PvE Shadow Priest DPS Guide

shadow priest dps guide featured image 2
  • Author: Passion
  • Date: June 14, 2024
  • Updated: June 14, 2024
  • Expansion: Cataclysm

Shadow Priests have always been a unique specialization. The emphasis on damage over time effects and a simple filler rotation combined with various support effects has been iterated on, modified, and overhauled, but still boils down to the same routine players have been enjoying since The Burning Crusade.

Shadow Priest DPS in Cataclysm

Shadow Priest as usual are one of the classes that have a rough start but scale incredibly well. This means that you might find yourself fairly low on the meters in Phase 1, but climb each and every Phase.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, Shadow Priest gameplay is almost unchanged from previous expansions. [Mind Spike] is neat but very rarely useful. This means your gameplay still consists of maintaining three DoTs, casting [Mind Blast], and filling time with [Mind Flay].

Shadow Priest Strengths & Weaknesses


  • High Single Target Damage
    If given the ability to plant your feet and just blast, you can fly up the meters.
  • High Cleave Damage
    The ability to DoT multiple targets allows you to deal significant damage to 2 or 3 targets.


  • Low Mobility
    As a Priest you don’t have any talents or abilities that help your mobility like other DPS do. This means that any time you have to move you will be doing it slowly, plodding along.
  • More Work For The Same Results
    Shadow is not a simple spec. There are a lot of buttons and you will be spinning a lot of plates at once. At best this will generally result with you being on-par with other DPS specs that have a lot less to think about in their rotations.
  • Micromanagement Heavy
    Keeping DoTs up on one target can be tough, but keeping DoTs up on 2-3 targets can be incredibly difficult. This is compounded by needing to cast [Mind Flay] to maintain [Shadow Word: Pain] and the fact that [Devouring Plague] can only be used on one target at a time.

Best Races for Shadow Priest in Cataclysm

Wow Horde Crest Horde


The new Horde race is a very good option for a Shadow Priest, with a steady 1% increase to your casting speed. They also give you a much-needed movement cooldown with Rocket Jump. Their non-combat racials are useful as well.


The Troll race is a great fit for a Shadow Priest for the same reason it’s great for any other caster or DPS: Berserking.

  • Berserking gives you a 10 second Haste buff every 3 minutes, adding a solid DPS cooldown that you can combine with [Archangel] and [Shadowfiend].
  • Regeneration gives you a little extra survivability.
  • Da Voodoo Shuffle is nice to have, although you can dispel most of these effects on yourself.

Wow Alliance Crest Alliance


Humans get a nice buff to their Spirit, which provides additional Hit Rating for us.

  • The Human Spirit increases your Spirit by 3%, offering a nice boost to your Hit Rating. As a percentage-based increase, this bonus gets better the more Spirit you have from gear and other sources.
  • Will to Survive is a free PvP trinket that will let you break out of stuns and other hard CC that you can’t dispel. It’s especially useful in PvP.
  • Diplomacy doesn’t help your healing, but it will make it easier for you to reach the reputation caps that are needed for your gear and enchantments.


Although the Expansive Mind racial has been nerfed a bit to increase only your mana pool and not your Intellect, it’s still an OK trait for a Shadow Priest. Gnomes also have a couple other tricks up their sleeve that won’t necessarily help your DPS but are still useful.

  • Expansive Mind gives you more mana to burn through and increases the amount that you’ll get back from Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend. Since it’s a percentage and not a flat increase, the bonus gets even better with your gear.
  • Escape Artist lets you break out of roots and slows, although you can dispel most of these effects on yourself.
  • Arcane Resistance gives you a modest little survivability bonus on any encounters that have Arcane damage.
  • Engineering Specialization is helpful if you want to level Engineering.


About the Author


I love MMOs of all shades, especially the nitty gritty numbers parts of them. You might recognize me from the Shadow Priest discord, otherwise I play a little bit of everything, especially games with support roles available.
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