Spiritual Guidance: Discipline and Holy in Patch 6.2
Welcome to a brand new Spiritual Guidance. Patch 6.2 is fresh off the PTR and live with exciting changes and additions. I am your healing host, and I am ready to guide you through the latest updates to your beloved Discipline and Holy Priests.
Surge of Light (Discipline, Holy) can now also trigger from Power Word: Shield and Clarity of Will.
We have a single patch note amidst all the many changes for other classes. There are no wild revelations or drastic adjustments to make here. Adding Surge of Light to proc off of shields is more of a quality of life change for PVP and Challenge Modes, where single target and instant heals are needed. In a raiding setting, this change has no effect on current play. Discipline does not make use of Surge of Light in raids, as Solace and Mindbender are more useful and preferred. Holy, while able to make more use of the talent, does not use shields, and is similarly unaffected.
Our tier, however, is where it gets interesting.
Tier 18 Set Bonuses
Our 2-piece bonus buffs one of our main and iconic spells, Penance. This set is definitely something you’ll want to have, as it is a flat increase to the spell. Each tick of Penance adds a stack of the buff, which caps out after two casts. Since the buff lasts 15 seconds, firing off Penance on cooldown will give you a constant 72% buff.
For those of you in progression guilds which tend to prioritize DPS above healers with regards to the distribution of tier tokens, you will likely find yourselves utilizing both 2-piece bonuses from Tier 17 and Tier 18 for quite some time. Ideally, you will want to keep your Tier 17 mastery pieces (chest/legs), while your first choices for Tier 18 will likely be gloves and shoulders. Tier 18 gloves have mastery on them and the shoulders have next best secondary stats, haste and multistrike.
The 4-piece bonus also buffs Penance, and will allow it to cleave to other players within 40 yards of the target. This set bonus looks promising and potentially strong, as it can proc off of defensive Penances as well as offensive, and the procs also take advantage of the 2-piece’s buff. The increased healing per second from the Penance procs, combined with the 2-piece buff, can potentially outweigh the loss of mastery on the tier pieces. I’ve seen estimates of 10-20% healing increase factoring in the 2- and 4-piece bonuses, and taking advantage of this set will require constant use of Penance.
However, breaking Tier 17’s 2-piece won’t be easy, and it will require a change in acquiring Evangelism stacks, as we will no longer be gaining passive stacks from defensive Penances. Those who use Mindbender may need to switch back to taking Solace, with active Smiting or offensive Penances to build additional stacks while Solace is on cooldown. It also might be worth it to return to using Archangel at 3 stacks of Evangelism, as was the case in Highmaul, rather than spending the time to get to a full 5 stacks when you could be casting other healing spells.
Similar to Tier 17, Tier 18 is highlighting our use of Prayer of Mending. This bonus comes out to roughly a flat 6% haste buff, since Prayer of Mending is usually out on the raid at all times through unused bounces and constant Words of Mending charges. Haste directly benefits Renew, Circle of Healing, and Words of Mending, which will favor the quick playstyle of blanket Renews and Circle of Healing on cooldown. Breaking Tier 17’s 4-piece will make it harder to passively gain Serendipity stacks, and those who are utilizing the Prayer of Healing and Divine Insight playstyle will need to make more use of Binding Heal and/or Surge of Light procs (if talented) to keep Serendipity up.
The 4-piece bonus is unfortunately not quite as clear-cut as the other bonuses in terms of desirability, and its usefulness may vary. The Tier 17 4-piece that we have been using adds extra bounces, but has the potential to be wasted — if constant raid damage is not going out, those extra bounces will fade without being used. The new bonus will heal instantly when it procs, which makes it initially more efficient. However, if the proc lands on someone with full health and instantly heals, the proc is wasted, whereas the Tier 17 bonus would sit on the person until more raid damage went out. It might be more advantageous to forgo the 4-piece set and instead take off-pieces that have multistrike, since multistrike directly benefits our healing.
We have something new this tier with trinkets. Much like the gear tokens in Blackrock Foundry, trinket tokens will drop from Archimonde that can be instantly redeemed and will change depending on spec. These are unique in that they are kind of like an additional tier bonus, but in trinket form. Blizzard has tried to make each trinket’s effect benefit each class’s spec in a unique way. For Priests, we have the Conqueror token which turns into Repudiation of War.
The values of this trinket range from 6% at Normal to 9% at Mythic, depending on the version. Unfortunately, this trinket will be circumstantial at best. It has the possibility of being useful if tanks are being hit particularly hard, though with Holy Paladins’ tank healing tools and bonuses it is unlikely that Discipline will need to assist in heavy tank healing. Perfect timing and clever Prayer of Healing use might also make this trinket into a pseudo-Spirit Shell. However, I don’t believe the damage reduction will offset the loss of stats present on the other trinkets. We only really use two of the four spells that trigger the trinket’s effect, and the stats available on other trinkets will help throughput more than a bit of damage reduction.
Most Holy Priests will be passing on this trinket. Holy excels in raid healing and, while this trinket attempts to add single target and tank healing to Holy’s Sanctuary repertoire, it unfortunately falls flat. The cast time increase makes Heal’s cast 2-4 seconds, which is easily sniped. The Normal trinket’s cast and mana cost are increased by 49% with a 99% buff, which goes up to 65% cast/mana increase and 131% buff for Mythic. Even with Serendipity providing a cast decrease, the cast time is still too long to single heal, and Serendipity is better used with Prayer of Healing as a group heal. The one benefit to such a large single heal is the large Echo of Light it will create through Holy’s mastery. However, since the cast has a high chance of being sniped, the mastery HoT will likely end up as overheal.
Sanctuary playstyle is very rapid with casting Circle of Healing and Prayer of Mending on cooldown, and using Renews as filler. Stopping to cast a long heal in the middle of this interferes with the cooldown rotation, and would ultimately cause a healing loss by letting instant heals sit unused. Another concern is that this trinket weakens Holy’s most often used level 100 talent, Words of Mending. Longer cast times equal fewer casts overall, which makes Words of Mending stack slower and is less efficient. Given that tier bonuses this expansion have highlighted and encouraged Prayer of Mending use, it doesn’t make sense to use a trinket that will devalue it.
We have a plethora of additional trinkets to choose from, both throughput and regen trinkets varying in stats and procs, which I’ll briefly list here.
- Unstable Felshadow Emulsion: The Spirit and Leech on this trinket make it very desirable to Holy Priests. Discipline Priests, however, will shy away from this one as the Leech does not proc off absorbs.
- Intuition’s Gift: Two static stats (Intellect and Spirit), with a Crit on-use buff. The controllable Crit is a nice addition for Discipline.
- Flickering Felspark: Static Haste, Mastery, and Spirit. Good trinket for either spec, as Discipline will want the Mastery and Holy will want the Haste.
- Demonic Phylactery: Quite possibly Best in Slot, the static Intellect and Haste are nice, while the equip buff is what really shines. The reduced mana cost of spells makes it a great trinket for either spec.
- Winged Hourglass: Darkmoon Faire trinket, static Intellect with a Spirit proc, upgradeable up to 715 item level.
- Iron Reaver Piston: Static Intellect, Crit, and Haste. Good for straight throughput.
- Desecrated Shadowmoon Insignia: Static Mastery with an Intellect proc. Could be a good throughput trinket, as extra Mastery is always nice.
Now, with all of these fancy new bonuses and gear, you’ll want to be able to track your auras and buffs to properly take advantage of it. Both tier 2-piece bonuses have buffs that you’ll want to keep up constantly. Discipline’s buff is Reparation and Holy’s is Prayer’s Reprise. You can easily track these buffs using addons such as WeakAuras 2 or TellMeWhen. Trinket Procs will work the same way for tracking purposes. The Crit on-use proc for Intuition’s Gift is Sudden Intuition, Winged Hourglass Spirit proc is Visions of the Future, and the Intellect proc for Desecrated Shadowmoon Insignia is Sign of the Dark Star. The damage reduction for the Discipline trinket is Naaru’s Discipline, which can be tracked on raid frames as that will be on individual players. Discipline’s 4-piece bonus Penance has a different item ID from the regular Penance spell, which will make it easier to track in logs.
Healing for Everyone
Much like my dark cohort, I’m pleased and honored to be able to welcome you all to the Priest class and column. If you have any questions about healing or suggestions for topics you’d like to see covered, feel free to post in the comments or contact me on Twitter @Elaraiyne. I’m here to help you out in the wonderful world of healing, so don’t hesitate to ask!
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