Holy Priest Guide - Pandaria 5.3 - A Beginners Guide

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Welcome to my Holy Priest guide for the first tier of Mists of Pandaria! A lot of changes has come since I first wrote this guide, over 1½ years ago, and healing now looks like it did during the first phases of Cataclysm. Strap your seat belt and get comfortable, 'cus this is a long one!

*** IMPORTANT! ***

Since Pandaria landed, mana efficiency has gone down the drain. Current mana regen and conservability is lower than it ever was in Cataclysm (compared to gear level), and thus you will struggle with mana, even if you go all-out spirit. I marked this as important, because you need to be very aware of which spells you cast. Always aim to use as few heals as possible, and the cheapest and most efficient ones. Especially now when Intellect no longer increases our max mana, getting away from this mana trouble is very hard, and it might even take several tiers for it to happen.

You should always focus on staying calm and controlled when healing as a Holy priest, no matter what gear level you have, and I really can't stress this enough. You can't out gear it.

The talent system has also recieved a massive overhaul in Mists of Pandaria, and it's now a 6-tier system. Each tier has 3 passive or active abilities. Some of them hardly do anything, but there's a lot of customization to be done.

Try and mess around with some combos using http://www.wowhead.com/talent#p|.

Tier 1 - Control
Void Tendrils, Psyfiend, Dominate Mind

These are pretty much irrelevant to healers unless you PVP, so I won't cover them.

Tier 2 - Movement

Body and Soul gives a short sprint to the target when you Power Word: Shield it.
Angelic Feather brings a long a very interesting new cooldown mechanic. You can plant 3 feathers, and each feather has a seperate cooldown, a so-called Recharging cooldown. These feathers give a sprint buff when you run over one.
Phantasm frees you from all movement imparing effects when you cast Fade.

Tier 3 - Mana conservation & regen

From Darkness, Comes Light gives tons of free Flash Heals when you use single target heals like Heal, Greater Heal and even Flash Heal itself.
Mind Bender replaces your Shadow Fiend. It's a bit better at giving mana and gives it at a more steady rate, since you can use it more often.
Power Word: Solace is the new Telluric Current. It's a nice filler spell when no healing is needed, and regains a small amount of mana. It also heals the nearest low-health player for the same amount as it damages, similar to Atonement for Discipline.

Tier 4 - Self defense

Desperate Prayer didn't change much. A free, powerful selfheal that comes in handy quite often when you're being gibbed.
Spectral Guise is our new stealth! Good for getting out of trouble.
Angelic Bulwark is an automatic defense shield that activates when you get into trouble.

Tier 5 - Healing bonus

Divine Insight grants your Greater Heal and Prayer of Healing a 40% to make your next Prayer of Mending have no cooldown and jump instantly. A good talent for mixed group healing, especially if you use PoH a lot.

Power Infusion is an all time winner spell, but is now limited to the priest only. This talent also saves your mana and acts as a small cooldown.

Twist of Fate is very situational, and can be heavily abused on some fights with high, spiky damage, however on fights where targets rarely dip below 20%, this is a bit of a waste. It's definitely not a good talent on all fights.

Tier 6 - The Epic Spell That Does Something Awesome

Cascade shares with its fellow sixth tier brothers the ability to both damage and heal (though not at the same time). Currently it's the prefered talent for raiders, and will likely be so too in the future too on many occasions. In short, it bounces healing around the raid a couple times, prefering far away targets and heal them for more the further away they are. In addtion to this, Cascade bounces actually refresh the duration on Renew, granted you're in Serenity stance.

Halo is the big underdog at current gear levels. It's awfully pretty and powerful, but it's just so expensive to cast, and you don't feel like getting anything from your mana with it. Maybe it's because I'm from a 10man guild, but I reckon 25man raids would benefit a lot more from it. Word of advice though: Give it a thought before you use it, this is not something you want to cast for the sake of pretty sparkles.

Divine Star is the last healing spell you'll be considering. It's a fast flying ball flying 15-20 yards infront of you, healing stuff for small amounts. Since it's not a very large ball, it doesn't heal very many, and it's thus not a talent I'd reckommend. I've yet to find anything useful to do with it.

Remember that all of these talents are completely optional. I can't tell you whats best, because there isn't always an answer. Several talents are of course better on specific raid fights, and it's important that you discover your strengths and preferences, so you always know which talent is best for which fight. You don't have to visit a trainer to change talents, you simply need a Tome of the Clear Mind, so you can change inbetween bosses!

Arsenal of spells:

You will need to become familiar with your arsenals of spells and tools. If you don't know the whole toolbox, you're not able to perform to your full potential.

Chakra is an active stance that grants a bonus to either AoE healing or single-target healing, and transforms your Holy Word: Chastice into a healing spell, varying in design depending on which Chakra stance you're in. You should ALWAYS be in a chakra stance.

Chakra: Serenity - Your single-target chakra. Increases healing done by single target heals by 15%, and also makes your single target heals refresh the duration of renew.

Single target spells affected: Heal, Greater Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal, Holy Word: Serenity, Renew (yes, renew counts as a single target heal).

Holy Word: Chastice becomes: Holy Word: Serenity

Chakra: Sanctuary - Your AOE-healing chakra. Increases AOE healing done by 15% and reduces the cooldown on Circle of Healing by 2 seconds.

AOE-healing spells affected: Prayer of Healing, Circle of Healing, Halo, Cascade, Divine Star, Holy Word: Sanctuary, Divine Hymn.

Holy Word: Chastice becomes: Holy Word: Sanctuary

Your most basic spell. Due to high spamability you'll be using this alot. Low mana, low healing, slow cast time, incredibly efficient. Use this to heal through non-stressful situations. Make sure to keep up Chakra and Renew while casting this. For most 5man HC boss encounters, this spell (along with Chakra and Renew) will keep your tank topped off. Only a few require heavier heals.

Greater Heal
Your big, slow version of Heal. High mana, high healing, slow cast time. Costs 3 times as much mana as Heal, and heals 2.5 times as much. Its high burst makes this a good tool for tank healing aswell, if your gear allows you to cast this a lot. Use it for topping off your group, if one of them loses, say, 50% Dmg. It'll heal 25-30% Of their HP, and you can quickly turn your focus back on the tank. Again, healing with this while Chakra: Serenity is on will ALSO refresh the duration of Renew.

Holy Word: Serenity
An instant heal that packs quite a punch, and leaves behind a 25% crit buff on the target for 6 seconds. Needless to say, this should be used on cooldown when tank healing, or saved for moment periods.

Mists of Pandaria has once again made renew blanketing viable in many situations once again! Low mana cost and incredibly high Healing pr. Mana makes this a good choice, especially if you're in Chakra: Serenity. At 3039 haste renew gets an extra tick.

The glyph is very good, as Renew tends to overheal on its last few ticks. If you're able to reach 4721 haste, you can gain a 4th tick on your glyphed Renew.

If you're able to reach a staggering 13166 haste, you renew will gain a 6th tick. Even when glyphed, you can apply renew to a player and refresh it using a single target heal in Serenity mode, and thus it will gain the 33% bonus and have 6 ticks afterwards. However you're capable of reaching 13166 haste you probably don't need this guide. :3

Flash Heal
Your panic heal. Use only if your mana allows it, and you have no choice except this spell. Its very inefficient, and its only upside is that it gives you a stack on Serenpidity (look in your talent tree). If you have specced into From Light, Comes Darkness, you will often get free, instant Flash Heals.
Holy Word: Sanctuary
Creates a small circle of healing ticking for a few thousand every other second. Decent for stationary fights, but the healing is hardly noticable, and should be cast when the situation is quite calm. Overall it has quite high Healing pr Mana if used correctly.

Prayer of Healing
Your incredible awesome AoE heal! It's almost like casting Heal on all 5 targets. Use only if 4 - 5 players need the healing, and only if people are below 80%. It's a bit mana heavy though.

Circle of Healing
A good tool to top off people, and incredible for movement fights. Its low mana cost and smart-heal function makes it ideal for low AOE damage, and good on movement heavy fights.

Binding Heal
Heals you AND a fellow player for slightly less than Flash Heal, which means it's more efficient than most of your heals. It also gives you a stack of serendipity. Be sure to use Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing once you get 2 stacks!

Prayer of Mending
A nice instant healing spell that bounces around, healing whenever the target takes damage. Is good to precast if you know damage is coming.

Power Word: Shield
With the Body & Soul talent, this gives a sprint buff to the target. Good for many occasions, but is not a direct healing tool. Handy in heavy movement fights, and to migitate damage.


Lightwell should be glyphed into Lightspring, as this offers immense amounts of healing pr mana. In raids this spell alone can be responsible of 10-15% of your healing done, even if you only cast it 2 or 3 times.

Divine Hymn

Since 4.3 Divine Hymn is officially the most bad-!@# awesome raid cooldown. Idk, just pop it when !@#$ hits the fan.
Stat Priority

Stats are very important, and throughput is no longer the only important matter. You want to optimize your spirit, and then follow up on the best throughput stats.

Generally the stat prio looks like this:

Spirit > Intellect > Haste / Mastery > Crit

Intellect -> Its found on almost all the gear you'll be wearing. It no longer increases mana pool or mana regeneration in any way, and is thus only a throughput stat. Its value is not as high as it used to be.

Spirit -> Spirit is THE most important secondary stat you have. Spirit in this expansion is important to a degree not before seen. You want it on everything, in all gem slots and on all possible enchantings. You seriously can't get enough of this stuff.

Mastery -> Grants additional healing over time. Advantage: Free healing. Down-side: Potential overhealing.

Haste -> Increases cast speed, gives additional renew and sanctuary ticks, and reduces global cooldowns.

Crit - > Decent stat, arguably good in terms of Healing per Stat, yet I find it too unreliable.


Sparkling River's Heart or Perfect Sparkling Lapis Lazuli
Purified Imperial Amethyst or Perfect Purified Roguestone
Energized Wild Jade or Perfect Energized Alexandrite
Zen Wild Jade or Perfect Zen Alexandrite


Hands - Enchant Gloves - Greater Haste
Legs - Greater Pearlescent Spellthread or Pearlescent Spellthread
Boots - 175 haste or Pandaren's Steps
Mainhand - Enchant Weapon - Windsong or Enchant Weapon - Jade Spirit
Offhand - Enchant Off-Hand - Major Intellect
Bracers - Enchant Bracer - Mastery or Enchant Bracer - Super Intellect
Chest - 200 spirit
Cloak - 180 intellect
Shoulders - Greater Crane Wing Inscription

Apologies for missing links but several item IDs aren't in the database yet.


Vial of Ichorous Blood is a decent trinket from General Pava'lak in Siege of Niuzao Temple. It's good if you like being in control of your regen, but if you pop it on cooldown, it's not all that impressive. Good pre-raid trinket.

Empty Fruit Barrel from Ook-Ook in Stormstout Brewerey HC is one of the best pre-raid trinkets in the game. While the proc might seem a little dodgy, it actually does proc often and is rarely wasted.

Price of Progress from Darkmaster Gandling in Scholomance HC is overall a very decent trinket. The proc has a 45 second cooldown, which was added a few weeks after release due to being too OP.

Relic of Chi-Ji from Darkmoon Faire is currently one of the very best healing trinket out there. It's awfully expensive but if you have the money, you'll be buying a trinket you won't replace for many many months.

I used to list a lot of 5.0 early raiding trinkets, but they're quite inferior to current LFR gear. Focus on getting the Valor Point trinket from Shado-pan Assault, and any of the LFR trinkets.

Glyph of Renew Renew will provide the same amount of total healing, but over a shorter amount of time. This means that the chance of the last tick or two overhealing is reduced.
PRO-TIP 1: with the glyph, you can refresh your renew on a target through Chakra: Serenity, and the duration will then be as if Renew was unglyphed, but still heal 33% more per tick. For example:

1. Renew ticks 3 times for 12k over 9 seconds
2. You heal the target while in Chakra: Serenity, refreshing renew
3. Renew ticks 4 times for 12k over 12 seconds

PRO-TIP 2: At 4721 haste rating, you will get an extra tick on the glyphed Renew. If you are able to reach this amount of haste (and also have 5% haste from a party or raid member), Renew becomes absolutely brutal. When I was undergeared I would tend to sacrifice my Spirit flask for a haste elixir just to reach this soft cap.

With or without 4721 haste, I'd say this glyph is a must-have.

Glyph of Lightspring is probably the best glyph out there. Two or three lightwells can easily do 10-15% of your healing over a raid fight, and the Lightspring acts as an Oh-!@#$ countermeasure for when people drop low. Think you react fast? Pfft, the Lightspring laughs at you!

Glyph of Circle of Healing is not always a good choice. I believe it belongs in a 25man raid, because the extra mana cost is just too severe, and the extra target heal will not come in handy as often as it will in a 25man. Still a decent glyph if you can put it to good use.

Glyph of Lightwell is a great addition to your Lightwell/Lightspring. Extra charges are always good, and I always use this glyph because it makes Lightspring even more awesome than it already is.

So, thats the basics. What now?

I could write a book on how to heal, and you could read it a thousand times without really improving. It's important that you read through your passive specialization specific effects and mechanics, as well as your spells and how they work. If you're only just starting to do 5mans, you'll find that this place is a good place to practice. If you feel like something a bit more exciting, run LFR and try practice some ideas and strategies. There's a million things to practice if you're new to it, and if i were to give you any advice, I'd say:

- Experiment with your Chakras and their respective mechanics. Install Skada or Recount, and try do some LFR bosses in each Chakra state, and see which one you can perform the best in. Try going Chakra: Serenity and renew a lot, or try Chakra: Sanctuary and focus on some awesome Prayer of Healing action! LFR is a playground for these things, and they'll prepare you a great deal for Normal mode raids.

- Work out which talents you like best for eac specific fight. Once again LFR is great for trying this. Especially the 4th tier is good to mess around with. Need to tank heal a lot? Go for From Darkness, Comes Light! A lot of downtime? Get Power Word: Solace and do some damage while gaining mana like a boss! A mixed fight with all kinds of !@#$ going on? Go for the Mindbender for higher mana gain.

- Practice using the right cooldowns and the right time. Divine Hymn might be tempting to pop whenever it's possible, but you need first-hand experience with the bosses to know when to use it. Power Infusion should be used when you'll be spamming like mad for the entire duration. There's tens of thousands of mana to be saved here!

- Always aim to improve your healing. I know that Healing Done on Recount doesn't mean everything at all, but it certainly says something about a healers ability to live out his potential.

I hope you liked my quick guide to the Holy Priest in Pandaria. Feedback is apprieciated, questions are warmly welcome and criticism is of course too. Any tips and tricks are welcome as well, and i will gladly add them if they're good. Feel free to check out my Armory profile for talents and glyphs. You're also free to contact me in-game, I will gladly give you first-hand advice to the best of my capabilities.

Thanks for reading!

Sincerely, Zandalah of <Rhythm>, Tarren Mill-EU.
Good Post Mate :)
Good post.
Nevertheless there are somethings that I would change.

Glyph of Lightwell is great, and I think that it's a way better choice than Flash Heal.

On your talents, I would drop Rapid Renewal. Like you say on your post, we can't spam renew on the raid, another point in Darkness is more valuable.
Also, I think that one point in State of Mind is enough to ensure that you'll be always in chakra state. Change it to Body and Soul or maybe Veiled Shadows.
17/01/2011 5:25 PMPosted by Zandalah

That build has some useless talents in it.

Try http://www.wowhead.com/talent#bchZfhrrR0rkcdoh instead.

Glyph of Guardian Spirit is also a bit more useful than Glyph of Flash Heal.
Good post.
I would change few things myself as well as we are talking about 4.0.3 Hpriests.

As Prazzinofoss said Glyph of Lightwell is best glyph there is for holy atm, as long as you party/raid knows how great tool it is. Also would change glyph of Fade to Glyph of Spirit of Redemption, even tho idealy you shouldn't die at all, but if that happens the extra 6secs in spirit form might save the raid in the end and because you shouldn't be needed to use fade so often that you need glyph for it. Also Glyph of Renew is something I dont have, as I have Glyph of Guardian Spirit.

About the spec, again as Prazzinofoss said, Renew is almost useless skill atm as it costs pretty much mana and heals next to nothing, altho you want to keep it on tank all the time, so Rapid Renewal is useless talent. Also Desperate Prayer is pretty useless until Blizz buffs it in next patch. I would give those two point to Body and Soul as it's great talent, even tho rarely needed that much, but in some fights pretty handy(Antramedes comes to mind).

Also I have to kinda dissagree with how usefull Mastery stat is for us. Yes it provides extra healing, but most of it healing is overhealing. If you are on tank healing job, Mastery is almost next to useless, but it's pretty useful in raid healing with PoH + PoH Glyph + Mastery + CoH + More mastery healing. So you should have atleast 12,5% Haste with raid buffs, which is pretty easy to achive. After that Mastery is better stat than Haste.

And last but not least, Lightwell is great tool in heroics as well, ofc only in boss fights as it will save a lot of our mana when dps/tank/you push it DURING the fight, not before or after :P Also in so many fights there is some AoE dmg going around so you do want to use PoM, specially after we get great glyph for it in next patch.

That's it for tonight,
- Xerm
I somewhat agree that our Mastery can cause overhealing. If your gear, your skills or a combination of those two render you able to easily keep your party on 100% Hp WITHOUT the Echo of Light mastery, then yes, Haste would seem better. However, in raid situation in Cata, to which i can honestly say i haven't got so much experience with, people are rarely topped off to 100%. And like Xermos pointed out aswell, Mastery IS better than Haste, only you reach 12.5%, which is easyli achieved, granted you have a Shaman with the Spell Haste totem (i can't recall its name, sorry :) ) OR a shadow priest. 5% Haste, along with 7.5% from your own gear and talents

Renew is not useless. Chakra: Serenity makes sure its on the target all the time, and it's a great boost to tank healing. Rapid Renewal & Divine Touch does seem bad, though. The glyph is still worth keeping.


Desperate Prayer will recieve a major buff in the upcoming patch, so you should consider getting it in 4.0.6. However in 4.0.3, i must say, it's quite bad. Also Body and Soul over Spirit of Redemption doesn't really make much sense to me. I never cast PW: Shield as Holy, and i since it's currently a ''bad'' and underpowered spell already (even as Disc) i can't see any reason to waste a GCD, let alone mana on that spell)

That being said, i have another suggestion, if you want to review it.


Divine Touch and Rapid Renewal has been excluded. Everything else is optimized. I didn't want Veiled Shadow, because you will NOT be able to use Shadowfiend twice in a fight, atleast not in Heroics, that's for sure.

On a final note of tonight, i would like to add: This compendium is propably not well suited for raiding priests. That's why i didn't want Glyph of Lightwell for example. I made it, because i'm hearing a lot of complaints and threats of un-subscribing because of the changes in Cata. It does made me a little sad (even though a few of them are just whiners that needs to L2P). I want to help the priests out there, so that they can get through HCs aswell. :)
Not speccing Body and Soul is a crime, the awesomeness of the sprinting Priest is the main reason many people like myself went Holy in the first place. The sprint can be very handy in quite a number of fights (I can imagine a clever priest helping the tank kite the adds in last phase of Nefarian, as an example). Moreover, it gives you the ability to dispel poisons, which is not insignificant. A must talent for me.

I don't understand why you took twin disciplines, ditch that and go for Veiled Shadows for less Sfiend CD. I also didn't take Desperate Prayer, neither Spirit of Redemption. And yeah, don't put 2 talents in State of Mind. 1 is enough to keep Chakra up all time.

I still haven't figured out what to do with Renew either... it's not healing much, but it's a HoT anyway, so I've kept the talents and the Glyph, like you did.

I also didn't take the Lightwell Glyph, on my 10-man we usually use Lightwell after heavy damage on all the raid (e.g. :Chimaerron massacre, the end of Al'Akir phase 2, Nefarian crackles) and it's just practical to have 1 charge per person in raid, so we know we can only use it once.

As for stats, haste till 12,5%>mastery is the truth, even though our mastery is excellent!
Holy Priests really should be raid healing most of the time from what I've experienced, and mastery popping HoTs on all our targets is great.

But good post, I hope to see more discussion on the Glyphs, as I'm not so certain of mine (I followed what was on EJ, but I think the post is a bit out-dated).

PS: forgot a major disagreement, you suggest Spirit as the main gemming stat but I would go for Int rather, which provides both output AND regen.
@ Zandalah, PW:S is being buffed significantly in coming patch. Although i am Disc and do not really know that much about holy i still recommend using it now and again on the tank once the patch is out, atm your right it sucks even for me as disc, however once the patch is released its base absorb is being increased rom 3k to 8k (roughly dnt know exact figures) also the absorbtion is increased by 48.5% of SP if i remember correctly (again not exact figure as i dnt have them to hand) so for disc this is a very well needed change and i am looking forward to it, as i dnt play holy and no nothing about it tbh this is merely a suggestion
so you probably know better :)
I don't understand why you took twin disciplines, ditch that and go for Veiled Shadows for less Sfiend CD. I also didn't take Desperate Prayer, neither Spirit of Redemption. And yeah, don't put 2 talents in State of Mind. 1 is enough to keep Chakra up all time..

Twin Disciplines = 6% Healing done. The tooltip clearly says so. Veiled Shadow, atleast for 5man HCs, is useless. You will never use Shadowfiend twice in a heroic fight. Never.

Like i said, this guide is not aimed at raiding, but 5 mans, and heroics in particular.

I changed the talent suggestion last night. It now includes Body and Soul, but excludes Divine Touch and Rapid Renewal.

As for gemming, spirit equals throughput. If you can get a high amount of spirit, you can afford to heal with larger and faster heals, which equal throughput. It is, of course, your own decision. :)
17/01/2011 8:57 PMPosted by Zandalah
Desperate Prayer will recieve a major buff in the upcoming patch, so you should consider getting it in 4.0.6. However in 4.0.3, i must say, it's quite bad. Also Body and Soul over Spirit of Redemption doesn't really make much sense to me. I never cast PW: Shield as Holy, and i since it's currently a ''bad'' and underpowered spell already (even as Disc) i can't see any reason to waste a GCD, let alone mana on that spell)

That being said, i have another suggestion, if you want to review it.


Yeah looks good, when desperate prayer gets buffed again I'll probably go back to a build just like the one you posted. Divine touch is pretty crappy indeed, even with the renew mana cost decrease in 4.0.6. I'm still torn about Spirit of Redemption since it's very rarely useful, either you die and wipe or you don't die. I don't really remember an occasion where it would've actually helped in downing a boss. But I might pick it up after the patch, if I find myself with 1 talent point spare.

Oh and yeah, Body & Soul is a must-have talent for holy, it's incredibly good on a number of movement-heavy fights. It doesn't matter if PW:S is good or not or whether you normally cast it or not, you use it to help people run away from laz0rs faster (Atramedes in particular when it comes to raids, but B&S has a use on a number of heroic bosses as well to help you avoid cone AoE like on the 2nd and 3rd bosses in Grim Batol, etc).
Great posts, both from the OP and the rest of the ppl's notes. Are there still stickies on these new forums?
I believe there are, but i don't think players may get them. I considered asking, though. :)
Well, this deserves to be be on the first page, and i think a lot of confused starting holy priests would benefit from the summary.
Indeed, that's why i made this. I'm a bit upset that it's already on page 2. It's drowning in QQ threads and things like that. The forums are a pity sight these days. :/
20/01/2011 8:53 PMPosted by Zandalah
The forums are a pity sight these days.

Indeed, it's always fun coming here and seeing the first post topic being something like "...." "WTF BLIZZ AGAIN" "PLZ STOP NERFING", etc.

It seems that mostly only little crybabies frequent these forums, and those who are unable to read and follow patch notes. :<
I hate to generalize, but it's true. :( - By the way, thank's for the feedback. Let me know if i missed something.
Nice guide for heroics. Couple of points.

Note that binding heal procs serendipity. People often overlook this, but it is important. Binding heal is in itself a very efficient spell with good throughput. It is way better than FH for both efficiency and throughput. And it stacks serendipity. Nuff said.

I have lightwell glyphed and I love it. I have my guild trained to use it and in several fights it gets fully used up before it is off cooldown! (hint: place it one minute before the pull and you're more likely to be able to cast it again when it gets used up) For mana efficiency Lightwell is far and away the best heal in the game as far as I know. I hardly ever cast flash heal, maybe a handful of surge procs, so the FH glyph is not worth much to me.

I am puzzled by the haste target of 12.5% for an extra renew tick. I have 3% haste from the shadow talents, and my character interface tells me I have 9.1% haste from items, hence total haste 12.1%. And yet I get an extra renew tick, unbuffed. Perhaps the character interface misses out haste from reforging? Or from enchants? I don't know what is going on here, but try it out on yourself to be sure whether you get the extra tick or not!

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