Holy FAQ

October 23, 2009 at 3:31 pm (5 mans, Binding Heal, Circle of Healing, Divine Hymn, Empowered Renew, Fade, FAQ, Flash Heal, Gearing, Glyphs, Greater Heal, Grouping, Guardian Spirit, Healing Mechanics, Holy FAQ, Holy Spec 14/57/0, Holy Spec 18/53/0, Mana, Power Word: Shield, Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Raiding, Renew, Spells, Stats, Surge of Light, Talents)

What do I shine at?

Like Discipline Priests, Holy Priests make great healers in small 5 man groups because of their tremendous utility, their range of AoE and single target spells and their ability to dump aggro and self heal through Binding Heal and Desperate Prayer.

In raids Holy is primarily seen as a Raid Healing build. That is to say, you are in your element healing multiple targets simultaneously using spells like Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending and Circle of Healing.

You are less capable as a Tank Healer as you miss some of the mana efficiency of Discipline, or the mitigation talents like Grace. However, you still have some Tank healing ability if you spec for it, in particular through larger Flash Heals and utility spells like Guardian Spirit and talents like Inspiration. As a result Holy priests are tremendously valuable both in 25 man raids for their mass healing, and in 10 mans for their ability to fill a variety of roles as required.

Spirit of Redemption

What’s my spec?

There are essentially two specs for a Holy Priest. The first focuses on mana efficiency and is best for Priests starting out when mana is an issue. This spec picks up Mental Agility from the Discipline tree whilst still collecting as many of the powerful Holy talents as possible. That would look something like this: 18/53/0

Once you gear up you move even more towards improving your healing picking up things like Test of Faith. So more like this: 14/57/0. Your crit is higher so only one point in Surge of Light. And because you’re focusing more on raid healing Empowered Healing looks less attractive than some other raid heals. You might drop Lightwell if your raid gets no use out of it. You’re taking Spell Warding over Divine Fury because you’re not casting Greater Heal and the additional spell reduction means you take less damage in heavy AoE fights – which are exactly the fights you’re needed for the most.

Some personal choices:

Body and Soul can be a fun utility talent in certain situations. It helps people avoid fire and other dangerous boss abilities. However, Power Word: Shield is a very inefficient heal for a Holy Priest so you should not ordinarily be casting it. Furthermore, Body and Soul is only useful for a Priest who is very good at keeping track of the fight. If you don’t have a good sense of what it happening to all the players in your raid and who could really benefit from a speed boost you won’t make the most of this talent.

Another personal choice is Lightwell, more on this later. It will depend a lot on the willingness of the rest of your raid to make use of it.

Finally Inspiration is a fantastic talent if you are planning to do a lot of five mans or you want to be versatile enough to help with Tank healing in certain fights. However it is a very mediocre talent for a Priest who intends to only be the best Raid Healer that they can. This will depend a lot on your raid group and the other healers you play with.

PvE Stat values –

Thanks to Bobturkey for some great work on stat weighting here

As with all healers your main concern when starting out is mana. If you don’t have enough mana to last the fight people will die. So until you’ve got enough of it there is little point gearing for other stats. Therefore early on you should favour Intellect, Spirit and MP5 in that order. Once you have your mana under control you can focus more on getting your healing up by picking up more Spell Power, Haste and Crit. As a rough balance though, stats values are something like:

  • Spirit – 0.502

  • MP5 – 0.5 (bearing in mind you usually get half as much MP5 on gear as you do Spirit)

  • Intellect – 0.42

  • Spell Power – 1.00

  • Critical rating – 0.45

  • Haste rating – 0.57

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

5 mans
Heroics – 1400 spell power, 16k mana. Either 15% crit or 150 haste

10 man – 1500 spell power, 16k mana. Either 18% crit or 200 haste
25 man – 1600 spell power, 17k mana. Either 20% crit or 200 haste

10 man – 1800 spell power, 18k mana. For Keepers 1950 spell power, 19k mana.
Either 20% crit or 300 haste
25 man – 1900 spell power, 19k mana. For Keepers 2050 spell power, 20k mana.
20% crit and 300 haste

Trial of the Crusader
10 man – 1900 spell power, 19k mana. Either 25% crit or 400 haste
25 man – 2000 spell power, 20k mana. 20% crit and 400 haste

What are my most Efficient Heals?

  1. Surge of Light – it’s free!
  2. Prayer of Mending – Still the best with only 4 or 3 jumps
  3. Circle of Healing
  4. Prayer of Healing
  5. Renew (starts beating CoH and PoH when they heal 3 or fewer targets)
  6. Binding Heal
  7. Greater Heal
  8. Flash Heal (glyph makes it more efficient, but not enough to beat Greater Heal. )
  9. Power Word: Shield

Whilst Flash Heal is less efficient than Greater Heal, for other reasons you should usually prefer Flash to Greater. More on this below.

Just to add. If you glyph neither Prayer of Healing nor Circle of Healing or you glyph both of them, then Circle of Healing is better. If you glyph just one of them and not the other then that one is always better.

What are my fastest Heals?

  1. Prayer of Healing with 3 stacks of Serendipity
  2. Prayer of Mending
  3. Circle of Healing
  4. Prayer of Healing
  5. Binding Heal
  6. Renew
  7. Greater Heal with 3 stacks of Serendipity
  8. Greater Heal
  9. Flash Heal
  10. Power Word: Shield

Again, if you glyph Circle of Healing and Prayer of Healing, or you glyph neither of them then Circle of Healing wins. However, if you glyph Prayer of Healing but not Circle of Healing, or if you’re in a 5 man group, then Prayer of Healing is better.

And again, you should prefer Flash Heal despite Greater Heals higher Healing per second.

What are my best heals?

Prayer of Mending is by far your best heal so long as you expect it to bounce. It’s far and away your most effficient heal, and given it only takes a global cooldown to cast it’s extremely quick.

Prayer of Healing is a strong heal, particularly if you let the glyph tick. However it usually does a lot of overhealing, particularly in a raid environment where lots of other people are contributing healing. With Serendipity, Prayer of Healing is your fastest Healing per second. However without Serendipity stacks it loses out to Circle of Healing.

In terms of single target healing Renew is your first choice unless you expect it to be healed over. Greater Heal with Serendipity does substantial healing in a small amount of time, but it will overheal very often. Flash Heal is usually a better choice despite being more expensive per healing, and less healing per second. The fact that Flash Heal will overheal less, and because it stacks Serendipity it should almost always be used instead of Greater Heal

Should I use…

Power Word: Shield?

Essentially no. It heals for less than Flash heal and costs substantially more. Renew is preferable in every situation except where the target is literally about to die in the next 1 second. Even if they are, Circle of Healing, when off cooldown, is a often a better choice because it is also instant cast and heals other targets. Also consider Surge of Light.

If you are using Power Word: Shield even semi-regularly then I would suggest than you are almost always making a mistake in doing so. There are a few emergency cases when Power Word: Shield is useful, but they are few and far between.

Greater Heal?

Rarely. With Serendipity it is a fast heal. However, unless you are solo tank healing it will almost always overheal. Save your Serendipity stacks for Prayer of Healing when you’re raiding. If you’re healing 5 mans then you can use Greater Heal in place of a Flash Heal if the tank is on low health, you have full Serendipity stacks, and you don’t expect to need Prayer of Healing.

When should I use:

Guardian Spirit

If you’ve glyphed it then use it all the time. Any time there is a tank transition it acts as a great safety net for the new tank while they take over. A new tank won’t yet have buffs on them which reduce the damage they take which means they can take substantial hits. They also won’t necessarily have incoming heals and heals over time on them. So whilst the tank swapping out may perhaps have a heal landing every second, the new tank may not be healed for 2-3 seconds while healers switch targets and begin casting. Having Guardian Spirit up will help the tank healers keep them up, and will catch the tank if they die before the healers are ready. Also consider applying a Renew to the new tank to help through the transition

Obviously it’s also fantastic for any time a tank takes a big hit from a boss ability. Things like Mimiron’s Plasma Blast, or, a 5 man example – Anub’araks Pound.

Finally, if you are on the ball and paying attention you can often use it to save players who pull aggro, or fail to move out of the way of AoE or Fire or similar things which can catch people out.


Lightwell is a tricky one because it’s quite unlike any spell in the game. It relies on your raid to make use of it which means you need conscientious raiders who are willing to help you out. It can be very powerful as it heals for a substantial amount, and frees you up to cast spells on other people. Therefore in very mana intensive fights like General Vezax it makes a lot of sense. However, in few cases will people actually make use of it. Try it with your raid group and see what you think.

Tank Healing Priority:

Keep Renew up, use Flash Heal to stack Serendipity. Keep Prayer of Mending ticking if there is any chance of it jumping back to the tank. Greater Heal with Serendipity any time you are struggling to catch up.

Raid Healing Priority:

Prayer of Mending is always number one in terms of mana. Prayer of Healing with Serendipity is big and fast, but costly. Ideally you should prefer Circle of Healing where possible. Use Surge of Light procs to help you keep everybody on roughly similar health. This will keep Serendipity stacks up, and because players are on similar health it will insure your Prayer of Healing doesn’t overheal too much.

Circle of Healing and Prayer of Healing will help keep life totals steady by smart healing those people who need them most. Efficient raid healing means trying to maximise the number of people you heal at once. This means casting AoE heals on people in range of each other, and trying to keep individual groups on the same total to allow your Prayer of Healing to work to it’s maximum effect without overheal.

If you’re losing control of the situation then go to Divine Hymn to help balance out everybody’s life totals so you can get back in the game.

Glyphs to use:

For 5 mans use Flash Heal, Prayer of Healing and Guardian Spirit.

For 10 or 25 mans consider Circle of Healing in place of Flash Heal. Renew is a possibility if you particularly like it as a spell. It’s tricky to find a place for it. Probably Prayer of Healing would be the one to remove.



  1. Sylver said,

    A very interesting read, and you underline your findings with good theory crafting.

    One thing caught my attention, and it concerns greater healing. You state that greater healing is sub-par to nearly any other healing spell. This is also reflected in your choice of talents, a build that I see (in similar form) being used by a lot of holy priests these days.

    I agree that greater heal is generally one of the last spells to use. This does however not mean that it does not have it’s uses, nor that it is never used. By not speccing into divine fury you go one step beyond, and basically make the entire spell absolutely useless due to it’s long cast time.

    One of the great uses of greater heal is that it is cast even faster than a flash heal if serendipity is stacked. In most typical bossfights serendipity will be stacked up most of the time as you won’t use Prayer of Healing very often. This implies that basically you have a 7k heal (crits of around 12k) at your disposal to toss to a tank that is taking big damage. If I look at my ICC-25 raid last night, I did 193 flash heals with 40% average overheal, versus 57 greater heals with 42% average overheal. Due to the speed of the heal, overhealing is practically the same, and not bigger as you state.

    When comparing the talents Devine Fury vs Spell Warding it is hard to express the difference in raw effective healing numbers. In a random raid night you will take around 2% of overall raid damage being a healer. Let’s assume this is all magical damage, then 5 points in spellwarding will benefit the raid with 0.2% less healing to be done. The same points in divine fury will not attribute to actually more healing done, but does give you an extra spell which definitely has it’s uses, and which would otherwise be rendered useless.

    I think my view on this is clear, but I’m looking forward to see how you think the synergy of Devine Fury/Greater Heal compares to a little less damage taken from Spell Warding.

  2. SpotHeal said,

    Greater Heal is a powerful single target heal. If you do 10 mans a lot you will find yourself slotting it into your heal rotation whenever you are on a fight with high tank damage and lower raid damage. I’m thinking of Lord Marrowgar for example.

    However, you use it when you have serendipity stacks. Given the high amount of haste a Holy Priest already has, plus the 36% reduction from Serendipity, I don’t think the points in Divine Fury are warranted. I can already get down to a 1.4 or 1.5 second Greater Heal, removing another 0.5 seconds off the time isn’t a big deal, particularly given the 0.5 seconds is applied before the affect of haste is calculated. So reducing the base cooldown by 0.5 seconds would only in practice reduce my cast time by 0.3 seconds or so once Haste and Serendipity are taken into account.

    On the other hand, in fights with high spell aoe Spell Warding can make a big difference to keeping you alive to heal others.
    In this case it’s not about reducing total raid damage, it’s about reducing damage to me. Spell Warding would be a rubbish talent for a Warlock, but it would be a fantastic tank talent, and it’s a pretty good healer talent.

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