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For the Warcraft III item, see Shadow Orb.
Shadow Orbs
Spell priest shadoworbs
  • Shadow Orbs
  • Level 21 Shadow priest ability
  • Passive
  • Generated by Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death. Used to cast Devouring Plague and empower Psychic Horror.
Class Priest
Other information
Level learned 21
Affects Spell shadow unholyfrenzy [Mind Blast], Spell shadow demonicfortitude [Shadow Word: Death], Spell shadow devouringplague [Devouring Plague], Spell shadow psychichorrors [Psychic Horror]
Shadow Orbs Resource Mechanic

The Shadow Orbs resource mechanic as it appears in the user interface

Shadow Orbs are a unique Shadow priest resource displayed in the user interface beneath the player's health and mana bars. They become available to Shadow priests at level 21.

Shadow Orbs are generated by Spell shadow unholyfrenzy [Mind Blast] and Spell shadow demonicfortitude [Shadow Word: Death]. They are used to cast Spell shadow devouringplague [Devouring Plague] and Spell shadow psychichorrors [Psychic Horror].

Priests can have a maximum of 3 Shadow Orbs at a time, or 5 once Spell priest shadoworbs [Enhanced Shadow Orbs] has been acquired. Psychic Horror will consume up to 3 Shadow Orbs, empowering the spell according to the number consumed, requiring a minimum of 1 Shadow Orb; while Devouring Plague always consumes 3 Shadow Orbs, and cannot be cast with fewer.

Shadow Orbs do not decay or disappear over time; they can be stored indefinitely until they are needed. However, events such as dying or logging out will reset the priest's Shadow Orbs.


Talents, abilities and glyphs that increase the availability of abilities that generate Shadow Orbs can in turn lead to increased Shadow Orb generation. Examples include Spell priest burningwill [Divine Insight] and Inv glyph majorpriest [Glyph of Shadow Word: Death].


Any Orbs generated while at the maximum will be wasted. Priests with full Orbs should generally therefore try to make use of an ability to consume them, before using abilities that will generate further Orbs.

A simple tactic to provide an edge when facing a tough opponent is for the priest to first generate 3-5 Shadow Orbs from fighting other, usually weaker, foes, before engaging the more challenging target. As Shadow Orbs can take some time to accumulate (especially in single combat), this tactic can substantially increase DPS in short encounters.

Patch changes[]

  • Legion Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19): Removed, replaced by Insanity system.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28): Redesigned into a resource mechanic for Shadow priests.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.6 (2011-02-08): The benefit from mastery has been increased by approximately 16%.
  • Cataclysm Hotfix (2010-11-24): The Empowered Shadow buff is no longer granted when a player cancels the Shadow Orb buff. Mind Blast correctly removes the Shadow Orb buff and grants Empowered Shadow.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.1 (2010-10-12): Added.

External links[]