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Shadowy Apparitions is a passive level 34 Shadow priest ability. It causes crits from your to summon a Shadowy Apparition. Shadowy Apparitions are shadowy versions of the caster that float slowly toward the target whose Shadow Word: Pain spawned them. When they reach their target, they deal instant shadow damage and disappear. Shadowy Apparitions are considered a missile effect, and cannot be targeted.
- Apparitions can crit for 50% extra damage.
- Apparitions will despawn after 18 seconds or when their target dies.
- Apparitions spawn at the priest's current location. When moving, this can cause them to appear several steps behind the priest.
- Each Shadowy Apparition spawns with a specific target, and will not switch targets.
Shadowy Apparitions potentially increases 's output quite considerably. However, in practice this component is highly variable, since the Apparitions must travel to their target before damage is dealt. In PvP this can present a significant reduction in potential damage.
A Shadowy Apparition will spawn each time any of the priest's Shadow Word: Pain debuffs achieve a crit. Shadowy Apparitions can spawn regardless of range, and while mounted, flying or swimming.
Shadowy Apparitions' output is dependent on the priest's spell crit chance, the number of SW:P debuffs active, and the location and movement of the priest and their targets. Shadowy Apparitions are likely to deal substantially more damage to stationary targets; moving targets and other players in PvP are far more likely to evade at least some of the Apparitions, wasting potential damage. In situations where several SW:P debuffs are active, it is possible for priests to waste potential damage due to Apparitions simply not reaching their targets quickly enough to prevent wasting a spawn, due to the 3 Apparition limit. Although priests will generally wish to stay out of range of enemies' attacks, both kinds of damage wastage can be minimised by placing a smaller distance between the priest and the target(s). In PvP, priests can deliberately lead their foes into the path of Apparitions, and enemies directly chasing the priest are almost guaranteed to make contact with any Apparitions very quickly.
Shadowy Apparitions' damage is calculated at the time they are spawned. Subsequent stat changes will not affect the damage dealt by Apparitions that have already spawned.
The behavior of Apparitions is often erratic. Some but not all Apparitions will despawn within a few seconds if their target dies. These Apparitions will not attempt to pursue other targets, but will return to the priest, and follow him until they despawn. These Apparitions will not deal damage or despawn upon contact with other targets, and match the priest's speed even if mounted. It is also possible for Apparitions to spawn shortly after the death of the target.
Apparitions' appearance is based on that of the priest at the time that they are spawned. Priests suffering from the effects of , or other transformations will therefore spawn Apparitions that match their current form. The priest's gear is also reflected in the Apparitions. However, Shadowy Apparitions appear to always be in .
The sound effect for Shadowy Apparition procs is quite similar to that for procs, which combined with the slight delay before the Apparition's spawning, can make it hard to tell when an Apparition has been procced.
- Prior to Patch 5.4, Shadowy Apparitions were non-controllable Guardian pets. They could be targeted, and receive spells such as , , and even , although there was rarely if ever any reason to attack or cast spells on an Apparition. The Apparitions appeared simply as shadowy, semi-transparent replicas of the casting priest, and would respond to terrain with normal animations, swimming when underwater, and making footstep sounds when walking on appropriate surfaces. The Apparitions moved on foot at walking speed, and so could often be easily avoided simply by moving away from them. They would also occasionally get stuck on terrain and objects, and could not reach flying targets. These elements also caused problems for Shadow priests when fighting bosses involving flight or a lot of movement. To avoid these problems, the Apparitions were eventually redesigned as a floating missile effect. 
Artwork on the TCG card "Shadow Silhouettes".
Patches and hotfixes
- Patch 7.1.0 (2016-10-25):
- Damage reduced by 9.1%.
- Now learned at level 20 (was 10).
- Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19): Damage reduced by 33%.
- Patch 5.4.0 (2013-09-10): Now creates a shadowy version of the Priest that floats towards the target and deals damage. The apparitions are now treated as a missile, and is no longer an attackable creature. There is no longer a maximum number of 3 apparitions.
- Hotfix (2013-03-05): "Shadowy Apparitions will no longer pursue targets that are actively stealthed."
- Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28): Renamed from Shadowy Apparition, and changed from a Shadow talent to a Shadow specialization. Now only triggers on critical periodic damage, but has a 100% chance to do so. Can now summon a maximum of 3 apparitions, down from 4.
- Patch 4.1.0 (2011-04-26): Shadowy Apparitions now benefit from the priest's spell penetration.
- Patch 4.0.1 (2010-10-12): Added.