Making the Switch: Holy to Disc

This is a guest post from Seriah, a PlusHeal community member

Priests are the main healing class in WoW, the official site even says so.  But to some people on the outside looking in they might not know that there are different mechanics in the individual Priest trees.  Having leveled and raided as Shadow and Holy I recently made the change to Discipline – it always looked like a fun tree and the new changes in LK sealed the deal for me. I’ve had experience in all forms of Priesting, but by no means am I claiming to be an expert on the class – just well experienced.

The intent here is to share my experience as a new Discipline Priest with everyone, especially anyone considering the switch be it because they think it looks like a fun change of pace or if you just hate the CoH nerf that much. I’ll attempt to walk you through what would happen if you dropped the Holy hat and picked up the Disc one – starting with your talent points.

Like with any spec there are those talents that you simply have to have, nothing fills that category better than the 3 P’s for Disc talents:

  • Power Infusion
  • Pain Suppression
  • Penance

Penance is absolutely the best healing spell I’ve ever had experience with – yes, more than CoH.  PI and PS are great too, especially since there are so many bosses that frenzy now when they’re at 20%.  How to spend your talents is a different article in itself, this is a brief overview of what you can expect from a cast sequence and mechanics point of view.

Hopefully you have a decent about of crit, be it by talents or gear, because once you start to see Divine Aegis (DA) in action you’ll love it.  Before a pull you’ll still want to do the usual PoM on the tank, but now you’ll also want to pop Power Word: Shield (PW:S) on him so the weakened soul debuff will show up – yes this is a good thing because you should be talented into Renewed Hope. 

When the pull starts, PoM will bounce with a crit (if you’re lucky) wrapping a DA bubble around the tank and giving you time to hit renew with no sense of urgency at all.  As long as incoming damage is minimal, you can stick to Flashes, Renews, and PoMs and be fine. The fun starts when the damage spikes.

On those big pulls where no one likes to CC anymore or on bosses that can hit like a whole fleet of trucks is where you’ll see those damage mitigation abilities of Disc healing really shine.  Keeping a full stack of Grace on the tank helps, and since they’re probably getting beat on a good bit that shouldn’t be too terribly hard.  PoM every time it’s up and say a little prayer so that it crits for a DA proc. 

Watch the cooldown on Penance. It hits 3 times during your channel and if you’re really on a roll with the luck and it crits all 3 times you can easily see 12k healing in less than 1.5 sec. there’s no one that can touch your HPS on hastened Penance.

That’s all fine well and good, but what if you get pushed to raid healing? 

First of all, if that happens you probably want to have a chat with your raid leader about the setup, if they still want you on raid duty then you can’t go wrong with shields and flashes, penance if they really need it.  Pain Suppression also works nicely here, if you have an overzealous DPS that can’t seem to watch Omen to save their lives, literally. It’ll reduce their threat, usually enough to let a tank get above them again, and if that doesn’t work then at least they shouldn’t die from the Iron Fist that giant is about to drop on them so the tank can then taunt.

If you’re doing heroics, and at this point most of us are, then you’re going to have to deal with group damage. The best way to do so is with Divine Hymn if you’re not in a fight where damage is constantly coming in.  If it’s a constant high damage fight you can shield yourself for the haste and to avoid interruption and pop off a Prayer of Healing.  Yeah, it’s 1800 mana, but it beats casting flash heal 5 times.  Of course if you’re on the move there’s always Holy Nova as well – which I’ve learned to not hate now.

So there you have it, a basic analysis of what you can expect as a Discipline Priest.

In short remember the 5 P’s of Priesting:

  • Power Word: Shield
  • Power Infusion
  • Pain Suppression
  • Penance
  • Prayer of Mending
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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

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