Discipline Priest playstyle and rotation guide

Patch 10.0.5 Last Updated: 2nd Feb, 2023
Crazy Discipline Priest Author
Crazy

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 always want to weave between casting holy and shadow damaging spells, as it yields you a 15% damage buff that transfers through Atonement

Harsh Discipline is a talent that requires some preparation in order to use. For raiding you’ll want to prepare ahead of time with 4/8 Smite casts before performing a ramp depending on if you have one or two points in this talent. You will have to do this to be able to activate Harsh Discipline, which will carry through to your ramp as it has a 30 second duration. In dungeons however usually this buff will happen naturally through gameplay, but try to actively prepare the buff ahead of time if you know a hard hitting mechanic is coming in.

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 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 always look out for moments where you can cast Mindbender right as an enemy drops into 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.

An additional thing to note while using Expiation, is that you can use spell queuing when you consume your Purge the Wicked to get different results. Basically, when you spell queue, you would be pressing PTW while casting Mind Blast, and if you are not spell queuing you would have a small delay after casting Mind Blast and then cast PTW. If you decide to spell queue, you will consume some amount from the new PTW, rather than the old you just replaced, or if there was no previous PTW available you would consume 6 seconds from your new 20 second PTW giving you a new duration of 14 seconds. However, in other situations you would want to avoid this, for example, when you want to refresh your PTW for your upcoming ramp or dungeon burst. In that situation, you want to have a currently active PTW ticking for at least another 14 seconds before starting your Mind Blast cast. This gives you a PTW duration of 7 seconds after the Mind Blast cast, and gives you a holy Twilight Equilibrium buff which you can use to fully refresh a buffed PTW before you start ramping up.

Wrath Unleashed pushes you towards casting Smite a lot, which nicely synergizes with Harsh Discipline. When playing with Wrath Unleashed you’ll look to squeeze as many Smite casts into the 15 second window as possible, but still using high value cooldowns like Halo during ramps.

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.


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.

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. Have the Harsh Discipline buff active with at least 26 seconds remaining
  2. Refresh Purge the Wicked to its full duration (25+ seconds)
  3. Power Word: Shield
  4. 7x Renew
  5. Flash Heal
  6. Power Word: Radiance
  7. Shadowfiend
  8. Power Word: Radiance
  9. Evangelism
  10. Halo
  11. Schism
  12. Light’s Wrath
  13. Shadow Covenant
  14. Penance
  15. 2x Shadow Word: Death (If target is below 20%)
  16. Mind Blast
  17. Purge the Wicked
  18. Mind Blast
  19. Shadow Word: Death (If target is above 20%)
  20. Power Word: Solace
  21. Smite

Default Discipline Rapture Ramp

  1. Have the Harsh Discipline buff active with at least 24 seconds remaining
  2. Refresh Purge the Wicked to its full duration (25+ seconds)
  3. Rapture
  4. 7x Power Word: Shield
  5. Flash Heal
  6. Power Word: Radiance
  7. Power Word: Radiance
  8. Halo
  9. Shadow Covenant
  10. Schism
  11. Penance
  12. 2x Shadow Word: Death (If target is below 20%)
  13. Mind Blast
  14. Mind Blast
  15. Shadow Word: Death (If target is above 20%)
  16. Power Word: Solace
  17. Purge the Wicked
  18. Smite

Wrath Unleashed Discipline Evangelism Ramp

  1. Have the Harsh Discipline buff active with at least 26 seconds remaining
  2. Refresh Purge the Wicked to its full duration (25+ seconds)
  3. Power Word: Shield
  4. 7x Renew
  5. Flash Heal
  6. Power Word: Radiance
  7. Shadowfiend
  8. Power Word: Radiance
  9. Evangelism
  10. Schism
  11. Penance
  12. Halo
  13. Light’s Wrath
  14. Power Word: Solace
  15. Smite
  16. Penance when it comes off cooldown
  17. 2x Shadow Word: Death (If target is below 20%)
  18. Smite

Wrath Unleashed Discipline Rapture Ramp

  1. Have the Harsh Discipline buff active with at least 24 seconds remaining
  2. Make sure you have a full duration Purge the Wicked (25+ seconds)
  3. Rapture
  4. 7x Power Word: Shield
  5. Flash Heal
  6. 2x Power Word: Radiance
  7. Halo
  8. Schism
  9. Penance
  10. 2x Shadow Word: Death (If target is below 20%)
  11. Power Word: Solace
  12. Smite

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. 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.

The reason I am recommending casting Mindbender and Shadowfiend between Power Word: Radiance is for one simple reason. While technically in some situations it would be more total healing to cast it before both radiance casts, casting Shadowfiend or Mindbender between your two radiance casts allows you an extra GCD (Global Cooldown). This allows you to target properly so you don’t accidentally start casting Power Word: Radiance on a target that already has Atonement applied from the previous radiance cast.

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% 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. For example on Jailer I would see a certain 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.


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. 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 Purge the Wicked up
  2. If there is more than 24 seconds until you are performing a ramp cast Schism
  3. If there is more than 20 seconds until you are performing a ramp cast Shadow Word: Death
  4. Use small damage cooldowns like Penance, Mind Blast and Power Word: Solace
  5. 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 3-8 depending on your current mana, no more or you will be trouble in terms of mana. You will want to supplement these Atonements 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

In Shadowlands Discipline already had problems with maintaining mana without external help, and this is a problem that is becoming even more prevalent going into this new expansion. 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 very important, so make sure you use them whenever possible to gain some mana back. The best mana potion overall would be the Potion of Chilled Clarity, and for optimal usage it should be used during a Rapture ramp as Power Word: Shield has a higher mana cost than Renew. This potion acts as a pseudo Innervate and allows you to save a ton of mana in your ramp up window. While using this potion you’ll want to use some sort of macro to cancel the effect of the potion before you cast your Power Word: Radiance as you do not want to slow down your ramp with the negative effect. There will be a macro linked in the macro section as an example of what you can do to avoid this. 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 ramp more often.


Dungeons

For dungeons playing Discipline Priest becomes a little more simple. You’ll now focus on keeping yourself and other party members alive through the use of mostly Atonement, but also some other tools available in the Discipline Priest toolkit. Power Word: Life can be used whenever your party members drop below 35%, giving them a surge of health capable of topping many classes. 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 I would follow this priority list to give you the best chances of survival.

  1. Use Power Infusion on a teammate if it is available to benefit from Twins of the Sun Priestess
  2. Have Purge the Wicked active on at least one target
  3. Place a Power Word: Barrier to reduce the incoming damage by 25%
  4. Preemptively cover your party with Power Word: Shield from Rapture
  5. Cast Shadowfiend or Mindbender depending on your talents
  6. Cast Shadow Covenant (if talented) 
  7. Power Word: Radiance to put Atonement on all party members, and then follow up with strong damage and healing from Schism, Mind Blast & Shadow Word: Death, Penance
  8. Use Power Word: Radiance for its healing capabilities
  9. Heal through Atonement with Smite

The list above is pretty extensive, but make sure that if it is a mechanic that will happen multiple times across a fight, like Hyrja from Halls of Valor, that you don’t burn all your good tools 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. Divine Star 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, so make sure that whenever you cast Mindbender you maximize the amount of Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death casts. The longer your Mindbender stays up the more melee swings it can complete which translates into mana and damage.