|Shadow Word: Death
- Shadow Word: Death
- Level 46 priest ability
- 40 yd range
- 2.6% of base mana
- 8 sec cooldown
- Instant cast
- Discipline, Holy:
A word of dark binding that inflicts (X + 215.7% of SP) Shadow damage to the target. Only usable on enemies that have less than 20% health.
A word of dark binding that inflicts (X + 215.7% of SP) Shadow damage to the target and grants a Shadow Orb. Only usable on enemies that have less than 20% health.
If the target does not die, the cooldown is reset, but this additional Shadow Word: Death does not grant a Shadow Orb. This effect has a 9 sec cooldown.
|| [Glyph of Shadow Word: Death]
- As words go, it's frequently the last.
Shadow Word: Death is a priest Shadow Word - a Shadow-based direct damage spell that deals instant damage, only usable on targets below 20% health. For Shadow priests, Shadow Word: Death also generates 1 Shadow Orb, and will automatically reset its cooldown if the target is not killed, although this effect has a 6-second cooldown.
Tips and tactics
- Shadow Word: Death (SW:D) is a useful means of dealing instant damage, especially while on the move, although its health requirement limits its usefulness to that of an execute ability.
- Shadow priests will usually want to use SW:D as often as possible, both to generate [Shadow Orbs] and to deal excellent mobile damage almost matching that of [Mind Blast].
Glyph of Shadow Word: Death
[Glyph of Shadow Word: Death] changes SW:D in a number of respects, causing it to more closely resemble its design before patch 5.0.4. Most critically, it makes it possible to use SW:D on any target regardless of their health, but causes it to deal backlash damage to the caster. This makes SW:D available far more often, but places a price on its use. However, although generally undesirable, this backlash has its uses, such as breaking [Polymorph] effects in PvP.
- When glyphed, SW:D deals only a quarter of its usual damage to targets above 20% health. Although it can still be useful for dealing instant damage (and for other reasons, see below) it is still far more effective when the target is below 20% health.
- SW:D deals backlash equal to that dealt to targets above 20% health. This means that when used on targets above 20% health, the priest will receive as much damage as they deal. On targets below 20% health, the priest will receive only a quarter of that dealt. This further encourages use on higher-health targets.
- In PvP, the backlash from Shadow Word: Death can be used to break [Polymorph] effects if used shortly before the spell finishes. The target of the spell is unimportant; as long as the target does not die, the backlash will break the Polymorph. Healing priests can use macros to allow SW:D to be used when the current target is friendly, as fast reactions are often required. While attentive mages can simply re-cast Polymorph, (especially given SW:D's cooldown) this also serves to waste diminishing returns, halving the duration of the subsequent Polymorph. Details on how to use Shadow Word: Death to break Polymorph and Video Demonstration: .
- Shadow Word: Death can be used by healing Priests to trigger a [Prayer of Mending] that has landed on themselves.
- Fatal damage will result in no durability damage to the caster, making a suicide use viable in a wipe situation.
- [Vampiric Embrace] will generate healing from both SW:D and its backlash.
- The backlash to the caster is not a resistible effect with Shadow Resistance gear, and can be fatal, but the damage can be mitigated by effects which prevent damage such as [Power Word: Shield], and effects that decrease spell damage.
- Backlash cannot crit, and backlash generated from SW:D crits are not considered to be crits.
- Damage that is partially resisted does not backlash; absorbed damage does, however.
- Be careful when using this against warriors and other targets with reflection abilities. When reflected (such as with [Spell Reflection]), it causes both the spell and the backlash to damage the caster.
Patches and hotfixes
- Hotfix (2013-09-13): "Landing a killing blow with Shadow Word: Death should no longer incorrectly grant 2 Shadow Orbs."
- Patch 5.4.0 (2013-09-10): Now deals 15% more damage.
- Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28): No longer deals triple damage to targets below 25% health. No longer inflicts damage on the caster if the target is not killed by the spell. For Shadow priests: Now generates 1 Shadow Orb. If the target does not die, the cooldown is reset, but this additional Shadow Word: Death does not grant a Shadow Orb. This effect has a 6 sec cooldown.
- Patch 4.2.0 (2011-06-28): Shadow Word: Death damage done has been increased by 12%.
- Hotfix (2010-12-07): "Low-level priests will now properly take Shadow Word: Death backlash damage when casting Shadow Word: Death."
- Patch 2.1.0 (2007-05-22): Cooldown increased to 12 sec and will now properly damage the casting Priest when it is reflected.
- Patch 2.0.3 (2007-01-09): Added.