Tag Archives: cheat sheet

Shadow Priest Cheat Sheet

Updated for 4.0.

This guide basically details how I play, and soon I will stick it on a page so that I can keep it updated. I hope it helps.


Basically, you want to go for this 9/0/32 build. There are 2 spare points which I’ve put into Mental Agility and Psychic Horror, which I have found to be a very useful talent in heroics. It’s not the best CC in the world by any means, but it’s very nice if the tank’s struggling with a few mobs at once, it can even be glyphed to remove the cooldown by a minute. Feel free to move them around if you can see something more useful to you.

Prime Glyphs

The best three prime glyphs to use at the moment are:

Though, if you’d rather take something else, Glyph of Dispersion can occasionally come in useful if you find yourself needing the extra survivability.

Major Glyphs

The major glyphs are really down to personal opinion. None give any DPS increase, so it’s down to what you’ll find most useful for whatever you’re doing. Personally, I think these are the best 3 at the moment pre-raids:

However, when you start raiding, it might be worth replacing Glyph of Spirit Tap with one of the following, probably Fade or Dispel Magic. It’s situational.

Minor Glyphs

Minors are also down to you as they always have been really. I like to use Glyph of Levitate and Glyph of Fading because it’s always nice to not have to worry about carrying Light Feathers around, and the reduced mana cost on Fade is reasonably nice too if you ever find yourself using it.


For normal and heroic instances, you don’t need too much hit, just take whatever you get your hands on. For raids, you will need to aim for the hit cap, but you’re pretty safe to be 4-5% under, if you notice too many misses, however, that’s when you need to get a little more hit. If you haven’t picked up enough hit/spirit gear, it will be best to reforge your least useful stat into spirit. Remember that with the Twisted Faith talent, 1 spirit = 1 hit.

The stat priorities, not including hit/spirit (which when capped becomes useless), are: Intellect > Spell Power > Haste > Crit/Mastery. Of course, it will always be best if you run your own armory profile through SimulationCraft (see this post) to work out your stat priorities, but that is generally what you’ll be looking at with Crit being ranked only a tiny, tiny bit higher than Mastery which isn’t as useful to us as it is to other classes/specs.


I have compiled a couple of gear lists. My gear list for normal levelling gear, which you need to gather a little before you can enter heroics, is here, and this is my pre-raid gear list for heroic and reputation drops primarily. The main thing about gear, as it always has been, is knowing which stats are best for you. Once you know that it’s pretty easy to work out what is and isn’t an upgrade just by looking at the item. If you’d like to easily see how much better an item is, you can always use the Rating Buster mod which lists the stats on the item and how much better/worse it might be than the item you currently have equipped. I’ve found currently that it’s not listing haste, but I’m sure that will be fixed soon.

As for weapons, I would strongly recommend a main hand/offhand combination at the moment. I haven’t seen an enchant specifically for 2handers that we can use on staves, and I have had a thorough look at enchants, so we’ll be using the same enchant on staves as we do on our main hand weapons, and we also now benefit from offhand enchants which give us 100 intellect, so the staff would have to make up for that bonus to be better than a main hand/offhand, which usually it won’t.

I have compiled a BiS pre-raid list, which you’re more than welcome to use, on the Wowhead profiler based on SimulationCraft stat weightings. I didn’t include epic BoEs purely because they’re obviously better than the other items and depend on how much gold you have, how much you’re willing to spend, and whether or not they come up for sale on the auction house or in trade. If you want to do the same easily, when you run your character through SimulationCraft, you will see an option to check gear on Wowhead, click it, it will open up in the program and you can copy and paste the link at the bottom into your browser then go back to your imported log. It’s a very nice option, and if you want to check the list based on the stat weightings they’re using at ShadowPriest.com, you can click here.


I think the biggest question for a lot of people is how to properly use Mind Spike. The idea behind Mind Spike is to give Shadow Priests a spell to cast on shorter living mobs – namely, trash in instances or adds on bosses. Using Mind Spike will eat any DoTs on the target but if you’re finding yourself using Mind Spike, you won’t be needing to DoT anyway. It also gives you a buff that stacks upto 3 that increases the crit strike chance of your next Mind Blast, and the Mind Melt talent gives your next Mind Blast a 50% chance to be an instant cast. You shouldn’t be using Mind Spike on targets that live long enough to take a fair bit of damage from a proper rotation.

For longer living mobs and bosses, you’ll want to be doing a full rotation, starting with DoTs, Arcane Torrent if you happen to be a Blood Elf, Mind Flay until you get a shadow orb, then Mind Blast. DoTs no longer suffer from clipping, so make sure you refresh them with a few seconds left or when you get the Empowered Shadows buff (only Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plage, Shadow Word: Pain will be refreshed through Mind Flay). Try to keep up replenishment too as much as you can. You might also notice that Pain and Suffering only has a 60% chance for Mind Flay to refresh the duration of your Shadow Word: Pain now, so do keep an eye on that, I didn’t realise for the first couple of instances.

You should be using Shadow Word: Death in your rotation. Not only is it a nice bursty spell, but it grants mana back from the damage backlash, so make sure you aren’t shielded when you cast it if you need the mana. It’s even better after 25% now that it’s become an execute move – it will do more damage at that point in the fight, and if you have it glyphed, which you should do, you’ll be able to cast 2 in a row before it goes back on cooldown. Do watch out for your own health, though we have a cushion in the form of Pain and Suffering, if there’s a lot of group damage and the healer isn’t able to focus on healing you up, or the fight gives you a massive damage increase, you might end up killing yourself with it – so be smart, but do make good use of it.

Also remember to use Shadowfiend fairly early on in the fight, if the fight won’t last longer than 4 minutes, hold off until a Blood Lust or until you need a bit of mana back, if it will last longer than 4 minutes, use it after you’ve dotted up. Dark Archangel is also very worth using once you get 5 stacks of Evangelism, it increases your damage a little and gives you back 5% of your mana pool. Plus it looks awesome.

You will notice an increase in mana problems this expansion, similar to back in TBC, but if you manage your mana using the methods I mentioned above, you will be absolutely fine, might even finish some 5 man fights on full mana.


Currently, Ember Shadowspirit Diamond and Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond seem to be reasonably similar in DPS terms for us, it really depends on what you’re willing to do for meta requirements until Blizzard change the requirements for Chaotic (which they have said they will and hopefully quite soon). If you’re a Jewelcrafter for starters you’ll be best to use the Ember Shadowspirit Diamond because the Brilliant Chimera’s Eyes will more than make up for it. If you aren’t, it has been suggested that Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond, using more Purified’s than Brilliants or Recklesses, and one Lightning Dream Emerald to get the meta requirement may be slightly better than using an Ember Shadowspirit Diamond, but it’s so close that it might be best (easier/less fiddly) to go with Ember which only requires 2 yellow gems.

As for the other gems, you will still be prioritising pure intellect gems, Brilliant, unless you have a 10 intellect or more socket bonus requiring a red or blue gem. For yellows you’ll want to use Reckless, intellect and haste, and for blues you’ll want to use Purified, intellect and spirit.



You’re going to want to be using Flask of the Draconic Mind in raids which gives you 300 intellect for an hour.

If you’re looking for an elixir to use instead I’d recommend Elixir of Mighty Speed. There are also battle elixirs to increase your crit, mastery, hit, and spirit.

As for potions, Volcanic Potion is phenomenal.

Severed Sagefish Head is the 90 intellect food, to make it you need Deepsea Sagefish which can only be fished from open water. I’ve found the best place to be in Twilight Highlands, though Uldum isn’t bad either. Pickled Guppy only gives 60 intellect, but the fish required, Highland Guppy, can be fished from pools inland in Twilight Highlands, so it may be worth getting a few of those for heroics. If those don’t really appeal to you, you could try Fortune Cookies which give you a random buff based on your stats, I personally don’t like this kind of food for raiding, I’d rather know that I’m getting the right buff, but they might be useful to you perhaps.

Hunter Cheat Sheet

This post has been on the backburner for quite a while now, I figured it’s time I got it out there. I want to use this to give a few tips to other Hunters, whether they’re just starting out, struggling a little, or not. Hopefully this is going to help a few people. You’ll be able to find most of this information on my Hunter Guide pages, but I’ve condensed the information into one post for ease. Disclaimer: I am not claiming to be the best Hunter out there, or that I know everything. This guide is aimed at those who can get something out of it.


To start, you’ll want to decide which spec you want to play with. It’s important to note that in high end gear, MM will come out on top.

The 3 specs, according to Elitist Jerks, would be something like this: Beast Mastery, Survival, Marksman.

I’m currently rocking a Marksman spec more like this, because I have quite a lot of hit on my gear. I also like using Trueshot Aura as I’ve often found myself to be the only one in a raid with the 10% attack power increase, if you raid regularly with somebody else who has this buff then you don’t need it in your spec. Focused Aim is an awesome talent which you should use, not only does it give you the chance to grab items with little to no hit, but it reduces the pushback received from damaging attacks for Steady Shot, I remember this being nice on phase 3 Anub’erak. When I can, I will probably drop 1 point in Rapid Recuperation and 1 in Improved Barrage to gain more in Focused Aim. If you’re just starting out and don’t have much ArmorPen, then you’ll want to be using Arcane Shot and as a result, your spec will look more like this one.

Survival is a great spec to start with and can be pretty decent at later gear levels too, although it doesn’t scale as well with ArmorPen as MM does. This is the Survival spec I was using before I specced into MM. If you’re using the 2pc Tier9 bonus, then you can remove 2 points from Resourcefulness, and 1 from Exposed Weakness to max out Improved Stings. If your raid doesn’t need you to take replenishment and you’re using the 2pc Tier9, then you could switch to something more like this, switching Improved Stings for Improved Aspect of the Hawk if you’re not using the 2pc Tier9 bonus.

Beast Mastery is a spec which has come under much scrutiny, however, if you play it right it can be a viable raid spec. In fact, according to Elitist Jerks, at high gear levels, it’s about on par with Survival. I haven’t played as a BM Hunter since the Naxx days, but some people have stuck by the spec quite loyally.


It’s safe to say that Glyph of Serpent Sting is a required glyph for every spec, though the rest depends on your spec, gear, and situation, i.e. are you raiding or heroicing? Glyph of Kill Shot can be a decent glyph for all raiding Hunters too, though this depends how long the boss is alive. If the boss is at 20% health or below for long enough for this glyph to be affective, then it may be a worthwhile glyph, otherwise don’t even bother.

Survival Hunters will be looking at the Glyph of Explosive Shot and Glyph of Steady Shot for their other choices, Steady Shot perhaps being a second choice to Kill Shot.

Beast Mastery Hunters will be looking at Glyph of Steady Shot and Glyph of the Hawk, although Glyph of Bestial Wrath is another choice that could be considered.

Marksman Hunters will be looking at Glyph of Steady Shot, and as a third choice, Glyph of the Hawk, Glyph of Trueshot Aura, or Glyph of Chimera Shot.


If you’re just starting out, then take a look at my Pre Raid Gear List. I’ve done my best to list every item available to you before raids, including craftables and Frost Emblem gear, and marking which pieces have hit. To check how much hit you need, have a look at the Hit Calculator.

The ArmorPen cap is 1400, so with a trinket with an ArmorPen proc you will need roughly 700 armor pen from your gear if you’re Marksman. If you’re not, don’t aim for it, but it will be on a lot of your gear anyway, that’s unavoidable. Haste keeps Steady Shot at roughly a 1.5 second cast time, without haste, it’s a 2 second cast time, and 523 haste rating is the soft cap needed to lower Steady Shot down to the 1.5 second cast time. Also remember that there is no crit cap for hunters.

Note from EJ, posted by Echo:

“Haste is considered to be a poor stat for all hunter specs. The only shots affected by haste are autoshot and steady shot, and as MM you take Improved Aspect of the Hawk which means your Steady Shot speed will be capped whenever it procs. Additionally since all the shots affected by haste are adversely affected by movement, the value of haste will be decreased beyond what is predicted by the spreadsheet. Some haste on gear doesn’t hurt but don’t value it highly compared to other stats and never gem it.”

When choosing a ranged weapon, you should look primarily at its dps, and the high end damage. If there isn’t a huge difference, you’ll be looking for a slower weapon, with decent stats for your spec or an awesome proc like the one on Zod’s Repeating Longbow.

When you start thinking about set bonuses, first of all, don’t bother with the 4pc tier9 if you’re Marksman, it’s a bit crap. I don’t really know how good it is for Survival and BM, I assume not very, but have a look for yourself. Do get the 2pc bonus, ideally you’ll be looking at getting the legs and helm, though I’ve known people to go for the shoulders and grab the Helm of the Brooding Dragon instead of the tier helm if they needed a bit of extra hit. The 4pc tier10 is quite nice, but keep the tier9 2pc bonus until you have 4 parts of Sanctified (tier 10 + tokens) and the Leggings of Northern Lights from Lady Deathwhisper preferably. That’s the rule if you’re MM, at least.


In trade chat, I have seen new Hunters asking, “What should a Marksman Hunter gem?” And trade replied, “ArmorPen.” The fact is that this isn’t always the case. If you’re just started out, you won’t have good enough gear for ArmorPen gemming to really be all that beneficial, and if you’re using an ArmorPen proc trinket, Grim Toll, Mjolnir Runestone, Scorpion, then you won’t need to gem for ArmorPen anyway, although bear in mind that the Scorpion has terrible uptime because it’s based on your ranged crits, not attacks like the other 2. It cant be decent if you have about 700 on your gear and no trinket to fill the gap to capped. If you’re Survival, don’t even consider gemming ArmorPen.

If gemming Agility, you should use Deadly gems (agi/crit) in yellow sockets with a high agility bonus, 4 or more. Ignore blue slots for the most part, however you should use a Nightmare Tear to activate your Relentless Earthsiege Diamond meta. This Tear should go in a blue socket with a decent bonus, preferably your highest agility bonus, the same as the yellow slots. It doesn’t have to go in a ‘prismatic socket’ (aka, the belt buckle), as I have seen many people do, in fact I’d outright avoid doing that, as I would with a red socket with a decent socket bonus too. This would be a waste.

Another thing I will advise you to avoid is using any gems aside from the ones I have mentioned and perhaps hit if desperate, though preferably agi/hit if you feel you have to. I’ve seen a lot of Hunters gemming for pure haste/crit/stam. Please, please avoid doing this, you will gain dps by gemming agility instead, or ArmorPen if you choose to. My last word, if you’re a Jewelcrafter, only use your Dragon’s Eyes for your main red gem choice (agi/arp/attack power).


Enchanting your gear would be more or less what you expect, if it has agility or attack power it’s probably the best one to use. Of course, there are exceptions of sorts. If you have profession only enchants, such as wrist enchants for Leatherworkers, cloak and glove enchants for Engineers, shoulder enchants for Inscriptors, use them. Boot enchants are often overlooked, so I’ll be very clear: Use run speed on boots unless you’re an Engineer with rocket boots. The best boot enchant is Cat’s Swiftness, but as this is a rare drop TBC enchant it can be expensive and difficult to find an enchanter who can do it. In this case, Tuskarr’s Vitality will be your boot enchant.

Using Cooldowns

It is best to save your trinket cooldowns for Bloodlust (Heroism /sigh), however, it may be best to use haste cooldowns outside of Bloodlust to avoid having too much haste simultaneously. I usually use Rapid Fire at the beginning of the fight, and use Readiness when it is finished and my shots are all on cooldown to reuse it again before Bloodlust is popped. I tend to use a haste potion after the second Rapid Fire, or after Bloodlust. If BM, personally, I’d keep using Bestial Wrath throughout the fight, especially if you’re using the glyph.

Rotations and Macros

See my Rotations & Macros page.

Using Female Dwarf

Everything I’ve said is situational, and I urge you to use this excellent tool, the online dps analyzer, to check that you have made the best choices for you personally. First of all, register your account so that you’re able to save things and come back to them later. Second of all, import your armory settings and fiddle with options such as raid buffs that an armory import would miss, update dps and save your character. Now you’re able to change things such as items, gems, enchants, to see what is better or worse for your specific character, update dps and see how big a gain or loss it would potentially be. Check Rilgon’s post on this, he says it much better than I can.