The Shadow Priests Guide: Chapter Second – Theorycrafting, Stats Weight and Gear
In this second part of the Shadow Priest guide, we'll cover the aspects of gearing up properly, including picking the right pieces by calculating their stats weight, picking the best enchant for the same pieces, using the proper glyphs and socketing the best gems only.
If you want to make your toon a great Shadow Priest, you'll need to know how to choose your gear. Which stats are most important? Knowing how to correctly pack up everything including gear, enchants, gems and other enhancements will help you become a reliable damage dealer and a sought-after member for every raid and dungeon party.
Stats or Attributes Weight
Stats weight value is measured in damage per second per point of stats. For example, how much is 1 spell power worth? Knowing these will help you pick the best gear. The weight values are changing constantly but currently you can follow this handy litmus test.
Int > Hit (to cap) > Haste >/= Mastery > Crit
In other words, Intellect on your gear will be your best friend. As you start nearing the level cap, you'll want to keep an eye on your hit rating. As of Cataclysm and patch 4.0, you can simply mouse over your Spell Hit stat on your paper doll and see how you're doing. Once you've made the hit cap, you'll want to stack haste or mastery. Crit isn't nearly as much use to you as the other stats, and should be reforged whenever possible.
In the next section, we will examine the various Shadow Priest stats in great detail.
A Detailed Look at Shadow Priest Stats - Hit Rating and Intellect
Hit Rating: Probably the most important attribute, missing a spell is a pure loss of damage and mana. Keep in mind there are best combinations when you build your gear set – very hit heavy items are rarely useful because the only thing they are strong at is hit. However, if you look around you will find some decent pieces that do not just include hit rating but also additional attributes such as spell power or haste.
Intellect: After being hit capped this is the main stat to aim for. Got an empty socket? Fill it up with Intellect! The attribute just works perfectly with the class giving a nice boost to damage over time spells due to scaling. In addition, it kinda works passively as it's not chance or connection based. You Intellect increases your Spell Power, Mana pool and chance to critically hit.
A Detailed Look at Shadow Priest Stats - Haste, Crit and Spirit
Haste Rating: A very tricky stat, if I might say so. In general, haste is great, there is a big “but" after this statement though. It's very connection dependent: if you don't have a very fast connection and let's say 20-30ms latency, haste won't be that useful for you. You can't skip it however and you will need enough to be able to fit two Mind Flays in between a Mind Blast cooldown.
Critical Rating: The attribute increases the chance of every spell to land a critical strike – including damage over time spells. Keep in mind this is chance based, however in the long run it really doesn't matter.
Spirit: This basic stats also improves your hit chance. If you remember, the Spirit is being converted to Hit from the Twisted Faith talent.
Best Gear and Enchants
Now based on these stats values you can start building your gear. A general note from me - getting your tier set as fast as possible is the best option. First of all, most of them are the best in-slot items. Second, where they are not BiS, the other pieces are too hard to get and probably everyone in your guild will be hunting them. In other words, don't wait for those dream pieces; try to gear up decently with one of the three best items for a particular slot and pay attention to the set bonuses.
Collecting those items is not everything though. You need enchants, consumables and glyphs.
- Head - Arcanum of Hyjal; Requires revered with Guardians of Hyjal
- Shoulders - Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone; Requires exalted status with Therazane
- Back - Enchant Cloak: Greater Intellect
- Chest - Enchant Chest: Peerless Stats
- Bracers - Enchant Bracer: Mighty Intellect
- Gloves - Enchant Gloves: Greater Mastery
- Legs - Powerful Ghostly Spellthread unless a tailor, then Sanctified Spellthread
- Feet – Enchant Boots: Lavawalker
- Main Hand - Enchant Weapon: Power Torrent
- Off-Hand - Enchant Off-Hand: Superior Intellect
In addition, you can enchant your rings with 40 Intellect each if you are an Enchanter, you can change the shoulder enchant if you have Inscription or you can change the back enchant if you are a Tailor.
Glyphs and Sockets
Regarding the Glyphs: there is a little room for discussion here. There is a set of three glyphs that is most suitable for dps purpose. Your three Prime Glyphs should be Mind Flay, Shadow Word: Pain and Shadow Word: Death. For your Major Glyphs, make sure you have Spirit Tap. You can use whichever glyphs you like in the other two slots.
When the socket bonus gives less than 20 Intellect or 30 of another stat rating, ignore it in favor of gemming straight Intellect gems of the highest quality you can find. If you must use a yellow or blue gem, go for the Reckless Ember Topaz and either Veiled or Purified Demonseye.