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Battle for Azeroth Discipline Priest Guide

Guide provided by Wowhead
Guide provided by Wowhead

Overview

Welcome to the Discipline Priest guide, updated to Battle for Azeroth! In this guide, we will explain how all Discipline Priest talents work and what are the best talent builds to use currently. We also highlight all the best uses for each talent, so you will always be prepared with the best strategy and the best Honor Talents to use while you are enjoying the bonuses from War Mode.

About the Author

The author of this guide is Jak, Priest Healer for Future on EU-Twisting Nether and caster for the Mythic Dungeon Invitational events. You can catch Jak online on his Twitter and his Twitch Stream.

Priorities and Abilities

First, let's take a look at what spells Discipline has at its disposal in Legion and what the primary purpose of these spells are in a raid or dungeon environment. We will get to how these spells function from a priority perspective in the Disc Priest rotation later on.

Baseline Discipline Spells

Healing Spells
  • Power Word: Radiance - An expensive, fast way to apply Atonement to 5 targets at a time. Often utilized to prepare for large burst damage on the group.
  • Power Word: Shield - A solid absorb with a cooldown reduced by Haste, the most efficient way to apply Atonement.
  • Shadow Mend - A quick, moderate healing spell that will leave a DoT on the target for half of the amount healed until the target takes that damage from any source. So if you heal a tank in a raid or dungeon with Shadow Mend it is quite likely Shadow Mend will not damage the target at all because they are taking damage from other sources fulfilling the requirement.
  • Rapture - While this spell on its own does not specifically heal any target, it does significantly increase the strength of Power Word: Shield for the next 8 seconds allowing you to apply Atonement while also putting out significant absorbs before damage hits.
Damaging Spells
To maximize your healing throughput, the majority of your healing will come through Atonement and defensive Penance uses when you are at a low number of Atonements.
  • Penance - Extremely efficient, high damage channeled damage spell that fires 3 bolts of Light at the enemy or ally.
  • Shadow Word: Pain - A Shadow spell that deals Damage over Time to a target for 18 seconds.
  • Smite - An efficient, moderate damage spell that has its effect split between damaging the target, and absorbing part of the damage that comes from the target. It nets out to be a very small relative amount, but it is interesting to note that it is the most efficient absorb currently in the game.
Utility Spells
  • Fade - Drops current threat from all enemies, can be useful for when additional enemies spawn during encounters and you want to ensure none of them are drawn to you.
  • Leap of Faith - Pulls the target to you, can be very useful for moving tanks across the room with ease on high movement encounters, or gripping little Jimmy out of the fire... again.
  • Mind Control - Self explanatory, gain control of your enemies and jump them off cliffs!
  • Mass Dispel - Removes debuffs from up to 5 players within the radius, excellent for clearing large amounts of debuffs on the raid. Extremely expensive to cast.
  • Dispel Magic - Allows you to purge (remove) certain buffs from your enemies.
  • Pain Suppression - Reduces damage taken by the target by 40% for 8 seconds, strong external tank cooldown.
  • Power Word: Barrier - Reduces damage taken by all allies inside the bubble by 25% for 10 seconds, great for stacked encounters.
  • Purify - Simple dispel of harmful effects on a target.
  • Shackle Undead - Locks up, or provides a sap effect to an undead enemy.
  • Psychic Scream - Causes up to 5 enemies within 8 years of you to flee for 8 seconds.

Playstyle

Discipline's playstyle in Battle for Azeroth is slightly less focused on just using Atonement to carry the bulk of your healing. Instead, defensive use of Penance (healing an ally) will be much more valuable than using it to damage unless you are at a very high number of Atonement. This following will list out a rough priority to follow when healing your group.

NOTE: These are guidelines for a general Discipline Priest rotation priority under general circumstances, this is to give you an idea of what priority you put on casting which spells and why you cast them, situations and encounters can vary. Please read the Advanced Section for a more in-depth breakdown of Discipline's playstyle.

General Priority Raid Healing
  • Cast Power Word: Shield to maintain Atonement on tanks or to spread before big damage goes out. The rate of use will depend on the damage going out onto the group.
  • Maintain Shadow Word: Pain or Purge the Wicked on as many targets as possible. (If the target will live throughout the full duration of the dot, it is well worth applying.)
  • Cast Penance on cooldown. The decision to cast offensively or defensively will depend on the quantity of Atonement you have out on the group. Only use offensively when there is more than half the raid with Atonement applied at the same time. Otherwise use defensively on damaged allies.
  • Use charges of Power Word: Radiance primarily together to apply mass Atonement before a raid-wide hit goes out.
  • Cast Mindbender or Shadowfiend on cooldown after applying a high quantity of Atonements.
  • Use Evangelism after using your Power Word: Radiance charges to extend the duration of all active Atonement.
  • Use Halo (if talented) on cooldown just after big damage goes out.
  • Cast Smite to do extra damage after ramp up or as filler.
  • Use Shadow Mend as needed to deal with emergency spot healing, generally only if Penance is on cooldown.

Ramping for Big Damage

An example of ramping up for heavy damage is as follows:

Power Word: Shield to 5-6 Atonement > Power Word: Radiance > Mindbender or Shadowfiend > Power Word: Radiance > Evangelism > Penance (offensively) > Smite

Advanced Playstyle Discussion

With the changes to Discipline in Battle for Azeroth, the primary difference that will be discussed is the new Mastery and the post-artifact world that BfA is introducing us to. Starting with Dungeons, the new Mastery: Grace offers the same effect as the now removed Grace talent. This means that maintaining and applying Atonement to allies before damage happens will remain extremely important in sustaining the group. The new talent Contrition will further incentivize defensive Penance use when needing the most healing possible for the group. Holy Nova is now a part of the Disc kit offering a strong option when a large number of enemies are pulled at once. Keep in mind that the damage dealt by Holy Nova will only transfer to Atonement on the first target that it hits. Preparation for large damage will involve the strong use of Rapture, especially after Atonement is already on the targets to further increase the synergy with Mastery: Grace.

Raid Healing will follow a similar style of ramping up to deal with heavy damage as we've seen in Legion (and listed above) but in between those ramp-up phases is the primary area that will see the most change. In between ramp-ups with Evangelism, you will be looking at the damage going out on the group and how best to deal with it. Additional cooldown added to Power Word: Radiance will reduce the amount of casts that you are able to get out per fight, causing you to use more Power Word: Shield to apply small quantities of Atonement, then using Penance on a friendly target (defensively) followed up by Smite as filler as you prepare for future damage. This will be the standard flow that you'll be looking at going into most fights. Luminous Barrier might see some uses during the pre-patch, but with the Velen's legendary staying in the game Evangelism will often be the power pick in that row.

Talent Builds

Raids

This Disc Priest build is focused primarily on the Legion-style of burst healing that we enjoyed last expansion in the raiding environment. Primary goal on setting up consistent bursts of healing within your Schism windows and heavier use of offensive Penance. This build is also incredibly strong for maximizing your damage in a competitive M+ environment.

Discipline Recommended Talents for a Burst-Healing Raid and Aggressive Mythic+ Build

Raids

This Disc Priest build is focused primarily on heavy use of defensive Penance to heal low health players in a raid environment. This build is less focused on large bursts of damage and but will provide significantly higher single target and tank healing.

Discipline Recommended Talents for a Spot-Healing Raid Build

Mythic+

This Disc Priest build is focused on total safety in Mythic+ and works very well on difficult healer affixes like Grievous and Bursting.

Discipline Recommended Talents for a Safe M+ Build

Tier 1 (Level 15)
  • Castigation - Adds an extra tick to your Penance cast, solid and consistent. Good for leveling.
  • Twist of Fate - Strong buff that kicks in after healing a party member that drops low. Value depends on the damage patterns of the content and the uptime that can be achieved. Strong in BfA raid progression and for a safe 5-man build.
  • Schism - Strong damage boost on a low cooldown, can provide a strong damage increase on demand. Helpful for aggressive 5man builds with the potential to be represented in some BfA bosses.
Tier 2 (Level 30)
  • Body and Soul - Provides the flexibility of instantly casting a movement speed boost on any target, but with the now spammable Shield, has an internal cooldown. Feather is often superior.
  • Masochism - Weak defensive effect. Has some situational value in low movement encounters but increasing your movement speed to escape danger is often superior.
  • Angelic Feather - Consistent, allows pre-placement and priority is given to the caster, your go-to for mobility.
Tier 3 (Level 45)
  • Power Word: Solace - Provides damage and resulting Atonement healing while also refunding mana. The most important aspect of this talent row is the AMOUNT of mana returned to you along with the maintenance required to acquire that mana. Strong synergy with Schism talent if used in 5mans or raids.
  • Shield Discipline - Returns mana to you through fully absorbed Power Word: Shields. Requires no change to how you play and currently is the highest mana regen talent in the row. Go to talent if you are hurting for mana.
  • Mindbender - While this does have a 1 minute cooldown, it is considered very low-maintenance and easy to use. It synergizes very well with Haste due to the increased attack speed of your Mindbender providing more damage and healing.
Tier 4 (Level 60)
  • Psychic Voice - Strong cooldown reduction to Psychic Scream. Decent for leveling, potential uses as Area of Effect interrupt in 5man content.
  • Dominant Mind - Allows you to keep your Mind Control'd enemy as a pet! Situational value, especially in 5mans.
  • Shining Force – Great displacement tool that can be cast on allies. Useful for helping tanks start kiting or creating space for yourself when leveling.
Tier 5 (Level 75)
  • Sins of the Many - Damage buff that is reduced by 1% per Atonement on targets other than yourself. Strong in 5-man content, leveling and some situations in raids.
  • Contrition - Offers strong healing when using Penance defensively. Strong in progression raiding, weak in Mythic+ as it is often not powerful enough to clear harmful affixes.
  • Shadow Covenant - Cooldown added in the prepatch, this talent is stronger than before but maintains the same downside. Strong situation use for Mythic+ for quickly dealing with Grievous debuffs or Bursting effects.
Tier 6 (Level 90)
  • Purge the Wicked - Replaces Shadow Word: Pain which, due to recent buffs to the latter, now deals the same DoT damage as the former. Easy to spread dot with Penance but currently underpowered.
  • Divine Star - Your star will travel in a straight line away from you damaging and healing, then return to you. Both Star and Halo's damage only transfers to Atonement on the first target hit. Solid in 5-mans where Halo can be scary to use.
  • Halo - A wide-reaching heal that is good for more spread out fights and the heal amount is no longer determined by the distance at which the ally is from you. If Halo hits them at 20 yards, they are healed for the same amount as if they were at 5 yards. Go to selection for raids in Battle for Azeroth.
Tier 7 (Level 100)
  • Lenience - Artifact trait turned talent. Slight damage reduction per target affected by Atonement.
  • Luminous Barrier - Replaces Power Word: Barrier and allows mass absorbs to be placed upon the entire raid. Very stuational value where regular Power Word: Barrier use will be difficult but an extra defensive is still required.
  • Evangelism - Extends the duration of all active atonements within range, top pick for most raid encounters with some solid use in Mythic+.

War Mode

A new change in BFA is the addition of War Mode. War Mode is a new World PvP system in Battle for Azeroth, along with the new Honor system and Honor Talents. You are now able to toggle War Mode while in Stormwind or Orgrimmar to gain access to PvP Talents in the outdoor world as well as other bonuses, like increased rewards from World quests and 10% extra experience. The downside is that you will always be in PvP combat mode, with the rewards counterbalancing that risk.

With that in mind, not all talents give the best throughput for your Discipline Priest. We've selected the best options for you to use while doing outdoor content with this mode turned on. Keep in mind that these are the best options for PvE activities and may differ from those used when fighting other players.

Crowd Control Talents

From a questing/leveling perspective, Relentless looks to be your best option as it will synergize best with open world content.

Non-CC PVP Talents

For this PvE oriented guide, this will look at talents that are best suited for solo leveling or questing content. Instanced and queued PVP talents will vary. Primary recommendations will be Dark Archangel, Searing Light and Trinity as the first two offer substantial damage increases while the final talent offers greater healing through Atonement, directly synergizing with the increased damage talents allowing you to "tank" more mobs or enemies during leveling. Other PVP talents will be more optimal when running with a group or when engaging in actual world or instanced PVP.

Stats

Battle for Azeroth brings many differences as far as stats go. In BFA, thanks to the stat and item level squish items will have a smaller amount of attributes overall on them, plus there are less secondary stats available in BFA as compared to Legion.

Intellect is our main primary stat and is found on all gear that we want to be wearing. It has a higher value than any of the secondary stats and should be the first thing you look at when debating whether one piece of gear is an upgrade over another.

For secondary stats, the Discipline Priest has the following:

  • Haste - Haste reduces the cooldown of certain spells like PWS, which can greatly improve our efficiency, and also other damage and healing spells, which results in greater throughput. More PWS' can also make for more mana regen'd from Shield Discipline which is always a huge plus. Lastly, as with all other specs in the game, faster casting and quicker use of cooldowns is always a positive.
  • Mastery - New mastery Mastery: Grace increases all healing and absorbs on targets with Atonement. Once you have a suitable amount of Haste, you will look towards high ilvl gear and start preferring Mastery on your gear for increasing your healing. If you are more focused on Mythic+/5mans, you may look for stats that will increase your damage rather than Mastery.
  • Critical Strike - Provides a chance to double the damage and healing done by your spells. While it benefits both your damage and healing spells, it does not currently match up to the throughput and mana efficiency provided by Haste, so it has a lower priority and is quite close to Mastery in value.
  • Versatility - Provides a linear gain in outgoing healing & damage, as well as reduction of damage taken. With this increase to damage done, and decrease to damage received, comes the price of worse scaling than any other secondary stats for Disc. Versatility will actually provide more benefits to healing than Mastery in 5-man dungeons while still increasing your damage, so it is much better in that content, but they are quite close in value in raids.

Bests Stats for Disciplne Priest

The stat priority remains unchanged from Legion to Battle for Azeroth prepatch:

Intellect > Haste > Mastery > Versatillity/Critical Strike

Gearing

The following parts of the guide will list out the recommended gear options assuming near baseline levels that drop. It is important to keep in mind that warforge and titanforging pieces (i.e. gear that upgrades above base levels) can quickly make pieces that are not listed below better than those listed below. Discipline Priest will primarily focus on maximizing item level in most gear slots, with rings, trinkets and azerite slots (Helm/Chest/Shoulders) as the notable exceptions. Those slots should be targeted when possible for specific stat or Azerite bonuses although they too can be replaced if there is a significant item level increase. For example a low level Mastery/Haste ring (desirable Discipline stats) can be replaced by a significantly higher item level Vers/Crit ring, especially if it also has a socket.

Due to personal loot restrictions in BfA, keep in mind that obtaining the below items may be more difficult so do not be stressed if you do not have the perfect gear set going into Uldir.

Legendaries for Leveling

Discipline will often be the easiest spec to level as due to their powerful warmode talents and defensives. The optimal legendaries will be Sephuz's Secret and Muze's Unwavering Will. This will allow constant damage increases to quickly kill mobs and make it easier to rapidly move through the content.

Trinkets

Trinkets are less sensitive to item level differences. For example, some trinkets, like the Revitalizing Voodoo Totem are very underpowered compared to other dungeon effects, so a high ilvl totem may not be better than one of the trinkets below unless it is a massive difference in intellect. Below are trinkets that are all reasonably close in value and should be a focus to prioritize in BfA.

Best in Slot Recommendations

Azerite Traits

Helms, Shoulders, and Chests are able to interact with your Heart of Azeroth, granting you Azerite Powers. These powers can modify existing spells, provide buffs, deal damage or healing, as well as other effects.

The powers below are divided into three rings where they can be found in your Azerite gear:

  • Ring 1 contains Spec/Zone powers and is the first section available on each item and will likely be available to select as soon as you acquire a given piece of gear, contain traits based on your class specs and source of the trait.
  • Ring 2 contains Role powers, based on the roles your class can perform. It is only found on epic-level gear (340 or higher.) Lower-level gear will only have the other rings.
  • Ring 3 contains Defensive/Utility powers and is the last set of choices available in the piece.
  • Final Ring always contains Azerite Empowered, which increases the item level of the armor piece it is in by 5 item level. The effect, in turn, increases the power from all previous rings.

The first tier of Azerite Powers in an armor piece will have options for each of your specialization, plus a thematic option depending on the source of the armor.

There are other rings, those don't focus so much on your class and are more generic damage, healing, or utility improvements.

Role Enhancing Powers

These traits can be found in the Role Ring. The options are chosen from the varying pools shown below depending on what roles your class can perform: Tank, Healer and/or DPS. This set of powers will only appear on Azerite Armor that is item level 340 or above. The options available account for all roles that Priest can perform, not only Discipline options.

Generic Role Powers
  • Earthlink — Azerite energy courses through you, reaching a high primary stat value and then diminishing down to a lower value primary stat, cycling every 6 sec.
  • Blood Siphon — Increases your Mastery and your Leech.
  • Lifespeed — Increases your Haste and your Avoidance.
  • On My Way — Increases your Versatility and your Speed.
  • Unstable Flames — Your damaging abilities have a chance to grant critical strike rating for 5 sec. This effect stacks up to 5 times.
  • Heed My Call — Your damaging abilities have a chance to deal Nature damage to your target, and Nature damage to enemies within 3 yards of that target.
Priest Role Powers
  • Synergistic Growth — Casting your multi-target healing spell grants you Mastery for 10 sec. This cannot occur more than once every 30 sec.
  • Ephemeral Recovery — Casting a healing spell restores mana over 8 sec. Stacks up to 4 times.
  • Blessed Portents — Your healing spells have a chance to apply Blessed Portents for 20 sec. When the ally falls below 50% health, Blessed Portents is consumed and instantly restores health.
  • Bracing Chill — Your heals have a chance to apply Bracing Chill. Healing a target with Bracing Chill will heal and move Bracing Chill to a nearby ally (up to 6 times).
  • Concentrated Mending — Your healing effects have a chance to grant the target additional healing every 2 sec for 12 sec. This effect doubles every 2 sec.
  • Savior — Your heals on targets below 35% health have a chance to heal.
  • Woundbinder — Your healing effects have a chance to increase your Haste for 6 sec. Healing lower health targets will grant you more Haste.
  • Azerite Globules — Your damaging abilities have a chance to implant an Azerite Globule on your enemies. When an enemy collects 3 Azerite Globules, they explode, dealing damage to nearby enemies.
  • Gutripper — Your damaging abilities have a chance to deal Physical damage to the target. Gutripper occurs much more often against targets below 30% health.
  • Elemental Whirl — Your damaging abilities have a chance to grant you Elemental Whirl, increasing your Critical Strike, Haste, Mastery, or Versatility for 10 sec.
  • Overwhelming Power — Your damaging abilities have a chance to grant you 25 applications of Overwhelming Power. Each stack of Overwhelming Power grants Haste. An application of Overwhelming Power is removed every 1 sec or whenever you take damage.

Defensive Powers

These powers can be found in the Utility/Defensive Ring. The pool contains a number of Generic Defensive Traits, in addition to two class-specific Defensive Traits.

Generic Powers
  • Gemhide — When dealt damage greater than 10% of your maximum health, gain Avoidance and Armor for 10 sec.
  • Impassive Visage — When you take damage, heal. Cannot occur more than once every 6 sec.
  • Vampiric Speed — When an enemy you harmed dies, you heal and gain Speed for 6 sec.
  • Longstrider — Increases your movement speed by a fraction of your highest secondary rating.
  • Resounding Protection — Every 30 sec, gain an absorb shield for 30 sec.
  • Self Reliance — While no enemies are within 20 yds, you heal every 3 sec.
  • Azerite Fortification — When stunned, immobilized, or knocked back, you heal.
  • Bulwark of the Masses — When you are surrounded by 4 or more enemies, gain a shield that absorbs damage. Cannot occur more than once every 15 sec.
Priest Powers
  • Sanctum — When you cast Fade, you absorb Magic damage for 10 sec.
  • Twist Magic — When you successfully Dispel Magic, you heal yourself and 4 injured allies.

Best Azerite Powers for Discipline Priest

Based on simulations and analysis we have selected the best Azerite Powers which should generally be prioritized. Keep in mind that the strength of Azerite armor powers are based on its item level, which can weight their value, and will typically make a higher item level piece of gear better even if it has less ideal traits.

Azerite Effects for Raid
Good Average Poor
Azerite Effects for Mythic+
Good Average

Azerite Power Rotation Changes for Discipline Priest

While Azerite powers are not as impactful as Legendaries were in Legion, some still can change rotations substantially:

  • Weal and Woe will give you frequent buffs after using Penance either offensively or defensively. Helpful to track which buff that you have proc'd each time to take advantage of.
  • Depth of the Shadows increases healing from Shadow Mend off of DoT damage, can be helpful to track when the stacks near capped value.

Azerite Armor for Discipline Priest

Knowing the best Azerite Powers to look for, here is a list of a few early Battle for Azeroth gear with Discipline powers to look for. Note that you can have the same Power in multiple pieces and their effects will stack up to three times. The power listing is here based on all items having equal item level, but remember that item level can often be a larger increase than a better set of traits. In many cases, it will be important for you to have a wide variety of such pieces with those traits depending on if you are doing Raid, Mythic+ or PvP content.

Finding Azerite Armor

Unlike other sources of gear, Azerite Armor isn't fully available around the world. While you can obtain it normally on non-keystone Dungeons and on World Quests, there are only a handful of sources after that point for the best gear:

  • Up to 3 pieces inside your Weekly Mythic Keystone chest.
  • Personal Loot Drops from Uldir.
  • From Conquest Point Rewards.

Note that none of these sources are farmable and Azerite Armor cannot Titanforge, so you cannot use lesser sources for endgame gearing.

Gems, Enchants and Consumables

Best Enchants for Discipine Priests

Two gear slots can be enchanted with BfA power enhancing enchants: weapons and rings. There are also glove enchants which can assist with professions.

Best Gems for Discipline Priests

Gem sockets have a small chance to be found on all gear in BfA, including raid bosses, world bosses, world quest loot, and dungeon loot. Rings and necks crafted by Jewelcrafters have a 100% chance to have a socket.

Recommended Discipline Priest gems are Kraken's Eye of Intellect and Quick Owlseye.

Potions and Flasks for Discipline Priests Best Food for Discipline Priests

Bountiful Captain's Feast is the highest quality food in BfA with the lower quality feast being Galley Banquet and the weaker, individual food being Swamp Fish 'n Chips.

Addons, WeakAuras, etc