Due to the unique mechanics of Shadow Priest combat, there is one stat that rises above the rest for you: +damage (either shadow or all schools). More +damage means more DPS, of course, but it also means more mana back from Vampiric Touch; this will be your primary form of mana regeneration, and you should have VT up at all times. Spell hit is also very important. Assuming you have 5/5 Shadow Focus (which you should, unless you're already hit-capped), you need 76 spell hit to reach the cap on level 73 mobs (raid bosses are considered level 73). Additional spell hit is relatively useless, although that once you reach 101 hit, you can take a point out of Shadow Focus and move it elsewhere; it's probably not worth gearing for this specifically though.
Spell crit is much less important than +damage and (pre-cap) spell hit, given that we have only two spells that can crit: Mind Blast, and Shadow Word: Death. We do cast those spells fairly frequently, especially MB, so it's not a worthless stat by any means, but you should definitely favor +damage over spell crit. Some Spirit is also good to have, since you will probably have Meditation. You need enough stamina not to die, but as with the Holy priests, I recommend not gearing for stamina specifically, but rather keeping some high-stam pieces in your bag to swap in for fights like Aran where you need them.
If you read my Holy Priest guide, you'll remember me raving about the Primal Mooncloth set. Frozen Shadoweave (technically, the set is called Shadow's Embrace, though I've never seen anyone call it that) is like that for Shadow Priests, only better. Boatloads of +damage, and a bunch of Stam and Int, will keep you very happy for a long time. One of PMC's weaknesses is that it has no Stamina on it; not so here. And the set bonus is like a free, mini Vampiric Embrace – nothing huge, but it's handy.
Overall, the mats will be 26 Shadowcloth, 38 Primal Water, and 8 Netherweb Spider Silk. The Water is the hardest part there. I recently got most of the way through constructing this set myself, before I decided to switch back to Holy. In fact, switching specs is the biggest weakness of the FSW set (as well as PMC): you need the appropriate tailoring spec to wear them, and respeccing your tailoring costs 200g.
But if you plan to stay Shadow for a little while, definitely make your FSW set. It is probably the best investment you can make as a new 70, and will last you a very long time.
This is the parallel to the Whitemend set. Spellstrike is a two-piece BoE epic tailored set; it's significantly better for Shadow than Whitemend is for Holy, and you should really consider getting it (unless you're an engineer, in which case you can skip the hood in favor of your goggles, but should probably get the pants).
The proc rate on the set bonus is 5%. The set bonus does require that you have tailoring, at 350 or higher; however, the set is still definitely worth wearing even if you're not getting the set bonus, as the individual pieces are hard to beat pre-T5. The total mats for the two pieces are 20 Spellcloth, 10 Primal Might, and 2 Primal Nethers.
There's no Dungeon Set 3 for shadow, although the Warlock set is good for certain slots; I will, however, mention that as appropriate, so let's get right into the slots. As in the Holy guide, I'll mention enchants as I go along (enchant your gear!), and gems will be covered in part 2.
"Of Shadow Wrath"
Due to the awesomeness of +damage for Shadow Priests, there are a few cases where green items "of Shadow Wrath" are actually quite good. Many players will tell you not to equip them, since of Shadow Wrath items have literally no other stats besides +shadow damage (and armor). However, I maintain that they are extremely cost-effective and will serve you well until you find replacements, as long as you only have them in a few slots. Therefore I do have them listed in this guide.
Let's go ahead with the slots. For each slot, items will be listed in order of preference, with the better items on top.
- If you're an engineer, like for pretty much every other class/spec in the game, you can make some awesome goggles. For Shadow, you'll be wanting the Destruction Holo-gogs.
- However, many of us are not engineers. That is why we have Spellstrike Hood.
- If you're too cheap for Spellstrike, try the Elementalist Skullcap of Shadow Wrath, which should be a bargain on the AH.
- Or, if you're one of those of Shadow Wrath haters, Hood of Oblivion (Skyriss, Arcatraz) might be more your speed. Don't take it over a Warlock who needs it, though, it is their DS3.
- Finally, Evoker's Helmet of Second Sight is a pretty hot quest reward, although it does involve some 5-man questing.
Glyph of Power, Sha'tar revered (85g at revered). I love glyphs. Nice chunk of spell hit there, too.
- Shattered Sun Pendant of Acumen. These SSO rep necklaces are great for pretty much everyone. The Aldor proc, as in most cases, is better than the Scryer one, but it's worth grabbing in either case. In fact, this beats out all other pre-raid necklaces even if you're not getting either of the procs. And getting to exalted with the Shattered Sun Offensive is not at all difficult; should take you about a week's worth of dailies.
- Frozen Shadoweave Shoulders](http://www.wowhead.com/?item=21869). Yes.
- If you won't be convinced to go FSW, Felstone Mantle of Shadow Wrath, should you see it on the AH, is good, but rare.
- Spaulders of the Torn-heart: everyone should have these at least, if not either of the above. They're from another Shadowmoon Valley quest chain.
Shoulder enchants are quite limited; go with the best one you can get from your faction. That said, the Scryer honored enchant is probably not worth applying, since it's spell crit-only. If you're Scryer, get to exalted ASAP.
- Illidari Cloak of Shadow Wrath (BoE drop). Hard to find, but surprisingly good.
- Ambusher's Cloak of Shadow Wrath. I know, I know, enough with the of Shadow Wrath items. But it's not my fault Shadow Priests get so much out of +damage!
- Cloak of the Black Void (BoE tailored; ~150g).
You can probably guess this one: Sublety. Threat is one of Shadow's biggest weaknesses, and we need anything that can help. On many fights, 2% less threat = 2% more damage.
- Frozen Shadoweave Robe. Almost indecently excellent.
- Darkweave Raiment of Shadow Wrath. Another of Shadow Wrath drop from a rare mob; hard to find, pretty good.
- Scarlet Sin'dorei Robes (Kael'thas, heroic Magister's Terrace). Arguably, if you're running H-MrT, you probably are geared enough to run KZ, but it's a good robe, anyway.
- Robe of the Crimson Order (world drop BoE). There sure are a lot of BoEs showing up on this list, which is good if you're trying to gear an alt or an off-spec and don't have much patience.
You won't get a huge amount of help from any chest enchant, but Major Spirit is quite cheap and will give you a bit of regen.
- Runed Spell-cuffs (35 BoJ). Not totally imba, but quite nice, and better than several KZ drops. However, if you don't have the badge wand or off-hand yet, you might want to save your badges (see later, when I talk about those slots).
- Elementalist Bracelets of Shadow Wrath
- Bracers of Havok (BoE tailoring, ~150g)
- Crystalweave Bracers. I never quite got into the whole Ogri'la thing, so I'm not honestly sure what goes into these, but they are tasty.
- Shattrath Wraps (Shadow Labyrinth quest). Another swell quest reward; these are not hard at all to attain. You should have these at a minimum
Spellpower is pretty expensive, but by far the best bracer enchant you can get (the other ones aren't worth bothering with). I would say put it on the Runed Spell-cuffs or the Elementalist Bracelets, but if you don't have those wait for something better.
Well, Shadow fans, that's it for part one. Part two will be up in a few days, covering the remaining slots as well as gemming; until then, may your spell rotations shine, and your nukes never pull aggro.