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How to Play a Holy Paladin

So you want to learn how to play a Holy Paladin? Well you’ve come to the right place! On this page we’ll take you through the spell use, rotations(if any) and best advice for a Holy Paladin Healer right up to maximum level. This page informs you how to play a Holy Paladin Healer in general at maximum level. We’re going through a lot of spells in this section, so if you haven’t already, have a look at the Holy Paladin Spells page for descriptions. For this page, we’ll assume that you have or will follow our advice on gems, enchants, glyphs, talents and specs.

Buffing

Short version:

Long version:

The first and foremost buff that you gain as a Paladin is Blessing of Kings, which you gain as a spell at level 30. This is something that you’ll want to cast on all party/raid after entering a dungeon or raid. It improves some of your base stats and is beneficial to all classes. All party/raid members should have this buff before entering combat. You can cast it during combat, but this takes up a spell cast (global cooldown) and uses mana. After dying, entering a new party/raid or after 1 hour, the buff will expire, at which point you will need to re-cast this buff on all party/raid members.

Blessing of Kings also shares the same benefits as a Druid’s Mark of the Wild buff and the Monk’s Legacy of the Emperor buff. If you have a Druid or Monk in your group, let them buff instead and you can buff with your other buff, Blessing of Might, which improves stats differently to Blessing of Kings. If you have 2 Paladins in one group, you can work it out between the both of you who should buff with Blessing of Kings and who should buff with Blessing of Might. These buffs do not stack.

Another buff you will want to cast is the self-only ‘stance’ buff Seal of Insight, which increases your healing done by 5%.

Before Combat

Short version:

  • Ensure you’re at maximum HP and Mana.
  • Drink your Elixirs or Flasks.
  • Cast Beacon of Light on a target, usually the main tank.
  • Build up Holy Power while waiting for combat to start.

Long version:

After buffing your party/raid members, be sure to drink a consumable such as Conjured Mana Pudding to regain your mana, so that you have maximum mana before entering combat. As you gain experience you will gain an understanding of the mana required for each encounter and along with your gear improvements, you won’t have to drink to regain mana before every encounter. But when starting out it’s best to drink when you can. You can’t drink while you’re in combat.

You should also obtain and consume a consumable to gain extra buffs from food or drinks. To view what consumables are beneficial to you head to the Holy Paladin Consumables page.

Now that you’re buffed, have full hp/mana bars and the rest of your party/raid members are ready, it’s time to prepare to engage with the enemy NPC or “mobs”. As a Healer, you’re not going to be the first to run in and engage the boss, the first to run in will usually be the Tank(Feral Druid, Protection Warrior, Blood Death Knight, Brewmaster Monk or Protection Paladin). As a Holy Paladin, the play style calls for a somewhat reactive role, meaning you will need to respond to situations rather than prepare for situations.

Before the tank charges in to the encounter, cast the buff Beacon of Light on them if you have it(level 39 and above). This buff causes the tank to become a “Beacon of Light”, which means when you heal yourself or other party/raid members with certain spells you will also heal the tank. It means you can safely heal other party/raid members (including yourself) and still heal the tank for a moderate amount.  Holy Light heals for 100% of your original heal, while other spells(Flash of LightDivine Light etc) heal for 50%.

For preparation before entering combat, it’s worth building up your Holy Power, so while you’re standing around waiting for the encounter to start, use Holy Shock on cool down to build up that Holy Power. Continue to use Holy Shock off cool down at all times during the encounter to continue building it up.

Tank Healing

Short version:

Long version:

Because we have Beacon of Light on the tank at ALL times, this will help us to heal the tank while we heal the other members of our party/raid. This offsets that fact that the Paladin has limited Area of Effect(AoE) heals. Use Holy Shock off cool down, whether it be on a non-tank raid member (while also healing the tank) or the tank themselves. When Holy Shock crits it will trigger or “proc” Infusion of Light, reducing the cast time of Holy Light and Holy Radiance. If you heal the target that has Beacon of Light on them with Holy Light or Flash of Light, you will get a bit of mana back.

Use Holy Light on lightly damaged tank or other party members (which will also heal the tank with Beacon of Light).

If damage on the tank becomes heavier, continue to use Holy Shock directly on the tank on cooldown, but now you also can unleash your Holy Power by using Word of Glory on the tank.

If you need to heal a moderate amount really quickly, you can use Flash of Light, though this spell is more mana intense.

If you can anticipate the tank taking a considerable amount of damage, you can use Hand of Sacrifice on that tank to help reduce incoming damage. This will transfer 30% of damage that the tank takes to instead damage you. This is why it’s good to have the Glyph of Hand of Sacrifice, which removes the damager transfer and just turns Hand of Sacrifice into a damage reduction cool down.

If your tank is close to dead and you don’t believe you have time to cast a full heal of any size, you can use your emergency cooldown heal Lay on Hands, a very strong instant cast heal that heals your target greatly. It does however, have a long cool-down time (depending on talents) and can usually only be used once in a fight, so use it wisely.

Party/Raid Healing

Short version:

  • Use Holy Shock off every cooldown.
  • Use Holy Light to spot heal your party/raid members (also healing the Beacon) during low damage.
  • Use Flash of Light to heal those who have taken considerable damage.
  • Use your Holy Powered Word of Glory to help with your spot-healing single targets and to ensure you don’t over-generate your Holy Power.
  • Use your Holy Powered Light of Dawn to heal multiple party/raid members and to ensure you don’t over-generate your Holy Power.
  • If a stacked or clustered group of players have taken damage, i.e. melee, use Holy Radiance. This will also grant you 1 Holy Power and proc Daybreak
  • When Daybreak procs, use Holy Shock on the same clustered group for an additional AoE based of your Holy Shock.
  • When your Holy Shock crits, you will get the proc Infusion of Light – which reduces your Holy Radiance – so use that again and repeat.

Long version:

Like tank healing, you’ll want to continue using your Holy Shock on any members taking light damage whenever it’s off cool down to build up your Holy Power and using Holy Light to top people up. If you have an individual who has taken a considerable amount of damage and you have Holy Power built up, you can use your Word of Glory to unleash a heal on them. If your Holy Shock crits, it will proc your Infusion of Light and you should make sure you use Holy Light or Holy Radiance to ensure you use up the proc before it expires.

If you haven’t got Holy Power built up and you need a decent heal on a single target but you need it fast, use your Flash of Light – this is however going to use up your mana a lot faster, so just be wary of that.

If you have numerous members who have taken light-mid damage and you have Holy Power stored, you can unleash your Holy Power using Light of Dawn, healing those 30 yards around you, or Holy Radiance, which heals members within close proximity of your target (this spell uses quite a bit of mana but also gives you a charge of Holy Power with each use). Immediately after using Holy Radiance, you will gain the proc Daybreak, so use Holy Shock to further heal those around the target based on the heal done by your Holy Shock.

If the Holy Shock you use crits again, you will gain the proc Infusion of Light again, allowing you to cast Holy Radiance again at a faster rate. You’ll then use Holy Shock again soon after, therefore also healing with Daybreak and possibly critting again. As you can see, it can become quite a cycle if you’re lucky with your crits and procs.

For heavy damage to the raid, read below.

Heavy Damage Phase Healing

Short version:

  • Continue much like you have in the Party/Raid Healing section above.
  • Use Avenging Wrath to increase your healing by 100% and haste & crit by 20%.
  • Lay on Hands a single target if required – best saved for a tank.
  • Use Devotion Aura to reduce magical damage.
  • Use your level 90 talents appropriately.

Long version:

At times during an encounter there is likely to be some heavy damage phases, meaning you and your party/raid members are going to suffer more damage faster, at which point more healing from you is required. We have covered what to do should your tank suffer from large damage spikes, so this will be more about using your cooldown abilities for party/raid wide damage (which can include your tank).

Continue healing using the party/raid method as above, but when these heavy damage phases occur, they usually last for a short amount of time and occur several times throughout an encounter. Remember to be sure that your Beacon of Light is on a tank or someone who will need constant healing. During times of heavy damage is where our cooldowns and utility spells come in handy.

You have approx 3 major cooldowns, one which we have already mentioned: Lay on Hands, use this on a target that is near close to death and you haven’t got time for a cast-time heal; and Avenging Wrath, which is a straight 100% increase to your healing as well as a 20% increase to your haste and crits. Managing these utility spells is important, for if you use them all during 1 damage phase, when the next heavy damage phase comes along, you may not be able to heal through the damage without any of these available to you.

Devotion Aura is a magic-damage mitigation spell that works across the entire raid. This is a very strong cool down which you should try and use multiple times during an encounter.

Depending on what talents you’ve chosen, this would be a good time to use your level 90 talent. Head to the Holy Paladin Talents & Specs page to find out more.

Mana Regeneration

Short version:

Long version:

Since 6.0.2, mana regeneration has changed from your character having an ability to regenerate mana, to relying almost entirely on passive mana regeneration via Spirit.  Base mana regeneration through this Spirit has been increased to offset the lack of a non-passive ability such as Divine Plea. However, it’s good to note that you will gain mana back through using Holy Light and Flash of Light when you use them on the Beacon of Light target.

Dispelling

Short version:

  • Dispel magic, poisons and diseases with Cleanse.

Long version:

Occasionally encounters present themselves as to place “debuffs” or negative spells on yourself or party/raid members, whether from mobs or bosses. These debuffs can range from bleeds, poisons, diseases, curses and magic. All healing specializations can remove magic debuffs, but each class has a different removal tool unique to themselves. A Holy Paladin can remove magic debuffs, poisons and diseases using Cleanse. Remove these debuffs as soon as you can, though be sure that they need removal, as sometimes debuffs, though bad, may need to remain on a player for encounter mechanics. You should have an addon enabled that notifies you of when debuffs are on party/raid members.

Now you know how to play a Holy Paladin, head to the Holy Paladin Stat Priority page to get the most out of your healing.

Originally published on December 4th, 2012 by on HealingWoW.com, Last modified: .

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  • Zach

    Thanks, my guild needed another healer and this guide helped quite a bit!

  • Møgsækken

    Is this the rotation for 5.4 aswell?(-:

    • We’re currently going through the changes for patch 5.4 and the site should be updated within the week, however the game play hasn’t really changed in patch 5.4.

      • Møgsækken

        Great! Thanks alot!

  • extrana

    shouldn’t include word of glory, and add holy prism to rotation

  • Are you going to create a dps or tank site as well? thanks for this one

    • Have thought about it but it’s not in the plans at the moment. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Rohanito

    Just a note. Seal of Insight no longer increases any sore of haste or casting speed by 10%. Also Avenging Wrath now increases all healing by 100% along with increasing Haste Crit and damadge by 20% and has a 3 minute cooldown. You are using the link for the Ret version instead of Holy. Otherwise an amazing guide for any pally wanting to heal. Very thorough!

    • Hi thanks for your comment, I have made these changes so they should be correct now. Thanks for picking those up!

  • Trevize

    It should ne mentioned that it’s important to keep up EF HoTs on tanks or SS in alternative. Moreover EF HoTs are not affected by HoPo so it might be useful to cast EF with 1HoPo if you need HoT effects on someone. Moreover HPr is quite useful and should be casted on mobs at max within 10secs it gets available. Delay the cast if you expect spread incoming dmg on melee group. Over 10 secs is empirically proven to be a waste. It might worth a mention to HoP as you might want to shield people subject to a charge (see kargath or butcher). Also clemency boost HoS and HoP. You may also want to get more frequently AW so you can use a glyph for that. AW is most of the times a too big boost and it gets wasted into over healing.

    • Ikon

      Absorb buff effects coming from mastery are another important aspect that can be taken into account just before starting a boss fight.

  • Dalibor Isa

    Hey guys, I would like to say, that page could be refreshed. There is no mention about Beacon of Faith. Holy Power spell doesn’t exist anymore, you should refresh this pages. I’m trying to know how to heal with Pala, but this is useless. No offence but last comment 9 months ago is more than ridiculous 😀

  • Chewbacca2000

    Why does anyone roll anything other than rest druid? These mechanics border on insane and are entirely dumb. While I’m sure some think and know holy pally is the best healer in the game etc, it’s crap like this which prevents new healers from rolling holly pally. Jeez. And don’t get me started on holy priests……