It was announced fairly early on in the 9.2 PTR that Shadow Priest would be receiving alterations to its 2 piece set bonus. These alterations followed from negative feedback from players about the impact the set had on the value of Fouet mental
, and the impact a high value filler spell had on the spec's already relatively cramped rotation. The initial response from Blizzard
mentioned a pivot away from Mind Flay, and towards spending Insanité
Whilst we have not yet received a post from Blizzard outlining or explaining any changes, Shadow has still received a large change to its 2 piece, as well as a small change to its 4 piece bonus which are both live and testable on the PTR.
- Esprit assombri - Casting Devouring Plague has a 40% chance to grant Dark Thought. Casting Searing Nightmare has a 25% chance to grant Dark Thought.
- Ombre vivante - Consuming a Dark Thought causes your shadow to animate, dealing (208% Spell Power) Shadow damage over 8 sec to all enemies within 10 yards of your target.
Shadow's new set bonus still revolves heavily around the mechanic of Sombres pensées
, but now uses both of its Insanité
spenders to generate them. The Shade spawned by the 4 piece also now deals AoE damage, fixing a common pain point from the original set.
The biggest problem with the original set's design was the negative impact it had on gameplay, especially during cooldowns. Having to cast additional Fouet mental
s to generate procs in a rotation that did not have enough spare GCDs to do so made things incredibly awkward, and often left the player fishing for procs instead of performing their usual rotation. With the new set, you are no longer required to try and force Fouet mental
into your rotation where it doesn't fit, and can instead focus on the usual rotational goals of spending Insanité
and casting spells on cooldown.
Outside of cooldowns, gameplay has also improved. Fouet mental
has still gained some priority, due to the increased value of Sombres pensées
, but not so much that having to move feels overly punishing. The proc rate of Sombres pensées
is also high enough that it feels relatively consistent both inside and outside cooldowns.
Overall, the impact the new set bonus has on Shadow's gameplay is a positive one. However, there is one notable pain point.
Pain Point: Proc Overflow
With Sombres pensées
now coming from two sources, it's incredibly difficult to consume every proc without some going to waste. This is especially noticeable in AoE situations where Incandescence mentale
and Cauchemar brûlant
can proc Sombres pensées
at exactly the same time, one immediately overwriting the other.
It's also worth mentioning the sheer number of procs Shadow has thanks to conduits and the new tier set. In 9.2 there will be...
Whether having this many procs is a problem or not is up for debate, and not really within the scope of a set bonus, but it's worth noting just how much is going on in Shadow's rotation. With this many procs going off at once, Shadow is always going to be wasting some of them. One notable interaction is if a free Peste dévorante
from Dévoreur d’esprit
procs Esprit assombri
while you have high Insanité
, you have to choose whether to Attaque mentale
(potentially wasting Insanité
) or Peste dévorante
(potentially wasting a proc of Esprit assombri
During Shadowlands Beta, Sombres pensées
was able to stack to prevent players from wasting procs. However, at this time the proc was also deterministic and had too low a chance to ever realistically stack. The stacks on Sombres pensées
were removed before release, but with it no longer being deterministic and this set providing significantly more procs it would make sense to add it back.
One major issue with the original iteration of the set bonus was that it provided zero value in AoE. This update rectifies that by adding cleave to the Shade's channel. This is great because it provides a way for shadow to deal indiscriminate cleave damage without the need for talenting into Cauchemar brûlant
, and also helps to prop up Shadow's generally quite shaky AoE DPS after the uncapping of 9.1.5.
While it has improved AoE, it still affects a spell which is not generally cast in Shadow's AoE rotation in Mythic+. For every Sombres pensées
spent, you are losing a cast that would have otherwise been Cauchemar brûlant
(due to Shadow's Insanité
overflow problems in AoE).
There are several bugs and unusual interactions with the set bonus still, mostly focused on the Shade in how it spawns and selects its targets.
- When the Shade initially spawns, it spends 1.5-2 seconds in a spawn animation before it begins channelling.
- When the Shade finishes its channel, it stops to recast. This doesn't affect damage but does look a little off.
- The Shade targets the closest in combat target in line of sight, instead of targeting your target, or the target of your Attaque mentale.
- The Shade attempts to retarget every time it finishes its channel, selecting the closest target in line of sight.
- The Shade will not target anything behind you, resulting in situations where the Shade stops casting if you have to turn your back as it recasts its channel.
- The Shade's maximum range to begin channelling is also less than 40 yards. This means if you're standing at close to max range and it isn't already channelling, it does nothing until it despawns or you move closer.
Covenants Legendaries, and Talents
While the new iteration has improved the set bonus for Night Fae, due to no longer needing to fish for procs with Fouet mental
, Kyrian still loses out. This is because the Kyrian cooldown rotation is much busier than any other covenant, and wastes more Sombres pensées
With the tier set still focusing on increasing the frequency of Attaque mentale
, the two Legendaries that are most affected by it are Prisme d’Ombreflamme
and Stratagème de Talbadar
. However unlike the previous iteration of the tier set Stratagème de Talbadar
does not overtake Prisme d’Ombreflamme
, resulting in us using Prisme d’Ombreflamme
in both Raids and Mythic+.Torrent du Vide
is still a casualty of the increased value of Sombres pensées
, as 3 seconds out of every 30 where we're not generating them. This pushes both Damnation
above it in value. Personally I consider this to be an interesting quirk of the set bonus, as talents are often things that set bonuses change the value of, and not something detrimental.
Overall, this new iteration of the Shadow set bonus is a significant improvement on the original design and pushes the spec in a much better direction. The rotation feels improved by the additional Sombres pensées
procs, instead of tied down by a need to cast Fouet mental
both inside and outside cooldowns. However the addition of stacks to Sombres pensées
would go a long way to reducing wasted procs and allowing a little more flexibility in the rotation, something Kyrian especially would welcome. The Shade is also still a bit buggy.