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Spiritual Guidance: Legion Priest healing talents and specs

The Legion pre-patch is coming tomorrow. What spec should you be? That, my friends, is up to you. If you want to be a traditional healer, Holy is your pick. If you want to DPS, try Discipline. For those of you looking to switch from your current spec, you’re in luck! Because all your stats are now opposite. Those of you who only mained one healing spec, I hope you like farming gear. Good thing we have all this extra bag space from transmog right?

Gear for the next month probably won’t matter too much — whatever gear you have should get the job done. But if you like to optimize, I have your stat priorities. With the removal of spirit we have to be careful of our mana, but this likely won’t be much of an issue during pre-patch, especially if you have Demonic Phylactery. However, it’s something to consider going into Legion. We also welcome any Shadow converts. Come on, take that step. Your gear will fit right in here.

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Discipline

Welcome to Discipline. Everything is now different.

Your core abilities

Healing

  • Atonement: Your main method of healing. You apply Atonement using four spells: Power World: Shield, Plea, Power Word: Radiance, and Shadow Mend. When you do damage, it heals.
  • Power Word: Shield: Your absorb and one of the cheapest ways to apply Atonement, though the 6 second cooldown prevents any spamming.
  • Plea: Another basic way to apply Atonement. The mana cost is small, but increases with each Atonement you have out. The threshold is around 5-6 Atonements, at which Power Word: Radiance becomes the cheaper option.
  • Power Word: Radiance. This is your Prayer of Healing version of Atonement. You can use it to apply multiple Atonements quickly for burst.
  • Shadow Mend: Your replacement for Flash Heal. It’s great to cast on the tanks because the DoT gets eaten up fairly quickly. Perfect for playing tank healer in 5 mans or tank support in raids.
  • Three cooldowns: Rapture, Power Word: Barrier, and Pain Suppression. Rapture allows you to spam shields on the raid, while Barrier and Pain Suppression prevent damage.

Damage

  • Penance: Your main damage spell, which can also be talented into a heal.
  • Smite: Your filler damage spell when other things are on cooldown, although you don’t want to spam it too much unless you fancy going oom.
  • Shadow Word: Pain: Your DoT damage.

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Talents

  • Level 15 For 5 man dungeons, The Penitent can be nice as a single target heal if the tank is taking heavy damage, though you do lose out on the damage burst that offensive Penance offers. Castigation is a good passive Penance buff. Schism is fun on your own, but in group content it can be mana intensive.
  • Level 30 Take Angelic Feather. You know you want to. Body and Soul is difficult because you’re either giving a speed boost to someone else while forgoing any movement increase for yourself, or wasting a shield on yourself just for movement. And we like being able to move.
  • Level 45 Pick your favorite crowd control. These are all hard to weave in as a healer in group content, but Shining Force looks like the most useful of the three.
  • Level 60 As I touched on in the leveling post, Solace didn’t add much while also being awkward to juggle with cooldowns. Mindbender offers a good damage boost every minute along with mana.
  • Level 75 Contrition adds 2 seconds to Atonement, allowing you to micromanage buffs less while getting used to the spec. Twist of Fate feels too niche for Discipline, especially in pre-patch where people might not drop so low. Power Infusion is a good mini-cooldown.
  • Level 90 I wouldn’t recommend taking Clarity of Will. The cast time is long, and we aren’t super absorb healers anymore. It could find use on heavy tank damage in progression, but I think the pre-patch won’t require it. If people are stacked, take Divine Star. Otherwise, take Halo.
  • Level 100 Purge the Wicked is useful for add fights where you can guarantee it will spread. It also does more damage for less mana than Shadow Word: Pain. Grace is good for 5 mans and Shadow Mend spam, and will be very helpful in 5-mans and the new Mythic modes. Shadow Covenant could be used for sustained group damage, though I dislike the absorb it leaves.

Stats and Gear

Your top stat is Haste, followed closely by Crit. You’ll want to avoid Mastery as it only buffs your Atonement while doing nothing for your damage. Grab an Intellect trinket and your Demonic Phylactery, and any gear without Mastery. Keep your Tier 17 4 set if you have it, it still provides a nice boost to Penance.

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How to get going

Time to think like a DPS, rather than a healer. Atonement is not an emergency heal, so you have to think five steps ahead since by the time the bad stuff happens it’s to late to react. For a basic rotation, set up Atonements with your healing spells: Power Word: Shield and Plea on tanks. Do damage with Penance, Shadow Word: Pain/Purge the Wicked, and Smite as filler. Weave in more Pleas and shields between damage. If you have five Atonements out, use Power Word: Radiance instead of Plea.

If things start getting hairy don’t panic! Use your toolkit. Shield damaged people so the shield protects them while Atonement gets going. Use Rapture to spam as many shields on your raid as possible and Power Infusion for extra Haste. Shadow Mend can be used like Flash Heal, they’re taking damage already so the DoT won’t matter. And when you have all your Atonements up? Smite your heart out. I highly recommend using healing frames with click to heal or mouseover macros to make healing faster and keep track of your Atonements. You’ll be switching a lot for targeting and click-to-heal saves precious time.

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Holy

Welcome to Holy. Things are less different, but much better than before.

Your core abilities

  • Holy Words: This is what your spec will revolve around and, along with Serendipity, gives you great synergy with your healing toolkit.
    • Sanctify: Your powerful AOE ground heal. Using Prayer of Healing decreases this cooldown.
    • Serenity: Your powerful, massive single target heal. Using Flash Heal decreases this cooldown.
  • Flash Heal: Your main single target heal. Multiple talents will offer free and repeating heals for it. When mana is an issue, Heal is the more efficient version.
  • Prayer of Healing: Your main AOE heal. There’s no group restriction anymore, so it’s great for multiple people at once.
  • Prayer of Mending: Bounces on damage to another player. Good for constant or ticking damage fights.
  • Two cooldowns: Divine Hymn and Guardian Spirit. Divine Hymn is your raid cooldown and Guardian Spirit provides a safety net for someone in the danger zone.

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Talents

  • Level 15 If you are using a lot of single target Flash Heals, go with Trail of Light. Enlightenment is an option for mana problems, but you lose out on increased Flash Heal the two talents might just end up even. I wouldn’t suggest Enduring Renewal at all since Renew is no longer a good staple.
  • Level 45 Censure is just too fun, although not very useful in raid. Your other options are crowd control or a temporary reprieve from death.
  • Level 60 Symbol of Hope is wonderful for raid utility. It probably won’t be terribly needed in pre-patch, but it’s something you’ll want in Legion. Light of the Naaru is a great choice for everything else, working with your Holy Words.
  • Level 75 Surge of Light is my personal favorite for this tier. You could try Binding Heal if you want, working with both your Holy Words, but the Surge proc is just so useful.
  • Level 90 Divinity is the only real option here. Halo and Divine Star only proc Surge of Light on one hit rather than all hits so their usefulness is decreased. Plus, I like the Holy Word thing going on here.
  • Level 100 This can be a toss-up. We have Circle of Healing which is great in 5-mans or AOE in raids. Benediction offers passive, free healing in constant damage fights and Apotheosis allows you to burst heal with your Holy Words every 3 minutes. Pick your favorite.

Stats and Gear

Multistrike is gone, so your new top stat is Mastery, followed by Crit. Haste is now very low, since its main value was in Renew spam. Because of Tier 17’s focus on Prayer of Mending, you’ll likely want to just stay with the 2 set and grab whatever Mastery and Crit pieces you can find. For trinkets, Repudiation of War is now more desirable, giving Holy a flat increase to Flash Heal and Heal.

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How to get going

Holy Words offers us so much versatility, now we can do it all. For single target, your staples are Flash Heal and Heal, which work with Holy Word: Serenity to provide a massive heal. For AOE, you have range-based Prayer of Healing, which then works with Holy Word Sanctify for a large instant ground heal. Cast your Prayer of Mending every now and then.


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Divine Hymn is still here as our trusty raid cooldown, as well as Guardian Spirit for those heart attack moments your tanks like to give you. If you take Apotheosis, it will provide very powerful burst healing with your Holy Words. Watch your mana though. Renew doesn’t really have a place anymore due to its inefficiency. Your best bet is to keep it on tanks and perhaps use it on the move, but outside of that your other spells are far better.

On an end note, this pre-patch is somewhat different than those in the past, and what we see won’t offer us a complete picture of the specs in Legion. A lot of our potential and balance is tied up in Artifacts and their traits. Keep an open mind when trying out the changes, and remember to have fun. Legion is all about class fantasy, so play what appeals to you.

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