Shadow Priest Changes in June 25th Shadowlands Alpha Release

Blizzard is releasing some new changes to Shadow Priest in the Shadowlands Alpha build going live today. Players will be able to test out two additions to the Shadow Priest’s kit, Devouring Plague and Shadow Word: Death.

Devouring Plague is a returning ability for Shadow Priests as an alternative to Void Form when fighting enemies that die quickly, such as non-elite mobs in openworld content and smaller trash pulls in Dungeons. Devouring Plague will cost Insanity to cast.

Shadow Word: Death is also making a return, but in a different form than its original incarnation. Devs want to emphasize it’s role as an execute ability instead of making it part of the core rotation. It will now deal 100% additional damage to targets at or below 20% health. This means for longer fights such as raids, it will only be optimal to add to rotations for the final 20% of the boss’ HP.

Updated June 24

In this next build of the Shadowlands Alpha, we have updates to Shadow Priests that are intended to address some common concerns about the spec.

Returning Ability: Devouring Plague

We’ve seen a lot of feedback that Void Form can be challenging to utilize to its full potential in some combat situations, such as in Mythic Keystone dungeons on non-boss encounters, or for leveling and doing outdoor content. We tend to agree that Void Form can feel unrewarding in situations where it becomes difficult to maintain efficient insanity generation. Rather than heavily re-designing Void Form, we’re introducing a new tool for these combat situations with the return of Devouring Plague.

Along with Void Eruption, Devouring Plague will be the only other spell that costs Insanity. Our intent with Devouring Plague is for it to be used on enemies who die quickly, such as common creatures while leveling, or on simple trash pulls, while Void Form is more powerful on longer combat encounters.

Shadow Word: Death

Although we’ve seen a lot of excitement around this iconic spell making a return, we have concerns that it wasn’t very clear what its role will be in the modern Shadow Priest kit. Shadow Word: Death has always been intended to be an “execute” ability, so it must be something that is mostly used in the outdoor/leveling content. In the past, Shadow Word: Death found itself in Priest’s core rotations, even being used repeatedly against targets that weren’t about to die.

For Shadowlands, we don’t intend to add another core button to the Priest’s normal rotation. We want Shadow Word: Death to be situational. However, we feel that it could be a little more relevant in longer encounters such as boss fights. We’ve changed Shadow Word: Death to now deal 100% additional damage to targets at or below 20% health. Priests may now find that they wish to weave Shadow Word: Death into their rotations in some situations.

We feel that these changes will have a very meaningful impact on how the Shadow Priest now plays.

After you’ve tested this out in the Alpha, please let us know what you think. Thank you!

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