Holy Priest Healing Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities in Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1

Last updated on Sep 25, 2018 at 09:22 by Niphyr 30 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Holy Priest core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth 8.0.1. 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 Holy Priest.

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

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Niphyr, a generally knowledgeable, long-time healing Priest and theorycrafter. You can follow him on Twitter.

1. Rotation for Holy Priests

Healing is in great part based on your ability to react to the damage that the group takes, and as such, there is no set rotation. Rather, you must understand what spells are best suited to the different situations that can occur during a raid encounter.

Below, you will find the optimal use of your abilities, and it will be up to you to then combine them efficiently in combat.

1.1. Dungeon Healing

Dungeon healing is primarily focused around Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal healing multiple allies at once through the Trail of Light Icon Trail of Light talent, and supplementing this with regular use of your cooldown-based abilities. 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 priority you should follow in dungeons. You should not cast a spell that will mostly overheal, so keep this in mind as working through the priority list and skip an item if there is likely to be significant overheal.

  1. Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity on an injured ally.
  2. Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify when most of your group is injured.
  3. Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal for emergency healing.
  4. Divine Star Icon Divine Star if talented, when most of your group is injured.
  5. Circle of Healing Icon Circle of Healing if talented, when most of your group is injured.
  6. Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal for regular healing, utilising Trail of Light Icon Trail of Light to heal multiple allies.
  7. Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing when your whole group is injured.
  8. Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending when little healing is required.
  9. Renew Icon Renew while moving and healing is required.
  10. Smite Icon Smite an enemy when no healing is required.

For heavy single target damage, use Apotheosis Icon Apotheosis with Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal and Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity as it comes off cooldown. If this is still not enough, you also have access to Guardian Spirit Icon Guardian Spirit.

For heavy AoE damage, use Apotheosis Icon Apotheosis with Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing and Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify to keep your group alive. If this is still not enough, you also have access to Divine Hymn Icon Divine Hymn.

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 Icon Smite is your main damage dealing ability, costs no mana and can proc Surge of Light Icon Surge of Light if talented. In situations where mana isn't a concern you can also cast Holy Word: Chastise Icon Holy Word: Chastise and Holy Fire Icon Holy Fire on cooldown.

1.2. Raid Healing

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.

There are two main playstyles for raid healing and which one you follow depends on your Tier-90 talent choice of either Binding Heal Icon Binding Heal or Circle of Healing Icon Circle of Healing.

Be mindful when using Halo Icon 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.

If talented, Holy Word: Salvation Icon 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.

These next two sections outline the priority you should follow in raids. You should not cast a spell that will mostly overheal, so keep this in mind as working through the priority list and skip an item if there is likely to be significant overheal.

1.2.1. Circle of Healing Priority

When talented into Circle of Healing Icon Circle of Healing and raid healing, your priority should be as follows:

  1. Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify when a cluster of your raid is injured.
  2. Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity on an injured ally.
  3. Circle of Healing Icon Circle of Healing on cooldown when at least 4 allies are injured.
  4. Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending on cooldown.
  5. Halo Icon Halo when most of your raid is injured.
  6. Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal for emergency triage on an ally near death.
  7. Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing for general purpose raid healing.
  8. Heal Icon Heal for general purpose single-target healing.
  9. Renew Icon Renew while moving and emergency healing is required.
  10. Smite Icon Smite an enemy when no healing is required.

1.2.2. Binding Heal Priority

When talented into Binding Heal Icon Binding Heal and raid healing, your priority should be as follows:

  1. Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify when a cluster of your raid is injured.
  2. Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity on an injured ally.
  3. Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending on cooldown.
  4. Halo Icon Halo when most of your raid is injured.
  5. Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal for emergency triage on an ally near death.
  6. Binding Heal Icon Binding Heal for general purpose healing.
  7. Renew Icon Renew while moving and emergency healing is required.
  8. Smite Icon Smite an enemy when no healing is required.

2. Cooldown Usage for Holy Priests

As a Holy Priest, you have three cooldowns. Here is how you should use them:

  • Divine Hymn Icon 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.
  • Guardian Spirit Icon 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.
  • Symbol of Hope Icon 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.

You can read more about how to best use these cooldowns, and about the cooldowns and abilities granted by your talents, in our detailed cooldown section.

3. Optional Read: Mastering Your Holy Priest

The above information should allow you to perform at a high level as a Holy Priest. In the following sub-sections, we offer a few additional pieces of information and we expand on some concepts further.

3.1. Holy Word Cooldown Reduction

Heal Icon Heal and Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal have a passive ability that reduces the remaining cooldown of Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity by 6 seconds. Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing reduces the remaining cooldown of Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify by 6 seconds and Renew Icon Renew reduces the remaining cooldown of Holy Word: Sanctify by 2 seconds.

While you do not need to actively manage this mechanic in any way, it is very important that you are aware of its existence and that you constantly monitor the remaining cooldowns of your Holy Words, so that you can use them as soon as they become available.

3.2. Healing Cooldowns in Detail

Your healing cooldowns require a bit more explanation in order to ensure that you can make the best of them.

3.2.1. Divine Hymn

Divine Hymn Icon Divine Hymn will heal all raid members within 40 yards over 8 seconds, and also increase the healing they receive during that time by 10%.

Keep in mind that the spell is channelled, so you cannot perform other actions while casting it.

Generally, your raid leader will assign you to use this spell at a certain time in the fight, in order to counter a heavy burst of damage. If this is the case, make sure your spell is available at that time.

Otherwise, you should simply try to find a moment when using this spell is beneficial. Most often, this will happen during a period of very intense raid damage.

3.2.2. Guardian Spirit

Guardian Spirit Icon Guardian Spirit is one of the most useful tools you can bring to a raid. Using it places a buff on the target, which lasts for 10 seconds and increases all healing received by the target by 60%. If the target receives a killing blow during this time, they will not die and instead be healed for 40% of their maximum health, consuming the Guardian Spirit effect.

While you can use this on any raid member who is about to die and whom you have no other means of saving, it is by far better used on a tank who is about to take a large amount of damage. You should make sure to communicate with the tank and other healers, in order to ensure that you do not use multiple powerful cooldowns at the same time.

You can also use this spell to allow tanks (or other players) to survive an ability that should have otherwise been avoided, either as part of your raid's strategy or to recover from a mistake.

Keep in mind that your raid leader may assign you to use this spell for a specific event in the encounter.

3.2.3. Symbol of Hope

Symbol of Hope Icon Symbol of Hope is a unique cooldown that provides all healers in your raid with mana when you channel it. The amount of mana gained by each target is dependant on how much mana they are missing so this ability is often best used towards the end of encounters

If you are unsure of when to use it, a general rule of thumb is to use it either when your remaining mana is below 20% or the bosses remaining hitpoints are below 20%

3.3. Talents

3.3.1. Tier 5 Talents

You should make sure to use Surge of Light Icon Surge of Light procs quickly, so that new charges are not wasted.

3.3.2. Tier 6 Talents

When using Benediction Icon Benediction, it is important you focus on casting Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending as often as possible to maximise the benefit this talent provides.

Both Halo Icon Halo and Divine Star Icon Divine Star when talented, should be cast as often as they will do group healing as they are both efficient and do a large amount of healing.

3.3.3. Tier 7 Talents

Holy Word: Salvation Icon Holy Word: Salvation is a potent raid cooldown that heals everyone within 40 yards of you, as well as applying both renew and 2 stacks of Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending to each. While this ability does have a very long base cooldown of 12 minutes, each of your Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity and Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify casts reduce its remaining cooldown by 30 seconds. Due to this interaction, it is important you aim to efficiently use those holy words as often as practical to lower the cooldown of Holy Word: Salvation when the remaining length of the encounter allows for a second cast

Apotheosis Icon Apotheosis is a powerful cooldown, which you should save for moments of heavy damage. Below, we list the spell sequences you should use to maximise your healing-per-second.

To maximise your single target HPS:

  1. Cast Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify.
  2. Cast Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity.
  3. Cast Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal until Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity comes off cooldown.
  4. Cast Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity and repeat step 3.

To maximise your AoE HPS:

  1. Cast Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity.
  2. Cast Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify.
  3. Cast Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing until Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify comes off cooldown.
  4. Cast Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify and repeat steps 2 and onward.

4. Changelog

  • 25 Sep. 2018: Clarified playstyle options with a clear priority system.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
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