Spell Focus: Mind Flay

Spell_Shadow_SiphonManaOur filler spell for a long time, Mind Flay is one of the clunkiest spells in terms of game mechanics ever invented. It is a shame that it has such utility for us (keeping Shadow Word: Pain on the target) that it cannot really be done without. So what makes this spell nice to have, and what makes it an ass to use?

The Spell

Mind Flay TooltipMind Flay is a channeled spell without cooldown, which ticks once every second. It has a comparitively short range, but has the added benefit of reducing the movement speed of the target by 50%. Of course, being channeled, this also means you cannot move while maintaining this spell and its speed debuff.

  • 57,2% coefficient, meaning that 100 spellpower will increase the damage dealt by this spell by 57,2
  • 3-second channel, no cooldown
  • Procs Shadoweaving with each tick


Several talents give a bonus to the use of Mind Flay, most prominently:

  • Mind Flay (Requires 10 points in Shadow): Gives you the use of Mind Flay, nuff said
  • Shadow Reach (Requires 15 points in Shadow): Increases the range of Mind FLay by 10% per point (max 20%)
  • Focused Mind (Requires 20 points in Shadow): Decreases the mana cost for Mind Flay by 5% per point (max 15%)
  • Mind Melt (Requires 25 points in Shadow): Increases the critical strike chance of Mind Flay by 2% per point (max 4%)
  • Shadow Power (Requires 30 points in Shadow): Increases the critical strike damage bonus on Mind Flay by 20% per point (max 100%) – this means that Mind Flay deals double damage on a crit instead of +50%
  • Misery (Requires 35 points in Shadow): Casting Mind Flay on the target gives a +1% chance per point for spells to hit it (max 3%) and increases the benefit of spellpower on Mind Flay by 5% per point (max 15%) – this means that the coefficient of Mind Flay is effectively raised to 72%
  • Pain and Suffering (Requires 40 points in Shadow): Casting Mind Flay has a 33%/66%/100% chance to refresh the duration of Shadow Word: Pain
  • Twisted Faith (Requires 45 points in Shadow): The damage from Mind Flay is increased by 2% per level (max 10%) if the target has Shadow Word: Pain on it

General Use

DoTs on the target? Mind Blast on Cooldown? Flay away. With sufficient amounts of Haste (around 400 or so I believe, will check for the maths later) you will be able to squeeze 2 Mind Flays in between a Mind Blast cooldown, which makes for a very smooth DPS cycle.

Pay attention that the 3 ticks of Mind Flay seem to be inevenly distributed; a previous bug with the spell was that the 2nd tick was almost at the end, and the 3rd tick after the spell had ended channeling. It still seems today that the ticks are not evenly at every second (or part thereof, due to Haste), which is why “clipping Mind Flays” (only allowing MF to tick once or twice to even out our spell casting) is a tough art to master.

Note that when using Mind Flay to refresh Shadow Word: Pain, that this will have to be done before SW:P has reached its last second or so of duration; often the Mind Flay will hit, but no longer refresh SW:P. This results in a loss of DPS because you have to recast it, and it starts ticking after 3 seconds from then. This may or may not be related to the bug where the ticks of MF are not evenly distributed.

Also, when MF refreshes SW:P, non-numerical (so %-based) improvements to SW:P will remain active for as long as you can keep it up. As an example:

  • SW:P is on the target, with 1000 spellpower, a +3% crit bonus and a special +50% damage bonus due to the encounter (Like Vezax’ black spots)
  • Before SW:P is refreshed, your spellpower increases to 1200
  • SW:P increases in power because of the 200 extra spellpower at the next tick
  • When you refresh SW:P, the 3% crit bonus and the +50% damage bonus are retained
  • You lose the 200 spellpower, and the next tick this causes SW:P to deal less damage
  • The 3% crit and the 50% damage bonuses are still there
  • You let SW:P drop off, and recast it on the target
  • The 3% crit and 50% damage bonuses are gone, because you no longer have them active

Because of this, it is possible to gain a huge damage bonus on SW:P (Hodir’s buffs, Vezax Black Spots, Twin Valkyr’s buff) as long as you keep SW:P refreshed through Mind Flay. This does not work on flat numerical increases (such as +200 crit rating or +200 spellpower), only on percentage-based buffs.

Caveat: This also goes for debuffs that reduce your damage done by 50% or your crit by 20% and the like…

The favored glyph for Shades, Glyph of Mind Flay, increases the range of Mind Flay by 10 yards, placing it on par with other spellcasters’ nukes. Previously it reduced the snare component of Mind Flay, but no longer.

As of Patch 3.3, the Glyph of Mind Flay increases MF damage by 10% if the target is afflicted by SW:P; this function was previously the Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain. MF base range has been increased to 30 yards.


One Response to “Spell Focus: Mind Flay”

  1. JimmyBean Says:

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, :)

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

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