Case Study: When to Use Fast Heals

This case study comes from yours truly. During the first week of the expansion, the heroic group I healed consisting of my own guildies random’d into Halls of Origination (which offers the best Justice Points:time ratio with 7 encounters, I personally think). After clearing out the first 6 bosses, we ran into Setesh (or Set or Seth or god of chaos, if I recall my SG:1 mythology correctly).

Now Seth likes to do a series of annoying abilities reminiscent of bosses we encountered in Wrath:

  • Shadow Crash – Care of General Vezax
  • Portal summoning – Jaraxxus
  • Green bubble things – That one gnome boss in Pit of Saron

There is a moment in the Setesh demo where I lose the tank. I had about 20% mana left in my pool. The tank’s health was dangerously low. I screwed up here because I thought Heal was enough to catch him, but it wasn’t. You’ll notice I already blew my Guardian Spirit earlier on in the video. I wasn’t thinking properly because I a few outs left.

Flash Heal spam – Even though my mana was low, I still had enough to unload Flash Heal and get our druid tank up to a safe level. I could have followed up 2 Flash Heals with a faster Greater Heal.

Leap of Faith – I was far enough away that I think Leap of Faith would have bought a few extra seconds of kiting (where the mobs weren’t beating on him).

Psychic Scream – Dropping a Fear Bomb would have shut out enough of the mobs to buy time for the tank to get clear or for me to use any of my healing spells to get his health up to a safer level.

So what’s the lesson?

If you need to ask yourself whether or no it’s a good time to use your fast heal, it’s a good time to use your fast heal. Since this encounter, I’ve instilled in myself that the moment the tank goes below 40% health, I would use Flash Heal to push him back above 50 before switching back to a normal Heal.

Luckily, we still killed him because of overpowered Warlocks.

Error, no group ID set! Check your syntax!
About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. As a holy priest, I save heal chakra holy word in 5 mans just for this task. The initial instant burst is a little bit greater than a regular heal but then followed up with a greater heal which will hopefully crit for 30k.

  2. That rule of thumb is very welcome advice. In Wrath since 4.0 I’ve been using Flash of Light regularly to heal because of the higher mana. Adjusting in Cata I wasn’t sure when to make that call.

  3. It is indeed Set or Seth, depending on if you’re thinking Greek or Egyptian. Note that both WoW and Stargate stole shamelessly from the Egyptians 😉

  4. I posted here yesterday about trouble with expensive heals. I switched from disc to holy and all my problems were solved. Healing is fun again 🙂

    Have you tried healing as disc?

  5. I agree. I use hardly any FHs atm in 5man heroics if I can help it, but there is STILL a situation or two where you want to remember it – namely, when the MT is simply taking big hits too fast for any of your other spells to cover them. there are a few 5man pulls too that are relatively short but hit hard on the MT, so using heal and GH only is too risky and you can afford to throw some FHs for the duration. it is also still an option to speed up your next GH that way.
    the new surge of light procs are really poor at the moment though, I hope this talent sees a slight boost soon or I really can’t justify the 2 talent points much longer. at the moment I get maybe 4-5 procs max per 5man heroic.

  6. Guardian spirit needs to last 20 seconds. It just doesn’t feel like this awesome end-of-the-talent tree ability at 10 seconds because you get at most about 3 or 4 heals off that will receive the +40% bonus before it drops off. Kind of lackluster at the moment I think. How about a glyph that increases its duration that could be the choice between longer duration, or shorter cooldown?

  7. GS is fine. Ask the Resto Druids and Resto Shammies how they feel about it.

    I keep two or three different rotations up my sleeve for different damage rates.

    Heal spam w/ Renew – just maintenance. I tend not to use this very much, actually.

    G heal spam, Serenity on CD, Heal to keep up the Chakra state and Renew – This is probably what I use the most. Basically, whenever G heal won’t overheal, this is what I use. Most tanks tend to slide into that region pretty quickly even on trash.

    Flashx2, Gheal, Serenity on CD, keep up Chakra and Renew – this is my game face rotation – keeping the tank up through the massive smackdown.



  8. No, it’s not fine for the reasons I gave above. The “just ask X class” argument isn’t a reason. If it were, I’d package my question about GS with “How would you feel dear Druid if I could main tank” or “How would you feel mr. Shaman if I could melee as well as a fury warrior with my staff?”.

  9. Just a few comments if you don’t mind. Just thinking out loud and getting opinions:

    1. How on earth do you manage any situation awarenes with so many things happening on the screen at the same time?
    2. 20% mana is huge in Cata and would have lasted you easily until the end of the fight. There is no point ending the fight with anything above 0 mana
    3. Leap of faith would not have worked and would have wasted time/mana for nothing. FH would have been a much better option. even a GH would have landed in time
    4. Heal is useless. it heals for way too little to matter. I usually just cast GH
    5. I like the way you kept DPS not topped up but in the “safe zone” where they can still take a hit or twoa nd you would have time to react
    6. was it a guild group?


    • 1 – You mean with all the addons and stuff? Quite easily. I’ve grown accustomed to just focusing on my character and watching what’s going on. Notice how my health bars are just right below it? I rely on Periphreal vision mostly to do it. I don’t pay very much attention to the combat text that scrolls by, nor do I look at recount until after encounters anyway.
      2 – 20% is a large amount of mana, yes. But remember the scaling cost of spells. I like to have a bit of a cushion. I’m not afraid to burn through it if I feel its necessary.
      3 – Yes it would have. If the tank was on one side and I was on the other, I’d burn Leap of Faith. The additional speed would’ve bought more time where he was NOT taking damage and I could get him up further.
      4 – Heal slows down incoming damage. It’s more like an auto attack. It isn’t supposed to top off players. Once tank health reaches a certain percentage, you cast a Flash Heal or a Greater Heal depending on the situation. I don’t think you can get through an encounter casting Greater Heal on everybody. Not unless you’re wearing 512 gear or something.

      And keep in mind, this is the FIRST time this guild group took on this particular boss, so we went in somewhat blind (but look over the major abilities to begin with).


  1. […] still be able to keep my mana reserves quite high. When the tank takes his big damage, I can pop a quick expensive heal, or a slow expensive big heal to give me the buffer to switch back to my medium […]

Speak Your Mind