Having respecced to discipline just as an experiment, I'm now quite
certain that Khæli will join the ranks of those who respec weekly:
she'll stay shadow for raiding (with no retadin or survival hunter in
our guild, she's the replendishbish); she'll go discipline for leveling
and instancing. It's perfect — I get to DPS in raids (healing in
raids? je refuse); and as a tank and healer, K- and I really get to
call the shots with our dungeon runs.
And what's more, the death knight and the discipline priest work very
well together, and in many ways I'd say the disc priest is the ideal
healer for a DK tank. (I don't just say this because I'm a judgmental
bitch, highly critical of how other healers (fail to) heal my fiancé.
giving them a high mitigation, which in turn decreases the amount of
physical damage they take. In addition, DKs have several talents (e.g.
Frost Aura and Anti-Magic Zone) that give them added resistance to
spell damage. Unlike warriors and paladins, however, and more akin to feral
druids, DKs cannot equip shields and thus cannot "block" incoming
damage. They are, therefore, avoidance tanks. In other words, rather
than relying on being able to mitigate incoming damage, DKs dodge and
parry and, ya know, avoid (hence the importance of talents like Anticipation and Blade
Barrier for DK tanks). (For an idea of what a death knight's damage intake looks like, here's a screenshot from a WWS report)
Damage Out: Death Knights utilize neither rage (as do feral druids and
warriors) nor mana (like prot paladins) for their abilities. Instead,
they use "runes," generated and expended through their different
abilties. Although a DK that mismanages her or his cooldowns could run
out of runic power, one cannot go OOM or be "rage-starved" like other
tank classes. The latter is particularly important as it means that a Death Knight needn't take damage in order to generate rage and
mitigation tanks, the damage they take is consistent over the course of
a fight. Healing is "easier" because of this. Avoidance tanks are
often accused of being "squishy," because while they may spend much of
the time at full health (dodge, dodge, miss, parry!), when a hit does
land, it lands hard. While all tanks do require healers to react to
the circumstances of incoming damage, avoidance tanks benefit from proactive, rather than
solely reactive healing.
shield is perfect for a shield-less tank. Here are some of the key
talents and spells in the discipline spec:
Power Word: Shield / Improved Power Word: Shield / Glyph of Power
Word: Shield — At level 80, PW:S absorbs ~2230 damage. With 3/3 in
the Improved PW:S talent, this is boosted to over 2500. Glyphed, this
spell also heals for 20% of the absorbed damage. I recommend shielding pre-pull as if you shield on pull, the tank won't have aggro; you will.
Borrowed Time — with the full 5 points in this talent, casting PW:S
grants the healer 25% spell haste for their next spell and increases
the absorption of PW:S by 40% of one's spellpower. (At +1500
spellpower, a fully talented Disc Priest would cast a shield that could
absorb around 3K damage)
Grace — Flash Heals, Greater Heals, and Penance have a 100% chance to
bless the target with Grace, which reduces damage by 1% and increases
all healing received from the Priest by 2%. Stacks up to 3 times.
Divine Aegis — "OMG! Bubble!" Critical heals create a(nother!) shield
on the target, absorbing 30% of the amount healed. The bubble lasts 12
sec. From my experience, all crit heals, including Holy Nova, can proc
this with the exception of crits from the PW:S and Dispel Magic glyphs.
Inspiration — A holy talent, but key to any healing build,
particularly one for avoidance tanks. This talent increases the
target's armor by 25% for 15 seconds after getting a critical effect
from Flash Heal, Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal, Penance, or Prayer
Penance — When aimed at an enemy, this spell does deal damage (288
Holy damage at level 80), but its main use is as a heal: 1484 to 1676
healing to an ally every second for two seconds. With the amount of
haste Discipline priests have, Penance typically launches three heals,
which in turn means it procs a full stack of Grace. According to some
figures I've seen, Penance heals more than Greater Heal (and faster, but at a slightly
higher heal-per-mana) and does more damage than Smite. It does have a
10 second cooldown, which can be lowered by 20% with 2/2 in
Flash Heal, and Prayer of Mending.
Key to being a discipline healer of a Death Knight are these elements:
- Forget the
mantra to never PW:S the tank. Keep PW:S and Weakened Soul up as much
as the cooldown allows.
- Stack INT, as INT = mana and INT = crits and crits create the bubble.
- Use Penance liberally for the combination of Grace and the bubble.
A bubbled DK is a happy DK. OK, I'm the happy one, as K- will attest,
repeatedly squealing "oooo, bubble!" every time I see big, bold green
numbers on my screen… But still… The former minions of Arthas are a squishy lot, and despite stereotypes that a discipline priest really only thrives in the arena, the spec has excellent synchronicity with WoW's newest tanking class.