Holy is one of priest’s two healing specializations. This spec is a reactive healer, meaning that damage is healed after it is taken. Holy priests are currently the least-represented specialization in PvE. They are generally considered weaker than other healers, but are still quite viable.
This guide is intended to give you an overview of the basics of Holy so that you may perform passably well – it is not intended to be an in-depth guide. For more (and better!) information on how to master holy, please visit Icy Veins’ holy priest guide.
Last Updated: March 13, 2015 (up-to-date for 6.1)
- Gem and enchant for multistrike
- Blanket the raid with Renew and Circle of Healing on cooldown
- Use Serenity chakra for small groups, Sanctuary Chakra for large (raids)
- Do not cast Prayer of Healing or Clarity of Purpose with no Serendipity stacks
- If you have 2 stacks of Serendipity, cast Heal or PoH/CoP before your next FH or BH
Multistrike > Haste > Critical Strike > Mastery > Versatility
You may value Critical Strike lower. You should have Spirit on every piece of spirit-possible gear.
Gems and Enchants
All of your gems and enchants should be for multistrike, with Mark of Shadowmoon (Spirit) on your weapon. For low ilvl gear, it is recommended to use Breath enchants and green-quality gems. Switch to blue-quality gems and Gift enchants for better gear that you do not plan to replace as soon.
Talents and Glyphs
What glyphs and talents you use will be dependent on the fight. However, the below is a generally recommended setup that can perform well on all fights:
Level 15: Desperate Prayer or Angelic Bulwark
Level 30: Angelic Feather
Level 45: Surge of Light (Mindbender if mana is an issue)
Level 60: Your decision – Void Tendrils is the PvE default
Level 75: Twist of Fate
Level 90: Cascade
Level 100: Words of Mending
It is not recommended to take Saving Grave in any situation. Divine Star can be utilized on stacked fights when running Surge of Light for procs. Many, many procs.
Glyphs are almost entirely your personal decision. Here are my recommendations:
Glyph of Renew (Near-mandatory)
Glyph of Circle of Healing
Glyph of Fade
Glyph of Binding Heal
Glyph of Deep Wells
Glyph of Lightwell (if your raid is smart)
Glyph of Restored Faith
All of our minor glyphs are purely cosmetic, and offer no combat benefits.
Though healing is more fluid and does not have a set “rotation,” there is a general sequence of casts you want to follow as a holy priest.
For the most part, you will want to focus on blanketing the raid with Renew, and casting Circle of Healing on cooldown. You will use Heal or Flash Heal to bring up people who need more attention than this. Prayer of Mending should be kept rolling among the party, though not necessarily cast on cooldown. Power Word: Shield will be used sparingly, but thankfully, you can find a use for most of your heals (Though Renew/CoH will still provide the majority of your healing).
When you cast Flash Heal or Binding Heal, you will gain an effect called Serendipity. Monitor these stacks and do not let them go past 2 – when you have 2 stacks is the best, and really the only, time to cast Prayer of Healing. You should be careful not to cast PoH too often, as it is a huge mana drain.
When you are single target healing, you will want to focus on Holy Word: Serenity + Heal with 2 Serendipity stacks, or Holy Word: Serenity + Flash Heal x2 + Heal – this should generally top someone off.
Chakras are a unique mechanic to holy priests, similar to stances for a warrior. Chakras allow priests to switch from damage dealers, to single-target healers, to raid wide healers. For the most part, in a raid, you will be in Sanctuary chakra; however, if the damage is mostly being taken by just a few people, then Serenity is more beneficial. It is certainly worthwhile to switch between Sanctuary and Serenity during different phases of a fight.
Within Serenity chakra, all single target heals will refresh Renew (with the exception of Cascade) and Holy Word: Chastise becomes Holy Word: Serenity. Serenity is a very powerful instant heal that increases the critical strike chance of your incoming heals by 25%. You will be using it practically on cooldown – it’s a very good way to spike someone’s health back up.
Sanctuary chakra causes all heals cast to take 1 second off the cooldown of Circle of Healing (only applies to a CoH that is currently on CD). It will also turn Holy Word: Chastise into Holy Word: Sanctuary, a ground AoE spell. Sanctuary is not worth casting. Do not bother with it, ever.
While in Chastise chakra, your shadow and holy damage is increased, and Chastise remains as is – a short term disorient. You will find little use for this in raids unless you are very bored, but if you’re out of mana and running Surge of Light, you can swap into this chakra and spam Smite to fish for Surge procs while waiting for your mana to build up again.
Food: Savage Feasts will give 100 Multistrike. You should prefer the 125 mastery food, Salty Squid Roll.
Flask: Greater Draenic Intellect Flask
Potion: Draenic Intellect Potion (throughput) or Draenic Channeled Mana Potion (better mana return than the normal mana potions)
Utility and Other Hints
Though you want to focus on casting Renew and CoH, don’t ignore your other spells. Holy priest is most effective when making use of its’ entire toolkit. Try to avoid healing unless absolutely necessary – holy basically sucks mana through a straw, so focus on being efficient.
If you can get your raid group to do it, glyph Lightwell to be clickable – the heal is much stronger!
Use Leap of Faith to pull allies out of the fire. Or Restored Faith, to save yourself!
Don’t cast Guardian Spirit to save someone from death – use it when someone is nearing death, for the healing increase it provides.