Holy 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

Once again, the theme in Mists of Pandaria is “Holy Priests don’t change much”. Patch 5.4 continues to bring Not Much Change, aside of course from Garrosh losing the plot. But there are changes to Talents, new Glyphs, and some other small changes – so, to get your talent build, reforging, gems and healing priorities in order, here’s a quick-start guide to get you into the Patch 5.4 Action!

Updated 17th September 2013 to World of Warcraft Patch 5.4

Holy Priest Changes in Patch 5.4

Some minor changes.

Holy Healing “Rotation” and Priorities

Of course we don’t have an actual rotation! Here’s a quick guide to get you rolling with MoP Holy healing, though.

First thing: Chakras.

The Chakra state is one of the Holy Priest’s signature abilities, and can look pretty complicated – however, it’s actually very simple.

Holy Priests can work in one of 3 “states” – either single-target healing, AOE healing, or DPS.

To go into a chakra state, you simply cast the appropriate Chakra spell – Serenity or Sanctuary (or Chastise if you want to DPS for some reason). You can’t cast them more than once every 30 seconds.

Whilst you’re in each state, you’ll get a bonus to that type of healing, and your Holy Word spell alters to become a spell of that type – single-target, AOE or DPS.

Single-target healing

If you’re only healing one target most of the time, you’ll be in the Serenity chakra, putting up Renew to tick away merrily, then using Heal almost continuously to keep your target topped off without much mana cost. Use Holy Word Serenity frequently on your target to keep Renew up on them. Throw Prayer of Mending on if they’ll be taking continual damage.

If the target takes a lot of damage, you’ll use either Greater Heal, if you have time, Flash Heal, if it’s an emergency (but watch your mana pool!), and your Holy Word: Serenity and Prayer Of Mending as often as possible. If the damage is sustained and overwhelming, use Flash Heal twice followed by Greater Heal, and repeat.

If the group suddenly takes damage, pop Circle of Healing (your cooldown AOE heal) and use Prayer of Mending (which will heal your primary target when they next take damage) to pick up the single-target slack.

AOE/Group healing

You’ll want to be in Chakra: Sanctuary when group healing. Drop a Lightwell ASAP. Your primary group heal is Prayer of Healing – use it liberally. Use Circle of Healing any time it’s off cooldown and is needed, in preference to Prayer of Healing. Throw in Cascade when more healing is needed – note that it will refresh your Renews. Top off healing with Heal and Renew. If the group’s taking damage irregularly, also use Prayer of Mending.

Don’t use Holy Word: Sanctuary unless you’re sure you need it – it’s very expensive. The best time to use it is 2-3 seconds before you know the group is about to take heavy damage.


  • Divine Hymn is a powerful AOE heal on a short (3 min) cooldown – use it on very heavy damage phases.
  • For mana regen, use Shadowfiend and Hymn of Hope – ideally, these should be used at the same time. Note that Hymn Of Hope also benefits other healers.
  • Guardian Spirit is a powerful spell to save a single person – particularly if they’re about to take a damage spike you can’t heal. Check with your raid leader if you need to use it at a specific time.
  • 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. Pop Desperate Prayer straight after.
  • Oh, and remember Leap Of Faith, aka Life Grip, for those times when someone stands in what they shouldn’t have stood in!


Cast Power Word: Fortitude.

Holy Priest Talent Choices

Talent choices are a lot more flexible in WoW 5.4 and Mists of Pandaria, so you’ll eventually want to make talent choices on an encounter-by-encounter basis. However, here’s a good no-downside general-purpose talent build to get started with:

  • Tier 1: Void Tendrils
  • Tier 2: Angelic Feather – lets you drop movement buff items.
  • Tier 3: Mindbender – (arguably) improved Shadowfiend.
  • Tier 4: Desperate Prayer
  • Tier 5: Power Infusion – powerful CD to boost your healing.
  • Tier 6: Cascade – another powerful group-healing CD.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Holy Priest

Unlike DPS classes, there is no set best way to gear and reforge – instead, there are a few options, depending on what you most feel you need as a healer.

You care most about two stats: Intellect, which boosts your overall healing power, and Spirit, which controls your mana regeneration. You should gem and enchant for these two stats.

Beyond this, you want enough Haste to get to at least 4,721 Haste. After that, Mastery is your next most useful stat, above Crit, which is close to useless for Holy priests.

Reforging: reforge everything to Spirit until you no longer worry about running out of mana (this may require quite a lot of Spirit at first!). Then, reforge to Haste if you can get up to 4,721 or just under, then either Mastery for better mana efficiency through a lingering Heal Over Time or Haste to speed up your spells, as you prefer. Reforge from Crit first.
Gemming: Generally you’ll want to gem Purified (Intellect + Spirit) gems in Red sockets, Sparkling (Spirit) gems in Blue sockets, and Reckless (Int / Haste) in Yellow sockets.
Meta Gem: Revitalising Meta gem.

Holy Priest Glyphs

Glyphs, like talents, are now much more situational – however, here’s a good general loadout of glyphs with few downsides:

Major: Glyph of Lightwell, Glyph of Circle of Healing, Glyph of Prayer of Mending. IN 10-man or less content, Glyph of Renew may be better than Glyph of Circle of Healing.
Minor: Choose as you will! They’ll have no effect on your effectiveness.

Holy 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 or Enchant Gloves – Greater Haste depending on if you can reach a Haste breakpoint.
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Pearlescent Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step or Enchant Boots – Greater Haste if you’re using Inner Will.
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect


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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

David Howe September 5, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Remember to keep either Inner Fire (for spellpower boost) or Inner Will (for reduced spell costs) up at all times. Cast Prayer of Fortitude and Shadow Protection.

Wasn’t shadow protection removed from the buffs holy priests are able to cast?


Hugh Hancock September 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm

My bad – looks like it was indeed. Fixing – thanks for the correction!


Ivira September 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm

“Finally, if you need to move with the group and they need healing, use Holy Nova. If you just need to stabilise someone, Renew is also useful.”

Good luck with the Holy Nova part of that :D


Hugh Hancock September 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Sorry, not quite understanding you – what’s the issue with Holy Nova there?


Ivira September 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Well, unless you pick the Holy Nova glyph, which is somewhat useless for Holy PvE healing as it is (And you didn’t suggest it in your major glyph guide either), you would’nt have Holy Nova in your spell book :D

It’s just pointing out a small flaw though, I’m picky :$


Hugh Hancock September 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm

That’s interesting – WoWHead has Holy Priests still having Holy Nova, which is why it’s in this guide! My bad – I’ve checked it out and of course you’re right. Removing it now.

Thanks very much for picking up on that!


Connie January 31, 2013 at 8:34 pm

I am not understanding the chakra. I see 3 options but only chastise is an option the other 2 are greyed out. Is it because i am not in a group or what. Or do i need to train or do some kind of quest to get the abilities?


Hugh Hancock February 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm

What spec are you in?


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Chrissy February 17, 2014 at 7:52 am

I amplaying my holypriestnow since a few Years in a raid Environment and often Found some suggestions in your Blog. Lately thoughat least when it Comes down to this priest Guide, i feel it could use a bit more Info.
Talent choices: Why desperate prayer, in Pvp good but in pve if your raidgroup is not made of Movement goss ull Be very busy and angelic bullwark Comes in Vers Handy. Second Power Infusion is Useful in just a very few Fights Simple because u will have to Move a Lot! And to use it well u would Need To stand and cast. I Prefer Devine insight since the prayer of mending Proccs Happen Quite often and Heal Quite alot. Then for 10 man raiding u might have to Change Rotations for the New tiersets These informations seen to Be missing but a Part from that its a Useful guide for Beginnes.


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