Cooldown Guide for Healers/Raid Leaders

11 posts in this topic

To be a great raid leader, you should know what available cooldowns your raid has to help you through an encounter. A prime example is a Retribution Paladin's use of Devotion Aura. I have been in many group where some of these paladins don't even know that this button exists, or its "The healers job" etc. Using all your options in your raid when things get tough can make or break a kill.

There are also many talents here that will be mentioned that don't necessarily help your raid survive damage. Some are utility spells (mostly talents) that raid leaders should know about to help with certain fight mechanics. There are also some spells that I will says as "Only useful for" Which may not necessarily be true, though I am mentioning it in the context of its usefulness to you as a raid leader or healing leader.

Lastly, I want to mention the two cooldown trackers I have used that really gave me the information I needed to learn about most of these cooldowns

oRA3 - Shows a list of cooldowns that you checked off and how much time is renaming. A bit buggy when considering reduced timers, but if every raid member has it installed all of the timers are displayed correctly.

Hermes - Very customizable addon that allows you to make it look really decent. Has had history of being an abandoned addon with some bugs, though has picked up some development in MoP

List of Spells sorted by Class


All DK's

spell_deathknight_antimagiczone.jpgAnti-Magic Zone - This talent is useful if there is a fight with a lot of spell damage. The only problem with this is that it can only absorb a set amount of damage, which is usually pretty weak. It's still great for a raid buffer from one single magic attack, even more so if someone is solo soaking the attack. But it cant really withstand constant AoE damage.

The best time to use this ability is if you have to solo soak an ability with other cooldowns, to allow for a better health buffer (Ex: Total Annihilation on Heroic Elegon or Twilight Onslaughts on Heroic Blackhorn during Dragon Soul.) Again, if your entire raid is taking damage from a single burst magic attack, this talent can help reduce some of the damage as well, and helps a lot.

Unless an encounter relies on the use of this talent, it should be up to the discrestion of the Death Knight to use it or not, but also the job of the Leader who is calling for cooldowns, to include it as part of the rotation.Although, since generally Purgatory would be a better talent, most times you don't see this talent.

ability_deathknight_aoedeathgrip.jpgGorefiend's Grasp and ability_deathknight_remorselesswinters2.Remorseless Winter - These talents are useful when there are many adds running around that are fairly close to each other. Gorefiend can pull them all to one spot for easier AoEing or control, and Winter will stun them for some time. You do not necessarily have to call for this as a raid leader. These would be used at pre-determined times as part of the fight mechanics.

spell_shadow_soulleech_3.jpgStrangulate and spell_deathknight_mindfreeze.jpgMind Freeze - Basic interrupts


All Druids

spell_nature_tranquility.jpgTranquility - The staple raid cooldown of a druid. All druids have them, but the distinct difference is between the cooldowns of a resto and non-rest druid. Every druid's Tranquility is an 8 minute CD while for a resto druid it is 3 minutes.

Thanks to ability_druid_healinginstincts.jpgNurturing Instinct, Feral and Guardian druids Tranquility is also a very powerful raid Cooldown, which can further be enhanced by the use of spell_holy_blessingofagility.jpgHeart of the Wild.

achievement_zone_feralas.jpgNature's Vigil - This spell can be used by a DPS druid to help do some healing during a damage intensive part of the fight, especially during a phase where they deal more damage. NOTE: This talent should not be called out randomly for healing. Since it increases damage done of the Druid they should be free to use it for that purpose, but you should try to ask to delay it for specific parts of the fight.

Go here for a spell_druid_symbiosis.jpgSymbiosis breakdown. The only reason you need to tell your druid what to pick for symbiosis is o help with fight specific mechanics (Ex: Resto Druid -> shaman = SWG + Tranq, so Tranq while moving or Feral -> Paladin/Preist for soaking damage)


ability_vehicle_sonicshockwave.jpgSolar Beam - Interrupt/Silence, 1 min CD.


inv_misc_bone_taurenskull_01.jpgSkull Bash - Standard Interrupt


spell_druid_ironbark.jpgIronbark - Single Target tank cooldown. Should be called by tanks.


ability_whirlwind.jpgDeterrence - Mostly a personal defensive cooldown, but it can help with some fight mechanics where they can help the raid avoid the mechanic or soak some damage. (Ex: Prevent Ionization debuff on Heroic Jin'rokh or Heroic Will of the Emperor sparks)

ability_theblackarrow.jpgSilencing Shot - Long CD, non-standard interrupt


spell_frost_frost.jpgIce Block and spell_fire_rune.jpgCauterize - Mostly a personal defensive cooldown, but it can help with some fight mechanics where they can help the raid avoid the mechanic or soak some damage. (Ex: Prevent Ionization debuff on Heroic Jin'rokh)

ability_mage_greaterinvisibility.jpgGreater Invisibility - Same as above, useful for reducing 90% damage on a shorted CD then Cauterize.

spell_arcane_blink.jpgBlink - Only useful to the raid if you need to prevent fall damage or soak a stun for some reason. (Ex: Firelands Ragnaros flame traps or Lightning Fist on Feng the Accursed to copy the ability then Blink out.)

ability_mage_deepfreeze.jpgDeep Freeze - Mainly a frost mage ability that allows them to stun a stunnable add. Useful as an interrupt or stop damage on a tan.

spell_frost_iceshock.jpgCounterspell - Long CD, non-standard interrupt

ability_mage_invisibility.jpgInvisibility - Threat drop


All Monks

spell_monk_diffusemagic.jpgDiffuse Magic and ability_monk_zenmeditation.jpgZen Meditation - Can be used to soak damage from different raid mechanics (Ex: Heroic Will of the Emperor sparks and Heroic Elegon Total Annihilation)

monk_ability_transcendence.jpgTranscendence - Useful for kiting, but not really a raid cooldown.

spell_monk_ringofpeace.jpgRing of Peace - Great spell for AoE silence/disarm. Works well for fights with multiple casting adds to allow the tank to run around and collect them.

ability_monk_spearhand.jpgSpear Hand Strike - Basic interrupt


monk_ability_avertharm.jpgAvert Harm - Damage reduction Cooldown for nearby raid members


spell_shaman_blessingofeternals.jpgRevival - Raid wide instant burst heal

ability_monk_chicocoon.jpgLife Cocoon - Single Target Tank CD


All Paladins

spell_holy_auramastery.jpgDevotion Aura - Raid wide magic reduction cooldown.

spell_holy_divineshield.jpgDivine Shield - Only useful to the raid for soaking damage.

spell_holy_sealofsacrifice.jpgHand of Sacrifice - Usually used by Holy Paladins, but can also be used by any other Paladin (Remember to call for those rets!). Helps reduce the damage taken of a single target, usually tanks. Note: Something I just learned: A ret paladins Sac can dispel a magic effect from a target.

spell_holy_sealofprotection.jpgHand of Protection - Can stop a lot of melee/physical damage, but prevents melee DPS from attacking. (Ex: resetting Horridon and Durumu tank stacks, Stopping damage from Force and Verve on Zor'lok on a range DPS outside the bubble.)

spell_holy_sealofsalvation.jpgHand of Salvation and spell_holy_sealofvalor.jpgHand of Freedom - Utility.

spell_holy_rebuke.jpgRebuke - Basic interrupt

Tier 60 Talents:

spell_holy_sealofwisdom.jpgHand of Purity, spell_holy_unyieldingfaith.jpgUnbreakable Spirit, and ability_paladin_clemency.jpgClemency - For purity, usually you are going to ask your paladin to specifically take this It is only used for DoT damage and usually only chosen for that specific reason. Unbreakable spirit is only useful to your raid if they need to specifically use Divine Shield for a fight mechanic and Clemency is useful for Double Sacrifice and Double Hand of Protections.


All Preists

spell_holy_symbolofhope.jpgHymn of Hope - Very useful mana cooldown for healers. Can be called for during the encounter, but having regular intervals of use would be helpful for healers to time their other cooldowns with to gain even more mana since it increases the mana pool by 15% (i.e, Druids/Paladins Innervate/Divine Plea)

spell_priest_voidshift.jpgVoid Shift - Swaps health percentages with a targeted player. Pretty much a tank life saver. This cooldown can not really be called out, because if it is needed that badly it will be too late, but as a raid leader you should be aware of it. For a healing priest especially, combined with spell_holy_testoffaith.jpgDesperate Prayer to heal the priest back up a fair amount makes an excellent tank cooldown.


spell_holy_divinehymn.jpgDivine Hymn - Raid wide AoE healing cooldown.

spell_holy_guardianspirit.jpgGuardian Spirit - Single Target cooldown.


spell_holy_powerwordbarrier.jpgPower Word: Barrier - Raid wide damage reduction cooldown. Raid members have to stack inside it to benefit.

spell_holy_painsupression.jpgPain Suppression - Single Target cooldown


spell_shadow_unsummonbuilding.jpgVampiric Embrace - Useful during high damage periods or when a boss takes more damage then usual.

spell_shadow_dispersion.jpgDispersion - Only useful for soaking encounter specific damage.

ability_priest_silence.jpgSilence - Long CD, non-standard interrupt.


ability_rogue_smoke.jpgSmoke Bomb - Raid wide damage reduction cooldown. Must be stacked.

spell_shadow_nethercloak.jpgCloak of Shadows and ability_rogue_cheatdeath.jpgCheat Death - Encounter Specific damage soaking.

ability_rogue_feint.jpgFeint - can potentially be used for AoE damage soaking, sometimes coupled with ability_rogue_turnthetables.jpgElusiveness

ability_kick.jpgKick - Basic interrupt


All Shamans

ability_shaman_healingtide.jpgHealing Tide Totem or ability_shaman_ancestralguidance.jpgAncestral Guidance - Raid Wide healing Cooldowns. AG is more useful to a damage dealing shaman if the boss takes more damage then usual.

ability_shaman_windwalktotem.jpgWindwalk Totem - useful to help raid members remove movement impairing effects. Ex: Mogu'shan Vaults Trash with petrifying debuff, or Council of Elders Sand Traps)

spell_nature_cyclone.jpgWind Shear - basic interrupt


spell_shaman_spiritlink.jpgSpirit Link Totem - Raid wide damage reduction and "Health redistribution" cooldown. Most useful if only a select group of people is taking damage, especially when other people are not so that they can share health. If the entire raid is taking damage, then it should be coupled with Ascendance or Healing Tide so the raid does not slowly lose all their HP as a whole to constant AoE damage.

spell_frost_summonwaterelemental.jpgMana Tide Totem - Useful Mana cooldown for healers.


ability_warlock_shadowfurytga.jpgShadowfury - AoE stun

ability_deathwing_bloodcorruption_death.Dark Bargain - Encounter specific damage soaking. Should be coupled with spell_shadow_demonictactics.jpgUnending Resolve and/or spell_fire_twilightfireward.jpgTwilight Ward to reduce damage taken if damage is significant.

spell_shadow_mindrot.jpgSpell Lock/spell_nature_elementalprecision_1.jpgOptical Blast - Non-standard interrupt, long CD.

spell_arcane_arcane01.jpgSoulshatter - Threat reduction


ability_warrior_shockwave.jpgShockwave - AoE stun.

ability_toughness.jpgRallying Cry - Grants health to raid members within range. Useful healing cooldown for raid wide AoE burst damage (More useful if used before, but is just as helpful if used after assuming no one died)

inv_gauntlets_04.jpgPummel - Basic interrupt

Tier75 Talents

ability_warrior_safeguard.jpgSafeguard - Single Target damage reduction. This makes the next melee attack that would hit the target hit the warrior instead, so DPS warriors have to be careful should they use it on the tank. Pairing it with ability_warrior_challange.jpgDie by the Sword is the safest option.

ability_warrior_vigilance.jpgVigilance - A Hand of Sacrifice for Warriors, transfers 30% of the damage taken by the target to the warrior. Also removes the cooldown on taunt for the duration. If DPS warriors feel they are taking too much damage, they again should pop ability_warrior_challange.jpgDie by the Sword to try to reduce some of the damage they are taking.

ability_warrior_shieldbreak.jpgMass Spell Reflection - Reflects one spell on every near raid member. On top of that, it doesn't need any shield to be equipped so even your DPS warriors shouldn't complain if you ask them to use this talent.

List of Spells sorted by Type of Spell (WiP)

Raid wide AoE heal Cooldowns


Divine Hymn

Power Word: Barrier






Skull Bash


Spell Lock


If you feel there is something missing to this guide or I have said something incorrectly, please feel free to comment and let me know. I am always open to suggestions.


  • Add missing stuns. (single/AoE)
  • Add CC
  • List of Spells sorted by Type of Spell
  • demo/skull banner


  • April 1st 2013: Initial release.
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Does anyone know if hunters have a stun and what it is called? Also if there are some sort of prerequisites for it, like type of pet or spec..

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If you still want this info, hunters have a few options for stuns:

ability_devour.jpgIntimidation ( 3-second pet stun) is currently BM-only but any pet can do it. This is planned to become a talent available to all specs in 5.3.

spell_shaman_bindelemental.jpgBinding Shotis an AOE stun similar to Ring of Frost - mobs get stunned if they leave the circle. One of the longest stuns available right now I believe. This is currently a talent that any hunter can choose but you have to give up your interrupt for it.

*Update* Binding shot is slated to become a Marksman-only ability in 5.3, while Intimidation takes its place as a level 30 talent (choosing from Silencing Shot and Wyvern Sting).

If you need a 3rd option, tame a bat. Their special ability is ability_hunter_pet_bat.jpgSonic Blast another 2-second stun. This is not exotic so any spec can tame it.

Edited by Hoombaba

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Thanks for the info. I haven't thought to update this in a while. I've been very busy the past few weeks, but if i find some time at work tomorrow when I'm not doing anything, I might update a bit.

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can anyone point me in the direction of an updated version of this for 6.0.2/WoD?

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There isn't one, sadly. I never got around to finding time to do it. I always intend to but never do.  Lets see if I can before Nov. 14th.

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There isn't one, sadly. I never got around to finding time to do it. I always intend to but never do.  Lets see if I can before Nov. 14th.

That'd be awesome, man. I know you have a ton on your plate and all that work is appreciated!

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Maybe people who play a class/spec could contribute information, and you could review/update the guide? Might make it less work on your personally. I'd be interested in possibly helping out, since I'm a raid lead now, I could definitely see this being useful for both myself and others.

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If that is going to happen: Mages - AM: Extremely useful CD, should be used at set moments in the fight as part of the cooldown usage. Lasts for 6 seconds has a 2min CD. 

Do not use this spell too often though, as it is on the GCD!!!!!! LOST DPS!? no thanks.


-Deep Freeze: Frost only/Breaks on damage.
-Combustion: No longer stuns
-Alter Time: Resets Health and position, so you can use a mage to soak a very big hit and then AT his health back up.

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Lawl, my Mages gonna have to deal with when I  randomly call for an amp magic. 

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