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Starym

Shadowlands Pre-patch Healer Raid Rankings and Analysis

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We've been looking at the DPS Warcraft Logs from Mythic Ny'alotha a lot recently, so we thought it was time to take a look at the healers as well. We're focusing on covering all the healing specs with analysis from our guide writers in addition to the logs themselves, so you have a better overview of what's actually going on, with a look to Shadowlands. For the healer logs there's no threat of under-representation, as even the least played one (Mistweaver) has around 5,000 entries (unlike some DPS specs that hover around 200).

We'll also be taking a look at the past 2 weeks instead of the usual one, as we've skipped healers in the past. Let's start with the top, as the 95th percentile shows us Priests are the top dogs:

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Data by Warcrat Logs.

Meanwhile, the gaps in the overall, all percentile data are a little bigger and the rankings also look a little different, as Paladins have really fallen from grace since their pre-pre-patch heyday:

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Data by Warcrat Logs.

And now we move on to the more important/useful part of the post, as our guide writers take a look at the numbers and give us some insight, starting with the top:

Holy Priest by Niphyr:

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Holy Priest in pre-patch is performing well in terms of pure throughput, on average around 5% ahead of the next healing spec. There's multiple factors to Holy Priest being ahead:

  • Corruption is gone and it did not impact Holy Priest as much as it did other specs. While there was high-impact potential in Ineffable Truth Ineffable Truth builds, the actual benefit was incredibly random.
  • Increased effectiveness of borrowed power. Holy Priest has an Azerite trait Prayerful Litany Prayerful Litany which is providing great value compared to its pre-patch version.
  • Damage Reduction not being shown. In-game addons and Warcraft Logs don't contribute damage reduced by effects like Power Word: Barrier Power Word: Barrier and Devotion Aura Devotion Aura which contribute to effective healing done by other specs.
  • Shorter fights. Quicker fights favour healing specs which are able to dump mana into raw healing on-demand. The shorter the fights are the bigger HPS boost raid cooldowns like Divine Hymn Divine Hymn and Holy Word: Salvation Holy Word: Salvation give.
  • Less healers. Another side effect of shorter fights and less mechanics is the ability to drop healers in favour of more DPS. Holy Priest's mastery Mastery: Echo of Light Mastery: Echo of Light is balanced around having a reasonable amount of overheal and fewer healers typically means less overheal.
  • No major changes. Holy Priest has seen very few changes throughout the last couple of patches & Shadowlands beta, where most other healing specs have received a number of changes that impact their play in pre-patch.
  • This gap will be reduced going into Shadowlands where we can expect to see most other healing specs improved performance with the new borrowed power systems in Covenants and Legendaries, which are not very impactful for Holy Priest.

As usual though, healing done on the meters doesn't show the full story. Damage reduction and effective-health tools some other healing specs offer can be more valuable in some situations than just raw throughput so don't expect to see a raid with 4 Holy Priests in it going into Shadowlands. Holy Priest will continue to retain solid throughput and be a strong addition to any raid seeking raw healing output.

Discipline Priest by Clandon:

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While Discipline Priest was and still is a very powerful and desired raid healer, current pre-patch raid logs mean very little in the grand scheme of things. With most bosses being killed extremely fast and and healers fighting over the limited healing available, Discipline's burst healing nature makes it very adept at sniping whats available. This is further exacerbated by the addition of Spirit Shell Spirit Shell. When a boss dies with only a handful of damage events occurring due to the short kill times and your primary CD resulting in 100% absorbs, you naturally have an advantage in regards to stealing the available healing from your co-healers. Even with the current tuning changes Discipline has received as of late, the spec is still looking to enter Shadowlands at the very least as strong as it was in BfA, if not stronger.

Restoration Shaman by Seksi:

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Shamans are doing better than they were before the pre-patch because our spells are generally stronger than they were before, adjusted for post-squish stat / health values. Corruption was mostly about stacking critical strike up to 100%, the loss of which has a much lower impact on healing numbers than what other healers went through, especially Paladins who were stacking Ineffable Truth Ineffable Truth for insane returns. Finally, Shaman got a powered up Earth Shield Earth Shield and Mana Tide Totem Mana Tide Totem back baseline, as well as a great number buff on Riptide Riptide, all of which contribute towards our improved performance in Nya'lotha.

Shaman will most likely be even stronger in Shadowlands, relative to the other healers, as our
Covenant choice has a larger (number and especially playstyle) impact than other healers', and we also get some pretty good legendaries / conduits.

Mistweaver Monk by Dhaubbs:

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Not much has changed for Mistweavers in the pre-patch. Most of our new tools and abilities are unlocked at higher levels, or as a result of Shadowlands systems. Coupled with the fact that our Azerite powers were largely passive and underwhelming, and our Corruption was just a versatility multiplier, the removal of these systems means very little for the spec. In terms of gameplay, we remain largely unchanged. Our place on the meters is more a result of the changes other specs experienced. It’s less that we rose, and more that they fell.

Looking at average ranks, Mistweaver remains a middle of the pack healer, while the +95th percentile rankings show us about where we were before, except closer to Paladins due to their cataclysmic fall from grace. All this ought to be taken with a grain of salt. Like mentioned above, class balance will change wildly in the coming month with the release of Shadowlands. Not only will there be a new raid with fights that favor different classes, but also all the bells and whistles of the expansion exclusive power spikes like Covenants and Legendaries.

Restoration Druid by Torty:

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Overall the HPS graphs mean basically nothing this deep into the tier and in a heavily nerfed pre-patch raid. Some encounters are possible to do with only one healer as seen from the highest parses, so the HPS is just a function of how much damage the raid is taking and Druids are perfectly capable of solo healing all these fights. A big gap between average parses and highest ones shows how much difference skill can make, and at the same time the difference in the amount of healers guilds bring.

In Shadowlands Restoration Druids are getting Convoke the Spirits IconConvoke the Spirits, which is essentially another mini-cooldown. You can pair it really well with bothIncarnation: Tree of Life Incarnation: Tree of Life and with Flourish Flourish or even use it as a standalone CD. Losing Essences obviously means you will have a lot less Mana available to you, but that is a problem everyone else will have to deal with too. Overall, our strengths are going to be amplified, and the only potential issue remains the Beta tuning in the next couple of weeks.

Holy Paladin by Mytholxgy:

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Paladin suffered a lot harder than some other classes with the loss of Corruption and changes to some of our talents. Our primary build in 8.3 focused on using Ineffable Truth Ineffable Truth to reduce the cooldown on Avenging Wrath Avenging Wrath and Holy Shock Holy Shock, both of which allowed us to get very high value out ofGlimmer of Light Glimmer of Light. Without the Corruption, we can't meet the same uptime on our primary cooldown as we previously could.

Our talent tree also got hit pretty hard in terms of how it synergized with Glimmer. Holy Avenger Holy Avenger was reworked to no longer provide us with the Haste steroid and increase to Holy Shock healing. Now our Holy Power generation is tripled. While this cooldown is not terrible, it doesn't really have the same compatibility levels with glimmer as the old version did. Not to mention, it now shares a talent row with Divine Purpose Divine Purpose which was a staple talent in the Glimmer of Light build. Having to choose between the two is not ideal from a throughput standpoint, even if it provides us with a more interesting talent row.

Finally, the transition to Holy Power didn't really get off to a good start. Word of Glory Word of Glory and Light of Dawn Light of Dawn are both relatively underpowered, and both of which have been buffed on Shadowlands beta by a considerable margin in the last 2 weeks (25% increase to Light of Dawn).

Our numbers are poor now but they will improve a bit in Shadowlands. We currently are still relatively undertuned, but we have been on the receiving end of minor buffs over the last couple of weeks. By the time Mythic Castle Nathria releases, hopefully our tuning will have put us in a better spot than we are currently in. I wouldn't be surprised if we kept seeing minor buffs or even an aura buff in the next couple of weeks. While that won't do much for pre-patch Holy Paladin, it should help the class out in Shadowlands. Only Blizzard knows if we will actually get those changes though, we can only sit back and hope.


You can check out even more details on the specs in the pre-patch by checking out our class guides, and you can also check out this week's DPS rankings, where we took a look at the recent class tuning effects on the rankings.

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