Introduction

In the last few weeks prior to the expansion launched Shadow Priest received a rework to our Mastery ability, Shadow Weaving. This change was quite significant and affected how much we prioritize stacking DoTs on a primary target. These calculations needed to be set manually due to bad Spell Data on Blizzard's end not providing us with the proper information to sim things correctly. Unfortunately, a bug in our implementation resulted in us incorrectly calculating the value for Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death relative to this Mastery bonus.

Note: This page will directly conflict with some guides on the various websites until we have time to update them. Use this as your resource for now.

IcyVeins Guide is fully updated here: https://www.icy-veins.com/wow/shadow-priest-pve-dps-guide

TLDR and FAQ

  • What is our new stat priority? - Intellect > Haste = Mastery > Critical Strike > Versatility
  • What is our best Legendary? - Talbadar's Stratagem for Raid and Eternal Call to the Void* for Dungeons
  • Does this mean EcttV is bad for raids? - Not at all, in fact the one you have crafted is likely still better than a lower rank Talbadar's. Talbadar's will just provide you with more consistent damage as long as you are still casting a reasonable amount of Mind Blasts.
  • Is Psychic Link worth using now? - It depends. For most raid fights probably not, although it's certainly a good choice for Huntsman Altimor. The lack of any single target increase will make it a niche choice for most raid encounters.
  • What stats should we put on my legendary items? - Likely Haste/Mastery over Haste/Critical Strike. Between the two things are certainly very close, but Mastery typically wins more often than not over Critical Strike.
  • Does this affect the value of Mind Devourer conduit in the rankings? - For most content it's still not worthwhile. Conduit sims are still in progress.

*Note that EcttV value in M+ is very hard to gauge. Twins of the Sun Priestess is still a very competitive choice for Mythic+ if you can use it effectively.

Stat Priority

Before this change we were mostly advocating for Haste > Crit = Mastery > Vers. After doing an initial set of stat sims we can see this priority has shifted more value into Mastery than before, leading to a change in priority. This change is quite subtle but depending on the content you are doing will change what you're aiming for. Specifically, we're seeing Mastery's value start to overtake Critical Strike and even become equal to Haste is some scenarios. This part is quite tricky to pin down due to Covenant choice affecting how much we care about certain interactions. For example, as a Necrolord we see more value from haste due to the interaction with Unholy Nova, leading to a priority that is basically equal to what we have now. On the other hand, with Night Fae increasing your Voidform uptime and therefore the amount of Mind Blast casts you get out you see a clear trend with the stat priority being Haste = Mastery > Crit > Vers even in Composite sims.

At the end of the day, stats should be handled very fluid and not something you just follow a priority list for to determine upgrades, Intellect is still by far the great equalizer when it comes to stats. However, with this change it's clear that you should shift your priority into more Haste/Mastery rather than Haste/Crit like we were before. Haste still is our dominant secondary stat for most content, especially once you start factoring in multi-target or movement scenarios. Here is the rough stat priority based on the below sims:

Composite/Raid/Single Target

Intellect > Haste = Mastery > Critical Strike > Versatility

Mythic+/Heavy Multi-Target

Intellect > Haste > Critical Strike = Mastery > Versatility

Sim Chart Links:

Rotational Changes

After correcting the Mastery calculation, our APL was updated with the following changes.
Note: This process is never finished and will continually be updated, but we just wanted to call these out first. Feel free to contribute your own ideas from testing the APL yourself!

Devouring Plague

We can now be more conservative with our Devouring Plague usage in multi-target. Typically if we get to the 3-4+ target range we stop using Devouring Plague altogether in favor of Searing Nightmare. Prior to the fix, there was no clear winner in terms of whether you should funnel all Devouring Plagues into a single target or if there was ever a case where spreading them out made sense. Now, we can clearly see that there is value in always having a funnel target to be used for your Void Bolt/Mind Blast/etc casts rather than spreading Devouring Plague out to multiple targets as much as possible. APL tuning is still ongoing but this change will certainly help out Talbadar's Stratagem in multi-target situations.

Mind Blast in Opener

With this change there is more value to be gained by maximizing our Mind Blast casts, something that previously did not matter much. The only optimizations we've found so far is to make sure and dump your singular Mind Blast charge in the opener before going into Void Eruption. Note: This is only an increase on 1 or 2 targets.

Void Torrent at the end of Voidform

To gain a little bit of damage we have solidified gaining some damage by casting Void Torrent at the end of Voidform if you wont lose a Void Bolt for it. This will give Void Torrent max uptime of the Hungering Void Debuff, while also giving you some ticks inside of Voidform.

Talent Choices

After running the first batch of talent sims it is clear that this change has no significant impact on talent diversity for Shadow. The only talents that would have seen a change would have been things that affect Mind Blast or Shadow Word: Death, which currently we already take most of these options...except for Psychic Link. Psychic Link is still generally inferior to Auspicious Spirits for raid fights, specifically due to its lack of Single Target damage. This puts the talent in an odd spot, because it can be very strong on multi-target fights but provide no single target value. Sire Denathrius is a good example here, where the talent will be 0% DPS increase for phases 1 and 3, but be very strong in phase 2 for total add damage.

Long story short, there is a lot of work to be done to further optimize the Psychic Link APL inside of SimC, but it definitely has potential when you are using Talbadar's Stratagem, quite possibly even being a contender for certain AoE/Mythic+ encounters as well. The issue will just come down to whether the DPS you give up on Single Target is worth the multi-target increase you get in the fight.

Sim Chart Links

Legendary Rankings

While this Mastery change effects all Legendaries, there is a specific one that was artificially lacking more damage than others, Talbadar's Stratagem. Talbadar's was already doing well for Single Target situations, especially for Night Fae, but we advised crafting Eternal Call to the Void first for its pure versatility in forms of content.

That being said, with these changes Talbadar's has changed from being roughly equal to Eternal Call to the Void in Single Target, to now being noticeably ahead. This will likely make Talbadar's a competitive option for anyone wanting to augment their single target DPS with something more consistent, but it may not necessarily be the "parse" legendary as EcttV high end is still very strong with good procs. The multi-target situations get a bit more complex, especially when considering that on multi-target the amount of Mind Flay/Mind Sear you do to proc Eternal Call to the Void also suffers slightly as we start spending more time DoTing targets rather than channeling fillers.

For these reasons, we would advise everyone to craft Talbadar's Stratagem. In addition to it being more consistent than Eternal Call to the Void, the average damage increase is almost always ahead of Eternal Call to the Void, even in multi-target Raid Scenarios. As far as Mythic+ goes we still advise you use either Eternal Call to the Void to maximize your damage, or use Twins of the Sun Priestess for the group benefit. Talbadar's in Mythic+ will mostly benefit Prideful and Bosses, rarely trash packs, which may be useful depending on your group composition.

Testing is still in progress with regards to whether a Talbadar's + Psychic Link Mythic+ build makes sense (Misery focused), but it has a lot to compete with in Eternal Call to the Void + Shadow Crash + Searing Nightmare.

Sims are still in progress if it is better to craft Talbadar's in the Legs or Waist slot, but personally we are leaning towards Legs if you are just raiding, otherwise Belt. This is because there are two great Haste/Mastery legs from Mythic+, but the best legs from raiding are Mastery/Vers. Belt is a bit easier since there is a Haste/Crit belt from the raid, but no good Haste/Mastery option in the game. Either way picking the one with the biggest upgrade for your character now is probably the best thing to do.

Early sims also point to using Haste/Mastery for Legendary items over Haste/Crit now for most scenarios. At the end of the day this difference is not large, but you can see a clear trend to using Mastery over Critical Strike.

Sim Chart Links

Conduits

In this section we want to specifically talk about the Mind Devourer conduit and if this conduit has at all changed in our rankings.

While there are certain scenarios where Mind Devourer starts to come closer to our second best conduit Haunting Apparitions (or even equal in some sims) it generally still falls behind under normal talent setups with Hungering Void and Auspicious Spirits. You can see the impact that Talbadar's has on this choice in the Legendary Power sim (the _Conduit sim replaces Haunting Apparitions with Mind Devourer).

Sim Chart Links

Covenant Choice

Right now as far as we can tell, this change has actually equalized the Covenants a bit more than anything. Night Fae saw a good increase, but since it is CDR your value will still be VERY TBD on fight timing. The other thing to mention is that this "buff" to our Mastery/Talbadar's affects Kyrian the least of the four Covenants due to Boon of the Ascended inside of Voidform causing us to cast fewer Mind Blasts than usual with the addition of Ascended Blast. Covenant sims are still in progress, so stay tuned for updates.

Sim Chart Links

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Publik

Theorycrafter, SimC dev, & Guide Writer