Shadowlands Discipline Priest Guide

Discipline Priest Shadowlands Pre-Patch Roundup

Shadowlands is almost upon us, bringing with it Patch 9.0 and a large chunk of Class changes and updates. In this guide, we will take a look at the most significant changes for Discipline Priest, detailing how you can expect to play the spec during the Shadowlands pre-patch.

How to Play Discipline Priest in Shadowlands Pre-Patch

Discipline Priest is one of the more unique healers in the game at the moment, focusing heavily on preparing for incoming raid damage by proactively applying Atonement before a raid-wide damage event occurs, then following through with a flurry of damaging abilities on the enemy to heal allies. While immobile and often vulnerable in their cloth armor, Discipline has excellent preemptive tools in Atonement and absorbs to rapidly reverse damage on allies keeping them away from death's door. Priests are a longstanding class in Warcraft, offering excellent buffs to your allies through Power Word: Fortitude, increasing the health of your allies. Unlike Holy, Discipline is a heavily preemptive healer, focusing on specific windows to output the most healing, absorbs, or damage reduction possible to protect those around them. While Discipline often is considered a more advanced spec when compared to Holy, it can be mastered through practice and proper fight preparation to achieve the strongest results. Discipline straddles the breach between Holy and Shadow spells, borrowing many spells from both specializations. As a result you have a variety of spells at your disposal to heal, deal damage, or reduce damage taken which is excellent for a variety of scenarios. If you are a returning player or would like a more in-depth review of the spec, the rest of this guide and both the beginner's guide and rotation guide will help provide more details.

How Different Does Discipline Priest Feel in the Shadowlands Pre-Patch?

Discipline has primarily received more abilities to assist with your ramps both from a damage and healing point of view. Power Infusion can be used on yourself in raids to improve your ramps or on an ally to assist them. Mind Blast is now part of the Discipline kit but has a hefty mana cost attached to it. This won't matter too much in pre-patch Nyalotha where fights are expected to be extremely fast compared to early progression, but it will be something to bear in mind in Castle Nathria where resources are more scarce. Spirit Shell is a new talent that replaces Rapture allowing you to put out massive absorbs if you don't mind trading off some powerful cooldowns in the process. Shadow Covenant also has been revamped offering increased shadow healing and damage, but locking you out of your holy-school spells for the 9-second duration. With limited Shadow abilities in pre-patch, this might be a good talent to experiment with in preparation for more tools in Shadowlands.

New Abilities for Discipline Priest in Shadowlands Pre-Patch

Discipline Priest has received some talent adjustments and GCD improvements:
  • Spirit Shell - On the 50 tier, replaces Luminous Barrier. When talenting into Spirit Shell it replaces Rapture and is also on the same tier as Evangelism. There is a VERY heavy trade-off for taking this talent. It could see some use as players experiment during pre-patch but this does not look like it will be a consistent raid-pick in Shadowlands raids.
  • Shadow Covenant - With a new expansion comes a new version of Shadow Covenant. This time around it locks you out of Holy-school while improving your Shadow healing and damage by 25% for 9 seconds. Pairing this with the Venthyr Covenant can have some strong payoffs, but without that extra Shadow ability in the rotation, this may not be as powerful. It generally adds another layer of complexity into the ramp-up window but can result in some explosive healing.
  • Rapture - Now instantly casts a Power Word: Shield at your target when activating the ability.
  • Mind Sear - Another AoE damage tool, like others, provides Atonement healing off only the first enemy it deals damage to.
  • Mind Blast - Produces a strong burst of Shadow damage that automatically converts into Atonement healing. It has a high mana cost for Discipline so it ideally will be used with large ramps, paired with Schism.
Discipline has also received some returning abilities shared across all Priest specializations:
  • Mind Soothe - Offers a very useful tool for skipping trash enemies in Mythic+ and while questing. You cannot run straight through these enemies but you can be significantly closer to them than before without having them attack you.
  • Power Infusion - Off-GCD haste increase for yourself or an ally.
  • Shadow Word: Death - Excellent execute damage, with a price. Requires a Legendary in Shadowlands to result in Atonement healing.

How Do AoE Target Caps Affect Discipline Priest in Shadowlands Pre-Patch

Holy Nova now reduces in strength when hitting more than 5 allies or enemies. Even before the drop-off you would still use Mind Sear to maximize AoE damage. If targets will live long enough you'll want to use Purge the Wicked to ensure a steady flow of Atonement healing into your allies before using Mind Sear for improving your damage. Keep in mind that Mind Sear and Holy Nova only heal through Atonement on the first enemy that it hits, NOT all targets, so the healing produced is very minor.

How Strong is Discipline Priest in Shadowlands Pre-Patch?

Overall Discipline Priest is a strong, bursty raid healer and that trend will continue into the Shadowlands Pre-Patch. Below we'll talk more about how losing Corruption will change the spec but in general, you get better utility and slightly better healing tools for a 5 man environment while maintaining your strengths in a raid environment. With the pre-patch also featuring a stat squish it is also increasingly likely that fights in Ny'alotha will continue to be very short which can be favorable to Discipline Priest having extremely strong burst healing, and could provide some interesting opportunities to experiment with Spirit Shell.

What are the Big Gameplay Changes for Discipline Priest?

5 Man Growth The addition of Power Infusion gives great flexibility for leveraging additional throughput for key situations as needed and the fact that it is off the GCD will make it easy to utilize in key moments. Keep in mind that it can be used on other players so talking to your Mythic+ group about who can benefit the most will be a good area to improve your overall team's performance. Mind Soothe opens up many possibilities with skipping enemy humanoids and should be practiced with during the pre-patch to get a feel for how close you can get to these enemies and what potential skips you can produce as well. Now that Rapture activates an empowered Power Word: Shield it will likely be very important to create a mouseover macro for the ability so that you can select who the target of that initial Power Word: Shield should be. You can do so by hitting Esc in-game and going to the macro menu to create this macro.
#showtooltip
/cast [@mouseover,help,nodead][] Rapture 

How does the Loss of Corruption Affect Discipline Priest in the Shadowlands Pre-Patch?

Discipline Priest will be losing their bonus stat Corruptions resulting in a much lower level of Haste. You'll likely notice that you won't be able to apply as many Atonement as you previously have and likely not as many Power Word: Shield casts in your Rapture window as well. In general, the gameplay focus will remain the same.

Best Talent Builds for Discipline Priest in Pre-patch

Discipline has had a few talent changes in Shadowlands but the core priority remains the same. Spirit Shell will have some situational uses depending on how rapid raid encounters will be in the pre-patch, and Shadow Covenant could also see some use in a 5man environment if extra healing is required or to buff the damage of Mind Sear. For more information, be sure to visit the talent guide page.

Best Rotation for Discipline Priest in Pre-Patch

Your playstyle in Shadowlands continues to focus on maximizing your healing Atonement by utilizing your healing spells to apply a high number of Atonements, then extend their duration through Evangelism usage, and follow up with a heavy flurry of damaging abilities. It is imperative to be aware of boss timers so that you can proactively apply Atonement before the damage, so that you can respond to it by dealing damage to the boss to heal your allies. This is an example ramp utilizing the new abilities and Shadowlands Pre-Patch as well as the existing essences.

Proposed Essence Ramp Up with Evangelism

Damage Priority

For more advanced information on how to maximize your throughput or better understand Disc Priest's gameplay, be sure to check out the rotation guide page.

Best Stats for Discipline Priest in Pre-Patch

Disc's stat priority remains unchanged going into Shadowlands. Maximizing item level remains important while Haste still produces excellent speed for applying extra Atonements.
  1. Item Level
  2. Haste
  3. Critical Strike
  4. Mastery
  5. Versatility
For more information check out the stat priority guide page.

Best Azerite Traits for Discipline Priest in Pre-Patch

There are no changes coming up for Azerite. Heart of Darkness no longer requires Corruption to activate the stat bonus continue using it alongside one Enduring Luminescence and Depth of the Shadows. Another powerful Azerite effect as well is Death Throes. For further information on how to select the best Azerite pieces be sure to check out the Azerite Trait Guide page.

Best Essences for Discipline Priest in Pre-Patch

With the pre-patch come no changes to optimal Essences for Disc Priest, be sure to check out the Essences page for more in-depth info. A quick summary is listed below:

Mythic+

No changes:

Raiding

No changes: