Discipline Priest Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, priorities and healing strategies

by on August 27, 2012


See! We knew Smite Priesting was the way to go! Yes, in Mists of Pandaria (WoW Patch 5.4) the Smite playstyle is fully included with every Disipline Priest’s spec choice – along with a bunch of more recent changes! So, to get a quick heads up on how to play a Disc Priest as we all head off to kick Garrosh’s oversized ass, here’s a Quick Start Guide for your stats, talent build, abilities, glyphs, rotation (such as it is), reforging and gems. Enjoy!

Updated 17th September 2013 for 5.4

Disc Priest changes in 5.4

Minor changes, stat priorities updated.

Discipline Healing “Rotation” and Priorities

Of course, we don’t really have a rotation – we’re a healing class, dammit! (Well, not unless you count the low-level dungeon rotation of Smite, Smite, Smite, Smite…). But here’s an intro to how best to use your abilities to keep everyone else up.

Tank healing

When you’re healing the tank, you’ll be using:

  • Power Word Shield: One of your primary damage prevention abilities. Re-cast it whenever it drops. Note that when it drops you get mana back!
  • Penance Fairly powerful and efficient. Use whenever it’s off cooldown.
  • Greater Heal Primary healing spell if the tank’s taking more damage than Heal can cope with.
  • Heal Your “spam healing” spell. Use whenever the tank’s taking damage, but if his or her health is going down even with Heals, it’s time to switch to something more powerful.
  • Flash Heal Your panic button. Will run you out of mana FAST, but will also heal the tank FAST.
  • Prayer of Mending Will bounce around injured targets healing them. Use on your primary target during moderate or high damage phases, on CD.
  • Power Word Solace Use on CD unless you’re in an ntense damage phase. Smart-heals nearby players.

You can also use Smite to smart-heal the tank if no-one else is injured, but most of the time it will be too random to use. However, use it in very low-damage phases to build Evangelism stacks.

Keep Grace running on your primary target with Penance and your Heal spells.

Raid/group healing

  • Power Word Shield: Also very useful for raid healing. Cast on people you know or suspect are about to take damage. Fast and high healing.
  • Prayer of Healing: Your primary group heal. Use whenever it will be useful for healing at least 3 people.
  • Prayer of Mending: The “Bouncing Heal”. Cast on cooldown – as a smart heal, it’ll go where it’s needed (hopefully).
  • Power Word Solace: Use on cooldown (on the mobs, obviously), as it’s a smart heal that restores your mana.
  • Other healing spells: Use Penance when it’s off cooldown, and Greater Heal to spot heal as needed. Only use Flash Heal if someone’s about to die and you can’t use Power Word Shield. Whenever you don’t need to cast anything else, be casting Smite to build Evangelism stacks and do low-powered healing.

Cooldown spells

For when it’s all gone or is about to go a bit pear-shaped:

  • Power Word: Barrier :Best used when the raid’s stacked and you know they’re about to take a lot of damage. Note: this is a powerful CD and can save your raid if used right.
  • Pain Suppression: Powerful damage reduction – coordinate with your healing target as to when to cast this if possible, as it duplicates the effect of many tank cooldowns.
  • Archangel: Frequent-use cooldown powered by Atonement stacks from Smite. Use whenever you need a bit more healing punch.
  • Hymn of Hope: Use during low-damage phases to restore mana to you and nearby casters.
  • Spirit Shell: Use whenever there’s high damage coming in.
  • Leap of Faith: Useful for two things: moving slow, DCed or otherwise distracted people out of the Bad, and annoying your fellow raid members!
  • Inner Focus: Short cooldown, and gives your next Flash Heal, Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing 100% crit chance. Useful frequent-use cooldown. Also grants 5 sec immunity to Silence.
  • Void Shift is an extremely powerful heal if you’re on high health – but it has a very long CD. Assume it can only be used once per encounter.
  • Cascade: Use on cooldown or when you know the raid’s going to take heavy damage.

Buffs

Keep Inner Fire or Inner Will up (the latter helps with mana costs), remember to cast Prayer of Fortitude, and cast Shadow Protection if appropriate.

Discipline Priest Talent Choices

The new 5.x talent system means that you may well want to change talents on a per-fight basis. However, if you’re looking for a general-purpose talent build that’ll get you started quickly, we recommend:

  • Tier 1: Void Tendrils (not very important)
  • Tier 2: Angelic Feather – grants a movement speed increasing effect on the ground.
  • Tier 3: Solace / Insanity
  • Tier 4: Desperate Prayer – powerful self-heal.
  • Tier 5: Twist of Fate
  • Tier 6: Cascade – another powerful group-healing CD.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Discipline Priests

Intellect is your most important stat, boosting your healing, followed by Spirit, which controls mana regeneration. Mana pools are now fixed in size. In MoP, you’re likely to find you need to reforge for additional Spirit until you’re comfortable with your new mana regen.

Crit is our most useful secondary stat.

Gemming: Gem for socket bonuses (Purified in Red sockets, Sparkling in Blue sockets, Misty in Yellow sockets).

Reforging: Reforging depends on your mana. Reforge to Spirit if you need mana regen, which is very likely. Then reforge to Crit.

Disc Priest Glyphs

Glyphs are much more situational in WoW 5.x than before – however, here are some solid general choices:

Major: Glyph of Penance, Glyph of Binding Heal, Glyph of Mass Dispel.
Minor: Whatever you want – they have no performance effect.

Discipline Priest enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Mighty Spirit
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Pearlescent Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Halen August 29, 2012 at 5:54 am

Hmm thats all well and good, However if all i planned to ever do was heal.

Why the hell wouldnt i just roll holy? why would i waste time on a heal/dps hybrid when i could go bigger in heals ?

[Insults removed by editor]

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Hugh Hancock August 29, 2012 at 10:44 am

Erm… OK, well, if I find any Discipline DPS guides I’ll let you know…

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Axerayah October 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I really love discipline, cause I rather prevent ppl from taking dmg and do some dmg myself, not just sit there and spam heal heal heal… boring. I like to heal and to dps so discipline is perfect for me plus Holy fire, Smite and Penance can do really nice dps!
And If you know the fight and know your class well you can do awesome healing, much more than Holy.
I’m only sad that Archangel no longer giefs us mana back :(

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Rachel August 29, 2012 at 11:37 am

I don’t really understand the reader’s question/comment above. I’ve been smite healing on my priest since it was introduced. The thing about atonement is that you have to have a pretty good understanding of the fights and be able to sort of predict damage so that you know when to stop smiting and start casting bigger heals or using cooldowns. I get pretty tired of the whole “holy vs disc debate”. The fact of the matter is that both healing specs are great in different situations. I find that a well-balanced healing team includes both. Discipline priests have a TON of tools at their disposal and are well-equipped to handle a variety of situations. And for those of you that still think discipline can’t pull the numbers other specs can…you haven’t met me. With my current level of gear (mainly heroic DS and regular DS items) I did a dry run in LFR last night to check out the new changes and did twice the healing as any other single person in the group. I noticed that I shot up to almost 30 hps towards the beginning of madness just by smiting, prayer of mending and putting shield on the tank (no real healing at that point). Ended the fight with maybe 26+K healing done and around 4k dps (not a lot, but still useful for finishing off blisterings and whatnot) I haven’t really figured out how everything is going to balance out yet or how I should manage my mana, but so far I am liking the changes and will continue to play my favorite healer/spec. : ) Happy healing!

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Hugh Hancock August 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm

It’s a little-known secret (particularly since these guides used to suggest Smite was a more advanced style of Disc play), but I’ve been playing a Smite priest since about six months after they came out too (as an alt, natch)! It’s a wonderful class, and I highly recommend it.

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bubsoxs September 12, 2012 at 7:04 am

Amen!!!

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kesera August 31, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I didn’t play smite/archangel in Cata because I had a PvP spec. I used to keep up with the PvE smiter in DS, so I wasn’t terribly worried about archangel before.

I was actually really bummed on Tuesday when everything switched over that I wouldn’t be a “pure healer” and would be forced to DPS/archangel my way through healing. After getting over myself, I have been trying it and really have kinda fell back in love with my priest.

Yay.

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Joe Bowers September 5, 2012 at 4:38 am

Note sure why you said smite-healing is only for low-level dungeons. Attonement (ie Smite and Holy Fire healing) is the foundation of the disc healing build, and can easily heal Heroic difficulty end-game content. While the healing power is less than a pure Holy build, the added DPS means mobs die faster, and every cast of Smite or Holy Fire is a smart heal, always going to the player that needs it most.

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Hugh Hancock September 5, 2012 at 10:17 am

I agree – Smite healing goes right up to the end-game.

I was making a joke in the introduction about the power of *just* casting Smite, however – in lower-level dungeons, you can literally go through the entire dungeon just doing that, but in Heroics with Heroic-level gear, you’ll need to do a bit more than that, as I’m sure you know!

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Christian Søreide September 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I agree too. Smite-healing goes right up to the end-game. Through cata after 6 months I got more and more used to dischealing. (Before that I struggled healing as priest overall.) The key for me to heal well and efficeint through dungeons and raidcontent might be the rotation i chose. Power Word: Infusion + Holy Fire + Smite. Infusion gave me speedhasteincrease for a long enough time to build evangelsimstacks quickly through atonement. Having glyph of Holy Fire made me do additional dmg and healing. Mana was seldom a problem and healing and shielding was good.

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bubsoxs September 12, 2012 at 7:12 am

i actualy have Power infusion macrod to my holy fire.. so it pops when ever CD is up and its instant, soo it shares a global CD aswell! also works the same with Inner focus with Gheal.. try that out.. saves button pressing and watching the CD’s

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Jibz September 6, 2012 at 9:28 pm

I’m not sure why someone would dis Disc healing. Anytime I get a negative comment about Disc healing, I always tell them to look at their recount, and look how much over-healing I do. Compared to other healers, I use my mana more efficiently and effectively thanks to the ‘smart heals.’ /shrugs\

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Martin September 10, 2012 at 11:02 am

I had Dics and atonoment disc.. i liked both spec, normaly i just used “normal” disc spec with out atonioment, but found it rellay effective on Madness.. dps about 18k and heal about 15k.. Im gonna miss the old normal disc.. Just have to found out how to avoid running out of mana..
Shawodfiend i cant find in my spellbok..!! :O( so is it from a talent now..??

/M:O)

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Evlyxx November 28, 2012 at 11:33 am

Shadowfiend changes to Mindbender when you take the Mindbender talent (1 min Shadowfiend).

Also spotted yesterday that the Mindbender changed from teh squidlike creature to a mini Sha. Sad I liked my lil squid!

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Daniel September 11, 2012 at 7:27 pm

You can use Penance to heal party members at the same time you fight with mobs. Nice guide btw!!

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Evlyxx November 28, 2012 at 11:37 am

Indeed people often refer to Disc as a tank healing spec when it is we are more aof a single target healing specialist so where you read tank replace that with single target and everything holds true even if you’re on raid healing duty.

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bubsoxs September 12, 2012 at 7:25 am

I was a holy preist till the end of WotLK and i love Disc since ive played it.. and its only got better.. im actualy glad they made mana a bit diff.. it was almost to easy! they seem to be forcing the Heal spell since Cata.. but i still have yet to even put it on my toolbar or keybind yet.. but it may have to happen… :D im sure in blue gear again in panda i just might have to!!! BTW try Shadow PVP.. its OP……

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Mags September 17, 2012 at 8:51 am

I’ve been smashing non stop bg’s and dungeons with my priest since the latest patch and i 1.. Top every battleground in both healing/dps and kb’s (usually) and 2. Top both dps AND heals as a healer in every dungeon i run. They are so overpowered right now it is unbelievable. I can’t comment as far as 85 goes because this toon is only 62, but penance is a bit of a joke for damage at the moment. Super hacks. 1 penance and someone is dead. 65 Kb’s 2 deaths in the last AV i did.

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Evlyxx November 28, 2012 at 11:39 am

Agreed low level Disc is an OP class right now, sadly it levels out normal weak healer in questing zones somewhere between 70 and 85.

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Nick March 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I would have to disagree with Glyph of Fade and Holy fire now that 5.2 is out. I run Glyph of Smite since we use Holy Fire or Solace on CD. Smite works with both so its an extra 20% damage also meaning 20% extra heal. Just something to think about. Also I don’t run Glyph of Holy Fire anymore with 5.2. Its instant anyway. I run Glyph of Prayer of Mending for the extra 60% boost to the first jump. Keep up the good work though!

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Hugh Hancock March 13, 2013 at 10:42 am

Good points on all counts! Thanks – I think I’ll update to reflect your recommendations on the Smite glyph at least, as that’s a damn good argument.

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Drag5 June 6, 2013 at 1:24 am

Just a note…Glyph of Smite does an extra 20% dmg but it does NOT heal for an extra 20%!!!
Read the description of the glyph carefuly!

Your Smite spell inflicts an additional 20% damage against targets afflicted by Holy Fire, but that additional damage does not get transferred by Atonement.

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Jason March 9, 2014 at 11:06 pm

I have now got my priest close to 60, I go back and forth, Disc, Holy, and I find after playing Disc for a while, I do just as good DPs/healing on my holy as well.. Good guide, I do like Disc for most instances, but I can do just as well Holy.. Of course I am not up to the hard instances yet but So far, I have no worries on healing or DPS as Holy.

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