Tomali's Holy Priest Guide!
Table of Contents:
3) Spells and HPM list
7) Understanding Chakra
8) Rotations and Tips
9) Chakra Dancing/Advanced Play
My name is Tomali and I've been playing a priest on and off since vanilla. The new changes to the spec, mainly enhanced chakra, encouraged me to switch back to holy, and I very much enjoy it. I've also noticed a distinct lack of holy guides, so I decided to make my own. This is a guide geared towards raiding. This spans from 10-30man normals all the way to mythic raiding. This is a relatively new spec, especially given the immense popularity of the discipline spec last expansion.
What to expect from holy:
Holy is a different spec than discipline priests. This is obvious, but is important to remember. It is not necessarily better or worse, but different. I would relate holy priests closer to resto druids or resto shamans depending on the playstyle. They are a throughput healing class that can dish out big healing numbers once the raid has been damaged. It is a very different model than the preventative healing of the discipline spec.
2) Pro/Con list
-Raid healing uses many instant cast spells. This makes avoiding mechanics easier than other cast heavy classes.
-Healing is not limited or even related to stacking
-Provides substantial raid healing throughput.
-Great utility with feathers, guardian angel, and lifegrip
-Extremely mana efficient raid healing
-Lack of mana efficient single target heals
-Lack of a useful AOE healing spell for stacked fights
-Somewhat lackluster raid cd if used alone.
-Lack of a consistent save heal to keep people up who are near death
-Heals take time, and are not instant bursts
Attached is a google doc I created that has the HPM and HPS of our various spells for people who want to objectively see the differences in our kit.
4) Talents-note-I skip some talents in this guide because they are not worth talking about from a raiders perspective. This isn't to say they do not have other uses, but that is not the point of this guide.
Desperate prayer is the clear winner of this tier. Though angelic bulwark is easier to use, in that it doesn't actually require a button, the shield it provides is usually wasted. Having desperate prayer bound to a convenient key has saved my on many attempts. It is another healthstone where you are in control of the heal itself.
There are two raid viable choices here: feathers or body and soul. I see the merit of both talents, bur personally use feathers for most fights. Guise provides interesting plays for targeted fights (if you were playing for paragons of the klaxxi in siege), but that is the exception.
Body and soul increases the move speed of anyone you give PW:S to. This is very easy to do, but there is a 6 second cooldown on PW:S for holy priests, and weakened soul prevents additional speed increases on an individual person past that. Feathers can provide more speed at the cost of skill in placing the feather, in addition to a GCD. However, mobility is invaluable in many fights. Preemptively placing feathers is extremely useful. This is definitely a more advanced, and takes some practice to do in a raid environment. Body and soul is also not viable if you play with a discipline priest, as you will be shield blocking them.
This is the mana regeneration talent tree. Although this talent tree is a source of contention among some priest communities, I feel that solace flat out wins most real life raiding scenarios currently. First off, it flat out yields more mana than mind bender. You also do not need to worry about the beast being cleaved down, or having bad programming/pathing/whatever else that randomly happens to a mindbender. I personally value knowing just how much mana I have in a fight, and using solace brings consistency to mana regeneration.
The big source of discussion, however, is the difference between Surge of Light and Solace in throughput. Surge of Light can bring serendipity charges, which can allow for quick prayer of healings. Once we attain higher ilv gear and have more consistent regeneration, I LOVE how surge of light plays into the holy toolkit. Between this and the current tier 4piece, we will have loads of serendipity procs at our disposal to use, which will really make the spec more complex. I very much want to use this talent, but feel that we do not have the gear to support it. It may result in a straight throughput increase, but that does not matter if it cannot be sustained during a 6-10 minute fight.
I use a macro to make solace easier to cast. This either hits your enemy target with solace or assists your target. This makes it easier to use on cooldown.
#showtooltip Power Word: Solace
/cast [harm][@targettarget,harm] Power Word: Solace
This talent tier is not as important for raiding. I personally choose void tendrils in most cases for the few add fights where the monsters are not immune to all forms of cc. Psychic scream also has a good number of uses. I would leave this one up to personal preference.
Twist of fate-I would use this for fights where people frequently dip below the 35% cutoff. This is very boss dependent, however. I would use skada or some sort of damage meter to track your twist of fate buff uptime to figure out if this talent is right for a certain fight.
***Power infusion-Overall, I think this is the strongest talent in this group. It is both a throughput and a mana cooldown. Repeat: this spell is also a mana cooldown. This spell should be used any time you are worried about excess raid damage. A PI renew blanket on a raid is very strong, and competes with other healer throughput cooldowns. 90% of the time I am using this talent.
Divine insight-is not used right now. It might become more powerful with 2/4piece, which provides huge buffs to prayer of mending. I would not even consider using this until we can look at the 4 piece in addition to seeing any changes or buffs/nerfs that occur in 6.1.
These talents were what made disc priests overpowered last tier. This is no longer the case. I am a huge proprietor of cascade, but many other priests can use halo. Divine star right now is very weak, and is only debatably useful in completely stacked fights. Halo requires positioning yourself farther away from the raid/clump of players, while cascade does most of the work for you. If you think you are good at positioning yourself in a raid group, halo can be stronger.
tl;dr Words of Mending wins for every fight.
Unfortunately there is really only one viable talent for lv100 holy priests, and it will only get stronger once we attain our 2/4piece set. Words of mending is the only talent I would use in a raid. I hope clarity will receive a buff and allow its use, but until then it is simply undertuned. The other spell is strictly a pvp spell, as it would reduce overall throughput by reducing your overall healing done for the next 8 seconds.
Glyph of Renew. This increases your renew ticks but takes off a few seconds. This glyph is 100% required as there are many situations where the last tick of a renew is wasted due to overhealing. It allows people to be topped off faster, which has obvious advantages in a raid setting.
Glyph of Circle of Healing: this glyph is only necessary for raid healing, as healing 6 people is not needed in 5 man dungeons. Circle of healing is arguably the most powerful spell in your toolkit.
Glyph of Binding Heal: this glyph I would say is required for 5man dungeons and CMs, but is not completely necessary to do well raid healing. As you learn more about chakra dancing, this glyph becomes a bit stronger.
Glyph of Wells: this increases the throughput of light well.
Glyph of Power Word Shield: DONT PANIC. I know this is a holy guide. However, Pw:S is useful in the holy toolkit as well. This glyph makes shielding even more useful as it will refresh renew in yellow chakra in addition to proccing your mastery.
There is a simply priority I follow for holy, based strongly around our multistrike increasing passive and our most used spell, renew. However, each play style slightly changes the priority.
A stat weight calculator has been posted below if you are interested in exploring stat weights.
First, it is important to note the strength of spirit on pieces of gear. At the current gear level, one can run with two spirit trinkets, the spirit enchant, and every spirit piece of gear, and still feel tight on mana for certain mythic encounters. I would strive for spirit on every piece of gear until you feel comfortable, then slowly start to cut back. At the current gear level, that time is not soon for many priests. Many top tier priests strive to get the most out of their gear and might value throughput stats more than spirit, but this is why they are top tier priests. They have an understanding of their mana regeneration and of the specific encounter, and know exactly how to manage their mana.
Although our mastery is strong, it does not proc off of renew, thus putting it lowest in our priority of stats. The more you cast renew, the less valuable mastery becomes. Multistrike is extremely useful for holy, and haste most benefits renew.
As you can only gem secondary stats, all gems/enchants should be some value of Multistrike, except for the weapon enchant, which can give you invaluable spirit.
7) Understanding chakra:
Red Chakra: This is your dps chakra, and what made holy priest dps almost viable during a few tiers. It increases the damage of your holy and shadow spells, and grants you with Holy Word: Chastise. It does damage and disorients someone. Starting a fight in red chakra and using your shadowfiend and smiting a few times can help in fights with a tight enrage timer.
Yellow Chakra: This is supposed to be your single target heal chakra in addition to dungeons/CMs. This chakra allows any single target healing spell, including binding heal, to refresh the duration of renew on the target. Glyph of binding heal also refreshes renew on the target, which is why that glyph is commonly seen. Holy Word: Serenity, is an instant cast single target healing spell that heals for a significant amount in addition to increasing the critical strike chance of any other priest spell on the target for a few seconds. It is your only single target burst heal that is really mana efficient.
Blue Chakra: This is your AOE chakra and the most important chakra state to be in for raiding, especially for beginning holy priests. If you are just starting out playing holy IN RAIDS, I would stay in this chakra state 100% of the time until you become comfortable with chakra dancing. Every healing spell in this state reduces the cooldown of circle of healing by one second. It decreases the cooldown of one of your best throughput spells. Unfortunately it comes with the downside of Holy Word: Sanctuary. This is a pretty lackluster spell that is the priest’s lame version of efflorescence or healing rain.
8) "Rotations" and tips
I put rotations in quotes because healing does not have a set rotation. Healing is more fluid and reactive to both raid mechanics and player mistakes. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about healing for any class. A Holy priest mainly relies on renew and circle of healing for healing output. If I had to make a "rotation" for certain situations, this is what I would do.
AOE damage: In blue chakra, I would use circle of healing on cooldown. Other than that, I would play renew whack-a-mole with your raid and use your 90 talent when enough of the raid can make use of its healing. If there is ensured damage on the entire raid, hard casting Prayer of Mending is also viable. the BRF 2/4 piece is bound to change the priority PoM has in our toolkit.
Single target: These healing situations are trickier for a holy priest as there is no great mana efficient strategy for long periods of time. It is important to keep renew on the target, then IN ORDER cast Holy Word Serenity, then PW:S. Then cast heal, or flash heal if the tank will die without a quick bump in health. Single target healing is holy’s weakest area, and as a raid group the other healers should be able to compensate for your mediocre tank healing.
Many people reading this might look at these paragraphs and think to themselves...what about prayer of healing, flash heal? I am not ignoring these spells, but holy is currently in a position where it cannot afford the mana for these expensive heals more than a few times in each raid fight. It should be a very small percentage of your overall raid healing in a fight. Heal is a slow casting spell that is usually not worth the time unless no one is taking damage except for the tanks, they both have renew, and solace, PW:S, and holy word serenity are on cooldown.
- Keep renew on the tanks taking damage at all times.
-I would save divine hymn for major raid damage, or when the raid leader specifically asks you to blow a cooldown. It also already includes a variant of the mage spell amplify magic, so this spell is very strong if stacked with another raid cooldown such as revival, healing tide, or tranquility.
-A note on divine hymn: with the current model, your personal raid cooldown can range from 15-25% of your overall healing in a fight. This brings a skew to people who use their cooldown 1 vs 2 vs 3 times in a certain fight. HOWEVER, logs and healing meters are not everything. If you only cast divine hymn once in a fight, but save it for when your raid leader calls it or when there is sufficient raid damage going out, your raid can survive. Casting this spell randomly to bring up your healing is not how healing is supposed to be, and will not help you to kill bosses. I hope people will eventually realize this, and not include raid cooldowns in healing meters or parse lists. But I can only dream.
9) Chakra dancing
Chakra dancing would be what I consider to be an advanced playstyle of holy to get the most bang for your buck, and reach the upper hps and technical limit of the class. This would involve rotating between blue and yellow chakras to refresh tank renews, or bringing up people who took spike damage. It takes time and a general sense of the raid damage in the next ~10 seconds to efficient do this without wasting effective raid healing in your blue chakra state.
Staying nearly permanently in yellow chakra, commonly known as “Jhaz-holy” or Jhazrun healing also is frequently talked about. This is named after the guild Paragon’s holy priest, arguably the best priest in the world right now. This is where you save your GCDs on renew by using direct heals on all of the raid members. This requires glyph of binding heal, glyph of power word shield, and takes an insane amount of concentration and practice. If this is not done perfectly, it will result in an HPS loss. This is also why I enjoy playing holy, as you can make healing as complicated as you want it to be. There is a giant ceiling to skilled holy priests that is not seen in many different healing or dps specs. This takes loads of practice and concentration, and the majority of people I've seen who try this method cannot pull it off.
I have also included a few of my logs from highmaul. These are in no way a perfect parse, as there is always room for improvement, but it can show the general breakdown of my healing on fights. I included these to give a baseline on the percentage of each spell in a typical fight.
https://www.warcraftlogs.com/reports...ling&source=18 (Mythic Kargath)
https://www.warcraftlogs.com/reports...ling&source=19 (Heroic Imp)
I hope you enjoyed my guide, and congratulations for reading the entire thing! I really enjoy this spec, and hope that it will gain some more popularity with time. A big thank you to Luckycharms45 and Jkinger for editing and giving me some initial feedback! If you have any questions or want to pick my brain about priest things I play an Alliance panda named Tomali on Kel'Thuzad!