First, a big ol’ disclaimer – I do NOT endorse meter cheesing. This is simply NOT productive to a good raid team. Numbers, on the whole, mean very little without context, so getting “high” numbers are a healer are not nearly as indicative of performance as they are for a DPS – and even for DPS, raw numbers don’t illustrate the whole picture of performance. For healers, this is even more true, as there is a lot of context to bear in mind: does the healer have an assignment (ie tanks), is one healer absorb-heavy (which will eat heals first), who’s using CDs well, etc. In short, there’s a lot more that goes into analyzing what a good healer is beyond meters.

That being said, sometimes you just want to blow everyone else away. Here are a few tips to help with that. Also…a bit of analysis into why meters are a sneaky and dangerous metric (I might make a longer post about this later).

First, a few circumstances in which it’s debately ok to play the sniper:

  • A really out-of-touch guild recruiting. Sadly, this still does happen, so sometimes you need to make your numbers look baller to get a spot on the team. I’m so fortunate in that my team’s leaders listen to my input about healers instead of looking at raw numbers – my analysis always includes CD use and spells, and I’ve actually rated “top” healers lower than others because they were doing things like blowing CDs early to make themselves look good, number-wise, which meant they didn’t have the CDs available when we really needed them.
  • Trash and/or farm night. Sometimes you just want to look good or push yourself to see what sort of numbers you can pull. Try to chat to your other healers to get them on board with padding.
  • Ranking attempts. Same as above – talk to your healer-mates to get them on board with this. If you all can take turns trying to rank, then everyone is happy. As a side-note, the ability to cheese also means that people tend to not take healer rankings as legit pretty quick after a tier is released.

My only legit (non-cheesed) ranking. My team is a social guild, be nice, we go a bit slow!

  • LFR HERO TIME. Sometimes it’s just one of those bottle of wine and “I NEED VALIDATION DAMNIT!” nights. Sorry to everyone else, but I totally get this, and this is the main factor I’m writing this article. You, too, can blow through LFR and feel like a hero!

Just to balance that out, here are reasons to AVOID meter cheesing:

  • To be the “best” healer. I don’t want to derail my own post, so I won’t go into the many, many reasons why simple meter numbers (especially when a disc priest is in the mix) aren’t indicative of performance, but suffice to say that good healing is a combination of many factors. Raw numbers only go so far. If you are a disc priest, especially, there is a very dangerous line you can walk where attempting to cheese meters to get “top” numbers will OOM you and DOOM the raid (see the letter containment! Clearly not a coincidence!).
  • To shut down another healer. Never never never never ever fucking do this to another member of your healing team. Healers are a TEAM. We have to be able to work together. If you’re in a big enough raid that is running two discs, don’t you dare try to double-dip into their zone and hinder their healing to make yourself look good. That’s just not cool and not what a team player does. I’ve heard of this happening, and it’s just really uncool. Don’t be that guy.
  • To prove your worth. Again, some raid teams are not enlightened. Instead of throwing your other healers under the bus (again, we’re a team!), try to illustrate how your healing works – the sorry truth is that most people just don’t understand unless they are a healer. For example, our raid team thought our shamans weren’t very good because my numbers were comparatively much higher, especially on farm. I had to make it super clear them that shamans are not gonna shine unless the raid is fucking up or we’re taking a ton of damage, but once they do, we’re blessed to have one – they were simply unaware of how the mastery worked, especially with absorb interplay, but once they got the concept they were like omg shamans are amazing with disc. Yes, my padawans, they are.

Right, all that being said, here’s the nasty trick section. You’re a terrible person for using these. Enjoy.

Talent Choices

First thing you want to assess is your talent choices. Here are a few rules of thumb, going down the tree:

  • Tier 1 (level 15): Desperate Prayer. This is an easy, one-touch heal. See below about self-damage for how to use this best.
  • Tier 2 (level 30): Body and soul. Unless you are great at laying down feathers, pick B&S for extra mobility to squeeze out as many heals as you can before having to move (with a super fast run speed). If you can lay down feathers on your route, power to you. I’m not the best at it, and I prefer the free speed boost with the shield I’m already going to cast (again, see below for self-damage), so I’m not wasting GCDs.
  • Tier 3 (level 45): Surge of light. Take this talent if you don’t need mana regen. Free instant heals! This works ESPECIALLY well with Divine Star. Gauge this on an encounter-to-encounter basis. If your team is wiping a ton early on, definitely go for it, as you aren’t running out of mana. If it’s a fight you know (or assume) the group will finish, gauge your own mana use (see mana regen below). If you’ve not got much spirit gear, go for Power Word: Solace. Only use mindbender if you know the fight is super movement heavy and that you won’t be able to use PW:S effectively.
  • Tier 4 (level 60): Do NOT take Dominate Mind. That’s healing uptime lost. Beyond that, not relevant for meter cheesing.
  • Tier 5 (level 75): This one is a highly variable one and will shift from fight to fight. Some good tips:
    • If the fight does PREDICTABLE damage *and* you know there will be a group of people together within range, take Spirit Shell.  Remember, this spell is based on GROUP casting, so if your team is spread, it’s fairly useless.
    • If you are progressing or the damage is super high (or your team is just really bad) go for Twist of Fate. It’s a free 15% boost to everything. When my team is progressing, the uptime is around 50-80% (also, tip: adjust skada/recount to have a display showing buff uptimes, so you can easily see if a spell’s effect is worth using!).
    • Power Infusion is legitimately useful in a real raid scenario, but if you’re cheesing right you don’t need the mana reduction (see mana use below), and the haste buff doesn’t compare to Spirit Shell’s cheesing potential. If you’re in a situation where the damage is meh and groups are spread, then take it.
  • Tier 6 (level 90): Like with Tier 5, this one will vary on the situation:
    • Cascade: Everyone is spread out pretty erratically, or in clumped groups, and/or your team is pretty small. A melee/ranged group with a small team is the perfect situation for cascade to shine. Cascade is limited in bounces, so it’ll shine more in smaller teams.
    • Divine star: Everyone is grouped. This spell scales in awesome the bigger your team is. This spell also generates lots of nice FDCL procs!
    • Halo: Huge spread and large team means more effectiveness for the spell.
  • Tier 7 (level 100): As with the other talents, this one varies per fight:
    • Clarity of Will: Do you have time to reliably cast this repeatedly (sup Hans and Fraz)? Are tanks taking continual damage? Is there another disc priest in the raid? If any of these boxes are checked yes, select this.
    • Words of Mending: If you’re moving yer butt a lot, take this, but if you’re trying to cheese hard, I advise against it, unless it’s a fight you literally cannot find a time to get the cast off in. Again, this post is about the cheese, so, while I would advise it in legit raids, in cheesing, it’s nearly as bad as…
    • Saving Grace: Hahahahahahahhaha no.

Mana Regen

Remember, you’re cheesing. When cheesing, you don’t work as a teammate, you don’t coordinate with other healers, you are just in it for yourself. Mana regen is just part of that equation.

  • Regen rule of thumb: Aim to play as fast and loose with mana as you can. If you heavily suspect your team is going to wipe, don’t bother with any regen concerns – they’ll be dead before mana becomes an issue. In general – even with good healing – you should be pushing to be near low to none mana by the time the fight ends, imo, as any mana you have left means those are spells you didn’t cast. If you can scrape through a fight with mana actively leftover for spells, then direct your talents to throughput spells like FDCL.
  • Regen Channeled Pots: These give significantly more than a chuggable mana potion, but put you out of the action while you’re drinking one. As a cheeser, the strain this puts on other healers should not bug you – in fact, it’s a benefit, in a way, as it ensures they pump out mana while you’re inactive and then leave more things for you to heal once they are struggling with mana. Just make sure that no ground effects are about to go out before you drink!!! Do it when the healing is most light AND after you’ve blanketed the raid in absorbs (if you do really want to play fair with other healers, though, announce when this is about to happen, so they can be prepared – ideally during a downtime, eg after a clean transition in Blast Furance).

Self Damage

Right, it’s bad, but every healer aiming to tops the charts does this. As a disc, it’s super easy. That being said, there is an art to it.

  • Self damage: The most basic form of this is standing in shit after bubbling yourself. It’s simple yet effective. It’s free healing numbers. Dip in and out to pad the meters.
  • Using CDs: This is a bit more sneaky and clever, and I’d honestly advocate it in a raid, period – if you know that you can survive the damage, use something like desperate prayer or a health potion to keep you alive while you attempt….
  • Damage Eating: Sometimes, taking damage isn’t really that bad a thing. If you can survive it, as a cheeser, it’s worth it, especially if you get to cast some spells.
  • Damage Analysis: This is actually solid healing, so no judgements! When spells are coming at you, as a disc priest, you should always analyze your effectiveness from casting the spell vs your personal damage from it – sometimes it’s better to simple just sit and take the damage, if you KNOW you will live. As a cheeser, this is doubly true!

Maximizing Your Own Numbers

Again, as before, when you’re cheesing, you’re in it for you. Don’t worry about coordinating stuff. Some tips:

  • Actively call for buffs: If you are out for yourself, and to increase your numbers, call for buffs in conjunction with heavy healing you’ve got setup. People often will pop spells like amplify magic if they hear it called out.
  • Don’t use shit that doesn’t show on charts: If it’s all about the bass bout the bass (ie the meters), don’t use Pain Suppression or Power Word: Barrier. Sadly, I’m being 100% honest here – if your goals are chart topping, these SUPER USEFUL spells don’t reflect anywhere on meters, so using them just means you’re siphoning off damage but your mitigation efforts won’t be recognized. If you’re trialing with a shitty guild who doesn’t recognize CD use like this (or going for LFR glory) , don’t use them. Yes, it hurts my soul to write this.
  • Snipe like a fucking pro: Oh, yes, this needs its whole own section….

Sniping Like a Pro:

Right, so, here’s where the whole meat and potatoes of disc priest cheesing comes into play. Talents and whatnot are just icing – the gameplay itself is how you steal top numbers. AGAIN, I JUST WANT TO MAKE THIS CLEAR, I DO NOT CONDONE THIS FOR A COORDINATED RAID TEAM – but if you’re in LFR, and your man just dumped you, and you need a feel good, you go girl. You use these tips. I’m not judging.

  • If you liked then you should’ve put a bubble on it: Disc priest is soooo potent in that we can absorb incoming damage. For someone new to the role, that concept may seem a bit weird – but this is the entire reason I am writing this guide. End of the day, us discs are all about stealing everyone’s heal. It might be a bad design, but that’s the design we’re given. If you know there is damage coming, you pop up those absorbs.
  • Raid damage: If you know there’s a mechanic that’s going to deal damage to the raid (think…everything Blackhand)…bubble as many people as you can.
  • Tank damage: Always be bubbling the tanks. Always be using Clarity of Will on the tanks (especially if there is another disc priest, this expac has us going full hunger games on each other).
  • Derp damage: If someone is taking damage, do your best to assess WHY. If it’s continuous, bubble them. They are standing in fire, but whatev, who cares, you are here for the numbers. If it’s just a single spike, ignore them. You’re wasting a bubble on them. Don’t touch them unless you have a flash heal or penance free.
  • Bonus Rounds: You can use spirit shell to blanket an entire group from damage before it happens. You can ALSO smash shit a few times and build up atonement procs and then activate archangel – when you cast Prayer of Healing, with your first archangel cast, it’s an automatic crit, so everyone gets Divine Aegis. This means they will be sitting with absorbs before the damage even goes out.
  • It’s all about the snipe: Remember that most of our casts take time. Start a prayer of healing and be prepared to jump to break the cast if nobody takes damage. Cast holy nova or cascade 1ish seconds before the damage is due to go out – as disc (sniping or otherwise) it’s key that you know when damage is coming. If you can constantly be the one with the heal finishing right when the damage lands….it will break them down. That’s the ultimate fealty you can ask for, as a disc priest – your other healers bowing to you, crying, and asking you to just let them heal.

Hopefully I’ve helped you out in your task to destroy other healers and win LFR. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask them in the comments. Happy healing!