Shadow Priest 4.0 Guide – Rotation

This blog post is to supplement my shadowpriest rotation video:

Here is how I begin my rotation:

  1. Vampiric Touch, Devouring Plague and Shadow Word: Pain to get dots rolling before I build up buffs
  2. Cast Shadowfiend to get it on cooldown, you will be reducing the CD timer through Mind Flay crits with Sin and Punishment talent
  3. MF twice to build up Dark Evangelism
  4. By now you might get a Shadow Orb, but most likely you won’t and VT will be ending so recast VT
  5. MF until you get an orb, then Mind Blast to get Empowered Shadow
  6. Once your dots are refreshed so that they have around 10 seconds duration, then use Dark Archangel and rebuild Dark Evangelism stacks

After that it is just a case of maintaining DoTs and casting MB on cooldown. Once your SF and DA cooldowns are up then use those. Occasionally cast Shadow Word: Death to get the 10% mana back from Masochism talent, if the situation permits (you are not going to kill yourself from it). If the target is sub 25% you will definitely want to try and include the double SW:D as part of your rotation from that point onwards.

DoT Clipping

Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plague as of Cataclysm operate in the same way Shadow Word: Pain does when it gets refreshed. Recasting VT or DP before the duration has expired will cause it to behave as if it was one continuous dot and you won’t lose damage ticks. Conversely you will lose ticks if you let the dot drop off, so therefore you should always aim to refresh before it expires, and try to refresh just before it expires so you dont just end doing say, VT MF VT (while original VT has 10 seconds left), when you could fit in more MF inbetween.


There’s not a lot that has to be said about multi dotting. It operates on the same way as your normal rotation only that you will be recasting dots on various mods so much you probably won’t be using MF much! It’s beneficial to have the boss or another high priority target on your focus so you can keep track of it. Perhaps in the future I could delve into more but there’s not much to say about it.

When to use Mind Spike

Mind Spike is tricky in a raiding situation. I’ve found the spell pretty useful on the adds in the Al’akir fight since it allows me full control of when I want the add to die, which is crucial to the fight. Even on trash mobs in most cases you want to use your dots more, so it seems to me Mind Spike is probably not that useful outside of soloing and 5 man dungeons. I haven’t really thought on this matter too much though.

When to use Mind Sear

Mind Sear, while repeatedly nerfed to the brink of uselessness, is still pretty valuable for low HP trash packs. Fights like Magmaw and Cho’gall for instance, benefit more from Mind Sear than VT/SW:P multidotting since you can still concentrate on the boss while still helping out with AoE. The recent change to allow you to target friendly players with it has really improved its use despite the constant damage reductions.

Mana Management

The Elitist Jerks thread goes into detail on this, but in a nutshell:

Casting MB while VT is up provides replenishment, a shadow of its WotLK version (it’s not very good).
Shadowfiend and Dark Archangel provide you with reasonable mana return.
SW:D with Masochism provides mana return if you are running reasonably low.
Dispersion restores a significant amount of mana but you can’t do damage during the period. In most cases you want to save this CD for survival purposes more than mana. However you can use this while stunned, so you may want to use it during this period since you wont be able to do anything else anyway.