Shadow Priest Guide for 4.3 Normal Modes
This is a shadow priest guide for Dragon Soul normal modes. We won't be focusing on the rotation or theorycraft part of the class. We rather take a look at how the encounters look like as a whole, and what kind of things our fellow shadow priests should keep in mind when going to pull the boss for the first time. I (xenophics) and Kyy wish that this guide will help you with the upcoming raids starting on next Tuesday/Wednesday.
Overall shadow priest will be one of those stronger classes in Dragon Soul. With (or even without) a legendary in hand we provide nice AOE, dot, and single target damage. We also have a lot of passive mitigation through shields, spec, and shadow form so we won't be the ones draining healer's mana. The instance will have a lot of movement heavy bosses, so be prepared to get married with your Devouring Plague button.
Spec: the basic 10/0/31 cookie cutter spec works great on all the bosses. You can move the talent points around a bit more in discipline tree though. 2/3 Inner Sanctum (spell damage taken reduced by 4%) is a must have in Dragon Soul. Also, if you feel like you aren't going OOM and you are one of those who rather spend a global cooldown on a shield can move 2 talents from Mental Agility (Reduces mana cost of instant spells by 7%) to Improved Power Word: Shield (+10% more absorption to shield).
Glyphs: Glyph of Dispersion might come handy on some bosses, as a dead shadow priest does 0 DPS (at least after dots fall off :-D). This choice depends on your play style and your healers. If you have trouble staying alive, there are many things you can do to assist them. Kyy and me will be running with the DPS glyphs.
Tier 12 vs tier 13: We were blessed with very good set bonuses in t12, and now the blessing has become a curse. T 13 2 set bonus won't be affecting most of the fight, as casting mind flay or devouring plague will be better above 25%. The 4 bonus is also a lot weaker than the t 12 one, even when it fixes some of the problems with orb lottery. So don't rush it with normal mode tier at least, and focus on the off pieces in the beginning.
Introduction: Our class is very good on this boss because we are ranged and we have a lot of mitigation. Morchok will make you want to move that booty of yours so have your Devouring Plague in a good bind. There will also be a lot of spiky incoming damage, so shields might be useful.
Spec: 2/3 Inner Sanctum, if needed 2/2 Improved Power Word: Shield
Glyphs: Glyph of Inner Fire rocks at Morchok.
The fight and tips: As the fight requires lots of movement try to learn timing between those movement periods, so that you'll have a fresh Vampiric Touch ticking on the boss when you start running. Knowing when the movement comes also makes sure that you don’t waste your cool downs just to find out you'll be only spamming Devouring Plague for the next 5 seconds. During the black blood phase try to find a good spot where you are able to keep DPS’ing but don’t risk it too much. There is a high chance of dying if you don’t pay attention.
A big portion of the fight's damage comes from the stomp Morchok keeps doing. Since it’s physical, the damage will be greatly reduced by Inner Fire. Also, be prepared to shield yourself if needed.
Introduction: Shadow priest is again a good class for a couple of reasons. Even when running around without being able to DPS is frustrating, other parts of the fight make up for it. Vampiric Embrace is nice extra healing, and the class has a lot of cooldowns that restore mana. Again, spec and glyphs don't make much difference here and it's all up to you and your playstyle.
The fight and tips: Fairly”easy” fight DPS wise even while it might have a lots of components in it. Basically it all comes down to having dots running as close to 100% uptime as possible on boss and dealing with the incoming adds. Don’t forget to refresh dots even while Mind Searing down the small adds! We still want to kill the boss as well. Your Hymn of Hope might get called at some point, so be ready for it.
Introduction: Shadow priests do quite well here. Again, the fight contains a lot of movement and special burn phases, so you'll need to be aware of saving the cooldowns for the right time. Spec and glyphs don't really matter that much here; mitigation is always mitigation so you can spec more of it if healers start having troubles.
The fight and tips: Being aware of your position is a key part on this fight, so once again try to refresh VT so that it won’t get dropped during movement.
And remember as shadow priest is one of the more versatile specs in game; it can be worth to shield and dispel yourself if you get Disrupting Shadows.
You should be using all your major cooldowns when the boss gets hit by the orb as he takes extra damage during the AOE damage phase. Just keep in mind you might need to help your healers out with Divine Hymn in this phase also.
Introduction: Again, a lot of movement and great possibilities for a shadow priests to show why it's great to have them in the raid. Spec and glyphs you can choose for yourself, but we'll run with 2/3 Inner Sanctum for sure.
The fight and tips: The normal phases with the boss in the middle are pretty simple. Just follow your normal priorities on DPS’ing and pay attention on ice shards and frost tombs.
The frost phase (Frozen Tempest) can be challenging if you want to max your DPS. Try getting Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain running on Binding Crystals before Ice Waves spawns. Recast Vampiric Touch and other casted spells to keep your buffs (5xEvangelism, Empowered Shadow) up only if you are certain you won’t end up hit by Ice Wave. Or at least have your dispersion finger ready! Spam your instants while moving but keep an eye for your mana. Only spamming devouring plague can OOM you. If you have any doubts about being able to keep up with the Ice Wave, change to Inner Will to gain speed. When this phase is about to end, make sure that you have an orb ready (or enough time on Empowered Shadow) and a long duration on 5xEvangelism stacks to be able to burn the vulnerable boss.
Lightning phase doesn’t have much to DPS for. While running around keep in mind that there is also this thing called caster form, and you have healing spells in it. Throwing a Prayer of Mending or two together with some shields, Flash Heals and Renews won't hurt anybody. Try to save shadow orb(s) for next phase switch so you can get your damage going soon as Hagara becomes vulnerable again.
After each frost and lightning phase Hagara gets stunned and takes some extra damage. This is where you want to pop those trinkets and wings to burn her as much as you can.
Introduction: The new Patchwerk with a twist. Spec at least 2/3 Inner Sanctum and you could go for 2/2 Power Word Shield, but keep in mind that each global cooldown "wasted" on shielding is less DPS, and here you need to perform as good as possible. They will be taking logs!
The fight and tips: Nothing too special on this one. Just keep your dots running and line up cool downs so that you won’t need to use that fancy special ability given in this fight during them. You might get called to use both of your Hymns, so do it even if it hurts your soul and the meters.
Introduction: It’s all about the dots in this one. There will be spiky damage coming in form of the bombs (small and the big ones). Keep your shields and dot buttons ready and enjoy the Alliance Warship raid across the sky. Glyphs and spec you can again choose for yourself, but you shouldn't go eating too much on the Mental Agility if you have any fears about going oom.
The fight and tips: You should pretty much just dot everything you can and keep 5xEvangelism and Empowered Shadows up while you are at it. As most raids aren’t filled with just ranged, try to focus more on the drakes coming to sides, and let melee finish of the adds on deck. When any of the adds go low consider using a couple of Shadow Word: Deaths to get a good chunk of mana back. If you have done Ryolith in Firelands, Warmaster Blackhorn will be a bit similar mana usage wise without the need to Mind Sear. This time you just need to stand in the shadows and not dodge volcanoes.
The sapper adds need to be dealt with very fast after they spawn. If your raid DPS is slow at changing to adds like this you should dot them and DPS them normally. If your DPS is fast though you might want to consider going in with Mind Spike, Mind Blast, and Shadow Word: Death only.
When the boss comes down it's usually Heroism/Bloodlust time, so make sure you have all your cooldowns waiting for it.
Introduction: A dragon that does a barrel roll in the sky? You won't even notice it before it's too late and you are going down together with the adds. Shadow priest is fairly good here, and our mitigation truly helps in many situations. I'd advice in speccing all the damage mitigation we have, so 2/3 Inner Sanctum and 2/2 Power Word: Shield. You shouldn't be going OOM.
The fight and tips: Be fast with target switching. Sometime you'll need to DPS the biggest tentacles to release their grip on the unlucky raid members, so have your Mind Spike prepared. When the Amalgation dies the whole raid will take massive damage, so all the shadow priests that love their healers will naturally be dispersed.
When your raid is ready to tear off the armor plates and the Burning Tendon spawns you should have all your cooldowns ready.
So when Wednesday hits (or Tuesday for the Americans) be ready at Caverns of time with flasks and potions. Happy face meltings from Kyy and xenophics!