Shadow Priest Rotation & Macros

  • World of Warcraft: Dragonflight


    Blizzard, Activision

    Blizzard, Activision


    Original Release Date:

The main playstyle of the Shadow Priests is focused on building and spending Insanity. The damage output is consistent for Single Target and has flexibility with certain talents to also have more multi-target damage. While Shadow Priests have a lot of spells available to them, there are a few basic rules to making sure that you can maintain good damage while not going insane in real life.

Related: Shadow Priest Talent Builds

How To Play Shadow Priest In Dragonflight

At the most basic level of understanding there are 4 fundamental things to keep in mind when DPSing.

  1. Be in Shadowform
  2. Ensure that your Damage over Time spells (DoTs) are active on all targets (Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain)
  3. Generate Insanity with Mind Blast, Void Bolt, Mind Spike, Mind Flay
  4. Spend Insanity with Devouring Plague for Single-Target or Mind Sear for more than 3 targets.

Following these guidelines will get you most of the way there, but there are a lot of other factors, such as using other cooldowns (Mindbender, Dark Ascension or Void Eruption, Power Infusion, Mindgames, and Void Torrent) at the right time that will push your damage even further.

Shadow Priest Rotation and Skill Priority

Single Target Opening Rotation

When every skill is available, for instance at the beginning of a boss fight, follow the rotation listed below:

  1. Shadow Crash ¹
  2. Mindbender
  3. Shadow Word: Death (only with the talent Inescapable Torment)
  4. Mind Blast (only with the talent Inescapable Torment)
  5. Dark Ascension
  6. Power Infusion (along with any on-use Trinket)
  7. Devouring Plague
  8. Mind Blast
  9. Mindgames
  10. Void Torrent if talented
  11. Devouring Plague
  12. Mind Blast
  13. Follow Skill Priority Below

¹ Note that you should instead cast Vampiric Touch if Shadow Crash is going to miss its intended target.

Full Single Target Priority

For the duration remainder the fight, there is no set rotation and you should follow the skill priority below:

  1. Ensure both (Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch are on the target, can also use Shadow Crash to apply Vampiric Touch)
  2. Mindbender when available
  3. Dark Ascension or Void Eruption with Power Infusion and Trinkets
  4. Shadow Word: Death (if Mindbender is active and Inescapable Torment talented)
  5. Mind Blast (if Mindbender is active and Inescapable Torment talented)
  6. Devouring Plague (when Mind Devourer procs or when reaching 100 insanity)
  7. Void Bolt (if Void Eruption talented)
  8. Shadow Word: Death (if target below 20% HP)
  9. Mind Blast
  10. Mindgames (best used right after a Dark Ascension cast)
  11. Shadow Crash
  12. Mind Spike (when Surge of Darkness procs)
  13. Void Torrent (if talented)
  14. Mind Flay: Insanity (if talented)
  15. Mind Flay

If the situation calls for movement use the following spells in this order: Shadow Crash, Shadow Word: Death, Divine Star, Shadow Word: Pain. You can still use Devouring Plague with Mind Devourer procs and Mind Spike with Surge of Darkness procs.

Shadow Priest AoE Priority

For fights with 2 targets, the skill priority is the same as the Single Target Priority except maintain Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch on both targets. Add Halo or Divine Star before Mind Flay: Insanity in the priority list.

For fights with 3 or more targets, the emphasis is on getting as many Mind Sear uses as possible, it should be focused above everything else when you have more than 75 insanity or when you have a Mind Devourer proc. The skill priority still remains the same except using Shadow Crash to apply Vampiric Touch is now necessary and should be used on cooldown.

When fighting 5 or more targets don’t use Shadow Word: Death anymore, and when there are 6 or more targets don’t use Mindgames anymore.

Helpful Tips

When refreshing the DoT on Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch when they have a duration of less than 30% time remaining will increase the duration of the next DoT by that amount. If you refresh them before this time period it will only refresh the duration and not include that extra time. For example, Shadow Word: Pain has a duration of 16 seconds, if refreshed at the 30% mark (4.8 seconds remaining) the duration of the next one will be 20.8 seconds. If refreshed at 31% the duration of the next one will only be 16 seconds. If talented into Misery both DoTs have a 30% window of 6.3 seconds.

When refreshing Devouring Plague, the damage of the previous DoT is included in the next one, and therefore if capped on Insanity you shouldn’t wait until the DoT falls off.

In Mythic+ use Fade and apply Vampiric Touch to as many targets as you can if the targets are spread out when the tank is gathering them up.

For extra survivability use Power Word: Shield and Vampiric Embrace when needed and use Desperate Prayer if caught by a few too many hits or Dispersion for the heaviest of damage.

Shadow Priest Macros

Macros can come in handy to improve the efficiency of your rotation or for specific situations. Creating a Macro is easy: Type “/m” or “/macro” in the chat box to access the Macro Menu, click New, enter a Name, and select an Icon. Don’t forget to click Save when making changes.

Cooldowns All-In-One

With the class talent Twins of the Sun Priestess ensure that you are also giving another player the buff as well. This macro can be changed to target a specific player or your focus target if you prefer with “@focus” instead. It will also cast it on yourself if no target exists. This also combines it with Dark Ascension or Void Eruption and the top trinket (for bottom trinket: “/use 14”).

  • #showtooltip
  • /use 13
  • /cast [@TARGETOFYOURCHOICE,help,nodead][] Power Infusion
  • /cast [@player] Power Infusion
  • /cast [known:Void Eruption] Void Eruption; [known:Dark Ascension] Dark Ascension

Cancel Dispersion

This macro casts Dispersion on the first button press then cancels it on the second. You can also add any other “/cast ability” afterward to immediately get back into casting without downtime.

  • #showtooltip
  • /cast Dispersion
  • /cancelaura Dispersion

Angelic Feather Under Yourself

This macro will cast Angelic Feather directly underneath you to guarantee yourself the movement speed buff.

  • #showtooltip Angelic Feather
  • /cast [@player] Angelic Feather

Additionally, if you have the talent Body and Soul you can alternate usage of this with Power Word: Shield for more speed buffs

  • #showtooltip
  • /castsequence [@player] reset=6 Power Word: Shield, Angelic Feather, Angelic Feather, Angelic Feather

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