A Discipline Priest is something like a mixture of a Priest of Darkness and Holy with a completely unexpected result. A Discipline Priest has access to many Darkness spells, but their aim is protecting and healing their allies which they mostly carry out through damage delivery.
Let’s take a closer look at the weakest and the strongest aspects of this specialization:
- Capable of absorbing damage;
- Has powerful frequent burst;
- Nice additional DPS for the group/raid;
- Barely depends on the group/raid’s positioning;
- Effective in raids.
- Poor survival;
- Weak single target healing;
- Not the easiest character to handle – you need to be able to anticipate and plane your actions long in advance;
- Weak in mythic+weak for affixes, particularly for affixes that demand regular periodic healing.
Basic information on the spec:
A Discipline Priest, like any other healer in the game, uses one key resource – Mana. Mana is spent on the majority of healing spells, and on some auxiliary ones, too.
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(Area of Effect) is basically the area where this of that effect is actuated regardless of whether its damage or healing. This command is usually used to act in a team/raid on several targets. It is also used to describe any ability of a Boss with the aforementioned effect.
Absorb is short for ‘Absorption’. Refers to any effects capable of preventing damage taking.
Buff stands for any positive effect. Always reflected to the left of the mini-map, by its upper edge.
Burst is an ability to do – in multiple ways – massive damage within a short period of time.
Cleave is an ability to damage secondary targets through damaging the main one with no (or minor) loss in the damage done to the main target.
Cooldown (often CD) primarily refers to the ability recovery time. Can be often applied to bursts and various protective abilities.
Gear is what it is.
GCD (Global Cooldown) is the overall ability recovery time.
Debuff stands for negative effect. By default, it’ reflected to the left of the mini-map by its lower edge.
DoT stands for Damage over Time.
DPS (Damage per Second) is a measure that reflects the damage done within one second.
HPS stands for Healing per Second – the amount of healing done within one second.
Melee and Range. Melee is the close-range combat zone, also used in the titles of all the classes and specs that do effective damage in this zone. Range usually refers to a zone that is not a close-range one and is used, respectfully, in the titles of all classes and specs that do effective damage remotely.
Overheal is an inefficient heal that exceeds 100% Health.
Trait is a name for the ‘talents’ your azerite armor has.
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Penance is a channel 2-sec spell that can be maintained on the move, can be cast on an ally as well as an enemy; inflicts medium Mana spending. Depending on the purpose of use, it can either heal or deal damage. It’s mostly cast as an offensive spell. CD 9 secs
Purify cancels any malicious magic effects and maladies on the target. Provided a successful cancelling, CD is 8 secs.
Mass Dispel allows you, for a huge amount of Mana, to pick an area with a 15-m range in which you conduct a mass dispel of any negative magic effects on no more than 5 allies, and on no more than 5 enemies you cancel 1 positive magic effect. This spell has the capacity to cancel more powerful spells unreachable to your regular dispels.
Power Word: Radiance is a Mana-costly 2-sec spell that restores medium Health to a selected target and also to 4 allies within the 30-m range. It also applies Atonement with a duration of 60% of the standard one. Has 2 charges, CD 20 secs.
Power Word: Shield is an instant cast inflicting average Mana cost. Applies a damage absorbing shield on a selected target and buffs the shield Atonement. The shield acts for 15 secs or until completely exhausted. The damage received during absorption does not postpone your casts, that does not allow the same priest to buff the target with Power Word: Shield during 7.5 sec. This duration reduces with Haste increase.
Shadow Mend, for medium Mana, restores your ally major Health, but it does leave a 10-sec DoT that will deal 5% damage of restored health with the ability until the target receives 50% damage of the restored health or leaves the fight.
Smite is a very cheap spell dealing medium Holy damage and making your enemy deal less damage with their next attack as a portion of that damage is absorbed with Smite‘s effect.
Shadow Word: Pain, for medium Mana, instantly tags your enemy with a DoT dealing minor instant and major over-time damage over the 18 secs of its lifetime.
Rapture – Increases the absorb of Power Word: Shield by 3 times more during 10 seconds. Allows to cast Power Word: Shield on the targets with a debuff Weakened Soul
Leap of Faith, for a small amount of Mana, allows you to drag an ally within the 40-m range to your position. You need to consider, though, that dragging an ally through dangerous zones would not save them from being hit. CD 1.5 min.
Shadowfiend summons a Familiar which attacks your target for 15 secs. CD 3 min.
Pain Suppression, for a small amount of Mana, tags a target with an effect which reduces the whole damage delivered to it by 40% for secs. Can be cast when stunned. CD 3 min.
Power Word: Barrier, for medium Mana, generates you a bubble with a 8-m radius in the selected area for 10 secs. Inside that bubble, all your allies receive 25% less damage. Also, their spells do not get postponed upon damage taking
Fade annuls your menaces for 10 secs. CD 30 secs.
Mind Vision enables you to see the world with your selected target’s eyes for 1 min.
Resurrection allows you to resurrect an ally out of combat.
Mind Control allows you to control one selected enemy if their level is no more than 1 point higher than yours. The spell can be used on any enemy except for demons, mechanisms and the undead. It is on the same diminishing as disorientation effects.
Levitate allows you to tag a friendly target with a positive effect for 10 min which enables them to float in the air above the ground, the water, and reduces the falling speed. Any incoming damage cancels the effect.
Mass Resurrection allows you to resurrect all your allies out of combat within the 100 m range.
Psychic Scream makes 5 enemies within the range of 8 m run away in terror for 8 secs which is a disorientation effect. CD 1 min.
Dispel Magic cancels 1 positive magic effect on your enemy.
Shackle Undead allows you to paralyze an Undead enemy for 50 secs. Any damage dealt to the target cancels this effect. Only one enemy can be subject to the spell at a time.
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General information. On achieving several new levels you’ll get access to new talent ‘Tiers’. Talents may have different effect on abilities: add new features, replace old ones, modify passively different effects and spells. Talents can be changed in Sanctuaries or any recreational zones. However, if you don’t have any of those places nearby you can use the Codex of the Tranquil Mind which allows you to switch channels within a minute. You can’t change talents in combat. You can’t change a talent if the talent you’ve picked in the last Tier is on Cooldown. You’ll have to wait until it’s restored first.
Tier 1. Lvl 15
- Twist of Fate. Healing any allies with below 35% Health increases all your damage dealing and healing by 20%.
- Castigation. Penance, over its active time, sends an additional charge of light energy.
- Schism. For medium Mana, this 1.5-sec cast spell deals your enemy Shadow magic damage, after which it allows you to deal 40% more damage to that target for the next 9 secs.
* Schism is used by default as the most effective talent in raids and mythic+.
Castigation is practically not used anywhere. Twist of Fate is used in raids often, if talent’s buff has high uptime and also in mythic+ kyes for a single target healing. Schism is a more popular choice for increased healing in short durations and increased damage in overall.
Tier 2. Lvl 30
- Angelic Feather. Place a Feather in a selected spot. An ally to pick it up gets 40% faster for 5 secs. You can place up to 3 Feathers. The spell has 3 charges. CD 20 secs.
- Body and Soul. Power Word: Shield also increases your target’s moving speed by 40% for 3 secs.
- Masochism. When using Shadow Mend on yourself, its periodic effect now restores Health and reduces the incoming damage by 10%.
* Discipline is not famous for their mobility, so, picking Angelic Feather would be the most reasonable move on this Tier as it provides a speed boost, and not only to you.
Body and Soul is not that good talent because Power Word: Shield is used to absorb damage on allies and this talent has 6 sec cd that makes it difficult to speed up who you need in the right moment.
Masochism is good for situations where you don’t need a lot of relocation, but rather survival. This is why additional reduction of the incoming damage is only welcome.
Tier 3. Lvl 45
- Power Word: Solace. A Mana-free spell, it deals instant Holy damage to your enemy and recovers 1% of your max Mana. CD 12 secs.
- Shield Discipline. If Power Word: Shield is completely absorbed, you instantly recover 0.5% of your max Mana.
- Mindbender. Replaces Shadowfiend. Summons, for 15 secs, a Guardian which would attack your target. Each of your Guardinan’s attacks restores you 0.5% of your max Mana. CD 1 min.
*Power Word: Solace is the optimal choice in the tier. It is free, deals good damage and should be used every cd unlike Mindbender. Shield Discipline can be effective in theory for mana regeneration but in Battle for Azeroth healing mechanic of this spec changed and makes you to keep up Atonement in raid and other ways to buff it apart from Shield became more effective.
Tier 4. Lvl 60
- Shining Force. For a small amount of Mana, it helps you push the enemies near the selected ally of yours back and slow them down by 70% for 3 secs.
- Psychic Voice. Reduces the CD for your Psychic Scream by 30 secs.
- Dominant Mind. Allows you to control your character during Mind Control effects thus making the controlled target your familiar for 2 min. Doesn’t work against players.
* The whole Tier has no effect on damage delivery or healing. Usually, Shining Force is used as, in Mythic, it helps you save your tank from receiving damage or interrupt an unwanted cast with the throwback effect.
Tier 5. Lvl 75
- Sins of the Many. Your damage is increased by up to 12%, diminishing for each ally affected by your Atonement.
- Clarity of Will. When you heal with Penance, everyone with your Atonement is healed too.
- Shadow Covenant. For minor Mana, instantly heals the selected target and up to 4 allies within the range of 30 m. It restores every one of them major Health but does not apply the 6-sec debuff absorbing 50% of received healing with an ability. 12 sec cd
*The choice for raiding and mythic+ is between Shadow covenant and Sins of the many. Shadow covenant increases your healing outside of bursting phase and allows to heal targets without Atonement. It is the optimal raiding talent. Sins of the many should be used when you need additional dps and in mythic+ during the weeks without “healer’s” affixes.
Tier 6. Lvl 90
- Purge the Wicked. Replaces Shadow Word: Pain and get slightly cheaper in terms of Mana. Deals instant Fire damage, plus some more over the following 20 secs. When Penance is being applied to a target with Purge the Wicked on them, this effect spreads over to the closest enemy.
- Divine Star. For a small amount of Mana, it releases a star that flies 24 m forward. All the allies on its way restore Health, and all enemies take Holy damage. Once the star makes the whole distance, it goes back the same way – healing the allies and damaging the enemies. CD 15 secs.
- Halo. For a small amount of Mana, the spell creates a ring of Holy energy which expands around you until reaches the radius of 30 m. Allies receive healing, enemies take Holy damage. CD 40 secs.
* All the talents could be used in raids depending on the situation. Divine star is effective only if the raid is gathered in one spot and it is also a good choice for mythic+. Halo is a universal choice, practically good in any situation. Purge the wicked is good for multiple targets fights and in situations when you cannot use Halo ( for example: Adds on Mekkatorque)
Tier 7. Lvl 100
* The basic choice for raid would be Evangelism.
Lenience is a better choice for mythic+ because it reduces damage received by the tank and other 2 talents are weaker. Luminous barrier would be the best choice for heroic or normal raids with 20-25 players where you cannot use Evangelism every cd.
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- Enduring Luminescence – You should have 1 such trait ideally. Stacking up this trait improves only healing
- Depth of the Shadows – You should have 1 such trait ideally. Works just like the previous talent, stacking up this trait improves only healing.
- Weal and Woe – A minor bonus to Penance but too low to make this trait significant
- Unstable Catalyst – A good stat increase but the requirement for positioning sometimes makes this trait useless.
- Moment of Repose – The most useless trait with practically 0 efficiency.
- Seductive Power – Unfortunately it is hard to keep up in raids or mythic + when Bwonsamdi appears. Even with good management this trait is still worse than its analogues from Battle for Dazar’alor.
- Synergistic Growth – a good trait for haste increase when you need it. In 8.1 “snapshot” mastery problem was fixed so this trait looks really good now.
- Concentrated Mending – a really good HoT that increases during its duration
- Blessed Portents – A great trait for getting into raiding and mythic + because has an ability to heal when “it’s required” but loses its potential once the content is fully known and often farmed
- Blood Siphon – additional mastery and self healing
- Overwhelming Power – A pretty good Haste proc that loses efficiency while it lasts
- On My Way – -a constant stats increase
- Woundbinder – Another good haste buff. Has a less uptime than Overwhelming power but can easily replace it.
- Ephemeral Recovery – A situational trait that is good only if you can use a few times during the fight otherwise it’s pretty average.
- Earthlink – Pretty good stats increase but its not stable so won’t really grant even average boost when it is really needed
- Savior – a good trait if the players need to survive with low hp
- Bracing Chill – A trait with a good potential but because it requires to keep up its procs makes it worse than others.
- Resounding Protection -Good constant healing increase.
- Impassive Visage – Constant healing. Grants more healing than shields, so it is less effective since shields let you survive lethal mechanics.
- Sanctum – A strong absorb when using Fade. Worse than the previous traits because can be triggered only manually.
- Gemhide – A good survivability trait. Especially good against physical damage.
- Vampiric Speed – A situational trait, mostly good in mythic+
- Longstrider – Some movement speed increase
- Twist Magic – A pretty strong trait if there is something to dispel.
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These ratings are based on simulations, statistics of WarcraftLogs and players experience.
A Discipline Priest’s healing has damage delivery as an inherent part of it. A huge portion of your healing is carried out particularly with Atonement. For that reason, let’s first review the damage dealing priorities:
The main idea is healing people through Atonement. This means you need to trigger that buff on your damage-taking allies with Plea, Shadow Mend, Power Word: Radiance and Power Word: Shield. At any time, about 3-4 buffs should be maintained simultaneously. More buffs would exhaust your Mana very quickly, and it is usually not needed with the group/raid receiving minor damage.
In case the damage is delivered to a small group of people, or the damage is small itself, to maintain Atonement, use Plea, Power Word: Shield and Shadow Mend, in case your target needs more healing. If a larger number of players is subject to damage, use Power Word: Radiance instead.
If there is upcoming damage to be delivered to a large group of players, or the current damage dealt to already injured players is about to grow:
What differense this gameplay from a raid one is that Atonement healing is only effective when a group is subject to minor damage. Whenever you are subject to major damage, you’ll have to use different spells. You are assumed to be using the talent build suggested for Mythic+ in the corresponding section.
At a lower level, like it was said, Atonement healing is used. The renewal principle is the same as before – Plea, Power Word: Shield or Shadow Mend, if the incoming damage demands it.
With big incoming damage Atonement is not enough, you should focus on using Shadow Mend more often.
In case your whole group is subject to damage simultaneously, use Power Word: Radiance.
- Pain Suppression is a powerful single target CD. It is most likely to be used to survive potent abilities cast against your tanks. To be utilized directly before taking damage, to provide max efficiency.
- Power Word: Barrier is a potent raid save which is quite peculiar about the raid’s disposition. Also keep in mind that, apart from reducing the incoming damage to the allies inside your dome, you also deliver more healing to those tagged with Atonement.
- Shadowfiend is used as a DPS cooldown. You should also keep in mind that its delivered damage heals people under Atonement.
Its modified version among talents, Mindbender, restores you Mana. You should remember that, too, so that the Mana it generates does not overcap.
- Fade is your personal cooldown which not only lets you go off the aggro but also reduces the damage dealt to you by 13%+ (depends on your Vestments of Discipline score).
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The basic priority rating for the characteristics is as follows:
Intellect > Haste =>> Crit > Versatility > Mastery
*If you have Drape of Shame, Crit surpasses Mastery.
Haste reduces the cooldown of Power Word: Solace, reduces the GCD, shortened the casts, reduces the interval between your Shadowfiend‘s attacks, and increases the number of ticks by your Shadow Word: Pain or Purge the Wicked. Best of all, Haste increases your outgoing damage which eventually facilitates your healing.
Mastery in this spec increases effectiveness from healing on the targets affected by Atonement.
Flasks and pots
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It is a good idea to set mouseover macros for all your healing and defensive spells as well as for Leap of Faith (meaning when you use these macros, the spell is cast upon the target which is at your cursor’s position). For example:
/cast [@mouseover] Plea
Or use addons that have input interface for such task, for example:
Macros to dot with mouseover:
/cast [@mouseover,exists][@target,exists]Shadow word: Pain
/cast [@mouseover,exists][@target,exists]Purge the wicked
Macros for Angelic feather that allows to cast it on yourself without targeting the spot
/cast [@player] Angelic feather
If it’s no matter wich target to dps with your Shadow Word: Pain, this macro will be very useful:
#showtooltip Shadow word: Pain
/cast [harm,nodead][@targettarget,harm,nodead][@targettargettarget,harm,nodead][@targettargettargettarget,harm,nodead][@targettargettargettargettarget,harm,nodead]Shadow word: Pain
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- Leveling. If your character has been inactive since the previous expansions, the best option to level up it is by Timewalking dungeons. You will gain a lot of experience, but there is one big disadvantage of leveling this way. Timewalks are available only for one week during a month, but Overgear is always here.
- Equipment. At high level, the most important thing for you will become your gear. WoW is a multiplayer game, that’s why we recommend for you to play it with your friends, or to find a new friends for mythic+ runs. If you have any trouble with it – Overgear may help you to find not just friends for a run, but a complete well geared and experienced group that also will be glad to trade all the loot you need.
- Raids. Raids are the top-tier PvE content in the game. That’s why the equipment’s base ilvl is higher than anywhere else. These dungeons require knowing all the tactics and have a good gear to kill the bosses. The possibilities of Overgear might let you skip those criteria.
Azerite. It is also not the best idea to forget about the Heart of Azeroth and not to feed it with more Azerite. Ignoring this won’t make your character stronger. The easiest way to do it – just complete all the world quests with Azerite rewards everyday. You can get extra azerite from Island Expeditions. Companions can be found at Overgear.