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  1. #1

    Kilee’s “Old Man” Guide to CoP Shadowpriest (PVE, CoP only, 6.2.3)

    Kilee's "Old Man" CoP Shadowpriest Guide

    Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Character Setup
    3. Cast Rotations
    4. Gear
    5. FAQ
    6. The End

    1. Introduction

    Hello and welcome to my Clarity of Power Shadowpriest guide. My name is Kilee, and I have been playing and raiding in World of Warcraft for over 10 years. The guide that you are about to read is a labor of love, born out of my passion for self improvement and sharing information with others. Please feel free to ask questions within this guide's thread or through PMs. I welcome feedback and discussion, and I will try my best to respond to you.

    Why only Clarity of Power?

    The priest class has become very complex with the addition of level 100 talent choices in Warlords of Draenor (henceforth, WoD). Each talent choice represents a very different play style and a very different way to gear and to think. I do not feel that these play styles are very compatible, and so it is easier for me to think of them as different talent specializations. My preference would be that there are two additional "sibling" guides, one each for Auspicious Spirits and Void Entropy.

    I have chosen to write about Clarity of Power (henceforth, CoP) because I feel that it is new and exciting. Of all the level 100 talents, CoP offers a new play style for priests that did not exist in previous expansions. I find the spec to be both fun from a gameplay perspective and interesting from a theorycrafting perspective as well. For me, CoP breathed new life into the priest class. To complement this, CoP is (in my opinion) the easiest of the three specs to play, the easiest to gear for, and it requires the least amount of setup. Because of that, I feel that CoP is the DPS spec that most new priests will (and dair I say should) learn to play first. In my opinion, there really is a lot to love about playing CoP, and I hope that you will feel the same way too.

    Who is this guide for?

    This guide is intended for both new and old players. My goal is to write a guide that everyone can follow and understand, and to provide information in a concise way that will be easy to digest in small sections. My hope is that someone just reaching level 100, who is completely new to playing a shadowpriest, could read this guide and start playing and having fun in the same night.

    2. Character Setup

    In the Specialization & Talents menu, select Shadow (damage) as your Active specilization, then go to each of the following tabs and make your selections.

    Talents

    15
    Desperate Prayer - Gives you a personal healing cooldown that you can control.
    Spectral Guise - This talent can be used to cancel out some boss abilities that target you.
    Angelic Bulwark - I feel that this is a more reliable talent than Desperate Prayer because it activates automatically and has a shorter cooldown. This is my default.

    30
    Body and Soul - A very quick speed boost that you can control and combine with a mitigation spell and a damage glyph. This is my default.
    Angelic Feather - An improved speed boost over B&S because it can be cast up to 3 times and used on other players. However, it doesn't combine with a mitigation/attack ability like B&S.
    Phantasm - It can be extremely useful if a fight has a slow mechanic that you need to avoid.

    45
    Surge of Darkness - Intended for mobility and multi-target fights at lower gear levels. Outscaled by other abilities later in the game, but can be useful at low gear levels.
    Mindbender - A very good single target DPS ability that does a lot of damage and is on a short cooldown. This is my default without the T18 class trinket.
    Insanity - An ability that allows you to burst for higher single target and AE damage, at the cost of less sustained single target damage than Mindbender. Very useful, and can overtake Mindbender when combined with T17 4P or the class trinket.

    60
    Void Tendrils - Can root a group of targets that are attacking you. This is my default.
    Psychic Scream - Can fear a group of targets that are attacking you. Can sometimes be used as an interrupt too.
    Dominate Mind - Allows you to control a target for a short period of time, but most targets are immune and you lose control of your character.

    75
    Twist of Fate - A very powerful execute talent that can be procced often during most fights. This is my default.
    Power Infusion - A damage cooldown in the form of a large amount of haste. It could be valuable to push a particular phase or kill a particular target, but is generally weaker than Twist of Fate.
    Shadowy Insight - It does not work well with Clarity of Power, and is generally thought of to be a "null" talent choice.

    90
    Cascade - A potent form of controlled AE that will only attack targets in combat. Safest and most reliable talent in this tier. This is my default.
    Divine Star - A very weak form of AE with a limited range, and is generally thought of to be a "null" talent choice.
    Halo - A potentially stronger spell than Cascade when used against tightly packed targets, but it can be difficult to use due to range issues. It can be dangerous in 5-man dungeons because it can accidentally pull targets that are outside of combat.

    100
    Clarity of Power - The default talent for this guide.

    Glyphs

    The following Major Glyphs are my default for most fights.

    Glyph of Reflective Shield - A very strong damage ability that is combined with your primary source of damage mitigation. This should be considered a mandatory glyph.
    Glyph of Fade - Turns Fade into a damage mitigation ability that is off the GCD. This should be considered a mandatory glyph.
    Glyph of Vampiric Embrace - A very strong glyph that boosts your main raid utility spell.

    I sometimes use Glyph of Mind Blast or Glyph of Free Action in place of Glyph of Vampiric Embrace. Glyph of Mind Flay can be useful if you are playing with the level 45 talent Insanity, but it removes your ability to slow targets in trade. I also see people using Glyph of Restored Faith as a sort of poor-man's Blink occasionally.

    You can choose whatever Minor Glyphs you like.

    Stat Weights

    When playing CoP, there are four distinct stages of progression that you will go through as you progress through WoD. The set of stat weights you use depends upon what type and level of gear you have. When looking at the following weights, find the set that applies to you, and then use that to pick gear, enchants, and gems. You can import these stat weights into a stat weight mod or program so that you can see which items are BIS items. There is a Pawn string for each set that you can use to import.

    Tier 18 Class Trinket - Use these after you get the Repudiation of War class trinket from Tier 18 Normal mode or higher. Refer to the rotation section of the guide for more information on which set of stat weights would work best for you.

    Mastery - For high single target burst during short fights and farm content.

    Int: 1
    SP: 0.9065
    Mastery: 0.9775
    Crit: 0.7255
    Multi: 0.7202
    Vers: 0.7023
    Haste: 0.5219

    Pawn:
    Code:
    ( Pawn: v1: "Priest: Shadow CoP": Intellect=1, Multistrike=0.7202, HasteRating=0.5219, MasteryRating=0.9775, CritRating=0.7255, SpellPower=0.9065, Versatility=0.7023 )

    Haste - For a versatile play style that performs well during long fights and progression.

    Int: 1
    SP: 0.91
    Haste to 35%-38%: 0.98
    Mastery: 0.85
    Crit: 0.7
    Multi: 0.69
    Haste: 0.65
    Vers: 0.63

    Pawn:
    Code:
    ( Pawn: v1: "Priest: Shadow CoP": Intellect=1, Multistrike=0.69, HasteRating=0.98, MasteryRating=0.85, CritRating=0.7, SpellPower=0.91, Versatility=0.63 )

    Tier 18 - Use these after you get your 2-piece set bonus from Tier 18 Normal mode or higher.

    Int: 1
    SP: 0.9121
    Haste: 0.7423
    Mastery: 0.7274
    Crit: 0.6915
    Multi: 0.6618
    Vers: 0.6258

    Pawn:
    Code:
    ( Pawn: v1: "Priest: Shadow CoP": Intellect=1, Multistrike=0.6618, HasteRating=0.7423, MasteryRating=0.7274, CritRating=0.6915, SpellPower=0.9121, Versatility=0.6258 )

    New Priest to Tier 18 LFR - Use these when you hit level 100, and continue until you get the Normal mode Tier 18 2 piece set bonus.

    Int: 1
    SP: 0.8816
    Mastery: 0.7810
    Haste: 0.6350
    Crit: 0.6171
    Multi: 0.6130
    Vers: 0.5455

    Pawn:
    Code:
    ( Pawn: v1: "Priest: Shadow CoP": Intellect=1, Multistrike=0.6130, HasteRating=0.6350, MasteryRating=0.7810, CritRating=0.6171, SpellPower=0.8816, Versatility=0.5455 )

    Enchants

    Pick the one that correlates to your highest secondary stat weight.

    Neck: Gift of Haste or Gift of Mastery
    Cloak: Gift of Haste or Gift of Mastery
    Ring: Gift of Haste or Gift of Mastery
    Weapon: Mark of Bleeding Hollow*

    *Note: Bleeding Hollow is the best enchant for CoP regardless of stat weights.

    Gems

    Pick the one that correlates to your highest secondary stat weight.

    Immaculate Haste Taladite or Immaculate Mastery Taladite

    Consumables

    The raid feast gives 100 haste, and this is okay for farm content, but use these better foods for progression. Pick the one that correlates to your highest secondary stat weight.

    Food: Buttered Sturgeon or Sleeper Sushi or Felmouth Frenzy*

    *Note: Only use Felmouth Frenzy if you are not a Pandaren and in iLevel 700 gear or lower.

    Healing Potion: Healing Tonic or Shieldtronic Shield*

    *Note: Healing Potions do not share the same cooldown as Combat potions. These are better than warlock Healthstones.

    Combat Potion: Draenic Intellect Potion

    Flask: Greater Draenic Intellect Flask

    Other: Focus Augment Rune or Empowered Augment Rune*

    *Note: The Empowered Augment Rune is reusable and purchasable after reaching exalted with the Hand of the Prophet (Alliance) or Vol'jin's Headhunters (Horde).

    Race

    Pandaren are technically the strongest race in terms of average damage, due to their racial food bonus that scales very well at the end of the game. However, this scaling is not noticeable at the lower gear levels, and some of the other racial abilities can be more useful and convenient.

    Addons

    This is a short list of Addons that I either use or recommend when playing a shadowpriest. There are many more addons, so please do not think of this as a comprehensive list. Rather, I have selected a few of my favorites.

    BonusRollPreview - Shows you what gear you can get from a bonus roll after killing a boss.
    Deadly Boss Mods - Raid announcements mod. Generally considered mandatory these days.
    Exorsus Raid Tools - Has some useful boss mod helpers (similar to Deadly Boss Mods).
    Gnosis - A cast bar addon that shows latency.
    Grid or sRaidFrames - A replacement for the default raid frames.
    HaloPro - A cast bar to help judge good distance when casting Halo. Works with other level 90 talents too.
    MBB - A button bar addon that consolidates all your addon buttons.
    NeedToKnow - I use this addon for cast bars, buffs, and debuffs. It has replaced my old DoT timer addon.
    Pawn or Stat Weight Score - A gear addon to help you pick item upgrades. I've leaned more towards Stat Weight Score lately because of how it handles valor upgrades.
    Recount or Skada - A damage metter addon. Turn these off when raiding, if you notice a decrease in game performance. I do not raid progression with damage meters turned on.
    Simple Shadow Orbs - Moveable shadow orb indicator.
    Tidy Plates - Some customizeable nameplates.
    WeakAuras 2 - A notification addon that helps with timers and various types of information.

    Macros

    There's a lot of really useful things that you can do with macros. Here's a few of my favorites just to give you an idea of the kinds of things you can do with them.

    Focus

    Code:
    /focus
    Attack Focus

    with shift key:
    Code:
    #showtooltip Shadow Word: Pain
    /cast [nomod] Shadow Word: Pain
    /cast [modifier:shift, target=focus] Shadow Word: Pain
    with right mouse button:
    Code:
    #showtooltip Shadow Word: Pain
    /cast [button: 1] Shadow Word: Pain
    /cast [button: 2, target=focus] Shadow Word: Pain
    Power Infusion with Mind Blast

    Code:
    #showtooltip Mind Blast
    /cast [modifier: shift] Power Infusion
    /cast Mind Blast
    Shield Me

    Code:
    #showtooltip Power Word: Shield
    /cast [target=player] Power Word: Shield
    Dispersion with Cancel

    Code:
    #showtooltip Dispersion
    /cast [button: 1] Dispersion
    /cancelaura [button: 2] Dispersion
    3. Cast Rotations

    This section is divided into various talent and gear choices that might affect your cast rotation while playing your shadowpriest. All of these sections are important, and you should have a good working knowledge of all of them if you wish to master CoP.

    Mindbender

    Mindbender is the default level 45 talent for CoP. If you are a new level 100 shadowpriest, this is the talent that you will be using the most, until you pick up the Tier 18 class trinket, Repudiation of War. The play style is based on a "priority" system that looks like this.

    High Priority
    1. Shadow Word: Death
    2. Mind Blast
    3. Devouring Plague

    Filler
    4. Mindbender
    5. Cascade (when DP is ticking or when more than one target is in combat) (Halo could also be used here)
    6. Power Word: Shield (when DP is ticking and you are taking damage)
    7. Mind Spike

    However, there's a little bit of a learning curve involved. The most important thing to understand about the Mindbender rotation is that you should be casting Mind Blast on cooldown. This is so important that almost nothing else matters. It should be your greatest endeavor to cast it as often as possible. In between Mind Blast’s cooldown, you have time to fit in three other spells. The "flow" of the cast rotation should feel like... Mind Blast, 3 spells, Mind Blast, 3 spells.. infinity.

    The sequence that you cast spells matters, and the secret to getting really good DPS with Mindbender is learning all the little rules that determine the sequences of spells.

    When Devouring Plague is available to cast, do not to cast it immediately! Rather, hold off casting it until 1 GCD before Mind Blast (or another instant cast spell). You do this so that you can avoid Mind Spiking off the dot that is applied when it is cast. For even more damage, you can follow this up with 2 or 3 instant cast spells. You will occasionally cut off DP’s dots with Mind Spike, either because your instant cast spells are unavailable or you just cast DP at a bad time. If this happens, don't worry about it. It is far more important to always be casting than to lose a few ticks of DP.

    If you are playing this spec correctly, you will be using Power Word: Shield liberally. Shield does two very important things. One is that it does very good damage while also keeping you from dying. Second, it bridges the gap between Mind Blast and the last Devouring Plague tick so that you don't cut it off with a Mind Spike.

    However, sometimes it's not always a good idea to cast Power Word: Shield on cooldown. There are two main reasons why this might happen. The first is that you have a disc priest in your raid who will not heal you if you shield yourself (basically this is not worth fighting over, and you should yield to them if it becomes an issue). The second situation is if you need a speed boost at critical points in a fight (this might actually be worth talking out with your disc priest if it becomes an issue, because it can become one of your core survival tactics).

    Whenever a target falls below 20%, you'll be able to cast Shadow Word: Death, and things can become a little tricky. The rule of thumb is that if your target is about to die, you should cast Shadow Word: Death first (ahead of Mind Blast). However if your target will live long enough to use Death as a filler, you should cast Mind Blast first instead. Death can also be used to keep Devouring Plague ticking a little bit longer too, and sometimes you can line up your spells better if you keep this in mind. Execute phases always get a little chaotic and really it just takes a little getting used to. It can often feel a little bit like playing "whack-a-mole" with your high priority spells, but that's ok and it can even get kinda fun once you get used to it.

    The final big "trick" to playing Mindbender CoP is that you can bank (save) orbs rather than spending them as soon as you get 3. This is a crucial thing to learn because it allows you to save extra damage for high priority targets. Once you get to 5 orbs, you must cast Devouring Plague before your next Mind Blast (even if this means delaying Mind Blast), but apart from that you can continue to save a few orbs throughout the fight in case an add pops up that needs to be killed quickly.

    A typical rotation with Mindbender would look like this:

    Mind Blast
    Mindbender
    Mind Spike x2
    Mind Blast
    Mind Spike x3
    Mind Blast
    Mind Spike x2
    Devouring Plague
    Mind Blast
    Power Word Shield or Cascade
    Mind Spike x2
    ...repeat until execute...
    Mind Blast
    Shadow Word: Death x2
    Devouring Plague
    Mind Blast
    Power Word: Shield or Cascade
    etc...

    AOE

    AOE with Mindbender CoP is very weak compared to many other classes, but that doesn't mean it's not worth doing at all. The basic strategy is to just keep up your single target priorities, and use Mind Sear as a filler that's just above Mind Spike. Whenever a target within the pack gets low on health (20%), you switch to it and go into your single target "execute" rotation until it is dead, then go back to filling with Mind Sear. Rinse and repeat until Mind Sear is no longer worth casting. You need at least 5-6 targets for it to be worth casting Mind Sear.

    It's almost a complete waste of time to cast DoTs with Mindbender, and the only time you should bother is on council style fights where a second target will be alive for an extended period of time. If you do cast dots, use them as filler spells, just above Mind Spike in priority, but never on your current target.

    Gameplay Video

    Here is a video showing how the Mindbender cast rotation works. Pay close attention to how I'm casting Mind Blast on Cooldown and weaving filler spells after every Devouring Plague.



    Insanity

    Before we get too deep into talking about cast rotations with Insanity, I think it's important to stop and talk a little bit about Insanity's role as a talent. What I am about to say may sound controversial, but it is true. In default gear, using default cast rotations, Insanity does worse DPS than Mindbender. And, once you get Tier 18 2P from Normal mode raids, Insanity does significantly worse DPS than Mindbender. The only way to make Insanity semi-competitive with Mindbender is to either wear special gear, AOE a lot, or cast DoTs in a special sequence that will allow you to chain non-Mind Spike spells for a long period of time (this is called DoTWeaving). Insanity as a talent is mainly intended as a "burst DPS" talent, to give you short moments of high dps at the cost of having lower overall average DPS.

    Here are the three different scenerios where Insanity can be used in WoD.

    DoTWeaving

    In case it is not clear enough in the text below, DoTWeaving is not necessary to learn in order to play CoP.

    The basic idea for DoTWeaving is to keep casting Mind Blast until you have 4 shadow orbs, and then cast a very specific sequence of spells that includes Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch. You have to keep casting non-Mind Spike spells for about 12-15 seconds, so that these dots are able to tick for most of their full strength.

    The drawback to casting like this is that if you mess up DoTWeaving (or simply don't do it at all) a few times in a given fight, you won't do as much DPS compared to just taking Mindbender. In addition to this, you will have far less mobility while executing this cast sequence, you will have a hard time switching targets, and small interruptions will kill the cast sequence, which will also cause you to lose DPS. There are other reasons why DoTWeaving is not a good cast style anymore, such as stats escalation at end game, or patches throughout WoD that have changed spell damage. What I'm trying to get across to you is that DoTWeaving in the current game state is dead. It's risky and frustrating to do, and barely worth the effort.

    Now that you (hopefully) understand the drawbacks of DoTWeaving, here's how you do it. Just after the Mind Blast that gives you a 4th shadow orb, execute the following Cast Sequence:

    Mind Blast (4)
    Mind Spike
    Mind SPike
    Shadow Word: Pain
    Mind Blast
    Vampiric Touch
    Devouring Plague
    Insanity (2 ticks)
    Mind Blast
    Insanity (4 ticks)
    Devouring Plague
    Mind Blast
    Insanity (2 ticks)
    Insanity (4 ticks)
    Mind Blast

    Use some filler instant casts here until your dots stop ticking. Then build back up to 4 orbs and start the sequence over again.

    There's a couple areas where you can "break" this cast sequence and still keep it going. At any point where you see the first 2 ticks of Insanity, you could instead cast a filler spell such as Shield, Shadowfiend, or a L90 talent. There's enough Insanity buff left over that you can still catch the tail end of it and keep going in the sequence. It takes a little practice, but you can get a little bit of much-needed mobility from it.

    The cast sequences get easier to do the more haste you have, but various large amounts of haste (such as during trinket procs or heroism) can throw off your timing and make it more difficult. During especially large haste buffs, you will finish the cast sequence faster than the dots fall off. You can postpone casting Mind Spike and clipping the dots by using some instant cast filler spells. I've seen some people come up with various cast sequences based on haste levels, but just padding it out with a few instants at the end is really all you need to learn how to do. It's better and easier just to learn one sequence and master it rather and trying to switch between different ones.

    (If you have the Tier 17 4P set bonus, the cast sequence changes, and DoTWeaving is significantly stronger. However, since Tier 17 is old content at this point, I have removed this information from the guide.)

    One final important note. Once you get to 20%, stop DoTWeaving! Spike off the DoTs if you have to with Mind Spike. Then just go into a normal Mindbender-style exectute rotation, filling with Insanity whenever you can.

    Gameplay Video

    Here is a video showing how the DoTWeaving cast rotation works. Notice in the video how I just kind of go off the rails at some points and don't even follow the cast sequence. This is one of the tricks to DoTWeaving well - just get to a point where you can kind of pad your time out with "whatever" and still muddle through it. You'll have to get to a point where you can do that because fights get pretty chaotic and you'll have to get creative to keep it going while moving and dodging boss abilities. I won't deny that's part of the charm of DoTWeaving - it's just a shame that it doesn't result in much extra DPS for all that effort.



    AOEing with Insanity

    Normally I wouldn't give AEing its own section, but in the case of Insanity, I feel that it needs it, because this is an extremely valuable tactic for you to master. Insanity boosts your AE by a tremendous amount, and it allows you to be able compete decently with many other classes in the game in AE situations. This is useful on fights that have frequent small adds.

    The cast sequence for Insanity foregoes DoTWeaving in favor of building orbs for the express purpose of using them for Searing Insanity, and looks like this:

    Mind Blast (3 orbs)
    Mind Spike
    Devouring Plague
    Searing Insanity (2 ticks)
    Mind Blast
    Searing Insanity (until Mind Blast comes off cooldown)
    Mind Blast
    Mind Spike x3
    Mind Blast (3rd orb)

    Repeat for sustained AE, switching to low health mobs and breaking out of it early in order to go into an execute rotation.

    As short as this section is, it's pretty much the best and entire reason someone should learn CoP with Insanity. You need to get really good at doing AOE with CoP and Insanity because it's practically mandatory on some fights with lots of small adds. Remember that if you're taking this talent in order to AOE, you can combine it with the DoTWeaving method above and swap back and forth between play styles during the fight.

    Just as it was with Mindbender, it's almost a complete waste of time to cast DoTs with Insanity, and the only time you should bother is on council style fights where a second target will be alive for an extended period of time. If you do cast dots, use them as filler spells, just above Mind Spike in priority, but never on your current target.

    Gameplay Video

    Here is a video showing how AOEing with Insanity works. There's nothing special to add about the video. It's pretty straightforward.



    Repudiation of War

    Our class trinket, Repudiation of War (RoW), is very powerful with CoP! Even the lowest version is best in slot by a wide margin. In addition to this, the best talent to take with RoW is Insanity, so that is why I have placed it in this section. Once you get this trinket, you can safely use it for the remainder of WoD, and once you master its use, you should be able to blow away any other talent and trinket combination.

    Should I go Haste or Mastery?

    There are two valid gear arrangements that work with your class trinket - a haste build and a mastery build. If you look at the damage of each build by fight length, you get a chart that looks like this.



    To explain what is happening, during Bloodlust/Heroism you will hit the GCD cap (global cooldown), which makes Haste nearly worthless for about 40 seconds. A Mastery build takes advantage of this by loading all of its damage during this 40 second window. Haste then eventually catches back up with the Mastery build if the fight continues out past 2 to 5 minutes (depending on what gear you have access to).

    There are several things to consider when deciding whether to go haste or mastery.

    1. If your guild is weak or average, or if your iLevel is low, a haste build will provide better damage.
    2. Haste does better AE (Searing Insanity), while Mastery does nothing for AE.
    3. It's easier to switch targets with a Haste set, and you will lose less damage for doing so.
    4. But the highest iLevel items tend to work better with mastery builds (ie. they scale better).
    5. And fights tend to get shorter the more you do them.

    To sum up, haste is a more well-rounded build, and will allow you to cover more raid roles. This would be very useful if you are still progressing in HFC, and chewing glass on some difficult fights. Mastery in comparison is very specialized and works better on shorter fights, and ultimately scales better has access to better-itemized gear.

    My recommendation if you are progressing through HFC, is to adjust your play style based on your raid to give yourself the strengths and weaknesses that you feel will help your raid the most.

    Cast rotations with Repudiation of War

    There's a pretty steep learning curve to using RoW. When you first start using it, you may get frustrated trying to keep the debuff up. You will need to figure out a way to track it, either using a weak aura or a debuff tracker like NeedToKnow (that is what I use).

    If you are used to the Mindbender rotation, you will have to unlearn a few habits that you've picked up along the way.

    1. It is no longer worth it to cast dots on off-targets, except an occasional Shadow Word: Pain if you are wanting to proc Twist of Fate on targets below 35% for the 15% damage bonus.
    2. Halo and Cascade are not worth casting unless moving or hitting many targets.
    3. Power Word: Sheild's reflection damage is a loss, and should only be used as a damage reduction ability, rather than a true damage spell.
    4. Switching targets represents a huge loss of damage (about 10-15k over the course of a typical fight), and you will need to rebuild the debuff stacks every time you switch.
    5. Shadow Word: Death is generally considered a damage decrease, and the spell should only be used when moving or switching targets. (Or with very low gear levels.)

    Opening Rotation

    Your opening rotation depends on how many orbs you have. For all of the below, start with a pre-cast (usually Mind Spike, but Halo or Cascade works too) at 1 second prior to pull.

    0-1 orb

    Mind Blast
    Shadowfiend
    Mind Flay (1 GCD)
    Mind Flay (1.5 GCD)
    Mind Blast

    2-4 orbs
    Mind Blast
    Shadowfiend
    Devouring Plague
    Insanity (1 GCD)
    Mind Blast
    Insanity (2 GCDs)

    5 orbs

    Shadowfiend
    Devouring Plague
    Mind Blast
    Insanity (1 GCD)
    Insanity (2 GCDs)
    Mind Blast

    Starting with 5 Shadow Orbs yields the highest opening burst, when combined with the Legendary ring.

    Haste Rotation

    The haste rotation requires you to stack haste up to around 35% to 38% haste. The amount you need depends on your latency. The goal with this build is to get enough haste to cut Mind Flays out of the rotation completely.

    This rotation looks like this:

    Mind Blast (1 orb)
    Shadowfiend
    Mind Flay (2 ticks)
    Mind Flay (3 ticks)
    Mind Blast (2 orbs)
    Mind Spike x3
    Mind Blast (3 orbs)
    Mind Spike
    Devouring Plague
    Insanity (2 ticks)
    Mind Blast (1 orb)
    Insanity (4 ticks)
    Mind Spike
    Mind Blast (2 orbs)
    Mind Spike x3
    Mind Blast (3 orbs, the sequence starts to repeat here)
    Mind Spike
    Devouring Plague
    Insanity (2 ticks, the first tick refreshes the debuff, and the rotation repeats)

    This rotation will be the best DPS you can get out of Repudiation of War while outisde of the effects of Heroism and execute range.

    During Heroism, you just stick to the above rotation, even though it may feel like you can switch to a 2-fill rotation, that is a significant loss of DPS (in short, any wait time is bad).

    Mastery Rotation

    That brings me to the second viable rotation, which involves dropping all haste in favor of a full mastery build. The idea behind this set is to minimize the number of Mind Flays that you have to cast, using Heroism and a strict cast rotation outside of it.

    During Heroism, you just use the above haste rotation until it's over. After Heroism is over, you use a 4-orb "Build Spend" rotation, that looks like this.

    Mind Blast (1 orb)
    Shadowfiend
    Mind Flay (2 ticks)
    Mind Flay (3 ticks)
    Mind Blast (2 orbs)
    Mind Spike x3
    Mind Blast (3 orbs)
    Mind Flay (2 ticks)
    Mind Spike x2
    Mind Blast (4 orbs)
    Mind Spike
    Devouring Plague
    Insanity (2 ticks)
    Mind Blast (2 orbs)
    Insanity (4 ticks)
    Mind Spike
    Mind Blast (3 orbs)
    Mind Spike
    Devouring Plague
    Insanity (2 ticks)
    Mind Blast (1 orb, the sequence starts to repeat here)
    Insanity (4 ticks)

    Execute Rotation

    With a haste build, you don't change anything. You just continue to do the flayles rotation listed above. You can use Deaths when moving, but try to limit this as much as possible.

    With a mastery build, you can either continue to do the rotation listed above, or fill with Deaths only when shadow orbs are less than 3 (thus eliminating Mind Flays). Either method is fine and does about the same damage.

    Gameplay Video

    Here are videos showing how the haste and mastery rotations work. I used Drums of War to show how Heroism is handled for both builds, and took the dummy into execute range to show that is handled as well.





    Surge of Darkness

    In case it is not clear enough in the text below, Surge of Darkness is not necessary to learn in order to play CoP.

    Surge of Darkness can be useful in council style fights, or fights where you need a very high amount of mobility. You should only ever use it when you have a second target that you can cast dots on. Please note however, that Surge of Darkness does not scale very well. Once you get into Tier 18 gear, it becomes a "null" talent choice, and not worth taking.

    The cast rotation involves setting a focus on a secondary target, and then using DoTs as filler spells on that target while maintaining a single target rotation on your main target.

    The only interesting trick you can do with this is to cast Devouring Plague on your focus target, which will remove the need to worry about accidentally cutting off the dot. You can maintain this rotation with up to 3 targets before it starts to just completely fall to pieces.

    Gameplay Video

    Here is a video showing how Surge of Darkness and off-dotting works with three targets (ie Council Fights). This is a real pain to maintain, but also kind of fun once you start getting good with it. Bare in mind that once you get Repudiation of War, you don't need to learn how to do this.

    Also as a side note, it took me about a month of practice before I could play it well in raid environments. You may have to work at this for a while before it starts to feel natural.



    Power Infusion

    Power Infusion is an often overlooked and underestimated talent, mainly because its sibling Twist of Fate is more powerful and easier to use. However, it still has a few niche uses.

    The main reason you would want to take PI is when you are glass chewing on a fight that your guild is working on but has not yet killed. When you are burning through wipes, you will rarely see execute phases, and most of the toughest parts of fights come before you ever get into execute range. As a result of this Power Infusion can be a very powerful tool to help your guild get to the final stages of a fight, or to just see more of the fight than what you are currently seeing. I've used PI a few times this expansion whenever we were working on a new fight in order to help us get past a sticky phase. An example would be a multi-phase fight like Blackhand, where I wanted to help push us past the first phase faster so that we could get more practice on the second phase.

    There are two other good uses for PI. One is that you might have a fight that requires high moments of burst damage at a very specific point in time. For example, a boss gets a weak point that is exposed for a very short period of time. The other situation is when a boss becomes un-target-able or immune for a long period of time during the fight.

    The gameplay for PI is basically the same as with the other talents (only faster) so there is no video necessary for this section.

    4. Gear

    This section of the guide is for helping players evaluate the strength of special items like trinkets and set bonuses. Stat weight addons and programs like AskMrRobot do not always evalute these items well, so I've built some replacement lists instead.

    Trinkets

    Class Trinket List - Intended for use with Insanity + RoW + Haste/Mastery build.

    1699.95 - repudiation of war - 745 - mhfc
    1464.26 - repudiation of war - 730 - hhfc
    1244.73 - repudiation of war - 715 - hfc
    1235.19 - desecrated shadowmoon insignia - 730 - mhfc
    1169.23 - orb of voidsight - 715 - m5m (demons)
    1073.34 - desecrated shadowmoon insignia - 715 - hhfc
    952.72 - chipped soul prism - 715 - kazzak
    934.47 - desecrated shadowmoon insignia - 700 - hfc
    885.48 - iron reaver piston - 730 - mhfc
    875.57 - unblinking gaze of sethe - 735 - mhfc
    804.88 - prophecy of fear - 740 - mhfc
    801.54 - orb of voidsight - 715 - m5m
    800.14 - stone of the elements - 725 - crafted
    787.31 - flickering felspark - 730 - mhfc
    768.61 - iron reaver piston - 715 - hhfc
    753.23 - unblinking gaze of sethe - 720 - hhfc
    750.21 - sandman's pouch (stage 6 of 6) - 725 - crafted
    706.91 - prophecy of fear - 725 - hhfc
    684.84 - flickering felspark - 715 - hhfc
    669.73 - iron reaver piston - 700 - hfc
    661.91 - unblinking gaze of sethe - 705 - hfc
    620.70 - prophecy of fear - 710 - hfc
    597.36 - flickering felspark - 700 - hfc

    Tier 18 List - Intended for use with Mindbender + Haste build.

    1103.89 - desecrated shadowmoon insignia - 730 - mhfc
    1066.18 - orb of voidsight - 715 - m5m (demons)
    1065.69 - prophecy of fear - 740 - mhfc
    1028.42 - unblinking gaze of sethe - 735 - mhfc
    1014.89 - iron reaver piston - 736 - mhfc
    959.29 - desecrated shadowmoon insignia - 715 - hhfc
    958.92 - iron reaver piston - 730 - mhfc
    930.91 - prophecy of fear - 725 - hhfc
    912.00 - chipped soul prism - 715 - kazzak
    890.65 - unblinking gaze of sethe - 720 - hhfc
    835.18 - desecrated shadowmoon insignia - 700 - hfc
    832.36 - iron reaver piston - 715 - hhfc
    807.32 - prophecy of fear - 710 - hfc
    788.64 - orb of voidsight - 715 - m5m
    777.96 - flickering felspark - 730 - mhfc
    772.65 - unblinking gaze of sethe - 705 - hfc
    770.69 - stone of the elements - 725 - crafted
    733.09 - sandman's pouch (stage 6 of 6) - 725 - crafted
    725.27 - iron reaver piston - 700 - hfc
    676.70 - flickering felspark - 715 - hhfc
    590.26 - flickering felspark - 700 - hfc

    Pre-Tier 18 List - Intended for use with Mindbender + Mastery build.

    1017.40 - orb of voidsight - 715 - m5m (demons)
    859.28 - chipped soul prism - 715 - kazzak
    762.70 - orb of voidsight - 715 - m5m
    739.78 - stone of the elements - 725 - crafted
    695.64 - sandman's pouch (stage 6 of 6) - 725 - crafted
    695.44 - darmac's unstable talisman - 700 - mbrf
    687.43 - goren soul repository - 700 - mbrf
    684.90 - blackiron micro crucible - 700 - mbrf
    604.90 - sandman's pouch (stage 5 of 6) - 710 - crafted
    604.27 - darmac's unstable talisman - 685 - hbrf
    597.31 - goren soul repository - 685 - hbrf
    595.04 - blackiron micro crucible - 685 - hbrf
    586.01 - stone of the wilds - 700 - crafted
    568.14 - saberblade talisman - 705 - baleful
    525.94 - darmac's unstable talisman - 670 - brf
    525.80 - sandman's pouch (stage 4 of 6) - 695 - crafted
    521.90 - quiescent runestone - 685 - mhm
    519.88 - goren soul repository - 670 - brf
    518.27 - tovra's lightning repository - 695 - m5m
    517.23 - blackiron micro crucible - 670 - brf
    509.25 - stone of fire - 685 - crafted
    489.01 - shards of nothing - 685 - mhm
    473.21 - portent of disaster - 695 - lfrhfc
    471.97 - crackling fel-spark plug - 685 - lfrhfc
    470.58 - crushto's runic alarm - 695 - m5m
    457.14 - sandman's pouch (stage 3 of 6) - 680 - crafted
    454.19 - quiescent runestone - 670 - hhm
    438.68 - coagulated genesaur blood - 695 - m5m
    428.53 - ensnared orb of the sky - 685 - lfrhfc
    425.67 - shards of nothing - 670 - hhm
    399.32 - fleshrender's meathook - 695 - m5m
    397.51 - sandman's pouch (stage 2 of 6) - 665 - crafted
    395.23 - quiescent runestone - 655 - hm
    370.38 - ragewing's firefang - 695 - m5m
    345.51 - sandman's pouch (stage 1 of 6) - 650 - crafted
    340.59 - copeland's clarity - 665 - boe
    339.43 - shards of nothing - 655 - hm
    311.68 - tovra's lightning repository - 640 - h5m
    286.13 - emblem of gushing wounds - 640 - lfrhm
    282.99 - crushto's runic alarm - 640 - h5m
    263.55 - coagulated genesaur blood - 640 - h5m
    239.08 - fleshrender's meathook - 640 - h5m
    232.76 - furyheart talisman - 655 - lfrbrf
    221.74 - ragewing's firefang - 640 - h5m
    218.18 - turbulent focusing crystal - 630 - garrison

    Armor Sets

    Tier 18

    Felfume Raiment - This set drops out of Hellfire Citadel on LFR difficulty level.

    2-piece - 115 PP
    4-piece - 190 PP

    Attire of Piety - This set drops out of Hellfire Citadel on normal and higher difficulty level.

    2-piece - 500 PP
    4-piece - 600 PP

    Tier 17

    Ebonflame Raiment - This set drops out of the LFR version of BRF.

    2-piece - 100 PP
    4-piece - 130 PP

    Soul Priest's Raiment - This set drops out of normal BRF and higher.

    2-piece - 90 PP
    4-piece - 105/230 PP*

    *The first number is for Mindbender and the second is for DoTWeaving with Insanity.

    Legendary Ring

    Spellbound Solium Band of the Kirin-Tor - 80 PP
    Spellbound Runic Band of the All-Seeing Eye - 125 PP
    Nithramus, the All-Seer - 660 PP

    5. FAQ

    What about Auspicious Spirits?

    You cannot play AS in a CoP set. The lack of crit will destroy any potential DPS you might gain with it. As a result of this your only really viable option is to either build two sets of gear or to play CoP in an AS set. I know a few players who have done this, but most people settle into one spec or the other, and that is what I recommend doing as well.

    Since Valor upgrades have been added to the game, the differences in the level 100 talents are mostly a matter of preference these days. All levels of content can be completed with CoP now, and I would also go so far as to say that CoP is generally stronger or at least comparable to AS on most of the fights.

    In short, play what you want, but if you want to play AS, build a crit set.

    What about haste caps and break points?

    Shadowfiend and Mindbender have haste breakpoints where they gain extra attacks. However, these are not important when choosing gear, and should be ignored.

    It is possible to hit the GCD soft cap whenever you have Heroism or Power Infusion up. You only need about 800 haste rating with Heroism.

    If you want to play a Flayless rotation with the class trinket, you'll need about 2600-2800 haste rating.

    Why are CoP's stat weights so confusing?

    At the start of WoD, I believe that there was some confusion in the TC community about how to deal with the level 100 talents. The "dream" was that each of these talents could be used like the other talents, being swapped back and forth freely in order to plug gaps in the shadowpriest's weaknesses. We would use CoP for single target fights, AS for crazy add fights, and VEnt for council fights. All of these talent combinations were plugged into simcraft with a goal to create one set of stat weights to "rule them all". To support this, many different types of fights were used, multiple target, heavy movement, etc. Then all of the results were mashed together to create a set of blandish stat weights that all looked very close together. Mastery ended up looking incredibly weak. I am not entirely sure what people expected to happen when evaluating stats and talents this way, but the end result was that the main set of weights that were published on every major priest site had a very diminished value for mastery, and a very inflated value for crit (due mostly to off-dotting proccing shadowy apparitions). Although most of the fights in Highmaul were single target, and the best setup for this was a high mastery build, the "blended" stat weights were pushed very heavily at the start of the expansion. These weights worked for a few multi-target fights, but for the most part people got their strongest single target parses with mastery.

    After the BRF patch hit, Auspicious Spirits was changed drastically, and the tier 17 set bonus was extremely biased towards it. In the end, AS became the dominate spec, and very little TC was put into CoP. The old "blended" stat weights from Highmaul were carried over, but became even more pronounced due to the strength of AS. At this point, most of the recommended CoP stat weights resembled AS to such a degree that there was almost no difference in the set of gear you ended up with. The big push this tier was telling people to play CoP with AS stats and only use CoP as a last resort, if ever.

    This trend carried over into HFC, as many priests who were pushing high end progression were still in Mythic Tier 17 gear, and did not replace it until most of the way through Heroic HFC. By this point they had commited to AS. Although some stat weights that were much more beneficial to CoP were released during this time, there had been so much effort spent telling people that CoP/mastery was bad, that it had become something like a perpetual motion machine. Any time someone tried to play CoP or ask about mastery, they were basically shot down and told to play AS instead. Although I believe that CoP was very viable throughout HFC, it is true that AS was stronger on many key fights, especially when looking at the edge of Mythic progression. It became a situation where people looked at what top players were doing, and then copied those players blindly, assuming that there was no other way to play. It's difficult to say whether this was true or not because no one really put much effort into mastering CoP or the class trinket until long after Mythics had begun to go on farm. I think that the potential was always there for CoP to be strong during Tier 18 progression, but it's a moot point now since it's all in the past and several patches have changed the behavior of CoP.

    As for Repudiation of War and modified stat weights and trinket lists... by the time people started really learning how to use this trinket, and word started getting out about how powerful it was, the next expansion (Legion) had been announced. Most theorycrafters and guide writers had moved on, focusing their energies towards the future.

    What about CoPLite?

    CoPLite was an invention during WoD beta that involved playing CoP without Mind Spike. The idea was to put up DoTs and use Mind Flay as a filler - basically an attempt to play what many considered to be "traditional shadow". The main issue with CoPLite is that it did less damage than other cast rotations, and as we progressed through the expansion, this gap widened to the point that it became a very horrible way to play the spec. In short, CoPLite scales poorly and shouldn't be used.

    Why is CoP boring?

    I get why people would feel this way, but I feel that the breadth of topics in this guide prove that it is a play style that has depth. I've seen a lot of negativity thrown at CoP throughout WoD and this was one of the biggest ones that people kept bringing up. CoP is not a boring spec - it is just different. It's okay if you do not like it, but realize that there are a lot of people who do. CoP gave us alternatives and choices in how we wanted to play the game. I like choice, and what I think would really be boring is if it didn't exist at all, and we truly only had one level 100 talent to play the entire expac.

    Why is my DPS so bad?

    I've always divided player related issues into two categories - things you can fix outside of raids, and things you can fix inside of raids.

    The outside category is what this guide is for. Check that you are using the right talents. Check that you are using the right gear. Make sure that you understand the rotation that you're supposed to be using. Also check obvious stuff like your internet connection or your game performance (FPS).

    After you've eliminated as much of the pre-game issues that you can, start looking at your logs. Make sure you are mashing buttons hard. Make sure that you're casting Mind Blast on cooldown. Make sure that you are using Cascade as often as possible. Make sure that you're procing Twist of Fate as often as you can. Make sure that you are using DPS potions twice per battle, and at the best times.

    What has helped me the most throughout the years is talking to people. Opening lines of communication. Asking questions. Finding people you can trust, people who want you to do better. This is a social game, and the best way to be social is to talk to people and communicate. Make posts on forums asking for help. Don't be afraid to speak up.

    And most of all - play the game. Just keep playing it. Practice your rotations. Learn new techniques. Try new things.

    That's the best advice I can give.

    What are the best trinkets/talents/glyphs to use for boss fights?

    The following is what I used or am using, but keep in mind that a lot of fights can be done in many different ways, and you shouldn't treat these as a bible. Unless otherwise stated, the default setup will be RoW+DSI+Insanity+Cascade. Glyphs are your choice unless mentioned. I'm happy to add to these if anyone has suggestions.

    • Hellfire Assault - PoF+Sethe+Insanity (for AE). On Mythic, use Pof+Sethe+Mindbender, or the default RoW setup (about the same).
    • Iron Reaver - Glyph of Vampiric Embrace for Pounding phases.
    • Kormrok - Halo for Grasping Hands. Glyph of Restored Faith can help you get max distance and then back into group, but medium range plus B&S or just walking is all you really need.
    • Hellfire High Council - Surge of Darkness at very low gear levels (sans T18, sans class trinket).
    • Kilrogg Deadeye - Glyph of Mind Blast can root the adds and is very helpful.
    • Gorefiend - Glyph of Mind Blast can root the adds and is very helpful.
    • Shadow-Lord Iskar - Spectral Guise can break you out of Fel Chakram and nullify the ability.
    • Socrethar the Eternal - PoF+Sethe+Insanity if you are assigned to ghost duty, otherwise use default.
    • Fel Lord Zakuun - default
    • Xhul'horac - Spectral Guise can nullify Chains of Fel. PoF+Sethe+Mindbender/Insanity works just as good, but default hits a bit harder on priority targets.
    • Tyrant Velhari - Spectral Guise can nullify Annihlating Strike. Phantasm can allow you to move freely on Mythic difficult when targetted by Edict of Condemnation. Use Glyph of Vampiric Embrace during one of the Edict of Condemnations.
    • Mannoroth - default
    • Archimonde - default

    What would improve CoP?

    Now that that CoP is dying with Legion, my list of wants is pretty small.

    • A version of Power Word: Shield that doesn't conflict with Disc Priests.
    • A more elegant/intuitive way to handle Devouring Plague when using Mindbender.
    • A real DPS cooldown that isn't Power Infusion and doesn't compete with Twist of Fate.
    • Shadow Orbs regenerate outisde of combat, to at least 2.
    • A new spell that costs orbs, that would operate something like Mark of Doom, causing cleave damage off of your main target for a brief period of time.
    • Some mechanic that lowers DPS if you try to dot up your main target (kill DoTWeaving, basically).

    6. The End

    I would like to thank my good friend Nanako from The Old Guard on Earthen Ring for encouraging me to write this guide. Creating this has been some of the most fun that I've had with the game in many years, and it has given me a reason to log in and enjoy my priest and talk to my friends again.

    To you, the reader - I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide. If it helps even one person, then I feel like it was worth the time that was put into making it. If you've made it this far, thank you very much for reading.

    Change log:
    05/02/2016: revised the haste or mastery section of the class trinket.
    04/03/2016: added new videos for the haste and mastery rotations for class trinket.
    04/02/2016: fixed typo in the mastery rotation. added execute for class trinket.
    03/28/2016: updated t18 stat weights (with class trinket), the class trinket insanity section, the class trinket lists, and the FAQ section.
    03/12/2016: updated trinkets for RPPM adjustment.
    03/02/2016: added a couple of trinkets to the pre-tier 18 trinket list.
    02/19/2016: added question about opening rotation with RoW.
    01/23/2016: fixed crafted trinkets with valor upgrades.
    01/04/2016: fixed typos and revised some sections based on feedback.
    01/02/2016: reworked the entire guide for 6.2.3 and final phase of WoD. i removed all of the change logs except the very first one, in order to trim down that section.
    03/25/2015: first draft.
    Last edited by Kilee25; 2016-05-02 at 10:54 PM.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

  2. #2
    This is a lot of great, helpful information about CoP but I can't help but feel a lot of it is going to fall onto deaf ears as both the encounters and the gear from HFC favor the AS playstyle. (Not to mention LFR and non-raid gear will be high enough ilvl to make AS a reasonable option.) I'm sure we'll still play CoP on a few encounters, but I doubt it's going to see a whole lot of use in progression. To each their own, though; CoP isn't so far behind AS that it's completely unviable, I just personally prefer AS to CoP ten thousand times over.

    [ twitch ][ Elhaym#1731 if you have any questions ] [ The Official MMO-Champion Bingo Card. ]

  3. #3
    Thank you otaXephon. You are correct. This is not a very popular play style. Hopefully some people will find the information useful.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

  4. #4
    The Insane Granyala's Avatar
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    If you are playing this spec correctly, you will be using Power Word: Shield liberally. Literally, almost on cooldown.
    And then a Disc priest enters the raid. *muahaha*

    Interesting guide, kudos for making it, must have taken quite a while.
    To be honest though: It's a bit late, could have used something like this at the start of the expansion when it was really hard to get definitive information.

    Addon:Recount
    Purpose: To get statistics on your damage output.
    Setup: Move wherever you want on your screen. I usually set it to show only the current fight.
    For newbies I'd recommend to hide recount during the fight, as it provides no useful information whatsoever and only serves as a distraction.
    Better yet: play in windowed and have a live log running on Warcraftlogs.com, esp when you use an older computer as Recount eats up quite a bit of CPU resources.
    Last edited by Granyala; 2015-06-10 at 11:05 AM.

  5. #5
    Mechagnome
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    Do you click on your bars to cast spells in a raid or are you just doing that in your example videos so it's easier to see what you are casting?

  6. #6
    Hi Granyala,

    Quote Originally Posted by Granyala View Post
    And then a Disc priest enters the raid. *muahaha*
    Hah, absolutely. If it comes between disrupting them, I would drop shield from the rotation. It's not such a big chunk of damage that it's worth risking dying over. Having said that, I generally have not had issues with it.

    Interesting guide, kudos for making it, must have taken quite a while.
    To be honest though: It's a bit late, could have used something like this at the start of the expansion when it was really hard to get definitive information.
    I agree. I wish that I could have written it sooner. I've had a lot of real life things to deal with over the past year or so, and it's been really hard to find time to play the game or write about it again.

    For newbies I'd recommend to hide recount during the fight, as it provides no useful information whatsoever and only serves as a distraction.
    Better yet: play in windowed and have a live log running on Warcraftlogs.com, esp when you use an older computer as Recount eats up quite a bit of CPU resources.
    I agree. I turn off Recount quite a bit, and I'm not a mod expert by any means.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hi Darkener,

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkener View Post
    Do you click on your bars to cast spells in a raid or are you just doing that in your example videos so it's easier to see what you are casting?
    I've kept the UI bare bones in order to avoid confusion and to help people see what is happening. However, what you see is more or less what I play with. One of these days I'd like to sit down and work a bit more on my UI. I'm aware that it bothers people, and I'd not like that to become a focus of this thread's discussion. I agree completely that people should invest some quality time improving their UI.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

  7. #7
    High Overlord marathal's Avatar
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    Nice read as always. Gives me a few ideas on how to try some different things that I would not have thought of.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Kilee25 View Post
    Thank you otaXephon. You are correct. This is not a very popular play style. Hopefully some people will find the information useful.
    It's not that it is an unpopular playstyle, it's that its only optimal sometimes...same thing goes with VEnt. Except VEnt is never optimal.

  9. #9
    Hey Naux, yes very true about the state of CoP. Perhaps it's only my perception then - I felt after reading the forums for a while that many are not fond of coP even in cases where it does well, so I don't think "unpopular" is a false word. In any case I'm not trying to say it's any better than another spec just because I wanted to write a guide about playing it. I really do just enjoy playing it.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

  10. #10
    For some reason people had an irrational response to CoP because we didn't have BRF crit levels for AS (or even the slighty buffed 6.1 AS talent) during Highmaul progression.

  11. #11
    High Overlord marathal's Avatar
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    Do you have any suggestions for when your gear is all over the place with stats? Is there a minimum percentage where you would choose one over another?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Granyala View Post
    For newbies I'd recommend to hide recount during the fight, as it provides no useful information whatsoever and only serves as a distraction.
    Better yet: play in windowed and have a live log running on Warcraftlogs.com, esp when you use an older computer as Recount eats up quite a bit of CPU resources.
    Just wanted to agree with this as well. I never have Recount open during a fight because it absolutely distracts me, especially when I am doing particularly well >< While a fight is going on is when knowing how much dps you are doing has the least value. Focus should be on doing the things you need to do and avoiding the ouchy stuff in the raid

    @Kilee - Thanks for writing this. I'm still debating if I am even going to bother leveling my priest this expansion or not so I have only been following spriest discussions tangentially. As a result I only had the vaguest idea of what the whole CoP playstyle was. You did a great job of explaining it

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by marathal View Post
    Do you have any suggestions for when your gear is all over the place with stats? Is there a minimum percentage where you would choose one over another?
    Hi Marathal,

    A lot of this reasoning is in the guide, but I will try to address your specific question.

    I believe that the level 100 talents should both be viewed as highly gear dependent. As a result of this I believe that you should be working towards building a specialized set as soon as you are able. I don't really believe in the concept of magical points where I can play one or the other - if you don't have an "optimized" set to play them, neither will perform very well. A "watered down" set of gear will give a "watered down" performance. I think it's a bit of a "white lie" going around that CoP does well with a crit set - from other priests I've raided with who are playing CoP in this manner - it sucks and is only marginally acceptable when a high iLevel is compensating for the sacrifice in performance.

    Having said my "soapbox rant" about playing L100 talents with non-optimal gearsets... I do think it's generally true that CoP will "on average" play better with a non-optimal set than AS will with a non-optimal set. So if you have a mix of gear with no real focus, I suppose CoP will be more reliable. However, I stress that I don't think gear should dictate play style or limit how you choose to play. Gear is a temporary problem that is easily fixed - enjoyment of the game is not.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

  14. #14
    High Overlord marathal's Avatar
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    taking a quick look, I am at 10% crit, 13% Haste, 53% Mastery, 16.5% Multistrike, and 3% Versatility, with a 2 piece LFR set which effectively gives me 100 Intellect. What all of those stats mean to me? Not a heck of a lot. I seem to be in really good shape for Mastery, I have tried tossing Haste gems in what few sockets I have, but that just may be the old Wrath/Cata thinking. Mind Spike always seemed anti shadow to me, so never really gave it a chance.

    It will take a bit to get use to what you are suggesting. I have for awhile used AS, mostly for survivability with DP being up quite a bit in high add pulls like I see running LFR. I have found myself as last man standing on Kromog and almost can stay up for the final 5% solo. That is one of the few fights it really feels good to play Shadow. I really have no idea how Normal or higher raiding is any more. Real life has a higher priority over gaming now.

    So VT and SwP are just not used at all?


    Edit

    just wow. What a huge difference. Just single target without having anywhere close to a mastery and feel for it just using those 5 spells on the raiders dummy had me easily in the 46k range with no buffs.


    For the first time in this expansion, I am actually happy about the class.
    Last edited by marathal; 2015-06-12 at 12:46 AM.

  15. #15
    Haha, Marathal that makes me happy. I'm glad it helped.

    - - - Updated - - -

    re: Recount. I was mulling this over my head tonight as I was playing. To me, having that feedback is an indispensible tool. Not during the fight, but more inbetween wipes and after the fights have taken place. I often pull up my damage breakdowns and look at where my damage during fights are coming from. It also helps me to have instant feedback on which casting styles, talents, and tactics are working. I totally get that this can be a distraction during a fight, and I also know from firsthand experience that it can be a memory hog and decrease game performance - and in general it's one of the first things I turn off if I feel like my game is running sluggish.

    The idea of dynamically logging a fight is interesting and I like that idea too.

    In any case, I guess what I'm saying is that it seems some people have an averse reaction to meter programs - I really do think these are extremely useful tools to help me find ways to approach fights. It's one of the most instant and informative forms of feedback that I have while working on new and/or challenging encounters. I do agree that if you have some other way of getting this information, especially in such a way that it would not affect performance, that it would be better. I tried Skada for a while, but I just didn't find it as easy to use as Recount, and I do raid log occasionally, but I found that it bogged my machine down quite a bit, much more so than Recount did.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

  16. #16
    Hi there,

    I've been looking at using this on an alt for heroic BRF as an alternative spec (disc aren't usually asked to DPS) in a PUG or two. Instant benefit to me is the crossover of gear between disc and CoP Shadow.

    Question I have is how to assess a CoP performance. I assume it would be as simple as number of mind blasts, shadow orbs wasted (hopefully none!) and lining up MB & mind bender with procs. Is there any other metric I missed?

    Cheers for the guide and video clips, the videos especially helped me visual a somewhat clunky rotation on paper into something workable.
    Last edited by Carnarius; 2015-06-14 at 12:19 AM. Reason: Auto correct fails

  17. #17
    Hi Carnarius, thank you for the compliments.

    I agree that one of the best benefits of playing with a CoP build is the cross-over of Disc gear. One of the things I was trying to do with this guide was to establish a "complete" way to play that would not require multiple sets of gear.

    As to your questions:

    On evaluating performance. The number of mind blasts is certainly a good place to start, although I don't typically go here first. What I normally look at is damage breakdowns by spell type and percentage. What I'm generally looking for is something like this:

    With Mindbender:
    Mind Blast: 30% of damage
    Mind Spike: 30% of damage
    Everything else

    With Insanity:
    Mind Blast: 30% of damage
    Mind Spike + Insanity: 30% of damage
    Everything else

    Basically what I'm looking for typically is for a sum total of Mind Blast and Mind spells to equal or best about 60% of your outgoing damage. If I don't see that, then red flags start popping up all over the place. What is this person doing that their damage is coming from other sources? Are they moving too much? Is there a key issue with their rotation? This simple test can reveal an issue with cast rotation faster than trying to count Mind Blasts or search for wasted orbs.

    As your gear increases and your mastery gets higher and higher, these spells should start taking up more and more of your damage breakdowns. In Mythic gear, I would expect to see as much as 70% of your damage coming from Mind related spells. This tells me that you've got the cast rotation down, you know where your damage is coming from, and you've geared appropriately to benefit from it.

    Bare in mind the damage breakdowns will be different on AOE or multi-dot fights, and also movement heavy fights can cut severely into non-Mind Blast spells, but Mind Blast tends to remain quite consistent at about 30% because you should be casting it on cooldown and there's no limitation with moving.

    As for the "clunky rotation" - I completely agree. I think that a lot of people think the rotation is simple and boring... but truthfully it can get quite complex the deeper you go with it. Part of that is because the simplicity makes it limiting - it takes some ingenuity and creativity to work around some of the weaknesses. I feel like right now we are in "beta" with CoP, and that it is still in the early stages of evolution. I hope to see the spec get fleshed out in later expansions.
    Last edited by Kilee25; 2015-06-14 at 01:40 AM.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

  18. #18
    Thank you for the incredibly well-articulated thread and subsequent follow through in posts. I don't have any questions - but you did an awesome job and I appreciate the time it took to create this!

  19. #19
    Thank you Prag, I really appreciate that.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

  20. #20
    The Insane Granyala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilee25 View Post
    As for the "clunky rotation" - I completely agree. I think that a lot of people think the rotation is simple and boring... but truthfully it can get quite complex the deeper you go with it. Part of that is because the simplicity makes it limiting - it takes some ingenuity and creativity to work around some of the weaknesses. I feel like right now we are in "beta" with CoP, and that it is still in the early stages of evolution. I hope to see the spec get fleshed out in later expansions.
    Imho MS should never spike of DP. That's totally awkward design just to force some Flay into the spec.

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