Disc Priest’s Guide to PvP, Part 1: Talents, Glyphs and Gear

Life for a healer can be a bit challenging in a Battle Ground, especially if that healer is a squishy Priest. So, how does said squishy Priest survive? You spec Disc, that’s how. Disc has the best defensive cool downs in the game. I hate going against another Disc Priest in Arena because they are annoying at best and unkillable at worst. This will be the first in a series of Disco PvP guides.

So what is it that makes a Disc Priest unstoppable? Bubbles, bubbles and more bubbles; Reflective bubbles, Pain Suppression bubbles, Divine Aegis bubbles and the giant golden bubble for everyone who stands under it. But… not only do we have defensive spells we also have access to Shadow DOTs and Psychic Scream. Some PvP specs may carry the Smite/Atonement talents but I have found them nearly useless in a PvP setting.

Let’s take a look at my PvP spec:

The first row is complety filled out. No brainer here.

The second tier I have skipped Evangelism and Archangel completely. These points are better spent in the Holy Tree. I have 2/3 Inner Sanctum – being able to out run enemies is a great asset. You will always have Inner Will up. Inner Fire is tempting for the extra armor but with the horrid regen of PvP gear it is vital to have the mana reduction. Inner Will has better survivability than Inner Fire, period. I have 2/2 in Soul Warding because bubbles will spread liberally around a BG.

The third tier is filled out except for Atonement because I didn’t take Evangelism and Archangel. Power Infusion is a must have talent. I took Inner Focus but I find myself forgetting to use it a lot. Power Infusion is for those times when you meet a Holy Paladin with 120K mana that just will not go down. Power Infusion + Mana Burn = dead Paladin.

The fourth tier is all about Rapture and Reflective Shield. Borrowed Time is nice but it’s not as good as it was in Wrath – more of a filler talent to get to the next tier. Rapture is a tiny bit of regen and Reflective Shield is really nice against those stealthed Rogues/Feral Druids since it will damage them if they hit us – popping them out of stealth.

The fifth tier is the really good stuff: Divine Aegis and Pain Suppression. Divine Aegis’s duration is about to get buffed in 4.1. Hurray! Pain Suppression is a must have, as is the Glyph of Desperation. With the Glyph, you can cast Pain Suppression while stunned. You can cast it on your self or an ally.   

The sixth tier is Focused Will and Grace. Take both – they are both amazing talents. Grace was recently buffed to be active on more than one target at a time. Too good not to take now for any Disc Spec.

And then we have our 31st point talent: Power Word: Barrier. 10 seconds of 30% damage reduction and uninterrupted spell casting – yes, please! The CD is about to go up from 2 to 3 minutes in 4.1 but still a really good spell. There’s a glyph for it that’s marginally useful, dependant of how often you use it.

Now for the Holy tree, we only have enough points to get to the first 2 tiers.

The first tier I have taken Improved Renew and Empowered Healing. I didn’t take Divine Fury since most of the healing I do is instant cast. I love Renew – it’s a HoT and our only heal that can be cast on the run consistently.

In the second tier I have 2/2 in Surge of Light and 2/2 in Inspiration. Why no Desperate Prayer, you may be asking. I don’t like it – never have. I don’t use it when I have it talented and I find the point more useful in Inspiration. Surge of Light is my favorite healing Priest talent, hands down. It will soon be buffed to work with Binding Heal in addition to the heals it works with now. When it procs, we get an instant free Flash Heal. This is especially nice in a highly mobile PvP environment. Inspiration has wonderful synergy with Divine Aegis, it’s just too good to pass up.

Now that we have our talent tree filled out, what about glyphs?

There are mandatory glyphs like Glyph of Desperation and Penance. The minor glyphs don’t really help in PvP with the exception of Levitation. Everyone loves a reagent free Levitate and its situationaly useful in Arathi Basin.

I love my Renew glyph and the PW:S glyph is really amazing since the abosorb amount has been doubled. I’ve been seeing anywhere from 7-10K heals with it.

You have a little wiggle room in the Major glyphs. You should most certainly have the Dispell Magic Glyph and the Glyph of Desperation. Don’t confuse Dispell Magic with Mass Dispell – the glyph heals the target for 3% of their health when Dispell Magic is used, this is the single target Dispell. The 3rd Major glyph could be anything from Prayer of Mending (my favorite) to Mass Dispell or Prayer of Healing. It really depends on your play style. I love PoM since it will still bounce when I’m stunned. Sixty percent of that first heal is quite a bit. I have been seeing it crit up to 18K.  

So now we have our spec and glyphs taken care but what about gear? What do we look for in PvP gear? Short answer, resilience.

At my current gear level, I have 3464 resilience or 36.38% damage reduction. This includes Mana Burn damage, as well. I think this is an acceptable level of resilience and as I get the epic pieces I will stop gemming for it. The thing with resilience is that everyone will be comfortable with a different amount. I think I have some good survivability with what I have now but others might like less. I would say a good value to shoot for would be around 3K before you even think of dropping some in favor of another stat.

After Resilience you want to look at the more basic Disc Priest Stat order: Int -> Mastery -> Spirit -> Haste -> Crit. I value Mastery over Haste and Spirit in PvP more than I do in PvE. PvP gear just doesn’t have much Haste on it and one extra tick of Renew doesn’t mean much if people aren’t alive long enough to get that extra tick. Mastery is more beneficial because of the larger shields absorbs (and the bigger glyphed heal from PW:S). Spirit is nice to have but in BGs you will rarely be out living your mana pool since you will be focused fired by any decent PvPers.

Spirit can be pretty rare on gear since it is best to “double dip” on the cloth sets for the bonus 400 resilience from the 2 piece bonus. If you have 2 pieces of Mooncloth and 2 pieces of Satin you will get a bonus of 800 resilience but you will loose Spirit from the Satin Pieces. Also, you need to take at least the DPS ring for some hit rating. The cap for hit rating in PvP is 4%. I’m not saying you need to be capped but you do need some hit for those times when you can be offensive. Dispells on enemies work on hit rating and can miss just like a DPS spell can so you need to have at least a little bit.

Now that we have our gear, how should we gem and enchant it? What meta gem should we use?

As for gemming, gem for socket bonuses only if it’s 20 or more of a good stat. By good I mean resilience or intellect, don’t worry about the others – it’s just not worth it. I have a smattering of different gems in my gear but it works for me. If I think I need more health, I’ll pop in a stamina gem or if I want a bigger mana pool, I’ll get an intellect one. Just make sure to gem in line with the above stat order.

The meta gem I swear by is the Destructive Shadowspirit Diamond. Yes, it’s + crit but look at the other stat on it: 1% percent spell reflect. You have absolutely not lived until you have seen a Shaman’s Hex reflected back on them. I’ve reflected all sorts of stuff: Paladin’s Hammer of Justice, Druid’s Cyclone and many, many DPS spells. But really, it is worth it just to watch those CC spells get used against them. The meta gem is another thing in our arsenal that makes us a lot harder to down. Also, don’t be fooled by the increased run speed metas. They do not stack with your Inner Will.

Enchants should also be inline with the above stat order. As above, Vitality enchants for boots will not stack with Inner Will. The big ones to not skimp on are the 40 resilience to chest and the reputation shoulder/head enchants. There are new PvP enchants from the Tol Barad vendor but they are 80 commendations for each. I don’t know about you but I just cannot make myself do those dailies anymore. You may want to get the Wrath PvP enchants from the Wintergrasp vendor and the Leatherworking leg enchant from the era is still pretty decent at 40 resilience and 28 stamina. If you can afford it and have an epic weapon, Power Torrent is totally worth it but it does take 5 Maelstrom Crystals. Heartsong is also a good alternative. I would not recommend Mending – it hardly procs and you will be healing yourself for more than it procs anyways.

That’s it for now. Next time I’ll go over our spells and how/when to use them.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ian
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 14:17:44

    Heya, now with 4.2 are the stat weightages still the same? Especially since heals that crit now heal for 200%. Thanks in advance!


  2. tobeume
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 00:09:06

    I am going to say that INT is still king in the stat department. INT gives us mana, regen, crit and spellpower. Crit by itself will just give you crit and nothing more.

    The 200% crits have been pretty fun so far, if nothing else than to exclaim to people around you how much you just healed for. :p I got a POM bounce to crit for 30K the other day.


  3. Zardoz
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 14:05:19

    If you’re pure heals your talent tree looks just fine. For me though as a PvP disc priest I want a little more fun and so can actually do some damage. So I go 6 points into the shadow tree, the 6th single point is in twisted faith which gives me more hit than I need – this means I don’t need any gear with hit on it.

    I agree with 2 in renew (holy tree) plus the glyph because often you can’t even get a flash heal off as PvP often is all about instant heals – Shield, renew, prayer of mending, penance, holy nova ( to save my butt holy nova lots and glyphed).

    So I only can go only 4 points in the holy tree where the other two are in empowered healing. In the discipline tree same as yours except 3 (not 2) in Inner sanctum and 0 in borrowed time. Talent points are 31/4/6.

    All non-spirit gear of mine is reforged to spirit. My mastery is much lower than PvE at 24% because mana regen is more important to me so I use a tsuami trinket but gem for resilience and a little penetration (I have 4000 resilience at this point with several conquest points pieces gear).


  4. tobeume
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 00:39:07

    Back in Wrath I had a lot of points in the Shadow tree back when we could get Mind Flay with talents. I miss that so much! I would absolutely shut down Warriors but now I get nearly eaten alive by them.

    I hadn’t thought of taking the Twisted Faith talent. My second talent spec I like to play around with more so I might give it a try.


  5. Peter
    Oct 08, 2011 @ 22:45:38

    About the priority of haste before crit.I have played a disc priest for some years doing mostly BGs and i was told to stack crit and ignore haste.I totally agree the mastery stat but with haste i dunno.Can u explain y haste is better?


    • tobeume
      Oct 09, 2011 @ 23:03:23

      I like Haste a lot better becuase it lowers the GCD, lowers your cast time and at 12.5% it will give you an extra tick of Renew. That been said, Haste is a little difficult to get on PvP gear since most of the gear doesn’t have a secondary stat other than resil. (This is why I’m so over the moon about the updated Pertified Pickled Egg from Brewfest ’11.)We get a lot of crit with stacking INT so I really wouldn’t go out of my way to get it over our primary stat of INT. This is why I say Haste over Crit because we already have Crit covered.


  6. Zardoz
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 22:57:23

    Haste I really like in PVE. Greater heal rules. Hopefully you get a 5% haste raid buff.PvE is Inner Will to save mana if you’re also a Disc bubble healer like I am where sometimes almost feeling like Wrath using multiple Bubbles in am emergency.

    But haste in PvP – Yes I’d love it but often all you can do is get off instant heals, and then when not interrupted how much more haste can you stack to notice a quicker flash heal/Binding heal?).

    Am I am an oddball disc priest doing some DPS when the battle permits? Grab a Penetration necklace or cloak and get enough hit (as stated previously I go one point in Twisted Faith for my hit).

    At this point in Season 10 I am all Ruthless with 4200 resilience and use a Tsunami trinket. Often in regular BGs my DPS is about 50% damage compared to my healing. In Arena/Rated BGs I am usually a more traditional healer..


  7. Dirty
    Dec 21, 2011 @ 02:36:45

    I just tried to use a two-piece satin and two-piece mooncloth to get the +800 resil bonus, like you mention in your guide. However, it only gives me a +400 bonus.


  8. Dennis Mc
    Dec 26, 2011 @ 04:03:33

    It’s been a while since the two 2-sets worked for the extra resilience. For me the 4 set bonus is good anyway. And besides there’s so much resilience on gear now. And you needed it with overpowered toons with the new season start (when 4.3 came out).

    Right now I am sitting on 4500 resilience and only now an starting to feel a smidge comfortable (disc priest). I think I’ll settle at 4600 which I beleive will give me 44% damage reduction.


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