Spiritual Guidance: What each type of Priest can do and arena musings

Matt Low
M. Low|12.22.08

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Spiritual Guidance: What each type of Priest can do and arena musings

Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. This week, Matticus looks at what a Priest can do and reflects on his experience so far in arena.

I managed to get myself into a pickup heroic Naxx group the other day. No, it wasn't on my Priest. The Priest is my baby and I can't lock him into such raids while we're still raiding. It was my Shaman that I took into heroic Naxx. After Flame Shocking and Lava Bursting my way through both Spider and Plague Wings and the first two bosses of the Military Quarter, we came across the Four Horsemen.

(Yes, there is a point to this, keep reading!)

A brief conversation between myself and one of the tanks for the back Knights (Sir Zeliek and Lady Blameaux) went something like this:

"Hey, can you put up an Earth Shield on me?"
"No, I can't. I don't have it."
"You sure? I thought all Shamans had it."
"No, Earth Shield is under the Resto tree and I'm Elemental."
"Oh. Uh, nevermind then."

As you might no doubt be wondering, there is a point I wish to make here. Just because players may know their own individual roles and classes, they might not be aware of the strengths or (more importantly) the capabilities of others.

So let's clarify what each type of Priest can do and what's relevant for the raid leader.

First, raid leaders should be aware that all types of Priests can resurrect other players. Ergo, If Joe Shadow Priest says he can't res because he didn't talent for it, smack him around some and call him on it because he's being lazy.

All Priests have access to Mind Control. It doesn't matter what spec they are. If you need them to pick up mobs on Razuvious, they can. If you need them to control Worshippers against Grand Widow Faerlina, they can. It just might take a while for them to get used to tanking.

Psychic Scream is another emergency spell that Priests can use. In the event that things start getting extremely hairy, they can pop the hail Mary fear and pray for the best. I really strongly suggest against using it unless you really have to. It's the big red button of Priests everywhere. It's in case of emergency, break open glass type spell. You get the idea.

In terms of buffs, we can all put out Power Word: Fortitude. However, the strength of this buff depends on how deep down in Discipline they go (the strength of the buff depends on whether or not they invest in Improved Power Word: Fortitude).


What's exclusive for the Discipline Priest?

Pain Suppression, Power Infusion and Penance are only available to those that are deep into the Discipline tree. The Spirit buff is also predominantly a Discipline talent.

Pain Suppression is there to help reduce damage taken by a player over a small period of time. Power Infusion increases the spell haste of a player over a few seconds. Penance is a spell that lights up 3 bolts that can help heal a player or damage a player. Eliah wrote about Penance earlier in the year.


First up, we have Lightwell. You might not see many Priests out there with it. But there are some that do. The signature Holy spell is Circle of Healing followed by Guardian Spirit.

You can read more about Guardian Spirit in a previous post I wrote.


Utility Shadows spell Silence and Misery (which increases hit) makes its home here. Shadowform and Dispersion round up the other Shadow talents.

Hopefully this will help clarify a few things for raid leaders who aren't aware of Priest abilities as much as they'd like to be in raids.


My guild has cleared out all of the raid content in 6 or so hours. I had nothing to do over the weekend so I opted to give Discipline a try in Arena. Earlier in the week, I partnered with a Warlock while I was still PvE Holy. I died in about 3 seconds during our 2v2 matches. It was a miracle that we managed to pull a .500 record due to our squishiness.

Over the weekend, I made the switch to Disc and my survivability climbed to 7 seconds. While the 5 v 5 record is under .500, I think I spent most of my time trying to figure out my role in the game more.

Am I kiting?
Am I totem popping?
Am I healing?
Am I trying to survive?
Am I trying to disrupt via mana burn?

I realized later on that the only way to answer those questions is going to depend largely on many factors (none of which can be controlled). Factors like opposing team composition, your team composition, the arena, who your opponents are targeting and who your team is targeting plays a big role in the actions of a Disc Priest.

When my team wasn't sustaining a lot of damage (a rarity), I was busy trying to burn the mana of other casters (Ret Paladins are especially susceptible).

This is a great time for players who missed out on arena to get in on the action and try their hand. Everyone's gear has (more or less) reset and the playing field has been levelled. I admit, I do miss having the health of a raid boss back at 70 (when I was hard to kill).

Lastly, I'd like to wish all of you readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Want to find more great tips for carrying out your Priestly duties? Spiritual Guidance has you covered with all there is to know! And don't forget to check out our other Leveling Guides as well as our Wrath Guides and Galleries!
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