The Cleric's Codex [A PvE FAQ; 4.3]

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The Cleric's Codex
Last Updated: 6.15.12

I am always looking for questions to add to the primer.

If you have anything to contribute, please post in the thread or send an email to


Note: To quickly get to the section you want, open your search function and type the corresponding TCC## code. I wish I could provide links, but Blizzard seems to have broken those. To return to this post, simply type in TCC00.

o1. Introduction
  • Greetings, and such
  • o2. Jargon
  • General
  • Priest Spells & Abilities
  • Non-Priest Spells & Abilities
  • Combat
  • o3. General
  • Should I play a priest?
  • Viability/Competitiveness
  • Races
  • Professions
  • [TCC04]
  • Masteries
  • Haste Breakpoints
  • o4. Leveling
  • Heirlooms
  • Specs
  • [TCC06]
  • Specs, cont'd
  • Rotations
  • o5. Discipline
  • Atonement
  • Regen
  • Gems
  • Specs
  • [TCC08]
  • Glyphs
  • Surge of Light & Veiled Shadows
  • [TCC09]
  • 5-man Healing
  • Renew Usage
  • o6. Holy
  • Chakra
  • Holy Words
  • Regen
  • Gems
  • [TCC11]
  • Specs
  • Glyphs
  • [TCC12]
  • 5-man Healing
  • PW:Shield Usage
  • o7. Shadow
  • Shadowfiend
  • Gems
  • Spec
  • Glyphs
  • [TCC14]
  • Empowered Shadow
  • Rotation
  • o8. Stats
  • Basic Priorities
  • Spirit
  • Atonement
  • o9. Addons
    1o. Macros
    11. Other Resources

    [Change Log]

    06.15.12: Now PvE only; added Stats; updated ToC
    03.08.12: Updated Holy, Shadow, Disc sections; weeded out fluff
    11.30.11: Updated Holy builds
    11.22.11: Created
    [TCC01]_____I N T R O D U C T I O N

      Greetings priests! I'm Elly, a long time priest and forumer. In my journeys as both player and poster, I've discovered many truths. One is the value of accurate information.

      World of Warcraft is a game under constant revision. Classes are buffed and nerfed; optimal methods of leveling, healing, dpsing, gearing, speccing, reforging, etc. change. New players start the game. Veterans roll new classes, try new roles, or return from hiatus.

      Every day, the forums see the result of WoW's mutability. Threads are created, questions are asked, answers are given. And any veteran knows that the forums see countless repeats. It goes well beyond the duplicate and triplicate. One any given day, the priest forum will have anywhere from two to five nearly identical threads on the first and second pages alone. Not simply two to five of one topic, either, but of two or three or more topics.

      In some cases, these threads cultivate new discussions and fresh debate. In most, however, we see nothing more than regurgitation and reiteration. It gets old and it gets boring.

      A remedy is long overdue, which is why I've created this thread. It isn't possible to cover every question that stumbles onto our forums, but hopefully this primer can answer many.



    Back to Start:
    [TCC02]_____J A R G O N

    Slang and acronyms you may see and hear while playing a priest.

      [AFK] Away From Keyboard
      [Classic] The original game (aka: Vanilla)
      [Cata] Cataclysm
      [BC] Burning Crusade
      [BG] Battleground
      [Bio] Bathroom break
      [BRB] Be Right Back
      [BRT] Be Right There
      [CD] Cooldown, the amount of time left before you can use the same ability again
      [CP] Conquest Points
      [Farm] The tedious exercise of gathering a specific item or items, killing the
      same mobs repeatedly, gaining levels (also known as Grind); or, content
      that your group/raid has no problems with
      [GTG] Got To Go, the player has to leave; or Good To Go, the player is ready
      [HP] For players, mobs or NPCs, Hit Points (aka Health); in reference to
      currency, Honor Points
      [Instance] A dungeon
      [JP] Justice Points
      [LFD] Looking For Dungeon; or the Dungeon Finder tool (aka DF)
      [LFG] Looking For Group; or, Looking For Guild
      [LFM] Looking For More/Member; a number before the M indicates how many
      are needed
      [LFR] Looking For Raid
      [Loot] Items on a corpse, or the action of pillaging a corpse
      [MP] Mana Point(s) or Mana Pool
      [NPC] Non-playable Character
      [PST] Please Send Tell (whisper)
      [PvE] Player versus Environment
      [PvP] Player versus Player
      [Rep] Reputation
      [RNG] Random Number Generator; essentially how lucky you are with /rolls
      and loot drops
      [RP] Roleplay
      [Toolkit] Your arsenal of spells and abilities
      [VP] Valor Points
      [WotLK] Wrath of the Lich King (aka Wrath)
      [WTB] Willing/Want To Buy
      [WTS] Willing/Want To Sell

      Priest Spells & Abilities:
      [AA] Archangel
      [AA/A] Archangel/Atonement
      [BH] Binding Heal
      [BT] Borrowed Time
      [CoH] Circle of Healing
      [DA] Divine Aegis
      [DH] Divine Hymn
      [DP] Devouring Plague or Desperate Prayer
      [EoL] Echo of Light
      [ES] Empowered Shadow
      [GH] Greater Heal
      [GS] Guardian Spirit
      [IF] Inner Fire or Inner Focus
      [IW] Inner Will
      [HF] Holy Fire
      [HW] Holy Word
      [LW] Lightwell
      [MA] Mental Agility
      [MB] Mind Blast
      [MF] Mind Flay
      [MS] Mind Sear; or Mind Spike
      [PI] Power Infusion
      [PoH] Prayer of Healing
      [PoM] Prayer of Mending
      [PS] Pain Suppression
      [PW] Power Word
      [PW:B] Power Word: Barrier
      [PW:S] Power Word: Shield
      [SoS] Strength of Soul
      [SW] Shadow Word
      [SW:D] Shadow Word: Death
      [SW:P] Shadow Word: Pain
      [ToT] Train of Thought
      [VE] Vampiric Embrace
      [VT] Vampiric Touch
      [WS] Weakened Soul

      Non-Priest Spells & Abilities:
      [BL] Blood Lust (aka Lust)
      [BR] Battle Rez (aka BRez)
      [Hero] Herosim
      [MS] Mortal Strike
      [SLT] Spirit Link Totem
      [WG] Wild Growth

      [Aggro] Top threat
      [AoE] Area of Effect. Spells that affect a specific area or hit more than one
      player/mob at a time
      [CC] Crowd Control
      [DoT] Damage over Time
      [DPS Damage per second; also, damage dealer(s)
      [Focus Fire] Attack a specific target
      [GCD] Global Cooldown, or the time before you may use your next spell/ability
      [HK] Honor Kill
      [HoT] Heal(ing) over Time
      [KB] Killing Blow
      [Kite] Essentially, forcing a mob to run after you; the goal is to remain
      untouched while (generally, but not always) keeping aggro
      [Mob] An NPC enemy target

    Back to Start:
    [TCC03]_____G E N E R A L

    I'm thinking about starting a new class. Are priests fun?

      Well, I enjoy playing my priest. Maybe you will too. Here are a few things to ask yourself:

    • Do you prefer caster classes over melee and physical ranged classes?
    • Do you normally prefer a melee or physical ranged class, but are looking for a change of pace?
    • Does having two unique healing trees appeal to you?
    • Do you like the idea of mitigating damage as a healer?
    • Would you enjoy a flexible healing style that includes hard cast, instant cast, channeled and heal-over-time spells (HoTs)?
    • Would you enjoy a damage style that includes hard cast, channeled, damage-over-time spells (DoTs)?
    • Does a priority system, rather than rotation, appeal to you as a damage dealer?
    • Would you have fun managing cooldowns, buffs, procs, a temporary pet, etc as both a healer and damage dealer?

      There are tons of nuances to consider, but if you answered yes to most of these questions, the priest class is probably a good fit for you. Remember that you aren't required to play all three specs. If you think Holy and Shadow look amazing, but aren't so sure about Discipline, don't worry! If you don't want to heal at all, that's fine. Many priests exclusively play Shadow (and as many more exclusively heal, either as Discipline or Holy, or as both).

    Are (Shadow/Disc/Holy) priests viable/competitive in PvE right now?

      As of 7/8/12:

      Shadow: Competitive. A well-played Shadow priest can rank highly on most fights against similarly geared/skilled non-priests.

      Discipline: Competitive. Still a very powerful healer with amazing cooldowns and, with the nerfs to current content, capable of dominating healing with their absorbs.

      Holy: Competitive. Changes to Divine Hymn, and the prevalence of stack-heavy fights have made Holy a reckoning force.

    Which professions should I go with?

      From Kilee's Guide:

    • PP stands for Pseudo Power, or the contribution of the desired stat

      1. Blacksmithing, epic gems, 2 additional sockets: 100 pp

      2. Alchemy, Mixology: 80 PP
      2. Enchanting, ring enchants: 80 pp
      2. Engineering, Synapse Springs: 80 pp
      2. Inscription, Felfire Inscription: 80 pp
      2. Leatherworking, Draconic Embossment: 80 pp
      2. Tailoring, Lightweave Embroidery: 80 pp
      2. Blacksmithing, superior gems, 2 additional sockets: 80 pp

      3. Jewelcrafting, 3 epic gems: 51 pp
      4. Skinning, Master of Anatomy: 40 pp
      5. Herbalism, Lifeblood: 20 pp

      These values are based on the use of epic gems. For those who do not, Jewelcrafting and Blacksmithing should fall in line with the rest of the 80 PP professions.

    Which race should I choose?

      The prettiest one. I'm only half-joking. The best race is one that you can stand to look at for long periods of time. If you hate the looks, cast animations, etc, of your priest, you'll enjoy playing a priest much less.

      For the min-maxers:


      Discipline: Gnome (extra mana) or Human (extra Spirit)
      Holy: Human or Gnome
      Shadow: Draenei (extra hit) or Worgen (extra crit)


      Discipline: Blood Elf (extra regen via Arcane Torrent)
      Holy: Blood Elf (extra regen via Arcane Torrent)
      Shadow: Goblin or Troll

    • If you do not foresee yourself needing the additional regen from AT, my second recommendation would be Goblin; my third, Troll.
    • For those who want an opinion about aesthetics, my cast-animation favorites are Male Dwarf and Female Human for the Alliance, and Undead (both genders) and Female Bloodelves for the Horde.

      More details about Priest races is available on my blog, Priest it Forward, which is linked in the Other Resources section.

    Is (insert spec/mechanic here) broken?

      Maybe. Are you sure you're doing things correctly? Have you thoroughly tested the issue? If you're having trouble with something specific, and there isn't an answer in this thread, make your own explaining what you're doing, what you're expecting to happen and what's actually happening.

    Back to Start:
    [TCC04]_____G E N E R A L, cont'd

    What's the difference between Disc and Holy?

      Discipline is primarily dedicated to proactive/mitigating healing and is both a tank and raid healer. PW:Shield and Divine Aegis are the main source of the proactive healing, and essentially extend a player's HP by the amount of their shields. Pain Suppression and PW: Barrier continue the theme by allowing us to reduce damage done to our allies. Discipline can and will have to heal reactively, but you should never try to heal that way exclusively.

      Holy is our reactive healing spec and is a throughput powerhouse. All of our main spells are used after damage occurs and are generally geared toward healing multiple at once. You can play as a tank healer, but almost every other healing spec is better at it than we are.

    How does Mastery work?

      Mastery is a passive ability trained by all classes at 80, allowing a player to gain benefit from Mastery Rating. Every spec has a different Mastery that draws from the "heart" of the spec and increases some aspect of it.


        Shield Discipline: "Increases the potency of all your damage absorption spells by 20%. Each point of Mastery increases the potency of absorbs by an additional 2.5%"

        Essentially, it makes your Power Word: Shield and Divine Aegis spells stronger. It does not benefit Power Word: Barrier.


        Echo of Light: "Your direct healing spells heal for an additional 10% over 6 sec. Each point of Mastery provides an additional 1.25% healing over 6 sec."

        Self-explanatory. What is not self-explanatory is how its refresh mechanic works. Do not worry; it's not broken. Further information regarding EoL may be obtained in Lux et Umbra or Priest it Forward. Links to each are in the Other Resources section.


        Shadow Orb Power: "Increases the damage done by your Shadow Orbs by 11.6%. Each point of Mastery increases Damage by an additional 1.45%"

        Shadow Orbs work in two ways. The first affects Mind Blast and Mind Spike; each orb increases the amount of damage dealt by MB and MS. The second affects your DoTs; when Shadow Orbs are consumed by either MB or MS, you gain a buff called Empowered Shadow. This buff increases the damage dealt by your Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Touch, Devouring Plague, Mind Flay and Mind Sear.

    What are haste breakpoints?

      A breakpoint, or softcap, is the haste at which you gain an extra tick from your HoT, DoT and channeled spells.

      Noteworthy Affected Spells and Feasibly Obtainable Ticks:

    • Devouring Plague*
    • 9        6.25%
    • 10     18.75%
    • 11      31.25%
    • Divine Hymn
    • 5       12.5%
    • Hymn of Hope
    • 5        12.5%
    • Lightwell**
    • 4        16.666...%
    • Renew
    • 5        12.5%
    • Serenity-refreshed Renew
    • 6        10%
    • 7        30%
    • Shadow Word: Pain
    • 7        8.333...%
    • 8        25%
    • Vampiric Touch
    • 6        10%
    • 7        30%

      Note: The listed percentages are the raid buffed numbers needed to reach the additional ticks.

      * Improved Devouring Plague's damage increase does not coincide with the 6.25%, 18.75% and 31.25% haste breakpoints. Instead, you will see an increase at two levels of haste: 1601 & 3202. Note that these ratings cannot come from Haste buffs.

      ** Lightwell, like IDP, is affected only by Haste received from gear.

      Further information available in Lux et Umbra: A Priest Mechanics Guide.

    Back to Start:
    [TCC05]_____L E V E L I N G

    I've heard about these things called heirlooms. What are they and how can I get them?

    How many heirlooms should I get before starting?

      The heirlooms I consider mandatory are JP/HP purchasable and increase your experience gain: the shoulders and the chest. However, the more you can get, the better.

      Priority of Purchase: 1. Shoulders or Chest
      2. Shoulders or Chest
      3. Trinket 1
      4. Trinket 2
      5. Weapon

      I prioritize double Discerning Eye of the Beast over the weapon because the trinket is incredible. Not only does it increase your intellect (making it amazing for all three specs), but getting killing blows returns 2% mana per trinket.

    Optimal Setup for the PvE Leveler

    Optimal Setup for the PvP Leveler

    Which spec is best for leveling?


      Discipline is hands down the better spec until Holy is able to get into the meat of its tree. PW:Shield is overpowered, particularly from 60-70. Even after reaching Wrath content, the spell is exceedingly powerful.

      A Discipline priest can easily keep an entire group alive using nothing but PW:Shield, Penance and Atonement for many levels. (In fact, it's probably possible to keep an entire group alive using nothing but Atonement until at least 60.)


      Surprise! It isn't Shadow (at least not initially).

      Discipline is also the better damage dealing spec until level 43, at which point you should have both Glyph of Spirit Tap and the Masochism talent.

      From here, things get a bit murky:

      If you do not have heirlooms, Discipline may very likely continue to serve you better in dungeons (and, possibly, while questing).

      If you do have them, however, Shadow has a higher potential in dungeons. If this isn't proving true for you, you're doing something wrong. Shadow and Discipline remain equivocal for leveling until at least level 49, when you gain Vampiric Touch and can round up a heap of mobs using VT and watch them fall over.

    Back to Start:
    [TCC06]_____L E V E L I N G, cont'd

    Well, does that mean I can't level as Holy or Shadow from the start?

      Absolutely not!

      Despite their weaknesses early on, both Holy and Shadow can get the job done. Heirlooms, of course, make it just that much easier.

      A Holy priest in full heirlooms can keep a party alive using primarily PW:Shield and Renew until Chakra and Revelations are available (levels 49 and 51 respectively).

      A Shadow priest in full heirlooms can keep pace with an heirloom'd Discipline priest while questing, and deal decent damage in dungeons (excellent damage post-43).

    What's the best rotation while leveling?


    Single Target:
    • HF > Penance > Smite, repeat, until Penance becomes too weak as an offensive spell.
    • Even after you get Mind Spike at 81, I would suggest sticking to HF+Smite because of their increased efficiency through Evangelism.
    • YES, Evangelism should be considered mandatory while leveling. If you really, truly despise it you can do without, but your efficiency and speed while will drop significantly.

    • Doesn't exist until you get Holy Nova at 62, and isn't that great until you get Mind Sear at 74. Once you have one or the other, and know you can sustain the mana cost (or have time to drink after), you can spam them to your hearts content on groups larger than 3.
    • If you have Glyph of Spirit Tap, use SW:Death to kill mobs in order to gain the regen buff.


    Single Target:
    • HF, MB then Smite until HF/MB is back up again. You can also use Holy Word: Chastise to disorient/kill mobs if needed.
    • Remember to be in Chakra: Chastise while questing after you get the Revelations talent at 51!

    • Same principle as Discipline.
    • If you have Glyph of Spirit Tap, use SW:Death to kill mobs in order to gain the regen buff.


    Single Target (questing):
    • Pre-49: MB, then MF. If a mob is elite, you may consider using DP as well. Use SW:D to kill.
    • Pre-81: VT > MB > MF . SW:D to kill. Tweak MF use as needed.
    • Post-81: Mind Spikex2-3, then MB. Use SW:D to kill.

    Single Target (dungeons):
    • Same principle as questing. If a mob will die quickly, use MB/MF or MS/MB and get KBs using SW:Death.
    • If the mob is a boss, or has a significant health pool follow the Shadow priority system to the best of your ability.

    AoE (questing):
    • Commonly referred to as multi-dotting. Place VT up on as many mobs as you can handle, then either focus fire or AoE them down (Holy Nova if you don't have Mind Sear, or need the health; otherwise Mind Sear).
    • Don't forget to use SW:Death when you need the mana!

    AoE (dungeon):
    • Same principle as questing.
    • If mobs are dying too quickly, however, skip VT and jump straight in with Holy Nova or Mind Sear
    • Don't forget to use SW:Death to gain Spirit Tap!

    Why shouldn't I use Shadow Word: Pain?

      SW:P is inefficient at early levels. While questing, mobs should die before SW:P can tick enough to be useful. In dungeons, the same principle applies but to greater effect; because of its cost, SW:P should rarely be used in multi-dotting.

      The exception, of course, is for players whose mana pools can take the hit. This will apply to players who have heirlooms and at least Glyph of Spirit Tap, but do not have VT.

    Back to Start:
    [TCC07]_____D I S C I P L I N E

    Is Atonement healing viable?

      Yes, at every level of play.

    How does Atonement work?

      Atonement heals the lowest health friendly target within 15 yards. Most of the time, that should be the tank. If you're aware of the state of your raid's health, you'll know when it's time to switch from Holy Fire and Smite to targeted heals.

    How does my regen work?

      Rapture will be your main source of regen. When your shield is completely absorbed or dispelled, you receive 7% of your total mana. The better your gear, the bigger your mana pool, the more mana you gain back. Rapture has a 12 second inner cooldown. It can be a good idea to track, or at least be aware of, the status of that ICD.

      Ingela's Rapture is an addon devoted to tracking Rapture. Many "general" timer addons can also track it.

    • Tracking the ICD doesn't mean tethering your PW:S use to those 12 seconds. Nor does it mean delaying using PW:S on a tank! Instead, it's meant to make you more actively aware of both Rapture and your shielding habits.
    • If there's no damage coming that will break a shield on anyone else, you're going to have to stick with the tank. As a rule, don't delay using PW:S just for Rapture. As with any rule, there will occasionally be exceptional situations; knowing and handling them comes with experience.

    • Don't let your tracking interfere with your performance. If you aren't seeing any noticeable effect, or if it's proving detrimental, just stick with whatever you get without tracking.

    How do Shadowfiend and Hymn of Hope work?

      Shadowfiend returns 3% of your mana every time it hits. HoH returns 2% mana every 2 seconds for 8 seconds total and increases maximum mana by 15% for 8 seconds.

      For maximum return, pop Shadowfiend, then HoH. If you can time that to not conflict with the Rapture ICD, you will reach regen nirvana.

    • Tip: If you have multiple priests, you can coordinate multiple HoH casts at the same time, which means you can use your fiend earlier/later.

    Am I gemming correctly?

    What are my spec options?

      There are a handful of good builds currently.

      A. Atonement w/ Strength of Soul (33/8/0)

        This works well for both tank and raid healing. Atonement is a flexible healing style that covers both tanks and melee. When necessary, you can switch to targeted heals on your tank(s) and have the benefit of Archangel, which increases your healing by 15% when used at 5 stacks of Evangelism, and Strength of Soul, which decreases the remaining time of the WS debuff every time the target is healed by Heal, GHeal, or FHeal.

        Even if you're not a dedicated tank healer, SoS will be useful. Similarly, Atonement and AA remain useful regardless of role.

      B. Atonement w/o Strength of Soul (31/8/0)+2

        This build should be used only by someone who very rarely heals the tanks or who primarily heals 5-mans with heavy use of Atonement. The two points freed by not taking SoS can be placed in ToT, Darkness, or DP. Less preferably, you may choose to put them in SoL or VS.

      C. Strength of Soul w/ Train of Thought (31/8/0)+2

        This build is best for dedicated tank healers, but is also the go-to choice for those who are uninterested in AA/A play. SoS and ToT work together to maximize tank healing while increasing your staying power by increasing how often you can use both PW:S and IF.

        It is also possible to drop 1 point from Emp Healing in any of the above builds for use elsewhere. However, most priests run 3/3.

    Back to Start:
    [TCC08]_____D I S C I P L I N E, cont'd

    What glyphs should I be using?

    Why so much hate for Surge of Light and Veiled Shadows?

      In its current form, SoL is pretty much a garbage talent for Discipline and is inferior to almost every other option. The proc rate is too low to be worth the investment. If you absolutely love it and must have it, at least be aware of its shortcomings. Most of us have seen the delicious strings of self-proccing SoLs that dazzle and excite; they aren't enough to make it a truly worthwhile choice.

      Veiled Shadows is not a garbage talent. In fact, it can be a great talent for fresh 85 priests or those just stepping into new content. However, you must always consider how much use you'll actually be getting out of it. Most fights in Firelands are short (and getting shorter). Even if you can get two uses out of your fiend, you need to ask yourself if both uses are truly necessary. For priests who primarily run heroic 5-mans, the cooldown can be great for runs with chain-pulling tanks. Never be afraid to pop the fiend on trash pulls.

    Inner Will or Inner Fire?

      In almost every situation, Inner Will is better. This is because the mana you save often allows for far more healing down the road than the combined additional healing you get from using Inner Fire.

      There are circumstances (PoH spam with minimal PW:Shield use) where Inner Fire is superior. Having additional regen is generally not a good reason to use IF over IW. If you primarily/exclusively play Discipline, reforge out of as much Spirit as you can. The secondary stat gain should be far better when combined with IW than the regen when combined with IF.

    Back to Start:
    [TCC09]_____D I S C I P L I N E, cont'd

    How do I heal as Discipline?

    Note: This section deals primarily with 5-man healing. A Dragon Soul guide should be out shortly. That said, basics are basics and they should help you regardless of your group size

      In general, you’ll see a cycle of low and high damage phases–much like a roller coaster of healing needs. There are plenty of occasions where the damage is middling; in that case, you’re going to need to mesh the two healing styles I discuss below for each circumstance as best fits the situation.

      Single-target Atonement Healing

      Low Damage: Keep the tank shielded as possible. Holy Fire when it’s up and fill with Smite. You want to use Penance to keep Grace on the tank, which will increase the healing from Atonement.

      High Damage: If available, pop a 5-stack Archangel and use Holy Fire on cooldown. Otherwise, keep the tank shielded as possible, Penance and Greater Heal. Don’t forget to use Inner Focus as often as possible and be ready with Pain Suppression, Power Infusion and Power Word: Barrier.

      Multi-target Atonement Healing

      Low Damage: This is very similar to the single-target low damage model. Keep the tank shielded and Graced, Holy Fire and Smite as needed. You may also use Prayer of Mending on cooldown or as needed.

      High Damage: Again, very similar to the single-target model. Pop Archangel if available and keep the tank shielded, but generally skip the Holy Fire. Keep the tank afloat, as he is your second priority (first priority is yourself: a dead healer does no healing), but use Prayer of Mending on cooldown and Prayer of Healing as is needed to keep the rest of the party alive. You’ll want to shield anyone else who gets perilously low, and remember to use Inner Focus with Prayer of Healing as often as possible.

      Single-target Strength of Soul Healing

      Low Damage: As with Atonement, you want to keep the tank shielded. Use Penance as often as you can. Otherwise, Greater Heal as needed, tying it into Inner Focus when available. If the damage is exceedingly low, you can switch to Heal if you prefer persistent healing or if you anticipate heavy damage and want to clear Weakened Soul. Otherwise, just wait out the damage and use Greater Heal as needed.

      High Damage: Get ready with Pain Suppression, Power Infusion and Power Word: Barrier. If you’ve taken an SoS build with Archangel and you have stacks (preferably 5), pop AA and start pumping out Greater Heals. Shield, Penance, Inner Focus. This is a time where using Flash Heal is probably okay; however, if it comes to spamming Flash Heal, you’re also probably fighting a losing battle and running out of time fast.

      Multi-target Strength of Soul Healing

      Low Damage: If the damage is low you can take or leave healing dps who get hit. If you wait for the triage moment, you can hit the group with Prayer of Healing; it’s far better than tossing single-target heal after single-target heal. As with the Atonement model, keep Prayer of Mending out. In fact, there’s a good chance it will do all the healing you need if the overall damage is soft.

      High Damage: Again, be ready with your cooldowns. Keep the tank as heavily healed as you can, keep Mending out and use Prayer of Healing heavily. Shield people who start bottoming out. It’s actually a strong tactic to use Power Word: Shield for its Borrowed Time buff and rotate between shielding and using Prayer of Healing when the group damage is both heavy and consistent.

    When should I use Renew as Discipline?

      Short answer: you shouldn't.

      Long answer: Renew is almost never a good choice for Discipline priests. Unless you (a) are in motion and cannot stop, (b) cannot use PW:Shield, and (c) cannot use Prayer of Mending, you shouldn't be using Renew. (Even then, you're usually better off just not bothering.) The only other acceptable time is when you're running back from a wipe or when you're killing farm content and just don't care about optimizing your every cast. (For those who don't get what I'm saying here: if you want to be lazy and/or bad, go ahead and use it. I'm hoping you're reading this guide because you're not lazy, though, and don't want to be bad.)

      If you care even a smidgen about proper play, it is never acceptable to glyph or spec to improve your Renew as Discipline.

    Back to Start:
    [TCC10]_____H O L Y

    How does Chakra work?

      Chakra is a talent introduced in Cataclysm. It is, essentially, a stance that should be changed based on your role. After activating the ability, Chakra, your next spell will place you into a Chakra state:

    • Serenity is your single-target/tank healing Chakra. It's activated by Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, and Binding Heal, and increases the critical effect of your direct healing spells by 10%. Your direct heals also refresh the duration of your Renew on the target.
    • Sanctuary is your aoe/group healing Chakra. Activated by Prayer of Mending and Prayer of Healing, it increases the healing done by your aoe and Renew spells by 15% and reduces the cooldown of your CoH by 2 seconds.
    • Chastise is your dps Chakra, and the least used of the three. Smite and Mind Spike activate it, increasing your total damage done by Shadow and Holy spells by 15%.

    What about Holy Words?

      The base Holy Word ability is Chastise, which deals a small amount of damage to the target and disorients them for 2 seconds.

      The Revelations talent causes your Holy Word to change while you are in the Serenity and Sanctuary Chakras.

      Holy Word: Serenity instantly heals the target for an amount roughly between Heal and Flash Heal, and increases the critical effect chance of your healing spells on that target by 25% for 6 seconds. It has a base cooldown of 15 seconds. The Tome of Light talent reduces the cooldown by 2.25/4.5 seconds.

      Holy Word: Sanctuary creates an AoE healing spell on the ground. Players within its boundaries are healed for a small amount every 2 seconds for 18 seconds. It has a base cooldown of 40 seconds. Tome of Light reduces the cooldown by 6/12 seconds.

    • Note: HW:Sanctuary is currently not affected by diminishing returns. Every player receives the same amount of healing, regardless of how many are in the area.

    How does my regen work?

      Holy receives most of its regen from Spirit, through the passive ability Meditation and the talent Holy Concentration, and is completely trammeled by that. A Holy priest without sufficient Spirit will have severe mana issues even with excellent use of Shadowfiend and Hymn of Hope.

    How do Shadowfiend and Hymn of Hope work?

      Shadowfiend returns 3% of your mana every time it hits. Hymn of Hope returns 2% mana every 2 seconds for 8 seconds total and increases maximum mana by 15% for 8 seconds.

      For maximum return, pop Shadowfiend and follow with Hymn of Hope.

    • Tip: If you have multiple priests, you can coordinate multiple HoH casts at the same time, which means you can use your fiend earlier/later.

    Am I gemming correctly?

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    [TCC11]_____H O L Y, cont'd

    What are my spec options?

      Because Holy is primarily used as a raid healer, spec changes will generally be based on damage dealt by the encounter

      Starter Builds (6/32/0)+3

      Spirit of Redemption:

      Surge of Light:

      Rapid Renewal:

      You'll notice that all talents in the trees remain the same with the exception of Spirit of Redemption, Surge of Light and Rapid Renewal. In each case, you may choose to flip the points from the secondary choices (ie: SoL and SoR when the tree is built around Rapid Renewal).

    • Spirit of Redemption is a decent talent for any priest who dies often during the course of encounters, whether through their own fault or due to the negligence of their party/raid members.
    • Surge of Light is an okay talent for priests who primarily run in 5-mans. It is generally an inferior choice for raiding Holy Priests; the exception (somewhat) is for priests who are forced into tank healing positions or use Binding Heal frequently during encounters.
    • Rapid Renewal is best taken when an encounter, or group of encounters, invites "blanketing" Renews. Beyond that, it may be appropriately taken when your Renew use is high enough for you to profit from the reduced GCD's influence on your other spells--that is, that it allows you cast the next spell more quickly.

      The three remaining points may be used for Darkness, Veiled Shadows, Blessed Resilience, or Evangelism and Archangel. If not taken in the starter build, you may also choose SoL, SoR or RR.

    • Darkness tends to be a favorite for the extra points, because of its increase to Haste (which will affect you throughput, by increasing your potential HPS; your regen, by increasing the amount of mana spent per second; and reaction time, by decreasing the cast time of your spells and GCD).
    • Veiled Shadows should be taken any time you need the extra regen afforded by a lowered cooldown on your Shadowfiend. However, you should be certain that you can make use of that lowered cooldown. If a fight isn't long enough to use, or make proper use of, the extra Shadowfiend, you should find another avenue to increase your regen.
    • Blessed Resilience is almost never worth taking. However, you may find the effect decent on certain high physical damage fights (like Heroic Blackhorn).
    • Evangelism and Archangel should always be taken as a pair. Unless you are absolutely certain you are capable of gaining and maintaining stacks of Evangelism, and using Archangel, without sacrificing your normal healing, do not take these talents.

    Because most DS encounters favor stacking, you might also consider swapping points out of Body & Soul (ie: taking Darkness with the 3 extra points, while switching 2/2 from B&S to BR).

    What glyphs should I use?

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    [TCC12]_____H O L Y, cont'd

    How do I heal as Holy?

    Note: This section deals primarily with 5-man healing. A Dragon Soul guide should be out shortly. That said, basics are basics and they should help you regardless of your group size!

      In general, you’ll see a cycle of low and high damage phases–much like a roller coaster of healing needs. There are plenty of occasions where the damage is middling; in that case, you’re going to need to mesh the two healing styles I discuss below for each circumstance as best fits the situation.

      Single-target Healing

      Low Damage: Keep Renew on the tank and stick with Chakra: Serenity. Use Heal as your go-to spell, with Holy Word: Serenity popped on cooldown. There isn’t much more to it than that. Pretty simple, eh?

      High Damage: Again, keep Renew on the tank and sit in Serenity. Holy Word: Serenity on cooldown and use Greater Heal. One potential method for particularly nasty damage is Flash Healing twice followed by a Serendipity’d Greater Heal. Be ready with Guardian Spirit. Putting Lightwell down should be a given for boss fights, but any trash pulls that look like they have the potential to be stressful are prime situations for Lightwell use as well. Try to put down early so you don’t have to waste the time putting it out in the middle of the storm, and also so it’ll be up for more pulls.

      Multi-target Healing

      Low Damage: Keep Renew on the tank and decide whether you need to be in Chakra: Sanctuary. When the damage is low, the answer is generally no. Pop Renew on people who get hit and try to refresh as possible with Heal. Reserve Holy Word: Serenity for the tank as often as possible; the increased crit chance is often (but not always) wasted on dps. Keep Prayer of Mending out as needed. You can use CoH for light damage, but you may want to consider waiting out the damage in order to use PoH later.

      High Damage: Again, Renew on the tank. In high damage aoe situations, you’ll almost always want to be Sanctuary. If people are stacked, drop HW: Sanctuary. If people aren’t (and sometimes it's better not to be), stick with Prayer of Mending, Circle of Healing, Binding Heal and Prayer of Healing. And don't forget about Divine Hymn! It's absolutely fabulous now.

      Lightwell should be down when any high-stress situation is possible; if nothing else, you can click on it and not have to worry about yourself as much. Also be ready with Guardian Spirit; there’s no shame in using it on a damage dealer (or yourself) when the tank is doing fine.

      Leap of Faith can also play a vital role; it can be invaluable for getting that last player to stack or getting them away from the bad things.

    When should I use Power Word: Shield as Holy?

      The only time it's okay to use PW:Shield as a Holy priest is when the Body & Soul speed boost is necessary.

      It is not an effective emergency spell. The absorption provided by a Holy-powered Shield is minuscule in comparison to that of a Discipline priest. In addition, you don't actually gain any time by using it. Its absorption amount as Holy will be roughly equal to a Flash Heal from the same priest.

      There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. If, by some magical happenstance, using PW:Shield allows you to follow up, in the next GCD, with a Holy Word: Serenity, and the target would have absolutely, unquestionably died if you had used Flash Heal instead (ie: the next swing would happen before Flash Heal could land and would be enough to take the tank below 0), then okay.

      If you're at that point, however, you're probably fighting a losing battle. If HW:Serenity is not available/up and you've cast PW:Shield, you must now wait at least two GCDs for the next decent heal (the original GCD + the cast time of your next spell).

      The only other exception applies to low-level Holy Priests. It's absolutely okay to use PW:Shield until you have a bigger toolkit.

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    [TCC13]_____S H A D O W

    What's my hit cap?

      17%, which is 1639 hit rating for Draenei and 1742 for all other races.

    • It's okay to run below the cap! Any points over cap are essentially wasted. Just make sure to pay attention to your spells, so you avoid losing DoT uptime.

    Shadowfiend's a regen cooldown, right?

      Yes and no! Your fiend becomes a wonderful dps cooldown once you're at a healthy level of gear. Use it as often as possible for maximum dps!

    Am I gemming correctly?

    How should I spec?

      Unlike Holy and Discipline, Shadow has almost no flexibility as a spec. There is a single starter build that leave two points available for distribution.

    • Raiders will benefit most from either finishing Mental Agility, or taking 2/3 Inner Sanctum. Psychic Horror, Phantasm, and Silence are all decent options as well, though Silence will require that you pull a point from your starter build (which can cause problems).

    What glyphs should I choose?


        Glyph of Mind Flay
        Glyph of Shadow Word: Death
        Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain
        Glyph of Dispersion

        In most cases, you will (and should) take Mind Flay, SW:Death and SW:Pain.

        Dispersion is acceptable if you are strapped for mana or when you are leveling; it is also taken for fight mechanics requiring damage soaking (Baleroc's Shards of Torment, for example). At max level, I suggest dropping SW:Death as I believe it has the least damage increase (unless you primarily run 5-mans, in which case SW:Pain becomes an option for dropping). While leveling, I would suggest dropping SW:P; questers should see little use for the spell, and dungeon-goers will find that it is inefficient except on bosses.



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    [TCC14]_____S H A D O W, cont'd

    How does Empowered Shadow fit into my rotation?

      Generally, MB should be kept on cooldown. However, Empowered Shadow should be up whenever you need to refresh VT or DP. Because of this, you should refrain from using MB if you have zero Shadow Orbs and when using MB will compromise your ability to refresh VT and DP appropriately.

      Refreshing VT and DP before your current ES extends deadline. It's better to refresh them before it drops, than to have them up for any duration without ES.

    What should my rotation look like?

      Shadow works more on a priority system than a rotation.

      Theorycrafter Kilee recommends this opener:

      (optional) Volcanic Potion
      1. Shadow Word: Pain
      2. Mind Flay x 1.2
      3. Shadow Fiend
      4.Mind Blast
      5. Vampiric Touch
      6. Devouring Plague
      7. Dark Archangel

      In her words: "The goal of this opener is to get Empowered Shadow up as soon as possible, and to trigger Dark Archangel while your intellect procs are still active. It doesn't always work, but when it does, it can generate a higher dps opening than other openings, so I think it is worth it."

      Another option is getting your dots up first before trying to push Empowered Shadow. Your mileage may vary.

    • Using Shadowfiend before MF can be a dps increase, assuming your previous spell(s) procced a buff.
    • Don't forget that Dark Archangel wipes your Evangelism stacks! Do not refresh VT or DP until you're back at Evangelism x5!

      After you've completed your opening rotation, move to this priority system:

      1. VT
      2. DP
      3. DPS cooldowns, as available
      4. SW:D x 2 (only if boss is < 25% health)
      5. MB
      6. MF

    Should my rotation change with the tier 13 4P bonus?

    Short answer: Yes.

    Longer answer: Check out Kilee's post here (

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    [TCC15]_____S T A T S

    What should my stat priority be?

      The answer is simple: it depends. Your raid size, comp and needs will define your stat priorities. I've provided the current viable setups and their logic below.


    Int > Spirit to comfort/as needed > Haste > Crit > Mastery

      If you're raid healing and the majority comes from PoH and DA, you'll benefit most from Haste and Crit. Haste means you're able to get your PoH faster. This has two benefits: more actual healing when the raid is taking damage, and a faster build on DA absorption when the raid isn't. Crit, while less reliable than either Haste or Mastery, does provide more healing in the long run and is a good gamble.

    • Note: Theoretically, Crit > Haste provides the best throughput boost. However, as mentioned above, it is not reliable. As such, I give it a lower priority than Haste, which provides a consistent increase to your healing.
    • Note: Some players prefer Mastery/Crit for PoH spam. I'm going to be personally testing the two priorities, but I've not seen any theorycrafting or direct evidence that supports Mastery/Crit reforging.

    Int > Spirit to comfort/as needed > Haste ≥ Mastery > Crit

      This is for priests who use both PoH and PW:Shield regularly and is my personal choice for most encounters. Because we get so much Crit from Int, and because you should never be reforging/gemming for Crit as a Disc priest, you shouldn't see too much of a drop in your Crit chance. However, you will see heavier shields, which is excellent for anyone who weaves PoH and PW:Shield, or has periods within encounters where they're consecutively shielding.

      This is also my recommended priority for tank healers. You should be shielding your tank(s) frequently thanks to SoS. While crits are great for fat DAs, you should be relying more on higher consistent throughput than chance.

    Int > Spirit to comfort/as needed > Mastery > Haste > Crit

      Anyone using PW:Shield heavily should be placing the highest priority on Mastery and Spirit. PW:Shield eats a lot of mana and it is very difficult to sustain high shield use without additional regen from Spirit. Note that this does not mean bubble-botting. Shield spam, in the traditional sense, is gone.


    Int > Spirit to comfort/as needed > Mastery > Haste > Crit

      I suggest this build for 25 mans, or for 10 mans lacking a Resto Druid. While your healing is slower, you provide stronger secondary healing and increase the underlying stability of your raid group.

      I've seen Echo of Light account for upwards of 19% of my healing done on encounters—and that was with me almost constantly casting.

    Int > Spirit to comfort/as needed > Haste > Mastery > Crit

      For players who see less effective healing from Mastery, or for players running 10-mans, I suggest prioritizing Haste, which means you'll be providing stronger burst healing for your raid.

    Int > Spirit to comfort/as needed > Crit > Haste > Mastery

      This is a very specific priority system focused on Renew. Currently, there's only one fight where this truly shines: Heroic Spine. Holy Priests are deadly Plasma healers, and Renew is best buffed by Crit, with a secondary emphasis on Haste.


      I'm far less familiar with Shadow stat priorities than I am with Holy and Disc. Because of this, I will instead direct you to the Reforging and FAQ sections of Kilee's Shadow Priest Guide, located and (the relevant FAQ questions being #11-13).

    What do you mean by "to comfort/as needed"?

      There is no magical Spirit number for the priority systems. Each priest will have a different comfort level when it comes to regen, and each raid will have slightly different regen potential.

      Your goal should be this: have enough regen to allow you to finish your most current progression fight with just enough mana to keep going if needed.

    What should my priority be if I'm an Atonement priest?

      Atonement should never take precedence with reforging. If you're healing 5 mans and are able to do it almost solely through Atonement go ahead and push Haste/Crit but know that it really doesn't matter. If you're at that point, your reforging won't make any noticeable difference—except you might beat a few more dps on the meters.

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    [TCC16]_____A D D O N S

    Under Construction

    Back to Start:
    [TCC17]_____M A C R O S

    Under Construction

    Back to Start:
    [TCC18]_____O T H E R - R E S O U R C E S

    Cataclysm Shadow Priest PvE Guide by Haotududis

    Lux et Umbra: A Priest Mechanics Guide by Nysem

    Quick Reference: Pointers for Healing Priests by Ashleycakez

    4.3 Shadow Priest Rotation by Mindwarp

    Priest it Forward

    Kilee's Shadow 4.3 Priest Guide by Kilee

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