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 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.


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)