Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Complete Idiot's Guide to Discipline Priest Spells

I thought I would put together a basic guide on, "How to cast spells as a Disc priest." It can be counter-intuitive at first, having all these cooldowns on healing spells. So here's the basics:

1: Cast Power Word: Shield on the Tank

This may be obvious, as Disc talents practically beg you to shield people, but I have seen lots of Disc Priests who seem hesitant to shield the tank. I feel this is like a Fire mage not casting fire spells.

Let's be clear: Power Word: Shield is your first, last, best line of defense. You spent 11 talent points and a glyph on it (at least I hope you did), so use it! When you shield a tank, in addition to the 5-7k of absorption it adds, and the topoff heal from the glyph, you also give the raid a damage reduction buff and mega-haste your next heal. You want to shield the tank every time you get. You want their soul to be weakened permanently. These are Good Things (TM).

Some people might save shields for emergencies. This is silly: with Disc's talents you are far better reaping the great benefits from shields, and using Penance for emergencies. More on that later.

2: Cast Power Word: Shield on Everyone Else

So you're shielding the tank every 15.00001 seconds, what else? Well, you took Soul Warding to remove shield's cooldown, right? (Please say yes!) So cast shield on everything that moves! As Disc you can toss out a shield once a second, and with Ulduar's raid damage, this is very useful mitigation.

Check some wow meter parses if you like, but believe me, nearly all shields will get used. And with good situational awareness, you can shield those who pull aggro or eat random damage, saving them when no other healer can. And regardless, Rapture and Borrowed Time mean it's almost never a bad time to cast a shield. Throw at least one out in between shielding your tank, it will only help.

3: Cast Penance on Cooldown

Honestly, you could spend all your time shielding, and do pretty well, but you have other juicy talents to exploit make use of! Penance is an insanely efficient heal, and it heals a lot right away, so it's great to use on your tank.

In some cases it can be good to save Penance for damage spikes, but I recommend casting it on cooldown. With its short cooldown (You have reduced the cooldown, haven't you?), you can cast it often to keep them nice and full on health, and every time it crits it will add up nice Divine Aegis bubbles which will further smooth out damage.

It's nice to rotate spells so that after a shield, you cast Penance and then Flash or Greater. Penance benefits from Borrowed Time but doesn't consume it, so this way you get two lightning-fast heals.

4: Cast Prayer of Mending on Cooldown

So shield, Penance, what else... PoM! Disc doesn't have many talents to boost Prayer of Mending, but due to Ulduar's raid damage, in most fights PoM will be extremely useful regardless. So after a shield/Penance/heal cycle, toss PoM on a tank if it's available. It will always heal the tank, and bounce wherever it's needed. Many times it will bounce several times, which is free healing, and of course each bounce can crit and leave another small Divine Aegis bubble! We like bubbles!

Think of it this way: You shield a tank, Penance them to full and probably leave an aegis on them, then give them a PoM buffer. By the time a boss eats through all that mitigation and healing, your cooldowns will be up again and you'll be ready to do it again! And if the PoM goes on its merry way healing melee and other tanks, we're sure not complaining.


It can take time to get used to the Disc play style. Having all your major heals on cooldowns, and having one of them be channeled, is a new experience for a healer. But I feel the above guidelines are a good way to get your feet wet, to learn to use and love Disc's spells. If you need a concluding blurb to summarize all the above, it's this: The Disc tree makes Power Word: Shield and Penance into ridiculously powerful and efficient spells. The proper play style boils down to abusing using these spells for all they're worth!

Now go try it out, and don't rest until everyone in your raid is encased in a shiny golden bubble of safety.


  1. All good information, only thing I have to mention is that I've raided exclusively as Disc and unless I'm completely wrong, Penance totally eats up Borrowed time. Perhaps you were thinking of PoM? Because that does not given that it's instant cast.

  2. Woah, disregard. Guess I need to l2p, that'll certainly come in handy.

  3. Actually penance does NOT consume Borrowed Time. you can cast PW:S>penance>FH and get the barrowed time effect for both the penance and Flash Heal. It's neat =-D.

  4. <3 disc

    Funny enough, Ensidia still seems convinced that disc is not a priest spec worth bringing. I guess even the high end raiders can be wrong ;)

  5. As a raiding Disc Priest I also like to toss Renew on the tank after hes shielded. In fights like Maly I toss a shield on people and then when someone gets hit a Renew. Its a good thing to have on people if you cant spare the time for a flash of light or penance.

  6. @shyatwow Uhh Ensidia used only disc priests for Alganol kill.

  7. I've always wanted to spec Disc but have hesitated because of the "aura of mystery" that surrounded it (totally my doing, since I didn't read up more to make the switch) but I have to say, just reading this makes me want to respec RIGHTNAO.

  8. I was always a hybrid spec up until 3.0 when the new talents were added and I decided at that time I was going Discipline. At the time, of course, there were no wonderful write-ups like this, but what's been said here is extremely close to how I play Disc in a raid and it's been incredibly rewarding and satisfying seeing people go from wondering why I would spec that way to not knowing what to do without all the extra mitigation I provide. Add in a healthy dose of Power Infusion for your strongest caster DPS and Pain Suppression for those particularly nasty attacks (Ariaya's Sanctum Sentries' Savage Pounce or Mimiron's Plasma Blast) and a decent reaction time and Disc priesting can be an invaluable addition to a raid

  9. /wave to another blogging programming older-than-average Azuremyster. Say hi some time (I don't know your toon's name).

  10. Thanks so much for this! I've always played holy spec, but specced holy/disc dual-spec to help with raids and found myself wondering what on earth I was supposed to do. XD This helps!

    Bubbles are fun, teehee.

  11. You should also mention that a full Penance cast gives a full spec of Grace, which increases the healing received by the Disc priest by a total of 9%.

  12. Awesome info here, thanks! I noticed that you play(ed) as a Dwarf Priest. Don't Dwarves have somewhat low intellect? Would this hurt how effective you could play as a Priest? Might be a lame question but I'm still a noob! Thanks in advance for any response. Oh, and I'm re-speccing from shadow to disc asap!

  13. I'm not sure what you mean by Dwarves having low int. If you mean base stats, those only vary by 2-3 points, not really a reason to choose one race or another. If you mean racials, only Gnomes have an intellect racial.

    At the time I chose the Dwarf race, the racial skills Fear Ward, Desperate Prayer were a nice advantage. Humans are popular now due to the spirit bonus.

  14. Wikwocket, thanks for the response. Yes, I meant the base stats and I can see how that shouldn't really be a factor. You should just choose a race that you like I'm sure. When I first started playing, I didn't know how to value one point. Now I know it's not that big of a deal. I just noticed that Dwarves had higher strength and stam (lean to Warrior), Gnomes had higher intellect (lean to Warlock or Mage), Night Elves had higher agility (lean to Rogue or Hunter) and Humans were pretty well rounded. Because of those stat charts, I kind of leaned towards the Night Elves because I knew I wanted to be a priest and they had a pretty good base level of intellect.

    I started off by buying the Battle Chest that includes the original game and BC. It came with some books and one section showed all the base stats for all the races for Alliance and Horde. I don't know, maybe things have changed since then.

    For what it's worth, I think a Dwarf Priest is a cool combo. I've just not run into one very often. That being said, I've only been playing the game a few months.

    I also can't wait to practice the disc spec!
    Thanks again.

  15. Kangadun (azuremyst)October 29, 2009 at 7:46 AM

    tyvm for this, ive ben holy/shadow spec since mid 40s, but found in northrend dungeons was going OOM too much, and got told off for using holy(!) ive switched to disc now, and what an improvment, just healed nexus and UK at lv 70, lovin all the buffs of disc, i also prefer, like an anomymous above, to throw a few renews around when im not doing anything and ihavent had to use shadowfiend yet. disc all te way! (until 80) lol

  16. Kangadun, I just bought dual spec specialization last night and added a Disc spec (I've had Shadow since the beginning). I've got a lot to learn but last night was pretty fun practicing. You mentioned that you love all the "buffs" of Disc. Though we can strengthen our buffs, we don't get more buffs, do we? Did you mean specific Disc talents like Divine Aegis that the Holy tree doesn't have? It's great that you seemed to be able to conserve mana more in the Disc tree. I had the opposite experience last night. My mana conservation is pretty good in Shadow but I was depleting it FAST last night when I was testing Disc. I probably just have to practice with it more to get the right combos down and stuff. Do you guys know of a mana regen talent in the Disc tree? I know I can still use Shadowfiend but Holy has Hymn of Hope and Shadow has Dispersion. I know about Meditation but I have that in my Shadow build. I guess Power Infusion and Inner Focus help but I was still losing more mana in Disc than I do in Shadow. Thanks in advance for any replies!

  17. Well if you throw shields whenever possible and keep prayer of mending/shield on tank whenever its up you shouldn't have to use mana to much. I have to do very little healing as long as its not a total noob group. Anyway, I do concentrate on int. and SP when gemming mainly, since rapture gives back % of total int.

  18. Thanks for the response on conserving mana. That was my first healing experience and when I think back, I probably overhealed the heck out of people. The more I try the more I'll see how much the shielding works before I throw out all the heals. Glyph of Penance is a no-brainer, right? I have the Shield and Flash Heal glyphs currently. Will hit 80 this week and pick up the Penance one I think. Thanks again everyone!

  19. Searched the Internet for this one but couldn't open up at work. As a Disc Priest I'm using Shield a lot. If the tank has The Black Heart equipped (giving the tank a chance to increase armor by a good amount for 10 (20?) seconds each time he is struck by a melee attack) will the Disc Priest's shield cancel the chances of it proccing?

    Thanks for any responses!

  20. So I loved this guide because I just changed my spec to disc. But I have a question. I disc more of a tank heal spec or a raid heal spec?

  21. Disc is an adaptable healing spec, which can tank heal or raid heal. When tank healing, Penance provides excellent healing per second, and strategic PW:Shield casts add great mitigation. When raid healing, PW:Shield can be spread out all over the raid to "pre-heal" raid damage and give any member an extra 8k worth of hit points, and Prayer of Healing hasted by Borrowed Time delivers some solid healing as well.

    In 3.0/3.1, Disc was thought of as a tank healer spec. Currently, raid shielding is the flavor of the month. In reality, a good Disc priest can do either, and often a bit of both together.

  22. Hi, Just wanted to say great run down of disc. I first started playing priest because I had always been one on other MMOs and got advised to play shadow to level quicker in WOW, hated it and put it back in toon box and played Holy Pallie. Since 3.0 I decided to try Disc as you describe from lvl 30 and its the greatest fun I've had. I love WOW again. Thanks for the amazing advice. Hope I never play opposite you as I am horde born and bred lol ;)