Holy Priest Healing Easy Mode — Shadowlands 9.1
On this page, we explain how to easily play Holy Priest in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1, using the simplest rotation, talent tree, stat priority, gear setup, etc., without sacrificing performance.
This page is intended for players who are new to the game or class, have no intentions of raiding Mythic difficulty, or simply want a more straightforward way to play their specialisation without being overwhelmed by the numerous subtleties and active abilities that need to be taken into consideration for optimal play.
The Basics of Holy Priest
Holy Priests are better suited to AoE/raid healing, where they are able to provide relatively smooth output. That said, they are also capable single target healers. Most of the stronger Holy Priest spells require standing still to cast, which requires some forward thinking to play optimally, meaning periods of heavy movement can sometimes be punishing and should be planned ahead.
Talent Choice for Holy Priest
These are currently the easiest talent choices to perform well as a Holy Priest. Note that some of the suggestions sacrifice a bit of performance for ease of use, but overall the difference is not great. Consult the detailed talents page for the complete picture.
- Level 15: Enlightenment (raids) or Trail of Light (dungeons)
- Level 25: Angelic Feather
- Level 30: Cosmic Ripple (raids) or Guardian Angel (dungeons)
- Level 35: Censure
- Level 40: Prayer Circle (raids) or Surge of Light (dungeons)
- Level 45: Halo (raids) or Divine Star (dungeons)
- Level 50: Holy Word: Salvation (raids) or Apotheosis (dungeons)
For dungeon healing you can also opt for a more passive approach to the level 50 tier by taking Light of the Naaru.
For both raid and dungeon healing you can also run the passive Benediction instead of Halo or Divine Star. This does remove another spell from your rotation, but creates an even heavier emphasis on reliably casting Prayer of Mending on cooldoown, which you should be doing anyway. It also pairs nicely with the Level 15 talent Renewed Faith.
Stat Choice for Holy Priest
Currently, Intellect is your highest rated stat and due to this, you should prioritise item level when comparing gear to wear. With two items of the same item level you will want to prioritise stats as follows for raid content:
- Mastery = Critical Strike
For dungeon content, the priority is:
- Critical Strike
While we provide stat preference lists, swapping gear to higher item level items — and their higher Intellect/total stats — should, usually, provide a larger upgrade than using lower item level items with better stats. The exception to this rule are items with important tertiary stats, Leech and Avoidance, which should still be used ahead of other items without them, unless the difference in item level is around 6 or above.
Best Legendaries for Holy Priest
Holy Priest does not have any "must-have" legendaries, and instead can choose between multiple legendaries, depending on personal preference.
- Flash Concentration has great synergy with the Trail of Light and Surge of Light talents, allowing for the majority of the Flash Heal casts required to keep the Legendary buff up to be instant-cast and cost no Mana. It also improves the throughput of the buffed Heal casts by cleaving it onto previously-cast targets, through Trail of Light.
- Harmonious Apparatus grants additional Holy Word cooldown reduction (4 seconds) when casting some of our normal rotational spells ( Circle of Healing reduces Holy Word: Sanctify, Prayer of Mending reduces Holy Word: Serenity, and Holy Fire reduces Holy Word: Chastise). This Legendary increases the number of powerful Holy Words we can cast just by continuing our normal playstyle of casting Prayer of Mending and Circle of Healing as regularly as practical.
While you should always pick the best Legendary for the content you care about the most first, if you wish to participate equally in most types of content, or simply do not have the time to craft multiple Legendaries, we would recommend that you pick up Flash Concentration first.
Best Covenant for Holy Priest
Deciding which Covenant to choose can be a daunting task. To help you decide, we have a page specifically discussing the pros and cons for each Covenant as a Holy Priest, and also run through the various Conduits and Soulbinds as well.
Holy Priest is in a unique situation where all of our Covenants rank similarly, particularly in a Raid environment. Regardless of the Covenant choice you make, there will be an appropriate Soulbind to suit the content you plan on doing.
Basic Playstyle for Holy Priest
Regardless of the content you are tackling you should be aware of a few basic abilities:
- Purify is used in most content as many enemies will place magical or disease debuffs on your allies which can be removed by casting Purify on the affected ally. It is commonly referred to as dispel.
- Power Word: Fortitude is a group wide buff that lasts for 60 minutes or until death and provides an additional 5% Stamina. Apply this before getting started on a dungeon or boss.
- Desperate Prayer is an active ability with a 90-second cooldown. It heals you for a portion of your maximum health and also increases your maximum health for a period of time, it should be used when your own life is in danger.
Raid healing is primarily focused around AoE group healing, as outlined below. A lot of your decision-making will be based on incoming damage and the cooldowns you have available. It is better to use your cooldowns early and often than it is to save them for unknown future situations.
Below is the basic priority you should follow in raids. You should not cast a spell that will mostly overheal, so keep this in mind while working through the priority list and skip an item if there is likely to be significant overhealing.
- Holy Word: Sanctify when a cluster of your raid is injured.
- Holy Word: Serenity on an injured ally.
- Circle of Healing on cooldown when at least 4 allies are injured.
- Prayer of Mending on cooldown.
- Halo when most of your raid is injured.
- Flash Heal for emergency triage on an ally near death.
- Prayer of Healing for general purpose raid healing.
- Heal for general purpose single-target healing.
- Smite an enemy when no healing is required.
Holy Word: Salvation should be used during a period of heavy raid-wide damage. Keep in mind, however, that your raid leader may instruct you to use it a very specific time.
Be mindful when using Halo as this spell not only heals your allies, but also damages enemies it hits. On some encounters you may have dangerous enemies that are being crowd-controlled and the damage from Halo may break this crowd-control.
Dungeon healing is primarily focused around single target healing, as outlined below. A lot of your decision making will be based on incoming damage and the cooldowns you have available. It is better to use your cooldowns early and often, than it is to save them for unknown future situations.
Below is the basic priority you should follow in dungeons. You should not cast a spell that will mostly overheal, so keep this in mind as you work through the priority list and skip an item if there is likely to be significant overheal.
- Holy Word: Serenity on an injured ally.
- Holy Word: Sanctify when most of your group is injured.
- Flash Heal for both emergency and regular healing.
- Divine Star when most of your group is injured.
- Circle of Healing on cooldown when at least 3 allies are injured.
- Prayer of Mending when little healing is required.
- Smite an enemy when no healing is required.
Dealing damage while in dungeons is often overlooked by healers. While any additional damage is beneficial to your group, it should not come at the cost of keeping your group alive, which is your main priority. Smite is your main damage dealing ability and it costs very little Mana. In situations where Mana is not a concern you can also cast Holy Fire on cooldown, and keep Shadow Word: Pain on enemy targets.
Rotation Mistakes for Holy Priest
While we have a larger section dedicated to walking through common mistakes and how to avoid them, a couple are worth mentioning now. These focus around our two most valuable resources, Mana and time.
Mana is very easy to waste without realising it. The most common way is spamming inefficient spells during downtime or periods of low healing. Stick to Smite if you want to remain active during these periods and avoid spells like Renew and Power Word: Shield as they are very Mana inefficient and should rarely be cast. Casting DPS spells outside of Smite, when Mana is going to be a concern, is also a way to accidentally consume additional Mana without realising it.
Time is a bit more difficult to quantify but one really easy thing you can do to get yourself more healing time in both dungeons and raids is to focus on minimising your movement to maximise the time that can be spent casting spells with a cast time. For those periods where you do have to move you can rely on the array of instant cast spells available to us including Prayer of Mending, Circle of Healing, Holy Word: Serenity, Holy Word: Sanctify, and, when talented, Divine Star.
Cooldown Usage for Holy Priest
As a Holy Priest, you have three baseline cooldowns. Here is how you should use them:
- 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.
- Symbol of Hope should be used towards the end of a raid encounter to give the highest potential Mana back to all healers in your group. A good guide is either when you are at 20% Mana, or the boss is at 20% health remaining.
- 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.
- 29 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Narrowed down Legendary suggestions.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Updated with Shadowlands Covenant and Legendary information.
- 16 Nov. 2020: Fixed a typo with Power Word: Fortitude.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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