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How to Play a Holy Priest

So you want to learn how to play a Holy 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 Holy Priest Healer. This page informs you how to play a Holy Priest Healer in general at maximum level. We’re going through a lot of spells in this section, so if you haven’t already, have a look at the Holy 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.


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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 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, though Commanding Shout only lasts for 5 minutes. The Warlock’s Pet, the Imp and a Hunter’s Qiraji based pet 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 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 Holy 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 (Guardian Druid, Protection Warrior, Blood Death Knight, Protection Paladin or Brewmaster Monk). As a Holy Priest, the play style calls for a more reactive role, meaning you will need to respond to situations rather than prepare to mitigate damage.

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 Prayer of Mending and Renew on the tank. We’ll also want to choose our Chakra stance depending on what situation we’ll soon find ourselves in, whether it be tank healing or raid healing.

While Holy Priest healing is mostly about reactive healing after damage has occurred  it’s important to be in the right Chakra stance to get the most out of your healing. As you read below you will learn about your Chakra stances. It’s important to be proactive in knowing which damage is incoming and prepare accordingly. If the tank or a single target is going to take considerable damage, enter Serenity stance. If the raid or multiple targets are going to take damage, enter Santuary stance.

Tank Healing

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For tank healing, we prefer to be in our Chakra: Serenity stance, which boosts our single target heals and provides us with an extra 1 target heal Holy Word: Serenity. Use this spell off cool down to not only heal the tank but to also apply a buff on them that increases the critical strike chance of heals used on them shortly after, it will also reapply Renew if it was on your target. Make sure there is a Renew on the tank at almost all times when you can afford the mana. Keep Prayer of Mending off cool down, meaning use it as soon and as often as you can.

Spot heal the tank using Heal for small amounts of damage(also resetting the duration of your HoT Renew on them), or use Greater Heal for significant amounts of damage. If you only have a little time to get the tank up, use Flash Heal which is mana expensive but a much faster heal. Flash Heal also provides you with the buff Serendipity, reducing the cast time and mana cost of your next Greater Heal, so don’t be afraid to use Flash Heal but be careful with mana.

Binding Heal is another strong heal, but it’s unique in that it also heals yourself along with your target. Cast this on the tank should you being taking considerable damage along with the tank. But, like Flash Heal, it can be quite mana expensive and should be used lightly. Also causes Serendipity.

The Holy Priest has a number of cool downs available should the damage on the tank become overwhelming. Power Word: Shield can help to mitigate damage, though it isn’t as strong as the Disc Priest’s version. Guardian Spirit is a very strong cool down which can effectively save a raid as it not only saves the target from dying but also brings that target up to 50% health again. Should be used in the most dire of situations, useable every 3 minutes.

Party/Raid Healing

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A Holy Priest has all the abilities required to be a successful tank healer in 5-man dungeons, but they’re not the strongest tank healer in Raids. Raid Healing is where a Holy Priest can really shine and we believe can be the most fun.  Top up those who aren’t going to recieve damage soon with Renew, or use it as a filler. Continue casting Prayer of Mending off cool down and watch(and hear) it bounce around the raid.

Change your Chakra stance to the more multiple-target-friendly based state Chakra: Sanctuary. This state changes your Holy Word: Serenity spell button that we were using on the tank into Holy Word: Sanctuary: a floor based multiple target healing spell. Along with this, while in this Chakra, each time you cast a heal the remaining cool down on your Circle of Healing is reduced. If you encounter a heavily stacked phase during an encounter, you can place your Holy Word: Sanctuary under the feet of the stacked targets. Once the phase ends, return back to Chakra: Serenity stance to gain the benefits it provides. If your raid isn’t in a stacked group, this spell isn’t worth casting.

Cast Circle of Healing, your main multi-target spell, every time is comes off cool down but watch your mana. It’s very efficient and is the centerpiece of Holy Priest raid healing.

Lightwell is a location-based spell that when cast and placed in a location, spouts out automatic heals to players who have health lower than 50%. Use this off cool down or just prior to a heavy damage phase so it helps out when players get very low in health.

Prayer of Healing is a group-wide spell that can be used to heal groups of 5 and benefits from Serendipity. So while raid healing, after using your Flash or Binding Heal, use Prayer of Healing instead of Greater Heal to take advantage of Serendipity.

Use HealFlash Heal and Binding Heal to spot heal party/raid members in emergencies or if mechanics require it.

For heavy damage to the raid, read below.

Heavy Damage Phase Healing

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  • Continue much like above.
  • Use Guardian Spirit on a player that may be in danger of dying.
  • Use Divine Hymn to heal many players and boost your healing on them for 8 seconds after the final tick.
  • Use level 45 throughput talents.
  • Use level 90 healing talents.

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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 cooldown 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, you can use Guardian Spirit to save that target from death.

For times when multiple party/raid members are taking heavy damage, we can use Divine Hymn, a channeled spell that heals for an insane amount for the time that its cast. Don’t move during the channeling or this spell will lose it’s effectiveness. You must time it right to get its full duration. This spell has a 3 minute cool down, meaning during raids you can often use it more than once if you use it early.

Mana Regeneration

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

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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 Holy Priest Talents & Specs page to view them.


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  • Dispel 1 magic or disease debuffs using Purify.
  • Dispel up to 10-target magic debuffs using Mass Dispel.

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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 Holy 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. Purify has an 8 second cool down, so use it wisely.

You also have the option of using the location-based Mass Dispel which removes all harmful magic effects inside a radius when cast on the ground. It affects up to 10 friendly targets and can be much more useful and mana friendly than trying to Purify one target after the other, especially as Purify has an 8 second cooldown. Mass Dispel has a 15 second cool down.


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

Now that you’re familiar with how to play your Holy Priest, navigate to the Holy Priest Stat Priority page to find out the stats you need to focus on.

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

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