Table of Contents

 

Introduction

Hello everyone and welcome to the BFA Discipline Guide. I am Hellpriesto, a Mod here at WarcraftPriests. All feedback and discussion is welcomed. Feel free to contact myself KCR or Clandon. The best place to reach us is in the WarcraftPriests Discord. Please note this guide will be PVE focused.

Discipline is by far the most fun and rewarding healing spec to play in my opinion. You need to be very pro-active and make constant decisions on who will be the best target for you to apply Atonement to. You will also need to have a firm grasp of being able to switch from healing to dealing damage constantly.

The aim of this Discipline Guide is to cover everything you should need to know to heal as Discipline in all content. BFA has not changed a crazy amount for us as far as gameplay is concerned, but has given some nice talent options to handle different scenarios.

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Acronyms

 

PW:S – Power Word: ShieldPW:R – Power Word: RadianceSW:P – Shadow Word: PainPTW – Purge the Wicked
MB – MindbenderSF – ShadowfiendPS – Pain SuppressionPW:B – Power Word: Barrier
PotDS – Power of the Dark SideMD – Mass DispelLoF – Leap of FaithToF – Twist of Fate
SD – Shield DisciplineSotM – Sins of the ManySCov – Shadow CovenantLB – Luminous Barrier
GCD – Global CooldownDoT – Damage over TimeHoT – Healing over TimeCC – Crowd Control

 

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What changed?

There have been quite a few changes to our talent tree and baseline spells, all of which can be found here. Levelling recommendations for BFA also included.

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Atonement

To start out I think it’s very important to fully understand how the main mechanic of the spec works and all other various intricacies surrounding it. The majority of our healing is done via Atonement which is applied in a few ways. Following application, any damage dealt will transfer as healing to friendlies with Atonement. The baseline transfer of damage to healing through Atonement is 60%.

First and foremost our Atonement applicators are:
  • PW:S – Cheapest single target applicator that can be applied on the move and does minimal overhealing. Due to mana cost and strength of shield we cannot use this spell as our main source of healing.
  • Shadow Mend – Doubles up as our main direct heal spell for single target.
  • PW:R – Most efficient Atonement spread for multiple targets.
    • The duration of atonement is 60% of the normal duration (15 seconds * 0.6 = 9 seconds)
    • It applies 1 Atonement to your target, meaning casting it on a target already affected by Atonement is a waste.
    • The jump range on the extra 4 Atonement spread is 30 yards while your target range of the spell is 40 yards.
How dealing damage and modifiers interact with Atonement
  • While we generate healing through dealing damage, the way it’s calculated is not as simple. For instance, things that increase our damage and healing (for example versatility) will not double dip. This is because only the healing portion of such buffs will modify Atonement.
  • Mechanics that reduce our damage dealt does not affect the healing done with Atonement. For example, some raid bosses have phases with 99% reduced damage taken; Disc damage done will still heal for full through Atonement. That being said immunities will stop our damage completely which also means our Atonement healing.
  • External buffs that increase our damage dealt will also have no effect on Atonement healing (our own buffs do increase healing, for example, Schism). There is only one external buff that will affect Atonement healing – Chaos Brand, from Demon Hunters (this was added in a random hotfix update).
  • Once Atonement is applied to a friendly, the range at which the healing applies is extremely far. You will rarely find any encounter room where your Atonement will be out of range unless the encounter phases you and your target apart.
  • Damage trinkets, Racials and Azerite traits do not heal through Atonement (unless they increase our baseline spells damage, smite/penance etc).
  • AoE damage effects such as Halo/Divine Star/Holy Nova will do healing through Atonement but only on the first instance of damage.

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Gameplay

To heal effectively as Discipline you need to excel in your ability to constantly switch between healing/applying Atonement and dealing damage. A good understanding of the fight you are about to tackle will also improve how effective you will be. This section will cover the very basics behind the spells. How it all works in specific content will be covered in greater detail in the respective sections. The core kit can be separated as follows: Atonement applicators (as covered above), Direct Heals, Damage and CDs. Talents can change how you play quite considerably and will be outlined later.

Direct Heals:
  • Penance – Often referred to as Defensive Penance. It will do a significant amount of healing to a single target and is castable on the move.
  • Shadow Mend – In any situation when you need strong single target healing you will want to use this spell.
    • Typically avoided in raids as it’s quite mana inefficient.
    • It’s important to note that the damage portion of Shadow Mend is taken off with all forms of damage.
Damage:
  • Penance – Often referred to as Offensive Penance. Outside of our talents this is our biggest hitting damage spell and should be cast as often as possible.
  • Smite – Typically considered to be Disc’s “filler” spell as it’s very cheap on mana, does significant damage and subsequently healing through Atonement. You will be casting Smite a lot.
  • Shadow Word: Pain – While it may be weird to maintain a DoT whilst playing a healer it is something that we want to be doing. Not only does this provide constant ticking healing it also provides us with PotDS procs.
Cooldowns:
  • Desperate Prayer – Helpful personal to keep yourself alive.
  • Shadowfiend – Whilst this is a damage CD, it is used as a healing CD as it will give a tremendous burst of healing through Atonement.
  • Pain Suppression – This is the best single target damage reduction in the game and is extremely strong at saving a life. Also worth noting this spell is off the GCD.
  • Rapture – Empowers all shields cast whilst active (not shields out at the time of cast). This CD allows you to put out a lot of effective health which gives you a nice buffer to keep people alive.
  • Power Word: Barrier – Very strong stacked damage reduction and should be used preemptively for group damage.
Other:
  • Purify – Standard healer dispel.
  • Dispel Magic – Can dispel buffs on enemies which can be very potent in both PVE and PVP.
  • Mass Dispel – Has a long CD and expensive mana cost but is great for either/both dispelling buffs/debuffs on friends/foes. It can dispel otherwise non-dispellable effects such as immunities or mind controls.
  • Fade – Standard threat drop if you take aggro or accidentally pull enemies.
  • Leap of Faith – Whilst this spell is very often seen as a means to troll fellow players as it can be very disorientating. If you can find areas to use it helpfully, you will be thanked generously.
  • Holy Nova – This spell is poor in both damage and healing and is only used for levelling, old content and detecting stealthed enemies.

Single Target/Tank Healing

  1. Having Atonement on a target that will need regular healing is a good idea through the use of PW:S. This means that all the damage you do will always be keeping them healthy.
  2. Once the incoming damage is too much for Atonement, fall back to using a combination of both Shadow Mend and Defensive Penance.
  3. If that is not enough you may want to think about using Pain Suppression
  4. Rapture can be used if the latter is on CD, but usually, you want this CD for group healing.

Dungeon Healing

Dungeon healing will be covered in greater depth to include talent setups, M+, and various affixes. (Coming soon)

  1. You want to always be proactive and have Atonements out ready for when you need them.
  2. PW:R is a very handy tool for both reactive and proactive healing as you can cover the entire group with Atonement quickly.
  3. Use Penance both Offensively and Defensively as much as possible (which depends entirely on the situation in front of you).
  4. Maintain constant up-time of SW:P (multi-target isn’t overly important but can be done).
  5. Use Smite as a filler spell for continuous mana efficient damage/healing.
  6. PW:B should be used before incoming group damage.
  7. Rapture is best suited for mitigating group wide damage pre-emptively. It may also be used reactively to apply a health buffer for more time to heal everyone up.
  8. It is very important to note that Atonement healing will not suffice in all situations. While you will make sure to apply Atonement to those who will need healing within the next 15/9s there will be cases where you must fall back on direct heals.

Raid Healing

Raid healing will be covered in greater depth to include various bosses and talent setups for the first raid tier – Uldir. (Coming Soon)

  1. You want to always be proactive and have Atonements out ready for when you need them.
  2. PW:R should mostly be used pro-actively to have the casts land just as damage hits, or slightly earlier when setting up for bursts.
  3. Use Penance both Offensively and Defensively as much as possible (which depends entirely if Contrition has been talented, defensive penance is used rarely without it).
  4. Maintain constant up-time of SW:P (multi-target isn’t overly important but can be done)
  5. Use Smite as a filler spell for continuous mana efficient damage/healing.
  6. For quick single target Atonement needs use PW:S. For example, targets with a DoT on them.
  7. Use Shadow Mend if the target is in greater need of heals in an emergency case only.
  8. If multiple targets need healing you can use a single charge of PW:R. Similarly, if even more need healing you can use both PW:R charges. Keep in mind you may need to save PW:R charges for any potential incoming raid-wide burst.
  9. If you need to burst heal the raid you can do so with the following cast sequence a good 15s before the damage is to happen. PW:S x5 -> PW:R x2 -> Dealing damage. Note this burst is strengthened greatly by the use of Evangelism, Schism and Solace.
  10. PW:B should be used before incoming raid damage. Rapture can be used similarly but can also be used re-actively for unexpected damage for an effective health boost.

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Talents

In this section, each talent will be listed with a small commentary about it. Near the end of the section, various builds will be listed that you can use. Blizzard has held true to their initial statement of having a passive talent in every row along the left side. Given how open the talent tree is now there will not be “cookie cutter” builds that you will default to for everything like in Legion. Furthermore, we have many tools to handle various situations and supplement different play-styles.

The Talents are colour coded as follows:

  • Green – Default pick in many situations.
  • Blue – Viable pick for certain situations.
  • Red – Rare pick as not great in many situations
Talent Row 1:
Discipline Priest Level 15 Talents

Discipline Priest Level 15 Talents

Every spell in this row has an applicable strength and all can be used to supplement various play-styles and encounter types.

  • Castigation – Being a passive gain which won’t change up your game-play at all, this is a nice option for those new to the spec. It pairs rather well with Contrition to strengthen a more typical healer type of play-style.
  • Twist of Fate – Is typically the go-to option in any content where progression is involved. This is due to having a consistent uptime of the buff leading to a substantial amount of damage/healing.
  • Schism – Is proving to be a very strong option to give a big burst of healing during the buff’s window. It adds an extra layer of complexity to the rotation and synergies very well with Power Word: Solace on the level 45 row. Disc has a tendency to benefit from reliable buffs such as Schism over procs like ToF.

 

Talent Row 2:
Discipline Priest Level 30 Talents

Discipline Priest Level 30 Talents

  • Body and Soul – This speed buff is completely out of favour due to an internal CD of 6 seconds and requiring mana to apply. Putting random speed boosts on friendlies can also be very dangerous.
  • Masochism – Has a few very niche applications but it’s usually not worth giving up our only speed boost.
  • Angelic Feather – Very strong speed boost which will be the go-to pick in almost all content.
Talent Row 3:
Discipline Priest Level 45 Talents

Discipline Priest Level 45 Talents

If you would like to compare the numbers behind these three talents feel free to check out the following spreadsheet. Keep in mind this is purely the mana returns, the damage also needs to be considered. Similarly to the first row, each talent here may have applicable uses for different encounters.

  • Shield Discipline – Being a passive which doesn’t change up your game-play at all, with some strong mana returns this is another good option for newcomers to the spec (not picked at all for dungeon content).
  • Mindbender – Is a nice CD to have access to as it has a short CD and provides a nice burst of damage/healing while also returning small amounts of mana. Maybe a decent option if the cooldown lines up very well with damage patterns.
  • Power Word: Solace – Is showing some very good results when used on CD with very high damage and mana returns. The downside is it can add a lot of extra GCD’s to an already GCD heavy play-style.
Talent Row 4:
Discipline Priest Level 60 Talents

Discipline Priest Level 60 Talents

This row is largely not too important in which each talent may have some very specific niche use.

  • Psychic Voice – Can be quite helpful in PVP to peel Melee off of you.
  • Dominant Mind – May have some uses in M+ to allow you to cheese the bolstering affix or take out a very dangerous foe from the pull.
  • Shining Force – A knock-back which can be used for necrotic in M+ to help your tank drop stacks, or knocking unsuspecting victims off of cliffs during levelling.

 

Talent Row 5:
Discipline Priest Level 75 Talents

Discipline Priest Level 75 Talents

The three talents on this row offer useful tools for handling different situations within dungeons. Due to their overall low throughput increases, they are fairly evenly matched for their actual overall benefit. As a result, which you choose will largely be down to the situation you face in the content you are tackling. (Not a great row as far as raiding is concerned.)

  • Sins of the Many – A solid boost to damage and healing through Atonement. The damage scaling is shown below.
Expand
Atonement Count012345678910
Damage Percent12%12%10%8%7%6%5%5%4%4%3%
  • Contrition – Empowers your Defensive Penance by removing the punishment of casting it, as it applies healing through Atonement as well. Usually, the best option in harder content as having the ST capabilities contributes significant healing.
  • Shadow Covenant – The healing numbers behind SCov are there and relatively strong and serves as a burst of healing. This may see more use going forward in BFA. That being said, this talent is typically despised due to the nature of healing absorbs, added mana cost and not interacting with Atonement. That being said, it still receives a healing buff from our mastery.
Talent Row 6:
Discipline Priest Level 90 Talents

Discipline Priest Level 90 Talents

  • Purge the Wicked – Is nice for newcomers to the spec as it keeps game-play pretty simple whilst adding a free spread upon Offensive Penance casts. That being said, it is currently the worst option overall as SW:P does comparative damage.
  • Divine Star – Contributes a substantial amount towards healing and damage but requires aim, increased CD usage and more mana for maximum benefit. For obvious reasons nice in areas where players will be consistently close together (has a tendency to do nothing on the return orb as it phases into another dimension due to a very old terrain bug).
  • Halo – Contributes a substantial amount towards healing and damage. For obvious reasons, it’s very nice on spread out encounters but you must be very proficient with your positioning in order to avoid unwanted pulls. This talent is a lot easier to use in dungeons than most people anticipate. Halo will not hit enemies that aren’t in your line of sight.
Talent Row 7:
Discipline Priest Level 100 Talents

Discipline Priest Level 100 Talents

This row is probably one of the most convoluted as the strengths of each option can be very ambiguous

  • Lenience – Simple passive damage reduction on any target with Atonement. At face value 3% seems quite low, however, considering how often you have Atonement applied the damage reduction will add up over time. Its use mostly limited to dungeons, but some raid encounters may favour a more over time reduction compared to the burst of the other talents.
  • Luminous Barrier – Is most likely going to be the hardest to out-compete the others on this row. Whilst it provides the most visual healing on meters, as it replaces PW:B it’s already diminished for raw value. There may be very niche uses where PW:B can’t be efficiently used and you need more upfront burstiness that either talent in this row cannot provide. It disguises itself as a very user-friendly spell for newcomers. That being said, I would not recommend getting used to it.
  • Evangelism – Allows you to extend all your active Atonements which is very strong when used correctly in raids. When predicting incoming raid damage and setting up a large amount of Atonements correctly you will gain considerable healing burst.
At A Glance Talent Builds

Keep in mind as a healer you will need to assess the situation that presents itself in front of you and change talents accordingly. The builds below are not to be used strictly.

Newcomer - Raids

The below suggestions allow for an easier transition to learning the Discipline play-style. That being said, it’s always recommended to try out the harder rotational talents.

Discipline Priest New Build

Progressive - Raids

This build is focused more towards progression where raiders will routinely drop to low HP.

Discipline Priest Progressive Build

Bursty - Raids

This build is focused towards having greater damage burst, coincidentally healing burst

Discipline Priest Bursty Build

Newcomer - Dungeon

The below suggestions allow for an easier transition to learning the Discipline play-style. That being said, its always recommended to try out the harder rotational talents.

Discipline Priest New Dungeon Build

Progressive - Dungeon

This build is focused more towards progression where raiders will routinely drop to low HP.

Discipline Priest Progressive Dungeon Build

Bursty - Dungeon

This build is focused towards having greater damage burst, coincidentally healing burst

Discipline Priest Bursty Dungeon Build

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Stats/Gear

As a healer, all stats for Discipline end up providing a similar benefit for our overall healing output. Consequently, if you’re looking for a specific stat ratio that is going to magically improve your numbers, you won’t find it. If you aren’t casting the right spells at the correct times stats aren’t going to help you. The first cause of action should be to analyse logs, seek advice, read guides, understand different damage patterns and movement patterns.

Stat stacking is not something that is ever advised. Whichever stat you stack, the more valuable the other stats become. Due to intellect being far more impactful, we advise going for Ilvl over everything in most situations. There may still be cases of balancing out secondaries through the use of rings/enchants/gems (this information will be updated if this changes going forward into BFA).

What makes individual stats great?:
  • Intellect – There is more on every single piece of gear compared to secondaries (except jewellery) and increases all of our spells raw numbers.
  • Haste – Reduces the GCD, increases PTW/SW:P tick rate, reduces Power Word: Solace CD, reduces the cast time of all spells, increases PotDS proc rate.
  • Critical Strike – Simply multiplies a spell by two if it crits, more rating increases the chance of this happening. Interestingly if your damage crits, the following Atonement heal will also be a crit. Atonement cannot crit independently so there no double crits.
  • Versatility – Multiplicatively increases both damage and healing whilst also providing damage reduction (does not double dip as far as Atonement healing is concerned).
  • Mastery – Similarly to versatility it multiplicatively increases our healing but requires Atonement on the target. This increased healing increases both direct and Atonement healing.
Stat Ratings Per 1%

All stats have individual ratios of how much rating will give you 1% of the stat. Below are the ratios at level 120.

Secondary Stats
  • Haste – 68
  • Critical Strike – 72
  • Versatility – 85
  • Mastery – 60
Tertiary Stats
  • Leech – 41.4
  • Avoidance – 19.8
  • Speed – 14.4

 

Stat Weights

At the moment we do not have any stat weight to recommend as more testing needs to be done. As stated above, go for item lvl over everything else.

Gear

Best in slot lists are still not a thing due to the randomness on gear upgrades. If you would like to see all of the available gear to us Disc Priests (including Azerite gear) check out the following spreadsheet.

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Azerite Traits

So far Azerite Traits are the only replacement for both legendaries and tier sets in raids. They work very similarly to the Netherlight Crucible in Legion. Azerite gear is locked to the gear slots Head/Shoulder/Chest and is unable to warforge/titanforge (unless looted from the weekly M+ cache). For a more comprehensive overview of how it all works head over to WoWhead. For the time being the traits listed below are the only ones which affect our baseline spells.

Which traits are best is currently something which is still very much in question due to tuning. Ones which seem desirable so far in testing are highlighted with a ⇑ (dungeons), ⇑ (raids).

Please note that all trait stacking information below assumes two pieces which doubles the effects. Three pieces will therefore triple the effect.

Discipline Specific Outer Ring Traits:
  • Enduring Luminescence – Makes baseline Atonement duration from PW:R last 10.5s, which seems quite nice as it allows two penances within the Atonement window.
    • When this trait is stacked: PW:R heal x2, no effect on Atonement duration.
  • Weal and Woe – Relatively small increases to our main spells. Smite damage will apply through Atonement.
    • When this trait is stacked: Both Smite damage and PW:S increase absorb x2
  • ⇑ Moment of Repose – Quite a large heal and causes PS to apply Atonement, given its such a long CD this trait seems unfavourable (it’s worth noting that Atonement is applied first so the heal benefits from our mastery).
    • When this trait is stacked: Heal x2, no effect on atonement application.
  • ⇑ Gift of Forgiveness – Consistent damage increase to smite which will apply through Atonement.
    • When this trait is stacked: Smite damage x2, Atonements needed not affected.
  • ⇑ Depth of the Shadows – Stacking increase to Shadow Mend through our DoT ticks (multiple DoTs do increase this speed).
    • When this trait is stacked: Shadow Mend healing/maximum x2, no effect on stacking.
  • Contemptuous Homily – Consistent damage increase to Offensive Penance which also increases DoT duration, both will also apply through Atonement. Could potentially save a nice amount of mana and GCDs spent on applying our DoT.
    • When this trait is stacked: Penance damage x2, no effect on DoT extension.
Middle Ring Traits
  • Synergistic Growth – A big chunk of mastery after casting PW:R which will increase our atonement healing considerably for any following damage while the buff persists (currently bugged and requires you to re-apply one Atonement to yourself before gaining the full benefit of the buff).
    • When this trait is stacked: Mastery buff x2, duration of buff and every 30s limit not affected.
Inner Ring Traits
  • Sanctum – After casting Fade gain a small absorb.
    • When this trait is stacked: Absorb x2, duration not affected.

For a full list of Azerite gear with the above traits check out this spreadsheet.

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Consumables/Enchants/Gems

As with any new expansion, there are lots of new buffs you can obtain which you’ll want to get your hands on. For the time being it is recommended to bump up your current lowest Secondary Stat.

Food

Light Buff Food

Large Buff Food

Feasts

Enchants

Rings

Weapons

Flasks/Potions

Intellect

Mana

Gems
Other

Runes

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UI/Addons/Macros

There are many different ways of setting up your user interface. Due to personal preference, the end look will always vary from person to person. While they are not mandatory, Addons and Macros can make your time as a healer both easier and more efficient. Discipline spends a lot of time dealing damage to enemies for Atonement healing. As a result, newer players quite often switch their active target from enemies to friendlies continuously. This style of play can be very inefficient and cumbersome to achieve.

I strongly recommend that your UI is set up in such a way that means you never need to switch off of having an enemy targeted. This can be achieved through the use of mouseovers which cast a spell on the target below your cursor without the need to switch active target. All healing spells should be cast on mouseover while damaging spells cast on active target.

Mousebinding Mouseovers

This simply means that you have all your helpful spells bound to various mouse keys with shift/ctrl/alt modifiers. Unfortunately, WoW is not very user-friendly when it comes to this method as any mouse bindings are not usable over any frame (unless specifically re-bound in the default keybindings). This is very simple to overcome through the use of Clique as it allows you to intuitively bind all spells without the need for macros. The downside to this is that it will only work on frames and not on any player model. The raid frame addons called VuhDo and Healbot have their own versions of Clique built in by default.

 

Keybinding Mouseovers

This simply means that you have all your helpful spells bound to various keyboard keys with shift/ctrl/alt modifiers (for example Q,E,F,X can be used). The various macros you can use to compliment this style will be shown below.

 

Addons

There are a lot of addons that do very similar things but look and set up differently. Which to go for is down to preference. I will highlight below the various popular addons below. Addon management is made considerably easier with the Twitch Desktop App. Ones which we recommend are highlighted with a .

UI

  • Elvui – Full UI overhaul
  • Bartender – Custom bars, easy re-sizing and keybinding
  • Weak Auras – Display a large variety of different graphics
  • Quartz – Casting bars
  • Z-Perl – Unit frames overhaul

Raid Frames

  • Elvui – Full UI overhaul
  • Grid 2 – Party/Raid frames
  • VuhDo – Party/Raid frames
  • Z-Perl – Unit frames overhaul
  • Healbot – Party/Raid frames
  • Clique – Used to supplement the above addons for mouse clicks (except for Healbot and VuhDo)

Tracking

Nameplates

Boss Mods

Macros

There are numerous ways you can write macros to do specific things that you need. If you can’t find what you’re looking for below feel free to check out Elvenbane’s Macros here. Alternatively, he is always around in discord to help.

Simple Mouseover

Mouseover only (help/harm depending on the spell)

#showtooltip Shadow Mend
/cast [@mouseover,help] Shadow Mend

Mouseover > Target (help/harm depending on spell)

#showtooltip Shadow Mend
/cast [@mouseover,help] [] Shadow Mend

You cannot cast Angelic Feather, Mass Dispel or Power Word: Barrier with a mouseover.

 

Penance

It’s strongly recommended keeping Offensive and Defensive Penance components separated (i.e use a macro with modifiers or use two separate keybinds with harm/help modifiers).

Self (alt) > Mouseover Harm (mod) > Mouseover Help > Target

#showtooltip
/cast [mod:alt,@player] [mod,@mouseover,harm,nodead] [@mouseover,help,nodead] [] Penance

Harm Only

#showtooltip Penance
/cast [harm] Penance

Help Only

#showtooltip Penance
/cast [@mouseover,help] Penance

Due to the way Penance works, when you try to queue another spell during its cast you can accidentally interrupt the last bolt of Penance. To avoid this apply the following condition to specific spells that cause it the most for you: “nochanneling:Penance” example below.

#showtooltip Smite
/cast [nochanneling:Penance] Smite

 

Angelic Feather

To self-cast Feathers directly on yourself without using the targeting reticule use the following macro.

#showtooltip
/cast [@player] Angelic Feather

 

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