How To Improve As Holy Paladin — Shadowlands 9.1.5
On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Holy Paladin in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1.5. We list the common mistakes that you should try to avoid and the small details that can greatly improve your performance.
Correct Amount of Light of the Martyr Usage
Many newer Holy Paladins make the mistake of casting Light of the Martyr far too often. They do so because the standard healing meter addons players use typically do not account for the damage the Paladin does to himself when casting the spell. Combat Logs, however, account for this and will subtract the damage taken from Light of the Martyr from the Paladin's overall healing done.
Once you have done this, the weaknesses of Light of the Martyr, low net healing and failure to transfer to your Beacon of Light, become readily apparent. Thus, we recommend using Light of the Martyr less than once per minute in a typical raid encounter; only while moving or when absolutely needed to save someone's life.
Using Your Short Cooldown Spells More Often
Holy Paladins have a couple of powerful short cooldown spells — spells with cooldowns shorter than 30 seconds — and several that can be added through talent choices. They are given cooldowns because they are powerful, inexpensive, or both, and it is essential for your performance to use them as often as they are available and will not overheal.
By far the most important example of such a spell for Holy Paladins is Holy Shock. It is a powerful and inexpensive spell on a 9-second cooldown that has a 30% increased chance to critically strike. Furthermore, Holy Shock critical strikes grant the Paladin the Infusion of Light buff, which empowers your next Holy Light or Flash of Light.
Failing to cast Holy Shock as often as possible means you will instead be casting weaker, slower, or more costly spells (typically Holy Light or Flash of Light) more often than you should. This will invariably lead to poor healing, running out of Mana far too quickly, or both.
Using Your Longer Cooldowns Often Enough
Like your short cooldown spells, it is equally important to use your larger healing cooldowns such as Avenging Wrath as often as possible, as long as there is healing to be done. Healers regularly make the mistake of "saving" their cooldowns for when they are needed — a time that often never comes. It is much better to get some benefit from their use than for your cooldowns go unused for minutes at a time while you wait for the perfect opportunity.
If you know you will need one or more of your cooldowns for a specific event sooner than they would be available again, then saving them is acceptable. However, you should identify when this will be before or during an encounter to avoid leaving these powerful abilities unused for too long.
Making Sure Not to Directly Heal Your Beacon(s) too Often
It is largely unquestioned that Holy Paladins are tank healers. However, how this works in practice is often misunderstood. A large portion of a Holy Paladin's overall healing comes from Beacon of Light. The extra healing transferred by Beacon of Light does not occur if you directly heal your Beacon target. Therefore, if you are trying to maximize your healing and efficiency, you want to avoid healing your Beacon target(s) unless they are in significant danger. Otherwise, you should allow the other healers to do so and let your Beacon support the tank's own self-healing and mitigation abilities while you focus on others.
Knowing how to balance your desire to heal others with your need to heal your Beacon of Light target(s) is a sign of an experienced and skilled Holy Paladin.
Holy Paladins have three main reasons why their positioning is very important to their performance. First, their Mastery Mastery: Lightbringer increases their healing based on distance from the person being healed. Second, their main AoE healing spell, Light of Dawn, is a cone that heals players in front of the Paladin. Finally, Holy Paladins do a significant portion of their damage with Crusader Strike. This last reason is even more crucial than in Legion with the introduction of Avenging Crusader as a talent.
Fortunately for Holy Paladins, all three of these reasons encourage the Paladin to be positioned with the melee DPS players. Doing so will reduce your distance from a large portion of your group or raid, increasing the effectiveness of your Mastery. In addition it will ensure that your Light of Dawn casts will hit as many injured targets as possible, and you will be in range to do damage to the boss should there be little healing required.
There are times where it is not possible to be in melee range for portions of, or even an entire encounter. Perhaps a boss' ability targets you, or you need to be in range to heal specific ranged DPS targets. Maybe the tanks are split apart and both need healing. However, these should be exceptions and not how you position yourself to maximize healing in a regular encounter.
Analyzing Your Mistakes as a Holy Paladin
When it comes to identifying and improving your mistakes, we strongly recommend the website WoWAnalyzer — it will analyze your logs and give you a report detailing how you did on the problems above and more.
- 01 Nov. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.5.
- 28 Jun. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Page updated for Shadowlands.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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