Priest One-on-One PVP Technique

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In PVP, your lifeline as a priest is your mana bar - if you run out of mana before you knock your enemy down to near-death, then you yourself are almost assuredly going to be the one keeling over to the ground. You’re also at a disadvantage against opponents that can penetrate your Shields or interrupt your spellcasting with frequency. You need to get your shots in while reducing the amount of damage that you take. This is one of the areas where gear comes into play; in a Priest v Priest matchup, the priest with the better bonuses to stamina and intellect will usually outlast the other.

A good way to start out is to ensure that Power Word: Shield is cast on yourself immediately before a battle begins, then use Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Pain on your target, followed by a Smite while they’re still approaching you. (Obviously, this depends on getting the jump on your target - if your opponent manages to ambush you or otherwise close to melee range before you can cast any spells, they’ll get something of a head start on you.) The Shield is somewhat optional here, as it’s much more easy for PVP opponents to deal with it than it is for mobs; rogues and mages will likely tear through it with a couple of hits, while opposing priests and shamans will be able to dispel or purge it instantaneously, thus leaving you with nothing but a hole in your mana bar to speak of it.

Two spells that should be considered mandatory in PVP are Dispel Magic and Psychic Scream. Dispel Magic is incredibly handy, if only because nearly every player you come up against will have some form of buff laid down on themselves, and Dispel Magic will let you cast them aside without having to worry about losing any yourself. Since it’s an instant cast, you can recast Dispel Magic as often as you like until your enemy has no magical defenses whatsoever.

Psychic Scream is another great spell here. Against Undead, you may find it difficult to stick due to their activated racial ability that makes them immune to fear effects, but against any other race, you should be able to cause them to run for a few seconds, allowing you to nuke them, Mana Burn a caster, heal yourself, or even run if you’re in a bad spot.

Your main drawback in PVP is lack of any kind of real snare effect; if an enemy wants to run, there won’t be much you can do save chuck spells at their back and hope you take them down before they get out of range. You do have some methods of slowing or rooting enemies, mostly involving Shadow talents (Blackout, Mind Flay), but they’re rather unwieldy and unreliable.

Group PVP

Unless you outnumber your opponents, you shouldn’t have any need for offensive spells in PVP, save perhaps for something like Shadow Word: Pain, and that only because it’s instant cast. Beyond that, focus on using your heals, dummy! You don’t risk drawing aggro from healing in PVP, so there’s nothing to prevent you from casting as many as you want, save your available mana. Let’s not neglect that particular risk, though; a priest without mana in PVP is basically worthless, unless you intend to wand people to death, which isn’t going to happen anytime this century. If you PVP a lot, you’ll want to invest in talents like Improved Healing, Spiritual Healing, and Meditation; the less your healing spells cost, and the more they heal for, the longer you’ll last in battle. If worst comes to worst, pop the biggest mana potion you have and hope you don’t run out again.

Another spell that’s also useful in group is Dispel Magic. Since this is cheap and effective, and can be cast on both enemies and friends, you’ll want to keep it close at hand. It’s more important to dispel effects from your teammates than it is to dispel buffs from your enemies; you can use it to get rid of DoT effects, debuffs, or even fear and sleep effects.

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