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4.0 Survival GuideHoly & Disc Specs, Glyphs, and More

4.01 is coming! (and all signs are pointing towards Tuesday, October 12th) So that means we all need to be prepared. There has been a lot of talk here at Tales as well as many other blogs regarding Specs, Glyphs and the like. I’ve decided to do a summary of what we’ve discussed here in effort to preare us all for the release of 4.01. There are 4 key things you need to understand to be prepared:

  • Tree Changes/Choices
  • Glyph Changes/Choices
  • Healing Mechanic Changes
  • Reforging

Tree and Specs

There are a fair number of changes made to each tree… if you haven’t been paying attention: surprise! Both Ava and myself did a post on the Holy and Disc trees and their specs. The Disc post is pretty much updated, however the Holy Post has had a number of PTR and Beta updates since the post went up, so I wouldn’t look to the Holy Post for gospel. (it obviously has some good discussion, but some of it has been updated) The first thing you need to remember is that these trees are optimized for Level 85, that means you’ll have some ‘incomplete’ specs. However, they should be thorough enough to continue raiding in ICC and Ruby Sanctum.

Holy: 5/31/0
There has been a number of changes in the Holy Tree since my original post. The addition of Tome of Light does provide some much needed synergistic talents in the holy tree. With Twirling Light being changed back to Surge of Light, it is a now a decent option for Holy Priests to get. On top of that, Serendipity now also provides a stacking mana cost reduction- which makes casting Greater Heal far less mana intensive.

Getting into my Level 80 spec, you’ll see that you really don’t have much option in the Holy Tree to get down to the fun stuff (Chakra and GS). The only choices you have is whether or not you want to pick up Spirit of Redemption, Lightwell, or Desperate Prayer. The build that I am going with is using Lightwell, mainly because I really want to like the spell. Spirit of Redemption, as I have stated in my previous post, doesn’t provide the 5% spirit anymore– and since you shouldn’t be dying in raids, I skipped it. Desperate Prayer is a great spell, however I would rather spend the point elsewhere and use a Warlock cookie, Surge of Light, or Binding Heal in its place.

You’ll notice at 80, you can’t cap out Mental Agility, Which affects all your instant casts (Holy Words, Renew, Chakra, etc…) With mana still being a bit of a non-issue at 80, you likely don’t need the extra 3% savings. Additionally, I did not complete Test of Faith - 2/3 is all you need to reach Guardian Spirit. Only 2/3 ToF has been long debated as “good enough” and I tend to agree with that. As I level to 85 I would strongly consider going into the Shadow Tree for Darkness and/or Veiled Shadows. The old school raider in me will be very tempted to pick up the Spell Warding effect from Inner Sanctum; but I will need to see how the raid damage feels in the raids we’ll have available to us.

Disc: 31/5/0 (Archangel) or 31/5/0 (No Archangel)
You have some flexibility in your spec here, however being only at 80 your throughput is going to be markedly reduced until you get access to the points you’ll have from 81-85. Some sacrifices will need to be made. Since mana, in Level 80 content really won’t be much of an issue, Inner Focus can be skipped. Even with the added synergy with Train of Thought, at 80 it probably isn’t necessary. (as you hit 85, you may want to revisit this, especially with 2/2 ToT)  You will also notice I skipped Mental Agility– this is primarily due to the fact that mana pools are much larger– on the PTR a single Rapture proc returns back over 300 more mana than my PW:S cost. (which, is the most common instant I will be casting).

Now, if you really don’t like the Smite/Archangel concept or build, and would rather go for more throughput and survivability— you can skip those talents. You can get Inner Focus, Inner Sanctum and Mental Agility. If I were to skip Archangel and Atonement, I would probably run a 31/5/0 build and get my Spell Warding back! I do highly encourage all Disc Priests to at least test drive Archangel.


With the Glyph System revamped, you’ll likely want to grab the glyphs you don’t use all that often just to have them ‘pre-learned’ so you can swap them in and out as you see fit. If you don’t have an Inscriptionist yourself, find a friend who is one and have them create them for you. I would expect a fairly notable increase in demand (and thus AH Price Gouging) for glyphs as 4.0 drops. (Protip if you have to, buy them pre-4.0 and wait to use/learn them after 4.0). My personal picks are:


Renew - Because who doesn’t want a 10% bonus? Even if you aren’t blanketing the raid with HoTs, your Chakra: Heal will keep it refreshed on the main tank.
Guardian Spirit – While not as good as the prior version of this glyph, you’ll likely want the cooldown reduced.
Prayer of Healing/Lightwell – this final slot really depends on 2 things. One, if you are doing a fight that cases you to cast POH often, and two, if you can train your raid to use your Lightwells. I foresee this Prime slot being the one we swap in/out depending ont he fight using Vanishing Powder.

Nothing super exciting here for Holy…. but a number of ‘maybe if the fight calls for it’ glyphs.
Circle of Healing – One additional Target. Yes. Always.
Holy Nova – This no longer provides a buff to its output, but now reduces the GCD… can be handy if you need to be doing a lot of AOE healing on the move. (HM LK in the Frostmourne room)
Mass Dispel – Since this is no longer a talent in the Disc Tree, I can see this becoming very handy. Melee and Glittering Sparks on Blood Prince Council anyone?
The usual suspects here
Levitate - it’s always fun to look cool floating outside the Dalaran Bank.
Shadowfiend - I usually have this one, just in case you summon the bugger right as the boss does a cleave or something.
Fortitude - Helpful for mid fight buffing not being so expensive because some idiot needed a battle rez.
Penance - Cooldown reduction; yes please.
Power Word: Shield – while not exciting, the added heal is handy, especially when it provides DA.
Power Word: Barrier – while situational, it really is our only “Disc Focused” 3rd option. Something tells me that if you are going to be casting PW:B, your raid is also going to be in need of heals– so why not buff those heals?
Divine Accuracy – Must have if you are going to be using Archangel. The end. (On Live, Hymn of Hope becomes this glyph, get it now!)
Mass Dispel and Holy Nova for the same reasons above.
Same as Holy. Moving on…

Healing Mechanic Changes

If you are running around in 277 ICC Gear, you’ll notice that you can spam your spells without running out of mana in most cases. Heck, you can continually cast Heal and actually net back more mana over the time you spent casting it than the spell actually costs! This is something you should /not/ get used to. Remember that Spell Ranks have been removed and as you level in Cataclysm, spell costs will increase as you level and the potency of the spell will increase. Again: Tuning was not done for level 80 raiding. Healers should use this opportunity to get used to the concept of selecting the most appropriate spell to be using in the given situation. You have your 3 core healing spells: Flash Heal, Heal, and Greater Heal. Each providing a varying level of speed, potency, and mana efficiency. You’ll need to get back in the groove of the days of downranking– and if you missed those days because you started playing a healer in Wrath, you’ll get the hang of it.

Discipline priests who have chosen an Attonement/Archangel Build, you will likely need to be ready to learn to ‘weave’ your smites in between your other heals as needed. In all likelihood you’ll want to create a Power Aura that tracks your stacks of Evangelism. Matticus did an interesting write up on Atonement/Smite Healing here for those who are seeking a bit more discussion on that build. Remember that Atonement/Archangel is knowing how to use an offensive ability as a utility to enhance our healing, and like all our tools, knowing when and how to use it is critical. Additionally, as Disc’s role is changing from Bubble Spam to something a bit more dynamic, you’ll also need to get used to casting other spells besides PW:S– use your whole arsenal. This is something that has always been a pet peeve of mine. Seeing Disc Priests with only PW:S on their logs and no POMs or Penances… the whole fight.

Holy priests, will need to get used to managing their Chakra States. Learning the fight mechanics will assist in that… if you know you’ll need to swap from Chakra: Renew to Chakra: Prayer of Healing to assist with burst AoE healing, you can prepare for that switch. Again the key to knowing when to use what spells in your arsenal becomes a key part of healing in 4.0/Cata.


Until you start seeing gear dropping with Mastery Rating on it, I probably would not waste too much time reforging for Mastery. No doubt, the added HoT and Bubble Boost are nice, however with the give up on your other stats, I would not dive too much into Mastery just yet. That being said, if you are in a situation where you feel you have too much haste, crit, or spirit… enjoy your new stats after peeling away any extra crit!

The only real exception to the ‘do what you think you need’ rule, is that Holy Priests should strongly consider reforging to be sure they have at least 1015 haste (the required amount for the extra Renew tick). I would likely pull some of the T10 Crit to haste.


4.0 and Cataclysm brings a lot of changes to the Priest Class… some of which I think are far overdue. If you are looking for another write up, Dawn over at WoW Insider did a great write up explaining in great detail all of what is available to us in 4.0. You’ll see that Dawn and I both share the same opinion on a lot of our results. I, for one, am really excited for 4.0 to drop… what are you guys looking forward to the most?
If you are looking for more of a video update, please visit our YouTube Channel, you’ll see a good deal of video on the new spells and animations (Chakra, Holy Words, Leap of Faith, etc…) as well as some video discussion about those spells and throughput.

Written By: on October 10, 2010
  1. Ha! I have another 4.0.1 post going up today at 2pm (I hope it’s the last) which also matches up with your points on mastery. I’m amused how much our ideas on this particular patch have aligned. I even quoted you in one section this week, to try and further stress that spamming is in hospice care.

    There is a little graphic 2/3 through about a concept Zusterke explained to me.

    1. A quote? I hope I sounded somewhat intelligent, lol!

      But yeah, I am sure it will be the last… well… pre-patch that is. ;)

  2. The spec-links are broken (maybe just to me) *sad face* :(
    Linking to didn’t work for me either though, when I did a post on this subject. They only work for a couple of hours and then they disaappear…

    1. Zinn, yeah WoWTal’s links have been funky lately. So i just updated the post to show WoWHead’s engine.

  3. I’m looking forward to that the changes to healing will hopefully kill off some of the Resto Druids on my server — they seem to be everywhere at the moment :|

    I think this will make some healers reroll to a DPS spec/class, especially those that started healing during WotLK in all its mindless spam of 1/2 abilities on any thing that drops below 90% HP glory … No, not quite.

    It will be refreshing to try to manage (and succeed :P ) this new healing paradigm.

  4. Should that be Oct. 12, rather than Nov. 12, or do you know something I don’t?

    In your list of Glyphs, Divine Accuracy doesn’t have a link.

    Great, now I feel like a jerk. Good post! If mana isn’t an issue at 80, we may as well reforge some of that Spirit away. It seems that Disc finally has a use for Haste now, so that’s probably where I’d put it (in either spec).

    1. Thanks! I actually fixed the link probably while you were reading it. And good catch on the Nov 12 thing…. I’ve been planning a ton of travel for November for work, so that is probably what did it! LOL

  5. It may be something glitchy to me only but if you look at the disc spec does the tooltip for Desperate Prayer say “requires shadowform” and if so is Desperate Prayer only available as holy or shadow now? I suppose ti wouldn’t be an issue to just use a lock cookie for but I have just always put a point there, although I do realize as disc it isn’t even an option at level 80. Just curious. Thank you for the update, was very informative as always :)

    1. That be a glitch. Don’t worry. Desperate Prayer shouldn’t require shadow form. ^^

      … Heads _will_ roll otherwise.

    2. Yeah… its a bug. If you spec into it on the PTR/Beta you can use it not in shadowform. Don’t worry… it just was a coding/tooltip error :)

  6. Remember, Serendipity also reduces the mana on Prayer of Healing, which is a godsend all by itself (BQL, Festergut, Sindy, PP, LK transitions, occasionally LDW, BPC and Dreamwalker).

    All in all I think I’m looking forward to 4.0. If it comes down to it, I’ll finally be able to do some hardmodes in ICC 10… but with the new talents, things should be fairly interesting, haha.

  7. Thanks for the clarification, I figured as much but just curious. No beta key for me. Didn’t really make sense to require shadowform for a heal imo.

  8. I can understand how there is this temptation to list “best” glyphs, though the new mechanic essentially means we may have to do this for every encounter. My guild just recently got LDW-25 down on hardmode, and for that fight I would probably want Dispel Magic, Mass Dispel, and Psychic Scream (cc) glyphs when 4.0.1 drops. The shorter GCD abilities are a real curse, it already encourages you to spam it, after all why have the GCD reduction if you don’t use every last bit of it. But that is the fastest way to go oom.

    I would like to see a blog post analysis on Healing Trinkets in 4.0 & cata. I actually did a lot of my own research on PTR thinking I would blog it somewhere but I don’t have the writing chops to pull it off very well. When you consider the stat conversion, the mana dependency, the importance of Spirit (lvl 85), what effect does that have on our traditional view of BiS trinkets? Do some older ilvl trinkets get a boost (remember our trusty and rusty old Majestic Dragon Figurines and Sparks of Hope)? Dawn, Derevka, Matt, Bob the Turkeylicious!?

    1. Look at it this way with Mass Dispel – if you’re a Holy Priest, you’ll actually be able to *cast* Mass Dispel on LDW, Dreamwalker, or BPC/BQL trash, since your Disc priests aren’t loling at you because you still have a cast time on it. I’d also be willing to venture that Dispel Magic will be come rather attractive as well, and for the same reasons. Still, I’d probably take CoH over Scream (except maybe on hardmode) for the recovery – this is, again, as Holy, though. I think the idea is really to give you options – which I think is amazing, personally. The major glyphs are the utility glyphs, and it’s quite likely that Dust of Disappearance is going to be the raiding gold sink.

      Regarding MDF, Solace will still be better than that if you have it. MDF will have 180 Spirit at 10 stacks, Solace will have 256 at 8 stacks (just as an example).

      1. Materials for Dust have already started to skyrocket.

        But overall I do agree with you, I’m just saying that I think there will be your “usual 2″ glyphs and the 3rd wildcard that you will spend a lot of gold to swap in and out. Thank god my Scribe alt has a ton of ink banked :)

  9. Another thing to remember— VISIT YOUR TRAINER when the patch hits. You’ll need to get your 5% All Cloth Loot Bonus, as well as Mastery.

    @Darkener of course there are better glyphs for certain fights. Just that those dynamic glyphs are probably only 20% of the time. You’ll pretty much almost always have 2/3 of your glyphs static with your 3rd as the dynamic. I doubt as holy I’d ever swap out COH, or as Disc Penance. But I totally see your point.

    Regarding the old trinkets… most of the older trinkets are mana regen related; and with SP going to Int, our pools will be much bigger and spell cost isn’t scaling until we level to 81-85. So I doubt we’ll have much mana issue at all, making the older trinkets (Spark of Hope for example) worth any more than what they currently are.

  10. Thanks for the guide! Will the Power Word: Barrier glyph (and other brand new talents) be available in 4.0.1 or will we have to wait until Cataclysm comes out?

    1. You’ll have all the spec/tree specific spells… not the ones we get at 81, 83, and 85. (Mind Spike, Inner Will, and Leap of Faith). Those will be in Cata only.

  11. Thanks for the guide Derevka. Don’t drink too much at the bar tonight, we fully expect a “patch day” report from you tomorrow! Haha, just kidding….have fun. :D

  12. Hey, and ty for a very nice guide. What I am missing from this guide is a discussion of stats, and how they are changing for a Holy Priest.

    but I am wondering what changest there are for the Holy ones? (Thinking of respeccing from Disc to Holy)

    Admin Edit: URL

  13. Hi and thank you for a wonderful guide!
    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE a copy of your power auras imports for Evangelism 5 stack and/or Arcangel CD… please whenever one of you gets a minute to do so. I made one, but mine are always so ugly that I copy yours whenever I can. You guys always make snazzy looking ones ;)
    Thanks again!

    1. Dont worry, I’ll be doing a Post Mortem 4.0.X post hopefully this weekend.

      With Gem Changes, “In practice” updates, as well as Power Aura Exports & Macros

      1. Thanks a million for the guide Derevka :)

        Looking forward to the Post Mortem post.

        I hope you’ve had some luck (skill) in working Holy Word:Chastise into a macro. I’ve resigned myself to throwing it onto my actionbar since I cannot get a nice @mouseover (or @vuhdo) to work properly.

        1. To work Holy Word into a macro all you have to do is use the “base” version of it. The macro will automatically recognize any changes to the spell and switch to that version. The only catch is that you have to have the non macro version of the spell visible on your action bars for the macro to work. Currently I have the macro hidden, and the non macro version visible just to prevent action bar redundancy.

          The macro I use: /cast [@mouseover] Holy Word: Chastise; Holy Word: Chastise

          1. Bela is right. I wound up doing pretty much exactly that. I added #showtooltip before it, but that’s what I’m using.

          2. Perfect! Much thanks you two :)

  14. A note about mastery and LK heroic 25. I did a lot of testing and foudn that about 20% (40% total) mastery is required to fully mitigate infests if you are a disc spamming bubble bot for this encounter.

    I have always kept a balanced set of gear so I could do holy or disc as needed. I found the easiest way to reach this mastery number was to focus on converting crit and excess haste over to mastery. I did not drop too much spirit as shield spam is still mana intensive at times. The t10 277 gear has plenty of crit on it anyway to reforge over.

    Rapture abuse still occurs on LK heroic also. I found with the new lower GCD it was not nearly as critical to not shield melee taking damage from ghouls or tanks and provides a nice buffer. I did not use atonement healing as a base for this encounter.

    This may not be for everyone since this is specific to lk heroic but should help some of the discipline priests out there. As far as used as a tank cd for soul reap or enraged/frenzied shamblers. Not a good raid cd because it “pops” pretty quick :-) .

    Arrelliana, The Light of Dawn
    Death Jesters-Stormrage, US

    1. GCD should be ICD(internal Cool Down) on rapture..yay for fast posting.

  15. So how much crit should a holy priest be at. 24-25%?

  16. A little late on the response here but a few notes I’d like to add. Bear in mind these are valid in the current patch and content only :)

    – Crit seems to have barely any value left for Holy. Raid buffs, chakra and the crit from int should be enough to sustain a decent Inspiration uptime, our only crit based mechanic we have left.
    – I did some numbers on regen for Holy and it seems spirit and intellect are a bit on a tie again, making a 1:1 ratio about optimal. However… this does not take into account the crit and SP bonus on int. If you add those into the equation, it’s likely you won’t be shooting for spirit in any gems. On Int+Spi+Haste items, you might reforge away the spirit if your mana can hold it.
    – SoL doesn’t strike me as particularly useful in the current content. I tried it and barely had a proc from it. Heal is underused still and we can not obtain Archangel at 80 yet, and thus smiting to gain mana is not an option either. I preferred to abandon it for Desperate prayer and Lightwell.
    – Those final 2 points you invested in mental agility… I put in Darkness. That’s another 2% multiplicative Haste! It lowers the haste requirements and frees up room for mastery and intellect (SP).
    – The glyph choice is identical to mine. Obviously I consider it perfect :P

    Ehm… that’s about it I guess. Is there any detailed work on mastery vs haste vs intellect?

    1. I’ve done not a whole lot on Mastery vs. haste. vs. Int… however Mastery is pretty lackluster w/ current gearing. I dont want to give up too much to get where i need/want my other stats to be, to get mastery at a good level to make a difference.

      I have been playing the renew king in a lot of our raids lately…. so I can’t say I dont like/need MA. Darkness is great, I totally agree… but for now I need MA.

      Working on my Post-Mortem 4.0 post this week, so I should have that up Tues/Wed

      1. Yeah.. I must admit I do burn my mana sometimes so I can see the bonus from MA as being welcome. It’s definitely on my radar for Cata but I’m considering investing more into Intellect at the moment to compensate for the loss of MA. With its throughput and regen bonus, I’m suspecting it to be the stat with the biggest bang for our bucks at the moment. This isn’t theorycrafted yet, but an educated guess ;)

        1. I agree… not only because I’ve done some simple math… but also because I’ve learned to trust your educated guesses. :)

  17. @Derevka

    Bit late, but I got a question and a bit offtopic. In your post you said

    “The build that I am going with is using Lightwell, mainly because I really want to like the spell. ”

    I’m trying hard to find any use for this spell. It seems more like a gimmick than that it’s actually effective. you’re losing dps uptime because people need to run to click it after locating it, the heals aren’t that great. Desperate prayer seems to be much more usefull for at least the current content. I always use it a few times each raid for Syndragosa or LK. I’ll have to admit my guild is casual and we only have ICC done on 10 normal and a 50% on herioc. So maybe it’s different for 25 HC. Do you have any examples how you use it now in raids?

    Cheers :)


    Kurapica – Thunderhorn EU

    1. I know your comment was aimed at Derevka, but hopefully you don’t mind if I share some helpful tips for how I found Lightwell to be useful.

      I tend to drop my Lightwell around the melee area, because they very rarely spread out too far from one another and that way the well is also almost always within reach.

      There are situations where ranged is grouped up, like Sindragosa or Blood Queen (particularly great for use after Pact of the Darkfallen targets meet in the middle) and it’s lovely there, too.

      Granted, it’s not meant for every fight. I can’t see it being terribly swell on Gunship or Deathwhisper. But that’s just for those fights. Not every spell works for every fight. The important thing is to find the ones it is strong on and really maximize it where you can.

      Trust me – Lightwell is much nicer this time around. Try it out! :)

    2. I’ve gotta go with Oestrus. There are actually only two encounters you can’t really find a decent use for it – Marrowgar and LK himself (and even LK, it’ll be easier now because of click radius). I’ve used Lightwell with my priest since I level him up, so for a little over a year now. The only reason you can’t effectively use it on Marrowgar is because his hit box literally covers the Lightwell and it’s impossible to click on it.

      Deathwhisper – plopping it down anywhere is fine; people can click on the move
      Gunship – Leave it on YOUR boat for your adds tank if nothing else
      Saurfang – plop it in front of someone with Mark of the Fallen Champion
      Festergut – use it as your stacking point; people can also click on it when they group up
      Rotface – this one’s a little more difficult, but people have used it here, too, so I dunno
      Putricide – Not so much use in p3, but if you have a set point for where your people with Orange oozes go, then that’s a good spot
      Princes – Same as LDW
      BQL – As Oestrus said, in the middle
      Valithria – Don’t bother, if you’re going in portals, otherwise same as LDW
      Sindragosa – put it in between where ice blocks go; people can click on it on their way to their spots and get a bit of extra healing from the Frost Tomb damage. Also helps with casters for backlash from Instability damage.

      The thing with Lightwell isn’t finding out how to use it as much as finding out how to get your raiders to use it. Besides, it actually heals for a pretty ridiculous amount for a little over 1k mana.

      The only real downside to Lightwell right now isn’t even that it can get caught in nasty stuff like Defile because of the click radius now (20-30 yds?), and it’s really only limited by boss hitboxes, phase-based encounters (think Mimiron or Halion, LK to a lesser degree), or incredibly movement heavy fights (which is why Rotface it’s harder to use effectively on), and its cooldown.

      Definitely, though, find out where its strengths are, teach your raiders how it works, and go from there. Much like Desperate Prayer – it’s not going to be good in every fight, but there are some fights where it’s extremely good, too.

  18. I am at 31% Mastery and 25% haste.
    Is this enough for ICC or should I take more for LK 25 HM?

  19. err sorry as Disc

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