How to Discipline Heal

This post is intended for post 4.0.6 and is meant as a bunch of guidelines to help keep players alive as discipline.

Several notable changes are arriving with the patch which will slightly alter the play of Discipline Priests. The two biggest changes revolve around the boost to the strength of Power Word: Shield and the ability for Grace to affect multiple targets. In my playing Holy at 85 post, I mentioned about how to handle something I called “the hit”.

As a refresher, “the hit” is an ability or spell by a boss which deals enough damage which might kill players if they’re not healed up in the next few seconds. For example, Dragon Breaths are “the hit”. Any really massive explosion can be considered “the hit”. Fusion Punch is an example of a tank about to be the victim of “the hit”. It must be a severe enough blow to almost cause you to crap your pants.

Before you do anything else, I strongly advise downloading an addon called Ingela’s Rapture. It allows you to time your shields to get the best possible mana return from Rapture. In a game where mana management is important, this addon will help you.

*Sorry Ingela, meant to write about this sooner

For an alternative style of Disc healing revolving around Atonement, see this page instead.

On the tank

Stick to Power Word: Shield, Penance and the usual spells of Heal, Flash Heal or Greater Heal. Prayer of Mending is another spell you’ll want to keep activating on cooldown on the tank. Keep in mind that a Discipline Priest has two cooldowns for saving tanks: Power Word: Barrier and Pain Suppression. Unless the encounter has specific tank one-shotting mechanics that it needs to be saved for, you’ll be using those two spells on demand. With Power Word: Shield though, use Ingela’s Rapture to properly time it on the tank.

The basic play you want to make here at a raid level environment is to keep using Inner Focus on cooldown and continue dropping Greater Heals while using Power Word: Shield every time Rapture is available. Weave in Penance as necessary. The buffs to Power Word: Shield (208% effect increase) and Penance (20% increase to healing) has strengthened the position of Discipline.

2-3 players

Theoretically, the 2-3 players you’re healing would be a tanks. Since Grace can affect multiple targets, those would be the two players you want to maintain Grace stacks on. As an aside, if you were healing the 2-3 players that were in the raid itself, Grace wouldn’t mean much at all because you’d be hard pressed to heal them after the initial heal (usually the initial heal is all that’s need to keep them up). Don’t stress too much about Rapture procs here because you’re going to be balancing heals and shields on all of your tanks anyway (That does take a little more focus). Refresh the shields as necessary.

What works for me in a party environment is casting a shield on each target. Cycle through them with fast heals to keep them alive and out of imminent danger.

  1. Target A: Shielded –> Penance
  2. Target B: Shielded –> Flash Heal
  3. Target C: Shielded –> Flash Heal

Then follow it up with a quick blast of Prayer of Healing in the event another player in the group has taken damage.

4-5 players

You’ll wish to rely on Prayer of Healing for your group healing needs. Doesn’t get any easier than that and since Divine Aegis automatically activates when Prayer of Healing lands, there’s nothing else to add. You can try to get fancy and load up a few grace ticks on a few players in that group, but it might be unnecessary.

For 5+ players

I don’t foresee much of this happening, but in the event a raid healer or two goes down, you’ll need to stand on your head and try to hold it together. If health pools are dropping, get a Barrier up immediately. You know that Prayer of Healing heals a player and their group. Naturally there will be a few players left out. Let’s say there’s 3 players who are at 35% health in group 4 and all of group 5 is around the same range. Assuming everyone is in the same general location, drop 2-3 shields on players outside of group 5 and then hit a hasted Prayer of Healing on group 5 to try to account for everyone.

One last thing I want to add here is glyph selection. With Power Word Shield being buffed, the value of the glyph will rise. With shields absorbing amounts of about 35000, it might be a worthwhile glyph to consider if you’re not using it already.

9 thoughts on “How to Discipline Heal”

  1. I was confused by
    “I don’t foresee much of this happening, but in the event a raid healer or two goes down”

    Are most disc priests not being assigned to raid healing?

    • I cannot speak for everyone, but in general, I intentionally put my Disc Priests on tanks for specific fights. The Disc Priest is a type of player who can really fill any role that’s needed. If you’re missing solid tank healers, its something they can do. If you need additional help on the raid, they can cover that too.

  2. Great post Matt. Really important for discos to read prepatch

    Watching your Rapture is supremely important for Discos. I do like Ingelas a lot, but prefer doing it in Power Auras instead of tracking it with another add-on. Especially since I run PA already.

    Here’s a link to a post I did discussing that and a power aura for it.

  3. Also, don’t forget that the PoH DA changes isn’t a change; it’s more of a bug fix preventing DA from double dipping on PoH crits.

    Again NOT a nerf. It’s a fix. There’s no way that was intentional.

  4. “Are most disc priests not being assigned to raid healing?”

    No and they shouldn’t be at the moment unless you have no better choices. That doesn’t mean they can’t do the job but they can’t keep up with f ex a holy priest of equal skill and gear right now. They are however pretty good single target healers and the patch will strengthen that further. And they are able to switch to pretty decent raid heals in an instant which is very handy on many fights at this stage of Cataclysm as many bosses have short periods with massive aoe healing requirements. I’d have them tank heal bringing really strong cooldowns (Pain Suppression/Power Word:Barrier) alongside the holy paladins and backup on raid when needed if possible (i.e. if tanks do not take as much damage during the aoe phase).

    • Those cool downs are still brought to the table if doing raid healing. I agree holy puts out a bit more, but disc seems capable of keeping up with anyone but a holy priest when on raid. Pretty much every disc parse I’ve seen from progressed guilds shows them mostly spamming prayer of healing.

  5. Oh and if you want to go into the gory details of tank and/or raid healing as discipline after the patch Spiritus have a pretty good guide up att the mmo-champion forums. It comes with a bit mathy gear discussion regarding haste vs crit too that is well worth diving into. (Is it ok to give props to other sites here? …I’ll take my chances).

    • No problems giving to other sites. Goal here is to help players get better and be aware of what kind of information’s out there so they can make their own decisions ^^. Even if its not from me.

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