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Battle for Azeroth Holy Priest Guide

Guide provided by Wowhead
Guide provided by Wowhead

Overview

Welcome to the Holy Priest guide, updated to Battle for Azeroth! In this guide, we will explain how all Holy Priest talents work and what are the best talent builds to use currently. We also highlight all the best uses for each talent, so you will always be prepared with the best strategy and the best Honor Talents to use while you are enjoying the bonuses from War Mode.

About the Author

The author of this guide is Jak, Priest Healer for Future on EU-Twisting Nether and caster for the Mythic Dungeon Invitational events. You can catch Jak online on his Twitter and his Twitch Stream.

Priorities and Abilities

Let's take a look at what spells a Holy Priest will have at their disposal in Battle for Azeroth and what the primary purpose of these spells are in a raid or dungeon environment. We will get to how these spells work in a raid environment later on.

Baseline Holy Spells

Healing Spells
  • Heal - Slow, efficient, single target direct heal, triggers Holy Words.
  • Flash Heal - Fast, more expensive single target heal, also triggers Holy Words.
  • Renew - Weak direct heal with a Heal over Time (HoT) effect, now reduces the cooldown of Holy Word: Sanctify.
  • Holy Word: Serenity - Strong direct heal, look for targets around half health or less to use, with a hefty cooldown reduced by Holy Words.
  • Holy Word: Sanctify - Strong, direct, reticule targeted Area of Effect (AoE) heal. Good for healing stacked groups of players, with a hefty cooldown reduced by Holy Words.
  • Prayer of Healing - Very expensive smart heal that heals the target and 5 other injured targets within 30 yards. Triggers Holy Words.
  • Prayer of Mending - A charge based heal that is cast on a friendly target which heals them when they take damage and then bounces to another friendly target if charges are remaining, Use on cooldown!
  • Divine Hymn - Large channeled raid cooldown that heals all raiders over time within 40 yards of the casting player and increases healing done to them by 10% for 8 seconds.
Damage Dealing Spells
  • Holy Word: Chastise - Strong single target damage spell with a hefty cooldown, reduced by Holy Words.
  • Smite - Single target damage spell that triggers Holy Words.
  • Holy Nova - AoE damaging spell which can be very efficient for large quantities of small mobs.
  • Holy Fire - Instant cast damage spell that leaves Damage over Time (DoT) on the target.
Utility
  • Symbol of Hope - Provides exceptional utility although on a long cooldown.
  • Fade - Drops current threat from all enemies, can be useful for when additional enemies spawn during encounters and you want to ensure none of them are drawn to you.
  • Dispel Magic - Allows you to purge (remove) helpful buffs from your enemies.
  • Guardian Spirit - Increases healing received by the tank by 40% for the duration. If the tank dies while the Spirit is active the affected target is then healed to 40% of their max HP and the effect is cancelled. An effective tank cooldown that should be coordinated with your healing officer and tanks.
  • Leap of Faith - Pulls the target to you, can be very useful for moving tanks across the room with ease on high movement encounters, or gripping little Jimmy out of the fire... again.
  • Mind Control - Self explanatory, gain control of your enemies and jump them off cliffs!
  • Mass Dispel - Also self descriptive, removes debuffs from up to 5 players within the radius, excellent for clearing large amounts of debuffs on the raid.
  • Spirit of Redemption - While this is not an actively cast spell, this form allows you to cast any spells for no cost for the duration when triggered. Take this time to cast your highest healing and most expensive spells to ensure your raid is in a manageable position before it fades.

Holy Priest Priorities / Playstyle

Your playstyle in BfA revolves around making the fullest use of your Holy Words, while the rest of your Holy Priest rotation revolves around them, benefiting your Holy Words through cooldown reduction to increase your throughput, along with additional talents and spells that are to be used on cooldown.

NOTE: These are guidelines for a general priority under general circumstances, this is to give you an idea of what priority you put on casting which spells and why you cast them, situations and encounters can vary.

General Priority of Dungeon Healing
General Priority of Raid Healing

Advanced

Flash, Prayer of Healing, Binding Heal, and Heal

As you've seen in the healing priority, Holy has a great deal of tools at its disposal to top off health pools and synergize with Holy Words. What this means is that you will often have to analyze and make decisions based off of the target or targets' health pools to determine what ability that you need to use once your Holy Words are on cooldown. If talented into Binding Heal then you will often use this during light to moderate damage, so seeing health pools at 70-90%s it often is a good idea to utilize Binding Heal to heal them, even if you end up overhealing on yourself somewhat.

Flash Heal and Prayer of Healing are more extreme spells. What this means is that you will want to utilize these when players are often more damaged than healthy, i.e 50% or below. Both abilities cost a solid amount of mana and therefore should not be spammed unless absolutely necessary. Lastly, Heal is a slowly casted and efficient ability that is prioritized during downtime. While you can also choose to cast Smite to add extra damage, often it can actually be better to utilize Heal instead so that you are more easily able to get Holy Word: Serenity off cooldown more quickly, which in turn will allow you to instantly react to a large hit that can go onto a raid member if they stand in avoidable damage or fail a mechanic.

Holy Word: Power

Going into your active healing spells, targeted spells and the like, your focus will be on accuracy in Holy Words. Being accurate with Holy Word: Sanctify and Holy Word: Serenity is more important than ever. One of the most consistent areas to target your Holy Word: Sanctify are in melee, high chance of hitting full targets and it can be very easy to organize your groups to show all of the melee in the first two groups. If you see the first two groups taking damage, then you can immediately default to firing your Holy Word: Sanctify into melee and expecting good results. It takes practice, but accurate Holy Word: Sanctify can make a world of difference between life and death. In between these larger damage periods Binding Heal will shine as a strong, intermediate filer spell. Its low mana cost and powerful cooldown reduction will make it a must-have for pacing and stretching out your mana for raid encounters will also offering quick access to Holy Words. When damage ramps up, do not shy away from using heavy Prayer of Healing to keep the group alive and get your Holy Word: Sanctify off cooldown faster.

Holy's Large Cooldowns

Holy's large cooldowns make an immense impact on the raid and party environments. Apotheosis offers a substantial burst of Holy Word power. This can mean rapid use of Holy Word: Serenity onto the tank if they are taking heavy hits in a dungeon, or as a damage cooldown on an easy boss fight with accelerated Holy Word: Chastise uses. Symbol of Hope is a powerful mana regeneration cooldown for your healer team, the best use will frequently be later in the encounter where the most missing mana is present for your healer team. Holy Word: Salvation and Divine Hymn are your large raid cooldowns. Mixing these in requires coordination with your team to decide which mechanics those cooldowns need to counter. Holy Word: Salvation especially has great synergy with Benediction as the two stacks of Prayer of Mending that are placed onto each member of the raid will yield a substantial amount of Renew healing.

Raid Healing

What we have learned from Holy in Legion is that we have an incredible capacity to serve a great many needs that a raid can provide. Probably the most important of these needs is spot healing which will continue to be of prime importance in Battle for Azeroth. Spot healing refers to immediate, single target healing to tanks and priority allies that take heavy damage in short periods of time. As healers, it is not only important to top off anyone in danger of death but we are also incentivized to mix in single or 3 target healing in Binding Heal which will make for a decent portion of our healing. As a result, we can be solid tank healers and have abilities like Holy Word: Serenity that can instantly reverse damage.

With the power of Benediction well established, Holy is in a position to have a large amount of passive healing on the raid as we can actively heal priority targets. The best part about this passive healing, however, is that we can control where it starts to focus the largest amount of healing on individual targets. Bene pushes us to use Prayer of Mending on cooldown, but if we are focusing Prayer of Mending on tanks in particular then we are able to push a heavy amount of passive healing onto the tanks and reduce overheal as much as possible. Think of a white light passing through a Prism to create a rainbow. All of our passive healing from a Benediction build, Prayer of Mending, Renew, and Echo of Light can all "start" on an individual target allowing stronger tank healing, especially as we move into BfA where tanks will require greater focus than before. Halo and Divine Star will have a place in BfA raiding, but the main importance with using these abilities is timing. Watching timers for when large damage will go out, and being able to quickly respond with their uses by either precasting the former, or casting the latter immediately after damage hits.

And never forget to Always B Castin!

Talent Builds

Raids

This Holy Priest build is focused primarily on raiding.

Holy Recommended Talents for Raids

Mythic+

This Holy Priest build is focused on Mythic+.

Holy Recommended Talents for M+

Tier 1 (Level 15)
  • Enlightenment - A solid increase in mana regeneration and allows flexibility on what you are spending your additional mana on in comparison to Trail of Light. Default talent option for raiding at the moment.
  • Trail of Light - Trail allows for a marked increase in your single target healing by allowing your previous target to be healed for a portion of your last cast Flash Heal. From a mana perspective the more that you are casting Flash Heal, the more bonus effect of extra healing from Trail that you receive, which in fact creates healing for no additional mana cost. It also synergizes well with Mastery as the Trail target also receives Echo healing. Since Enlightenment has been nerfed, Trail of Light became very competitive in this tier. Trail is for sure stronger than Enlightenment in Dungeon content but is only used occasionally in raids.
  • Enduring Renewal - This is a PvE noob trap, plain and simple. Unfortunately Renew has been quite weakened in potency going into Legion and while this may look powerful in dungeons, it often devolves into overhealing and forces higher maintenance for any sort of solid performance.
Tier 2 (Level 30)
  • Angel's Mercy - Replicating the artifact trait effect from Legion, this talent offers solid cooldown reduction to Desperate Prayer at the cost of your mobility. Strong in low mobility encounters.
  • Perseverance - Decent damage reduction. Duration lasts as long as the Renew on your character, but unfortunately, mobility is such a necessity that this is not worth taking.
  • Angelic Feather -A slightly nerfed form of the spell that priests everywhere have come to know and love. Consistent, allows pre-placement and priority is given to the caster, your go-to for mobility.
Tier 3 (Level 45)
  • Cosmic Ripple - Only raw HPS increase in the row, go to pick for raid and Mythic+ if further utility is not needed.
  • Guardian Angel - Solid cooldown reduction for Guardian Spirit, but is often more niche in value.
  • Afterlife - Good talent that is outshined by raw HPS gains from Cosmic Ripple.
Tier 4 (Level 60)
  • Psychic Voice - Strong cooldown reduction to newly returned Psychic Scream. Decent for leveling, potential uses as Area of Effect interrupt in 5man content.
  • Censure - Adds extra value to Holy Word Chastise and can be powerful if your team needs more single target stuns in a dungeon.
  • Shining Force - Great displacement tool that can be cast on allies. Useful for helping tanks start kiting or creating space for yourself when leveling.
Tier 5 (Level 75)
  • Surge of Light - Offers free full strength Flash Heals for casting other heals, helpful in dungeon content when mobility is required.
  • Binding Heal - Go to raid talent. Very mana efficient ability that is weaved into the spell priority for light-moderate damage on the group.
  • Circle of Healing - Recently shuffled but poor healing for the cost and does not provide synergy with Holy Words.
Tier 6 (Level 90)
  • Benediction - A potent, passive talent augmenting existing abilities and improved by legendaries. You will cut Renew out of your playstyle unless you are moving and need a filler to cast, and will push for always casting your PoMs on the tanks so that they will be the most likely recipients of the Renew that follows. Strong synergy with Holy Word: Salvation in raids.
  • Divine Star - Weak, consistent heal for stacked raid fights. Also great leveling talent for the extra damage it can provide, especially while moving.
  • Halo - Fairly solid for more spread encounters and no longer has any range modes where you heal the target hit at the farthest difference for more, if you hit them at 5yrds away it heals for the same as the person hit 20 yards away.
Tier 7 (Level 100)
  • Light of the Naaru - Potent, flat additional cooldown reduction to Serendipity abilities. Long-term provides big cooldown reduction, but currently does not quite have strong enough effect to overtake other talents in the row.
  • Apotheosis - Very potent 2-minute cooldown allowing faster access to Holy Words. Must have in dungeon content
  • Holy Word: Salvation - A new talent for the expansion, offering an incredibly powerful cooldown that is reduced by Holy Word use. This 12-minute cooldown often averages around a 3 to 4-minute cooldown depending on the player's ability to cast more Holy Words. Hyper-efficient healing throughput, especially in the steady damage patterns of the early raid tiers.

War Mode

A new change in BFA is the addition of War Mode. War Mode is a new World PvP system in Battle for Azeroth, along with the new Honor system and Honor Talents. You are now able to toggle War Mode while in Stormwind or Orgrimmar to gain access to PvP Talents in the outdoor world as well as other bonuses, like increased rewards from World quests and 10% extra experience. The downside is that you will always be in PvP combat mode, with the rewards counterbalancing that risk.

With that in mind, not all talents give the best throughput for your Holy Priest. We've selected the best options for you to use while doing outdoor content with this mode turned on. Keep in mind that these are the best options for PvE activities and may differ from those used when fighting other players.

Crowd Control Talents

From a questing/leveling perspective, Relentless looks to be your best option as it will synergize best with open world content.

Non-CC PVP Talents

For this PvE oriented guide, this will look at talents that are best suited for solo leveling or questing content. Instanced and queued PVP talents will vary. Primary recommendations will be Inner Focus and Greater Fadeas these offer the highest personal defensive and damage oriented options available. Other PVP talents will be more optimal when running with a group or when engaging in actual world or instanced PVP.

Stats

Battle for Azeroth brings many differences as far as stats go. In BFA, thanks to the stat and item level squish items will have a smaller amount of attributes overall on them, plus there are less secondary stats available in BFA as compared to Legion.

Intellect is our main primary stat and is found on all gear that we want to be wearing. It has a higher value than any of the secondary stats and should be the first thing you look at when debating whether one piece of gear is an upgrade over another.

For secondary stats, the Holy Priest has the following:

  • Mastery - Increases the effectiveness of Mastery: Echo of Light, leaving HoTs on the targets from our direct heals. Now that absorbs have been greatly toned down in size, along with damage patterns becoming more consistent and less bursty, Mastery has become exceptionally powerful, more than earning the top spot.
  • Critical Strike - Provides a chance to double the healing done of your spells, this synergizes quite well with Mastery and the bigger focus on direct healing playstyle of Legion in that Critical direct heals also increase the size of the Echo of Light heal that follows them. While it is random, which is a drawback for many healers, it is rare to find many of your heals relying on a critical strike at a specific moment to save a player from death, often proper preparation is the key to saving lives. Extremely close in value to Mastery.
  • Haste - Haste decreases the cast time of your spells and also adds ticks during the healing over time of Renew. While Haste breakpoints still exist for Renew, they are irrelevant today because when you are in between these breakpoints the HoT receives partial ticks that are added onto the regular tick. Haste also reduces the Global Cooldown (GCD) and the cooldowns of certain spells like Prayer of Mending and others that have a green text when you mouseover their tooltips in game. Renew is being used far less than in Warlords of Draenor, somewhat devaluing Haste and with mana being less plentiful that means that stacking Haste, will only seek to run you out of mana faster. Haste will gain more value if mana becomes more plentiful from raid trinkets that you receive.
  • Versatility - Provides a linear gain in outgoing healing & damage, as well as reduction of damage taken. With this increase to damage done, and decrease to damage received, comes the price of worse scaling than any other secondary stats for Holy Priest.

Bests Stats for Holy Priest

The stat priority remains unchanged from Legion to Battle for Azeroth prepatch:

Intellect > Mastery > Critical Strike > Haste > Versatility

Gearing

The following parts of the guide will list out the recommended gear options assuming near baseline levels that drop. It is important to keep in mind that warforge and titanforging pieces (i.e. gear that upgrades above base levels) can quickly make pieces that are not listed below better than those listed below. Holy Priest will primarily focus on maximizing item level in most gear slots, with rings, trinkets and azerite slots (Helm/Chest/Shoulders) as the notable exceptions. Those slots should be targeted when possible for specific stat or Azerite bonuses although they too can be replaced if there is a significant item level increase. For example a low level Crit/Mastery ring (desirable Holy stats) can be replaced by a significantly higher item level Vers/Haste ring, especially if it also has a socket.

Due to personal loot restrictions in BfA, keep in mind that obtaining the below items may be more difficult so do not be stressed if you do not have the perfect gear set going into Uldir.

Legendaries for Leveling

While Discipline will often be the easiest spec to level as due to their powerful warmode talents and defensives, if you choose to level as Holy you will use the same legendaries that Discipline will use in Sephuz's Secret and Muze's Unwavering Will. This will allow constant damage increases to quickly kill mobs and make it easier to rapidly move through the content.

Trinkets

Trinkets are less sensitive to item level differences. For example, some trinkets, like the Revitalizing Voodoo Totem are very underpowered compared to other dungeon effects, so a high ilvl totem may not be better than one of the trinkets below unless it is a massive difference in intellect. Below are trinkets that are all reasonably close in value and should be a focus to prioritize in BfA.

Best in Slot Recommendations

Azerite Traits

Helms, Shoulders, and Chests are able to interact with your Heart of Azeroth, granting you Azerite Powers. These powers can modify existing spells, provide buffs, deal damage or healing, as well as other effects.

The powers below are divided into three rings where they can be found in your Azerite gear:

  • Ring 1 contains Spec/Zone powers and is the first section available on each item and will likely be available to select as soon as you acquire a given piece of gear, contain traits based on your class specs and source of the trait.
  • Ring 2 contains Role powers, based on the roles your class can perform. It is only found on epic-level gear (340 or higher.) Lower-level gear will only have the other rings.
  • Ring 3 contains Defensive/Utility powers and is the last set of choices available in the piece.
  • Final Ring always contains Azerite Empowered, which increases the item level of the armor piece it is in by 5 item level. The effect, in turn, increases the power from all previous rings.

The first tier of Azerite Powers in an armor piece will have options for each of your specialization, plus a thematic option depending on the source of the armor.

  • Blessed Sanctuary — Additional healing bonus applied to Echo of Light after casting Sanctify.
  • Everlasting Light — Buff to heal proportional to missing mana.
  • Permeating Glow — Flash Heal buff on players previously healed with Flash Heal.
  • Prayerful Litany — Additional healing to the most injured ally hit with Prayer of Healing.
  • Sacred Flame — Holy Fire damage buff and now returns mana per tick.
  • Word of Mending — Prayer of Mending buff in healing done and in Holy Word synergy.
  • Bindings of Fate — Heal buff that also heals the caster.

There are other rings, those don't focus so much on your class and are more generic damage, healing, or utility improvements.

Role Enhancing Powers

These traits can be found in the Role Ring. The options are chosen from the varying pools shown below depending on what roles your class can perform: Tank, Healer and/or DPS. This set of powers will only appear on Azerite Armor that is item level 340 or above. The options available account for all roles that Priest can perform, not only Holy options.

Generic Role Powers
  • Earthlink — Azerite energy courses through you, reaching a high primary stat value and then diminishing down to a lower value primary stat, cycling every 6 sec.
  • Blood Siphon — Increases your Mastery and your Leech.
  • Lifespeed — Increases your Haste and your Avoidance.
  • On My Way — Increases your Versatility and your Speed.
  • Unstable Flames — Your damaging abilities have a chance to grant critical strike rating for 5 sec. This effect stacks up to 5 times.
  • Heed My Call — Your damaging abilities have a chance to deal Nature damage to your target, and Nature damage to enemies within 3 yards of that target.
Priest Role Powers
  • Synergistic Growth — Casting your multi-target healing spell grants you Mastery for 10 sec. This cannot occur more than once every 30 sec.
  • Ephemeral Recovery — Casting a healing spell restores mana over 8 sec. Stacks up to 4 times.
  • Blessed Portents — Your healing spells have a chance to apply Blessed Portents for 20 sec. When the ally falls below 50% health, Blessed Portents is consumed and instantly restores health.
  • Bracing Chill — Your heals have a chance to apply Bracing Chill. Healing a target with Bracing Chill will heal and move Bracing Chill to a nearby ally (up to 6 times).
  • Concentrated Mending — Your healing effects have a chance to grant the target additional healing every 2 sec for 12 sec. This effect doubles every 2 sec.
  • Savior — Your heals on targets below 35% health have a chance to heal.
  • Woundbinder — Your healing effects have a chance to increase your Haste for 6 sec. Healing lower health targets will grant you more Haste.
  • Azerite Globules — Your damaging abilities have a chance to implant an Azerite Globule on your enemies. When an enemy collects 3 Azerite Globules, they explode, dealing damage to nearby enemies.
  • Gutripper — Your damaging abilities have a chance to deal Physical damage to the target. Gutripper occurs much more often against targets below 30% health.
  • Elemental Whirl — Your damaging abilities have a chance to grant you Elemental Whirl, increasing your Critical Strike, Haste, Mastery, or Versatility for 10 sec.
  • Overwhelming Power — Your damaging abilities have a chance to grant you 25 applications of Overwhelming Power. Each stack of Overwhelming Power grants Haste. An application of Overwhelming Power is removed every 1 sec or whenever you take damage.

Defensive Powers

These powers can be found in the Utility/Defensive Ring. The pool contains a number of Generic Defensive Traits, in addition to two class-specific Defensive Traits.

Generic Powers
  • Gemhide — When dealt damage greater than 10% of your maximum health, gain Avoidance and Armor for 10 sec.
  • Impassive Visage — When you take damage, heal. Cannot occur more than once every 6 sec.
  • Vampiric Speed — When an enemy you harmed dies, you heal and gain Speed for 6 sec.
  • Longstrider — Increases your movement speed by a fraction of your highest secondary rating.
  • Resounding Protection — Every 30 sec, gain an absorb shield for 30 sec.
  • Self Reliance — While no enemies are within 20 yds, you heal every 3 sec.
  • Azerite Fortification — When stunned, immobilized, or knocked back, you heal.
  • Bulwark of the Masses — When you are surrounded by 4 or more enemies, gain a shield that absorbs damage. Cannot occur more than once every 15 sec.
Priest Powers
  • Sanctum — When you cast Fade, you absorb Magic damage for 10 sec.
  • Twist Magic — When you successfully Dispel Magic, you heal yourself and 4 injured allies.

Best Azerite Powers for Holy Priest

Based on simulations and analysis we have selected the best Azerite Powers which should generally be prioritized. Keep in mind that the strength of Azerite armor powers are based on its item level, which can weight their value, and will typically make a higher item level piece of gear better even if it has less ideal traits.

Azerite Effects for Raid
Good Average Poor
Azerite Effects for Mythic+
Good Average Poor

Azerite Power Rotation Changes for Holy Priest

While Azerite powers are not as impactful as Legendaries were in Legion, some still can change rotations substantially:

  • Word of Mending allows for a more frequent use of Holy Word: Sanctify usage but does not change the priority system.
  • Sacred Flame puts Holy Fire into the priority, with greater weight to use it on cooldown for fights that are longer or more healing intensive. If you have external mana resources or do not need additional mana, simply use it during downtime.

Azerite Armor for Holy Priest

Knowing the best Azerite Powers to look for, here is a list of a few early Battle for Azeroth gear with Holy powers to look for. Note that you can have the same Power in multiple pieces and their effects will stack up to three times. The power listing is here based on all items having equal item level, but remember that item level can often be a larger increase than a better set of traits. In many cases, it will be important for you to have a wide variety of such pieces with those traits depending on if you are doing Raid, Mythic+ or PvP content.

Finding Azerite Armor

Unlike other sources of gear, Azerite Armor isn't fully available around the world. While you can obtain it normally on non-keystone Dungeons and on World Quests, there are only a handful of sources after that point for the best gear:

  • Up to 3 pieces inside your Weekly Mythic Keystone chest.
  • Personal Loot Drops from Uldir.
  • From Conquest Point Rewards.

Note that none of these sources are farmable and Azerite Armor cannot Titanforge, so you cannot use lesser sources for endgame gearing.

Gems, Enchants and Consumables

Best Enchants for Holy Priests

Two gear slots can be enchanted with BfA power enhancing enchants: weapons and rings. There are also glove enchants which can assist with professions.

Best Gems for Holy Priests

Gem sockets have a small chance to be found on all gear in BfA, including raid bosses, world bosses, world quest loot, and dungeon loot. Rings and necks crafted by Jewelcrafters have a 100% chance to have a socket.

Recommended Holy Priest gems are Kraken's Eye of Intellect and Masterful Tidal Amethyst.

Potions and Flasks for Holy Priests Best Food for Holy Priests

Bountiful Captain's Feast is the highest quality food in BfA with the lower quality feast being Galley Banquet and the weaker, individual food being Sailor's Pie.

Addons, WeakAuras, etc