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Holy Priest PvP Guide Battle for Azeroth (BfA)

Last updated on Aug 07, 2018 at 22:35 by Mysticall 9 comments

Table of Contents

Introduction

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play a Holy Priest 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.

About The Author

This guide has been written by Mysticall, a seasoned PvP player who has repeatedly achieved Arena Master and 2500 rating. You can watch his stream on Twitch, and you can also check out his YouTube channel.

1. 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.

1.1. Strengths of Holy Priests

  • Strong spread healing
  • Multiple powerful healing cooldowns
  • Very Mana efficient

1.2. 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

2. Regular Talent for Holy Priests

Regular talents work in both PvP and PvE content (although they may sometimes work differently in the two environments, which is indicated by their tooltips). In other words, they are always active.

On the other hand, PvP talents (which we talk about later on in the guide) are inactive outside of a PvP environment, unless you have enabled War Mode.

2.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Trail of Light Icon Trail of Light is the best choice in this tier. This talent helps with healing against teams with both single target and spread pressure.

2.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Angelic Feather Icon Angelic Feather is the best choice in this tier. This will help you run to or from enemy players. This will make it much easier to get in range of the enemy healer for Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream.

2.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Guardian Angel Icon Guardian Angel is the best choice in this tier. Many teams will try to avoid proccing Guardian Spirit Icon Guardian Spirit to prevent the healing from it. This talent is great when teams do that, so you can use Guardian Spirit Icon Guardian Spirit more often.

2.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Psychic Voice Icon 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 Icon Censure is the best choice in this tier.

2.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

Surge of Light Icon 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 Icon Holy Word: Serenity.

2.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Benediction Icon Benediction is the best choice in this tier. This talent saves you Mana and globals.

2.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Light of the Naaru Icon Light of the Naaru is the best choice in this tier. This talent helps reduce the cooldown of your important Holy Word spells much faster.

3. PvP Talents for Holy Priests

PvP talents are typically only available in PvP content, but War Mode (explained below) allows you to also benefit from them in the open world.

As you will see below, the PvP talents are very flexible. Depending on what classes you are playing with and against, you can adjust your talents to better suit your team's goal. You must choose:

  • 1 trinket talent out of 3 possible choices;
  • 3 PvP talents out of a pool of about a dozen possible choices.

3.1. War Mode

War Mode is a new PvP system added in Battle for Azeroth. War Mode can be toggled on and off in any major city. When it is enabled, you are able to use your PvP talents in the open world, and because you will be fighting enemies of the other faction, you also get an experience bonus while leveling. Do note that this makes you vulnerable to being killed by players of the other faction.

3.1.1. Bonuses of War Mode

Enabling War Mode provides the following perks.

  • The ability to use all PvP talents in the outdoor world. You do not need to be in PvP combat to use them.
  • You can earn Conquest Points.
  • You gain +10% experience while leveling.
  • There are PvP achievements you can earn.
  • At maximum level, you get a +10% World Quest reward bonus.

3.1.2. War Mode Bounties

If you kill too many players in a single zone, there will be a bounty put on you. Everyone in that zone will know your exact location. You can see the location of players with a bounty by checking your map. Killing players with a bounty on them rewards Conquest Points and is part of an achievement called Bounty Hunting Icon Bounty Hunting. Bounty Hunting is part of a meta achievement called Conqueror of Azeroth Icon Conqueror of Azeroth / Conqueror of Azeorth Icon Conqueror of Azeroth that rewards the title Conqueror of Azeroth.

3.1.3. Air Drops

It is not yet totally clear how Air Drops will work, but we know the following about it from Blizzard.

From time to time, a flying machine will make its way across the sky. The rumble of its engine is a clear indicator that something is afoot. You'll want to keep an eagle eye on the sky and watch for a War Supply Crate to drop somewhere in the zone. Similar to the chest in Gurubashi Arena, players can fight over the crate and claim it for their faction. Once a faction has gained control of the crate, anyone of that faction who is within the area will have a short period to open it and collect a piece of personal loot.

3.2. Trinket Talent

The first PvP talent tier is will give you a choice between Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion, Relentless Icon Relentless, and Adaptation Icon Adaptation. Against teams with very little crowd control, Adaptation Icon Adaptation is the best choice in this tier. With PvP talents like Holy Ward Icon Holy Ward and Greater Fade Icon Greater Fade it will make it hard for teams to put you in crowd control. Against any other team, Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is the best choice in this tier. It is the standard PvP trinket effect with a 2-minute cooldown.

3.3. PvP Talents

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 Icon 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.

Rapid Mending Icon Rapid Mending makes Prayer of Mending Icon 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 Icon 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 Ward Icon 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 Icon Purge or Spellsteal Icon Spellsteal effects, you should use Holy Ward Icon Holy Ward right before you are put into crowd control.

Inner Focus Icon Inner Focus provides immunity to Silence and Interruption effects and increases the critical effect chance of your next Heal Icon Heal, Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal, Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity, and Smite Icon Smite by 100%. This is a great talent versus teams with multiple interrupts and is very strong against teams with melee that might focus you. You can swap Holy Ward Icon Holy Ward for this talent.

Ray of Hope Icon Ray of Hope. For the next 6 seconds, all damage and healing dealt to the target is delayed until Ray of Hope Icon Ray of Hope ends. All healing that is delayed by Ray of Hope Icon 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 Holy Ward Icon Holy Ward with this talent.

3.4. PvP Gear

Gear is what determines how strong a player is in PvP. The better gear you have, the stronger your abilities are. There are several ways to receive gear from PvP. One important way to get gear is by completing the weekly conquest point cap. You will receive gear at the end of the week based on your rating. For example, if you played and won at Rival in 3v3, you will receive a reward with an item level based on your ranking at the end of the week. It is important to note that if you are rated at a Rival level in 3v3, but only do 2v2 that week, you will not receive a piece of gear unless you won a game in the 3v3 bracket. The following are the names and ratings of all of the brackets:

  • Combatant: 1400-1599;
  • Challenger: 1600-1799;
  • Rival: 1800-2099;
  • Duelist: 2100-2399;
  • Gladiator: 2400+.

3.4.1. Conquest Points

Every week there will be an empty bar in your PvP queue tab. If you earn enough Conquest Points to fill it, you will receive a piece of gear. When you complete a set, you can receive higher tiers of gear. Conquest points can be earned by doing the following:

  • Rated Arenas;
  • Rated Battlegrounds;
  • Normal Battlegrounds;
  • Epic Battlegrounds;
  • World PvP.

3.4.2. Obtaining Gear

You will obtain gear by earning Conquest Points. The following are the three ways to receive loot in PvP.

  • At the end of an Arena match there is a chance to receive a piece of gear. This gear is based on your Arena Rating.
  • After you win a Rated Battleground or win your first Battleground of the day you will get a piece of gear and earn Conquest Points.
  • Once you earned enough Conquest Points for the week, you will unlock a new weekly reward. This gear is based on your rating.

It is important to note that the gear you get from capping your conquest points is predetermined in a specific order. There are mechanics for players to get gear quicker if they have no played a character for awhile.

4. Racial Bonuses for Holy Priests

Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.

4.1. Horde

The racial gained from being an Undead (Will of the Forsaken Icon Will of the Forsaken) is really strong. This gives you an additional way to get out of crowd control.

4.2. Alliance

The Human racial bonus (Every Man for Himself Icon Every Man for Himself) is a great way to get out of stuns.

5. 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 Icon Greater Fade and Holy Ward Icon Holy Ward. By rotating these two cooldowns you should not be in crowd control often.

To keep your team offensive, you will often push in with your team to try to get a Holy Word: Chastise Icon Holy Word: Chastise on the enemy team. You can use Angelic Feather Icon Angelic Feather to increase the uptime your teammates have.

5.1. 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 Icon 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 Icon Power Word: Fortitude on your teammates. It can be dispelled by abilities like Purge Icon Purge or Spellsteal Icon Spellsteal, so be prepared to apply it often

Make sure your team has a strategy for crowd control. Holy Word: Chastise Icon Holy Word: Chastise is a strong stun if you are using the talent Censure Icon Censure. However, you will probably will be using Psychic Voice Icon Psychic Voice. You should use Angelic Feather Icon Angelic Feather to get in range of the enemy healer for Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream.

5.2. The Opener

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 Icon Greater Fade if you do not have Holy Ward Icon Holy Ward active.

As soon as the gates open you will want to use Renew Icon Renew on all of your teammates, including yourself, and use Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending.

5.3. Healing Techniques

5.3.1. Burst Healing

The great thing about Holy Priest is that they have the multiple ways to keep teammates alive and high on health.

  1. 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.
    1. Use Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending if it is off cooldown.
    2. Use Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity.
    3. Use Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal if you have Surge of Light Icon Surge of Light.
  2. If you are using the PvP talents Ray of Hope Icon Ray of Hope and Inner Focus Icon Inner Focus, you can do the following.
    1. Use Ray of Hope Icon Ray of Hope.
    2. Use Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending if it is off cooldown.
    3. Use Inner Focus Icon Inner Focus.
    4. Use Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal if you have Surge of Light Icon Surge of Light.
    5. Use Renew Icon Renew.
    6. Cast Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal.
  3. Finally, the third method is best used when playing against teams with strong spread pressure.
    1. Use Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify.
    2. Use Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending.
    3. Use Renew Icon Renew on all of your partners, including yourself.
    4. Use Divine Hymn Icon Divine Hymn.

It is important to note that if you are using Apotheosis Icon Apotheosis, try to wait until you have at least one Surge of Light Icon Surge of Light proc. This will guarantee a shorter cooldown on Holy Word: Serenity Icon 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 Icon Prayer of Mending as soon as you can.

5.3.2. Sustained Damage Healing

Use this to heal sustained damage throughout the match (damage done when the other team does not have burst cooldowns available).

  1. Use Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending as soon as it is off cooldown. This will make up a large majority of your healing.
  2. Maintain Renew Icon Renew on all of your teammates, including yourself.
  3. If you are not in danger of being interrupted, cast Heal Icon Heal to save Mana.
  4. Use Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal if you have Surge of Light Icon Surge of Light.
  5. Use Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal if one of your teammates is taking strong single target damage.
  6. Use Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify on your teammates to deal with spread pressure.
  7. Use Divine Hymn Icon Divine Hymn if your team is having trouble recovering from spread pressure.
  8. In the downtime of an arena match try to use Smite Icon Smite to reduce the cooldown of Holy Word: Chastise Icon Holy Word: Chastise.

5.4. 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.

5.5. Defensive Techniques

Greater Fade Icon 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 Icon Greater Fade to greatly reduce incoming damage.

Guardian Spirit Icon 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 Icon Desperate Prayer is a decent heal that can only be used on yourself.

Although not a defensive for yourself, Leap of Faith Icon 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.

6. 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 Icon Greater Fade, Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending, and great Mana regeneration, Holy Priests have the ability to outlast most other healers and win in deep dampening games.

6.1. 2v2 Arena

In 2v2 Arena, you will likely have a long game. Holy Priests do not have much damage to provide for their team. Use Smite Icon Smite to help with damage. If you are playing against a team with a Purge Icon Purge effect, do not put Holy Ward Icon Holy Ward on yourself before the match starts. Instead, use Holy Ward Icon Holy Ward right before an enemy tries to crowd control you. You can also use Greater Fade Icon 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 Icon 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 + Assassination/Subtlety Rogue;
  • Holy Priest + Windwalker Monk;
  • Holy Priest + Destruction Warlock;
  • Holy Priest + Feral Druid.

6.2. 3v3 Arena

Your role in 3v3 is similar to 2v2 Arena. Make sure to use Prayer of Mending Icon 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 Icon Renew on all of your teammates. You have a ranged crowd control in the form of Holy Word: Chastise Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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;
  • Cupid (Holy Priest + Retribution Paladin + Marksmanship Hunter);
  • RMP (Holy Priest + Subtlety Rogue + Frost Mage);
  • Holy Priest + Outlaw Rogue + Elemental Shaman;

7. 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.

7.1. Holy Word: Chastise 123 Macro

  • #showtooltip Holy Word: Chastise
  • /cast [target=arena1] Holy Word: Chastise

Using this macro will use Holy Word: Chastise Icon 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.

7.2. Purify Party Macro

  • #showtooltip Purify
  • /cast [target=party1] Purify

Using this macro will cast Purify Icon 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.

7.3. Holy Ward Self Macro

  • #showtooltip
  • /cast [target=YOURNAMEHERE] Holy Ward

Using this macro will use Holy Ward Icon Holy Ward on yourself. This makes it quicker to use if crowd control is being cast on you.

8. Gear for Holy Priests

With regards to gear, the biggest change in Legion is that there is no more PvP gear. Your strength in PvP will be determined based on the average item level of your gear (as displayed on your character sheet). For example, the base item level at level 110 is 800, so your stats in PvP will be adjusted accordingly. For every 10 item levels you gain, your stats are increased by 1%.

The implication is that it does not matter where your gear comes from, and all that matters is its item level. Gear from quests or PvE content is just as good as gear you get as a reward from PvP (which, in fact, will be very similar to PvE gear; there are no more PvP stats on gear).

Practically, you will simply look to collect gear with the highest item levels possible, and the stat distribution on the gear will not matter.

9. Artifact Traits for Holy Priests

With the arrival of Patch 8.0, Artifact weapons have had their power drained in order to combat the spreading corruption from the sword of Sargeras and are now nothing more than a stat stick. This means that all traits are gone, so artifact paths and trait priority list are no longer required.

10. Relics for Holy Priests

Relics are now simply a boost to your Artifact weapon's item level.

11. ChangeLog

  • 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.
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