Garbed in vestments of their faith, priests tend to the wounded with words of comfort and the radiant touch of the Light. But to assume these healers shy away from conflict is a fatal mistake — sometimes to heal, you must first purge the sickness. For some, penance is a painful process. Some will have their souls and bodies healed with diligent treatment; others require a more aggressive approach.
Those who truly wish to understand the Light must also know its counterpart. Those who brave the shadows must also be prepared to guard their minds, lest the whispers drive them to madness. But who amongst the denizens of Azeroth can balance both light and shadow?
Today, we’ll be going over the best races for priests in WoW. We’ve included iconic options for Horde and Alliance players, as well as different types of gameplay.
Let’s get started!
Best Races for PvE Priest
Best Race for Shadow Priest: Void Elf/Goblin
If you’re all about DPS, you’ll want to ensure you can get your spells out as fast as possible. This will help you keep up your DOT rotations and avoid enemy attacks.
Unfortunately, shadow priests have very little in terms of mobility. Since you’re DPS, you’ll often be standing in less-than-ideal locations where you’ll have to dodge a lot. Thankfully, our choice for both factions have answers to these problems.
Alliance: Void Elf
Thematically speaking, the Void Elves are the best Alliance race for shadow priests. As we mentioned above, you don’t want your rotations interrupted by small ability windows. Thankfully, the Void Elves’ Preternatural Calm prevents them from suffering spell pushback from taking damage. Given how common random passive damage is, this is an absolute blessing as a shadow priest.
On top of that, Entropic Embrace is basically a free 5% damage boost approximately every minute. Since a lot of your abilities are DOT-based, you’ll still get value from it if it procs during a dodging phase of a fight.
Finally, you can use Spatial Rift to reposition yourself if you have to run out of the group due to some fight mechanic. This is especially welcome, since your only other movement buff as a shadow priest is Power Word: Shield (and a minor 40% at that).
We’re going with Goblins as the best Horde race for shadow priests. Fittingly, the greediest race is probably the most likely to tap into shadowy void energy for personal gain.
We’ve picked them largely due to their sheer repositioning potential with Rocket Jump. As stated earlier, shadow priests really get next to nothing in terms of mobility. This ability is an absolute godsend and fixes that problem by letting you dash forward twenty-five yards on a 1.5 minute cooldown. Just note that it will not break roots/snares — try to dispel yourself first before using it.
On top of that, you also benefit greatly from Time is Money. This permanent 1% buff to haste helps smooth out shadow priests’ rotations.
Best Race for Holy/Discipline Priest: Void Elf/Blood Elf
If you’re more interested in keeping your allies alive (and not bleeding out on the ground), then Holy/Discipline priests are right for you. Avoid dying yourself and ensure you have ample mana to tend to your allies’ wounds.
Alliance: Void Elves
Honestly, it’s going to be really hard to get away from Void Elves for any priest specialization. Much for the exact same reasons we recommended them for shadow priests, they’re good for holy/disc priests.
It helps that Entropic Embrace gives an extra 5% bonus healing when it procs. It may be a bit harder to take advantage of it when it does proc, though, depending on how healthy the group is at the time. This is particularly useful as a discipline priest, as you’re expected to deal damage to heal. You’re somewhat double-dipping here.
Horde: Blood Elf
As for the Horde, we recommend the Blood Elves as the best race for holy/discipline priests. This is largely due to Arcane Torrent restoring much needed mana (3% of your total) when it hits an enemy. Given how badly you’re scrounging for any point of mana in long fights, this can be a life saver. Especially since it’s only on a two-minute cooldown — you can expect to use it multiple times throughout a fight.
Plus, the purge effect on it is incredibly useful. Yes, we know you also have access to Dispel Magic and Mass Dispel as a priest, but those abilities can cost a hefty chunk of mana. It’s best to use those spells sparingly at critical moments instead.
The 1% extra crit chance from Arcane Acuity is always appreciated, as well.
Best Race for PvP Priest: Human/Pandaren
Alliance: Human/Night Elf
As is the case with pretty much every class, humans reign supreme in PVP largely due to Will to Survive. This ability provides a free stun cleanse and opens up another PVP trinket slot from the usual Gladiator’s Medallion.
The bonus to secondary stats from The Human Spirit is very much appreciated since you need to stack versatility in PVP to avoid being one-shot out of existence.
Alternatively, you can run Night Elf for access to Shadowmeld. Using this ability at the exact right moment will allow you to effectively dodge an enemy’s attack/crowd control. On top of that, you’ll always have an extra 1% crit or haste from Touch of Elune depending if it’s day or night, which is nice.
Weird choice, we know, but hear us out. Versatility is important in PVP, and the Pandaren’s ability to double their food buff bonus with Epicurean provides considerable value. Even in the arena, you can chew down on some “Pre-Mixed Pot of Noodles” to get your racial buff going.
Additionally, your Quaking Palm racial ability does not overlap with any diminishing return from your class’ crowd control abilities. Being able to incapacitate an enemy for an additional four seconds after chain fearing them makes all the difference in a fight.
Alternatively, you can run as the Undead for their Will of the Forsaken. This is as an incredibly powerful cleanse against charm, fear, or sleep effects. Just note that it does overlap with the cooldown on Gladiator’s Medallion, so plan ahead and swap out trinkets accordingly based on your opponents.
Best Race for Lore Priest: Night Elf/Undead
Alliance: Night Elf
While most races view the Light as the source of their priestly powers, the Night Elves look to the moon goddess Elune for guidance. Our knowledge of Elune is still fairly limited, though we did get a glimpse of her relation with the Winter Queen in the Shadowlands.
She’s considered an upstart goddess who seemingly broke away from the cosmic order of how things were supposed to be run. Yet despite not directly allying with any cosmic force (to our knowledge, at least), she’s able to grant her followers all the powers of the Light, as well as unique moon powers. This is evidenced by the High Priestess Tyrande and her Night Warrior phase.
Elune is clearly slated to play a greater role down the line as we slowly learn more about her. For those who play a Night Elf priest, you may find your character intimately connected to a herald of Elune.
To wield the Light when you’re Undead requires a tremendous will. Not because the Light refuses to answer their call, but because the Light burns the unliving with the simplest touch.
Many of the Undead were fervent believers in the Light when they were still alive. While many have felt abandoned by the Light and turned their back on it, some continue to pray to it. Yet choosing to wield the Light, to stitch their bodies together with its healing magic, is absolute agony for them.
Only those with the strongest wills and unyielding convictions can continue being an Undead priest. Of those who try, most are driven mad by the pain and forced to abandon their role. Let us see if you have the strength and faith to overcome this living nightmare.
Best Looking Race for Priest: Night Elf/Troll
Alliance: Night Elf
We’ve already covered why Night Elves are the best lore race for priests, so let’s go over why they’re also the best-looking race for priests as well. No other race fits the moon motif as well as the Night Elves, and it shows in the various armor pieces you can obtain. If you’ve ever wanted to embody the concept of lunar vengeance, this is the perfect chance for you.
The casting animation for Night Elf priests also carries a strong feeling of spiritual evocation. Elune allows her priests to rain down light upon allies and foes alike. Stand amongst the temple in Darnassus and bask in Elune’s presence. Top it off by riding a nightsaber mount to truly finish off the look as a priest of the night.
Another odd choice, but we’ve got two words for you — voodoo priest. The Trolls aren’t exactly known for typical worship of the Light. Instead, they worship their Loa spirits who grant them powers reminiscent of the Light.
This presents the opportunity to deck your Troll out in the finest priestly garbs (plenty of skulls and other voodoo attire) and slap allies with that good healing mojo. Plus, you can do sick kick flips between casts.
You can also easily imagine a Troll priest obtaining his outfit by killing a more conventional priest and deciding his wardrobe was an upgrade. After all, being a priest is all about looking holy, right?
Best Race for Priest in WoW Classic and Burning Crusade:
This is a bit of a weird case, as priests in Classic had unique class abilities depending on your race. This feature was trimmed down in Burning Crusade, ensuring all priests had critical baseline abilities, and replaced certain racial abilities with different ones.
To that end, we’ll note which race is ideal for each expansion, so you’ll be able to make the best choice.
Dwarves were undeniably the best race for priests in Classic solely because they were the only ones to have access to Fear Ward. This ability lets you protect one target from the next fear effect for ten minutes on a thirty-second cooldown. Since so major boss fights utilized fear mechanics, this ability was crucial to protecting your tanks and avoiding any inconvenient boss repositioning.
Additionally, fear was much stronger in Classic, given its duration and how unlikely it was to break from taking damage. It wasn’t uncommon for players to be killed from 100% health in the span of a single fear.
Dwarves have access to Desperate Prayer as an incredibly strong emergency self-heal. They also have Stoneform for eight seconds of immunity to bleeds, poisons, and diseases. Given how it was nearly impossible to cleanse bleed effects, this ability could be incredibly powerful. Plus, staying alive as the healer is the most important part!
Come Burning Crusade, Fear Ward became a baseline priest ability for every race, removing the necessity for Dwarf priests specifically. Instead, Draenei became arguably the best race for priests due to their Symbol of Hope ability providing each member of the party 1000 mana over a channel of 15s.
While the ability doesn’t stack, there’s nothing preventing a couple Draenei priests from chaining the ability together. This is incredibly potent in long raid fights where your party will be running low on mana.
On top of that, Draenei priests have access to Gift of the Naaru for a little bit of free healing every three minutes. They also get Inspiring Presence to grant all nearby party members an extra 1% to hit chance with spells. Given how important hit chance still is during this era, this is incredibly appreciated.
Horde: Undead/Blood Elf
As for the Horde side, they unfortunately had no way to access Fear Ward. Instead their best race for priests in Classic was the Undead, who had access to Devouring Plague. Unfortunately, this is mostly only good for shadow priests, as the mana cost was a bit too much for healing priests and only offered some self-sustain.
However, since they were Undead, they had access to Will of the Forsaken to render themselves immune to fear, charm, and sleep effects. While not as good as the Dwarves’ racial priest ability, it ensures that you can continue to heal your party as they run around like chickens.
Come Burning Crusade, Blood Elves easily became the best Horde race for priests. This is due to their racial abilities providing the best mana efficiency in the game. Their unique priest racial ability, Consume Magic, allows them to dispel one of their own personal priest buffs to regain some mana. The buff selected is random, so you can’t rig it to get rid of your least useful one. However, proc effects are not selected, so don’t worry about those.
Additionally, building up to three stacks of Mana Tap before activating Arcane Torrent gets you back a decent chunk of mana and silence hit enemies as well. If the fight you’re in has dangerous casters, we recommend saving it primarily for the silence effect.
Join the High Ground
And that’s it for our take on the best races for priests in World of Warcraft. If you have a different opinion or any comments that you want to share, subscribe and leave a comment below!