Gems for Priests

Last updated: 03/25/08, patch 2.4.


This is a quick overview of gems for priests (both holy/disc and shadow priests, in both PvE and PvP), including: which types of red/yellow/blue gems you should be looking for, which meta gems will benefit you the best, and when to go for those socket bonuses. Just skip to the summaries if you do not want the explanations.

Shadow Priests, PvE:

For shadow priests in PvE, spell damage and spell haste are key stats. Spell damage comes from red gems, and spell haste from yellow. This will limit our meta gem selection, as we will not be decreasing our DPS-increasing stats from gems just to meet the meta gem requirements for a gem gives us less than what we gave up. In other words, we want a meta gem that will let us have a lot of red (and yellow) gems.

For the most part, you want to just ignore socket bonuses and only use spell damage or spell haste gems.These will increase our DPS the most. Remember, the more DPS that is done, the more mana regen/healing that can be done.

If you are not hit capped (76 hit rating (63 if you are a draenei) with the full Shadow Focus talent), then spell hit should be your first priority. Feel free to pick up some “Veiled” (orange dmg/hit) gems. Ideally, your spell hit rating should come from talents and gear choices, but it is okay to augment a little with gems. Keep in mind, once you are hit capped, extra spell hit rating will not give you any benefit at all (unless you actually have enough spell hit to remove talent points from Shadow Focus and remain hit capped).

Beyond spell hit, spell haste, and spell damage, the only other consideration in gems is potentially using a blue gem to get a needed spell damage or spell hit socket bonus.

The best meta gem for shadow priests is the Ember Skyfire Diamond (easy to get and meet the requirements for). Sadly, there are not a lot of other good choices for meta gems (the Mystic Skyfire Diamond used to be good until it got nerfed in patch 2.4). However, if you are constantly having to hold back your DPS because of threat issues, do consider using the Bracing Earthstorm Diamond. It gives you 9 spell damage, and reduces your threat by 2%. If this means you can DPS 2% harder, than this is your best bet for a meta gem.



Shadow Priests, PvP:

You know how the saying goes: a dead priest does zero DPS. We need survivability, which means resilience or stamina on every gem.

If you can top 400 resilience and 10.5k hp, then you can start thinking more about offense (meaning: spell damage gems). Our yellow gems will give us resilience. Our blue gems will give us stamina. We can hybrid the blue gems with red gems as needed to get some extra spell damage on our gear (as there aren’t any yellow resilience/spell damage gems in the game).

Socket bonuses on PvP gear tend to give more resilience, so we should try to go for those whenever reasonable.

As for meta gems, there are two that will give us a 5% stun resist: the Imbued Unstable Diamond (14 spell damage, too) or the Powerful Earthstorm Diamond (also has 18 stamina). While the spell damage on the Imbued Unstable Diamond is nice, the stamina from the Powerful Earthstorm Diamond will benefit us the best in terms of longevity.

Note: the Imbused Unstable Diamond says that it requires exactly two yellow gems. In a future patch it will likely be changed to require at least two, instead.



Healing Priests, PvE:

We want healing and we want mana regen. Healing and spirit gems are the best way to get that.

MP5 on gems, while nice, won’t give you the same bang for you buck that spirit does. Yellow gems with intellect on them are not bad choices if going for a socket bonus (though, don’t go out of your way for them otherwise).

For meta gems, it is a matter of examining the gem requirements and seeing what you can do. The tempting choice is the Bracing Earthstone Diamond (+26 heal, 2% threat reduction), but it is a trap! The requirements on it limit our red gem (meaning, our +healing gem) useage, therefore making the sacrificed +heal not worth it. One better is the Insightful Earthstorm Diamond (12 intellect and a 5% chance per spell cast of returning 300 mana). It requires 2 red, 2 blue, and 2 yellow gems, which isn’t too difficult to acquire with some “hybrid” gems (having one orange, one green, and one purple gem would fill the requirement).

Priest gear tends to be a little light on stamina. Sometimes you will find yourself needing a bit more on certain fights. As tempting as it is to pick up a few stamina gems, it would be in your better interest to carry some pieces of gear heavier on stamina that you could switch to as needed, instead.



Healing Priests, PvP:

Survivability is key, here. Resilience, stamina, and healing are the stats we are looking for in gems. Intellect and mp5, while still quite useful for PvP, aren’t nearly as beneficial (a dead priest uses no mana, after all). 

Socket bonuses on PvP gear will typically give us more resilience, so try to obtain those whenever possible.

As for meta gems, we want something that will help us in our survival. The Powerful Earthstorm Diamond gives us 18 stamina and a 5% stun resist. This is the best choice for us unless we are very well geared. The Insightful Earthstorm Diamond (12 intellect and chance on spell cast of returning 300 mana) is a solid selection if you have all the survivability stats that you need.


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8 Responses

  1. Just a note but Insightful Earthstorm Diamond’s second effect isn’t mana-free casting, actually. It’s the return of 300 mana each time it procs. And no internal cooldown, so that can make for a nice chunk of mana.

  2. […] MK’s updated gem lists for Priests […]

  3. you said “The tempting choice is the Bracing Earthstone Diamond (+26 heal, 2% threat reduction), but it is a trap! The requirements on it limit our red gem (meaning, our +healing gem) useage,”

    correct me if i’m wrong but the reqs are just more red than blue

    therefore you can still stack all the +healing gems you want, or no?

  4. Picked up me first pieces of gear what had sockets this weekend, and I realized I new nuthins about gems fer priesties. So what’s a simple orc like me do? Does I blew a buncha money on random sparklies and hopes I’s gettin’ it right? Course not.

    I comes here.


  5. nickdynamite is correct. I noticed this a while back too. Theres nothing wrong with Bracing Earthstone Diamond at all. It wont restrict +healing gems, if anything it helps you stack them.

    To ratshag, Orcs can’t be priests…

  6. no mention of royal?

    spell and mp5, why not? do we have too much MP5 on the gear?

  7. This is a lovely page, but I would love some updates to Wrath gems. I am quite new to priests and have no idea what to choose.

    And also, is there any difference in gems/statweight for discipline priests? I would love to know

  8. This is a sweet blogging platform. Which is it?

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