Discipline Priest Playstyle and Rotation Guide

Patch 10.2.5 Last Updated: 23rd Jan, 2024
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Playstyle & Rotation

In this section of the guide we will talk about how you actually want to play Discipline Priest. Important things to pay attention to, what your general rotation looks like as well as how your actual ramps look like in raid will all be covered here. 

Rotation Altering Talents

In the new talent tree you will find many talents that change how you perform your rotation. One of these is Twilight Equilibrium. While you have this talent you’ll almost always want to weave between casting holy and shadow damaging spells, as it yields you a 15% damage buff that transfers through Atonement. While preparing for damage events you can use Twilight Equilibrium to buff your Purge the Wicked or Shadow Word: Pain by 15% so that your DoT will tick harder and also put out more healing through Atonement.

Expiation and Inescapable Torment are both spells that interact and push you towards more aggressively casting Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death. When playing with Expiation you want to make sure that you always have more than 3/6 seconds left on your current Purge the Wicked before casting Mind Blast or Shadow Word: Death so you can gain the full damage from the talent. While using Inescapable Torment you should make sure you have the abilities to trigger it available right as you drop your Shadowfiend or Mindbender, and if possible you should look out for the 20% execute range. This is due to the fact that you can utilize Death and Madness to get an extra hit from Inescapable Torment which results in some extra damage and potential healing.

Train of Thought allows you to more frequently cast Power Word: Shield and Penance. This facilitates some changes in your ramp up rotation, as well as possibly allowing a second Penance during ramps using some talent setups.

Ultimate Penitence is a new talent that came with the rework in patch 10.2, you want to use this ability to fill out any gaps where you’d wish you had a Mindbender or Shadowfiend available to proc Shadow Covenant, this is a great replacement button for those situation and provides a large amount of damage, while also acting as a defensive option situationally.

Raid Ramps

In the overview we spoke briefly about what a ramp is and how in general terms you will want to execute it. Now it’s time to dive a bit deeper and see what your actual ramps look like. We will look at the order in which you’ll want to cast your spells to put out the most amount of healing within your Atonement window.

With the new change to Harsh Discipline introduced in Patch 10.2 you’ll always aim to save up two charges of Power Word: Radiance whenever possible. This is because the buff from the talent stacks up and therefore gives you higher throughput overall, than if you were to spread out your Power Word: Radiance casts.

In Shadowlands it was common practice for most of the patches to combine Rapture and Evangelism into one ramp. With Dragonflight, this is now changing, and the default situation will be to split these as you’d like to spread out your healing, and usually then gain from splitting them up is larger than combining the two into one big ramp.

Something that is important to note is that different talent builds change which order you’ll want to cast your spells, as spells like Twilight Equilibrium and Expiation and many other talent choices require you to change your rotation in order to reap the full benefit of these talents. 

Important note about Flash Heal + Binding Heals: When you cast Flash Heal on another target with Binding Heals talented, which will be the default for all builds, you will apply Atonement to both yourself and your target. For that reason you always want to avoid applying a single-target Atonement to yourself through the use of Power Word: Shield or Renew while ramping so you don’t waste the extra Atonement.

We’ll break the different ramps into three main categories. Evangelism ramp, Rapture ramp and Mini-Ramps. These different types all have different cast sequences that you’ll want to perform correctly to gain the most amount of throughput that you possibly can. If you have any on-use trinkets you’ll want to use these most likely during your Evangelism ramp to boost its power even more. First let’s look at the first two types, step by step.

Default Discipline Evangelism Ramp

  1. Refresh Purge the Wicked
  2. Power Word: Shield
  3. 3x Renew
  4. Power Word: Shield
  5. 2x Renew
  6. Flash Heal
  7. Power Word: Shield
  8. Power Word: Radiance
  9. Power Word: Radiance
  10. Evangelism
  11. Shadowfiend
  12. Mind Blast
  13. Penance
  14. Shadow Word: Death
  15. Shadow Word: Death (In execute)
  16. Smite

After this you continue pressing Smite until either Penance or Shadow Word: Death is available again. Previously a lot of Discipline Priests have opted to cast Shadowfiend between the 2 Power Word: Radiance casts, this is no longer recommended as it results in a loss of effective Shadow Covenant uptime. If you're forced into heavy movement at a time where you’d be pressing smite, you can replace this cast with a Holy Nova cast.

Default Discipline Rapture Ramp

  1. Refresh Purge the Wicked
  2. Rapture
  3. 7x Power Word: Shield
  4. Flash Heal
  5. Power Word: Radiance
  6. Power Word: Radiance
  7. Mind Blast
  8. Ultimate Penitence (If available)
  9. Penance
  10. Halo (If Ultimate Penitence wasn't available)
  11. Shadow Word: Death
  12. Shadow Word: Death (In execute)

If you have Shadowfiend available for this a Rapture ramp, you should instead copy the damage part of the rotation from the Evangelism ramp and perform that instead.

In some fights you’ll find that it is more beneficial to combine your Rapture and Evangelism into one massive ramp. This is applicable whenever there is a large mechanic happening every 1 min 30 seconds or longer, and the raid is not in any real danger between those mechanics due to fight design or other healers covering the other moments in the fight. In those situations you would follow the Evangelism ramp, but now include steps 1-4 of a Rapture ramp. In basic terms instead of using Renew to ramp you will always use Rapture + Power Word: Shield and finish applying single-target Atonement with a Flash Heal. However this is quite rare as there is almost always something to use your Rapture on between your main Evangelism ramps.

Ramping Tips

Being able to ramp on time for mechanics may seem like a daunting task. However with good practice and some general tips you’ll be ramping like an expert in no time! Personally I like to split how you time your ramps into two categories. Paying attention to Weakauras/Bossmods and paying attention to your surroundings and current mechanics. Whenever I progress on a boss I tend to use both of these methods. When we first get into the boss and I am quite unfamiliar with the fight I will rely on Weakauras and Bossmods to tell me when I am supposed to ramp for an upcoming mechanic. As a rule of thumb in Dragonflight a ramp with 20-30% haste will take anywhere between 15-18 seconds to prepare, depending on your talent set up and how well you execute the ramp. If you’re just starting out I would recommend being on the safer side and being closer to 18 seconds so you have a bigger safety net if you mess up a global or two. As you get more and more haste on your gear you will have to adapt since you’ll require less time to complete a ramp.

As I get more comfortable with the encounter I will start to transition to timing my ramps with mechanics, boss voice lines and other visual or auditory notes. As an example, on a certain encounter I would see a mechanic come out, internally count to three, and then start my ramp. After playing an encounter for a certain amount of time, ramping should become second nature, as you can learn to pay attention to your surroundings to help you consistently hit those ramps on time.

While an Atonement tracker WeakAura is very useful, it isn’t always perfect for ramping situations. Sometimes when you start ramping you already have Atonement buffs out on one or several raid members. To keep track of my “real” amount of Atonement during a ramp (that is the amount that is cast specifically in preparation for the next mechanic) I like to count in my head every single time a spell is cast that applies Atonement. This way you won’t be left at 8 Atonement when you would rather be at 10 because you had two Atonement buffs already out and for that reason though you were already done with applying single target Atonement.

Downtime and Mini-Ramping 

How you play during your downtime is another part of Discipline Priest that is important to get right. Outside of your main ramp windows you don’t have a lot of extra tools, so you need to be able to do as much as possible with the limited resources you have available. Most of the time spent during your downtime will be on dealing damage with Smite and Penance to reduce the cooldown of Shadowfiend or Mindbender to line it up with the next time you need the ability, it is important to note the relevance of reducing the cooldown of these abilities enough that you have them back in time for your ramps, this should take up a high priority of your actions outside of your main ramp windows. Paying attention to the raid frames and incoming mechanics can be a great way to help out, as hitting a Power Word: Life or Power Word: Shield at a crucial moment can be the difference between someone surviving or dying. 

In your downtime if you are not planning to do any ramping here is a general guideline for a DPS rotation:

  1. Make sure Purge the Wicked is up
  2. If there is more than 24 seconds until you are performing a ramp cast Mind Blast
  3. Use small damage cooldowns like Penance and Shadow Word: Death (in execute).
  4. Smite

A lot of the time you will be looking to perform “Mini-Ramps” during your downtime rather than just purely dealing damage. The way you do this is that you follow the general guidelines of an Evangelism ramp, but being more sparse with how many single-target Atonement casts you are doing, stick to 3-5 depending on your current mana, no more or you will be in trouble in terms of mana. You will want to supplement these Atonement with any spare Power Word: Radiance charges you have left, but make sure you will always have 2 charges for your next Rapture or Evangelism ramp.

Mana Management

Being able to manage your mana will be crucial if you want to be able to complete all your ramps without being left at 0% mana. You will have to be disciplined in the way you cast your spells. Always make sure you have enough mana to perform the main Rapture and Evangelism ramp and only use excess mana to facilitate extra Mini Ramps.

Using your mana potions effectively will be crucial, so make sure you use them whenever possible to gain some mana back. Other than this if you can get your hands on any external mana tools like Innervate or Source of Magic that would help alleviate a lot of struggles in terms of mana and allow you to be more active when it comes to applying Atonement.

If you are going to receive an Innervate from a druid in your raid, you should aim for the buff to cover both your Power Word: Radiance casts and as many single target Atonements beforehand, preferably during your Rapture ramp as Power Word: Shield is more expensive than Renew.


For dungeons playing Discipline Priest has changed a bit in patch 10.2, your healing now comes largely through atonement as your damage transfer through atonement was buffed in 5 man content. But you also have other tools available in the Discipline Priest toolkit that are extremely powerful. Power Word: Life can be used whenever your party members drop below 35%, giving them a surge of health capable of topping many classes, recently in patch 10.2 this ability now also applies Atonement to the target. Other than applying Atonement, Power Word: Radiance can be used for its potent healing capabilities as it has received a substantial healing buff going from Shadowlands to Dragonflight. Penance can be used either offensively to heal through Atonement, or defensively to deliver really strong single target healing to one of your party members.

If there is an especially dangerous mechanic coming in here is a list of tools you have in your kit to prepare in advance for the damage event.

  1. Apply Pain Suppression to a target you know is going to be especially in danger during the next incoming damage event.
  2. Place a Power Word: Barrier to reduce the incoming damage by 25%.
  3. Preemptively cover your party or parts of it with Power Word: Shield from Rapture.
  4. Apply Atonements to the entire party before the damage goes out through manual applications or through Power Word: Radiance if you're tight on time and have an abundance of charges.
  5. Cast Mindbender or Shadowfiend 1 second before damage goes out to have the Shadow Covenant buff active while the damage event is ongoing.

Once a large damage event is ongoing, you need to evaluate how much healing you're going to need to output to make sure your group survives, you have a few options of how to heal through Atonement in these windows.

  1. Ultimate Penitence is your longest cooldown and provides a lot of healing through atonement, you want to use this cooldown for situations where Mindbender or Shadowfiend weren't available, but you still need high group wide throughput. Additionally this ability functions as a defensive at the same time, as it applies a shield for 50% of your max hp.
  2. Performing your standard dps rotation and healing through Atonement with Mind Blast, Penance, Shadow Word: Death, while having Mindbender or Shadowfiend out, this will usually be the largest part of your group wide healing during bursts of damage intake throughout a dungeon.
  3. If the damage event lasts longer than your standard dps rotation or you just need a quick burst of healing for your entire group, Power Word: Radiance provides a quite large 5 man on demand heal, while also re-applying Atonement to everyone it hits, this ability is extremely powerful and should be cast quite often.

The lists above are pretty extensive, but make sure that if there is a mechanic that happens multiple times across a fight that you don’t burn all your best cooldowns on one mechanic. As an example think about maybe splitting up Rapture and Power Word: Barrier so you can survive multiple in a row.

When you are not focusing on keeping your team alive as much you’ll want to spread your Purge the Wicked to as many targets as possible, as long as they survive for the duration of the DoT. This can be done manually by casting the spell, or by casting Penance which will give you two extra DoTs if you have talented Revel in Purity. Halo is a great spell for both damage and healing, so use it as much as you possibly can. You’ll want to make use of your Mindbender and Inescapable Torment as much as possible as this will be where the highest amount of your DPS in a dungeon come from, so make sure that whenever you cast Mindbender you maximize the amount of Mind Blast, Penance and Shadow Word: Death casts. The longer your Mindbender stays up the more abilities you can fit into its window which translates into even more damage and healing through Atonement.