Shadowlands Holy Priest Guide

Holy Priest Overview

Welcome to Wowhead's Holy Priest guide, updated for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands! This guide will teach you to master playing Holy Priest in all aspects of the game, helping you to keep your allies alive in Raids and Mythic+ dungeons.

Throughout this guide, we will cover many different aspects to increase your Holy Priest expertise, including concepts like Holy Priest talents and talents builds, Holy Priest BiS gear choices, Holy Priest stat priorities, among many other aspects of your class and specialization. Make sure to navigate to additional pages of the guide to find more in-depth information on topics such as Mythic+, Raids, and gear recommendations.

Holy Priest Playstyle in Shadowlands

Holy Priest is a versatile but immobile healer specializing in using Holy Words or "small miracles" like Holy Word: Serenity and Holy Word: Sanctify to provide a rush of immediate healing to allies. Priests have a long history in Warcraft for buffing their allies and saving them from death itself. As a result Priest is often a more vulnerable healer than others with low defensive power and mobility. They make up for it by having excellent Area of Effect healing with some single target support.

Priest brings an important raid-wide buff in Power Word: Fortitude, increasing the stamina of your allies. While Discipline focuses more on preempting incoming damage or even absorbing it, Holy Priest is the master of heavy reactive healing, able to provide a steady stream of output whenever they get a chance to plant their feet and cast. The spec is great for players new to healing as it has a straightforward priority system and as the "classic healer" often has many mechanics that cross over to learning other healing specs later on.

If you are a returning player or would like a more in-depth review on the spec, the rest of this guide and both the beginner's guide and rotation guide will help provide more details on the spec.

Holy Priest Facts

Holy Priest in Shadowlands does not have any monumental changes to the playstyle and structure. Holy is often regarded as the classic healer, offering a flexible healing style that mixes Heal over Time effects with powerful direct healing abilities in our Holy Words. Any sort of healing that is required, Holy is able to adapt and respond to well enough to keep the group healthy. They are often viewed as the "Jak of all trades, master of none" for this reason. While they lack a specific niche, they make up for it in great raid oriented tools and cooldowns, which have only grown in Shadowlands with the addition of Circle of Healing to the baseline kit.

Best Holy Priest Racials

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  • Human- Offering bonus secondaries through The Human Spirit and a stun escape in Every Man for Himself, Humans are a solid overall selection.
  • Void Elf - The Allied Race offers a decent mobility/escape tool in Spatial Rift and a solid passive effect in Entropic Embrace for damage and healing.
  • Night Elf - Depending on the time of day you will receive bonus Haste or Critical Strike with the Touch of Elune passive. In addition, Shadowmeld has a wealth of uses in high level keystones, leading away mobs from the party so they can cross a part of the instance and drop combat.

Holy Priest Strengths

  • Specializes in multi-target healing, with all direct healing abilities causing a Healing Over Time effect afterwords.
  • Has flexible single target and AoE oriented healing abilities in Holy Words.
  • Raid oriented cooldowns that can restore health or mana to the group.
  • Can heal through death for a short period of time with Spirit of Redemption.

Holy Priest Weaknesses

  • Lacks many mobile or instant cast abilities and can be impeded on specific encounters with high movement requirements.
  • Thrives in stacked encounters where Holy Word usage can be maximized, can struggle when players are more spread.
  • Fewer defensive and survivability tools.

What makes Holy Priest Special

What's changed in Shadowlands?

With the second expansion in a row with minimal changes, Holy Priest should feel right at home for many returning players who have experienced it in Legion or BFA. There will be some talent adjustments that we will list below but the gameplay will continue to revolve around Holy Words and working to utilize them to the fullest.

New Abilities for Holy Priest in Shadowlands

Holy Priest has received some talent adjustments and GCD improvements:

  • Circle of Healing - Is now a baseline ability and used about on cooldown whenever there is damage to heal as usual.
  • Renewed Faith - Replaces Enduring Renewal on the 15 talent row and is a potential 5 man focused option to better support your tank.
  • Prayer Circle - Replaces Circle of Healing on the level 40 talent row offering faster heals after using Circle of Healing.
  • Apotheosis - Now instantly resets the cooldowns of your Holy Words when pressed solidifying this talent as the top Mythic+ pick on the row.

It 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.
  • Power Word: Shield - Situational use when on the move and the ally needs instant healing.
  • Shadow Word: Death - More shadow abilities now made available to Holy.
  • Shadow Word: Pain - Now baseline.

What are the Big Gameplay Changes for Holy Priest?

5 Man Growth

Now that Apotheosis resets the cooldowns of your Holy Words, it is more crucial than ever to maximize their usage when talenting into Apotheosis in a 5 man environment. While your healing Holy Words should frequently be on cooldown you must also make sure to keep Holy Word: Chastise on cooldown before using Apotheosis to take advantage of the extra damage or even an extra Stun from Censure.

How Do AoE Target Caps Affect Holy Priest in Shadowlands

Holy Nova now reduces in strength when hitting more than 5 allies or enemies. It will still be ideal to utilize for dealing damage in mass-AoE situations but you will likely want to apply Shadow Word: Pain to priority enemies first.