How To Improve As Discipline Priest — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1

Last updated on Jul 28, 2018 at 19:00 by Mend 48 comments

On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Discipline Priest in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. We list the common mistakes that you should try to avoid and the small details that can greatly improve your performance.

1. Common Mistakes as a Discipline Priest

Discipline at its core has a relatively simple mechanic, Atonement Icon Atonement. However, players who are new to the spec can get tied up in some poor practices that eventually lead to the development of bad habits and poor performance. If you are looking to improve your gameplay, this section should be able to provide you with the most common mistakes and how to eliminate them.

Please note that Mana costs in dungeon content are less of a problem because of the ability to drink between pulls, so any mentions below regarding Mana issues are mostly focused on raids.

1.1. Mana: Casting Power Word: Shield Too Much

Casting Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield too frequently is likely the number one cause of Mana issues. Power Word: Shield provides relatively little healing compared to its Mana cost. However, because it is an instant cast spell and provides a more efficient form of healing (absorb) it is our most effective way to apply a single Atonement Icon Atonement. Because of the Mana cost of the spell, you should focus on limiting your casts and maintaining lower Atonement counts between your burst healing events (between 2-4 Atonements) and filling with Smite Icon Smite (a very Mana efficient damage spell that provides an absorb as well).

1.2. Mana: Casting Shadow Mend Too Much

This is a little bit less common but can be a drain on Mana nonetheless. Shadow Mend Icon Shadow Mend is a great way to provide a quick spot heal to someone who needs it while also applying a single Atonement Icon Atonement. Shadow Mend can become an issue when you are casting it too frequently, since it costs slightly more than a Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield and has the potential to overheal. Discipline is best suited for focusing on a lower number of Atonements and DPSing between burst heal events, and then ramping up for burst healing by blanketing the raid in Atonement in advance of high raid damage. Expending too much Mana with Shadow Mend between bursts can leave you out of Mana by the end of a long encounter.

1.3. Performance: Not Managing Atonements Properly

Many newer players tend to prioritize damage over Atonement Icon Atonement application. This leads to these players reacting to damage more than preparing for it. It is very important for newer players to continue to focus on what damage events are coming up and preparing properly for them by applying Atonements in advance.

1.4. Performance: Not Timing Cooldowns Properly

This section probably could use its own page in order to go into enough detail, but we will attempt to keep it short and sweet. Discipline relies heavily on abilities that have cooldowns. Any ability with a cooldown needs to be strategically used during a raid encounter or in dungeons. The general rule of thumb is to use your cooldowns early and often, but go in having an idea of where you are going to use them. Some tips are listed below for our most frequently used cooldowns:

  • Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance charges need to be used as frequently as they are needed as a reactive Atonement Icon Atonement applicator, but you need to ensure you are "pooling" them to have at least one or two charges for high raid-wide AoE.
  • Rapture Icon Rapture needs to be used in advance of damage to ensure the absorbs provided are effective and do not expire instead of providing effective healing. A good way to use Rapture is prior to high raid-wide AoE and following it up with one Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance cast and your Evangelism Icon Evangelism rotation (mentioned previously in this guide). If you are using the Power Word: Solace Icon Power Word: Solace talent, be sure to use it before pressing Rapture to maximize both cooldowns.
  • Shadowfiend Icon Shadowfiend should be paired with Evangelism Icon Evangelism as much as possible. The extended duration on Atonement Icon Atonements provides an ideal situation for increasing the potential throughput of this 15-second duration. In any situation where a boss will be doing ticking raid damage over a long period of time (10-15 seconds), Shadowfiend can provide a large chunk of healing.
  • Schism Icon Schism is used in two different scenarios in raids. One use is in a non-burst situation, usually after casting Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance reactively. This would provide a nice boost to your subsequent healing in non-burst situations and allow you to top off your Atonement Icon Atonement targets. In the second scenario, Schism should be used during your burst rotation normally right after Evangelism Icon Evangelism to ensure it buffs the subsequent damage spells. Similar to Power Word: Radiance, use it as needed in non-burst situations but make sure it is up for burst healing rotations. In dungeons, Schism is more straightforward since you would use it reactively to help top off your group (usually after casting Power Word: Radiance).
  • Evangelism Icon Evangelism usage is rather straightforward and pretty simple to understand (extending Atonement Icon Atonements after casting Power Word: Radiance Icon Power Word: Radiance). There are two issues specific issues that plague those learning the specialization for the first time. Prior to casting Evangelism, many newer players do not begin their Atonement application soon enough. This leads to them delaying their damage rotation and potentially getting sniped by other healers. Another issue is after casting Evangelism, players will begin to apply Atonements before their Atonement window is over. This causes them to lose out on 1-2 global cooldowns worth of damage.

2. Changelog

  • 28 Jul. 2018: Page added.
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