Holy Priest Essences — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3
On this page, we go over the Essence system in Patch 8.3 of World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth, and we tell you which are the best essences to use as Holy Priest, both for minor and major powers. Please refer to our Patch 8.3 Essence Guide for more information about the new essences introduced in Patch 8.3 and to our Essence guide for more general information about the Essence system and where Essences can be obtained from.
Azerite Essences for Holy Priests
The question of what is the best Essence for healers can only be answered in the light of an encounter's context. Since some of the Essences have very niche effects, they will also have niche applications, which we will try to predict in the section below, updating this guide whenever specific, strong uses are found.
For more information about essences, please check out the following:
- our Essence Guide, with all the essences and how to get them;
- our article on the new essences from Patch 8.3;
- our list of Patch 8.3 essence changes.
All major powers directly or indirectly provide an active ability, while all minor powers provide a passive ability. A mandatory Essence is one you absolutely want to have at your disposal, while a situational Essence may be worth acquiring, but will generally be relegated to niche uses. Everything else is mostly forgettable.
All the essence tooltips below will be linked at Rank 3.
Default Choice of Essences
As a general guideline, assuming you are not required to use a special purpose Essence for a specific encounter, your Essence choice should be:
- Raid Healing*: Life-Binder's Invocation ( Life-Binder's Invocation) major; The Ever-Rising Tide ( The Ever-Rising Tide), Conflict and Strife ( Strife) and The Formless Void ( Symbiotic Presence) as minors.
- Mythic+**: Spirit of Preservation ( Spirit of Preservation) major; The Ever-Rising Tide ( The Ever-Rising Tide), Conflict and Strife ( Strife) and The Crucible of Flame ( Ancient Flame) as minors.
*Do keep in mind these are not the only Essences you will ever use. Other essences, such as Memory of Lucid Dreams at Rank 3, can also be situationally useful for longer fights where you are struggling to manage your Mana, and The Ever-Rising Tide is the highest theoretical throughput, but difficult to use. Worldvein Resonance can also be a solid choice if a significant portion of your group are also running it.
These essences should be acquired and ranked up where possible, as they are most commonly used in both dungeons and raids.
The Ever Rising Tide
Major: the major power at rank 3, Overcharge Mana, has a short 30-second cooldown which grants you a buff lasting 8 seconds. During this buff each spell you cast grants you a separate buff increasing your healing done by 4%, which stacks. It also grants you 10% Haste, but the downside to this potent healing increase is for the duration your Mana regeneration from all sources is stopped entirely. This can be used often, and is particularly strong when you build up stacks into Divine Hymn or Holy Word: Salvation and will be a solid choice in both Mythic+ and short raid encounters.
Using the major power effectively can be difficult to time right. Ideally you want to cast it around 6-8 seconds before the damage is expected to come out, and then use your stronger healing spells like Divine Hymn, Holy Word: Salvation and Holy Words at high stacks. To build the stacks during the initial 8 second buff you should continue to heal normally if there is damage to heal, or cast Smite if there is no damage.
Minor: the minor power at rank 3, The Ever-Rising Tide, has a chance to give you either a short Intellect buff, restore some Mana, or on rare occasions do both. This power is a great passive bonus to both healing and regen but is not the strongest choice we have available to us.
Obtained through Mythic+ dungeons, Life-Binder's Invocation is an essence revolving around generating and consuming Seed of Eonar on your allies. These seeds at maximum rank heal for a small amount over time and are consumed when the target takes damage, heal for a small amount.
Major: the major power at rank 3, Life-Binder's Invocation, provides solid on-demand healing on a 2.5-minute cooldown. This will have uses in raids and may be especially potent for us in Mythic+ to provide additional burst healing to the whole group.
Minor: the minor power at rank 3, Seed of Eonar, frequently generates Seeds targets you heal. These seeds themselves are not a noticeable heal, but over time the additional healing can add up, especially if the seeds are being regularly burst by players taking damage. It is another good potential minor for both raid and Mythic+.
Memory of Lucid Dreams
Obtained through Nazjatar content, Memory of Lucid Dreams is an essence focused around Mana regeneration. While typically Holy Priest does not have significant Mana issues, we do have the ability to dump Mana into high HPS spells like Prayer of Healing if the damage patterns allow. This makes both the major and minor here situationally attractive, particularly for longer encounters.
Major: the major power at rank 3, Memory of Lucid Dreams, is a 2-minute cooldown that provides 15-seconds of double Mana regeneration, along with a sizeable leech buff. While it is unlikely this Major will be a default choice, it has the potential to help.
Minor: the minor power at rank 3, Lucid Dreams, gives your healing spells a small chance to refund 50% of their Mana cost. When this refund occurs, the essence also heals you for a small amount and grants you a short Versatility buff. These three effects combined make this quite a potent minor power and, particularly once both extra minors are opened up, will likely be chosen in nearly all scenarios.
Obtained through Island Expeditions, Worldvein Resonance revolves around both the major and minor creating Lifeblood Shards that appear near you for a period of time. Due to how this works, you can also be buffed by shards spawned by other players making it especially potent when many people have the essence.
Major: the major power at rank 3, Worldvein Resonance, provides on-demand Shards which does not look attractive for any content over some of the better major options.
Minor: the minor power at rank 3, Worldvein Resonance, spawns shards more frequently and for a longer duration, potentially spawning multiple shards at once. The minor here is the real strength of this essence, as you can obtain the buff from up to 4 shards at once, and other players' shards can buff you. This means the more people in your group with this essence, the higher uptime you will all have on its potent Intellect bonus.
Conflict and Strife
Obtained through Rated PvP, Conflict and Strife is again another PvP-focused essence, this time focused around surviving incoming crowd-control abilities.
Major: the major power at rank 3, Conflict, grants us our PvP trait Holy Ward which wards a friendly target against the next loss of control effect. This major power is unlikely to be desired over other potential major powers in nearly every scenario.
Minor: the minor power at rank 3, Strife, gives your spells a chance to grant a small Versatility buff that lasts 14-seconds and can stack up to 8 times. This minor is much more useful than the major and can be taken in a wide variety of circumstances.
The Crucible of Flame
Obtained through Heart of Azeroth levels, The Crucible of Flame is an essence that can supplement both damage and healing with both the major and minor powers. Due to the single-target nature of the essence, and it working with damage-dealing, it is a more Mythic+ favoured essence.
Major: the major power at rank 3, Concentrated Flame, has a short 30-second recharge, with 2 charges. This ability heals a chosen friendly target for a direct portion, then a 6-second HoT. Successive uses of Concentrated Flame increase the potency of future casts, resetting every third cast. Due to this mechanic, you get the most burst potential from this essence by having 2 charges available while having 1 stack of the potency buff. This major has potential for Mythic+, as one charge can be kept on cooldown during low damage periods, by using it on an enemy to supplement your damage. Just be aware you will want to try and cast it on separate targets, as the HoT component does not stack and instead overwrites itself.
Minor: the minor power at rank 3, Ancient Flame, gives your spells a chance to either leave a DoT on the target when dealing damage, or a HoT on the target while healing. This can stack up to 3 times and is a minor contender for both raids and Mythic+.
Obtained through Ny'alotha raid, The Formless Void is an essence that becomes the Rank 3 essence of your target for 15 seconds. The minor grants you a buff each time nearby allies use their essence.
Major: the major power at rank 3, Replica of Knowledge, has situational usage. As we already have access to all of the healing majors, this is mostly useful for gaining additional burst DPS, or perhaps in some situations a tanking essence to survive a specific mechanic.
Minor: the minor power at rank 3, Symbiotic Presence, gives you a small intellect and haste buff when allies use their major essence. Due to most DPS using their essences around the same time this essence can have wildly varying uptime, depending on the major essences your allies are using.
Spirit of Preservation
Obtained through the weekly mini-vision quests and reputation with the Rajani faction. This is a Mythic+ focused essence boosting both burst healing on single targets and small groups.
Major: the major power at rank 3, Spirit of Preservation provides a strong single target heal that also heals allies inside the beam for a small amount. It also grants additional stacks of Devout Spirit, which can be consumed for a hefty Flash Heal.
The Well of Existence
Obtained through reputation with the Mechagon faction (Rustbolt Resistance), The Well of Existence essence is based around storing up overhealing into the Well and releasing it into allies. It stores a portion of your overhealing and both the major and minor powers then consume this stored healing. Mastery: Echo of Light overhealing also builds up the Well.
Major: the major power at rank 3, Refreshment, allows you to consume the saved up healing, releasing it into a friendly target on a 15-second cooldown. The healing done by this ability is amplified by an additional 50%, and it does not overheal. This major power is particularly great for spot healing, making it ideal for use in Mythic+ where you can passively store healing in the well during low damage periods, and unleash it when needed. The major does not scale very well with larger groups, making it less attractive for raids.
Minor: the minor power at rank 3, The Well of Existence, passively releases some of the stored healing into targets you heal below 50% health while charging quickly when the Well is low. This minor on its own provides reliable passive healing over the course of an encounter on the players that need it the most.
Obtained through the Horrific Visions, Unwavering Ward provides absorb shields to yourself and nearby allies.
Major: the major power at rank 3, Guardian Shell, channels for 4 seconds, generating 12 spheres that move outwards from you. These spheres can be picked up by allies to provide them with a 10-second absorb shield, heals them slightly and also shields you. The channel can be difficult to time well but presuming all 12 spheres are used up, it can provide good value and extra effective-health for the allies in your raid.
Minor: the minor power at rank 3, Unwavering Ward, periodically shields nearby allies for a small amount. While this shield holds, the allies also take slightly reduced damage, making it a decent Minor pick in some situations.
Major: the major power at rank 3, Vitality Conduit, has a short 45-second cooldown and places a 6-second buff on your chosen friendly player. For the next 6 seconds, this target then siphons health from the highest health nearby ally, jumping to another ally if your initial target reaches full health. While this essence has some potential to help counter-act high single target damage abilities particularly in raids, the throughput is not high enough to compete with some of the other major essences, and this one will rarely be chosen.
Minor: the minor power at rank 3, Transference, gives your healing spells a chance to apply a miniature version of the major essence to your target. This also has the additional bonus of leaving a short absorb shield on the target. Overall, this minor essence may not look great on the meters but it will help increase the overall effective healing of your group by reducing some of the overhealing.
Ripple in Space
Obtained through Nazjatar World PvP, Ripple in Space is very much a PvP-focused essence and will see little use in PvE content, as it centers heavily around movement while we as Holy Priests try to avoid moving as much as possible.
Major: the major power at rank 3, Ripple in Space, is a relocation ability on a 1-minute cooldown which, when cast, leaves a beacon on the ground and 4 seconds later teleports you to that beacon.
Minor: the minor power at rank 3, Reality Shift, gives you a slight movement speed boost, and upon moving 24 yards grants you a 20-second Intellect buff. The minor has a chance of being chosen in some specific high-movement situations, such as Mythic+ where you can use the Intellect buff immediately upon arriving at your new location on either damage or healing.
Artifice of Time
Obtained through PvP Island Expeditions / Battlegrounds, Artifice of Time is another PvP-focused essence, this time focused around buffing allies.
Major: the major power at rank 3, Standstill, is on a long 3-minute cooldown and acts in a similar fashion to Ray of Hope, granting the target with a 6-second absorb buff. Effectively reducing all damage the target takes by 20%, and distributing a significant portion of incoming damage over time after expiring; this major does have potential to save some lives but comes at the hefty cost of a long cooldown and your only major slot.
Minor: the minor power at rank 3, Artifice of Time, grants your healing a chance to buff the target with a Haste and speed buff. This is also a very PvP-focused effect and has limited practical use in most PvE content compared to more desirable minor options.
Vision of Perfection
Major: the major power at rank 3, Vision of Perfection, has a chance to cast a single tick of Divine Hymn, and grant the healing buff from Divine Hymn to all targets for 3 seconds. Unfortunately, having no control over this proc means it can regularly be wasted, which means this essence really cannot compete with many of the other majors.
Minor: the minor power at rank 3, Strive for Perfection, reduces the cooldown of Divine Hymn by 13% and heals you for 5% of your maximum health when you cast Divine Hymn. Again, this essence sounds great at face value, however typically the cooldown reduction on Hymn will have no impact as especially in raids you have your cooldowns planned for you, making it hard to utilise that cooldown reduction.
- 14 Jan. 2020: Added new essences from Patch 8.3 and updated essence recommendations.
- 28 Jul. 2019: Added essence recommendations and ERT usage.
- 24 Jun. 2019: Page added.
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