This guide is written by FTM, who is a new addition to the healing roster in Method. Before joining Method he was an Officer and Raider in BDG where he had played since Shadowlands Season 4.
Discipline Priest Overview
In essence Discipline Priest is all about keeping your team alive through applying Atonement with spells like Power Word: Shield, Renew and Power Word: Radiance. After applying the buff you will want to follow up with strong damage spells to take advantage of the damage through healing. How this process is done works differently depending on if you are doing raids or dungeons.
In raid you will be trying to cover as much of your raid as possible with the Atonement buff. This is done through so-called “ramps”, where you apply as many Atonements as possible before they start running out, which usually comes out to around 18-20 targets. After this is done you will take advantage of the small window where all your targets have the buff applied and deal as much damage as you possibly can to fully utilize the raw potential of Discipline Priest.
In dungeons however you have a much smaller target count to worry about, which means you can focus more on individual targets and you are able to cover your whole team with Atonement with just one cast of Power Word: Radiance. This means that in dungeons your playstyle works much differently, as you are no longer focusing on building up large ramps but rather being able to take care of those 5 targets. Sometimes dealing damage and healing through Atonement is not always enough in dungeons, and that is where tools like Power Word: Shield, Rapture, Power Word: Life and Penance come in. These spells help you out in situations where members of your party are taking heavy single target damage, rather than the whole group taking a sustained amount of damage spread evenly where Atonement usually shines.
Discipline Priest Strengths
- Can put out exceptional AoE burst healing to counter heavy damage intake.
- Has access to some incredibly potent damage reduction talents in Power Word: Barrier and Pain Suppression which can greatly aid your group/raid.
- Brings a lot of passive damage due to the spec being designed to heal through dealing damage, as well as being able to damage during downtime periods of low damage intake.
- Satisfying learning curve, as when you finally master the Discipline Priest you will always feel in control and able to cover designated mechanics.
Discipline Priest Weaknesses
- Weak burst mobility.
- One of the squishiest specs in the game. Requires you to be alert of what is happening so you can prepare with defensives.
- Sparse emergency healing, requiring you to always prepare ahead of time if you want to put out a meaningful amount of healing. This makes discipline extremely punishing, but also rewarding as you learn to anticipate upcoming mechanics that put your group/raid in danger.
- Due to a large amount of the rotation requiring you to stand in place to put out significant healing you are susceptible to being caught out during moments where you need to be on the move.
- Struggles to keep up in raid content where your raid goes over 20 players, such as heroic, normal and LFR raiding. Due to the nature of the spec you are hard capped to being able to heal a certain amount of targets at a time, while some other healers like Holy Priest get stronger and stronger the more targets that are present.
What has changed
Patch 10.2 Notable Changes
In patch 10.2 Discipline Priest underwent a minor rework as blizzard thought the specialization was getting too much button bloat, the goal with these changes was to simplify the ramp rotation significantly, these changes include:
- The ability Schism has been removed and its effect has been baked into Mind Blast with the talent Schism.
- Dark indulgence has been reworked, previously it granted the priest 2 charges of mind blast, the new version grants the buff power of the dark side, to guarantee more consistent throughput from penances in ramps.
- Lights wrath and all its following talents were removed and replaced with a new ability Ultimate Penitance a 4 minute damage cooldown, its amplifying talents allows its cooldown to be reduces and grants the ability the power to apply 10 atonements with 50% reduced duration through the talents Heaven’s Wrath and Overloaded with Light.
- Power word: Solace was removed and the choice node that was previously there is now filled solely by Shield Discipline.
- Positions for Mind Bender, Void summoner and Inescapeable Torment were repositioned to allow for more options in playstyle, this change has allowed for builds to play 1.5 min shadowfiend by only spending 1 point in Void summoner.
- Harsh discipline has been redesigned, previously this talent was something priests had to prepare well in advance of ramps as you had to stack up the buff before you started applying atonements, this new version gives you the buff after casting radiance and the effect stacks up to 2 times. This gives discipline a high incentive to casting both radiances back to back, instead of spreading them out throughout the fight.
- Shadow Covenant has been redesigned, it is now no longer an actively pressed button, but is now a part of your Shadowfiend or Mindbender, and the effect will be applied to you once you use either of those cooldowns, it should be noted that the duration of the buff is tied into the duration of the 2 pets. So if you’re able to extend the duration of your pet uptime through a talent like Inescapeable Torment, you will automatically extend the duration of the buff at the same time.