- Author: Nevermore
- Date: September 17, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
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.
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.
- Penance -> Desperate Prayer -> Renew -> Prayer of Mending -> Flash Heal -> Greater Heal -> Binding Heal -> Prayer of Healing -> Holy Nova
- 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!
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 -> Dispel Magic -> Power Infusion -> Abolish Disease -> Psychic Scream -> Mind Control -> Shackle Undead
- 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!
- Shadow Word: Pain -> Devouring Plague -> Shadowfiend -> Mana Burn -> Mind Blast -> Holy Fire -> Smite
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.
- You will always want to place Shadow Word: Pain on any target available in your sights, while using Devouring Plague on the highest priority target.
- 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!