7.2.5 Talent Discussion – What has changed?
Patch 7.2.5 changes are right around the corner and with it comes some major changes, especially to our talents. This article will go into some detail regarding how our talent choices are going to change in the new patch. Recommended talents listed in each tier will be for raids. We will be writing a second post going over how Discipline will be looking for M+, so stay tuned.
Let’s get started!
RECOMMENDED: Twist of Fate
One if the major changes with the upcoming patch is that The Penitent is becoming baseline, and Twist of Fate being is swapped to this tier.
For Mythic raiding, there is only the choice of two talents, either Twist of Fate and Castigation. Both talents just passively increase your damage and healing. For Mythic raiding, the clear winner in this tier is Twist of Fate. Discipline Priest is first and foremost still a burst healing spec in 7.2.5. Just like live Disc, a very large portion of our healing is focused on targeting heals during specific points of the encounters with high raid damage. It is very likely Twist of Fate (especially in a progression setting with low gear) will be active during these periods. This means Twist of Fate is increasing the output which you care most about by 20%. For difficulties lower than Mythic raiding, you’ll find that the damage is typically not high enough to consistently drop people to 35% or below. In these situations, Castigation is likely going to be a stronger option. Note, this only applies if people are not dipping to 35% or below, if they are, the same arguments for Twist of Fate in Mythic raiding hold true.
Importantly, uptime of Twist of Fate really does not matter. Dividing the healing increase by the total uptime is not the correct way of thinking about Twist of Fate in 7.2.5. If Twist of Fate is only up 20% of the time, but that 20% uptime is during periods where you do 60%+ of your output, Twist of Fate is completely outclassing Castigation. Also worth mentioning, Castigation is only increasing the output of Penance (which is typically ~20% of disc’s output before Castigation) by 33%. Twist of Fate is a global hps/dps increase. This is important because a very large part of Evangelism bursts is Mindbender/Shadowfiend, Smite and potentially Purge the Wicked if you have multiple targets to DoT. Castigation is only increasing the output of your Penance inside of Evangelism. The tier 20 2+4pc do not change the talent balance in this row. While yes, Castigation is not doing anything for the buffed first tick of penance, you’re also casting far more penances with 4pc, which means Castigation is a stronger effect. This basically means the tier bonuses are a wash for both effects, and should not really be considered when you’re talking about the balance of Twist of Fate vs Castigation.
Another consideration is the potential of Disc Priests forcing high uptime of Twist of Fate, whenever it is safe to do so, and boss mechanics which indirectly influence Twist of Fate uptime. While I don’t personally recommend doing this unless you know you will be 100% safe in doing so, Disc Priests could take extra damage and intentionally dip low to proc Twist of Fate. What instantly comes to mind when you talk about this is High Botanist. Picking up a spore while you have high leech and Legendary Gloves equipped means you’re fairly safe, but you do dip fairly low. This is ultimately something I would recommend avoid doing on a progression setting, but it is worth considering when you talk about Twist of Fate. If Blizzard happens to repeat boss mechanics such as ghost healing from Gorefiend or Brackenspore Mushrooms, getting a free Twist of Fate proc when you heal up the Ghosts/Mushrooms that start at 0% hp, further increases the value of Twist of Fate.
That being said said, none of this hyping of Twist of Fate really matters if Twist of Fate is not proccing at all. If you’re doing overgeared content, Castigation is likely going to be better regardless. Or if the damage is not high enough to ever bring people low. In both of these examples, just take Castigation and increase your healing by 6%+. Castigation also offers a far more consistent DPS increase compared to Twist of Fate, as Twist of Fate is more geared towards being a healing talent, rather than an strong overall dps increase. Castigation also improves the Penitent by 33%, which is indeed a relevant consideration due to how powerful the effect is now that it is baseline, and not at the cost of a large HPS/DPS increase.
TL;DR If you’re doing Mythic Progression, you just default to Twist of Fate. If Twist of Fate is just not proccing at all or if you’re doing farm content, pick Castigation instead. For 5 mans, use the same logic you did back in 7.2 with Power Infusion vs Twist of Fate.
Moving on to Schism. I’m going to remove Schism from the discussion of Mythic raiding. The talent really just is not good for Mythic raiding at all. You really do not have the time to cast this spell because you need to apply atonements, and chain casting Smite into a Schism debuff is going to make you fall behind. Sometimes you do not want to even press Smite at all. If Blizzard makes another Mythic Cenarius or Mythic Elisande, where there’s 3+ targets, and high sustained raid damage, all Discipline is really going to be doing is applying Purge the Wicked to those targets, and spam Plea every GCD. You don’t really need to cast Smite when you have so much effective healing happening while you spam Plea/PW:S/Shadow Mend.
So what is this talent useful for? If you read the effect, the talent is actually a huge increase in output. If you dps that target with Schism active, you straight up do 30% more total hps/dps, which is a very big increase in power to your dps spells, and healing potential via atonement. What I think Schism is primarily useful for is smaller raid content. Group sizes smaller than about 14 or so. In those group sizes, you have so many more gcds to DPS, because you don’t need to spend as much time applying Atonements which means you have so many more gcds to just spam Smite. Related to this, Blizzard has globally reduced the mana costs of Disc Priest, especially to the dps side of Disc Priest. It’s basically impossible to go oom following a max dps rotation, even with 50% haste, smite belt, and keeping Purge the Wicked up 100% of the time. Plea and Power Word: Radiance costs significantly less mana, and applies far more atonements in a shorter amount of time respectively. With that said, Blizzard still has not really addressed Atonement healing with low amounts of atonements. Yes, Blizzard has made the spells cost significantly less mana, and do slightly more damage, but these buffs don’t really fully support an atonement based playstyle that does not have Evangelism talented. Enter Schism.
What the point about Schism should illustrate is the game changed around Schism. Schism is a lot better because the toolkit now can fully support Schism as a talent. This is very similar to how Power Word: Shield and Clarity of Will playstyles are now fully supported in a world where the Paragon now affects absorbs, and Aegis of Wrath exists. Schism is basically the thing that allows Atonement as a mechanic to work when it is impossible to actually go up to 15+ atonements. I mean you cannot do that because you only have 12 people in your raid! Otherwise, why bother dpsing when you can just take Grace and used these newly powerful absorbs and St heals and heal that way?
Beyond this, Schism is required to make Discipline Priest go oom in these smaller raid sizes. If Plea doesn’t cost much mana, PW:R applies so many Atonements for very little mana, and the DPS spells do not cost mana, well you just end the boss fight with 60% mana of wasted potential. Schism actually gives you a way of going oom in these raid sizes, which is something you should aim to do, not avoid ultimately. As a healer, we should be focusing on maximizing our output regardless of difficulty of encounter, which means maximizing the use of our mana pool.
Schism does have negative synergy with the Smite belt, the strongest legendary for small raids/groups, but you do not have to equip that legendary. The Smite belt replaces the need to talent Schism, but you could also just equip the Holy Wrists + Velens, or use the Power Word: Shield Wrists + Velens, or Prydaz + Wrists. The negative synergy really is not even that bad, it just slightly devalues the talent compared to Castigation. Tier 20 2pc even somewhat offsets this “anti-synergy” compared to castigation for the smite belt.
One question you might have reading this article is, “Wouldn’t Twist of Fate compete against Schism in small raids as well? Since you’ve hyped up the strength of Twist of Fate in Mythic progression, would not the same logic apply even in smaller raid settings”. The answer I can give you is, the effect of Schism is stronger in this scenario than Twist of Fate. If you could sustain the GCD’s, and the mana, Schism would outclass the two competing talents pretty easily.
TL;DR Schism is a competitive option if you are a heroic/normal raider that raids with a small group of friends. It basically allows you to keep the class fantasy of Discipline Priest in these settings, and not pretend you’re a Holy Priest with Absorbs.
Update: Finally, for 5 man content, Twist of Fate remains the strongest talent for high end mythic +, as people consistently dip low leading to extremely high uptimes of Twist of Fate. For easier content, Twist of Fate uptime lowers, reducing its power level in relation to Schism and Castigation. in the above text I mention how power it is adding +30% damage/healing to your dps spells for smaller raid sizes is very powerful, and this still holds true for Mythic +. If you spamming easy M+ content for specific loot, and Twist of Fate uptimes are low, Schism will generally be the better talent, due to raw power the talent offers compared to Castigation.
When choosing your secondary talent for Soul of the High Priest for Mythic + content, the choice for Castigation should be as the following
- Do I have the time to actively dps into Schism Debuffs, instead of chain casting Shadow Covenant, Shadow Mend or defensively Penancing?
- Do I have the mana to use Schism actively? For example, Am I consistently spamming Shadow Covenant between pulls to heal up Greivous and Bursting?
- Do I need the additonal spot healing from defensive Penance offered by Castigation?
If you saying yes to these examples, and these examples are common place, you should take Twist of Fate + Castigation. Otherwise Twist of Fate + Schism is the stronger choice.
Body and Soul is just bad, don’t take it, ever. It is bad for personal mobility, it is also bad for raid wide mobility, and you do not want to waste one of your best healing spells as a mobility spell. It used to be good back when PW:S had no cooldown, but now it is very bad.
This leaves Angelic Feather and Masochism. When discussing these two talents, you need to keep in mind how much Discipline Priest has changed coming into 7.2.5. I’ll give you the reasons why this whole row is now much more a consideration than the live version of Discipline Priest
- The spec is not required to stand still for 10+ seconds in order to actually do it’s full AoE healing.
- Related to the first point, the majority of Disc’s Atonement application spells are either instant cast and spammable, or extremely short cast times that apply many Atonements at once.
- Xalan’s is no longer automatically the second best Discipline Priest legendary in 7.2.5
- Discipline Priest still has horrid survivability.
All of these points are extremely relevant in this discussion. Because PW:R is no longer spammable, and no longer makes up for 70%+ of Disc total HPS, moving very quickly into positions where the boss cannot interrupt you from chain-casting Power Word: Radiance over and over is no longer a concern. At worst, it takes 4 seconds (before haste) to apply 10 atonements from Power Word: Radiance, and those GCD’s spent on Power Word: Radiance a considerable amount of your total GCD’s in an encounter. You’re maybe casting only 15-16 Power Word Radiance’s over a 6 minute encounter compared to the 40-50 you would normally do on live Disc.
The rework also comes with major indirect buffs to Legendaries such as the Holy Wrists, the Smite belt, the Plea Chest, and indirect nerfs to Xalans itself. Castigation no longer being the default talent means you no longer have a permanent Atonement on yourself from Xalans. Obviously, taking off Xalan’s leads to a major personal survivability loss in a raid setting. You effectively half the Atonement hps you would have done to yourself from the encounter. Blizzard has also done nothing to improve Discipline survivability beyond this, so unequipping Xalans for the Plea Chest is going to hurt.
Well, now that you are not required to use Feathers to actually make the spec work on Mythic bosses that require you to move at all, and Xalans is no longer a thing, it is perfectly fine to take Masochism. Talenting Masochism increases the Shadow Mend healing done to yourself from roughly ~978% sp to 1468%, and reduces the damage you take by 10% for 10 seconds. That is a very big deal for survivability. Masochism alone, however, does not make Shadow Mend more efficient than plea. This means you should only be taking this talent for survivability reasons, rather than a small hps increase.
Of course, Feathers are still feathers, and giving yourself 40% movement speed whenever you like is very still important for some bosses, but if you do not need that, it is perfectly fine to just take Masochism.
TL;DR Take Feathers if you need mobility, or are not comfortable with movement. Take Masochism if you do not need mobility, want to improve your survivability, or are comfortable with your movement without Feathers
LOL WHO CARES IT IS A CC ROW XD (no, seriously, this row doesn’t matter that much for raiding)
Getting this out of the way now, Power Word: Solace is still a PvP talent. The spell needs to do way more damage to even be considered. People who have been keeping up with this article should at least have some idea that previously bad talents have gotten better because the game changed around them. However, in Power Word: Solace’s case, the game changed around it, but it became worse because of it. It is intended for Power Word: Solace to replace casts of Smite with a free spell that does more damage and gives you mana. That said, Smite now does more damage and costs half as much mana. So…. Power Word: Solace, a talent that is already quite bad, is now much worse.
Update: Due to a later PTR change (after this was originally written), Shield Discipline is now our default choice for talents. The mana cost for Power Word: Shield and Plea were both increased making mana a more scarce resource. This change made Shield Discipline a more enticing option but still allows Mindbender to remain competitive if you receieve Innervate/Wisdom, if a boss mechanics can provide you mana, or if you do not need sustained HPS outside of the best damage of the encounter. Additionally Evangelism received a change increasing its cooldown to 1 minute 15 seconds. Prior to the change, Mindbender became the automatic best talent because Discipline Priest did really need the increased mana sustain provided by Shield Discipline, and Mindbender’s cooldown perfectly lined up with the cooldown of Evangelism. However, with the changes to Evangelism, it “desync” the cooldowns from lining up like clockwork for Mindbender to be the supreme choice. This was likely done as a way to balance our talent choices and not lock us into a single style of play where we would basically Tranq every minute.
I highly recommend reading Total’s post discussing Mana for Discipline to understand the greater complexity with mana. To put it simply for the sake of this post, Shield Discipline is essentially giving you more Plea’s to work with in between your Evangelism casts, which makes it the default choice for raiding. Mindbender’s role has shifted towards a role similar to Inner Peace for Restoration Druid. Something you take for more frequent raid cooldowns at the cost of sustained hps outside of your Evangelism. With that said, with trinkets such as Tarnished Sentinel Medallion, it becomes increasingly harder to justify talenting Mindbender over Shield Discipline, when you already have so many cooldowns you want to press inside of Evangelism. If you only able to press Mindbender every 2 minutes or so, because you’re prioritizing other things, you should just take Shield Discpline instead, and have more mana, and a stronger version of Mindbender. In effect this further pushes Mindbender niche for bosses with frequent high damage bursts that occur rapidly.
Tl;DR Shield Discipline is our default choice. If it’s a short encounter, has frequent burst damage, or you receive some sort of external mana from a source like Blessing of Wisdom or Innervate, you can consider swapping to Mindbender. In most cases, especially on progression, you’ll likely be taking Shield Discipline.
One word for this whole row of talents in Mythic Raiding: ugh.
Clarity of Will and Shadow Covenant remain bad talents to use at all in a raid setting. You still lose hps/hpm/hpct (whatever you want to use to justify them being bad) when you cast these spells over any other spell Discipline Priest has. This basically leaves Sanctuary as the only choice for raiding, and at most, Sanctuary is a ~3% hps increase. Sanctuary usually bounces between 1-3%, because of how limited Smite absorb as a mechanic is, and is completely dependent on how much you smite during a boss encounter. Overall, this row is heavily irrelevant from a total HPS standpoint
This does mean taking Clarity of Will to cheese absorbs is now much more of a reality because you don’t really a lose a talent that meaningfully increases your total hps when you talent Clarity of Will. You’ll probably never make that choice unless absorbs break boss mechanics, but you also do not really lose much if you decide to talent Clarity of Will to soften spike damage on key targets.
For 5 mans Discipline now has access to Shadow Covenant and Grace. This is extremely big deal for Affixes such as Grievous and Bursting. Now you can just Shadow Covenant a couple of times outside of combat, which does as much healing as a Shadow Mend on 5 people with no absorb drawback, with no downside of losing out on a powerful talent like Grace. Shadow Covenant + Grace basically fixes the problem Disc has in Mythic Dungeons by overpowering it with raw numbers.
Clarity of Will + Grace has always been a thing in M+, but now you don’t miss out on talents like Halo and Purge the Wicked, which are much stronger HPS/DPS increases than Sanctuary. This is a nice overall buff for 5 man Discipline.
TL;DR Sanctuary for Raids/faceroll M+, Clarity for M+’s that need high Effective-Health Points, Shadow Covenant for Grievous/Bursting
RECOMMENDED: Purge the Wicked
7.2.5 moved Purge the Wicked into this row and lowered the mana costs of Halo and Divine Star. It’s also worthing mentioning that Purge the Wicked received a buff as well via a direct buff to the damage of the spell
There’s not really much to talk about with this tier. Purge The Wicked is pretty much a straight upgrade over Divine Star and Halo, and even their buffed states. Halo is outclassed by applying more atonements, casting Smite more, or casting SW:P more. Divine Star really doesn’t meaningfully increase your output, even while perfectly stacked. The only real choice is Purge the Wicked, which makes Shadow Word: Pain passively 20% stronger. As usual, this talent excels on any bosses where you can dot multiple targets, especially if they are in range to be cleaved by Penance. As the T20 4pc gives you more total Penances casts, bosses with a lot of random adds they spawn and are stacked on top of the boss, the power of Purge the Wicked increases dramatically. Even on Patchwerk bosses with no additional targets, the passive HPS increase to Shadow Word: Pain is simply better than what Halo or Divine Star offers.
Divine Star/Halo might remain a decent choice for Aoe Damage in M+, but you honestly rather the ability to cleave Purge The Wicked passively while you’re spam Smiting/Shadow Mending. This is compounded by the fact that Purge the Wicked is very good with Smite Belt and T20 4pc, and you will likely use both at the same time in M+.
Evangelism is basically a 1 minute 15 second cooldown that reads “Revert the 7.2.5 changes for 6 seconds”. This allows Discipline Priest to burst out as many Atonements as you do on live, on a 1 minute 15 second cooldown for an overall lower total mana cost. Replacing spammable Power Word: Radiances with Evangelism and Power Word: Radiance on a charge system basically means Discipline Priest lost the ability to chain 15+ atonement windows back to back, but now your +15 atonement windows with Evangelism are considerably stronger because of things such as Mindbender (if chosen), Velen’s Future Sight and the trinket, Tarnished Sentinel Medallion. What is worth mentioning about Evangelism is specifically how the new Power Word: Radiance works. Power Word: Radiance now a true smart heal, and the range has been increased to 30 yards. 10 atonements out of your 15-18 atonement burst window are now true smart heals. This means it is optimal to cast your first Power Word: Radiance 1 GCD before the damage, and time your second Power Word: Radiance the GCD as the damage happens, following it up with an Evangelism cast.
Just like live Discipline Priest, it is always better to cast Power Word: Radiance twice in a row before you Evangelism. Blizzard did not nerf the strength of chaining multiple Power Word: Radiances together. Blizzard, instead, nerfed the ability to rapidly chain multiple casts together. Ideally every Evangelism should have 2 Power Word: Radiances casted beforehand to maximize the healing done by this talent. This should be the total priority, which means cutting casts of Power Word: Radiances done outside of the cooldown so you can always cast this effect on cooldown as much as possible.
Update: With the recent nerfs to Evangelism with the adjustment cooldown to 75 seconds, from 60 seconds, on top of the decreased duration from 8 to 6 seconds, as well as adjustments to the mana costs of PW:S and Plea, This means that we no longer have a “set” rotation inside of our Evangelism casts, rather, we will use what we have at our disposal when used. Previously, every Evangelism cast lined up with the cooldown of Mindbender. Combined with lower mana costs meant the cooldown rotation inside of Evangelism was static, and was rarely altered. With the nerfs to Mindbender, Evangelism cooldown/duration, and overall mana costs increases to Plea and Power Word: Shield, evaluation of how to use Evangelism changes. With the increased cooldown on Evangelism, Velen’s Future Sight now perfectly lines up with Evangelism, and as such, should always be used with Evangelism. Subsequently, the increased cooldown on Evangelism means Lights Wrath does roughly line up with the cooldown, as sometimes you do not hit Evangelism exactly on cooldown, meaning it is now entirely possible to weave Light’s Wrath into the Evangelism window. However, it’s not always the ideal choice. You would prioritize using other cooldowns within your Evangelism window first before Lights Wrath, such as Shadow Fiend/Mindbender, and Tarnished Sentinel Medallion. The increased cooldown of Evangelism now also means that you have exactly 2 Power Word: Radiance casts to work with between Evangelism, and these Power Word: Radiance casts are ideal for Light’s Wrath. As always, however, it’s not ideal to pair two major cooldowns together even if it’s a good idea in 90% of situations. As far as what damage abilities / cooldowns to use during Evangelism, it’s mostly decided by what is up when the boss mechanic is occuring and what type of damage you need to cover. A general priority of what order to use your cooldowns in could be: Tarnished Sentinel Medallion > Shadowfiend/Mindbender > Lights Wrath > Penance + Smites (obviously you don’t use all your cooldowns for one Evangelism, this is just a priority order if one cooldown is down, use the next in line. Keep in mind this isn’t set in stone either, you’ll need to use your own judgement here.)
Evangelism is simply so much stronger than the other two options because Blizzard is essentially balancing Discipline Priest burst healing around Evangelism, even despite multiple nerfs to the talent. Without going into detail about whether the current implementation of Evangelism and Power Word: Radiance with charges is balance wise, at the moment, Blizzard really has no choice but to make Evangelism this powerful in order to make some of the spec’s spells work correctly. By lining up Evangelism with powerful effects such as Grace and Power Infusion, it effectively allows Blizzard to “delete” those talents as options for raiding Discipline Priest. Blizzard no longer has to be afraid about the absurd burst potential of Discipline Priest with access to Power Infusion, Mindbender, Tarnished Sentinel Medallion, Evangelism, and Twist of Fate. Absorb cheesing potential has also been effectively deleted because Grace can no longer be talented, as talenting Grace over Evangelism comes at a massive HPS loss, and the inability to cast spells such as Light’s Wrath or Shadowfiend/Mindbender. There is basically no real world applications where it is justified to talent anything other than Evangelism in a raid setting. The effect is simply that strong.
Nonetheless, Grace still has its place as a 5 man talent. Extending Atonement duration is fairly irrelevant in a 5 man setting, because you can easily have the entire group blanketed in Atonements whenever you want, and at all times with very little downside. As always due to 5 mans demanding you to cast spells like Shadow Mend more often, directly on targets already with Atonement active, buffing these spells by an additional 30% destroys all other alternatives and completely mandatory to challenging 5 man content. As previously mentioned, Grace has strong synergy with Shadow Covenant/Clarity of Will in 5 man content, allowing Disc to cover its weakness of not being able to heal the group while no targets are active, and overpower high damage mechanics respectively.
Unfortunately, since Power Infusion has been moved to T100, a row of talents with two extremely overpowered and mandatory talents for their appropriate setting, the talent has relegated to Shadow Covenant meme tier status. There’s basically no situation outside of steamrolling 5 man content where it is smart to talent Power Infusion over Grace or Evangelism.
TL:DR Evangelism in Raids, Grace in 5 mans, never take Power Infusion in any situation ever.
The talent shake-up of 7.2.5 definitely buffed Discipline Priest quite considerably in 5 man content. This is done mostly through talents which are objective upgrades, such as Twist of Fate over Castigation and Purge the Wicked over Halo. The spec also gained the ability to much more easily deal with affixes such as Grievous and Bursting out of combat. These affixes basically forced Discipline to actually pay attention and play correctly during the entire dungeon. Now that you have access to Shadow Covenant and Grace, you can simply just mash Shadow Covenant once or twice out of combat and you can keep pulling. These changes compounded with the overall toolkit improvement via direct and mana cost buffs to spells like Shadow Word: Pain, Smite and Plea means Discipline is in an overall stronger position in 5 man content going into 7.2.5
These positive thoughts don’t echo true in raids. Discipline is still plagued with effectively mandatory talents in most of the talent lines in Mythic raids. With the only real choice is between a mobility spell and personal survivability, and a “choice” between Twist of Fate and Castigation. That choice being boiled down to “does this boss do enough damage for Twist of Fate to proc when I use Evangelism and healing for most of my output?” Yes? Okay pick Twist of Fate, otherwise Castigation for a free dps/hps increase with zero thought. The power level of these mandatory talents like Evangelism are so high in power level, Blizzard is currently nerfing disc outside of Evangelism windows in order to bring the power level of the spec down. Even in light of recent nerfs to mana and Evangelism, Discipline will still generally default to Shield Discipline, and Mindbender will only see niche usage depending on boss encounters.
Hopefully Blizzard can figure out how to fix raiding Discipline Priest talent balance, so Discipline Priest does not run into the problem of running the same talents on every boss ever, as it does on live.
Written by Sups. Edited and reviewed by others here at Focused Will.
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