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Shadow Word: Pain
Spell shadow shadowwordpain.png
  • Shadow Word: Pain
  • Level 2 priest ability
  • 40 yd range
  • 1.2% of base mana
  • Instant
  • A word of darkness that causes (12.92% of Spell power) Shadow damage instantly, and an additional (57.528% of Spell power) Shadow damage over 12 sec.

    Shadow Shadow
    Generates 4 Insanity.
Usable by
Class Priest
School Shadow
Cooldown None/Global Cooldown
Other information
Level learned 2
Improvements Damnation, [Mastery: Shadow Weaving], [Misery], [Power of the Dark Side], Searing Nightmare, [Void Bolt]
Related debuff
Spell shadow shadowwordpain.png
  • Magic
  • Shadow Word: Pain
  • Suffering (9.588% of spell power) Shadow damage every 2 sec.
  • Duration: 12 sec
"Your pain is my pleasure." —Omedus the Punisher[1]

Shadow Word: Pain is a level 2 priest damage over time ability with a direct damage component.

For Shadow priests, Shadow Word: Pain generates 4 Insanity on application.



  • Rank 2 (Level 27): Increases the duration by 4 sec.



  • Damnation (Shadow)
  • [Misery] (Shadow)
  • Searing Nightmare (Shadow)


  • As with many baseline abilities, the actual damage dealt by Shadow Word: Pain will vary based on the priest's specialization. This is due to each spec having a hidden core aura that modifies ability damage done solely for that spec.
    • As of Patch 9.0.1, these hidden core auras grant Shadow Word: Pain a 7% damage increase for discipline, an 81% damage increase for holy, and a 20% damage increase for shadow.
  • Like all damage over time spells, sufficient haste will cause Shadow Word: Pain to gain extra ticks.
  • Shadow Word: Pain will not deal its initial damage when applied with [Vampiric Touch] via [Misery].

Tips and tactics

In the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game.

Shadow priests use Shadow Word: Pain (commonly abbreviated as SW:P) as one of their key damage-over-time attacks. Though its damage is considerably low, its primary use is to enable [Mastery: Shadow Weaving], and it should generally be kept active on enemies at all times. Being both instant cast and free of cost, SW:P is the easiest of Shadow's three DoTs to apply and spread, especially with the talents [Misery] or Searing Nightmare.

As Discipline priests do not have access to [Renew], they instead make use of Shadow Word: Pain as a "reverse HoT" via [Atonement]. Unlike shadow, discipline does not have any options to directly improve SW:P, but they can talent into [Purge the Wicked] which replaces SW:P entirely with a stronger DoT.

In PvP, SW:P can be useful for preventing rogues or druids from stealthing, and dealing damage while on the move. Unlike most DoTs, Shadow Word: Pain has an initial direct damage component that will interrupt flag captures and similar processes, making it highly useful for this purpose. This makes SW:P the priest's only instant spammable direct damage ability.

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

This spell envelopes a target briefly in a cloud of dark energy conjured from the netherworld.[2]


  • In Classic, Shadow Word: Pain is the only shadow damage over time ability available to priests (excluding the undead priest racial [Devouring Plague]). It is also considered to be one of the strongest DoTs in Classic due to both its high base damage and its synergy with the numerous shadow damage talents and debuffs available.
  • Shadow Word: Pain is a basic Priest spell in Hearthstone. The flavor text reads: "A step up from a spell cast by many beginning acolytes: "Shadow Word: Annoy"."

Patch changes

  • Shadowlands Hotfix (2020-11-09): (Discipline) Damage reduced by 10%.
  • Shadowlands Patch 9.0.1 (2020-10-13): Once again available to all Priests as a baseline ability.
    • Damage coefficient reduced to 12.92% instant (was 16.56%) and 57.528% periodic (was 99.2%).
    • Duration reduced to 12 seconds (was 16 seconds).
    • For shadow priests, a new rank has been added that increases the duration by 4 seconds.
    • Mana cost reduced to 0.3% base mana (was 1.8% base mana).
    • Now learned at level 2 (was level 3).
    • Periodic critical strikes no longer generate [Shadowy Apparitions] for shadow priests.
  • Battle for Azeroth Patch 8.3.0 (2020-01-14): Shadow Word: Pain damage reduced by 9%.
  • Battle for Azeroth Patch 8.2.0 (2019-06-25): Shadow Word: Pain damage reduced by 9%.
  • Battle for Azeroth Patch 8.1.0 (2018-12-11): (Discipline) Damage reduced by 11%. (Shadow) Damage reduced by 5%.
  • Battle for Azeroth Hotfix (2018-09-10): Shadow Word: Pain (Shadow) damage increased by 20%.
  • Battle for Azeroth Hotfix (2018-08-07): Shadow Word: Pain (Discipline) damage reduced by 9%.
  • Battle for Azeroth Patch 8.0.1 (2018-07-17): Duration reduced to 16 seconds (was 18 seconds).
  • Legion Hotfix (2017-12-05): Shadow Word: Pain (Shadow) damage reduced by 12%.
  • Legion Hotfix (2017-11-28): Shadow Word: Pain (Shadow) damage reduced by 4%.
  • Legion Hotfix (2017-06-13): Shadow Word: Pain (Shadow) damage reduced by 20% in PvP situations.
  • Legion Patch 7.2.5 (2017-06-13): Shadow Word: Pain damage increased by 5% for Discipline and 10% for Shadow.
  • Legion Hotfix (2017-02-21): Shadow Word: Pain (with the Misery talent) is now properly applied to the target when out of range.
  • Legion Patch 7.1.5 (2017-01-10): (Shadow) Duration now 18 seconds (was 14 seconds). Now generates 4 Insanity (was 3).
  • Legion Patch 7.1.0 (2016-10-25): (Shadow) Damage reduced by 10%.
  • Legion Hotfix (2016-08-26): Shadow Word: Pain (Discipline) damage increased by 7%.
  • Legion Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19): No longer available to Holy. Damage per tick reduced by 5%. Duration reduced to 14 seconds (down from 18). Now generates Insanity (Shadow only).
  • Warlords of Draenor Patch 6.0.2 (2014-10-14): Mana cost reduced by 50%. Shadow Word: Pain's initial damage is now considered direct damage rather than periodic damage. Shadowy Apparitions and Shadowy Insight are no longer able to trigger from this initial direct damage.
  • Mists of Pandaria Hotfix (2013-09-23): Shadow Word: Pain's damage has been reduced by 15%.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.4.0 (2013-09-10): Now deals 25% more damage.
  • Mists of Pandaria Hotfix (2013-03-12): Shadow Word: Pain now deals 25% less damage.
  • Mists of Pandaria Hotfix (2013-03-05): Shadow Word: Pain now deals 25% more damage.
  • Mists of Pandaria Hotfix (2012-09-14): Shadow Word: Pain should now interrupt flag captures and other similar processes with its initial damage (but not its periodic damage over time).
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28): Now deals initial damage in addition to its periodic damage.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.2.0 (2011-06-28): Shadow Word: Pain damage done has been decreased by 12%.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.1 (2010-10-12): Range increased to 40 yards, up from 30.
  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.1.0 (2009-04-14): No longer gains increased damage from critical strike via [Shadowform]. Instead, Shadowform will now grant Shadow Word: Pain the ability to critically strike.
  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.0.3 (2008-11-04): Shadow Word: Pain cast while in [Shadowform] now deals increased damage equal to the caster's critical strike chance.
  • Bc icon.gif Patch 2.0.6 (2007-01-23): Spell power coefficient reduced by 9%.
  • WoW Icon update.png Patch 1.1.0 (2004-11-07): Removed facing requirement.
  • Test-inline.png Patch 0.6 (2004-04-13): Shadow Word: Pain will now stack with [Corruption].

See also


External links