I love Disc priests. I love playing my disc priest and when I am playing my paladin, I love healing with a Disc priest. What I don’t love is looking down at the healing break down and seeing that the Disc priest’s #1 heal was—wait for it—Heal. Yes, you heard right. Heal. Stuff like that makes the disc priest in me cry. It also prompts me to start blogging again so I guess that’s a good thing.
Anyway, when I saw this healing break down, my first thought (after drying my tears) was why? Why in the world would a disc priest be casting so many Heals. I think the answer is that 1. They are still in 5 man healing mode and 2. They haven’t quite understood their role in a raid healing team.
If you happen to be one of the priests I am talking about above (and, if you are reading this blog you probably aren’t) then allow me to clarify some things for you. You aren’t in a 5 man anymore and, this may come as a shock, but raid healing is different than 5 man healing.
Disc Priest Role in Healing Team
It’s simple. We’re in the raid to prevent damage. No one brings a Disc priest because they have an awesome ability to move life bars up. They bring the disc priest because we have an awesome ability to keep life bars from going down. Do more of the latter and less of the former. Druids, shamans, and holy priests are brought to the raid to move life bars up. Holy paladins are brought for utility and unmatched cleave healing. All of these classes are better at moving life bars up, let them do their thing.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I present to you, a (very) basic guide on what spells to use when. This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list. Just some quick and dirty tips to get you going in the right direction.
Basic Spell Usage
Power Word: Shield (PW:S) – Best used proactively on anyone that is about to take damage. A lot of fights (The Butcher, Gruul) have very predictable damage patterns which makes it easy to pre-shield raid members if you are paying attention to the boss timers. (Note: If you aren’t paying attention to boss timers, you are doing it wrong. Seriously.) Shields are also great on those that have DoTs and as triage on low health targets to buy the throughput healers time to get their health back up.
Clarity of Will (CoW) – Stack on tank or anyone that is going to take large incoming damage. This pretty much takes the place of Heal put should be used proactively rather than reactively (like Heal would be).
Power Word: Barrier – Drop this anytime your group can be stacked up and will have large incoming damage. Many times, your raid leader will tell you when to use this ability. If the fight allows, use it early and often.
Penance – Use on cooldown defensively (on a raid member) assuming someone in the raids needs the healing. If no one needs the healing, go ahead and use it offensively (on a mob/boss). If you have your T17 2p bonus then you will get an extra 1 second channel on Penance as well as a stack of Evangelism.
Prayer of Healing (POH) – Best used in conjunction with Empowered Archangel (EAA) on a group that has just taken damage and will likely be taking more damage. Use every time EAA is off cooldown and there is enough damage on a group to make it worthwhile. This is particularly useful when you have your T17 4p bonus. Why? Because EAA gives you a guaranteed crit on POH which in turn means Divine Aegis on the whole group. Yay! With the 4p set bonus, you’re EAA becomes even more yummy cause it will also reduce the mana cost of POH by 50% for 6 seconds (which means you could get off 2 PoH during that time).
Flash Heal – Use only on low health targets that have Weakened Soul on them. Basically, use it if someone’s about to die but can’t be shielded. Don’t ever flash heal someone that doesn’t have PW:S or Weakened Soul on them. Your PW:S is both higher in throughput and efficiency.
Heal – Just don’t. I can’t really think of a single time this is useful in a raid. You could probably take this off your bars entirely if it weren’t useful in 5 man content.
Prayer of Mending – This is really only useful during periods of constant raid wide ticking damage.
If you want more comprehensive guide about Discipline Priests, I suggest the following resources: