- Author: Passion
- Date: August 6, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
A variety of races can be Priests in WotLK: Human, Dwarf, Night Elf and Draenei for the Alliance, as well as Undead, Troll and Blood Elf for the Horde.
Some of those races have a small edge and will offer superior DPS than others, though the difference largely won’t be as massive as it will be for tanks or physical DPS specs.
Troll is by far the strongest race for Horde Shadow Priests. This is largely due to the Berserking racial, which increases our cast speed by 20% for 10 seconds. The other races we can pick simply don’t have any DPS-boosting racials, meaning Troll is our only recommended option.
There’s something about a Troll master of voodoo and dark magics that makes Troll Shadow Priests sound really cool. Fortunately for people who enjoy that concept, they’re the strongest race for Shadow Priests in WotLK, as they’re the only race that has a racial that increases your DPS.
- Berserking is an on-use spell that offers +20% increased casting speed for 10 seconds on a 3-minute cooldown. The fact that this is an on-use ability has big implications for burst phases / stacking your cooldowns and helps fill out our lack of DPS cooldowns.
- Beast Slaying increases your damage dealt to Beast-type enemies by 5%, which is very powerful. Unfortunately, there aren’t a whole lot of Beasts in Wrath of the Lich King, especially inside raids, making this racial not too impressive in practice.
- Da Voodoo Shuffle passively reduces the duration of movement slowing & immobilizing effects on you by 15%. Generally mostly a PvP racial, but it can occasionally come in handy in PvE as well.
- Regeneration increases health regeneration by 10% and allows you to regenerate health during combat at 10% of the your normal regeneration rate. This racial is mostly only relevant while leveling or questing, as it only boosts health regeneration effects, not healing effects, like our many Priest healing spells.
- Bow Specialization and Throwing Specialization increase your critical strike chance with bows & throwing weapons by 1%. Sadly, Priests cannot use bows or throwing weapons, so they don’t benefit from this racial at all.
You would think that Blood Elves and their addiction to corrupt magics would make for good Shadow Priests — sadly, you’d be mistaken. Their racials are primarily tailored towards PvP — where Undead are far better anyway — so they overall aren’t a great choice for PvE. They’re better than the Undead thanks to Arcane Torrent occasionally being useful, but only by a hair.
- Arcane Torrent is an on-use spell that silences all enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds, while also restoring 6% of your mana. The mana regen effect can occasionally come in handy, but the 2-minute cooldown is really prohibitive. It doesn’t help that most bosses are immune to silence anyway, and as a Priest you generally don’t want to be that close to regular mobs either.
- Magic Resistance reduces the chance to be hit by spells by 2%. This essentially combines all of the various Resistance-type racials out there, making it surprisingly flexible. Still, its benefit is mostly neglectable in PvE, while being alright in PvP.
- Arcane Affinity increases your initial and maximum Enchanting skill by 15. This doesn’t have a gameplay impact besides minor convenience.
Since the early days of vanilla WoW, Undead Shadow Priests have struck fear into any player that was unfortunate enough to cross paths with them. Unfortunately, monsters do not feel the same way. Simply put, Undead is an excellent race for PvP, but their racials do almost nothing for you in PvE, thus they’re unfortunately the worst out of all Horde races for Priests.
- Will of the Forsaken removes charm, fear, and sleep effects. This can help you avoid some raid mechanics, but it’s incredibly situational.
- Cannibalize allows you to feast on the corpses of your slain enemies to restore your health. This does not have big implications for PvE content but does come in handy whilst doing solo content.
- Shadow Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%. This is mostly a negligible racial when it comes to PvE.
- Underwater Breathing helps you survive for a very long time underwater. If only there was an underwater raid!
Human is the strongest option for Alliance Shadow Priests, mainly due to The Human Spirit which increases your Spirit by 3%. Every Man for Himself is also an excellent racial effect, particularly in PvP. This bonus is not massive, so you could play another race (and Draenei are a particularly good & good-looking choice!) without seeing a drastic DPS loss.
Humans are the only race with a trait that directly improves your damage (The Human Spirit) and are thus the best Alliance race for Shadow Priests by default. They’re also incredibly cool — we love those male Human Shadow Priest casting animations!
- The Human Spirit increases your spirit by 3%. Spirit was considered a stat for healers in previous expansions, with its main purpose being to improve your mana regeneration. WotLK changes that, as most DPS casters get some sort of passive effect that converts their spirit into bonus damage — for us Shadowpriests, this will be Twisted Faith. A 3% bonus isn’t very large, but it’s certainly stronger than what most other races have.
- Every Man for Himself is a crowd-control removal ability just like the Undead race, but this one has universal applicability. It is useful in PvE scenarios but has much more use in a PvP encounter, where Humans are typically considered the strongest race in the game.
- Perception passively increases your stealth detection level by a small amount. Since there aren’t a lot of stealthed mobs in PvE, this benefit is largely not too useful.
- Diplomacy increases the rate at which you gain reputation by 10%, a major boost for your reputation grind. Whilst a beneficial quality of life racial, it doesn’t impact actual gameplay.
- Sword Specialization & Mace Specialization increase your expertise by 3 when using swords or maces. As a Shadow Priest, you do not benefit from expertise at all, as you do not attack with melee weapons.
Female Draenei are objectively the cutest race / gender combination, but unfortunately cuteness does not boost your damage, so they aren’t as strong as Humans, due to a lack of a DPS-boosting racial effect. Still, most raids will require at least 4 Draenei for their party-wide Heroic Presence aura, and as the DPS boost that Humans get is fairly minor, Shadow Priests are a great choice for 1 of your raid’s 4 Draenei. So if you enjoy the aesthetics of the race, by all means, roll a space goat!
- Heroic Presence increases the chance to hit with spells and physical attacks by 1% for you and all party members within 30 yards. Every single DPS group will want to have at least 1 Draenei for this powerful buff, and as mentioned above, Shadow Priests make a great candidate for Draenei.
- Gift of the Naaru places a heal-over-time effect on a single target that lasts 15 seconds, with a 3-minute cooldown. This healing effect is pretty weak, and as a Priest you have a host of other, more powerful healing effects anyway — thus this racial generally won’t be very useful.
- Shadow Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%. This is mostly a neglectable racial when it comes to PvE.
- Gemcutting increases your initial and maximum Jewelcrafting skill by 5. This doesn’t have a gameplay impact besides minor convenience.
Dwarves find themselves in the extremely unfortunate position of being completely outclassed by Humans. They don’t have a DPS-boosting racial for PvE, and though they are decent in PvP thanks to their Stoneform, Humans are far better in that aspect of the game. If you enjoy the Dwarf aesthetic, you could still play the race and not take a large hit in your PvE DPS, but we generally recommend against it.
- Stoneform is an on-use spell that gives you +10% increased armor for 8 seconds and dispels all poison, disease and bleed effects on you, on a 2-minute cooldown. This can be handy in PvP, and the dispel effect can even be situationally useful in PvE, but in general this is the only somewhat useful racial you get as a Dwarf, and the fact that it isn’t all that good speaks for itself.
- Frost Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Frost spells by 2%. This is mostly a neglectable racial when it comes to PvE.
- Find Treasure is a very cool racial from a roleplay point of view, allowing you to see treasure on the minimap. This is very fun to use while questing and leveling up, but it unfortunately has 0 relevance in raids.
- Mace Specialization increases your expertise by 5 when using maces. This racial is useless for a Priest, as you do not use melee attacks.
- Gun Specialization increases your critical strike chance with guns by 1%. This racial effect is useless for a Priest, as we cannot use guns.
Night Elf Shadow Priests are in an unfortunate position in Wrath of the Lich King, as all of their racials are almost entirely useless when raiding. Shadowmeld can be situationally useful in PvP, but that’s about it. We strongly recommend against Night Elf, unless you really enjoy the aesthetic.
- Quickness reduces the chance you’ll be hit by melee and ranged attacks by 2%. This racial is the most useful racial you get as a Night Elf Priest, which says a lot, seeing how it’s almost useless.
- Nature Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Nature spells by 2%. This is mostly a neglectable racial when it comes to PvE.
- Shadowmeld can be used in order to escape combat and become stealthed once every 2 minutes. It will also cause you to drop all threat on every target you’re currently engaged in combat with, but all threat will be restored the moment you leave stealth — which will happen the moment you move or take any action. This can occasionally be useful.
- Elusiveness reduces the chance to be detected if you are stealthed. The only way to go stealth as a Priest is through Shadowmeld, making this racial irrelevant in PvE content.
- Wisp Spirit increases your movement speed by 75% while dead. You generally don’t want to be dead.