World of Warcraft - Priest PVP Guide
A priest PVP guide can’t be compared to a PVP guide for another class, simply because other classes, such as rogues, hunters, mages or warlocks don’t differ that much when they’re specced differently. Sure, a mage’s fire spec will do more burst damage, while frost will be better for AOE and controlling enemies, or a warlock’s affliction spec will cause more powerful DoTs than a destruction spec that would allow him to get higher burst damage.
But these classes won’t have their gameplay changed as dramatically as that of a priest when he’s trying out different talent builds. Since this is a priest PVP guide, I’ll focus on how these changes will affect a priest’s gameplay in solo combat, arenas and battlegrounds.
Priest PVP Guide – Talent Build
Your talent build as a priest will determine your role in PVP as well as your strengths and weaknesses. For example, a shadow specced priest will be very potent in taking down single PVP combat, whereas a holy priest will be mainly a support player in arenas or battlegrounds. A discipline priest can be a little bit of both, although your most important PVP quality as a discipline priest will be survivability, with the help of talents such as Reflexive Shield, Pain Suppression and so forth. You can find several good PVP builds in our Priest Talent Builds Section or you can make up your own, as the following priest PVP guide will still apply.
Priest PVP Guide – Gear
In the early stages of your Priest PVP “career”, you should focus on getting suitable items from 5-man instances, the Auction House or craft them yourself. For a list of 1-60 Priest gear, you can visit the Priest 1-60 Gear Guide on our website. For level 60-70 gear, take a look at our Priest Outland Gear Guide . For more information on priest PVP gear, you can check out our complete PVP Rewards Section .
Priest PVP Guide – Holy Priests
If you’re going to PVP as a holy priest, you should focus on team-based PVP such as arenas or battlegrounds, because you won’t really be able to tackle any other class in solo combat.
Your main role in PVP as a holy priest is to support your teammates with buffs, heals and shielding but you will also have to crowd control using your fear (and silence if you chose a Holy/Shadow PVP build).
A good strategy for PVP-ing as a holy priest is to position yourself according to what enemy you’re facing. If you’re up against a rogue or druid, stay as close as possible to your teammates so they don’t stun you and take you out while your teammates reach you. In any other case, it’s best to stay at the back, and spam heal your Arena or Battleground teammates, while they take down your enemies. If you can spare the mana and time, put a Shadow Word Pain on enemies, not just to do some damage, but mostly to prevent them from using “escape” spells such as vanish, invisibility and so forth.
Another important role that a PVP holy priest will have is to keep himself alive as much as possible. A good opponent will always target out the healers first, so you’re in for some heavy bashing. Make sure you shield yourself before the fight (if possible 10 or so seconds before the fight, to allow your Weakened Soul debuff to be over when your initial shield is down), cast Inner Fire for a bit of extra armor and if you see someone charging towards you, get a Renew on yourself. Also proc your fear as soon as the enemies are near you and each time your cooldown is ready.
With some decent stamina gear, a holy priest can keep himself alive against 1 or 2 opponents simply by fearing, shielding and flash healing himself. During the time you’ll spend taking hits, your colleagues will focus on one of your enemies and hopefully get them down before you go down.
Priest PVP Guide – Shadow Priests
Melting faces is fun and it’s what a shadow priest does best. In PVP, shadow priests are formidable opponents, especially in one-versus-one combat.
In team-based PVP such as Arenas or Battlegrounds, shadow priests can take down enemies fast with the help of another player, due to their high burst damage.
In addition shadow priests are good crowd controllers, especially if you choose the Improved Psychic Scream talent, which reduces your fear’s cooldown and Silence, which can be a great weapon in the right hands and if used at the right time.
You can also help out your PVP teammates a bit as a shadow priest, by shielding them, healing them through Vampiric Embrace or restoring their mana through Vampiric Touch, but these won’t be so effective as they are in PVE.
If your party’s healer is dead, you can choose to switch out of shadow form and take on healing chores, but note that you’re exposing yourself as a target by becoming a healer and your heals won’t be very effective. So it’s very situational whether or not to come out of shadowform and heal in team-based PVP.
Priest PVP Guide – Discipline Priests
In my opinion, it’s the spec that requires you to think most as a PVP priest, since you’ll have to judge what task you’re on at a given moment, unlike holy or shadow priests whose tasks are quite clear.
As a PVP discipline priest, you should equip yourself with as much spell damage as possible (not shadow damage!) and a boatload of stamina. Unlike PVE priests, spirit will not be so important in PVP since the fights here are very quick and you won’t really have any time to spend outside the 5 second rule and use your spirit regeneration. Int, Stamina are the most important stats you should aim for, but try and get some mp5 gear if possible.
Your enemy will probably assume you’re a holy priest, seeing that you’re out of shadowform, so they’ll target you first, as they would to a healer. However, unlike holy priests you have a few tricks up your sleeve to increase your survivability while your team mates take out the enemies around you. First of all, a Discipline priest is nothing without his last talent, Pain Suppression. Get it and learn how to and when to use it and I assure you those enemy rogues and feral druids trying to crit you to death will bite their keyboards when you proc Pain Suppression.
Reflective Shield is also a good way to keep enemies off you, as they’ll sometimes pull back when noticing their own damage comes back to them. Last but not least, go for Power Infusion and try to combine it with a spell damage trinket (the ones that give you a short but powerful boost in damage, such as the Zandalaar trinket and so forth) in order to form a “nuke” of burst damage that can 2-3 shot any opponent.
Priest PVP Guide - How do I fight a…
Priest - If the other priest you're fighting is holy and you're either shadow or discipline, this is an easy fight. Just mana burn him until he's useless (Discipline priests have the advantage of improved mana burn) and try to get your fear in whenever possible, so that you don't give him the chance to mana burn you back. Shadow priests can make good use of their silence, using it just before they dish out the final nuke, so that they don't allow the other priest to shield or heal himself.
If you're fighting a Discipline or Shadow priest, things could be tricky, but Mana Burn + Fear is your best option. Also remember to dispel your opponent, renew your Shadow Protection and DoT him whenever you can. Don't use too much mana on Power Word: Shield, as your opponent will either dispel it, or Mana Burn through it (the Shield stops the mana burn damage, but the mana is still drained). Be ready for a close and long fight that will probably be decided by whoever resists the most fears (priests with equipped Alliance/Horde Insignia, Unbreakable Will, Undead Priests with Will of the Forsaken and Dwarf Priests with Fear Ward have an advantage).
Warlock - Just like any other class that PVPs against them, you'll soon learn to hate Warlocks. Actually I found Warlocks hardest to PVP against, but there are certain things that you can do to win you the match, especially if you're fighting a less experienced warlock. If you're fighting an affliction warlock, watch out for Unstable Affliction. If you dispel it, you're dead. Be quick on finding out if one of the DoTs on you is the Unstable Affliction and if it isn't, dispel immediately.
First of all, the tactic against locks differs from pet to pet. The Felhunter and its anti-caster abilities is a nuisance. Try to use Fear when both the warlock and the felhunter are close to you and remember not to waste mana by shielding before the fight, as the Felhunter will simply "eat" your shield buff. Since the felhunter doesn't eat all your buffs, put everything you have on and hopefully he'll target the less useful ones (Inner Fire, Elune's Grace and so forth). If you're not fighting an affliction lock with Unstable Afflcition, dispel yourself every now and then, but remember to dispel the warlock as well, since he will be putting up Shadow Ward constantly. Discipline priests can hold up against warlocks slightly better, with their higher survivability and better mana regeneration, but try not to allow him to mana drain you too often, or you'll be in trouble soon.
If the Warlock has his felguard out (aka he's a deep Demonology specced lock) you're in trouble. Not only does the Felguard hit hard on cloths, but he also has an ability that renders him good resistance against fear spells. Keep shield up constantly and Inner Fire as soon as the charges are blown away by the Felguard. Gather up everything you can for a nuke (Power Infusion, trinket cooldowns, etc) and try to get the lock down after a fear. If you miss your nuke you're in trouble. You could also try killing the felguard first, although it does take quite some time and you'll need to crowd control the warlock so that he can't heal his pet. Without his Felguard the warlock will be an easier target, but you will have also spent a great deal of mana without even hurting the lock himself.
With warlocks that have their succubus out, try to stay away from the pet and get DoTs up on the warlock. The succubus' seduce spell has a short range, so it can be somewhat avoided at first, at least allowing you to get DoT's, a shield up and maybe a mind blast. Make sure you have a shield on when you're Seduced, because the warlock will cast Soul Fire and without some protection you're as good as dead. Keep your Silence for Death Coil or a fear and use your fear-breaking trinket to surprise him while he's casting a big spell, go in close and immediately fear him yourself. Since a warlock fighting a priest with his succubus on will rely all his strategy on the Seduce + Soul Fire combination, you can try mana draining the succubus (which already has a low mana pool) in order to take away the lock's most precious weapon.
Mage - Winning a duel against a mage is usually dependant on how well he uses his counterspell on you and how well you're able to cope with countering his counterspell. Usually, a mage will use his counterspell when he has you at 50% life or lower and sees you casting a heal. A clever priest can "bait" the mage into using his counterspell, then immediately running in and fearing him (stay close, or he'll sheep you before you can fear and you're dead meat).
Another thing to remember is to always keep Power Word: Shield on yourself and a DoT on the mage, so he can't use Invisibility or Sheep you and bandage. Shadow priests need to slowly take the mage down. Watch your mana, because if a mage catches you without a shield or if you don't have the mana to DoT him, he'll sheep you, bandage up and kill you. Discipline priests have it easier with mages, since they can build up a nuke with Power Infusion and a DPS trinket ability. Just DoT and ocasionally Smite/Mind Blast them until they're around 40%, then during your next fear, pop both the Power Infusion and the trinket and in 2 smites and a mind blast the mage should be dead. Use pain supression when your shield is still on a cooldown and try timing it to counter one of his big spells, like a Pyroblast.
Rogue - Make sure you have your shield on at the beginning of the fight, or you're dead, simple as that. A priest can have an easy time against a rogue, if you get all the fears in (as in if the rogue doesn't resist any). If he does resist, it will be very difficult for you. Once you get out of the initial stunlock, pop a fear, reshield, renew and DoT him up (get back in Shadowform if Shadow of course). From hereon start spamming Flash Heals on yourself, pop the shield as soon as the Weakened Soul debuff is gone and use fear as soon as the cooldown is over. Discipline priests with Reflective Shield and Pain Supression can give a rogue a very hard time and once you get them to 50% or lower, wait for the next fear, use it, then charge up Power Infusion + Inner Focus + Damage Trinket for a big nuke that will get the rogue down in 2 smites.
Druid - Restoration and Balance Druids are no real match to discipline and shadow priests, but a Feral druid will give you some trouble. This will be a long fight and you will need to save your mana so put a shield + renew on, get a DoT on the druid, fear then stop casting and start wanding. When he will be at around 30-35% life, he'll change to biped form and heal himself (note that druids regenerate mana while in cat/bear form and Mana Burn doesn't work on them). At this moment, discipline priests will have to fear before the druid can heal himself, and either try to get some mana burns in while he's fleeing, or charge up the Power Infusion + Inner Focus + DPS Trinket Nuke and 2-shot him down. Shadow priests can use fear, get a few mind blasts and mind flays in while the druid is fleeing and when he stops, immediately use Silence on him so he can't heal and finish him off.
Hunter - Killing a hunter as a priest is all about speed. If you don't kill him fast enough, his Viper Sting will suck out all your mana and you'll be left defensless. His pet will be chewing on you from the beginning, so try to get in close and fear BOTH the hunter and his pet. Don't run straight to the spot he was in when the fight started though, because he probably placed a Frost Trap on the floor and if you're caught in a trap, you'll lose 90% of the time (because you allow the hunter to gain dinstance).
Stay in close range and keep DoT up all times. A marksman hunter will Silence Shot you when you're low on health and when he sees you casting a heal, so keep your fear cooldown ready if you're getting low. When you can get both the hunter and his pet in close range again, fear them both and nuke them like there's no tomorrow. Discipline priests will have to use Power Infusion + Inner Focus + DPS trinket now, while shadow priests can get two mind blasts in and maybe a mind flay. As a discipline priest, keep your Pain Supression until the second fear cooldown is almost over and just use Reflective Shield and Shadow Word: Pain to constantly get the hunter's HP down, while charging up the above mentioned nuke.
Shaman - A long and hard fight for any priest. Mana Burn whenever possible and wand his totems, especially his mana regeneration one. Shamans don't have a priest's mana pool, or mana regeneration, so once you get his blue bar emptied you can finish him off easily (but the hard part is getting it emptied of course).
Since the shaman will Purge you a lot, use Renew and Power Word: Shield on yourself whenever you can, to lure him into using it. Purge si mana inefficient, so some priests like to use low rank renews or shields, simply to lure the shaman in spending mana on the purge.
Keep Shadow Word Pain on at all times. If you force him to use some heals with the little mana he has left, even better. Discipline priests, if you get him to 30% life and little to no mana left, save a fear, pop it and use the Power Infusion + Inner Focus + DPS trinke nuke to finish him off. Shadow priests should keep their silence ready, deplete the shaman's mana, fear + mind blast at 30% and when he stops running and tries to cast a heal, surprise surprise: Silence.
Just make sure you are not down to 25% or less life and without a shield or renew on yourself. His earth shock can act like a short duration silence for your healing tree and it could give the shaman enough time to finish you off.
Paladin - When engaged in a fight against a Paladin, it's best if you have your shaving equipment close by, because this will be a fight that will outlast your beard growth. If the Paladin's Lay on Hands ability is ready, then it's almost Mission Impossible for you. Otherwise, you stand a fair chance.
The trick against Paladins is to keep yourself above 50% mana when he is forced to proc his Divine Shield bubble. If you manage to DPS him down hard enough to panic and use Divine Shield before 50% of your mana is depleted, you have a chance. By the way, I noticed some paladins seem to use their Divine Shield very late in the fight, when you already have them at around 15-20% life (overconfident bastards...). If you can get your fear in just before he casts the bubble and nuke him down, you'll be handing him a shameful defeat. On the other hand, if you fail to kill him and he gets out of your fear and bubbles, you lost a lot of mana and your big nuke for nothing...so he'll have the upper hand. It's a risk that you'll have to decide on the spot whether to take or not.
Discipline Priests with Improved Mana Burn and Shadow Priests may want to try mana burning the paladin whenever they can. Just make sure you also dispel the Judgement of Wisdom he'll put on you to regain his mana, or it will be in vain. Also remember to dispel him as well from time to time, especially if he has Greater Blessing of Wisdom on.
By the way, I found it a lot easier to defeat Paladins as a Discipline Priest rather than Shadow specced. The reason for this is that most paladins will have Shadow Aura on when fighting a priest, to counter the Mind Blasts. What they don't know, is that Mind Blast for us Discipline Priests is nothing but a filler spell :). If you miss your Power Infusion + Inner Focus + DPS trinket nuke and don't kill the paladin, you will have a hard time but try to keep yourself up (and with 1k+ mana) for 3 more minutes, so you have a new chance at the nuke.
Warrior - How you fight a warrior depends heavily on his spec so you will need to be fast on spotting this. Your first tip is their gear. Warriors using 2-handed swords are usually Arms, whereas dual-wielders are Fury, but that's not necessarily a rule of thumb. Your next tip is given by the abilities he'll use on you. If you find yourself having Mortal Strike on, you're dealing with an Arms warrior. Fury warriors will be in Berserker Stance.
The main problem against warriors is avoiding their fear immunities and working a way to survive their Pummel ability (a 4 second silence on the tree you were casting from). Spotting Berserker Rage, Recklessness and Death Wish (fury warriors) is crucial. If you waste your Fear by casting it while the warrior has one of these abilities active, you'll have a difficult fight ahead. Before the window of opportunity to use a fear effectively comes, shield + renew yourself, DoT the warrior and start flash healing. Try to have Inner Fire on you at all times, re-popping it when the charges are destroyed by the warrior. When you get a fear to work, use it to heal yourself up, re-DoT your opponent and cast some Smites or Mind Blasts in his direction. If you manage to stay alive for two fears that hit their targets, you've already won.