Shadowlands Holy Priest Guide

Holy Priest Shadowlands Pre-Patch Guide

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 Holy Priest , detailing how you can expect to play the spec during the Shadowlands pre-patch.

How to Play Holy Priest in Shadowlands Pre-Patch

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.

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

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 Pre-Patch

Holy Priest has received some talent adjustments and GCD improvements:
  • Circle of Healing - Is now a baseline ability and used 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. During pre-patch, this can be a strong option for extremely fast boss kills where you want to further optimize raw throughput and don't need the mana return of Enlightenment.
  • Prayer Circle - Replaces Circle of Healing on the level 40 talent row in the pre-patch, 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.
  • Psychic Scream - Now baseline.
  • Shadow Word: Death - More shadow abilities now made available to Holy.
  • Shadow Word: Pain - Now baseline.

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

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.

How Strong is Holy Priest in Shadowlands Pre-Patch?

Overall Holy Priest is a strong, consistent 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 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 Holy Priest, having two large raid cooldowns that can be used in quick succession.

What are the Big Gameplay Changes for Holy 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.

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.

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.

How Does the Loss of Corruption Affect Holy Priest in the Shadowlands Pre-Patch?

Holy Priest will be losing their bonus stat Corruptions but also losing Ineffable Truth which results in a slower reset to their cooldowns. This was an extremely fun and fast playstyle but it should not hurt the spec any more than other healers losing their Corruptions as well.

Best Talent Builds for Holy Priest in Pre-patch

Holy Priest has minimal talent changes in Shadowlands. With Circle of Healing becoming baseline Prayer Circle will replace it in the talent row in the pre-patch for faster Prayer of Healing casts. Renewed Faith could see some mixed play use in pre-patch between raids and mythic+. For more information, be sure to visit the talent guide page.

Best Rotation for Holy Priest in Pre-Patch

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.

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

Best Stats for Holy Priest in Pre-Patch

Holy's stat priority remains unchanged going into Shadowlands. Maximizing item level remains important while Mastery still produces excellent throughput, especially in progression environments with Critical Strike close behind.
  1. Item Level
  2. Mastery
  3. Critical Strike
  4. Versatility
  5. Haste
For more information check out the stat priority guide page.

Best Azerite Traits for Holy Priest in Pre-Patch

There are no changes coming up for Azerite. Heart of Darkness will not have the required Corruption to activate the stat bonus in prepatch continue using it alongside Prayerful Litany. Other powerful Azerite Effects, are Swirling Sands and Blightborne Infusion.

For further information on how to select the best Azerite pieces be sure to check out the Azerite Trait Guide page.

Best Essences for Holy Priest in Pre-Patch

With the pre-patch come no changes to optimal Essences for Holy 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: