This is a condensed shadow guide meant to offer a quick way to start learning your spec. To view the full shadow guide, you can start here. Please note that this is just a place to start and not meant to offer full guidance.


Levelling talents and playstyle revolve around generating as much insanity as possible, as quickly as possible, in order to access Void Eruption. Due to spellpower scaling, Void Eruption is the strongest part of Shadow's levelling toolkit, and maximising the value of your eruptions is the key to levelling quickly.

Legendaries: Use Heart of the Void and Sephuz's Secret legendaries.


War Mode (recommended for xp boost):

  • Void Origins is a must have. Other ones are personal preference.
  • Greater Fade can be used to avoid powerful abilities, but is generally not useful for levelling.
  • Psyfiend is strong against elites, rares, and strong mobs.
  • Pure Shadow gives extra survivability.
  • Psychic Link helps when you are at a point you can double-dot enemies (so it would be better with Misery).
  • Driven to Madness gives some free insanity.

Playstyle: Gather mobs either while mounted or with Vampiric Touch and when they gather up, Dark Void (or VT apply DoTs with Misery) > Shadow Crash > Mindsear to 95 Insanity > Erupt > Dark Ascension.

Stat Priority & Gear

For BFA, the stat priority is currently:
Intellect => Haste/Crit > Mastery > Versatility

Stat Tips:

  • Avoid Mastery and Versatility when you can.
  • Choose Crit/Haste pieces.
  • Choose higher ilvl.

Green - The best, default talent.
Blue - Has merit, but used in specific cases.
Red - Do not take this talent.

For an in-depth explanation of talents, read more here.


There are two priority lists for our rotation due to Void Form.

Out of VF
  1. Cast Void Eruption
  2. Cast Dark Ascension
  3. Cast SWD (if 2 charges)
  4. Cast Dark Void
  5. Cast Fiend/Bender
  6. Cast SWD
  7. Cast Crash
  8. Cast Blast
  9. Keep up Pain and Touch
  10. Use filler
  1. Cast Bolt
  2. Cast SWD (if 2 charges)
  3. Cast Dark Void (if adds not about to spawn)
  4. Cast Fiend/Bender
  5. Cast Crash
  6. Cast Blast
  7. Cast Void Torrent
  8. DoT new targets/maintain DoTs
  9. Use filler

Rotation Tips & Info

Mind Sear replaces single target spells at these numbers of targets:

The best way to use Dark Ascension is on cooldown. DA gives you a strong aoe burst, so hold it for the right moment if you need that burst.


Shadow's strongest spec specific Azerite traits are Chorus of Insanity and Spiteful Apparitions. For a full list of Azerite traits and their performance, visit the Shadow Trait Analysis.

Void Form

Voidform is the main mechanic of the Shadow Priest spec. To learn more about Void Form, visit this link for the full write-up.


All racials are within a 1% difference of each other. It's useful to look at racial abilities (i.e. Arcane Torrent, Darkflight, etc). Otherwise, play whatever race you like.

Credit & Thanks

Huge thanks to the Warcraft Priests shadow theorycrafting team and Melgane, who wrote the full shadow guide. Also, thank you to SemicolonDash for his guidance and input.

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  • December 11, 2018 - Updated for 8.1 release.
  • Aug 13, 2018 - Updated for BFA release.
  • Aug 1, 2018 - Guide published and made public.