Shadowlands Discipline Priest Guide

Discipline Priest Rotation Guide

Executing your rotation properly in World of Warcraft can mean the difference between a kill or a wipe. In this guide, we will explain all Discipline Priest abilities and how they should be used optimally to maximize your performance, providing in-depth Discipline Priest rotations and priority lists.

We will teach you all the synergies and special interactions between your class abilities, so you can have peak performance in Shadowlands for your Discipline Priest in raids and dungeons. Besides the basics, we explain more nuances and advanced concepts in your Discipline Priest rotation, such as highlighting the best moments to use notable cooldowns.

Discipline Priest Priority

Evangelism or Spirit Shell?

At the start of the Patch it looked like Spirit Shell would continue being the defining talent in Discipline's tree going into the Sanctum of Domination raid but early on raw throughput of all healers was fairly weak and the nerfs Spirit Shell received made it significantly less overall output compared to Evangelism so when throughput had a higher priority than absorbs, Evangelism won out.

Now that players are equipped in full shards of domination as they enter and continue to progress Mythic, you have a decent choice between the talent options, do you have high throughput healers like Mistweavers or Resto Druids operating their specs effectively to provide the throughput necessary or is your group struggling to heal through heavy damage? Spirit Shell can provide a crazy layer of safety but the timing is more narrow to prevent wasted shields while Evangelism has a wider window of Atonement uptime that is more forgiving if you don't perfectly preempt the damage.

If you're lacking in overall healer output, players dying to lack of healing, healers working against each other or just not effectively maximizing healing throughput when required, then I'd advise utilizing Evangelism in your progression group. If your throughput across your healers is fine and/or players are getting combo'd by mechanics, then utilize Spirit Shell. Both are very effective in Sanctum at this point in the content.

Discipline's playstyle in Shadowlands continues to focus on Atonement to carry the bulk of your healing. You will often not produce much healing outside of your ramps as you'll have two spare Power Word: Radiance charge in between each Evangelism / Spirit Shell cooldown to produce additional throughput.

NOTE: With Patch 9.1 Kyrian is the optimal covenant for a Raiding and Mythic+ Discipline Priest. Other covenants are not recomended for raiding at this time and will have differences in how you ramp, check the specific covenant pages for more info.

For Kyrian Disc, you ramp is now changing significantly. Reglitch and Smallpriest, Boonfathers and Theorycrafters of the Focused Will Community have constructed an excellent Ramp Simulator and multiple different Ramp Sequences to handle the varying challenges that the Sanctum raid may throw at you. In this page we'll be covering the most common use-cases that Sanctum of Domination looks to throw at you and will add more as the potential for 1 min Raid Boon of the Ascended's becomes more possible with Renown unlocks.

You will now start your ramps with back to back casts of Purge the Wicked to activate the Pandemic-effect to make your 20 sec DoT last an additional 6 seconds so that you can focus on applying Atonements and dealing damage while the DoT persists. You'll also adjust your ramps depending on if Boon of the Ascended's Ascended Eruption can hit melee or not.

Evangelism

Discipline Priest Primary Rapture/Evang Boon

The following ramp should be the bread and butter of Kyrian Discipline for Patch 9.1 before any cooldown reduction for Boon of the Ascended is immediately accessible. It takes advantage of the Clarity of MindAtonement extensions to coat the raid in Atonement and at the same time to trigger the Ascended Eruption on as many targets as possible.

You choose to cast Ascended Novas during your damage ramp instead of your class abilities for one because Penance/Mind Blast/Power Word: Solace deal poor damage but also so that you can generate more stacks for a larger Ascended Eruption.

Using Evangelism and Rapture together is not the only way to ramp but it is extremely powerful for maximizing your output and at this point I have cleared full 10/10 Mythic and found only one encounter (Painsmith) where I wanted to split Evangelism and Rapture from each other. All other fights I stacked both together with great results. Many encounters in Sanctum of Domination have a large burst of damage followed by a DoT of sustained ticking damage.

  1. Cast Purge the Wicked
  2. Reapply Purge the Wicked
  3. CastRapture which applies one Power Word: Shield then apply 9 more.
  4. Cast 2x Power Word: Radiance
  5. Cast Evangelism
  6. Cast Boon of the Ascended
  7. Cast Ascended Blast
  8. Cast Schism
  9. Cast Ascended Blast
  10. Cast 2x Ascended Nova
  11. Cast Ascended Blast
  12. Cast 2x Ascended Nova
  13. Cast Ascended Blast
  14. Cast 2x Ascended Nova
  15. Cast Ascended Blast
  16. Make sure your Ascended Eruption is ideally hitting one enemy if possible.

Secondary Fiend/Rapture/Evang Ramp

With the disparate cooldowns of Boon of the Ascended and Rapture/Evangelism in early Sanctum of Domination you will often have a ramp in between Boon of the Ascended cooldowns with just Shadowfiend to amplify your healing. This ramp will not be as powerful but it is still very important to optimize the cast sequence for output. Once again, taking advantage of the Clarity of Mind legendary's extensions to cover more of the raid.

  1. Cast Purge the Wicked
  2. Reapply Purge the Wicked
  3. CastRapture which applies one Power Word: Shield then apply 9 more.
  4. Cast Power Word: Radiance
  5. Cast Shadowfiend
  6. Cast Power Word: Radiance
  7. Cast Evangelism
  8. Cast Schism
  9. Cast Mind Blast
  10. Cast Penance
  11. Cast Power Word: Solace
  12. Cast Smite until Atonements fall off.
Spirit Shell

Discipline Priest Primary Boon/Shell Ramp

The following ramp should be the bread and butter of Kyrian Discipline for early Patch 9.1 before any cooldown reduction for Boon of the Ascended is immediately accessible. It takes advantage of the Clarity of MindAtonement extensions to coat the raid in Atonement and at the same time to trigger the Ascended Eruption on as many targets as possible.

You choose to cast Ascended Novas during your damage ramp instead of your class abilities for one because Penance/Mind Blast/Power Word: Solace deal poor damage but also so that you can generate more stacks for a larger Ascended Eruption. The result is the early Atonements that you apply create large Spirit Shells off of Ascended Blasts while your later applied Atonements from Power Word: Radiance have their shields further amplified by the Ascended Eruption.

This should ideally be utilized where the shields can be at least partially consumed before the Ascended Eruption so that the shields do not overcap. Many encounters in Sanctum of Domination have a large burst of damage followed by a DoT of sustained ticking damage. The advanced tips section below will flesh this out further.

  1. Cast Purge the Wicked
  2. Reapply Purge the Wicked
  3. Cast Shadow Mend
  4. Cast Power Infusion if you're not giving it to a dps
  5. Cast ~7-9 Power Word: Shield (low haste? less shields)
  6. Cast Power Word: Radiance
  7. Cast Boon of the Ascended
  8. Cast Spirit Shell
  9. Cast Ascended Blast
  10. Cast Power Word: Radiance
  11. Cast Ascended Blast
  12. Cast Schism
  13. Cast Ascended Nova (be sure to be in melee!) then Ascended Blast if it is not available yet, Blast immediately if it is.
  14. Cast 2 Ascended Nova
  15. Cast Ascended Blast
  16. Cast 2 Ascended Nova
  17. Cast Ascended Blast
  18. Cast Power Word: Solace and make sure your Ascended Eruption is ideally hitting one enemy if possible.

Secondary Fiend/Shell Ramp

With the disparate cooldowns of Boon of the Ascended and Spirit Shell in early Sanctum of Domination you will often have a ramp in between Boon of the Ascended cooldowns with just Shadowfiend to amplify your shields. This ramp will not be as powerful but it is still very important to optimize the cast sequence for maximum shield coverage. Once again, taking advantage of the Clarity of Mind legendary's extensions to cover more of the raid.

  1. Cast Purge the Wicked
  2. Reapply Purge the Wicked
  3. Cast Shadow Mend
  4. Cast Power Infusion if you're not giving it to a dps
  5. Cast ~7-9 Power Word: Shield (low haste? less shields)
  6. Cast Shadowfiend
  7. Cast both Power Word: Radiance charges
  8. Cast Spirit Shell
  9. Cast Schism
  10. Cast Penance
  11. Cast Power Word: Solace
  12. Cast Mind Blast
  13. Cast Smite until Atonements fall off.

Advanced Discipline Priest Tips

Introduction

9.1 shook up the shielding meta and now it is all about Evangelism gameplay and utilizing the high throughput that the longer lasting Atonements bring to rapidly reverse incoming bursts of damage.

As noted above the majority of your resources will be expended during your "Ramp" windows, in between those ramp phases you'll have two extra charges of Power Word: Radiance that you should use for additional throughput. UNLIKE those big ramps however, you do not want to expend additional mana past the cost of Power Word: Radiances to apply additional Atonements unless mana is plentiful. Simply identifying an area of damage in between Rapture/Evangelism or Spirit Shell cooldowns where you can cast both Power Word: Radiance charges to heal should be sufficient.

Your job as a Discipline Priest is to cover the largest damage events with mass Atonement and then rest in between bursts, maintaining Atonement on a tank or two, priority healing if absolutely necessary and adding extra damage done to the boss.

Power Infusion is an excellent resource available to Priest in Shadowlands. On cutting-edge progress, giving Power Infusion to DPS instead is preferable to kill bosses more quickly. Throughout my Sanctum progress I gave Power Infusion to Warlocks, Venthyr Boomkins, DKs when their Army is up, or Ret Paladins when their cooldowns were up. Talk to your team about where the damage boost is best served depending on the demands of the encounter.

How does Atonement work?

There are many small intricacies to Atonement interactions that can be confusing. Here is a quick list of interactions that demonstrate how Atonement functions.

  • Your Covenant class abilities in Shadowlands are classified as "priest" abilities and as a result will convert into Atonement healing, UNLIKE the Essences of Battle for Azeroth which were shared abilities.
  • Damaging trinkets and "non-Priest" damage does not convert into Atonement healing.
  • AoE abilities like Mind Sear, Unholy Nova, Ascended Nova, Ascended Eruption, and others only convert into Atonement on one enemy, so when utilizing Boon of the Ascended you'll want to only hit one target with your Ascended Eruption if possible.
  • Reduced or increased damage taken modifiers from outside the Priest do not affect Atonement healing. If the boss has an aura that makes them take 100% more damage, this does not affect Atonement, if the boss takes 99% less damage, that also does not affect Atonement, if the boss is IMMUNE then you will produce ZEROAtonement healing. Only your abilities like Schism will increase your damage AND your subsequent Atonement healing.

Leveraging Spirit Shell to the fullest

In between Spirit Shell cooldowns, you will have access to two extra Power Word: Radiance charges. These charges will be your "mini" ramp to spread Atonement to pump some extra healing in between Spirit Shell cooldowns. But beware: Discipline has VERY little mana available outside of its Spirit Shell ramps; if you are running light on mana, you want to minimize extra Atonement applications, just use the Power Word: Radiance charges without extra Shadow Mend/Power Word: Shield casts. Outside of that, keep Atonement on the active tank and use Smite. Mind Blast is very costly and should only be used during your secondary/fiend Spirit Shell damage window.

Spirit Shell has a cap of your Spell Power*11. This means that you can INCREASE that potential cap with more intellect, making item level extremely important when gearing.

While the above covers the HOW, the WHEN is also very important too. Keep in mind that Spirit Shell has a 10 second application window, so any Atonement healing you generate in that period will add on to the shield and refresh its duration. That duration for the shield itself is 10 seconds, meaning that the absorbs you are developing must be consumed within 20 seconds of you casting Spirit Shell (10 second initial duration + 10 seconds shield duration). Clarity of Mind is extremely helpful for ensuring getting more Atonements out for greater group coverage.

In an ideal scenario, you will want to have your shields absorb almost immediately after being applied as the new Boon of the Ascended oriented ramp can overcap your shields, but with the damage patterns of Sanctum if you activate Spirit Shell just shortly before damage arrives you can capture a large amount then replenish your shields to capture the follow up hits without overcapping. When planning your ramps, look to ramp around 5-8 seconds earlier than you would if you were utilizing Evangelism so that you can best soak up that incoming hit and still replenish your shields.

Baseline Disc Priest Spells

First, let's take a look at what spells Disc has at its disposal in Shadowlands, and what the primary purpose of these spells is in a raid or dungeon environment. We will get to how these spells function from a priority perspective in the Disc Priest rotation later on.

Healing Spells

  • Power Word: Radiance - An efficient, fast way to apply Atonement to 5 targets at a time. Often utilized to prepare for large burst damage on the group.
  • Power Word: Shield - A slight absorb with no cooldown that applies Atonement.
  • Shadow Mend - A quick, moderate healing spell that will leave a DoT on the target for half of the amount healed until the target takes that damage from any source. If you heal a tank in a raid or dungeon with Shadow Mend it is quite likely Shadow Mend will not damage the target at all because they are taking damage from other sources fulfilling the requirement.
  • Rapture - While this spell on its own does not specifically heal any target, it does significantly increase the strength of Power Word: Shield for the next 8 seconds allowing you to apply Atonement while also putting up significant absorbs before damage hits.

Damage Dealing Spells

  • Penance - Damage or healing channeled damage spell that fires 3 bolts of Light at the enemy or ally respectively
  • Shadow Word: Pain - A Shadow spell that deals Damage over Time to a target for 18 seconds.
  • Smite - An efficient, moderate damage spell.
  • Mind Blast- Solid damage with a relatively high mana cost.
  • Shadow Word: Death - Excellent execute damage, with a price. Requires a Legendary in Shadowlands to result in Atonement healing.

Utility

  • Fade - Drops current threat from all enemies and reduces the range at which enemies attack you, allowing you to skirt past enemies without aggroing.
  • Leap of Faith - Pulls the target to you, can be very useful for moving tanks across the room with ease on high movement encounters, or gripping little Jimmy out of the fire… again.
  • Mind Control - Self-explanatory, gain control of your enemies and jump them off cliffs!
  • Mass Dispel - Removes debuffs from up to 5 players within the radius, excellent for clearing large amounts of debuffs on the raid. Extremely expensive to cast.
  • Dispel Magic - Allows you to purge (remove) certain buffs from your enemies.
  • Pain Suppression - Reduces damage taken by the target by 40% for 8 seconds, strong external tank cooldown.
  • Power Word: Barrier - Reduces damage taken by all allies inside the bubble by 25% for 10 seconds, great for stacked encounters.
  • Purify - Simple dispel of harmful effects on a target.
  • Shackle Undead - Locks up an undead enemy.
  • Mind Soothe - Reduces the threat range of an enemy. Must be humanoid or dragonkin.
  • Power Infusion- Provides a lengthy haste buff to yourself or an ally.
  • Psychic Scream - Causes up to 5 enemies within 8 yards of you to flee for 8 seconds.

Discipline Priest Covenant Abilities

As part of Shadowlands, all Priests get to choose between four rival factions, and are granted two abilities related to their choice. We have covered them extensively on the respective covenant pages, along with how soulbinds and conduits modify these abilities further:

Kyrian: Boon of the Ascended / Summon Steward

Boon of the Ascended is the Kyrian Covenant Priest class ability. It features three parts.

This ability is excellent in dungeons, as it is extremely flexible, whether you need to deal more damage on large trash pulls or if you need assistance fighting the tyrannical enemies. In raids, it is not as easy to incorporate into your ramps as the Venthyr Covenant's ability but in Patch 9.1 it is significantly stronger than Venthyr.

The steward spawned by Summon Steward is largely unimportant to your gameplay: summon it out of combat, pick up a potion from it, and use it to cleanse any dispellable effect/bleed from yourself.

Venthyr: Mindgames / Door of Shadows

The Venthyr Class Ability for Priests of all specializations is Mindgames: a 45 second cooldown that damages an enemy, converts into Atonement healing, reverses enemy damage to the group into healing on them, and returns mana to the caster. Since Covenant abilities are classified as "class" ability, this damage is also increased by Schism resulting in more powerful burst in our standard ramp setups than ever before

Key notes for this ability:

  • There are limitations to how much damage or healing will be reversed. For boss encounters dealing large aoe to the group, it will convert a small portion of that damage, not the entirety of it.
  • To receive mana regen, you must reverse some damage or healing that the target produces. Make sure whenever you're casting that you're selecting a target that is actively producing one of those things. For example, if a tank is kiting an enemy, you won't receive any sort of mana regen or damage reversal because the enemy is not engaging actively.
  • Most of the power in this ability is in the Atonement conversions that it provides. The focus of this ability for Disc will be aligning it with your ramps first and foremost. Casting it before damage occurs to get more reversal value is generally worse than using it just after the primary damage hits to heal through Atonement.

Door of Shadows is an excellent movement cooldown for Discipline that can be used in a variety of situations. Often one of Discipline's biggest weaknesses is moving a vast distance rapidly, without losing substantial uptime on damaging or healing.

Necrolord: Unholy Nova / Fleshcraft

The Necrolord Class Ability for Priests of all specializations is Unholy Nova: a 1 minute cooldown that can be fired at an enemy, ally, or yourself. On impact it heals nearby allies split based off the number of allies and does the same for enemies, applying at 15 second Damage over Time effect. If allies damage enemies affected by this DoT, they are healed for a small amount.

Key notes for this ability:

  • When fired at an enemy or ally it lands where the target was at the time of casting, it does NOT follow the target
  • This damage DOES convert into Atonement healing, but ONLY off one enemy, hitting more enemies does not mean more healing.
  • Due to the abilities' dropoff effect, the more enemies you strike with this ability, the lower the damage the DoT deals, effectively DECREASING your Atonement contributions.

Fleshcraft has had some recent buffs in 9.0.5, hit it, get a shield that goes up to 40% of your max HP and have 20% damage reduction while channeling. While Discipline is generally not a very defensive healer, this shield and damage reduction can have some good value for improving survivability.

Night Fae: Fae Guardians / Soulshape

Night Fae is generally chaotic with Fae Guardians as the Night Fae Priest Covenant ability. It produces three faeries at once that can move to a new target, depending on the spell cast. Initially, they will instantly apply to an ally or enemy that you have selected. Targeting an enemy? The offensive faerie will apply to it and the defensive and cooldown reducing faeries will apply to you. Targeting an ally and the offensive faerie will not apply while the other two will be applied on your ally.

Shadow Mend moves the faerie that reduces a major cooldown on the target, Power Word: Shield applies 20% damage reduction and Shadow Word: Pain applies the final faerie that will regen mana. The cooldown reduction that Discipline receives is toward Rapture or Spirit Shell which is often not very valuable as you won't have the Power Word: Radiance charges to efficiently produce extra ramps. In that case you could reduce the cooldown of a DPS.

The Night Fae provide the Soulshape ability. Providing a blink and movement speed increase that is fairly universal and easy to utilize. Casting while shapeshifted will end the form, so you generally only get the one blink in value before you break form and get to casting again.