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Discipline Secondary Stats and Priority

There is a lot of information out there regarding Disc Priest secondary stats and statweights… a lot of information. To make matters worse, all that information is often contradictory to each other. Mastery is king! No, wait! Haste! No, Crit!!! Add on top of all that contradiction is that a lot of the information is in that “well, it works for me!” category…  which unto itself is flawed.

I’ve seen a number of these forum threads fighting over this question, and have seen some– frankly, horrible answers. I’ve also gotten a number of emails asking me what I think… so, lets take a look.

In my usual fashion, I am going to dive into some of the numbers, but not so many that we drown in pages of formulas and charts. Let’s first, however, recap what each of the core secondary throughput stats do for us.

Haste – Increases the speed at which we can cast spells, increases the number of ticks certain spells have (see previous post), as well as reduces the length of our Global Cooldown (GCD). To gain 1% haste, it would require 128 haste rating from gear or gems.

Critical Strike – Increases your chance to critically heal. Critical heals heal the target for 200% and apply Divine Aegis buff on the target. To gain 1% critical strike chance, it would require 179 crit rating.

Mastery – For Discipline, Sheild Mastery increases the amount your sheilds (Divine Aegis, and Power Word: Shield) absorb. For each point of mastery, you gain 2.5% additional absorption. All Disc Priests have a baseline of  mastery based added absorption.  To gain 1 point of mastery, it would would require 179 mastery rating.

Help!! What stats do I use?

Haste > Crit > Mastery

Haste -
Haste is a direct HPS improvement, and is the cheapest stat to increase (128 rating per 1%) compared to the other two options. Further, haste scales well… haste gains are multiplicative. Adding in the Shadowpriest or Moonkin arura isn’t simply adding an extra 5%, its multiplicative. This means if you have 15% Haste, you’re casting at 115% speed… if you then add in the Shadowpriest aura, you are casting at 120.75% (note: not 120%)

Regardless if you are casting POH, or nuking the tank with GHeals and Penance… faster casting speed is a direct HPS increase. Even if you are spec’d into SoS, you’ll be resetting Weakened Soul faster by nature to the fact that you are casting GH/Heal faster. If you are Atonement Healing or even just weaving in Smite/HFire for AA throughput, you’re able to get those smites off faster— direct output increases.

Critical Strike -
With 200% crits introduced, this was a an additional 30% increase to our Divine Aegis creation.  This was discussed in my previous post regarding Tank Healing and the importance of crit, but it also applies to raid healing and our biggest, and best raid healing spell: Prayer of Healing. (Keep in mind, both on 10 and 25s POH represents most of our healing) (Don’t forget, with the new crit meta discussed in my previous post we gain even more! (And atonement double dips))

Due to the fact that Prayer of Healing has a guaranteed DA, POH double dips DA when you critically heal.  Non-Critical POHs will likely hit for  approx 7,000 and create 2,500-3,000  DA (assuming baseline and certain amounts of unavoidable mastery). A Critical POH would hit for  approx 14,000 and provide a 11,000- 12,000 DA. No amount of mastery stacking is going to match that…

Of course, crit is an RNG stat… so in theory you could go on a crit drought. However, over the course of a full fight, the added crit will outweigh mastery. There are plenty of places to simcraft this such as the EJ SS  and other Simcraft sheets if you want to plug in your toon’s numbers.

Crit is fairly easy to acquire from either reforging or through gaining additional Intellect. Remember Dragon Soul gear is dripping with Intellect and red gem sockets! With this in mind, getting crit to healthy levels is very easy. With minimal effort you’ll probably land yourself in the unbuffed 15-20% crit range. (not to mention Inner Focus’s contribution).

Critical heals increases the HPS/HPM of every heal we have by doubling it; while mastery only affects PW: S and DA.

Mastery -
Do not stack mastery as your primary stat! Stacking mastery is best for PW: Shield spam. PW:S spam died with Arthas– don’t do it. There are niche situations during certain fights where spamming PW: Shield is an option, but it should not be your main spell.

  • Morchock: Pre-Stomp; particularly when you have have shard soakers eating Stomps in quick succession.
  • Heroic Yor’sahj:  when you have a Mana Void coming out, and you’ll have the Healing Debuff out. You can pre-spam the raid before the drain and buff’s application.
  • Heroic Warmaster Blackhorn:  Quickly getting PW:S on folks who are eating Twilight Barrage

Tuning yourself for these niche situations, is a waste of the stat and really undertunes yourself for the rest of the encounters.

PW: Shield is a good spell; I am not saying otherwise. It has its uses… however for the most part it will primarily be used for Rapture Regen, the above noted niche fight mechanics, as well as those emergency “instant protection” on a target. I think it is easy to agree, you’d not want to stack a stat to improve a spell you’re using in mostly in those situations.

You also have people in the camp of: “Well it works for me!”. Be that as it may, it doesn’t mean it is the most optimal for you to use– 10 or 25 man. Yes, you may be casting more PW:S in 10′s than you  would in 25′s, but you really are selling yourself (and your stat’s short).

Mastery, in fact, is not a bad stat. It just doesn’t increase our output as well as the other stats we have.  There will be items that are direct upgrades for you (eg. Valor Point Ring), or tier certain items that have mastery. You will always have some innate amounts of mastery that will increase your rating… look at this as just a free bonus on your DA/PWS, and not a stat to chase.

Alternatives and Commentary

There is of course some art in healing, and often requires some removal of the science and math. Healing, unlike DPS, is truly an art… it isn’t a pure “If you do rotation A B C D A B C D, you will do max DPS.” (or HPS in this case) Could you prioritize Haste > Crit=Mastery, yes of course you can… and I know a number of priests who do. However, ultimately the game is a numbers game, and the math will provide you with the ability to put out those bigger numbers and people who have an ‘opinion’ doesn’t mean the math works out to make it into fact.

Some people hate Elitist Jerks because they ‘do too much math’ and that isn’t how you heal… I will agree with that statement to a point, however, there is a reason that the EJ forums have been around for so long and are so active: math doesn’t lie and optimization is often critical in this game. (especially in heroics)


Written By: on January 5, 2012
  1. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been debating this recently quite a bit. I’ve tried both sides of the equation, going for crit and going for haste, and I have to agree. My biggest throughput increase seemed like it came from prioritizing haste, although I still believe it lends itself to your play style. I have disc priest friends who are extremely successful themselves from stacking crit, something that didn’t work well with how I play, I suppose. It all comes down to what works for you.

    1. Thanks for reading! :)

      I have to comment on the ‘what works for you’… there is nothing ‘wrong’ with stacking ______. It just isn’t optimal and can result in selling yourself short. Ultimately, this is a GAME and everyone can play it however they’d like, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a min/max answer to situations like this.

      “The what works for me” often is a bail out answer that people give when they can’t provide backup to a statement. I’m not suggesting you’re doing this, but just be careful when you come across someone who uses that statement as evidence.

      1. I actually have also tried it without reforging anything. I sit at about 11% haste, 19% crit, and about 950 mastery. Surprisingly, it was a nice overall balance, and I’ve been considering going back to that recently. The only thing I’m kinda iffy about is the fact that I feel I have too much spirit for Disc. I sit at about 2700 with no reforging at all.

        http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/borean-tundra/Savat%c3%a8/advanced

        1. You answered your own question! Reforge that spirit away if you don’t need it! Get some other stats from that spirit if you think you have too much and arent gasping for mana (and are using Rapture correctly) I sit at 1900-2100 spirit (varying on certain gear set ups)

          1. I actually use the Rapture Power Aura from this site and it definitely helps me utilize it as well as I can. :) In most situations, I’m fine on mana, so I’m considering reforging down to 2200 or so, because I also gain another 400 from my trinkets, not to mention my 2k on-use from my (albeit extremely old and subpar) core of ripeness. =P

  2. I disagree with Crit>mastery. Posted an in depth post on MMO-C about the values and a snippet from my spreadsheet:

    http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/1057345-Priest-stat-weights-and-stuff-CONFUSED?p=14953986&viewfull=1#post14953986

    1. Aff, thanks for the link and further discussion on the topic.

      For those readers who have made it this far down in the comments and are seeking more of the math, take a gander at that thread. While Affinitii’s objection is countered with data to the contrary, there is still great discussion regarding the potential volatility concerns that Critical Heals can provide.

      So, in the interest of Due Care, for those looking for more data… take a gander over there for supplementary reading. :)

  3. Dear Derevka,
    first THANKS for being back again :) ) You were always my favorite blog & ressource for being a good disc priest (and I always loved pictures of your pretty Draenei girl).
    And after stacking haste since the beginning of Cata and always getting told “YOU ARE WRONG, ONLY USE MASTERY, YOU SUCK!!” I am so reliefed to read about your opinion. I would never exchange my super-fast GH/POH/Smite for a slightly bigger aegis/PW:S…

    Keep up your great work here (and post more picshures of Miss Derevka, yes? :D Draenei ladies are beautiful!)!

  4. As a Tank healer, i have my own build based on:

    Crit > Mastery > Haste

    I feel like is doing a good job, really good job, with atonement almost 18k HPS in a hard fight.

    http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/ragnaros/Banalore/simple

  5. Yay for some awesome priest voices on this side of the fence. There’s this argument with Disc that’s hard to counter, that we should stack Mastery so we’re good at what we’re brought for.

    I’m still in normals, and I tried the Haste build and then the Mastery build, and my raid felt way more stable with the Haste build. I also truly do get more shields out with the Haste build.

    /cheer for Derevka (and Affiniti!)

  6. To cover a bit more in depth about the Mastery vs Crit discussion (this is going based around a raid-healer focus with haste being the primary reforge, with the argument following the secondary reforging of crit and mastery) the math that is out now with MY current DS gear (4pc, a few heroic pieces) requires a fairly rigid healing rotation for Mastery to slightly come ahead of crit.

    Now outside of the argument that Crit has an overheal possibility while mastery doesn’t, the only way you can make mastery more valuable than crit (and by a very very small margin at that) is to cast a PW:S at least once every ~3.3 POH casts or so. The rotation is VERY rigid and for the average priest isn’t something that is easily obtainable without causing significant issues to your overall heal stability. So for your average player, Crit is going to still come out ahead of mastery, but for a player like me it’s a very very gray area as to what is right and what isn’t.

    At the end of the day it realistically comes down to what YOU as a player can do. If you are comfortable with a 1 shield every ~3 POH casts then mastery will come out ahead, but once you fall into more of a direct heal/poh heal with very minimal shields (IE for raptures only) the mastery vs crit argument becomes very obvious in favor of Crit Rating.

    1. To put things in perspective, here’s my world first Disc parse for Warmaster Blackhorn:

      http://worldoflogs.com/reports/rt-94jcjl8dnum455mg/details/14/?s=10003&e=10437

      Assuming an average of POH hitting 4 targets per cast, I have 104.75 casts, with 44 shields. This puts me at a ~2.38 POH casts per Shield which values mastery at ~3.12, crit at ~2.6 and Haste at ~3.65 — showing that mastery will outweigh crit here for this particular fight.

      1. I find this last response to be the most interesting thing here. A “World First Disc parse”, is a World 30th healing parse for that fight. Would we even be discussing stacking this or stacking that if Paladins and Druids weren’t stacked at the top of every healing scoreboard this expansion. With the exception of one fight, Baleroc, finding Priests excelling on any fight is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Affinitii’s accomplishment is phenomenal, but why isn’t that effort and skill she put into that fight enough to show better than 20 some Radiance spamming Paladins? To me Priest healing just seems completely lacking in effectiveness. It felt great healing as a priest in TBC and Wrath. In Cata I have found it lackluster at best. I love my priest to death, but stats aren’t the problem, healing priests are just sub-optimal.

        Dahk

    2. Great additional information Aff, thanks for expanding a bit in the comments.

      Here’s another example, which is my world first Disc parse but for HM Zonozz which, obviously favors more POH liberal spam during Black Phase: http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/cwb636fk0d5tnhgf/details/6/?s=7081&e=7451
      This parse has a different POH:PWS ratio than your Blackthorn (obvi); as it was mainly used for Rapture.

      Though I would suggest that PWS is a higher priority for HM Blackhorn given Barrage Soaking… thus allowing for greater favor to PWS. (and your 4pc’s averaged out +10% favor to PWS)

      So, if anything this might suggest that fight mechanics push stats differently… and support both encounter mechanics,player skill (alluded in your rigidity statement) and playstyle as a variable to consider.

      God, I love this type of conversation and analysis!

      1. Actually you are #2 Disc overall. The new #1 Disc is stacking Mastery, 20.42 compared to your 12.44.

        Here is a link to his fight and armory.

        http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/character/garona/Max%C3%ACs/advanced

        http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/isntatnprnwoebc5/sum/healingDone/?s=8909&e=9279#Maxìs

        and he was even slightly behind a Druid on this fight!

  7. Your Zonozz parse is a great example of “it depends on how you heal” — but to expand on that, it also relies HEAVILY on what your strat is for a specific fight. Zonozz, in my case, we do NOT stack up during black phase. I go chasing after 3 melee keeping them+ a tank alive during black phase, and go back to melee after that — which results in a higher POH to PW:S count than your assignment/strat with that specific fight.

    Here’s my log (Don’t look so much into the Healing done as the percentages, I did die this week): http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/rt-94jcjl8dnum455mg/details/14/?s=4057&e=4394

    Healing assignments, Encounter strat that varies from guild to guild, and playstyle can all be a factor and that is a great example :)

    1. Exactly… though, I do however sympathize with you having to chase melee around during that phase. It’d drive me insane. Damn sneaky rogues.

  8. I have always reforged Crit to mastery on most available pieces. OR Crit to Haste where mastery already exists.

    I also do NOT always go for pieces with spirit on them – if your gonna reforge out the spirit whats the point ? why not pick up a piece without spirit but has crit and haste on it. Thats my thinking.

    Raid buffed I sit at above 20% haste [with sp etc]
    Mana 169k
    Crit is around 18% I think [with moonkin]
    Mastery is about 15% give or take.

    I am very happy with my stats – I get some nice big PW:S but plenty of haste to have quick PoH/GH.

    http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/character/ghostlands/Jackiebane/advanced

  9. ty ty ty all of you! this has been something I’ve been struggling with. Each week I’ve been testing out new stat combos. The heal comp that we are running now it seems better to have more haste. Most of the time tho I’m running holy but disc is my fav.

  10. I changed to a high haste build followed by crit and mastery mid Firelands and have not looked back since. It seems to fit my play style and group composition and also allows me to meet and beat any situation that I am faced with.

    Keep up the good work Derevka! Continue to love the site.

  11. Hey, nice post.
    Just wondering if you would recommend the +50haste enchant on gloves over the 65 mastery? Would check what your using however i can’t seem to connect to your armoury :/

  12. I had a crit >= mas > haste build in 4.2, which worked pretty well for me in Firelands with my role of “assist holy pally in tank heals, and throw out raid healing as needed during heavy AoE damage” asking me to do more single-target healing (and therefore could weave enough PWS such that BT was enough haste for most occasions).

    Along comes 4.3 and stack’n'heal fights.
    I found myself struggling to keep up with the others, and felt like something was seriously wrong… so I consulted the guild’s healing officer, who pointed me here.

    Yesterday, after a Fall of Deathwing LFR, I reforged into a haste > crit >= mas build (and respecced back into Darkness, which I had tossed out for Mental Agility)… and ran the same LFR again.
    I immediately saw a 4-5k increase in HPS, though I took that with a grain of salt as the first LFR was with my geared healing guildies, and the second was a pug with ungeared healers.
    Today, in guild 25N raiding, I noticed my HPS was on average roughly 2k higher than last week’s, with less of a sense of throwing out the kitchen sink just to keep up.
    I even found myself sneaking onto the WoL top 200 disc list for Spine 25N – and that fight was the one I felt the most helpless during last week’s run!
    I still felt slightly OOM, but I’m thinking it’s because of my ~1600 spirit (before I reforged I was sitting around 1450!) so my next step is to find the “happy medium” spirit for my playstyle.

    I’m still not topping the guild healing charts (I don’t think I ever will), but I’m feeling a lot better about disc healing than a week ago – so a big thanks to Derevka!

  13. Hi! Thanks for the post! I tried reforging all my mastery to haste and crit this week and it appears to have improved my performance overall from the previous week where I was balancing all 3 stats.

    Following the conversations with Affinitii here and on MMO Champion, I take it that Simcraft is a good tool in theorycrafting? I plan on playing with it when I get some spare time this weekend. My question is, what tools and resources are good for someone looking to get a deeper understanding of priest theorycrafting?

  14. Hey Derevka

    Thanks for your point of view! The exchange with other priests helps not to stiffen and to be up to date.

    Due to the fact that my gear is for both healing specs I try to keep haste and mastery in balance but with the next ID I will reforge to more haste and hope this will work without andy mana issues. Or do I overlooked something important?

  15. This post is fantastic, I’m still in the process of leveling my disc priest and I was wondering which stats were key here. Thanks so much for all your helpful blogposts Derevka!

  16. Hey man! Thanks a lot for the post. My guild just downed Heroic Yorsahj 10 man last night with quite some ease. I am one of the guild leaders and recently have been trying to research a lot about trying to make myself as well as our Holy Paladin and Resto Shaman better as well.

    Yesterday I spent some time reading up on Resto Shaman and why they are good for tank Healing on Yor’sahj (our Holy Paladin went DPS). So we spent time increasing his mastery and such.

    After the fight and looking at the logs I realized a couple of things.

    1). I definitely did not use PW:S every 12s for Rapture(recently got Heart of Unliving, and definitely need to practice keeping it up more between oozes)
    2). My msot used heal was greater heal (even though I felt it didnt help as much as I wanted it to during Purple oozes, and there were times I had mana problems because of weak Greater Heals draining my mana.)

    I think its worth mentioning that pretty much all through Normal Mode DS I was Holy because we were three healing everything, and I felt my raid healing throughput was awesome.

    However, recently in Heroics, I have tried Disc and Holy on Morchok and Yor’sahj (favoring Holy in Morchok because I feel my Divine Hymn is more usable as opposed to a barrier that my group may not be able to stack under because they have to move to a crystal. And favoring Disc for Yor’sahj because barrier is awesome here as well as my Divine Ageis.)

    I had been reading a lot of Haste Vs Mastery, with the occassional Haste and Crit over mastery threads, but until last night I never thought much about Crit.

    After reading this post, I definitely am excited about healing Heroic Ultraxion and trying Haste/Crit>Mastery.

    Here is my Armory, if I can get any suggestions about anything I would greatly appreciate it. Also below is a link to our recent logs as well.

    http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/kilrogg/Phalkon/simple

    http://worldoflogs.com/guilds/168015/

    Thanks again for info!

  17. Hey, I was one of those “stack mastery” priests until recently. Right now I am running with 16% haste, 17.70 mastery, and 15.70 crit all unbuffed. I changed to reforging out of spirit and into mastery as I found myself being able to not worry about mana regin. So losing spirit will allow me to unlock those back stats that are more needed and just manage my mana more so. I do not disagree here but think its more of a happy medium as was mentioned into your play style. Crit is rng and haste/mastery are direct result stats. I think that crit will increase your healing but also think that having the haste along with the mastery to buff your absorbs out weights crit. Granted this is my personal opinion and always down for someone to show me why im either wrong or why a change will create more of a benifit. We all will never play the exact same but change is not bad either.

    I really loved reading what everyone posted and will take a lot into consideration when playing and specing my priest.

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