Sep 7, 2008

Tanking Melee as Discipline

In the arenas, Disc Priests are often one of the first targets that is focused. Because of this, whether it's in 2v2 or 3v3 you will often be tanking 2 DPS at once. It is your job to live for as long as possible and buy time for your team to finish off one of the other team's players before you might die. I was originally going to try to make a helpful flowchart, but then I realized that your actions can change from fight to fight.

A Priest's Resources

A Priest has many tools at his disposal when he is being attacked. Your spells in this situation are generally instant and short cast spells because of spell pushback and Pummel / Kick.

Instant Cast:
Short Cast:
Having to choose between all of these can seem overwhelming at times, but I am going to tell you how to use them.

The Basics

This post is mainly about melee DPS, so the number one thing to remember is to always keep Inner Fire up. Priests have little armor as it is, especially with armor penetration which was introduced onto Season 3 armor. Keeping Inner Fire up is well worth a global cooldown, and will help you against most melee.

Your main spells that you will try to use every time they come off of cooldown are Power Word: Shield and Prayer of Mending. ProM is useful because if it bounces to a teammate who is also taking damage, it will come back to you making it extremely efficient. It is usually best to use ProM before PW:S because there is a good chance that the hit that breaks through PW:S will be half absorbed, and as such most of the healing from ProM will be wasted. This however doesn't always go for fights where you are taking a large amount of damage and you will not be at full health when PW:S breaks. It is also different against warriors (see the next section).

In between PW:S and ProM cooldowns, you want to keep up a constant renew, casting it again whenever it runs off. This might be different against rogues (see the next section).

What Classes are on You?

The way you want to react in the middle of a fight can really depend on what classes are attacking you.

Warriors rely mainly on rage, so your first priority should be to put up Power Word: Shield as soon as it comes off cooldown. Because they don't actually hit you when breaking through PW:S, they don't gain rage off of it and as such they do less damage. Warriors are significantly harder for Priests because of their resistance to fear. They have numerous ways to break out of fear, so if a Warrior is on you, only count on Psychic Scream to gain you a second or two of breathing room, followed by an Intercept. Inner Fire is especially important here because of warriors' armor penetrating abilities in addition to Excecutioner which almost all of them use. Warriors will Hamstring you, slowing your movement by 50%. It is important to note that if your partner is a Rogue, and they are also on the warrior, then you will actually be able to walk away from a warrior because the Rogue's crippling slows them by 75%. Just watch that you don't get Intercepted.

Rogues are especially a pain because of their stuns. If a rogue catches a Priest in a full stun without his PW:S and/or Renew up, it can get ugly quick. If you are forced to trinket a stun, remember to trinket Kidney Shot and not Cheap Shot. When going against a rogue it is usually wise to refresh Renew before it finishes, because you don't want to get caught in a stun without it. Especially helpful against Rogues is an addon that keeps tracks of cooldowns, so you can expect when the next Kidney Shot is coming.

When Things Get Ugly

Priests have a couple things to do in "oh crap" moments such as Psychic Scream and Pain Suppression.

Psychic Scream should generally be used when both ProM and PW:S are on cooldown, and you need to get a heal off. Pop scream, and as quickly as you can get off 1 or 2 Flash Heals. If a rogue is on you, you should also try to walk out of line of sight before the fear runs out so that he can't Shadowstep right back onto you.

Pain Suppression, I like to use early in the fight so that it is off cooldown later. In a 3v3 or 5v5 if you see 2 or more melee heading toward you, it is generally good to pop it right then and there because you are not going to last long anyway. Oftentimes it also discourages people from attacking you, possibly forcing them to switch targets. In a 2v2, use it when everything else is on cooldown and you need to buy time.

As a last result (or you can usually pull this off regularly against bad/laggy players) a Priest can spam a Flash Heal or two on himself in the middle of the fight as a result of the Martyrdom talent. Only try this when Martyrdom procs and is up. This allows you to cast without spell knockback, but it still leaves you at the risk of getting Pummeled or Kicked. Getting interrupted will lock you out of the holy tree, making things much harder.

Well that's it for now. This layout on the blog at the moment makes it hard to post long articles because the margins are so narrow. I'll try to change this when I can to make it easier for you to read. As always if you have any more tips or you disagree with me feel free to leave a comment for the article. Next post I will expand on this one and talk about ways to kite melee.

edit: fixed page width, this should be a bit better.


Niomi said...

Dranei also have Chastise.

Doug said...

Another spell to consider is CoH, but who besides me is too cheap to respec for arenas... CoH can be an extremely valuable tool as well, when you dont want to show a cast bar.

Fade is actually useful against lazy hunters/locks that just set their pet to agressive, rather than forcing it to attack a specific target.

Torrent said...

Thanks niomi, I forgot about that