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Holy Priest DPS

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This article is a ‘How to’ and Tips in playing Holy Priest DPS spec for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands 9.0.2.
Last update: 21st December 2020 || Version 4.0.2

Background for Holy Priest DPS

Due to modifications to the Priest class since the expansion Warlords of Draenor, Holy Priest DPS is no longer a viable DPS spec, especially within a raiding environment. The DPS output is significantly lower than in previous expansions.

This guide is for players who want to know how to quest/level as a Holy Priest DPS in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands expansion between levels 50 and 60.

Stats priority for Holy Priest DPS

The Holy Priest DPS only has four primary statistics to build on:

Intellect > Haste (until Smite is around 1.3 seconds cast) > Critical Strike > Versatility

Intellect translates directly into damage. The more intellect your Priest has, the more damage (and more healing if you are playing as an off-healer) they will achieve: you can’t have enough of it. More is better. Gain as much Intellect as quickly as possible by taking any gear that has a higher Intellect value.

Critical Strike rating is the probable chance of scoring double damage on a target.

Haste is for reducing the cast time of your spells. Try and collect enough haste rating so when you cast Smite (your main DPS spell), it’s around the 1.3 seconds mark.

Versatility provides a percentage increase to your damage and healing spells, while also reducing the damage taken for a percentage amount.

Mastery only affects your healing spells (Mastery: Echo of Light). Mastery is a dead secondary stat as this is only for healing. Concentrate on getting gear that has Critical Strike and Haste as secondary stats.

With regards to Trinkets, always take trinkets that have Intellect as the primary stat regardless of the secondary stat or ability. You ideally want to obtain Intellect DPS trinkets, trinkets that do additional damage or increase your spell damage either through equip (preferred) or use.

Talents for Holy Priest DPS

There are no Holy Priest talents available which give your priest a direct DPS increase. None. There are however four talents which can help with the DPS rotation:

Level 35: CensureHoly Word: Chastise now stuns the target for four seconds. Can be very useful when fighting higher level/higher health targets or PvP as this stops them from attacking you. Be warned, doesn’t work on every target.

Level 45: Divine Star – Launches an energy bolt directly in front of your Priest causing healing to friendly targets and damage to enemies. After 24 yards, the energy bolt returns to you, healing allies and damaging enemies on its return path. This talent can be very useful, especially when fighting multiple enemies, but the problem is, all the enemies must be in front of you, rather than surrounding you. To achieve this, simply walk backwards (if you can) before launching Divine Star. Unfortunately, this talent has a 15 second cooldown. Because of the long cooldown, DPS is minimal at best.

Level 50: Apotheosis – When activated, Apotheosis reduces the cooldown of your Holy Word spells when you cast the corresponding spell. In other words, you can cast Holy Word: Chastise again after you’ve cast Smite two or three times instead of six or seven; depending on your Haste rating. Very useful when you are attacking a Rare Elite, World Boss or another PvP player. 

Spells for Holy Priest DPS

Your Holy Priest has several damage spells and one talent damage spell. These are:

  • Holy Word: Chastise – a big direct damage spell with a default one minute cooldown. Casting Smite reduces the cooldown by 10 seconds
    • If you select the talent Censure (Level 35), the target is also stunned for four seconds
    • If you select the talent Apotheosis (Level 50) and is active, casting Smite reduces the cooldown by 2o seconds
  • Holy Fire – a direct damage and Damage over Time (DoT) spell with a 10 second cooldown; the DoT effect is only seven seconds
  • Smite – your main ‘filler’ damage spell
  • Holy Nova – an Area of Effect (AoE) spell
  • Divine Star – a level 45 talent spell that launches an energy bolt directly in front of your Priest causing healing to friendly targets and damage to enemies. After 24 yards, the energy bolt returns to you, healing allies and damaging enemies on its return path
  • Shadow Word: Pain – An instant damage and DoT spell from the Shadow talent specialisation. One second cooldown and can only be applied to as many targets as you wish
  • Shadow Word: Death – An instant damage spell that inflicts 85% of your Spell Damage on the target. Be careful because if the NPC doesn’t die, that same damage is then applied to you. If the target’s health is below 20%, 150% Spell Damage is inflicted. 30 Second recharge
  • Power Infusion – Straight up 25% increase in Haste for 20 seconds. 

Holy Priest DPS Rotation

Single target:

  1. Holy Fire
  2. Shadow Word: Pain
  3. Holy Word: Chastise
  4. Power Infusion (if needed)
  5. Smite
  6. Shadow Word: Death (if you know the target is going to die)
  7. Cast Holy Word: Chastise, Holy Fire and Shadow Word: Pain when the cooldowns have reset or expired.

Multiple targets:

  1. Apply Shadow Word: Pain on ALL the targets
  2. Holy Fire on the primary target you are fighting
  3. Holy Word: Chastise on the primary target you are fighting
  4. Holy Nova
  5. Shadow Word: Death (if you know the target is going to die)
  6. Cast Holy Word: Chastise, Holy Fire, Shadow Word: Pain and Shadow Word: Death when the cooldowns have reset or expired.


Top Tips when attacking NPCs

  • Although the DPS for Holy Priest is much lower than a Shadow Priests and other DPS classes (Mage etc), you have the luxury of healing yourself during the fight
  • I highly recommend you take Level 40 talent Surge of Light, which gives you up to two instant charges of Flash Heal, which can be used in your spell rotation to top off your health when you are being attacked by multiple NPCs
  • If you suffer a big loss of health, you can cast Holy Word: Serenity on yourself. Holy Word: Serenity is the big single heal spell, which can heal you for more than 50% of your health instantly
  • Your DPS maybe low but you can attack most NPCs as you can instantly heal yourself to full health using Holy Word: Serenity and 2 x Flash Heals from Surge of Light. All this means is, it takes longer to kill a NPC, known as the slow burn
  • Have plenty of Potion of Prolonged Power, these can get you out of trouble. 


Best Covenant for Holy Priest DPS

I didn’t have access to the Beta version of Shadowlands, and I reach Level 60 just last week, so what is the Best Covenant for Holy Priest DPS is too early to say as I am still researching, learning the mechanics and Soulbinds of the new Covenant system. My first choice has been Venthyr as there are a DPS and haste ability, but time will tell to see if this is the correct choice. 


Change log

Version 4.0.2 – 21st Dec 2020 – Minor edits based on playing experience
Version 4.0.1 – 23rd Nov 2020 – Shadowlands Launch
Version 4.0.0 – 9th Nov 2020 – Shadowlands Pre-Patch

Version 3 – Legion 7.3.5 Guide
Version 2 – WoD 6.2 Guide
Version 1 – MoP 5.4 Guide

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