Discipline's proposed 2-set seeks to reduce some mana costs of ramping by mixing in free and instant cast
s. If you were playing Evangelism
, then this would mean that you would have to choose between the longer duration Atonement
s from Rapture
with the Clarity of Mind
legendary or the free Atonement
s. In this instance you would always choose the longer Atonement
s but if you were to play Spirit Shell
then you could mix those free
s in for some okay discounts.
The 4-set effectively increases Penance
s damage by forcing the damage buff after Power Word: Radiance
casts and increasing its value. Penance
is generally not a powerhouse ability with covenant abilities carrying the majority of our burst healing this expansion. No word yet of "stacking" this damage buff from back to back Power Word: Radiance
s, as is common in a raid ramp up, is also strange. It almost feels like there could be some promotion of The Penitent One
legendary but you'd sacrifice Clarity of Mind
in a raid environment which seems like a non-starter.
Both bonuses seem more well-suited for a 5man environment than a raid environment, which isn't the worst thing in the world considering Disc's constant dominance in a raid environment and some mana struggles on high keys compared to other healers. Since Discipline is so frequently shackled to one build of ramping in a raid, this also shows how shackled the spec is to specific legendaries and talents to properly function.
The 2-set sounds very helpful for dungeons and just alright in raids, not something that would make or break you, but likely would allow you to be a bit more mobile and assist slightly more with spothealing on progression raiding to those in need. The 4-set adds some increased value to Penance
but it really needs to have a stacking buff that can allow for a supercharged Penance
from back to back Power Word: Radiance
s. Casting two in rapid succession has been part of Discipline's kit ever since their 7.2.5 remake back in Legion, so not having a stacking buff for this set bonus is extremely strange.
In dungeons where you almost never cast Power Word: Radiance
back to back, this will be a nice damage increase and offer some better efficiency of Atonement
healing but more is needed for Discipline to be able to more reliably heal the party via dealing damage.
The 2-set needs a solution to the Rapture
/Clarity of Mind
question. Longer atonements to equal the legendaries' value would be excellent and still meet the intended purpose of greater mana efficiency both for raiding and Mythic+, as longer Atonement
s will also mean less casts of
/Power Word: Shield
are needed to refresh the buff on tank(s). The 4-set needs a stacking buff and should also deal more overall damage. These bonuses seem to be replacing Shards of Domination and ought to feel very powerful, but at the moment Penance
is a wet noodle and almost doubling the damage is a good start but far from feeling like the power packing triple volley of old Legion days. In a time where healer damage is at its peak of attention in the community, Discipline (and other healers) should feel like they can compete with the massive damage other healers bring.
Holy Priest's bonuses continue to double-down on the spec's strengths and gives a sort of illusion of choice for the spec heading into 9.2. The 2-set gives you a buff increasing the cooldown reduction for Holy Word: Serenity
or Holy Word: Sanctify
depending on the next ability cast, Flash Heal
reducing the former and Prayer of Healing
reducing the latter. The issue though, is that the spec is so incredibly focused into healing with Flash Concentration
these days that being able to mix in Prayer of Healing
s for Holy Word: Sanctify
feels so niche and out of place for the spec as it stands today.
The 4-set, draws upon the conduit Resonant Words
and again sets up this illusion of choice. Do you spend this buff on a weak Prayer of Healing
or just continue slamming the Heal
button to kingdom come and likely cementing your place as the top spot-healer in the raid group? There's really no choice to it but the bonus makes it look like there actually is one.
Despite my negativity on the return of these set bonuses, the gameplay looks to be a natural progression for the spec, you cast Heal
a lot thanks to the Flash Concentration
legendary and now everything is going to be more efficient. You'll be able to cast more Holy Word: Serenity
s which MIGHT allow you to fit in Holy Word: Salvation
in more optimal timings or an additional cast on a lengthy encounter but doesn't really seem to be changing the game from what the Holy rollers know.
For Mythic+, like raid, you continue to slam down what you're good at with the spec -- having a MASSIVE turnaround from its incredibly poor single target healing efficiency in dungeons in BFA, to being able to spam their tank and party with Heal
s and Holy Word: Serenity
s for ages before having to be concerned about mana. It is a reasonable boost that synergizes (and copies) existing conduits like Resonant Words
and Holy Oration
, but doesn't really add anything new to the table.
If these are the proposed bonuses for Holy, I'd really like to see them take another look at Symbol of Hope
, as I believe its more than fair to say that the utility experiment that went underway with Symbol's defensive cooldown reduction has been an abject failure in helping the spec improve its standing in competitive raiding and a second look is needed, perhaps just channeling the spell giving raw damage reduction this time.
Shadow has received a tier set which is focused around the mechanic of Dark Thoughts
. This is a Mind Blast
which is both instant, and can be cast during Mind Flay
. On first impression, this tier set is interesting but not without problems. The three major problems the set has are a lack of AoE value, unintuitive rotational complexity, and added punishment for moving.
With sets for 9.2 being important for all endgame content, a tier set being entirely Single Target is problematic. While most other tier sets being introduced in 9.2 focus on providing additional stats, resources, or free spells with AoE value, Shadow's does not. Shadow does not spend Dark Thoughts
within its AoE rotation above 5 targets, and even if the new 4 piece Living Shadow
adds enough value to change that, Shadow still lacks GCDs within its tightly packed AoE rotation to use them. Shadow's primary AoE tool Searing Nightmare
does not interact with the new tier set at all, and Shadow's AoE rotation is already resource capped so the increased resource generation from additional Dark Thoughts
procs does not have any value.
Fixing this issue isn't as simple as making Living Shadow
deal AoE damage as well as Single Target. While that does make the set do 'something' on AoE, its taking away globals that would otherwise be Searing Nightmare
. We'd still have to proc Living Shadow
with Dark Thoughts Mind Blast
, which yields a much lower increase in AoE than it does for Single Target, where Dark Thoughts
is already a core part of the rotation.
Increasing the strength and frequency of Dark Thoughts
can be thought of as an increase to the value of Mind Flay
. Increasing the value of Mind Flay
has the potential to impact Shadow's rotation in a number of ways, including but not limited to...
The bottom line is that there is potential with this set bonus for a lot of rotation changes and nuanced gameplay, though all of it is counterintuitive and likely less enjoyable to play with than the current rotation without the set bonus.
Fixing the wasted Dark Thoughts
procs can be done by making the buff stack, which adds more flexibility to usage and reduces the chance you'll ever get a proc when you already have one.
The negative impact it has on the rotation is much harder to solve though as it comes from tying the strength of the tier set to Mind Flay
, a filler spell we aim to cast as little as possible, instead of one of our higher priority spells, such as Mind Blast
, our damage over time effects, or our Insanity
Increasing the value of a rotational filler spell, such as Mind Flay
also has a negative impact on Shadow's ability to deal damage during movement. When you move as Shadow, and don't have access to a rotational instant such as Devouring Plague
or a Shadow Word: Pain
refresh, you give up casts of Mind Flay
. This is expected as part of any DPS rotation, but the more powerful the filler spell is, the worse it feels and the more impact movement has on your dps. Even though Dark Thoughts
is a proc, not only is it procced by Mind Flay
but it's also usable during Mind Flay
, meaning spending Dark Thoughts
whilst moving is still a loss of damage. This is a problem Shadow deals with already, but having a tier set that exacerbates it does not feel good. This problem is once again deeply rooted in the tier set's impact on Mind Flay
Instead of attempting to solve any of Shadow's issues such as AoE, resource overflow, and a claustrophobic rotation, the tier set doubles down on all of them. However, based on expected time frames, it's highly unlikely that the tier set was created or iterated on after the Shadow Priest feedback written last month, so it's unlikely any of these issues were going to be addressed in the first iteration a Shadow Tier set.
Whilst making the assumption that Living Shadow
scales with secondary stats as well as multiple procs extending the duration, the combined value of Darkened Mind
and Living Shadow
is about 12% on Single Target if we do not change our playstyle. Playstyle optimizations likely add an extra few percent. The value of this set bonus in AoE, as discussed in the problems section, is effectively zero. With how these sets are expected to be used in Mythic+, something has to change beyond just tuning to make the AoE damage comparable to that of other bonuses.
Legendaries, Talents, and Covenants
Sticking with the same initial assumptions, the new tier set has a notable impact on the viability of certain legendaries, talents, and covenants.
- Shadowflame Prism and Talbadar's Stratagem appear to be much closer in value, likely because of how much less space Shadow has to cast Mind Flay during cooldowns when using Shadowflame Prism.
- Both Kyrian and Night Fae covenants are significantly worse. They already struggle in 9.2, due to their weak covenant legendaries, but as both of their covenant spells also reduce the number of Mind Flay casts in the rotation (something that used to be a good thing), they gain much less from the new tier set. This is especially bad for Kyrian, as their covenant ability Boon of the Ascended replaces Mind Flay completely for its duration. Something that makes absolutely no sense.
- Void Torrent is also much worse for a similar reason, and appears to be the worst talent in the row for all legendaries and covenants.
- Damnation appears to have gained a significant amount of value, likely because it reduces the strain of GCDs in the opener, and consistently lets you proc Dark Thoughts before entering Voidform.
As mentioned earlier, this set bonus doubles down on all the negative experiences you can have whilst playing Shadow Priest. Buffing Mind Flay
in a rotation that already has so many powerful and interesting things to do instead of Mind Flay
makes it much harder to play, much more sensitive to movement, and arguably much less fun.
This is the first iteration of a Shadow set bonus for two expansions, and the first related to this new Shadowlands Shadow Priest, so it's understandable that it doesn't hit the mark. With 9.2 so far away, we would like to either see substantial changes to solve the current problems outlined with this set bonus, or for it to do something else altogether.