Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tips for Holy Paladins in Heroics

Through a combination of pugging, guild runs, and quasi-guild runs, I've managed to do all the heroics in Cataclysm. They're really good, and moderately hard. They really reward knowing the fight and executing correctly. Here are some tips that may help Holy paladins working on instances.

  1. Cleanse - Seriously, Cleanse early, Cleanse often. Cleanse is expensive, so you do have to watch for debuffs that stack faster than you can Cleanse. If you're doing heroics exclusively, I'd strongly suggest Glyph of Cleanse.

  2. Run First, Heal After - If you are ever presented with the choice of running to avoid a fight mechanic, or finishing your cast, choose to run. Fight mechanics are far more likely to kill people than straight up damage. As well, practice healing while moving with Holy Shock and Word of Glory.

  3. Use Cooldowns - Get into the habit of using your cooldowns religiously. We have 5 cooldowns, in addition to any trinkets: Lay On Hands, Blessing of Sacrifice, Divine Favor, Avenging Wrath, and Guardian of Ancient Kings.

    Hand of Sacrifice is pretty strong now. You get a lot of self-healing with Protector of the Innocent, so it usually does not hurt to use it on the tank liberally. I like using it at the start of trash pulls when it's up.

    Use the shorter cooldowns on trash. They'll come back up in time for the bosses. I generally like alternating Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath on trash pulls. Use cooldowns at the start of the pull, when you have the most mobs beating on the tank.

    Lay on Hands is very powerful. It essentially resets a tank's health to full, and gives you a chunk of mana with the Glyph. Use it aggressively on boss fights, especially when it feels like you've fallen behind.

    Guardian of the Ancient Kings casts the same single-target spell on the same target that you do. Ideally, you want to use Divine Light to maximize the healing done when your Guardian is up. I like popping GoAK at about 20%-ish, to stabilize the fight and bring it home. But use it aggressively and early if you need to.

    I also don't like overlapping cooldowns. Unlike DPS, it feels like you get more time with stronger heals if you spread them out.

    Use cooldowns aggressively, and don't be afraid to "waste" them.

  4. Resistance Aura - My aura of choice is Resistance Aura. Things just seem more stable when Resistance Aura is up. As well, you can use Aura Mastery as an extra cooldown during periods of mass damage. I do switch to Devotion Aura if there is no Fire, Shadow or Frost damage in the fight, but that's pretty rare. Raid damage tends to be magical.

  5. Judge Often - try and judge as often as you can, especially on adds. It's extra damage and helps keep your mana high.

  6. Use Holy Radiance to Move Faster - The talent Speed of Light increases your run speed when you cast Holy Radiance. A lot of times, the entire group will need to move because they are taking damage. If you pop Holy Radiance as you start moving, not only will you heal people as they take damage, but you will move out of the fire that much faster.

Those are some tips for paladin healing in heroics. The biggest thing though, is familiarity with the fights. Once you know what to do, they become a lot easier.

Any other tips for Holy Paladins?


  1. What do you think of Tower of Radiance after the nerf? There has been lots of talk about skipping it completely and speccing in to Blessed Life instead. Even for PvE purpose.

  2. I like Tower of Radiance, even with the nerf. I find it very useful when I use Divine Light on the tank.

    If I was to skip it, I would take the combination of Enlightened Judgements, Paragon of Virtue, and Improved Judgement over Blessed Life.

    But then, I'm not really focusing on maximizing Holy Power generation at all costs.

  3. Agree with Rohan, even with the nerf Tower of Radiance is pretty powerful. It's especially great when the tank is getting slammed (i.e. when you're trying to do Arrested Development). You get a pretty big heal for free every couple of Divine Lights.

    My only quibble with the article is that you probably have to overlap Divine Plea with Avenging Wrath or GoAK, at least until you and your tank are predominantly 346 geared. The healing reduction is simply killer when you are pushing the envelop gear-wise.

  4. "Judge Often - try and judge as often as you can, especially on adds. It's extra damage and helps keep your mana high."

    I'm confused by this comment.
    Last I looked at tree perks this was a Protection only benefit? Am I missing something?

  5. @Redxx - it's from using Seal of Insight (the one that looks like the old seal of Light). It gives 4% base mana back on every judge, so you get about 3500/8sec if you take the talent that converts spirit to hit. It's not the JoW we grew to love, but it's pretty good.

    I have been lucky in that I run with a spriest who cleanses on the really tough pulls, letting me focus on healing. While I don't disagree that you need to cleanse, it's often a waste of mana as the designers have even said there are debuffs that are just head fakes.

  6. We have so much more to offer than those 5 cooldowns.

    Hand of Freedom to help people get out of the sticky (snares and slows).

    Hand of Salvation for the over zealous DPS who is about to pull aggro.

    Hand of Protection for the over zealous DPS who has pulled aggro.

    My new favorite Divine Protection, with points in Paragon of Virtue you can get 20% damage mitigation every 45sec. You can easily macro this to go off when you are using Hand of Sacrifice and have a nice buffer 10 out of the 12secs Sacrifice is up.

    Lastly Divine Shield when you are looking for a nice bubble hug to keep you out of harms way. But since it is self serving I can see why you kept it off the list.

  7. "While I don't disagree that you need to cleanse, it's often a waste of mana as the designers have even said there are debuffs that are just head fakes."

    While I agree with that, I think at a minimum, until all these heroics are /lol, cleansing the tank and yourself at a minimum is necessary. In Grim Batol there is a super nasty debuff that makes the target take double damage, and a "head fake" one that has some very minor effect. Mistake one for the other on a tank, and it's gonna be a mana suck.

    Great tips Rohan! I'd been practicing some of these, but not all. Hand of Sacrifice is used by me on almost every boss fight where the boss enrages. Like you said, with our self heal, I barely notice the damage even on hard hitting spike fights.

  8. No mention of Divine Plea anywhere in the original article. That, in itself, is very telling. What is it now... 10% restored? /scoff

  9. A lot of debuffs stack, but the entire stack can be cleansed with one cast. These are often fine to leave until 2 to 4 stacks (depending on the deubff) before cleansing, otherwise you'll go OOM fast. Forgemaster Throngus and his Dual Wield stacking fire debuff is a prime example here.

    Stacking your trinkets with Avenging Wrath and Divine Favor and casting Holy Radiance is the mother of all reset buttons. Seriously, the amount of extra healing and extra ticks on that spell and you can easily bring a group from 30% to 80% in about 15 seconds. Granted, you can't do it again for 2 - 3 minutes, but this macro makes for a great Holy Crap button:

    /use 13
    /use 14
    /cast Divine Favor
    /cast Avenging Wrath
    /cast Holy Radiance

    I'd actually disagree with overlapping your cooldowns with Divine Plea. You end up spending just as much mana as you get back trying to keep up with the healing debuff. You're much better off just waiting to use it at a more appropriate time and cancel it early if you need to start healing again.

    Lay on Hands is powerful, but it's even more powerful casting it on someone who isn't beaconed. 110k healing on a DPS, 55k healing on the tank, and 10% of your mana back assuming you have it glyphed (and you do have it glyphed, right?).

  10. Hey great post. Thought I'm not sure I agree with you 100%. Keep em coming. Are you interested in having anyone guest post opposing views?

  11. I would like to add that we can also melee and CS on many of the encounters. It helps build up holy power and keeps the mana high. Admiral Ripsnarl is probably the most mana intensive fight for me, and I try to use CS as much as possible to build free Word of Glory.

  12. For Divine Plea, you definitely don't want to stack it with cooldowns. It pretty much wastes them. Any heals cast during Divine Plea essentially have half the HPM they normally do, doubling their effective 'cost'.

    Another little tip for heroics: I've noticed it is actually often worthwhile to cast a single HP Word of Glory when damage is light. Thanks to the terribly broken mechanics of Protector of the Innocent transferring to the Beacon, my 1 HP WoG cast on a tank actually heals for somewhere around 6k. Using a lot of tiny, quick, efficient, rapid-fire heals (Holy Shock and 1 HP WoG) nets you the absolute most for your resources. It's not necessarily as time efficient as saving for 3 HP, but it nets you an extra 12k self healing and 6k healing on the beacon target, plus there is always the chance to proc Eternal Glory.

    It's not a strategy I'd recommend for beginning Paladins, but once you get accustomed to healing and get a little bit of gear, this is an excellent way to eke the most out of PotI.

  13. Hand of Freedom costs significantly less than Cleanse, so if the debuff is any sort of slow or snare, use HoF instead!

    Couple examples from Vortex Pinnacle: the stacking poison that the assassins put on the tank, and the static cling from the final boss.

  14. Thank you for these kinds of posts. For part-time healers like myself (dual spec ret/holy pali), they are super helpful.

    Can I ask for some advice? Before the big change, I was healing pretty good. But with 4.0 and all the changes, I can't seem to keep up. In the time it takes to cast holy light the tank is getting killed and then everything becomes a crazy scramble just to keep from wiping. I know I must be doing something wrong. I'd been trying to stack haste to help with this, but then had mana problems. I saw you guys wrote that Crit may be better, but I can't get the heals out fast enough. I end up using all my cool downs on the first pull and then the tank is running off to the next pull and it all goes downhill from there. At this point, I'm dreading PUGs (even non-heroics) and generally spend most of my time appologizing to the group.

    Any advice is very very welcome.

  15. Great Guide. I'm primarily a Paladin Tank MS and Healer OS. That being said, my offset is pretty solid. The Holy paladin advice in this column is VERY useful. I know the blogger has moved onto Rift, but I'm happy for the healer advice.

    Re:Healerwannabe - Spirit and Int Pool. The beginnings of some instances are brutal.

    Cast a couple holy shocks to prime your Holy Power before the first pull and then pop Avenging Wrath before the tank engages. Cast a medium heal to anticipate the first crush of damage.

    That should mitigate your first Burst of group / tank damage. Also, INSIST on some CC in Heroics. A Healer's job is ten times easier when 2 of 5 mobs are CC'ed. Smart tanks reduce large pulls to medium ones. Not all mages use polymorph and that's a shame.

    We don't group with you guys for looks and free cake. I get on shadowpriests for Mind control, Warlock banish, Resto shamen to Hexx, Rogue Sap. Everything in that bag o tricks to make healing easier for my Holy Paladin.