Paladin Healing in Heroic Ulduar

This is a guest post by Adgamorix with some tips for Holy Paladins working their way through Ulduar.

3.1 and Ulduar are upon us, and the tears of Healadins fill the forums, feeding Yarg-Saron and keeping XT’s joints lubed. Bloggers and forum goers alike lament the death of Flash of Light as a useful heal, and wonder if the new Infusion is even worth it. 10% extra crit on a Holy Light? I want my haste back! I need to raid heal!

Can you taste the tears?

My question is what is the real issue? Granted, my guild hasn’t cleared Ulduar yet, but we did get six bosses down in the first week (no hard modes), and I haven’t seen the problem. As we’re a 25 man raid guild, we typically run with seven healers: two Paladins, Disc priest (dual spec’d for Holy which some Priests just aren’t good enough to do *wink*), Holy Priest, two trees, and a Resto Shaman. Our tanks are a mix of all the tank classes, and we run a fairly balanced mix of melee vs. ranged (though we do have a lot of hunters – fortunately no huntards).

Given a balanced raid makeup, I’m very happy with where paladin healing is right now. On any boss fight that we’ve done so far, I’m confident in putting my paladin partner and I on the tank and letting the other healers take care of the raid, off tanks, etc. Between Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield, we can run a steady rotation on the tanks, and it hasn’t failed us yet. Granted, I haven’t seen the fights in 10 man yet, but I’m confident that it’ll be ok.

Note that I’ve said ‘balanced raid makeup’ a couple of times here. Even though we’ve been told to “bring the player and not the class”, I don’t think anyone would reasonably expect to waltz through Ulduar with nothing but a pocket-full of rogues and no ranged DPS… at least not for a while anyway. Having a mix of buffs and abilities is part of what makes raiding so much fun. It’d be boring if any 25 people (regardless of class/spec) could walk in and down the content during the first week.

I think the problems being experienced by some paladins can be explained with the same explanation we had when our MT pulled XT with his face the first time, leaving all his healers 40 yards behind him.

“You’re doing it wrong!”

Ulduar isn’t Naxx, and I’m glad. The trash is harder than most Naxx bosses, and “gasp” we have to use crowd control again. XT’s trash brought back nightmares of old Kael’Thas trash (with a mix of Void Reaver), and it takes some getting used to. Healers can’t snipe any more, and target assignments are crucial. Trusting your raid mates to do their assigned task, and focusing on yours, keeps the raid alive. I generally can’t spare the GCD to hit someone else, and I count on the raid healers to cover me when I’m not beaconed. Sure, I’m lower on the meters than I used to be, but our strategy works and bosses die.

I won’t disagree that it would be nice to have another tool in my box, but I love the healing aspect of my paladin so much that my Resto Shaman has been collecting dust for two months. I like the challenge of healing without a designated ‘raid heal’, and learning new ways to cope with the incoming damage.

Here’s how we’ve pulled off each boss so far

Healing rotation: This healing rotation is similar to what we use for every boss we two heal. My partner will spam HL while I run FoL/HS rotations. I generally keep my SS up on the tank, and we beacon an OT if they are close, our we just beacon ourselves. After about one minute of this, we switch roles, and she hits DP to start her regen (I usually hit Illumination right at the start – I also pop my haste gloves). This continues for one minute, and then we switch again (this time I Plea). With this rotation the MT is getting around 30k in healing every 2 – 2.5 sec (lag depending), and there is always a heal landing.

Flame Leviathan: All I can say is, flying through the air with a boom-chicken by your side is worth it. I beacon the boom-chicken and unleash my holy DPS on the turrets. Instant FoLs on myself are enough to keep us both alive without any stress (hard mode may be different).

Ignis: Pallies beacon themselves and do nothing but roll heals on the MT. We have our Disc priest on the OTs, with the druids dropping HOTs on them as they race by with the constructs. Raid healing is covered with the shaman and holy priest, and the druids kicking in after a flame jet.

Razorscale: This fight is a lot less coordinated. Generally I sit on our DK who picks up the whirlwinders and also stays closest to Razor so he gets her fire patches. I beacon myself, and just roll FoL on him until the fight ends. I’ll also run in and hit the boss a few times while she’s harpooned, that way I have a full mana bar at the start of phase 3 (phase 2 if you don’t count the chained phase) so I can just bomb the tanks with HL.

XT-002 Deconstructor: We handle this fight just like Ignis. Prot pallies on the tank, Disc Priest on the add tank, and the rest of the healers on the raid. The only change up is during the earthquake/pound one of us will switch off the MT and drop HL bombs on the melee to help with the damage.

Kologarn: See previous strategies. I usually beacon the add tank on this one, since he’s close enough to always receive my heals. Only one of the tanks holding Kologarn should be taking a significant amount of damage, so we focus on them individually. A Resto shaman is also amazing for the folks caught in the grip.

Assembly of Iron: This one we switch up just a touch. We’ve only downed this once, and that was in the ‘easy’ mode. Here we flip the disc priest and a holy paladin, beaconing the off tanks and healing through the damage. A shaman is an ideal healer for the tank on Stormcaller, as they can interrupt the chain lightning and the lightning whirl.

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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.

Comments

  1. Some nice tips here, do you happen to have any advice for the 10 mans though? They seem to be the area where Holy Paladins are really struggling.

    Veneretios last blog post..The Art of Warbringer

  2. “haven’t seen the fights in 10 man yet, but I’m confident that it’ll be ok. ”

    And this my friend is where you’ll find your wrong. You’ve got a Paladin doing what he does best Tank Healing. You’ve got plenty of other healers in a 25 man to handle the raid healing.

    Come back and talk to me after you’ve healed the 10 man version. That is where the majority of the complaints arise from.

  3. Hey now, this is a perfect opportunity here for guest post number 2: Being stoned by Ulduar 10. Looking forward to reading future impressions =)

  4. Always nice to read something from a paladin perspective. 🙂 This makes me realize how lucky I am as a disc priest to at least have prayer of healing, it’s all the AOE heals you need for a ten man, though very heavy on the mana.

  5. Thanks for the 25 man tips! I’ve healed 10 mans before and it seems to be fine for me…

  6. Not sure why their complaints about the 10 man are coming from, I essentially heal the 10 man the same as I heal the 25 man. The sole difference being I beacon add tanks in 25 and beacon the MT in 10 so any raid healing I do goes to him as well. I am also very careful to only raid heal when I reasonably sure I wont lose the MT because my target was healing by someone else.

    Their are opportunites to do reasonable dps in 10 man while recovering mana so use them,

  7. I don’t want this to come across as a criticism but in my view you may find better results with a couple of small tweaks.

    First, Holy Shock (HS) is both less HPS and HPM than Holy Light (HL). This means that, simply by replacing HS with HL in your “rotation” your mana efficiency and healing goes up.

    Second, especially when under the divine plea healing penalty, casting Flash of Light (FoL) is usually a waste of time. Sure its mana efficient but its healing is so low that to use it at any time where you are not completely OOM is sub-optimal. Of course going completely OOM is somewhat sub-optimal as well 🙂

    Third, in my (admittedly limited – 4 bosses in H Ulduar and 6 in normal) experience, it is not necessary to have 2 pallies constantly spamming on the tank for the whole fight every fight. There are intense periods sure (frozen blows, high stacks on Razorscale) but generally the bosses aren’t hitting THAT hard. Having hots on the tank really takes the edge off too.

    Your second pally could be beaconing the main tank and healing the OT and / or other damage (think Ignis Slag Pot, Kologarn’s grip). A holy pally beaconing the main tank and chaining HLs into those targets will dwarf any FoL / HS healing.

    One tip: swinging that mace at the boss (even periodically) will return a surprising amount of mana.

  8. I haven’t done 25-man Ulduar, but I don’t have any problem healing 10-man Ulduar as a Holy Paladin. You people complaining about your Flash of Lights being so weak and not being able to raid heal should try stacking Spell Power instead of Intellect. I can raid heal in Ulduar-10 with no problem while keeping up a tank at the same time. Holy Shock and Flash of Light synergy is amazing. Sure, you can pump out more HPS with Holy Light, but who cares if people are still dying? You need to use Holy Shock and Flash of Light to take care of all the burst damage. It usually only takes one Shock and a Flash for me to top off non-tank, and I can do that instantly. All 3 spells have their appropriate uses.

    This is a great guide. Thanks!

    Celtons last blog post..Holy Paladin Healing Guide

  9. We’re currently stuck on XT. >:[

    This guild worked blissfully through Naxx. We had no problems with OS+2 but never got the full three drakes. We did everything else. H8 @ [Glory of the Raider].

    My Holy Paladin is sitting on some of the best available gear from pre-Ulduar, and so is about 3/4s of the guild, but we’re complete idiots! The problem *is* with the healing team. It’s really sad to look at the healing meters and try to determine if someone was even healing their assigned target.

    I really like what you’re doing with your second Healy Paladin. I haven’t had the privilege of being with my usual partner for the content, so I’ve been frustrated with a geared and competent partner that I’ve never worked with before. He really enjoys sniping raid heals. It’s a problem.

    I’m trying to tell our healing lead that it’s a problem with a whole lot of the raid. He’s very touchy. He refuses to look at what WWS and Recount would say. We don’t have a balanced raid composition. We run with 3 Resto Druids, 0 Healy Priests, 2 Holy Paladins, and 1.5 Resto Shaman. In practice, our druids fill in roles very nicely.

    When a 4th Resto Druid volunteered during our XT attempts, we brought her in and threw my partner back to his normal Retribution Spec, I coordinated wonderfully with her between XT’s melee swings. To my knowledge, no other healer has even attempted to coordinate yet. :[

    In 10man content, I’m brute-forcing my healing all over the raid. With no second paladin to mess up my Beacon of Light target, I’m letting myself just go bonkers with sniping heals and tunnel-visioning on my raid frame. The 10man content is very forgiving, and I just can’t trust even our ATEAM healing group to push through some encounters.

    During Flame Leviathan, I haven’t been thrown out yet. I’m just “too good” on the shield/mortaring.

    For Razorscale, I’m given a tank on either the right or left and allowed to FoL spam my way through a fun fight.

    No Ignis attempts on Heroic Ulduar yet.

    On XT-002, I’m given the lovely task of healing the MT between melee swings, and then proceeding to lay down the ultrahot Seal of Wisdom mana regen during the heart phase for 30 seconds straight. Coordination with the second healer assigned is so crucial!

    (10man) Assembly of Iron involves dispelling the Rune Punch on the “big guy” tank. We do Big/Medium/Midget for our kill order. If the tank is a paladin, I can relax and heal up the massive burst of damage the boss can slap onto the tank. If not, well I need a second healer to cover me while I get the debuff cleansed. (Maybe I’m a weak healer. :X) The rest of the encounter it’s straight forward “don’t range your tank/healer and run from stuff.

    (10man) Kologarn. Oh. My. God. (10man) Kologarn. Easy stuff as long as DPS realize that ledge in front of his face does not have a guardrail. We kill the right arm, to avoid the grips. Healers swap to whoever he grabs until it gets chopped off. Paladins are well suited to throw a Holy Light onto the victim, and with the OT and the MT often very close to this arm, Beacon is in full effect. We switch tanks when the MT has the debuff up to 3 stacks, and the OT takes the adds and the boss for a few seconds. This switch is pretty easy to handle.

    Auriaya isn’t too complicated. Brute force tank healing. Healing whoever gets pounced is a raidhealer job. I avoid the assignment gracefully.

    Freya (easymode) — I’m using Aura Mastery during the silence while I run for a mushroom. I tend to scream this over Vent, too. The other phases are simple tankhealing bruteforce affairs.

    (END)

  10. First of all: Sorry about my crappy English ^ ^

    I’m a Holly Paladin, and a MT healer.
    Well, its seems some like….obvious.
    Holly Paladin = MT healer
    But the thing its…I can’t don any other role in the raid. Not without doing it under the…how to say that….¿underpowered? Juts compared to Druid, Shamans, etc…

    But the thing its that the MT healer role, my role…i’m the only class capable of do it at my level. (Well, maybe a Priest Disci ^ ^)
    I’m healing about 15k every 2 seconds, and my maná keeps flowing until the end.
    The rest of classes cat keep up with that,
    That’s our power. And I’m happy with it.
    I can do my job….a really important role….and the raid win.

    I’ll be really really happy with a AoE XD ¡Who’s not!
    Maybe a ability in the holly talents who make consecration heal and do damage…¡something like that!

    The thing it’s than many bosses in Ulduar let us regenerate our maná pool over and over again.
    Some kind of unlimited mana supply.
    With that, and the massive healing (and overhealing XD) of HL, we can do a job that only we can do.
    And im fine with that ^ ^

  11. in ulduar are pally healers going to be one of the healers that are under the rest of the healers ? like restore shammies and tree always out heal me, and i was wondering what i can do to out heal them in ulduar!

  12. re: flame leviathan

    are you fighting the same flame leviathan i’m fighting?

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