Holy Priest Healing Guide — Shadowlands 9.0.2

Last updated on Dec 15, 2020 at 00:23 by Niphyr 28 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Holy Priest guide for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2. Here, you will learn how to heal as a Holy Priest in both raids and Mythic+ dungeons. We cover everything from the basics all the way to min-maxing techniques to optimize your output.

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

1.

Holy Priest Overview

Holy Priest is a fantastic reactive healer, especially suited for healing large groups and raids. With a response to almost all damage types, there is always a tool on hand to deal with the situation and keep you thinking while you play.

Raid healing as a Holy Priest revolves around the chosen talents and the two Holy Words, Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify and Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity. Outside of these, the bulk of the healing comes from the Mana-efficient Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending and Circle of Healing Icon Circle of Healing, alongside the variety of "filler" spells used to reduce the cooldown of our burst-healing holy words. Talenting into Holy Word: Salvation Icon Holy Word: Salvation gives Holy Priest a second raid cooldown, which can be invaluable to your healing team.

In order to properly play a healing role, you will need more than just class-specific information. To better understand healing in general, we recommend that you read our healing guide.

2.

Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
X Weaknesses
  • -Mediocre survivability, no immunities or damage reduction defensive abilities.
  • -Properly utilising the multitude of low-cooldown healing abilities regularly can be difficult to track for new players.
  • -Mediocre group healing in situations that force a large spread.
  • -Reliance on short cooldown abilities can hurt sustained throughput, especially single target.
3.

Shadowlands Changes for Priests

We are maintaining a list of changes for Priests, so you can see what changed between Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands. The new expansion also introduces new character customization options with Covenants and Legendary Powers, for which we have Priest-specific pages that you can access below.

Holy Priest in Shadowlands will remain very similar in terms of the current playstyle and talents taken. Both in Mythic+ and Raids, there has been almost no change to the base toolkit. Some DPS spells that were removed in previous expansions have returned, along with some utility spells.

The most notable changes for Holy Priest in Shadowlands are the return of instant-cast Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending, and Circle of Healing Icon Circle of Healing becoming a baseline spell and no longer a talent. Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion has returned at level 58 and Apotheosis Icon Apotheosis has also received an additional effect that resets the cooldown on Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify, Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity and Holy Word: Chastise Icon Holy Word: Chastise when used.

There are no significant changes to the playstyle or "rotation" we currently use in both Raids and Mythic+. Despite Smite Icon Smite having a slight Mana cost added it is still the go-to filler for periods of low damage to continue being active while regenerating Mana for more healing intensive periods.

4.

Leveling a Holy Priest

While levelling a Priest, you will often want to heal your allies through dungeons and other group content. Our levelling guide has you covered for the basics, as well as some tips and tricks to help when healing.

Hitting max level and then trying to dive straight into end-game content as a healer can be quite daunting. To ease in this transition you should try to implement relevant macros and addons as you are levelling. While not all are necessary throughout the levelling process, getting started in modifying your UI and how it impacts your performance as a healer early on will make it much easier to dive head-on into the end game content when you reach max level.

5.

Basics of Holy Priest Gameplay

Holy Priest is classed as a reactive healer, meaning you will primarily be reacting to damage your allies take and then cast the appropriate spells from your toolkit to respond to that damage. While this healing style does make Holy Priest one of the easier healers to pick up, getting your head around the number of healing spells available can take some time.

To learn about the fundamentals and make sure you are doing the basics right, familiarise yourself with the Spell Summary page then move on to the Easy Mode page.

If you have experience playing Holy Priest, you can dive into a bit more depth by learning about the current talents, builds and rotation. The rotation page in particular provides a lot of value in helping you properly decide when to use each of the spells and ensure you get the maximum return from your Mana spent.

6.

Covenant Choice 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.

7.

How to Gear Up a Holy Priest

Gearing as a healer can be a bit daunting at first. There is a lot of variability in your healing from fight to fight, dungeon to dungeon. For most gear slots you will be prioritising item level but this can be further complicated by gear with special bonuses like Conduits or trinkets, tertiary stats like Leech and gear containing sockets.

To help you wade through it all the stats page discusses what and why you should prioritise while gearing and there is a best in slot list for the current raid tier to use as a foundation for gearing.

Once you obtain new gear, be sure to squeeze out that extra bit of performance by improving your gear with gems and enchants. You should also look to be buffing your character with the appropriate consumables.

8.

Holy Priest End-Game

How you gear, play and support your allies depends heavily on the type of content you are participating in. Whether it be large groups in raid, smaller dungeon groups, Torghast, or PvP skirmishes, understanding the best way to prepare, and then apply each of your abilities to specific situations is crucial to become a solid Holy Priest healer.

9.

Improving as a Holy Priest

A huge part of being a successful Holy Priest in any content is the ability to analyse your shortcomings and adapt. Most of the common mistakes for Holy Priests are around incorrect spell usage resulting in poor Mana usage and low HPS. While the Rotation advice is quite clear on how to perform optimally, actually putting it into practice can be challenging. We have compiled a list of common mistakes, frequently asked questions and some useful tools to assist you in improving.

10.

Changelog

  • 15 Dec. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Refined covenant advice to help readers make an informed choice.
  • 12 Dec. 2020 (rotation page): Added some talent and legendary specific rotation information.
  • 12 Dec. 2020 (Legendaries): Updated legendary recommendations and improved explanations.
  • 12 Dec. 2020 (mythic+ page): Updated legendary recommendations.
  • 08 Dec. 2020 (gear page): Updated trinket recommendations, including Dungeon and crafted trinkets.
  • 08 Dec. 2020 (rotation page): Added some notes about rotation with legendaries.
  • 08 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Added more tips for the final few bosses and covenant usage tips.
  • 07 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Updated Castle Nathria page for release.
  • 07 Dec. 2020 (mythic+ page): Updated for Shadowlands Season 1 release.
  • 04 Dec. 2020 (enchants page): Removed suggestion of Intellect gems due to a hotfix.
  • 03 Dec. 2020 (Legendaries): Fixed an error showing Eonar being available on hands instead of waist.
  • 03 Dec. 2020 (rotation page): Fixed a missing comment about Smite and the Shadowlands Mana addition.
  • 02 Dec. 2020 (Legendaries): Added more detailed descriptions to each of the rankings.
  • 01 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Added placeholder Castle Nathria page.
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (Torghast): Page added.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Minor edits including some information on Dungeon perks.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (FAQ page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (how to improve page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Added Castle Nathria BiS list & Trinkets.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (this page): Page updated for Shadowlands launch.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (mythic+ page): Temporarily removed the Affix advice until closer to Mythic+ release.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (enchants page): Updated with Shadowlands gems, enchants and consumables.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (stats page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Updated with Shadowlands Covenant and Legendary information.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (spells page): Reviewed for Shadowlands launch.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (talents page): Reviewed for Shadowlands release.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (rotation page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (addons page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 22 Nov. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Page added.
  • 22 Nov. 2020 (mythic+ page): Updated for Shadowlands release.
  • 21 Nov. 2020 (Legendaries): Page added.
  • 16 Nov. 2020 (mythic+ page): Fixed a typo with Power Word: Fortitude.
  • 16 Nov. 2020 (spells page): Fixed a typo with Power Word: Fortitude.
  • 16 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Fixed a typo with Power Word: Fortitude.
  • 10 Nov. 2020 (talents page): Revised talent suggestions.
  • 15 Oct. 2020 (mythic+ page): Added single and multi target damage priority.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (FAQ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (how to improve page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (simulations page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (mythic+ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (rotation page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (spells page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (easy mode page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (this page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (addons page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 14 Jan. 2020 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 14 Jan. 2020 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 14 Jan. 2020 (Crucible of Storms page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 14 Jan. 2020 (The Eternal Palace page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 21 Sep. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Added more boss tips and updated talent suggestions.
  • 28 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Updated various recommendations after the first Mythic week.
  • 09 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Page added.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 23 May 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Added more tips for both bosses.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Guide added.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 15 Apr. 2019 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 08 Mar. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Minor changes to boss advice
  • 21 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added Battle of Dazar'alor tips for Holy Priest.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 25 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated some talent suggestions.
  • 31 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Page added.
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