Category: Endgame

Covers raiding, emblems, and being the best darn level 80 disc priest you can be

The Discipline Priest Handbook

A Short and Complete Manual of Healing as a Discipline Priest

Permanent Link to the most up-to-date version of the Discipline Priest Handbook

Not everyone dedicates the entirety of their Warcraft life to the incomparable experience of being a Discipline Priest.

I can’t explain it, but there it is.

Recently the difficulties associated with playing an alt- long-forgotten, rolled to fill some raid niche that evaporated, miraculously reaching the level cap by picking flowers- were brought home to me when I picked up my dusty mining druid and determined to shape him into a lean mean healin’ machine.

Things went badly. Okay, more than badly. I didn’t know what to spec, I had no idea what a healing rotation even looked like as a druid, and I was- to my shame- booted out of my first pug after two rounds of trash.

To my delight and pathetic gratitude I stumbled upon Tree Bark Jacket’s wonderful Resto Druid Cheat Sheet. Specs immediately become clear, spells made sense, and I stopped wearing cloth.

I asked Keeva of Tree Bark Jacket if I could steal her layout to similarly assist those 85 Disc Priests who needed similar help -the short, sweet version of How To Disc- and she graciously allowed me to lift whatever I could carry.

May this be of some use to you in your new- or continuing- journeys as a priest.

Godspeed, noble Discos!

The Discipline Priest Handbook

Spec Smite Spec:
Sample Smite Spec, WowheadNon-Smite Spec:
Sample Non-Smite Spec, Wowhead
Talent Specs
Stat Priority Intellect >> Spirit >> Haste > Crit > Mastery Stats Guide
Stat Goals Stack Spirit and then Haste (to @12.5%) at lower gear levels.Stack Crit and then Mastery at higher gear levels.
Rotation Smite Spec:

  • All of the Non-Smite Spec information, plus…
  • Smite a hostile target five times to proc Archangel
  • Use Archangel to return mana and buff healing

Non-Smite Spec:

  • Apply Power Word: Shield and Prayer of Mending to the tank just before she pulls. Keep Shield up on the tank.
  • Re-apply Prayer of Mending to the tank whenever it expires
  • Optional: Apply PW:Shield to a DPS who is taking a lot of damage, or to yourself
    *ProTip: When you get aggro, use your Fade ability.
  • Small Heal: Renew (HoT)
  • Medium, Fast Heal: Penance
  • Large, Slow Heal: Greater Heal
  • Group Heal: Prayer of Healing
    *ProTip: Use Inner Focus every time it’s off cooldown before a Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing.
  • Use Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend to regen mana
Glyphs Smite Spec:

  • Primary: Glyph of Penance, Glyph of Power Word: Shield, Glyph of Power Word: Barrier (or Glyph of Renew)
  • Major: Glyph of Mass Dispel, Glyph of Divine Accuracy, Glyph of Fade
  • Minor: Glyph of Shadowfiend, Glyph of Fortitude, Glyph of Fading

Non-Smite Spec:

  • Primary: Glyph of Penance, Glyph of Power Word: Shield, Glyph of Power Word: Barrier (or Renew)
  • Major: Glyph of Mass Dispel, Glyph of Dispel Magic, Glyph of Desperation
  • Minor: Glyph of Shadowfiend, Glyph of Fortitude, Glyph of Shackle Undead
Reforging Destroy:

  • Hit
  • Parry
  • Dodge
  • Expertise


  • Spirit
  • Haste
  • Crit
  • Mastery
Gems & Reforging
Gems When in doubt, gem for Intellect.Primary Gems:

  • Red = Intellect gems
  1. [Brilliant Inferno Ruby]
  • Yellow = Critical, Haste, and Mastery gems
  1. [Smooth Amberjewel] Critical Strike
  2. [Quick Amberjewel] Haste
  3. [Fractured Amberjewel] Mastery
  • Blue = Spirit gems
  1. [Sparkling Ocean Sapphire] Spirit

Secondary Gems:

  • Green
  1. [Zen Dream Emerald] Mastery + Spirit
  • Orange
  1. [Potent Ember Topaz] Int + Crit
  2. [Reckless Ember Topaz] Int + Haste
  3. [Artful Ember Topaz] Int + Mastery
  • Purple
  1. [Purified Demonseye] Int + Spirit
  • Elixirs
  1. [Flask of the Draconic Mind] +Int
  2. [Flask of Flowing Water] +Spirit
  • Food
  1. [Fortune Cookie] or [Seafood Magnifique Feast] +Top Stat
  2. [Severed Sagefish Head] +Int
  3. [Delicious Sagefish Tail] +Spirit
  4. [Basilisk Liverdog] +Haste
  5. [Baked Rockfish] +Crit
  6. [Lavascale Minestrone] +Mastery

And don’t forget [Superior Mana Oil] for that little extra edge.

  • Tailoring: +580 Intellect chance or +580 Spirit chance (cloak embroider)
  • Jewelcrafting: +81 Intellect (3 red gems)
  • Alchemy: +80 Intellect (mixology)
  • Engineering: +80 Intellect (bracer enchants & tinkers)
  • Enchanting: +80 Intellect (2 ring enchants)
  • Blacksmithing: +80 Intellect (bracer & glove sockets)
  • Inscription: +80 Intellect (shoulder inscription)
  • Leatherworking: +30 Intellect (bracer enchants)

For theorycrafting, more in-depth discussion, and alternative ideas, visit the Priest Forum or the Elitist Jerks Discipline Priest Forum.

Beginning Raid Leader Resources for Cataclysm

Most guilds out there, even if they want to raid, have gotten just about as far as… Magmaw. The vast majority of guilds haven’t gotten even him down yet.

The elite raiding core of the game may be chomping at the bit for Firelands, but the majority of us are still cooking dinner, dropping small humans at school, picking them UP from school, doing laundry, washing dishes, studying for exams, and, if we have the time, gearing for raids- to say nothing of actually running the raids themselves.

For guilds and groups that are just now starting to look at Magmaw, or have progressed only a few raid bosses into Cataclysm, most raid guides do nothing more than give you a wicked bad case of gear envy.

So for those of us who have more enthusiasm than time, can reliably expect someone to take a bio break to change a diaper, and run their dailies for points once in a blue moon, I’ve compiled a selection of indispensable real-life raid leader- and raider- resources:

1. Boss Blueprint: You’re standing in the middle of Blackwing Descent, trying to communicate to your DPS (who are assuredly not listening) that they need to go THERE and then HERE and then run THAT way when everything turns to steam, when it hits you: These damn colored floor flares are never, ever going to get your point across.

What you need is Boss Blueprint, a drag-and-drop online Strategy creator that you can easily customize and then mail out to your raid team. It’s so easy it’s stupid.

The beauty of Boss Blueprint is that you can do it at work, and then email it to your raiders, who can then look at it at work- which, as we all know, is the only place where any Real-Life Raider has time to think about strategy.

I'm realize I'm only amusing myself



2. Deadly Boss Mods: Everyone on your team should realistically have this. I realize there are some people who get all bent out of shape about add-ons, but… c’mon. C’mon.

When you look up ‘deadly’ on Google, the first suggestion that pops up is ‘boss mods’. Doesn’t that say it all? (PS- I don’t know why almost as many people are searching for ‘deadly women’, but it can’t mean anything good.)

DBM gets you out of the bad, reminds you to stand in the good, and shouts at you when it’s time to run away. Yes, that’s right: DBM is your mother.


3. Boss Loot Lists: Everyone likes to be encouraged to raid, and what better way to encourage your raiders than to remind them the phat lewts they might get their grubby paws on if they can actually remember to make it to the raid on time?

Just go to Wowhead, type in the name of the boss you’re attempting to kill, scroll down to ‘Drops’… and mail that list to your raiders. I guarantee your attendance will improve.

As an added bonus, Wowhead lists a nice, simple strategy for each boss, as well- a guide to create that Boss Blueprint image you’ll be sending around to the group?

For your ease and convenience, I’ve linked the normal raid bosses here:

Omnotron Defense System: Arcanotron, ElectronMagmatronToxitron


Halfus Wyrmbreaker
Double Dragons ValionaTheralion
Ascendant Council

Conclave of Wind

4. Email and Prosper: REMEMBER: With a group of mature gamers who have complicated lives and not nearly as much time as they’d like, email is a great way to get in touch with them. We can all read email at work. As most of us are blocked from viewing game websites, this is your best chance to get in front of your raid team when they have time to actually listen.

If a raider doesn’t want to give you their personal email address, fine: have them create a new one on Yahoo or Gmail and then forward it to their work address.

DO NOT put links in your email. If you want them to see anything, copy and paste it. Darned Websense, ruining our fun…!

Don’t overload them with emails, but one before each raid night is great. Include:
– The loot list, right at the top, to get everyone psyched

– A list of every person’s character name and their role, to remind everyone that they are important to the success of the team as a whole
Zacariah – Main tank (warrio)
Zoe – Off tank (bare)
Zebidiah – Healing Zachariah (disco)
Zusterke – Healing Zoe (pally)
Zoot – Healing Raid (tree)
Zounds – Ranged DPS (warlock)
Zeke – Ranged DPS (huntard)
Zabra – Ranged DPS (mage)
Zorym – Melee DPS (d nugget)
Zasha – Melee DPS (d nugget)

– A SHORT strategy (I find Wowhead’s length is good) with pictures you create at Boss Blueprint illustrating each stage or major change.

List people by name to tell them what they are doing at each stage. You may have to replace them, but at least everyone will know who is being replaced.

And when you have an entire raid yelling at a puggee to do exactly the same thing, it will- shock!- occasionally sink in.



Just because you’re not finished with every boss in the game doesn’t mean you can’t raid and raid well. You have the inestimable bonus, with your group, of having actual fun.

Wiping is not fun. Losing is not fun. Knowing what’s going on, what your raid expects from you, and where you ought to be is. As a good raid leader, your job is to make it easy for everyone to come and have fun with you.

Now get out there and take down Magmaw!

SmiteSpec v. ShieldSpec: Builds & Rotations at 85

I’ve put together this little down-and-dirty guide to discipline priest healing because being a Disc Priest these days is, truly, complicated.

The main source of this complexity lies in the fact that Disc Priests are now essentially two distinct specs: the SmiteSpec and the ShieldSpec.

The variance in style of the two versions of disc priesting is pretty pronounced, so disc priests tend to lean quite heavily toward their favorite version of discipline. It’s created something of a rift in the Disc community. Much shouting and pulling of beards.

ShieldSpec focuses on shielding, doling out standard priest healing spells, and managing a variety of cooldowns (Inner Focus, Power Infusion, Rapture) to return mana. It functions similarly to how Discipline worked throughout Wrath of the Lich King.

Pros: Similar to the Wrath disc healing style and thus familiar to Wrath Discos. Intuitive.

Cons: (Possible) lower mana return. Boring.

SmiteSpec is based on an entirely new healing mechanic for Warcraft. SmiteSpec disc priests use a combination of offensive, DPS (primarily Smite) spells for mana return and indirect healing spells, coupled with more classic Discipline direct healing spells (including Shield).

Pros: New and different way to heal, unique to Discos. (Possible) higher mana return. Wings (WANGS!).

Cons: Focus diverted between DPS targets and healing targets. Minimal DPS damage. Unfamiliar mechanism.

Personally, I’ve been running the two specs simultaneously to see which better fits my needs/playstyle, and I have to confess that I lean more towards the ShieldSpec. However, both are viable and fun Discipline Priest options.

Sample ShieldSpec Build
View Liala’s Current ShieldSpec Build

Click to Embiggen


Sample ShieldSpec Rotation

With this build, I like to Shadow Protection/Fortitude everyone pre-fight. The low-cost instants of Inner Will are worth more to me right now than Spellpower (plus I think the increased movement speed helps me stay out of AoE trouble).
For a rotation I generally bubble (Power Word: Shield) the tank, hit him with Prayer of Mending, then watch. If another DPS is taking a lot of damage, I’ll throw another bubble and a Renew on him or her, and then go back to refreshing Prayer of Mending and bubble on the tank. For a big, quick tank heal I use Penance; for a slow, big tank heal I use Greater Heal.

If damage is going all over the place, I use Inner Focus and then Prayer of Healing; if damage is focused on the tank, I use Inner Focus and then Greater Heal. I use Inner Focus on every cooldown religiously.

Sample SmiteSpec Build
View Liala’s Current SmiteSpec Build

Click to Embiggen

Sample SmiteSpec Rotation


Discipline Priest Builds for 4.0

Check out our guide to Disc Priest Gear in Cataclysm

These builds are now active in patch 4.0.3. You can add onto them- without respeccing- in Cataclysm, when the level cap increases to 85 and you can pick up the last four talent points. Consider them a starting point for experimenting with all the fun new elements of the disc priest!

Check out DA’s main priest: Liala’s Current Build and Stats at WoW Armory

SAMPLE BUILD #1: The Standard Shielding Disc Priest (aka SHIELDSPEC)

Interactive Talent Calculator for Build #1

This build includes many talents familiar to WotLK disc priests, including Improved PW:Shield, Grace, Rapture, and Divine Aegis, among others. I’ve also picked up a few new talents:

  • Darkness: Improves spell Haste by 3% (Shadow)
  • Power Word: Barrier: Summons a barrier in a certain location that shields any friendly target within it.
  • Soul Warding: Reduces cooldown on PW:Shield by 2 seconds.

This build should feel very familiar to current Disc Priests. For variation, I’d recommend dropping 2 points of Veiled Shadows (Shadow; reduces cooldown on Fade and Shadowfiend) for two ranks of Inspiration (Holy; increases healing of Holy heal spells).

Recommended Glyphs
Prime: Glyph of Penance, Glyph of Power Word: Shield, Glyph of Power Word: Barrier
Major: Glyph of Mass Dispel … and the rest currently suck for us; try Dispel Magic and Holy Nova, just for giggles
Minor: Glyph of Shadowfiend, Glyph of Fortitude, Glyph of Shackle Undead (I’d switch this one out with Glyph of Levitate, but it’s a personal preference)

SAMPLE BUILD #2: The Smite/Shield Hybrid Disc Priest (aka SMITESPEC)

Interactive Talent Calculator for Build #2

This build is highly experimental; Blizzard clearly wanted PvPing Disc priests to do more damage through the use of Smite, as you can see from the inclusion of a number of new talents (Evangelism, Archangel, and Atonement). This might also be a nice leveling build, enabling a dedicated Disc priest to heal through 5-man instances and solo quest without changing specs. New talents include:

  • Evangelism: Increases the damage and decreases mana cost of Smite, Holy Fire, and Penance each time you cast Smite (or Mind Flay).
  • Archangel: Consumes your Evangelism effect so that, rather than increasing the damage, etc., of your next Smite (see above), restores a percentage of mana and boosts your healing effects.
  • Atonement: Heal a nearby target (or yourself) for 80% (40% for yourself) each time you Smite.

For a possible variation, I’d consider dropping 2 points in Darkness (haste increase) for two points in Veiled Shadows (Shadowfiend and Fade cooldown reduction).

Recommended Glyphs
Prime: Glyph of Penance, Glyph of Power Word: Shield, Glyph of Renew
Major: Glyph of Mass Dispel, Glyph of Divine Accuracy, Glyph of Smite
Minor:  Glyph of Shadowfiend, Glyph of Fortitude, Glyph of Fading (all that Smite-ing’s going to be generating threat that you’ll have to control much more than the Shield build)

Don’t be afraid to play around with the new talents; good luck and have fun!