PvP Discipline Priest Rotation, Cooldowns & Abilities

wotlk pvp discipline priest rotation, cooldowns & abilities

Player-versus-Player requires a bit of a different mindset compared to the PvE content. It necessitates fast thinking, fast reactions, and adaptability to each situation. This guide will go over all of your helpful spells and cover how to use them as effectively as possible.

Abilities Overview

  • Penance is our strongest healing ability, a true testament to our rigorous training and willpower. Penance is a channeled ability that can either be used to heal yourself and your allies, or to damage your enemies.
    • Penance’s channel duration is directly influenced by your haste rating. So, the more spell haste and haste rating you will acquire, the faster this ability will be channeled. This allows you to create haste-focused builds that allow you to quickly cast this ability without the fear of being interrupted.
    • Penance ability can clip through the terrain, allowing you to keep the channel active even if Line-of-Sight is broken. (Just tested it on beta, and it does work. A busted ability, not gonna lie…)
  • Flash Heal is our standard healing spell, allowing us to spam heals on our allies from both close range or a safe distance. Since it has a small cast duration, this ability can be consistently spammed on a target.
    • However, you should never use this ability before using your instant cast abilities, such as Power Word: Shield, Renew, and Prayer of Mending! That’s because you will want to stack as many instant cast effects as possible that will maintain your target alive, especially if you have a low-health target. If you are not using instant cast abilities, you run the risk of your target dying before you actually finish the cast.
  • Desperate Prayer is an instant cast ability that heals a target for a large amount, with a 2-minute cooldown. This ability, as the name implies, should only be used in dire situations.
    • This ability is best kept for yourself, as it will be a lot harder keeping yourself alive when you are about to be bursted down by either a powerful spell caster or a menacing physical damage dealer. The same does apply to your allies, however, other spells might prove to be much more useful.
  • Greater Heal is the long-cast version of Flash Heal, doubling the amount of health restored.
    • The difference from Flash Heal will be the base health granted: Greater Heal offers you or your allies higher heals from critical strikes.
    • The only downside of this one is its long casting time. So, you will only want to use it from either a safe distance or when your target is not in immediate danger of dying.
  • Holy Nova allows you to heal multiple targets at the same time while also damaging any enemies caught in the radius. This ability is great for revealing invisible targets as well!
    • You will mostly want to use this ability in clumped-up battleground fights, where you have no other option other than AoE healing your allies while also providing them with some offensive support.
    • You will also want to use this ability consistently in arenas to reveal any Rogue or Feral Druid prowling about! Beware, however, that while this ability can be spammed freely, it does result in extreme mana use!
  • Prayer of Mending is an instant cast spell with a gimmicky effect. By using this ability you will add a buff to your initial target that will heal them a certain amount when they receive an instance of damage, after which it jumps to a nearby ally. If there is no ally in the vicinity, the spell will remain on the original target.
    • You will always want to use this ability on cooldown, together with Renew.
    • Keep in mind, however, that you will only be able to use this ability on one target at a time, meaning that the moment you cast it on another target, you remove the effect from the previous target affected by it.
  • Renew is a very simple spell that you should upkeep at all times, both on you and your allies! The ability on its own is is pretty straightforward: it’s a standard, bread-and-butter, Heal-over-Time effect.
  • Binding Heal is a very interesting ability that can be used to heal both yourself and your target at the same time.
    • This ability has situational uses which depend on whether you can be crowd-controlled or not. If you can be crowd-controlled, you have to take into account the risk of being locked out of the Holy Magic School, or worse. If there is no risk of crowd control, this spell is a great tool for healing both you and your allies at the same time!
  • Prayer of Healing is a situational spell that can be helpful in battlegrounds. It allows you to heal both yourself and your entire party for a fixed amount.
    • The only issue with this ability is its high casting time. However, considering that it provides healing for an entire party, you could argue that it has its uses regardless.
  • Smite allows you to deal moderate holy damage to your enemies. This ability is best used when supporting your damage dealers with their burst!
    • There is one important aspect that you should understand about all your abilities that deal holy damage: the WotLK expansion has no resistance or specific absorption effects to Holy Damage! This means that your spells can still be blocked by abilities such as Power Word: Shield or Sacred Shield, but they cannot be resisted.
  • Holy Fire allows you to deal direct holy damage to an enemy while also placing a debuff that deals holy damage for the next 7 seconds after the impact.
    • This ability is great for bursting down enemies since it deals massive damage.
    • However, it has a high cast time and a long cooldown, making it unreliable in a lot of situations. You will want to make sure that your target cannot interrupt you while casting this ability.
  • Mind Blast deals instant damage to your target. It has 1.5 seconds cast time; of course, haste influences the cast time of your offensive and healing abilities.
    • You will only want to use Mind Blast when aiding your ally in killing your opponents.
  • Shadow Word: Pain is an instant cast DoT ability that you will want to place on any enemy currently present in your vicinity.
    • Why? It’s free damage. Furthermore, it helps with an additional debuff that makes it harder for dispellers to remove other, more important effects.
  • Devouring Plague is an instant cast DoT ability that you will always want to place on the target your allies are focusing on! It inflicts a disease on the target that deals moderate amounts of shadow damage over 24 seconds while also providing you with a heal based on 15% of the total damage dealt.
    • This ability has no cooldown. However, it can only be placed on a single target at a time.
  • Shadowfiend calls down a shadow spawn that will chase your enemies, providing you with 5% of your total mana pool each time they attack your target. This ability can be used both offensively and as a mana replenishment!
    • The creature lasts 15 seconds, allowing you to recuperate a large amount of your mana.
    • However, beware that it does not last 15 seconds after it reaches its target! The clock will tick the moment you unleash the beast, meaning that you will want to be close to your enemy when you decide to use this ability.
  • Mana Burn is one of our most powerful offensive tools, allowing us to severely dampen any other spellcaster! This ability allows you to destroy your target’s mana, burning up to 10% of their mana pool each time you cast this ability, up to a total of 20% of your own mana pool. Besides burning their mana, you also damage them with 0.5 shadow damage per mana burnt, meaning that this spell will also considerably damage your opponent!
    • This ability will be the bane of any spellcaster or healer, especially in arenas.
    • Tip: be sneaky about it. You should always try to use it while you are out of sight, managing to land at least 2-3 casts before your enemy realizes what is happening to them!
  • Dispel Magic is one of your most powerful utility abilities, allowing you to instantly destroy 2 harmful effects on an ally or 2 beneficial effects on an enemy. This spell emphasizes the power of the Discipline Priest, allowing you to completely counter any mechanic, as long as it is magical in nature.
  • Inner Focus can be used to enhance your other spells, reducing their mana cost by up to 100% and increasing their critical strike chance by 25%. This ability is great, both for offensive and defensive spells!
    • You can also use this ability for spells like Desperate Prayer, effectively creating a panic button.
  • Power Infusion is one of the big trump cards of the Discipline specialization, letting you increase the casting speed and reduce all mana costs for your target by up to 20%, for 15 seconds.
    • This ability can be used both offensively and defensively, meaning that you can cast it on yourself to either heal or deal damage, and you can also cast it on your ally to help them destroy the target faster.
    • Keep in mind that this ability is best used on a caster class!
  • Mass Dispel is another trump card of our specialization, especially since the Focused Power talent empowers it significantly! You can use this ability to quickly destroy any beneficial effects on your enemies or harmful effects on your allies in a large radius.
    • Keep in mind that this ability can only affect up to 10 friendly targets and 10 enemy targets, dispelling a maximum of 20 targets in total.
  • Mind Vision allows you to become a spy! No pun intended: it does allow you to see through the eyes of your enemies, for 1 minute. The cool thing about this ability is that it has no specific range, meaning that you can cast it anywhere as long as the target is not on another continent or another instance.
    • While it is not the most practical spying tool since the target is notified via a debuff, it can certainly be used to gather intel, as it can not be dispelled!
  • Mind Soothe: Does not work against players! This is here so that you are aware of it.
  • Abolish Disease is a great ability that will help you against Death Knights and other Priests. This ability can be consistently spammed, having a low mana cost!
    • The only instance where this ability is useless is when the potential target is afflicted with Unholy Blight, rendering the disease immune to dispel effects.
  • Hymn of Hope can be used to restore 12% of your mana pool while also enhancing mana pools of everyone affected by up to 20%, for a limited amount of time. This ability has a long channel time and should only be used when you are confident in your safety!
    • You should never use Hymn of Hope without making sure that you will not be interrupted. The best place to cast this ability is either behind a pillar or under a rampart, somewhere where you are hidden from the enemy’s gaze.
  • Inner Fire is a great defensive spell enhanced by the Discipline specialization, allowing you to gain much-needed armor while also enhancing your spell power. This ability works in a peculiar way, granting you charges instead of a full effect. Each time you are hit, you will lose your charges, losing a small part of the bonuses gained in the process.
    • However, this ability can be instantly cast again to ensure that your bonuses are regained.
    • You will want to bind this ability in a comfortable position on your action bar, as you will find yourself recasting it often!
  • Pain Suppression is the final trump card of the Discipline specialization, allowing you to reduce all damage taken by up to 40% while also granting 65% resistance to any dispel mechanics, for up to 8 seconds.
    • You should always use Glyph of Pain Suppression to make sure that you will be able to cast this ability even while stunned!
    • This is the most powerful defensive ability in your arsenal, so make sure that you do not waste it on petty bait!
  • Fear Ward lets you place a protective barrier against the next fear effect cast upon a target, completely negating it. This ability should be used on the highest priority target. Spoiler alert, it’s you. Way to feel special.
  • Power Word: Shield is a vital component of your gameplay, allowing you to shield yourself and your allies! One of the core aspects of the Discipline Priest is the extremely powerful shielding effect they can grant to their allies! Power Word: Shield will be your main tool for providing absorption effects, but it does come with a gimmick.
    • The spell itself has no cooldown thanks to the Soul Warding talent, but it afflicts you with Weakened Soul, preventing you from spamming it on the same target.
    • One amazing aspect of this ability is that you can precast it, allowing you to have it ready for another use right after the battle commences.
  • Shackle Undead is an ability that you will want to use on a Death Knight under the influence of Lichborne or his pets! This ability allows you to ensnare the undead, stopping them from any action.
    • Beware, however, that this effect will break if anything damages the target, so do not use it on targets affected by DoT spells.
  • Psychic Scream is our main crowd control tool, allowing us to fear up to 5 targets for 8 seconds, having a relatively short 30-second cooldown. Targets afflicted by this ability have a chance of breaking free when damaged.
    • However, in reality, the fear effect does not break instantly, allowing you to damage your targets without consequences for a short amount of time.
    • You should use this ability offensively, together with your allies or arena partners, to make sure that you successfully set up a kill.
    • You can also choose to use this ability defensively, to make sure that you create distance between you and your opponents.
  • Mind Control is a very fun ability in our arsenal! It can be used in a variety of ways, from the simple repositioning of your enemies, to assisted suicide! You can use this ability to throw your opponents down cliffs or ramparts, forcing them to fall to their deaths.
    • This ability is great in the arena, especially when you are partnered up with a damage dealer that uses heavy crowd control, as you can simply mind control your opponent’s healer and go for a ride with his character.

Strategy & Spell Priority

As far as your PvP Strategy goes, you have to understand that, first and foremost, you are a healer! Your job is to keep yourself and your allies alive; anything else comes as a second priority.

Discipline Priests have access to a large variety of fun tools, allowing them to counter many mechanics in the game. The most prominent tool in their arsenal is a quick-cast Mass Dispel, unleashed in only 0.5 seconds, and that time is before any haste bonuses counted in! Your job is to provide as much support as possible by dampening your enemy’s efforts with Mass Dispel and DoTs, such as Devouring Plague and Shadow Word: Pain.

For the general Strategy in PvP, you have a few options: you can choose to follow a big group of allies, providing healing and shielding for each and every single one of them, all while making sure that any negative effect is dispelled from them. Or, you can pick a very powerful damage dealer and become his pocket healer while the two of you chase down high-value targets, such as flag carriers. The possibilities are endless!

You also have the option of using your environment as either a defensive or offensive tool, using what we call “LoS” or “Line-of-Sight” in the WoW community.

Alternatively, in addition to providing healing, absorption, and dispels for your team, you can also provide heavy damage with your DoTs and offensive abilities, aiding your allies in potential kills. You have a large variety of offensive tools, explained in the previous segment of this section of the guide, abilities which can be used to burst down your enemies or completely devour any trace of mana from their systems! Keep in mind that, as a Discipline Priest, you are actually the only healing specialization in the entire game that can destroy their opponent’s mana!

General Spell Priority

Your strength as a Discipline Priest is having answers to any challenge thrown your way, but your overloaded kit does come at a cost. Having this many options is not always the best situation, and could even be quite confusing at times. We will try to help you out by going through the spell priorities of every single spell category, with a preview of each beforehand.

You will want to combine all of the following spells properly in order to be effective! For example, you will want to combine your utility spells with your healing spells and offensive spells. There is no such thing as a specific rotation in PvP, and you learning this fact quickly and shifting your mentality around it will, in fact, help you outperform other players.

Healing Spells

  • With healing spells, you will want to always prioritize instant cast abilities, since they can be used while moving.
  • After your instant cast abilities, you will want to prioritize spells with a short cast time, since they allow you to spam efficiently.
  • However, quick-casting abilities usually do not generate big heals, meaning that, in desperate situations, you will want to focus on spells with a long cast time that will generate big critical heals!
  • There is one exception to this rule — Penance. If Penance is available, it should always be cast first, as it allows you to proc Divine Aegis easily while also granting chunky heals!

Defensive Spells

You won’t have access to a lot of defensive skills. However, Discipline Priests still have a few select skills that are extremely powerful!

  • First of all, even if it’s not the most powerful spell defensive spell in your arsenal, you should upkeep Inner Fire at all times, as it grants you a valuable armor rating and increased spell power.
  • Power Word: Shield is the most important defensive spell in your arsenal and you will want to prioritize it in every situation, especially since it is an instant cast ability!
  • Pain Suppression is a lot more situational and should only be used in moments when you are afraid for the life of an ally. Since it has a long cooldown and is extremely powerful, you will want to make sure that you will use it at the appropriate moment.
  • Lastly, you should use Fear Ward on yourself! The reason for this is simple: a healer afflicted by nightmares and paranoia, running amok while yelling, will never save anyone’s life.

Utility / Crowd Control Spells

  • Mass Dispel is the most powerful utility spell in your arsenal, having the highest priority among utility spells. Even if all Priest specializations can use this ability, none can do it better than the Discipline Priest, as they has access to a talent that massively reduces its casting time.
    • Keep in mind that you can use this spell from afar!
  • Next up comes Dispel Magic, the weaker version of Mass Dispel, limited to a single target. However, you may want to prioritize this ability over Mass Dispel in certain situations, since you can cast it while moving.
  • Power Infusion is one of your trump cards, and should be treated as such. You have two options when it comes to its use: either keep it for yourself when you get into sticky situations where you are required to spam your heals, or use it on a powerful caster ally to aid them in destroying their targets. We advise you to keep it for sticky situations, especially in arenas.
  • Abolish Disease is a great tool against other Priests and Death Knights, being lower on the priority list due to its situational use. However, when dealing with such a situation, this ability has higher priority than any other utility ability in your kit.
  • Psychic Scream is the most powerful crowd control ability in your arsenal, allowing you to fear up to 5 enemies at the same time. You will find yourself using this ability both defensively and offensively for crowd control.
    • You can rush into your opponents to fear them instantly, potentially saving one of your allies or simply removing them from combat for 8 steady seconds.
    • You can also use it to force an enemy to lose sight of you while getting them stuck in an uncomfortable spot. Due to its instant cast nature, it has a higher priority than Mind Control, even if it is weaker.
  • Mind Control is a very powerful ability, allowing you to fully hijack another player’s character! However, it has a long cast time, followed by a channel that can be interrupted by any received damage.
    • And yet, you can do some pretty sweet things with this ability. You can force an enemy to stay out of combat, moving their character into an unfavorable spot, or outright kill them by making them jump from a high elevation.
    • Keep in mind that, while Mind Control allows you to completely control another player’s character, it has many risks, one of them being the fact that you will leave your own character entirely defenseless while using this ability.
  • Lastly, Shackle Undead is only useful against Death Knights, being a potent tool against their nasty gargoyles; hence the low spot on the priority list. You can also use this ability on the Death Knight’s ghoul or the Death Knight themself while under the Lichborne effect!

Offensive Spells

For offensive spells, we have two separate categories: the instant cast spells, and the castable spells. You will generally prioritize casting instant spells before the spells that require you to sit still.

  • Shadowfiend allows you to instantly call a void spawn that deals consistent damage to a single target while granting you 5% of your mana back with each attack. While this offensive ability is great for bursting down a target, you should always keep it for situations where you might run out of mana.
  • Next up comes the most powerful spell against other casters, Mana Burn, allowing you to truly terrorize them. Naturally, you will want to use this spell after dotting as many enemies as possible.
    • In battlegrounds, this spell should not be your first priority, as it is more important to consistently heal your allies.
    • But, during arenas, this is your highest priority skill! Spam it as much as possible.
  • Lastly, you got castable abilities that deal Shadow or Holy Damage, being useful for primarily aiding an ally in bursting an enemy down. You will want to use Mind Blast and Holy Fire first as both have a comparatively medium-length cooldown, followed up by spamming Smite, as it has no cooldown.

Strategies and Mentality


In battlegrounds, you have one of the most important roles among your teammates, and that is to keep them alive at all costs! You will want to position yourself in a way where you can effectively heal and dispel any ally that might require your aid. While you will generally want to prioritize keeping your allies alive, it does not mean that you cannot be a nuisance to the enemy team as well.

You can achieve this by mass-dispelling their buffs and beneficial effects, while also devouring the mana of any daring caster. Naturally, you are the most valuable target among your allies and you should act accordingly. Why do so? Because the difference between a team with a capable healer, a team with mediocre healers, or none at all is simply colossal. A good healer can truly turn the tides of war, successfully mending even the most grievous of wounds.

Since your Power Word: Shield has no cooldown and is an instant cast ability, you can effectively provide massive amounts of absorption to a large number of allies. Typically, in battlegrounds, there is a massive clash at the beginning, usually turning the tide towards the team that is victorious in the specific skirmish. You should advise your group to be patient and rely on your massive absorption and healing effects to achieve victory. While waiting for the engagement to happen, you should spam Power Word: Shield as a pre-shielding effect on every available ally!

In battlegrounds that rely on capturing objectives, a.k.a. flags and bases, you can choose to leave the fold and become a pocket healer to a powerful ally. Keep in mind that this only works effectively if both you and your designated ally have the proper equipment!

To achieve victory in any battleground, you should understand that your mentality should shift towards actively empowering your allies and keeping them alive while making sure that you are impeding all efforts made against you. In case there is an opponent that attempts to dispel your beneficial effects you should always make sure that you rebuff your allies and encourage them to do the same in order to maintain the advantage.


The arena is the utmost test of skill, requiring you to be agile, aware, and, most of all, knowledgeable in order to be truly victorious! First of all, you should understand how your class and specialization work while also learning the ways you can be countered. After all, knowledge is power, indeed. While having the opportunity of just bursting your enemy down without having much of a concern about their game plan may be avoidable when playing a DPS, as a Healer you do not have this luxury.

First of all, you should adopt a cautious mentality and understand that you will be the main target most of the time. So, you have to learn how to use your spells properly in order to survive. Maintaining your HoTs and Shields up at all times is of utmost importance!

Secondly, you should always be aware of your won positioning, and that of your enemies and allies. This will allow you to assess the situation and make a call depending on it, with some situations requiring you to be aggressive, while others will require you to be extremely patient and cautious.

For example, when fighting against Rogues or Feral Druids, your main objective will be to enter combat as fast as possible in order to overpower their allies and avoid incapacitating abilities such as Sap. Other situations will require you to be patient and use Line-of-Sight in order to mitigate as much damage as possible and keep your allies alive — an example would be a matchup against a Holy Paladin and an Arms Warrior.

Power Word: Shield, Penance, Mass Dispel, and Mana Burn will be your best mates when it comes to arenas. These will let you grant powerful absorption effects instantly, destroy any beneficial or invulnerable effects, consume your enemy’s mana, and even heal through walls! Yes, you heard me right, I am talking about Penance, a spell that, once triggered, will not break under LoS, being able to heal your allies even after they hide behind a wall or pillar. This will work as long as you have sight of them when you start channeling the ability.

Remember that, besides your powerful shields and healing effects, you do not have many defensive tools, so hold on to Psychic Scream and Pain Suppression until the time is right! You certainly do not want to be baited out and hit in the face with a Gargoyle or a Bladestorm while not having these abilities available.

All in all, arenas are about practice and synergy between you and your partner. It will take many attempts but, eventually, you will succeed. Keep in mind that practice makes perfect and that even if you do not achieve victory from the very first matches, your kit as a Discipline Priest allows you to adapt to almost any type of situation, requiring only a bit of patience from you and some steady practice. Showcase that willpower!


About the Author


Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
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