Shadowlands Discipline Priest Guide

Discipline Priest Rotation Guide

Executing your rotation properly in World of Warcraft can mean the difference between a kill or a wipe. In this guide, we will explain all Discipline Priest abilities and how they should be used optimally to maximize your performance, providing in-depth Discipline Priest rotations and priority lists.

We will teach you all the synergies and special interactions between your class abilities, so you can have peak performance in Shadowlands Pre-Patch for your Discipline Priest in raids and dungeons. Besides the basics, we explain more nuances and advanced concepts in your Discipline Priest rotation, such as highlighting the best moments to use notable cooldowns.

Baseline Disc Priest Spells

First, let's take a look at what spells Disc has at its disposal in Shadowlands, and what the primary purpose of these spells is 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.

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 slight absorb with no cooldown, the 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. 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 up significant absorbs before damage hits.

Damage Dealing Spells

  • Penance - Damage or healing channeled damage spell that fires 3 bolts of Light at the enemy or ally respectively
  • 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.
  • Mind Blast- Strong damage with a relatively high mana cost.
  • Shadow Word: Death - Excellent execute damage, with a price. Requires a Legendary in Shadowlands to result in Atonement healing.

Utility

  • 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 yards of you to flee for 8 seconds.

Playstyle

Disc's playstyle in Shadowlands continues to focus on Atonement to carry the bulk of your healing. You will have a strong variety of supporting abilities to continue solid healing in between ramp-ups and Evangelism usage. NOTE: These are guidelines for a general Disc 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 Disc's playstyle.

Proposed Essence Ramp Up with Evangelism

Proposed Essence Ramp Up with Rapture

Damage Priority

Advanced Playstyle

Introduction

With the changes to Disc in Shadowlands, the spec now has more shadow abilities than ever to augment and improve your damage and subsequent Atonement healing. Preparation for large damage will still involve the strong use of Rapture to apply Atonement before damage hits and can even refresh early on priority targets like tanks as they will receive larger shields due to synergy with Mastery: Grace. Power Word: Shield use outside of Rapture will be frequent but not spammed, this generally means maintaining small Atonement counts on average (2-3), but ramping up with Power Word: Shield, if the target is not injured, or Shadow Mend if they are to deal with heavier hits. Raid Healing will follow a similar style of ramping up to deal with heavy damage as we've seen in BfA (and listed below) but in between those ramp-up phases it remains important not to sit on two charges of Power Word: Radiance for too long. 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 to expend those extra Power Word: Radiance charges. This will be the standard flow that you'll be looking at going into most fights but you will also be able to mix in Shadow Mend as needed to both heal and apply Atonement to injured allies.

Ramp, "Mini" Ramp, and the In Between

In order to master the Disc spec it is imperative to be familiar with the crests and troughs of your healing output. The "General Ramp Up" outlined above is meant to serve as a guideline towards perfecting your burst output as a Disc Priest. With proper use, this will offer significant raid coverage and burst healing through damage dealing. Spell priority for a general Ramp is listed above, but the next question after "what to cast" is "when to cast it". Knowing when to utilize your Evangelism is so immensely important to mastering the spec and will help to properly leverage your toolkit to maximizing your throughput. For many raid encounters in Ny'alotha you will look to WeakAuras or boss mods like DBM or BigWigs to watch for when best to begin ramping up. Most encounters will have the event dealing group-wide damage exactly as the timer expires and in other cases there can be some leeway in when exactly the boss will cast said ability. In these situations it is often best to be early rather than late with your timing though practice and experience will be the best basis towards hitting that perfect window. When in between Evangelism cooldowns you will have access to Rapture and multiple Power Word: Radiance charges. The latter will often have three or four charges available before you have to hold them to use for your next Evangelism depending on the timing in the encounter. With these, and depending on the encounter, you can find times in between Evangelism windows to have a mini-ramp of sorts using Power Word: Radiance and/or Rapture. While Rapture and Evangelism share the same cooldown, it often will be better to use them at separate points during an encounter unless encounters are so bursty that they only are occurring every 1.5minutes. Utilizing the full value of Rapture with a single Power Word: Radiance can make for a potent burst of mini-ramp, especially on encounters with frequent, high damage. When you are not working towards a ramp up, mini or otherwise, often Discipline will hold tight and focus on the most necessary healing to do while waiting for their next big window. The spec often operates best when you are utilizing your resources to deal with specific bursts, rather than trying to cover everything as you see it like our Holy counterpart might. So in this case, maintaining Atonement on just a few targets (mainly tanks) and using heavy Smite will be the norm when not ramping.

Leveraging Spirit Shell to the fullest

With the Shadowlands prepatch comes the return of Spirit Shell. A titan amongst Priest abilities, it is now repurposed to turn your Atonement healing into absorb effects. While it lacks the legendary and conduit affects at the moment that the new expansion will bring, it can still be extremely powerful to utilize during the prepatch to rapidly capture and absorb incoming damage on the group before any other healer has the opportunity to top players off. This is very valuable for bursts of damaging mechanics that could quickly kill off players and is excellent in prepatch when encounters last substantially shorter periods of time than they did back at the start of the year when the raid was released. Utilizing Spirit Shell in a ramp-up scenario should look something close to the list below. Thanks to Enduring Luminescence your Power Word: Radiance will last that extra 1.5 secs longer than usual, meaning your can cast them on either side of your Spirit Shell use to maximize your potential absorbs. While the above covers the HOW, the WHEN is also very important too. Keep in mind that Spirit Shell has a 10 second application window, so any Atonement healing you generate in that period will add on to the shield and refresh its duration. That duration for the shield itself is 15 seconds, meaning that the absorbs you are developing must be consumed within 25 seconds of you casting Spirit Shell (10 second initial duration + 15 seconds shield duration). In an ideal scenario you will want to have your shields absorb almost immediately after that 10 second duration as you'll likely have some lingering Atonement out that you will want to have produce what healing they can after the damage hits. So, when planning your ramps, look to ramp around 5-8 seconds earlier than you would if you were utilizing Evangelism so that you can best soak up that incoming hit but also still produce some measure of Atonement healing once Spirit Shell duration runs off. Now is an ideal time to practice with Spirit Shell as late Nyalotha when (hopefully) your familiarity with fights is very high it will be much easier to get comfortable with the ability as opposed to when Castle Nathria is released in November sometime in the near future.