And so it begins… T17 Starts NOW!

With a few weeks of some reasonably challenging content behind us in the form of UBRS Challenge Mode (I heard that other 5 man dungeons were available in CM format but to date I have no proof) and Molten Core we’ve had some time to play around with different talent and gearing strategies and come up with a plan for Highmaul.  I’m going to step through my personal strategy and gearing map.

Step 1: Talents

These are my generic selections for walking in the door to a new raid.  It is likely that there will be fights that use a slightly different configuration.

Highmaul Talents

Speed of Light is always my go to movement talent since having a sprint is so valuable in so many situations that I can’t conceive of not having it.

Fist of Justice is a great way to help out with add control, it functions as a ranged interrupt for annoying trash and is just all around useful as a utility talent.  What you pick here will be unlikely to make or break the success of your raid so go with whatever if you like something better.

Eternal Flame is a choice I’m making here that contradicts my previous plan that I talked about in my pre-raid BiS list a couple weeks ago.  At that time by looking at some sims and my listening to my gut I had a strong suspicion that Sacred Shield was going to be the go to talent for Highmaul.  After playing in this content for a bit one of the problems that SS has always had seems to be magnified and that is that’s it’s awkward to cast and feels like it doesn’t do enough to justify the GCD.  I know that’s not actually true but it’s hard to feel the difference between casting it and just skipping it entirely.  It was always the case that EF was going to pull ahead in Blackrock Foundry with our set bonuses so for that reason I’m not really trying too hard to make SS work for this first half of the tier.  I do reserve the right to revert myself on this revision once we get into Mythic content.

Unbreakable Spirit I’m not as confident about my making my default choice but having all my own personal damage reduction available more frequently plus being able to keep Lay on Hands in heavy use is pretty awesome.  I have heard many compelling arguments for taking Clemency here instead including being able to mitigate more damage on tanks and double bop is not inconsequential if the situation calls for it.  This is a tier that will see fight specific adjustment but I like US for a starting point.  I won’t judge anyone for taking Clemency though.

Sanctified Wrath allows us to keep higher overall throughput by extending the time we have Avenging Wrath active.  This becomes particularly powerful when paired with Glyph of Merciful Wrath giving us 33% uptime on AW.  In a 20m Mythic raiding environment there are variables as to effective healing vs. overhealing and fight design considerations that could make this less bursty strategy feel inadequate.  For those situations we’ll want to grab Holy Avenger instead and even consider ditching the glyph for even more burst healing potential.

Holy Prism just does a truck ton of healing for it’s super short cooldown.  The major drawback is the 15 yard bounce range but with sufficient melee in 20 man it’s unlikely to not hit its target maximum.  For encounters that have predictable damage at intervals that line up well with Light’s Hammer AND the raid is going to be stacked up, LH is a fine alternative.

Beacon of Faith is the “double beacon” talent.  It allows us to cleave healing to two secondary targets or cast our most expensive single target heal at reduced mana cost and bounce that healing to the other beacon.  Most often our two beacons will be on two active tanks while we heal the raid but there is tremendous value in being agile with one or both beacons to maximize effective healing and minimize beacon overheal which traditionally is quite high.

I’m also reintroducing this tidbit from an old article since nothing I do is complete without a bad MSPaint drawing:

“It is worth noting that Beacon of Light has a 60 yard transfer range. In addition, the cast range on beacon is also 60 yards. This is a longer range than almost any other healing ability in the game (most are only 40 yards).

There are a few other restrictions: For the beacon healing to transfer, you must remain in line of sight and within 60 yards of your beacon, and your Beacon of Light can only receive healing transfer from raid members up to 60 yards away. However, as the below diagram shows, your beacon does not need line of sight with your heal targets for the healing to transfer; only range from you and your heal target, and line of sight with you.”

Beacon Love Triangle


Step 2: Glyphs

Glyphing at this point is pretty straightforward.  There are a couple glyphs I consider mandatory and a couple that are more situational.


Glyph of Hand of Sacrifice – Never worry about offing yourself from Sac again

Glyph of Beacon of Light – If you do any beacon swapping at all, and you should, this is invaluable and cannot be skipped.

Glyph of Merciful Wrath – This will stay in place unless the burst healing requirement is so steep that I just can’t make it happen any other way but to take this out.


Glyph of Flash of Light should be better than it is in practice.  The tooltip states that following a FoL cast, the next heal is increased by 10%.  What it doesn’t say is that it is consumed direct heals on the target and any beacon heals the target receives so the the buff will be consumed by something as pitiful as a beacon transferred EF tick.

Glyph of Divine Protection will give you better physical damage mitigation if that’s necessary for a given encounter.

Glyph of Cleanse could have situational value on debuff heavy fights but it hasn’t been in the game yet so it’s use in practice is unknown.  I feel it’s worth a mention since it will show up at some point soon™.

Step 3: Stat Priority

tl:dr  – Intellect = Spirit > Mastery > Critical Strike > Haste > Stuff

Over at Holy Bouch, there is a recent article about the value of Spirit vs. Intellect vs. Crit that’s worth a read.

The paraphrase is that our stat priority starts with intellect and spirit and then we start caring about other things.  Practically this means that we should get spirit on all the pieces that can have it and that item level is more of a consideration than what secondaries a piece has on it within reason.  A 630 with perfect secondaries is better than a 636 with all the wrong things but a 665 with crap secondaries is better than a 640 that’s perfectly itemized.

1. Mastery

Our mastery is Illuminated Healing which places an absorb shield on the target for a percentage of healing done by a direct heal.  Made up numbers say that with 25% mastery, a 10,000 hp heal heals for 10,000 and puts a 2500 hp shield on the target that persists for 15 seconds or until it is consumed or refreshed with another heal.  88 mastery rating is equal to 1% of Illuminated Healing with a base of 10%.

Mastery is triggered and refreshed from any heal including Eternal Flame hot ticks but not from any beacon healing.

One point that seems to get overlooked is the value of extending the health pool of raid members during progression.  When gear and thus stamina is low, health pools can be treacherously close to large damage mechanics so any bit of damage taken prior to a big hit can be fatal.  When you factor absorbs into a proactive healing environment the health pool of the raid can be increased by a few percent which can be the difference between scary and a wipe.

2. Critical Strike

New with Warlords of Draenor is stat attunements.  Holy Paladins, for some mysterious reason, got a crit attunement with Sanctified Light.  We get an extra 5% crit from all sources.  110 critical strike rating is 1% of crit (104.762 including attunement).

Lifespark wrote an excellent piece on crit capping during WoD beta so instead of repeating it I recommend you go read the dirty details here.  The tl:dr is that at 2096 crit rating with Sanctified Wrath and Glyph of Merciful Wrath, Holy Shock has 100% crit under Avenging Wrath.  Past that point crit loses value rapidly.

3. Haste

Haste effects the speed we cast our spells and the speed at which our hots tick (Eternal Flame and Sacred Shield). Primarily we care about cast time.  There is no doubt that being able to cast more spells in a shorter period of time means we can heal more things faster and thus increase our throughput.  The linear partner to this is that we use mana faster as well.  Typically early in an expansion or raid tier, mana is at a premium so it’s not a good idea to go out of your way to use even more of it.  This is where I view haste on this opening day of Highmaul.  It’s still a good stat, but I’ll be aiming for other things first.  100 haste rating gives us 1% of haste.

4. Multistrike

This is a new secondary statistic with Warlords of Draenor multistrike gives each “hit” two chances to hit again for 30% of the original.  In my mind it occupies the niche that crit has had in prior expansion in that it’s too unreliable to be useful.  I don’t view it as bad or harmful and I’ll take any multistrikes that occur but it’s not something I’m going to go out of my way for.  It has no synergy with our toolkit and is therefore sort of a dead stat.  It is rather cheap though at 66 rating per percent.

5. Versatility

Another new secondary with WoD, versatility increases healing and damage and decreases damage taken by half of the healing/damage amount.  It is a rather bland stat and also expensive for itemization purposes at 130 rating per 1%.

Highmaul Loot

tl:dr – Coin The Butcher, Twin Ogron, and Brackenspore

Gear from this first half of the tier is generally lackluster.  There are a few pieces that are ok but for many slots there is one choice and we’re going to be fighting everyone else in plate for it.

The trinket situation in Highmaul is dire.  None of the trinkets that drop are particularly good for us and with very viable items available outside the raid, I’m going to suggest that you just save your pennies and get the Winged Hourglass and upgrade it as far as it will go and try to get your hands on an Everburning Candle.

Slot Item Stats Boss
Helm Casque of the Iron Bomber Haste/Versatility Kargath Bladefist
Neck Champion’s Medallion Haste/Spirit Kargath Bladefist
Shoulder Uncrushable Shoulderplates Crit/Multistrike Imperator Mar’gok
Chest Chestplate of Arcane Volatility Haste/Multistrike Twin Ogron
Waist Fleshchewer Greatbelt Crit/Haste Brackespore
Legs Legplates of Fractured Crystal  Haste/Mastery Tectus
Feet Entrail Squishers Haste/Mastery The Butcher
Wrist Bracers of Mirrored Flame Crit/Haste Ko’ragh
Hands Gauntlets of the Heavy Hand Crit/Versatility The Butcher
Rings Golden-Tongued Seal Mastery/Spirit Twin Ogron
Trinkets Winged Hourglass
Everburning Candle
Int/Spirit Proc
Int/Spirt On Use
World Drop
Cloak Force Nova Cloak Multistrike/Spirit Twin Ogron
Weapon Butcher’s Terrible Tenderizer Mastery/Versatility The Butcher
Off Hand Maw of Souls Haste/Mastery Brackenspore

That’s it for now!  I wish you all good luck and many purples on this opening raid day!

WoD Pre-Raid BiS

I have reconsidered my stat priorities so this is more or less incorrect for me.  The random roll items can roll your stat preference and the suffixes are listed at the bottom.  In general the idea here is still correct but some of the pieces aren’t as well itemized as I would like.  If you want to look at my more up to date Highmaul musings, check this out!

The new gearing model has done an admirable job of making actual Best in Slot lists obsolete because of the incredible number of sources of gear pre-raid.  There are RNG rewards, Apexis Crystal vendor items, crafting and PvP rewards.  The restriction of three crafted pieces per character makes gearing via the auction house an impossibility, you will have to diversify.

An excellent guide to the general strategies surrounding gearing was done over at Wowhead.  This is meant to be a Holy Paladin companion to that guide.

Crafted items and those you receive from Challenger’s Strongbox have random enchantments.  For this list I’ve used “of the Fireflash” which gives critical strike and haste and “of the Fanatic” which is critical strike and spirit.  If you are interested in the other available random enchants, I have them listed at the bottom of this page.

This list is a WiP so if I’ve missed something please leave a note in the comments and let me know so I can add it!


Crown of Desolation 640 Crit/Haste Molten Core
Truesteel Helm of the Firelash 640-665 Crit/Haste Blacksmithing
Bouldercrush Helm of the Firelash 640 Crit/Haste Challenger’s Strongbox
Incandine Greathelm 630 Crit/Haste Heroic Dungeons
Crystal-Plated Greathelm 630-655 Mastery/Multistrike 5000 Apexis Crystals
Tehax’s Penetrating Visage 645 Mastery/Versatility Invader’s Forgotten Treasure


Osseric’s Ossified Chained Orb 665 Crit/Sprit World Drop
Whispering Taladite Pendant of the Fanatic 640-665 Crit/Spirit Jewelcrafting
Wavesurge Choker 630 Crit/Spirit Heroic Dungeons
Blackfire Amulet of the Firelash 640 Crit/Haste Challenger’s Strongbox


Truesteel Pauldrons of the Firelash 640-665 Crit/Haste Blacksmithing
Bouldercrush Pauldrons of the Firelash 640 Crit/Haste Challenger’s Strongbox
Spaulders of Primal Ferocity 645 Haste/Mastery Invader’s Forgotten Treasure
Incandine Shoulderguard 630 Crit/Haste Heroic Dungeons


Truesteel Breastplate of the Firelash 640-665 Crit/Haste Blacksmithing
Bouldercrush Breastplate of the Firelash 640 Crit/Haste Challenger’s Strongbox
Goldsteel Chestguard 630 Crit/Haste Heroic Dungeons


Primal Gladiator’s Girdle of Cruelty 660 Crit/Haste 1750 Conquest
Truesteel Waistguard 640-665 Crit/Haste Blacksmithing
Bouldercrush Girdle of the Fireflash 640 Crit/Haste Challenger’s Strongbox
Rivet-Sealed Waistplate 630 Crit/Haste Heroic Dungeons
Crystal-Plated Greatbelt 630-655 Mastery/Versatility 4000 Apexis Crystals


Truesteel Greaves of the Fireflash 640-665 Crit/Haste Blacksmithing
Bouldercrush Legplates of the Fireflash 640 Crit/Haste Challenger’s Strongbox
Crystal-Plated Legs 630-655 Crit/Versatility Apexis Crystal Vendor
Incarnadine Legplates 630 Crit/Haste Heroic Dungeons


Truesteel Boots 640-665 Crit/Haste Blacksmithing
Bouldercrush Sabatons of the Firelash 640 Crit/Haste Challenger’s Strongbox
Ozymandias’ Burdensome Treads 645 Haste/Multistrike Invader’s Forgotten Treasure
Incarnadine Greaves 630 Crit/Haste Heroic Dungeons


Truesteel Armguards 640-665 Crit/Haste Blacksmithing
Primal Gladiator’s Armplates of Prowess 660 Crit/Multistrike 1250 Conquest
Incarnadine Bracers 630 Crit/Haste Heroic Dungeons
Crystal-Plated Bracers 630-655 Haste/Multistrike 3000 Apexis Crystals


Truesteel Gauntlets 640-665 Crit/Haste Blacksmithing
Bouldercrush Gauntles of the Fireflash 640 Crit/Haste Challenger’s Strongbox
Verdant Plate Grips 630 Crit/Haste Heroic Dungeons
Crystal-Plated Gauntlets 630-655 Haste/Mastery 4000 Apexis Crystals


Timeless Solium Band of Lifegiving 680 Haste/Spirit Legendary Quest Reward
Seal of Yen Ta 665 Crit/Spirit Shadowmoon Valley Zone Drop
Whispering Taladite Ring of the Fanatic 640-665 Crit/Spirit Jewelcrafting
Band of Growing Leaves 630 Crit/Spirit Heroic Dungeons



Winged Hourglass 640 Int/Spirit Inscription(Darkmoon Faire)
Everburning Candle 665 Int/Mana World Drop
Voidmender’s Shadowgem  630 Spirit (Crit) Nhallish – Shadowmoon Burial Grounds

*I only listed the few here that are actually good.  The rest of the trinkets available pre-raid are mediocre at best so get the DMC for one slot and try to get either of the other two listed as second or just equip the best of the drek that does drop if you can’t get the decent ones.


Flamelicked Cloak of Kaufebyrd 665 Crit/Spirit World Drop
Primal Gladiator’s Drape of Contemplation 660 Crit/Spirit 1250 Conquest
Drape of Iron Sutures 630 Crit/Spirit Heroic Dungeons
Brilliant Burnished Cloak of the Fireflash 640-665 Crit/Haste Leatherworking
Brilliant Hexweave Cloak of the Fireflash 640-665 Crit/Haste Tailoring


Main Hand

Blackfire Scepter of the Fireflash 640 Crit/Haste Challenger’s Strongbox
Steelforged Axe of the Fireflash 640-655 Crit/Haste Blacksmithing
Soulcutter Mageblade 630 Crit/Haste Auchindoun

Off Hand/Shield

Genesaur Braid 665 Haste/Multistrike World Drop
Disc of the Third Moon 665 Haste/Mastery World Drop
Steelforged Aegis of the Fireflash 630-655 Crit/Haste Blacksmithing
Sadana’s Grisly Visage 630 Crit/Haste Sadana Bloodfury – Shadowmoon Burial Grounds

Intellect Suffixes

  • of the Aurora – Haste/Versatility
  • of the Deft – Haste/Multistrike
  • of the Feverflare – Haste/Mastery
  • of the Fireflash – Crit/Haste
  • of the Harmonius – Mastery/Versatility
  • of the Merciless – Mastery/Multistrike
  • of the Peerless – Crit/Mastery
  • of the Quickblade – Crit/Versatility
  • of the Savage – Crit/Multistrike
  • of the Strategist – Multistrike/Versatility

Spirit Suffixes

  • of the Augur – Spirit/Versatility
  • of the Diviner – Spirit/Mastery
  • of the Fanatic – Spirit/Crit
  • of the Herald – Spirit/Multistrike
  • of the Zealot – Spirit/Haste


Trap Glyphs, Warlords Edition

Unfortunately, today I’ll be breaking one promise to fulfill another. My discussion on our mobility (or really, lack thereof) will be postponed for a while. However, instead, I’ll be taking a look at something way more objective: The upcoming Glyph of Divine Wrath.

Now, already, the glyph leaves an initial bad taste in my mouth. The reason? I’m really not a big fan of negative effects prescribed on our glyphs. I’d rather the primary tradeoff be the opportunity cost, the lack of ability to use another glyph. There’s about one glyph I think the tradeoff is fine, that is the Glyph of Divine Protection, since it definitely directly implies you lose nothing, but rather adapt to a situation. Of course, all this is a visceral discussion about “feeling” with very little thought. So let’s move on to the objective, hard facts.

Theorycrafting the Glyph

On paper, Divine Wrath does the following currently:

Glyph of Divine Wrath: Reduces all mana costs while Avenging Wrath is active by 25%, but Avenging Wrath increases healing done by 50% less.

Since Avenging Wrath increases all healing done by 100%, this will reduce the bonus to 50% healing increased. So the direct effect of the glyph can be rewritten as following:

Glyph of Divine Wrath: Reduces both healing and mana costs while Avenging Wrath is active by 25%.

So we do 25% less healing but spells cost 25% less mana during Avenging Wrath. This is supposed to be “equal.” The hypothetical situation is that Avenging Wrath, as a massive cooldown, can cause overhealing. So a smart player, ostensibly, will use the glyph to save mana but overheal less, a victory, no?


Here, the problem is that all discussions of overhealing are secondary. The primary problem is this: We are ignoring the fact that we have mana-efficient abilities, meaning that performing a rotation with 25% less throughput can be done while saving more than 25% mana.

So, here’s the question: How does Glyph of Divine Wrath perform compared to simply using a lower throughput rotation, without the glyph? To test this we’ll have to first make some assumptions:

  • First, I’ll assume that we are using a relatively throughput and mana heavy rotation during Avenging Wrath (more on this later). Let’s go with using 2x Holy Radiance, Holy Shock (with 2 stacks of Daybreak), and Light of Dawn. Obviously I’ll assume all abilities are hitting the maximum amount of targets (6). For my lower throughput rotation, I’ll replace a Holy Radiance cast with Holy Light (cast on Beacon), which will also lower Daybreak stacks to 1. For simplicity, any Enhanced Holy Shock procs will be ignored.
  • Second, we need to look at our stats. Notice that our stats, other than critical strike, do not change how our rotation works because everything will scale up the same (this is another advantage of no more base amounts on our spells!). However, critical strike will influence our Daybreak difference more than other spells (since Daybreak has 2 stacks in our high throughput). This caps out at 50% critical strike, which is what I’ll assume, since after all with Avenging Wrath we’re going to be close to that if not higher. To keep numbers simple, I’ll assume 5000 SP, and zero of any other stats. Those stats won’t change the outcome. (N.B. All current Draenor perks are, in fact, included in the calculations performed.)
  • Third, I’ll first discount Beacon of Light in our first result, and count it in the second result. When counting Beacon healing, I’ll make a simplifying assumption (that in reality, changes little to nothing) that all spells are not cast on either Beacon except for Holy Light, which is cast on a Beacon for the Holy Power.

Here’s our results:

  • Without Beacon healing, our throughput heavy rotation will do 460,230 healing during Avenging Wrath. The light rotation does 346,396 healing during Avenging Wrath, a reduction of 24.73%. This is a smaller reduction than 25% which would be the case if had we used Divine Wrath.
  • With Beacon healing and without Beacon of Faith, our throughput heavy rotation will do 523,172 healing during Avenging Wrath. The light rotation does 393,697 healing during Avenging Wrath, a reduction of 24.75%. This is also a smaller reduction than 25% which would be the case if had we used Divine Wrath.
  • With Beacon healing and Beacon of Faith, our throughput heavy rotation will do 586,113 healing during Avenging Wrath. The light rotation does 465,077 healing during Avenging Wrath, a reduction of 20.65%. This is an even smaller reduction compared to the other two cases.
  • In all cases, the light rotation costs 20,032 mana compared to the heavy rotation (30,432 mana). This is a 34.17% mana saving which is better than the 25% we would have obtained from Divine Wrath.
  • As a final nugget, one can argue that the Holy Light might not be effective in AoE scenarios, even though that is probably going to be wrong in all scenarios. With good Beacon swapping, in a scenario where all raid members are low, it will not be difficult to make sure the Holy Light does little to no overhealing. However, in the worst case scenario, let’s erase the contribution from Holy Light completely during our light rotation, assuming it does zero. In that case, the light rotation is 35.20%, 33,95%, and 32.97% lower throughput than the heavy rotation, respective to each scenario above. Proportionally, this is still similar (with the first case a little lower) or better than the 25%/25% reduction from Divine Wrath.


The Glyph of Divine Wrath leads to an objectively worse result in both throughput and mana than simply modifying one’s healing rotation during Avenging Wrath, assuming we are beginning with a relatively throughput and mana heavy rotation.

While I only published the results comparing the two rotations above, I will leave to the reader’s imagination the results of another comparison I performed, which is that a “full retard” pure Holy Radiance spam rotation with Divine Wrath is worse (to a much larger degree than above) in both throughput and mana than using the “heavy throughput” rotation above without Divine Wrath.

Lower throughput rotations were not tested, but the fact of the matter is such testing is unnecessary (and likely to produce similar results) since if you are using a very mana efficient rotation during Avenging Wrath, you are simply gaining little to nothing from Divine Wrath anyway, especially compared to other mana glyphs. To really get the bang for your buck, you need to have been spending mana during Avenging Wrath to begin with, and we’ve just shown that you can do better just by tuning that down.

Finally, as for how tuning changes will fix things: Notice that tuning has very little potential to alter the outcome significantly, unless the “spirit” of our spells is changed. The majority of our healing is sourced for Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn, so by altering our rotation we are cutting out roughly 33% of our heaviest abilities. However, the mana cost of our heaviest ability (Holy Radiance) is reduced by 50%. While the exact numbers above are up for tweak, it is impossible that they will stray much farther than the ballpark we have discovered, unless significant spell intention changes are also made.

Basically, Divine Wrath is a “trap” glyph, with one sole purpose: To “flag” people, who are using the glyph, as “stupid.”


So now the question is, how do we fix the glyph?

My first proposed fix is to simply erase the glyph. As I discussed before, we already have plenty of good glyphs, and we don’t need the glyph to bloat our spellbook. As fun as it sounds using a glyph to flag people as “bad,” it’s really not necessary and really not a good experience for learning players to realized (or be told) that taking a glyph, which is supposed to add something, objectively makes things worse. Thus we can do without it.

My second proposed fix is to improve the glyph and make it interesting. Again in my previous post, I did a comparison of mana glyphs. Why not make the glyph another one, by doing the following: Remove the throughput penalty of Glyph of Divine Wrath, while decreasing the mana saving to 10-15%. This has the effect of taking away the tradeoff other than a tradeoff for another mana glyph. It then adds interest which is similar to probably the original, intended, spirit of the glyph: If you spend most of your mana during Avenging Wrath, and less outside of it, the proposed glyph is for you. If you spend less mana already during Avenging Wrath, or if your mana usage is steady throughout an encounter, then Glyph of Illumination/Divinity are for you instead. This, in my books, is also a very good concept of a glyph.

While there’s many more things that can be improved on with our class, a change as simple as one to this glyph can go a good distance toward making the class fun to play, with very defining choices. I hope that in the upcoming weeks of Beta, this is looked at.

Thanks for reading, and catch you later with some more theorycraft and Warlords discussion!

Stats Pt. 2 – Glyphs and Caps

Repeated Note: Please note that this article is written during a Beta stage, so many numbers and mechanics are subject to change.

Hello, today I will be doing a 2-part post adding to my mini-series on stats. First, I’ll going to continue the discussion from last time, on Critical Strike specifically. Then I’ll go into a discussion on some of the glyphs coming up for Warlords. First though, a few things to get out of the way:

  • I have started a Paladin consolidated feedback thread, here. Please contribute!
  • Related to my previous article, as announced here, Haste scaling is reduced to 100 points per 1%, down from 80 points. This reduces the weight of Haste compared to my previous post.
  • There is a list of changes to Paladins on this blog. While it isn’t up to date just yet (as of this post), I will get to it soon, and it should have all changes, including the ones I’m not mentioning here since they aren’t relevant to my mini-topic on stat weights.

And now, without further ado…

Soft Caps

One thing I neglected to remark last time, is the idea behind soft and hard caps. Generally a “soft cap” is a value after which the weight on a stat decreases dramatically. A “hard cap,” sometimes used only for hit and expertise, is a value after which the value of a stat becomes zero.

One example of a hard cap today is on critical strike. After you reach 100% critical strike, further points in crit give zero benefit. Other actual “hard caps” are rare; however, the term can also be used to refer to a cap after which the weight decreases a lot. For instance, 50% haste is seen as a hard cap, since beyond the breakpoint the only throughput gain is through 2.5 second casts (non-infusion, non-SH Holy Light and Holy Radiance), HoTs (for us, just EF), and very, very marginal mobility (but not throughput) gains. That’s close enough to zero.

With the change to Holy Shock that I mentioned last time – the fact that it has a double crit chance instead of just a 25% bonus, there is a new soft cap to consider. This is the cap where Holy Shock reaches a 100% critical strike chance, and thus, always triggers Infusion of Light. After this soft cap is reached, there is no benefit to Critical Strike beyond simply extra healing on non-Holy Shock spells.

  • With full raid buffs, you need 4,191 crit rating to reach 100% HS crit.

But wait, there’s more! The new Avenging Wrath cooldown gives 20% bonus crit when up, since it after all incorporates our old Divine Favor in. This, in turn, is also doubled by Holy Shock – so Holy Shock gets an effective 40% crit when your wings are up. This means that it’s not long before you will always get Infusion proc during Avenging Wrath.

  • With full raid buffs, you need 2,096 crit rating to reach 100% HS crit during Avenging Wrath.

And, of course, there’s still more! If you talent into Sanctified Wrath, you get another 20% crit on Holy Shock. A round of preliminary testing seems to show that this crit is added before taking Holy Shock’s double crit into account – in other words, it is an effective 40% crit on Holy Shock. This means if you take Sanctified Wrath, you truly have a lot of base crit on Holy Shock, due to how the 100% bonus crit is taken after everything else…

  • With full raid buffs, Holy Shock will always crit during Sanctified Wrath, even if you have 0 crit rating.

The last thing to take into account is if we take the Glyph of Merciful Wrath. This reduces the cooldown of Avenging Wrath, but also its effect – however, perhaps the some of the effect reduction isn’t really that bad. Let’s look at our crit caps if we take the talent:

  • With full raid buffs and Merciful Wrath, your crit cap is 3,143.
  • With full raid buffs, Merciful Wrath, and Sanctified Wrath, your crit cap is 1,048, if Merciful Wrath does not reduce the effect of Sanctified Wrath. If it does, your crit cap is 2,096.

All of the aforementioned caps do NOT include the 5% bonus. So you will need 4,191 critical strike pre-5% bonus to get 100% holy shock crit all of the time.

Don’t forget that with food and flasks alone you can get 650 crit rating. That can quickly help you get as high as the 2,096 cap in entry raid gear, assuming you can get well-itemized gear.

Finally, this also ties into my previous post: Once you have gone even as far as the Avenging Wrath crit cap, your value on critical strike has sharply decreased, and you may be better off putting stats elsewhere, given our current setup.


In Warlords, we have a lot to look at when it comes to glyphs. Beacon of Light glyph feels as mandatory as ever, and same with Hand of Sacrifice glyph. Flash of Light glyph has improved. We have also a host of new ones, including a couple more that modify Avenging Wrath, a few more that modify Hand of Freedom, and the Glyph of Judgment.

I might do a future post on the other glyphs, but today, I’ll look at our mana glyphs. Depending on how big an issue mana will be this first tier, using a mana glyph may range from 100% mandatory to 100% irrelevant. If we need a mana glyph, we have to pick between a choice of 3!

Let’s take a look at the MP5 given from each glyph:

  • Divine Wrath: First I’ll remark you can’t use this with Merciful Wrath glyph. So you are limited to a 3 minute Avenging Wrath cooldown. For starters, I’ll do my analysis assuming you do not have Sanctified Wrath. I’ll also assume you are at a crit cap above, which means you have 100% Holy Shock crit during AW. To maximize mana savings, we actually have to maximize mana spending – and the way to do this is assuming we are using our AW for AoE healing. While I won’t go full-tilt mana dumping, since I want to figure to be realistic, I’ll use a relatively heavy-spending rotation: HS, HR, HR, LoD/EF. I’ll also assume the rotation is 5 seconds long (in reality, it will be shorter), which partially compensates for the fact I’m using one of the heaviest-spending rotations possible.
    • Then, you will save 4*(2272+14080*2)*0.25 = 30,432 mana over an AW. Multiply by 5/180 to get an average of 845.3 MP5 at a downside of a reduced effect on AW, and inability to use other AW glyphs.
  • Divinity: With UBS, you get a Lay on Hands, which is 10% of your maximum mana (16,000 at level 100) every 6 minutes. On cooldown, this averages to:
    • 16,000 mana per 6 minutes = 222.2 MP5. It’s worth noting this figure is lower in a fight shorter than 6 minutes. Of course then one has to ask: If the fight is that short, why are you using a mana glyph? The downside is that your Lay on Hands is less accessible, as it is on a longer CD.
  • Illumination: Here, I’ll assume a 60% average critical strike rate (double 30% crit) and 1 holy shock per 6 seconds. Note that good avenging wrath usage can raise this, since it boosts both your crit and haste. You will also lose 5% of your base regen, which is 0.05*3200 MP5.
    • You gain 1,600 mana * 0.6 / 60 seconds = 800 MP5, and lose 0.05*3200 = 160 MP5. This works out to an effective 640 MP5 with no downside at all.

Conclusion: Illumination glyph is now extremely strong for mana, compared to the old model (it’s worth noting some have observed the old glyph, on Live, is potentially bugged to be stronger than its tooltip). Divine Wrath has the highest mana potential, but it requires extreme mana spending and weakens your strongest CD considerably. If you had a stronger CD, perhaps you wouldn’t need to spend the mana in the first place! Divinity glyph, as is, is junk.

Final Note

I have suggested, along with several others, that the Glyph of Illumination become baseline, without the penalty. This has the positive effect of giving crit additional benefits as I mentioned in the previous post. Since crit has the potential to cap out on HS early, this is a good thing as it will keep us (mostly) going for our attunement stat. If the baseline Illumination gives too much mana, mana costs on abilities could always be raised to compensate. This also gives us mana regeneration that scales with our base stats, similar to what Shaman, Priests, Druids, and Monks have, to varying extents, that is less likely to cap than Infusion of Light.

Ironically, Sanctified Wrath could probably stand to lose the 20% bonus crit on Holy Shock or have it reduced. The bonus was from an era where SW was not strong, and when HS only had a 25% flat increased crit chance. Since HS now has base doubled crit, AW gives 40% crit to Holy Shock already. Another 40% seems like overkill. If the nerf would make the talent too weak, another benefit could be added in its place.

Finally, I question the need for mana glyphs at all. If anything, such glyphs have either been considered mandatory or useless, as we have seen in MOP. I don’t feel they have been a terribly interesting option, and I feel they pale in comparison to the situation-based glyphs we are receiving and/or have. Merciful Wrath, Hand of Sacrifice, Beacon of Light, even glyphs such as Judgment and Divine Protection are all more interesting compared to Divinity. Our mana glyphs could either go baseline or simply be pruned, and we would still have a good, if less cluttered, list of choices.

The Problem of Stats

Author’s Note: This post is a bit disjointed, as first I go into my methodology for stat weight estimation, and then into the state of Warlords. The first section of the post is on the former, and is a formulation I have used in the past and will continue to use on my spreadsheets throughout the expansion. I would LOVE suggestions and criticism to the math. The second part of the post is my more opinion-based reaction to the current state of Warlords stats, and I would like to see readers’ thoughts on this as well, but please separate reactions to that from reactions to my mathematical part of the post.

Hello again! After a bit of a break, today I thought it’s long time to move on to Warlords of Draenor healing. For anyone who has spent a shred of keeping up, we know that the Beta is now out, and with that many initial theorycrafting formulas are available as well. While I have not had the chance to play the Beta myself, I have taken the time to work with the initial formulas released.

So today, I’d like to go over the topic of Stat Weights. While Theck has been busy working on creating a Holy module for SimulationCraft, today I thought I’d explore some formulation when it comes to figuring out weights. Fortunately, Holy Paladins don’t have terribly complicated spell mechanics, so our formulation-derived results should give us a great ballpark. I’ll also go over some caveats that are not captured in my methods, and let readers mull over them for a bit.

Before I get too deep, please, please remember that Warlords is still in a beta stage, and many of the numbers and specific class mechanics are subject to change. However, my overall methodology for finding stat weights should and will remain applicable to new sets of numbers and even through minor mechanics changes.

1. Your Average Spell: The Methodology

Today, with base healing removed, the average spell HPS (healing per second) looks something like this:


Here, each variable stands for what you might thing, with SPC and CT standing for SP coefficient and cast time. Since we will be looking at percentage gains per stat, in the long run these two values will not actually factor into our weights (a benefit of removing base healing from the equation, by the way!). Note that by considering HPS over simple healing or HPCT (healing per cast time), we are taking into account the benefits we gain from Haste.

To look at which stat, immediately, will give the largest gain we need to first take the derivative (this gives us the average gain for a small amount of each stat added). This is important since if we add too many “units” of stats, we can distort the results, if our gains for each stat happens to be non-linear. Finally, since we are looking at stat weights, we are interested not in the gain per crit chance, but rather per crit rating. So we also need to take that into account for our stat weight formula:


The first term in that formula can be computed from our known formula for crit chance based on crit rating. It follows from taking the amount of rating required for 1% gain in crit chance (110), our attunement, and the 10% base crit we get from innate 5% and the raid buff 5%.


To make the formula derivations simpler, we can actually look only at percentage gains. These will give the same relative weights for comparison which is good enough when it comes to making comparisons. (However, for a program like ReforgeLite, you want the absolute weight, not the percentage gain weights we are deriving now!). Putting our last 3 formulas together, we find the percentage gain weight:



And here we are, a shiny stat weight! We can further modify this formula (for instance, convert C straight to CR), but this should do for most spreadsheet purposes. Finally, we can use this same method to find similar equations for the other stat weights. Note that as you get more of a stat, its percentage gain stat weight will decrease. This is simple to see: Going from 0% critical strike to 25% is an overall percentage gain of 25%. Going from 25% to 50% is a percentage gain of only 20%.

In theory, this means that eventually, if we stack a single stat, the other stat weights will “catch up” – hence we will never want to “over”-stack a specific stat. In practice, often with unequal stat weights the point where our “supreme” stat begins to fall below the other stats will rarely, if ever, happen – especially in only the first tier of raiding.

2. Estimated Stat Weights for Holy Paladins in Warlords of Draenor

With the methodology above, I will assume an average, semi-geared, Level 100 Paladin. Here, I took the Paladin’s stats (from Beta) from gear, added them up, and pretended we were able to “reforge” them all to create equal stats. Finally, I rounded the values to “easier” numbers solely to make our calculations easier – these number changes should have little to no final effect on our relative stat weights that we calculate. From gear, I got the following values:

  • Intellect: 3,400
  • Spell Power: 1,250 (from Weapon)
  • Spirit: 1,150
  • Other Stats: 2,800. Divided evenly between Crit, Mastery, Multistrike, Versatility, and Haste to give 560 in each.
  • No raid flask and food for now. In Warlords, flasks and food are for secondary stats, and we will eventually flask and food our strongest stat based on these weights (or possibly spirit).

These lend us to values as follows, each of which is the percentage gain for 1 point of each stat, multiplied by 100 for readability:

  • Intellect: 2.21 (since we ostensibly cannot gem, flask, or food intellect, this is relatively inconsequential).
  • Critical Strike: 0.83
  • Haste: 1.17
  • Mastery: 0.83
  • Multistrike: 0.84
  • Versatility: 0.84

3. Unaccounted Factors in Stat Weights

Before we move on, I should restate my first point: The stat weights are for “Your Typical Spell.” However, some spells are indeed atypical, and we should account for that qualitatively, before we take the former stat weights too much for granted:

  • Paladins have Infusion of Light, which either grants Haste or effective Mana on Holy Shock criticals. This raises the effective value of crit.
  • Holy Shock has a doubled critical strike chance. Since Holy Shock is generally frequently used, this raises the effective value of crit.
  • Haste only gives a HPS benefit, while all other stats grant an HPM benefit (healing per mana). Too much Haste stacking may have to be compensated with extra Spirit as well. How much this will factor into our overall stat balance will be 100% dependent on base mana regeneration and our rate of “mana problems” we have.
  • Overall “Healing” Paradigms: Generally dependability is preferable to variance, even if output could be sacrificed. In addition, more smaller heals are preferable to few larger heals, due to overhealing. This will generally, all else equal, push stats such as haste, mastery (due to absorption), and versatility ahead of stats such as crit and multistrike.

4. Critical Strike Stacking

Combine our above conclusions with the newly announced “Critical Strike Attunement” and one may figure that we are “supposed” to stack Critical Strike for 6.0. Let’s try this. I have now rearranged our stats to a realistically attainable value:

  • Stats are now: 1,100 critical strike, 370 haste, 400 mastery, 710 multistrike, 220 versatility.
  • Stat weights are now: 0.79 critical strike, 1.19 haste, 0.84 mastery, 0.83 multistrike, 0.87 versatility.

Critical Strike’s value has already dipped significantly, and this is before even adding a possible crit food and flask.

5. Initial Conclusions

The main conclusion and worry after our foray of math is that critical strike simply isn’t exciting enough, even with the attunement, to justify “stacking.” Since the attunement gives a 5% bonus to stacking single stats, if we are not stacking crit despite the presence of the bonus, then our “bonus” attunement is effectively being wasted. This can push us behind other healers that are able to stack their attunement stat.

Right now, stats such as haste and mastery are looking more attractive despite the critical bonus on Holy Shock – if one recalls back to Mists, even, the effect while desirable is hardly worth seeking by stacking a single, otherwise unattractive stat.

Finally, consider that this is only the first raid tier, and now look to the future, where the return on crit stacking will even further diminish, and one will wonder where we want to put our stats.

6. Suggestions and Reactions

The question then, what can we do about this? What kind of changes should be done?

  • Nothing. I disagree with this, because I don’t think that having a state of mediocre results from each stat is very exciting, nor do I think it is the design goal. As I mentioned earlier, having a 5% attunement on crit, and then not wanting to stack crit, is in fact a 5% nerf compared to classes which do stack their attunement stat due to it, on the whole, being desirable.
  • Change attunement to a different stat. This could be interesting if we, say, were instead attuned to haste or mastery. I’m not quite sure mastery is the goal, after the absorption debacle of Mists of Pandaria (despite the fact that primarily, discipline priests were the main culprit here). Haste attunement could be interesting, but I worry about us eventually GCD capping, which seems very likely. Given first tier stats, stacking 1,100 haste would yield 31.38% haste. This is enough to reduce the value of Avenging Wrath and Bloodlust. Only a little over double that, 2,390 haste, will full cap us (50%).
  • Add more interesting things to critical strike. Perhaps the only thing wrong is that crit doesn’t do enough for us. What can we do to solve this? Some ideas include adding more special effects on criticals. For one example, we could base the “old Daybreak” perk (double Holy Shock after a Flash/Holy Light cast) on critical strike, instead of a base %. Another suggestion would be to add Illumination back, baseline, without the penalty from the glyph. This is something I would heavily support, if only because I don’t find the Illumination glyph very exciting at all. We can also baseline some of the Tier 16 2pc bonus, which gives additional healing to Infusion of Light casts. In fact, thinking some more I believe this would be the best solution, if we could take some of these ideas and bake them in (especially the glyph, I hate seeing useless glyph slots).

I’m interested both in criticism/comments on my methodology used to calculate stat weights (You will see this a lot more), as well as my conclusions regarding our current stat priorities. Any thoughts and suggestions would be more than welcome here!

Siege of Orgrimmar Holy Paladin Guide

Hello, today I will be discussing healing the Tier 16 (Siege of Orgrimmar) encounters from a Paladin perspective. For each section, I’ll first mention my recommended talents and glyphs, then go over any special stat priorities (if they are different from your typical priority), then mention encounter-specific strategies and tips. For encounters with debuffs, I will also make note of whether immunities are effective or not – many encounter mechanics are flagged to ignore them.

This is not a guide to the encounters themselves, and I am assuming you have full knowledge of the fight mechanics on heroic mode (if you do not, guides are readily available, so I would just be repeating them anyway) – I’m simply going to discuss paladin specific tips to handling them.

While this guide is focused on heroic mode only, most of the tips are also effective on normal mode, though possibly unnecessary (as an example, the raid AoE from the Mogu Crates, on Spoils of Pandaria, does trivial damage on lower difficulties).

For talents, I will assume that you are taking Speed of Light (or Long Arm of the Law as an option for SH talent), Fist of Justice, and Holy Avenger for all encounters, as they are more or less mandatory. You should also use Glyph of Hand of Sacrifice on every fight, since the external cooldown (without worry of taking damage yourself) is extremely helpful.

H: Immerseus

Talents and Glyphs: Eternal Flame, Unbreakable Spirit, and Holy Prism are the best talents for this fight, since Selfless Healer is not strong at healing Contaminated Puddles. Beacon of Light and Flash of Light are the best glyphs for this fight, as they give a healing boost on Contaminated Puddles.

Stat Priorities: Mastery and Spirit lose a lot of value on this encounter, due to the Contaminated Puddles. Ideally you will want to maximize Intellect, Haste, and Critical Strike in that order.

Strategies and Tips:

  • The beginning of the encounter will stress raid healing over puddle healing. The end of the encounter will stress puddle healing over raid healing, so adjust your cooldown usage accordingly.
  • You can cast Beacon of Light on Contaminated Puddles.
  • You can use Lay on Hands to quickly get Purified Residue from a puddle.
  • Divine Shield can save you from a bad Swirl.

H: Fallen Protectors

Bosses: Rook Stonetoe, He Softfoot, Sun Tenderheart

Talents and Glyphs: Holy Prism is the best 90 talent for this fight. For the 60 talents, Unbreakable Spirit gives you more survival, and Clemency gives you more raid utility, so pick accordingly. Divinity glyph is recommended since the fight is extremely mana intensive.

Strategies and Tips:

  • This fight is extremely mana intensive, so be careful with mana management.
  • Save heavy throughput cooldowns for Rook Stonetoe’s Desperate Measures phases, since the raid damage and death potential is generally the highest here. You can also save a set of cooldowns for Sun Tenderheart’s Desperate Measures.
  • Hand of Freedom will remove the Corrupted Brew debuff, if raid members get hit.
  • Hand of Protection will remove Garrote.
  • Divine Shield will allow you to solo soak Inferno Strike.

H: Norushen

Bosses: Amalgam of Corruption

Talents and Glyphs: Unbreakable Spirit is invaluable for personal survival and for soaking Residual Corruption (black orbs). For your 90 talent, decide between Holy Prism and Light’s Hammer based on how well your raid stays stacked up. Beacon of Light is a good glyph for this fight, as you can switch your Beacon whenever a tank begins taking the Test of Confidence. Divinity glyph is also good as the fight can be mana intensive.

Strategies and Tips:

  • This fight features constant raid damage with specific moments of burst, which occur when Manifestations of Corruption spawn and remain active. Raid damage will be highest for the last few spawns (particularly the 10% and 20%).
  • You should take the Test of Reliance only if your group needs you to soak Residual Corruption, or if you will be allowed to maintain the Purified buff for the fight duration (i.e. not soaking any corruption), as the buff is not very important for healing.
    • The allies for the Test of Reliance show up on your Boss Frames, not your Raid Frames.
    • You can cast Beacon of Light on your allies.
    • Your allies deal increased damage at higher health. If topped off, they are capable of killing the Greater Corruption without help from you in time.

H: Sha of Pride

Talents and Glyphs: Unbreakable Spirit and Holy Prism are the best talents for this fight, the former for surviving Swelling Pride and soaking Rifts of Corruption, and the latter due to the fact that it is difficult for your raid to stay stacked under Light’s Hammer. There are no exceptionally standout glyphs for the fight, so pick what you like best.

Strategies and Tips:

  • Raid damage is extremely light for the first 70% of the boss’s health, with occasional bursts each Swelling Pride. During the final 30%, raid damage is extreme due to Unleashed, with the highest burst from the Swelling Pride during this phase, after which the boss must die before his next Swelling Pride cast.
  • It is often best to dispel Mark of Arrogance regardless of whether you have Gift of the Titans or not, and especially prioritize dispels before Swelling Pride casts. This means that you may get 50 Pride before Unleashed, which is fine.
  • Healers are ineligible for Imprison, but are eligible for Banishment.
  • Divine Shield will remove Mark of Arrogance without a Pride gain.

H: Galakras

Talents and Glyphs: Clemency is the best 60 talent for the fight, and Beacon of Light is one of the best glyphs for the fight. The other talents and glyphs are up to taste.

Strategies and Tips:

  • Fist of Justice will stop Fracture channels, and Hand of Protection will protect the NPC’s from taking Fracture damage. Beacon of Light is also great at healing any damage that they do end up taking.
  • Hand of Freedom will remove one snare from Lieutenant Krugruk; however, Priests, Shaman, and Druids can remove all of the snares, making them far superior at healing the towers.
  • Divine Shield will drop all stacks of the Flames of Galakrond DoT. It will not, however, prevent the Flames of Galakrond orb from fixating (and exploding), so make sure you still run into the designated spot if you get it.

H: Iron Juggernaut

Talents and Glyphs: Unbreakable Spirit is invaluable on this fight due to the high damage you will be taking. Since your raid will not be stacked very often, you should take Holy Prism as your 90 talent. Beacon of Light glyph on this fight is mandatory as the tanks will be swapping and taking heavy damage. Divine Protection glyph is optional if you are required to frequently soak Crawler mines; however, I would not recommend it.

Strategies and Tips:

  • You can use 2 minute cooldowns (Holy Avenger, Tier 16 Divine Favor) at the beginning of the fight, and they will be back up for the first Siege Mode.
  • Save all throughput cooldowns for the Siege Mode here. You can use them at the start, or after the first Shock Pulse.
  • Devotion Aura is effective against Shock Pulse.
  • Divine Shield prevents both the damage and knockback from Shock Pulse.
  • Divine Shield and Hand of Protection grant immunity to Engulfed Explosion.

H: Kor’kron Dark Shaman

Bosses: Earthbreaker Haromm, Wavebinder Kardris

Overview: Most groups will use a 3 tank strategy for the fight, splitting the raid into two groups. Hence, you will only have to contend with one shaman’s mechanics. One group will deal with Earthbreaker Haromm, and the other group will deal with Wavebinder Kardris. As a Paladin healer, you are well suited to heal either group, so your strategy will depend on where you are assigned.

Talents and Glyphs: For Kardris, Clemency is your must-have 60 talent. For Haromm, you should decide based on your group composition and needs. Your 90 talent is up to personal choice. Take Beacon of Light glyph for Haromm’s side, the other glyphs are personal choice.

Stat Priorities: For Kardris, you should stack as much Mastery as possible, regardless of your normally preferred stat priorities. For Haromm, your usual stat priority should work.

Strategies and Tips:

  • Earthbreaker Haromm’s group will be taking by far and away the most damage throughout the fight. If the target of Haromm’s Foul Stream happens to also have Toxic Mist, he will need a large personal or external CD to survive the impact, due to Toxicity. Haromm’s group must also contend with Falling Ash, which will hit both groups when landing.
  • Wavebinder Kardris, by contrast, will be much more relaxed in terms of pure damage, but there is a twist: When the Iron Prison debuffs expire on your raid, they will need either a damage reduction effect or absorb (read: Illuminated Healing) to survive.
  • For both groups, damage will be highest at the end of the fight, after the shaman will cast Bloodlust at 25%, so plan your cooldowns accordingly.
  • Iron Prison damage is not mitigated by armor.
  • Foul Stream will prefer not to target players with Toxic Mist; however, it will if there are not enough players within Haromm’s vicinity. You need at least 5 players (in 10 player mode) on Haromm’s side to avoid this; however, it is possible to heal through the damage if you choose to send fewer.
  • Hand of Protection and Divine Shield will prevent Iron Prison damage but will not remove the debuff.
  • Divine Shield will prevent Foul Stream and Toxic Mist damage, but will not remove the Toxicity debuff.

H: General Nazgrim

Talents and Glyphs: When learning the fight, I highly recommend Clemency for your 60 talent. In addition, since your raid will not be stacked, Holy Prism is the best 90 talent. Glyph of Divine Protection should also be used, as most unavoidable damage is physical.

Strategies and Tips:

  • Kor’kron Snipers prefer to fixate healers. Kor’kron Assassins prefer to fixate ranged DPS. Both deal physical damage, and their attacks can be mitigated with Hand of Protection.
  • Fist of Justice will stun the adds, and can also interrupt Ironstorm from the Kor’kron Ironblades.
  • Hand of Protection and Divine Shield do not work against Sundering Blow or Bonecracker.
  • Devotion Aura is best as the boss hits 10% health, to mitigate Kor’kron Arcweaver damage.

H: Malkorok

Talents and Glyphs: Eternal Flame is mandatory on both 10 and 25 man difficulties. Use Unbreakable Spirit and Holy Prism as your 60 and 90 talents. For your glyphs, use Beacon of Light and Protector of the Innocent.

Stat Priorities: Unlike normally, you should aim for a Eternal Haste breakpoint over standard mastery. If you are still progressing, you should switch your gems into intellect (Brilliant Inferno Ruby for red sockets, Artful Vermilion Onyx for yellow, Purified Imperial Amethyst for blue), and reforge into 7,170 or 10,867 haste while still maintaining at least 15,000 spirit.

Strategies and Tips:

  • This fight is reminiscent of Heroic Tortos, but more extreme, if you did it.
  • Overhealing in Phase 1 does not exist. This increases the value of Eternal Flame ticks significantly.
  • Because tanks take large amounts of damage, make sure Beacon of Light is on the active tank. The best way to heal him is, again, by having as many HoTs up as possible, because all of them will 50% transfer onto the tank, and all of the overhealing ticks are completely recovered.
  • Divine Shield will protect you from Essence of Y’shaarj damage. However, your Ancient Barrier will still be removed, and you will still take the pulsing Ancient Miasma damage (though it’s not very much).
  • Any leftover Ancient Barriers will remain when Malkorok casts Blood Rage.
  • The fight can also be extremely mana-intensive. If it’s really bad, consider using Glyph of Divinity instead of Protector of the Innocent.

H: Spoils of Pandaria

Wowhead: Secured Stockpile of Pandaren Spoils

Talents and Glyphs: Eternal Flame is a solid 45 talent, since you are effectively in a 12-13 man group if you are in a 25 man raid. Unless you are doing the “one side” strategy, you are effectively a 5 man if you are in a 10 man raid. Unbreakable Spirit is the best 60 talent, since there are few good opportunities to use the other two. Finally, Holy Prism is the best 90 talent for the fight. Glyphs are a toss up, pick your favorite Eternal Flame glyphs.

Strategies and Tips:

  • The Staff of Resonating Water does significant DPS, and you should maximize its value by positioning yourself so you face as many enemies as possible, especially Unstable Sparks.
  • Devotion Aura reduces damage from Shadow Volley, Molten Fist, Jade Tempest, and Fracture on the Mogu side.
  • Hand of Freedom will dispel Keg Toss and Harden Flesh.
  • Divine Shield will protect you from Set to Blow damage from bombs on the ground and from the explosion from the debuff expiring on you.  It will not remove the debuff so you can either drop your bombs with the button or bubble the expiration.  It’s good form to clear some out while your bubble is active.

H: Thok the Bloodthirsty

Talents and Glyphs: Selfless Healer is required on 25 man, and highly recommended on 10 man. You should also use Clemency for Hand of Protection on other healers, and Light’s Hammer since your raid will be stacked. Beacon of Light and Divine Protection glyphs should be used.

  • Raid damage will be high throughout the fight from Deafening Screech. The highest damage will be when Captive Cave Bats are released; most groups will do this with the “poison” phase.
  • While you can Crusader Strike for Holy Power, with Selfless Healer you should never have to.
  • Holy Radiance with Infusion of Light or at least 1 stack of Selfless Healer will not be interrupted if cast immediately following a Deafening Screech.
  • Devotion Aura, Hand of Protection and Divine Shield all prevent the interrupt from Deafening Screech.
  • Divine Shield and Hand of Protection will prevent damage from Wrecking Ball.
  • Save Divine Protection for the DoT if you are in a poison phase. Save Divine Shield for when you use throughput cooldowns and/or when Deafening Screeches are becoming overwhelming.
  • Beacon of Light, due to its long range and passive throughput, can help save the last Fixate target from dying when the boss does his first Deafening Screeches or from a bad Tail Lash.

H: Siegecrafter Blackfuse

Talents and Glyphs: All talents and glyphs are a free choice, pick what will suit your group’s strategy and composition most.

Strategies and Tips:

  • The highest amounts of raid damage will coincide with the high stack Overloads cast by Automated Shredders, especially if cast during Magnetic Crush phases.
  • Divine Shield will not remove Locked On, but will remove and prevent Superheated Stacks.
  • Hand of Protection can protect players from Serrated Sawblade and Magnetic Crush damage.

H: Paragons of the Klaxxi

Bosses: Skeer the Bloodseeker, Rik’kal the Dissector, Hisek the Swarmkeeper, Ka’roz the Locust, Korven the Prime, Iyyokuk the Lucid, Xaril the Poisoned Mind, Kaz’tik the Manipulator, Kil’ruk the Wind-Reaver

Talents and Glyphs: It’s difficult for the raid to stay stacked due to several boss mechanics, so Holy Prism is probably the best 90 talent. Choose between Unbreakable Spirit and Clemency for your 60 talent. You should use Glyph for Divinity, since the fight is extremely brutal on mana.

Strategies and Tips:

  • This fight is long and arduous, so be good with mana management. Raid damage is highest in the first half of the encounter, and is replaced by high tank damage near the end of the encounter.
  • Hand of Protection will remove Hewn (Skeer), Genetic Alteration (Rik’kal), Tenderizing Strikes (Xaril), and Exposed Veins (Kil’ruk).
  • Hand of Protection and Divine Shield will prevent damage from Sonic Pulse during Rapid Fire (Hisek).
  • Immunities do not prevent damage from Aim (Hisek). Use Hand of Sacrifice for the Aim target.
  • Hand of Protection, Divine Shield, and Every Man for Himself will remove Whirling (Ka’roz).
  • Immunities do not prevent Toxic Catalyst effects from Xaril, but will prevent damage from them.
  • Divine Shield does not remove Chilled to the Bone, but it will prevent the Eerie Fog damage (Green pools from Xaril’s Catalyst: Green).
  • Immunities do not remove the “forced walking” effect of Mesmerize (Kaz’tik), nor will they protect you from being killed by Kunchongs. However, they will prevent the periodic damage effect of Mesmerize.
  • Contrary to the tooltip, on Heroic difficulty Calculated Heal from Ingenious (Iyyokuk) will heal all raid members of the same race as your target, not the same class.
  • Divine Shield will remove you as an edge for Fiery Edges (Iyyokuk) if you cast it after you have been chosen but before the lines appear.

H: Garrosh Hellscream

Talents and Glyphs: Unbreakable Spirit and Light’s Hammer are the best talents for the fight. Take Beacon of Light glyph and your favorite 3rd glyph.

Strategies and Tips:

  • This fight is rather relaxed in terms of overall healing, but there are predictable phases of extremely heavy burst damage and can depend on your group’s strategy for handling the fight mechanics. Familiarize yourself with these mechanics and plan your cooldowns accordingly.
  • Kor’kron Warbringers melee for Shadow Damage. Thus, Divine Protection is best without the Glyph, and Devotion Aura is effective against their attacks.
  • Blinding Light will only interrupt and stun Embodied Doubt if it is glyphed.
  • Divine Shield will protect you from Annihilate (both the raid-wide AoE, and the center cone).
  • Divine Shield will allow you to soak Malicious Blast (preventing it from hitting Garrosh), and will render you immune to both the damage and the debuff.
  • Devotion Aura will not prevent the interrupt effect from Unstable Iron Star (the explosion when it hits a player or Garrosh).

5.4 Level 45 Talents

“Never before have so many said so much about so little to so few.”                         – not Winston Churchill

The forums have been busy discussing and rehashing this talent tier since the release of 5.4.  A couple changes to our talents and the way Illuminated Healing interacts with our spells made this talent tier far less clear cut than it had been prior to the patch.  Additionally there was a change to Sanctity of Battle that allowed haste effects to modify the cooldown on Holy Shock.

So functionally, what changed?  Well, that’s easy to answer.  Eternal Flame can no longer extend and refresh our Illuminated Healing shields since IH does not proc from the heal over time component anymore [nerf].  Sacred Shield has charges for holy and can be applied to up to three targets [buff].  Selfless Healer now gives a charge of Holy Power on Judgment and applies the buff to Holy Radiance [totally rewrites the script, buff].

In practice how big a change this makes to you, individually, in your raid will vary quite a bit.  There are very different approaches to talent selection and gearing based on your raid size and healing comp.  Before we get to that though, let’s look at how each one of these talents needs to be framed with secondary stats and what the playstyle really is.

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Holy Paladin 5.4 by Lifespark

Because I don’t mess around when I’m not messing around, I give you the guide I promised you!  Lifespark has been an occasionally outspoken and always passionate member of the Holy Paladin community and it is my pleasure to give him voice here at IntPlate.  Without any further fluffery, Lifespark’s Guide to Holy Paladining.  

– Lucy

Hello, and welcome to the Holy Paladin Guide for Patch 5.4. As a veteran raider but first time blogger, I’m extremely excited to be presenting this guide, and I hope that you can find it extremely valuable.

State of Paladins

In Mists of Pandaria, Holy Paladins are extremely versatile healers. Long past our days of being relegated to “tank healer” only, paladins are strong at spread, stacked, and single-target healing with a toolkit combining direct heals, HoTs, and absorbs. We have almost no shortcomings when it comes to any type of healing demanded – whether it be blanketed raid-wide healing, or targeted spot healing. Paladin utility is second to none in the game, with unique abilities such as our Hands, and powerful immunity abilities.

About the Guide

As with most guides, beginning players are the primary target audience. If you are starting out as a Holy Paladin, whether you are a new raider, an alt player, or a reroll, I highly suggest reading all sections of the guide in order. First I’ll go over our toolkit, then how to play, and finally look at how to gear.

However, even for beginners, I truly believe success begins at the top. While easy to apply, the knowledge and concepts presented here will carry over into normal and into heroic raids. There is no disclaimer here, everything presented here is intended for raiders of all difficulties, from LFR to Heroic, 10 man to 25 man, and everything in between.

Finally, in addition to this guide, also, Int Plate will be featuring frequent articles on advanced healing concepts for the hardest content, and I highly recommend players check them out.


Currently my main is Lifespark, and I’ve been raiding at Something Wicked, a 25 heroic guild on Whisperwind (US) for just over a year now. After a history as a semi-accomplished raider on several other classes, I switched to my Paladin near the start of Mists of Pandaria and have never looked back. While my main area of expertise is 25 man raids, I am also experienced in 10 heroic raiding on my alts, and also frequently enjoy healing other types of content, such as Challenge Modes and PvP.

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Zero to Hero: Coming Back to Raiding After a Break

It’s not ALWAYS all about me!  Nyler has been a Death Knight, a Tiny Bear, a Tree and most recently is enjoying his Holy Paladin.  As one of the premier raiding 10m Heroic Holy Paladins and a long time friend of mine I’m pleased he’s decided to share his thoughts on returning to the game after a hiatus.  You can catch him streaming at from 8-12am EST Tuesday through Thursday or on Twitter @NylerGaming.  -Lucy

Hello there my fellow wielders of the light. My name is Nyler and I’m a top 10 U.S. raider formerly of <TM> and <Duality>, and currently of <Topped Off>. As someone who recently returned from an extended hiatus after Heroic Sha of Fear and Throne of Thunder PTR burnout, I decided to blog a little about the grind back to greatness, since the new patch is just around the corner.  Everyone needs a break from time to time and though the duration and reasons behinds the breaks are different for everyone, the “I’m so far behind” grind shares the same daunting weight. Things change every patch and getting back into the swing of things is difficult. Continue reading

I need something that will… WeakAuras.

This is the second installment in the user interface series, the first one covers VuhDo but this time I’m talking about WeakAuras.  This is one of the most powerful add ons available and again I’ll be giving Holy Paladin specific tips, tricks and strings.  I did not do this on my own, big thank yous to:   Affiniti from Blood Legion who did an amazing monk package that I stole for my first set of holy pally auras. Touchymcfeel has a great video series that I’ve watched for some tricks especially dealing with Clemency charges which will also factor heavily in the new 5.4 Sacred Shield.  Lovecraft in Angry who wrote virtually all of our T15 enounter WA,  Revvo from the MMO-C forums who I stole stuff from,and innumerable people I’ve harassed over time to help with problems, testing and just listening to me whine (Sparky, Endule, Sinner, and the rest of you peoples).

“I’m looking for something that will show me a cooldown on my abilities.” – WeakAuras
“I want something that will show me when my trinket procs.” – WeakAuras
“When the boss puts that debuff on me, I want to know.” – WeakAuras
“Is there something that will show duration of a buff?” –WeakAuras
“I keep forgetting to put up a seal.” –WeakAuras
“Is there a way to remind me if I don’t have a beacon on anyone?” –WeakAuras
“I hate the Blizzard default Holy Power bar.” –WeakAuras

Are you seeing a pattern?  WeakAuras is probably the most game changing add on ever released.  Well, probably since AVR but we all know what happened to that .  At the moment we’re in no danger of losing WeakAuras since it doesn’t do anything that a host of other add ons don’t also do, it’s just a lot more user friendly (loosely defined in some cases) and allows mere mortals to create reasonably sophisticated notifications quickly and ahead of the boss mods since they can be done on the fly and instantly shared with the raid.  It also allows for UI customization that is dizzying when you first grasp the full potential. Continue reading