Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Shadow Priests are Awesome!

I recently got my Priest to level 80 and have been running Shadow in order to get gear.  I have a love/hate relationship with the spec.  Let's start with the hate.

The Bad
I have a rough time figuring out what I should do on trash pulls.  Should I dot?  Should I use Mind Sear?  Should I dot and THEN Mind Sear?  Since many DPSers do so much damage, it's difficult for my dots to be effective.  But my general rule is this:
  • 1 or 2 mobs: dot all of them.
  • 3 mobs:  dot one, then Mind Sear on that mob.
  • 4 or more:  Mind Sear
Try to dot the mob that most of the DPS isn't targeting, so the dots will be effective.  But if it's one big mob and several little mobs, dot the big mob.

The Awesome
What makes Shadow Priests awesome?  Several things.  For one, they have great utility spells.
  • Psychic Horror:  3-second horror effect and a 10-second main and ranged weapon disarm.  The horror effect will stop the mob dead in its tracks, and can function as an interrupt if you really need one.  The ranged weapon disarm effect will help you deal with those hunters in Halls of Reflection.
  • Silence:  5-second silence effect/3-second interrupt effect on NPCs that can't be silenced.  45-second cooldown.  Hate those mages in Halls of Reflection?  Does that boss have an ability that can be interrupted?  This is the spell for you.
Wait a second, Shadow Priests have utilities against casters, melee, and hunters?  NO WAY!

Yes way, my friend, and it's totally awesome.  And if all else fails, there's still
  • PSYCHIC SCREAM!:  Makes 5 targets around you run in fear for 8 seconds.  30 second cooldown.  Seriously, how is this not awesome.  OH NO! the healer can't keep up because the tank was overzealous and pulled too much.  BAM!  Take that!  Problems solved.  I guess the just needed to call the psychic friends hotline. :sunglasses:  YEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!
No, seriously, this ability doesn't get enough play during those crucial moments where it would be useful.  Back to serious mode now.
  • Dispersion:  Reduces damage taken by 90% for 6 seconds but you can only move.  Also recovers 6% of your mana every second (36% total).  I love this ability.  I use it mostly to get my mana back while moving between pulls or if there is some big damage coming that I don't want to take.  My crowning achievement was tanking King Dred for six seconds after the tank died allowing us to bring him down.
  • Dispel Magic:  Removes to magic effects from either a friend or foe.  Awesome.
  • Power Word: Shield - Yes, Shadow Priests can cast Power Word: Shield without breaking Shadowform, because it's a Discipline spell.  Think about that next time your tank is about to take a large hit, or when healing becomes difficult.
  • Vampiric Embrace:  Heals the priest for 25% of all damage s/he deals and other party member are healed for 5% of the damage (with talents).  Because of this ability, I usually account for 10% of the healing in a dungeon, and about 40% of the overhealing.  It's not a game-changing amount of healing, but it will help your healer save some mana and can help slightly during particularly rough spots.
  • Replenishment:  Shadow Priests also offer replenishment to the party whenever they cast Mind Blast on a target affected by Vampiric Touch.
  • Misery:  +3% chance for all spells to hit the target.  Comes from the Shadow Priest's dots.
How can you not look at that list and say, "Wow, Shadow Priests are so cool.  Where can I get one?"  The sad truth is that most priests run a healing spec so they can get into random dungeons faster.  But if you have a friend who plays a Priest, ask them, "Have you ever tried Shadow?"