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Battle for Azeroth Holy Priest Guide - Spell Priorities & Playstyle

Guide provided by Wowhead
Guide provided by Wowhead

Priorities and Abilities

Let's take a look at what spells a Holy Priest will have at their disposal in Battle for Azeroth and what the primary purpose of these spells are in a raid or dungeon environment. We will get to how these spells work in a raid environment later on.

Baseline Holy Spells

Healing Spells
  • Heal - Slow, efficient, single target direct heal, triggers Holy Words.
  • Flash Heal - Fast, more expensive single target heal, also triggers Holy Words.
  • Renew - Weak direct heal with a Heal over Time (HoT) effect, now reduces the cooldown of Holy Word: Sanctify.
  • Holy Word: Serenity - Strong direct heal, look for targets around half health or less to use, with a hefty cooldown reduced by Holy Words.
  • Holy Word: Sanctify - Strong, direct, reticule targeted Area of Effect (AoE) heal. Good for healing stacked groups of players, with a hefty cooldown reduced by Holy Words.
  • Prayer of Healing - Very expensive smart heal that heals the target and 5 other injured targets within 30 yards. Triggers Holy Words.
  • Prayer of Mending - A charge based heal that is cast on a friendly target which heals them when they take damage and then bounces to another friendly target if charges are remaining, Use on cooldown!
  • Divine Hymn - Large channeled raid cooldown that heals all raiders over time within 40 yards of the casting player and increases healing done to them by 10% for 8 seconds.
Damage Dealing Spells
  • Holy Word: Chastise - Strong single target damage spell with a hefty cooldown, reduced by Holy Words.
  • Smite - Single target damage spell that triggers Holy Words.
  • Holy Nova - AoE damaging spell which can be very efficient for large quantities of small mobs.
  • Holy Fire - Instant cast damage spell that leaves Damage over Time (DoT) on the target.
  • Symbol of Hope - Provides exceptional utility although on a long cooldown.
  • 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.
  • Dispel Magic - Allows you to purge (remove) helpful buffs from your enemies.
  • Guardian Spirit - Increases healing received by the tank by 40% for the duration. If the tank dies while the Spirit is active the affected target is then healed to 40% of their max HP and the effect is cancelled. An effective tank cooldown that should be coordinated with your healing officer and tanks.
  • 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 - Also self descriptive, removes debuffs from up to 5 players within the radius, excellent for clearing large amounts of debuffs on the raid.
  • Spirit of Redemption - While this is not an actively cast spell, this form allows you to cast any spells for no cost for the duration when triggered. Take this time to cast your highest healing and most expensive spells to ensure your raid is in a manageable position before it fades.

Holy Priest Priorities / Playstyle

Your playstyle in BfA revolves around making the fullest use of your Holy Words, while the rest of your Holy Priest rotation revolves around them, benefiting your Holy Words through cooldown reduction to increase your throughput, along with additional talents and spells that are to be used on cooldown.

NOTE: These are guidelines for a general 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.

General Priority of Dungeon Healing
General Priority of Raid Healing


Flash, Prayer of Healing, Circle of Healing, and Heal

As you've seen in the healing priority, Holy has a great deal of tools at its disposal to top off health pools and synergize with Holy Words. What this means is that you will often have to analyze and make decisions based off of the target or targets' health pools to determine what ability that you need to use once your Holy Words are on cooldown. Due to the recent nerfs to Binding Heal the talent looks is set to be very mana inefficient and will often be replaced by Circle of Healing in that row. With recent buffs to Heal you will also be further incentivized to utilize it more frequently due to the high mana efficiency that it brings with it.

Flash Heal and Prayer of Healing are more extreme spells. What this means is that you will often want to utilize these when players are often more damaged than healthy, or when you have excess mana that you can consume. Both abilities cost a solid amount of mana and therefore should be used with the knowledge that they can run you out of mana (oom) very easily if misused. As mentioned before, Heal is a slow casted and efficient ability that is prioritized during downtime. While you can also choose to cast Smite to add extra damage, often it can be better to utilize Heal instead so that you are more easily able to get Holy Word: Serenity off cooldown more quickly, which in turn will allow you to instantly react to a large hit that can go onto a raid member if they stand in avoidable damage or fail a mechanic. Uldir saw the Fetid Devourer encounter where there was a tight damage check on killing certain enemy spawns rapidly, when that is a priority in raid then you should absolutely do what you can to contribute extra damage when possible to assist the raid team.

Holy Word: Power

Going into your most important and themed abilities, your focus will be on accuracy in Holy Words. Being accurate with Holy Word: Sanctify and Holy Word: Serenity is more important than ever. One of the most consistent areas to target your Holy Word: Sanctify are in melee, high chance of hitting full targets and it can be very easy to organize your groups to show all of the melee in the first two groups. If you see the first two groups taking damage, then you can immediately default to firing your Holy Word: Sanctify into melee and expecting good results. It takes practice, but accurate Holy Word: Sanctify can make a world of difference between life and death.

In between these larger damage periods and after Patch 8.1 nerfs Binding Heal looks to be on its way out, while Circle of Healing takes its place in most raid encounters. As a result, you will be using more of your other Holy Words abilities as mentioned in the previous section. When damage ramps up, do not shy away from using heavy Prayer of Healing to keep the group alive and get your Holy Word: Sanctify off cooldown faster. In between larger damage, you will be able to pace your mana through Heal and lower the cooldown of your Holy Word: Serenity more quickly before needing to use it once more.

Holy's Large Cooldowns

Holy's large cooldowns make an immense impact on the raid and party environments. Apotheosis offers a substantial burst of Holy Word power. This can mean rapid use of Holy Word: Serenity onto the tank if they are taking heavy hits in a dungeon, or as a damage cooldown on an easy boss fight with accelerated Holy Word: Chastise uses. Symbol of Hope is a powerful mana regeneration cooldown for your healer team, the best use will frequently be later in the encounter where the most missing mana is present for your healer team.

Holy Word: Salvation and Divine Hymn are your large raid cooldowns. Mixing these in requires coordination with your team to decide which mechanics those cooldowns need to counter. Holy Word: Salvation especially has great synergy with Benediction as the two stacks of Prayer of Mending that are placed onto each member of the raid will yield a substantial amount of Renew. Keep in mind the hefty cooldown of Holy Word: Salvation and the requirement of heavy Holy Word usage in order to reduce the cooldown. Often utilizing it as one of the earlier cooldowns in the rotation guarantee a 2nd use later on in the fight. If an encounter is fast ~5minutes, you may be faced with a situation of using it extremely early, often at a sub-optimal time, to guarantee a 2nd use at the very end of the fight. In this scenario it is very important to coordinate with your fellow healers as to how necessary 2 casts at odd times will be compared to a singular cast at the optimal time.

Raid Healing

What we have learned from Holy in Battle for Azeroth thus far is that we have an incredible capacity to serve a great many needs that a raid can provide. Probably the most important of these needs is spot healing continues to be of prime importance in raid environments. Spot healing refers to immediate, single target healing to tanks and priority allies that take heavy damage in short periods of time. As healers, it is not only important to top off anyone in danger of death but we are also incentivized to mix in more single target healing with the recent buffs to Heal during low damage periods. As a result, we can be solid tank healers and have abilities like Holy Word: Serenity that can instantly reverse damage.

With recent nerfs to Benediction Holy will look to have some good competition in the 90 tier, but all will focus on the spec contributing a large amount of aoe healing on the raid with good support for healing priority targets. If talented into Bene we are even further incentivized to use Prayer of Mending on cooldown, but if we are focusing Prayer of Mending on tanks in particular then we are able to push a heavy amount of passive healing onto the tanks and reduce overheal as much as possible. Think of a white light passing through a Prism to create a rainbow. All of our passive healing from Benediction, Prayer of Mending, Renew, and Echo can all "start" on an individual target allowing stronger tank healing, especially as we've seen in Uldir where tanks required greater focus than before. Halo and Divine Star have a place in raid, though the main importance with using these abilities is timing and good positioning to make the most of them. Using Star on a well-stacked group or positioning yourself in the middle of a spread out group makes all the difference in the world with these talents. Watching timers for when large damage will go out, and being able to quickly respond with their uses by either precasting the former, or casting the latter immediately after damage hits.

And never forget to Always B Castin!

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