Holy Paladin Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, priorities and healing strategies

by on August 27, 2012

Mists of Pandaria is here, and it brings with it huge changes like – like… Yeah, OK. Holy Paladin play hasn’t changed that much with the new expansion, aside from some new talents. But if you want to get up to speed with the changes MoP and WoW Patch 5.4 (aka “Kick Garrosh’s Ass At Long Last”) offers to your “rotation” and priorities, as well as suggestions for talent builds, stats, reforging, gemming, enchantments, and so on, we’ve got the goods!

Updated 17th September 2013 to WoW Patch 5.4

Holy Paladin Changes in WoW Patch 5.4

Some minor changes, notably to our talents.

Holy Healing “Rotation” and Priorities

Obviously, we’re healers. We don’t have rotations. Duh. But here’s how you keep people alive in MoP:

Tank Healing

Note that as a tank healer you need to change your talents – see below.

Put Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield on the tank. In damage-light phases, spam Holy Light on anyone injured – Beacon will transfer this healing to the tank. Of course, heal the tank if he or she is the only one injured! Use Holy Shock on cooldown and Word of Glory on 3 Holy Power or above.

If more damage starts coming in or if you know you’re entering a high-damage phase, switch to using Divine Light on the tank (which will also generate additional Holy Power).

If the tank’s going to die RIGHT NOW, use Flash of Light, but otherwise avoid it like the plague – it’ll destroy your mana. If you’re OOM, use Holy Light and Word of Glory to heal the tank only – this should be close to mana-neutral.

Light of Dawn can also be an excellent tank-healing spell with Beacon, provided you are healing a large group of targets with it, and only with 3 charges of Holy Power. Note that it no longer has a cone effect, making it much easier to heal a lot of targets if they’re injured – it just affects anyone within 30 yards.

Raid / Group Healing

Use Beacon on a tank anyway. Use Eternal Flame on as many raid members as possible, cast at 3 Holy Power. Spot heal with Holy Light and use Holy Shock on cooldown. If more damage is coming in to a group, use Holy Radiance on them. Try to stay in range of the boss to use Crusader Strike on cooldown for more Holy Power.

If there’s not much damage coming in, keep your Mastery shields up on players by casting Holy Shock/Holy Light.

Try to use Holy Radiance before Holy Shock to activate the Daybreak effect, twice if possible.

Otherwise, use Divine Light for heavier heals. Use Light of Dawn if you have a clump of people (more than 4), and only with 3 Holy Power.

Remember that your Guardian of Ancient Kings will cause splash healing near the target if used – use it in “clump” situations.


It’s probably better to use cooldowns one at a time rather than using them all at once – that way, you’ve always got an “Oh, crap!” button available.

  • Lay on Hands is the ultimate life-saving CD – remember, it doesn’t have a 30 min cooldown any more, so don’t be afraid to use it if needed.
  • Avenging Wrath, Guardian of Ancient Kings and Divine Favour are your “workaday” cooldowns – use them one at a time if you’re in trouble. You can combine them for HUGE healing if needed, but remember that will leave you out of options.
  • You can also “jury rig” a cooldown by using Word of Glory or Eternal Flame on 5 Holy Power, then using Holy Shock, then WoG or Eternal Flame again for a LOT of healing.
  • Remember your Devotion Aura for AOE damage situations, and remember to communicate with your raid leader about that.
  • Hand of Sacrifice is an excellent tank helper, and Hands of Protection and Salvation can save an over-eager DPS.
  • If you’re specced as we suggest below, also remember that Speed of Light is a powerful speed buff.
  • Use Divine Plea during damage-light phases to regen mana.
  • If you’ve chosen it as we recommend in Tier 6, Holy Prism is a very short cooldown group heal. Use it on the boss or mob nearest your party/raid on cooldown.


Make sure you have Beacon running on someone, make sure you’ve got Seal of Insight running, and remember to use Blessing of Kings on your group or raid unless someone’s already providing that or an equivalent (Monks or Druids), in which case use Blessing of Might.

Holy Paladin Talent Choices

There’s a lot more variability in the new 5.0 talent trees, and we encourage you to experiment – but here is a simple-to-use and powerful build to get started quickly with:

  • Tier 1: Speed of Light.
  • Tier 2: Fist of Justice – useful stun.
  • Tier 3: Eternal Flame
  • Tier 4: Unbreakable Spirit
  • Tier 5: Divine Purpose
  • Tier 6: Holy Prism.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Holy Paladin

Intellect is probably the most important Holy stat. Spirit controls mana regen and you should prioritise it if you are having mana problems – which you may after 5.0, as it changes the way our mana works. After that, Mastery is the best throughput stat, then Haste, then Crit. Note that Haste makes you burn through mana quicker, whilst Mastery doesn’t.

Reforging: Very personal, but reforge to Spirit until your mana feels comfortable for the content you’re doing. After that, reforge to Mastery. Reforge from non-healing stats and Crit first.

Gems: Generally use a Purified gem in Red sockets, a Sparkling gem in Blue sockets, and Zen gem in Yellow sockets.
Meta Gem: Revitalising Meta gem.

Holy Pallie Glyphs

Glyphs have become much more situational – and in the case of Holy Paladins, also pretty uninspiring. Here’s our choice of best-of-a-bad-lot:

Major: Glyph of Hand of Sacrifice is actually great, and highly recommended. Glyph of Divine Plea, and Glyph of Divinity are the best of the remaining lot for most situations.
Minor: Your choice. No performance-affecting choices here.

Holy Paladin enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Mighty Spirit
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery.
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Pearlescent Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect


  • Icy Veins, as always, have a great guide to Holy Paladins
  • Getsu’s Sanctuary has a lengthy 5.0 guide which I haven’t had a chance to read through fully, but looks very complete.
  • Finally, as a WoW player, you should really check out the latest and greatest from the blogosphere on World of Warcraft, here at the Melting Pot.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Nerkie August 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Question: Isn’t Sacred Shield going to be a better use of the talent than Eternal flame?


Hugh Hancock August 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I would have thought so too – but read Kurn’s excellent analysis of that talent tier. She convinced me, and that’s why it’s in there: http://kurn.apotheosis-now.com/?p=2325


Duke August 31, 2012 at 9:08 am

I feel s/he doesnt really explain why its “better” choice really.


Hugh Hancock August 31, 2012 at 10:49 am

To very briefly summarise, she believes that it will increase your effective healing per second more than Sacred Shield.


Kurn September 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Obviously, it’s going to depend on the fight situation. If you’re going to focus on a tank and they’re going to need all the mitigation they can get, Sacred Shield is probably the way to go. If you’re raid healing through consistently damage, Eternal Flame will do a lot for you, number-wise, as well as being able to help your beaconed tank you by virtue of the transfer of beacon of light. :)

namilea August 31, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I think the sacred shield was fixed or something, when i looked at is yesterday it was only absorbing 300 in holy, and 5k in prot, it said in something i read, it scaled with attack power, maybe thats why he had eternal flame, i took that yesterday then switched today when i noticed the change.


Hathos September 23, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I found eternal flame to work better even in raid situations one of the main reasons is that its ticks will heal the beacon on top of giving a small top up tothe affected player. If your good enough you can have quite a few eternal flames “hots” across the raid boosting overal hps by quite a bit. Crits are functional and scaling on the beacon


Ouga September 30, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Regarding the reforge, would it not be better to reforge mastery instead of haste at the early MoP raid content? Since it would help you save bit mana.


Hugh Hancock October 1, 2012 at 10:34 am

I completely agree, and am updating the guide to reflect that. Haste is technically slightly stronger, but it is also more mana-unfriendly. Great comment – thanks!


Sam November 17, 2012 at 9:35 am

Tbh, people underestimate the power of crtt for holy pally’s. Having high crit basicly means getting a holy shock critical procc almost on every use and due to the spell you get, it will make your next, Divine, Holy light, and Holy Radiance spell have a much shorter cast time ( the effect of haste).
Having high crit also means getting more from your mastery. Mastery is based on the amount healed. If my crit is high and i crit 30% of the time, then im basicly getting a x2 mastery shield than what i shud be getting. The Glyph for holy shock for it to give 1% mana back on critical is also very useful because it basicly gives back 3k mana on use. So before changing your play style to what some website says, just try them out yourself and you’l notice a hell of a difference.


Hugh Hancock November 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Interesting comment – thanks!

My major issue with Crit, aside from the fact that sims seem to agree its various synergies don’t outweigh Mastery purely numerically, is that it’s very RNG-based. As a healer, if I’m keeping a bunch of people up through heavy damage, I don’t want to be worrying that the next Holy Shock I throw is going to be the one that *doesn’t* crit – I want smooth, predictable healing, not spikes and troughs.

However, if it’s working for you, more power to you! Do you have any parses or sims showing the effects you’re talking about? They’d be very interesting to see.


Zharadorn December 4, 2012 at 10:18 am

One thing about haste: it doesn’t only burn you mana fast to cast DL, HL and FL faster, but also generates more ticks of Holy Radiance. Peole tend to forget that. Even as a tank healer I spam HR 2 – 3 times during heavy group damage. Combined with Divine Favour you can easily hold up a cuddled Group.
Mastery can be really god stat, but it depends on the encounter and on the other healers. If you got a good Disc priest with you, you can pretty much forget your absorb rates. After all as a Holy Paladin you are more a healer than a shielder.
Lastly crit. The only time I ever reforged to crit was back in Dragon Soul during Spine heroic (due to the mechanics it was pretty much the only good option) and I hated it, because 30% critical strike chance doesn’t necessarily mean that out of 3 casts at least 1 is a crit…sometimes you wait 6 or 7 casts till you crit…so in my opinion and cosidering my playstyle crit is by far the worst stat.

One thing I wanted to add is Crusader Strike. you never mentioned it in your prio list. Still CS builds up one Holy Power. So if you know boss encounters and are able to be close to the boss hit it with CS to build up on additional HP for very low Mana.
You also mention Hand of Sacrifice for single target protection but also since MoP all Palas can use Aura Mastery, which is a pretty good way to make a group take less Damage from Boss Magic effects.

Last thing I wanted to add is the Tier 5 Ability: You are condidering Sanctified Wrath only. Given my own experience with Holy Paladins I really tend to use Divine Purpose also. I know what you’ll be saying: “The guy that hates crit goes for a random procc talent..-_-” but hear me out.
The mechanic of this procc is still a bit blurry for me, but normally I get at least 2 proccs every 2-4 spells I cast. Those proccs can be spent on WoG/EF or LoD and will always act like 3 HP are used.
I’ve read a lot of threads, that say, the healing output is the best, but you can’t control the procc. That is correct, but you can do 2 things.
1. wait:
the procc has a 10 second window to use and in 10 seconds a loooooot of s..t can happen in a raid situation.

2. Use it as a precaution:
So you get the procc and the whole raid including tanks is full on Life? Well, use an Eternal Flame on the Tank then. It’s overheal for sure, but you’ll leave a small shield (Mastery) and with Eternal Flame you’ll leave a buff.

I’ve had enough situations where 5 proccs of LoD more than safed my other healers mana and nerves and made really tough AoE effects seem like childs play.
Sorry for the long post ;-)


Hugh Hancock December 4, 2012 at 10:21 am

Awesome stuff – thanks! I’ll look into all those suggestions – they all sound good! Some of them may be a bit advanced for a quick-start, but I’ll definitely incorporate the suggestions about stats, and recommend people read your comment for the other bits.


Zharadorn December 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Yes, you are right. It is pretty hard to not loose oneself in all those details at start, but I tend to think, the more often people read in guide to use abilitys like Aura Mastery, the more they will use them in an actual raid situation ;-)

I would consider myself a descent healer and not a bad player at this game, so feel free to ask any questions. I am playing every healing class in raid (10 Man or lfr) at least, 2 of them in a heroic progression, so I think I’ll be able to answer some other Questions regarding healing and playstyles.

And of course (this is meant for all) please excuse my bad english and grammer, I am not from an english speaking country ;-)


Kaboom June 19, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Love all the comments and appreciate the info and opinions. I wanted to point out that using CS not only gives a holy power and costs very little mana but it also gives you mana back from melee damage. Everytime I use it I get 2,000 mana back at least two times before using it again. Works great during times of low damage to regain mana.
Also I recently switched my stats around and started using crit over mastery and haste and I have noticed a HUGE improvement in my hps. I have mastery as my bottom stat now but haste is just a tad higher so they run about equal. I have my spirit really high and this helps so I can spam more AOE or high cost heals such as HR, DL or FoL (with the glyph). I have been healing the suggested way for years and just changed to crit last week and have noticed a 10-15k improvement in my hps.
I also use sacred shield with WoG and constantly put the shield on tank, myself or someone near death before casting a heal on them. I use LoD more than WoG (for raids only of course) but it helps to top off people even with low damage vs one person.
I am probably doing it all wrong but it’s nice to see my hps climbing back up to the top of the recount scales with most of my over healing being from sacred shield, which is a mana free spell, BoL also mana free, and LoD which is also mana free.

One last thing, for raids that require stacking I switch talents to Light’s hammer, which is also mana free but heals the entire stacked group, combine it with HR and a HS proc- bazinga top of the charts and a fully healed group.


Kaboom June 19, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Oh and just to clarify I do spam holy light and holy shock and the typical rotation throughout the raid of course.


justin September 13, 2013 at 3:48 pm

He guys, Im sure this is going to get updated with 5.4 content soon (I hope, love your guides!) But there has been some huge changes in the game to H.Pallies and I would like to add my 2 cents.
1st; SS is a straight up absorb shield. It can not, EVER, overheal. End of story. Im sorry to “burst your bubble” Kaboom, but thats that. It can go unused, and therefore be wasted but never causes overhealing. Recount will never show SS as overhealing.
2nd; With three charges of SS, imo its way better than EF now. EF does not add to mastery anymore and and its initial heal has been reduced by 30%. Far less atractive to be blanketing a raid with 1 HP EF’s now.
Lastly; Based on Ask. Mr. Robot Crit is the best secondary stat for pure healing output. Haste is for burst healing and Mastery is somewhere in the middle. All three are actually completly viable atm. However, critical strike gives the largest increase to healing output.
Thanks for all the guides and effort Hugh. Keep up the great work!


KaBoom September 18, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Oh you got me Justin my bubble is so burst! I factor in my SS with beacon since I use it 90% of the time on the tank so if my beacon shows as over healing I consider that as SS as well. Which, imo beacon does not or should not count as an over heal since it’s unavoidable and free just like SS. Also absorption is factored in to recounts healing and over healing stats, you just have to break it down spell by spell. Otherwise Holy priests would never have any over healing, and yet they do. Anyway, my point was that SS is a free spell and therefore any over healing from a free spell doesn’t count, (imo) so spam away.


Justin October 8, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Just thought I would update my original post since I’ve change my strat a little since my last post. Most importantly, Ive noticed that Hugh has already added everything I wanted to cover! I should have known! =) If your speced into EF, use Crusader Strike & Holy Shock on CD. you’ll never have mana issues. Although I enjoy the playstly of SS, the truth is, holy pallies rock at AoE healz. I almost never am a dedicated tank healer, so I almost always choose EF. And lastly, after personally trying out every secondary stat in SoO normal I get the best results from Mastery.
P.S. if you speced into EF, you don’t need more and 12k-12.5k spirit. Gem & reforge out of spirit after that point imo. Ive noticed a big difference in my power … try it out.


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