Discipline Priest

Patch 8.3

Written by Joshpriest Last Updated: 21st Jan, 2020

Some content in this guide is based on PTR/early data

Updates will be made after raid progress is finished and more accurate information is available.

Azerite Traits

Unfortunately many disc priest specific azerite traits are weak, so some of our strongest azerite is generic.

Good Traits

BLIGHTBORNE INFUSION, SWIRLING SANDS and UNSTABLE CATALYST are generic stat proc traits, but tuned very strongly.

Enduring Luminescence:

Enduring Luminescence is a very powerful one off trait that slightly increases the healing done by Power Word: Radiance but more importantly increases its Atonement duration to 70% rather than 60%, giving it 1.5 seconds longer. The Atonement increase only stacks once so avoid a second Enduring Luminescence trait at all costs.

Depth of Shadows:

With Depth of Shadows you gain a stacking buff whenever your dot ticks that increases the healing of your next Shadow Mend, but more importantly also increases Atonement's duration by 2 seconds if applied by Shadow Mend. Just like Enduring Luminescence, this part of the trait doesn’t stack so only pick up one.

Heart of Darkness:

Heart of Darkness is the new raid trait, available in Ny'alotha. You need at least 20 corruption to activate it, but once you do it provides a good amount of all secondaries.

Average Traits

Death Throes:

Death Throes requires you to be in Shadow spec to activate the trait but you do get its full effect. On single target this trait leans towards the weaker end, but with multiple targets it can get fairly strong. Take in multidot scenarios.

Bad Traits

Weal and Woe:

Weal and Woe is a below average trait that gives you a small buff to your next Power Word: Shield or Smite depending on whether you used Penance offensively or defensively.

Moment of Repose:

Moment of Repose is also a very bad trait that makes Pain Suppression do a moderate amount of healing and apply Atonement on the target. Avoid this trait, it’s very bad.

Azerite traits rotation changes

The one Azerite trait that has an actual game-play change is Depth of Shadows. The reason why this is our strongest trait despite not on its own contributing as much as for example a Treacherous Covenant is that it makes Shadow Mend a good spell to use.

In 8.1 this trait was changed into what it is now, together with a nerf to Power Word: Shield’s mana cost. Shadow Mend already applied an Atonement that is technically longer duration, since it’s applied at the end of the GCD rather than at the start (with Power Word: Shield being instant, and Shadow Mend being a cast) it now also applies 2 seconds longer, straight up. This adds up to 3.5 seconds (affected by haste) longer Atonement from Shadow Mend, which is significant.

Not only that, but Shadow Mend also heals for a reasonable amount, making it more than worth the 0.35% step up in mana cost per cast. Power Word: Shield should primarily be used on the move, together with Rapture or when you’re applying Atonement on full health targets. If you can stand still and the targets are injured, using Shadow Mend becomes the priority, especially on tanks as the increased Atonement duration is very likely to pay off. The dot from Shadow Mend should mostly just be ignored and doesn’t really affect your decision making.

To sum it up, use Shadow Mend when you can stand still on anything injured, use Power Word: Shield only if the target is full health, you’re moving or you’re using Rapture.

Recommended Azerite Traits

Then take the strongest generic stat increases you can, in Ny'alotha this will likely mean:

Essences

Essences Overview

The Ever-rising Tide

Major: If you’re looking for the largest increase to your raw throughput and you have the available mana, ever-rising tide is going to give you more throughput than any other essence. It will naturally stack up through your ramp and be at max power when you need it to be, making the essence fairly powerful for our regular healing patterns. As such, the first spells you cast after you ramp is significantly more powerful, and those spells will generally be Schism, Power Word: Solace and Penance. These spells already do more than just smites, so having them have the brunt of the healing increase provides you with extremely strong burst healing that significantly increases your throughput.

However, the reality of this essence is that it often ends up sniping your own healing. In most scenarios your regular Evangelism ramps will get people basically topped at the tail end of it, and it's more than enough on its own. With ever-rising tide you will get people topped faster, and eventually end up with more hps because you get the healing done faster and over the other healers, but the actual real value of the increased healing is often not that high.

On bosses where the damage will continue ticking on or is absurdly high, Ever-rising tide will gain a lot of value. Absurdly high condensed hits or prolonged dot damage is the favored damage patterns for this essence. This essence also cuts into your mana quite significantly, so using it without access to external mana is not recommended unless the pattern of the spell fits the fight extremely well.

Minor: Provides a Mana proc or Intellect buff, providing a moderate increase to both over the entirety of the fight, resulting in a lot of value. Will be used almost always when the major isn't selected.

Memory of Lucid Dreams

Major: The Memory of Lucid Dreams essence provides you with a lot of additional resources to play with during a fight. When used, it doubles your mana regeneration for 15 seconds, while also providing a very substantial amount of leech. The mana part allows you to be more lax with your mana spending, and lets you float significantly more atonements throughout the encounter. This tends to be especially powerful when a lot of lighter ticking damage is happening, where your mana would normally be stretched quite a bit. The leech portion of this ability helps dealing with medium intakes of damage where the global can be spared. Lucid Dreams is a very powerful essence, and will be your go to choice for healing power when you do not have external resources available.

Minor: Provides a versatility and mana proc, resulting in a low amount of versatility but high amount of mana gained throughout the encounter. It will often be used as a minor when Ever-rising Tide major is selected.

The Crucible of Flame

Major: The Crucible of Flame is an extremely powerful essence for its raw damage value. Will often make up for over 20% of your contributed damage as a discipline priest, and is well suited for encounters with lower healing requirements and when you need to push dps. In 8.3, Schism was nerfed to no longer work with Crucible of Flame, lowering its value by quite a bit, but it remains a very powerful option, especially for M+. 

Minor: Provides a minor hot and a moderate dot that is automatically applied while playing normally. While an uncommon pick, you can still choose to run this as a minor if you’re in need of a healing major but need to push a little bit more damage. 

Conflict and Strife

Major: Conflict and Strife grants you access to the Premonition pvp talent, which is completely unviable for any pve scenario. Its throughput is simply too low and not a worthwhile pick in any situations.

Minor: While it has a borderline worthless major, the minor component of Conflict and Strife is a very large versatility increase. The versatility gain of this minor essence outdoes any other minor essence we can use in healing, while also providing significant damage and damage reduction. This rune is mandatory and will be used in every situation, since its benefits are just too high to pass on. 

The Well of Existence

Major: The Well of Existence allows you to save up some of your overhealing for later use as a single target heal on a short cooldown. Not any use scenarios since its primary use of tank healing is outdone by other essences.

Minor: Allows you to save up some of your overhealing, which will be used when healing targets below 50% hp for a certain amount. Can be conditionally powerful, especially on farm when your gear starts getting high and overhealing gets higher, but doesn’t provide much on progression for discipline. Mostly used as an essence to pad hps with on late far and will thus not be included in any of the essence setups, but it remains a viable choice to fit in if you're missing an essence as a minor.

Worldvein Resonance

Major: Worldvein Resonance spawns several shards around you, that give you an immense amount of intellect when you stand near them. This essence was recently buffed by several hundred percent, making it a possible meta contender when combined with each use of Evangelism. Since this essence is freshly buffed, its yet to be proven as a meta choice, but it's very possible that it will see play.

Minor: Periodically spawns the intellect shards around you with greatly reduced effect compared to the major. This will not see play as a minor essence. 

Vision of Perfection

Major: Vision of Perfection gives a random proc that spawns our summoned pet for a heavily reduced amount of time. Will also work with Mindbender. Together with Mindbender it creates an interesting combination of damage, potential healing and mana gain, but it’s too split in the middle and doesn’t excel in any, leaving it as a lackluster major essence.

Minor: Provides a small amount of versatility as well as reducing the cooldown of our pet ability. This minor essence becomes interesting when using Mindbender, since it reduces its cooldown to about 45 seconds, allowing both each Evangelism a mindbender but also an extra one in between each Evangelism. This gives mana and damage comparable to what picking Power Word: Solace would give, making it a viable minor rune choice. However, this setup is yet to be proven in the raid and is only a possibility rather than a certainty.

Vitality Conduit

Major: Vitality Conduit puts a conduit on a single target, siphoning life from nearby allies on the target. This is a very powerful tank healing tool that doesn’t suffer from the conditional drawbacks of Well of Existence. When you’re struggling with tank healing, this is often a great tool. In dungeons especially, this sees play when tank healing is a major issue. It is yet to be seen if this essence will be replaced by Spirit of Preservation in 8.3, but it is likely. 

Minor: Passively redistributes health among party members, leaving the one that was taken from with an absorb. Solid option, but falls a bit short compared to most minors and is therefore not chosen.

Unwavering Ward

Major: Unwavering Ward sends out a barrage of bubbles that puts absorptions on the players it hit. This is undertuned and doesn’t provide much in terms of healing.

Minor: Passively grants shields to the surrounding players and grants 10 Corruption Resistance. On its own, it gives a moderate healing increase but combined with the unique passive 10 Corruption Resistance it provides, making it a sure lock in when you're building for for healing.

Spirit of Preservation

Major: Spirit of Preservation channels a beam of healing, healing the target for a very large amount as well as healing allies that stand in the beam between the caster and the target for a low amount. This can be a very powerful choice in dungeons, giving you an extremely powerful single target healing option with the tagged on minor of making your spot healing way more powerful when not used for a time. Can end up as a competitive choice with Vitality Conduit for tank healing in dungeons, but is unlikely to see much play in raids outside very niche scenarios.

Minor: Grants a stacking buff that increases the healing of your next Shadow Mend. At full stack, this is a very significant boost to your Shadow Mend, but on its own as a minor it will not be competitive with other options in any PvE content. 

The Formless Void

Major: The formless void allows you to copy another players azerite essence, but with a longer cooldown. This can be incredible when used correctly to copy powerful dps essences, like beam in M+. A very powerful choice in the correct circumstance. 

Minor: Grants a moderate amount of primary stat and haste for 20 seconds every time an ally within 40 yards uses their azerite essence. Overall on a fight, this will provide a fairly good amount of stats, granting you decent damage and some healing. Just like Unwavering Ward, it also provides you with 10 Corruption Resistance, making having at least one of them mandatory in all types of content. 

Ripple of Space, Artifice of Time and Life-Binders Invocation are lackluster and are not likely to see any play in any PvE content and have therefore not been discussed. 

Raid essence setups

Disc priest has a lot of variety when it comes to which essences you use. Depending on your personal choice of damage or healing focus, as well as availability of external mana resources, you will be playing a rather wide selection of essences. 

First of, out of your 4 essence slots, 2 minor essences are always hard locked in. You want to use Conflict and Strife because the versatility it provides is higher than the throughput of any other minor essence, while also including damage and damage reduction. Secondly, you want to use one of the 8.3 essences, which will be either The Formless Void for the stats it provides for damage, or Unwavering Ward for the small passive absorption effect. The reason behind using one of the new 8.3 essences is that they bring a unique +10 Corruption Resistance, which will help reduce the amount of Corruption you have.

There will be a few general setups to follow on essences.

Damage focused:

Major: Crucible of Flame

Minors: Conflict and Strife, Ever-rising tide, The Formless Void

If the healing check is relatively low, optimizing your essences for damage is highly adviseable. Even though it no longer works with Schism, Crucible of Flame major is a very high damage increase. Conflict and Strife gives you a lot of versatility, which gives you damage as well as scales with trinkets and essences, while Ever-rising Tide and The Formless Void just provides you with main stat that gives you a moderate damage increase. 

Healing focused if you feel you need mana:

Major: Memory of Lucid Dreams

Minors: Conflict and Strife, Ever-rising Tide, Unwavering Ward

If you’re tight on mana, playing Memory of Lucid Dreams major for healing purposes is very good. If used during a dot or relatively moderate damage intakes, the leech it provides will easily take care of the damage you take. Conflict and Strife provides high enough versatility to outperform any other minor. Ever-rising Tide provides a good midpoint between mana return and main stat increase, while Unwavering Ward provides you with the extremely valuable Corruption Resistance and a moderate healing increase from the absorption effect.

Healing focused with external mana:

Major: Ever-rising Tide

Minors: Conflict and Strife, Memory of Lucid Dreams, Unwavering Ward

Playing with Ever-rising Tide gives you the highest HPS potential, but it often overheals and it is expensive on the mana. With external mana however, Memory of Lucid Dreams falls a lot in value while you can squeeze out a lot of value from Ever-rising Tide because of more lax mana requirements. Only other change compared to the Memory of Lucid Dreams setup is using Memory as your remaining minor. It gives you access to a moderate amount of versatility as well as a good amount of extra mana, which helps offsetting the mana loss from using Ever-rising Tide.

These are the standard setups you will be playing depending on what your comps needs and has. There is, however, also some very possible meta changes which could show up during the tiers progression. With its massive buffs in 8.3, playing with Worldvein Resonance as a major to pair with your Evangelism could be very powerful but is as of now still untested. 

Worldvein and Visions of Perfection build:

Major: Worldvein Resonance

Minors: Conflict and Strife, Visions of Perfection/Ever-rising Tide, Unwavering Ward

Using Visions of Perfection as a minor essence as well together with Mindbender, giving us 1 Mindbender between and 1 with each Evangelism, providing slightly more mana and damage than Power Word: Solace on its own. You would exchange Ever-rising Tide or Memory of Lucid Dreams as a minor for Vision of Perfection, and with Worldvein Resonance you would be playing Ever-rising Tide as a minor with it, unless paired with Visions of Perfection.

Corruption

Corruption traits can be broken down into two categories, dps and healing traits.

Currently it’s very likely there will be additional tuning and how the corruption plays out in the raid remains to be seen. I’ll update as soon as I know more.

Healing Focused

If you want to optimise for healing the tier list is roughly as follows:

Great traits

  • Siphoner (Increases Leech)

Good traits

  • Crit damage/healing
  • Stat amplification (increases the amount of stat you gain by x%)
  • Haste proc
  • Vers proc
  • Mastery proc

Bad traits

Damage Focused

If you want to optimise for damage the tier list is roughly as follows:

Great traits

Good traits

Bad traits

There is also Avoidant, this will be very situational, it doesn’t increase your output but avoidance can be seriously strong on fights with lots of AoE damage.