Welcome to WarcraftPriests Discipline Priest Guide. This guide is updated to patch 9.1 World of Warcraft Shadowlands.

This section goes over typical gameplay and how to use our spells. A good understanding of Atonement goes a long way.

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Gameplay

Gameplay refers to our rotations, abilities and cooldowns. To heal effectively as Discipline you need to excel in your ability to efficiently switch between healing/applying Atonement and dealing damage. Atonement is already covered in another section of this guide. A good understanding of the fight you are about to tackle will also improve how effective you will be. Keep in mind how you play can change from moment to moment depending on many factors; For example, how we tackle healing in Mythic Plus versus Raid is very different.

Main Healing Spells

  • Power Word: Shield - Typically only used for Atonement application as the absorb is quite small without Rapture active.
  • Shadow Mend - In any situation when you need strong single-target healing and Atonement application to an injured ally you will want to use this spell.
    • It's important to note that the damage portion of Shadow Mend is taken off with all forms of damage.
  • Power Word: Radiance - Typically only used for efficient Atonement applications to multiple targets as the heal it provides is small.
  • Penance - Often referred to as defensive Penance. There are specific use cases for this spell which are highlighted below; The majority of our casts will be used offensively and Shadow Mend is a superior heal.
    • If either movement is needed or instant front-ended healing is needed
    • A Power of the Dark Side proc is active and Atonement healing is not required.

Main Damage Spells

  • Penance - Often referred to as offensive Penance. This will be used very often as part of a standard rotational spell as the damage and AoE healing through Atonement is very strong.
    • May be worth holding onto if you have a Power of the Dark Side proc and a hard-hitting ability is incoming within the next few seconds.
    • May also be worth holding onto if you need to move in the next couple of seconds.
  • Smite - Low priority filler for single target damage into Atonement healing. Doesn't provide much more damage than Mind Sear and costs mana.
    • If you're trying to compare spell power values make sure to multiply the smite SP by 1.5. Smite has a passive that increases its damage by 50% which is not included in any SP sources.
  • 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 Power of the Dark Side procs
    • Having more DoT's applied doesn't mean more procs.
    • There is no limit on the number of DoTs to atonement transfer instances.
  • Mind Blast - Hard-hitting spell with a longer CD to be used for AoE healing via Atonement
    • Quite a mana costly spell so typically will be used as a burst of healing output only, for example, within ramp burst windows in raids.
    • Applies an absorb to the target. What this does is lowers the targets next damage dealt by that value.
  • Shadow Word: Death - Our hardest hitting ability that does more damage during execute range.
    • Does not interact with Atonement (this interaction is locked behind a specific legendary).
    • Deals damage to self equal to the damage dealt if the target does not die.
  • Mind Sear - Our best AoE damage ability
    • Always ticks six times over the 4.5s cast time.
    • Interacts with Atonement on the first instance of damage per tick.

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Cooldowns

  • Desperate Prayer - Helpful personal to keep yourself alive.
    • Whilst increased health is active other healing effects that are percentage-based will also provide more. For example a warlock Healthstone.
  • 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.
    • Default melee swing speed is 1.5s which is lowered by haste
  • 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.
    • Within raids, we will still primarily be focused on Atonement applications. Effective health Rapture provides is just a bonus to help deal with the damage at hand.
  • Power Word: Barrier - Very strong stacked damage reduction and should be used preemptively for group damage.
  • Power Infusion - Provides a significant amount of haste which can be used to empower our output in tough moments.
    • Usable on allies, the significance of using on others will come down to the situation.

Other

  • Purify - Standard healer dispel which covers Magic and Disease.
  • Dispel Magic - Can dispel buffs on enemies which can be very potent, especially in Mythic Plus
    • Can also be used to dispel mind-controlled allies on occasion.
  • 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.
    • Also reduces detection range of enemies.
  • Mind Soothe - Detect range reduction on humanoids and dragonkin.
    • When combined with Fade can allow greater skipping of enemies.
  • Mind Control - This spell has varying use and can be quite fun to play around with.
    • Some mind controlled targets have very potent abilities for us to utilise
    • Our character is very vulnerable during the cast as you won't be actively checking for any damage mechanics nearby.
    • After the control breaks the target will have a high threat towards you for 8s. A tank taunt will redirect the mob until it wears off.
  • 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 mainly only used for levelling, old content and detecting stealthed enemies. Niche uses are highlighted below:
    • During periods of stacked healing with no target available to hit the healing becomes the best global.
    • During low damage intake with a large number of low health enemies, the damage becomes the best global.
    • With both the above points said, the output is still low and mana cost will still need to be considered.
  • Psychic Scream - Has niche usefulness to prevent spell casts going through or relieve the pressure of multiple enemies attacking you.
    • Damage breaks the fear.

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Priorities and Rotations

  1. Having Atonement on a target that will need regular healing is a good idea through the use of Power Word: Shield or Shadow Mend. 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 during movement or with a proc.
  3. If that is not enough you may want to think about using Pain Suppression (ideally it would be pro-actively used before the bigger hits).
  4. Rapture / Power Word: Barrier can be used if the latter is on CD, but usually, you want these CD for the group.
  5. Be careful not to over-focus on tank healing. Tanks have a lot of tools in their own kit to manage their own health.

For more in-depth dungeon coverage, head on over to the WarcraftPriests Mythic+ guide.

  1. Maintain constant up-time of Shadow Word: Pain / Purge the Wicked (The more targets the better as its more passive healing and damage).
  2. Power Word: Radiance is a very handy tool for both reactive and proactive healing as you can cover the entire group with Atonement quickly. You want to always be proactive and have Atonements out ready for when you need them.
  3. Follow up Atonement applications with damage. Use Penance Offensively, Mind Blast and any talented spells, for example, Schism or Power Word: Solace.
  4. Our pet Shadowfiend / Mindbender will be used when we have good Atonement coverage and the damage intake is worthwhile. If it is known it won't be needed within the next few packs it can be used to take advantage of the passive damage/healing.
  5. Use Smite as a filler spell for continuous mana efficient damage/healing.
  6. Power Word: Barrier should be used before heavy 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. When more direct healing is needed we fall back on Shadow Mend or Defensive Penance when movement is needed or a Power of the Dark Side proc is available

Spirit Shell, as of 9.1, is now a 90s CD. This means it has the same CD as Evangelism so the ramp sequences will now look very similar. This style of healing is only this potent due to our legendary Clarity of Mind and soulbind conduit Exaltation.

While it's very similar to how we would raid heal with Evangelism there are a couple of key differences to be aware of.

Ramping

This process remains the same with us building up Atonement counts steadily to eventually reach a high count which we then follow up with our damage. However, the timing is earlier. We want to fill up our absorption shields prior to the targeted incoming damage hits the raid.

Our standard cast priority for this process is as follows:

  1. Apply our DoT Shadow Word: Pain / Purge the Wicked (if talented)
  2. Use 5-8 Casts of our single target applicators such as Shadow Mend or Power Word: Shield.
    • This is due to them having the longest Atonement duration
    • Done way in advance of the damage. The typical guidance is to start ~15-20s before the damage event. (The aim is to allow time to fill the shields before the damage occurs and time to refill them afterwards if needed)
    • The number varies due to raid size and available time.
  3. Use 2 charges of Power Word: Radiance.
    • Shorter Atonement duration.
    • Use different targets and those without Atonement.
    • Keep distances in mind. If you cast this on someone who is nowhere near the group (>30yards) the Atonements will not spread to others.
  4. Cast Spirit Shell and Shadowfiend.
    • To extend all active Atonement duration (requires legendary Clarity of Mind)
    • SS is not on the GCD allowing for other spells to be cast at the same time.
  5. Cast Schism -> Penance -> Mind Blast -> Smite to deal damage for Atonement absorption healing.
    • If Venthyr, Mind Games would be slotted in as your first damage-dealing ability in this sequence.

What to do in-between this 1.5 minute CD setup?

Essentially as little as possible. We will have two spare charges of PW:R in-between our main ramps. There will only be more to use if you need to hold onto SS for a specific reason. There are a few options that you can do at this time:

  • Cast both spare PW:R together to cover an additional damage event
  • Cast 1-3 single target atonements followed by a single PW:R. (this can be done twice at different intervals)

You will want to combine Schism with each available spare charge where possible. Make sure any PW:R or Schism cast in between your main ramp will not conflict with your upcoming main ramp.

Failing this you can simply have a couple of Atonements out on those guaranteed to be taking damage, tanks or those with DoTs for example. Otherwise just maintain a simple DPS rotation.

Due to mana being volatile while running SS, if running into issues this is the section where cutting down on mana expenditure is recommended (for example, fewer to no single target Atonement applications).

Other Tips

  • Always maintain one Shadow Word: Pain / Purge the Wicked (if talented) the entire encounter.
  • Spirit Shell has a hidden Absorption cap. It is tied to 11x your Intellect.
    • Multiple Discs within the raid share this cap. This means that if you're running multiple, you never want to be pressing SS at the same time or you will both lose significant value.
    • This cap can be increased by other intellect sources such as procs or trinket uses like Badge (updates dynamically)
  • Spirit Shell also has a very specific critical strike interaction. Your critical strikes do not covert as usual. Meaning x2 into your healing. Every single damage instance during SS is normalised and essentially treated like versatility.
    • For example, if you have 20% crit, every damage spell is simply multiplied by 1.2 into your absorbs.

You want to always be proactive and have Atonements out ready for when you need them. The best way to do this is to identify the biggest hits during the encounter then apply our "ramp" process to it. Secondly, we need to identify the time in between each of these hits. If we cannot use our main ramp we would do what we typically call a "mini ramp"

What is ramping and how do we do it?
Ramping, to put it simply, is building up Atonement counts steadily to eventually reach a high count which we then follow up with our damage. This is timed with damage intake which we subsequently burst heal up through our high Atonement count.

Our standard cast priority for this process is as follows:

  1. Apply our DoT Shadow Word: Pain / Purge the Wicked (if talented)
  2. Use 5-8 Casts of our single target applicators such as Shadow Mend or Power Word: Shield.
    • This is due to them having the longest Atonement duration.
    • Done way in advance of the damage. The typical guidance is to start ~12s before the damage event.
    • The number varies due to raid size and available time.
  3. Use 2 charges of Power Word: Radiance.
    • Shorter Atonement duration.
    • Use different targets and those without Atonement.
    • Keep distances in mind. If you cast this on someone who is nowhere near the group (>30yards) the Atonements will not spread to others.
  4. Cast Evangelism
    • To extend all active Atonement duration
  5. Cast our pet Shadowfiend / Mindbender (if talented)
    • Not needed for every ramp but highly recommended for high Atonement count periods and high damage intake timings.
  6. Cast Schism / Solace (if talented)
    • Timed for as the damage to the raid takes place.
  7. Cast Penance, Mind Blast and Smite to deal damage for Atonement healing.
    • If Venthyr, Mind Games would be slotted in as your first damage-dealing ability in this sequence.

What is a mini ramp?
A mini ramp is a similar process to the above but its whilst Evangelism is not available. Often meaning its less overall output compared to a ramp with Evangelism.

It follows the exact same setup but uses Rapture and Power Word: Shield for the single target Atonement set up, utilising the entire duration of Rapture. The Atonement count is usually less as we don't have a way to extend at the end of the ramp. Depending on the severity of the damage incoming we can choose to use only one Power Word: Radiance charge in order to have another for subsequent damage.

Other Tips

  • Managing Power Word: Radiance charges is an important part of raid healing for us. You will always want to have two available for your Evangelism timing. At the same time, we also need to maintain consistent use so we don't overcap our charges and lose a cast over an encounter.
  • Always maintain one Shadow Word: Pain / Purge the Wicked (if talented) the entire encounter.

SS Kyrian Ramping

While the core concepts of ramping are the same and are described in the main SS raid healing section. There are some key differences to your rotation as a Kyrian that need to be highlighted.

The Kyrian standard cast priority for Boon is as follows:

  1. Apply our DoT Shadow Word: Pain / Purge the Wicked (if talented)
  2. Use 5-8 Casts of our single target applicators such as Shadow Mend or Power Word: Shield.
    • This is due to them having the longest Atonement duration
    • Done way in advance of the damage. The typical guidance is to start ~15-20s before the damage event. (The aim is to allow tim to fill the shields before the damage occurs and time to refill them afterwards if needed)
    • The number varies due to raid size and available time.
  3. If using Mindbender you cast it here before your first Radiance
    • Mindbender is going to be an unlikely pick. As we will want to run Shadowfiend to combine with our non-Boon ramp.
  4. Use 1 charge of Power Word: Radiance.
    • Shorter Atonement duration.
    • Use different targets and those without Atonement.
    • Keep distances in mind. If you cast this on someone who is nowhere near the group (>30yards) the Atonements will not spread to others.
  5. Cast Boon
  6. At the end of this cast, immediately cast Spirit Shell and Blast at the same time. (feel free to macro them)
    • This is done in between radiance casts so that you can optimise Eruption stacks and have Eruption time out before Atonements fall off.
    • To extend all active Atonement duration (requires legendary Clarity of Mind)
    • SS is not on the GCD allowing for other spells to be cast at the same time.
  7. Use your second charge of Power Word: Radiance.
  8. Then follow this order: Blast -> Schism -> Blast -> Nova x2 ->Blast-> Nova x2 ->Blast

Evangelism Kyrian Ramping

Again, the core concepts of ramping are the same and are described in the main Evangelism raid healing section. There are some key differences to your rotation as a Kyrian that need to be highlighted.

  1. Apply our DoT Shadow Word: Pain / Purge the Wicked (if talented)
  2. Use 5-8 Casts of our single target applicators such as Shadow Mend or Power Word: Shield.
    • This is due to them having the longest Atonement duration
    • Done way in advance of the damage. The typical guidance is to start ~12s before the damage event.
    • The number varies due to raid size and available time.
  3. Use 2 charges of Power Word: Radiance.
    • Shorter Atonement duration.
    • Use different targets and those without Atonement.
    • Keep distances in mind. If you cast this on someone who is nowhere near the group (>30yards) the Atonements will not spread to others.
  4. Cast Evangelism
    • Extends all active Atonements
  5. Cast Boon
    • At the end of this cast, immediately cast Blast.
    • Time it so that this deals damage at the exact moment your raid does.
  6. Then follow this order: Schism -> Blast -> Nova x2 ->Blast-> Nova x2 ->Blast

Other Kyrian Notes

  • Sfiend will be paired with every non-Boon ramp as shown in the standard SS priority.
  • This is the simplest form of the sequence. The complexity starts to arise depending on the decision of using Nova or your available main spells such as Penance or Solace. This decision comes down to if you are able to be in melee and if you want to maximise stacks for the eruption.
  • Another complexity comes from Eruption itself. You want this to land when you have as many stacks as possible, when you have high Atonement counts and when damage is occurring. This may mean we use a cancel aura macro to force this at a preferred moment.

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