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 [patchnumber] (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 [guideupdated] to WoW Patch [patchnumber]
Holy Paladin Changes in WoW Patch [patchnumber]
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:
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
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- Icy Veins, as always, have a great guide to Holy Paladins
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- 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.
Everybody loves fire, so you’ll be delighted to hear that one of the early bosses in the Firelands raid is entirely made of fire – something that’s going to be oh-so-much fun for you if you’re healing. Lord Rhyolith is a fun boss with a really unique mechanic. Here’s our guide to defeating Rhyolith as a healer.
Lord Rhyolith is giant made of fire, who live on an island in the middle of a lake of molten fire, drops fire on the ground, and spawns adds that damage the raid with fire.
You should probably think about buffing the raid with fire resistance of some form.
Everyone needs healing
The fight consists of two phases: a ‘hit the boss, dodge the fire, deal with the adds’ phase (which will take up most of the fight) and a final, fairly standard, burn phase.
During the first phase Rhyolith will deal no damage. Your melee DPS players will be moving him around the room, but they will not be taking any direct damage from him. Instead, the damage will come from the adds that will spawn, and from the from the various forms of do-not-stand-in-it fire that appear on the floor. Our main article on Lord Rhyolith tactics has the full scoop.
You’ll find that the damage output for this fight is split pretty evenly amongst the entire raid. You’ll still need a dedicated healer for the tank (this fight only requires a single tank) but the rest of the healers will be splitting their attention among everybody. You may find it useful to assign some healers to the melee DPS and the rest to the ranged DPS, but the exact division of labor is up to you.
Rhyolith will spawn adds about every 25 seconds or so. It’ll either be a group of 5 Fragments Of Rhyolith, or a single Spark Of Rhyolith.
The Fragments of Rhyolith will only damage the tank, and won’t do huge amounts of damage. However, any Fragments still alive after 30 seconds will ignore the tank and charge a random raid member, administering their remaining health as instant damage. They’ll destroy themselves in the process, but that won’t be much consolation. There’s nothing you can do to avoid it (it’s the job of the damage-dealers to burn them down in time) but you may be quick-witted enough to fire off a preemptive HoT on the poor raid member about to be squashed. At the very least, you need to be ready with a beefy single-target heal once the damage has been done.
The Spark of Rhyolith throws out constant AoE damage, but if the tank has positioned the mob sensibly, nobody other than the tank will be affected by it. Sparks also increase their damage over time, so the tank will definately need ongoing healer attention while a Spark of Rhyolith is alive.
Lord Rhyolith will cast Concussive Stomp every 30 seconds, which will deal raidwide AoE damage. You should be able to time the casts quite accurately, and be ready with compensatory heals when it does go off.
As a side effect of Concussive Stomp, Rhyolith will create volcanoes on the floor. The volcanoes will occassionally erupt, dealing fire damage to random players every 2 seconds. Each eruptions lasts 20 seconds in total. Getting hit by an erruption will also apply a stacking debuff which increases fire damage taken. Thankfully for your mana supply (and possibly sanity) some of the volcanoes will be quickly converted to craters – this happens when Rhyolith stands on them.
When a volcano becomes a crater, it will immediately emit Lava streams. The streams will start at the crater and move away in all directions from it. Any idiot – er, that is, any valued colleague and fellow noble hero – who stands in the fire will receive damage. Well, honestly, what did they expect?
After 10 seconds, the lava streams explode, dealing damage to anybody stood on them. Once that happens, the crater disappears and is replaced by a lava pool (which will still damage anybody who stands in it but won’t do anything else).
Lava streams are quite slow-moving, so your raiders should be able to avoid them, but there’s a lot of other stuff going on at the same time, so don’t be suprised if the occasional mistake is made.
Yay! Phase 2 is about to sta- Ouch!
Once Rhyolith is reduced to 25% health, he’ll start to attack the raid directly, and – after a short bit of scripted animation – Phase 2 will begin. Be prepared: he’ll immediately throw down a rather nasty bit of once-only raidwide damage, which can be quite alarming if you’re not expecting it.
This is an absolutely classic burn phase, if you’ll pardon the rather appaling but ultimately unavoidable pun. Rhyolith will continue to cast Concussive Stomp every 30 seconds, which will give raid-wide damage. It also has a knock-back ability, so be careful not to get too close. He’ll no longer be summoning volcanoes, although there may well be some left over from Phase 1.
As with similar final burn phases, the damage the raid takes will gradually increase, and the tank will be taking the brunt of the damage. As a healer, it’s business as usual for you – cycle your cooldowns, grit your teeth, and wait for the big fiery fella to fall over.
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One of the first bosses you’re likely to encounter in the Firelands raid is the evil Apostrophe Spider, Beth’tilac. Healing Beth’tilac can be a challenge, but with careful coordination with the rest of your raid you’ll be feasting on spider meat in no time.
As we mentioned in our main Beth’tilac tactics guide, your raid will be split into two groups: one to stay on the ground level, and one to climb up to Beth’tilac’s web. One healer should be assigned to the Web Level Team, with the rest of the healers staying on the Ground Level. It’s best to assign a healer with good AoE heals to the Web Level Team. A single-target healer might find things get a bit hairy once Beth’tilac starts throwing out AoE damage.
Healing the ground-level team
If you’re part of the Ground Level Team, you won’t ever have to ascend to the web level. There’s almost no need to worry about positioning during the main phase of the fight, so stack up in the centre and simply heal the rest of the Ground Level Team while they deal with the adds that will spawn.
You should probably assign a dedicated healer for the off-tank, who will be taking notable damage from Cinderweb Drones (the largest adds). You should also watch out for the small Cinderweb Spiderlings, who apply a DoT when they hit.
Cinderweb Spinners occasionally encase players in webs. Rely on your DPS to get you out if you become trapped in a web. Remember to communicate your dilema through the time-honored method of shouting incoherently.
The Web Level Team will temporarilly jump down to ground level each time Beth’tilac casts Smouldering Devastation. Once that’s happened three times, Beth’tilac herself will descend, and Phase 2 begins.
Healing the web-level team
The Web Level Team should only need one healer. At the start of the fight, you need to be on the lookout for spider threads, which are left by Cinderweb Spinners when they die. These threads act as vehicles, so you can click on one to transport yourself to the web level. You need to be the second person to reach the web level, so as soon as the main tank has grabbed a thread, go grab one yourself.
There are no adds on the web level, only Beth’tilac and her various irritating spells. She’ll regularly cast Ember Flare, which does fire damage to all players on the web level. She’ll also cast Meteor Burn, causing meteors to drop onto the web. They have a clear indicator in the form of a fiery orange circle, so they’re easy to avoid. They’ll leave behind a small pool of fire, so be on the lookout for clumsy raiders accidentally stumbling into them.
When Beth’tilac’s Fire Energy bar reaches zero, she’ll start to cast Smouldering Devastation, which is bad news for anyone on the web level. Jump down the hole in the middle of the web, and assist your fellow healers on the ground level until it’s safe to head back up again. You’ll need to find another dead Spinner and hitch a ride on its thread like you did at the start of the fight.
Smoldering Devastation will happen three times in total, then it’s time for Phase 2.
Phase 2: Panic
Beth’tilac descends from the web level to the ground level. You should stack up behind her with the rest of the raid. The main tank and the off-tank will be regularly switching boss aggro between them, in an effort to rid themselves of The Widow’s Curse. This debuff slowlyreduces the amount of healing they can receive, so don’t be too concerned if your healing seems to be becoming gradually more ineffectual.
Beth’tilac’s damage will continue to increase during this phase until she’s killed, so now is the time to expend your once-per-fight healing cooldowns. Coordination with your tanks and with your fellow healers is the key here. After that, it’s up to the DPS to make sure this final phase doesn’t last too long!
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Shannox, along with his two pet dogs, is one of the first bosses you’ll encounter in the new Firelands raids. Although not the hardest boss in terms of healing, Shannox will definitely require your healing team to be on the ball.
As you’ll see from our detailed guides to Shannox strategy, this is a two-phase fight. The first phase requires you to keep healing your assigned targets while avoiding Shannox’s traps. The second phase is a burn phase during which Shannox will be pumping out truly shocking amounts of damage. Your job during that second phase is to help your raid cling on to life until the DPS can take Shannox down.
A lot of the damage in this fight will be Fire damage, so fire resistance buffs are mandatory.
The fight consists of three mobs, all of whom you’ll be fighting at once. The main tank will be on Shannox, with the off-tank taking Riplimb some distance away. Rageface can’t be tanked, so he’ll be running amok through your raid. Spread out at the start of the fight. Ranged DPS will be doing the same.
Things not to stand in (spoiler alert – one of them is fire)
Shannox will regularly drop _Immolation Trap_s and _Crystal Prison Trap_s. Both of these look like standard Hunter traps, so they’re easy to spot. You should avoid standing in either of them. The _Immolation Trap_s will do fire damage, but the _Crystal Prison Trap_s will prevent you from performing any action at all until the rest of the raid frees you. Getting a healer caught in a trap like that can often mean an unexpected meeting with the spirit healer, so watch where you stand.
Shannox will frequently throw his spear in the direction of Riplimb. Any player standing in that spot when the spear lands is dead, so move out of the way as soon as you see the indicator appear (it’s a big fiery circle on the ground).
Once the spear has been thrown, there’s a secondary effect – a lot of smaller, one hit only, fires on the ground. Avoid standing directly on those and they won’t trigger.
Healing the tanks
As well as regular melee damage, both tanks will quickly acquire the debuff Jagged Tear. Not only is this a DoT, it can stack, so you’ll need to be ready to compensate with sparkly feelgood green HoTs.
The tanks should be coordinating so that Jagged Tear drops off when Shannox throws his spear. This will give you a bit of breathing space , but be prepared for Jagged Tear to start stacking up again soon afterwards.
Healing the raid
Shannox does a Cleave attack, which in an ideal world shouldn’t hit anyone other than the main tank, but be prepared for melee DPS to be accidentally caught in the cone from time to time. You know what they’re like.
It’s also a good bet that some players will trigger an Immolation Trap, especially during the first few attempts at this boss. The trap will do immediate fire damage, plus additional fire damage over the next three seconds. It will also apply a debuff which lowers the target’s fire resistance.
When Shannox’s Hurl Spear ability lands, it’ll do a nasty 50k damage to everyone, which will need to be healed through. Watch out for the fiery explosions which come immediately afterwards, too, in case some raid members get caught out.
_Crystal Prison_s will be being triggered fairly regularly. Be aware that these block line-of-sight, so you may need to move to continue healing your target.
Off the leash
Rageface will be another source of continuous damage to your raid. He’ll target a random raid member and start to do serious amounts of damage. Your raid leader or healing leader will probably assign one healer specifically to track Rageface’s targets, and heal them through the damage.
If everything’s gone according to plan, your raid will kill both dogs when Shannox is on about 35% health. At that point, Shannox will enrage. Expect the damage to the tanks to increase significantly. Your healing cooldowns should be saved for this phase if you possibly can. Coordinate with your tanks, too – they should be cycling mitigation cooldowns during this final phase.
Shannox will no longer be throwing his spear, but will instead regularly cast Magma Rupture, which does AoE fire damage and also increases the amount of fire damage taken. Be prepared for the main tank to die during this phase, even if your healing is top notch: it’s a difficult phase to endure unscathed.
That final phase can be a bit hair-raising, but if your DPS team are on the ball it shouldn’t last too long.
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It’s time to get some serious Light-wielding representation in this joint. Not priests, who fall over if you look at them funny, but full-on armour-wearing divine light-calling Holy. Paladin. So, if you’re looking to get your heals up in Deathwing’s face – and before that, his tentacles and his back respectively – in Patch 4.3, here’s our quick start guide to talent specs, glyphs, gems, stats, changes in this patch, reforging, and our spell strategies, so you don’t waste any time.
Updated 29th November 2011 for Patch 4.3
Holy Paladin changes in 4.3
Holy Paladins have had some pretty serious changes in Patch 4.3. Holy Radiance is now a 3-second cast rather than an instant, now emanates from the target rather than you, but no longer has a cooldown, and now generates Holy Power with the talent Tower of Radiance. This affects your talent choices (Tower of Radience becomes stronger) and also means that Holy Paladins now have an AOE rotation of sorts – Holy Radiance x3 followed by Light of Dawn. Light of Dawn has also been buffed, increasing its targets to 6, as has its glyph – 25% bonus healing on 4 targets – meaning it’s more powerful, and is actually useful in 10-mans.
Finally, in a pretty big positive change, Holy Paladins no longer have to Judge as often – just Judge once a minute to keep Judgements of the Pure up.
Holy healing “rotation”
No, of course we don’t have an actual “rotation”. We’re healers, dammit, not TBC Retridins. But here’s a rough guide to what spells you should be using to avoid any of your raid or group falling over dead:
Put Beacon of Light on the tank. Use Judgement when needed to keep Judgements of the Pure up. 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. 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. 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.
Raid / Group Healing
Use Beacon on a tank anyway. Use Judgement when needed to keep Judgements of the Pure up. Spot heal with Holy Light – you should almost always be casting this – and use Holy Shock on cooldown. If more damage is coming in to a group, use Holy Radiance on someone in that group to build up Holy Power (assuming you have Tower of Radiance – see Talents, below), then use Light of Dawn at 3 Holy Power on the same group. 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.
Buffs: Keep Beacon up, make sure you’ve got Seal of Insight and an Aura running, and remember to use either Blessing of Might or Kings on your group or raid.
Cooldowns: 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. Remember, with Glyph of Divinity it will also return 10% mana to you.
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. Finally, remember your Aura Mastery for silence situations and AOE damage situations, and use your Hand spells. Hand of Sacrifice is an excellent tank helper, and Hands of Protection and Salvation can save an over-eager DPS. Finally, remember that Divine Protection also grants you a temporary speed buff. Use Divine Plea during damage-light phases to regen mana.
Holy Paladin Talent Spec
There are a a few tweaks you can make here. Notably:
- Tier 6, Holy: Tower of Radiance is great if you’re healing your Beacon target or if you need to do AOE healing. Under some circumstances in AOE damage heavy fights, Blessed Life (Tier 6) may be a better way to generate Holy Power.
- Tier 1, Protection Eternal Glory is useful but not vital. Many healers would prefer…
- Tier 2, Retribution Pursuit of Justice is a very useful talent – run speed is never a bad thing.
For more details, Kurn has an excellent, complete rundown of all talents in the healing spec (including other tweaks) over here.
Stats, reforging and gemming for Holy
Intellect is probably the most important Holy stat. Spirit controls mana regen and you should prioritise it if you are having mana problems. After that, Haste is the most important stat, followed by Crit and Mastery with Crit having a small advantage.
Reforging: Very personal, but reforge to Spirit until your mana feels comfortable for the content you’re doing. After that, reforge to Haste.
Gems: Use two Reckless Ember Topaz in the best two yellow sockets to activate Ember Shadowspirit Diamond, the best meta gem. After this, generally use a Brilliant Inferno Ruby in all sockets. unless you can gain 20 INt or more with one non-red socket. In that case, use Purified Demonseye or Reckless Ember Topaz.
Holy Paladin enchants
Several professions have “superior” enchants – use them if the stats are appropriate. Felfire Inscription on shoulders from Inscription, for example.
Arcanum of Hyjal
Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect
Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
Enchant Bracer – Mighty Intellect
Enchant Gloves – Haste
Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
Enchant Boots – Lavawalker (if you don’t have Pursuit of Justice) or Enchant Boots – Haste
Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent or Enchant Weapon – Heartsong – the latter offers more mana regen
Enchant Weapon – Superior Intellect
Prime: Seal of Insight, Glyph of Holy Shock, and Glyph of Word of Glory unless you don’t use it much, in which case Glyph of Divine Favour.
Major: Divinity, Divine Plea, and one more of your choice. Glyph of Divine Protection is awesome on magic-heavy fights, whilst Glyph of Light of Dawn is good for AOE, particularly in 5 or 10 man content.
Minor: What – evaaarrrr.
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