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Lightsworn: Final Holy Paladin preparations for Legion

The Legion pre-patch is live, demonic invasions are starting tomorrow, and then it’s off to the Broken Isles! The pre-patch brought with it all of our new talents and spells, so if you haven’t yet familiarized yourself with our new abilities, now’s the time. Here’s a handful of things we can do to help prepare ourselves for Legion.

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Embrace Divine Steed

Let’s start with some wonderful news — Divine Steed is now baseline and available to all Paladins starting at level 28. In its place among our level 30 talents is Cavalier, which gives Divine Steed two charges. I love this change. We really needed a baseline mobility ability, and although Unbreakable Spirit will still be my default level 30 pick, I can definitely imagine situations where Cavalier or Rule of Law will have special niche value. (Cavalier will also be a nice luxury while questing, soloing old content, or even just while running around Dalaran.)

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Practice Light of Dawn

I’m still torn on Light of Dawn. On one hand, short-range cone-based spells are such a pain to deal with — you never know if people are close enough, or within the cone’s area of effect. On the other hand, I always did enjoy blasting our Holy flashlight into people’s faces to blind them.

As our only baseline AOE heal, Light of Dawn’s 15-yard range means we’ll be need to be pretty close to our targets. However, don’t be fooled by the spell animation — it’s completely misleading. Light of Dawn actually has a fairly generous angle of effect, and it also heals in a small radius around you.

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Although it’s nice to learn that Light of Dawn is better than its animation makes it appear, this also means we can’t rely on the animation during play. While we wait for Legion to arrive, we should be practicing with Light of Dawn and learning how to quickly estimate its actual invisible range. Timewalking dungeons, LFR, heck, even running around your garrison! Better to practice now rather than wipe your raid a few months from now because you don’t know the range on your own heals.

Put Absolution on your bars

Mass Resurrection has been removed, but all healing specs have received a new group resurrection spell instead, because we’re the resurrection machines, I guess. Doesn’t matter if a Hunter used Feign Death and survived the wipe, since they can’t Mass Resurrect anymore. Fun times! Anyway, the Holy Paladin version is called Absolution, so be sure to put it on your bars.

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Consider Blinding Light

Here’s an odd change — Blinding Light now deals damage. I’ve generally only used this spell in the past for PVP and Challenge Modes, but as strange as it sounds, Blinding Light might have a bit of PVE value in raids now. After all, most raid encounters have nothing we can stun with Hammer of Justice/Fist of Justice, or crowd-control with Repentance, our other level 45 talents. So if our other talents are useless…we might as well take the small AOE damage spell? I’m not saying it’s going to save the day or anything, but it’s better than nothing. And hey — you never know when it’ll come in handy.

Appreciate the new Blessing of Protection

Blessing of Protection has long been both a blessing (!!) and a curse. Yes, it protected someone from all physical damage, but it also made them unable to physically attack. This meant that it often resulted in That Rogue (we all know which one) whining about the DPS loss, oblivious to the fact that you just saved their flimsy leather-wearing behind from a horrible demise. However, rejoice! Blessing of Protection no longer prevents attacking! All of the physical damage prevention, none of the unpleasant pacified aftertaste. Do note, however, that using Blessing of Protection on a tank will cause any monsters currently attacking that tank to veer merrily off and go find new targets.

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Become a Watcher

Update your WeakAuras

With all the new spells we’ve received for Legion, it’s vitally important we take the time to update our WeakAuras — or whatever UI methods you use to track spells and cooldowns. Personally, I’ve added new auras to track offensive spells, major cooldowns, defensive/utility spells, Judgment of Light debuffs, and a low-health indicator so I don’t accidentally Light of the Martyr myself to death. Don’t forget that some of our spells have changed names — Devotion Aura is now Aura Mastery, and all of our Hand spells are Blessings now.

Update your Key Bindings

A new expansion is the perfect time to break bad habits, so if you have any key bindings that are impractical or inefficient, swap ’em around! Key bindings are largely a matter of personal taste, so I’d never recommend any specific binds to use, with the exception of one general rule: you should always be able to cast your instant-cast spells while moving. Being able to toss out a Lay on Hands while running full speed out of the way of, say, a giant train, could be the difference between life or death — either your target’s, or your own. Use the more awkward keybinds for cast-time spells, since you can’t move while casting those anyway!

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Get Contemplative

Contemplation is a fun little flavor spell that lets us kneel in a beam of sunlight that comes down from the sky. Formerly a minor glyph, this spell can now be purchased for 50 gold from Quartermaster Miranda Breechlock at Light’s Hope Chapel.

Learn how to use Light of the Martyr

Light of the Martyr (aka Light Tap) was the source of endless discussion and debate during the Legion alpha. Now that it’s live, it’s still a spell many Holy Paladins are leery of. It’ll also be interesting to see if one of the more hilarious problems that arose on the alpha surfaces in Legion, when Holy Paladins were too good at healing and literally killing themselves with their own heals.

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In any case, did you know that Light of the Martyr’s sacrificial damage is just ordinary damage? This means it can be reduced or prevented by Divine Protection, Knight of the Silver Hand, Devotion Aura, etc. Best of all, Divine Shield prevents the damage completely, meaning that for the duration of our bubble, we’re free to spam low-mana, instant-cast, extremely powerful heals without any penalty or drawback. (Another reason Unbreakable Spirit will be my default level 30 talent choice.)

Now, I’m not suggesting we should necessarily use Divine Protection or Divine Shield solely for less painful Light of the Martyr casts, but rather, we should absolutely keep it in mind when we find ourselves using our defensive cooldowns during regular play. In other words, whenever we have to bubble in Legion, we should start immediately spamming Light of the Martyr.

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We can get off five Martyr casts during Divine Shield’s duration, and those five heals (with zero self-inflicted damage) are going to be far and away the strongest single-target healing we can do during that time. And since Light of the Martyr is instant-cast, we can still move about, stack up, or do whatever else we need to do. Divine Shield is already invaluable as a survival tool, but in Legion, it will also function as something of an indirect healing cooldown. What a nice bonus!

Divine Shield synergy aside, we should also be practicing using Light of the Martyr and building up that healer muscle memory. It’s unquestionably a strong heal, but when should we use it rather than Flash of Light? How much can we safely spam it before the health sacrifice becomes too much of a drawback? How much more dangerous does Avenging Wrath make it?

As every experienced healer knows, we can’t afford to ponder these questions during a fight. Lives are lost and raids wipe over split-second decisions. We need to be utterly familiar with our new spells, and the best way to do that is to play the game and get used to them.

Farewell, Warlords of Draenor! Next stop: Legion!

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