Holy Priest Healing Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoD 6.0.3)

34 comments
Holy Priest Art Image
General Information

On this page, we list your Holy Priest core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft WoD 6.0.3. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a Holy Priest.

The other pages of our Holy Priest guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Jhazrun, one of the best Holy Priests in the world, who raids in Paragon.

6.0.2 Transition Guide

If you want to read all about the Patch 6.0.2 changes and learn how they affect your character, make sure to read our Priest Transition Guide!

1. Rotation↑top

Healing is in great part based on your ability to react to the damage that the raid takes, and as such there is no set rotation. Rather, you must understand what spells are best suited to the different situations that can occur during a raid encounter.

Below, you will find the optimal use of your abilities, and it will be up to you to then combine them efficiently in combat.

1.1. Raid Healing in Large Groups

While Chakra: Sanctuary Icon Chakra: Sanctuary is active, each heal you cast reduces the cooldown of Circle of Healing Icon Circle of Healing by 1 second. Additionally, Chakra: Sanctuary grants you the Holy Word: Sanctuary Icon Holy Word: Sanctuary ability. Typically, you should use this Chakra when raid healing in large groups.

Depending on what types of damage you are trying to heal, you should use the following guidelines. Note that within a category of damage, the spells are not necessarily listed in order of importance.

  • Low damage or no damage
    • Cast Circle of Healing Icon Circle of Healing on cooldown, as long as it will heal at least 3 players.
    • Cast Heal Icon Heal on players who need topping off.
    • Place Renew Icon Renew on players who have sustained some damage or may sustain damage in the near future.
    • Cast Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing, assuming that it heals at least 3 players in the group you are casting it on (with minimal or no overhealing).
  • Low to moderate damage
    • Cast Circle of Healing Icon Circle of Healing on cooldown, as long as it will heal at least 3 players.
    • Keep up Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending, if the damage is at all sustained.
    • Keep Renew Icon Renew up on several targets, pre-casting it shortly before they take damage, if possible.
    • Cast Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing, assuming that it heals at least 3 players in the group you are casting it on (with minimal or no overhealing).
    • Place Holy Word: Sanctuary Icon Holy Word: Sanctuary on the ground, in an area where there are a lot of raid members. Ideally, cast this a few seconds before the damage begins.
  • Moderate to high damage
  • High sustained damage
  • Emergency situations
    • Cast Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal on a player that is really low on health and in imminent danger of dying.
    • Cast Binding Heal Icon Binding Heal (with Glyph of Binding Heal Icon Glyph of Binding Heal) on a player that is really low on health and in imminent danger of dying, if you yourself are also in need of healing.
    • If you have stacks of Serendipity Icon Serendipity (from having cast Flash Heal or Binding Heal), then you can use the hastened Heal Icon Heal or Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing for emergencies as well.

1.2. Healing in Small Raids

When healing in a small raid environment, you have to be able to switch seamlessly between healing the raid and healing single targets. You should use Chakra: Serenity Icon Chakra: Serenity, because it offers more versatility.

Depending on the types of damage you are facing, you should use the following guidelines. Note that within a category of damage, the spells are not necessarily listed in order of importance. Note also that when we refer to the tank, we always also mean "or the other single target you are healing".

  • Low damage or no damage
  • Low to moderate damage
  • Moderate to high damage
  • High sustained damage
  • Emergency situations
    • Cast Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal on the tank if they are in danger of dying.
    • Cast Binding Heal Icon Binding Heal (with Glyph of Binding Heal Icon Glyph of Binding Heal) on the tank if they are in danger of dying and you can also benefit from the healing.
    • Cast Guardian Spirit Icon Guardian Spirit on the tank if they are in imminent danger of dying. Note that you should not do this if you are assigned to use Guardian Spirit at another, specific time of the fight.

You should use Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity on cooldown, and you should make sure that Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending is always active.

2. Cooldown Usage↑top

As a Holy Priest, you have several cooldowns. Here is how you should use them:

  • Divine Hymn Icon Divine Hymn should be used during periods of very intense raid damage. Keep in mind, however, that your raid leader may instruct you to use it a very specific time.
  • Lightwell Icon Lightwell should be active whenever a period of high and sustained occurs. Excluding such situations, you should try to cast it as often as possible.
  • Guardian Spirit Icon Guardian Spirit should be used depending on many factors, including on your raid leader's instructions. If you do not have to save Guardian Spirit for a specific event, then just use it as a "life-saver" on the tank or another raid member who needs it.

You can read more about how to best use these cooldowns, and about the cooldowns and abilities granted by your talents, in our detailed cooldown section.

3. Optional Read: Mastering Your Holy Priest↑top

Playing a Holy Priest, and, indeed, any healer, cannot be easily boiled down into a "rotation" or "priority". There exists a multitude of factors that will affect how you use your spells. You can use the guidelines we listed above to great success, but in order to truly feel comfortable, there are other aspects you need to fully understand.

3.1. Spell Usage in Detail

In order to allow you to make the best possible choices with some of the spells you use, you need to better understand their advantages and drawbacks.

3.1.1. Prayer of Healing and Circle of Healing

Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing and Circle of Healing Icon Circle of Healing are your only reliable means of AoE healing, and they are both fantastic for that purpose. There are a few things to keep in mind regarding their continued usage:

  • They heal players who are within 30 yards or less of the player you have targeted (and, in the case of Prayer of Healing, only in the same party as that player). This means you need to make sure that you do not cast them on players who are separated from the rest of the raid.
  • They should only be used when 3 or more players will benefit from their healing in order to be a Mana efficient means of healing.

During periods of low damage, you will generally not need to resort to them, although you can (keep in mind their rather high Mana cost). During periods of higher damage, these spells are absolutely essential and you will often find yourself spamming them. Indeed, just to reiterate, during heavy, sustained raid-damage, spamming these two spells is what you should be doing.

3.1.2. Holy Word: Sanctuary

Holy Word: Sanctuary Icon Holy Word: Sanctuary places a healing zone on the ground, which heals the 6 most injured players inside it for 30 seconds.

This spell is lackluster, not doing sufficient healing to justify any relevant usage throughout most encounters. It might be of some benefit if you can safely pre-place it before any damage begins on a group of players, so that you can cast other heals while it is active, but this will hardly be useful in practice.

3.1.3. Renew

Even though Renew Icon Renew is an overall good spell for Holy Priests, you will not often find many uses for it in encounters where there is a lot of heavy raid damage. In these cases, you will only use Renew when the opportunity exists to apply it to several players before the actual damage begins, as this will essentially be "free healing" for you during the damage, while you cast other spells.

Renew is mostly useful in the following situations:

  • for using while moving (note that in addition to the HoT, it also heals for a small amount when it is applied);
  • for using on mildly damaged raid members whom you wish to heal up without great urgency;
  • for keeping active on one or both tanks (since refreshing it on one or two targets should not be too difficult) while you are raid healing and assisting on tanks, thus adding to the healing they receive and helping the other healers.

If you are tank or single-target healing, then keeping Renew up is both easy and important.

3.1.4. Power Word: Shield

Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield is a problematic spell to use as a Holy Priest. In general, your specialisation is not at all tailored to the use of this spell, so it is certainly not part of your main arsenal.

Discipline Priests will always have better and more potent shields than you. Because casting Power Word: Shield on a player applies the Weakened Soul Icon Weakened Soul debuff on them, preventing another shield from being applied for a short while, you should not use this spell if you have a Discipline Priest in your raid, since it will interfere negatively with their own healing.

That said, if the Discipline Priest will not or can not cast Power Word: Shield on a player (or if there is no Discipline Priest in your raid), there are a few situations where you can use it:

  • if the target (generally a tank) requires "extra health" to survive an incoming large attack (since the shield essentially increases their maximum health for a short time);
  • if someone is in imminent danger of dying and only an instant cast spell can save them;
  • if you are moving and someone is in danger of dying.

3.1.5. Heal

Heal Icon Heal is your go-to single target heal.

3.1.6. Holy Word: Serenity

Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity is primarily used for single-target (tank) healing. It is a cheap, powerful, and fast heal. Additionally, the fact that the target has a 25% increased chance to be critically healed by you for 6 seconds makes this spell ideal for burst healing.

For example, the following combination performs a huge amount of burst healing.

  1. Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity.
  2. Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal.
  3. Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal.
  4. Heal Icon Heal.

3.2. Chakra Switching

Normally, if you are assigned a role in your raid's set-up, you will not be required to change between your two Chakras. There are two exceptions to this. Firstly, if you are healing in an LFR group, or in a pug group where healing assignments are not fixed (or where you feel that some of the other healers are not doing their jobs), you can switch between the two Chakras as needed to fill a different role.

Secondly, during periods of heavy movement you will sometimes find it beneficial to switch to Chakra: Sanctuary Icon Chakra: Sanctuary.

3.3. Mana Regeneration

Aside from tier 3 talents, Holy Priests do not have any means of regenerating Mana, but due to the balance of the specialisation, this is not needed.

3.4. Healing Cooldowns In Detail

Your healing cooldowns require a bit more explanation in order to ensure that you can make the best of them.

3.4.1. Divine Hymn

Divine Hymn Icon Divine Hymn will heal all raid members within 40 yards over 8 seconds, and also increase the healing they receive during that time by 10%.

Keep in mind that the spell is channeled, so you cannot perform other actions while casting it.

Generally, your raid leader will assign you to use this spell at a certain time in the fight, in order to counter a heavy burst of damage. If this is the case, make sure your spell is available at that time.

Otherwise, you should simply try to find a moment when using this spell is beneficial. Most often, this will happen during a period of very intense raid damage.

3.4.2. Lightwell

You should think of the Lightwell Icon Lightwell as "free healing" during periods of heavy raid damage (in much the same way as when you have pre-cast Renew Icon Renew or Holy Word: Sanctuary Icon Holy Word: Sanctuary). You should try to have the Lightwell up shortly before the raid damage begins, so that you can use your global cooldowns on other spells during that time.

3.4.3. Guardian Spirit

Guardian Spirit Icon Guardian Spirit is one of the most useful tools you can bring to a raid. Using it places a buff on the target, which lasts for 10 seconds and increases all healing received by the target by 60%. If the target receives a killing blow during this time, they will not die and instead be healed for 40% of their maximum health, consuming the Guardian Spirit effect.

While you can use this on any raid member who is about to die and whom you have no other means of saving, it is by far better used on a tank who is about to take a large amount of damage. You should make sure to communicate with the tank and other healers, in order to ensure that you do not use multiple powerful cooldowns at the same time.

You can also use this spell to allow tanks (or other players) to survive an ability that should have otherwise been avoided, either as part of your raid's strategy or to recover from a mistake.

Keep in mind that your raid leader may assign you to use this spell for a specific event in the encounter.

3.4.4. Tier 3 Talents

If you have chosen Surge of Light Icon Surge of Light, then simply be prepared to use your procs, so that they do not overwrite each other.

Mindbender Icon Mindbender should be used on cooldown, to make use of its much lower cooldown. Trying to stack it with various cooldowns, as we mentioned regarding Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend, is still ideal.

Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace replaces Holy Fire Icon Holy Fire. It is essentially the same as Holy Fire, with a few key differences.

  • 100% of the damage that Power Word: Solace does is also done as healing to a nearby ally.
  • Power Word: Solace does not cost any Mana.
  • Power Word: Solace restores 2% of maximum Mana when cast.

It should be used whenever you have spare time to use it (that is to say, when you do not have to heal more intensely), and when you can use the Mana return it provides.

3.4.5. Tier 5 Talents

Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion should be used whenever a period of intense healing is coming up, or simply when you want to conserve your Mana. Exceptionally, you can use it to deal more damage, if the encounter calls for it.

Procs from Divine Insight Icon Divine Insight should be used as soon as possible. It is ideal to use them during times of raid damage (so that they do not overheal), but this is not always under your control.

Twist of Fate Icon Twist of Fate works passively to increase your healing, so there is nothing particular for you to do.

3.4.6. Tier 6 Talents

Whichever of these talents you chose, you should use it whenever it will not overheal. Obviously, all of these talents are suited for AoE healing.

3.4.7. Tier 7 Talents

The only viable talent in this tier is Words of Mending Icon Words of Mending, and its effect is entirely passive, so there is nothing for you to worry about.

4. Changelog↑top

  • 16 Dec. 2014: Updated the section regarding Holy Word: Sanctuary Icon Holy Word: Sanctuary, and added a small section about changing between Chakras during the encounter.