PvE Discipline Priest Rotation & Cooldowns

PvE Discipline Priest Rotation & Cooldowns
  • Author: Luxrah
  • Date: May 15, 2024
  • Updated: May 15, 2024
  • Expansion: Cataclysm

Once your gear is accounted for and you’re all prepped and ready to go, it all comes down to how well you push your buttons! As a healer, you will have less of a “rotation” and more of a priority system designed to help you maximize your output while also sustaining your mana pool for the duration of the fight — and most important, keep your teammates alive! This guide will cover the best approach to healing as a Discipline Priest in just about any encounter.

Spell Priority

  1. Cast Prayer of Mending on a tank before the pull and every time it’s off cooldown.
  2. Cast Power Word: Shield in the following circumstances:
    • On a tank before the pull.
    • On any target who is in danger of immediate death.
    • On any target who is about to take a big hit.
    • To trigger Rapture if it is off cooldown.
  3. Cast Penance on cooldown on a target who needs immediate healing, or else on a tank to apply Grace and Inspiration.
  4. Cast Renew on targets who need healing if you are moving and Prayer of Mending is on cooldown.
  5. Cast Inner Focus on cooldown to combine with one of the next 4 spells.
  6. Cast Prayer of Healing on a party where at least 2 of the targets are missing health or to apply Divine Aegis ahead of AoE damage.
  7. Cast Binding Heal if both you and another teammate are missing health.
  8. Cast Flash Heal if a target needs immediate healing and your own health is full.
  9. Cast Greater Heal on a target who is missing a lot of health but won’t die immediately.
  10. Cast Holy Fire on cooldown when possible to build and maintain Evangelism stacks and to apply the DoT if you are using Glyph of Smite. (Don’t sacrifice your healing for this, though.)
  11. Cast Smite anytime you’re not doing something else in order to build and maintain Evangelism while healing through Atonement and contributing some extra DPS.
  12. Cast Heal to top off a target if there isn’t more urgent healing to be done and you can’t rely on healing the target through Atonement.

The goal of any healer is to perform as much healing as possible while spending the least amount of mana so you can stretch it out over the course of the fight. This is especially important for Discipline Priests, and even more so at low gear levels. Prayer of Mending and Penance are both extremely efficient, doing a lot of healing for low mana cost. Power Word: Shield on the other hand is very inefficient and not something you want to go throwing around willy-nilly.

Atonement healing is steady and efficient, but its output is low and you won’t be able to control where it goes, so it’s no substitute for direct heals when they are needed.


Inner Focus should be used as often as possible. It’s only a 45 second cooldown, so it’s rarely worth holding onto it. Just go ahead and use it so you can use it as many times as possible over the course of the fight. It doesn’t trigger the global cooldown, so you can cast it at the same time as another spell, making it ideal for use in a macro.

Power Infusion is usually best used on yourself (or another healer) as an extra healing cooldown. Damage dealers won’t usually need its mana cost reduction, but it can still be used as a damage cooldown for a lucky DPS if you don’t need it for healing.

Pain Suppression is your primary tank cooldown. Use it when a target is taking a dangerous amount of damage, or as part of a cooldown rotation with other healers.

Power Word: Barrier is a kind of raid-wide Pain Suppression, so it’s pretty powerful. Use this to mitigate heavy raid damage. You can even use it on the tank alone as an extra tank cooldown.

Archangel is your reward for throwing out Holy Fire and Smite during low damage periods. Use this whenever you’ve built up 5 Evangelism stacks (unless there’s nothing to heal and you’re just Smiting, in which case you should save it for when you need to heal again). It’s got a short cooldown and will give you back some mana on top of buffing your healing done.

Divine Hymn is your big raid healing cooldown for when you want to catch up on healing and not just mitigate damage with Power Word: Barrier, or if Barrier is on cooldown.

Hymn of Hope is a powerful mana cooldown for your entire raid group, but it requires you to stand still and channel it (and not heal) for up to 8 seconds (reduced by your Haste). Look for the best time to use it so you don’t waste its cooldown or fall too far behind on healing during its channel time. It’s a good idea to call out when you use this so that your team can pair it with their other mana cooldowns, because it not only restores mana but increases maximum mana, so any abilities that restore a percentage of your total mana will restore more while it is active.

Shadowfiend is your main personal mana cooldown. Make sure it’s hitting something or it won’t give you anything. You can also cast it right before Hymn of Hope to maximize the mana return you get from it, since your maximum mana will be higher.


About the Author


I've been playing World of Warcraft on and off since vanilla, usually as a healer or caster and often as a guild leader. I play both retail and classic. I also love RPGs, sandboxes, and sims.
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