Mind Flay: Insanity - Shadow Priest Theorycraft from a Practical Standpoint: Keep Dots Up During Mind Flay: Insanity!?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Keep Dots Up During Mind Flay: Insanity!?

You may have noticed that I love Mind Flay: Insanity. The powerful burst with a reasonably short interval not only allows us to blow things up quickly but increases our long-term damage capabilities significantly. However, it can cause problems because it requires us to stand still and cast nothing but MF:I for as long as we can. These days our dots don't last as long (goodbye UVLS+2pc T15). What if our dots are crazy strong because we cast them with mega procs, but those procs fell off already? Should we refresh them early, losing some of that awesome damage, or should we let them keep doing their thing and reapply them later? Let's take a look at how we can maximize our DPS by making the right choices. We can either refresh dots early, and lose a bit of a gcd, or we can let our dots fall off during our blue laser beam turretting action. It seems like a lose-lose situation, but if we do it right it's a solid boost to our DPS.

Do you smell that? A nice, warm chart fresh out of excel!
(Click to Enlarge)

To begin, we need to know how long it takes us to channel insanity, so we know if our dots will even fall off or not. Devouring Plague takes a gcd and lasts 6 seconds. Assuming you're at a decent haste level, this means you have just about 5 seconds left on DP by the time you can start channeling. If we recast insanity right before DP falls off (which you absolutely should be doing!), we can gain another full channel of the dot for great success. Ideally that's 5 seconds, or gcds, of MF:I plus another 2 seconds for the last full channel after DP falls off (give or take slightly depending on how early you refresh it and your haste levels for MF's lengths). We also want to cast Mind Blast on cd, and it's up when we're done with MF:I, so that's another gcd. But if our dots fell off, we'll need to spend another 2 gcds recasting them before they're back on, too. 5+2+1+2 = 10 gcds we spend from the start of DP until we're wanting to deal with dots again. Our dots tick every 2 gcds, which makes the math easy: We have up to 5 dot ticks possible during our DP+MF:I burst phases.

Now that we know our total dot damage possible in the background of our Mind Flay: Insanity phase, we just need to compare the damage gained from the buffs the dots have to the damage lost of them falling off. Firstly, make sure you're using AffDotsPriest, made as always by the amazing Alae. We need to know how strong our dots are, and how much stronger or weaker they'll be if we refresh them, and this tool is too good to not use for this!

If our dots have 2 seconds left when we start our DP+MF:I burst, that means they have 1 tick left, so we either accept that we miss 4 ticks of our dots (5 total possible during this time, and we're only getting 1) or we refresh them early to make sure they never stop ticking. Unless our dots are currently doing 5x the amount they would be if we refreshed, we're going to lose some damage here. This leads us to finding that we need our current relative damage (the number AffDotsPriest shows) to be greater than n/10, where n is the number of seconds left on our dots. If this is the case, then do not refresh them. Otherwise, refresh away.

If you've run into other situations during your spriesting, and you're not quite sure what the best thing to do is, leave a comment. I'll look into it, and we'll see what we can come up with!


  1. Can you do the same calculation but considering the refresh of the dots BEFORE the mind blasto to get the 3 orb?

  2. I take it from the way you've phrased this that you consider there to never be a reasonable circumstance under which you would refresh DoTs *during* Devouring Plague uptime (i.e. in the middle of the Insanity spam)?

  3. There's not normally an optimal time for you to refresh dots when DP is up. Sometimes things get really crazy and there will be exceptions, but in general the big take away from this post is that it's better to refresh your dots before you hit DP. Remember that you can hold DP until right before MB comes back off CD with minimal loss, so often times it's an increase in DPS to wait on DP until you've taken care of your dots. It can be even better to take care of your dots before your third orb, though. Almost always if you find yourself needing to refresh dots during DP then you could have planned things out better previously and should work on noticing when you're about to get 3 orbs and already start looking at how many dots you have that you should refresh now because you're about to get a third orb and start DP + insanity. Hope this helps!