Zen Meditation: The art of melee DPS healing
In many top end guilds, there is often the question of how many healers to bring to encounters. While disc priests and holy paladins are almost always a given, whether to bring shaman, druid, or mistweaver is the next question. Typically this involves a simple question: Is this is a DPS check, or do we need stronger cooldowns?
For many, Mistweaver would simply be considered a class with a tank cooldown, a (rather strong) raid cooldown, and pretty decent throughput. However, this is completely ignoring the largest, most glaring strength of the Mistweaver, and chances are, it’s because it throws a healer into an area that they probably are not very comfortable with — being the melee DPS that happens to heal.
The Stance Dance
As of 6.1, Mistweaver’s spells were split into two stances. Perhaps the most straight-forward of these stances are Serpent Stance, which is your very typical healing stance. More tricky is Crane Stance, which allows for the Mistweaver’s damage spells to be used. The rotation is fairly simple for this stance (this is without Chi Explosion talented):
With Chi Explosion talented, it changes very slightly:
- Debatable to keep Tiger Power up, as Chi Explosion is nature damage. However, most still do.
- Use 4-Chi Chi Explosions as often as you can.
- Use Rising Sun Kick to keep its debuff up on your target.
For either of these, you will simply be jabbing or using Expel Harm in order to build Chi for maximum DPS.
Nonetheless, that this is mostly for during downtime. During times of heavier healing, it still is not a bad idea to swap back into Serpent Stance for Renewing Mist and Uplift. That said, keep in mind that Blackout Kick’s Eminence means that your DPS will also be healing 5 people around you, so that will typically be most of or all of your melee pile! It is still perfectly reasonable to continue DPSing during steady damage on your melee.
But I Prefer to Just Heal!
While this is an understandable attitude, if you simply sit in Serpent Stance, you are completely ignoring an entire utility for your class. If you just want to Soothing Mist and Renewing Mist, then it’s very likely that Mistweaver simply is not the spec for you.
Let me emphasize that: the utility of a Mistweaver is not simply Revival or Life Cocoon. It is their ability to swap from doing quite a bit of damage, to doing quite a bit of healing, with a flick of a switch (well, stance).
Speaking from the perspective of high-end Mythic raiding, the bit of DPS that a Mistweaver can pull can sometimes be the make or break for certain damage checks. Even tanks maximize their damage, to a point — why shouldn’t healers? The more damage your raid does, the faster you can push phases, and the less time there is for people to make mistakes. Take the Gruul encounter on Mythic, for example. This encounter requires very high raid damage, but also the ability to do quite a lot of healing. In other words, this is the Mistweaver’s encounter. On one hand, the Mistweaver can stand in melee and damage the boss, but during Tantrum, that same Mistweaver can swap quickly to Serpent Stance, Thunder Focus Tea, blanket the raid in Renewing Mist, do a quick Uplift, and then return to doing damage. And, as you can see from Mistweaver rankings on Gruul, this is not a very unusual healing strategy.
Monks have complained for an expansion about their lack of utility. Mistweavers are an incredibly niche spec with one utility that is very undervalued.
Additionally, there’s also Touch of Death. How many other healers can claim to have an execute? Last I checked, Warriors didn’t have a healing spec — so that definitely leaves it with Mistweaver. Considering how strong this is for the last 10% of a boss or add’s health, definitely use it as much as you can! Too many wipes can happen in the last 500k health of a boss, and this is a massive hit that can help reduce those. Or, you can easily use them for a fight which requires an add to die fast.
My Raid Leader Just Wants Me to Heal/My Other Healers Don’t Heal Enough!
These aren’t correct reasons for not using Crane Stance as much as you can. If you are having issues with healing, then pure Serpent Stance is not going to “fix” that. While you should certainly work as a healing team, that is the thing — working as a team. A Restoration Druid that refuses to cast their Efflorescence or a Discipline Priest who doesn’t know how to shield the correct people are not going to be “fixed” by ignoring an entire class mechanic.
Further, telling a person to not use their class mechanic is poor raid leading. This would be like telling a Combat Rogue to never use Blade Flurry on Twin Ogron, or to tell a Restoration Druid to never cast Tranquility. It simply does not make sense.
Mistweaver has changed dramatically over the last two or so years. While they have always had the niche as a melee DPS that also does a ton of healing, the switch to Crane Stance has not been a bad choice for balancing the specialization’s ability to both do tons of raid healing or tons of Crane Healing.
Also, keep in mind that much of this is done from the perspective of raiding. Unfortunately, Crane Stance is not the most useful thing in five-man heroics, simply because many of your tanks or DPS can be very undergeared, meaning that you will likely need to swap into burst healing quite often. However, in a group with decent gear, or even in a challenge mode, knowing when to change stances and understanding when to expect large amounts of damage can make you invaluable.
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