5.2: Lemon Puddin’, Blasphemy, and Free Form Jazz

Shadow priests are getting some tinkering done to them over the next few weeks in anticipation of the 5.2 Isle of the Thunder King patch. Some questionable, like Lemon Puddin’, and some that are just downright bad like blasphemy (Isn’t that right Leonidas?)

The changes that are affecting  shadow priests in 5.2 are:

–  Halo no longer breaks stealth.

Glyph of Mind Spike now only works with non-Surge of Darkness Mind Spikes.

– Phantasm now no longer makes the priest untargettable by ranged attacks, but the movement freedom effect now lasts 5 seconds.

Shadow Word: Insanity is now Solace and Insanity. In shadow, Devouring Plague increases the damage of Mind Flay by 33% per orb for the next 6 seconds, on targets that are affected by 3 shadow damage over time spells.


Originally, Devouring Plague was being changed to have its damage spread out evenly on application and over time. This change is something that I was personally looking for, as it actually came out to be an 11% buff to devouring plague in the long run for PvE content, while the massive burst being taken away was crippling to priests in PvP. On the whole, if you PvP as shadow, your are not too happy about the upcoming changes, aside from the small silver lining of having the bursty version of Devouring Plague back. No longer able to flare out those rogues and feral druids, as well as having your 3 second range protection shell go away, we may become the object of choice for the enemy even more so now!


For changes in raid encounters, how you match talents in tier 3 and tier 5 is going to largely matter on how much you want to take chances with RNG based on procs in those tiers.

Earlier in my first review of MoP talents and tiers, I went with Shadow Word: Insanity for tier 3 and Twist of Fate for tier 5 as my choices for best use in a raid setting. As it turns out, Shadow Word: Insanity was a complete nightmare from the start, not being active when it should, being active when it shouldn’t (hello free uses from dead spirit kings), and the damage it dealt was not comparable to From Darkness, Comes Light as gear improved. Twist of Fate was extremely powerful in LFR and in Normal modes, as many additional elements to the fight (that oneself did damage to), and had a good enough uptime to where priests were getting close to 50% active time of 15% increased damage for a fight. However, as we moved into heroic progression, the amount of time and number of elements dying on those encounters severely dropped off, while many encounter have multiple mobs up until the end of the fight. Even for fights like Feng the Accursed, where 75% of the fight is just the raid versus the boss, the amount of Divine Insight procs far outweighed the scant 40-50 seconds of ToF uptime from the adds on the shield phase + execute range.

As of now, I am using From Darkness, Comes Light and Divine Insight as my talent choices for Tiers 3 and 5. There is one predominant reservation I have about Solace and Insanity going forward, and that is the amount of actual usage priests will get out of the buff to MF. Devouring plague lasts 6-6.4 seconds (haste). Since DP is on the GCD, we lose 1 second from the start of MF and then until the first tick of MF, which at 8200 haste, is .77 seconds later. This drops the effective time insanity is active from 6 to 4.23 seconds at 8200 haste, which might be enough to squeeze 2 Mind Flays into. Note: Mind Flay is our 5th highest damaging spell when used with From Darkness, Comes light on the whole.

There are a lot of intriguing possibilities to mix and match for the upcoming patch. I have dubbed these: The Smooth and Flowing Approach, The Cookie Cutter Approach, and the Whack-A-Mole Approach.


The Smooth and Flowing Approach:

Smooth, melodic. Follow the beat of the rotation.

Smooth, melodic. Follow the beat of the rotation.

Safe and predictable, this approach conforms to the traditional style of shadow priest, which has been straight forward damage dealing without any hidden cooldowns or surprise procs to manage and balance. Dots refreshed as needed, mind blast off cooldown, DP at 3 orbs, and Mind Flay as fillers, no surprise mind spike or mind blast procs ever to manage. In tier 3, this build takes Solace and Insanity, and in Tier 5 this build goes with Twist of Fate. In execute range, your mind flays will be hitting much, much harder.


The Cookie-Cutter Spec:

Gingerbread or Shadow Priest, its all the same.

Gingerbread or Shadow Priest, its all the same.

Because of the way certain abilities work for shadow priests, it is not unrealistic to see this build become the new cookie cutter spec for shadow priests. This build focuses on shadow orb generation and increasing the number of devouring plagues cast in a fight. In addition, it also attempts to take advantage of the 100% damage increase to Mind Flay via Solace and Insanity. Without saying, it takes Solace and Insanity from tier 3, and takes Divine Insight from tier 5. This spec will have it moments on single target fights, but works really well on fights where you can have multiple targets with Shadow Word: Pain on them. The important thing for someone trying this build going forward will be to always make sure that the target they cast DP on also has VT and SW:P. or the insanity buff fails to serve its purpose. Hopefully, they refine Solace and Insanity for shadow a little bit before it becomes live, so that you actually get a full 6 seconds of value from the talent.


The Whack-A-Mole Spec:

I Double Dog Dare You.....

I Triple Dog Dare You…..


This is the spec that will have you mashing different buttons at any opportune time RNG decides to show up for you. With the change to the Mind Spike Glyph, it becomes almost imperative for people who use From Darkness, Comes Light to also take Divine Insight, as our Surge of Darkness casts now no longer benefit from the glyph. This spec, which takes the aforementioned FDCL and Divine Insight, is a finesse build, which gets better as the number of mobs active in a fight increases. One good result from the mind spike alteration is the change in what buff got consumed if you happened to have Divine Insight and 2 stacks of Mind Melt active. As it stands now, if you have Divine Insight and Mind Melt x2, you ended up eating the Mind Melt stacks and having your DI buff while Mind Blast went on cooldown. This led to the unfortunate occurrence that your DI buff fell off and you lost the proc, which is ultimately invaluable as a direct damage dealer, and also as a shadow orb generator. The Whack-A-Mole  build is the one I use currently, and if Solace and Insanity fares like its predecessor, will also become the Cookie Cutter build.

I do not have FDCL paired up with ToF because if bosses are getting harder in the next patch, with more hp, then ToF’s uptime will drop even further, making it even less desirable. It pairs well with Solace and Insanity because of the constant +15% and then and extra guaranteed 100% to MF, while its on a 15% chance per tick, per VT to get a FDCL proc.

All in all, this is a very underwhelming patch for shadow priests, which didn’t seem like the mechanics, aside from Shadow Word: Insanity looked to be terrible or crazy OP. The DP change was even a net gain for PvE, although their would have been howls of despair from the PvP community. As the gear improves and we get closer to more haste breakpoints, it will be interesting to see which talents become better for our playstyles.


(I Still wish our mastery increased periodic shadow damage instead of acting as a Psuedo-Tarecgosa…… *shakes fist*)


Oh, and here’s your citrusy dessert:

Only 800 calories, something light for a change.

Only 800 calories, something light for a change.


A la mode, because why not?


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