The Discipline Priest Healing Guide
For the Mists of Pandaria

Updated for patch 5.3

The patch didn’t bring a lot for Discipline, just some tweaks. Mass Dispel costs less mana and no longer dispells the undispellable, but the glyph restores that function. Cast time has also been lowered a bit. The cooldown for Void Shift was also reduced from 6 min to 5.

  • Glyph of Smite no longer causes the additional 20% damage dealt by Smite to transfer into Atonement. This might well make the glyph undesirable.
  • Atonement was nerfed a bit, it now heals nearby friendly targets for 90% of the damage dealt, down from 100%.
  • Borrowed Time now reduces the cast or channel time of the next Priest spell by 15% after casting Power Word: Shield (was 15% spell haste).
  • Penance now deals 10% less damage, but healing done is increased by 10%.

This guide is intended for the raiding Discipline Priest. If you’re looking for PvP, leveling, or the other specs then see the links in the “contents” section.

Discipline Priest Contents

  1. Discipline Talents
  2. Glyphs
  3. Disc Stats
  4. Rotations
  5. Gems
  6. Enchants
  7. Consumables
  8. Professions
  9. Races
  10. “How to Priest” videos
  11. Leveling Quickly
This Discipline Priest guide is primarily intended for use at level 90. However, the principals will still apply during the leveling process. If you’re looking for advice on leveling your Priest, check out our Priest Leveling Guide.

If you want the same in-game step by step leveling guide that we use to get to level 90 as fast as possible, take a look at our favorite in-game leveling guide.

Get Your Priest to 90, ASAP! Click Here to Start

Other Priest Guides: 

 

Discipline Priest Healing Talents

There will be times when you want to switch talents. Fortunately, this is easy. Just click the new one in your talent pane, spend one tome, click “learn” and you’re good. Don’t forget to adjust your key(s.)

The selected talents are an overall good pick, but there will be times when you want to switch them around. With the proving grounds (coming in 5.4) it will be easy to test new talents and glyphs. Our picks are checked: Best talent

 

Discipline Priest Tier 1 Talents

Doesn’t matter much which one you grab. All three of these are situationally useful at best and unlikely to add much to a fight.

  1. Best talent Void Tendrils is a point blank AoE root. They’re stuck, but can still act. Nice if you find yourself as the center of attention. Cast the tendrils, then move away. You can also target the tendrils with various spells.
  2. Psyfiend is the living incarnation of fear spam. Fear can be a pain in PvE, but the glyph causes the feared targets to remain in place. Being feared means they take no actions, which may be valuable.
  3. Dominate Mind is exactly what it sounds like. Note that dominated targets will attack you when the domination wears off.
    1. The Macro:
    2. /cast Dominate Mind
    3. /run PlaySoundFile(“Sound\\Creature\\LichKing\\EH_LichKing_Greeting2.wav”)
    4. (the sound says “Your will is not your own.”)

Discipline Priest Tier 2 Talents

  1. Body and Soul adds a nice speed boost to our Power Word: Shield. If your targets of PW:S typcially also need the speed boost, then this is your pick. If the target is in a group that had to stay together while kiting whatever, then they might get annoyed with you.
  2. Best talent Angelic Feather is ideal for providing on demand speed boosts to one player at a time. Very flexible. Not as expensive to cast as Power Word: Shield (under Body and Soul,) but requires proper placement and it’s easy for the wrong player to trigger it.
  3. Phantasm is more for PvP heroes (it’s a PvP trinket) than us Dragon Slayers.

Discipline Priest Tier 3 Talents

  1. From Darkness, Comes Light is useful, but less reliable than the other two options, which doesn’t mean I wouldn’t take it. It’s great if you’re single target healing and if the random numbers are in your favor.
  2. Mindbender boosts Shadowfiend, increasing our mana regeneration, which isn’t bad at all.
  3. Best talent Solace and Insanity – You gain the Power Word: Solace ability. Strikes the enemy for Damage over Time (DOT), restores a bit of mana, and heals a low health ally for 100% of the damage dealt to the enemy target. Pretty nice. Replaces your Holy Fire ability.

Discipline Priest Tier 4 Talents

  1. Best talent Desperate Prayer is an instant self-heal for a decent amount of health. This is the best choice for most situations.
  2. Specral Guise is more of a PvP thang. Cannot be used to duck Boss damage.
  3. Angelic Bulwark shields us when we drop to low health, an alternative method of survivability to Desperate Prayer. Angelic Bulwark might beat out Desperate Prayer on fights where you expect to drop to low health more often than Desperate Prayer can be of use. It’s also a passive ability, you don’t have to be concerned about hitting a key. It doesn’t help if you’re already near 30% and the next hit takes you all the way down, but then, neither does Desperate Prayer.

Discipline Priest Tier 5 Talents

  1. Twist of Fate is a damage and healing boost that’s best taken for encounters where you expect to be throwing out emergency heals to low health targets on a frequent basis.
  2. Best talent  Power Infusion is a haste boost that also reduces the cost of our spells for the duration. This is the best option for most fights due to the control you in deciding when to trigger the buff.
  3. Divine Insight is too random to really compete with the other two options, although the effect is quite attractive.

Discipline Priest Tier 6 Talents

All three of these talents are quite useful and your choice should depend solely on your raid formation during an encounter. Be careful of gathering adds with any of these abilities. 

  1. Cascade operates best when your raid is somewhat spread out and needs periodic healing. Less expensive than Halo. Can pull a lot of adds it you target an enemy.
  2. Best talent Divine Star is a cheap heal with a short cooldown. Best if your raid group stacks up or forms small, tight groups. It can pull adds if they’re too close or you miss. It’s a very generally useful spell.
  3. Halo is the better choice when your raid is really spread out and your need to heal a number of targets at range. Expensive heal, but if that’s how your group tends to stack up then it’s the best pick. Not recommended in a dungeon full of aggressive trash.

 

Discipline Glyphs

As with talents, your glyphs can be changed any time you like. These are ordered more or less by importance, but that will change depending on exactly what YOU are doing and what you’re fighting.

Major

  1. Glyph of Penance – “Cast Penance while moving” is very nice in all kinds of situations, but it increases the mana cost of Penance.
  2. inner sanctum – reduces damage and increased movement speed.
  3. Prayer of Mending – Your primary target gets the bigger heal.
  4. Glyph of Fade – adds a small amount of damage reduction when you Fade. Very nice in 25s.
  5. Glyph of Power Word: Shield – Converts some of the shield absorb into healing.
  6. Glyph of Holy Fire – Increases the range of useful spells.
  7. Glyph of Purify – Your dispell also heals the target for a small amount.
  8. Glyph of Smite – For those who are into smiting. Does more damage but that damage does not carry through Atonement, which makes this glyph less useful.
  9. Glyph of Levitate – movement speed increase while levitating.
  10. Glyph of Weakened Soul has use if there are several D Priests in the raid.
  11. Glyph of Mass Dispell – let’s you dispell the undispellable.

Minor Glyphs: None of the minor Priest glyphs have anything other than cosmetic value, so pick any three. These are three of the more popular minor glyphs:

 

Discipline Stat Priorities

  1. Primary: Intellect – this is your spellpower and some crit. Int does not effect mana regen or mana pool.
  2. Secondary: Spirit > Critical >= Mastery (see note on Crit, below)
  3. Weak: Hit and Expertise

Spirit affects your mana regen and will be your most important stat until you are happen with your mana usage. Once that’s Ok you can start working in the other stats.

Haste has various breakpoints where it’s really good. Outside of the breakpoints Haste is far less interesting. Totemspot has several Haste breakpoint cards for healers of all types, including Disc. See them here. In 5.2 it’s somewhat less valuable than it used to be, and Crit is more.

Mastery and Crit are more or less equal, depending on your spell usage. Make note of which spells you’re actually using all the time and experiment a bit. Look at your healing meters, mana usage, and how people are surviving. Experiment a bit until you have a good plan.Mastery and crit play well with each other. You should prioritize Crit, but keep Mastery close.

Crit – A commenter says, “Divine Aegis doesn’t just come from prayer of healing. It actually procs on critical heals. Instead of healing 200%, you get 100% heal and a 100% shield. High crit disc priests are a viable build.” PW Shield is also affected by Crit.

Hit and Expertise are not something you need unless you’re DPSing along with your heals.

Reforge to Spirit until you’re happy with your mana usage, then Mastery or Haste, depending on what you’re doing.

 

In-Depth Discipline Ability Guide

Inner Fire should be active at all times unless you need to make use of a number of instant cast spells such as Power Word: Shield and Prayer of Mending in which case Inner Will is a viable option.

One of your most mana efficient spells is Penance which should be used on cooldown unless the target is taking more damage than Penance can heal through.

Cast Power Word: Shield on cooldown. Using this ability will trigger Borrowed Time which adds 15% spell haste to our next spell cast, this buff lasts for 6 seconds.

Strength of Soul is a passive ability that reduces the time of the Weakened Soul debuff on a target by 2 seconds each time you cast Heal, Greater Heal or Flash Heal on them.

Our basic healing spell is Heal which has a very low mana cost but a moderate cast time and healing effect. Use this as much as possible to conserve mana.

  1. Prayer of Mending should be applied to a target at all times as it will jump to other players as they take damage.
  2. Apply Renew to your target if Prayer of Mending is unavailable and they have Weakened Soul and therefore cannot have Power Word: Shield cast on them.
  3. Greater Heal is a slower, higher mana cost heal used for periods of heavy damage.
  4. Flash Heal is quick and heals for a large amount but costs an exorbitant amount of mana and should be avoided unless a target requires an emergency heal.
  5. Binding Heal heals both you and the target and should be used in the event that you need to heal yourself at the same time as someone else.

Atonement healing requires that you damage enemy targets to heal your allies as Holy Fire, Smite and Penance will heal a nearby friendly target within 15 yards for 100% of the damage dealt. You, the caster, will only be healed for 50% as much.

Evangelism stacks build up when you deal direct damage with Penance, Smite or Holy Fire, stacking up to a maximum of 5 times. Each stack increases the amount of damage done by your Penance, Smite and Holy Fire spells by 4% and reduces their mana cost by 6%.

Archangel consumes all your stacks of Evangelism, increasing the effectiveness of your healing by 5% for each stack consumed for 18 seconds.

When AoE healing you will primarily be using Prayer of Mending, Power Word: Shield, and Prayer of Healing.

  • Prayer of Healing applies the Divine Aegis effect to everyone you heal with it, granting them additional survivability and should be cast as often as is necessary as well as perhaps prior to a period of heavy damage to build up the absorption effect of Divine Aegis.

Cooldowns

  1. Spirit Shell should be used to build up an absorption effect on your target if you anticipate them suffering a heavy amount of damage.
  2. Inner Focus should be cast on cooldown.
  3. Power Word: Barrier is a raid defensive cooldown best used when your raid is stacked together so they can all benefit from the damage reduction effect.
  4. Pain Suppression is another survivability cooldown you should generally save for use on a tank in advance of heavy damage although it can also be used in emergency to save anyone who requires high damage mitigation.
  5. Shadowfiend should be used on cooldown for extra mana regeneration and a minor amount of DPS.
  6. Hymn of Hope is an important cooldown used to boost mana regeneration raid wide. This spell is channeled and therefore will prevent you from casting any other spells for the duration of the effect unless you choose to cancel it early.

Tier 3 Talented Abilities:

  1. From Darkness, Comes Light procs will allow you to instantly cast Flash Heal with no mana cost. The charges of this proc stack up to a maximum of 2 times and so should be used as often as possible to avoid wasting charges.
  2. Mindbender simply enhances your Shadowfiend.
  3. Power Word: Solace can be used for extra mana regeneration.

Tier 5 Talented Abilities:

  1. Twist of Fate is a passive effect that grants 15% increased healing and damage for 10 seconds after you damage or heal a target below 20% health.
  2. Power Infusion is a cooldown you should save for when immense healing is required, it also reduces the mana cost of your spells making them more efficient.
  3. Divine Insight procs allow us to cast Power Word: Shield without Weakened Soul being applied or on a target already affect by Weakened Soul.

 

Discipline Priest Gems

Note that in Mists of Pandaria gems with secondary stats have twice the value of this with primary stats, 320 Spirit Vs 160 Int, for example. You will want to match socket bonuses, usually. The hybrid gems (those with two stats) are a good choice for socket matching. The orange and purple gems are good picks for matching yellow and blue sockets.

Your Priest bonus adds to any Int gem bonuses, making them worth 5% more Int, that bonus does not add to other stats.

Gemming should be for Spirit first, until you can last an entire fight without running out of mana. Running low during or at the end of a fight is fine, running out is not. Gem and gear appropriately.

Next, gem for Int and Crit/Mastery.

Whether you pick Haste or another stat will depend in part on whether you’re able to hit a Haste breakpoint (see stats, above.)

Various D. Priest Gems
Meta Courageous Primal Diamond: +324 Intellect and chance on beneficial spell to make your spells cost no mana for 4 sec.
Sinister Primal Diamond: +324 Critical Strike, and chance on spell damage to gain 30% spell haste
Burning Primal Diamond: +216 Int & 3% Increased Crit Effect
Ember Primal Diamond: +216 Intellect and +2% Maximum Mana
Revitalizing Primal Diamond: +432 Spirit & 3% Increased Crit Effect
Red Brilliant Serpent’s Eye: 320 Int, self-only Jewelcrafting gem
Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 160 Int
Yellow Quick Sun’s Radiance: +320 Haste
Fractured Sun’s Radiance: +320 Mastery
Smooth Sun’s Radiance: +320 Crit
Blue Sparkling River’s Heart: +320 Spirit
Orange Potent Vermilion Onyx: +80 Int & +160 Crit
Reckless Vermilion Onyx: 80 Int, 160 Haste
Artful Vermilion Onyx: +80 Int & +160 Mastery
Green Energized Wild Jade: +160 Haste, +160 Spirit
Zen Wild Jade: +160 Mastery, +160 Spirit
Piercing Wild Jade: +160 Critical Strike and +160 Hit
Purple Purified Imperial Amethyst: +80 Int, +160 Spirit
Prismatic Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 160 Int
Cogwheel Sparkling Tinker’s Gear: 600 Spirit – requires an engie helm, such as this.
Smooth Tinker’s Gear: 600 Crit
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 600 Mastery

 

Discipline Enchantments:

Short on gold? If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about fixing your poverty.

There are no head enchants, shoulder enchants are all created by the Inscription profession.

Disc. Enchantments
Weapon Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit: Sometimes increases Int by 1650, might increase Spirit by 750 if mana is low.
Off Hand: Enchant Off-Hand – Major Intellect: +165 Int
Shoulders Secret Crane Wing Inscription: 520 Int and 100 Crit rating, Requires Inscription 550.
Greater Crane Wing Inscription: +200 Int and 100 Crit
Cloak Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect: +180 Int
Lightweave Embroidery – attacks can give 2k Int for 15 sec, requires tailoring
Chest Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +80 to all stats (80 INt, 80 Spirit)
Enchant Chest – Mighty Spirit: +200 Spirit
Bracers Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect: +180 Int
Fur Lining increases Int by 500, requires leatherworking.
Socket Bracer – Pop in a gem, requires Blacksmithing 400
Gloves Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery: +180 Mastery
Socket Gloves – Pop in a gem, requires Blacksmithing 400
Belt Livingsteel Belt Buckle: Gem slot for a nice Int gem
Leggings Greater Pearlescent Spellthread: +285 Int and +165 Spirit
Greater Cerulean Spellthread: +285 Int and +165 Crit
Boots Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step: +140 Mastery, slight run speed increase.
Rings Enchant Ring – Greater Intellect: +160 Int, Requires Enchanting 550

 

Consumables for Discipline Priests

All food buffs last one hour and disappear if you die. Pandarens get twice the food buff. Alchemists get about 30% more effect and an extra hour from Flasks and Elixirs.

Foods

Flasks – One flask is worth more than any two Elixirs, therefore the elixirs are not shown.

Potions

 

Professions for Discipline Priests

All of the professions provide some benefit for Priests of any spec, though clearly some are better than others. Even the gathering professions have some value, though you might be better served by using those to build a larger gold stash. Note though, the big Haste cooldown that you get with Herbalism.

If you’re looking for the buffs then Blacksmithing might be the best choice wince you can slot two gems and gems with secondary stats have twice the value of those with primary stats, 320 Mastery Vs 160 Int, per gem, for example. It also gives you a bit more versatility with gem slotting, though you’ll most likely want to stick Int gems in those slots anyway.

Your Priest bonus adds to any profession bonuses.

Discipline Professions
Tailoring Cloak enchant sometimes adds 2k Int.
Leatherworking Bracer enchant adds 500 int.
Jewelcrafting Make nicer gems for your own use.
Enchanting Enchant both rings, for a total +320 Int gain.
Inscription Shoulder enchant adds 520 Int and 100 crit.
Alchemy More effect from your own potions. Adds 320 Int and an extra hour to your main flask.
Engineering has lots of interesting toys, some of which have situational use, and Synapse Springs, which increases Int by 1940 for a short time. If you take this use a macro to activate it along with other short term buffs.
Blacksmithing gives two extra gems slots for 640 Spirit Vs 320 Int.
Skinning provides 480 crit rating
Herbalism Small heal and liferblood provides 2880 Haste for 20 seconds
Mining 480 Stamina

 

Race Choice for Priests

Since Cataclysm all of the WoW races can be Priests, except Orcs. Yes, even Pandarens can be Priests.

Most of the racial abilities will make very little difference in the end-game. If a Gnome or Goblin works for you, then go for it. If you want some extra burst then go Orc, if you want that escape ability for PvP then go Human. Want to just look gnarly? Undead or Worgen.

Horde

Trolls might be the best pick due to their Berserking racial and snare resistance.

Blood Elf: You have the best hair, does that count?

  • Arcane Torrent restores some mana and silences casters, but you won’t be close to those casters.
  • B’elves are good with Enchanting.

Goblin: Two goblins were shipwrecked and stranded on a small island. When rescued they had both become rich by trading their boots back and forth.

  • Increased Haste is a decent stat for you.
  • Rocket Jump is a nice escape for when things get close.
  • Vendor discounts will make things a bit easier on the good supply, especially if you’re poor (and why would you be poor?)

Tauren: Besides being cute, cuddly, and well horned…

  • War Stomp stuns nearby opponents. This is an occasionally useful ability, to stun things allowing you to escape.
  • The increased health is nice at mid-levels, but doesn’t scale well at very high levels. Still, it’s about equal to three Stam gems.
  • Good with Herbalism.

Troll: Best tusks, laid back, but make pretty good Priests.

  • Berserking is a good emergency ability, increasing your casting speed for a few seconds. Drop it into a macro with any other burst abilities you want to fire off at the same time.
  • Increased damage Vs Beasts won’t help much since you, generally, don’t do damage.
  • Resistance to movement impariing effects, like the Orc ability, has its uses in PvP, but less so elsewhere.
  • Ranged expertise has zero value for you.

Undead: You’re Undead because the Gods didn’t want you and now you’re a Priest?

  • Canibalism can reduce downtime and means that you don’t have to carry food along while leveling. If you do PvP you can eat your opponents after you kill them.
  • Will of the Forsaken is a very nice PvP ability, but you’ll only find occasional use for it elsewhere.
  • Touch of the Grave drains life and heals you for the same amount. This means that your name will appear on the DPS charts, but not much more.

Alliance

Worgen might be “the best” due to their +1% Crit and their sprint.

Draenei: Your (male) shoulders make a human look puny.

  • +1 to Hit racial is not an important stat for you, though Shadow would like it.
  • The self-heal would be nice if you didn’t already have a few of your own.

Dwarf: So Runt, Ya wanna be a Priest, eh?

  • Your Stoneform washes away bleeds and reduces damage, which will only be rarely useful to you.
  • Expertise with Maces would be nice if you had any use for the things.
  • Ranged weapon Expertise is useless to you.
  • Good with Archeology.

Human: You look good in the right armor.

  • Your escape ability is nice for PvP and it allows you to use two DPS trinkets, or grab more Resilience, but the ability is pretty situational when raiding.
  • Diplomacy if great is you have any interest in building Rep with any of the bazillion WoW factions.
  • Increased Spirit is nice.
  • Expertise with Sword/Mace might have some end-game value, if you had any use for Swords or Maces.

Gnome:

  • Expertise with daggers and small swords is good for Rogues, but not for you.
  • Escaping from Speed Altering Effects (slows) has its uses in PvE (rare) and PvP.
  • Increased Mana pool will be of some use.
  • Good with Engineering, a pretty useful skill.

Night Elf: You look good in armor and you know it.

  • Shadowmeld will let you drop out of combat and drops aggro, so is handy for those times when things get tight.
  • 2% increased dodge is nice while tanking, but healers will have little use for it.

Worgen: One word: Snuffling. Other than that…

  • Increased crit chance is an Ok stat.
  • moving quickly is definitely a useful ability.
  • Worgen are good with skinning (which also adds to your Crit rating.)

 

Discipline Priest Videos

A discussion of the D Priest in 5.3, including the changes brought about in 5.3. He discusses glyphs, gear, talents, stats. gems, and some good tips. Kinda laid back and a bit rambling, but plenty of good stuff.

Disc. Priest Gameplay

He shows you what NOT to do, as well. He doesn’t care for atonement healing and wil show you what works better.

 

How to Get your Priest to the Level CapASAP

Hit the Level Cap FastPriest leveling is easy, especially for Shadow. Holy and Disc. can level in PvP or Dungeons and Shadow can do all of that and quest effectively. Then you hit the tops and the game changes. And then you have those other alts you want to level though those 90 levels.

With the thousands of quests to 90 and a bazillion mobs to kill (not to mention other players, but they don’t count here) sorting out which quests are best and which series of quests will get you to 90 the fastest is important, which is why we highly recommend Zygor’s Guide.

Zygor’s is an in-game guide and it nearly automates the whole leveling process: you just pick your starting point, at any level, and the guide tracks which quest you’re on, tracks the quest objectives, and automatically advances and updates as you complete your tasks and quests. In addition, a waypoint arrow is set automatically, so you never have to wonder where to go. All of the important quest info is included in the guide so you never have to wonder what to do. You’ll find that it’s vastly superior to the in-game questing help.

Playing with Heirlooms and/or Recruit a friend? Gaining a few levels in the dungeons or in PvP? Zygor has your backThe guide knows what level you are and will correctly suggest where to go next and will let you dump all of your obsolete quests. You will probably never need to look at your quest log again.

Grab your copy here and get to 90 as fast as possible, or read our review, first.

Like this page? How about recommending it and/or commenting?

7 thoughts on “Discipline Priest Healing Guide

  1. chris says:

    love this page even thought it might be out dated but whatever, can u tell me how u casted spirit shell so fast like that? looked way easy to do

  2. DiscoPriest says:

    Divine Aegis doesn’t just come from prayer of healing. It actually procs on critical heals. Instead of healing 200%, you get 100% heal and a 100% shield. High crit disc priests are a viable build.

    Bubbles! BUBBLES EVERYWHERE!!!

  3. Analune says:

    I always enjoy your guides. Thank you very much for doing them =)
    I want to ask what heirlooms i should get? I am currently lvl 20.

    Thanks

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