The Holy Paladin is a very unique healer in World of Warcraft. As the only plate-wearing healer, a Holy Paladin can survive longer than most of his contemporaries, and the base healing mechanic incentivises this hero to stay right in the thick of the fight, rather than standing with the other caster classes. In this Holy Paladin guide, we’ll take you through the nuances of playing this specialisation correctly.
Holy Paladins are tank healers through and through. Their healing tools are laser-focused on efficiently restoring large chunks of health to a single target. They have enough flexibility to allow them to effectively heal 5-man dungeon content, although they aren't a good choice for general healing in raids.
By the same token, their healing is amplified the closer they are to their chosen target, and so the Holy Paladin is often near the tank and subject to the same mechanics that melee damage dealers need to watch out for.
You’ll find that the Holy Paladin has a relatively simple set of healing abilities that are quite straightforward to use. We’ll explore them in detail in the Rotations and Cooldowns section, although we’ll start by advising you on a talent build that is focused on efficiency and ease-of-use. It's primarily geared for healing in a 5-man Normal, Heroic or Mythic setting, although it should serve you well as a raid tank healer, too.
We would advise gainst levelling a Paladin as Holy. It is much faster and more pleasant to level up as Retribution - check out our Retribution Paladin guide for that - and most gear is interchangeable between both specialisations at questing levels. You can always use the Dungeon Finder tool to run levelling dungeons as Holy, of course.
We will be updating this guide continuously over time, and next up we'll deal with picking the optimal stats and gear for your Holy Paladin, and provide you with an efficient levelling path for your Artifact Weapon.
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Holy Paladin talent build
This is what we believe is the most user-friendly talent choice for a Holy Paladin, without significantly sacrificing performance.
|Level||Talent Option||Reason for Choice|
|15||Bestow Faith - Infuse a friendly target with faith for 5 sec, healing them for a large amount at the end.||This extra healing spell will become a fixture of our basic rotation.|
|30||Rule of Law - Increase the range of your heals by 50% for 10 sec. 2 charges.||This very short cooldown will add some much needed flexibility to our healing arsenal on movement-intensive fights.|
|45||Blinding Light - Emits dazzling light in all directions, blinding enemies within 10 yards, dealing slight Holy damage and causing them to wander disoriented for 6 sec. Non-Holy damage will break the disorient effect.||None of the talents in this tier are relevant to healing, but this should allow you to make a small contribution in fights with large packs of adds.|
|60||Devotion Aura - Allies within 10 yards take 20% reduced damage, split over the number of allies in the aura. While Aura Mastery is active, all affected allies gain the full damage reduction.||This grants your allies a considerable defensive boost and can save a party when Aura Mastery is activated during an intense damage period.|
|75||Divine Purpose - Light of Dawn and Holy Shock have a 15% chance to not start their cooldown, and make their next cast free.||Holy Shock is one of your best spells and when this activates, it basically doubles its effectiveness. Light of Dawn is nice on occasion.|
|90||Sanctified Wrath - Avenging Wrath lasts 25% longer and also reduces Holy Shock's cooldown by 50% for its duration.||A considerable upgrade to a powerful cooldown.|
|100||Beacon of the Lightbringer - Mastery: Lightbringer now increases your healing based on the target's proximity to either you or your Beacon of Light, whichever is closer. The healing and range of Light of Dawn are increased by 30%.||This will minimize the need for you to stay close to your target, which will help when learning fights, or during the more chaotic encounters.|
Holy Paladin rotation and cooldowns
As a healer, it’s important to be able to read at a glance the health of your whole party. This is not easy to accomplish using the default UI, and as such we recommend that you use the Grid addon. This displays on your screen a simple, grid-shaped list of everyone in your party. It’s small and you can place it wherever you’re more comfortable with, and will help you manage health levels much more easily.
Using keybindings for your healing spells is also heavily recommended. Split-second reactions are often required while playing as a healer, something that does not play well with the need for extra clicks and mouse pointer navigation.
While healing in general is more about finding the right spell for the right occasion - rather than choosing a maximally effective sequence for most situations - what follows is a smart setup that will work as a rock-solid base for your healing decisions.
|Priority||When and Whom to Target|
|1||Beacon of Light||Keep this on the tank or the player taking the most damage at all times.|
|2||Holy Shock||Whenever available, and on the person with the lowest health.|
|3||Light of Dawn||If 3 or more players are taking damage / have taken moderate damage.|
|4||Holy Light||If your target is taking / has taken low amounts of damage.|
|5||Flash of Light||If your target is taking / has taken moderate to high amounts of damage.|
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Holy Paladins don’t have any ultra-powerful cooldowns like Priests or Druids, but they do have several uniquely beneficial spells, some on a rather short cooldown period. You will go from good to great as a Holy Paladin when you start being able to correctly weave these into the rotation described above, and in accordance to the flow of each fight.
What follows is a short primer on the best use-case scenarios.
|Avenging Wrath||This is your main cooldown, and you should use it as often as possible in any given fight, and only delay using it if you know beforehand that there will be a damage-intensive period where you’ll struggle without having it available. Keep in mind that due to our talent selection, Holy Shock will be available more often during this activation, and you should be constantly casting it.|
|Lay on Hands||This is a godlike, instant heal that carries the penalty of only being usable once every 10 minutes. When you see a player teetering on the brink of death, this is what you use to save the day.|
|Aura Mastery||With our talent spec, activating this will negate 20% of all damage to the party for 6 seconds, so deploy it once a boss uses its most damaging attack. During raids, the player in charge of coordinating healers should tell you when to use it.|
|Tyr’s Deliverance||This is the power that you receive with your Artifact Weapon at Level 100. It has a short cooldown but a 2-second casting time, so deploy as soon as a boss starts dealing damage to the whole party.|
|Blessing of Sacrifice||This can be a life-saver for a tank that is struggling, or a party-member that missteps into harm’s way. It doesn’t heal, but will instead redirect 30% of the damage they would take to you instead, stopping after 12 seconds or just short of killing you. It’s a way to capitalize on your increased fortitude, but you should have a backup plan to recover or protect yourself - by using your Divine Shield or Divine Protection spells, for example.|
That’s it for our Holy Paladin guide - for now. More in-depth information is coming soon, including sections on how to upgrade your Artifact Weapon, and a breakthrough of the effect of each stat on your healing potential.
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