Discipline Priest Guide - 7.2.5

Introduction

Discipline Priests are healers that heal through a mix of casting heals on allies and damaging enemies. The entire spec revolves around the Atonement mechanic, which is a buff applied by some spells which then causes all damage done to heal whoever it was placed on.

While some healing is done by the Atonement applicators and a few other effects, most healing ends up being done by Atonement itself which comes from a variety of damaging spells. In this guide, we will explore how to most effectively heal with this unique healing spec.

Discipline in Raids

In raids, the name of the game is efficiency. Cooldowns should be used often and in the most effective manner possible, and non-cooldown spells should be used in a way to get the most value out of your time and mana spent using them. How exactly this happens will change a lot depending on a given fight’s damage pattern, but it will usually involve a steady stream of Atonement applicators and damage spells with spikes of healing around Power Word: Radiance, which applies Atonement to 5 people instead of just 1.

Core Spells

 

Power Word: Shield

Power Word: Shield is the most efficient single target healing spell Discipline has. Don’t be fooled by its initially low absorb and higher mana cost than Plea; after artifact traits PWS is a massive absorb with a long enough duration to almost always get used. Unless you have something very specific you want to be doing instead, using PWS on cooldown is a good start.

Penance

Penance is Discipline’s primary damage ability. It does a lot of damage very quickly and is where the bulk of rotational Atonement healing will come from. Penance does have the option to be cast on an ally to heal them directly, however the healing done by Atonement when Penance is used for damage quickly outscales its direct healing, as early as having only 3 Atonements active. This spell should also be used on cooldown unless there is something very specific you would rather be doing.

Shadow Word: Pain

Shadow Word: Pain (also called Purge the Wicked if that talent is selected) is a moderately efficient damage spell on its own, so it should be cast on any targets that will live long enough to heal for its full duration. The one exception is the Power of the Dark Side trait, which drives a Penance buff based on RPPM from SWP ticks, so at least one SWP should always be active somewhere to generate Power of the Dark Side procs.

Plea

Plea applies Atonement to one target and heals them for a little bit. It is cheap and a good way to get out more Atonements if you have a lot of time and don't mind spending a bit of mana.

Shadow Mend

Shadow Mend is Plea’s big brother. It costs almost twice as much mana but delivers a big heal when it drops, some of which falls off if the target doesn’t take damage soon. Use it when you want to get Atonements out but also want to do some heavy spot healing and Rapture is on cooldown.

Smite

Smite is an ultra cheap damage spell. If you have nothing else to do and have a decent number of Atonements active (6+), press Smite and keep on pressing it until you find something better (Penance, PWS, PWR) to do or Atonements need to be reapplied.

Power Word: Radiance

Power Word: Radiance hits your target plus the 4 allies within 30 yards of your target that have the lowest health and do not have Atonement. Its Atonements also only last for 9 seconds instead of 15. Having an 18 second recharge should make PWR’s purpose fairly obvious: use it when you want to heal a lot of people very quickly, but use it intelligently or risk not having it when you really need it. Having 2 charges opens up some huge burst healing options, and is mostly how PWR is used in conjunction with some other very important cooldowns.

TL;DR

Use Power Word: Shield on cooldown for cheap Atonements and big shields, keep Shadow Word: Pain (or Purge the Wicked with talent) up on whatever targets it makes sense to, and Penance on cooldown for efficient damage. Between these abilities, use Plea and Smite to put out and heal your Atonements, or use Shadow Mend to burn extra mana on some more healing. Use Power Word: Radiance to heal a lot of people, followed by Penance and Smite to heal them for even more for a while. Doing this will get you through any Normal or Heroic raid in the game.

Cooldowns

Using cooldowns appropriately is where most of the skill cap of Discipline comes in for raids. Before diving in, keep in mind that Atonement does more healing the more damage you can do while it is up, and every point of damage does more healing with more Atonements active. This means that it is often most efficient to stack a lot of Atonements on top of a lot of damage rather than spreading it all out. Of course, there are limits to this idea as you can’t heal people past 100% health, so we will advise which cooldowns to use together and which ones to use separately.

Power Word: Radiance (again!)

Power Word: Radiance Remember this guy? One unique aspect of PWR is that it has an 18 second recharge, but with 2 charges, which means there is the normal singular use of PWR that you can do every 18 seconds on average, or you can use 2 PWRs in a row if you go 36 seconds without using PWR at all. In its own special way, PWRx2 is its own cooldown that is outside of the normal rotational healing Disc does, however using it comes at the cost of rotational PWR for a while both before and after using PWRx2. At a whopping 10 Atonements applied for a total of ~3 seconds of cast time (after Haste), using PWRx2 is quite powerful even if you don’t do anything else special.

 

Evangelism

Evangelism  is a level 100 talent with a 75 second cooldown, but one that we almost always have in a raid. For the low price of one GCD, all active Atonements get extended by 7 seconds. Evangelism can be used on its own rotationally for a nice boost, however that is far from the most efficient way to use this cooldown. When Evangelism is used with PWRx2 as well as some Atonements set up beforehand with PWS and Plea, we can have 15+ Atonements active for well over 10 seconds straight. This is the Evangelism Combo, and is one of the strongest healing “abilities” in the game. By guaranteeing many Atonements for a good 10-12 seconds, we can use the guiding principle mentioned at the beginning of this section to bust out tons of healing by shoving as much damage as we can into this combo without going overboard.

Shadowfiend

Shadowfiend  is a powerful 3 minute damage cooldown that makes a pet which attacks your target for 12 seconds, dealing more than a Smite's worth of damage each time it hits. It is best used when you have a lot of Atonements out (outside of Evangelism unless you want it to overheal entirely) and either cannot Smite for a while or just really want to pile on the healing. Consider using it before Rapture or before you intend to use PWR.

Rapture

Rapture  removes the cooldown from PWS for a while, which allows a big Atonement blanket across the raid as well as some nice shields for a small amount of mana. This is a good supplement between Evangelism Combos to bust out some extra raid healing when it’s needed. You can cast Penance during Rapture, but only if a lot of people with Atonement are not at full health.

 

Light's Wrath

Light’s Wrath scales exponentially with number of Atonements (more damage with more Atonements and more healing with more Atonements = exponential scaling!). Coincidentally, it only has a 15 second longer cooldown than Evangelism, so more often than not you will be able to LW with Evangelism. If you must use it somewhere else, use it after Rapture or 2 PWRs to get some value out of it.

Power Word: Barrier

Power Word: Barrier  is great when the entire raid (or at least most of the raid) can stack up under it and take a lot less damage. With the Barrier For the Devoted trait, you also do double Atonement healing to people under it, so it’s a good time to use with a spare PWR and Shadowfiend or Light's Wrath.

TL;DR

Identify when the raid will take the most damage each ~75-90 seconds and plan the Evangelism Combo around it (Plea/PWS into PWRx2 into LW/Evangelism/Penance/SmitexLots). Use spare PWRs, Rapture, Shadowfiend, and Barrier to help fill in the gaps between Combos along with the gameplay in the Core TL;DR.

 

Talents - Raid

These talent selections are aimed mostly at Mythic raiding. Some rows are more forgiving if you want to take something else, while other rows are not. We will specify how much the choice matters and provides reasons why each talent is different.

Level 15 - Twist of Fate - Castigation - Schism

Usually Take - Twist of Fate. Twist of Fate is a very powerful passive that essentially increases healing by 20% when it matters most. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can figure out exactly how much healing it is providing just by looking at its uptime on WarcraftLogs. Instead, use the Disc Priest Analyzer located here.

Sometimes Take - Castigation. Castigation also passively increases healing. Again, see the Analyzer for your particular situation. However, Twist of Fate will generally be more healing on most circumstances.

Never Take - Schism. What will become a running theme is that extra abilities that cost mana and time are generally poorly balanced against passive talents that increase healing with no cost. It’s a long explanation to get into the details, but suffice it to say that Schism is one of these abilities.

Level 30 - Angelic Feather - Body and Soul - Masochism

Usually Take - Angelic Feather. Without any other mobility to rely on except a very small speed boost while channeling Penance, Feather is the premium mobility spell available to Discipline and is needed to simply do mechanics most of the time.

Sometimes Take - Masochism. If you really don’t need movement on a particular fight, Masochism is some extra healing value as it turns a self-Shadow Mend into an extremely powerful spell. However, often you will take less damage and do more healing if you just moved a little more quickly.

Never Take - Body and Soul. Power Word: Shield is just too good of an ability for healing to be wasting it on movement. If you really want to make a friend move more quickly, move faster yourself and use Leap of Faith on them or just learn how to place Feathers under friends.

Level 45 - Shining Force - Psychic Voice - Dominant Mind

As a CC row, this row practically never matters. The only even potentially raid-useful talent here is Shining Force, and even then making a healer spend mana on an ability many DPS have would be pretty cruel.

Level 60 - Power Word: Solace - Shield Discipline - Mindbender

Usually Take - Shield Discipline. It may be a little boring, but will generally give you the most bang for your buck.

Maybe Take - Mindbender . If for whatever reason a fight does not make use of extra mana (Tichondrius in Nighthold was a good example), Mindbender is a good way to get some additional throughput.

Never Take - SolaceIt's just not better than the other two in any way except in PvP.

Level 75 - Sanctuary - Clarity of Will - Shadow Covenant

Usually Take - Sanctuary. Being the only talent on the row that increases healing without forcing us to be inefficient, Sanctuary is an easy default. However, even Sanctuary will never be more than 2-4% increased healing, so if the circumstances call for it, taking something else is not a big punishment.

Maybe Take - Clarity of Will or Shadow Covenant. Perhaps a fight exists where stacking a big absorb on someone via Grace/Clarity of Will/Power Word: Shield completely cheeses a mechanic. Maybe a fight exists with near-infinite mana, making Shadow Covenant a better filler than Smite or Plea. These are possibilities, but they are remote.

Level 90 - Purge the Wicked - Divine Star - Halo

Usually Take - Purge the Wicked. On a single target, this is a ~20% upgrade to Shadow Word: Pain in the damage and mana departments. That’s good enough to be better than Halo most of the time, but on any fight where being able to Penance and spread PtW is possible, this talent is far better than the other options.

Sometimes Take - Halo. On a purely single target fight with bursty raid damage, consider Halo.

Never Take - Divine Star. Worse than Halo in every circumstance.

Level 100 - Power Infusion - Grace - Evangelism

Usually Take - Evangelism. As explained above, Evangelism is what some might call “pretty good.”

Sometimes Take - Grace. However, say a fight consists of almost nothing except random single target damage that sits on individual targets for 5-10 seconds who need heavy spot healing or they will die. Grace is very good at dealing with that situation. It may also be used in a theoretical Clarity of Will cheese scenario.

Never Take - Power Infusion. What’s better than a cooldown that moderately increases healing for 20 seconds every 2 minutes? Probably one that increases your healing by 200-300% for 8 seconds every minute.

Discipline in Dungeons

Thankfully dungeons are much more straight-forward. In a nutshell, Atonement is for multi-target healing and Shadow Mend/PWS are for single target healing. The talents change the bulk of the gameplay, but in short I will simply copy the “Core” part of Disc raid healing because it is mostly the same.

TL;DR Use Power Word: Shield on cooldown for cheap Atonements and big shields, keep Shadow Word: Pain (or Purge the Wicked with talent) up on whatever targets it makes sense to, and Penance on cooldown for efficient damage. Between these abilities, use Plea and Smite to put out and heal your Atonements, or use Shadow Mend to burn extra mana on some more healing. Use Power Word: Radiance to heal a lot of people, followed by Penance and Smite to heal them for even more for a while. If the tank is dying, spam Shadow Mend until they are no longer dying.

Talents - Dungeon

In dungeons, due to the Mythic Keystone (or M+) system, dungeons can either be very easy or very difficult to heal. If they are easy, there are options to focus more on DPS and contribute to finishing the dungeon more quickly. We will be pointing out these differences.

Level 15 - Twist of Fate - Castigation - Schism

If the dungeon is hard to heal - Twist of Fate. Tanks get chunked very low very quickly and you will always be healing them, so Twist of Fate is up almost all of the time in any hard dungeon and is very good at helping the group stay alive.

If you want more DPS - Castigation or Schism. Both talents increase DPS more than a low-uptime ToF does and in different flavors. Schism may allow pushing out even more DPS, however Castigation may be safer if things turn rough.

Level 30 - Angelic Feather - Body and Soul - Masochism

 

Always Take - Angelic Feather. Keeping up with the group can be very difficult without Feathers. Even if the dungeon is easy, it will add more DPS than the other options.

Level 45 - Shining Force - Psychic Voice - Dominant Mind

 

Always Take - Shining Force. Knockbacks are great, but fears are not.

For Fun - Dominant Mind. This talent is pretty silly, doesn’t work very often, and contributes very little DPS unless you find a mob that hasn’t been nerfed yet. It is, however, great fun and a nice way to make easy runs a little more interesting.

Level 60 - Power Word: Solace - Shield Discipline - Mindbender

 

Always Take - Mindbender. Mana isn’t relevant in 5 mans if you abuse mana potions or just drinking, and Mindbender is simply the most throughput option here.

Level 75 - Sanctuary - Clarity of Will - Shadow Covenant

 

Usually Take - ???. The most boring raid talent row becomes the most interesting 5 man talent row as CoW and SC’s mana costs no longer make them nearly unusable. If the tank needs an extra buffer, CoW might be good. If you are dealing with an affix like Bursting or Grievous, Shadow Covenent to heal up those pesky debuffs is a viable option. If you don’t feel like doing either, Sanctuary is, as always a decent passive.

Level 90 - Purge the Wicked - Divine Star - Halo

Usually Take - Purge the Wicked or Halo. Again, the choice depends a lot on level and affix. Halo is better for mobs that die quickly and as an extra group healing button, while PtW gets crazy with a lot of mobs that live for a while.

Level 100 - Power Infusion - Grace - Evangelism

Usually Take - Grace for Single Target damage or Power Infusion for group healing and DPS. In 5 mans, one use of PWR puts Atonement on the entire group and can be chained for up to 30 seconds straight just with PWRs normal cooldown. With Shadow Covenant also being a potential option, Evangelism has little to no use in 5 mans. However, Grace is great for tank healing or single-target debuffs, while Power Infusion is great for slamming out the Smites and Mindbender damage.

Stats

Josh (Method) maintains an excellent spreadsheet for comparing Disc’s stats. Go to File → Make a Copy for your own editable version. You can also find Trinket evaluations here.

A TL;DR of the sheet is that Haste is Disc’s best stat by a bit, followed by everything else with Mastery fluctuating up and down based on how much of your total healing is done by Atonement.

Haste in this sheet does not have its own independent calculation but instead is simply automatically rated higher than other stats to adequately fill out a set of stat weights. There’s a very in-depth conversation to be had about why Haste is good for Disc specifically, but for now let’s just say that we know it’s good and just don’t have a great way of mathematically modeling exactly how good.

Relics

An often-asked question is which relics are good. Below is a list of roughly how many weapon items levels each trait is worth.

Confession (Penance damage) - +3 ilvl

The Edge of Dark and Light (SWP damage) - +2 ilvl

Lenience's Reward (Atonement damage reduction) - +2 ilvl

Shield of Faith (PWS shield increase) - +2 ilvl

Doomsayer (Rapture duration) - +1 ilvl

Borrowed Time - +1 ilvl

All others - +0 ilvls.

Legendaries

Discipline has access to many legendaries, some of which are situational, some are all-around good, and some are rarely, if ever, useful. Below we will cover each and every legendary (minus crafted) available to Discipline Priests, from generally most useful to generally least useful for raids. This is not a hard ranking of pieces and is highly subjective in areas, but we will do our best to advise on how or when each is useful. Some dungeon advice will be given, but we won’t be focusing on comparing these for dungeons.

Velen's Future Sight (trinket)

Velen’s Future Sight is hands-down one of, if not the most powerful pieces of healing equipment ever introduced to the game. On its face, it’s a stat stick trinket (which is already pretty good compared to most trinket options) with a healing boost on a medium length cooldown. In practice, the overhealing redistribution portion of the trinket is by far the most useful. On a typical fight, the healing redistribution alone is anywhere from 3-6% of total healing, and that’s not counting the 3-5% healing boost from the direct healing increase effect.

For Discipline, this effect gets even stronger as Atonement often ends up sitting around on people that reach full health quickly sometimes. Other healers heal people, people heal themselves, and people use defensive cooldowns that cause them to take less damage than the rest of the raid. These people end up at full health, and normally your ticking dots, pet, Penances, Smites, or Light’s Wraths just end up overhealing. Using Velen’s turns all of that into effective healing that would otherwise be wasted.

All of this put together makes Velen’s Future Sight the best legendary available to Discipline, and should always be equipped in raids if you have it, no exceptions.

Soul of the High Priest (ring)

Soul of the High Priest is a legendary added in 7.2.5 (acquired through the normal drop system). Discipline gets Twist of Fate, which essentially allows us to always talent Castigation, which means you can more or less think of this ring as a 33% boost to Penance (25% with T20 2p).

This item isn’t very complicated. That kind of boost to Penance would be a 6-9% total increase in healing, which is just great. Boosting Penance is an all-around healing increase that benefits sustained and burst healing more than pretty much anything else besides Velen’s. It does have a bit fewer stats than rings normally do, but that’s more than made up for with its effect.

Prydaz, Xavaric's Magnum Opus (neck)

Prydaz, Xavaric’s Magnum Opus is a necklace with a bit of extra stats and some self-healing in the form of a free auto-renewing absorb. It’s not uncommon for the absorb alone to be over 5% of your healing, and that’s on top of the extra 1-2% throughput the additional stats give over other legendaries. There’s also a kind of immeasurable benefit to never needing to sacrifice your overall healing to try to keep yourself alive as most of the time this essentially reduces the number of people you need to worry about healing to 19 instead of 20. Although a simple item, Prydaz is great for any form of content.

Xalan the Feared's Clutch (gloves)

Xalan the Feared’s Clutch is like Prydaz, only a bit different. When you have Atonement, using Penance extends it. This becomes nearly permanent even without Castigation and also provides slight benefits over Prydaz’s effect in the extra Sins of the Many stack. Where Xalan falls short of Prydaz though is that it requires Atonement to already be up to get the benefit, and while it can be easily applied before a fight even starts, if it ever drops off then Atonement must be reapplied. On the other hand, Xalan doesn’t give the extra stats Prydaz does and also sits in a tier slot that can make gearing awkward sometimes. For these reasons, it’s slightly worse than Prydaz, but overall still great.

Cord of Maiev, Priestess of the Moon (belt)

Cord of Maiev, Priestess of the Moon is a bit of an oddball legendary. Cord of Maiev does not really give any extra healing at all outside of Evangelism, as it often costs more mana than it’s worth to use Penance that often.It is great for powering up Evangelism or even spread out PWRs, but what it might lack in a healing boost it makes up for with a massive DPS boost. If burst healing and DPS is what you’re looking for, Cord of Maiev is for you.

Estel, Dejahna's Inspiration (chest)

Estel, Dejahna’s Inspiration gives 1% haste for each Atonement you have active for 8 seconds each time you Plea. This plays out as an odd sort of maintenance buff where Plea essentially does not have a GCD cost every so often, but still costs mana. It allows weaving in an extra Smite now and then, but overall can be thought of as an additional 6-8% haste. This makes Estel solid, but not a great legendary.

Skjoldr, Sanctuary of Ivagont (bracers)

Skjoldr, Sanctuary of Ivagont starts to get into the more utility-focused legendaries. While it does have a 15% straight increase to PW:S (worth around a 2% healing increase overall), it falls short of most of the legendaries focused solely on healing increases. The real purpose of this piece is the Pain Suppression cooldown reduction, which can get it down to 1.5-2 minutes instead of 3.5, which makes it a decent legendary for dungeons. However, in raids, that Pain Suppression is difficult to make good use of and there are much better tools available in any raid that do the same thing but better.

Skjoldr is an okay legendary to wear if you don’t have anything better and you shouldn’t be sad to see it, but it won’t be winning any awards.

Sephuz's Secret (ring)

Sephuz’s Secret is basically a ring that gives 2% haste and 10% movement speed, because you will almost never see the proc in a raid except on some very, very specific fights. Fortunately, a ring that gives an extra 2% haste and 10% speed is really not that bad compared to some of the things further down the list. It even has Crit and more Haste on it, wow!

Should you find yourself in a fight where you can actually dispel somebody to proc the effect, Sephuz is surprisingly good. How good it is really depends on how well that dispel lines up with when you might want to PWR or Rapture. This one is kind of a wild card, so consider asking Discord if it’s any good on a specific fight.

Inner Hallation (shoulder)

Inner Hallation sometimes gives Power Infusion (haste and mana cost reduction) for 9 seconds after PWR. You know what else gives haste, is not random, and is up a lot more often? Estel. In short, Inner Hallation is a poor man’s Estel on a good day. On a bad day it will proc on back to back PWRs and then not proc again for 2 minutes, and it sits in a tier slot.

Use it if you’re just starting out and have gotten a bad run of legendary luck, and move on as soon as you can.

Norgannon's Foresight (boots)

Norgannon’s Foresight gives a bit under 2% extra Crit. Realistically, that’s the benefit you’ll be seeing the most as the sum total of spells you might really need to cast on the move that you can’t stand still for 3 seconds for include Smite and Shadow Mend. There’s a possibility that some fight somewhere just so happens to require you to PWR while moving for a specific mechanic, but by that deep into Mythic you’ll have better legendaries anyway.

N'ero, Band of Promises (ring)

N’ero, Band of Promises has a strange tooltip, but essentially it means when you cast Penance at an enemy, the damage it does will pretend like everyone under Barrier has Atonement for that spell only (if they already have Atonement, it still only heals them once). On paper this seems pretty cool, but in practice getting more than a few people under a Barrier for any length of time only happens on some fights already, and even on those you typically want to do much more than just one Penance worth of healing.

N’ero is best used as a mana saver, when you want to throw out a bit but not a lot of healing during Barrier when someone else is handling most of the healing for whatever mechanic you wanted to Barrier. Unfortunately, N’ero also has the problem that it is a ring that doesn’t have any Haste on it, which can make gearing very awkward. As such, it should only be worn if you really do not have a “good” legendary, and even then only on some fights.

Kam Xi'raff (helm)

Kam Xi’raff has a lot of haste on it compared to most other helmets. Unfortunately that’s the most notable thing about this legendary, as it turns out most of your time after casting Light’s Wrath with 15+ Atonements will be spent on casting Smite, which already costs almost no mana.

There’s a world somewhere in which you really want to dot up 5-6 different targets quickly by manually casting PtW or using Rapture to spam out PWS just after casting Light’s Wrath, and in that world Kam Xi’raff might be considered a legendary. In the real world though, it’s going to be an ilvl 970 helmet with haste on it.

Macros and Resources

Useful Macros

#showtooltip Plea 

/stopmacro [channeling:Penance]

/cast [@mouseover,help][@player] Plea

This macro will prevent clipping the final Penance tick in the very small gap between when your GCD ends but Penance is not yet done channeling. You can change "Plea" to any spell you want and replace any normal spell to ensure you always get the most out of Penance.

This macro is also a mouseover macro, which is very useful for healing as you can press the button while your mouse is over a target's spot on your raid frames to heal them without having to select them. If your mouse isn't over another character's frame, it will just heal yourself.

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#showtooltip

/cast [@player] Angelic Feather

/stopspelltarget

Here is a macro that will automatically cast Angelic Feather at your own feet, which is extremely useful so you don't have to target it. However, using a macro like this won't allow you to use it on other players (a rare, but sometimes necessary thing). Consider dragging the regular Angelic Feather spell to a different keybind for use on other players.

Talent Suite

The following macros will combine different talent choices into one button so you don't have to swap them every time you change.

#showtooltip [talent:5/2]Clarity of Will; [talent:5/3]Shadow Covenant
/cast [@mouseover,nodead,help][]Clarity of Will
/cast [@mouseover,nodead,help][]Shadow Covenant

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#showtooltip [talent:6/2]Divine Star; [talent:6/3]Halo
/cast Divine Star
/cast Halo

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#showtooltip [talent:7/1]Power Infusion; [talent:7/3]Evangelism
/cast Power Infusion
/cast Evangelism

That’s all! Thanks for reading and enjoy playing one of the most unique specs the game has ever seen.

Written by Total. Edited and reviewed by others here at Focused Will.

© Total 2017. The materials on this page may be freely copied and distributed so long as our copyright notice and Website address is included.