Necrolord Covenant for Discipline Priests
Allegiance to the Necrolord Covenant for Discipline Priest provides you with many benefits, two new active abilities, access to three soulbinds, and much more. In this guide, we will explore what are the perks for aligning yourself with the Necrolord, explaining their Covenant Abilities and Soulbinds and how they modify and enhance your toolkit both inside and out of combat. We will also recommend the best soulbinds for Necrolord Discipline Priest and explore how they impact your rotation, gearing, and talent builds. Updated for Shadowlands Launch.
If you are looking for information on how strong the Necrolord Covenant is for Discipline Priest, as well as details on which covenant is best, please visit our Best Covenant for Discipline Priest guide.
Necrolord Discipline Priest Covenant Abilities
Necrolord Priest Class Ability: Unholy Nova
The Necrolord Class Ability for Priests of all specializations is Unholy Nova: a 1 minute cooldown that can be fired at an enemy, ally, or yourself. On impact, it heals nearby allies split based off the number of allies and does the same for enemies, applying at 15 second DoT. If allies damage enemies affected by this DoT, they are healed for a small amount.
Key notes for this ability:
- When fired at an enemy or ally, it lands where the target was at the time of cast. It does NOT follow the target
- Due to the abilities' dropoff effect, the more enemies and allies you strike with this ability, the lower the damage of the DoT and healing of the burst PER TARGET.
- When players are instantly healed by the Unholy Nova and are damaging the enemy, they will receive Mastery: Echo of Light healing. Since the Priest cast the Nova and is thus damaging the enemy, they will continue to receive healing from the transfusion even if they don't cast any other damaging abilities into the enemy.
- Allies damaging enemies to receive the Unholy Transfusion healing only receive a set amount of healing per attack. Cleaving no longer generates more healing for players. Festering Transfusion buffs your Unholy Nova healing, damage and duration.
This makes it a middling Atonement healing ability with some real complications in maximizing its potential. As a pure damaging resource, its not bad in dungeons, but when you get to higher level keys that require more healing to keep your team alive, this ability has high sustain but not enough overall power to get the job done.
In raiding, it shares these issues. As Discipline, you're more interested in bursts of healing rather than sustain, so even if you were to reliably only hit an individual target on every encounter without having to sacrifice movement or activity time to do it, the ability would still come up short because of the middling damage it deals compared to the Venthyr Mindgames.
Necrolord Priest Signature Ability: Fleshcraft
Fleshcraft looks appealing at first: hit it, get a shield that goes up to 50% of your max HP. Sadly, it's a frustrating ability.
While Discipline is not a defensive healer, this shield takes a very long time to cast and build up, requiring you to stand over corpses to maximize the value. In a 5-man environment, corpses abound, but then Priest's lack of mobility comes into play. While you are channeling for those 4 seconds, your group likely will be running ahead of you to engage with the next trash pack, pushing you to either cut your channel short or forego it entirely so that you do not fall behind on healing the group.
In a raid, there certainly will be areas of downtime where you can channel this ability, but whether there will be corpses nearby is an open question. On some encounters with just one boss enemy, you're committing to only having the 20% shield instead of the 50%. On others, you might have to manipulate your movement to get into an ideal position to channel, committing a heavy amount of activity time to the act.
All three soulbinds modify this in some way; we will get into that later. On its own, it is an ability you will use pre-pull, then you have to really think about when you can or should refresh it.
Legendary Interactions for Necrolord Discipline Priest
No legendary modifies either of these abilities. As such, you may expect to, largely, not have to care about interactions on that front, unless something new comes out!
Necrolord Discipline Priest Soulbinds
Across all classes and specs, Necrolords have access to the same three soulbinds: Plague Deviser Marileth, Emeni and Bonesmith Heirmir. They are the NPCs with whom you complete the zone story, and they allow you to "attune" yourself to them to gain access to a tree of upgrades centered around your base toolkit (through Conduits) and Covenant abilities (through special game-wide traits).
These trees progressively unlock based on completion steps (such as finishing the campaign) and your Renown level with the Necrolord Covenant.
We've summarized the optimal traits for each soulbind below. Potency conduits have variety in the situations that are used, refer to the conduit page for various builds for various situations.
Plague Deviser Marileth grants you three important traits:
- Volatile Solvent empowers your Fleshcraft by granting an additional buff based on the type of corpse you used it near: 120 mastery for humanoids, 2% primary stats for beasts, 5% stamina for demons, and a 5% heal for undead
- With Ooz's Frictionless Coating, every 30 seconds, you have the option to gain a 15% absorb shield
- Finally, the capstone trait, Ultimate Form, causes you to gain 8% max HP in total over the duration of the channel. If you manage to finish the channel, you gain CC immunity for 4 seconds, and regenerate another 8% max HP over 4 seconds.
These benefits strongly incentivize the use of Fleshcraft after defeating a pack, and generally, as much as possible out of combat.
An example tree to follow on this soulbind is as follows:Calculator
When Nathria opens, you can look forward to having the bulk of his tree unlocked, along with:
- One Potency conduit
- A 15% max HP absorb every 30s, a good defensive
- An endurance conduit for some much needed DR
For Priests, this is a very defensive-focused that is solid for keeping you alive but not great for increasing your throughput in meaningful ways.
Emeni provides a couple of great nodes:
- Lead by Example, the initial trait in the tree, functions as group utility and personal throughput increase. Your party members are granted them 2% primary stat, and you gain up to 15% primary stat yourself. The on-demand boost can be really nice for aligning with your ramp up windows, allowing you to cast Unholy Nova just after you finish applying Atonement and then quickly follow through with your Schism and the rest of your damage priority for a massive burst.
- Emeni's Magnificent Skin allows you to gain a small amount of extra HP when casting Fleshcraft.
- Gnashing Chompers provides stacking haste when defeating mobs, but at the expense of a Potency conduit. The Potency conduit for Necrolords is all right, but it may be better on add-heavy raid fights to go with the additional haste instead of the Potency slot.
This is the ideal soulbind, mainly due to Lead by Example. It's flexible, it provides group support and it helps further enhance your ramp up windows.
Picking Bonesmith Heirmir grants access to the following notable traits:
- Serrated Spaulders deals a relatively large amount of shadow damage over time to attackers. However, it has a 1s internal cooldown and overwrites itself. It also does not convert into Atonement healing.
- Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone grants you additional crit percentage every minute at the cost of a Potency conduit.
While decent, the benefits are generally offensive. Can be helpful to maximize damage in some areas, but many traits compete with Potency conduit slots and the Potency slots only unlock movement speed/utility. We provided a full path below.Calculator
The last row has two options:
- With the first option, you can get access to your 2nd Potency conduit in your Covenant conduit.
- With the second option, Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone will likely provide a large amount of extra damage/healing, especially at the start of the xpac when secondary stats are more scarce, but it will take you many months to unlock the end of this tree.
Best Necrolord Discipline Priest Soulbind Low and High Renown
These soulbinds will take a look at what to take at early renown and later on. Potency conduit slots are left blank as there is good variety between the potency slots for when you want to utilize them. For example, Festering Transfusion is a generally decent conduit, but if you're playing Spirit Shell at low renown then you'll prioritize Exaltation over it. When you're not running Spirit Shell then the covenant conduit can see play, along with Shining Radiance prioritizing Radiance.
Swapping conduits will be vital on early progression raiding depending on if you take Spirit Shell or focus on a more traditional Evangelism style. When it comes to Mythic+, you'll generally run the same conduits like Shining Radiance and Festering Transfusion / Swift Penitence regardless of the dungeon.
Early on in Castle Nathria, you will likely want Emeni due to easy access to Lead by Example which can be leveraged to improve burst healing in a raid or an extra cooldown to access in Mythic+.Calculator
Even later on Emeni is still strong!Calculator
Necrolord Discipline Priest Covenant Rotation Changes
As usual, this page only highlights the specific use case of the class and signature abilities. To see how they fit within the context of the entire spec, we encourage you to check the other pages in the guide related to the context you are looking for:
Unholy Nova's primary use in a raiding environment will revolve around optimizing it for a Ramp. When ramping, you are spending 10-15 seconds applying Atonement to allies before incoming damage. Because Unholy Nova is a long lasting DoT, you'll likely want to apply it once you are done blanketing the raid in Atonement. Once you've done just that, hit your Covenant ability, then follow through with your regular damage priority. This will ensure that your DoT from Unholy Nova will be up on (hopefully) only one enemy, and your Lead by Example will be up for when you start dealing damage providing a sizable buff to your overall damage dealt in that period of time.
In 5 mans, you'll have good flexibility to use this ability for its sizeable damage, or to use it on a singular enemy like Prideful where the lengthy DoT will achieve some decent value. Keep in mind that Unholy Nova is NOT much in the way of burst healing or damage, so you will want to apply this in the early/middle stages of Prideful rather than latter on when you'll need the most throughput.
Fleshcraft should not be channeled in the following circumstances:
- Raid or Dungeon mechanics will force you to move suddenly
- There is no major mechanic or damage event that would require the defensive and you can deal damage/prepare for healing instead
This makes it an ability you MAINLY use pre-pull. There will be some gaps in fights where you can get some value from it, but that also has the opportunity cost of just dpsing the boss to kill it more rapidly. The long cast makes this ability much more difficult to use.
Necrolord Discipline Priest Talent Builds
Your talent build does not change at all while picking this Covenant. There is no interaction with our kit, no change to anything we do, and no reason to deviate from the standard build. The extra blip of healing/damage that Unholy Nova creates is okay, but ultimately, does not change our talent build and does not rate highly among Covenant options as a result.
Necrolord Discipline Priest Gearing Differences
Following the trend set by previous expansions, Discipline Priests still prefer raw item level upgrades while preferring haste.
As usual, substantial item level upgrades typically outweighs "better" secondary stats at lower ilvl.