Holy Paladin Guide
In previous expansions, Holy Paladins have been able to stick to a fairly rigid rotation for healing; this isn’t the case in Legion. Some abilities’ cooldowns are affected by haste while others aren’t. This means that having a set rotation is impossible and we have to rely on a general priority list with a few exceptions. Similarly, without our absorption mastery, overhealing is just overhealing and a waste of mana. We are incredibly mana efficient healers, but you will still run out of mana if you’re careless. With the exception of Holy Shock, don’t use cooldowns just because they’ve come off cooldown. Use them efficiently.
Holy Shock – Use on cooldown without exception. If there is absolutely no damage on the raid and nothing to heal, use Holy Shock as damage instead.
- Infusion of Light – Use on Flash of Light as often as possible, while minimizing overheal. The Infusion of Light buff lasts longer than the Holy Shock cooldown, so you can potentially hold it for a few GCDs until someone’s health deficit justifies the 50% larger Flash of Light.
Light of Dawn – Use as often as possible. Light of Dawn has a small 5-yard radius around you as well as the frontal cone effect, so you don’t have to worry about everyone being exactly in front of you as long as you’re very close to them.
- Judgment (if Judgment of Light is talented) – Holy Shock and Light of Dawn should take priority during intense healing situations, but Judgment is incredibly mana efficient, so you should be using it on cooldown.
Holy Prism (if talented) – Holy Prism is much less powerful than it has been in the past. It’s only slightly more healing than Light of Dawn, but on double the cooldown. Regardless, it’s still a strong and consistent tool to help with area-of-effect healing.
Bestow Faith (if talented) – Using this effectively will take some planning and practice, but it’s incredibly mana efficient. The easiest way to use this ability is on a Tank, especially one without Beacon if you are playing with Beacon of the Lightbringer, so that the Bestow Faith heal transfers to your active Beacon. It can be used on a raid member who is going to take predictable damage from a delayed raid mechanic such as a damage-over-time effect, or it can also be used on yourself if you need to use Light of the Martyr or Blessing of Sacrifice.
Tyr’s Deliverance – Best used during moderate raid damage to be able to spam Flash of Light or Holy Light. It can also be useful to increase your single-target healing during heavy damage to one person. This healing and the buff it provides are unpredictable in that it jumps from target to target, so you can’t count on it always providing the buff to the most injured players.
Light of the Martyr – This spell is an oddball. If you know you aren’t in any immediate danger of dying, using Light of the Martyr is our highest single-target healing; however, this doesn’t mean we should use it all the time. It’s a good ability to use during movement and in high-pressure situations, but the damage inflicted makes the net healing (healing done minus healing needed to recover our damage taken) very low. Do not use this if it isn’t necessary.
If these abilities are on cooldown (or not needed because the raid is taking minimal damage), you should still always be casting something. If the raid is taking heavy damage, use Flash of Light. If the raid is taking moderate to low damage, cast Holy Light. If the raid is taking very little damage, cast Crusader Strike and Judgment.
Using Cooldowns Effectively
Treat cooldowns similarly to your normal healing abilities and use them efficiently. Without our absorption mastery and infinite mana, we need to be much more thoughtful about when we use Avenging Wrath and, if talented, Holy Avenger.
Avenging Wrath – When paired with Sanctified Wrath, Avenging Wrath makes Holy Shock an absolute monster. You should still treat Avenging Wrath as a personal cooldown and not as a raid cooldown. You will be able to heal the raid more effectively, but you still have a limited toolkit to deal with spread damage. Save this for when you expect damage. It’s fine to hold on to this cooldown for a while as long as you have a plan for the next time you’ll use it. Don’t activate this if Holy Shock is on cooldown, wait for it to come back up so you can get more use out of it.
Holy Avenger (if talented) – This is a good cooldown for a fight with lots of small burst windows. Similarly to Avenging Wrath, don’t activate this if Holy Shock is on cooldown, wait for it to come back up so you can get off at least three Holy Shocks.
Aura Mastery – Use this to mitigate or recover from heavy-hitting boss mechanics. The harder a mechanic hits, the more beneficial Aura Mastery is. Coordinate with your other healers about when to use this.
Divine Shield – Immunity to most mechanics in the game. There are certain debuffs that you can no longer remove with Divine Shield, but it will save you from dying in most situations.
Blessing of Sacrifice – This is our Tank cooldown. It’s very powerful as a mitigation tool, but it’s also very risky. Use this only when it’s necessary; using it without any of the other healers knowing could result in you dropping health incredibly quickly and having to use Divine Shield or potentially dying.
Divine Protection – Learn to use this often. Like Devotion Aura, mitigating damage has the exact same overall outcome as healing and you should treat it that way. Use this if you plan on using Light of the Martyr heavily or Blessing of Sacrifice.
Using Beacons Effectively
Your best job as a Holy Paladin is keeping tanks alive. How much overall healing you do doesn’t matter if the tanks are consistently dying. Your Beacon talent choice will have a large impact on how you heal, and should be based both on your required positioning and the tank healing requirements.
- Take Beacon of the Lightbringer if only one tank will take consistent damage at a time (swapping mechanics), or if you’re forced to be with range (grouped or spread).
- Consider Beacon of Faith if you’re able to be in melee and both tanks (or at least two people, not necessarily tanks) will take consistent damage throughout the fight.
- Consider Beacon of Virtue if you’re able to be in melee and the fight is short enough to permit the additional mana use.
These are general guidelines; not all fights are that straight forward and tank damage may not permit you to rely solely on Beacon transfers. Beacon of Faith and Beacon of the Lightbringer are both very close for throughput, so you should never feel like one is going to make you lose HPS.
With Beacon of Faith, your Beacons will transfer no more than 32% of your healing to each tank. Especially in difficult content, hard-hitting bosses will require you to direct heal your Beacons, losing part of the value of the talent. In those cases, even if both tanks are consistently taking simultaneous damage, it may be more optimal to take Beacon of the Lightbringer because your single Beacon will transfer up to 40% of your healing to the Beacon. Place your Beacon on the tank who will take the least damage (or who heals herself most effectively, e.g. a Death Knight), and spend more time and attention direct healing the tank taking the most damage.
The positioning of some fights will dictate which Beacon choice is best. For example, some fights require the tanks to frequently split up, such that you are able to be near one tank but far from the other. In that case, your direct healing on the distant tank will be severely reduced by the loss of mastery effectiveness. However, Beacon transfers are not affected by your mastery. Accordingly, if the distant tank is taking light or medium damage and the 32% transfer rate of Beacon of Faith will be sufficient to sustain his health, you should take Beacon of Faith and direct heal the people near you and the nearby tank. The distant tank will receive full Beacon transfers undiminished by your distance from him. Similarly, if the distant tank is further than 40 yards from you but still within 60 yards, he is out of range of direct healing but still in range of Beacon transfers, and you should take Beacon of Faith. However, if the distant tank is taking heavy damage and is in range of your direct healing, you should take Beacon of the Lightbringer and place your Beacon on the distant tank. That way your direct healing on the nearby, un-Beaconed tank will transfer up to 40% of your healing to the distant tank; and when direct healing on the distant tank is necessary, your heals will be strengthened by 100% of your mastery effectiveness.
Beacon of Virtue is a higher HPS choice than either of the other two Beacon choices. With Beacons placed on 4 injured players for 8 seconds, Beacon of Virtue allows you to respond extremely effectively to raid damage. However, it is very expensive: using Beacon of Virtue on cooldown will cost you 60% of base mana–132,000 mana–every minute. Additionally, using Beacon of Virtue means neither tank will have a reliable stream of constant Beacon transfers, making the job of keeping both tanks alive during heavy tank damage much more difficult. Although you can–and probably should–cast Beacon of Virtue at a tank taking damage, there is no guarantee that one of the other Virtue Beacons will land on the other tank; and neither tank will have a Beacon at all half the time. Thus, Beacon of Virtue sacrifices reliable tank healing in exchange for higher AoE healing. This makes Beacon of Virtue an excellent choice in 5-man instances, but a risky option in raids. Nevertheless if damage on both tanks is low enough to be manageable with direct healing, you’re able to be in melee so your direct healing on the tanks will benefit fully from your mastery, and fight length and mana requirements will permit the heavy additional expenditure, you should consider Beacon of Virtue.
To use Beacon of Virtue effectively, you must fit as much healing as possible within the 8 second window that your Beacons are up. Accordingly, Beacon of Virtue has good synergy with low cooldown talents. Thus, when playing with Beacon of Virtue, you should typically also talent Bestow Faith, Holy Prism, and Rule of Law.
To maximize your healing within the Beacon of Virtue window, you must (1) take advantage of Beacon transfer delay, (2) delay cooldown-based heals until Beacon of Virtue is up, (3) take advantage of the GCD, and (4) effectively manage your mana.
- Beacon transfers from a heal occur a split second after the heal cast finishes. You can take advantage of this by casting your Beacon in that split second gap after a cast finishes but before the transfer is calculated. For example: If you cast Holy Light, then immediately cast Beacon of Virtue just as the Holy Light cast ends, the Holy Light will Beacon transfer to all 4 Virtue Beacons. This is extremely valuable, as it gains you an additional heal within the Beacon of Virtue window. This technique takes practice, but will pay off immensely when you master it.
- Any healing done while Beacon of Virtue is inactive will gain no Beacon transfer at all, and thus even your strongest spells will be much less effective outside the Beacon of Virtue window. This may require you to delay Holy Shock , Bestow Faith, Light of Dawn, and Holy Prism to ensure you can cast them while Beacon of Virtue is active.
- Instant cast heals do their healing at the beginning of the global cooldown, while cast-time heals that only take 1 GCD, like Flash of Light, do their healing at the end of the GCD. You should take advantage of this to fit additional heals in the Beacon of Virtue window. For example, it may be possible to cast Flash of Light and then Light of Dawn within the window, whereas reversing the cast sequence would result in the Flash of Light heal occurring after the window expired.
- Additionally, due to the high mana cost of using Beacon of Virtue, you should attempt to save mana for when Beacon of Virtue is active. Outside the Beacon of Virtue window, consider using Crusader Strike and Consecrate for free damage. If healing is necessary to prevent someone from dying, consider Light of the Martyr. Light of the Martyr is by far your cheapest heal. Additionally, because Light of the Martyr never transfers to your Beacon, it is relatively more valuable and viable outside the Beacon of Virtue window than any other heal.
What you cast during a Beacon of Virtue window will vary depending on what heals are available for that window, as well as how much haste you have. The first 4 casts should always be the same:
- Pre-cast Bestow Faith.
- Pre-cast Holy Light.
- Cast Beacon of Virtue.
- Cast Rule of Law, which will be available for every other Beacon of Virtue, together with your first heal within the Beacon of Virtue window.
After that, you should cast Holy Shock, Light of Dawn, Holy Prism (which will be available for every other Beacon of Virtue) and 1 or 2 Flash of Lights.