Discipline Priest Healing Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Shadowlands 9.0.2

Last updated on Dec 08, 2020 at 09:39 by Clandon 11 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 9.0.2.

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

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.If you are just beginning to learn Discipline Priest, take a look at our easy guide that sticks to the basics first.

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.

DPS Rotation / Atonement

The ideal rotation for dealing damage in order to generate Atonement Icon Atonement healing is as follows.

  1. Maintain Shadow Word: Pain Icon Shadow Word: Pain (or Purge the Wicked Icon Purge the Wicked, if you have taken this talent) on the target.
  2. Use Schism Icon Schism as needed to provide a damage increase, and thus healing increase for your Atonement Icon Atonements (if you have taken this talent).
  3. Use Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace on cooldown (if you have taken this talent).
  4. Use Penance Icon Penance on cooldown.
  5. Use Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast on cooldown.
  6. Use Smite Icon Smite as a filler.

From now on in this guide, whenever we mention dealing damage for Atonement Icon Atonement purposes, we mean that you should use this above rotation.

1.2.

Raid Healing

For healing damage on multiple raid members at once, your primary tool is Atonement Icon Atonement. The general idea is very simple: proactively place Atonement on the required players through the use of such spells as Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance, Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield, or Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend, so that when the damage starts coming in, you can already begin healing them through dealing damage. You want to avoid being caught without having Atonement up on players when damage starts coming in, since this will leave you unprepared.

If you must heal a rather low number of players or if the damage taken is low, then you should use Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend to apply and maintain Atonement on them. Throughout this time, you should continue to DPS. If your Atonement targets need healing (are all approximately less than 90% health), you should use Penance Icon Penance or Smite Icon Smite offensively to help top them off. Since you will be able to cast Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance in between Evangelism Icon Evangelism casts (assuming you are using this talent), you should use it as needed when the group takes damage. Be careful to not use Power Word: Radiance if you will be left without 1-2 charges for when Evangelism is off cooldown, or when the next major raid damage event is going to occur. A common mistake made is applying Atonement to targets that have only taken a small amount of damage and will not continue taking damage over the remaining duration of Atonement. The ideal targets for Atonement are players inflicted by things like damage over time effects, bleeds, or long lasting area of effect damage.

If the number of players you have to heal or the damage received are high, then you should use the following rotations based on the cooldown you have available.

1.2.1.

Evangelism Ramp

  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 (depends on the damage pattern of the encounter in question, in some cases it is best to hold a charge when there is more consistent damage).
  3. Use Evangelism Icon Evangelism.
  4. Use Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend(not always required but is advised if there is high sustained damage).
  5. Use Schism Icon Schism (if talented) so that it hits after damage is supposed to occur.
  6. Damage Occurs
  7. Use Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace (if talented).
  8. Use Halo Icon Halo (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.
1.2.2.

Spirit Shell Ramp

  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.
  3. Use Mindbender Icon Mindbender.
  4. Use Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell.
  5. Use Schism Icon Schism (if talented).
  6. Use Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace (if talented).
  7. Use Halo Icon Halo (if talented).
  8. Use Penance Icon Penance to deal damage.
  9. Use Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast.
  10. 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 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.

1.2.3.

Rapture Ramp

If you have a charge of Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance available, but no Evangelism Icon Evangelism, and there is a mechanic that warrants healing, you can also ramp utilizing Rapture Icon Rapture. In this situation you should use the following rotation:

  1. Cast Rapture Icon Rapture.
  2. Cast Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield until the Rapture buff has fallen off.
  3. Cast Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance once.
  4. Damage Occurs
  5. Use Schism Icon Schism (if talented) so that it hits after damage is supposed to occur.
  6. Use Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace (if talented).
  7. Use Penance Icon Penance to deal damage.
  8. Keep using Smite Icon Smite until Penance Icon Penance or Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace comes back off cooldown.

If you are using the legendary Clarity of Mind Icon Clarity of Mind, you can utilize two casts of Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance within your Rapture Icon Rapture ramps instead of limiting it to one, as well as using Mindgames Icon Mindgames if you are Venthyr.

Depending on your talent choice, you will also supplement your AoE healing with Halo Icon Halo in any of the above ramps, but keep in mind that only the first target that these abilities damage generates Atonement healing (so you should view them as direct healing spells rather than means of doing damage).

1.2.4.

A Special Note for Venthyr Players

When using the Nadjia the Mistblade Soulbind, her first Soulbind ability, Thrill Seeker Icon Thrill Seeker, has an interesting optimization that can be utilized. It is currently unknown as to whether this is intended or not, but you can /cancelaura Thrill Seeker, effectively resetting its current stack count. What this allows you to do is force Thrill Seeker to proc at a specific time (during a ramp/burst sequence), due to its stack gains being a set 1 per 2 seconds, assuming no add deaths.

1.3.

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 perform your DPS rotation. 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.

1.4.

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. To use Boon in one of your ramps, utilize the following cast sequence:

  1. Boon of the Ascended Icon Boon of the Ascended
  2. Ascended Blast Icon Ascended Blast
  3. Schism Icon Schism
  4. Ascended Nova Icon Ascended Nova
  5. Ascended Nova Icon Ascended Nova
  6. Ascended Blast Icon Ascended Blast
  7. Repeat Nova/Nova/Blast until the spell ends

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 cast right before your Schism Icon Schism cast in any of 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 utilized outside of your ramps during a period where you can avoid utilizing Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend for as long a possible to keep the Benevolent Faerie Icon Benevolent Faerie on the desired target. While this spell is active, utilize Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield as your primary single-target Atonement Icon Atonement activator.

1.5.

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

  • 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.
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