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How to Play a Disc Priest

So you want to learn how to play a Disc Priest. Well, you’ve come to the right place! On this page we’ll take you through the spell use, rotations and best advice for a Disc Priest Healer, focusing mainly on maximum level. We’re going through a lot of spells in this section, so if you haven’t already, have a look at the Disc Priest Spells page for descriptions. For this page, we’ll assume that you have or will follow our advice on gems, enchants, glyphs, talents and specs.

Buffing

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The first buff that you gain as a Priest is Power Word: Fortitude, which you gain as a spell at level 22. This is something that you’ll want to cast on all party/raid members after entering a dungeon or raid. It improves your primary stat: Stamina and is beneficial to all classes. All party/raid members should have this buff before entering combat. You can cast it during combat, but this takes up a spell cast (global cooldown) and uses mana. After dying, entering a new party/raid or after 1 hour, the buff will expire, at which point you will need to re-cast this buff on all party/raid members. Power Word: Fortitude also shares the same stat improvements as a Warrior’s Commanding Shout. The Warlock’s Pet, the Imp also provides this Stamina improvement through the “always on” Blood Pact. Your Power Word: Fortitude will overwrite the others.

Before Combat

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After buffing your party/raid members, be sure to drink a consumable such as Conjured Mana Fritter to regain your mana, so that you have maximum mana. As you gain game play experience you will gain an understanding of the mana required for each fight, along with your gear improvements, you won’t have to drink to regain mana before every encounter. But when starting out it’s best to drink when you can. You can’t drink while you’re in combat.

You should also obtain and consume a consumable to gain extra buffs from food or drinks. To view what consumables are beneficial to you head to the Disc Priest Consumables page.

Now that you’re buffed, have full hp/mana bars and the rest of your party/raid members are ready, it’s time to prepare to engage with the enemy NPC or “mobs”. As a Healer, you’re not going to be the first to run in, the first to run in will usually be the Tank (Feral Druid, Protection Warrior, Blood Death Knight, Protection Paladin or Brewmaster Monk). As a Disc Priest, the play style calls for a more proactive role, meaning you will need to prepare for situations rather than respond to situations.

Slightly before the tank is going into combat, we’ll want to prepare them for the damage they’re going to receive, otherwise you will be on the back foot as soon as the tank takes damage. We can do this by casting Power Word: Shield and Prayer of Mending on the tank. This gives your tank a shield, so when an enemy hits them, the damage is absorbed. Having Prayer of Mending on the tank means that when the Shield is destroyed or expires and the tank is hit again, then Prayer of Mending will “proc” or activate and heal the tank. You can also cast Penance on the tank in the hopes of a crit heal. If Penance crits, the tank will also gain Divine Aegis, a shield to further protect the tank.

Evangelism building for Archangel

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When you cast Penance, Smite or Holy Fire/Power Word: Solace on an enemy, you gain a stack of Evangelism. You can consume these stacks at stack number from 1-5 by using Archangel. When you use Archangel and consume said stacks, you gain the Archangel buff which increases your healing, depending on the amount of stacks you use. So we recommend that when you’re not occupied by healing, try and use your offensive spells to build up your Evangelism stacks and just before you intend to heal, consume your stacks with Archangel to boost your healing. 

Tank Healing

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After using the above preparation on the tank, we can basically repeat that as often as you can. Basically keep Prayer of Mending and Penance off cool down, meaning use them as soon and as often as you can and use Power Word: Shield when the Weakened Soul debuff falls off the tank. Spot heal the tank using Heal for small-moderate amounts of damage, or use Flash Heal If you only have a little time to get the tank up, which is mana expensive but a much faster heal.

If your tank is taking a considerable amount of damage, you can use one of the Disc Priest’s strongest cool down Pain Suppression, which reduces damage taken by the tank. Cast Pain Suppression and continue using those spells above off cooldown.

Atonement Healing (Not absolutely essential, but a different part of the Disc Priest game-play).
As a Disc Priest you can use your damage spells on enemies to also heal allies using Atonement, as well as boost your healing with Archangel. Start off encounters much like the summary above, but instead of spamming Heal, use Holy Fire off cool down and Smite on enemy targets. This will not only cause a small amount of damage, it will also heal your party/raid members & pets and also provide you with an Evangelism buff that stacks. This buff stacks up to 5 times, at which point you can choose to use your Archangel, increasing your healing power and consuming all 5 Evangelism stacks. Repeat this pattern when damage to party/raid members is small. If you’re going to continue smiting, don’t consume your Evangelism stacks.

Party/Raid Healing

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Much like tank healing, party/raid healing involves the pattern as described above under tank healing summary. Use Power Word: Shield on those who you expect to receive the most damage or are close to death. Keep Prayer of Mending off cool down so it’s almost always active and jumping around the raid of healing. Spot heal members using Heal and heal larger damage with Penance. Flash Heal for emergencies.

Use Smite and Holy Fire on enemy targets during low damage periods if you feel comfortable doing so to gain your stacks of Evangelism and therefore Archangel available for activation.

You also have the AoE spell Prayer of Healing, which hits 5 party/raid members, all in the same group. Try and heal a target that is in a group of 5 that has additional group members who are damaged, otherwise it is a significant waste of mana. If you’re close (within 12 yards) of a group of players that have suffered damage, you can use your Holy Nova. This heals those around you, has an instant cast and is usable while moving.

During this time you can also use your level 90 talents, as these are extra healing spells for you. Head to the Disc Priest Talents & Specs page for advice on their use.

For heavy damage to the raid, read below.

Heavy Damage Phase Healing

Short version:

  • Continue as above.
  • Use Pain Suppression for an Individual Target taking serious damage.
  • Use Power Word: Barrier to reduce damage to those within.
  • Use Level 75 talents.
  • Use level 90 talents.

Long version

At times during an encounter there is likely to be some heavy damage phases, meaning you and your party/raid members are going to suffer more damage faster, at which point more healing from you is required. We have covered what to do should your tank suffer from large damage spikes, so this will be more about using your cool down abilities for party/raid wide damage (which can include your tank).

When these heavy damage phases occur, they usually last for a short amount of time and occur several times throughout an encounter. Heavy damage phases are all about using your cool down or utility spells that reduce damage or improve your healing. As mentioned previously, if your tank, or one individual member, is expected to take damage, use Pain Suppression to reduce that damage. For times when multiple party/raid members are taking heavy damage, you can use Power Word: Barrier, which creates a damage reducing bubble around a small area which party/raid members should get into to protect themselves.

The level 75 talents provide you with spells to boost your throughput, such as Spirit Shell and Power Infusion. During these heavy damage phases it is a good time to use these to boost your healing.

You’ll also want to use your level 90 talents during these heavy damage phases as they are essential for any healing priest.

Mana Regeneration

Short version:

  • Mana regen comes mostly from Spirit.
  • Level 45 talents provide mana regen/mana conservation.

Long version:

As encounters go on and you use spells to heal, you’re going to use up mana. Spirit, one of your primary stats provides you with most of your mana regen. However, your level 45 talents can provide you with talents that can either provide mana back to you or to conserve your mana. Navigate to our Disc Priest Talents & Specs page to view them.

Dispelling

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  • Dispel magic and diseases using Purify.

Long version:

Occasionally encounters present themselves as to place “debuffs” or negative spells whether from mobs or bosses. These debuffs can range from bleeds, poisons, diseases, curses and magic. All healing specializations can remove magic debuffs, but each class has a different removal tool unique to themselves. A Disc Priest can remove magic debuffs and diseases using Purify. Remove these debuffs as soon as you can, though be sure that they need removal, as sometimes debuffs, though bad, may need to remain on a player.

Talents

Like all class specializations, there are more spells that are available to a Disc Priest through talent selection. To learn more about choosing your talents and the benefits, head to the Disc Priest Talents & Specs page.

Now that you know how to play a Disc Priest, learn how to enhance them, starting at the Disc Priest Stat Priority page.

Originally published on December 4th, 2012 by on HealingWoW.com, Last modified: .

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  • Brian

    Great guide
    I learned a lot!

  • steven

    if only it was that simple. i got to this page from googling “disc priest oom” and all its telling me is a faster way to oom. trust me you need to use your mana return abilities a lot in raids flash heal uses to much mana and greater heal takes too long and uses to much mana and heal takes as long as greater heal and heal a third of greater heal. cast a shield on the tank in a raid boss fight and 1 shot later the shield is gone. after wrath they fucked up the mana system. so now ill just stick to the death knight. tired of the frustration

    • Bubblêwrap

      Tbh i dont see me going oom and i’m healing 11/14 hc Soo with 9 k spirit and no spirit flask/trinket(s) – Even tho at the start i was going oom just looking at my spells but as i got more experience i didnt have the same mana problems. /Bubblêwrap-Tarren-Mill EU

    • Robin

      You might be more suited to healing as Holy. As Disc, you’re generally not meant to heal very often with the reactive healing spells. The entire premise of a Disc Priest is that you’re using bubbles to mitigate damage before it happens and using Penance to react to big damage quickly (and thus apply further bubbles through Divine Aegis). There are also several mechanics in place to improve your reactive healing spells and cut their mana cost should you need to use them.

  • Sana

    This guide is a bit outdated, or maybe just very bare-bones.

    In my current disc setup, in raid instances, I focus on keeping Clarity of Will on the tanks (which isn’t mentioned at all in this). Power Word: Shield the tanks whenever Weakened Soul is off, and in between Clarity casts, PW:S the rest of the raid. My direct heals come mostly from Cascade/Penance and occasional evangelism-powered Prayer of Healing casts. Holy Fire on the boss on cooldown to build stacks and keep my mana up.

    A tip in raids: Disc is a proactive healer. Leave the reactive healing to the druids. I am paired up with a beautiful Druid and a holy pally. I rarely cast direct heals; that’s their job. My flash heal, in my current gear, heals for 33k-ish. I use Power Word: Shield with the Glyph: Power Word: Shield, and that’s a 30k barrier + a 6k absorb. Dropping a PW: S on someone costs 3.8k mana. Casting Flash Heal costs 6.6k mana. Using Cascade on cooldown (especially if you’re vigilant on keeping up your Evangelism) is usually more than enough to keep me at ~33k hps, weaving in Prayer of Healing because of the 100% crit chance. Penance on targets that need more than a barrier (2.3k mana cost and a 9sec cooldown seems efficient to me).

    I only use Prayer of Mending at the start of the fight. It’s not worth the 1.5sec cast time and gcd midfight most of the time.

    ♥♪♥Sänäré