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WoWJul 11, 2016 1:00 pm CT

Lightsworn: Holy Paladin talents for leveling in Legion

Legion is almost upon us! The excitement of new talents, experiencing new zones, and seeing new dungeons and bosses for the first time! Unfortunately, for Holy Paladins that also means having to endure the grueling leveling process, where we fumble through as Holy or just give up and play Retribution, since…wait, what’s that? Holy is going to be a viable leveling spec now? And we won’t even have to completely hamstring our actual healing abilities to do so? Tell me more!

Yes, Holy Paladins will be fully capable of questing and leveling on their own Legion. It’s about time, too! Like most healers, I’ve always found it frustrating that simply wanting to play our preferred spec meant being unable to effectively quest or do dailies. Finally, at long last, it seems like this will no longer be the case.


Holy Paladin talents for solo questing

Level 15: Crusader’s Might. Crusader Strike and Holy Shock make up the brunt of our DPS rotation, so we’ll get a lot of mileage out of Crusader’s Might. We simply won’t need the healing from Bestow Faith, and while Light’s Hammer can be occasionally handy, we won’t use it often enough to make it worth picking.

Level 30: Unbreakable Spirit. Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Lay on Hands are all extremely valuable survival spells, and will let us go toe-to-toe with the hardiest of Legion’s questing foes. It’s an easy choice, since Rule of Law does nothing for us while soloing, and Divine Steed — while convenient — won’t be needed for general questing.

Level 45: Fist of Justice. Since we no longer have a baseline interrupt (LOUD GRUMBLING), the more often we can use Hammer of Justice, the better. We’ll be casting Judgment pretty much on cooldown anyway, so we’ll receive the full benefit from Fist of Justice constantly without any real extra effort. Repentance and Blinding Light aren’t terrible, but they just can’t compare to the utility value of more frequent stuns.


Level 60: Devotion Aura. A constant 20% damage reduction while soloing is absurdly strong, and both Aura of Sacrifice and Aura of Mercy are nearly useless to us while questing. This one’s a no-brainer. Take Devotion Aura, even if leveling in a group, and don’t look back.

Level 75: Divine Purpose. In general, anything that buffs our offensive potential is worth taking, and Divine Purpose is no exception. Prior versions of Holy Avenger increased both damage and healing, but in Legion this talent now only buffs healing, so we can skip it. Holy Prism is one of our only AOE attack options, but don’t be tricked — we’re simply not equipped for AOE DPS. Our AOE attacks (Light’s Hammer, Holy Prism, and Consecration) aren’t very strong and/or have long cooldowns, so if we try to AOE packs of enemies, we’ll just end up surrounded by 5-6 ticked-off demons pummeling us into the dirt as we feebly try to single-target them down.

Level 90: Sanctified Wrath. Once again, more Holy Shocks equals a good leveling talent. Judgment of Light‘s self-healing isn’t bad, but we don’t need it — an occasional Flash of Light is more than sufficient to keep us upright. Bolstering Avenging Wrath and increasing our DPS is far more effective. Fervent Martyr is a weak talent to begin with, and we can’t even cast Light of the Martyr on ourselves anyway.

Level 100: Beacon of the Lightbringer. Ah, the life of the Shockadin, where half your talent choices are meaningless because the talents don’t actually do anything when not in a group. Beacon of the Lightbringer is the only real option for solo questing, with its buff to Light of Dawn. We’ll only be using Holy Shock offensively, so this still leaves us with an instant-cast self-heal. It’s not efficient, but mana won’t be an issue while questing, and we’ll be able to use it while running around or during lulls in our rotation. Yes, it’s pretty underwhelming for our level 100 talent, but what can you do?


The Legion Shockadin Rotation

Using the above build gives us a straightforward yet moderately active DPS rotation. Our attacks synergize together quite nicely — Judgment buffs Crusader Strike and Holy Shock, Holy Shock can proc free casts, and Crusader Strike makes Holy Shock come off cooldown sooner. It’s all rather tidy. Our final DPS spell is Consecration, and we should cast it whenever we can’t cast anything else.

  • Judgment (increases the damage of Crusader Strike and Holy Shock)
  • Holy Shock on cooldown, or if Divine Purpose procs
  • Crusader Strike (reduces remaining cooldown on Holy Shock)
  • Consecration

There will be the occasional lull when everything is on cooldown. It’s okay to just autoattack during these moments, or if your health is getting a bit low you can always toss yourself a Light of Dawn or Flash of Light.


What about the Silver Hand?

Most of the Silver Hand artifact traits are based around increasing our healing, but there are a few traits (besides the mandatory Tyr’s Deliverance and Virtues of the Light) that will still serve us well while leveling. Knight of the Silver Hand provides handy damage reduction, Shock Treatment is a nice DPS boost, and Protection of the Light is a substantial buff to Divine Protection. Additionally, all three traits are effective choices for dungeons and endgame healing as well, so you’re not “wasting” artifact power on traits that will only be useful while leveling.

Stat and Gear Priority

Intellect, Critical Strike, Haste, and Versatility will improve our DPS (Spirit and Mastery won’t help at all), but I wouldn’t worry too much about maximizing stats while leveling up — in general, we can simply prioritize pieces with higher Intellect. We should also be aware that our Hellfire Citadel 2-piece and 4-piece tier bonuses and pure healing trinkets such as Libram of Vindication provide basically zero benefit for Shockadins. Instead, use trinkets with large amounts of Intellect/Crit/Haste such as Iron Reaver Piston or Intuition’s Gift, if you have them.


Can we still heal dungeons?

If you like to supplement your questing with dungeon runs, don’t worry! We’ll still be able to hop into dungeon groups and heal them like we normally would. Unlike previous Shockadin builds where we had to sacrifice healing power for damage output, in Legion we essentially just use different spells! Much easier. That being said, if you have the opportunity to swap a few talents around before zoning in, I’d recommend a few changes.

Level 15: Bestow Faith. We probably won’t be able to Crusader Strike in dungeons as often as while leveling, so Bestow Faith is a decent replacement for Crusader’s Might. It’s a huge heal, perfect for high tank damage or to recover from a bunch of rapid-fire Light of the Martyr casts. Light’s Hammer remains too long a cooldown and too inefficient to use in small-group, fast-combat dungeons.

Level 75: Holy Avenger, Holy Prism. Holy Avenger gives us a very solid second throughput healing cooldown, while Holy Prism gives us a second AOE heal. Prism can also be a good single-target instant heal in a pinch, but this is less valuable than it was in Warlords of Draenor since we now have Light of the Martyr. I’d personally go with Holy Avenger, but I suspect many players will find it hard to pass up on their old Holy Prism buddy. Divine Purpose’s weakness remains the same as always — it’s entirely based on RNG, so it’s not reliable.

Level 100: Beacon of Virtue, Beacon of the Lightbringer. The “AOE Beacon” design of Beacon of Virtue gives us some interesting healing options. It has a short cooldown, is perfect for small groups, and pairs well with big Holy Shock crits, Infusion of Light procs, or beefy Bestow Faith heals. (It doesn’t work with Light of the Martyr, though.) Furthermore, if we have Beacon of Virtue for AOE healing, that frees us up to take Holy Avenger instead of Holy Prism. Beacon of Virtue does replace the default Beacon of Light, though, meaning our tank healing will be a bit weaker than normal. If that’s not your cup of tea — or if you think AOE healing won’t be a problem — Beacon of the Lightbringer is a solid alternative. Like always, Beacon of Faith is wasted in 5-player dungeons since you won’t have two people taking steady damage.


Trust in the Light

Legion is the first expansion where Holy Paladins will be able to effectively and properly quest on their own. It’s not quite Retribution, but it’s not exactly the old Shockadin style either. I know not everyone is thrilled about the whole melee healer thing, but the luxury of being able to actually quest (or do dailies at max level) without playing a DPS offspec is long overdue. The new rotation is fun without being overly complex, our damage is respectable, and our self-healing is great. Also, we get to bash demons with a giant hammer. What’s not to love?

For the first time, I’m really looking forward to leveling as Holy. How about you? Planning on taking different talents? Preparing any special questing tips or strategies? Or maybe you’re going to go back to leveling as Retribution once you can unlock a second Artifact Weapon? Let’s hear it!

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