Classic Priest PvP Guide
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play a Priest in a PvP environment in WoW Classic, with a focus on Battlegrounds but also including World PvP and Dueling. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, gameplay and rotation, and useful racial bonuses.
Priests in PvP
Being a Priest in PvP usually means a healing role, however, melting faces with the powers of shadow is also a great option, especially for soloing and dueling! We will be listing three standard builds: one for Discipline, one for Holy and one for Shadow in PvP, each with talents that can be swapped depending on your playstyle or the type of PvP you are participating in.
Healing priests excel in battleground and group world PvP, able to buff and heal their allies through almost any situation. Dueling is not a healing Priest's strength, instead relying on their allies to do most of the damage for them.
Shadow priests are one of the best PvPers in WoW Classic, and while they shine the most on solo PvP and dueling, their survivability and damage is also great to have in battlegrounds and group world PvP. Their self-reliance makes them awesome at chasing down Warsong Gulch flag carriers and defend Arathi Basin flags.
PvP Priest Races
Alliance PvP Priest Races
The preferred race of choice for Alliance priests is Dwarf. This is primarily due to the following abilities Dwarves have access to:
- Fear Ward providing immunity to the next fear effect on a long duration, with a short cooldown.
- Stoneform is a short buff providing immunity to Bleed, Poison, and Disease effects while also granting increased armor for its duration.
- Desperate Prayer is an instant-cast ability that will heal you on a long 10-minute cooldown.
Of the remaining races, Night Elf and Human are both weaker contenders for PvP. Night Elves have Shadowmeld, allowing you to stand still for invisibility from enemies far away, and other racials that reduce their damage taken. Humans have the same Desperate Prayer dwarves do, bring extra stealth detection with Perception and have Feedback which is useful versus casters.
Horde PvP Priest Races
The preferred race of choice for Horde priests is Undead. This is primarily due to the Devouring Plague and Will of the Forsaken. Devouring Plague damages enemies and heals yourself for damage done. Will of the Forsaken provides 5 seconds of immunity to Charm, Fear, and Sleep, and is usable while already affected by Charm, Fear and Sleep.
Troll is also a good PvP race due to Berserking, which is a great throughput cooldown, Shadowguard which deals a ton of return damage once you have spell damage, and Hex of Weakness which reduces enemy damage done and healing received.
Talent Builds for Priests in Classic WoW PvP
There are three main builds for PvP, one for each Priest specialization. Each of those then have a variety of choices you can make depending on the PvP content you are tackling, or the classes you are PvPing with. Using your regular raid talents for PvP is always an option, as the difference between builds is not huge, in general.
The Priest talent tree offers a lot of options which can be taken to compliment your chosen playstyle, levels of aggression and group composition. As such the suggested talent trees below are just that, suggestions. You should take the time to read through the alternative talent suggestions listed alongside each build to get the most out of your available options.
Discipline Priest PvP Talents
This build focuses on personal survivability coupled with utility and a bit of DPS and is a popular all-around PvP build. You can see it in action in this video, by Steele.
Some of the alternative talent options to the suggested build are presented below.
- Improved Healing is usually the first talent to be dropped, which talent you replace it with depends on what you feel you are lacking.
- Improved Inner Fire is a great boost against melee opponents.
- Spell Warding will help mitigate some spell damage from casters.
- Improved Mana Burn can be dropped in favor of some additional points in Mental Agility or the above-mentioned talents.
- Inspiration is another flexible talent and can be replaced with either Improved Renew if the extra throughput is more valuable, or Blessed Recovery if you feel your damage is coming more from melee and ranged, than spells.
Holy Priest PvP Talents
This build focuses around maximizing potential healing and personal survivability, at the cost of your damage output. Primarily used in group scenarios, this build excels in battlegrounds and organized PvP, but can also be used to deal some crazy damage with some talent adjustments and the right gear, as shown in this video, by Panda.
The following talents can be swapped around as desired.
- Improved Mana Burn is great for reducing enemy healers Mana, however, can be difficult to use particularly in the larger battlegrounds. Alternatives include Mental Agility or Mental Strength for increased longevity.
- Spell Warding can be dropped in favor of some points in either Improved Renew if you find you are staying out of trouble enough the extra throughput is more valuable, or Blessed Recovery if you feel your damage is coming more from melee and ranged, than spells.
- Blackout can also be a fun option, using downranked Shadow Word: Pain on multiple targets to stun them.
- Improved Prayer of Healing is not worth taking for PvP as you rarely cast Prayer of Healing. Likewise Spiritual Guidance is not worthwhile as you will not be focusing on Spirit on your gear like you would in PvE.
Shadow Priest PvP Talents
This build's goal is to make you as tough as possible, while also strongly improving your shadow damage spells. You will be extremely hard to kill in one versus one scenarios, and often able to kill multiple opponents by yourself, as shown in this classic video, by Xantim.
Some popular talent swaps are as follows.
- Improved Mana Burn can be great for reducing enemy healers' Mana, even as a Shadow Priest. Make sure to not get too caught up in using it, as you might otherwise miss opportunities to kill enemies, rather than just draining their Mana.
- Improved Inner Fire makes you even harder to kill by physical damage dealers, giving you a large armor boost against Warriors, Rogues and Hunters.
- Improved Vampiric Embrace allows you to heal through your damage better when using Vampiric Embrace. This is often very beneficial in groups, as your damage will heal everyone for the same amount it would have healed you as a solo player, otherwise, causing immense healing output.
Classic Priest Playstyle in PvP
Depending on your spec, you will be focused on healing or damage dealing in PvP, but should always keep in mind that, as most spells are available to all specializations, there might be opportunities for healing priests to DPS and for shadow priests to heal, respectively, so make sure you do not miss them!
Tips for Healing / Supporting as a Priest in WoW Classic PvP
Due to the often bursty nature of damage in PvP, and the shorter duration of most PvP encounters your Mana pool is generally not a big concern. This enables us to lean heavily on the higher healing but less efficient spells to quickly top up allies and keep them safe such as Flash Heal. The more efficient spells like downranked versions of Greater Heal and Heal are used significantly less than in dungeons and raids.
Beyond pure healing, Priest offers quite a lot of utility. You should aim to have Inner Fire up on yourself at all times for the increased defense, and Power Word: Fortitude / Prayer of Fortitude, as well as Shadow Protection / Prayer of Shadow Protection on yourself and your allies before going into battle.
When against enemy Priests who are dispelling your beneficial effects, it can be useful to apply Rank 1 buffs in order to waste their Mana and make it harder to dispel important effects such as Renew.
- Power Word: Shield is an excellent instant cast, absorbing some incoming damage and making you not lose cast time to being attacked while it is up.
- Dispel Magic can be cast on an ally removing 2 harmful magic effects, or an enemy removing 2 beneficial magic effects. This is fantastic at dealing with powerful debuffs and buffs, like crowd control effects.
- Abolish Disease periodically removes diseases from the target.
- Power Infusion increases a targets damage and healing for a short period of time, and can be used on yourself or an ally for a temporary boost of power.
- Psychic Scream is an instant AoE fear which can ease pressure on yourself and your allies by fearing enemies away.
- Levitate can be used on yourself and your allies to slow falling or move faster over water. Particularly useful in World PvP and Battleground situations.
- Mind Vision is a niche ability, but it can be used to spy on enemy locations (such as a Warsong Gulch flag carrier's location), or to quickly check up on allies.
Tips for DPSing as a Priest in WoW Classic PvP
Priest's offensive tools are somewhat limited compared to pure damage specs such as Warlocks, but they are still worth utilizing. Note that we will be listing Discipline and Holy damage spells here together with Shadow, as they can also hurt a lot, as you saw in our Holy spec example video above.
- Shadow Word: Pain is a damage over time effect that can either be used at maximum rank for huge and almost unavoidable damage against multiple targets, or at lower ranks to keep targets in combat and prevent them reentering stealth.
- Mind Blast is a high damage ability with a short cast time and a short cooldown. Once you have 4 points into Improved Mind Blast you can fit exactly two Mind Flay casts in between Mind Blasts!
- Mana Burn, especially with Improved Mana Burn, is particularly potent for taking care of spell casters and other healers by depleting their Mana pool. It also does a small amount of damage.
- Devouring Plague, the Undead Priest's racial ability, provides a strong damage over time effect on an enemy and heals you for the damage done. It does cost a huge amount of Mana, however.
- Smite is your primary damage spell as Discipline / Holy, and will be your go-to when other higher damage spells are on cooldown.
- Holy Fire is a high damage spell but has a particularly long cast time, which makes it hard to use in most situations.
- Holy Nova does not do a lot of damage or healing, but can be useful while moving along with 3+ targets. It can also be used at Rank 1 to locate nearby stealthed enemies.
Consumables for PvP Priests
Consumables are prevalent all throughout Classic and PvP is no exception. The most common consumables you will use are potions. These can provide short term benefit in a variety of ways from healing you, to making you move faster, become immune to movement altering effects or damage from enemies. The more popular ones include:
- Major Healing Potion
- Free Action Potion
- Living Action Potion
- Swiftness Potion
- Invisibility Potion
- Limited Invulnerability Potion
Engineering is a great profession in WoW Classic, as it creates a lot of useful consumables and trinkets — particularly the popular Iron Grenade and Goblin Sapper Charge. Some of those are especially strong in PvP, but most of them trigger a 1-minute shared cooldown.
- Arcanite Dragonling (1-hour cooldown)
- Goblin Sapper Charge (5-minute cooldown, triggers 1-minute on rest)
- Goblin Land Mine
- Thorium Grenade
- Dark Iron Bomb
- Iron Grenade
- Dense Dynamite
- Goblin Rocket Helmet
- 08 Sep. 2019: Reworked the guide and added a Shadow Priest section and considerations.
- 09 Aug. 2019: Guide added.
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