Discipline Priest Healing Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Shadowlands 9.1

Last updated on Jun 29, 2021 at 10:38 by Clandon 20 comments
General Information

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Discipline Priest, depending on the type of damage your group is receiving. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your healing output and your mana efficiency. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1.

If you were looking for TBC Classic content, please refer to our TBC Classic Healer Priest rotation.

ATTENTION

As of Patch 9.1 the recommended Covenant for Discipline Priest HAS CHANGED. Please check out the Covenant page of this guide for more information.

1.

Rotation for Discipline Priests

The Discipline specialisation revolves heavily around healing through dealing damage, thanks to the Atonement Icon Atonement passive ability. We detail this below, but for now all you need to keep in mind is that dealing damage is an integral part of healing as Discipline.

In the sections that follow we will look at which abilities you should use to deal damage (in order to generate Atonement healing), as well as how to handle single target and AoE healing.

Already read this page and still struggling? Take a look at our How to Improve page to see common mistakes Discipline Priest players make as well as how to analyze your own gameplay.

The content on this page will be focused on PvE content. If you are looking for PvP focused information, please take a look at our PvP page linked below.

1.1.

Raid Healing

The core concept of Discipline Priest healing in raid is centered around spreading a large number of Atonement Icon Atonements out, followed by using damage cooldowns to result in significant healing over many targets. This described process is what we will refer to in the rest of the guide as a "Ramp". Due to Ramps revolving around the rapid spread of Atonement, the primary limiter in regards to how often you can do so is Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance. The cooldowns used in conjunction with your Power Word: Radiance casts will determine the exact type of Ramp you will execute to cover a boss mechanic.

In the following section, you will find detailed cast sequences and explanations for each of the following Ramps:

1.1.1.

Evangelism Ramps

The goal of an Evangelism Icon Evangelism Ramp is to apply between 15-20 Atonement Icon Atonements on the raid prior to the damage occurring and to quickly reverse said damage when it does. To do so, utilize this general guideline. Keep in mind that in practice, things can change situationally, but following these cast sequences will get you most of the way there.

  1. Use Fae Guardians Icon Fae Guardians on the target you wish to recieve the cooldown reduction if you are Night Fae.
  2. Apply around 5-7 Atonement Icon Atonement buffs using Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield if you are Night Fae and you used Fae Guardians Icon Fae Guardians in the previous step.
  3. Apply around 5-7 Atonement Icon Atonement buffs using Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend if not Night Fae.
  4. Use Unholy Nova Icon Unholy Nova if Necrolord.
  5. Use Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance twice about 4-5 seconds before the damage occurs.
  6. Use Evangelism Icon Evangelism.
  7. Use Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend (should be available on every other Evangelism Icon Evangelism cast).
  8. Damage Occurs
  9. Use Schism Icon Schism such that it hits after damage is supposed to occur.
  10. Cast Mindgames Icon Mindgames if Venthyr.
  11. Use Halo Icon Halo (if talented).
  12. Use Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace (if talented).
  13. Use Penance Icon Penance to deal damage.
  14. Use Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast.
  15. Keep using Smite Icon Smite until Penance Icon Penance/Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace/Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast comes back off cooldown or your Atonement Icon Atonements fall off.

When Kyrian, utilize the above priority system when Boon of the Ascended Icon Boon of the Ascended is on cooldown and use the following when Boon of the Ascended is available:

Note: Due to both Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend and Boon of the Ascended Icon Boon of the Ascended having a three-minute cooldown compared to Evangelism Icon Evangelism's one-and-a-half-minute cooldown, you will most often use Shadowfiend and Boon on alternating Evangelism casts when Kyrian.

  1. Apply around 5-7 Atonement Icon Atonement buffs using Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend.
  2. Use Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance twice about 4-5 seconds before the damage occurs.
  3. Use Evangelism Icon Evangelism.
  4. Use Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend.
  5. Use Boon of the Ascended Icon Boon of the Ascended.
  6. Damage Occurs
  7. Use Ascended Blast Icon Ascended Blast.
  8. Use Schism Icon Schism.
  9. Use Ascended Blast Icon Ascended Blast.
  10. Use Ascended Nova Icon Ascended Nova.
  11. Use Ascended Nova Icon Ascended Nova.
  12. Repeat Ascended Blast Icon Ascended Blast/Ascended Nova Icon Ascended Nova/Ascended Nova Icon Ascended Nova until the spell ends. Ensure you are in range of the boss and your raid when it does to benefit from the final explosion.
1.1.2.

Spirit Shell Ramps

When utilizing Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell, you want to ensure that you have stacked the absorb shield on your allies prior to the damage occurring as opposed to just getting your Atonement Icon Atonement up and then utilizing your DPS spells after the damage happens, like during the Evangelism Icon Evangelism ramp. This means that when running Spirit Shell, you are likely to be ramping earlier than with Evangelism.

  1. Use Fae Guardians Icon Fae Guardians on the target you wish to recieve the cooldown reduction if you are Night Fae.
  2. Apply around 5-7 Atonement Icon Atonement buffs using Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield if you are Night Fae and you used Fae Guardians Icon Fae Guardians in the previous step.
  3. Apply around 5-7 Atonement Icon Atonement buffs using Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend if not Night Fae.
  4. Use Unholy Nova Icon Unholy Nova when Necrolord.
  5. Use Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance twice.
  6. Use Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend.
  7. Use Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell.
  8. Use Schism Icon Schism.
  9. Use Mindgames Icon Mindgames when Venthyr.
  10. Use Halo Icon Halo (if talented).
  11. Use Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace (if talented).
  12. Use Penance Icon Penance to deal damage.
  13. Use Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast.
  14. Keep using Smite Icon Smite until Penance Icon Penance/Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace/Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast comes back off cooldown or your Atonement Icon Atonements fall off.

When Kyrian, utilize the above when Boon of the Ascended Icon Boon of the Ascended is on cooldown and use the following when Boon of the Ascended is available:

Note: Due to both Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend and Boon of the Ascended Icon Boon of the Ascended having a three-minute cooldown compared to Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell's one-and-a-half-minute cooldown, you will most often use Shadowfiend and Boon on alternating Spirit Shell casts when Kyrian.

When using Clarity of Mind Icon Clarity of Mind

  1. Apply around 5-7 Atonement Icon Atonement buffs using Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend.
  2. Use Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend.
  3. Use Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance once.
  4. Use Boon of the Ascended Icon Boon of the Ascended
  5. Use Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell.
  6. Use Ascended Blast Icon Ascended Blast (Can be macroed together with the Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell cast).
  7. Use your second Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance.
  8. Use Ascended Blast Icon Ascended Blast.
  9. Use Schism Icon Schism.
  10. Use Ascended Blast Icon Ascended Blast.
  11. Use Ascended Nova Icon Ascended Nova.
  12. Use Ascended Nova Icon Ascended Nova.
  13. Repeat Ascended Blast Icon Ascended Blast/Ascended Nova Icon Ascended Nova/Ascended Nova Icon Ascended Nova until the spell ends. Ensure you are in range of the boss and your raid when it does to benefit from the final explosion.

When using Spheres' Harmony Icon Spheres' Harmony

  1. Apply around 5-7 Atonement Icon Atonement buffs using Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend.
  2. Use Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend.
  3. Use Boon of the Ascended Icon Boon of the Ascended
  4. Use Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell.
  5. Use Ascended Blast Icon Ascended Blast (Can be macroed together with the Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell cast).
  6. Use Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance once.
  7. Use Ascended Blast Icon Ascended Blast.
  8. Use your second Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance.
  9. Use Ascended Blast Icon Ascended Blast.
  10. Use Schism Icon Schism.
  11. Use Ascended Blast Icon Ascended Blast.
  12. Use Ascended Nova Icon Ascended Nova.
  13. Use Ascended Nova Icon Ascended Nova.
  14. Repeat Ascended Blast Icon Ascended Blast/Ascended Nova Icon Ascended Nova/Ascended Nova Icon Ascended Nova until the spell ends. Ensure you are in range of the boss and your raid when it does to benefit from the final explosion.
1.1.3.

Rapture Ramps

Rapture Icon Rapture provides a more front-loaded ramp due to the size of the shields applied during the buff. While you will not receive the same amount of healing out of a Rapture Ramp as you would a Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell or Evangelism Icon Evangelism Ramp, it is a very solid supplemental ramp to utilize when the others are not available.

  1. Cast Rapture Icon Rapture.
  2. Cast Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield until the Rapture Icon Rapture buff has fallen off.
  3. Cast Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance once (Occasionally twice depending on the fight's damage patterns and your talent/Legendary selections).
  4. Damage Occurs
  5. Use Schism Icon Schism
  6. Cast Mindgames Icon Mindgames (if Venthyr and it will be back available for your next Evangelism Icon Evangelism Ramp).
  7. Use Halo Icon Halo (if talented).
  8. Use Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace (if talented).
  9. Use Penance Icon Penance to deal damage.
  10. Use Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast.
  11. Keep using Smite Icon Smite until Penance Icon Penance/Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace/Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast comes back off cooldown or your Atonement Icon Atonements fall off.
1.1.4.

Mini (Single Radiance) Ramps

Often times, after determining the locations of a fight where you will utilize your larger Ramps, there will be spare Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance casts available to you. When you find yourself with a spare Radiance cast, you can perform a Mini Ramp with it if the incoming damage is enough to warrant it.

  1. Apply around 2-5 Atonement Icon Atonement buffs using Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend.
  2. Cast Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance once.
  3. Damage Occurs
  4. Use Schism Icon Schism.
  5. Use Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace (if talented).
  6. Use Penance Icon Penance to deal damage.
  7. Use Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast.
  8. Keep using Smite Icon Smite until Penance Icon Penance/Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace/Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast comes back off cooldown or your Atonement Icon Atonements fall off.
1.1.5.

Downtime

When you are not currently performing one of the above-mentioned Ramps, you want to be very conservative in regards to your Mana usage, as it is very easy to start throwing around Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend casts on anyone taking any amount of damage and later on finding yourself out of Mana for your much more relevant and needed healing. Look for targets that will be taking damage over an extended period of time to maximize the efficiency of your Atonement Icon Atonement casts and be mindful on how much Mana your larger Ramps will consume.

1.1.6.

Power Infusion

In general, while Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion could be utilized on yourself to enhance your healing output/strength of your ramps, our recommendation is to give it to DPS on cooldown.

1.2.

Dungeon Healing

Dungeon healing relies on Atonement Icon Atonement when the damage amounts are low to medium. For higher amounts of damage, you will need to make use of additional spells.

When the damage is low to medium, you should maintain Atonement on the target through using Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend and simply use your DPS spells on cooldown. This should provide enough healing to keep the target alive. Using Shadow Mend this way should ensure that Atonement Icon Atonement is always up on the target.

When the damage is high, Atonement Icon Atonement healing will no longer suffice on its own. In case of group-wide damage, you should use Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance to quickly apply 5 Atonements at 60% duration and use Schism Icon Schism (if talented), Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace and Penance Icon Penance offensively to heal up your group. Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend or Mindbender Icon Mindbender can supplement your healing quite well in a pinch, so it is recommended to save the cooldown as best you can for packs or bosses that require the extra healing. When this is not enough, you need to utilize other cooldowns like Rapture Icon Rapture, Power Word: Barrier Icon Power Word: Barrier or your covenant ability, depending on what you chose.

For further tips and tricks in Mythic+ content, please check out our Mythic+ specific page.

1.3.

Covenant Ability Usage

Mindgames Icon Mindgames is one of the simpler Covenant abilities to utilize. With its low cooldown, you can just cast Mindgames after Schism in any of your ramps for a large burst of healing.

Boon of the Ascended Icon Boon of the Ascended, with its longer cooldown, will not get used in every ramp, but should be used opposite of your other major cooldown Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend. See the above rotation guides to see how to fit Boon into one of your ramps. With Ascended Blast and Ascended Nova usable while moving, you should have no problems moving into melee range for the final AoE portion of Boon.

Unholy Nova Icon Unholy Nova should be used directly before your Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance casts during your ramps. Due to Unholy Nova damage utilizing a square root calculation, for maximum Atonement Icon Atonement healing from this spell, try to only hit 1 enemy with it.

Fae Guardians Icon Fae Guardians should be used at the beginning of your ramp while targeting the player you want to recieve the cooldown reduction portion of the spell. Due to it not being possible to use a mouseover macro with this spell directly, take a look at our macros section for a useful macro to accomplish this. While this spell is active, utilize Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield as your primary single-target Atonement Icon Atonement activator to avoid moving the cooldown reduction off the intended target.

1.4.

Atonement Applicators

Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield is best used in situations when you are on the move or the target is not currently damaged. On the other hand, Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend can be a great way to spot heal and apply Atonement Icon Atonement in situations where you have the time to stop moving in order to cast it and when the direct heal of the spell will contribute. Shadow Mend is usually the better spell to use in most situations and should not be considered only an emergency heal. Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance provides a quick method of getting Atonement out in your group and remains the most global cooldown and Mana-efficient spell per seconds of Atonement applied.

2.

Cooldown Usage for Discipline Priests

  • Pain Suppression Icon Pain Suppression should be used on a tank, before a damage spike. Alternatively, it can be used on a raid member who is targeted by a very damaging ability.
  • Power Word: Barrier Icon Power Word: Barrier should be used to mitigate intense AoE damage; it requires the raid to be stacked in one place.
  • Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend should be treated as a healing cooldown that provides healing throughput during high periods of consistent damage.
  • Rapture Icon Rapture should be used when you anticipate a large amount of AoE damage. This allows you to pre-shield approximately 9-10 players with a sizable absorb, which also serves to set up Atonement Icon Atonement on them for subsequent healing. Be aware that after Rapture expires any new Power Word: Shield casts will replace the previous buff on the target.
  • Desperate Prayer Icon Desperate Prayer provides you with a cooldown that increases your health as well as providing you with a heal equal to the amount of health increased. This is used in a situation where you need a quick self-heal or need the additional health to survive an ability.
3.

Optional Read: Mastering Your Discipline Priest

While the guidelines we have given so far will enable you to perform very decently as a Discipline Priest, there are some subtleties which you need to be aware of if you want to play your character to its full potential.

3.1.

Atonement

  • While we generate healing through dealing damage, the way it is calculated is not as simple. For instance, things that increase our damage and healing (for example, Versatility) will not double dip. This is because only the healing portion of such buffs will modify Atonement.
  • Mechanics that reduce our damage dealt do not affect the healing done with Atonement. For example, some raid bosses have phases with 99% reduced damage taken; Disc damage done will still heal for full through Atonement. That being said, immunities will stop our damage completely, which also means our Atonement healing.
  • External buffs that increase our damage dealt will also have no effect on Atonement healing (our own buffs do increase healing, for example, Schism). There is only one external buff that will affect Atonement healing — Chaos Brand Icon Chaos Brand, from Demon Hunters.
  • Once Atonement is applied to a friendly target, the range at which the healing applies is extremely far. You will rarely find any encounter room where your Atonement will be out of range, unless the encounter phases you and your target apart.
  • Damage trinkets and Racials do not heal through Atonement (unless they increase our baseline spells damage).
  • AoE damage effects, such as Halo Icon Halo/Divine Star Icon Divine Star/Holy Nova Icon Holy Nova, and Mind Sear Icon Mind Sear will do healing through Atonement, but only on the first instance of damage.
3.2.

Absorption Effects

Discipline Priests have two absorption effects by default, and a third one that can be gained from talents.

Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield is quite simple. You place a shield on a target, which absorbs a certain amount of damage, depending on Shields benefit from your critical strike chance, absorbing twice as much damage when this effect procs.

Damaging an enemy with Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast causes a part of of the next damage that they deal to be absorbed. This works on castable abilities as well as boss auto-attacks.

3.3.

Penance

Penance is best used offensively unless a target requires healing and you are unable to stop and cast Shadow Mend. Penance also will begin healing the target faster than alternatives, so if a quicker heal is needed, Penance can be used defensively. Keep in mind that without a Power of the Dark Side Icon Power of the Dark Side proc, Shadow Mend does more healing than a defensively used Penance.

4.

Changelog

  • 29 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 07 Jun. 2021: Updated the Kyrian Boon rotation and generally fleshed out the rotation more.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Overhauled Raid Rotation section for more detail and added Covenant switches.
  • 10 Feb. 2021: Removed mention of Thrillseeker cancelaura due to Blizzard changing the interaction. Added clarification on Power Infusion.
  • 08 Dec. 2020: Slight adjustments to the wording in the ramp sequence examples. Added mention of Thrill Seeker potential bug.
  • 23 Nov. 2020: Removed reference to essences. Added Spirit Shell section. Added Covenant Ability section.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
Show more
Show less