With 4.3 hitting US servers today and the EU following tomorrow I thought I'd create this thread for raiding shadow priests to share insight on the finest details of how to maximise performance in each of the 8 encounters.
Please share any of the smallest tips and tricks you find that may help, whether it's survivability or DPS... or anything else for that matter. Even if it seems obvious to you if you think it may help someone throw it in here!
Examples would be, flying on alysrazor. During the burn phase get as close to the boss as possible so when you're knocked back you have less distance to run to pick up new feathers.
On ragnaros you can mindsear off a felguard (or other pet if it will be following the mobs) to AoE the molten elementals more efficiently.
The examples are t12 (for obvious reasons), please share anything you find in t13!
You can safely dispersion the orb damage on the first boss without extra damage going to the other people sharing the dmg. You can also still attack the boss during the crystal spikes phase, just always run to where two spikes are close together and dps from inbetween them.
I wouldn't call that guide anything more than common sense, to be frank. I'm considering providing shadow priest-specific commentary dubbed over each of our guild's kill videos once I get around to making them. I wouldn't cover basic rotational information as things such as how to multi-dot and dps on the move should be known. Some quick tips from my initial impression of DS:
Morchok: Be sure to refresh VT before the black blood phase starts, as you wont have the opportunity to refresh it for a few seconds if it runs out during the stun/running for cover. Quickly scan the area for two adjacent rocks when the blood phase starts and position yourself between the rocks so that you can dps the boss while remaining outside of the blood.
Warlord: All about cd management. Time your cd's so that AA will always be up during the increased damage phase. This will likely mean you will need to delay your first AA.
Yor'Sahj: Quickly identify which add your raid will kill and position yourself midway between the add and the boss. It is very likely that you will be killing either the green or purple adds, so it's a good idea to favor these sides slightly in your positioning around the boss to minimize travel time. When the add spawns your goal is to maintain dots on Yor'sahj while dotting the globule of your choice. For the mana void, use sw:d as your mana is being sapped so you will retain 10%, disperse or use AA/fiend if necessary.
Hagara: Our raid dps was fairly high on this fight, so there wasn't enough time between the start of the fight and the first increased damage phase to use AA at the start and have it up for her vulnerability. Use AA at your own discretion based on raid dps; you want to use it during the increased damage. For the ice phase, you want to position behind where your raid is starting and preferably midway between two crystals. You will be able to multi dot both crystals with proper placement, and as long as your raid hasn't reached these crystals yet you should have decent, uninterrupted uptime on both. When the ice wave spawns, be sure to take the right side of it so you aren't forced to keep moving clockwise, and disperse through the next wave when it comes. Favor dps'ing the crystal to your right, as the next ice wave will force you to out-range it as you move clockwise.
Ultraxion: Not much to be said for maximizing dps. Attempt to use Heroic Will as close to the ability hitting as possible to spend as little time in the normal realm as possible.
Blackhorn: Perfect your multi-dotting. Snipe adds with low health with sw:d and mana should never be an issue. Position yourself near Blackhorn but not close enough to be interrupted by disrupting roar, so that you minimize the distance you have to move if targeted by shockwave. Attempt to line up AA coming off cd with the start of p2. Fiend whenever a melee add will live for the full duration of the pet.
Spine: Another exercise in multi-dotting. As the fight goes on more corrupted bloods will spawn and it will be advantageous to use mind sear over dots. Be careful not to mind sear too recklessly, as each additional corrupted blood that dies over the 9 needed will cause damage to the raid as well as the fact that the corrupted blood deaths should be staggered to avoid too much burst damage. Since the tendons are the only aspect of this fight requiring significant dps, be sure to line up cd's with their burn. Tendons are up long enough that you should use your normal rotation. Will need confirmation, but I believe dots continue to tick on the tendons even after they become untargetable (think Magmaw head); attempt to refresh dots before they are hidden if this is the case. Mind spike the tentacles which stun players to break them quickly.
Madness: Haven't found may "tricks" so to speak since none of the mechanics are particularly advanced, they just require adequate reflexes and knowledge of your priorities to perform well. Our guild kept Alex up until the end since we found that cauterize did nearly as much damage as the 20% Malygos buff provides as well as granting extra health. If your guild does not keep Alex up, you will want to immediately VT the blistering tentacles when they spawn. I found that they didn't live long enough with our dps to warrant using sw:p. Our guild's aoe was high enough to kill the regenerative bloods before they healed; if your guild can't kill them with aoe, you will need to use an assist macro on a designated dps along with a mind spike rotation seeing as multi-dotting these adds will only pad meters. Unless your guild has trouble making the final cataclysm cast, you will want to save cd's on the final platform so that they will be up for the final burn of Deathwing when you regain the damage buffs.
- Fill spare gcd's with shields. Often you will have to move for multiple globals, and DP has a funny way of not wanting to cast itself on back-to-back globals a good amount of the time. If sw:d is on cd I fill these gaps with shields most often, either on myself or another raider.
- Shuffle towards wherever your next objective will be during instant casts. Don't wait until Deathwing's limb is dead to move across the platform platform, slowly get there by moving during instant casts (you should be moving anyways during instant to force apparitions to proc, which will be increasingly useful once we get t13).
- Hold onto orbs when entering phases where you won't be able to dps (Hagara, in particular) so that you can begin the next phase with ES.
- Make cd maps beforehand based on past experience with the boss and by analyzing your logs. Proper cd management will make or break your dps with as many "weak point/massive damage" effects as there are in DS.
There really isn't too much to say for normal modes, but the heroic modes will surely be much more interesting and have more tricks for optimal dps.