This round of “Voices from the Community” is brought to you by a shadow priest named Snakeneyes. He is in Undying Resolution on Elune (yes, that’s Lissanna’s guild), and he may be joining Restokin more frequently with shadow priest hints and tricks.
Understanding the Mastery of Shadow Priests is critical for determining which spells need to be cast and when. The priest mastery is called Shadow Orbs.
Although the Shadow Priest Mastery is on the complicated side, there are only 3 stages to think about. The current stage you are in will determine which actions you should follow up with.
No Shadow Orbs are revolving around yourself.
1-3 Shadow Orbs are revolving around yourself.
You have the Empowered Shadow buff on yourself.
It is important to note that stage 3 can occur at the same time as stage 1 and 2.
A typical combat encounter begins with the player at stage 1. The goal of the shadow priest is to cast Shadow Word: Pain (SW:P) and Mind Flay (MF) to gain at least 1 Shadow Orb. SW:P and MF have a chance when dealing damage to trigger 1 Shadow Orb.
With at least 1 shadow orb floating around, casting Mind Blast (MB) or Mind Spike (MS) will cause you to gain Empowered Shadow. A higher number of orbs will cause Mind Blast and Spike Spike to deal a higher amount of damage. Once Mind Blast or Mind Spike is cast with at least 1 orb, you will gain Empowered Shadow.
Congratulations, you have Empowered Shadow! This is a self buff that allows all of your periodic damaging spells to deal more damage. This includes Shadow Word: Pain (SW:P), Vampiric Touch (VT), Devouring Plague (DP), and Mind Flay (MF). The buff becomes stronger as your mastery stat increases. But does not get stronger with more Shadow Orbs.
The Mastery stat effects 2 major areas of our DPS. Mastery increases the damage boost that each individual orb gives to Mind Blast and to Mind Spike. Secondly, Mastery increases the damage boost that Empowered Shadow grants periodic damage spells (SW:P, VT, DP, MF). While Shadow Orbs increase the damage of MB and MS depending on how many orbs are stacked, a higher stack of Shadow Orbs does not increase the damage benefit Empowered Shadow gains. One Shadow Orb grants the same Empowered Power buff as three.
Keeping track of your mastery is essential to playing the Shadow Priest class well. If you do not have a Shadow orb, SW:P needs to be on the boss and MF needs to be spammed until the first Orb shows up. As soon as you see you have that first orb, cast MB to gain Empowered Shadows. Next, cast your remaining DOTs (VT and DP). Make sure to only refresh VT and DP if the Empowered Shadow buff is present.