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Discipline Priest Healing Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (Legion 7.3.5)

Last updated on Aug 28, 2017 at 19:26 by Vlad 212 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Discipline Priest core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft Legion 7.3.5. 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 Discipline Priest.

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

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Mend, admin and editor at Focused Will (Discord and Blog for healing Priests). You can also follow Mend on Twitter.

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.

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 on cooldown (if you have taken this talent).
  3. Use Penance Icon Penance on cooldown.
  4. Use Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace on cooldown (if you have taken this talent).
  5. Use Smite Icon Smite as a filler.

From now on in this guide, whenever we mention dealing damage for 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 Plea Icon Plea, 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 Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield and Plea Icon Plea to apply and maintain Atonement on them, and, if needed, use Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend to prevent someone from dying. Throughout this time, you should continue to DPS. You should try to maintain around 5 Atonement Icon Atonement buffs up. 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.

If the number of players you have to heal or the damage received are high, then you should use the following rotation.

  1. Apply around 5 Atonement Icon Atonement buffs (using Plea Icon Plea and Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield).
  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  Icon Light's Wrath or Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend/Mindbender Icon Mindbender.
  5. Use Penance Icon Penance to deal damage.
  6. Keep using Smite Icon Smite until Atonement Icon Atonement buffs begin to expire.

Depending on your talent choice, you will also supplement your AoE healing with Halo Icon Halo or Divine Star Icon Divine Star, 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).

1.3. 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 Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield on cooldown and simply perform your DPS rotation. This should provide enough healing to keep the target alive. Using Power Word: Shield this way should ensure that Atonement Icon Atonement is always up on the target, but if it somehow expires, use Plea Icon Plea or Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend to re-apply it.

When the damage is high, Atonement Icon Atonement healing will no longer suffice. In addition to casting Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield on cooldown, you should spam Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend.

Please keep in mind that if you are expecting to have to heal high amounts of single target damage, you really should choose Grace Icon Grace as a Tier 7 talent.

In case of group-wide damage, you should use Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance to quickly apply 5 Atonement Icon Atonements.

1.4. Atonement Applicators

Plea Icon Plea is best used in situations when you are on the move or there is low or moderate damage going out. 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 death of the target is imminent.

You should aim to maintain around 5 Atonement Icon Atonement buffs active at any given time, as regularly applying and maintaining more will strain your Mana consumption.

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. Note that the  Icon Barrier for the Devoted artifact trait causes targets inside your Barrier to receive 100% extra Atonement Icon Atonement healing.
  • Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend should be used for additional DPS (and therefore Atonement healing) when this is needed.
  • Rapture Icon Rapture should be used when you anticipate a large amount of AoE damage. This allows you to pre-shield a large number of targets, which also serves to set up Atonement Icon Atonement on them for subsequent healing.
  • Light's Wrath Icon Light's Wrath (your Artifact ability) should be used when there is high raid damage you need to heal (provided that you have many Atonement Icon Atonement buffs active; 12+ is recommended). Alternatively, in case your raid is in dire need of extra damage, you could use it offensively.
  • Fade Icon Fade reduces the damage you take (provided you have the  Icon Vestments of Discipline trait), and should be used as often as needed.

We expand more on the cooldowns that you gain from your talents in a subsequent section.

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

Atonement Icon Atonement is a passive ability that causes a number of your spells (Plea Icon Plea, Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield, Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend, and Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance) to apply a 15-second buff (also called Atonement) on the target. While active, part of all spell damage that you deal is transfered as healing to the target(s) affected by Atonement. There is no limit to the number of targets you can have Atonement active on at any one time, and essentially all of your damage done (including from your Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend/Mindbender Icon Mindbender) except from auto attacks results in transferred healing.

The exact amount of healing that is transfered to your Atonement targets is determined by how much Mastery you have, as Mastery: Absolution Icon Mastery: Absolution increases the amount of Atonement healing.

It is also important to note that Atonement heals cannot be critical hits themselves. They always mimic the behaviour of the damage that is being transferred. If the damage is a critical strike, then this is the amount on which the amount of healing will be based on. The UI will display the healing as a critical hit, but again, it is simply based on the damage amount. The implication here is that your Critical Strike chance does not double dip by increasing your chance for both critical strikes with damages and critical hits with the subsequent heals.

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 Smite Icon Smite causes a part of of the next damage that they deal to be absorbed. This works particularly well against caster bosses, where you can time your Smite to land during the boss' cast, ensuring that they spell they use will have part of its damage absorbed.

The absorption effect gained from talents is Clarity of Will Icon Clarity of Will, a tier 7 talent, which effectively places a large shield on a player that lasts for up to 20 seconds.

3.3. Penance

We would like to make a quick note on the usage of Penance Icon Penance, which is to say that you can also use it directly on an ally, as a heal, instead of using it to deal damage and heal through Atonement Icon Atonement. That said, situations where targeting an ally directly with Penance is superior will be quite rare; they are most likely to occur during dungeon content (including high level Mythic+), where it will essentially act as an emergency single target heal.

3.4. More on Cooldowns

3.4.1. Artifact Ability for Discipline Priests

Light's Wrath Icon Light's Wrath, your Artifact ability, deals damage to the target, which is increased by 10% for each Atonement Icon Atonement buff you have active. Since this damage also heals the Atonement targets, the result is that you can produce a large amount of both damage and healing when you use this ability and have Atonement buffs up on many raid members.

Indeed, given its high cooldown of 90 seconds, you will want to use this ability wisely. Generally, we advise you to use it defensively, to heal up the raid during heavy damage. That said, if there is a high priority target that needs to die quickly, or if the fight has a tight enrage timer, or if there is no need for you to heal anyone, then you can also use it offensively.

3.4.2. Tier 1 Talents

You will obtain the benefits of Twist of Fate Icon Twist of Fate passively, provided that you hit a low-health target one with one of your spells. Aside from this, there is nothing for you to do about this talent except enjoy the increased healing.

3.4.3. Tier 4 Talents

If you are using Shield Discipline Icon Shield Discipline, then you will want to maximise your usage of Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield, especially during periods of heavy healing.

Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace should be used on cooldown. If you have also taken the Schism Icon Schism talent, then make sure to time it so that you use Power Word: Solace on the target when they are debuffed by Schism.

Mindbender Icon Mindbender should be used on cooldown, but you can also delay it for a short while to line it up with heavy raid damage (since the damage done by the Mindbender transfers as Atonement Icon Atonement healing).

3.4.4. Tier 5 Talents

If you pick Clarity of Will Icon Clarity of Will, it is assumed that you have done so with a specific goal in mind (such as bypassing an encounter ability by getting a very large shield on a player), so you should stick to your plan.

3.4.5. Tier 6 Talents

Halo Icon Halo and Divine Star Icon Divine Star should be used as often as possible, whenever there is a need for AoE healing.

3.4.6. Tier 7 Talents

Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion should be used to allow you to apply Atonement Icon Atonement on multiple targets at a reduced Mana cost (by casting several Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance), and then to increase the damage you can do (thanks to the haste buff it offers). You should use your Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend (or Mindbender Icon Mindbender, if you have taken this talent) while Power Infusion is active, so that they can benefit from the increased Haste.

4. ChangeLog

  • 28 Aug. 2017: No changes needed for Patch 7.3.
  • 06 Jul. 2017: Added a section discussing the possibility of using Penance on an ally to heal them.
  • 12 Jun. 2017: Considerably revamped the playstyle sections, and made a few other updates to account for Patch 7.2.5 changes.
  • 27 Mar. 2017: No changes needed for Patch 7.2.
  • 29 Jan. 2017: Removed mentions of using certain trinkets which we no longer recommend.
  • 10 Jan. 2017: Checked and confirmed for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 10 Nov. 2016: Added a mention of how the Shield Discipline talent affects the playstyle.
  • 15 Oct. 2016: Added an alternative playstyle for Mythic content.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 07 Aug. 2016: Made several improvements to the page following Zolvolt's review.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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