Shadow Priest to Get Major Rework in WoW Dragonflight Patch 10.1

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Shadow Priest to Get Major Rework in WoW Dragonflight Patch 10.1

The reworks just keep on coming, as Shadow Priest is set for a huge overhaul in Dragonflight patch 10.1.


Not content with the changes they made to Talents at the start of Dragonflight, Blizzard has been putting a lot of work into “fixing” a number of specs. With Ret Paladin getting some love in 10.0.7, Shadow Priest is next to be placed under the microscope. In a recent interview with creators, Morgan Day confirmed that Shadow Priest was next in line for a rework. At first, Shadow Priests were hyped for the changes: “Really happy about this,” with a general consensus being it was needed.

That, however, shifted once the full list of changes was made public. You can read the full PTR notes for 10.1 here, with the Shadow Priest changes posted in full later in this article; however, the significant changes that Blizzard wants to highlight can be found below.

    • Button bloat: Shadow has more rotational abilities than most other specializations. We’re working to reduce this by having Mind Spike replace Mind Flay and removing Mind Sear.
    • Mind Sear: We feel Mind Sear as a spender was a worthy experiment in Dragonflight, but the gameplay has not been as smooth as we envisioned. We are removing the spell and focusing Shadow’s AoE kit further on Psychic Link.
    • Flooded rotation: There are times in the rotation where several spells are competing to be cast due to proc frequency and overall Insanity generation. We are adjusting some proc and the Insanity generation of several talents for a clearer rotational flow.
    • Lack of distinct builds: With updates to existing talents and some new talents, we aim for more build-defining choices such as investing in cooldowns, damage over time effects, critical damage, or Shadowy Apparitions.
    • PvP: In Dragonflight, Shadow has had access to more instant cast spells through procs and cooldowns than ever before. Because it was difficult to prevent Shadow Priests from scoring kills, we reduced their damage in Season 1. We’ve removed some of the problematic procs and cooldowns moving into 10.1.0, so there is more counterplay to Shadow’s offense. This allows us to ease up on some of the damage nerfs to the spec.

Are Shadow Priests not happy with Dragonflight 10.1 rework?

It's hard to pinpoint exactly what the Shadow Priest community wants, and, honestly, the PTR is a weird place to get a good look at it. While the most die-hard players will flood to the PTR to test the changes, the vast majority of players won't, with many having no idea what's even changing until Blizzard drops the final patch notes. It's likely that we'll see more changes to the Shadow Priest during this patch cycle, and we'll update this story when that happens.

It's clear from this that BLizzard has an intention with Shadow Priest that isn't currently being utilized. However, a quick check of the Priest feedback forums appears to show a different side. While the minority are often the most vocal, it's worth noting that Shadow is a fairly niche spec, and thus, its community is quite tightly knit. The key now will be, can Blizzard balance such a community and provide a full rework that keeps everyone happy?

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Shadow Priest Dragonflight 10.1 Changes

All updates from the original notes will appear in bold with old text crossed out

  • Screams of the Void has been redesigned – Devouring Plague causes your Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch to deal damage 40 percent/80 percent faster for 3 seconds.
  • New Talent: Thought Harvester – Mind Blast gains an additional charge.
  • New Talent: Whispering Shadows – Shadow Crash generates an additional 6 Insanity and applies Vampiric Touch to up to 8 targets it damages.
  • New Talent: Voidtouched – Increases your Devouring Plague damage by 6 percent and increases your maximum Insanity by 50.
  • New Talent: Mastermind – Increases the critical strike chance of Mind Blast, Mind Flay, Mind Spike, and Shadow Word: Death by 4 percent/8 percent and increases their critical strike damage by 20 percent/40 percent.
  • New Talent: Phantasmal Pathogen – Shadowy Apparitions deal 75 percent/150 percent increased damage to targets affected by your Devouring Plague.
  • New Talent: Mind’s Eye – Reduces the Insanity cost of Devouring Plague by 5.
  • New Talent: Distorted Reality – Increases the damage of Devouring Plague by 20 percent, but Devouring Plague deals its damage over 12 seconds and its Insanity cost is increased by 5.
  • Shadowy Insight no longer passively grants an additional charge of Mind Blast.
  • Shadowy Insight no longer temporarily increases the maximum charges of Mind Blast when it triggers.
  • Psychic Link now affects Devouring Plague and Shadow Word: Death. Now a 1-point talent and has been moved to Mind Sear’s location.
  • Psychic Link's tooltip has been reworded – Your damaging single target spells deal 30 percent of their damage to all other targets afflicted by your Vampiric Touch within 40 yards. Does not apply to damage from Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch.
  • Auspicious Spirits now causes Shadowy Apparitions to have a chance to generate 1 Insanity (was always generate 1).
  • Maddening Touch now increases the damage of Vampiric Touch by 15 percent/30 percent and has a chance to generate 1 to 2 Insanity.
  • Shadow Crash generates 6 Insanity (was 15) and no longer applies Vampiric Touch.
  • Shadow Crash damage reduced by 70 percent and now has a 20 second cooldown (was 30 seconds).
  • Death and Madness Insanity generation reduced to 8 (was 30).
  • Death and Madness generates Insanity immediately instead of over 3 seconds.
  • Shadow Word: Death now generates 4 Insanity.
  • Shadow Word: Death damage reduced by 32 percent and deals 250 percent increased damage below 20 percent health (was 150 percent).
  • Deathspeaker chance to reset the cooldown of Shadow Word: Death increased by 50 percent.
  • Deathspeaker now increases the damage of Shadow Word: Death by 25 percent while active.
  • Deathspeaker now temporarily increases the maximum charges of Shadow Word: Death by 1.
  • Deathspeaker no longer triggers Death and Madness' cooldown.
  • Devouring Plague instant damage increased by 75 percent.
  • Devouring Plague extends the duration of Voidform by 2.5 seconds (was 2 seconds).
  • Mind Devourer now has a 5 percent/10 percent chance to grant a free cast of Devouring Plague (was 10 percent/20 percent).
  • Mind Devourer now increases the damage of your next Devouring Plague by 20 percent when it triggers.
  • Mind Melt no longer reduces the cast time of Mind Blast. Now a 2-point talent.
  • Mind Melt increases the critical strike chance of Mind Blast by 10 percent/20 percent (was 25 percent), stacking up to 4 times (was 2).
  • Insidious Ire now also affects Void Torrent damage.
  • Void Torrent generates 24 Insanity over its duration (was 60) and has a 45 second cooldown (was 60 seconds).
  • Casting Void Torrent now always triggers Idol of C'Thun.
  • Idol of C’Thun can now trigger from Mind Spike and Void Torrent damage.
  • Idol of C’Thun now spawns a Void Lasher if there are more than 2 targets nearby and otherwise spawns a Void Tendril.
  • Idol of C’Thun Mind Flay damage reduced by 58 percent.
  • Idol of C'Thun Mind Sear damage increased by 23 percent.
  • Void Tendril and Void Lasher from Idol of C’Thun generate 15 Insanity over their duration (was 30).
  • Mind Sear from Idol of C’Thun now deals reduced damage beyond 5 targets.
  • The cast speed of Mind Sear from Idol of C’Thun no longer scales with Haste.
  • Mind Flay and Mind Sear from Idol of C’Thun, Echoing Void from Idol of N’Zoth, and Void Torrent now have 5 percent damage variance.
  • Mind Spike damage increased by 9 percent and now replaces Mind Flay.
  • Dark Evangelism can now also be triggered by Mind Spike.
  • Mind Spike: Insanity damage reduced by 11 percent and generates 6 Insanity (was 8).
  • Mind Flay: Insanity has been renamed to Surge of Insanity.
  • Surge of Insanity generates 12 Insanity over its duration (was 16) and now lasts 15 seconds (was 10 seconds).
  • Surge of Insanity now empowers your next Mind Flay or Mind Spike.
  • Surge of Insanity can now accumulate up to 2 charges.
  • Surge of Insanity now has a Spell Alert while active.
  • Surge of Insanity has moved to Encroaching Shadows' position.
  • Void Bolt generates 10 Insanity (was 12).
  • Mental Decay now also increases the duration of Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch by 2 seconds when Mind Spike is cast and also increases the damage of Mind Flay and Mind Spike by 10 percent.
  • Mental Decay and Void Bolt now update the maximum duration of Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch so that the remaining durations are more easily understood.
  • Vampiric Embrace no longer triggers from Psychic Link damage and no longer triggers Hallucinations.
  • Inescapable Torment damage reduced by 40 percent and increases the duration of Mindbender by 0.7 seconds (was 1 second).
  • Mindbender and Shadowfiend generates 2 Insanity per attack (was 3).
  • Throes of Pain generates 1 Insanity per rank (was 3 and 5).
  • Unfurling Darkness damage increased by 75 percent.
  • Unfurling Darkness and Mental Decay have swapped positions on the talent tree.
  • Ancient Madness, Mind Melt, Malediction, and Inescapable Torment are now a 1-point talent.
  • Several nodes in the talent tree have changed position.
  • Mind Flay: Insanity and Mind Spike: Insanity have been added to the Personal Resource Display.
  • Dark Ascension and Void Eruption should now properly override the other on your Action Bar when swapping talents.
  • Mind Sear, Dark Void, Coalescing Shadows, Puppet Master, Harnessed Shadows, Pain of Death, Surge of Darkness, Encroaching Shadows, and Damnation have been removed.
Shadow Priest to Get Major Rework in WoW Dragonflight Patch 10.1
David Hollingsworth
David has written for games media outlets for the last ten years. With his first major esports role being with Esports News UK covering mostly UK League of Legends. David is also a member of the British Esports Association and is an advisor to them on World of Warcraft Esports. More recently David has worked for Esports Insider and Red Bull as an esports journalist. David later became Editor at ESTNN and now leads the current team.