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Discipline Priest Healing Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (MoP 5.4.8)

Discipline Priest Art Image
General Information

On this page, we list your Discipline Priest coreabilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of WarcraftMoP 5.4. We also explain whento use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtletiesthat you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a DisciplinePriest.

The other pages of our Discipline Priest guide can be accessedfrom the table of contents on the right.

 

1. Rotation↑top

Healing is in great part based on your ability to react to the damage thatthe raid takes, and as such there is no set rotation. Rather, you mustunderstand what spells are best suited to the different situations that canoccur during a raid encounter.

1.1. Tank or Single Target Healing

When healing the tank or a single target, you should use these two spellson cooldown, as they are excellent in terms of mana efficiency:

In addition to using these two spells on cooldown, you haveseveral other options, depending on the damage.

1.2. Raid Healing

Raid healing as a Discipline Priest mainly relies on 3 spells:Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending, Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing, andPower Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield. Additionally, your Tier 6 talent ofchoice will play a big part in your raid healing, as will frequentusage of Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell.

Spirit Shell is essentially a cooldown, and we treat it as such in ourguide, but we wanted to make sure that you do not overlook its greatusefulness.

Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing is ineffective if the raid is spread out too much,so as a replacement you can use Binding Heal Icon Binding Heal withGlyph of Binding Heal Icon Glyph of Binding Heal.

1.3. The Importance of Atonement Healing

Discipline Priests are able to do considerable amounts of healing (as wellas some damage) thanks to Atonement Icon Atonement. This is a very useful techniqueto master, for which we recommend reading our dedicated section.

2. Cooldown Usage↑top

  • Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell should be used whenever there is high sustained damageto heal. You should aim to use it as many times as possible throughout thefight. It can also be used to pre-shield a target before they receive a lot ofdamage. Stacking Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell with Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion (a Tier 5 talentthat you will usually take) is also extremely beneficial.
  • Inner Focus Icon Inner Focus should be used on cooldown.
  • Pain Suppression Icon Pain Suppression should be used on a tank, before a damagespike. Alternatively, it can be used on a raid member who is targeted by avery damaging ability.
  • Power Word: Barrier Icon Power Word: Barrier should be used to mitigate intense AoE damage; itrequires the raid to be stacked in one place.
  • Void Shift Icon Void Shift should be used to save the life of a raid member bytrading health percentages with them. When doing this, be prepared toimmediately use Desperate Prayer Icon Desperate Prayer (if you have taken this talent) and/or aHealthstone to ensure you do not die. Alternatively, it can be used to saveyour own life. Always be wary who you cast Void Shift on, especially if yourown health is low.

We expand more on the cooldowns that you gain from your talents in a subsequent section.

3. Inner Fire and Inner Will↑top

As a Priest, you have access to two (mutually exclusive) self-buffs:Inner Fire Icon Inner Fire and Inner Will Icon Inner Will.

For the majority of the time, you will want to use Inner Fire Icon Inner Fire andtake advantage of its spell power benefit. However, if you need to use a lot ofinstant-cast spells (multiple Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shields,Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending, Dispel Magic Icon Dispel Magic), you can switch toInner Will Icon Inner Will.

4. Optional Read: Mastering Your Discipline Priest↑top

While the guidelines we have given so far will enable you to perform verydecently as a Discipline Priest, there are many subtleties which you need tobe aware of, if you want to play your character to its full potential.

4.1. Smiting and Atonement Healing

Discipline Priests have a unique type of ability. Thanks toAtonement Icon Atonement, a passive ability, you can heal players, automatically, bydealing damage to enemies through Smite Icon Smite, Holy Fire Icon Holy Fire, andPenance Icon Penance. This healing is a smart heal (it heals the lowest healthtarget in range) and it is mana efficient. In addition to these benefits, itallows the Priest to also contribute to the raid's DPS.

Each time you deal damage with Smite Icon Smite, Holy Fire Icon Holy Fire, andPenance Icon Penance, the lowest health player within 40 yards of the target (thetarget you have dealt damage to) is healed for 90% of the amount of damagethat you did. Each time this happens, thanks to Evangelism Icon Evangelism (anotherpassive ability), you gain a stack of a buff that increases the damage andhealing done by the above-mentioned 3 spells, while also reducing their manacost. This buff stacks up to 5 times. Finally, you can consume these stacks ofEvangelism through Archangel Icon Archangel, an active ability with a 30-secondcooldown, which increases your healing by 5% per stack consumed, for 18seconds.

Thanks to Divine Fury Icon Divine Fury, a passive ability, Smite, Holy Fire, andPenance will never miss their target.

As such, there are two distinct aspects to keep track of. One is theamount of healing you can do through Atonement, and the other is therather potent 18-second healing increase you can gain throughEvangelism and Archangel.

Atonement healing is not difficult in essence, but with its rise inpopularity (due in great part to it having been made increasingly viable), wefeel that certain aspects need to be covered in more depth.

4.1.1. When Should I Stack Evangelism and When Should I Use Archangel?

The short answer here is that you should try to always keep up stacks ofEvangelism Icon Evangelism throughout the fight, so that you can use Archangel Icon Archangelwhenever you think you need a boost to your healing (such as right before aperiod of heavy damage).

Do not worry, though. To keep up Evangelism you do not need to performall-out spamming of Smite Icon Smite. You can do it quite simply by castingHoly Fire Icon Holy Fire whenever you have a spare moment, since this spell isinstant-cast. Given its 10-second cooldown, if you use it on cooldown, you willstill not quite be able to have maximum theoretical uptime on Evangelism. So,provided that your tasks in the fight allow for it, you should try to get offa Smite Icon Smite here and there to make sure that your Evangelism is sitting at5 stacks. Evangelism lasts 20 seconds, so, from then on, if you cast a HolyFire before the buff expires, your stacks will stay up.

Using Archangel optimally requires a solid understanding of the fightmechanics. You need to know when you will need that extra bit of healingthroughput, and activate Archangel in preparation for it.

All things considered, though, Archangel has a pretty low cooldown, so youcan be quite liberal with its usage.

4.1.2. When Should I Use Atonement Healing

The short answer is to use it whenever you can. In other words, if thehealing that the raid receives from Atonement is enough for that part ofthe fight, then you should be using Smite Icon Smite, Holy Fire Icon Holy Fire, andPenance Icon Penance as much as you can.

It is important to consider how your use of Atonement is affecting theother healers. For example, if the other healers have to use mana-inefficientspells to keep the raid alive in order to compensate for your lack of healing,then you shouldn't be using Smite, and you should instead be using properhealing spells.

It is also interesting to note that your DPS while using Smite, HolyFire, and Penance is not negligible, and in some fights, it might provide theextra bit of damage that your raid needs to succeed. For example, if there arefights that are strict DPS checks, which require a lot of raid healingtowards the end, but not much healing before that, then doing as much DPS aspossible at the start of the fight, while still being able to be a perfectlycompetent healer by the end is a very powerful asset.

Another aspect to keep in mind is that the amount of healing done byAtonement depends on the amount of damage you do to the target. So, if thetarget is taking increased damage for whatever reason (generally fightmechanics), then your healing will also be greatly increased.

Note that, while spamming Smite Icon Smite, your mana will go down (veryslowly).

Keep in mind, that healing players through Atonement (with Penance) doesnot apply the Grace Icon Grace effect to the target.

Lastly, and quite importantly, remember that the healing done to you fromyour own Atonement is only worth 50% of the damage you deal. Therefore, youshould make sure that your health is not low when you are trying to heal withAtonement. If your health is low, then you will naturally receive quite a fewof the heals from your own Atonement (since it is a smart heal), which willturn it into an inefficient means of healing.

4.2. Important Mechanics

In order to use your spells appropriately for the situations youencounter, you must first understand several aspects of the Disciplinespecialisation.

4.2.1. Mastery and Absorption Effects

The Discipline Mastery is Mastery: Shield Discipline Icon Mastery: Shield Discipline. Essentially,your Mastery Rating increases the amount of healing your spells do, as wellas increasing the damage absorbed by your absorptioneffects.

Discipline Priests have three absorption effects:

Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield is quite simple. You placea shield on a target, which absorbs a certain amount of damage (affected notonly by your Mastery, but also by your spell power). Applying a shield to atarget causes the Weakened Soul Icon Weakened Soul debuff, which prevents them from beingshielded again (by you or any other priest) for 15 seconds. Power Word:Shields benefit from your critical strike chance, absorbing twice as muchdamage when this effect procs.

Your Divine Aegis Icon Divine Aegis passive ability provides you with a passiveabsorption mechanic. Each timeyou critically heal with a spell, a shield is placed on the target thatabsorbs damage equal to 100% of the amount healed. This absorb is addedto the heal amount, but the heal is not a critical effect, rather just thedefault amount. In other words, instead of a critical heal being a 200% heal,thanks to Divine Aegis, it is a 100% heal and a 100% absorption effect.

Divine Aegis Icon Divine Aegis has a 15 second duration, and each new application ofthe buff will stack on top of the previous Divine Aegis (merging the remainingamount of absorption with the amount of absorption created by the new shield)and refresh its duration. Note that the amount absorbed by Divine Aegis islimited to 60% of the casting Priest's maximum health.

Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell turns all the healing from Heal Icon Heal,Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal, Greater Heal Icon Greater Heal, and Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing intoa damage absorption effect that lasts 10 seconds. This effect is capped at60% of the casting Priest's maximum health.

Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield and Divine Aegis Icon Divine Aegis, as well as Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shelland Power Word: Shield can co-exist on the same target at the same time,without any kind of interaction between them. However, you cannot applyDivine Aegis through Heal Icon Heal, Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal, Greater Heal Icon Greater Heal, andPrayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing while Spirit Shell is active. This is becauseDivine Aegis only comes from heals, and Spirit Shell turns thesespells' healing heals into absorption effects.

Absorption is a key element of Discipline healing. Shielding people is ameans of preventive healing, which reduces the spikes in damage taken andensures that damage is more predictable.

4.2.2. Borrowed Time

After each cast of Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield you gain theBorrowed Time Icon Borrowed Time buff. This reduces the cast or channel time of your nextspell (cast within 6 seconds) by 15%. Casting a spell consumes the buff. Notethat spells with an instant cast time do not benefit from, nor do they consumethe buff.

Normally, Discipline Priests have long cast time heals, namely Heal Icon Heal,Greater Heal Icon Greater Heal, and Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing. Therefore, these spellsare the best candidates for consuming the Borrowed Time buff with. What thismeans is that, essentially, you will want to cast a Power Word: Shield, andgain the Borrowed Time buff, before any of these three heals.

When you know that you will have to cast an important heal (a Greater Healon the tank, who will be taking high damage at that time, for example), it isgood to think ahead and have your Borrowed Time buff active.

4.2.3. Strength of Soul

Strength of Soul Icon Strength of Soul is a passive ability that causes your heals withHeal Icon Heal, Greater Heal Icon Greater Heal, or Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal to reduce theduration of the Weakened Soul Icon Weakened Soul debuff on the target by 2 seconds. Thisability comes in handy especially when healing the tank, since it allows you tocast Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shields on them more often.

4.2.4. Train of Thought

Train of Thought Icon Train of Thought is a passive ability that causes two effects:

You will benefit from this passively, but it is worth knowing about it.

4.2.5. Void Shift

Whenever you are using Void Shift Icon Void Shift to swap health with a player whosehealth is very low, or when your own health is low, you have to be verycareful. This is even more true if you are casting Void Shift when there israid damage going on.

Since Void Shift is off the global cooldown, you can use a macro such asthe following one to cast Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield on yourself at the same time ascasting Void Shift, thus increasing your chances of survival:

  • /cast [@self]Power Word: Shield
  • /cast [@mouseover]Void Shift

4.2.6. Mana Management

Discipline Priests have three means of regenerating mana during combat:

Hymn of Hope Icon Hymn of Hope is a channeled spell that restores mana in a "smart"way to several low-mana raid members and increases their maximum mana by 15%for 8 seconds. Hymn of Hope prefers to restore mana to healers over casterDPS players, and as long as there are healers who can benefit from it, theywill do so ahead of casters (even if the casters are much lower on mana thanthe healers). It has a 6-minute cooldown.

Hymn of Hope will, most likely, be only used once or possiblytwice during the encounter. The best time to use this ability is hard todetermine ahead of time, as it depends on a great number of factors. Followthese guidelines:

  • Try to use Hymn of Hope Icon Hymn of Hope as many times during an encounter aspossible.
  • Only use Hymn of Hope when you are not at maximum mana.
  • Do not use Hymn of Hope Icon Hymn of Hope if you will need to interrupt the castbefore it finishes (8 second cast), because of having to move or heal.
  • Do not use Hymn of Hope Icon Hymn of Hope when there is a lot of raid damage. Yourinability to heal while channeling Hymn of Hope will force other healers tocompensate by using mana inefficient spells.
  • Remember that Hymn of Hope Icon Hymn of Hope benefits not only you, but also otherlow-mana healers. This means that you should use it when more healers can getthe benefit from it, i.e. when their mana is low and they can useclass-specific mana regeneration cooldowns, such as Divine Plea Icon Divine Plea for HolyPaladins. This is because the mana-pool increasing effect of Hymn of Hopeincreases the potency of mana regeneration cooldowns which are based onmaximum mana.

Alternatively, if you are in a very healing-intensive moment in thefight and you are out of mana, you can channel Hymn of Hope for only onetick, and then cancel it. The mana pool-increasing effect will last for 8seconds, during which time you can benefit from this extra mana to cast a fewmuch-needed heals. This is not an efficient way to regenerate your mana, but itcan allow you to cast a few more heals in an emergency when you are low onmana.

Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend will summon a pet that attacks the target, restoringsome of your maximum mana to you each time it makes an attack. Shadowfiend has alower cooldown than Hymn of Hope (3 minutes). It should be used as many timesduring an encounter as possible. Ideally, it should be used while Hymn of Hopeis active, as this temporarily increases your maximum mana, and Shadowfiendgrants you a percentage of your maximum mana with each attack it makes.

Lastly, it does not matter when your Shadowfiend is cast relative toHeroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp, since its stats updatedynamically, so it is perfectly fine to cast Shadowfiend afterHeroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp is already up.

Rapture Icon Rapture is a much more dynamic and delicate mana regeneration methodto master. Your goal is to have one of your Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shields breakroughly every 13 seconds, for as much of the fight as possible.

This is not as easy as it seems, in practice. Often, the only person takingthe sustained damage required to break a shield is the tank, and theWeakened Soul Icon Weakened Soul debuff lasts 15 seconds, meaning you can only shield thetarget once every 15 seconds. It could then take a few more seconds (dependingon boss attack speed, dodges or parries) for the shield to break, pushingthe interval between Rapture procs to close to 20 seconds.

When there is sustained raid damage, or when there are two tanks takingdamage at the same time, maintaining a high Rapture uptime is easier.

This is something you will have to practice in order to master. Werecommend using the Ingela's Rapture add-on to track the time remaininguntil the Rapture internal cooldown wears off.

4.3. More on Cooldowns

4.3.1. Tier 3 Talents

If you have chosen From Darkness, Comes Light Icon From Darkness, Comes Light, then simply be preparedto use your procs, so that they do not overwrite each other.

Mindbender Icon Mindbender should be used on cooldown, to make use of its muchlower cooldown. Trying to stack it various cooldowns, as we mentionedregarding Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend, is still ideal.

Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace replaces Holy Fire Icon Holy Fire. It is essentially the sameas Holy Fire, with a few key differences.

  • Power Word: Solace does not trigger Atonement, but the damage that itdeals is also done as healing to a nearby ally.
  • Power Word: Solace does not cost any mana.
  • Power Word: Solace restores 1% of maximum mana when cast.

It should be used whenever you have spare time to use it (that is to say,when you do not have to heal more intensely), and when you can use the manareturn it provides.

4.3.2. Tier 5 Talents

Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion should be used whenever a period of intense healingis coming up, or simply when you want to conserve your mana. Exceptionally,you can use it to deal more damage, if the encounter calls for it.

Since its cooldown matches nicely with that of Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell, you canuse the two abilities together so that every other Spirit Shell is used duringPower Infusion.

Procs from Divine Insight Icon Divine Insight should be used as best as can beexpected. This is very simple. You can essentially just castPower Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shields benefiting from this proc on whoever you believe willtake damage in the near future, or is already taking damage.

As mentioned in the talents page, Twist of Fate Icon Twist of Fate interacts favourablywith Atonement Icon Atonement healing. The buff is gained whenever you damage atarget that is below 35% health, or when you heal a player(indirect Atonement heals count) that is below 35% health.

4.3.3. Tier 6 Talents

Which ever of these talents you chose (Cascade Icon Cascade, Divine Star Icon Divine Star, orHalo Icon Halo), you should use it whenever it willnot overheal. These talents are all suited for AoE healing, but theirusefulness differs based on the positioning of your raid.

For the majority of situations, you will prefer Cascade. This spell iseasy to use, so there is nothing much to say here.

Halo is only suited for the rare situations where the raid is neitherstacked nor spread out. For it to be effective, you need to be 25 yards awayfrom the targets you wish to heal. Note also that the mana cost of Halo is veryhigh.

5. Changelog↑top

  • 04 Feb. 2014: Added a macro to help you castPower Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield on yourself when you cast Void Shift Icon Void Shift.
  • 12 Nov. 2013: Added emphasis to the importance of Atonement healing.Also fixed two minor out-of-date mentions regarding Twist of Fate Icon Twist of Fate andDivine Aegis Icon Divine Aegis, respectively.
  • 10 Sep. 2013: Patch 5.4 update.
    • Updated the description of Hymn of Hope Icon Hymn of Hope to specify that this spellnow prefers restoring mana to healers over casters.
    • Updated the Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend section to accurately mention that it doesnot matter when Shadowfiend is cast relative toHeroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp, since its stats updatedynamically.
    • Updated the duration of the Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell buff to 10 seconds, downfrom 15.
  • 20 May 2013: Patch 5.3 update.
    • Updated the description of Atonement healing to specify that 90% of thedamage dealt is done as healing, down from 100%.
    • Updated the Borrowed Time Icon Borrowed Time section to account for the fact thatBorrowed Time now reduces the next spell cast or channel time by 15%, insteadof increasing spell haste by 15%.
  • 18 Apr. 2013: Made several updates.
    • Added mentions of using Binding Heal Icon Binding Heal with Glyph of Binding Heal Icon Glyph of Binding Heal(as an alternative to Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing when the raid is spread out) andPenance Icon Penance (for Atonement Icon Atonement healing) in raid-healing situations.
    • Added mention of being quick to top yourself off after usingVoid Shift Icon Void Shift to save a raid member. Added mention that keeping your healthhigh when using Atonement Icon Atonement healing is important.
    • Added mention that Cascade Icon Cascade is the best choice for Tier 6 talents inmost situations.
    • Added a tip for the usage of Hymn of Hope Icon Hymn of Hope (at the very end of therespective section).
  • 27 Mar. 2013: Tweaked the initial spell usage recommendations toinclude more frequent usage of Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield, accounting for itsreduced mana cost. Greatly expanded and improved the Atonement Icon Atonement healingsection of the guide. Fixed the maximum amount that Divine Aegis Icon Divine Aegis can stackup to from 40% to 60%.
  • 13 Mar. 2013: Corrected the guide to no longer state thatPrayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing non-critical heals apply Divine Aegis Icon Divine Aegis.
  • 04 Mar. 2013: Patch 5.2 update.
    • Added mention of secondary effects of Mastery (increasing the healing ofall spells).
    • Updated explanation of the way in which Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace works.
    • Updated explanation of the way in which Divine Aegis Icon Divine Aegis works in regardsto critical effects of heals that trigger it; also added mention of the factthat Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield benefits from your critical strike chance.



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