Oestrus’ Comprehensive Holy Priest Guide – Version 4.3

27 Jan

Welcome to my comprehensive holy priest guide for patch 4.3.  All of the information contained within this post is current, as of the most recent tier of content, which includes the recently released Dragon Soul instance.

Please keep in mind that anything I talk about here or that I suggest are things that have worked for me or other priests that I communicate with and that they may not necessarily work for you.  What matters more than anything else is being able to admit that something is not working for you.  If you are doing something that is a bit outside the box and you are genuinely seeing results with it – meaning that your mana bar is not always running on empty, you are keeping up the people you are assigned to heal, etc. then by all means keep doing what you are doing.

But if you are stalling on progression fights, you cannot keep people alive like you should be able to, and you never seem to have enough mana to make it through the most basic encounters, you may want to accept that what you are doing is not working and that it may be time for you to try something else.  Do not be afraid to have that conversation with yourself or with others.  You cannot fix something if you will not admit that the problem is even happening in the first place.

With that in mind, let’s get started!

Table of Contents:




  • Increases your Spell Power by 1.
  • Increases your spell Critical Strike chance by .001541.
  • Increases your mana pool by 15.

Note: The first 18 Intellect will not increase the size of your mana pool and the first 10 Intellect will not grant you any Spell Power.



  • 128.06 Haste is equal to 1% at level 85.
  • With enough Haste, you can reduce the cast time of your spells, the time in between ticks of channeled spells, and make some of your HoTs tick faster (which can lead to extra ticks).


  • 179.28 Mastery is equal to 1% at level 85.
  • Echo of Light: Direct heals that you cast on someone will heal them for an additional 16% over 6 seconds. Each additional point of Mastery that you have will increase the size of this heal by an extra 1.25%. This HoT will tick 6 times, or once per second, and is not affected by your Critical Strike or Haste rating.

Critical Strike

  • 179.28 Critical Strike is equal to 1% at level 85.
  • As of patch 4.2., critical heals now heal for 200% of their normal amount, up from 150%.


The stat priorities that I would suggest you use can be quite different, depending on at where you are at as a holy priest. If you are someone who has just turned 85 or who hasn’t been 85 for that long, I would suggest the following priority:

Intellect > Spirit > Spell Power > Haste (to 12.50%) > Mastery > Critical Strike

As you start to run the high end Normal dungeons and break into Heroics, it’s going to be very important for you to manage your mana pool properly. Especially if you plan on gearing up through the Dungeon Finder. Make sure that you have Spirit on every piece of gear possible. If it doesn’t have Spirit on it, reforge into it. Even though most of the Heroic 5 mans have been nerfed, you may not be able to count on that to see you through.

At the very least, you want to make sure that you are at the first Haste breakpoint, which is at 12.50%. This will give you an extra tick from Renew and Divine Hymn. You will not have enough Haste on your gear to even come close to reducing your Heal, Greater Heal, or Prayer of Healing down to a 2 second cast, much less aim for the second Haste breakpoint of 37.50%. Because of this, I would suggest taking any excess Haste you have past the first breakpoint and converting it into Mastery or gear for Mastery once you reach that point.

The other reason I suggest not going for Haste as you are just starting out as is because Haste is considered to be a “negative regen” stat, meaning that it helps you cast spells faster, which usually leads to casting more, and that leads to spending more mana. As you are in the process of gearing up and getting more experience on your priest, mana is going to be a limited resource for you. You are going to need to get the hang of “triage healing,” which is where you heal people for only as much as they need and not just to top them off. With triage healing, you may have to get more comfortable seeing your tank at 90% or lower and the DPS may sit at 75% or even 50% while you are learning the ropes of being a holy priest and how to spend your mana wisely. As you can see, stacking Haste and triage healing do not go hand in hand.

The only reason Critical Strike would be important to you is for Inspiration and you should have enough Critical Strike on your gear already or through Intellect where you do not need to go out of your way to gear for it. In fact, Critical Strike rating is usually the first secondary stat that you will reforge into something else, if you have the choice. We will talk more about reforging a bit later in this post.

If you are raiding at the current level of progression or just slightly behind it, meaning you are raiding Firelands or Dragon Soul, your stat priority should look a little something like this:

Intellect < Spirit < Spell Power < Haste  < Mastery < Critical Strike

At first glance, it looks like your priority may be the same as a holy priest who is just starting out, but there are a few changes. Even though you can do without the excessive amounts of Spirit that a novice priest might need to get by, I still suggest that you take gear with Spirit on it over pieces that do not. Spirit makes a great secondary stat that you can reforge into another stat that you might need, without having to give up other stats that are useful to you on an existing piece of gear. With that said, the Spirit that you have now should already be on your gear. You should not be reforging into Spirit, enchanting for it, or anything else like that.

The second Haste breakpoint of 37.50% is still going to be just out of your reach, although certain procs from weapons or trinkets can certainly help you get there. However, you should be able to obtain enough Haste, through your gear, reforging, etc. where you can reduce the cast time of your Heal, Greater Heal, and Prayer of Healing spells down to at least 2 seconds. As you will probably spend most of your time as a holy priest healing the raid, having a much faster Prayer of Healing at your disposal can make a huge difference in your throughput and reaction time to incoming damage. You can expect to reach this point once you have about 19% Haste, fully buffed. You will probably need to gem for Haste, enchant for it, and put points into Darkness to get here, but it is well worth it.

After that I would recommend prioritizing Mastery next. One could argue that by gearing for Critical Strike over Mastery that your spells will heal for more, which in turn will leave a more powerful HoT on a target from Echo of Light. However, Critical Strike rating is not a consistent throughput stat. You could just as easily gear for Mastery, which means that your HoT will always heal for a set percentage of the original heal, rather than relying on Critical Strike to possibly make it heal for more.


If an item has Spirit and Haste on it:

  • reforge the Haste into Mastery, if you are just starting out.
  • reforge the Spirit into Mastery, if you are not.

If an item has Spirit and Mastery on it:

  • reforge the Mastery into Haste, if you are looking to go past the first Haste breakpoint.
  • reforge nothing, if you are not.

If an item has Spirit and Critical Strike on it:

  • reforge the Critical Strike into Haste or Mastery, depending on your preference.

If an item has Haste and Critical Strike on it:

  • reforge the Critical Strike into Spirit, if you need the regen.
  • reforge the Critical Strike into Mastery, if you do not.

If an item has Haste and Mastery on it:

  • reforge either of the stats into Spirit, if you need the regen.
  • reforge nothing if you do not.

If an item has Mastery and Critical Strike:

  • reforge the Critical Strike into Spirit, if you need the regen.
  • reforge the Critical Strike into Haste, if you do not.


Holy priests have a large arsenal of spells from which to choose from. It is important to know which spell is the right one to use for any given situation.

Power Word: Shield

  • Instant cast spell, which surrounds the ally and absorbs damage.
  • Does not actually provide any healing, unless you glyph for it.
  • This spell is typically not used by holy priests, unless they are trying to grant someone the speed boost that goes along with Body and Soul.

Binding Heal

  • A 1.5 second cast spell, which heals yourself and the target of your heal.
  • Generates a low amount of threat.
  • This spell will leave a HoT from Echo of Light on each person healed.
  • If you have Renew on yourself and someone else, and you use Binding Heal while in Chakra: Serenity, it will refresh the duration of the Renew on both characters.
  • This spell is twice as likely to trigger a proc from Surge of Light than other spells included in this talent. You can read more about this here.
  • Can be expensive if used repeatedly and should be used wisely.

Circle of Healing

  • An instant cast spell which heals the 5 most injured players or pets around the target.
  • You can heal up to 6 people with this spell, if you glyph for it, but this comes with an increased mana cost.
  • Should not be used too often in 5 mans, unless you need to heal on the run.
  • This is a core spell for a raid healing holy priest and is frequently used on cooldown.

Desperate Prayer

  • An instant cast self heal, which costs no mana and comes with a 2 minute cooldown.
  • Should be used in emergency situations where you need a fast, efficient heal.
  • The healing provided by this is affected by Echo of Light.

Divine Hymn

  • A channeled spell that heals the 5 party or raid members with the lowest health within 40 yards every 2 seconds for 8 seconds and increases the healing done to them by 10% for 8 seconds.
  • Divine Hymn determines who the most damaged party or raid members are prior to each tick going out and then heals them. This means that the same 5 people may not receive all of the healing from Divine Hymn, as each heal will always go to the raid member who is most in need of healing.
  • Normally caps at 20 heals, but this can be increased to 25 heals by reaching the first Haste breakpoint of 12.50% Haste.
  • This spell should only be used in situations where the group or raid is taking heavy amounts of damage that you feel you may not be able to react to in any other way. It also works well when used with other people’s cooldowns, as it will increase all of the healing done to those healed by Divine Hymn, in addition to the healing provided by Divine Hymn.

Flash Heal

  • A 1.5 second cast direct healing spell which is meant to be used as a fast, emergency heal.
  • Can be expensive and should not be spammed.
  • Use immediately after Holy Word: Serenity for a quick way to get someone back up to full health.

Greater Heal

  • A 3 second cast spell which provides a large amount of healing to a single target.
  • Greater Heal is best used in conjunction with Serendipity, due to how expensive it is and how long it takes to cast.
  • Can be used by itself, but should only be used in emergency situations. It is not meant to be a spell that you spam, or cast repeatedly.


  • A 3 second cast spell which provides a modest amount of healing to a single target.
  • This spell is very mana efficient and is best used during periods of moderate and predictable damage.
  • Heal may not provide enough healing to top someone off after a large damage spike. Use Flash Heal or Greater Heal, instead.


  • A unique type of heal that creates an object which people can click on to receive a short burst of periodic healing.
  • Lightwell lasts for 3 minutes and typically comes with 10 charges, or you can glyph for it and have it come with 15. Each charge gives an ally the Lightwell Renew effect, which heals them for a certain amount over 6 seconds, or three ticks of healing total.
  • If a person using the Lightwell takes damage equal to 30% of their health, it will cancel the Lightwell Renew effect.
  • The healing provided by Lightwell is not passive. A player must actively mouse over the Lightwell and click on it in order to begin receiving healing from it.
  • The healing provided by Lightwell Renew does not trigger Echo of Light and is not affected by your Critical Strike rating.
  • With enough Haste rating, it is possible to get a fourth tick out of a charge from Lightwell. Raid buffs, such as Moonkin Aura, Wrath of Air Totem, or Mind Quickening, and talents like Darkness will not have any effect on this, as they increase your Haste and not your Haste rating. This is widely considered to be a bug that has not yet been addressed by the developers. Because it is unclear how much actual Haste you need to reach this point (my research has shown anywhere between 1700 – 3600 Haste does the trick) it is not something you should go out of your way to achieve. However, if you are already gearing for Haste, it may be possible to reach this point, with the help of trinkets or weapons that come with sizable Haste procs (like Seal of the Seven Signs or Ti’tahk, Steps of Time).
  • Lightwell lasts for 3 minutes, until all of the charges are consumed, or until you move too far from away it and it despawns.

Prayer of Healing

  • A 2.5 second cast heal, which heals the friendly target and their party members who are within range of them.
  • It has a healing radius of 30 yards, but has a cast range of 40 yards. This means that the person you want to target with Prayer of Healing must be within 40 yards of you and that the people in their party need to be within 30 yards of them to receive the healing from this spell.
  • Glyph of Prayer Healing enhances the throughput from this spell, by healing all affected targets for an additional 20% of the initial heal over 6 seconds.
  • This spell is best used in situations where at least 3 people in a party require healing. Circle of Healing should be used first, followed by Prayer of Healing, when in a raid setting. In a 5 man dungeon, Prayer of Healing should be used over Circle of Healing, unless you have to heal the party while moving.

Prayer of Mending

  • An instant cast spell, which puts a reactive buff on the target that heals them when they take any damage and then moves or bounces to another party or raid member within 20 yards.
  • Comes with a maximum of 5 charges, which are not consumed by environmental damage (i.e. falling or fatigue) or spells that reduce the caster’s hit points (like Life Tap). However, spells which cause damage to the caster, like Hellfire or Shadow Word: Death will cause Prayer of Mending to jump to someone else.
  • The heal from Prayer of Mending can crit and is affected by Echo of Light.
  • Tanks make the best targets for Prayer of Mending, as they are the ones who are most likely to take damage and to keep the buff active. It is best used at the start of a pull, but Prayer of Mending does not stack, and so it is possible to cancel out a Prayer of Mending already on the target with one that is recently cast. This can cause some strife between the healing priests in your raid, if you run with more than one, so be sure to coordinate this type of thing with them, or simply wait until theirs has been consumed before you cast yours.
  • Any threat that is generated by Prayer of Mending is considered to be generated by the healing priest, not by the recipient of the heal.
  • Prayer of Mending should be used on cooldown, whenever possible.


  • A HoT spell, which provides a set amount of healing over 12 seconds.
  • Renew normally provides one tick of healing every three seconds, to give a total of four ticks. With 12.50% Haste, you can receive a fifth tick of healing from Renew and a sixth tick at the next Haste breakpoint, which is at 37.50%.
  • The ticks of healing from Renew will not trigger Echo of Light, but the direct healing component of Divine Touch will. Heals provided by Renew also have a chance to crit.
  • Renew should be kept on the tank at all times, either by re-applying it or refreshing it with the use of direct heals while in Chakra: Serenity.
  • This spell is best used as a spot heal, for situations where there may not be enough people taking damage to warrant the use of Circle of Healing or Prayer of Healing. It is not meant to be used on a large number of people, like holy priests used to do in previous expansions.


There are a number of buffs available to priests that you may want to make sure are cast on people either prior to the pull or immediately upon resurrection.

Fear Ward

  • An instant cast spell which makes the target immune to a single Fear effect.
  • This effect lasts for 3 minutes and Fear Ward comes with a 3 minute cooldown.
  • The buff is consumed, even if the target is already immune to fear (like through Berserker Rage).
  • Can be used prior to a pull that you know is going to lead to a target being feared or immediately before a spell is cast which will lead to that outcome.

Inner Fire/Inner Will

  • Free, instant cast self buffs.
  • Only one may remain active at a time and you should always have one on you at all times.
  • Inner Will is primarily for priests who are just starting out and who may not have the mana efficiency required for Inner Fire just yet. Once you feel that you have a handle on your mana pool, Inner Fire is going to be the buff of choice.
  • It is possible to “dance” between buffs, as needed. For example, if you need a movement speed increase, you can swap from Inner Fire to Inner Will and then revert back once you do not need that advantage anymore. Or you can go from Inner Fire to Inner Will if you are running low on mana and feel that the buff could help your mana conservation.


  • A utility based spell that allows the target to levitate, reducing the speed of falling and allowing them to walk on water, or other liquid surfaces.
  • Levitate cannot be cast on targets who are mounted and any damage received will break the effect.
  • Can only be cast on people in your raid group or party.
  • Normally requires a reagent to cast, but Glyph of Levitate removes the need for this.
  • While it does not have many practical purposes in a PVE environment, Levitate can be used to avoid the Quake ability from the Crystalspawn Giants in the Stonecore instance.

Power Word: Fortitude

  • A party or raid buff that provides a certain amount of Stamina to the group for 1 hour.
  • This buff should be kept up all times and refreshed promptly, if a target dies and is brought back to life.
  • Does not stack with Blood Pact, Commanding Shout, or Qiraji Fortitude.

Shadow Protection

  • A party or raid buff that provides a certain amount of shadow resistance to the group for 1 hour.
  • This buff is only required for fights that involve shadow damage, as it significantly boosts your resistance to shadow spells only.
  • Does not stack with Resistance Aura.


Dispel Magic

  • A spell that can remove magical debuffs from yourself or your allies and that can remove buffs from enemy targets.

Mass Dispel

  • A spell that will attempt to remove 1 harmful debuff from any friendly targets or 1 buff from any enemy targets within a 15 yard radius.
  • Can affect a maximum of 10 friendly or 10 enemy targets.
  • Mass Dispel can remove magical effects that Dispel Magic cannot, such as Banish, Divine Shield, or Ice Block.
  • Targets those closest to the center of the green targeting circle and then moves outward.

Shackle Undead

  • A form of crowd control that works on Undead enemies and makes them unable to move or attack.

Cure Disease

  • Removes one disease from a friendly target.


  • Please see the Chakra section of this guide for more information on this ability.

Guardian Spirit

  • An instant cast ability that causes a target to receive 60% more healing for 10 seconds. If a player dies while under the effects of Guardian Spirit, the Spirit will sacrifice itself to heal them for 50% of their maximum health.
  • Guardian Spirit is not affected by the global cooldown and the heal from it is able to crit.
  • The most Guardian Spirit can heal for is 200% of the maximum health of the caster, not the target.
  • The component of Guardian Spirit that increases healing received only lasts as long as the target survives. If the target dies and is brought back to life by Guardian Spirit, they no longer have that part of the buff on them, even if there was still enough time left on the buff for them to benefit from it.
  • This spell is most often used on tanks and can either be used at your discretion or can be requested in advance.

Hymn of Hope

  • A channeled spell that restores 2% mana to up to 3 nearby party or raid members with the lowest amount of mana for 8 seconds and increases their total maximum mana by 15% for 8 seconds.
  • Should be used in situations where you or others around you are low on mana and need help getting some of it back. For the best effect, use abilities that give you mana back, based on your maximum mana while the buff from Hymn of Hope is active (i.e. Arcane Torrent, Shadowfiend).
  • Priests now have 100% spell pushback while channeling this spell and will not be interrupted or lose channeling time because of incoming damage. However, you can still be stunned or interrupted and be forced to stop channeling because of this.

Leap of Faith

  • Also known as “Life Grip,” and pulls a party or raid member to your location.
  • Can be used to help with kiting situations or to help pull an ally out of something bad they are standing in.


  • Brings a dead player back to life. Cannot be used in combat.


  • Used to temporarily reduce the amount of aggro that you have or that you generate while in groups.
  • Should be used wisely and not spammed repeatedly throughout an encounter.

Psychic Scream

  • A form of crowd control that causes up to 5 nearby enemy targets to run away in fear.
  • Psychic Scream is not a reliable form of crowd control and should be used wisely in instances, especially in places where enemy targets are tightly grouped together. If you find that you have aggro, it is best to run towards the tank, so they can pull the enemies off of you. Using this spell to make them run away in fear only makes it harder for the tank to pick up threat on those targets again.


  • Summons a pet that temporarily fights for you and whose attacks help you regenerate mana when they land.
  • Each successful strike from a shadowfiend returns 3% of your maximum mana, so it is best to use it when you are under the effect of something that will increase the size of your mana pool (i.e. Power Torrent, a trinket like Fiery Quintessence).
  • Should be used on targets that are not near death, as the shadowfiend may not find another target right away if its current target dies and it may stand there and do nothing.
  • Can return more mana if used while Bloodlust or Heroism is active.
  • It was widely suggested at one point to use shadowfiend with Hymn of Hope to get the most mana back. While this strategy does indeed work, it can also be a challenge to time both abilities just right and to make sure that each ability sees its full duration (i.e. the shadowfiend does not die early or stops attacking or you get interrupted while channeling Hymn of Hope).


Introduced in Cataclysm, Chakra is a core ability for any holy priest, whether they are doing dailies by themselves or in a group and providing much needed healing. Chakra can be confusing and even overwhelming to some priests, but can become easy to use and adapt to with a little patience.

To place yourself in a Chakra state, simply cast Chakra and then cast one of eight spells immediately after that. Whichever spell you choose to cast next will determine which Chakra state that you enter.

Casting Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, or Binding Heal after casting Chakra will put you into Chakra: Serenity, which is our tank or single target healing stance. While in this particular Chakra, your direct healing spells have a 10% increased chance to crit and they will refresh the duration of a Renew that is already present on the target.

Casting Prayer of Mending or Prayer of Healing after casting Chakra will put you into Chakra: Sanctuary, which is our AOE or raid healing stance. This Chakra increases the healing done by your AOE healing spells and Renew by 15% and reduces the cooldown of Circle of Healing by 2 seconds.

You can also choose to enter a third state, called Chakra: Chastise, by casting Smite or Mind Spike after casting Chakra. This state increases your total damage done with holy and shadow spells by 15%.

In order to get the most out of your Chakra states, you want to place a talent point into a nearby talent in the holy tree called Revelations, which will convert your Holy Word: Chastise spell into another ability, depending on which Chakra state that you are in at the time.

Being in Chakra: Serenity will give you access to a spell called Holy Word: Serenity, which provides an instant cast direct heal on a target and increases your chance to critically heal that player by 25% for 8 seconds. Comes with a 10 second cooldown.

Holy Word: Sanctuary will become available to you once you activate Chakra: Sanctuary and lets you create a zone of healing light on the ground which heals anyone standing inside of it every 2 seconds for 18 seconds. It used to provide diminished returns, if more than 6 people were standing inside of it, but this was recently removed. Comes with a 40 second cooldown.

Chakra: Chastise is the only Chakra state which does not change Holy Word: Chastise into something else. The spell remains exactly the same as it is when you are not in a Chakra state.

Chakra comes with a 30 second cooldown, so if you enter the wrong Chakra state by mistake, you will have to wait at least 30 seconds to change into the correct stance. However, once you enter a Chakra state, you can remain in it, indefinitely. In the past, you had to maintain your Chakra state by casting certain spells (the ones that you would use to enter a Chakra state, to begin with), but that was removed a short time after Cataclysm launched.

For more information on Chakra, please see my Guide to the Chakra Sutra.


The most popular talent builds for a holy priest do not leave much in the way of versatility or options, mostly because we have very few filler talents to speak of. All of our talent points go towards things that we need in order to do our jobs well, and so we rarely have additional points to play with or to put into less useful things.

The two most common builds tend to revolve around your stat priority or which secondary stats you decide you want to gear for. Some talents are optional, while others are quite mandatory. Here are some builds that I would suggest for you to choose from, depending on your current situation.

For the holy priest who has just turned 85 or is gearing up through 5 mans:

This spec makes a great starter build for an up and coming holy priest, with an emphasis on talents that will help you manage your mana and that will help enhance the basic spells that you will be relying on in a 5 man setting.

Darkness and Divine Fury are important, as your spells are going to feel like they take a long time to cast, and every little bit of Haste helps. You also want to try and start gearing towards that first Haste breakpoint of 12.50, so you can get an extra tick of Renew and Divine Hymn. Speaking of Divine Hymn, I only placed 1 talent point into Heavenly Voice, as you should not be using Divine Hymn too much in a 5 man dungeon. Most of your talent points in this build will go towards enhancing your single target heals, like Heal, Flash Heal, and Greater Heal.

For the raiding holy priest, who is choosing to gear for Haste over Mastery:



This build is not much different than the previous starter build, with a few noticeable differences. Surge of Light has been removed, as you will most likely not be using most of the spells that would proc this talent in a raid enough where you would really benefit from having it. A second talent point has been placed into Heavenly Voice, as Divine Hymn is a very powerful cooldown and will be used frequently. One point was placed in Rapid Renewal, as Renew will start seeing more use as a spot heal once your gear improves and you should always be keeping Renew on the tank.

For the raiding holy priest, who is choosing to gear for Mastery over Haste:

This build is a more refined version of the previous two and focuses more on survivability and raw throughput, with less emphasis on Haste. Darkness is out, which leaves 3 additional talent points to put elsewhere. I would recommend placing these points into Inner Sanctum, as Blessed Resilience only helps you if you are the focus of an attack. Any damage caused by general raid damage or things like that will not proc this talent for you anymore. The 6% reduction in spell damage will benefit you in situations like those and especially if you find yourself breaking into Heroic modes, where the incoming raid damage can be quite intense.


Our Mastery is called Echo of Light and it allows each direct heal that you cast on someone to heal them for an additional 16% over 6 seconds. Each additional point of Mastery that you have will increase the size of this heal by an extra 1.25%. The heal over time portion of Echo of Light ticks 6 times, or once per second. This healing is not affected by your Critical Strike or Haste rating.

“How does Echo of Light work?”

Any time that you cast one of the above mentioned heals or healing effects on someone, Echo of Light will leave behind a heal over time effect on them for 16% of how much that ability healed them for. For example:

Obscene’s Flash Heal heals Obscene for 16471
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 454 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light

Admittedly, that doesn’t sound like a lot. Where Echo of Light really shines is with abilities that heal more than one person, like Circle of Healing and Prayer of Healing. Having numerous people receive an additional heal over time on them after you heal them is pretty nice and makes a difference on fights with heavy AOE damage. People standing in the effects of Holy Word: Sanctuary will also receive heals from Echo of Light and it will refresh itself as the person stands inside of it and for as long as the healing zone is generating heals.

Obscene’s Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Obscene for 680
Obscene gains 19 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Obscene for 674
Obscene gains 19 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Obscene
Obscene gains 28 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Obscene for 621
Obscene gains 28 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Obscene

This brings up a very good point and the next thing I will talk about.

“How does Echo of Light refresh itself?”

At first glance, it is easy to think that the heal over time placed by Echo of Light from a larger heal will be clipped by one from a smaller heal and then the overall effectiveness will be reduced. I used to think this way, too. Luckily, Echo of Light works in such a way where the overall HPS does not change because of this and will still provide a consistent amount of healing. Let’s say that I cast Greater Heal on myself and then Heal shortly after it.

Obscene’s Greater Heal heals Obscene for 21408
Obscene gains Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 592 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 592 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Heal heals Obscene for 8026
Obscene’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Obscene
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 518 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light

You may notice that the ticks from Echo of Light which came after Heal are healing for less than those that came after Greater Heal. You may also notice that refreshing Echo of Light before it was finished ticking down caused a 7th tick of Echo of Light to take place the next time around. As stated earlier, Echo of Light typically only provides 6 ticks. What does it all mean? It means that you did not actually heal for any less because you refreshed Echo of Light with a smaller heal. Let me show you how.

If you total up all of the Echo of Light ticks that took place in the previous example, you would come up with 4803. This is roughly the sum of 16% of the amount of your Greater Heal (3425) plus 16% of the amount of your Heal (1284) or what each would have normally healed for had the heal not been clipped. You can see that you have not actually lost any healing. You probably gained some, depending on how much Mastery rating you have. Mine is currently at 13.25 for the purpose of these examples.

The game took the amount of healing done by Echo of Light from the first heal (21408 x 16%), subtracted the healing that was already done (592 + 591) and then adds the healing that would take place by Echo of Light from the next spell (8026 x 16%). Then it divides that amount by 7, which give you 7 ticks of Echo of Light.

3425 – 1183 = 2242 + 1284 = 3526/7

When you add it all up, you will see that your Echo of Light was not affected negatively and you have not lost any healing by casting a smaller heal over a larger one.

(Excerpts taken from my original post, called “Understanding Echo of Light.”)


For the rare occasions that you will be tank healing, you will want to make sure you are in Chakra: Serenity before you do anything else. Tank healing while holy tends to follow more of a rotation, so here are the steps I would suggest to follow when doing so.

Step #1: Cast Prayer of Mending on the tank and refresh on cooldown.

Step #2: Cast Renew.

Step #3: Spam Heal, as it is extremely mana efficient and keeps Renew and Echo of Light rolling on the tank, along with Inspiration.

Step #4: Use Holy Word: Serenity if the tank suddenly gets low. Follow it up with a fast heal, like Flash Heal. Use another Flash Heal if the previous one was not enough and then Greater Heal, if you require even more healing.

Step #5: Repeat, as necessary.

Flash Heal will give you one stack of Serendipity each time that you use it, so make sure you try to stabilize the tank with Flash Heal before you go straight to using Greater Heal. Trying to cast Greater Heal without any stacks of Serendipity present will be more expensive and it will take longer to cast.

Use Renew as a spot heal for individuals who may need healing in your party or Prayer of Healing if at least 3 people in the party require healing. If you take damage, use Binding Heal on the tank or someone else. Try not to use Circle of Healing too much in a 5m setting, unless you find that you need to heal while moving.


Chakra: Sanctuary will be your Chakra of choice, for when you are asked to heal the raid, which will be more often than not. Make sure you are in this stance before you begin tossing out heals. There tends to be less of a rotation for raid healing than there is for tank healing, but there are some important things to bear in mind.

Rule #1: Start off the pull by casting Prayer of Mending, preferably on the tank. It is possible to cast it on other targets during an encounter, depending on how much raid damage is going out. As stated in the tank healing section, you should be using Prayer of Mending on cooldown.

Rule #2: If at least 3 people in the raid, who are not in the same party are taking damage, use Circle of Healing.

If at least 3 people in the raid, who are in the same party have taken damage, use Prayer of Healing. Always use Circle of Healing first, then try to heal any groups back up to full with Prayer of Healing.

Rule #3: Always drop a Lightwell. Make sure you have a macro to announce that you have cast a Lightwell and be sure to vocalize where the Lightwell is in Vent or Mumble, if you can. If you notice that people are not clicking your Lightwell, ask people if dropping it in a better place may help. The most common reason that people do not click it is because they either cannot see it or they cannot reach it. Try to meet them halfway on this.

Contrary to popular opinion, it may not always be best to drop a Lightwell at the start of the pull. Some fights like Yor’sahj or Ultraxion have raid wide damage that takes a while to get going. Make sure you are dropping your Lightwell during times where it will get the most use.

Rule #4: Use Holy Word: Sanctuary carefully. Be sure to use this spell only during times where people are guranteed to be grouped up and standing still long enough to benefit from the healing that it puts out. For instance, you do not want to drop it when everyone is running around the platform on Hagara. But you will want to drop it throughout most of the Ultraxion fight, as you are standing in one place for the majority of the encounter.

Another piece of advice I would give you about Holy Word: Sanctuary is to give it time for it to do its thing. The healing that comes from this spell does not come quickly, but it does build up over time to eventually put out some nice numbers. It does not make any sense to drop a Sanctuary zone and then immediately override your own heals by spamming Circle of Healing or Prayer of Healing. There are situations where the outgoing raid damage is so intense that you will be casting frantically, in order to keep up. But more often than not it does not hurt to cast Holy Word: Sanctuary and then keep an eye on the healing that it is slowly being put out, filling in gaps when needed.

Rule #5: Do not spam Renew. Renew makes a great spot heal for individuals who are taking damage and in situations where your group healing spells may be overkill. Renew is great to keep rolling on a tank, if you can afford to do so. But please do not use Renew en masse to keep your raid up through incoming damage. You have other spells that can handle this better and without causing you to run out of mana so quickly.



The first thing I would like to suggest, regarding glyphs, is that you always keep a stack of Dust of Disappearance on you. There are some fights where some glyphs may shine more than others and it helps to tailor your glyph choices to meet your needs. While there are a number of glyphs available for holy priests, there are only a select few that are worth even considering. Here are some of the top choices that you may want to pick up for yourself.

[Glyph of Power Word: Shield]
This glyph can be useful when you are first starting out, as the heal that comes from putting a shield on someone is considered a direct heal, for the purpose of refreshing Renew while in Chakra: Serenity.

[Glyph of Lightwell]
This is a vital glyph that gives your Lightwell 5 extra charges for people to use. The only downside to this glyph is that like most things concerning Lightwell, its usefulness is dependent on the people in your raid or party actually using it. If your group tends to ignore the Lightwell, this glyph may not be the best for you.

[Glyph of Renew]
This glyph can be useful, depending on how often you use Renew and how much of your healing on the tank from Renew goes straight to overhealing.

[Glyph of Prayer of Healing]
An essential glyph, which leaves a HoT on targets healed by Prayer of Healing for 20% of the initial heal. Shines in a 5 man setting, but shines even more in raids.

[Glyph of Guardian Spirit]
This glyph used to be much more powerful in the previous expansion, but still has some use in recent times. If you are about to heal an encounter where Guardian Spirit is really relied upon or you are expected to use it at specific times, this glyph may be a good choice for you. If you are using Guardian Spirit on more of a “free for all” basis, I would consider a different glyph.


[Glyph of Desperation]
This glyph is considered to be more of a PVP glyph, but I have found uses for it in a PVE setting. You can use it while entombed on Hagara and also while wrapped up in a tentacle on Spine of Deathwing. While it is not overwhelmingly useful, there are situations where this glyph can come in handy for you. Feel free to experiment and see what other fights you could get some use out of this one on.

[Glyph of Circle of Healing]
The recent change to this glyph, which increased its mana cost by 20% means that it could be less useful to you in a 10m setting, where Prayer of Healing tends to be used more and often times for less mana. I would consider this an essential glyph for a 25 man raider, but more of a toss up for someone who is raiding in a 10 man group.

[Glyph of Prayer of Mending]
Another glyph that is mandatory, this glyph causes the first heal provided by Prayer of Mending to heal for an additional 60%. This should be more of an incentive for you to keep Prayer of Mending bouncing at all times and the healing from this glyph can make a nice showing on the meters, too.

[Glyph of Fade]
This glyph can be useful when first starting out, especially if you are running with tanks who have just hit level 85 and are finding their footing, too. There should not be too many situations where you would need this glyph in a raid setting. If you do, this may mean you need to have a conversation with your tanks to try and understand where the problem lies.


[Glyph of Fortitude]
This glyph can help save you a bit of mana when you are buffing the raid before the pull or if you have to buff someone who has just received a battle res.

[Glyph of Shadow Protection]
This glyph makes it so that you do not have to re-apply the Shadow Protection buff as often. Mind you, there are not many situations where you need it for more than 30 minutes at a time, but this glyph is there if you do find yourself in that type of predicament.

[Glyph of Levitate]
More of a vanity glyph or something fun to have on you. Levitate has never been an essential spell, but not having to carry reagents around is always a good thing.

[Glyph of Shadowfiend]
Some priests feel that this glyph has declined in usefulness, as Shadowfiend now takes 90% less AOE damage. I still think it is better to be safe than sorry and the added insurance does not hurt. This glyph may not be as useful as it once was, but I think it still has a place in one of your glyph slots.



Arcanum of Hyjal
+60 Intellect and 35 Critical Strike Rating
Guardians of Hyjal – Revered


Lesser Inscription of Charged Lodestone
+30 Intellect and 20 Haste Rating
Therazane – Honored

Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
+50 Intellect and 25 Haste Rating
Therazane – Revered

Felfire Inscription
+130 Intellect and 25 Haste Rating


Enchant Cloak – Intellect
+30 Intellect

Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect
+50 Intellect

Darkglow Embroidery (Rank 2)
Chance to increase your Spirit by 580 for 15 seconds when you cast a spell

Lightweave Embroidery (Rank 2)
Chance to increase your Intellect by 580 for 15 seconds when you cast a spell.


Enchant Chest – Mighty Stats
+15 to all stats

Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
+20 to all stats


Draconic Embossment – Intellect
+130 Intellect

Enchant Bracer – Speed
+50 Haste

Enchant Bracer – Greater Speed
+65 Haste

Enchant Bracer – Mighty Intellect
+50 Intellect


Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery
+65 Mastery

Enchant Gloves – Haste
+50 Haste


Ghostly Spellthread
+55 Intellect and 45 Spirit

Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
+95 Intellect and 55 Spirit

Sanctified Spellthread (Rank 2)
+95 Intellect and 55 Spirit


Enchant Boots – Haste
+50 Haste

Enchant Boots – Lavawalker
+35 Mastery and Minor Movement Speed

Enchant Boots – Mastery
+50 Mastery


Enchant Weapon – Heartsong
Chance to increase Spirit by 200 for 15 seconds when healing or dealing damage with spells

Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent
Chance to increase Intellect for 500 for 12 seconds when dealing damage or healing with spells

Which should you choose?

If you are interested solely in regen, choose Heartsong. If you are interested in less regen with some throughput on the side, choose Power Torrent.

For more information on both of these enchants, please view my original Heartsong v. Power Torrent post.


Enchant Off-Hand – Superior Intellect
+40 Intellect


If you are looking to fill a red socket:
Brilliant Inferno Ruby: +40 Intellect (rare)
Brilliant Queen’s Garnet: +50 Intellect (epic)

If you are looking to fill a yellow socket:
Artful Ember Topaz: + 20 Intellect and 20 Mastery (rare)
Artful Lava Coral: +25 Intellect and 25 Mastery (epic)


If you are looking to fill a a blue socket:
Purified Demonseye: +20 Intellect and 20 Spirit (rare)
Purified Shadow Spinel: +25 Intellect and 25 Spirit (epic)

Meta gems:
Ember Shadowspirit Diamond: +54 Intellect and 2% Maximum Mana (requires at least 2 yellow gems)
Burning Shadowspirit Diamond: +54 Intellect and 3% Increased Critical Effect (requires at least 3 red gems)


Flask of Flowing Water: Increases Spirit by 300 for 1 hour
Flask of the Draconic Mind: Increases Intellect by 300 for 1 hour

Delicious Sagefish Tail: Increases Spirit and Stamina by 90 for 1 hour
Severed Sagefish Head: Increases Intellect and Stamina by 90 for 1 hour
Basilisk Liverdog: Increases Haste and Stamina by 90 for 1 hour
Lavascale Minestrone: Increases Mastery and Stamina by 90 for 1 hour


Mythical Mana Potion: Restores 9250 to 10,750 mana. 1 minute cooldown.
Potion of Concentration: Restores 22,000 over 10 seconds, but requires you to stand still and channel to gain the full effect.
Volcanic Potion: Increases Intellect by 1200 for 25 seconds. Great for situations where mana is not an issue, but additional throughput is.


15 Responses to “Oestrus’ Comprehensive Holy Priest Guide – Version 4.3”

  1. Tomaj January 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Okay, so narrowed down some haste values for you on Lightwell 4th tick.

    My priest has 18.01% haste unbuffed (1866 haste rating plus 3 points in Darkness), and receives 3 ticks of Lightwell. Using Lifeblood at max rank with 3 points in Darkness, I get up to 2346 haste rating, or 21.87% haste. With the latter value, I obtain 4 ticks of Lightwell.

    • Oestrus January 30, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      I think some folks @ the Holy Compendium came up with some more precise values for how much Haste is necessary to achieve this. I’ll have to test these numbers out for myself sometime and see if I get the same results.

  2. Blixa January 30, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    It really bugs me that this post only has 2 comments!

    Thanks for the effort and write up – my main ALT is a holy/disc priest and while I spend a lot of time researching for my ‘main’, I don’t have as much time to really get into the nitty gritty of healing priests – so this was a great help!

    • Oestrus January 30, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      Hi Blixa,

      Thank you so much for the compliment. It’s not uncommon for guides to not receive as many comments as other posts do, usually because people only leave a comment on a guide if they need further clarification on something or if they happen to disagree with something that is mentioned within a guide.

      I’m glad this post could help you and please feel free to stop by anytime.


  3. Amerpriest January 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    Hi O, really nice guide! great effort on putting all these much details and very informative comprehensive guide. Thank you for all the work you’ve done. As always your an inspiration! =)

  4. Furioso January 31, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    Minor correction:

    “Any threat that is generated by Prayer of Mending is considered to be generated by the healing priest, not by the recipient of the heal.”

    PoM did not generate threat when it was introduced in Burning Crusade and does not generate threat now (in Cataclysm). This one reason why it is a spectacular spell to cast on a tank before a pull.

    Also, since Burning Crusade, Blizzard has corrected a flaw where the healing was attributed to the party receiving the PoM (heal). It is now correctly attributed to the Priest casting the PoM.

    Good guide.

    • Noëlle Anthony February 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

      Prayer of Mending absolutely did generate threat when it was introduced: it generated threat on the person being healed (for the same reason that the person being healed was credited for the heal), which is why it was such a powerful tool for healing priests. (It’s still useful now, but not as useful.) I remember empirically verifying this with a helpful tank. Mending’s threat generation was removed at the same time that the healing was patched to be credited correctly.

  5. Vas February 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    Looks good, I wish I’d had something like this when I started healing. A few random points that might help new healers:

    I think it’s worth mentioning in both places that Heal refreshes Renew (in Chakra: Serenity) and costs less mana.

    The +20% HoT buff from a glyphed Prayer of Healing doesn’t stack with itself, so don’t cast it on the same group twice in a row if you can help it.

    I would also emphasize that Prayer of Healing heals party members near the target, not near yourself, which lets you heal people you can’t otherwise reach or get LoS on.

    In LFR especially, ask for you and both tanks to be moved to the same group. Now you can do a quick Binding Heal-> Serendipity-> Prayer of Healing combo without shifting targets, quick healing the three most important people in the raid. This also makes it so much easier (for me at least) to notice my own health bar.

    Don’t heal yourself if you can help it – use Binding Heal on someone else who needs it.

    If you’re nervous about your healing skills you should visit a large battle ground, everyone expects to die quickly so it’s a no-lose situation. You can test out your different healing strats and get a better idea of how to pace your mana flow.

  6. Malin February 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Thank you! Thank you! I found more helpful info here than I could have in weeks of in game questioning! I will be more confident in RDF tonight thanks to you! Way to tailor your advice to the needs of various levels of healing. Most excellent!

  7. Jason April 20, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    Oh No! Some of the talent pictures are missing from this post! Any chance of fixing the links? Cheers! 🙂

    • Oestrus April 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

      Crap. That must have happened when I transitioned back to free WordPress. I’ll shoot to have that fixed by the end of the weekend.

      Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  8. Hecam April 30, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Thank you very much for this guide. Back to the game after a long break and your guide is my – Learn It, Love It, Love it.
    Opinion on Dual spec Holy (5man)/Holy Raid healer? Or is it better to 2nd spec Disc with Archangel? TY

  9. healingspec April 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Wow….a ton of great info “O” for my priest. Haven’t played him in awhile so now I got a place to start. Thanks 🙂

  10. jehoshaphat May 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    i wonder why i should take [body and soul] instead of [blessed resilience]
    would you care te explain?


  1. WoW Weekly Wrapup #4 « Trocar ganked you! - January 29, 2012

    […] finally has her comprehensive 4.3 Holy Priest guide […]

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