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Discipline Priest: Mists of Pandaria Rotation Changes, Talents, and Glyphs (Patch 5.0.4)

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This article is no longer being updated. Please check our Discipline Priest guide, which is fully compatible with Mists of Pandaria, and is being constantly updated. Thank you.

In preparation for the updates to our guides for Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4, we are releasing articles such as this one, explaining what has changed for a particular class and spec, and what the new rotation is likely to be.

Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress (both from Blizzard's side and from our own) and that this article assumes you are at least somewhat familiar with the Cataclysm version of the Discipline Priest rotation and playstyle (such as from reading our guide).

We will first list the most important changes to the Discipline Priest Cataclysm abilities, and then we will proceed to explaining the (likely to be) optimal rotation. Keep in mind that we do not document every single change or new ability, only those that impact the rotation.

Finally, we will give you some information about the most useful talents and glyphs you should choose.

New Abilities

  • ability_shaman_astralshift.jpgSpirit Shell is an interesting and powerful healing cooldown. For 15 seconds, it causes your heals from spell_holy_lesserheal.jpgHeal, spell_holy_flashheal.jpgFlash Heal, spell_holy_greaterheal.jpgGreater Heal, and spell_holy_prayerofhealing02.jpgPrayer of Healing to place an absorption shield on the target instead of healing them. The shield's capacity is capped at 60% of the casting Priest's maximum health. Any heals that exceed the shield's cap will instead heal the target (as though Spirit Shell were not active).
  • spell_priest_voidshift.jpgVoid Shift is a spell that swaps your health percentage with the health percentage of the targeted raid member. If one of you has a health percentage of less than 25%, then it is increased to 25%. This is a cooldown that enables you to save raid members who reach very low health (and are still taking damage).
  • Tier 3 talents offer a choice between spell_shadow_soulleech_3.jpgMindbender and ability_priest_flashoflight.jpgPower Word: Solace (and spell_holy_surgeoflight.jpgFrom Darkness, Comes Light, but this is a passive ability). We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.
  • Tier 5 talents offer a choice between spell_holy_powerinfusion.jpgPower Infusion and two passive abilities, spell_shadow_mindtwisting.jpgTwist of Fate and spell_priest_burningwill.jpgDivine Insight. We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.
  • Tier 6 talents offer a choice between ability_priest_cascade.jpgCascade, spell_priest_divinestar.jpgDivine Star, and ability_priest_halo.jpgHalo. We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.

Changes to Existing Mechanics

  • spell_holy_innerfire.jpgInner Fire now increases your spell power by 10%, instead of by a fixed value.
  • spell_holy_wordfortitude.jpgPower Word: Fortitude now increases Stamina by 10%, instead of by a fixed value.
  • ability_priest_archangel.jpgArchangel and the associated "Atonement" healing-style abilities are now granted to all Discipline Priests by default, without the need to choose them as talents. Their mechanics have remained largely the same, with one notable difference: Archangel now increases healing by 5% per stack of spell_holy_divineillumination.jpgEvangelism (up from 3%), but no longer grants mana to the Priest.
  • spell_holy_ashestoashes.jpgStrength of Soul, previously an optional talent, is now provided by default. It causes spell_holy_ashestoashes.jpgWeakened Soul's duration to be reduced by 2 seconds each time the target is healed by spell_holy_lesserheal.jpgHeal, spell_holy_flashheal.jpgFlash Heal, or spell_holy_greaterheal.jpgGreater Heal.
  • ability_mage_studentofthemind.jpgTrain of Thought, previously an optional talent, is now provided by default. It causes the remaining cooldown of spell_frost_windwalkon.jpgInner Focus to be reduced by 5 seconds each time you cast spell_holy_greaterheal.jpgGreater Heal, and the remaining cooldown of spell_holy_penance.jpgPenance to be reduced by 0.5 seconds each time you cast spell_holy_holysmite.jpgSmite.

Removed Abilities

spell_holy_divinehymn.jpgDivine Hymn has been removed (it is now only available to Holy Priests).

Rotation and Spell Usage

Since healers do not have a rotation per se, it is hard to briefly list the rotation of Discipline Priests. The detailed explanations that we provide in our Cataclysm guide are beyond the scope of this article. Instead, we will just mention a few things that are interesting or relevant.
  • Atonement healing is now fully supported. Since you have the talents and abilities for Atonement healing given to you be default, you should be making use of this playstyle as much as possible. Nothing has changed in the way that Atonement healing works.
  • The overall playstyle has remained virtually unchanged. Unless specified otherwise above, all spell mechanics and interactions function exactly as they did during Cataclysm. Many of these mechanics were granted by talents, but they are now provided automatically as passive abilities.
  • spell_holy_powerwordshield.jpgPower Word: Shield's mana cost is very accessible, which means its usage is likely to increase greatly during Mists of Pandaria.
  • The only novelty comes from incorporating your new abilities into the playstyle. This should not be very difficult. Here are our suggested uses:

  • ability_shaman_astralshift.jpgSpirit Shell should be used as many times as possible throughout the fight, but you should make sure to use it when it is most needed. It is especially useful for "preparing" a tank for taking a big hit (by stacking up a shield on him through single target heals) or preparing the raid for a high damage spike, by applying raid-heals to them.
  • spell_priest_voidshift.jpgVoid Shift should be used to save raid members (though it will probably be used on tanks mostly). It has a very high cooldown, so it will need to be time carefully.
  • Your choice of Tier 6 talent will be used during times of AoE raid damage.

Talents

Tier 1 talents offer a choice between 3 crowd control abilities:These talents do not have any effect on your healing performance or playstyle. Your choice will be preference-based, in most cases. Occassionally, you may choose a talent that better suits the specific requirements of an encounter.

Tier 2 talents offer a choice between 3 movement-enhancing spells:

spell_holy_symbolofhope.jpgBody and Soul grants a movement speed boost to players affected by your spell_holy_powerwordshield.jpgPower Word: Shield and priest_spell_leapoffaith_a.jpgLeap of Faith. Even though you are going to cast Power Word: Shield often, this movement speed boost is not reliable as you may need to save Power Word: Shield for another moment, or you may be unable to cast it due to the spell_holy_ashestoashes.jpgWeakened Soul debuff.

ability_priest_angelicfeather.jpgAngelic Feather allows you place feathers on the ground, at targeted locations. Yourself and other raid members gain a movement speed boost when running over a feather. We believe that this talent has the most viability and flexibility, and that it will prove to be the talent of choice in most raid encounters.

ability_priest_phantasm.jpgPhantasm has mostly PvP applicability and we do not expect to see it being useful in raid content often, if at all.

Tier 3 talents offer a choice between 3 spells that enhance your performance:

spell_holy_surgeoflight.jpgFrom Darkness, Comes Light works much like the old spell_holy_surgeoflight.jpgSurge of Light talent (except this is much improved). Whenever you cast spell_holy_lesserheal.jpgHeal, spell_holy_flashheal.jpgFlash Heal, spell_holy_greaterheal.jpgGreater Heal, spell_holy_blindingheal.jpgBinding Heal, and spell_holy_holysmite.jpgSmite you have a 15% chance for your next Flash Heal to be instant cast and cost no mana. The effect has 2 charges.

spell_shadow_soulleech_3.jpgMindbender is an improved spell_shadow_shadowfiend.jpgShadowfiend, which has a much lower cooldown and will ultimately grant you higher mana regeneration (and damage).

ability_priest_flashoflight.jpgPower Word: Solace is a damaging spell that grants you 2% maximum mana each time you cast it.

Out of these 3 talents, we believe that Power Word: Solace is by far the weakest. From Darkness, Comes Light is very strong and we believe it will translate not only to efficient mana conservation, but also to a solid throughput increase. Mindbender may end up being a good choice when mana regeneration is the most important issue.

Tier 4 talents offer a choice between 3 survival and self-healing talents:

spell_holy_testoffaith.jpgDesperate Prayer is a very powerful self-heal with no mana cost or cast time.

ability_rogue_shadowdance.jpgSpectral Guise is very much a PvP-oriented ability, and we do not believe it will often, if ever, be useful in PvE.

ability_priest_angelicbulwark.jpgAngelic Bulwark automatically grants you a damage absorption shield each time you are brought below 30% health (with a 90 second internal cooldown).

We believe that Desperate Prayer will be the best choice for most situations, since it gives you the most control over when and how to use your self-healing.

Tier 5 talents offer a choice between 3 talents that improve your performance:

spell_shadow_mindtwisting.jpgTwist of Fate grants you a 15% increase to your healing each time you heal a target that is below 20% health, lasting for 10 seconds. This talent will probably shine on cutting-edge progression, when you are often healing low-health raid members.

spell_holy_powerinfusion.jpgPower Infusion (which is unchanged from its Cataclysm version) grants 20% increased casting speed and 20% reduced mana cost to a targeted raid member, for 20 seconds. This spell can be cast on yourself, allowing you to do great burst healing, or on a fellow caster DPS raid member, if the defeating the encounter requires a particularly high amount of DPS. Power Infusion is always a great choice because, being active, it can be used exactly when needed.

spell_priest_burningwill.jpgDivine Insight grants your spell_holy_penance.jpgPenance a 40% chance to make your next spell_holy_powerwordshield.jpgPower Word: Shield ignore spell_holy_ashestoashes.jpgWeakened Soul (if it exists on the target) and not cause it. This is a very interesting talent, which looks appealing at first. However, we observe the apparent contradiction that this talent benefits you in situations of urgency (when you need to cast Power Word: Shield on someone who has recently been shielded or may need to be shielded again very soon), but its very occurrence relies on a 40% chance to proc.

Despite our concern about Divine Insight's viability, we find that all 3 talents will probably be useful in certain encounters, and it remains to be seen how they will best be used.

Tier 6 talents offer a choice between 3 multiple target healing talents:

ability_priest_cascade.jpgCascade is a sort of chain heal. It will first heal the player you targeted, after which it will split in two bolts, each jumping to another player, healing them, splitting, and jumping again. Each jump will prefer players who are farther away from the target player. Therefore, this heal is beneficial in situations where the raid is spread out.

spell_priest_divinestar.jpgDivine Star fires a healing ball in a straight line in front of you. It travels for 24 yards, healing all allies within 6 yards of its path. After it reaches the end of its path, it returns to you, still healing allies along the way. It is suited for situations where the raid is stacking in a particular fashion. It also deals damage to enemies it comes in contact with.

ability_priest_halo.jpgHalo causes a ring of energy to form around you, expanding to up to a 30 yard range. It heals all allies in its area of effect, with greater potency for those located farther away from you (at 25 yards). It is best suited for situations where the raid is loosely stacked, and you are in the center. It also deals damage in its area of effect.

We believe that the choice between these 3 talents will be determined by the way in which your raid is positioned during the encounter.

Glyphs

Minor Glyphs are purely cosmetic and have no effect on your gameplay. There are, however, several Major Glyphs worth considering:
  • inv_glyph_majorpriest.jpgGlyph of Fade causes you to take 10% reduced damage for the duration of spell_magic_lesserinvisibilty.jpgFade, turning the spell into a very minor survival cooldown.
  • inv_glyph_majorpriest.jpgGlyph of Holy Fire makes spell_holy_searinglight.jpgHoly Fire instant cast. This is useful since Holy Fire is part of your Atonement healing playstyle.
  • inv_glyph_majorpriest.jpgGlyph of Smite increases the damage done by spell_holy_holysmite.jpgSmite on targets affected by spell_holy_searinglight.jpgHoly Fire by 20%. Thanks to ability_priest_atonement.jpgAtonement, this damage increase also means a 20% healing increase from Smite.
  • inv_glyph_majorpriest.jpgGlyph of Purify causes spell_holy_dispelmagic.jpgPurify to also heal the target for 3% of their maximum health, when it successfully dispels a magical effect or a disease.
  • inv_glyph_majorpriest.jpgGlyph of Prayer of Mending increases the first heal of spell_holy_prayerofmendingtga.jpgPrayer of Mending by 60%, but causes it to have 1 fewer charge.
  • inv_glyph_majorpriest.jpgGlyph of Power Word: Shield turns 20% of the amount that spell_holy_powerwordshield.jpgPower Word: Shield absorbs into healing on the target.
  • inv_glyph_majorpriest.jpgGlyph of Penance increases the mana cost of spell_holy_penance.jpgPenance by 20%, but allows it to be cast while moving. This glyph will become especially powerful in later raiding tiers, when mana management is less of a problem.
  • inv_glyph_majorpriest.jpgGlyph of Levitate increases your movement speed while spell_holy_layonhands.jpgLevitate is active and for 10 seconds afterwards, by 15%. This could prove to be a very useful means of increasing your movement speed during PvE encounters, especially given Levitate's low mana cost.
This concludes our Discipline Priest preview for Mists of Pandaria. We hope you have enjoyed reading it and that it proved useful to you. As always, we are looking forward to reading your opinions on the matter!
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Cheers as always Vlad! I really need to have discipline as a viable PvE offspec (always had Disc PvP) so this goes a long way to helping me work out what I'm needing to do.

I totally love the sound of Void Shift, think this could be a great addition to a large number of situations! Enjoying the fact that you can do some atonement dps/heals without having to lose out on something else.

Keep up the good work!

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Thanks :)

Playing Disc isn't hard - and a big chunk of "what to do" has now been simplified, since you get, by default, a lot of the talents you needed to think long and hard about before.

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Thanks Posted Image

Playing Disc isn't hard - and a big chunk of "what to do" has now been simplified, since you get, by default, a lot of the talents you needed to think long and hard about before.

Always playing 10 man I dont think Atonement was very viable (not with our setup anyway). The only thing I've really struggled to get to grips with was mana management, but I'll be honest I rarely ever tried! The fact that account achievements are going live gives me an opportunity to PvP on another character (yes sad I know I care about achievements haha).

Knowing PW:S mana cost is more manageable is definitely music to my ears, and the Mindbender should help me settle into mana regen too :) I've always known its a bit of a let down in my ability to fulfill specific roles on some encounters. Really looking forward to checking it out!

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All the fiddling they were doing with PW:S in Cataclys was annoying. Eventually, it ended up to where you had to only use it scarcely (for Rapture or emergencies) which isn't fun.

Now, it's about the same mana cost as a Greater Heal, and absorbs about as much damage as GH heals for. Of course, PW:S still has the Rapture benefit for mana return, which makes it more valuable than GH, I'd say. Also GH has a cast time and PW:S does not.

It's EVEN better still since you get Strength of Soul by default now, so you can lower the duration on Weakened Soul.

Anyway, unless I'm way off base or things change, we'll be seeing a lot more PW:S usage than before. I don't know how that'll work out with the "bubble-botting" that Blizzard were trying so hard to avoid. We'll see.

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Vlad, Is it possible that they have finally removed Mana Burn!??!?!?!

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