Home  >  Games  >  World of Warcraft

The Best Races for Priests in World of Warcraft (2024)

Options to wield the Shadow or the Light in Dragonflight and WoW Classic

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, I’ll be going over the best races for priests in World of Warcraft. I’ve included iconic options for Horde and Alliance players, as well as different types of gameplay and all current versions of the game.

Best Race for PvE Priests

Best Race for Shadow Priests

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, my choices for the best race for Shadow Priests for both factions have answers to these problems.

Alliance: Void Elf

Best Races for Shadow Priests in WoW Void Elf
I recommend a-VOIDing these elves. | Blizzard Entertainment / Jeffrey Hsu

Thematically speaking, the Void Elves are the best Alliance race for shadow priests. As I 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 or Angelic Feather (and a minor 40% at that).

Horde: Goblin

Best Races for Shadow Priests in WoW Goblin
I believe…IN THE POWER OF MONEY. | Blizzard Entertainment / Jeffrey Hsu

I’m 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.

I’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 25 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 Priests

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. Here are the best races to avoid dying yourself and ensure you have ample mana to tend to your allies’ wounds.

Alliance: Void Elf

Best Races for Priest Healers in WoW Void Elf
Now the Alliance too can be fabulous. | Blizzard Entertainment / Jeffrey Hsu

Honestly, it’s going to be really hard to get away from Void Elves for any priest specialization. Much for the exact same reasons I recommended them for Shadow Priests, they’re equally good for Holy and Discipline 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

Best Races for Priest Healers in WoW Blood Elf
You know things are going badly when your healer has aggro. | Blizzard Entertainment / Jeffrey Hsu

As for the Horde, I recommend the Blood Elves as the best race for Holy and 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, I 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 Priests

Alliance: Human/Night Elf

Human Priest
Do you want messianic figures by accident, cause this is how you get them. | Blizzard Entertainment / Jeffrey Hsu

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.

Horde: Pandaren/Undead

Pandaren Priest
We like to think he’s floating because he had the best meal of his life. | Blizzard Entertainment / Jeffrey Hsu

Weird choice, I 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 chow down to get your racial buff going.

Additionally, your Quaking Palm racial ability does not overlap with any diminishing return from your class’s 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 Priests

Alliance: Night Elf

Tyrande Whisperwind Night Elf Priest
Tyrande Whisperwind – the High Priestess of Elune before she went frothing mad with Night Warrior rage juice. | Blizzard Entertainment

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.

Horde: Undead

Alonsus Faol Undead Priest
Alonsus Faol – former Archbishop and now leader of the Conclave in undeath. | Blizzard Entertainment / Jeffrey Hsu

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 Priests

Alliance: Night Elf

The Best Races for Priests in World of Warcraft Night Elf
Hail to the moon mother. | Blizzard Entertainment / Jeffrey Hsu

I’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.

Horde: Troll

The Best Races for Priests in World of Warcraft Troll
Don’t mind da plague eating away at ya flesh. | Blizzard Entertainment / Jeffrey Hsu

Another odd choice, but I’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 Priests in WoW Classic

This is a bit of a weird case, as priests in vanilla WoW 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, I’ll note which race is ideal for each expansion, so you’ll be able to make the best choice.

Alliance: Dwarf/Human

Dwarf Priest - TCG
Stout in stature and faith. |Blizzard Entertainment

Dwarves are undeniably the best race for priests in WoW Classic Hardcore and Season of Discovery solely because they are 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 30-second cooldown. Since some major boss fights utilize fear mechanics, this ability is crucial to protecting your tanks and avoiding any inconvenient boss repositioning.

Additionally, fear is much stronger in Classic, given its duration and how unlikely it is to break from taking damage. It’s not 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’s nearly impossible to cleanse bleed effects, this ability can 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. As of Wrath of the Lich King Classic, Humans are arguably the best race for priests due to The Human Spirit, which increases your Spirit by 3%. However, Draenei will always be in demand for their Heroic Presence, which gives a party-wide hit buff.

Horde: Undead/Blood Elf

Undead Priest WoW Classic
What counts as priestess attire in fantasy games. | Blizzard Entertainment / Jeffrey Hsu

As for the Horde side, they unfortunately have no way to access Fear Ward. Instead their best race for priests in WoW Classic is the Undead, who have access to Devouring Plague. Unfortunately, this is mostly only good for Shadow Priests, as the mana cost is a bit too much for healing priests and only offers some self-sustain.

However, they also have 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 and now WotLK Classic, 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 racial ability, Arcane Torrent, allows them to silence nearby enemies while also regaining some mana. If the fight you’re in has dangerous casters, I recommend saving it primarily for the silence effect.

World of Warcraft Navigation

 

Continue the Adventure!

Sign up for an account at High Ground Gaming, and access all these amazing perks:

  • Custom profile page
  • Save articles to favorites
  • Rate articles
  • Post comments & engage with the community
  • Access the HGG Discord
  • Enter giveaways
This is a pre-registration form. Fill in the following details to verify your email address first. You will be able to access the full registration form and register for an account after the verification.

Join the Discussion

Give feedback on the article, share additional tips & tricks, talk strategy with other members, and make your opinions known. High Ground Gaming is a place for all voices, and we'd love to hear yours!


X

Forgot Password?

Join Us