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The Shieldslammer: Bastard Child of Holy and Discipline

June 1, 2010

Shieldslammers, bubble-bots, etc. exist for one ability: Power Word: Shield.

They gem for spellpower and mana and have eyes for nothing else. They weave Prayer of Mending through their onslaught of shields, but the rest of their abilities pale in comparison to the strength of their barriers, and there is rarely a need to use them.

So why have them?

I’ve been thinking about this. If a priest was truly going for ultimate spellpower and mana for shields, they wouldn’t really be Discipline at all. The strongest spec would be a hybrid of Holy and Discipline that maximizes both traits.

And while Discipline has notoriously focused on intellect and crit, shunning spirit and leaving it for the casters and holy priests, spirit gear could be pretty damn useful.

Consider this experimental hybrid spec with a leap of faith that it would provide the best mana resources as well as the highest spellpower: Shieldslammer Hybrid

Key Talents:

Discipline Tree

Twin Disciplines
Improved Power Word: Fortitude – Drop this if there’s another raiding priest with the talent and pick up Divine Aegis instead.
Improved Inner Fire
Inner Focus
Meditation
Improved Power Word: Shield – Increases strength of shield
Soul Warding – Reduces Shield CD and mana cost
Absolution – Improve mana efficiency by reducing the cost of your dispels.
Mental Agility
Mental Strength
Focused Power
Enlightenment – Maximize contribution from spirit.
Power Infusion – Reduce the cost of your shields or give to a caster DPS.
Rapture – Primary source of mana regen.
Renewed Hope – Reduce damage raid-wide.
Aspiration – Reduce CD on Pain Suppression and Power Infusion.
Pain Suppression

The Discipline tree focuses on mana resources through intellect and Rapture. It features talents to improve the strength of shields, dispel efficiency, and the major cooldowns Power Infusion and Pain Suppresion.

This spec commits to the strength of shields and sacrifices certain abilities such as Penance, Borrowed Time, Grace, and Divine Aegis. These abilities are rendered less potent and unnecessary when shielding is the primary spell. Haste and crit are inessential to shields. The priest will not be casting the spells to proc Grace. Because a priest would be gearing and gemming for spellpower, there would not be enough crit to make Divine Aegis a primary talent. However, if there is another priest with the Fortitude talent, then it can be removed and Divine Aegis taken instead.

[Edit] Rats! BT has a secondary bonus to boost shields, so it is necessary. I’ll continue working with it though for some creative uses.

Holy Tree

Improved Renew
Holy Specialization
Spell Warding
Blessed Recovery
Desperate Prayer
Improved Healing – Reduce mana cost of Divine Hymn.
Healing Prayers – Reduce mana cost of Prayer of Mending.
Spirit of Redemption – Continue shielding even after death.
Spiritual Guidance – Make use of spirit and convert it to spellpower.

The holy tree talents hinge on reducing mana costs, making use of spirit to maximize spellpower, and maximizing the priest’s contribution, even after death. Damage reducing talents were taken to help make up for the lack of Penance and to reduce the amount of self-healing needed.

Certain holy talents are overlooked. Healing Focus is unnecessary because there will be no pushback for an instant cast shield. Inspiration will proc from Prayer of Mending and so it may be taken in lieu of Blessed Recovery; however, it does not proc from shields and won’t have its full effect because the priest will not be casting other healing spells.

Glyphs:

Glyph of Mass Dispel – Improve dispel efficiency by further reducing mana cost.
Glyph of Power Word: Shield – Maximize shield contribution
Glyph of Spirit of Redemption – Lengthen ability to shield after death

Glyph of Fading – Reduce mana cost
Glyph of Shadowfiend – Maximize mana return
Glyph of Levitate

Gems:

Spellpower
Intellect

Spellpower and Intellect are the fundamental stats for the Shieldslammer priest. A larger mana pool will improve the returns of Rapture.

Gear:

As with gems, Spellpower and Intellect will be the primary stats. Since the priest will always be casting, MP5 will remain the preferred mana regen stat. However, spirit will be serving as a secondary spellpower stat and will serve a renewed purpose in powering shields. Crit will have a marginal advantage in utility over haste; however, neither will be essential stats.

Playstyle:

Ideal for a 25-man raid group, the Shieldslammer will be casting shields over the raid and providing support for other healers. Prayer of Mending will be cast on CD to improve heals. Renew and Flash Heal may be used as filler spells if necessary, but the bulk of combat time will be spent shielding. A second task will be covering Dispels, as this priest will be better equipped to handle them than any other healer.

So this is the little monster than I envision as being the true body of shieldslammers and bubble-bots. I doubt many priests would be willing to let go of Penance or start seeking out spirit gear, but I wonder how effective it might be. I bet it’d be surprising.

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3 Comments
  1. Nice…love creative speccing. 🙂

    Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll be able to stack enough spirit to make Spiritual Guidance more valuable than Borrowed Time as a shield booster. Napkin math says something like 4000 spirit!

    Then, I have to say, once you’re at 5/5 BT, that one point for Penance becomes a no-brainer. Even with more marginal usage than it once got, it’s still the best heal in the game.

    • I missed the second part of BT tooltip that gives “increases the amount absorbed by your Power Word: Shield equal to 40% of your spell power.” It’s a kicker.

      I still might find a way to play with the disc spec that bubble-bots use. The traditional approach that disc priests have used doesn’t quite support their playstyle. Some talents are useless, and they still end up mana hungry.

  2. Deity permalink

    Glyph of Spirit of Redemption seems like an odd choice, since you can only cast HOLY spells in spirit form so you can’t cast PW:S.

    Still, love creative speccing. Interesting post!

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