Stairway to Heaven - A Complete Holy Priest PvP Guide

I don't think there's any need to read the entire thing unless you feel compelled too, rather I'd look below to the sections, and find the appropriate one you're interested in!

Stairway to Heaven - A Complete Holy Priest PvP Guide
Firstly, thank you to Narzia for providing me with a rough structure to use when creating my guide, with his stickied post on Shadow PvP and Arena gameplay, found here:

----------------NOTICE: Some of this guide with apply to both disc and holy--------------------

1.1 Introduction
1.2 Why holy?
1.3 Talents and glyphs
1.4 Setups
1.5 Macros
1.6 Gems, Gear, Professions, Reforging and Enchants
1.7 Addons

2.1 Holy Gameplay
2.2 Healing
2.3 Offensive Play
2.4 Weaknesses
2.5 Gameplay Tips
2.6 Coordination


1.1 Introduction
Greetings, welcome to my guide on playing a Holy priest in PvP and arena, updated for patch 5.3. In this guide, I will be covering the basics to cater for someone who has never before played holy and is interested in trying it, but as well as this will be giving advice on how to succeed in high rated arena as a holy priest. In addition, there will be many areas of the guide that are applicable to both disc and holy. I have played holy to a high level, obtaining the gladiator title in cataclysm, missing rank 1 in 3vs3 narrowly on my other priest Jmé, and have since been playing Holy at gladiator rating (2.4-2.5+) since Mists. As well as me, there are other holy priests in the arena scene, and in EU this includes Bigbossman, who has played holy for as long as I have (or longer) and has written a guide in the past, which can be found here While I agree with a lot of what he says, I also disagree here and there, and would like to give my perspective on how to succeed as holy in arena, as writing a guide is something I have been trying to do for a long time.

Increasingly, more and more priests are attempting holy. Hydra ( plays it on his stream, and Jahmilli ( played it at a very high rating (2.5-2.6+) against many popular streamers, such as Cdew ( Since then, other priests such as Keyliet on US, and Fuzionn ( have been spurred into trying it, all achieving high rating. This has had on knock on effect away from the very high rated wow scene, encouraging many priests from a variety of ratings to try the spec, including those on my realm, who have been consistantly asking for advice, hence I have decided to create this hopefully coherent guide, answering any questions they might have.

I hope this guide is useful in firstly increasing the numbers of us holy priests, by proving that it is a competitive and definitely viable spec, as well as helping those increasingly numerous holy priests to improve their gameplay.


1.2 Why holy?
The majority of healing priests who do arena play disc, and for good reason, with its mana efficient and absorb-based gameplay enabling an aggressive style of play for many 3vs3 compositions. Holy may be brought for other reasons, including:
Chastise: chastise is a 30yrd range ability, which disorientates an enemy target for 3 seconds. It is usually the pre-requisite to long cc chains, including chastise into fear, or mind control. I will cover such CC chains later in the guide (2.3). Holy is only really a better choice than disc on comps that focus on chain CC'ing, due to chastise.
Offensive gameplay: In addition to more CC due to the aforementioned chastise, holy also has more damage at its disposal than disc. This is due to our chakra stance, Chakra: Chastise, which increases our holy and shadow damage by 50%, as well as reducing smite and holy fire mana costs by 90%.
2vs2: While the majority of this guide focuses on Holy in 3vs3, as this is by far the most active bracket, holy is extremely viable in 2vs2 due to chastise and extra damage synergising very well in 2s, where both cc and damage output can be lacking to score kills in a 2vs2 situation. I have played holy to very high ratings in 2vs2 this season, with a high of 2320, rank 1 on my bg with a 98% win loss. I would go as far to say holy is a better spec than disc in 2s, in many compositions.
Divine Hymn: For those that played disc in WOTLK and Cataclysm, you'll remember this spell. Like before, it enables the priest to heal his/her whole team provided they are within range, from behind LoS (line of sight).


1.3 Talents and glyphs
I will be approaching the talents by weighing up their viability in each tier, and after I will analyse the glyph choices for holy.


Tier 1:
This is probably the most versatile tier. All three are viable options:
Void Tendrils: I pick void tendrils exclusively against melee cleaves (2 melee + healer compositions) that lack many freedoms, such as Hand of Freedom and Tiger's Lust, when I am not playing with a mage. Frost nova and pet freeze DRs Void Tendrils. This is the least chosen option of all three.
Psyfiend: This is probably the most commonly chosen ability. It's random, and for that reason may not succeed in fearing any enemy targets, but often it can land game-breaking fears, or just fear the whole enemy team. Psyfiend is a viable option against any team, and can therefore be picked for any composition. Playing with a warlock, psyfiend may not be the ideal option, as it tends to DR your most common CC.
Dominate Mind: I love dominate mind, and it is best used out of chastise (chastise -> dominate mind) or some other cc. In twos, you should almost always run this against healer/dps. It is an alternative to psyfiend in 3s against almost all compositions, however I would tend not to use it against a team with many ranged interrupts (such as MLS, who have the shamans shock, in addition to two CS abilities). It can be exceptionally useful against many teams when used at the right moment (i.e. not in a moment where the enemy team benefits more from you being CC'd by it then their partner being CC'd). I love it vs a variety of shaman comps, as it can force tremor, or shamans who are using are using totemic restoration will immediately tremor a fear and remove their tremor totem, only to be chastised + mind controlled straight out of it. However, this ability requires the most skill to use, and is much more viable for holy than disc. I would suggest running psyfiend if you are new to holy in 3vs3.

Summary: Void Tendrils vs 2x melee with limited freedoms while not playing with a mage on your team, Psyfiend against any other comp, or dominate mind against any other comp that lacks ranged interrupts if you are able to use it well. In general I would rank tier 1 as:
1. Psyfiend
2. Dominate Mind
3. Void Tendrils

Tier 2:
Again, this is one of the more versatile tiers, however less so than tier 1.
Body and Soul: This used to be a holy exclusive talent in WOTLK and Cataclysm, however this was changed in MoP. This is the most common ability picked by all priests, and is fairly self explanatory. It can be used for obtaining fears (i.e. Chastise -> Power Word: Shield -> Psychic Scream) or for providing a sprint that can be used before Spectral Guise, enabling the priest to be shielded against aoe attacks -such as Death & Decay- that might reveal the priest in addition to its movement speed increasing effects. This, or angelic feather, can be picked against all comps based on your preferences, however some players might prefer Phantasm against mage comps.
Angelic Feather: I have been running this a lot recently. I prefer it to body and soul, as the sprint is 2 seconds longer, and is almost always available, whereas body and soul involves waiting for the weakened soul debuff to end, limiting when you can run for fears. This, however, has no such limitation, as the low recharge time (10s) enables up to 5 or so feathers to be placed in continuity. Depending on whether you want your sprint to be passive or placed, both body and soul and angelic feather are perfectly good options against all comps, as both can be used before fear -> spectral guise / running for a fear. I would personally suggest Angelic Feather over body and soul though, due to being always available, has no mana cost and it is receiving a huge buff in 5.4 (60% movement speed increase to 80%). It takes time to get used to, but in my opinion is highly worth it.
Phantasm: Only an option vs mage comps, as holding dispel is key when there it is needed for abilities such as deep freeze and polymorph. Again, it is a preference, but I would suggest priests pick this ability vs mage comps.

Summary: Ideally, you should learn to use Angelic Feather against all comps, while phantasm can be picked against mage comps (I would recommend it). In general, I would rank tier 2 as:
1. Angelic Feather
2. Body and Soul
3. Phantasm
(due to its limited use).
Tier 3:
In 5.3, this boils down to Mindbender vs Power Word: Solace.
From Darkness, Comes Light: Your goal as a holy priest is to cast as little as possible, as I will be covering in 2.1. Therefore, you should rarely be using spells needed to activate this ability. I would not recommend From Darkness, Comes Light in the state it is in currently. However, in 5.4, if the change goes through that it can be activated by PoM and Circle of Healing, It will be the definitive choice by a landslide.
Mindbender: Self explanatory, damage lost from shadowfiend is minor, mana returned is a larger difference but is much better with mindbender, even if not used regularly when its cooldown has finished. In addition, mindbender is great for aiding holy priest burst, making it significantly large (I will cover burst in 2.3). Therefore, I would hugely recommend you pick mindbender.
Power Word Solace: The mana return component of this ability is generally rubbish, however its instant heal mechanic that scales with Charka: Chastise (as the damage dealt = damage healed, therefore 50% more damage = 50% more healing) adds another instant heal to the holy priest arsenal. For a holy priest that is having problems trying not to cast much, I would recommend Power Word: Solace, although mindbender is generally the better option.

Summary: never use FD,CL in its current state, use it against all comps if the changes on PTR go live. I highly suggest mindbender against all comps, although Power Word: Solace is good for a holy priest that is having trouble attempting only casting instant spells. In general, I would rank tier 3 as:
1. Mindbender
2. Solace and Insanity
3. From Darkness, Comes Light

Tier 4:
This is a pretty basic tier, although all three are an option at some point.
Desperate Prayer: normally I would never pick this, especially as disc, but there is a reason to pick DP. Guardian Spirit, as it is now, currently only heals 27.5% of your health upon you reaching 0 health, due to battle fatigue. This means GS is best used for the increased healing, at a higher health, instead of waiting to die. Guardian Spirit increases healing recieved by 60%, and thus, Guardian Spirit can be combined with Desperate Prayer for a huge heal (48% of your health). Therefore, while I would normally recommend Angelic Bulwark vs compositions that focus you, or have the potential to quickly kill you, I believe desperate prayer combined with guardian spirit is the better option.
Spectral Guise: This ability is amazing. I will be covering its usages in 2.1, but in a nutshell this ability enables you to get fears from stealth, as well as avoiding CC. When you are being targetted, it can be useful to use Power Word: Shield, and then Spectral Guise, enabling you to run away without being knocked out immediately. However, this is not as reliable for holy as it is for discipline, as holy has weaker shields, and are thus more likely to be broken before the global cooldown ends and you can stealth. Due to its roll in both getting and avoiding CC, I would highly advise this ability before any others.
Angelic Bulwark: Nice, as it's passive and you don't have to use it, but for reasons discussed under 'Desperate Prayer', I would prefer using DP over this.

Summary: Spectral Guise is definitely the best choice by a large margin, followed by Desperate Prayer vs comps (usually hunter/melee/x) that have the potential to kill you very fast, however Spectral Guise is often a better option for reasons discussed in 2.2. However, if a team focused you in the past, desperate Prayer scales with Guardian Spirit, and is therefore a better option than Angelic Bulwark. I would rank this tier as:
1. Spectral Guise (by a huge amount)
2. Desperate Prayer
3. Angelic Bulwark

Tier 5:
Power Infusion reigns supreme.
Twist of Fate: Useful for two reasons: it works in combination with Guardian Spirit, increasing the health healed from 27.5% to 31.6%, and it is useful for extremely high shadow word deaths, with Chakra: Chastise up (highest I've seen is around 70k, with twist of fate). However, the 15% is so minimal that I really don't think it's worth it, especially considering Guardian Spirit doesn't trigger half the time on other targets (more in 2.4).
Power Infusion: there are three main reasons why you should always use this ability.

1. Firstly, spam dispelling an enemy target is much easier with PI, reducing the duration of the global cooldown significantly.

2. Secondly, it is amazing when you are turreting smites with chakra: chastise, as well as increasing how often Shadow Word: Pain ticks, which -when chakra: chastise is up- makes SW:P inflict a lot of damage. Don't forget to reapply SW:P when you active chakra: chastise or PI, as any pre-existing SW:P will not benefit from these buffs unless you reapply it.

3. Finally, PI is extremely useful for when you are forced to cast. Undoubtedly, although your goal is not to cast, you will find yourself in situations where you must. PI will reduce the mana cost and cast time of your Flash Heal -> Flash Heal -> Greater Heal combo (more in 2.2), which is extremely useful for burst healing, while avoiding the mana problems holy has when you are forced to cast.

• Divine Insight: 40% chance to give you a free PoM, when you use an ability you will rarely ever cast? No thanks.

Summary: Power Infusion by a landslide, Twist of Fate's +% damage and healing is too minimal to be noticed with Guardian Spirit and Shadow Word: Death, while Divine Insight is useless as you will hardly ever cast greater heal. Therefore, I would rank Tier 5 as:
1. Power Infusion
2. Twist of Fate
3. Divine Insight

Tier 6:
The final tier, and although initially you would think there's no competition against divine star, Halo is surprisingly good as holy.
Cascade: Refreshes your renew duration, when you have Chakra: Serenity up, however the mana cost and low healing of this ability makes it redundant.
Divine Star: Efficient and with a high healing, Divine Star is the perfect choice, as it is another instant heal which is cheap in mana cost, and is exceptionally useful when healing yourself, as it impossible to miss on yourself. In addition, if one or more party members are stacking, this becomes a very powerful heal indeed.
Halo: Here's the twist. Halo costs a huge amount of mana (40,500), and its healing/damage increases the further away the target is, and does not bring targets out of stealth. The healing is generally rubbish unless it hits someone on the very edge, which can be hard to do, and this ability will not go behind LoS, either as a heal or damage ability. However, holy priests have 50% increased holy damage through Chakra: Chastise. This thing can hit like an absolute truck, especially if you coordinate it with a PvP on use trinket (which I have been using recently, just because holy is so focused on damage). In 3s, it's generally best to wait till the target is stunned, then stand approximately at max range (this takes practise), hit PI and the on use trinket, and it is likely this thing will hit up to 100k damage. Try it out, see if you like it, I'm personally loving it, as with mindbender, power infusion, the on use trinket and spamming smites/holy fire on CD, I'm practically solo'ing people. I show the damage of holy priests with Halo in this video (please read the description):

Summary: If you haven't already, read the passage and watch the video on Halo. It's unique, and although it will break CC, if the CC'd target is behind LoS or the CC doesn't break from damage, Halo can inflict massive damage as holy. Generally, though, Divine Star will be the best choice for everyone against any composition, while cascade is practically useless aside from resetting renew. I would rank this tier as:
1. Divine Star
2. Halo
3. Cascade

Ultimately, I believe the best choices generally (it all depends on what composition you are fighting, or playing with, as I have discussed above) are:
Tier 1: Psyfiend
Tier 2: Angelic Feather
Tier 3: Mindbender
Tier 4: Spectral Guise
Tier 5: Power Infusion
Tier 6: Divine Star
Glyph of Lightspring is essential, increasing the range of which lightwell heals to 40yrds, and applying it automatically. Forcing partners to click the lightwell has always been an adjustment problem.
Glyph of Mass Dispel is essential for any comp with an immunity, such as Divine Shield and Ice Block. Mass Dispel can also be used to remove Hand of Protection as a priority above all other buffs. This glyph should always be used against any comp with a:
• Paladin
• Mage
Glyph of Shadow Word: Death is also essential against any comp with CC you can Shadow Word: Death. I will cover how to SW:D CC against certain classes in 2.4. Therefore, you should use Glyph of SW:D against any comp with a:
• Rogue (Blind, Gouge).
• Death Knight (only if you're playing with a mage, as they can steal Polymorph. You'll want to have your mage call this out if it happens).
• Hunter (Scatter Shot, Wyvern Sting).
• Druid (Disorientating Roar).
• Mage (Polymorph).
• Monk (Paralysis).
• Holy Paladin (Blinding Light, Repentance, only holy paladins will run repentance generally)
If you are playing against a setup with none of these classes, you should use these glyphs in place of MD/SW:D, in priority order:

Glyph of Prayer of Mending: The loss of one charge isn't significant, as PoM is used primarily for its first heal, although it can be useful vs DoT comps. This glyph generally increases the healing done (from 28.5k average, non-crit with no buffs, to 45.6k).
Glyph of Spirit of Redemption: Run this against any double dps comps in 2s, or any elusive triple dps comps in 3vs3 (although they are extremely rare).
Glyph of Renew: This increases renew from 13k average ticks non-crit with no buffs to 17.2k. As you will be in Charkra: Serenity mainly, all direct heals will refresh renew, so the 33% decreased duration does not matter.


1.4 Setups
As I quickly mentioned before, Holy only outcompetes disc when you are playing a very CC heavy comp, due to chastise, or perhaps a very aggressive comp that would benefit from your increased damage. Comps with many DoTs rolling do not synergise well with holy, as this breaks chastise. As such, here are the compositions I believe to be tier 1 and tier 2 for holy priests.
Tier 1:
• Feral/Mage/Holy
• Hunter/Ret/Holy
• Feral/Hunter/Holy
• Elemental/Mage/Holy
• Rogue/Hunter/Holy (debated putting this in tier 2, but thugcleave with chastise is still very strong).
• DK/Hunter/Holy (although there is a DK, who -due to DoTs- do not synergise well with holy priests, the Dk/Hunter aspect carries this to a tier 1 setup).

Tier 2:
• Rogue/Feral/Holy
• Warrior/Hunter/Holy
• Elemental/Rogue/Holy
• Hunter/Elemental/Holy
• Mage/Ret/Holy
• Enhance/Feral/Holy
• Enhance/Hunter/Holy
• Windwalker/Hunter/Holy


1.5 Macros
This will be split into holy specific macros, and general priest macros.


Shadow Word: Death macro that deaths the target, or if there is no target, the closest available enemy:
#showtooltip Shadow Word: Death
/cast [@target,harm] Shadow Word: Death
/cast Shadow Word: Death

Mass Dispel that does not remove the placer after one click:
/cast !Mass Dispel

Inner fire and Inner will in 1 macro:
/castsequence !Inner Fire, !Inner WIll

1 click summons shadowfiend and has it port to target, 2nd click and onwards dispels the shadowfiend:
/cast [nopet] Shadowfiend
/cast [harm, pet] Shadowcrawl; [target=pettarget, pet] Shadowcrawl
/cast [target=pet,exists]Dispel Magic

Shackle enemy gargoyle:
#showtooltip Shackle Undead
/target [harm] Ebon Gargoyle
/cast Shackle Undead

All-in-one macro: cancels Dominate Mind and Spirit of Redemption, while also summoning ground mount with no modifier, and flying mount with alt modifier:
#showtooltip Divine Hymn
/cancelaura Dominate Mind
/cancelaura Spirit of Redemption
/use [modifier:alt] Swift Purple Wind Rider; Swift Timber Wolf

All in one Dispel macro (dispels enemy target, purifies friendly target):
/cast [help,target=mouseover,exists] Purify; [help,exists] Purify; [harm,exists] Dispel Magic

PoM self if the target is not in group, PoM target otherwise:
#showtooltip Prayer of Mending
/cast [raid] Prayer of mending
/cast [noraid,target=player] Prayer of Mending
/cast [raid,target=player] Prayer of Mending

Focus SW:D (you should usually have classes such as a mage on focus, so that you can see and SW:D their cc easily with this macro):
#showtooltip Shadow Word: Death
/cast [@focus] Shadow Word: Death

Holy Specific macros:

Power Infusion to be used with Halo, or just generally for large damage (read usage of halo at 1.3):
/cast Power Infusion
/use Malevolent Gladiator's Badge of Dominance
/cast chakra: chastise

Circle of Healing used on self, as by using it on yourself instead of your target, you can heal them without leaving LoS:
/cast [target=player] Circle of Healing

Same as MD macro but with Lightwell:
/cast !Lightwell

Activating Chakra: Sanctuary before Divine Hymn, increasing its healing by 25%:
/cast Chakra: Sanctuary
/cast Divine Hymn

Automatically activates Chakra: Chastise before SW:P, increasing its damage by 50%:
#showtooltip Shadow Word: Pain
/cast Chakra: Chastise
/cast Shadow Word: Pain

This macro needs to be explained:
/cancelaura Chakra: Serenity
/cancelaura Chakra: Sanctuary

Pressing this and then manually pressing Chastise does not cause a global cooldown to be used removed the Chakras, whereas doing an all-in-one macro with /cast Holy Word: Chastise at the end will cause an additional global cooldown to be used. I demonstrate this at:

1.6 Gems, Gear, Professions, Reforging and Enchants
Your stat priorities are as follows:
Intellect > Spirit > Haste > Mastery > Crit > PvP Power > PvP Resilience
Spirit is essential, as Holy is a mana intensive spec. I love haste, as it enables you to dispel faster, cast smites faster (and thereby providing a constant increase to damage), increase speed of SW:P ticks with Chakra: Chastise, and cause renew/lightwell to tick faster, even though most of Holy's healing is cooldown based. Crit or mastery is a preference, as some prefer crit for the increased damage and burst healing, while some prefer mastery for the base increase in healing. In the end, gemming/enchanting for these stats come down to:

8% Increased speed of casts, DoTs and HoTs + an additional tick of renew and SW:P vs 11% more healing from your heals is healed over 6secs vs 6% Increased critical strike chance

Gemming intellect is the goal, as through attempts to avoid casting entirely (and when you are forced to cast, using PI if it's up) your mana should be relatively stable, reducing the need to gem spirit. This requires time to become mana efficient as holy, and I recommend you use the efficient spell Heal where possible, to conserve mana, if the pressure is not immense and you have no other instants. Therefore:
• Socket +160 Intellect (Brilliant Primordial Ruby) in Red Slots.
• Socket +80 Intellect +160 Haste (Reckless Vermillion Onyx) in Yellow Sockets that have a socket bonus of +Intellect.
• Socket +80 Intellect +160 Spirit (Purified Imperial Amethyst) in Blue Sockets that have a socket bonus of +Intellect.
• Gem +160 Intellect in pieces of gear that have +PvP Power socket bonuses.

For holy, engineering is the most valuable profession, as it allows you to macro synapse springs into power infusion, allowing the priest to use Relic of Chi’Ji for increased mana efficiency, instead of a PvP on use trinket. In addition to engineering, I would recommend any professions that allow a net increase of +320 Intellect, such as Blacksmithing and Enchanting.

You'll want to aim for this setup:
Head: Tyrannical Gladiator's Satin Hood
Neck: Tyrannical Gladiator's Pendant of Meditation
Shoulders: Tyrannical Gladiator's Mooncloth Mantle
Back: Tyrannical Gladiator's Drape of Meditation
Chest: Tyrannical Gladiator's Mooncloth Robe
Wrists: Tyrannical Gladiator's Cuffs of Meditation
Weapon: Tyrannical Gladiator's Energy Staff
Hands: Tyrannical Gladiator's Mooncloth Gloves
Belt: Tyrannical Gladiator's Cord of Meditation
Legs: Tyrannical Gladiator's Mooncloth Leggings
Feet: Tyrannical Gladiator's Treads of Meditation
Ring1: Tyrannical Gladiator's Band of Cruelty
Ring2: Tyrannical Gladiator's Band of Meditation
Trinket1: Tyrannical Gladiator's Medallion of Meditation
Trinket2: Tyrannical Gladiator's Badge of Dominance OR Relic of Chi-Ji (2/2 upgraded).

You'll want the satin head for the haste, as the mooncloth variant provides no spirit. The DPS badge or Relic of Chi'Ji is down to personal preference. I've been playing Holy so long that I am now well versed in mana efficiency, and therefore often do not need the Relic, however for starting out I would encourage using the Relic. If your mana is fine, try the dps badge and macro it into power infusion to inflict huge damage, especially with Halo. If you are human, use the Relic of Chi’ji / Tyrannical Gladiator’s Emblem of Meditation if you do not have access to the relic, and Tyrannical Gladiator’s Badge of Dominance.

Spirit > Haste > Mastery > Crit

Shoulder: +200 Intellect +100 Critical Strike (Greater Crane Wing Inscription)
Back: +180 Intellect (Superior Intellect)
Chest: + 80 stats (Glorious Stats)
Wrist: + 180 Intellect (Super Intellect)
Weapon: Jade Spirit / Spirit of Conquest
Hands: +170 Haste (Greater Haste)
Legs: +285 Intellect +165 Spirit (Greater Pearlescent Spellthread)
Feet: +140 Mastery +Minor Speed Increase (Pandaren's Step)


1.7 Addons
• An addon to show serendipity stacks. I use WeakAuras, although this can be difficult to configure, so anyone without the patience to learn how to use it I would suggest TellMeWhen. There are YouTube videos that show how to use TellMeWhen. To configure TMW for serendipity, type /tmw, and enter the buff you want to track (i.e. serendipity, ID 63735, or Focused Will, ID 45242), and enter the conditions under the 'conditions' tab, such as only causing the tooltip to appear on screen when 2 stacks is reached. I highly recommend this addon.
ClassPortraitsFinal: shows the class icon on portraits instead of the target's face.
LoseControl: Displays CC and other important buffs/debuffs on the target portrait. It can also be configured to show on arena frames, etc.
• Interrupt Bar: I cannot recommend this enough. Simply allows you to track the cooldowns of interrupts.
OmniCC: Enables a timer to be shown on abilities with a cooldown, so that you can track the seconds or minutes left on its CD.
sArena: Takes the blizzard default arena frames (which I have always liked), and providing you are not using MoveAnything (as they conflict), you can move the arena frames, resize them, and have the option of displaying a trinket CD next to the arena frame.
Gladius: Alternative to sArena.


2.1 Holy Gameplay
This section is all about the basic (and not so basic) concepts of the holy priest, including priorities of abilities and efficient healing, addons, our strengths and weaknesses, plus general gameplay tips.


2.2 Healing
Holy Priest healing is largely mana inefficient, and for that reason you should aim to fill your healing with cheap, instant spells as opposed to spells such as flash heal and greater heal. Your instant heals include:
• Holy Word: Serenity
• Divine Star (if chosen)
• Prayer of Mending
• Circle of Healing
• Lightwell HoT
• Renew
• Power Word: Shield
• Desperate Prayer (if chosen)

Standard Healing
You’re whole healing in PvP is based around the Mooncloth 2pc:
(2) Set: When you cast Prayer of Mending, the initial target is blessed with a Holy Spark increasing the healing done by your Flash Heal, Greater Heal or Holy Word: Serenity by 50% for 10sec.

Your main heal consists of Prayer of Mending, into Holy Word: Serenity, with a increased 50% healing due to the 2pc. If you happen to have 2 serendipity stacks, Greater Heal > Holy Word: Serenity, following PoM. So:

PoM > Greater Heal (2 serendipity stacks) > Holy Word: Serenity > All other heals
The priority after the Holy Spark has been used is:

Holy Word: Serenity > Ensure lightwell is up > Divine Star (if you picked it) > Power Word: Shield > Renew > Power Word: Solace (if you picked it) > Circle of Healing

If there is high pressure on your team that this combination of spells cannot outheal (i.e. when the enemy team is popping cooldowns), flash heal and greater heal come before ensuring lightwell is up, after Serenity.

Intensive Healing
In such a situation as described above, you should use the burst healing combination (with Power Infusion, if it’s up). This involves serendipity:
• When you heal with Binding Heal or Flash Heal, the cast time of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing spell is reduced by 20% and the mana cost reduced by 10%. Stacks up to 2 times. Lasts 20 sec.
Burst Healing: Flash heal -> Flash heal -> Greater Heal
Binding heal should take precedence if both you and your target are low.


2.3 Offensive Play
In this section, I will cover Holy’s strengths, including its damage and CC.

Holy Priest Damage
Holy Priest damage is significantly higher than disc priest damage, and as such is the highest damage of any healer in the game, paralleled only by a restoration druid with Heart of the Wild active. This is because of Chakra: Chastise, an ability that increases shadow and holy damage by 50%. As such, Holy priests are able to inflict damage as shown in this video, mentioned earlier in the guide:

Generally, what you want to do to inflict max damage as a holy priest is to:
1. Activate Chakra: Chastise.
2. Cast / Reapply Shadow Word: Pain, as any SW:P active before Chakra: Chastise will not benefit from this Chakra stance.
3. Halo (if you have chosen it) from max range, providing no CC will be broken.
4. Holy Fire
5. Smite Spam
I highly suggest that you open against any composition with a fear from stealth, where applicable (i.e. not running into a wizardcleave that could turn around and one shot you, I will cover such details in 2.7), followed by setting up damage.
Chastise is an extremely powerful ability, and perhaps the main reason for any setup to bring a holy priest. It can be macroed in a way that does not incur an additional global cooldown, as seen in this video:

It is 3 seconds long, and although that does not sound long, there are a variety of things you can do using these 3 seconds, which I will cover soon. In addition, Chastise does not DR with anything in the game, including itself, as Smite in Chakra: Chastise stance has a 10% chance to reset the cooldown of chastise, enabling long (6-9+ second) CC chains using chastise, if you are lucky with smites. Many of its uses are described here:
• Chastise -> Angelic Feather/Body and Soul -> Psychic Scream.
• Chastise to stop priests running in to fear you, and getting the fear on them before they fear you. In addition, you could chastise and remove their fear ward, followed by psychic scream.
• Chastise can be used to interrupt powerful abilities and CCs such as chaos bolt, polymorph and fear, as well as chaining interrupts with your team against hunters, to prevent them from casting Revive Pet.
• Chastise -> Freezing Trap (from hunter).
• Chastise -> any casted CC, especially against priests (as it stops them deathing polymorph, for example).
• Chastise on the kill target, or to keep a target in a bad position. Chastise acts like scatter, but sometimes does not always break immediately on damage. Therefore, it can be used following stuns and silences to stop enemy targets reacting with CDs, but ‘stunning’ them for a small amount of time.
• Chastise -> Dominate Mind.
• Chastise a feral/rogue’s opener.
I’m sure there are several more examples, but these are the main ones I use often.


2.4 Weaknesses

1. There is one huge bug that has been at the centre of holy priest gameplay, and that’s the Guardian Spirit bug. The Guardian Spirit bug is as follows:
• When Guardian Spirit is used on friendly targets, upon them reaching 0 health, the ‘revival’ effect has a high chance to not trigger. This does not happen upon the caster (i.e. the holy priest).
Therefore, you should only use Guardian Spirit for the +60% Healing, as opposed to relying on the revival function of the spell. You can use it on yourself, and it will proc, as this is reliable, however it will only heal 27.5% without Twist of Fate.

2. Dominate Mind, although a key weapon in a Holy Priest’s arsenal due to it being castable out of chastise, it causes the priest to take extremely high damage from dots. This is because mind controlling a target from the enemy team causes you to be treated as friendly, ignoring any resilience that would prevent 65% of the damage incoming (in actual fact, it feels higher than this). Thus, if you have full feral bleeds or affliction warlock dots on you, never use mind control unless absolutely necessary, as it will cause you to take an insane amount of damage in a short space of time.

When Lightwell (enhanced with Glyph of Lightspring) is down, as Hydra stated, ‘no one is going to die’. While this is hyperbolic, it gives an idea of how potent lightwell’s healing is: it’s extremely high, the strongest HoT in the game. As a result of increased numbers of holy priests, people are starting to realise that the Lightspring needs to die, however it cannot be dot’d, making it hard for DoT teams to finish it. If the lightwell dies, your healing dramatically decreases.
To avoid the lightwell being killed instantaneously in 3s, wait until the enemy team’s opener before putting lightwell down, otherwise they will snipe it from a distance, or realise it’s there. If you put it down after they have engaged, sometimes the enemy team will not realise it is in fact down, and thus will not kill it. However, you’ll want to place Lightwell in a position central in the arena, increasing the effectiveness of it’s 40yrd range by covering the most area, or high traffic areas such as the tomb on Ruins of Lordaeron.

Weaknesses: Mana
As I've stated multiple times in this guide, holy is a mana inefficient spec. You are forced to rely on cheap, instant heals to retain mana efficiency, and even then it can still hurt your mana bar. As a result, it's advisable to use the spell 'Heal' when possible. I find I use this a lot in Wizardcleave (two spell casters) vs Wizardcleave, where the fight becomes one team on one end of the map, and the other on the other side, turreting damage into each other waiting for healers to go oom. Use PI when burst healing (2.2).

Spectral Guise also removes you from combat. This allows you to drink immediately after using it, and you might have to do this often given that Holy tends to go oom very quickly.


2.5 Gameplay Tips
• Use Guardian Spirit primarily for the +60% healing, as it tends to bug and not trigger the revival effect on other targets.
• Use Guardian Spirit at high hp vs DKs, when they pop Gargoyle or any other damage cooldown, as necrotics can absorb the entire Guardian Spirit effect (It only heals for 27.5% of your health when triggered), so it's better to use it to clean the necrotics off early with high, instant burst healing.
• Switch often between Chakra: Chastise and Chakra: Serenity, as -due to your 4pc- chakras only have 5 sec cooldowns. This is insanely good for switching between offensive and defensive play. When the team is topped, it is best to either be dispelling or dps'ing in Chakra: Chastise.
• Place lightwell in the centre of arenas or in high traffic areas, so that you are more likely to be in range for the 40yrd auto-heal.
• Watch for Shadow Dance + Shadow Blades, and when the target is stunned by kidney shot, grip the target. You will more than likely grip their smoke bomb. Good teams will often ensure there is no chance of their bomb being gripped.
• If a hunter looks to be running towards you, he is likely getting in the 20yrd range for scatter shot. You can place a psyfiend on you, preventing him from trapping you with scatter + trap, as psyfiend will often eat it. Spectral Guise also works by creating a clone of you, which will eat the trap if you Spectral Guise the second he scatters you.
• Mind Control is amazing on maps such as Blade's Edge. Your team can sit on the top of the bridge, while you MC targets that are not the dps target off the bridge.

Shadow Word: Death
SW:D is extremely important for avoiding CC by causing a 'recoil' effect that, when used at the moment a CC lands on you, causes it to break from damage. In this section, I will cover how the death each individual CC:
Rogue: Deathing a blind is one of the flashy 'showcase' moves that goes back expansions, as it involves a sense of knowing when you are going to be blinded, in addition to watching the Rogue's position. When you expect a blind to be coming out (i.e. your team is taking a lot of pressure), attempt to keep 30yrds+ from the rogue. As the rogue begins to run towards you or round a corner while they have pressure, he is likely to blind you. SW:D as he runs towards you.
DK: If a DK steals your team's polymorph, have the mage call it and stay LoS, when you come out of LoS, it is likely he has been spamming his Dark Sim key to sheep you before the duration runs out. Be ready to SW:D.
Hunter: Scatter Shot has a short range just like blind (20yrds), so keep a distance away from hunter / LoS him. When he runs around LoS to you or runs towards you, just like a rogue, he is likely to scatter trap you. Use SW:D or spectral guise, or summon and stand on a psyfiend.
Druid: Deathing a druid's Disorientating Roar is about watching the druid's position. If he randomly runs towards you and is not focusing you as his target, you can attempt to get lucky with a SW:D, however there is a chance he is running Mighty Bash, in which case the SW:D will do nothing. This is one of the abilities your less likely to death.
Mage: Increase the size of arena frames via sArena or this script:
/run LoadAddOn("Blizzard_ArenaUI")
/run ArenaEnemyFrame1:SetScale(1.2)
/run ArenaEnemyFrame2:SetScale(1.2)
/run ArenaEnemyFrame3:SetScale(1.2)
where the 1.2 can be replaced with any value. This will increase the arena frame size, as well as the casting bar size of arena frames, provided it is enabled at Interface -> Unit Frames -> Arena Enemy Frames -> Cast Bars. Try and keep the mage on focus, and reapply focus on him when he uses mirror images / invisibility. That way, you can see his cast bar. Use the focus SW:D macro featured earlier to death his polymorphs.

You can also SW:D his PoM polymorphs, although this is only usually done when he runs towards you from 40yrds away to 30yrds or around a corner early in the game.

Monk: Paralysis has a 20yrd range like Scatter Shot, so just look at the monk's positioning and keep distance from him, or wait for him to run around LoS to you.
Paladin: Repentance is only really used by holy paladins, so just watch for arena frame cast bars like Polymorph. Blinding light is a casted spell for holy paladins, so they will likely cast it straight out of CC to prevent you deathing, otherwise you can death it like any other casted CC.
Blinding Light is instant for ret paladins, and they usually use it very early, running setups such as hunter/ret that have intense opener damage. If they run in quickly at the beginning, into your team, they're likely going to blind. Alternatively, if they randomly run towards you while they have pressure on another target, they are likely blinding / HoJ'ing you, depending on how far away they are (HoJ can be used from further away).


2.6 Co-ordination
As Holy brings an additional CC to the table, and the option to successfully run Dominate Mind with chastise, it is essential that your team is good at co-ordinating and rotating CCs. With the addition of chastise, some comps can keep a player out of the game for half -or more- of the game.

One particular piece of co-ordination I find invaluable is vs shaman teams. Shamans have tremor totem, which can be used just over every 30seconds if they have totemic restoration. Unless you fear almost exactly on CD (which is unlikely) or force tremor through mind control, you should co-ordinate with your team to prevent the shaman tremoring, i.e. through a deep freeze or cyclone, while you fear his partners. That way, his partners are forced to eat the full fear. Other things you can do with coordination include freezing trap out of chastise, and mind control into Ring of Frost.

For example, if we are facing an ele shaman, disc priest frost mage mirror, I would ask for my mage to Deep + CS the ele sham so he can't sham rage and tremor, forcing him to sit the deep and a lot of damage as I chastise + fear the priest.
thankyou jamie, i know this must have been hard to write without your sword hand
+rep to the Kingslayer!
I agree with everything, but are you sure about that stat priority?
I and US holy priests (fuzion, sodah, jahmilli and keyliet) all went haste. I weighed up the benefits of going each stat here:

8% Increased speed of casts, DoTs and HoTs + an additional tick of renew and SW:P vs 11% more healing from your heals is healed over 6secs vs 5% Increased critical strike chance

I feel haste is the correct option.

In addition, haste benefits the offensive playstyle of priests. Mastery does not, and I know you prioritize mastery.
WOW, a whole novel of good stuff. Good job with this peace of work.
When's the hard copy out?
Well written guide!
Great guide overall, though I think you should change the title (or you can't on these forums?) to mention arena, as there was an RBG focused guide somewhere around with quite a few differences.

I definitely agree with haste > mastery, though my experience is fairly limited atm (only returned like 2 weeks ago). Being able to dispel faster is really important for pressure, even if it doesn't improve mana efficiency much.

You seem to be discarding phantasm too easily, it certainly has its place in 2v2 where you are more likely to be focused (at least every DK+healer seems to do that). Same for battlemaster, which you don't mention anywhere.

Btw when your team is going for the kill, how would you prioritize damage vs dispels vs CC (dominate mind)? Will damage spam be more effective than dispeling a PW:S/barrier?
When's the hard copy out?


edit: would you like a signed copy?
Btw when your team is going for the kill, how would you prioritize damage vs dispels vs CC (dominate mind)? Will damage spam be more effective than dispeling a PW:S/barrier?

generally CCs > dispel (depending on the buff, like PW:S) > damage

although this all varies, if it's alter time for example, that needs to be dispelled asap
Also, when you need both mass dispel and SW:D (damn you mages), do you really recommend leaving the lightspring over PoM? My lightwell is killed too often (mainly because its the only thing they can do when waiting for cooldowns), and 100k+ pom crits tend to be a huge lifesaver.

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