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Lightsworn: How to heal as a Legion Holy Paladin

Confused, Holy Paladins? If you’re just now returning to WoW after a bit of a hiatus, or if you weren’t following the Holy Paladin changes on the beta, you might be at a bit of a loss right now looking over your talents and spells. Does this one mean we’re supposed to melee now? Does this heal hurt us when we use it? What’s going on?

This month, we’re returning to the basics and examining our core abilities to see just how one goes about healing as a Legion Holy Paladin. Since raids aren’t out yet, the following advice and information will be geared towards healing Legion’s dungeons.

Not what you’re here for? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered if you want to know how to level as Holy, or if you want to know how to get our Artifact, the Silver Hand.

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Are we melee healers now?

Answer: we can be. It’s entirely possible to play a Holy Paladin, stand in melee and use your offensive abilities on cooldown. However, I suggest not doing so right now. While we’re learning the ins and outs of Legion’s dungeons and getting used to our new abilities, it’s far safer to stand back a bit so we can see incoming threats and dodge mechanics properly. No reason to over complicate things by trying to learn everything all at once.

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Core Healing Spells

Holy Shock: Our signature heal is inexpensive, instant-cast, and powerful. Use it as much as possible! It’s also buffed by some of our other abilities (more on this later). When it crits — which happens a lot, since it has double our normal crit chance — it causes Infusion of Light.

This buffs Holy Light and Flash of Light. Holy Light is slow but efficient, while Flash of Light is fast but inefficient. If you have an Infusion of Light proc, you can use the proc to cast a fast and efficient Holy Light. Or you can cast a supercharged Flash of Light — still fast and inefficient, but 50% stronger.

Holy Light and Flash of Light also benefit from Beacon of Light. The primary use of Beacon of Light is to cast it on your tank, so that free heals will trickle over when you heal other people. Casting Holy Light or Flash of Light on your Beacon will also refund 30% of their mana cost, an important distinction. Take advantage of these mana savings whenever possible. For example, if your Beaconed tank and a DPS both need healing, it’s more efficient to heal the DPS with Holy Shock. Heal the tank with a (hopefully Infusion of Light-buffed) Holy Light or Flash of Light, rather than the reverse.

Our baseline AOE heal, Light of Dawn, is a 15-yard frontal cone that also heals in a small radius around us. Although accurately aiming it can be tricky, Light of Dawn is actually one of our most effective heals now. It becomes more efficient than Holy Light if it hits at least three targets. And since Light of Dawn always hits yourself, you really only need to hit two other people — which is pretty easy to do. A Light of Dawn that hits the maximum five injured allies ends up being twice as mana-efficient as Holy Light. Not bad!

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Lay on Hands is a full, instant-cast heal on an extremely long cooldown. A wonderful spell to have in our back pocket for emergency situations. Don’t fall into the trap of being reluctant to use it, though! Saving cooldowns for “the perfect moment” is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a healer. Having all your cooldowns available means absolutely squat if your group wipes because you were being too conservative.

If you haven’t seen our strange new “hurt yourself to heal a friend” spell yet, Light of the Martyr is bound to raise some eyebrows. You don’t want to use this too often, since it doesn’t actually result in a net health gain. What’s important is learning when to use it. Use Light of the Martyr when you need to heal while moving; or when allies are in immediate danger of dying but you are not. You can also use it when you have Divine Protection or Divine Shield active to reduce/prevent Light of the Martyr’s damage, and so on. Be careful when something is increasing your healing, since that also increases Light of the Martyr’s healing — and its self-inflicted damage.

Granted by the Silver Hand, Tyr’s Deliverance is a great way to quickly heal up multiple injured allies. Its short cooldown and fast cast time means we should be using it frequently, pretty much whenever a few allies are hurt. It’s also free, which is nice!

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Become a Watcher

Cooldowns and Utility Spells

Our only baseline throughput cooldown, Avenging Wrath is a huge buff to our healing. It increases our crit chance, and allows us to cast Holy Shock more frequently. The ultimate solution to any bad situation. Use it, love it.

Throw Blessing of Sacrifice on the tank if they’re really taking a beating. Currently, if I see a pull go disastrously wrong or notice a Hunter Barraging an extra pack of mobs or two, I immediately throw Blessing of Sacrifice on the tank to make sure we’ll make it through.

Blessing of Protection is great for when a DPS has threat, if you’ve got some turtles chewing on your face, or if you feel like saving that Hunter who just pulled yet another group with Barrage. Don’t use it on a tank though, as it makes them drop all threat.

Aura Mastery does different things depending on which aura you’ve chosen, but it’s always a solid way to heal your group through heavy damage. For example, I usually hit Aura Mastery during Eye of Azshara’s Serpentrix fight, if the Blazing Hydra Spawn heads aren’t being killed and are instead just nuking the group with Blazing Nova.

As a short but considerable speed boost, Divine Steed is good for quickly getting out of harm’s way. It’s new in Legion, so be sure to put it on your bars!

We can’t talent Hammer of Justice into having a 30-yard-range anymore. But since we no longer have Rebuke, this spell is basically our only way to interrupt someone now.

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Talents

While talents remain largely a matter of personal preference, there are definitely some that simply aren’t that useful in 5-person dungeons. Don’t bother with Light’s Hammer  — not enough targets, too long a cooldown, Rule of Law — you won’t need extra healing range in dungeons, or Beacon of Faith — you won’t have two targets taking consistent damage. With that in mind, the image above shows the talents I’ve been running with in dungeons so far. There are of course some minor variations depending on what dungeon I’m running. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find the talents that feel right to you!

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Choosing Silver Hand traits

An important thing to remember when choosing Silver Hand traits is that Artifact Power costs vastly increase after our 13th point. The 14th point actually costs more than the previous 13 points put together! Fortunately, by the time you reach this point you’re usually hitting maximum level, where Artifact Power gains also increase. Still, it can be a bit of a (Holy) shock.

With that in mind, it’s not a bad idea to plan out your first 13-14 points, knowing that things are going to slow down a little after that. Most Holy Paladins I’ve spoken to are going for something along the lines of the above build.

With 12 points invested, this leaves us free to invest the 13th into either Light of Dawn via Expel the Darkness or Second Sunrise, or Divine Protection through Protection of the Light. Either way works.

We can reset our traits by talking to Valgar Highforge in our Class Hall. However, the cost to do so is based on how many points we’ve already spent. The farther along you are, the more expensive it’ll be to do so. For example, resetting after investing 13 trait points costs 6,840 Artifact Power, the same as actually purchasing our 14th trait.

Is it worth resetting your traits if they’re not allocated optimally? Eh. It won’t be the end of the world if your traits are scattered around a bit. There are no “bad” traits, after all, and no one is going to care if you’re not 100% optimized right when you hit 110. If you haven’t yet purchased your 13th point, and you feel it’s really important, then go for it — you’ll recoup the cost quickly. Once past that 13-point threshold, though, consider your choice a bit more, as it’ll take considerably longer.

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The new Holy Paladin may seem strange at first glance, especially if you’re trying to learn Legion’s new dungeons at the same time. Relax! We’re only two weeks into the expansion, raids aren’t even out yet — there’s no rush. We’re still capable of healing in much the same fashion as we always have, so master the new spells and dungeons first. There will be plenty of time to test out our raiding talents or melee healer builds later!

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