PvE Shadow Priest Stat Priority

pve shadow priest stat priority (wotlk 3.3.5a)

Stats for a Shadow Priest are relatively simple, mostly aiming for the highest combination of your preferred stats. You generally will want the same gear as other DPS caster classes, focusing on spell power, haste rating and cri rating. You are also able to effectively utilize spirit, meaning there is a lot of less contested gear available for you. Like all classes, you want to prioritize reaching your hit cap.

  1. Hit rating
    • Cap: 289 rating, or 263 if there’s a Draenei in your party
  2. Spell power
  3. Haste rating
    • Cap: 1640 rating (50% cast speed increase, 1 second GCD)
  4. Crit rating
  5. Spirit
  6. Intellect

Stat Explanation

Hit Rating is the most important stat that you can acquire as a Shadow Priest. If your spells don’t hit, they don’t deal any damage! It takes 26.23 hit rating to get a 1% increased chance to hit with spells. You need 17% bonus hit chance (446 Hit Rating) against level 83 Raid bosses to ensure that your spells do not miss.

As a Shadow Priest, you have 2 passive hit chance bonuses, Misery & Shadow Focus. Both give a bonus of 3% hit chance each, and the effects stack. As a result, you only need 11% bonus hit chance (289 Hit Rating) to be collected from gear/gems. If you have a Draenei in your group, you get a further 1% hit chance buff, meaning you only need 10% bonus hit chance, or 263 hit rating.

This table shows much much hit rating you need depending on your various hit buffs.

Hit Buffs
Hit Rating Required
No hit chance buffs / baseline

Spell Power is your primary stat, available on almost all of your gear. Generally you won’t have to aim for this and it will come naturally, but this can also be used as a deciding factor for choosing gear, as higher item level equipment will almost always have higher Spell Power.

Spell Power does not work in a perfectly obvious way, which can be confusing for newer players. Generally the way Spell Power works is the longer it takes for a Spell to deal damage, the more effect it gets from your Spell Power. For example, Mind Blast takes 1.5 seconds to cast, because of this it receives around 43% of your Spell Power as bonus damage. On the other hand, Shadow Word: Pain takes 18 seconds to deal all of its damage, because of this it receives a total of almost 110% of your Spell Power in damage, but this is split across each individual tick of damage. This is called the “Spell Power Coefficient” of a spell and while this isn’t something you generally need to know off hand, it is valuable to know why different spells get different bonuses.

Haste increases the speed we cast spells, how quickly our Global Cooldown recovers (to a minimum of 1 second) as well as how often Vampiric Touch, Devouring Plague, Mind Flay and Mind Sear hit. This effects everything we do in some way, except Shadow Word: Pain (which it still reduces the Global Cooldown of) and because of this it is incredibly valuable for us.

For every 32.79 Haste Rating you gain 1% Haste. At 50% Haste you will have reached the Global Cooldown cap of 1 second, meaning that further haste will be less effective, not effecting your Global Cooldown further. This is generally not something you will ever reach from gear alone, but with temporary effects such as Bloodlust/Heroism and Potion of Speed you can easily reach that cap. At these points it can be worth considering if you might have too much Haste, or you might just want to swap your Potion of Speed for a Potion of Wild Magic.

Crit rating is a great stat for any damage dealer, increasing your chances of landing a critical strike. You gain a 1% increased chance to crit for every 45.91 crit rating you have.

In Wrath of the Lich King, Shadowform allows our damage-over-time spells to be critical strikes, which finally makes crit rating a good stat for us, as it no longer benefits just Mind Blast, Mind Flay and Shadow Word: Death.

That being said, you will not want to prioritize crit rating over haste rating, as the latter is usually flat out better. In Wrath of the Lich King most gear will have Intellect, Stamina, Spell Power and 2 Secondary Stats chosen from Critical Rating, Haste Rating, Hit Rating, Spirit and Mana Per 5 Seconds. Our preferred gear will almost always have Haste Rating and Critical Rating so a lot of this stat just comes naturally.

Spirit by itself is not very valuable to anyone, but Shadow Priests have multiple effects that interact with Spirit and make it a powerful stat. Twisted Faith increases your Spell Power by 20% of your Spirit, making 5 points of Spirit equivalent to 1 Spell Power. Spirit Tap and Improved Spirit Tap increase your Spirit by 100% and 10% respectively, meaning while these buffs are active each point of Spirit on gear is worth more. Glyph of Shadow also makes your direct-damage criticals increase your Spell Power by 30% of your Spirit for 10 seconds, making 2 points of Spirit equivalent to 1 Spell Power when combined with Twisted Faith.

All these buffs together make Spirit a very high value stat, though because of the high reliance on proc effects, other stats are generally preferable. As an added bonus, Spirit also increases your mana regeneration, helping you to sustain over longer fights.

Intellect is never something we aim for, but it is almost always on our gear. It increases your maximum mana and also very slightly increases your spell crit chance, needing over 160 Intellect for 1% Critical Chance.


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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1 year ago

It says “which finally makes crit rating a good stat for us, as it no longer benefits just mind blast, mind flay, and shadow word death,” but it never effected mind flay either until now. That should be reworded

5 months ago

1640 haste as shadow priest?? Cant hit haste cap?? I wonder if u even played shadow priest with bis gear… Haste cap for shadow priest is 1246 and that is not hard to hit only with gear. U have to keep in mind that u have 5% spell haste buff from shaman totem, and also 3% from bala druid. So 1246 + 5% + 3% = 1 sec cast time on mind VT and MB. So u can gem 23 sp and 12+10 sp and crit gems. This about engine for shadow priest as bis prof also wrong… Best is tailor for all 3 spece of priest, if u are into pvp pick second engine if u only pve go for ench or jwc or any u feel like its good for u, that wont make much difference at all. I didnt even read whole guide, but this is where ppl are wrong and then ask why cant have over 15-16 k dps on single target.

Reply to  Reksona
3 months ago

your commentary was better than the whole guide. thank you!

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