- Author: Passion
- Date: November 11, 2023
- Updated: December 2, 2023
- Expansion: WoW Classic
While other classes are shaping up to be power houses in Phase 1 of Season of Discovery, Shadow Priest stands out as nothing special. Level 25 just isn’t the best time to use Shadow spells. Fortunately for us, while we may not seem quite as impressive as other Classes and Builds, we have a solid amount of flex available in our build. Additionally, Level 25 was never going to be where a Shadow Priest shines, that is reserved for level 40 and beyond, once we have our hands on Shadowform!
Shadow Priest in Phase 1 of Season of Discovery does nothing unique or special. We have most of the same abilities we would have at max level in Classic, but we don’t have the mana to use them reliably. We can get Shadow Weaving, but without 5 Warlocks blasting Shadow Bolts into a boss, the value is minimal.
We can and want to blanket targets with Shadow Word: Pain, but prepare to drink afterwards. Alliance Priests will have a significantly better time managing their mana, as they have access to Paladins. Specifically, Seal of Martyrdom. This grants mana to the entire party equal to 2% of the Paladins damage taken, and with a Paladin tank should easily keep you living in luxury.
Realistically, we will likely want to play as a flex Healer. Bring Penance, throw some Renews, DPS whenever no Healing is needed.
It is hard to say exactly how valuable Mind Blast and Mind Flay will be to us in the upcoming Blackfathom Deeps raid. These spells are our bread and butter at higher levels, but before Shadowform locks us into Shadow spells, we may find that something like spamming Smite beats out Mind Flay.
An additional damage-over-time spell to add to our arsenal. If 116 Shadow damage remains accurate, that is slightly worse than the 132 Shadow damage over 18 seconds provided by Shadow Word: Pain. On the other hand, without any Spell Power this ends up being roughly on par with Mind Blasts 112-120 damage, and quickly surpassing it with any Spell Power.
This also has the benefit of being an instant cast, no cooldown damaging spell. For our purposes, that means we can use it for pseudo-AoE, blanketing entire groups of enemies with Shadow Word: Pain and Void Plague.
A favorite of Shadow Priests in later expansions, Shadow Word: Death is always a little more difficult to pick than you’d assume at first glance. The damage is outright better than Mind Blast, and with a 12 second cooldown this is definitely a powerful single-target DPS tool. Unfortunately, the backlash damage is hard to overcome if you aren’t using this purely for killing blows. A critical hit from this could easily knock off half your health pool or more at level 25.
Unlucky us, we get the original version of Mind Sear. This means it will damage every target except the one you are channeling on. This means you will need at least 3 targets to gain any value from this as an AoE spell, but likely 4 targets for it to surpass your single target spells. Important to note is that Mind Sear is expensive to cast, costing over 150 mana to cast at level 25.
This should be slotted in whenever you know there will be a lot of targets, and generally avoided for regular cleave.
While this may not sound like a great Shadow Priest choice, we don’t have Shadowform or even Darkness yet. This means there is little reason to prioritize Shadow damage over Holy damage quite yet. Penance gives us a decent chunk of damage, reaching almost as much as Shadow Word: Death without the risk. This also gives us a bit of extra flex if the group happens to need extra healing every now and then.
This is a weird Rune for this level. Simply making Shadow Word: Pain hit 3 targets per cast is solid, saving us 3 seconds worth of casting. Unfortunately, there just isn’t that much value gained in 3 seconds of AoE casting for us. Most of our AoE rotation will likely just be throwing Shadow Word: Pain on every target anyway. Of course, this is still a damage boost on any AoE fight, and saves us quite a lot of mana, it is just a bit underwhelming.
The first and so far only brand new Spell for Priests in Season of Discovery! This is a bit of an oddball. This allows us to summon 3 miniatures of ourselves every 2 minutes, reducing the damage output of enemies they hit in melee. We don’t quite know how the damage on this spell looks. This may end up being an absolutely fantastic burst cooldown, or purely a defensive tool. Only time will tell for now.
Interestingly, Homunculus enemies in Karazhan, and the “Vulgar Homunculus” Hearthstone card are Imps, but historically “homunculus” refers to a small human being created with alchemy. I recommend you dive straight down the homunculus rabbit hole for some odd reading.
Another spell to hit with “But that isn’t Shadow”. Power Word: Barrier is a very solid defensive spell that may or may not be vital for some boss fights. This isn’t something I would just run with as my default, instead swapping it in when I know it will be valuable.
This is my preferred option for Shadow in Phase 1. This gives us 10% Hit from Shadow Focus, a more powerful Shadow Word: Pain, Mind Flay, and Shadow Weaving. While one point in Shadow Weaving is an unfortunate situation, that is still the potential for 15% bonus Shadow damage, which is great for us.
One big downside to Shadow Weaving is that there aren’t that many other classes that can utilize that damage effectively. Warlocks will likely focus more on Fire damage at level 25 instead of Shadow, and no one else cares about Shadow damage.
Our other option is to go full Discipline and pretend we’re still a Shadow Priest. Wand Specialization may be more valuable than anyone wants it to be, unless we can find a way to keep our mana sustained. Meditation could also be the difference between participating in an entire fight or going AFK halfway through because the blue bar has left the building.
Finally, Inner Focus can be combined with Devouring Plague if you are Undead to negate the immense mana cost, with Shadow Word: Death for a big Critical Chance boost, or with Mind Sear to be able to cast more than 3 in a fight.
Key Spells and Abilities
Likely your primary source of damage, Shadow Word: Pain should be running at all times on every enemy that is not meant to be CCed. This scales effortlessly into AoE by simply throwing it on more targets.
This is a fantastic nuke, but by level 25 it will cost over 100 mana per cast. That ends up close to 800 mana per minute of fighting, and is simply not sustainable at this point. Use this carefully, but don’t ignore it entirely.
This will become most of your rotation. Having no cooldown and a relatively cheap mana cost means we can cast this without worrying too much.
Crafted through Engineering (Schematic: Spellpower Goggles Xtreme), this item increases both your damage and healing done, although it doesn’t have any other stats on it. It’s BoE but requires Engineering to equip. You won’t find a lot of other options for the head slot, so leveling up Engineering to craft these is worth doing. Engineering will also give you access to several other useful gadgets.
Dynamite is an iconic tool for Classic WoW, and Season of Discovery is no different. Make sure you stock up, at this level the damage is higher than any of your spells.
This will likely be the best wand available at level 25. You can obtain it as a reward for the quest Final Passage in Thousand Needles. Unfortunately, Final Passage will require some effort and probably some help, as it is a long, higher level chain.
Trolls are generally a solid choice for Shadow, especially for PvP players. Shadowguard is a fantastic spell that can proc Blackout. You can even be a bit extra and combine Shadow Word: Death with Berserking to guarantee the full 30% boost.
As we don’t really have any big Shadow damage boosts by level 25, Starshards could easily outclass Mind Flay in almost every way. Dealing 81 damage over 3 seconds compared to Mind Flays 75 damage, as well as scaling slightly better with Spell Power. The main advantage Mind Flay has is that it slows and is effected by Shadow Focus for increased chance to hit.
The classic Devouring Plague is a solid spell, but costs 215 mana by level 25. This combined with not spectacular damage and a 3 minute cooldown makes it one of the weaker racials for Phase 1. Will of the Forsaken is also good, but not fantastic (for PvE), as Tremor Totem is available by level 25.
Once the clear winner for Classic Priest choice, Season of Discovery makes one massive change that effectively invalidates Fear Wards value. The Paladin Rune “Inspiration Exemplar” has the effect “Your inspiring presence periodically dispels Fear and Sleep effects on nearby party members”. This effectively turns Paladins into mobile Tremor Totems at all times. Suddenly Dwarfs value as Alliances only reliable anti-fear fades into the wind. As usual, Stoneform remains very situational, falling into the “Just OK” territory.