Holy Priest PvP Guide in Battle for Azeroth (BfA 8.2.5)
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play in a PvP environment. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, PvP talents, gameplay and rotation, and useful racial bonuses. It is most applicable to Arena content, but most talents and racial bonuses will work in Rated Battlegrounds and skirmishes.
If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic Priest PvP guide.
Spec Overview / Place in the Current Meta for Holy Priests
Holy Priests are the most underrated healer . Usually a specialization that struggles, Holy Priests excel at healing against spread pressure and single-target teams. Many teams will struggle with how much utility and immunities you have.
Strengths of Holy Priests
- Strong spread healing
- Multiple powerful healing cooldowns
- Very Mana efficient
Weaknesses of Holy Priests
- Struggle against teams with two melee on it
- Have to cast most spells to get value from cooldowns
- Subpar sustained single-target healing
Stat Priority for Holy Priests in PvP
The stat priority for Holy Priests in PvP is as follows:
- Critical Strike.
Intellect is the best stat in all situations. Haste is the strongest secondary stat at all times due to it reducing the Global Cooldown on abilities and increasing the tick rate of your HoTs. Mastery is another stat that you should have on your gear. Mastery: Echo of Light increases your direct healing spells and significantly increasing your healing output.
Azerite Essences for Holy Priests
Essences allow players to customize their characters while adding a new ability to use. This section will cover the best overall Azerite Essences for Holy Priests in PvP. For a general guide to all the essences, as well as how to obtain them and increase their ranks, check out our Essence Guide.
Against teams that deal spread damage, Vision of Perfection is the best Major Essence. This gives your abilities a chance to activate Divine Hymn. This is great for conserving Mana and allows you to cast more important spells, like Greater Heal.
Versus teams with Demon Hunters on them, Memory of Lucid Dreams is a great choice. This Major Essence increases your Mana generation by 100% for 12 seconds. Because Demon Hunters will only win when you run out of Mana, this will allow you to extend the duration of the match much longer than before.
Against teams with two melee where you will be the primary kill target, Ripple in Space is also an option. This Major Power allows you to teleport every minute. It is great for creating distance between you and the enemy team. It should give you enough time to finish Flash Heal casts if you are low on health.
Artifice of Time is a good Major Power versus teams that will have a hard time interrupting you. When the enemy team uses their burst cooldowns, place this on your teammate taking damage. With Greater Heal, you will easily be able to heal through the ticking damage.
In addition to having a Major Essence, you can choose two Minor Essences to place in your neck at Heart of Azeroth Levels 55 and 65.
Memory of Lucid Dreams gives your spells and abilities a chance to refund 50% of the Mana spent on them and heal you. This is great for staying at a healthy Mana level throughout a long match.
Conflict and Strife gives you the Minor Power, Strife. Because you will likely be the primary target for most teams, the Versatility you gain from it will significantly increase your survivability and damage output.
The Ever-Rising Tide has a chance to either give you an increase to your primary stat or restore Mana. This is great for increasing your sustained healing output and keeping your Mana at a healthy amount.
Azerite Traits for Holy Priests
Azerite traits are unlocked in you helm, shoulders and chest. With each Azerite level in your neck, you get closer to unlocking the center trait in your gear. These traits vary from increasing damage or healing of certain abilities to helping increase your survivability. Depending on what traits you use, it can completely alter your playstyle and what talents you should be using.
Below are the best Outer Ring traits.
Holy Priests do not depend on one single trait to increase their damage. Instead, they want a mix of the above traits. Permeating Glow and Promise of Deliverance both increase your single target healing. Word of Mending and Blessed Sanctuary both help increase your spread and overall healing output.
Below are the best Middle Ring traits.
The Middle and Inner Rings are important for additional healing. Blessed Portents and Concentrated Mending both give you additional healing and are great for when you are stuck in crowd control. Woundbinder and Earthlink give you a small stat increase and results in increasing your total healing output.
Below are the best Inner Ring traits.
All of these traits give you additional ways of surviving. These are all passive, but are crucial to have.
In general, Holy Priests do not have a specific cooldown that you need trinkets to line up with. As a result, your trinkets can have a passive or on-use effect. The stat you want to be increasing is Intellect. The reason you want to increase Intellect is because it drastically increases your overall healing output.
To be successful in 3v3 arena, you need to have at least two pieces of gear with either Word of Mending or Archive of the Titans. You will also want either Blessed Portents or Woundbinder in the second tier.
Below, we list the items that have these traits.
- Blazewing Hood;
- Notorious Gladiator's Silk Helm;
- Notorious Gladiator's Silk Helm;
- Notorious Gladiator's Silk Cover;
- Notorious Gladiator's Silk Cover;
- Horrific Amalgam's Hood;
- Sirensong Headdress;
- Sandspinner Headdress.
- Mantle of the Skyterror;
- Notorious Gladiator's Silk Mantle;
- Notorious Gladiator's Silk Mantle;
- Notorious Gladiator's Silk Epaulets;
- Notorious Gladiator's Silk Epaulets;
- Mantle of Contained Corruption;
- Mantle of Ceremonial Ascension;
- Robes of Biting Cold;
- Notorious Gladiator's Silk Raiment;
- Notorious Gladiator's Silk Raiment;
- Notorious Gladiator's Silk Vestments;
- Notorious Gladiator's Silk Vestments;
- Robes of the Unraveler;
- Fen Spirit Wraps;
- Squallshaper Vestments.
Notorious Gladiator's Maledict is absolutely the best trinket you can have. The on-use damage and healing absorption is capable of forcing defensives by itself. This can be used by itself or while you are using your burst rotation to force multiple cooldowns out of enemy teams.
Notorious Gladiator's Safeguard is a mandatory trinket if you think the enemy team can swap to you and kill you. This provides and additional defensive for when you drop to low health. If you do not think a team will swap to you and kill you, you can use replace this one with any of the trinkets below.
Notorious Gladiator's Badge is strong for the Versatility and the on-use Intellect effect. The 2-minute cooldown is long, but should be used every time you are using your burst healing rotation.
Notorious Gladiator's Insignia has a good amount of Versatility on it and has a passive effect. This effect increases your Intellect. This increases your sustained healing output.
Enchant Weapon - Quick Navigation is the best weapon enchants. This enchant provides a proc that gives you more Haste. This reduces the cast time of your important spells and results in an increase to your overall healing. It also increases the rate that your HoTs heal.
Regular Talent for Holy Priests
|15||✘ Enlightenment||✔ Trail of Light||✘ Enduring Renewal|
|30||✘ Angel's Mercy||✘ Perseverance||✔ Angelic Feather|
|45||✘ Cosmic Ripple||✔ Guardian Angel||✘ Afterlife|
|60||✔ Psychic Voice||? Censure||✘ Shining Force|
|75||✔ Surge of Light||✘ Binding Heal||✘ Circle of Healing|
|90||✔ Benediction||✘ Divine Star||✘ Halo|
|100||✘ Light of the Naaru||✔ Apotheosis||✘ Holy Word: Salvation|
While the above table provides a generally accurate overview of the viability of talents, some finer points are discussed in the sections that follow, and we recommend you read those for a deeper understanding.
Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents
Trail of Light is the best choice in this tier. This talent helps with healing against teams with both single target and spread pressure.
Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents
Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents
Guardian Angel is the best choice in this tier. Many teams will try to avoid proccing Guardian Spirit to prevent the healing from it. This talent is great when teams do that, so you can use Guardian Spirit more often.
Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents
Psychic Voice is the best choice in this tier. This gives you a consistent crowd control on a short cooldown. However, if your team is lacking a stun or you are playing against a team that will prevent you from reaching the enemy healer, Censure is the best choice in this tier.
Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents
Surge of Light is the best choice in this tier. This gives you strong single-target healing that is instant and costs no Mana. It also makes it much easier to reduce the cooldown of Holy Word: Serenity.
Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents
Benediction is the best choice in this tier. This talent saves you Mana and globals.
Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents
Apotheosis is the best choice in this tier. This makes the cooldown reductions to your Holy Words 300% and makes their Mana cost free. This will be one of your primary burst healing cooldowns.
PvP Talents for Holy Priests
The first PvP talent tier is will give you a choice between Gladiator's Medallion, Relentless, and Adaptation. Against teams with very little crowd control, Adaptation is the best choice in this tier. With PvP talents like Holy Ward and Greater Fade it will make it hard for teams to put you in crowd control. Against any other team, Gladiator's Medallion is the best choice in this tier. It is the standard PvP trinket effect with a 2-minute cooldown.
You can choose 3 of the following PvP talents. Each of them has their uses, but some are better for certain strategies than others. The top three choices are the most useful, but can be replaced with other PvP talents depending on your team's goal.
Greater Fade removes all threat, increases your movement speed by 50% and causes most melee, ranged and spells to miss you for 4 seconds. This is a crucial talent for not only avoiding crowd control, but to also avoid damage if you are being focused. You can still be interrupted while this is active, so be careful.
Greater Heal is a crucial PvP talent to have. Single target healing has always been a weakness for Holy Priests. This talent provides a strong heal when there are no interrupts available.
Rapid Mending makes Prayer of Mending instant, and its jump range is increased by 10 yards. The important part about this talent is that it makes Prayer of Mending instant. Because of this, you will be able to keep you and your teammates alive with very little casting. This is also a large healing increase.
Holy Word: Concentration causes all party members in the circle on the ground to be immune to all silence and interrupt effects. This talent is absolutely crucial against teams with multiple interrupts or if you are playing with two casters. You can replace Rapid Mending with this PvP talent.
Holy Ward wards the friendly target against the next full loss of control effect. This talent will make it very hard for enemy teams to get crowd control on you. Against teams with multiple Purge or Spellsteal effects, you should use Holy Ward right before you are put into crowd control. You can replace Rapid Mending with this PvP talent.
Ray of Hope is a spell that makes it so that for the next 6 seconds, all damage and healing dealt to the target is delayed until Ray of Hope ends. All healing that is delayed by Ray of Hope is increased by 50%. This is a powerful single-target healing cooldown. You can use this versus teams that can only get a kill with their burst damage, RMP (Rogue/Mage/Priest) for example. You can replace Rapid Mending with this talent.
Racial Bonuses for Holy Priests
Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction. The races are sorted from highest impact in arena to lowest. However, all races below have their own unique ways of making an impact in a PvP match.
The Undead racial bonus ( Will of the Forsaken) removes any Charm, Fear or Sleep effect from you. This is a great racial versus specializations, like Destruction Warlocks, that are able to fear you constantly throughout an arena match. It is important to note that this does share a 30-second cooldown with Gladiator's Medallion, so it is advised to only use it when you do not want to waste Gladiators Medallion.
The Blood Elf racial bonus ( Arcane Torrent) has multiple effects. The primary use for this ability is that it removes 1 beneficial effect from all enemies in range. This is great for removing abilities such as Blessing of Protection from Paladins or Soul of the Forest from Restoration Druids. It can also be used versus players using the The Crucible of Flame Major Essence to remove the stacks it creates. The other effect is that it restores resources based on what specialization you are.
The Human racial bonus ( Every Man for Himself) is a great way to get out of stuns. If you think you will be the focus target versus teams with multiple stuns, this race allows you to play Relentless. This will help increase your overall survivability. It is also important to note that Humans also have The Human Spirit. This increases your secondary stats (Haste, Critical Strike, Mastery, Versatility). This is another beneficial reason to play Human.
The Night Elf racial bonus ( Shadowmeld) is always a strong choice. This racial has a high skill cap, but using it to avoid crowd control can be very powerful. For example, if a Mage is casting Polymorph on you, use Shadowmeld to avoid it. If you use Shadowmeld at the same time that a Priest uses their Psychic Scream, you will not be feared.
The Gnome racial bonus ( Escape Artist) removes any movement speed reduction effects on you. With only a 1-minute cooldown, this can be used both defensively or offensively. You can use this to help kite incoming damage or use it to remove slows on you while chasing down an enemy. Another racial that Gnome provides is Expansive Mind. This will increase your maximum Mana, which helps with not running out of resources.
The Dwarf racial bonus ( Stoneform) removes Poison, Disease, Magic, and bleed effects. In addition to this, it reduces all Physical damage taken by 10%. This racial can make a large impact versus teams that have multiple Bleed or Magical damage over time abilities. It is also important to note that this racial lines up with the cooldown from Maledict trinkets and can be used to remove the absorption that is placed on you from Maledict. Another example is removing bleeds versus Assassination Rogues or Feral Druids that are focusing you. This will significantly slow down the damage being dealt to you.
Playstyle for Holy Priests
The main role for a Holy Priest, besides keeping your team alive, is to use your utility to prevent your teammates from using cooldowns and keep them offensive. You will be able to keep your team alive by using your powerful utility, such as Greater Fade and Holy Ward. By rotating these two cooldowns you should not be in crowd control often.
Before Gates Open
If you are playing against a team without the ability to steal/dispel buffs on yourself, you will want to use Holy Ward before the gates open. However, if you are playing a team with the ability to steal/dispel buffs you will want to use it right before you enter crowd control. Make sure to use Power Word: Fortitude on your teammates. It can be dispelled by abilities like Purge or Spellsteal, so be prepared to apply it often
Make sure your team has a strategy for crowd control. Holy Word: Chastise is a strong stun if you are using the talent Censure. However, you will probably will be using Psychic Voice. You should use Angelic Feather to get in range of the enemy healer for Psychic Scream.
The other team is going to try to force your trinket in the opener so they have an advantage later in the game. If you are about to be put into crowd control try to use Greater Fade if you do not have Holy Ward active.
The great thing about Holy Priest is that they have the multiple ways to keep teammates alive and high on health.
- The first method is best when the enemy team has multiple kicks available. It is also the fastest way to heal someone to high HP.
- If you are using the Ray of Hope PvP talent you can do the following.
- Similar to Ray of Hope, if you are using Artifice of Time Major Essence, you can do the following.
- Finally, the third method is best used when playing against teams with strong spread pressure.
It is important to note that if you are using Apotheosis, try to wait until you have at least one Surge of Light proc. This will guarantee a shorter cooldown on Holy Word: Serenity and it is all instant.
Holy Priest cooldowns are relatively short and you will not have to cast often. It is important to take advantage of this by using Prayer of Mending as soon as you can. At any point during your healing rotation, if you drop below 80% Mana, use Memory of Lucid Dreams if you are using the Major Essence.
Sustained Damage Healing
Use this to heal sustained damage throughout the match (damage done when the other team does not have burst cooldowns available).
- Use Prayer of Mending as soon as it is off cooldown. This will make up a large majority of your healing.
- Maintain Renew on all of your teammates, including yourself.
- If you are not in danger of being interrupted, cast Heal to save Mana.
- Use Greater Heal.
- This heal is crucial when you are single-target healing. You need to be able to predict incoming damage and start casting this even if your teammate is at high health.
- It is best to stay max range when you are casting this to avoid interrupts the other team might have.
- Use Flash Heal if you have Surge of Light.
- Use Flash Heal if one of your teammates is taking strong single target damage.
- Use Holy Word: Sanctify on your teammates to deal with spread pressure.
- Use Divine Hymn if your team is having trouble recovering from spread pressure.
- In the downtime of an arena match try to use Smite to reduce the cooldown of Holy Word: Chastise.
- Cast Smite if your team is safe and you want to play aggressively with your team.
- Use Memory of Lucid Dreams if you are using the Major Essence and need to restore your Mana.
Holy Word Passives
A unique passive that Holy Priests have is with their Holy Word spells. This passive lets you use certain abilities to reduce the cooldown of your Holy Word spells.
- Holy Word: Serenity — Every time you use Flash Heal or Heal, it reduces the cooldown of Holy Word: Serenity by 6 seconds. Take advantage of this when you are playing with a team with strong single-target damage. The more times you use Flash Heal the faster you will have your strongest heal.
- Holy Word: Sanctify — Every time you use Prayer of Mending, it reduces the cooldown of Holy Word: Sanctify by 6 seconds and by 2 seconds when you cast Renew. This one should not be too hard as you should be using Prayer of Mending as soon as it is off cooldown.
- Holy Word: Chastise — Every time you use Smite, the remaining cooldown of Holy Word: Chastise is reduced by 4 seconds. This is a very strong passive to take advantage of. It is important to use Smite if there is any downtime in an arena match. Reducing the cooldown of your only crowd control can catch teams off guard.
Greater Fade will be your primary defensive if teams focus you. When active, you will take little to not damage, but will still be vulnerable to interrupts. It is best to get interrupted and then use Greater Fade to greatly reduce incoming damage.
Guardian Spirit should be used when you or a teammate is very low on health and you have do not have a way to get out of a stun. Instead of dying you will instantly heal for 40% of your maximum health.
Desperate Prayer is a decent heal that can only be used on yourself.
Although not a defensive for yourself, Leap of Faith is great for helping teammates who are stuck in a stun or overextended. This ability can also be used to get your teammate behind a pillar to heal them.
Best Team Compositions for Holy Priests
Now that you have the correct talents and understand your damage rotation, it is time to step into the Arena with your team. With spells like Greater Fade, Prayer of Mending, and great Mana regeneration, Holy Priests have the ability to outlast most other healers and win in deep dampening games.
In 2v2 Arena, you will likely have a long game. Holy Priests do not have much damage to provide for their team. Use Smite to help with damage. If you are playing against a team with a Purge effect, do not put Holy Ward on yourself before the match starts. Instead, use Holy Ward right before an enemy tries to crowd control you. You can also use Greater Fade to avoid crowd control or damage. It is important to note that Holy Priests, just like Discipline Priests, have a few spells that have multiple schools of casting. If you use Mind Control and get interrupted, you can still cast all of your Holy spells.
Here is a list of the best team compositions for 2v2:
- Holy Priest + Frost Mage;
- Holy Priest + Windwalker Monk;
- Holy Priest + Destruction Warlock;
- Holy Priest + Feral Druid.
Your role in 3v3 is similar to 2v2 Arena. Make sure to use Prayer of Mending as soon as it is off cooldown. This will help with stopping your team from taking heavy spread damage. Make sure to maintain Renew on all of your teammates. You have a ranged crowd control in the form of Holy Word: Chastise. Use this ability if one of your teammates needs to land crowd control on the enemy healer. Taking advantage of Mind Control is crucial to being successful in 3v3 as a Holy Priest. If the enemy team is using their burst rotation, use Mind Control. If you get interrupted it is okay because you can still cast the rest of your Holy spells.
Here is a list of the best team compositions for 3v3:
- Holy Priest + Elemental Shaman + Arcane Mage;
- Holy Priest + Destruction Warlock + Elemental Shaman;
- RMP (Holy Priest + Subtlety Rogue + Frost Mage);
- Holy Priest + Outlaw Rogue + Elemental Shaman;
Useful Macros for Holy Priests
Macros are crucial to be successful in PvP. They allow players to use abilities on enemies without having to target them. This helps increase overall damage/healing and general awareness in the arena. Here are a few macros that all Holy Priests can benefit from.
Holy Word: Chastise 123 Macro
- #showtooltip Holy Word: Chastise
- /cast [target=arena1] Holy Word: Chastise
Using this macro will use Holy Word: Chastise on arena enemy 1. This makes it easier to crowd control an enemy while healing your team. If you want macros for the second and third enemies, simply change the arena1 to arena2 or arena3.
Purify Party Macro
- #showtooltip Purify
- /cast [target=party1] Purify
Using this macro will cast Purify on party player 1. This makes it easier to dispel a teammate while healing the rest of your team. If you want a macro to dispel the second party member, change the party1 to party2.
Holy Ward Self Macro
- /cast [target=YOURNAMEHERE] Holy Ward
Using this macro will use Holy Ward on yourself. This makes it quicker to use if crowd control is being cast on you.
- 24 Aug. 2019: Updated Horde races.
- 16 Aug. 2019: Updated Alliance races.
- 08 Jul. 2019: Updated Guide for Patch 8.2.
- Updated Stat Priority.
- Added Azerite Essence section.
- Added Major and Minor Essences sections.
- Updated Gear section.
- Updated Talent Table.
- Updated Tier 7 regular talent.
- Updated Burst and Sustained healing rotations.
- 12 May 2019: Several changes made to the guide.
- Updated Azerite Trait section.
- Updated Recommended Gear section.
- 14 Mar. 2019: No major changes needed for Patch 8.1.5.
- 09 Feb. 2019: Updated Gear Recommendations and Item Recommendations sections.
- 11 Jan. 2019: Updated Guide for Patch 8.1.
- Updated Azerite Traits.
- Updated PvP talents.
- Updated Burst Healing section.
- Updated Sustained Healing section.
- Updated Best Team Compositions section.
- 28 Nov. 2018: Added Gear Guidelines section.
- 04 Oct. 2018: Removed Artifact traits and Relics section.
- Added Stat Priority and Azerite trait section.
- Added Talent Table.
- 02 Oct. 2018: Removed PvP Gear and War Mode sections.
- 27 Aug. 2018: Updated Air Drops section.
- 07 Aug. 2018: Updated guide for Patch 8.0.1.
- Updated Introduction and spec overview.
- Updated Tiers 3, 4, 5, 6 regular talent sections.
- Added PvP (War Mode) talents and gear sections for the new BfA system.
- Updated Racial Bonuses section.
- Updated Burst Healing and Sustained Healing sections.
- Updated Macros section.
- Removed Gear section.
- Updated Artifact Traits and Relics sections.
- 09 Jun. 2018: Added an Arena Compositions section.
- 12 Apr. 2018: Made several updates to the guide and its structure.
- Added sections for Macros, Strengths, and Weaknesses.
- Moved Gear, Artifact Traits, and Relics sections to the end, since they are not that important.
- Changed recommended Tier 5 and 7 regular talents and Tier 2 honor talent.
- Updated "Burst Healing" and "Sustained Healing" rotations.
- 15 Nov. 2017: Fixed a small error in the Serendipity description.
- 09 Sep. 2017: Not many updates needed for 7.3
- Removed Artifact Trait descriptions.
- Changed recommended Tier 1 regular talents.
- 04 Aug. 2017: Changed a spell error under the "Burst Healing" rotation.
- 06 Jul. 2017: Guide added.
- Display Bug Showing Last Week's Honor
- Infinite HoA Trait Removed from 8.3, New Legendary Cloak Addition
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