Discipline FAQ

October 2, 2009 at 4:44 pm (5 mans, Binding Heal, Borrowed Time, Discipline FAQ, Discipline Spec 57/14/0, Divine Hymn, Flash Heal, Gearing, Greater Heal, Grouping, Healing Mechanics, Mana, Naxxramas, Pain Suppression, Pain Suppression, Penance, Power Infusion, Power Infusion, Power Word: Shield, Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Raiding, Renew, Spells, Stats, Talents, Trial of the Champion, Ulduar)

Starting a Discipline Priest and confused about something? Lets try and help out with some useful information.

What’s my spec?

See the article on Discipline spec here.

The standard spec is something like: 57/14/0 getting all the good heal talents in the Discipline tree, then going up the Holy Tree to pick up Inspiration.

Attribution: GENZOMAN

Attribution: GENZOMAN

What do I shine at?

As a Disc Priest your specialism is Tank Healing and Damage prevention. Because you are a priest however you have a great deal of flexibility because of your huge range of spells. This means you can ably heal 5 mans, 10 mans as a Tank or a Raid healer, in 25 mans you are a great Tank Healer, and you make a good PvP healer.

Because of your shields you really shine in fights where there are periodic spikes of damage which you can prepare for by casting shields on people before they take damage.

PvE Stat values –

Not perfect, but a rough guide is something like:

  • Intellect – 0.6

  • Spirit – 0.22

  • MP5 – 0.67

  • Haste Rating – 0.59

  • Crit Rating – 0.48

  • Spell Power – 1.0

So you should favour Spell Power, Intellect, Haste, Crit, MP5 and Spirit in pretty much that order. However, obviously if you need more mana stack Intellect, if you need to do more healing stack Spell Power. If you have enough mana there is NO benefit to getting more Intellect, Spirit or MP5. Mana is only useful if you are spending it. If you finish fights with lots of mana, you should stop getting more.

How much Intellect/Spell Power/Crit/Haste do I need for:

Unlike a DPS it’s much trickier to give advice on what you need before you head into certain instances because it depends a lot on your Healing Style, your role, and the rest of your group. I would really appreciate some feedback on this from other players in the comments. It’s been a long time since I did certain areas.

I think to be pulling your weight and be carried by other players you need something like:

  • 5 mans

    Heroics 1400 spell power, 18k mana. Either 20% crit or 150 haste

  • Naxxramas

    10 man – 1500 spell power, 19k mana. Either 25% crit or 200 haste

    25 man – 1600 spell power, 20k mana. Either 25% crit or 200 haste

  • Ulduar

10 man – 1850 spell power, 20k mana. For Keepers 1950 spell power, 22k mana.

Either 30% crit or 300 haste

25 man – 1950 spell power, 20k mana. For Keepers 2000 spell power, 22k mana.

30% crit and 200 haste

  • Trial of the Crusader

    10 man – 1950 spell power, 22k mana. Either 30% crit or 300 haste

    25 man – 2100 spell power, 22k mana. 30% crit and 300 haste

What are my:

It can be overwhelming starting a healer and knowing what spells to use when. It’s not just whack a mole, it’s working out which mole to whack with which hammer. So what hammer is good for what?

Cheapest spells?

    Prayer of Mending has the potential to be the best heal you have. If it does it’s full amount of healing, (5 targets and no overheal,) it is twice as good as your next most efficient heal. It’s also the most healing you can do in the space of one global cooldown. Therefore, in any fight, but particularly ones with lots of AoE, Prayer of Mending is you first choice heal and should always be applied or on cooldown.

    Penance is your next most efficient heal. It’s also very large and very fast making it your best all round single target heal.

    Once every twelve seconds Power Word: Shield is your cheapest heal because of the mana Rapture gives you. Once you have more than 26,640 mana Power Word: Shield is free once every twelve seconds. However, even when you have less mana, or even when you are casting shields much more often than this, Power Word: Shield is still a reasonably cheap heal.


  1. Power Word: Shield – when Rapture procs
  2. Prayer of Mending – 5, 4 or 3 jumps
  3. Penance
  4. Prayer of Mending – 2 jumps
  5. Holy Nova
  6. Prayer of Healing
  7. Power Word: Shield – the rest of the time
  8. Flash Heal
  9. Renew
  10. Prayer of Healing – 4 people
  11. Binding Heal
  12. Greater Heal
  13. Prayer of Mending – 1 jump
  14. Prayer of Healing – 3 people or less

Fastest heals?

    Again, Prayer of Mending is by far your fastest heal. Not because it has the highest healing per second, (after all it takes time to bounce around,) but because it takes you only a moment to cast it. For the sake of one global cooldown you could be doing around about 19,000 healing.

    Prayer of Healing is your next fastest heal. Obviously it’s actually very slow to cast, and it doesn’t heal each person for very much. But because you are healing up to five targets it’s actually very good healing per second so long as you are healing four or five people.

    Binding Heal is next. It’s less efficient than casting two Flash heals, but because it does it in half the time of two Flash Heals is a very quick heal.

    Penance is your fastest single target heal, however, because of the haste benefit you get from Power Word: Shield you actually do more HPS using Power Word: Shield followed up with any other heal than you do just using Penance. And in fact, Penance doesn’t use up the Borrowed Time buff which means you can benefit from Borrowed Time on Penance and then again on a Flash or a Greater Heal. So ideally cast Power Word: Shield as your number one Tank heal, then follow that up with Penance and then Flash or Greater Heal for maximum effect.


  1. Prayer of Mending – 5, 4 or 3 jumps
  2. Prayer of Healing – 5 people
  3. Binding Heal
  4. Holy Nova – 5 people
  5. Power Word: Shield – Assuming you use Borrowed Time
  6. Penance
  7. Prayer of Healing – 4 people
  8. Holy Nova – 4 people
  9. Prayer of Mending – 2 jumps
  10. Greater Heal – with Divine Fury
  11. Prayer of Healing – 3 people
  12. Holy Nova – 3 people
  13. Renew
  14. Flash Heal
  15. Greater Heal – without Divine Fury

Should I use:


    Not really. If you are using Prayer of Mending a lot, (which you should be,) that really negates the need to use Renew in most fights. Prayer of Mending will mop up most of the damage for you. If it’s just a single target you want to heal, then Flash Heal is cheaper than Renew, and there are many other faster spells than Renew.

    The times it might be useful are when you are Tank healing. Any time you find yourself spamming Flash Heal on the Tank, (like really hard fights,) Renew could be helping improve your healing. But if at any point your Renew overheals then it did less healing than you could have done with a Flash Heal. If you were a Holy Priest you would be casting Renew on targets about to take damage so you don’t need to worry about them. Before XT Tantrums for example. However, as a Discipline Priest you have Power Word: Shield to do the same thing. It’s cheaper, and it “heals” for more.

Greater Heal?

    If you don’t have Divine Fury then no, you shouldn’t except in very very rare situations which you will come to recognise as you get more and more experience. For example, when you know exactly when a Boss will hit the Tank and you can make sure your Greater Heal lands exactly as the Boss hits him.

    If you do have Divine Fury Greater Heal is still less efficient than Flash Heal but is more healing per second so long as you don’t overheal. When the Tank is taking big hits Greater Heal spam can do more healing than Flash Heal spam, but because you run a greater risk of doing lots of overhealing it’s only marginally better. My advice is stick to Flash Heal in 90% of situations.

When to use:

Divine Hymn

    Earlier than you think. If you know there is a particular part of the fight that will be very tricky, then save it for that. If things are looking messy and the pressure it on then use this. It’s worth Shielding yourself first to avoid interruption, and to benefit from the Borrowed Time haste while channelling this. You also should use Inner Focus to save yourself thousands of mana and get the extra 25% crit.

Pain Suppression

    Any time you are struggling. Pain Suppression gives you a breathing space from Tank Healing to allow you to catch up. This means that if you are struggling to heal the Tank Pain Suppression will help you. Even if you’re struggling to heal other targets, Pain Suppression on the Tank gives you a Tank healing vacation to spend time healing other people.

    Of course, any time the boss does a big hit which you can absorb with Pain Suppression, or if the Boss has an Enrage or a Frenzy then Pain Suppression is helpful. Finally, any time you, or another Healer is about to get stunned, incapacitated or tied up in some way then Pain Suppression is great. If I see a Paladin Healer has cast Divine Plea to get more mana back, I will cast Pain Suppression on the Tank to help them out.

Power Infusion

    Whenever you can really. Power Infusion is nice, but it’s nothing to write home about. If you know there are parts of the fight which are tricky then this is a nice spell to cast on yourself.

    Because it’s not on the global cooldown you can use it while you are waiting for the Global Cooldown to finish, or macro it into another spell.

    I usually macro mine into Prayer or Healing because I find that if I’m casting that spell then I am probably in trouble and it would be a good time for some extra haste.

    The other option is to cast it on DPS players to boost their DPS. Just don’t use it during Heroism/Bloodlust, the two don’t stack. Also think about casting it on another Healer if they will benefit more from the Haste. Paladins using Beacon of Light, or Holy Priests are good choices.

Tank Healing Priority:

  1. Power Word: Shield
  2. Penance
  3. Prayer of Mending – if you know it will jump back to the Tank again
  4. Binding Heal – if you need healing too
  5. Flash Heal

Raid Healing Priority:

  1. Prayer of Mending
  2. Prayer of Healing in 5-mans use Holy Nova if there are 3 or 4 mobs
  3. Binding Heal
  4. Power Word: Shield
  5. Penance
  6. Flash Heal

Glyph Choices

Glyph of Penance, Glyph of Flash Heal, and Glyph of Power Word: Shield. In ten mans I would consider dropping Flash Heal for Glyph of Prayer of Healing if you can spare the mana. For more information I have an article listing every glyph

That’s it for now, but if you have any good questions, comments or corrections I’ll be happy to add them in.



  1. Lazy links « BobTurkey’s WoW Blog said,

    […] Spot Heal has a decent FAQ on Discipline […]

  2. Vicaar said,

    Right to the point, and clearly shows how to play differently between tank healing and raid/5-man healing. For someone who has been away from healing for too long, this is a great recap of how to Do It Right without drowning out the information in too much detail.

  3. Xill said,

    great small FAQ for my almost lvl80 priest.. though i was wondering… is it even possible to reach 18-20k INTELL:P

    i think you meant mana though 😛

  4. SpotHeal said,

    Very true 🙂

  5. Auctionmule said,

    And here comes the ToC vendor gear, with Divine Aegis and Empowered Renew set bonuses. Wait. Empowered Renew? What do I have to gimp to pick that up? Or is that for my Holy Brethren?

  6. SpotHeal said,

    The Empowered Renew is there so that Holy Priests and Discipline Priests can share the same gear, much like the Mage set bonuses include Fire, Arcane and Frost spells.

    The bonus itself is pretty pathetic though.
    For the 2 piece bonus 20% more on Prayer of Mending is good.
    But for the 4 piece: 10% more healing on Divine Aegis is a very small number given that Divine Aegis procs are not huge in the first place, and only occur on crits.
    10% bigger Divine Aegis, but Divine Aegis is only 30% of the total heal heal in the first place, and they will only occur on maybe 30% of your spell casts (depending on your crit rate). So that means around about 1% more healing total.

    It’s not always smart to work out what sort of total increase a talent or ability is. For example, Pain Suppression does a very very small amount of my total healing, but that doesn’t make it bad because it’s very powerful in the situations I use it in. However, in the case of Divine Aegis there is nothing to this set bonus that allows me to “take advantage” of Divine Aegis in a new way. A generic increase like this 4 piece bonus is just going to mean more total healing, so what’s important is how much total increase it will do. 1% is a poor amount.

  7. Xill said,

    as for the how much mana and all… now i’m 80,,,

    are those values buffed or unbuffed?

  8. SpotHeal said,

    Self buffed. Your mileage may of course vary, (he said, quickly weasling his way out of any responsibility)

  9. Xill said,

    btw comming up with a brand new problem with my gear improving…
    gemming… what gems in what color sockets and all and which meta gem and all…

    the only good disc priest i know which could tell me everything stopped a while ago sooo that brings me here again 😛

  10. SpotHeal said,

    Well, gem for Intellect until Mana isn’t a problem.
    Then gem for spell power.

    If there is a substantial socket bonus I’d consider gemming something else.
    For example, if it’s a choice of 23 spell power or, 12 spellpower / 10 haste + 7 spell power socket bonus then I’d take the socket bonus.
    But for almost all blue sockets you’re better off ignoring the bonus and gemming spell or Int.

    For a meta, take Insightful Earthsiege Diamond, as the mana return from it is very good.

  11. Xill said,

    i’ve also heard
    red sockets –> SP
    yellow –> int
    blue –> SP/Spirit

    that any good to follow or should i just ignore them?

    • SpotHeal said,

      At the very least SP/MP5 is better for a Disc Priest than SP/Spirit. Although if you’re dual speccing Holy then SP/Spirit is fine.

      Otherwise, yes, that’s about right if you want socket bonuses.
      As your gear gets better take SP/Int orange gems instead of straight Intellect.

      And eventually stop gemming for Int at all.
      I put SP/Haste in my yellow sockets now.

  12. Xill said,

    i’d though the following would be nice…

    i’ve came back yet again only now with the intention of thanking you ^.^ with the information in this guide mostly i’ve quickly rosen out of most healers i know and i’m overwhelmed with the invites i’m getting for pugs 🙂
    2 weeks of pugging for gearing and as a result:

    with about half a dozen invites for ToTGC10 pug (though at very bad times as i’ve always been at school when they were planning them)

    i’ll surely be around here much more often… not to mention the great addon which provides me with a lot of info about what is going on in the raid

    note: you might catch me offguard in my pvp gear :O

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