Shadow Word: Shadow Priest legendaries in Legion
Legion is bringing all sorts of changes to not only Shadow Priests but to the game as a whole. One of those changes is to legendary drops. Gone are the days of expansion-long quests and role-based rewards. Taking its place are Diablo-esque legendaries that come in a variety of flavors — some with bonuses for everyone, others with spec-specific bonuses. Today, we’ll be taking a look at all the legendary drops currently available to Shadow Priests.
For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the Diablo-meets-WoW aspects of Legion, legendary items will initially be limited by one-at-a-time equipping rules which will become more lenient as the expansion continues. Given the power of their effects, this is no surprise. Additionally, the bonuses will not work in PVP or (tentatively) during the first few weeks of Mythic raid progression.
Now that you’re all experts on the basics, let’s start by taking a look the most important legendaries: the ones meant specifically for Shadow.
Bracers: Anund’s Seared Shackles
First up, we have bracers that cause your Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch ticks to increase your next Void Bolt‘s damage by 2%, stacking up to 100 times. This legendary is interesting in that it at first seems like something that will affect our Voidform phase but may actually have a bigger impact on our time outside Voidform. Why? Because Void Bolt is something being fairly constantly cast during Voidform so the stacks during Voidform will never get too high unless you have quite a few adds up (even then, there’s no way they’d reach 100).
Before Voidform, however, this will be a great legendary that may encourage a little extra time outside Voidform but still at full Insanity in order to hit a boss with a high amount of burst. (For example, a fight like Gorefiend would benefit from delaying Voidform until his Feast phase if it meant higher stacks from this legendary.)
Belt: Mangaza’s Madness
Next we have a belt which increases the maximum number of charges of Mind Blast by 2. “Wait, Mind Blast has charges?” Well, no, not unless you get this legendary. If you do, though, this is one of the most rotation-friendly of the bunch. Not only does it mean you can bank Mind Blasts for burn phases if needed, but it also helps reduce the need for the Shadow Word: Void talent as a way to easily burst and gain Insanity.
(Note: not actually a legendary effect, just beta being beta.)
Ring: The Twins’ Painful Touch
Okay, so this one is an interesting one. This ring causes your first Mind Sear cast after entering Voidform to spread your DOTs to 3 enemies within 10 yards of your target. While this is a pretty cool effect that will certainly help with AOE, it’s not exactly my favorite. I would actually argue Shadow Priests need something similar to this as a baseline talent or glyph or something outside of a legendary (and quite an argument has been made for changing our AOE).
The problem with this one is that the effect is somewhat limited. In theory, it’s nice to have a multi-target option for a legendary but, in reality, most fights with AOE will likely have adds that die before you can make full use the DOTs you spread to them. Council fights, meanwhile, rarely actually have bosses stacked on top of each other which negates this item’s effect. Spreading our DOTs more easily is a very cool mechanic and one Blizzard seems keen on (see: PVP talents) but it’s just not something I think should come from a legendary.
Headpiece: Zenk’aram, Iridi’s Anadem
This next one is another I have mixed feelings on. Zenk’aram, Iridi’s Anadem causes your healing from Vampiric Embrace to be increased by 250% while in Voidform. Vampiric Embrace has had its ups and downs throughout the Legion alpha/beta but it’s still… well, it’s not quite what Vampiric Embrace is to me. Right now, it heals for 40% baseline. Good! And it only affects one ally. …Less good. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of this legendary is nice. For a short time, you become an amazing healing machine just by doing what you normally do. But the problem is that this legendary is 1) disabled in PVP, 2) offers no damage bonuses, and 3) is very limited in its effectiveness. That third point is especially important because a legendary, to me, should do what it does very well 100% of the time.
What happens if it heals someone with an incoming heal? What happens if one person continually takes damage and soaks up the healing, leaving the rest of the raid high and dry? With VE limited in its number of targets, it just seems like this legendary will be far too situational to ever be preferred over the others. Maybe that’s Blizzard’s aim, though. Still, it would be nice to see VE back as a raid heal — even if it had to be limited to when this legendary is equipped.
Shoulders: Mother Shahraz’s Seduction
Saving what will likely be the best for last, these shoulders grant you one stack of Voidform for every 4 seconds that had been remaining on Lingering Insanity. For example, let’s say you have 20 seconds left on your Lingering Insanity and activate Voidform. Normally, that Haste bonus would disappear (unless you’ve taken the Void Lord talent) and those 20 seconds would be moot. With this legendary, you would instead enter Voidform with 5 stacks already on you. As a fight progresses, you will in turn gain more stacks of Voidform which will result in more stacks of Lingering Insanity which will result in less time to enter Voidform which will mean starting with more Voidform stacks… and so on.
Outside of making things a bit chaotic, this legendary doesn’t really alter your rotation and it’s hard to see a downside to this. Especially with tier gear now having 6 available pieces, the fact that this will require a shoulder slot doesn’t seem all that bad.
Psyfiend from PVP talents
As I said before, though, there are actually a few non-Shadow legendaries at our disposal as well. Most of these will probably take a backseat to some of the above options, but they’re still worth mentioning as they offer great options for non-raiders and world-questers.
Clothie footwear: Norgannon’s Foresight
These boots are a legendary available to all cloth classes. They gives your instant cast spells have a chance to make your next cast-time spell castable while moving. Of all the broad-appeal legendaries, this will likely be the one most useful to us. While we may not have all that many cast-time spells, the proc mirrors Surrender to Madness‘s effect a bit. During Voidform phase, the ability to cast and move will be key in maintaining Insanity as long as possible. Granted, it likely will not be the best choice given the Shadow-only options, but if you manage to get this as your first legendary drop, it will still be beneficial.
And finally, we have two legendaries that will be available to all classes. The first gives you a shield for 25% of your maximum health if you haven’t taken damage for 5 seconds and the second gives you 70% increased movement and 15% Haste after applying a loss-of-control effect on an enemy. Both of these seem pretty clearly designed for solo content. While it’s certainly possible not to take damage in a raid, the health bonus isn’t exactly worth using over any other legendary and it’s rare that you’ll find a boss not immune to loss-of-control effects. Still, with the big emphasis max-level questing is getting in Legion, anything that will make soloing easier isn’t to be dismissed.
Right now, the new iteration of legendary gear is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, they seem to offer a nice assortment of bonuses that will help you adjust your playstyle accordingly. On the other hand, they’re rare drops which means you may be unlucky and get stuck with one of the less-appealing ones. “Less-appealing” may change over the course of the expansion when you can equip more than one legendary at a time but, for now, it’ll be interesting to see what (if any) changes Blizzard makes in order to prevent players from bemoaning getting a legendary. More importantly, though, it’ll be interesting to see just how much each legendary’s benefit varies on a fight-to-fight basis. Right now, they’re still an exciting change of pace and I applaud Blizzard for not being afraid to offer spec-specific bonuses on world drops.
Finally, on a separate note, this article marks a year of writing the Shadow Word column. I wanted to thank everyone who’s ever read any of my articles and I hope I’ve at least swayed a couple of you into playing Shadow (if not, let me know and I’ll just go ahead and Mind Control you anyways). Writing about and discussing Shadow with you all has been a dream come true. Here’s to another year!
‘Til next time, always remember: you may view yourself as common, but you’re legendary to me.
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