Spell Focus: Shadow Form

Greetings my fellow Shades. It is once again time for this oratorium to chime with the magical incantations of yet another one of the spells in our arsenal. This time, we shall be enlightened on that most iconic of spells for us Shadowpriests: Shadowform.

A memorable quote from the WoWHead comments reads: “Shadowpriests [in Shadowform] are by definition 15% more sexy than a holy/disc priest”. I agree.

The spell

Where our DoTs represent steady damage over time, and our Mind Flay, Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death represent instant nuke material, this is the one spell that takes all of them and combines them into a single, soul-searing whole.

  • +15% on all Shadow damage spells we cast
  • -15% physical damage taken, as well as -15% magical damage taken (added patch 3.1)
  • As a shapeshift, it cannot be dispelled
  • Holy spells cause you to lose Shadow Form
  • Causes you to become an indistinct form, hiding mismatched equipment you wear
  • Allows our DoTs to Crit while we are in Shadowform
  • We can still cast Abolish/Remove Disease in Shadowform
  • While in Shadowform, threat from Shadow spells is reduced by 30%

Talents

The following talent improves the use of Shadowform:

  • Improved Shadow Form (requires 35 points in Shadow): Channeling and casting time lost due to damage is reduced by 70% (While in Shadowform) and when you use Fade, it will also remove all movement-impairing effects from you.

General Use

Whenever you are DPSing, make sure you are in Shadow Form. In PvE, this will not prevent you from casting Fear Ward or (Mass) Dispel, nor Shield, so make yourself useful as well. A timely shield or dispel has saved many raids from wiping, and as you are utility as much as DPS, there is no excuse not to.

You will not be able to heal in this form, aside from Vampiric Embrace. Mind you, that as our health regeneration and mana regains are based on our damage (for now), this means that this form effectively boosts that by 15% as well. We rely on our healers in raids, and our cleverness in PvP, in order to survive. Even when chain-chugging mana pots, bandages and health stones should be able to keep you alive.

In PvP, the main drawback to Shadowform is that you stand out like a sore thumb. Yes, they will see you from a long distance. And they will hunt you down. We are not entirely defenseless, but we do not boast the survivability of a resto shaman, so we are a favorite target to single out and hunt.

Tips and Tricks

In PvP, Shadowform means being Focus Fired and killed. Hard.

Prove them wrong. Always keep shield up, fear when needed, use a Shadowfiend to hamper targets. And our Shadowform gives us a good defense against physical attacks with Inner FIre up. Sure, it’s not mail or plate armor, but it is still quite good.

If you do feel that you are continually pressed hard because of Shadowform, it may be best to stay out of Shadowform and pose as a Discipline priest. Even our holy spells pack a punch, and our opponents may mistake us for the current (priestly) kings of PvP and choose a more easy target.

Always, always stay at range. Close range to targets is bad. Make sure to stay behind trees, in holes or other obstacles to prevent line of sight. PvE mobs may be able to track you down to the end of the world, but human targets are limited to their own perception. Just remember you have your name hanging over your head in a big, red font size.

In PvE, the only real tip is that if your raid is being hit hard and your DPS is not needed for a moment, toss a few Prayer of Mending and Renew spells between your DoTs. Always keep your DoTs up, especially VT, but you can heal. Never forget that raid survival > your personal DPS score.

We are cold and practical, not stroking our epeens.

How will it be in Wrath of the Lich King?

The base foundation of our spell, now recognized for being iconic, will give us that holy grail of Melting Faces: Threat Reduction. That is right, our bread and butter form spell will have an innate 30% reduction in the threat caused by Shadow spells, equal to our beloved Blessing of Salvation. We will need this too, because the increase in DPS and VT becoming raid-wide will see us push out impressive amounts of threat, especially when using VE. We are truly blessed now.

In Wrath we will receive the talent Improved Shadowform, which will give us resistance to pushback caused by damage while casting spells. This is obviously handy in PvP as well as PvE, and a hint we may be looking at more raid-wide spread damage.

It will also give Fade the secondary effect of breaking roots and snares, which makes Fade useful in PvP and makes it into something more than an iffy tool to throw off hunter pets.

Now if only we’d be given a talent to increase the damage and resistance of our Shadowformto +20%/-20%, like those Shadowpriests in Shadow Labyrinth. That would be smexy.

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