Season of Discovery (SoD) Shadow Priest Build Guide & Best Runes

Season of Discovery Shadow Priest Build Guide Featured Image
  • Author: Passion
  • Date: November 11, 2023
  • Updated: December 27, 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!

Build Summary

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. Realistically, we will likely want to play as a flex Healer. Bring Penance, throw some Renews, DPS whenever no Healing is needed.



Twisted Faith

Mind Flay and Mind Blast deal 50% increased damage to targets afflicted with your Shadow Word: Pain.

Even 50% increased damage isn’t enough to make this quite worth using, as we have very little that scales our Mind Flay and Mind Blast. This can still be worth using, but you are more likely to run out of mana before the end of a fight if you are using these spells on cooldown.

Void Plague

Afflicts the target with a disease that causes Shadow damage over 18 sec.

An additional damage-over-time spell to add to our arsenal. This out damages Shadow Word: Pain while costing less mana to cast.


Shadow Word: Death

A word of dark binding that inflicts Shadow damage to the target.  If the target is not killed by Shadow Word: Death, the caster takes damage equal to the damage inflicted upon the target.

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 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.

Mind Sear

Causes an explosion of shadow magic around the enemy target, causing Shadow damage every 1 sec for 5 sec to all enemies within 10 yards around the target.

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. This should be slotted in whenever you know there will be a lot of targets, and generally avoided for regular cleave.


Launches a volley of holy light at the target, causing Holy damage to an enemy, or healing to an ally, instantly and every 1 sec for 2 sec.

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.


Shared Pain

Your Shadow Word: Pain now also afflicts up to 2 additional nearby targets within 15 yards.

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.


Break off splinters of your soul to animate 3 miniature copies of yourself that attempt to attack your current target with a mace, sword, and axe, reducing the attack speed, attack power, and armor respectively of any target they hit.

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. This deals decent damage and provides invaluable utility for your group, but the homunculi themselves tend to be a bit stupid. They have a mind of their own, but it seems to be split between the three of them, so don’t expect consistent value.

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.

Power Word: Barrier

Summons a holy barrier to protect all party members at the target location for 10 sec, reducing all damage taken by 25% and preventing damage from delaying spellcasting.

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.

Talent Build

season of discovery shadow priest talents 1
Talent Calculator

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.

season of discovery not so shadow priest talents
Talent Calculator

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

Shadow Word: Pain

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.

Mind Blast

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.

Mind Flay

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.

Example Best-in-Slot

BiS lists can vary drastically from fight to fight, even more so as a Tank. There is rarely a one-size fits all solution for any given dungeon or raid, so you will need to find what suits your needs best.

Below is an example of an all-round Best-in-Slot list that you can tweak to fit your individual needs.




Noteworthy Items

Heavy Dynamite

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.

Race Choice


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.

Night Elf

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.


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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5 months ago

I’m not so sure that the Spell Power Xtreme will be achievable. The lowest level mobs that drop the schematic are level 35 elites in Scarlet Monastery. The other way to get it would be through Strong Iron Lockboxes, which are dropped by level 35 mobs. Given enough time, I’m sure some raid group would figure out how to farm level 35 mobs at level 25, but I don’t think it’s happening before phase 2.

5 months ago

So if the priest racials are changeable with glyph for shadow pve, troll will be bis right? Since its gonna be Devouring + berserking

5 months ago

Which race will be BiS next level bracket and onwards for Alliance? As it stands now you might as well go human for increased rep.

4 months ago

Shadow Affinity is absolutely not needed in Phase 1, i really never got aggro in BFD

5 months ago

lol no blackout

6 months ago

Didn’t know Priest’s had a Warlock spell in classic….

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