Priests: Moonshroud or Merlin?

Patch 3.2 whipped out two sets of craftable gear: Bracers and chest pieces. Got a few inquiries about it on Twitter about it. Figured I’d do everyone a favor and outline my thoughts on it here:


Here’s the Moonshroud set:

Royal Moonshroud Robe

Royal Moonshroud Bracers


Merlin’s set:

Merlin’s Robe

Bejeweled Wizard’s Bracers

As you can clearly see, the Moonshroud set offers Spirit whereas Merlin’s contains haste. The spellpower and crit ratings remain identical.

Now if you were a healing Priest wondering which of these to create for your sets, there’s some things I’d like to remind you of before you go off dropping your hard earned gold.

Spirit’s been nerfed. Holy Priest mana regeneration’s been nerfed. Spirit is not as strong as it used to be. Do keep that in mind.

Speed is life. The faster your spells go off, the higher the odds that your heals will catch a player before they die.

Socket bonuses aren’t always the greatest. You do not have to socket your gems according to the bonus. There is no law saying that you have to do that. Sometimes socketing against the bonus yields a higher benefit.

So what’s best for me?

As Discipline: I lean towards Merlin’s set. I won’t need the Spirit as it doesn’t provide me any additional bonuses anyway. For gem choices, I prefer having a large pool of mana to work with. I would socket straight 4 x 20 King’s Amber on the chest and the bracers.

As Holy: Not much difference here. I’d approach it the same way as Discipline. I’m all about the mana pool and stacking loads of intellect. Others prefer Spellpower, Spirit, MP5 or Haste gems. Perhaps even a combination of all of them. I wouldn’t say that’s wrong.

It’s just a matter of preference. I top out at around 2700 spellpower during raids. Most of it’s going to over healing anyway. I may as well reallocate some of those points towards a larger supply of mana or increased speed. It’s not like players suddenly gained 7000 health and that bosses are magically knocking out 80% of a raider’s health to warrant that increase in spellpower.

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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.


  1. matt… I personally would go with the merlin bracers and socket 12sp ten intel or perhaps just flat sp. yes its mainly overheal, and i’ve been a huge advocate of stacking int as it is our mana regen and crit.

    bro… not trying to be picky but I looked at mallet. your haste is really high, and yes i’ve gone as high as 12.5% as disc at times, maybe its a result of you having to go between holy and disc. or your other healers flat out suck and are causing you to have to poh spam? (don’t get me wrong I do help out)

    I’m finding that I still end fights with way to much mana, and have gotten it down from about 30k to a more cozy 28k. increasing spellpower.

    just an idea ,and moreso maybe look at what you are raiding with if you are feeling 20 int gems are neccessary. oO or needed.

    • @smeedsc: Yeah, I hear you about the Crit Holy. I think its too damned high myself.

      By all means, BE picky. I’m always willing to keep an open mind. It’s not like I have anyone else to go to when I’m unsure about stuff. That’s where the rest of you guys come in :D. When I’m healing, I typically pick a group or two and cover those after major AoE hits. I’ll Prayer of Healing both of them. Thing is, I chug through a lot of mana. My overhealing’s probably quite high. I’ll even throw a heal on someone at full health anticipating them taking a hit (but they don’t).

      I’m still undecided on the haste. I love the really short cast times, don’t get me wrong. You might be right though. Maybe Mallet’s hitting the high end of it.

  2. oO btw fix the crit holy wtf. oO

  3. aye, I am a fan of haste in my holy set, and having those insta butt save spells helps. I really never cast G heal. and am not specced into it at all anymore, but I raid with a pretty solid healing group. Whatever works for ya was just an observation, prob alot depends on what you are working with for other healers as a whole. Our crew is diverse and its one of the strengths. heheh there are fights all I do is pom bubble and penance oO

  4. damn me and double posting. … but meh since we are having this convo.

    I crave the crit.

    my sp is 4pts under yours, i’m running 10.98 haste (yes its high but sometimes not having the “perfect theorycrafted” party makeup makes it essential. but i’m raiding at about 35-37% crit. those bubbles oh god do they add up, and admittedly as disc our heals are a bit weak compared to what other classes have, we make that up with a huge mana pool, and lots and lots of mitigation. but you know that, i’m just stating it for the masses. I love grace it helps tons, quick insta fixes (bubble) (penance) (binding heals and flashes) with POM always bouncing. mmm pom tracker = ownage addon. and suddenly the raid damage goes to zilch.

    fights like hodir hard 25 three healed and steelbreaker last have showed me the honestly… OPness of the disc spec. its my take and may differ from yours or your healing party, atm firefighter and vezax hard (vezax dies monday) are on notice.

    I also hate the long cast time of G heal. I find renewed hope sometiimes slips as i’m under the gun trying to force heal sheety *sp) greater heals off that sometimes land for around 9800-10k. only to be superceded by a druids hot or a pally dropping a bomb or a chain heal. so again i’d find myself chasing after health bars. Nice fat crits, some sp and pre-emptive have changed the feel of disc healing for me, as well as speccing into spell warding and forgetting about any greater heal spec from the holy tree. sumt to try perhaps.

    the beauty of playing a healing priest is the diversity of playstyles, not telling ya waht to do just how i’m doing it.

    btw the toon is dsc on stormrage US. I aint a god but I do alright 😉

    best to ya =)

  5. You need to post what the Horde versions are called, too! You nitwit.
    .-= Lilitharien´s last blog ..Much Ado About Renew =-.

  6. Matt,

    You may want to have a look at the new sets and some of the stamina increases people are getting. “It’s not like players suddenly gained 7000 health” could be wrong, although given it’s not that much, but there is still an increase.

    On the other hand, I’m on the same line with you. I love haste, currently at 11-13% in my Disc gear. And I gem and flask for Int as well.

  7. Padrebayonet says:

    Nice post Matt. You need to focus more on Holy Priests..nothin but Disc’s around here.

    I run about 2800-2900 SP fully raid buffed, 29% CRIT (with 5% crit buff), and have about 11% Haste (I also stack MP5, since Spirit is for Pre-BC)

    I am currently looking to maintain in buffs at least 25% crit while getting Haste to over 15%…..With the right amount of Crit and SP…15%+ HASTE will dramatically boost one’s Healing done imo.

    Im goin Merlin’s Robe for Holy…Spirit is for nubs lost in BC days

  8. I disagree with the view on spirit in this post and the comments. Spirit did _not_ get nerfed, not one bit. Intellect was nerfed. MP5 was boosted. Strange that people, after so many patches, still have trouble to grasp the scaling nature of Spirit. Where theorycrafts based on a early Naxx gear level may show Spirit to yield only 70% of the regen power of MP5, at Ulduar gear level this already is 85%.

    And that’s assuming:
    – a high spam scenario
    – a low HC uptime
    which are 2 conflicting facts: a high spam scenario generally leads to higher HC uptimes. It isn’t uncommon to score above 30% HC uptime, which can boost Spirit’s regen value up to 90% of MP5 in non hardmode Ulduar gear.

    I can safely bet my life it will come quite close to MP5 in proper ToC gear. Secondly, in ToC I noticed my FSR time to go down. With 85% FSR and high HC uptime overall, at about 1500 intellect raidbuffed you’ll find spirit to match mp5 in regen alone. Add the SP bonus from spirit and you’re golden. What is ‘sad’ about this, is that it requires decent gear and a spirit beneficial scenario lik what I’ve seen from ToC so far to make 2 regen stats equal in value. Except that spirit costs 12 talent points and adds SP. I think it is safe to assume that both MP5 and spirit are valid end-game gear choices.

    Disc priests are another story. Spirit is still worth as much for them as it was in 3.1, but without the boost from HC it cannot keep up with the boost on MP5. This effectively makes 1 mp5 preferable over 2 spirit for any realistic gear levels, but 1mp5 doesn’t beat 3 spirit for high end raiders. Intellect still reigns supreme through different gear levels though.

    As for the gear discussed above, it’s hard to promote one over the other. The choice is regen vs throughput. Most end content raiders will prefer the throughput, I suppose.

  9. Do you ever run out of mana? From what ive understood reading your site you do like to use a lot but with shadowfiend and pots it is really impossible to go oom at this moment. So id always go for Merlin as long as this is still the case. Im sure many of your other slots have more then enough regen on them right now.

    If you want to look ahead at colisseum hardmodes it might change your mind, but dropping some regen on 2 of your slots is probably worth it.

    Personally id still go for tierset, but i admit that its mostly because theyre just made to look cool on a troll.

  10. Padrebayonet says:

    Interesting point Zus, However Spirit DID get nerfed and MP5 DID get buffed by 25%.

    A good amount of Spirit is still needed for a Holy Priest, but the 1:1 ratio of Spi/Int is nonsense nowadays.

    3.3 Spirit = 1MP5
    an item that has 30 spirit vs. an item with 10 MP5…I would prefer the MP5 item for the in combat regen. Don’t know about you but there is not much oofsr fights in 25 man Hard mode Ulduar.

    Stacking Spirit for the sake of the SP bonus seems silly, the amount of SP you would get could easily be met by 1 +23 SP gem. The amount of in combat regen could be met by 1 item that has +25 MP5 on it.

    There are Holy talents that benefit from your spirit, but they are procs and not worthy of focusing all your gear choices around spirit alone. Spirit is nice to have, but is no where near the “supreme” stat.

    Build up your MP5, crit and haste and let the spirit come as it may on various pieces. 🙂

  11. The thing with MP5 though is that it still doesn’t scale with buffs like Blessing of Kings, whereas spirit will.
    .-= Lilitharien´s last blog ..Paladin Perspective: Trial of the Crusader, Part 2 =-.

  12. @Padrebayonet Indeed. Spirit is in no way a ‘supreme’ stat but it is far from lost. And the 1:1 ratio still dates from 3.0 😉

    I’m not saying you should gem for spirit, nor that it is ‘the’ best stat out there. Heck, we’d be lost if we did!
    But the view posted in the article and comments kind of state that “spirit is lost” or “nerfed and not so strong”. I feel those statements are inaccurate and I aim to counter that by changing the perspective a bit. My point is not to say spirit is imba, but to change the ‘nuance’ in the statement to “spirit is still good, but…”. At least for holy priests, as I consider it a lost stat for Disc priests.

    The numbers on spirit are brighter than you make it sound. If you feel OFSR time is little, let’s get the numbers for 95% FSR then. When I spam a lot of heals, I get up to 40%-45% HC uptime, although I propose 35% for this theorycraft as a mediocre score:
    INT- MP5- SPI
    1200 0.41 2.42
    1300 0.43 2.33
    1400 0.45 2.24
    1500 0.46 2.17
    INT stands for your raidbuffed INT. MP5 for how much MP5 you get from 1 point of spirit, and SPI on how much spirit you need to get 1 MP5. That’s better than your 3.3. No offense meant tho, just trying to give more numbers. If you feel like going into more detail about these, I’m all ears!

    But based on this, if there would be an item with 30 spirit and another with 10 mp5, I would go for the spirit item. It would give me more regen and SP. When I theorycraft regen stats, I generally tend to take gentler conditions (90% FSR, etc) which make spirit on par with mp5. BobTurkey did a theorycraft on this subject as well:
    Unlike me, he completely favors throughput over regen. Yet his lootlist favors spirit items over MP5 items just like mine. Why? His high value for spellpower makes spirit a favorable regen stat over mp5.

    Does that make spirit supreme? Not at all. But:
    – it rivals the regen of MP5 (occasionally leveling it, occasionally weaker)
    – it adds SP
    I think that makes more sense or could, at the very least, be considered a viable gearing choice to favor spirit over MP5.

    However, we’ve broken away from the original article: Matt’s choice is not between spirit and MP5 but between spirit and haste. As I (not so elaborately) mentioned in my previous comment’s last paragraph, this is not a real ‘choice’ in which someone can advise you. Both haste and spirit are good stats for holy priests. Both add a completely different kind of utility to the healer. What would be the criteria on which you will base your choice?
    Will it be that, in some patch, spirit got nerfed? I do not feel that criteria is a good one. What if spirit was boosted with 10%, would it make a difference? I doubt it. As I’ve shown above, it is not weak as regen stat but it isn’t the most relevant criteria. What should your criteria be then?

    Well… I think Matt mentioned a few good points, but I think his first was quite invalid (as I now elaborately defended hehe). IMO a more fundamental question would be to quote Dok’s words:
    “Do you ever run out of mana?”

  13. Padrebayonet says:

    Good stuff Zus. I maintain that a healthy balance of spirit and MP5 is important for Holy Priests, but an unhealthy obsession for spirit (like i have seen in some priests) is not good.

    I have around 1100 int and 825 spirit
    I have > or = in combat regen than a priest that has 1100 int and 1200 spirit. (as well as = or more SP)

    they stack spirit, i build spirit naturally with various pieces but choose to stack mp5. Hence my in combat regen (the most important regen) is higher.

    I just find the differences interesting…since i refuse to do trigonometry to figure it out!


  14. @Padrebayonet: I wouldn’t stack spirit for regen but int. I quite follow Matt’s suggestion in that and I have numbers telling me that’s the best choice. But I do prefer spirit over MP5 on my hybrid gems, partly because their difference is so small, partly because you can make spirit situationally stronger, partly because of the scaling effect between spirit and intellect. By adding spirit I do not add just the regen value of spirit but also increase the regen value of my intellect, be it a small amount.

    A small note tho: if you compare in combat regen with a spirit stacker, the spirit stacker will definitely loose. The ‘in combat regen’ number is the most pessimistic estimate of spirit regen as it fails to incorporate the OFSR time, little tho it may be, and holy concentration. In net effect, the difference shouldn’t be as big. Not at Ulduar end gear level. When I find my regen ‘while casting’ to be on par with an MP5 stacker, I know my actual regen during the fight will be far higher than his. But it is difficult to put hard numbers on that.

  15. God I don’t know how long I’ve been looking for a straight forward, “This is what’s out there,” webpage about priest pvp gear. I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t severely outdated.

    Thanks for the post, it was really helpful.

  16. Doctavice says:

    i’m currently running 21.64 holy crit/580 haste & 348/697 mp5 and i’ve been debating this very choice for the bracers… moonshroud or merlin… I try to gem mostly int & stuff but I still find myself running lom/oom on a few of the hardmodes (holy btw)..

    which would you suggest for my setup? I was thinking moonshroud but I haven’t been able to find a crafter yet on my server with either pattern so far.

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