Arena Disc Priest: Spec

Fight_Club_bar_of_soapWhen you are first starting out in the arena as a Disc Priest, you want to maximize your strengths, and minimize your weaknesses.  Our strengths are our ability to mitigate damage on ourselves and our teammates, absorb significant amounts of dps from the opposing team, remove debuffs, and be mobile casters. 

As such, this is the spec that I recommend when you are getting started in the arena:  Disc Arena Spec.

Lets look at the choices in the Disc and Holy trees.

Disc Tier 1:

Unbreakable Will (5/5) – Reduces the amount of time you spend ccd by your opponents.  Pretty much a must have.  Your trinket will get you out of the first cc, but often you will find yourself immediately ccd again.  This gets you back in the fight faster.

Twin Disciplines (0/5) – Increases damage and healing of your instant cast spells.  Its not bad for PVP, but there are much better uses of 5 points in your spec, so avoid this one.

Disc Tier 2:

Silent Resolve (3/3) – Threat is meaningless in PVP, but 30 % dispel resistance on your hots, dots and mitigation effects are awesome.

Improved Inner Fire (3/3) – Moar armor = less damage taken from pesky melee types that will all be trying to get in your face.

Improved Power Word: Fortitude (2/2) – 30% better Fortitude, and an additional 4% personal Fortitude means more health for you and your teammates.  You need all the health you can get in the arena, and this talent gives you a significant health buff.

Martyrdom (2/2) – Reduced pushback and 20% decreased interrupts after a crit come in really handy when you have to heal yourself through burst damage.  Although you are an effective mobile caster, there will be times that you simply have to stop moving to get off a Penance, or a Flash Heal.  This talent helps you get those heals in before its too late.

Disc Tier 3:

Meditation (3/3) – As a Disc Priest, you have the ability to heal yourself or your teammates through some pretty significant amounts of damage.  PVP gear, however, doesn’t come with a lot of Intellect on it, or regen.  If you are used to having 20k plus mana in PVE, you may be shocked how small your mana pool is when you are wearing your PVP gear, and will often find yourself going OOM in longer fights.  It is critical that you have this talent to help you stay combat healing effective for as long as possible.   

Inner Focus (1/1) – No mana cost on the next spell, and a bonus 25% crit chance as well.  This can be a powerful tool, especially if you can combine it with something like Divine Hymn (aka the “Priest I Win Button”).

Improved Power Word: Shield (3/3) – 30% stronger shields = more damage reduction for you and your teammates.  Shields won’t last long against burst damage in the arena, but every bit that your shield prevents counts.

Disc Tier 4:

Absolution (0/3) – Reduces the mana cost of your purges by 15%.  There are plenty of magical effects and diseases to cleanse in a typical arena match, but dispel resistance, and the ease with which most effects are reapplied by your opponents really reduce the utility of your purges.  I think you are better off skipping this talent in favor of other choices, but its ultimately a matter of choice.  

Mental Agility (3/3) –  Reduces the mana cost of your instant cast spells by 30%.  Disc Priests have lots of instant cast spells, and you will use them alot since you don’t need to stop moving to cast them.  This talent makes you mana pool last longer. 

Improved Mana Burn (0/2) – Another personal choice talent here.  I have found that I rarely have sufficient time to get this spell off once, let alone the multiple times you need to really liquidate an opposing casters mana pool.  Your opponents will usually be pressing you very hard, and even with the talent, the cast time is just too long to be effective.  Your mileage may vary though.

Disc Tier 5:

Reflective Shield (2/2) – Your opponents are going to be blowing through your shields regularly, why not making them pay some health for doing so?  Too bad this talent only applies to your own bubbles, and not those on your teammates.

Mental Strength (5/5) – 15% more intellect means more mana, better crit chances, etc.  PVP gear is woefully deficient in intellect, so grab some more while you can.

Soul Warding (1/1) – Reduces that cooldown on your shield by 4 seconds, and the mana cost by 15%.  Shields are your bag baby!  While the Weakened Soul debuff will limit how soon you can reapply them to a target who has been shielded previously, you may need to toss them up in rapid succession to buy yourself some precious time to get a big heal off on your teammates.

Disc Tier 6:

Focused Power (2/2) – 4% more damage and healing, plus 1 second off your cast time on Mass Dispel.  Sweetness.  The fast cast time on Mass Dispel is really handy for getting rid of pally bubbles or mage ice blocks, which lets your teammates to get back to killing your opponents. 

Enlightenment(0/3) – A 6% boost to spirit and haste would be sweet, but your points are better spent on other talents.  The spirit would help your regen some, but not enough to matter.  And the haste isn’t going to have a significant effect on your ability to heal when you are facing stuns, silences, and/or good old fashioned pushback on most of your heals.

Disc Tier 7:

Focused Will(3/3) – 3% spell crit is nice, but the real perk from this talent is the crit triggered damage reduction and increased healing effects that stack with more crits. You will be on the receiving end of crits, regularly, and this takes some of the sting out of them. 

Power Infusion(0/1) – This is primarily an offensive talent with the increased haste and decreased mana cost.  Since you are going to be on the defensive for the vast majority of your arena matches when you start into the arena, best to leave this talent alone for now.   

Improved Flash Heal(0/3) – Your primary heals are going to be Penance, your glyphed Power Word: Shield, Prayer of Mending and Renew.  Flash Heal is really only going to be used as a filler if Penance is on cooldown and you have to get a heal off.  With the spells limited use, you can skip this talent.

Disc Tier 8:

Renewed Hope(2/2) – 4% more crit if your target has the Weakened Soul debuff, and 3% mitigation for your whole team.  Although you are going to be the focus fire target the vast majority of the time, sometimes your opponents will switch to one of your teammates.  This talent helps you keep them up through the burst since they probably don’t have the wonderful crit defusing talents that you do.

Rapture(3/3) – Mana is an issue for Disc Priests in the arena, and since your opponents will be blowing up just about every single shield that you can cast, you might as well get some mana back from them.

Aspiration(2/2) – Although the starter arena spec leaves out Power Infusion, you still need this talent for the reduced cooldown on Penance and Pain Suppression. 

Disc Tier 9:

Divine Aegis(3/3) – Your PVP gear should be mooncloth, not satin, so you won’t have nearly as much crit as you are used to in PVE.  Even so, Renewed Hope will give you some more crit, and the crit bubble will buy you or your teammate some extra time.

Pain Suppression (1/1) – Quite possibly your most important talent.  The 40% damage reduction for 8 seconds is a game changer.  Time it right, and you can completely screw up your opponent’s strategy by surviving their big focus fire.  Use this at the wrong time, and you are going to be toast when they bring the heat.  I cannot even imagine doing arena as a Disc Priest without this talent.

Grace (2/2) – Penance will stack 9% increased healing on your target for 15 seconds.  I loves me some increased healing.

Disc Tier 10:

Borrowed Time(5/5) – The spell haste is meh, since you are using mostly instant and channelled spells to heal, but the +40% spellpower bonus to your shields is awesome.  Why heal when you can mitigate?

Disc Tier 11:

Penance (1/1) – If you need to be told why you need this talent GET THE FUCK OUT.

Holy Talents: (time is running short for the author, so you get the Cliffs Notes version of that other healing tree)

You want to put max ranks into Healing Focus, Improved Renew, Spell Warding, Desperate Prayer, and Blessed Recovery.  These will give you pushback resistance, a stronger HoT, spell damage reduction, a big instant cast self heal and a crit triggered, stacking auto-self-heal.  Avoid Holy Specialization because you aren’t a crit based caster in PVP gear.  Avoid  Divine Fury because you won’t be using any of the 4 spells it affects.  And lastly, skip Inspiration because it is crit based, and only helps to reduce the types of damage armor works against. 

So there you have the breakdown of my recommended spec for getting started in the arena.  As you gain experience, you will want to juggle some points, probably with an eye towards being a little more offensive.  But for now, do your best to survive as long as you can, and hope that your teammates are killing their healer faster than you are getting killed.

Next installment, we will talk about the pros and cons of each bracket, and where you should be focusing your attention.

Queue us up!


(my current PVP spec is here)


12 comments so far

  1. Artimesia on

    Thanks again for this 🙂 I’m excited to try it out! I read your home page and laughed, it’s so funny how many weird whispers I get when I go into bg’s as a holy priest – people think I must be a masochistic, suicidal maniac – but I love it! Anyway, sorry for the two consecutive comments, I just wanted to say thanks! This info is awesome!

    • wantedpriest on

      Good luck with the spec Artimesia! Disc takes some time to get used to, especially if you haven’t played it in PVE before, but you should find that you are a lot harder to kill with this spec than a Holy PVP spec.


  2. Sindormir on

    Is there a subsequent post for Gemming and Enchanting stats i noticed you seemed to mention intellect a lot is that where primary focus should be?

    • wantedpriest on

      Sindormir –

      Sorry, I have not done a post for gems and enchants.

      Intellect is great for giving us a larger mana pool to play with, but going OOM is rarely going to be an issue for you early in your arena career. (Survival is.) As such, I would focus on stamina, resilience and spellpower.

      As you gain more experience in the arena, and your role on your arena team becomes more clear, you can tailor your gems and enchants to meet your needs. The off-set peices have an amazing variety of stats, which allow you to really fine tune your PVP kit to your needs.


  3. Shoegaze on

    PvPing a Disc Priest is more than just making sure you survive. Priests are not known for being the best healers. They are a utility class, a mobile healer, a dispeller, a crowd controller, and a burst dps’er when the time calls for it. Disc Priests in PvP play a game of 66% healing – 33% damage, and all the while dispelling and CC’ing. I believe your spec to be flawed.

    • wantedpriest on

      Shoe –

      Perhaps you missed, or did not read, the introduction of the article, wherein I stated, “this is the spec that I recommend when you are getting started in the arena.”

      I might also have reiterated that point in the conclusion.

      This is a spec for someone who has little/no prior arena experience, not a seasoned veteran.

      I do agree with your general analysis of the role of a Disc Priest in PVP though.

      And if you have a less “flawed” spec for someone just getting started in the arena, please share.

  4. UnRumble on

    I like this spec although may perhaps disagree for some of the talents. I suppose the main one being mana burn, although I must agree that this talent is difficult to get off more than once or twice before encountering trouble. I suppose it is also situational. I find mana burn particularly effective against other priests, but other heals often have better ways of returning mana than shadowfiend. I’m going to give this build a try. I’m also partial to power infusion, but it may not be a necessary talent, and is very effective in very situational scenario’s

  5. Ethandryl on

    What glyphs do you recommend with this build?

    • wantedpriest on

      Glyph of Pain Suppression is an absolute must! You need to be able to pop the 40% damage reduction when you are stun locked AND getting focus fired. (Just make sure your opponents are focusing on you before you do use it. Better teams will lock you up and then swap targets to try to get you to waste Pain Suppression.)

      The other two are dealer’s choice. I am partial to Glyph of Inner Fire for extra armor and Glyph of Penance for its reduced cooldown. Penance is my go to spell, and being able to use it offensively as well as defensively totally rocks. (I fucking love killing people with Penance.)

      I have also used Power Word: Shield and Renew at various times. The extra heals can be nice.

      If you need some offense, Glyph of Smite can help. I have even seen people Glyph Holy Nova and spam it to surprising effect.

  6. […] been grinding some BGs lately to stockpile honor.  The build is less mana efficient than the starter build I recommended, but is much more versatile from an offensive […]

  7. Healyounow on

    First, excellent guide explaining the talents and why you need them.
    Second, which bracket would you recommend getting your feet wet in? Me and my rogue buddy have an 800 rated 2s team, and my guild just seems to suck in 5s where I get instafocused even with pain supp on.

    • wantedpriest on

      HYN – I strongly recommend starting in the 3s bracket.

      2s has the advantage of being easier to organize, but it is very unbalanced due to comp/class strengths. (Though Disc/Rogue is a very strong comp to run in 2s.) The prevalence of dual dps teams means that you need to play very agressively most of the time in 2s, which can make the arena learning curve a bit steeper.

      In 5s, there is just so much going on with 10 people fighting, that it is very difficult to learn anything from a match.

      To me, 3s has the right balance for beginning gladiators. The pace of the matches is fast, but slow enough that you can understand what is happening to you and your teammates. And the class balance issues are far less dramatic with 3 people on a team.

      So while you can L2arena in any of the three brackets, I think 3s is the faster learning curve.

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