PvE Shadow Priest Rotation & Cooldowns

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  • Author: Passion
  • Date: June 14, 2024
  • Updated: June 14, 2024
  • Expansion: Cataclysm

Once your gear is accounted for and you’re all prepped and ready to go, it all comes down to how well you push your buttons! As a healer, you will have less of a “rotation” and more of a priority system designed to help you maximize your output while also sustaining your mana pool for the duration of the fight — and most important, keep your teammates alive! This guide will cover the best approach to healing as a Shadow Priest in just about any encounter.

Spell Priority

Your goal during a fight is to always have your three periodic spells, [Shadow Word: Pain], [Vampiric Touch], and [Devouring Plague] active, while keeping [Mind Blast] on cooldown and filling any downtime with [Mind Flay].

  1. Maintain [Shadow Word: Pain]
  2. Maintain [Vampiric Touch]
  3. Maintain [Devouring Plague]
  4. Cast [Mind Blast]
  5. Cast [Shadow Word: Death] if target is below 25% health
  6. Cast [Mind Flay]


Your opener as a Shadow Priest is a strange one. In a perfect world, you want to have 5 stacks of [Evangelism] as well as [Empowered Shadow] before applying your periodic spells. This can be done by casting [Mind Flay] twice, followed by a [Mind Blast] if you got [Shadow Orb], followed by applying your periodic spells. In that scenario your opener would look something like this

  1. [Mind Flay]
  2. [Mind Flay]
  3. [Mind Blast]
  4. [Vampiric Touch]
  5. [Shadow Word: Pain]
  6. [Devouring Plague]
  7. [Mind Flay]

Followed by your standard rotation listed above.



This functions effectively the same as it always has. Pick a target, summon your Shadowfriend, and let it do its thing. Each time the [shadowfiend] attacks, you gain 3% Mana. You can use this either offensively for shorter encounters, or as a reliable way to get Mana back on longer fights.


Almost entirely unchanged, [dispersion] allows you to take massively reduced damage while regenerating a lot of Mana for 6 seconds. Use this to cheese mechanics, restore Mana, or make your Healers’ lives easier.


[Archangel] is a bit of a fiddly spell. [Evangelism] boosts our periodic damage, meaning we always want that active, but [Archangel] consumes all stacks of it. Fortunately, [Archangel] is not mutually exclusive with [Evangelism], which means as soon as you consume those stacks, you are able to rebuild them. To best utilize this, once all your periodic spells are applied and [Mind Blast] is just about to come off cooldown, cast [Archangel], followed by [Mind Blast], followed by [Mind Flay] until you have 5 stacks of [Evangelism] once again.

[Archangel] also gives you a bunch of mana on use, which makes it a vital tool for maintaining full mana throughout a fight.

Divine Hymn

Divine Hymn is a big raid healing cooldown. This will be necessary for you to cast on some fights, and will likely be called out by your raid leader or planned ahead of time.

Hymn of Hope

Hymn of Hope is a powerful mana cooldown for your entire raid group, but it requires you to stand still and channel it (and not heal) for up to 8 seconds (reduced by your Haste). Look for the best time to use it so you don’t waste its cooldown or fall too far behind on healing during its channel time. It’s a good idea to call out when you use this so that your team can pair it with their other mana cooldowns, because it not only restores mana but increases maximum mana, so any abilities that restore a percentage of your total mana will restore more while it is active.

Ideally you should not be casting this as a Shadow Priest, but sometimes it can’t be helped.


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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