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Patch 5.4 changes for Disc & Holy Priests

Hi Priests! So Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar has been live for nearly a week now, so hopefully you’ve had a chance to mess around with your changed and updated spells. If you haven’t and you’re not sure what’s changed for Disc or Holy Priests, we’re here to help you out. Below we go through all the changes to the Priest class that effects both Disc and Holy game play.

There are a few important changes to take note of, especially to Lightwell if you’re a Holy Priest. Rapture has had a significant change made to it for Disc Priests, plus more. Have a read through and let us know what you think. Any questions? Ask them in the comments at the end of the article.


Hymn of Hope now prefers to target healers when it grants mana. Healers will always be picked before non-healers, regardless of how much mana they have.

This is a great change for all raiding healers, as it it likely to return mana to healers before others such as Mages or Warlocks or even Shadow Priests. A good quality of life change that should help ours and our fellow raid member’s mana management.

Leap of Faith no longer has a facing requirement.

Fantastic change! We no longer need to be facing your target to Life Grip them to you!


Grace can no longer be dispelled.

A positive change especially for PvPing Disc healers. A buff that can increase healing received by the buffed target by up to 30%, which now can’t be dispelled. So if you cast Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Heal and Penance spells on a target, Grace will be applied for them for the entire duration (15 seconds).

Rapture now energizes the Priest for 100% of the mana cost of Power Word: Shield When the shield is fully consumed or is dispelled (used to energize the Priest with mana equal to 150% of their spirit). This is the modified mana cost for Power Word: Shield, after being reduced by Rapture’s passive effect.

Unfortunately Rapture has been nerfed. We believe this is due to Discipline Priests being very strong with their healing ever since 5.2. It’s not too big a nerf and brings our mana more in line with other healers. If you’re having trouble with mana after this change, you may need to re assess your gems and enchants etc until you’re once again comfortable with mana. Regemming for mana (because you can’t heal without mana) means this is will effect our healing thoroughput and therefore indirectly reduce our overall healing.

Spirit Shell duration has been reduced to 10 seconds (down from 15 seconds), and the damage absorption shield’s effectiveness can now be reduced through Battle Fatigue.

Spirit Shell, one of our strong cooldown shielding spells has been reduced by 5 seconds. This is a slight nerf and somewhat understandable as our absorbs were really strong in 5.3 and everyone knew it. You may need to adjust your timing when using this spell. You should still be able to get out about 4 or 5 casts of PoH for example with this change, more with Bloodlust/Heroism up.


Holy Word: Sanctuary mana cost reduced to 3.8% (down from 6.3%), and now functions like a smart heal, healing the 6 most injured friendly targets within range, and minor guardians are no longer targeted (Wild Imps, Bloodworms, Snakes from Snake Traps, etc.). There has been no change to the total amount of healing granted by the ability.

A pretty big mana reduction to a pretty mana-hungry spell. It also smart heals and no longer targets minor guardians. Smart heals seem to be the way this patch and we welcome the change. Because healing diminishes for each player beyond 6 within the Sanctuary’s area, the fact that it no longer targets minor guardians should mean there’s less chance the heals are diminished before healing actual players. These changes should bring this AoE HoT in-line with spells such as the Resto Shaman’s Healing Rain. Even though the healing granted is the same, these changes effectively and indirectly allow the ability to heal for more.

Lightspring is now baseline for all Holy Priests and the ability has been renamed to Lightwell.

Well, it’s only taken nearly 9 years, but Lightwell is finally what it should have been from the beginning: An automatic healing spring. We really liked the way the Lightspring worked when it was implemented back at the start of this expansion and we believe it was just a matter of time. Even in Wrath of the Lich King we saw from mobs what Lightwell should have been, and even though some Priests held onto nostalgia rather than logic arguing it’s usefullness, Lightwell will now be the spell it was meant to be, without forcing us to take up a glyph slot for it.

Serendipity‘s mana cost reduction has been increased to 20% per stack (up from 10% per stack), and no longer displays a spell effect when in the UI when it’s active.

Good and not so good. We’re happy for the mana cost reduction, with Flash Heal being very expensive to gain the buff, this warrants using it more to build up that Serendipity for faster, cheaper Greater Heals. A slight disadvantage comes with the spell effect no longer activating a UI graphic to let us know it’s up. Looks like we’ll have to make our own UI effects for this one.


Angelic Feather now increases allies’ movement speed by 80%, up from 60%, and feathers placed in the world have a duration of 10 minutes (up from 5 minutes).

A double buff! Faster movement and longer duration(placed on the ground duration). A difficult spell to use effectively, especially against the automatic Body and Soul talent in the same tier, this change should bring this talent to a more competitive place and we may see more players devote to using this spell. The duration of the buff after walking over a feather remains unchanged.

Divine Insight for Discipline Priests now has a 100% chance to activate its effect after using Penance (up from 40%), and now displays an effect in the UI when it’s active.

This is a pretty big change. It effectively means that everytime you cast Penance, your next Power Word: Shield is going to either a) ignore the debuff Weakened Soul if you cast it on a player who already has the Weakened Soul debuff or b) not apply the Weakened Soul debuff to your target. This is great, as it essentially gives us the ability to recast Power Word: Shield on a target each time after casting Penance. This could be very handy for healing tanks.

This should see it being a little more competitive against the other talents in the same tier: Power Infusion and Twist of Fate, moreso for Disc than Holy. Interestingly, after the change to Spirit Shell above, this change would add additional absorbs, somewhat negating the change altogether. A shame that the Holy version (prayer of mending) didn’t get the same buff.

From Darkness, Comes Light

  • Discipline, Holy: Now also has a chance to activate its effect on cast for these following spells; Penance, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, and Prayer of Healing.

We really like the play style of this talent, ever since Lich King days when Surge of Light had a 25% chance to be activated by any critical strike, giving us free Flash Heals left right and center! Now, with a 15% chance when we Smite or cast our healing spells: Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal, Greater Heal, Penance, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending and Prayer of Healing (most of our healing spells), we should see a little more activation, meaning a little more free heals and a little more mana saved. It definitely brings this talent into a more competitive place against the other two talents in the same tier. Due to our love of this particular play style, we’ll definitely be taking this talent as a Holy Priest, we find it adds to the excitement!

Mindbender now deals 10% more damage, and mana return has been increased by 20%.

A buff to another tier 3 level 45 talent. Like From Darkness, Comes Light, this talent has had a slight buff to bring it in line with the much-loved Power Word: Solace. Mana return improvement is a definite buff!

Psyfiend no longer benefits from Haste, and its health has been reduced by 75%, but fixed a bug where Psyfiend wasn’t being affected by base Resilience.

A change for PvPers that makes the Psyfiend much more easily killed. Has little effect for PvE players.

Twist of Fate‘s damage and healing threshold to activate has been increased to 35% (up from 20%).

If you choose this talent, when you heal any friendlies that have below 35% health, Twist of Fate will activate, giving you a 15% increase in healing for 10 seconds. It used to be below 20% health, which didn’t leave much wiggle room between this talent activating and your target’s death. This is a welcome change.

Major Glyphs

Glyph of Dark Binding‘s effect is now baseline and has been replaced with Glyph of Focused Mending.

Glyph of Dark Binding only affected Shadow Priests and it is now baseline, which means Shadow Priests can now always cast Prayer of Mending, Renew, and Leap of Faith without cancelling Shadowform and the Glyph has been removed. It has been replaced with Glyph of Focused Mending.

Glyph of Focused Mending will cause Prayer of Mending to bounce between your target and yourself only. This is a very situational glyph, probably with more opportunity for use in PvP than dungeons and raids. It probably won’t take place over our other glyphs.

Glyph of Fear Ward now reduces the cooldown on Fear Ward without reducing its duration.

A buff to this glyph where Fear Ward used to be reduced along with the cooldown. Now the cooldown is reduced but the duration is the same it would be as if the glyph wasn’t activated. This glyph would be handy for fights where Fear is a definite boss mechanic or in PvP situations.

Glyph of Lightspring has been renamed to Glyph of Lightwell.

  • Glyph of Lightwell causes Lightwell to heal for 50% more, but no longer automatically heals allies. Allies can click on the Lightwell to heal.

Now that the old effect from Glyph of Lightspring has been made the new baseline Lightwell ability, Glyph of Lightspring has effectively been removed. Now, Glyph of Lightwell re-enables the “clicking” of the Lightwell, no longer making it automatic, but also heals for a lot more when clicking is enabled. If you can get your raid too use the ‘click’ version of the Lightwell, this is the Glyph for you. However, if you can’t get your raid to cooperate or you’re running an LFR, don’t bother with this glyph.

We’re so happy that this is how Lightwell operates now, just stoked!

Glyph of Lightwell has been renamed to Glyph of Deep Wells.

  • Glyph of Deep Wells increases the number of charges on Lightwell by 2.

Again, the use of this glyph will depend on your situation. This will add 2 charges to your Lightwell, whether you’re using Glyph of Lightwell or not. If you’re not using Glyph of Lightwell and therefore your Lightwell is automatic, this can be beneficial in all circumstances as it gives you two extra heals. If you are using the Glyph of Lightwell and you rely on clicks, this will heal 25 players raids more than 10 player raids, however it would be consumed a lot faster. Assess your own situation for using this Glyph.

Glyph of Purify now causes Purify to heal the target for 5% of their maximum health after successfully dispelling a magical effect or disease (up from 3%).

An increase of 2% of the percentage healed when Purify successfully dispels a magic effect or disease. Pretty straight forward buff.

Glyph of Reflective Shield now causes Power Word: Shield to reflect 70% of the damage absorbed (up from 45%).

Another straight forward buff to this Glyph that Reflects damage back to your attackers. PvPers should love this change.

New Minor Glyphs

Glyph of Angels: Causes the Priest’s healing spells to momentarily grant angelic wings.
Glyph of Inspired Hymns: A spirit appears above the Priest while channeling Hymns.
Glyph of Shifted Appearances: Void Shift causes the Priest and their target to exchange appearances for several seconds.
Glyph of the Sha: Transforms the Priest’s Shadowfiend and Mindbender into a Sha Beast.

A number of cosmetic changes for these Minor Glyphs. Totally up to you what you’d like to go for. Personally we really like Glyph of Feathers, causing us to gain angelic wings when we heal. And we heal a lot!

Well that’s it for the changes to the Priest class for Patch 5.4, including Disc and Holy. Once the dust settles we’ll be taking a good look at the best choices to make as Disc or Holy. Expect updates site wide in the next few days including stats, gems, enchants etc.

So what do you think? Are you excited about the change to Lightwell as we are? Let us know in the comments below… Seriously… just so happy about that change!

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Originally published on September 16th, 2013 by and on HealingWoW.com, Last modified: in the Disc Priest, Holy Priest, Priest category/s.

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  • Karolline Luna

    Thank you

  • Thayla

    As an old timer (Vanilla/TBC) priest with a Friday afternoon desire to check out how Priests were doing… thank you so much for the great write up. Thrilled to see the changes to Lightwell!