Penance Priest

Discipline Priest Blog

Unless you've been hiding under a fragment of Val'anyr for the last month, you'll know that disc priests are the all the rage in arenas right now. FotM even. We got some huge buffs in 3.1 that increased our survivability in PvP tremendously. If you have enough resilience, it's actually fun to PvP as a priest nowadays.

I've done a ton of BGs, but until recently I didn't have good enough gear (or skills, I'll admit it) to even consider venturing into arenas. And now that I do, I found it very difficult to find out the right way to get started. How do you gear up? What sort of talents? Trinkets? Comps? Should I focus on crit or regen? In order to figure out how to best spend my honor points, I decided to consult the experts. The winning priests. And instead of trying to convince you that I actually know what I'm doing, I'm going to show you what they are doing.

I looked at 10 of the top priests in the 2s bracket (as listed on Arena Junkies). I looked at what gear choices they made, what talent choices, gems, professions, enchants. It's called a meta-analysis — instead of doing my own field research, I collated the results of the research that others did. You won't find me saying "here's the perfect/correct PvP build," because there is none. But you will find out what the pros are doing, what they find works.

YMMV, of course. What works in the 2700 bracket of 2s may be irrelevant in the entry-level 5s team you just started. And what works for someone with years of experience in arenas might not work for someone who's never PvP'd before. So everything here comes with a ton of salt. In fact, this is just a snapshot of what are certainly 10 works in progress. Some of these folks have probably already changed their builds or gems to adjust to changing circumstances.

Just to emphasize, this is not my opinion. My opinion doesn't count, since I don't have enough experience to act as any sort of authority. So unfortunately, I'm not the right person to ask "why?".

(By the way, I started this research for a thread on Wowhead. There's a lively discussion happening over there; check it out.)

I hope this sets you off on the right foot! Enjoy arenas, fellow priests, 'cause this is our time.

The Priests

I've linked talent specs here as well. A summary of specific talent points is below.

Bilian (Talents)
Shatoria (Talents)
Arterian (Talents)
Tkizze (Talents)
Felyn (Talents)
Ychytakaseto (Talents)
Sketched (Talents)
Butteslol (Talents)
Evleh (Talents)
Quuz (Talents)

The Comps

Seven partner with rogues. Two with ret pallies. One with a feral druid.

The Gear

Ok, here's where things get interesting! I haven't tallied every single piece of gear. But I was particularly interested in several gear choices:

  • Main hand weapon
  • Trinkets
  • Gems (especially meta gems)
  • Set pieces

Main hand weapon

Eight are using Torch of Holy Fire, one is using Deadly Gladiator's Gavel, one is using the Soulblade.


9 Medallions (one human, of course)

For the second trinket, interesting choices were made between defense, offense, or regen.

Defense: 4 Battlemaster's Bravery
Offense: 1 Platinum Disks of Sorcery, 1 Forethought Talisman
Pure Regen: 1 Spark of Hope, 1 Spirit World Glass
Hybrid Regen: 2 Living Ice Crystals, 1 Je'tze's Bell


Meta gems leaned heavily towards regen.

6 Insightful Earthsiege
2 Tireless Skyflare
2 Powerful Earthsiege

For other gems, here is the total number of points allocated to each stat:

+834 Resilience
+603 Stamina
+317 Spell power
+120 Hit rating
+40 Spell penetration
+18 MP5
+16 Haste

Set pieces

Every priest had 5 set pieces, mostly Deadly of course. I did not consider offset pieces (cloak, rings, etc) for this analysis.

Of the 50 total pieces, 48 were Mooncloth (spirit), 2 were Satin (crit). The satin pieces were on two different priests, so all 10 of them had the 4-piece set bonus.


For now, I just looked at the enchant choices on chest and bracers:

7 Resilience
2 Health
1 Stats

7 Spellpower
3 Stamina


Of the relevant professions, 6 were engineers (for nitro boosts and hyperspeed accelerators), 4 were enchanters (for rings), and 3 were jewelcrafters (for uber-gems).


All 10 priests were disc/holy, anything from 57/14 to 60/11. Rather than list every single talent, what I've decided to do was present only those talents which are confusing or debatable, and see what our experts chose. You won't see Penance listed below; that's a given. But Absolution? Here you'll see that 16 points out of a total of 30 were chosen. Since it's a 3-point talent, if every priest took it in full you'd see 30/30. The 16 points means that it was not universally considered required. Some took 2 points, some 3 points, and some zero. I haven't correlated anything here, so this just gives you a sense of how essential each talent is considered, nothing more.

If you wanted to look at a "template" build, look at Shator. It's a good place to start.


Silent Resolve - 30/30
Improved Fort - 11/20
Martyrdom - 6/20

Meditation - 30/30
Inner Focus - 10/10

Absolution - 16/30
Mental Agility - 30/30
Improved Mana Burn - 20/20

Reflective Shield - 18/20
Focused Power - 20/20
Enlightenment - 20/30

Focused Will - 30/30
Power Infusion - 10/10
Improved Flash Heal - 3/30

Renewed Hope - 16/20
Divine Aegis - 15/30
Grace - 19/20

Healing Focus - 19/20
Improved Renew - 21/30
Holy Specialization - 20/50

Spell Warding - 8/40
Divine Fury - 40/40

Desperate Prayer - 10/10
Blessed Recovery - 2/30


10 Penance
6 Inner Fire
5 Pain Suppression
3 Shield
3 Renew
2 Dispel Magic
1 Smite

Base Stats

Median: 1362
Range: 1312 - 1493 (wide)
Notes: Median health was 20480, which includes (for some folks) a +hp chest enchant that doesn't show in the stamina value.

Median: 737
Range: 729 - 762 (narrow)
Notes: Median mana pool was 14638. Other than one person who stacked int, all priests had int values within about 15 of each other.

Median: 624
Range: 561 - 742 (wide)
Notes: Median regen (out of 5sr) was 315.

Bonus Heals
Median: 1891
Range: 1799 - 2069 (moderate)
Notes: The priest who stacked int also stacked heals; she is the high value in both stats, and the lowest value in regen and stam.

Hit Rating
Median: 118
Range: 90 - 122 (narrow)

Median: 48
Range: 0 - 110 (moderate)
Notes: Turns out the Torch of Holy Fire, the best weapon in the game (pre-Ulduar), has exactly 48 haste. Hmm. Only two priests had other haste pieces or gems above the amount on the Torch, so this stat was definitely not a priority for our panel.

Median: 58
Range: 0 - 109 (moderate)
Notes: If you consider how much crit a PvE disc priest will stack (in the neighborhood of 700 crit rating), the numbers here are so close to zero we might as well just call them a wash. Another non-priority stat.

Resilience (did you think I forgot?)
Median: 919
Range: 802 - 1115 (wide)
Notes: The lowest and highest values are both extreme outliers. If we remove those two from consideration, the range is actually very narrow: 905 - 928 for all the remaining priests.

(4) Comments

  1. 5/12/2009 9:21 AM Tsark

    Once again, a very useful post: you've certainly given a lot of food for thought for people (like me) who are just dipping into the arena pool. One small note: the last talent in your holy column should be Blessed Resilience. Blessed Recovery is too deep in Holy for any Disc priest to take :-D

    5/12/2009 2:49 PM Paolo

    Oops! Fixed, and thank you!

    6/03/2009 1:45 PM MadHatter

    That's not right Tsark, Blessed recovery is only on the third tier of holy while blessed resilience is on the 7th tier of the holy tree.

    2/04/2010 5:57 AM Johnny

    Well done mate! I've had good use of your page! Thanks a lot and good luck in the arena!
    Best regards


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