“Failsafe” Shadowpriest gearing guide

After reading Yappo’s guide on “failsafe tank gearing” in this thread on Maintankadin, I decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make a similar guide and list for freshly dinged Shadowpriest. Like with Yappo’s guide, it will be based on a couple of basic assumptions, and with the caveat that the gear is not presented in any particular order. Rather, it gives you an idea what you can achieve in only a few weeks if you put your mind to it.


  • You can generally generate 150 gold per day from dailies, heroics and vendor trash
  • Once per day you can run a random heroic for 2 Emblems of Frost
  • At four Heroics per day, you will gain an average of 22 Emblems of Triumphs
  • When I link a Horde- or Alliance version of gear, it applies equally well to the other Faction


The first goal will be to be at the Hit Cap; this is a total of 158 Hit rating in heroics, and 446 Hit rating for raids. It is assumed you will have Misery and Shadow Focus for a total of 6% Hit – a Draenei is not assumed since you can’t always have a Draenei in your group unless you are one. This brings the total amount of required Hit rating on gear to 0 in Heroics (where the highest level mob is level 82) and 289 in raids.

Second, you will want to have a balanced amount of Haste and Crit, and the largest amount of Spellpower you can achieve. Once in raid content, Haste will become the decisive factor in gear.


These take zero time in Heroics, but will take a considerable amount of money or materials. However, you can pretty much be sure someone near you will be able to craft them, and they are a very good expenditure to make.

  • Merlin’s Robe (Chest): Plenty of Spellpower, Crit and Haste, combined with having three sockets make this robe a clear winner. Best enchant is +10 Stats.
  • Sash of Ancient Power (Belt): A belt with 43 Hit rating and 2 sockets is a godsend, especially since it offers Haste. Add a Belt Buckle with a Runed Cardinal Ruby.
  • Spellslinger’s Slippers (Feet): Even though they have Spirit, there’s a lot of Haste on these items. Best enchant (until you are Hit capped) is Icewalker, after that it’s Tuskarr’s Vitality.
  • Leggings of Woven Death (Legs): While very expensive due to needing Primordial Saronites, these legs are tailor-made (pun intended) for Shadowpriests. They will last you until well into ICC (and Hardmodes) so it is not a waste to have them crafted. Best enhancement is Brilliant Spellthread.
  • Hat of Wintry Doom (Head): A humble blue-quality item that nevertheless offers you a Metagem socket and 44 Hit rating. It is not very expensive to craft, and will require Heroic gear to replace. Best enchant is the Arcanum of Burning Mysteries. Assuming you have a level 80 main Exalted with the Kirin Tor, you can have it mailed to you alt since it is Bind on Account.
  • Bejeweled Wizard’s Bracers (Wrist): Another very good item, which, depending on your luck, may last you well into ICC. Best enchant is +30 Spellpower.

With this basic gear alone, you will already be hit-capped for Heroics, and well on your way to being Hit capped in raids. If you are at risk of being called into a raid before having more chances to gear up, my suggestion would be to get the Ebonweave Gloves crafted, which will add another 51 Hit rating. You will still be a way off the Hit cap, but it’s the best effort you can undertake.

Your Metagem of choice will be the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond (+21 Crit rating and 3% increased Crit damage). You will need to socket 2 blue gems, and I would advise to put a Purified Shadowpearl in your Bracers and Chest from the list above.

Normally, you would socket +23 Spellpower in any socket unless you socket a Reckless gem in a yellow slot or the socket bonus is +9 Spellpower or more. However, if you do happen to be called into a raid early (sometimes guildies love to give the new guy a chance) consider socketing Spellpower/Hit instead. No need to get crazy on these gems, but try to get at least 5%-6% Hit from gear before entering even a friendly guild raid.


Flameheart Spell Scalpel (Dagger, Kirin Tor Revered): A good chunk of Hit and an easily available weapon. Use a +50 Spellpower enchant on it.

Dagger of Lunar Purity (Argent Tournament, 25 Champion’s Seals): A nice upgrade from the Spell Scalpel once you make the Hit Cap, it is also relatively quick to get if you do your dailies.

Signet of the Kirin Tor (Expensive!): If you absolutely need a ring now and cannot wait, spending a few thousand gold on this ring (and its upgraded versions) is always an option. It is not very economical though, and if you plan to do ICC-10 runs soon and regularly, it is best to pass this one up.

Normal Mode Dungeons

The idea of a “Failsafe” gearing guide is that you are not depending on random drops, the fickle economy of the Auction House, or anything else that could leave you hanging for a long time. One of the advantages is then to use Normal mode dungeons, and then especially Trial of the Champion, Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron and Halls of Reflection. Bringing a group of guildies in can make quick work of these dungeons even if you are not fully geared from them, and the drops here are reasonable substitutes until you have the emblems for the better pieces.

See this gear listing from WoWHead for the Cloth Armor Pieces, Cloaks, Weapons and Miscellaneous Items that drop from these three dungeons on Normal mode, and farm it for those pieces you don’t have an upgrade for yet.

Week 1 (139/154 Emblems of Triumph)

Mantle of Catastrophic Emanation (45 Emblems of Triumph)

Hood of Fiery Aftermath (75 Emblems of Triumph)

Evoker’s Charm (19 Emblems of Triumph downgraded to Emblems of Conquest)

Week 2 (125/154 Emblems of Triumph)

Band of the Evoker (35 Emblems of Triumph)

Heartmender Circle (35 Emblems of Triumph)

Brimstone Igniter (25 Emblems of Triumph)

Tier9 Gloves (30 Emblems of Triumph)

Week 3 (25/154 Emblems of Triumph)

Ward of the Violet Citadel (25 Emblems of Triumph downgraded to Emblems of Heroism)

Sundial of the Exiled (40 Emblems of Triumph downgraded to Emblems of Heroism)


After these two/three weeks of gearing you are ready for raiding. Before you continue on, make sure that you have 10% Hit shown on your paperdoll. With 6% Hit from talents and 1% from a Draenei you will be Hit capped. If you have less than 10%, consider adding some Spellpower/Hit or even pure Hit gems, or enchant your weapon with the Accuracy enchant.

You will now also have the first option for spending your Frost emblems. Your primary choice here is based on your current gear. If you have really bad Hit on your gear, consider buying Maghia’s Misguided Quill and regemming/enchanting your Hit into Spellpower.

Otherwise, I would strongly recommend buying your Tier10 pieces, starting with the Shoulder and Head items. Run VoA once per week, and pray either the legs or gloves drop while saving up for the chest. Your gear choices from there will now move away from the “gearing up for raids” guide and into the domain of the raiders, so I refer you to the discussion on various way of combining raiding items for best effect on Shadowpriest.com.


I hope this guide will prove to be useful to someone, it is not entirely complete yet as I am bound to have forgotten one or two good items, and some items can also easily be obtained from the AH these days. I will add them soon.


5 Responses to ““Failsafe” Shadowpriest gearing guide”

  1. Wow. Great post. Really planned out and I’ll probably refer to this if i ever go shadow with my priest. :)


  2. Great list!

    How do you feel about using PVP gear to gear out a new priest? Obviously PVE is better but I have close to 14K spirit shards – this “could” equate to all wrathful and furious gear – then use your triumph badges for trinkets, rings and such.

    On a side note, could this same list be used for gearing a warlock?


    • You can use PvP gear; my rule of thumb is that PvP gear is worth as much as gear one tier lower. So, 232 PvP gear (iLevel equivalent to T9) is more like T8. The two obvious drawbacks are that a Furious piece of PvP gear (the best you can get before you need Arena rating) is about 55K honor average per piece. You would need 28 Commendations of Wintergrasp (sent from mains, for instance) which each costs 30 Stone Keeper’s Shards.

      Each piece would then set you back 840 shards, and as a 232 piece it is only worth as much as an iLevel 219 piece, which would drop from one of the ICC 5mans on Normal mode. It seems hard to justifiy the time required to use this gear to get ready for raids.

      The second, less obvious reason, is that getting into a heroic in full PvP gear, no matter how awesome, will make people cringe. Whether it is just psychological (since with iLevel 232 gear you should be able to do just fine in terms of damage) or it shows people you do not care enough to gear up to even get items crafted, you are bound to run into some vile discussions in heroics.

      And yes, you can use this gearing guide to gear up a Warlock, with one caveat: You will need to reach about 6% hit to be hit-capped for heroics, and Warlocks do not have our Misery talent, so they only get 3% Hit (assuming they take the Affliction talent for it). Other than that, the two classes are not so far apart in this aspect.

  3. I would like to add that the Wrathful cloak/Wrathful neck seem to be worth the hassle. I’ve got my priest up to most of the pieces you show here, but the raw sp/haste or crit, whichever you favor, seemed to be better than any of my other options.

    • In many cases PvP gear can function quite well, and it’s getting easier to obtain the lesser pieces as seasons advance. Do keep in mind that some stats are wasted, which is why I generally advise people to count it as “one tier lower” than it’s PvE counterpart.

      The only real consideration that is not pure game mechanics is that sometimes people with PvP gear in heroics get scolded for not having PvE gear, much in the way someone in full T10 in a BG is called out, despite the fact that this person might be quite viable that way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: