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Holy Priest Gearing & Stat PriorityGearing Your Holy Priest in Cataclysm

**Note the date of this post and stat priorities have changed as the expansion has progressed, talents have changed, and encounters developed**

Gearing your priest for Holy will be daunting at first and you’ll need to prioritize the stats you want to get. Generally speaking, if you have just hit 85 and are fighting your way through 5 Man Normals and Heroics, you’ll want to gear for regen. This means Spirit. Lots and lots of Spirit. (Remember you can reforge those dual stat items from Crit/Haste to include Spirit!). Once you have gotten to a point where you are comfortable with your regen and you are keeping your raid alive, you can start seeking out other stats. In starter Heroics, I started to feel comfortable in the 1800-2000 Spirit range. However, if you are going through your first dungeons: any upgrade is likely an upgrade. Of course, more Spirit is better… regen will be a huge part of our gearing strategy, however it is not the “end all be all”” stat. You also need to keep your other throughput stats at the appropriate levels… but at the appropriate times.

What do I mean when I say “at the appropriate times”?  Well, when gearing you need to prioritize the order in which you get your stats. So if you are chasing Spirit, Haste, Mastery, and Crit all at the same time… you’ll be below what you need on all of these stats, when with some simple reforging you’d be at the necessary levels for perhaps one or two.

As a General Rule, the stat priority order is:

Intellect > Spirit > Haste to 12.5% > Mastery > Crit

In Wrath, haste was an important statistic for us. Not only because it helped us reduce the GCD on Renew, POM, and COH, but also because it allowed us to cast our spells with cast times quicker. In Cataclysm, the GCD cap is less important for a couple of reasons:

1. Renew is easily talented to be GCD capped with Rapid Renewal.
2. We are not forced to have every GCD being used by an instant cast, and are casting a lot more spells with cast times in Cataclysm. (i.e. Heal, Prayer of Healing, Greater Heal)

Don’t get me wrong, Haste is very important to priests, but it will have a certain amount of diminishing returns as you get more and more of it.  he first magic number you’ll need to keep in mind is: 12.5% Haste. At 12.5% Haste (assuming raidbuffs) you will get an additional tick out of your Renews, due to the new ability for HoTs to scale with Haste. After this 12.5%, additional Haste is fine, but not ideal as those stat points are better elsewhere– and any extra Haste falls behind Mastery in your stat priority. Alternatively you could continue to gear for Haste for an additional 1, 2, or 3% and free up some Talent Points by pulling out of Darkness (if you had specced into it) once you start getting enough gear to naturally put you over the edge.

Mastery is a bit tricky to value, but at its core it’s a pure throughput stat. I find it easiest to explain when I liken it to the Glyph of Prayer of Healing. Both Echo of Light and the Glyph provide a lingering heal over time, that is a percentage of the amount healed. See? Very easy to grasp and understand… and who doesn’t want a “free” HoT on a target?

Now, you might ask yourself: “How much of that HoT is overheal?”. I’ve found that Echo of Light has provided a substantial increase to my output (especially when raid healing), mainly due to the fact that is has been a fairly low overheal spell. So much of the raid is sitting under 100% HP, the lingering HoT is great. Don’t worry, I’ll be doing another post with more math, analysis, and World of Logs data regarding Mastery/EoL.

But Derevka! Doesn’t Crit increase the amount that I’ve healed that target as well?

Yes, it does… BUT remember you’ll be picking up Intellect to increase your mana pool, spellpower, and Crit. 649 (actually 648.93) intellect will provide an additional 1% Crit. So chasing it really won’t be necessary, as you’ll naturally be increasing your Crit chance as you gear up and get more intellect. Additionally, the only time you might “need” to Critically heal is when you are tank healing and are trying to keep up Inspiration. However,  if you are Holy Tank Healing, you’ll be in Chakra: Serenity and will be applying the the 25% Crit chance buff every time you heal the tank with Holy Word: Serenity and easily keeping Inspiration on your Tank.

Gearing up from a hard gear reset can be very daunting– especially since our mana regen took a heavy hit in the process. Keep at it, run those dungeons and raids, reforge those items, enchant and gem your gear and you’ll be comfortably healing your raid in no time.

If you are looking for a solid spreadsheet, the Elitist Jerks Holy Compendium has a link to a spreadsheet that can prove to be helpful if you want to breakdown your regen stats a bit more. Further the Compendium was just recently updated, and has a few gems of insight that I am sure most priests will find valuable!

Written By: on December 16, 2010
  1. Thanks for the info, now I can L2 holy!

  2. I was gearing like that until yesterday when i reforged all haste into mastery and trying that now. There’s decent amount of raid damage in waves on encounters we did so far and holy priest is pretty good at healing that.

    Additional renew tick does not matter that much really since you are casting renew only in Serenity Chakra and than you refresh it with direct heals.

    1. Insa, I agree mastery is powerful– especially given how raid damage is working in current encounters. I’m just surprised that you don’t think the added tick on renew is beneficial… even when raid healing I toss renews out as needed. (Especially since Sanctuary buffs them). Even if its just on the tank; but often it is on DPS that need a heal but can wait a bit.

      That added tick is a substantial throughput increase with very little stat requirement

      1. Well atm i’m testing without haste and will deicide after a raid or two, it is quite mana intensive to renew anyone beyond tank while raid healing and we are trying to split the healing roles to minimise overhealing and my role is more specialised this way.

        Will see how it pans out, just wanted to provide alternative point of view.

  3. Actually so far I’ve liked Mastery way more than spirit, that is even before the buff we got to mana regen. If people just do what they should, mana isn’t that big of a problem. The spirit we get from gear has sufficed for me!

  4. First off, I notice that you have “Crit/Caste” and I think you meant to say “Crit/Haste.” Just sayin.’

    I’m sitting at around 1450 – 1500 spirit and I feel I’m doing OK with it. I also make sure to eat some spirit food and/or use a spirit elixir. I’m also using the Heartsong enchant (<3) and at least one of my trinkets has a chance to give me a spirit proc, too. So, I think I'm making do with what I have.

    I find that I am spending a lot of time at the reforger and the issue I'm having is that I'm still wearing a few pieces that did not initially come with spirit and that I had to reforge spirit onto. This led me to take some points away from mastery (usually) to make this happen. I look forward to wearing nothing but gear with spirit on it, so I could take points away from haste that I don't need (since I'm already capped) or from critical strike rating and put it into mastery.

    Also, the new alchemist's stone is great if you're at the point where you need more mastery. It was the deal breaker that convinced me whether or not to craft it for myself and I'm glad that I did! I tend to only use that for Heroics, though. For non Heroic 5 mans, I put on the Blood of Isiset – because it has more mastery and I don't necessarily need the bonus to pots.

    P.S. The 3% haste from Darkness does NOT appear on your character sheet. I tested it, myself. I know this may help people who feel that they have the points in there and still feel they may not be at the cap. Truth is that you already may be.

  5. I reforged heavily to spirit a couple nights back and did push it over 1800, but honestly gear upgrades are coming in so fast I need to revisit where I’m at. I’ve been a good little priest and hitting my flask and food to boost spirit as well, so I can probably balance the other stats out just a bit more.
    As Oestrus said, the alchy stone is pretty darn nice, especially with a socket.

  6. The way I think about gearing right now is that I am stacking healing per mana.

    What stats provide Healing per Mana?

    Intellect (through spellpower gains)
    Mastery (our mastery is a raw increase in our healing, even if it doesn’t seem like much)
    Crit (an increased chance to crit is an increased chance to get higher HPM)

    What stats do NOT provide Healing per Mana?

    Haste. Sometimes people like to argue that Haste gives a small HPM increase. Those people are wrong. It usually goes something like this:

    Haste lets me cast more efficient spells in place of less efficient spells, so haste increases my overall HPM.

    That is simply not the case. You can’t really model player choice, because there isn’t some sort of “haste cap” where EVERYONE will ALWAYS cast the other spell.

    For theorycrafting, you have to have a baseline for comparison. That baseline is you are always casting the same spells (otherwise the spreadsheets would not work very well). If you assume spells cast is exactly the same, all haste does is make the spells you cast faster, but they do NOT increase your Healing per Mana.

    Haste DOES increase the HPM of one spell: Renew. That is because it adds ticks which is more healing for the same cast and thus an HPM increase. That is why you stack it to 12.5% raid buffed. Before that and after that, it is not an HPM increase (until the next tick plateau, of course).

    Thus, the question really becomes which is better, Mastery or Crit. The theorycrafters and my personal experience has shown that the answer is Mastery.

  7. As allways, a great read.



  8. i agree with the plus tick of renew but i wonder how much Mastery is needed to reach a soft cap. i have 14.65 mastery and im not sure i should reforge a couple of it to haste, currently at 6,93% with 3/3 darkness (pretty low)

    1. Generally speaking, you’ll want a min of 9.5% haste on your character pane w/ 3/3 Darkness. (8.5% for goblins). Under that, you’re renew is losing a good deal of throughput. If you are holy healing Heroics; this will be a much bigger benefit to your tank healing then the hit to Mastery. Raiding: it depends on how much you are casting renew.

      Haste to 12.5% > Mastery > Surplus Haste > Crit

      1. so mastery doesnt really have a number to be reached

  9. So where is the math to support all of this? Given that renew is only used on tanks for holy with refreshing via chakra: serenity I don’t see the need to bring haste up to 12.5%

    1. Instead of reinventing the wheel on the math, ill point you to the EJ spreadsheet and the Plusheal thread on HoTs and haste. I use renew on the MT regularly, even as my guilds strongest raid healer. That added throughput (less time between ticks and an added tick) is more than good. Of course, mileage varies based on your style bit as a /general rule/ 12.5 is the generally accepted amount in the community.

      1. To be fair, it’s “generally accepted” because of this blog (that’s how it made it into the compendium) but 12.5% hasn’t been backed up by math. See this post in the “questions” thread:

        As you can see it outlines the usefulness of haste, but I’m not set on there being some “magical” plateau of 12.5%

        1. As I said, it really depends an mileage varies in be amount of Renews you use.. Never said it was worthless beyond 12.5%. Just that haste has a decreased value. (and, the compendium was written predaged to this post). Regardless, I welcome the discussion and am curious to see further math and discussion you linked.

          I’ll take a look at that thread when I get back from vacation. Have a good NYE!

  10. I have been confused by a druid raid leader in my guild. I have about 2300 Spirit and 73k mana unbuffed.

    I have been told to stack intellect rather than my spirit, surely regen in a fight is better than a large pool to begin with, must admit I was going OOM in raids..

    Any advice on my balance?

  11. I used to roll as a Disco Priest (You know what they say about Disco Priests? They are always ready to party! buh dum bum cha!), but with the way things have changed I’m looking at going straight Holy from now on. And this guide (amoung others on here) really makes it easy to understand how to use this spec that I’ve never even so much as looked at before. Cheers guys.

  12. I am a bit confused …
    The 12.5% with 3 / 3in darkness + 5% raid buffs
    I need 4.5% haste in the character panel?

    1. Yeah… usually i don’t get Darkness in raid… so should i have only 7.5% in character panel? (so wqith the 5% raid buff i’ll got 12.50%)… is it ok?

      1. It is my understanding that you only need 516 (or a little more than 4%) if you have both 3/3 darkness and the 5% raid buff.

  13. 12.5% seems just too low to be fair. I got almost 20% haste raidbuffed and 3/3 darkness and I am doing fine regenerating mana so I dont go oom. I got around 21% healing from the mastery and about 3k spirit. Although I do not find the 12.5% haste cap very useful. I always top the meters, no matter what fight.

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