PvE Shadow Priest Talents, Builds & Glyphs

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

With the arrival of Cataclysm, the talent system received a massive overhaul, changing from the 71 talent points system to a more compact 41 points system. As such, many of the old talents were either completely removed or changed, resulting in fewer possible build variations. One key aspect of the new system is that you must use at least 31 points in your main specialization to use the remaining 10 points in a secondary specialization.

Talent Builds

cataclysm shadow priest talents
Link to Talent Build

Shadow Priests have very limited options when it comes to customizing their talents. After we grab every relevant DPS increasing talent we will have a grand total of 2 points left, and there is a clear choice for them too. Most of the alternative talents in the Shadow tree are PvP focused, with tools such as [psychic horror] and [Silence] that just aren’t necessary in PvE content.

Even once we have our 31 points in the Shadow tree, the points we spend in Discipline are mostly set in stone as well. Grabbing [twin disciplines] and either [Imp PW:S] or [mental agility] in order to reach [Evangelism] and [Archangel]. The only real choice comes down to 2 points. These are commonly spent finishing off [mental agility] and/or [twin disciplines], or used to grab some utility in the Shadow tree, such as [psychic horror] and [Phantasm].


Prime Glyphs

  • Glyph of Shadow Word: Death
    This causes the cooldown of [shadow word death] to be reset if cast on a target below 25% Health without the spell killing them. This can only happen once every 6-seconds, so you can’t machine gun it, unfortunately. Now that [shadow word death] is more of an execute-type spell this is a big DPS increase for us.

Major Glyphs

  • Glyph of Spirit Tap
    Spirit Tap as a spell no longer exists, replaced by this Glyph. Whenever you land a killing blow with [shadow word death], you regenerate 1% mana every second for 12 seconds. This isn’t particularly vital, but it is nice to have when it does proc.
  • Glyph of Mass Dispel
    This reduces the cast time of [mass dispel] from 1.5 seconds to 0.5 seconds. Any time you would regularly cast either spell, this Glyph will make the process significantly less painful.
  • Glyph of Psychic Scream
    Instead of Fearing enemies, [psychic scream] now functions as a Horror-style effect, causing enemies to be locked in place instead of scattering wildly. This makes [psychic scream] a much more useful CC tool for things like Heroic Dungeons, removing the risk of mobs randomly aggroing everything. As a small downside, this Glyph increases the cooldown of [psychic scream] by 3 seconds.

Minor Glyphs

  • Glyph of Levitate
    With this rune, you won’t have to worry about carrying around a bunch of Light Feathers anymore — or jumping off a cliff only to realize you ran out of feathers and forgot to buy more.
  • Glyph of Shadowfiend
    Although hopefully your Shadowfiend won’t be dying in the first place, it’s nice to know that if it does, you’ll still get some mana out of it.


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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