdown: This spell is a simple AOE around the caster. Meaning that your character will have to be close to the targets in order for them to take any damage. It does not apply any other debuffs or have any secondary effects. This is useful when fighting large groups of enemies, but tends to be better left alone when playing in a DPS role with a group as it deals very little damage and has no place in your primer and Detonation rotation.
  • Type: Damage Dealer
  • Acquisition: Crafted Shadow Mace
  • Base Mana Cost: 200
  • Base Cooldown: 15 seconds
  • Range: 6 meters
  • Base Casting Time: 1.2 seconds
  • Target: Area of Effect (6 meter circle around the caster)

1597414643669.pngVampiric Pact
A dark pact is struck, costing the priest X life over 30 seconds and the loss of all health regeneration during this time. In turn, the priest gains Z (+Y) Will for 45 seconds

Breakdown: Vampiric Pact is unfortunately a very poor spell for mana regeneration. The increase in Will can easily be out-performed by drinking a single crafted mana potion. That potion provides you with a shield rather than draining your health as well. I would not recommend using this spell for either solo or group play, as there are plenty of superior alternatives to choose from. Many of the Mana related trinket spells provide more value than Vampiric Pact as well. This spell can be upgraded with the Vampira Ultimate (20 Talent Points) to heal you rather than drain health, but it frankly is not worth the investment. If health is a major concern, it is simpler to equip the Heal spell from a Holy mace instead.
  • Type: Self Buff, Self Debuff
  • Acquisition: Dropped Shadow Mace
  • Base Mana Cost: 0
  • Base Cooldown: 5 minutes
  • Range: Self
  • Base Casting Time: Instant
  • Target: Self

1597415244128.pngCorrupting Plague
Deals X (+Y) shadow damage over 60 seconds while lowering the target's Magic Resist by Z (+K). Corrupting Plague is considered a Curse.

Breakdown: Corrupting Plague is a staple DOT or Damage Over Time spell for your kit. On its own it may not seem very powerful compared to instant damaging spells, but stacking it with other DOTs or casting it against multiple targets will enable you to deal simultaneous ticks of damage across many enemies. Just don't recast it on an enemy while the effect is already ongoing otherwise you'll simply reset the duration and cost yourself additional mana. This also works in tandem with the Unstable Power ultimate which we will go over in detail later - but the abridged version is that it can be Detonated to deal its damage instantly under certain circumstances. Using this as the initial DOT on an enemy will lower their resistances, thereby increasing the damage taken from your subsequent spells.
  • Type: DOT (Damage over Time), Enemy Debuff
  • Acquisition: Elder Shadow Mace
  • Base Mana Cost: 250
  • Base Cooldown: 20 seconds
  • Range: 40 meters
  • Base Casting Time: 1.1 seconds
  • Target: Single

All nearby enemies are stunned for 10 seconds and are dealt X (+Y) shadow damage.

Breakdown: Apart from Darkfrost, Shadow Priests don't have much in their toolbox for crowd control. Keeping Judgement aside as a last resort stun could prove useful. The issue is that this spell only becomes available on Elder Maces level 60 and onwards, so lower level characters will have to make do without it. The range of Judgement is quite large and crowd control aspect valuable. This is not a great DPS spell though, and more of a utility spell for specific scenarios - and the extremely long cooldown ensures that.
  • Type: Damage Dealer, Crowd Control (Stun)
  • Acquisition: Elder Shadow Mace
  • Base Mana Cost: 250
  • Base Cooldown: 4 minutes
  • Range: 12 meters
  • Base Casting Time: 2.2 seconds
  • Target: Area of Effect (12 meter circle around the caster)

Berate the enemy for 30 seconds, during which time they cannot take action. Damage will cancel the effect, if rebuked for at least 10 seconds, the target will become Chided, reducing Armor and Magic Resist by X for 30 seconds.

Breakdown: There are not many use cases for this particular spell. If your team is about to challenge an Elder Boss, you could potentially cast this and ask them to wait 10 seconds until the Chided effect kicks in. The question is whether the Armor and Magic Resist debuff is even worth the 10 second wait and the couple of seconds it takes to run up and cast the spell itself. Personally, I would say it's not. An alternative use would be to cast it on a foe you would rather not fight and waltz past them without drawing aggro.. but even that doesn't necessarily happen too often, and the cooldown prevents you from using it frequently in this capacity. There are no alternatives for a necklace spell besides equipping Cure from the Holy tree, which is much more beneficial and useful.
  • Type: Crowd Control (Sleep), Enemy Debuff
  • Acquisition: Dropped Shadow Necklace
  • Base Mana Cost: 250
  • Base Cooldown: 30 seconds
  • Range: 40 meters
  • Base Casting Time: 1.4 seconds
  • Target: Single

Curses your target, lowering Armor and Magic Resist by 20% for 15 seconds.

Breakdown: Condemn costs 20 talent points to unlock and the issue is that the talent it is attached to (Strength of Will) isn't very compatbile with a Shadow Priest's damage dealing role. Strength of Will increases your Armor and Magic Resist while Condemn acts as a debuff. Condemn can be boosted by unlocking the Harmonize Ultimate (20 Talent Points) which will change Condemn to last forever as long as the player remains alive. I find that there are better areas to spend talents, but if you are building more of a support priest then this could be a route to look towards.
  • Type: Enemy Debuff
  • Acquisition: Ultimate (Strength of Will - 20 talents)
  • Base Mana Cost: 150
  • Base Cooldown: 15 seconds
  • Range: 40 meters
  • Base Casting Time: 1.4 seconds
  • Target: Single

All nearby enemies are dealt X (+Y) shadow damage over 20 seconds. Contagion is considered a Curse.

Breakdown: Contagion is a staple DOT or Damage Over Time spell for your kit. As it's an AOE spell you will be able to cast it on multiple enemies at once, try to position yourself well to hit as many targets as possible. Just don't recast it on an enemy while the effect is already ongoing otherwise you'll simply reset the duration and cost yourself additional mana. This also works in tandem with the Unstable Power ultimate which we will go over in detail later - but the abridged version is that it can be Detonated to deal its damage instantly under certain circumstances.
  • Type: DOT (Damage over Time)
  • Acquisition: Ultimate (Call of the Void - 10 points)
  • Base Mana Cost: 200
  • Base Cooldown: 6 seconds
  • Range: 6 meters
  • Base Casting Time: 1.4 seconds
  • Target: Area of Effect (6 meter circle around the caster)

1597417878438.pngVeil of Shadow
Instantly remove X (+Y) threat from your target and cause your attacks to be 50% (+Z%) less threatening for 20 seconds.

Breakdown: The main purpose of this spell is to reduce your threat against an enemy in case you are dealing too much damage for the tank to maintain control. First of all, this only occurs in party scenarios, and second of all, this will very rarely happen even when running with a mediocre tank. And if it does happen, this spell will not help much as it has a 3 minute cooldown and you'll likely need it throughout the run. This can be used to dump aggro on a target, but if you've already casted DOTs on them you will be hard pressed to do so, as every tick will reinitiate aggro.
  • Type: Enemy Debuff
  • Acquisition: Dropped Shadow Scepter
  • Base Mana Cost: 50
  • Base Cooldown: 3 minutes
  • Range: 40 meters
  • Base Casting Time: Instant
  • Target: Self

1597418045566.pngWhispers of the Sect
Boosts your Shadow Mastery by X points for 20 seconds. While active, every Shadow feat cast will increase the remaining duration of Whispers of the Sect by 2 seconds.

Breakdown: An essential spellfor your toolbox. The increase to your Shadow Mastery and thus the overall effectiveness of all of your shadow spells. So long as you keep on casting, you can keep this effect active. That can be difficult to do with mana shortages or large expanses of empty space between the next enemy, but just keep this in the back of your head.
  • Type: Self Buff
  • Acquisition: Dropped Shadow Scepter
  • Base Mana Cost: Free
  • Base Cooldown: 3 minutes
  • Range: Self
  • Base Casting Time: Instant
  • Target: Self


Trinkets are equipment items which players can acquire beginning at level 28. Each trinket has an ability slot which holds spells that are common between all classes. This means that certain trinket feats may not mesh well with Shadow Priests, while others could enhance your strengths or cover for your weaknesses. Below we'll go over each of these spells.

All trinkets have the following metrics unless otherwise specified:
  • Type: Self Buff
  • Acquisition: Dropped Trinkets
  • Base Mana Cost: 0
  • Base Cooldown: 3 minutes
  • Range: Self
  • Base Casting Time: Instant
  • Target: Self

TrinketTrinket Breakdown
1597418224413.pngBrutal Force: Increase your Brutality by X for 20 seconds and your next 3 spells have 100% chance to critically strike for 6 seconds.

Breakdown: Brutal Force is recommended for every single sub-class in the game. Tanks for threat generation, healing for critical heals in dire situations, and DPS players for massive amounts of damage output in a short span of time. A well executed detonation with as many primers as possible can unleash massive damage all at once.
1597418229408.pngConjured Regeneration: Instantly heal yourself for X and increase your Vigor by Y for 20 seconds.

Breakdown: As Shadow Priest healing isn't the greatest without delving into Holy, this trinket could serve as a viable replacement. It is most useful in solo situations where health points are low and it is too risky to continue forward without some regeneration time. You will not find this trinket as useful in party situations when a healer is on standby though. Still, this is for if you want to maintain a pure build or have trouble with health.
1597418234111.pngComplete Control: Instantly restore 10% of your Mana and increase your Clarity by X for 20 seconds.

Breakdown: Mana will be a constant battle for Shadow Priests. If you're aiming for a conservative build, then it is recommended to have at least one trinket ability that will assist you on your mission for mana regeneration. Complete Control will instantly provide you with some reserves while cutting your costs, and is a solid one to pick.
1597418238481.pngDeadly Tactics: Increase your Savagery by X for 20 seconds. During this time your attacks ignore 25% of your opponents defenses.

Breakdown: Deadly Tactics will increase your Critical Strike chance for a short duration and works as a solid spell to use directly before or after Brutal Force. Ignoring 25% of the opponents defenses will further increase damage dealt.
1597418243838.pngGrave Bolt: Summons a bolt of energy empowered by a restless spirit that deals X void to your target. If Grave Bolt initiates combat, it will force the target to engage in solo battle, blocking the enemy's ability to call for aid.

Breakdown: Grave Bolt is unique in that it is currently the only trinket that interacts with an enemy. Despite what the description says, the chance to pull an enemy from a pack is not 100%. In Raids, enemies have higher resistances to pulls and you may find Grave Bolt to fail. This trinket is mainly useful in regions consisting of enemy packs, like Pyrron.
  • Type: Taunt
  • Range: 40 meters
  • Target: Single
1597418248840.pngIndomitable Constitution: Heal yourself for X over 20 seconds and increase your Vitality by X for 60 seconds.

Breakdown: This trinket grants more healing than Conjured Regeneration but it is spread among 20 seconds. This may be too long of a span to make it practical for survivability.
1597418255167.pngInsight: Restore X mana over 20 seconds and increase your Intellect by X for 60 seconds.

Breakdown: You will likely burn through mana at a faster rate than this trinket will regenerate it. The increase in Intellect is only useful if topped off, as a larger mana pool will make little difference if you are nowhere near the cap.
1597418260199.pngMagical Defiance: Become invulnerable to Magic Damage for 6 seconds and increase your Magic Resist by X for 20 seconds.

Breakdown: This trinket is best left to the tanks who must take big hits from powerful bosses.
1597418265061.pngMomentum Shift: Increase your Haste by X and boost your chance to Dodge attacks by 30%. Lasts for 20 seconds.

Breakdown: This trinket works well with another offensive one such as Brutal Force or Deadly Tactics. Use this to decrease casting time so you can dish out as much punishment as possible. The increase in dodge chance will help with some damage mitigation if some enemies survive your onslaught.
1597418270000.pngSoaring Will: The next 3 spells you cast cost 0 mana and increase your Will by X for 20 seconds.

Breakdown: If mana is an issue then Soaring Will can be useful to help with conservation. Use it on the most mana intensive spells in a row, such as Corrupting Plague, Contagion and Shadow Orbs.
1597418294325.pngTree Form: Turn your skin to bark, shielding against X damage. Lasts for 20 seconds or until used.

Breakdown: The shielding on this spell is minimal and may only protect you from one or two hits. Not recommended.
  • Acquisition: Crafted Trinket
1597418299182.pngWay of the Tortoise: Become invulnerable to Physical Damage for 8 seconds and increase your Armor by X for 20 seconds.

Breakdown: The duration of this spell makes it difficult to suggest for a DPS character, even in a glass cannon role and looking for extra protection. This is something better suited to tanks.
1597418303707.pngZephyr's Enclave: Instantly reduce all remaining cooldowns by 40% and increase your Expertise by X for 20 seconds.

Breakdown: If you have a few powerful yet lengthy cooldown spells then this is a powerful trinket to pick up. Shadow Priests don't really have this issue though, and the boost to expertise does not increasing the rate of ticks so having your spells refreshed doesn't necessarily mean they are ready to cast.

Constructing Your Loadout

We're back with the next phase of constructing your loadout! Since the previous part, you should have learned all about the different types of equipment, Spells & Feats, as well as Trinket Abilities! These will be vital towards completing the next step in the tutorial.

Phase 2: Your Arsenal

This phase is all about noting down which spells, abilities and equipment you plan on using. Let's work off of the choices you made in the previous phase! Let's begin by assessing our limitations. In terms of abilities, here are the number of ability slots per item type as well as the potential spells you can choose.

Note that there are other Priest spells, but these are generally considered Holy spells so they are not included in the chart.
So, what now?

It's time to go down the list and reference the descriptions of the various Spells & Feats to choose the ones you desire.

Let's begin with the easy stuff:

Necklace: You've got one option for Shadow which is Rebuke, but you might want to consider straying into Holy to take Cure instead.
Scepter: Whispers of the Sect is the recommended option, but potentially keep Veil of Shadow on standby for special cases.

For talents you'll want to consider whether Condemn is worthwhile for your build and if you have points to spare. Contagion is a must have though as it is your only AOE DOT.

Your Mace spells are next. As you can see, there are 7 slots and 8 options to choose from. If you're not interested in having Vampiric Pact you can drop it for Judgement or a spell from the Holy side. Darkfrost and Shadow Blast aren't very crucial either, so if you plan to go hybrid those tend to be the ones to drop. The rest are all part of the primer and detonation mechanic, and are critical spells to have.

If you're low on sockets then keep Shadow Blast, 2 DOTs and grab Contagion from the talent tree to bring that up to 3.

This leaves the Trinkets! You can choose 2 of the Trinket spells, but you can always keep extras in your inventory for different scenarios. Below are some suggestions based on a few of the different build possibilities. You don't have to follow the recommendations below of course. Go with whatever floats your boat!

  • Complete Control
  • Insight
  • Soaring Will
  • Zephyr's Enclave
Soul Corrupter
  • Brutal Force
  • Zephyr's Enclave
  • Deadly Tactics
  • Momentum Shift
  • Conjured Regeneration
  • Zephyr's Enclave
  • Complete Control
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Talent choices are the main differences between the various shadow builds. Shadow has a few critical talents and ultimates, the rest are up to you. Ultimately, you'll want to test out various configurations to find the one that best suits your purposes. As we are focusing on pure builds rather than hybrid, I will not be considering any of the Holy talents for this section but you may want to take a look at them and see whether any stand out.

Please note that I will be displaying values of talents at their maximum point allotment. If you would like to see the rate of growth for specific talents, please utilize this great talent building tool created by Developer Ivar Hill: Talent Builder

Shadow Talent Tree

Talent / UltimateBreakdown
1597500632823.pngHexing Shadows
5 Talents
Your single target damaging shadow spells cause your target to deal 10% less damage for 10 seconds.

Not the most useful talent, but the Ultimate is not debatable so you will need to invest in it. This talent will help mitigate some damage during solo and group play and as long as you're casting spells at your target it is easy to keep active throughout the encounter.
1597500638315.pngUnstable Power
Shadow Orbs now has a 40% chance to detonate your damage over time effects, dealing all of their remaining damage instantly with a 30% increased chance to critically strike. If you have the Soul Corrupter mastery, each Curse removed will add 3 charges of Soul Corruption. The chance for Unstable Power to occur increases with your Shadow Power.

This is the core mechanic at the heart of shadow's DPS role. With the increased chance to detonate based on Shadow Power, you'll likely have between a 60% and 70% chance to detonate your DOTs. You want to prime your target for detonation by casting damage over time abilities and then use Shadow Orbs to trigger the detonation. This is where the high burst damage comes to fruition.
1597500643705.pngCall of the Void
10 Talents
30% of your Shadow Mastery is added to your Voidstrike

About a third of the points you've invested into your Shadow Mastery stat will be added onto your Voidstrike Glyph. Increasing points in Shadow Mastery through abilities such as Whispers of the Sect will also add additional points to Voidstrike. Voidstrike is a useful Glyph especially when the charge is consumed by Shadow Orbs. We'll explore it in greater depth in the stats section.
An eruption of shadow power causes all nearby enemies to be dealt shadow damage over 20 seconds.

This Ultimate is an ability which will appear on your feat bar. We have gone over this ability in detail within the Spells & Feats section.
1597500655136.pngServant of Shadow
20 Talents
Casting a shadow spell gives you a Shadow Mark. At 5 marks, you are healed for 400% standard level healing. Servant of Shadow's healing is boosted by your Shadow Power.

You'll end up getting a burst of healing per rotation due to the 5 mark requirement. Depending on your build preferences, you may not need to invest all 20 points into this talent. You'll likely want some points invested though (5 or 10) unless your build focuses on Lifesteal or has Holy healing feats. 200% Standard Level Healing at 10 points is a fairly decent burst of healing and that doesn't account for the bonus from Shadow Power.
Vampiric Pact now heals you instead of dealing damage to you.

This talent only applies if you opt to use the Vampiric Pact feat. I would recommend using a Holy spell for healing or relying on Servant of the Shadow entirely if possible.
1597500664141.pngVile Echos
30 Talents
Your Curses additionally apply a Vile Echo, which deals 450% standard level shadow damage over 15 seconds. Vile Echo's damage is considered a Curse.

Vile Echos
can only be applied once per target. So casting multiple Curses will simply reset the duration of the primary Vile Echos. Because it is considered a Curse and deals damage over time it can be detonated with Shadow Orbs, making it a very useful talent as it is applied for free simply by casting other Curses. They can critically strike and do not consume a charge of Brutal Force trinket spell either. They also count towards Soul Corruption charges which we will go over later.
1597500669057.pngShadow Weave
Offense, Health, Mana
When one or more of your Curses are on an enemy that dies, those Curses will attempt to spread to another nearby enemy. If no enemy is nearby, they instead jump to you, restoring 3% of your missing Health and Mana per Curse.

If you have 3 DOTs stacked onto a single enemy who dies, all 3 will attempt to spread to a single nearby enemy and their duration will automatically reset as well. This can save you on constant mana expenditure so long as you don't attempt to duplicate those DOTs on the enemy it has spread to. When all enemies have fallen you will get a small amount of health and mana restoration. Just note that a Detonation will not spread Curses and will not return health and mana, so you will have to choose whether you want to detonate the enemy or allow the DOTs to wither them away for Curse spread or regeneration.
1597500674181.pngShadow Affinity
40 Talents
Increases your Shadow Power by 40%

This will boost your Shadow Power directly, not your Shadow Mastery. Shadow Mastery is a stat that feeds your Shadow Power. Like most stats, it is subject to diminishing returns. Increasing Shadow Power directly on the other hand does not suffer from that drawback as it bypasses the stat entirely. This will essentially boost the Y value (purple value) of all your Shadow abilities by 40%! Thereby increasing your damage, healing and other effects from casting spells.
1597500679082.pngSoul Corruptor
Every time one of your Curses deals damage, the enemy gains a charge of Soul Corruption. At 30 charges, the corruption explodes dealing 400% shadow damage.

If you fail to Detonate with Shadow Orbs then this is a sort of fallback. Read the description for Unstable Power again and you'll note that each detonated Curse will add 3 charges to Soul Corruption. Vile Echos damage ticks will also add Soul Corruption. So you tend to get around 10 to 15 charges per Detonation. So with all 4 DOTs and Vile Echos running it tends to take around 13 seconds for Soul Corruption to hit 30 charges and explode give or take a few seconds depending on casting time and order. The explosion won't wipe existing DOTs either, and additional charges will immediately begin to accumulate after an explosion. Detonating and causing a corruption explosion in tandem will deal massive damage, but it can be difficult to coordinate since Detonation is not guaranteed.

Balance Talent Tree

Talent / UltimateBreakdown
1597519862866.pngBurden of Power
35 Talents
Your Damage and Healing are increased by 40% to targets that are below 30% of their Maximum Health.

This talent can be used as either a healer or DPS. Coupling this with a high Onslaught and you'll deal bonus damage to enemies that are above as well as below a certain threshold. This will assist you during Elder battles, as the final 30% of their health is generally when they utilize the bulk of their mechanics.
1597519867455.pngDying Breath
Whenever you take damage that would otherwise be fatal, you block that damage, become invulnerable and gain 100% mana cost reduction, 20 seconds later you die.

There isn't necessarily a point in spending all 35 talents to unlock this Ultimate. It is extremely situational, and the goal should always be on preventing your death rather than making the most of it. It's a neat little ability but it ultimately serves little purpose.
1597519876743.pngStrength of Will
20 Talents
Your Armor and Magic Resist are increased by 20%.

A 20% boost will take 1/5 of your investment in the Armor and Magic Resist stats and compound them. Shadow Priests don't have much to begin with, so you will not receive a very large boost. Not to mention, with diminishing returns any additional points are worth much less than the initial investment.
Curses your target, lowering Armor and Magic Resist by 20% for 15 seconds.

This Ultimate is an ability which will appear on your feat bar. We have gone over this ability in detail within the Spells & Feats section.
20 Talents
Your single target instant damaging spells deal 40% increased damage.

Shadow has the following single target instant damaging spells: Darkfrost, Shadow Orbs. The bonus to Darkfrost isn't really worth mentioning, but a 40% damage increase to Shadow Orbs, your most powerful spell, is worth the investment. This will further boost your overall burst damage.
Judgement's damage is increased by 50% and now scales from the greater of your spell powers. Rebuke now has a 75% reduced cooldown. Condemn now lasts forever as long as you stay alive.

This Ultimate is more of a byproduct of maxing out Precision and isn't all that great unless you are actively using the 3 spells listed. The 50% increases to Judgement could make it a formidable AOE spell and the change to Condemn would allow you to keep permanent debuffs on an Elder or powerful bounty if you've maxed out Strength of Will. Your spell choice truly decides how effective this Ultimate is.
1597519897425.pngOpen Sea Air
15 Talents
Your Vitality and base Maximum Health are increased by 15%.

If your priest is struggling to survive then this is a useful talent to invest in mostly for the Ultimate. The 15% increase to Vitality and base Maximum Health will grant you an extra buffer between death, but the Shield Bash Ultimate is where you will get some proper defense through crowd control effects.
1597519901925.pngShield Bash
Whenever you block with your shield, you stun your opponent for 4 seconds. Additionally, your Block Chance is increased by 5%.

Recall that there are two shield variants. One with a 5% block chance and one with a 15%. If you opt to use this Ultimate then it's recommended to take the 15% block chance rune which will then be upgraded to 20%. The more often you block, the more often enemies will become stunned. This is best in areas against packs of enemies consisting of multiple monsters like Pyrron or Halls of Salvation. A 4 second stun off of a 1 / 5 block chance is extremely worthwhile for defense.
1597519908398.pngWell Read
15 Talents
Your Maximum Mana is increased by 975 and your Mana Regeneration is increased by 90%.

If you're trying to be mana conservative, this talent would be one to pick up. The maximum mana increase is enough to cast an additional spells before running dry and the mana regeneration will increase your enable you to regain a decent amount between fights. Crafted Mana potions are still the superior option when it comes to mana restoration though.
1597519913117.pngNatural Talent
Your Maximum Mana is increased by 1000.

This will further increase your mana pool and doesn't limit your intellect boost. That being said, you may find it easier to increase your maximum mana via Intellect stats than investing 15 points here.

Talent Builds

Below are some potential talent configurations to consider. There are infinite combinations for Talent setups, and there really is no right way. Below are some options based on some of the build preview examples

You can easily mix and match these setups for whatever suits your purposes. If you consider mana to be more important than additional damage, shoot for that instead. Find whichever setup works best for you.

I have classified each of the Talents / Ultimates into a specific category in the Talent Table above, based on how they impact your character.
  • Offensive
  • Defensive
  • Health
  • Mana
Note that some Talents / Ultimates may appear in multiple categories. I have assigned a rating to those categories for each of the following talent builds. This will allow you to gauge what the build focuses on.

Talent Build
1597500659572.pngVampiric I
Level 95(0 Rebirths)- 105 Talents
Builds focus on health and mana sustenance. The goal is to keep your health and mana afloat without relying on Holy feats or mana potion spam. Whether this is your intention is up to you. Generally you will find that this may not be the ideal build for dealing the most damage, and due to the high mana cost of spells you will likely still need to use potions.
  • Offense: 5/13
  • Defense: 1/3
  • Health: 2/4
  • Mana: 2/3
1597500638315.pngSoul Corruptor I
Level 95 (0 Rebirths)- 105 Talents
The Soul Corrupter build is only concerned with delivering death even at the cost of health and mana regeneration. This build will require mana potions and consumables, decent Lifesteal or perhaps a Holy feat for healing due to the current lack of self-heal apart from that returned from Shadow Weave.
  • Offense: 9/13
  • Defense: 1/3
  • Health: 1/4
  • Mana: 1/3
1597519876743.pngMutagen I
Level 95 (0 Rebirths) - 105 Talents
The Mutagen build puts defense at the forefront. This is an odd path for a primary DPS class, but in some cases you may find the extra defense enough to push through a difficult chunk of content. The mana deficiency is an issue to look at though.
  • Offense: 5/13
  • Defense: 2.5/3
  • Health: 3/4
  • Mana: 0/3
1597500659572.pngVampiric II
Level 95(5 Rebirths) - 130 Talents
With the additional 25 talents you will be able to unlock Shadow Weave, which will return a small portion of health and mana back to you after conflicts if you allow the final enemy to die from Curses rather than Detonation.
  • Offense: 5/13
  • Defense: 1/3
  • Health: 3/4
  • Mana: 3/3
1597500638315.pngSoul Corruptor II
Level 95 (5 Rebirths) - 130 Talents
The extra 25 points was split between Servant of Shadow for some health restoration and Burden of Power for additional damage. If health is not an issue then all points could have been directed to Burden of Power or split between it and Well Read for mana.
  • Offense: 9.5/13
  • Defense: 1/3
  • Health: 1.5/4
  • Mana: 1/3
1597519876743.pngMutagen II
Level 95 (5 Rebirths)- 130 Talents
The additional 25 talents will enable you to complete the Strength of Will talent and unlock Condemn, improve your lack of mana prowess as well as get a few points into Vile Echos for some added detonation power
  • Offense: 6/13
  • Defense: 3/3
  • Health: 3/4
  • Mana: 2/3

Constructing Your Loadout

It's that time again! Now that we've looked over each of the talents, we need to find the right build for you. It's time for Phase 3....

Phase 3 - Talent Configuration

In the table above I have some options for talent builds. There are simply too many choices to list them all out. You've done the ground-work and read about each of these talents. What level are you? How many rebirths do you have under your belt or plan to do? These are important questions to ask yourself. I would suggest using some of the build options above and modifying them based on the playstyle and abilities you have so far. You can always go back and change your mind on decisions you made previously.

Use the Talent Builder to mess around with different configurations. Read about the benefits of each talent / ultimate and how they mesh with your intended use. What content are you currently progressing through? Is defense more important than offense, or vice versa? Once you've found a few builds that suit you, try them out in-game. Reset your talents and try out the different builds in various scenarios. Use the charts to monitor your DPS output and length of time it takes until your mana drops to 0. These are some things you'll simply have to experiment with to find the perfect fit for your build.

Combos & Mechanics

This section covers some useful combos that you can utilize. Combos are a sequence of abilities, used in a specific order in order to maximize potential benefits. These benefits could be DPS output, survivablity or other such targets.

Before we go into combos, let's take a closer look into the Detonation mechanic itself. We already know that you have 5 spell options which count as Curses:
  • Corrupting Plague
  • Contagion
  • Gloom
  • Shadow Bolt
  • Vile Echos
And we also are aware that when you cast Shadow Orbs on an enemy it has a chance to Detonate if they are primed with Curses. Below are some quick answers to questions you might have.

How can you tell when a detonation occurs?
Your screen will shake and vibrate in response to a successful Detonation and you will see a purple explosion around the target.
How can you tell when a Soul Corrupter explosion occurs?
Your will see the following effect on your target.
Is a Soul Corrupter explosion more powerful than a Detonation?
deal far more damage, they are not really comparable. Detonations can range from 5 to 10 times the damage from a Soul Corrupter explosion so you will want to use Detonations on your primary target and let Contagion build up Corrupter charges on any minions.

Are all DOTs wiped during a successful detonation?
No, some DOTs may linger afterwards. Detonations does not necessarily proc on each and every DOT. That being said, in the heat of battle it is likely too difficult to check which of your DOTs are still remaining and which have been Detonated. Doing so, and recasting the detonated DOTs accordingly, is simply too time consuming and will throw off your cooldowns. This is why it is recommended to follow through and recast all the available DOTs in your next cycle when you see a successful Detonation.

Shadow Weave Infection Spread

If you're fighting a group of enemies and you have Shadow Weave Ultimate unlocked, you can take advantage of the situation and avoid recasting DOTs and Detonating each enemy individually by allowing the target to die without Detonation so that the DOTs can spread to the next enemy.
Sequence: Corrupting Plague > Contagion > Shadow Bolt > Gloom > Shadow Blast & Darkfrost as necessary
Begin by priming a single target and applying as many DOTs as possible onto them. When they die, all the active DOTs will spread to a nearby target. Swap to whichever target that is and use Shadow Blast and Darkfrost as necessary to kill them. Do not use Shadow Orbs! Detonations will wipe DOTs out and we want to keep them around so that they spread through Shadow Weave. Repeat this until all enemies have been defeated. You do not have to worry about recasting DOTs because when they spread through Shadow Weave their duration is automatically reset. If a DOT expires before the enemy dies and Shadow Weave kicks in then you'll have to recast it though. Another way to handle the encounter is to swap to an enemy that wasn't hit by Shadow Weave and begin priming them, so you can have multiple instances of your DOTs spreading throughout the group.

Standard Single Target Detonation
Purpose: When going against a single bounty or enemy, this is a simple and effective combo to use without going overkill and expending unnecessary mana.
Sequence: Darkfrost > Shadow Bolt > Gloom > Shadow Orbs
Initiate with Darkfrost to immediately slow enemy movement speed. Follow up with 2 ranged DOT primers with relatively low mana cost - Shadow Bolt and Gloom - you will get Vile Echos as well if you have the talent. Detonate the beast with Shadow Orbs afterwards. If you fail to Detonate, you can cast Contagion or Shadow Blast if they get close or simply way for Shadow Orbs to refresh and try again.

Single Target Detonation Cycle

When Brutal Force is on cooldown and fighting with a group against a bounty pack in Raids or an Elder boss, this is the cycle of primers and Detonation that I follow.
Sequence: Corrupting Plague > Contagion > Shadow Bolt > Gloom > Shadow Orbs > Contagion ... > Shadow Orbs > Repeat
The goal is to simply prime your target with as many DOT effects in a row as possible starting from longest to shortest duration such that the first one hasn't expired by the time you cast your last one. Once complete, you cast Shadow Orbs and hope for a Detonation. Assuming it went through, your repeat this cycle again without Corrupting Plague because it will not be refreshed by then. Start at Contagion instead and follow through the cycle the same as before. Once the second cycle is complete, head back to the start but this time with Corrupting Plague back in the beginning. As you see, Corrupting Plague is used every other rotation due to the cooldown. Now, what if the Detonation fails? Well in that case I would recommend simply waiting for Shadow Orbs to refresh and cast it again rather than recast all your DOTs and waste mana. This will also allow the enemy to build up additional Soul Corrupter charges. This diagram may help visualize the process

Brutal Force Single Target Detonation

This is the rotation I recommend whenever Brutal Force is available for an Elder Boss. You have 3 spells which can be forced to critically strike. You can either use them on 3 DOTs or 2 DOTs and Shadow Orbs. I prefer forcing Shadow Orbs to critically strike, even though there is a higher chance it will critically strike on its own - but others may be willing to take those odds. Shadow Bolt and Corrupting Plague deal the most damage but due to the sequence of my standard rotation I personally use the Brutal Force charges on Shadow Bolt and Gloom. You could opt to rearrange your cast order for this sequence and use Contagion, Gloom and then Brutal Force followed by Corrupting Plague, Shadow Bolt and Shadow Orbs but that can throw off your next rotation. You decide!
Sequence: Corrupting Plague > Contagion > Brutal Force > Shadow Bolt > Gloom > Shadow Orbs
Initiate with Corrupting Plague and Contagion - ensure you're close enough for them to get hit by the AOE. Activate Brutal Force and quickly cast Shadow Bolt, Gloom and Shadow Orbs and pray for a Detonation!

Brutal Force AOE Blast

When surrounded by enemies and fearing for your life, use this combination to quickly deal DOT, direct damage and apply a 10 second stun.
Sequence: Brutal Force > Contagion > Judgement > Shadow Blast
Activate Brutal Force and cast Contagion to apply multiple DOT effects onto the enemies, your Contagion as well as Vile Echos. Both of your DOT ticks will be critical strikes but only a single charge of Brutal Force is consumed. This will also draw all the enemies over to you. Follow it up with Judgement to stun them all before they're able to deal too much damage to you and finish your combo with some direct damage from Shadow Blast.
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Primary Stats

Stats are at the forefront of any build. By building up your stats, your character will be able to perform better in combat. All characters have base attributes. A default health pool, mana regeneration rate, cooldown rate and so on. These values can be increased through stats and sometimes even certain talents or ultimates. For example, if your default attack speed is 100% and you have enough points invested into the Haste stat to earn a bonus 24% attack speed boost, then your new attack speed is at 124%.

The blue column are your Stats and they feed into the red column, your Attributes!
As you invest points into your stats, you are improving the core characteristics of your character. Stats have caps, which will limit how much you can increase the corresponding attribute. Since stats are subject to diminishing returns, you will never actually be able to hit the cap. At a certain threshold, it becomes futile to continue investing in a particular stat as the benefits will decrease until it hardly has any impact on the attribute.

How do we raise our Primary Stats?
  • Primary Stats automatically appear on any piece of equipment which is Common or higher in quality.
    • Uncommon and Rare items have an extra stat
  • Primary Stats can be raised by slotting Reinforcement Runes onto gear.
  • Primary Stats can be raised by adding Preparations onto gear.
  • Using Consumables such as Drams temporarily increase certain Primary Stats
  • Certain talents and Ultimates also build up specific Primary Stats
  • Recall that each stat appears on specific pieces of gear as seen below.
We will begin by providing a detailed overview of each stat and glyph in relation to Shadow Priests. Then we will move on to which stat and rune combinations to use.

Below is a breakdown of stats in relation to Shadow Priests.
Stat Breakdown
1597525951628.pngShadow Mastery: Increases Shadow Power
Cap: 30% | Recommended: 20% - 25%

Shadow Power:
Increases the power of your Shadow abilities. Increased by anything that boosts ability power.

Breakdown: Increasing Shadow Mastery will boost your overall ability power. Any feats or spells which are augmented with Shadow Power will become more powerful as Shadow Mastery increases.
1597525976182.pngArmor: Increases physical protection
Cap: 50% | Recommended: 30% - 35%

Physical Protection:
Reduces physical damage taken

Breakdown: Armor comes inherently on most of your gear, making it very easy to build up. This attribute will reduce the amount of incoming physical damage you take by a certain percentage. You may find that the inherent armor acquired on your base gear suffices for your purposes. This stat isn't integral for a primary DPS character, but you will want a decent amount to avoid taking massive damage whenever hit.
1597525985004.pngMagic Resist: Increases magical protection
Cap: 50% | Recommended: 30% - 35%

Magical Protection:
Reduces magic damage taken

Breakdown: Magic Resist is a bit harder to acquire than Armor. This attribute will reduce the amount of incoming magic damage. This stat isn't integral for a primary DPS character, but you will want a decent amount to avoid taking massive damage whenever hit. Don't overdo it though.
1597525993913.pngVitality: Increases maximum health
Cap: None | Recommended: 2-3 bars

Maximum Health:
Your total health

Breakdown: Vitality is the only stat which is not subject to diminishing returns. A larger health pool will provide you a buffer when taking big hits. While priests aren't hit nearly as often as melee characters, whenever they do get hit, it tends to hurt. You'll want a decent health buffer, but nothing extreme. Investing too much will provide you with a large and pointless health pool.
1597525998530.pngVigor: Increases health regeneration
Cap: 2000%, 200% | Recommended: 0 - 20%

Health Regeneration:
Health you regenerate per second when in or out of combat

Breakdown: Vigor's overall health regeneration leaves much to be desired. Shadow Priests don't have the best tools for health regeneration. Servant of the Shadow gives a good boost, but it requires 5 spells to trigger which takes time. Rather than investing points into Vigor, I would recommend raising the Lifesteal Glyph. You'll gain health through damage, which fits perfectly for a DPS character.
1597526007351.pngIntellect: Increases maximum mana
Cap: +3000 | Recommended: +0 - +2000

Maximum Mana:
Maximum Mana pool

Breakdown: Additional mana will allow you to cast extra spells before your reserves run dry. Maximum mana is only useful when you're at full mana though. Once you start casting, it is your Will and Clarity that will determine how long you can sustain yourself. As a shadow priest, you'll need a lot of mana, so you will want to put some points into this stat unless you plan to depend entirely on crafted mana potions.
1597526016545.pngWill: Increases mana regeneration
Cap: 8 m/s, 20 m/s | Recommended: 0 m/s - 5 m/s

Mana Regeneration:
Mana you regenerate per second when in or out of combat

Breakdown: Will can boost your mana regeneration by a maximum of 8/s in combat and 20/s out of combat. This will allow you to restore mana quickly between fights or sustain for longer periods during continuous conflicts in Raids. The regeneration rate has been calculated to be quite low, so you may wish to avoid building this stat and focus on mana potions for regeneration instead.
1597526027481.pngClarity: Reduces mana costs
Cap: 35% | Recommended: 18% - 30%

Mana Costs:
Reduces the mana cost of feats and spells

Breakdown: Shadow Feats tend to come with a high mana cost and with the rotations they are constantly being cast and detonated. Reducing their mana costs across the board will have a generous effect and save you from running out of mana as quickly.
1597526038370.pngHaste: Increases attack speed
Cap: 30% | Recommended: 15% - 25%

Attack Speed:
Increases the frequency of normal attacks and lowers cast time of feats and spells

Breakdown: Greater attack speed will allow you to pull off additional attacks in the same window of time. This will also speed up the rate of your ability casting. If you can stack your DOTs quickly you can detonate them faster, otherwise your first one may be close to running its course by the time you've finished priming the boss and prepare to detonate.
1597526055002.pngExpertise: Increases cooldown rate
Cap: 50% | Recommended: 30% - 45%

Cooldown Rate:
Reduces cooldown time of feats and spells

Breakdown: This goes hand in hand with haste. Having the ability to cast quicker is beneficial so long as something is readily available to cast. Increasing Expertise will result in faster refresh rates for your spells, which is essential for Detonating at the end of each rotation.
1597526064589.pngSavagery: Increases critical chance
Cap: 20% | Recommended: 12% - 18%

Critical Chance:
Gives a chance to deal bonus damage with feats, spells and attacks

Breakdown: Critical Strikes deal a minimum of double the damage of a regular hit. This increase your damage dealing capabilities considerably as each of your DOT ticks can critically strike. This is one of the most essential stats for any character, but especially a DPS role.
1597526073444.pngBrutality: Increases critical damage
Cap: 150% | Recommended: 85% - 135%

Critical Damage:
Bonus damage dealt by critical hits

Breakdown: Critical Damage upgrades mean that your critical strikes hit as hard as 3x to 3.5x their normal variants. If you critically strike often, you'll want as much damage as possible to come out of it. Since your Shadow Orbs Detonation has an increased chance to critically strike, and all your eggs are in that basket, you'll want it to hit as hard as possible.


Glyphs are gameplay modifiers that accentuate your chosen role. As primarily a damage dealing role, you'll want to focus on Glyphs that supplement that playstyle.

Glyphs feed directly into your attributes. This is why they are so powerful! Rather than boosting your stats (which suffer from diminishing returns and have soft caps) they will simply pump up your attributes themselves which do not have these limitations. Glyphs do have their own caps though, so make sure you keep that in mind and avoid over-investing into some.

How do we acquire Gylphs?
  • Gylphs appear on gear that is Rare quality of higher. Epic and Legendary gear will have two Glyphs, as opposed to the one on Rare gear.
  • Gylphs can also be slotted onto gear using Reinforcement Runes.
  • Gylphs can be imbued onto gear through the use of Preparations.
  • Recall that each Glyph appears on specific pieces of gear as seen below.

The following table will provide a quick description and breakdown of each Glyph from a Shadow Priest's perspective:
Glyph Breakdown
1597528087455.pngBerserk: After taking damage 30 separate times, you gain X% increased ability power for 30 seconds.
Cap: 20% | Recommended: 0%

, similar to Blasting, will not have much of an impact for ranged characters. The goal should be not to get hit 30 times, because that will likely end up killing a Shadow Priest. Focus on Glyphs that help you take enemies down before they smack you.
1597528100097.pngBlasting: After being hit, you have a 10% chance to release a blast of X damage to all enemies around you.
Cap: Scales with level | Recommended: 0%

will not trigger much due to the same reasoning explained above for Berserk. For that reason, there is no point in investing heavily into it.
1597528110323.pngFlux: After spending 1,500 mana, you gain X% bonus ability power for 30 seconds.
Cap: 15% | Recommended: 10% - 13%

is an all-purpose perk which is useful to any sub-class but especially for mana-hungry Shadow Priests. You will want to invest heavily into this Glyph as the bonus ability power will go straight to your attributes and boost your skills for the next 30 seconds.
1597528116165.pngGlory: You gain X% increased ability power and Y% increased resistances for every enemy you defeat, maximum of 5 charges.
Cap: 8% Ability Power, 4% Resistance | Recommended: 4%-6% Ability Power, 2%-3%Resistance

increases both offense and defense, making it a powerful Glyph. This will assist with building up your lack of Resistance while also pumping up your ability power for increased damage. This works best in Raids, but also comes in handy during solo sessions so long as you don't allow the charges to expire.
1597528125153.pngJuggernaut: You have a 5% chance to deal X% of current health as damage.
Cap: 23.1% of health as damage | Recommended: 0% of health as damage

is basically another critical strike but it is based on your health. Traditionally best for tanks with large health pools, Juggernaut will not be as effective for ranged DPS classes with smaller max health. You will be better off investing into other Glyphs for damage.
1597528137049.pngLifesteal: When you deal damage, you have a 15% chance to heal for X% of the damage dealt.
Cap: 40% | Recommended: 15% - 35%

works best for classes with a high rate of fire and damage. Shadow Priests also don't have the best healing, so having a modest amount of Lifesteal around based on your health regeneration needs will be useful. Lifesteal can trigger on DOT ticks, but because it will heal for a portion of the damage dealt you won't earn much health from it. Your best hope is that it will proc during a Detonation for a massive chunk of health.
1597528145377.pngMagic Find: All dropped gear now has a X% chance to be upgraded in rarity.
Cap: 10% | Recommended: 0%

Magic Find
serves no purpose in combat. I would avoid any gear with this stat. Some players make specific farming gear which is high on Magic Find so that they can get better loot from Zingaras and Elders.
1597528151441.pngOnslaught: You deal X% bonus damage to enemies that are over the Y% health threshold.
Cap: 25% damage, 80% health threshold | Recommended: 12% - 20% damage, 90% - 85% health threshold

Loading up on Onslaught will allow you to inflict extra damage early on which will be useful towards dropping enemies quickly and efficiently. This applies to solo encounters as well. Coupled with Burden of Power you can deal bonus damage at both ends of the spectrum. If you manage to get a Detonation before the beast drops below the threshold, you'll be quite happy with the results.
1597528158487.pngPoise: Your ability power is increased by X% while your health is higher than 95%
Cap: 15% | Recommended: 8% - 12%

is a powerful spell for ranged casters as it will grant bonus damage simply for being at or neat max health. So long as you keep your distance and stun enemies who arrive at melee range, you'll earn powerful benefits from this Glyph in both solo and group content.
1597528163583.pngShielding: While not in combat, you gain an absorb shield absorbing X damage .
Cap: Scales with level | Recommended: 0%

provides you with a small defensive buffer in between confrontations. This is not really necessary but it can help keep Poise up by absorbing damage from boss AOEs.
1597528177469.pngVoidstrike: After damaging an enemy you have a 5% chance to gain a Voidstrike, causing your next single target ability to deal bonus X% Void damage that ignores Armor and Magic Resist.
Cap: 40% | Recommended: 25% - 35%

has the greatest impact in the hands of DPS classes. Especially those with powerful single-target abilities such as Shadow Orbs. If you manage to trigger Voidstrike on a Detonation, it will hit massive numbers. Recall that 30% of your Mastery is added to your Voidstrike with the Call of the Void talent as well, so you already have a head start.

Constructing Your Loadout

It's time for one of the most important phases in constructing your loadout: your runes and stats! Depending on your level you will want to limit the number of sockets you spend filling slots. If you want to be a level 40 top-notch damage dealer, go for it. If you'd rather wait until 90+ before you start investing heavily into gear then by all means it is up to you. Just know that creating optimal builds requires sockets, and you will need at least 25 - 35 sockets for your full end-game build. So keep that amount in reserve off to the side. The amount of sockets you should spend is quite malleable depending upon your intentions and willingness to purchase additional ones if you run dry.

Once your budget has been sorted out, it's time to decide what we are actually slotting onto your gear! In terms of active runes (Spells, Feats, Trinkets) you should already be set, as we covered those earlier. Thus, we'll be focusing on passive runes and reinforcement runes.

Your Gear stats are broken down into 3 main components:
  • Base Stats
  • Base Glyphs
  • Runes
We will go over each of these during phase 4...

Phase 4 - Gear Stats and Runes

It's time to begin selecting which base stats you want on your equipment. We've gone over each of them in detail, so you should have an idea of what every single one of them does. If you find yourself unsure about what a particular stat does, please refer to the tables above for their description and breakdowns. Without a firm understanding of stats, you will have a difficult time deciding which ones are best for your build.

The Chart below has a list of primary base stats you can find across each of the equipment types. Note that the Stats are color-coded:
  • Defensive / Health: Yellow
  • Mana: Blue
  • Offensive: Red
So if you're aiming to raise specific qualities for your build, then you know which stats to look out for. Also note that you can find a maximum of 2 per item. So choose wisely. Once again though, make sure you read and understand what each stat does!
Once you've finished marking down the base stats you prefer on your equipment, it is time to check out Glyphs. The difficulty with the gear system is RNG. As gear can have 2 random Stats and 2 random Glyphs maximum per item, it can be difficult to find the combination you are looking for. This is why you need to be a little flexible. Don't pick 2 strict stats and glyphs that you want, but give yourself some leeway and select 3 or 4 potential stats and glyphs per item. This will give you better chances at finding a suitable piece of gear. If you'd rather be very strict it's your choice, but it will lead to frustration.

Here is a chart for your Glyph options. I will note that Magic Find is not on this chart. I removed it because it has nothing to do with combat. Once again I will impart the same advice: Read and understand each Glyph before choosing the ones you'd like for your gear. The Glyphs are categorized as such:
  • Defensive: Yellow
  • Offensive: Red
  • Defense + Offense: Purple
2 Glyphs maximum per item. So pick a few potential ones that you like and note them down.
Now it's time to pick runes! You have a lot more control over these because you can mix-and-match them via gnogmentation.

Personally I always select Reinforcement Runes over the alternative "Augmentation Runes" when given the choice. I've found that there is always one stat or another which can be built up another notch. Others may have differing opinions, but this is what works for me.

The table below will list out the stats and reinforcement runes which can be found on each piece of gear. It's difficult to provide a cookie-cutter build because your choices depend greatly on the RNG combination of stats on your base gear. If you manage to invest a lot of points into Expertise just from your base gear, then you may not need to slot Expertise runes into your gear. Try and aim for your target values for each stat and select runes based on where you're currently sitting in relation to those goals.

The stats below are broken up into categories by color, so you can decide which stats fit best for your build:
  • Passive: Pink
  • Mana: Blue
  • Defense / Health: Yellow
  • Offense: Red
  • Defense + Offense: Purple
You can read about each stat and glyph in greater detail in the tables above as well. Don't spread yourself too thin among too many different stats and glyphs. Focus on a few core ones and build those up to a solid level. Don't forget about diminishing returns though! Finally, don't forget about other runes such as Corruption and Elder Bane.


Preparations are crafted items which can be added onto your equipment and will boost a specific stat. There are 6 preparations in total, each is tied to a specific equipment type. You can overwrite existing preparations with higher level versions if you ever need to upgrade them. You might as well use all of these preparations as they are cheap and easy to acquire.

1597536544781.pngPowder: Apply to Weapon to permanently increase Expertise by X points

Smithing - Available to all
1597536549419.pngExtract: Apply to Helm to permanently increase Blasting by X points

Smithing - Requires Preparation Specialization
1597536553895.pngEmbroidery: Apply to Armor to permanently increase Bonus Armor by X points

Tailoring - Available to all
1597536557760.pngStitching: Apply to Belt to permanently increase Poise by X points

Tailoring - Requires Preparation Specialization
1597536562403.pngResin: Apply to a pair of gloves to permanently increase Savagery by X points

Woodcrafting - Available to all
1597536567501.pngPitch: Apply to a pair of boots to permanently increase Onslaught by X points

Woodcrafting - Requires Preparation Specialization


The standard consumables for Raids and Elder raids include breakfasts, mana rolls, mana potions, fish-steaks and drams. I would suggest either a Mastery Dram or a Malice Dram. Both are damage oriented. All of these items are crafted from the cooking skill.

1597536698791.pngBreakfast: Increases Armor, Magic Resist, Intellect, Will, Vitality and Vigor by X for 1 hour.
1597536703304.pngFish Steak: Increases Vitality by X for 1 hour.
1597536708051.pngMana Roll: Boosts Intellect and Will by X for 1 hour.
1597536712271.pngMana Potion: Restores 10% of your missing mana instantly, and another 1,000 mana over 30 seconds. Mana over time restored is tripled when not in combat. Grants a mana shield that protects the player for X damage or for 30 seconds.
1597536721642.pngHealing Potion: Restores X health over 30 seconds
1597536730295.pngDram: There is a different dram for every Primary Stat.
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Playstyle Strategies

Solo Content
Shadow Priests
work very well against a single enemy at a time. Using Darkfrost as an opener will debuff their movement speed and allow you to quickly prime the target with multiple DOTs before Detonating using Shadow Orbs. You may not need to cast all 4 of your Curses to get the job done depending on the foe. Generally Shadow Bolt and Gloom is enough to take the enemy down if Detonated successfully. If you need an extra kick, that's where Contagion or Corrupting Plague fill in. Those cost a considerable amount of mana though, so I would not use them unless necessary. It's easy to overkill an enemy with Shadow and then quickly proceed to run out of mana. If the Detonation fails, you have a few options. You can attempt to kite backwards and wait for Shadow Orbs to refresh or you cast your backup DOTs or recast the primary DOTs if they expire. In this scenario you will likely still take a few hits.

Fighting against groups of enemies is a bit more difficult as shadow does not possess a low cooldown stun. If you are high enough to unlock Judgement and decide to use it then it can assist to some degree, but with the long cooldown you cannot rely on it for each confrontation. Shadow Blast and Contagion are your two options in this case, and you will want to spread your Curses with Shadow Weave.

During Elders is when you'll want to focus on maximizing your single target damage through your rotations. Because you want to prime the boss with as many DOTs as possible prior to Detonation, you'll need to order them in such a way that your first DOT hasn't expired by the time you cast your last. In order from longest to shortest duration you have:
  • Corrupting Plague
  • Gloom
  • Contagion
  • Shadow Bolt
The other problem is the cooldown. You want to be able to repeat this rotation every single time with the exception of Corrupting Plague which will end up being cast every other rotation due to the long cooldown. In order from longest to shortest cooldowns you have:
  • Corrupting Plague: 60 seconds
  • Contagion: 20 seconds
  • Shadow Bolt: 12 seconds
  • Gloom: 10 seconds
As you can see, the cooldowns and duration of the DOTs don't match up perfectly. Generally I use the following rotations against Elders.
  • Corrupting Plague
  • Contagion
  • Shadow Bolt
  • Gloom
  • Shadow Orbs
Depending on whether or not you had a successful detonation you will want to alter your next cycle. This diagram explains the cycle, but for a more in-depth look please view the Combos section above:
For Raids you'll want to combine the two previous sections worth of guidelines. Against group enemies focus on a single bounty or bounty with a large health pool and use your Detonation mechanic while casting Shadow Blast and Judgement as needed against the minions and for the Elders follow the diagram above.

Constructing Your Loadout

You did it! You made it to the end of the Guide. Congratulations on your progress so far, I truly hope it was insightful. Now it's time for your final steps towards building the Shadow Priest of your dreams!

Phase 5 - Putting it all Together

So what have you learned throughout this guide?
  • During Phase 1 you should have decided generally which type of Shadow Priest you are planning to create. Such as a survival oriented solo player, or a DPS glass cannon for example.
  • During Phase 2 you will have checked out the various abilities and trinkets and noted down which ones fit well with the style of play you intend on choosing.
  • During Phase 3 you received an in-depth look at the various talents and ultimates. By the end of that section you will have familiarized yourself with a few potential talent configurations to test out.
  • Finally, during Phase 4 you have learned about the different types of stats, glyphs and consumables and decided on which runes you plan to slot onto your gear.
Now is the time to put all of that together and actually create your loadout! Where do we start?

Begin by collecting the various abilities you need as those are pivotal towards engaging in most forms of combat. Slay Elders, craft some maces and farm some zingara, Elders and bounties until you've assembled each of the spells you desire. Make sure the abilities runes aren't more than 5 levels lower than your combat level.

Next, find some decent base gear of Epic quality of higher to equip. These can be collected through loot drops from enemies, quest rewards, master crafting or Raids. This gear doesn't have to be perfect, it's just a placeholder until you're able to acquire some high rarity gear with optimal stat combinations.

Once you've done that, slot some reinforcement runes into your gear. Depending on your level, this may range from free slots only to every single slot (maxed out). Choose the reinforcement runes that supplement the stats you noted down during Phase 4. The stats that support the type of build you're aiming to create.

Now it's time to upgrade your base gear. Don't worry, transferring runes from one item to another will not cost you extra sockets. With this gear on-hand. You have a few options for how you wish to acquire this gear. Either get some epic items from master crafting or through Raids and Elder bosses. If you plan to do the latter two options, stock up on consumables, you'll need them.

Look for base gear of Epic quality or higher that has stats and glyphs that work well with your build. Aim for 3 / 4, but if you manage to find that perfect 4 / 4 combination then snag it! Transfer your runes over, enhance the item to Legendary and add a preparation onto it.

Rinse and repeat this process for each type of equipment!

Endgame Builds

In progress

Advanced Mechanics


Grand Priest
Seems its gonna be awesome, nice. [Star Dusts are the MVP]


Mad Otter Games
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Seems its gonna be awesome, nice. [Star Dusts are the MVP]
Most of the information has now been added. The combos, endgame builds and advanced section are still a work in progress. Plan is to eventually to go around each server and get some tips and loadouts from the veteran shadow priests and add each to the endgame builds section so that newer shadow priests have a variety of different options to look at.

That is probably where all the advanced hybrid builds will live as well.

ETA: If images aren't showing up please refresh the page


BRA Member
Royal Guardian
Zazie, Shiny, Skip, Auntie
Nice guide! Two typos I found: In the section about stats, under the Intellect subsection appears the phrase "as a wizard...." (Yeah, I would copy-paste sections about stats, too!)

I can't find the second typo again, but the word "of" appeared instead of "or." (I believe it was somewhere in Post #5, but I'm having difficulty finding where I read it!) :ROFLMAO:
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