Friday, August 15, 2008

How To: Shadow Priest in Karazhan

I've been looking over the traffic reports for this blog, and it seems that many people get here because they are looking for advice on what Shadow Priests should do in Kara. This one's for all of you.

First things first: remember that Shadow Priests (and Frost Mages and Warlocks) have the potential to significantly outgear most other classes at a Kara level. This includes tanks especially. Because we can complete our FSW set at 70, we're sitting on 3 purples the moment we step through the door to Kara. Many tanks won't be geared this well — there are a ton of tank drops in Kara that will help them catch up, but they may not be there just yet.

Because of this gear imbalance, a Shadow Priest will generally have to be extremely careful with their threat when running Kara with a fresh group. When you start to get Kara on farm it won't be so much of an issue, but it definitely is when you are just starting out. Keep an eye on your threat meter (you cannot run as a Shadow Priest without one) and make sure you are never at the top of the list.

Here are some Shadow Priest tips for each fight:

Do what all of the other ranged DPS are doing. That is, give the tanks a few moments to build threat, then go to town and make sure you don't out-threat them. You probably won't need to keep up VE during Attumen, as it should be just the tanks that are taking damage, and they probably aren't in your group.

When Attumen and Midnight join, make sure you stack up on their rear with everyone else. Their charge is nasty and you're squishy.


Priests, Shadow and Holy, can turn Moroes from a nightmare into a breeze. You have exactly one job in the Moroes fight: keep your target shackled. You've got the focus shackle macro, right?

#showtooltip Shackle Undead
/clearfocus [target=focus,dead][target=focus,help][target=focus,noexists]
/focus [target=focus,noexists]
/cast [target=focus] Shackle Undead

Generally, I find that if you reapply your shackle as each of the other mobs go down, you are probably okay. Or, if the rest of the DPS is going slowly, just count out 3 Mind Blasts between reapplications of your shackle. It's better to reapply the shackle far too soon than even a little too late. Your DPS for this fight is almost unimportant — always interrupt your spells to reshackle if you need to.

VE can be useful here to counteract the bleed effect from Garrote, but do be careful that you don't use it too soon and pull agrro from one of the mobs.

Most of the time, I don't SWD for this fight. It's not just the Garotte, but there is also and the potential for a long fight if the DPS is on the low side, meaning you need to be mana-conscious. If you run out of mana, you can't reapply your shackle.


Priests and Paladins are crucial for Maiden. If you are the only one, you are going to have a rough time of things. The DOT that Maiden applies must be dispelled. Again, that means that if you have to interrupt your DPS to dispel, that's okay. It helps to have an addon like Decursive so that you can see and dispel with a single click.

Other than that, just stand with your back to a pillar and go nuts.

VE is useful here, as you aren't worried about threat.

SWD is a double-edged sword: if you can time it right, it will get you out of the silence phase. But if you mistime it, especially if you happen to get DOTted at the same time, you can one-shot yourself. Use it with extreme caution.

Opera: Wizard of Oz

There isn't much for a Shadow Priest beyond DPS here. You might be asked to fear Tito when he comes out, if there are no Warlocks in your party. I don't normally throw in VE or SWD until after Dorothy goes down. (She may not have an aggro table, but the others certainly do, and remember that your VE draws aggro from every single mob, not just one one you are targeting.)

Opera: Big Bad Wolf

You may want to use your focused chain-shield macro here to help the transformed player stay up. Beyond that, do your best to stay away from the Wolf and DPS him down. If everyone can stay away from the Wolf you don't need to be worried about aggro, so VE and SWD as much as you would like.

Opera: Romulo and Julianne

Tank-n-spank. If you know that you aren't going to have mana issues, and have a pair of good tanks, you can DOT up both of them to help get them down faster.


Ignore everything going on around you except Curator. No matter what the RL tells the other ranged DPS to do (kill the sparks), you need to focus on Curator. If the other DPS is slow, you may need to shield yourself if you get a spark, but you shouldn't have to switch targets.

Keep up VE at all times, as there's going to be a fair amount of raid damage. You can SWD for most of the fight, but you may want to drop it towards the end when Curator begins to evocate. At that point you will be doing massive DPS, and you don't want to one-shot yourself.

Shade of Aran

Do not move during Flame Wreath!

Beyond that, do what everyone else is doing. When you see yourself get targeted by Shade, shield immediately — you're about to take a bunch of damage. Don't bother trying to Fade. You can try to fear the elementals when they pop, but don't count on it working 100% of the time.

You probably want to keep up VE for most of the fight, but be careful with it as it comes time for elementals to pop. You have the potential to draw immediate aggro from every one of them if VE is up, they pop, and you SWD crit. It should go without saying that if you see yourself get targeted, that would not be the best time to SWD.


Unlike Curator, for Illhoof you must switch targets to the chains whenever they come up. Yeah, your DPS is going to probably drop significantly for this fight. Beyond that, do what ranged DPS is doing.


Make sure you get a rotation in the blue beam, that you have VE up, and that you DO NOT use SWD when you are in it. Never stack higher than 30 or 35 stacks of the buff before stepping out of it. Give your tank time to get aggro when the banish phase is over — don't do anything dumb before the red beam comes back up.

Oh, and remember to check out your DPS while standing in the blue beam. You won't see that again until Sunwell.

Prince Malchezzar

You may have to help dispel DOTs on the MT — this is especially crucial at the 63% range before Phase 2 is started, as you don't want the tank going into Phase 2 with anything less than full health. If you get the axes on you, shield and ignore them.

VE is normally not really useful until after Phase 1 is over, at which point you should keep it up until the end of the fight. Watch the SWD — if you mistime it and SWD as an enfeeble hits, you're down.


Watch your aggro during the air phases and do not DOT Nightbane during this time. Keep VE up the entire fight. SWD should be timed so that you know you won't be standing in the fire when the backlash hits. That is, it's safer right after a charred earth has just popped and you aren't in it.


Ho Ho said...

"Watch your aggro during the air phases and do not DOT Nightbane during this time."

There are different tacktics for NB. One my last guild used was that I was separate from the rest of the group and nuked him in air as much as possible while keeping VE up. Somehow they got all the skeletons off me and killed them. I was quite well geared and could take quite a few percents off him during each phase. When he lands don't forget to fade.

apanthropesp said...

Interesting - I've never heard of anyone doing it that way. I guess if you mix this with a Paladin tank that can help aggro the skeletons, that's probably not a half-bad idea. I may have to suggest that the next time we try him.

Ho Ho said...

Unfortunately I've only done this strategy once. Next time I suggested it in pug they failed to get the skeletons off me and I got killed pretty fast. I'm not sure how they managed to do it in my old guild.

krizzlybear said...

You can safely nuke Nightbane in the air if you have a bunch of capable AoE'ers that can down the skeletons really fast. My guild is fortunate enough to have a pally offtank and 2 mages in the raid on many nights, and those three are good enough to tank and blizz down the skellys while the hunter, lock, and spriest nuke him out while in the sky. When he lands, our bear has awesome timing with taunting the guy back.