Shadowlands Holy Priest Guide

Holy 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 Holy Priest abilities and how they should be used optimally to maximize your performance, providing in-depth Holy 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 Holy Priest in raids and dungeons. Besides the basics, we explain more nuances and advanced concepts in your Holy Priest rotation, such as highlighting the best moments to use notable cooldowns.

Baseline Holy Priest Spells

Let's take a look at what spells a Holy Priest will have at their disposal in Shadowlands 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 in the Holy Priest Rotation later on.

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 – Costly proximity heal that heals the target and 4 nearest 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.
  • Circle of Healing – Solid, hyper-efficient area of effect healing that should be used on cooldown whenever sufficient damage hits the group.

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.

Utility

  • 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 canceled. 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 Rotation / Playstyle

Your playstyle in Shadowlands 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
  1. Cast Holy Word: Serenity on cooldown (if target is around 50% HP).
  2. Cast Holy Word: Sanctify on cooldown (if hitting entire group and it will be effective).
  3. Prayer of Mending on cooldown.
  4. Flash Heal as needed and to deal with spot damage
  5. Cast Prayer of Healing if party is at low health and Holy Word: Sanctify is on cooldown.
  6. Heal as filler when not moving.
  7. Add damage with Holy Word: Chastise then Holy Fire then Smite or Holy Nova if over 5 enemies.
  8. Cast Renew in between pulls to provide some extra healing, often allowing you extra time to add damage before the enemies force you to start healing again
General Priority of Raid Healing
  1. Cast Holy Word: Serenity on cooldown (if target is around 50% HP)
  2. Cast Holy Word: Sanctify on cooldown (if group healing is required).
  3. Prayer of Mending on cooldown.
  4. Cast Circle of Healing on cooldown depending on damage patterns.
  5. Flash Heal as needed and to deal with spot damage
  6. Cast Prayer of Healing as raid damage occurs, mana is permitting.
  7. Use Holy Word: Salvation or Divine Hymn with respect to other healer's raid cooldowns when heavy damage occurs (addressed further in Advanced section).
  8. Heal as filler when not moving.
  9. Renew when on the move if a target is taking sustained damage.

Advanced Playstyle

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. Heal for example is a very strong but slow healing ability and is an excellent tool to use during low damage periods to support your tank while also reducing the cooldown of Holy Word: Serenity.

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, you'll need to weigh the importance of adding extra damage against using more 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. In Castle Nathria, the Stone Legion Generals encounter features a periodic spawn of enemies called Stone Legion Skirimishers. When they reached low health, they will attempt to push players off of the platform, this is an important area to add extra damage as a healer to ensure nobody falls off.

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.

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. 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 Legion and Battle for Azeroth 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 Castle Nathria. 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 high efficiency of 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.

In the 45 talent row Holy will look to have some good competition, 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 early progression at the start of an expansion where tanks required greater focus than before. Halo and Divine Star are straight forward AoE effects with importance on using these abilities with proper timing and 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!