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Healing, Prayers, & Ulduar

Ulduar is now in full swing. 3.1 has launched, and priests have decided on their new specs.

In my previous post, I suggested two specs: Holy and Disc. I have found that while I particularly enjoy Discipline more, the number of fights that I am able to use it is notably low. This is mainly due to the fact that Ulduar has a lot of AOE damage and a quick snap or two of a Glyphed Circle of Healing really is a life saver.

What really surprised me was how good Prayer of Healing actually turned out to be in Ulduar. In my previous post I indicated that I was expecting ProH to be much more powerful than it was in the past. Being able to cast a serendipitous ProH and then target specific groups really can make a major difference to raid healing.

Here you see a WWS screenshot from a Kologarn kill. The total effective healing done by Prayer of Healing was a large amount of my total healing done. Admittedly, other priests in my guild have been able to pull off bigger numbers using ProH more often than I. I simply need to train myself to look to that spell more often than COH.

A lot of the fights in Ulduar have massive raidwide damage, which need to be controlled by smart healing. I have found that Discipline, while able to spam PW: Shield, is vastly inferior to deep Holy in many boss encounters due to the shear amount of raid damage. This, of course, also is dependant on the number of Shaman, Wild Growth Druids, and COH priests you may already be running with. If your healing team can cover the raid damage without COH/ProH, then having a Disc priest focus on the MT is likely the best option.

Matticus wrote up a post that shows his two options for Discipline spec – one for aoe healing flexibility. (I can only assume he intends to use Borrowed Time for the haste on a ProH. Part of his argument is that Disc and Holy itemize differently. While that is true, I’ve found that my gear mixes well, though mainly due to the fact that I tend to run my Holy Spec crit heavy for Holy Concentration procs, which translates well to Aegis Procs as Disc.

Then there is Divine Hymn. I have to admit, I freaking love this bad boy! First you need to understand that while it is a channeled spell, it heals 3 people every 2 seconds for 8 seconds. That means 12 ticks, and every 2 second’s it reapplies the tick– smartly! Seeing this spell heal for 8500 average heal and 14,500 on crits is a a raid saver. Kologarn’s Shockwave and you’re an AOE healer down? Pop this and see the equivalent of Greater Heals fly everywhere. The 10 minute CD is worth it.

At the end of the day, Ulduar has major raidwide damage from nearly every boss. This requires fast, and intelligent choices in your spells. Deciding to tackle those as Disc or as Holy is ultimately up to you. Me? I tend to lean towards Holy for a vast majority of the boss encounters, and Disc for a special few.

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Written By: on April 23, 2009
  1. Thanks for sharing another post!
    You’re really devoted to the raid success, and I admire that. I couldn’t give up on Disc just because Holy is definitely better for Ulduar (probably the same as Matt). We’re doing our progress slowly, but everyone is quite happy with his/her spec.
    Maybe I’m just lucky to have an understanding GL, or we have like 3 good Holy priests on every fight, so it’s not that neccessary :)

  2. I run as dual disc/holy and swich often during a night, many times its easy to underestimate disc for the raid dmg heavy fights – while in quite many of them a disc spec works better – those big PW:S can be a real lifesaver.
    In our first Iron Council kill i lost count on how many people bit slow to run out of things they saved,
    At XT its easy to reach for the holy spec for the tantrum but those shields makes a huge difference at keeping people up.

    However i find disc to be much less of a mt healing spec than before 3.1 – and more of a migitate dmg so people stay alive before other heals have time to land

  3. Suffice to say, Discipline is a very viable spec. Is one inherently better than the other? No.

    However, I’ve found that CoH coupled with the potency (and speed) of Holy’s ProH, may make Ulduar a bit more holy-friendly

  4. I think the true testiment of either spec, is the healing composition your raid is tanking. In my particular raid group, we usualy have minimully 2-3 holy priests and 2 good druids taking care of AoE healing(with an occasional resto shaman). We also only have one holy pally with us, so our raids’ single target healing specialists is a bit on the low side. I think (in our case) it would be better to have a disc priest with the other holy priests. It is worth more to have 1 disc 3 holy, then to just have 4 holy. However, bringing more disc priests I dont believe would be better either.

    At least this has been my observation, and its clearly known that thier is no inheret spec that is strictly ‘better’.

  5. I started out with a Disc/Holy dual spec build (I have a soft spot for disc, as I actually raided as a disc/holy hybrid thru BC).

    You can see my build here:

    Reading my WWS for the week, GHeal had less healing done than my healthstones….I don't use it. Thus I was able to drop imp healing and Div fury. Most priests don't pay much mind to healing focus, but I've been extremely pleased with the benefits it provides in many ulduar fights. Spell warding is also VERY nice in here. My fully talented and glyphed renew is VERY nice, and PoH is one of my top tools (make sure you glyph for it).

    Since yogg has been dead, and we're tackling hard modes, I have been using this I call it my Body & Soul Bitch spec. The movement speed increase has been invaluable on tanks and raid members alike – make sure you talent imp shields so Disc priests don't overwrite it. I've also been using the GS glyph with this build and its a nice combo.

    We actually only run one dedicated disc priest and one dedicated holy priest per raid – all of our priests, including shadows, are required to be profficent at another spec, so we can switch around on the fly as needed.

  6. Am I the only holy priest using Holy Nova? Especially in 10mans … it's pretty OP. I use it like I did CoH in BC .. spam, spam, spam. As long as your in proximity of your group it hits as hard or harder than my talented CoH right now sans the 6 second timer.

    I save my CoH for targeting group 2 and use Holy Nova to AE heal my group… I rarely ever need PoH, except in those rare cases like you mention here are XT-0002.

    Glyphed I'm averaging 4k heals on all 5 members in my group with holy Nova, no cooldown for 700mana.

    I'm running a mere +2200 spellpower raid buffed.


  7. so just from trying this out a few times, my CoH heals are about equal to HN crits, so idk where you are coming from. Secondly, the disc gearing mentality for AoE is much different, stack haste and spamming PoH will put out alot of HPS.

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