This holy priest guide has been written by Shelanne, raider in Insight on Mal'ganis, theorycrafter, and moderator for the WarcraftPriests discord server. Starting in Shadowlands you will be able to watch her stream her progression on Twitch. This guide is updated for Shadowlands and will continue to be updated as new information is discovered.

Use the buttons below to navigate throughout the guide.

Holy Priest Overview

Holy priest is a classic healing spec among MMO archetypes, party members take damage and it is healed with a relatively simple toolkit. While simple, the toolkit is flexible and can be adapted to nearly any situation within an encounter. The specialization is easy to learn, spell interactions are limited, and every spell has a clear purpose.

The areas a player may find troublesome with Holy are movement (limited instant cast spells), survivability (Desperate Prayer is the only personal defensive), and no damage reduction in relevant content (Focused will only procs from melee attacks).

Shadowlands Notable Changes

Shadowlands has brought us a few small adjustments, most of which are nice quality of life changes (especially for movement!) Some of the more important updates are listed below. For a more in-depth list of changes, see Wowhead's write-up.

Prayer of Mending is now instant cast. This is an amazing change for both movement and general healing. Prayer of Mending is a very efficient heal that should be cast on CD, and it's now easier than ever.

Circle of Healing is now baseline. This is another great change, as Circle of Healing is also instant and very efficient. This also gives us an opportunity to play around with other talents in the tier 40 row.

Prayer Circle has replaced Circle of Healing on the tier 40 talent row. Given that you should be using Circle of Healing on cooldown in a raid setting, it will be easy to use this talent appropriately - if chosen, your Prayer of Healing will just be faster without a change to your playstyle.

Renewed Faith is a new tier 15 talent replacing Enduring Renewal. Though Renewed Faith and Enlightenment may be close in healing, you would have to use Benediction to really make use of it, which means you would have to drop Halo. While this talent is nice and can help you if you need increased healing at specific moments, Enlightenment and Halo will most likely win.

Holy Fire now has a cast time but hits harder. It slaps.

Afterlife will now also increase the range of your healing spells while in Spirit of Redemption.

We gained a few "new again" DPS spells, like Shadow Word: Pain and Shadow Word: Death. While they aren't amazing they do offer some relief to the monotony that was our past DPS rotation.

Apotheosis now also resets the cooldown of Holy Word: Sanctify and Holy Word: Serenity on cast. This is an amazing change, as an old gripe about Apotheosis was that you would not get immediate impact when you pushed the button, making it a difficult reactionary button at times.

Power Word: Shield has been added to our base toolkit. While it is cool to get some absorbs back into our kit, Power Word: Shield is tuned to be very poor. 

Power Infusion will be available to us at level 58, giving us a nice haste buff with a 2-minute cooldown that can be used on ourselves, or on an ally.

Mind Soothe is available at level 58, reducing the range which enemies will attack you for 20 seconds.

Basic Toolkit
  • Heal - An inexpensive single target heal, with a long cast time.
  • Flash Heal - A faster version of Heal, costs more mana and does not heal as much. 
  • Renew - An instant cast Heal over Time (HoT) spell. Relatively expensive for the amount it heals. 
  • Prayer of Healing - A slow cast, AoE spell that heals your target and their 4 closest allies. This is a very dumb heal, it is completely location-based and does nothing to give you better target selection.
  • Prayer of Mending - Instant cast buff that applies 5 charges to a friendly target. When the target takes damage, a charge will be used to heal them, and bounce to a new target. Prayer of Mending is semi-smart, preferring injured targets and targets that don't already have Prayer of Mending on them.
  • Holy Word: Serenity - Very strong instant single target heal with a 60-second cooldown before Holy Words
  • Holy Word: Sanctify - Very strong instant AoE targeted ground heal for 6 players. Has a 60-second cooldown before Holy Words
  • Smite - Low mana cost, damaging filler when little to no healing is required.
  • Holy Fire - After a short cast time, this will instantly deal damage to your target. It also leaves a DoT on the target.
  • Holy Word: Chastise - A single target, instant cast, damaging ability. Incapacitates the target for 4 seconds. Can stun the target if you are talented into Censure.
  • Circle of Healing - Instant cast, smart, and highly efficient.
  • Power Word: Shield - An instant cast spell that leaves a small absorb on the target. A bit expensive for the absorb amount it creates.
Cooldowns
  • Guardian Spirit - Places a buff on your target which lasts 10 seconds and increases the healing the target receives by 60% during the duration of the buff. Guardian Spirit will also prevent the target from dying to a fatal hit, (up to 200% maximum health in overkill), instantly consuming the buff and reviving the target back to 40% of their maximum health, consuming the buff in the process.
  • Divine Hymn - Our baseline major healing cooldown. Heals all party and raid members within 40 yards for a large amount over 8 seconds. After the initial tick hits, all affected players will receive a buff, increasing the healing they take by 10% for 8 seconds. Each tick of Divine Hymn re-applies the buff.
  • Desperate Prayer - Instantly heals the priest for 25% of their maximum health, then applies a buff that increases the priest’s maximum health by 25% for 10 seconds.
Utility
  • Symbol of Hope - Mana recovery cooldown, restoring 2% of missing mana every second for up to 5 seconds while channeled.
  • Spirit of Redemption - Upon death, the priest will enter a spirit form in which they are immune to all damage, and may cast all healing spells free of mana for 15 seconds. After which they die. 
  • Mass Dispel - Large targeted ground AoE that purges one magical effect from five enemies and dispels all harmful magic effects from five allies. Heavy mana cost. Can remove typically undispellable buffs like Iceblock and Divine Shield.
  • Power Word: Fortitude - Increases the stamina of your target, party, or raid by 5% for one hour.
  • Leap of Faith - Grabs a friendly player in your raid or party and pulls them directly in front of you.
  • Purify - Single target dispel. Removes all magic and disease effects from your target.
  • Dispel Magic - Removes one beneficial magic effect from your enemy.

    Changelog

    • 23 Nov 2020 - Minor edits to update for Shadowlands!
    • 13 Oct 2020 - Added Power Word: Shield to the base toolkit.
    • 11 Oct 2020 - Stolen by Shelanne and updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch
    • 01 Oct  2019 - Updated to 8.2.5
    • 24 Jun 2019 - Updated to 8.2
    • 11 Dec 2018 - Updated to 8.1
    • 2 Aug 2018 - Author info and changelog added
    • 31 Jul 2018 - Published