Holy Paladin Healing Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (MoP 5.4)

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General Information

On this page, we list your Holy Paladin core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft MoP 5.4. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a Holy Paladin.

The other pages of our Holy Paladin guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Shuttle, a Holy Paladin who raids in Blood Legion. You can watch his stream on Twitch.

1. 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.

Holy Paladins are good raid healers, and at the same time they can be good tank/single target healers. In the sections that follow, we will treat both roles.

1.1. AoE/Raid Healing

AoE/raid healing (with Beacon of Light Icon Beacon of Light support on one of the tanks) is currently the role at which Holy Paladins excel.

To pull off this playstyle, you will need to have taken the Eternal Flame Icon Eternal Flame talent, and you should be gearing for Mastery Rating. Then, you will have to follow a series of steps, much like a checklist.

  1. Apply Beacon of Light Icon Beacon of Light on the tank who is taking the highest amount of sustained damage.
  2. Cast Eternal Flame Icon Eternal Flame on as many raid members as possible.
    • Cast Eternal Flame Icon Eternal Flame with 3 Holy Power.
    • Cast it primarily on players who will benefit the most from the initial heal (that is to say, they will not be overhealed). If no one is in immediate need of healing, cast it on players who are going to take damage (most likely the tanks).
  3. Generate Holy Power to fuel your Eternal Flame Icon Eternal Flame usage, as follows:

Three notes are in order.

Firstly, if you cannot be in melee range to use Crusader Strike Icon Crusader Strike, you will have to make much more extensive use of Holy Radiance Icon Holy Radiance for Holy Power.

Secondly, you can use Light of Dawn Icon Light of Dawn instead of Eternal Flame Icon Eternal Flame if there at least 6 targets that will not be overhealed (or at least, not too much) by it, although do note that if you are facing heavy raid damage, this may be insufficient.

Thirdly, if there is no raid damage, you should try to keep your Mastery shields up on as many players as possible.

It is also important to make use of your Daybreak Icon Daybreak charges, since this will provide strong raid healing (as well as shields from your Mastery).

1.1.1. Selfless Healer Cycle

If you have taken the Selfless Healer Icon Selfless Healer talent instead of Eternal Flame Icon Eternal Flame, there is a very useful "rotation" you can perform.

  1. Cast Judgment Icon Judgment (generating 1 Holy Power and proccing Selfless Healer).
  2. Cast Holy Radiance Icon Holy Radiance (using up the Selfless Healer buff, generating 1 Holy Power, and proccing Daybreak Icon Daybreak).
  3. Cast Holy Shock Icon Holy Shock (generating 1 Holy Power, using up Daybreak).
  4. Cast (a 3-Holy Power) Light of Dawn Icon Light of Dawn.

1.2. Tank Healing

Tank healing is not your strength, but if you are required to perform this role, you can do so quite well. The bulk of tank healing is done through maintaining Eternal Flame Icon Eternal Flame on both tanks (as well as on some raid members), with direct heals being used only when the damage is very high.

Note that you can choose to spend your Holy Power on Eternal Flame Icon Eternal Flame instead of Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory, if you prefer. This will provide your Beacon of Light target with a nice stream of healing.

1.3. Additional Actions To Perform

Always use Holy Shock Icon Holy Shock when it is off cooldown (try to minimise overhealing, though).

1.4. Seal

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

2. Cooldown Usage↑top

As a Holy Paladin, you have several healing cooldowns. You should use them as we explain below:

  • 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 essentially duplicates all the healing you do, for 15 seconds, as well as increasing your haste by 10% for this time.
  • Lay on Hands Icon Lay on Hands should be used to save dying raid members, especially tanks.
  • Hand of Sacrifice Icon Hand of Sacrifice transfers 30% of the damage taken by the target, over 12 seconds, to you, and you can use Glyph of Hand of Sacrifice Icon Glyph of Hand of Sacrifice to cause the ability to no longer transfer the damage to you (instead, the target simply takes 30% less damage), which we recommend doing in practically all situations. The effect is automatically canceled if the damage Hand of Sacrifice prevents on the target reaches 100% of your maximum health. This cooldown is excellent for reducing the damage taken by the tank, or other raid members. If you are not using the glyph, you must be aware of your current health and of the damage of the abilities being used against the target.
  • Devotion Aura Icon Devotion Aura is a raid cooldown, and it should be used at a time designated by your raid leader, or as part of a rotation with the other healers.
  • Hand of Protection Icon Hand of Protection can be used to clear harmful physical damage debuffs and bleeds from the target. Be mindful of the fact that bosses will not attack targets affected by Hand of Protection, though, so only cast it on the current tank if the off-tank is prepared to take over.
  • Hand of Salvation Icon Hand of Salvation is useful in temporarily removing a target's threat. It is especially useful on the tank which has just been taunted off of by the other tank. If the "old" tank has a high amount of Vengeance, it can be very hard for them to continue attacking the boss without over-aggroing the "new" tank, so Hand of Salvation helps a lot with that.
  • Hand of Freedom Icon Hand of Freedom removes movement-impairing effects from the targeted raid member, which can be very useful in certain situations. Note that Hand of Freedom also removes other "hand" spells from raid members, so it can be used to remove a Hand of Protection from a tank.

You also gain various abilities from your talents. We cover these in a later section.

3. 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.

4. 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.

4.1. Pooling Holy Power

Thanks to Boundless Conviction Icon Boundless Conviction, a passive ability, you can have up to a maximum of 5 Holy Power at one time. However, no ability that consumes Holy Power can consume more than 3. This means two things:

  • You have to worry less about capping your Holy Power.
  • You can pool Holy Power in preparation for a damage burst. For example, you can cast two 3-Holy Power Light of Dawn Icon Light of Dawns in the space of 3 global cooldowns.

We strongly advise trying to keep 1 or 2 charges of Holy Power in reserve for emergencies or times of need. Naturally, if you need to do a lot of healing, this is not possible, but otherwise you should attempt it.

4.2. Procs

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

4.2.1. Daybreak

Daybreak Icon Daybreak, a passive ability, causes your Holy Radiance Icon Holy Radiance casts to make your next Holy Shock Icon Holy Shock heal players in an area around the target, in addition to healing the target itself. You can have up to two Daybreak procs (or charges) at one time, and players around your target are healed for 75% of the healing done to the Holy Shock target, per charge.

This proc is very useful, since you should only be using Holy Radiance on players who are near other players, and only during times when you want to do AoE healing. Therefore, it is very easy to simply use the Holy Shock on the same person you used Holy Radiance on. You can, of course, use it on other players for different reasons.

4.2.2. Infusion of Light

Infusion of Light Icon Infusion of Light causes your Holy Shock Icon Holy Shock critical strikes to reduce the cast time of your next Holy Light Icon Holy Light, Divine Light Icon Divine Light, or Holy Radiance Icon Holy Radiance by 1.5 seconds. 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).

4.3. 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). The amount of healing that the Beacon target receives depends on the spell used, as follows:

Additionally, it is important to keep track of the fact that through Tower of Radiance Icon Tower of Radiance (a passive ability), 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 Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory.

4.3.1. 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.

4.4. Denounce

Denounce Icon Denounce deserves a special mention. This spell can be a useful and much-needed DPS boost during progression content, provided that you can spare the mana required for it.

4.5. Mana Regeneration With Divine Plea

Divine Plea Icon Divine Plea is a mana regeneration cooldown that restores mana equal to 135% of your Spirit every 3 seconds, for 9 seconds, on a 2-minute cooldown.

You can use Glyph of Divine Plea Icon Glyph of Divine Plea, which reduces the benefit and the cooldown of the spell by 50%. This is generally not preferable, since you do not want to use too many global cooldowns on this spell, but it is an option if the situation somehow calls for it.

4.6. Abilities and Cooldowns from Talents

4.6.1. Tier 3 Talents

Sacred Shield Icon Sacred Shield should be kept up with 100% uptime on three targets. One of the targets should be the current tank, and the other two should be whoever you believe will be taking the most regular damage.

Eternal Flame Icon Eternal Flame should also be kept up with 100% uptime on the tank or on a target that is taking constant damage. You can also use additional Holy Power (or Divine Purpose Icon Divine Purpose procs) to place it on secondary targets.

Selfless Healer Icon Selfless Healer is best used in the way we describe here.

4.6.2. Tier 4 Talents

Hand of Purity Icon Hand of Purity should be used on a target that is affected by a powerful DoT. Usually, this will be the tank, or another raid member who is being targeted by a specific ability.

Clemency Icon Clemency allows you to use your Hand spells twice in a row. Simply exploit this to the maximum when you use your Hands in the encounter.

Unbreakable Spirit Icon Unbreakable Spirit works passively, so it is not of any concern to you.

4.6.3. Tier 5 Talents

Holy Avenger Icon Holy Avenger should be treated as a healing cooldown. Simply use it during a time of intense damage, and enjoy the extra Holy Power you gain.

Divine Purpose Icon Divine Purpose procs will simply be used passively.

Sanctified Wrath Icon Sanctified Wrath increases the duration of your Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath, an effect that occurs passively and does not concern you. To make full use of this talent, you will need to also use Holy Shock Icon Holy Shock on cooldown (3 seconds) while Avenging Wrath is active, something that is not always possible.

4.6.4. Tier 6 Talents

Holy Prism Icon Holy Prism should be cast on the boss, or another enemy target that is near to raid members. This can be especially useful when the boss or an add has an aura that damages nearby players.

Execution Sentence Icon Execution Sentence can be used as a minor healing cooldown. Try to use it as many times as possible.

Light's Hammer Icon Light's Hammer can also be used as a minor AoE healing cooldown. Just use it when you want a bit of burst to your AoE healing.

4.7. 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 5 Holy Power charges.
  2. 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).
  3. Use Holy Radiance Icon Holy Radiance to set up Mastery shields on your raid members before the fight starts, on fights with pulsing AoE damage.
  4. 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.
  5. Crusader Strike Icon Crusader Strike can be used to generate Holy Power.

5. Changelog↑top

  • 14 Jan. 2014: Made several improvements and updates, mostly to the rotation sections of the guide.
  • 18 Sep. 2013: Removed a mention of the Mastery shields being refreshed by Eternal Flame Icon Eternal Flame ticks.
  • 11 Sep. 2013: Patch 5.4 update.
  • 02 Aug. 2013: Fixed an issue in the description of Daybreak Icon Daybreak (the original Holy Shock Icon Holy Shock target is actually healed, in addition to allies around it also being healed).
  • 23 May 2013: Removed mention of using Eternal Flame Icon Eternal Flame with 2 charges of Holy Power in 25-man content, since this is no longer optimal.
  • 20 May 2013: Patch 5.3 update: made a few small adjustments to account for the change to Daybreak Icon Daybreak (it now has up to two charges, and it no longer heals the original target).
  • 04 May 2013: Made a few updates.
    • Added a distinction between how much Holy Power to use Eternal Flame Icon Eternal Flame with in 10 vs 25-man.
    • Added a mention of keeping Mastery shields up on raid members when there is no raid damage.
    • Added a mention that pooling Holy Power is recommended.
    • Added a short section about Denounce Icon Denounce.
    • Made a few other small tweaks.
  • 30 Apr. 2013: Made several updates.