Current as of Patch 5.4

Role | Talents & Glyphs | Stat Priority | Reforging
Cooldowns | Single Target Healing | AOE Healing

This guide gives you all of the most critical information that you need to know so that you can play a Holy Priest at level 90 in PVE content.  The guide covers talents, glyphs, stats, reforging, and rotations. 

This guide will assume that since you are level 90 you will be able to take the basic information and run with it, simple topics like addons, macros, targeting, and more are not covered.

The Role of a Holy Priest

As a Holy Priest your role in a group is to heal other players. Holy Priests have long been looked at as one of the best healers around, and that is no different in Mists of Pandaria. While there are arguments to be made for Discipline or Holy as the better of the Priest healing specs, they both have their strong points and dependant on your healing role, either holy or discipline will be better for you. Holy currently (as of patch 5.4) provides huge burst healing making them an ideal raid healer.

A Holy Priest can provide several benefits and abilities to help out a group they are in besides simply the healing that they provide.

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  • Provides the stamina raid buff - Power Word: Fortitude, boosting all players stamina by 10%.
  • Can boost mana regeneration to the raid with Hymn of Hope.
  • Can provide protection from fear with Fear Ward, which is very useful for some raid fights.
  • Can cleanse magic and disease effects from friendly players with Purify, or from a number of players at once with Mass Dispel.
  • A short term AOE CC with Psychic Scream.
  • Can pull friendly players out of danger with Leap of Faith.

Holy Priest Talents and Glyphs

Holy Priests have traditionally been main tank healers, however over the last few expansions they have migrated to more of a generic raid healer. They can however full any role and some of the talents and glyphs available to them help them do that.

To make the most of your healing there are a several talents that you should select, however with the new talent system for the most part you are free too chose talents and glyphs that you like rather than specific ones. 

As a Holy Priest you should make sure you choose the following talents:

Mindbender (Tier 3 talent) - This talent grants you the ability to summon a mindbender that will attack enemies and regenerate you mana. This summoned pet is on a 1 minute cooldown and lasts for 15 seconds. It replaces your shadowfiend but generates additional mana and causes additional damage.

Divine Insight (Tier 5 talent) - This talent upgrades your greater heal and prayer of healing to provide additional benefits. The benefit comes in the form of a 40% chance that your next prayer of mending jumps to additional targets instantly and does not trigger the normal cooldown.

Cascade (Tier 6 talent) - This talent grants you a new ability that does healing or damage depending on if the target is friendly or an enemy. In either form it travels to its target and heals or causes damage and then splits into two and travels to additional targets, then splits again, travels and splits again. It does 3 bounces total and therefore hits a total of 9 targets. It's a great utility heal or situational damage ability on a 25 second cooldown.

For Holy Priests there are a few major Glyphs that help out your healing. None offer a significant enough increase in your healing that they are 100% required though.

The ones to consider are: Glyph of Deep Wells, Glyph of Inner Sanctum, and Glyph of Renew.

Holy Priest Stat Priority

It is important to understand your stat priority for your class, as going after the wrong stats can really hurt your ability to play that class. For a Holy Priest the key stats are those that allow you to heal for big numbers and over a long period of time.

The stat priority for a Holy Priest is as follows:

Intellect > Spirit > Mastery > Crit > Haste

Important Notes:

  • Mastery - The key stat once you are looking past the core stats of Intellect and Spirit is Mastery. Mastery is your biggest secondary stat for a good reason, it provides a boost to all of your direct healing spells. That boost is a % of healing that is added to all direct healing spells that applies as a Heal Over Time (HoT) for the next 6 seconds. The % increase is based off of your Mastery rating.

  • Haste– Haste allows you to cast spells in a shorter time and for several of your heals (those that heal over time) to heal more as it will increase the number of ticks of healing that they do. Both of these benefits are very good for you as a healer, however they are still overshadowed by the benefits that mastery and crit provide. Haste does have a few break points that can be useful to keep in mind though. At 16.66% you will gain an extra tick to your Renew, Lightwell, and 3 extra ticks to your Holy Word: Sanctuary.

Reforging as Holy Priest

When reforging simply follow the stat priority above for Holy Priest and move the lowest stat to the highest stat that the piece does not have on it. We will ignore Intellect and Stamina as every piece you get will also have those.

If your gear has these two stats…

Reforge this stat…

… to this stat

Spirit + Mastery

Do not reforge

Do not reforge

Spirit + Crit



Spirit + Haste



Mastery + Crit



Mastery + Haste



Haste + Crit



Important Notes:

  • Spirit - At some point while gearing up you will get to an amount of spirit that allows your mana to last through the longest fights that you are dealing with. Once you have reached that point you can start to prioritize Mastery and Haste over Spirit on upgrades as long as you make sure that you maintain the amount of spirit that you already had, and continue to monitor your mana in fights, if at any point you start having mana issues, reforge some spirit back onto your gear.

Holy Priest Cooldowns

There are several cooldowns that you can use as a Holy Priest that can play a big part in your healing rotation.  The most obvious ones start with your talent based cooldowns as chosen and discussed above. These include Cascade for AOE healing and Mindbender for mana regeneration. The rest of the cooldowns you should use are as follows:

Divine Hymn – This is a great AOE cooldown for after big incoming raid damage. It is on a 3 minute cooldown though, so save it for when really needed.

Divine Spirit - This is a 10 second buff to a player that prevents their death once during that time frame and ups all healing received by 60%. This should be used to help save a tank when there is huge incoming damage and they are out of cooldowns.

Lightwell - This should be used whenever the 3 minute cooldown is up to provide on demand raid healing for players. Make sure you make a macro that yells at people to actually use it.

Void Shift – This ability is a long 5 minute cooldown ability that allows you to swap health percentages with another player. It also heals the lesser player to 25% health. This is a great save ability when cast on a tank that is about to die since you will generally have full health since you are hanging back at a distance.

Holy Priest Single Healing Target Rotation

Healing is a lot more about situational awareness than about a set rotation. Meaning that if the target does not need to be healed, you shouldn't waste the mana to cast a heal on them just to push out big healing numbers.

The rotation that provides the most efficient healing output against a single target is roughly as follows:

1 - Chakra: Serenity – Keep this self buff active at all times to boost your healing.

2 - Inner Fire– Keep this self buff active at all times to boost your armour and your spell power.

3 - Renew  - Keep this active on your main target all the time.

4 - Holy Word: Serenity – Use on cooldown.

5 - Prayer of Mending - Keep this active and bouncing around whenever there is damage on multiple targets.

5 - Heal or Greater Heal - Use on the target depending on the amount of health that needs to be healed. Heal for a small amount and Greater Heal for a large amount.

6 - Flash Heal - Use only as an emergency heal for players that need health quickly.

Holy Priest AOE Healing Rotation

Holy Priests can put out a good deal of AOE healing on demand, but are better at raid healing by throwing out specific heals to those that need it. If damage is not large coming in on the group, it is best to just use your most efficient heal and rotate through multiple targets healing each of them, however as raid damage increases and the number of targets being damaged increases, you can then get maximum healing by using the following rotation.

1 - Chakra: Sanctuary – Keep this self buff active at all times to boost your AOE healing.

2 - Inner Fire– Keep this self buff active at all times to boost your armour and your spell power.

3 - Renew  - Keep this active on your as many targets as reasonable that have suffered light damage.

4 - Holy Word: Sanctuary – Use on cooldown wherever damaged players are clustered.

5 - Prayer of Mending - Keep this active and bouncing around whenever there is damage on multiple targets.

5 - Circle of Healing- A great AOE heal that hits the five players most in need. Use on every cooldown as long as players are in need of healing.

6 - Prayer of Healing - A really good AOE heal that hits all friendly players within 30 yards. Use this repeatedly though high AOE damage phases.

Comments on Holy Priests

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.