Into the shadows: Preparing for the show

On request I will dedicate a few posts on raiding as a Shadowpriest, starting out from a beginner’s point of view. Maybe you’re a Shade who just dinged 80, or a Holy who plays offtime melting faces – some things are the same for all of us. This post will be about preparations to make before the raids begins, and I will try to keep it relatively information-dense.

Basic raiding spec and Glyphs (beginners): Click here
4 points are left over; I like Improved Shadow Form and Improved Vampiric Embrace. If you have threat issues, go for Shadow Affinity. If you have issues with mana get Focused Mind.

The last major glyph could be Mind Sear (for trash), Dispersion (if you will soak Algalon AoE, and for general mana gains and survivability) or Shadow Word: Pain (for mana trickle).

Consumables and reagents

For your group buffs (Fortitude, Spirit and Shadow Protection) you will need Devout Candles, available from the reagent vendor. I usually carry 40 of these, enough to rebuff even if I am the only priest in a raid. If you need more, buy extras from Jeeves if someone puts it up for repairs, or get an Argent Squire his Pony Bridle and buy reagents from him when you need it.

Most raids use Fish Feasts, but if you happen to be in one without, carry some Firecracker Salmon or Tender Shoveltusk Steak to buff yourself up. If your gear does not get you hitcapped yet, use Snapper Extreme or Worg Tartare instead.

Bring along some Flasks of the Frostwyrm – at least one per hour you expect to be raiding. I like to carry a full stack, in case raids take longer and to prevent me having to buy them at inflated prices at the AH during raiding hours. Buy them when they’re cheap and in bunches. If you are doing easy content you won’t wipe in often, you can make due with Spellpower Elixirs and Elixirs of Mighty Thoughts.

Knowing where you’re going

If you are going to face bosses you haven’t done before, do all the preparations you can. See some videos, read the strategy, and practice them when possible. For instance, you know you have to prevent getting frozen on the Hodir encounter, which can be practiced at the last boss of Nexus. Malygos flight battles can be practiced by a daily flying quest in Coldarra.

Good places for tactics are Wowwiki, Bosskillers, Project Marmot at Tankspot and the boss descriptions at WoWHead. They feature detailed descriptions, what to do when certain abilities go off, videos of a fight in action and also commentary from people who have done the content before. The first time you do a new boss will still be a bit confusing (I know it is for me) but this way you give yourself the best chance possible.

Practice, practice, practice

Being a Shadowpriest is all about managing your DoTs while following instructions and making sure to stay alive. How you handle your spells should become second nature to you, muscle memory. A good start for this is practicing on a Boss-level target dummy, by simply going through your spell selection, keeping your DoTs up. You will learn how to time the renewal of your DoTs, how many Mind Flays you can squeeze in, how much lag/delay you have and the like. It will help you by making sure that when you need to focus on tactics and survival, you can keep up your spells without a second thought.

User Interface

Make sure all information you need is close at hand, especially your DoTs’  timer. I would recommend Ellipsis (…), DoTimer, ClassTimer or ForteXorcist as addons, which give you a series of countdown bars for your DoTs, so you have a good view of when to refresh them.

A bossmod like DXE (Deus Ex Encounters), Bigwigs Bossmods or Deadly Bossmods is essential to provide you with clear encounter warnings.

While meter whoring is not encouraged, it is good to know what you are doing. Install a threat meter like Omen, to make sure you know when to hold back. Paired with a damage meter like Recount or Skada, which give detailed overviews of damage done (and what spells you used, missed spells, etc.) this will give you a lot of valuable information on your performance. Study it from time to time, and see if it can help you improve. Recount and Skada also have inbuilt threat meters, if you want to save memory. Simply keep the threat meter up, and only switch to the damage meters when you need info.

Macros

There are a couple of handy macros to prepare beforehand, which will help you a lot when you are called out for a specific duty.

Mouse-over Dispel

#Showtooltip
/cast [target=mouseover] Dispel Magic

This macro will allow you to dispel nasty stuff off you and raid members by hitting the macro while hovering your cursor over the unit frame, or the target toon itself. You can replace Dispel Magic with Abolish Disease for an easier life when fighting Yogg-Saron, for example. For the macro icon, choose the question mark to display the spell icon.

Shackle on Focus Target

#Showtooltip Shackle Undead
/Clearfocus [Modifier:alt][target=focus, dead][target=focus,help][target=focus,noexists]
/focus [target=focus,noexsists]
/cast [target=focus]Shackle Undead

This macro will Shackle your target, and make it your focus. By clicking it again, it will re-cast Shackle on your focus target. If your target is dead, click it will remove the focus. You can also replace Shackle Undead with Mind Control to assist at Instructor Razuvious in Naxxramas, or the Warbringers at Thorim.

Shadowfiend, I choose you!

#showtooltip Shadowfiend
/cast [nopet] Shadowfiend
/petaggressive
/petattack
/cast [harm, pet] Shadowcrawl; [target=pettarget, pet] Shadowcrawl

This macro will summon your Shadowfiend and will set it on your target, using Shadowcrawl to get there quickly and get a damage buff.

Bubble on- Bubble off

#showtooltip Dispersion
/cancelaura Dispersion
/cast Dispersion

Stolen from the secrets of Paladins, this macro will cast Dispersion, and allow you to get out by clicking the button a second time. This way, if you are using Dispersion to survive a single blow, like Algalon’s Big Bang or Festergut’s AoE, you can quickly resume DPS after the damage passed.

Conclusion

These basic bits of knowledge will help you prepare for your raids, and stay prepared. Next I will discuss raiding behavior, some common tips and tricks for Shadowpriests, and how to be best friends with your healers.

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5 Responses to “Into the shadows: Preparing for the show”

  1. Have just come back to the class after about a year away playing something else, whilst I picked up a lot of information from spriest.com and everywhere, of course, I hadn’t come across any decent macros yet – so for that I think I love you! ;) Nice guide, thanks :)

  2. Thanks for the compliment!

  3. Thank you very much for the post. I appreciate the follow up on the request!

  4. Rather than having a separate threat and damage meter, I just use Skada for both. You can have it set so that it has a set view when you are in combat, Threat, and then when you leave combat it goes to what you were last looking at, I keep it on Damage for Current Fight. This also accomplishes keeping your eyes off of the DPS chart when they should be watching for fire to appear under your feet.

    • Yups, as I mentioned both Recount and Skada have inbuilt threat meters, and Skada also has the option of pulling the threat meter into a separate window, if you need that.

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