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Holy Paladin Healing Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoW 4.3.4)

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In this article, we list your Holy Paladin (WoW 4.3) core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation). We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that playing a Holy Paladin will face you with. The other articles of our Holy Paladin guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the left.

1. Basic Rotation↑top

Healing is in great part based on your ability to react to the damage that the raid takes, and as such there is no set rotation. Rather, you must understand what spells are best suited to the different situations that can occur during a raid encounter.

  • Low to moderate damage (raid or tank)
  • Moderate to high tank or single-target damage
  • Moderate to high raid damage
  • High sustained tank or single-target damage
    • Make extensive use of Divine Light Icon Divine Light.
    • Forsake Holy Light Icon Holy Light, as its low throughput will cause you to fall behind in healing.
  • High sustained raid damage
    • Make extensive use of Holy Radiance Icon Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn Icon Light of Dawn.
    • Keep in mind that 50% of the healing done by Light of Dawn is transferred to your Beacon of Light Icon Beacon of Light target, which means that healing the raid with Light of Dawn will not necessarily cause you to fall behind on the tank (if you are assigned to tank healing).
  • Emergency situations
    • Use Flash of Light Icon Flash of Light, but only if you feel that the target will die before you have a chance to complete a Divine Light Icon Divine Light cast on them.
    • Healing with Flash of Light Icon Flash of Light will drain your mana very quickly and should not be used lightly.

1.1. Additional Actions To Perform

As a Holy Paladin there are a number of spells and abilities that you should use regularly during any encounter.

  • Always use Holy Shock Icon Holy Shock when it is off cooldown (try to minimise overhealing, though).
  • Use Judgement Icon Judgement at least once a minute to refresh your Judgements of the Pure Icon Judgements of the Pure.
  • Use Crusader Strike Icon Crusader Strike whenever possible to generate additional Holy Power.
  • Try to melee the boss whenever possible in order to regenerate as much mana as possible from Seal of Insight.
  • Track the duration of your Beacon of Light Icon Beacon of Light and make sure it is refreshed before it expires.

The above actions will grant you mana and Holy Power and as such, with the exception of Holy Shock, will not generate any healing. They should be used in between your other heals, or during periods of low damage. In the case of judging, because of the very high mana gained from it, it should be done even when there are raid members in need of healing, provided that they are not in immediate danger of dying.

1.2. Seal

You should always use Seal of Insight Icon Seal of Insight.

2. Cooldown Usage↑top

As a Holy Paladin, you have a total of 4 healing cooldowns, which we briefly present below (ordered from the least powerful to the most powerful):

  • Divine Favor Icon Divine Favor temporarily buffs your spell haste and your critical strike chance, making it very useful when you need to temporarily increase your healing output.
  • Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath temporarily increases your healing output by 20% and is very useful during periods of high sustained damage.
  • Guardian of Ancient Kings Icon Guardian of Ancient Kings enables you to replicate up to 5 heals and is extremely useful during periods of extremely high tank damage. You can also use it for AoE healing, when the raid is stacked together.
  • Lay on Hands Icon Lay on Hands is your most powerful healing ability, but it is realistically usable only once per fight.

In a subsequent section, we present these cooldowns more thoroughly, so that you get a better understand of when to use them.

2.1. Aura Mastery

Aura Mastery Icon Aura Mastery is not a healing cooldown but this ability can be very useful to help your raid survive a very damaging magic attack of Fire, Frost, or Shadow damage (provided you are using Resistance Aura Icon Resistance Aura).

3. Choosing Your Aura↑top

Before you begin the fight, you should already have a general understanding of what types of damage you are expecting to occur and you should prepare for this damage by using the right aura:

Occasionally it may be useful to utilise Concentration Aura Icon Concentration Aura, especially if other Paladins in your raid are already providing the other two auras.

4. Beacon of Light Target↑top

You should place your Beacon of Light Icon Beacon of Light on the target that is going to need it the most, even if you are assigned to heal the raid or another raid member. Generally, it is best used on one of the tanks (whichever is taking more damage) or someone in your raid who will be taking constant damage throughout the encounter.

5. Optional Read: Mastering Your Holy Paladin↑top

While the information presented above should enable you to perform very decently as a Holy Paladin, there are many things that you need to perfectly understand if you are to play your character to its full potential. In particular, you need to know the mechanics of all your procs and spells.

5.1. Procs To Watch Out For

Holy Paladins have two procs that they need to watch out for: Daybreak Icon Daybreak and Infusion of Light Icon Infusion of Light.

5.1.1. Daybreak

Daybreak Icon Daybreak, indicated in Blizzard's UI by two shining yellow brackets on either side of your character, has a 20% chance to occur when you cast Holy Light Icon Holy Light, Flash of Light Icon Flash of Light and Divine Light Icon Divine Light. The effect is simple: your next Holy Shock Icon Holy Shock (used within 12 seconds of your proc) will not trigger a cooldown, effectively enabling you to chain two Holy Shocks one after the other, for a nice amount of overall burst healing. Due to the fact that your two Holy Shocks will have generated two charges of Holy Power, your burst can further be enhanced by following it up with a Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory. It is important to always make use of Daybreak and not let it go to waste.

5.1.2. Infusion of Light

Infusion of Light Icon Infusion of Light is caused by your Holy Shock Icon Holy Shock critical strikes, and provides you with a 1.5 second cast time reduction on your next Holy Light Icon Holy Light, Flash of Light Icon Flash of Light, Divine Light Icon Divine Light or Holy Radiance Icon Holy Radiance. This proc is extremely beneficial, and should only really be used with Divine Light or Holy Radiance, and not Holy Light, unless there is practically no damage to be healed. Due to the very low cast time of your Holy Light while this proc is active (0.7-0.8 seconds) it is not really possible to cancel your cast, so you should have a way to track this proc through use of an addon (such as Power Auras).

5.2. Healing Spells In Detail

Beacon of Light Icon Beacon of Light, the iconic Holy Paladin spell, is a very powerful tool. It transfers 50% of all healing done by your Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory, Holy Shock Icon Holy Shock, Flash of Light Icon Flash of Light, Divine Light Icon Divine Light and Light of Dawn Icon Light of Dawn, and 100% of all healing done by your Holy Light Icon Holy Light to the Beacon target. It also allows for Holy Power generation through use of Flash of Light and Divine Light on the Beacon target thanks to Tower of Radiance Icon Tower of Radiance.

Holy Shock Icon Holy Shock is an instant cast spell, and your main source of Holy Power generation. It is a core ability that should be used on cooldown. It has a good healing per mana ratio, but the amount it heals for is quite small. In addition, it has a chance to proc Infusion of Light Icon Infusion of Light.

Holy Light Icon Holy Light, thanks to its decent sustainability, is your most spammable spell. It has a very low mana cost, heals for a very low amount and has a long cast time. It also has a chance to proc Daybreak Icon Daybreak.

Flash of Light Icon Flash of Light is your emergency heal. It has a high mana cost for relatively low healing, but it has a very short cast time which also generates Holy Power if cast on the Beacon target. It also has a chance to proc Daybreak.

Due to the very inefficient nature of Flash of Light Icon Flash of Light and its very low cast time, Flash of Light should indeed only be used when you feel that your target will die before you have a chance to complete a Divine Light cast on them. While that is the general rule, a few exceptions do exist, most notably when there is a need to top off the tank (or any raid member) before a period of time when you cannot effectively heal them at all due to having to move extensively. Flash of Light healing will drain your mana very quickly and should not be used lightly.

Divine Light Icon Divine Light is your bread and butter tank healing spell. It costs a large amount of mana, heals for a large amount and has a high cast time. It generates Holy Power when cast on the Beacon target. It also has a chance to proc Daybreak.

Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory is an instant cast, free of mana and without cooldown, but it consumes all Holy Power and requires Holy Power to use. This spell is one of your two Holy Power outlets. It provides you with a good amount of healing especially when Eternal Glory Icon Eternal Glory is talented.

Light of Dawn Icon Light of Dawn is your second Holy Power outlet. This spell will heal 6 targets in a 30 yard cone in front of the caster. It is instant cast, free of mana and has no cooldown, but it consumes all Holy Power and requires Holy Power to use.

Holy Radiance Icon Holy Radiance is your AoE healing over time spell. It has a rather long cast time, no cooldown and a rather high mana cost. Holy Radiance lasts 3 seconds and heals all raid members within 10 yards of the targeted player.

5.3. Healing Cooldowns In Detail

Divine Favor Icon Divine Favor grants 20% spell haste and 20% critical strike chance for 20 seconds (30 seconds with Glyph of Divine Favor), and is extremely useful in times when you need a temporary increase in your healing output.

Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath is the trademark paladin cooldown. The part that interests Holy Paladins is the 20% increased healing. It is yet another useful spell during periods of high damage.

Guardian of Ancient Kings Icon Guardian of Ancient Kings, in its Holy version, provides a minion which will replicate any single target heals that you cast, free of mana cost or any casting time. It is limited to a 30 second duration and a maximum of 5 heals. In addition to replicating the heals, it also provides 10% of the amount healed to all targets within 10 yards of the target. This ability is useful in times of extremely high tank damage (it practically allows you to cast two Divine Light Icon Divine Lights within the space of two seconds, up to 5 times) but can also be used in times when the raid is stacked closely and there is a need for AoE healing. It can also be used as a mana conservation tool with some success.

Lay on Hands Icon Lay on Hands is an extremely powerful ability, and with a 10 minute cooldown, it is only realistically usable once per fight, but it remains of great use. This spell is not on the global cooldown, making it truly an emergency heal.

5.3.1. More on Cooldown Usage

Use of healing cooldowns such as Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath and Divine Favor Icon Divine Favor should be quite liberal, and as it is mostly reactive, or encounter specific, it is not worth delving into.

When using Guardian of Ancient Kings Icon Guardian of Ancient Kings, it is important to delay or stagger your heals as much as needed so that your Guardian does not overheal the target and essentially waste its effect. It should also only be used with high heals, for more efficiency — either Divine Light Icon Divine Light or Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory.

5.4. Beacon of Light Subtleties

Beacon of Light Icon Beacon of Light provides the benefit of free healing on a secondary target (and should certainly be used with that in mind. Nevertheless, it is very important to keep track of the fact that through Tower of Radiance Icon Tower of Radiance, healing your Beacon target directly with Flash of Light Icon Flash of Light and Divine Light Icon Divine Light will generate Holy Power quickly. This enables you, at least every 3rd Divine Light (assuming you had no time to weave in any Holy Shock Icon Holy Shock between your Divine Lights due to the high tank damage) to use an instant cast, mana free Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory on your tank (or someone else, in fact!) with the chance of a Holy Power refund.

5.4.1. Beacon Assignment

If you are assigned to raid healing, then cast your Beacon of Light Icon Beacon of Light on the raid member that takes the most damage (usually a tank) and occasionally heal them if needed.

If you are assigned to tank healing, then cast your Beacon of Light Icon Beacon of Light on the tank that takes the most damage and heal them directly with Divine Light Icon Divine Light or Flash of Light Icon Flash of Light, using Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory to dump your Holy Power and conserve some mana.

5.5. Mana Regeneration With Divine Plea

Divine Plea Icon Divine Plea is a mana regeneration cooldown that allows you to regain 12% (18% if glyphed) of your total mana over the course of 9 seconds, at the cost of a 50% reduction to the efficiency of all your heals for the same duration. On a two minute cooldown, this ability is somewhat situational, and while some fights do not allow for any breathing room to cast this, most of the time it is possible to use it during a time when the healing required is low.

It is a common and incorrect practice to use healing cooldowns such as Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath or Divine Favor Icon Divine Favor during Divine Plea in order to counter part of the reduced healing you are doing. You should not do this in any case because Divine Plea's penalty will diminish the effectiveness of your healing cooldown, effectively wasting it. Furthermore, if you find yourself in need of extra healing from your spells during Divine Plea it means you have used Divine Plea at the wrong time. For those situations where something unexpected happens during your Divine Plea, and which requires you to heal without the penalty, it is useful to have /cancelaura Divine Plea as a macro.

5.6. Tips

Here are a few useful tips to conclude this guide on the Holy Paladin play style:

  1. Use Holy Shock Icon Holy Shock and Flash of Light Icon Flash of Light on your Beacon target before the fight (and then drink) to start with 3 Holy Power charges.
  2. Use Holy Light Icon Holy Light on someone before the fight until you get a Daybreak Icon Daybreak proc.
  3. Use Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory even with a single Holy Power charge to generate more self healing and Beacon healing through more frequent self heals from Protector of the Innocent Icon Protector of the Innocent (not a generally recommended strategy, but extremely useful when you and/or your Beacon target can make use of many small and quick heals).
  4. Pre-heal the tank before the fight starts, in order to build up the shield from your Mastery (it will stack up to a shield equal to 33% of your maximum health, so a nice amount).
  5. Use Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield to totally bypass encounter mechanics to either save you time, or save your raid dps/movement, or allow you to stand still and channel heals when your raid's health is low.
  6. Use Guardian of Ancient Kings Icon Guardian of Ancient Kings to conserve mana in times where the tank is taking large but steady amounts of damage by letting him get to low hit points and healing him with a Divine Light Icon Divine Light, then waiting until he is low again and doing the same.
  7. Use Hand of Sacrifice Icon Hand of Sacrifice on the tank at the same time that you are using Divine Plea Icon Divine Plea, to counter some of the healing penalty that you are suffering by lessening the damage that the tank takes.
  8. Use Divine Protection Icon Divine Protection when using Hand of Sacrifice Icon Hand of Sacrifice on someone, in order to reduce the amount of damage taken by you from Hand of Sacrifice.



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