Home World of Warcraft Classes Holy Priest 9.0 Guide

Holy Priest is the most basic healer in World of Warcraft. Easy to understand, effective in easy content. This guide will help you master all the intricacies of the Holy Priest: which talents, conduits, and legendaries to use, which covenant to choose, and what buttons to press in order to heal your allies and not die in battle.

About the author

This guide was written by Nikitapenance, a member of the “Static” guild, which is ranked 400th in the world by wowprogress. In seasons 3 and 4 of BfA had a RIO score of 3600 and 2100 respectively.

Introduction

Let’s look at pros and cons of this spec:

Pros:

  • Strong continuous healing
  • Simple healing model — all healing is instant, the percentage of periodic healing does not affect your game much
  • 2 powerful heal-saves with a long cooldown

Cons:

  • Extremely low mobility
  • AoE spells require specific raid/party positioning
  • Relatively low survivability due to the lack of strong personal defensive cooldowns
  • Weak single-target healing

Basic information on the spec:

“Holy” Priest, just like all healers in the game, uses one main resource — mana. Most healing spells and some utility spells cost mana.

Main Abilities

Talents

General information. On reaching several levels, you will open new Talent tiers. In each tier, you can choose one Talent at a time. Talents can affect your abilities in different ways: add new ones, replace old ones, passively modify various effects and spells. You can change Talents while you’re in Sanctums or in rest areas, but if there are no such places nearby, you can use Tome of the Tranquil Mind, which allows you to change Talents within a minute. Note that Talents can’t be changed in combat. Also, if a Talent selected in a certain tier is on cooldown, you’ll have to wait for it to recharge in order to change it.

Tier 1 — 15 lvl. HPS Talents

t1

* Enlightenment is used by default as the easiest and most reliable choice for raids.

Trail of Light is great for Mythic+, since you only have 5 people in your group and you often have to heal them with strong spells one at a time.

Renewed Faith can also be quite good in M+ if you need more single-target healing.

Tier 2 — 25 lvl. Mobility and survivability

t2

* Angelic Feather is the default choice because it gives the highest mobility bonus and requires no mana.

Tier 3 — 30 lvl. HPS Talents

t3

  • Cosmic Ripple. When one of your Holy Words finishes its cooldown, you emit a burst of light that heals up to 5 injured targets.
  • Guardian Angel. When Guardian Spirit expires without saving the target from death, its remaining cooldown is reduced to 60 seconds.
  • Afterlife. Increases the duration of Spirit of Redemption by 50% and increases the range of your healing spells while it’s active by 30%.

* Cosmic Ripple is the only talent in this tier that increases AoE healing, so it’s a great choice for raids.
Guardian Angel — excellent in M+, since it allows to use Guardian Spirit on almost every pack and several times during a boss fight, greatly enhances single-target healing.

Tier 4 — 35 lvl. Control

t4

* Purely situational. Take Psychic Voice for more AoE control or Shining Force to kite/interrupt casting in M+.

Tier 5 — 40 lvl. HPS Talents

t5

* Prayer Circle is a great pick for raids, as this is the only talent that improves AoE healing.

For M+ choose Surge of Light.

Tier 6 — 45 lvl. HPS Talents

t6

  • Benediction. Your Prayer of Mending has a 25% chance to leave a Renew on each target it heals.
  • Divine Star. For 2% mana throws a Divine Star forward 24 yds, healing allies in its path and dealing holy damage to enemies. CD 15 sec.
  • Halo. For 2.7% mana creates a ring of holy energy around you that quickly expands to a 30 yd radius, healing allies and dealing holy damage to enemies. CD 40 sec.

* Halo is a great pick for raids. Restores a large amount of health for a small amount of mana.

For M+ take Divine Star. It has a smaller radius and lower cooldown, which is more convenient in M+.

Tier 7 — 50 lvl. HPS Talents

t7

* Holy Word: Salvation is the best choice for raids, it’s basically a second raid save.

For M+ choose Light of the Naaru or Apotheosis, if you need to boost your efficiency in challenging battles.

Here are your common builds:

Raid

  1. Enlightenment
  2. Angelic Feather
  3. Cosmic Ripple
  4. Psychic Voice / Shining Force
  5. Prayer Circle
  6. Halo
  7. Holy Word: Salvation

Mythic+

  1. Trail of Light / Renewed Faith
  2. Angelic Feather
  3. Guardian Angel
  4. Psychic Voice / Shining Force
  5. Surge of Light
  6. Divine Star
  7. Light of the Naaru / Apotheosis

Covenants

Kyrian

Boon of the Ascended — draw upon the power of the Ascended for 10 sec, granting you access to Ascended Nova, replacing Smite with Ascended Blast, and increasing movement speed by 50%.

Upon expiration, releases an Ascended Eruption: damages enemies and heals allies. Damage and healing increased by 3% for each stack of Boon of the Ascended. CD 3 min.

Summon Steward — call your steward for 3 min to bring you a Phial of Serenity that can be consumed to restore 15% health and remove all Curse, Disease, Poison, and Bleed effects. Your Steward additionally offers access to a selection of useful amenities once a day. CD 5 min.

Best choice for raids and M+. During raids it gives a slight healing boost once every 3 min and doesn’t require mana, which is very useful during long encounters.

In M+ can be used for both healing and dealing damage.

Necrolord

Unholy Nova — for 5% mana produces an explosion of dark energy, infecting enemies within 15 yds with Unholy Transfusion and healing allies. The more targets are hit, the weaker the effect. CD 1 min.

Deals massive damage and has decent healing capabilities, but due to 5% mana cost it still loses to the Kyrian ability, though not by much.

Fleshcraft — after channeling for 4 sec, creates a shield of flesh and bone that absorbs damage equal to 20% of your maximum health for 2 min. Channeling near a corpse claims their essence to grow the shield, up to 50% of your maximum health. This is most effective against powerful enemies. CD 1 min.

Venthyr

Mindgames — assaults an enemy’s mind, dealing shadow damage and briefly distorting their perception of reality. For 5 sec, damage they deal will heal their target and healing they deal will damage their target.

Reversed damage and healing restore up to 4% mana.

Gives virtually no healing and deals less damage than the Kyrian ability. Not recommended.

Door of Shadows — wend through the shadows, appearing at the targeted location. CD 1 min.

Night Fae

Fae Guardians — for 2% mana summons 3 faerie guardians to attend your targets for 20 sec.

Wrathful Faerie: direct attacks against the target restore 0.5% mana. Follows your Shadow Word: Pain.

Guardian Faerie: reduces damage taken by 10%. Follows your Power Word: Shield.

Benevolent Faerie: increases the cooldown recovery rate of a major ability by 100%. Follows your Flash Heal.

CD 1.5 min.

Soulshape — turn into a Vulpin, teleporting 15 yds forward and increasing your movement speed by 50%. You may reactivate Soulshape every few sec to teleport again. Lasts 12 sec. CD 1.5 sec.

Doesn’t boost healing, deals little damage, acts as a utility ability. Not recommended.

Summary

Kyrian is the best covenant at the moment. Their ability provides good healing and damage without any mana requirements. Kleia, one of their Soulbinds, grants a fairly tangible healing boost.

Necrolords are a good choice too, especially in M+. Their mana requirements are mitigated by the fact that you can replenish it at any moment. However, you won’t get that opportunity during a raid, making Necrolords significantly weaker in long fights.

Venthyr and Night Fae are both inferior in strength and are not recommended.

Conduits

Each of the 4 Covenants has 3 NPC Soulbinds, with whom players can link their souls to gain access to their talent tree and additional quests related to their history.

Each Soulbind’s talent tree is unique and consists of both specific talents and empty slots for Conduits – both need to be activated/filled in order to unlock the next talents/slots.

Conduits are items (both generic and unique to each class), which will be obtained in a variety of ways during your adventures in the Shadowlands, providing various bonuses (not related to the Soulbind’s talents). They come in three types: Endurance, Finesse, and Potency.

The Conduits are placed in specific slots and can be replaced if you so desire. Players are free to switch between active Soulbinds (with only one active at a time) just like with their regular talents, choosing the most relevant one for a particular task.

Endurance

  1. Charitable Soul — Casting Power Word: Shield on an ally also shields you for 13-31.2% of the amount for 10 sec.
  2. Light’s InspirationDesperate Prayer heals you for an additional 6-14.4% of your maximum health over 5 sec.
  3. Translucent Image — For the first 5 sec of Fade you take 6-14.4% reduced damage.

Endurance conduits from best to worst:

  1. Translucent Image
  2. Light’s Inspiration
  3. Charitable Soul

Finesse

  1. Clear MindDispel Magic, Purify, and Mass Dispel cost 20-48% less mana.
  2. Mental Recovery — After Psychic Scream ends, affected targets’ movement speed is reduced by 25-60% for 5 sec.
  3. Move with GraceLeap of Faith cooldown is reduced by 20-48 sec.
  4. Power Unto OthersPower Infusion incurs a 6-14.4 sec reduced cooldown when you cast it on an ally

Finesse conduits from best to worst*:

  1. Clear Mind
  2. Power Unto Others
  3. Move with Grace / Mental Recovery

*Finesse Conduits act as utilities and their effectiveness in different situations may vary.

Potency

  1. Focused MendingPrayer of Healing does 38-91.2% increased healing to the initial target.
  2. Resonant Words — Casting any Holy Words empowers your next Heal or Flash Heal by 38-91.2%.
  3. Holy Oration — Spells that reduce the cooldowns of your Holy Words reduce them by 6-19.2% more.
  4. Lasting SpiritGuardian Spirit duration is increased by 2.0 sec, and it increases healing received by an additional 13-31.2%.

Depending on your chosen Covenant, a Potency Conduit* will become available, which enhances the ability of its corresponding Covenant.

  1. Kyrian: Courageous AscensionAscended Blast deals 25-60% more damage, and Ascended Eruption deals an additional 1% damage per stack of Boon of the Ascended.
  2. Necrolord: Festering TransfusionUnholy Transfusion lasts 2 sec longer and deals 6-14.4% more damage and healing..
  3. Venthyr: Shattered PerceptionsMindgames lasts 2 sec longer and deals 13-31.2% more damage and healing.
  4. Night Fae: Fae Fermata — Your Fae Guardians leave behind a 60% effective copy of their benefit, lasting 3.8-9.12 sec when they jump to a new target.

*Below, only Kyrian and Necrolord Potency Conduits will be examined, since the rest of the Covenants are significantly inferior.

Potency conduits for raids from best to worst:

  1. Festering Transfusion (if Necrolord)
  2. Focused Mending
  3. Holy Oration
  4. Lasting Spirit / Resonant Words
  5. Courageous Ascension (if Kyrian)

Potency conduits for M+ from best to worst:

  1. Festering Transfusion (if Necrolord) / Courageous Ascension (if Kyrian)
  2. Resonant Words
  3. Lasting Spirit
  4. Holy Oration
  5. Focused Mending

Soulbinds

Below, only Kyrian and Necrolord Soulbinds will be examined, since the rest of the Covenants are significantly inferior.

Kyrian: Their strongest Soulbind is Pelagos due to Combat Meditation and Let Go of the Past that grant a lot of stats. Plus, his second Potency Conduit unlocks earlier compared to other Soulbinds.

Necrolord: Emeni is a great choice for raids and M+, his ability Lead by Example significantly boosts Intellect upon casting Unholy Nova, thereby enhancing all of our healing in battles.

Legendaries

A total of 16 legendaries are available to the Holy Priest.

Let’s highlight the best and decent legendaries:

  1. Harmonious ApparatusCircle of Healing reduces the cooldown of Holy Word: Sanctify, Prayer of Mending reduces the cooldown of Holy Word: Serenity, and Holy Fire reduces the cooldown of Holy Word: Chastise by 4 sec.
  2. Divine Image — When casting Holy Words, you have a chance to summon an image of a Naaru at your side. For 15 sec, whenever you cast a spell, the Naaru will cast a similar spell.
  3. X’anshi, Return of Archbishop Benedictus — After Spirit of Redemption you will revive at up to 100% health, based on your effectiveness during Spirit of Redemption. After reviving, you cannot benefit from Spirit of Redemption for 10 min.

Harmonious Apparatus. Best legendary. Great for raids and M+ since it allows you to cast Holy Words more often.

Divine Image. A pretty good legendary, but its random proc keeps it from being used to its full potential, as the effect can trigger when it’s not needed.

X’anshi, Return of Archbishop Benedictus. A great legendary for mastering a raid. Resurrects you once per battle but at the cost of healing potential granted by Harmonious Apparatus. Can be picked at first and then replaced with Harmonious Apparatus once you get used to boss mechanics and stop dying.

Rotation

Try keeping Prayer of Mending on CD, it can also be applied before the battle.

  • Single target healing

If your ally lost a small amount of health, then cast Heal on them, it’s an effective spell that doesn’t require much mana.

If your ally drops below 50%, cast Holy Word: Serenity.

If after Holy Word: Serenity the target is still low on health, or if Holy Word: Serenity is on cooldown, use Flash Heal, but try avoiding these situations, as it’s an expensive and ineffective spell used only in emergency situations.

  • Raid healing

Cast Circle of Healing and Halo as often as possible. These are 2 of your most effective spells.

If your allies are critical, cast Holy Word: Sanctify.

Otherwise use Prayer of Healing.

  • Dealing damage

Dealing damage can be useful in M+ or when a raid needs extra damage from healers.

Keep Shadow Word: Pain on the target and cast Holy Fire as often as possible.

If Holy Word: Chastise is not useful to you in the next minute for control, then cast it and spam Smite.

For AoE use Holy Nova. If the enemies have a lot of health, apply Shadow Word: Pain beforehand.

Use Shadow Word: Death on targets with less than 20% health, but only if you’re sure you won’t die from its returning damage.

  • Use of cooldowns

Divine Hymn is a good healing spell. Try using it as often as possible while the raid is taking a lot of damage. Be mindful of your positioning, since this spell cannot be cast while moving.

Guardian Spirit has several uses. Cast it in advance on an ally that’s about to take damage — either to heal them more successfully, to prevent them from dying, or to intentionally negate incoming damage and terminate the effect. It can also be used as emergency aid for an ally who unexpectedly received a lot of damage, for the same reasons.

On average, Holy Word: Salvation has a 4-5 min cooldown. If the battle lasts 6 min or longer, try casting it at the beginning and at the end of combat. If the fight lasts 5 minutes or less, wait for the toughest moment and use it then.

Symbol of Hope is used at the end of combat, as it only replenishes mana.

Choosing a race

The Horde

The best choice of race for the Horde players is Goblin. Since the Priest is not very mobile, the Goblin’s Rocket Jump ability would come in handy.

The Alliance

For the same reason, Alliance players should choose Void Elf. Their ability Spatial Rift allows to blink across puddles, rays, quickly return after knockback, and so on.

Night Elf is also a good option, their Shadowmeld ability allows them to completely avoid some hard-hitting abilities. For example, if you notice someone casting a spell on you, Shadowmeld will interrupt it. Usually used in M+.

Stats

Basic stat priority for raids looks like this:

Intellect > Mastery > Crit > Versatility > Haste

In M+ try accumulating more Haste for a quicker Holy Words cooldown. In addition, Haste lets you heal targets faster, but this means you’ll spend your mana quicker.

Stat priority for M+ looks like this:

Intellect > Haste > Crit > Versatility = Mastery

Gems

Masterful Jewel Cluster — for raids.

Quick Jewel Cluster — for M+.

Enchants

Cloak — Fortified Leech

Braces — Eternal Intellect

Chest — Eternal Bounds

Rings — Tenet of Mastery — for raids.

Tenet of Haste — for M+.

Weapon — Celestial Guidance

Food

Iridescent Ravioli with Apple Sauce — for raids.

Tenebrous Crown Roast Aspic — for M+.

Flasks, Pots, Oils, and Kits

Flasks — Spectral Flask of Power

Oils — Embalmer’s Oil

Kits — Heavy Desolate Armor Kit

Pots: 

BiS Gear & Trinkets

Here’s a list of the best items from the raid:

Head — Confidant’s Favored Cap

Neck — Noble’s Birthstone Pendant

Shoulder — Shawl of the Penitent

Back — Mantle of Manifest Sins

Chest — Robes of the Cursed Commando

Wrist — Grim Pursuant’s Maille

Hands — Impossibly Oversized Mitts

Waist — Cinch of Infinite Tightness

Legs — Courtier’s Costume Trousers

Feet — Slippers of the Forgotten Heretic

Trinket — Cabalist’s Hymnal

Alternatives* from dungeons:

Head — Abominable Visage

Back — Cloak of Enveloping Manifestations

Wrist — Necropolis Lord’s Shackles

Hands — Gory Surgeon’s Gloves

Waist — Sash of Exquisite Acquisitions

Legs — Beryllia’s Leggings of Endless Torment

Ring — Fleshfused Circle

Ring — Ring of Perpetual Conflict

*Worth equipping only if the item was obtained in a great vault with a lvl 15 key, this rule doesn’t apply to rings. In other cases, raid items would be better due to their higher ilvl.

Macros

Cast Angelic Feather on self. Allows you to save time and not miss if there are lots of players around.

#showtooltip

/use [@player] Angelic Feather

If for some reason you don’t want to use the Clique addon, you should create a mouseover macro for every healing ability. It will cast the spell on cursor without the need to target. Example:

#showtooltip

/use [@mouseover] Prayer of Mending

Here’s a similar macro that activates the ability on cursor, if the target is alive and friendly. If not, it applies the ability on the player. If the target is dead, nothing happens.

#showtooltip Prayer of Mending

/stopmacro [@mouseover, help, dead]

/cast [@mouseover, help, nodead][@player] Prayer of Mending

Addons

Boss Mods are vital for every WoW player. The best at the moment are BigWigs(for raids), LittleWigs(for dungeons), or DBM(Deadly Boss Mods). Boss Mods track timers for important boss abilities in raids and dungeons.

Details addon is useful too, it allows you to track damage, healing, and much more in real time.

Healers should also install an addon for raid frames. Vuhdo and Grid2 are the best at the moment. Vuhdo is easy to set up, while Grid2 requires some tweaking, but has greater flexibility in terms of functionality. A global UI addon ElvUI is also quite useful due to its extra features, including raid frames settings.

Why is it important for a healer to have properly configured raidframes? Their gameplay is built around looking at frames. They determine how quickly you can react to a certain situation, how fast you notice important debuffs, boss spells, a void zone under your feet, and much more.

Clique. Another useful addon for a healer. Allows to use abilities simply by pointing the cursor and pressing the corresponding bind, i.e. you don’t need to select the target to heal them. Saves a lot of time. Also allows you to bind abilities to your left and right mouse buttons.

WeakAuras

Probably the most important addon that makes your gameplay more comfortable. Allows you to create on-screen indicators to keep track of anything you can think of. You can find tons of useful weakauras on wago.io. Below is a list of the most useful ones in my opinion.

WeakAura HUD

Compiles all important class abilities in one place to easily track their cooldowns.

Here is an example of the HUD from Afenar. You can search for one that suits you better, or just use this one.

Dungeon – Targeted Spells — displays an icon on your party frames when an ally is targeted by a boss or a mob in M+. A very useful weakaura, lets you know in advance that someone is about to get hit or receive a debuff that you can immediately dispel.

Shadowlands-Dungeons — shows you a lot of important abilities in Shadowlands dungeons that are not displayed by other boss mods. Useful in M+.

ZenTracker and Party CD Tracker — ZenTracker does nothing on its own and is only needed for Party CD Tracker to run properly. Party CD Tracker tracks your allies’ defensive cooldowns, which is essential in M+.

Also requires LibGroupInspecT.

Important: before installing any weakauras, check their description on the website.

PRO Tips

Raid

  1. Before the pull, apply Prayer of Mending on two tanks. This will generate 10 stacks of Prayer of Mending before the fight. Why 10? Prayer of Mending, when applied to a target that already has it, will reset its duration and add 5 stacks. Stack limit per target is 10.
  2. When you are not healing, always try inflicting damage to the boss, every healer should take note of this.
  3. On paper, Renew seems like a good ability, but it’s not worth the mana. Try minimizing its use. Save your mana for more effective abilities later.
  4. Plan your positioning. The Priest has no abilities that boost mobility and all spells must be cast while stationary. If you know that the party is about to take damage and you need to move, try positioning yourself in advance so by the time your party starts taking damage, you are able to heal them instantly without wasting time on movement.
  5. Mana management. If you are just starting to familiarize yourself with the boss, the easiest way to manage mana is to keep it at the same level as the boss’ health. Ideally, you should have around 10% mana left at the end of combat. Don’t forget about mana potions, if the battle lasts longer than 5-6 minutes, you can consume 2 potions, greatly increasing your effectiveness.
  6. Mana management and raids saves. One common mistake beginner healers make is trying to heal a raid while other healers use their powerful raid saves. They’re meant to override certain difficult boss mechanics and often 1-2 raid saves are enough to keep the party alive. During these moments, try minimizing your healing to save mana for more critical stages of combat. Coordinate with your team on the use of raid saves, this will make your life easier.
  7. WarcraftLogs. An indispensable internet resource for any healer. WarcraftLogs allows you to view your combat logs, or those of other healers. How is it useful? For example, with WarcraftLogs you can find out if you’re using your abilities effectively. In the “Heal” tab you can see which of our abilities “overheal”, i.e. heal a healthy target. Keep an eye on the overheal of such abilities like Flash Heal, Heal, Divine Hymn, and Holy Words. Use them only on a badly injured target and avoid 25-30% overheal. This will save a lot of mana and increase your effectiveness as a healer. There’s no point in tracking the overheal of Mastery: Echo of Light or Prayer of Healing, since you don’t control them completely.
  8. WowAnalyzer. Another useful internet resource for log analyzing. Has a lot of helpful features. For example, it lets you track how often your important abilities stay off cooldown. Also gives tips on improving your performance based on your logs.

Mythic+

  1. In M+ Divine Hymn heals twice as much, don’t neglect it.
  2. M+ gameplay is based on planning your cooldowns. You have 3 important saves: Divine Hymn, Apotheosis, and Guardian Spirit. Try planning their use so that in every tough situation you’d always have one of them available.
  3. Deal as much damage as possible. In M+, time is limited, so the more damage you deal, the faster you complete the key. But remember that you are first and foremost a healer, and healing the party is your priority.
  4. Don’t spare any mana. In M+ you can replenish mana after each pack, so saving it is impractical. If you know that the group is about to take heavy damage and your Holy Words are on cooldown, you can recharge them with appropriate abilities. Don’t be afraid to cast Holy Words even if it’s a waste of healing.
  5. Guardian Spirit with the Guardian Angel talent has a 1 min cooldown, allowing you to cast it on almost every pack. Try giving it to the tank to buy more time for healing other targets or dealing damage. Or you can hold back if someone is about to take a big hit.
  6. Psychic Scream and Shining Force can interrupt abilities that are normally uninterruptible. Shining Force can be used on the Necrotic affix to drop stacks.
  7. Apply Power Infusion to an ally for the burst, it will increase their damage and speed up the level completion.
  8. Mind Soothe can help you skip some challenging packs in dungeons. Don’t forget about it.

 

This concludes our guide. We hope you have no more questions and are ready to get down to practice. Thanks for tuning in! Best of luck in the world of Azeroth!

 

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