Resto Druid Mana: Tips and Tricks

This is a guest post by Arajal. No, not related in anyway to Archmage Arugal.

My guild began our 25 man raiding about a month ago, throwing our entire healing team out of the frying pan of heroics and into the fire of raids. It was a system shock for everyone, myself included. We were all quickly finding that our old Wrath tricks weren’t working so well under the new healing system; we had to relearn our methods on the fly. Through this trial by fire (literally in some cases), I’ve come up with a few ways to save mana while still having good healing output, which I want to share with you all today.

Tank Healing

Lifebloom is your best friend for this now. While we used to spam this on everyone back in Wrath, it’s limited to one target now, so your best option is to slap this on a tank. Luckily, it’s a cheap spell, so if you need to swap it on a tank-switch or toss it to that DPS taking hits, feel free. Once your target is picked and the Lifeblooms are in place, don’t let that stack fall off. If you do, not only will you have to put up another stack, but you’ll also temporarily block yourself from Malfurion’s Gift, a talent that gives you a chance at a free casted spell every time Lifebloom ticks. Clearcasting procs are immensely helpful for saving mana; by keeping a stack rolling, you can guarantee you’ll always have access to the procs. You can refresh Lifebloom by casting it on the stacked target, or by using any casted burst heal.

Speaking of Clearcasting, the most mana-efficient way to use these procs is by using Healing Touch or Regrowth to consume them, as these are the two most expensive non-cooldown heals we have. Regrowth is good to use if you want a Swiftmend target and a quick heal, while Healing Touch is good for a free massive heal.

Rejuvenation is also a good spell to throw on the tank alongside your Lifebloom stack. This gives you the extra healing ticks and the option to use Swiftmend (just as cheap as Lifebloom in cost) for burst healing.

Raid Healing

Rejuvenation still shines as our go-to heal for throwing on other raid members. The main difference in Cataclysm is that we can’t spam it for too long without hurting our mana. As such, feel free to cast it on a few members who have taken damage, but don’t spam it like you would have on, say, Blood Queen Lana’thel, in Icecrown Citadel. That’s a one-way ticket to running out of mana.

Instead, using Wild Growth to start raid healing is a good choice. It’ll target the 6 (if glyphed) lowest-health targets and heal them for a pretty good amount. This is far more efficient than spamming Rejuvenation on everyone right away. However, be sure to look where your target is before you cast it. Throwing a Wild Growth on the DPS by the far wall of the room, away from the rest of the raid, doesn’t do your mana or raiders any good. Make sure casting it will hit the maximum number of targets possible.

The other way to throw out a good amount of healing for little mana is Efflorescence, a healing circle dropped at the feet of your Swiftmend targets. Now, I’ve read what Elitist Jerks has posted about the talent: How the talent is optional if another druid has it, how the math doesn’t show it to be very good throughput, etc. I don’t agree with this assessment*; any healing tool is worth getting, especially in a raid environment. Throwing down an Efflorescence circle is an incredible way to save mana while raid healing, and in some cases can make or break a heal-intensive boss phase, such as during Chimaeron (those of you who have done this fight know what I’m talking about). Also, just like Wild Growth, make sure the target you are casting your Swiftmend on to spawn the circle is standing in a place where the Efflorescence circle will hit as many people as possible (unless you need Swiftmend for the burst heal, of course).

Cooldowns

Tree of Life (as much as some people may hate the new version) is a good mana-saver if you’re running low or run into a damage-intensive fight mechanic. Lifeblooms revert to their spammable form, thus giving you an even greater chance for Malfurion’s Gift to kick in. Regrowth also becomes instant, giving you the perfect outlet for all those Clearcasting procs. Even Wild Growth is affected, giving you two more targets per cast.

Tranquility may not seem like a very good way to save mana, but it can be a life-saver for both your raid and your mana if used well. If you coordinate your Tranquility casts with other druids (or priests with Divine Hymn), you can save yourself the time and mana you would have otherwise used on casting Rejuvenations and Wild Growths by instead using Tranquility to stabilize your raid  and give the rest of your healing team a breather.

Mana Regeneration Tools

For regaining mana mid-fight, Innervate is your best option. However, using it when you’re scraping the bottom of the mana barrel won’t save you from running out. Instead, if you know you’ll need mana later in a fight, use Innervate early on in the fight (I like to use mine at about 75-80% mana). This allows it time to cooldown in time for a second use later, when you’ll likely need all the mana you can get.

Potions are a bit different, as you can only use them once per fight. While Mythical Mana Potions do work for emergency mana, I’ve found Potions of Concentration to be a good go-to source of mana in a fight. The only drawback to using these is the fact that you’re not healing and otherwise a sitting duck for the duration. However, there is a way to mitigate this: About midway though your mana (while Innervate is still on cooldown), find a safe spot, wait for a time when healing isn’t at a premium, and use the potion. Let the other healers know when you’re using it so they can be prepared for those ten seconds where you’re not healing. It’s a great tool to use to get your mana pool back up.

Nourish

Nourish is unique in many ways, even more so with the release of patch 4.0.6. Nourish is useful for both tank and raid healing, as it benefits from having a HoT already on your target when you use it and it refreshes your Lifebloom stacks. In 4.0.6, the Nature’s Bounty talent was changed to reduce the cast time of Nourish by about one-third if you have three or more Rejuvs active at one time. Most importantly, however, Nourish is among the cheapest heals druids have available, alongside Lifebloom and Swiftmend. When in doubt, Nourish!

While all of these are good ways to save your mana during raid encounters, I’ve found the most beneficial thing to do when your mana is at a premium is to trust your fellow healers. Don’t try to take the entire raid’s health into your hands; let the other healers in the raid help you keep everyone alive. If you’re low on mana, ask a priest for Hymn of Hope or a shaman for Mana Tide Totem to help not only your own mana, but everyone else’s. That teamwork can mean the difference between a wipe and a dead boss.

*I’m not against Elitist Jerks. I applaud them for their work and find a lot of their information useful. I just prefer to use my own five years of druid healing experience rather than raw mathematical data to base my conclusions on.
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Comments

  1. The problem I have with Efflorescence is that it is 6 talent points total to get. If it were 3, I would probably go for it. Instead I like to get more regen talents.

    • I agree, it is a bit spendy in the talent point department, but having as many tools as you can at your disposal is never a bad thing.

  2. Efflorescence is coming in at ~8-9% of my healing on some fights, so it’s definitely far from worthless.

    It can be weak, though, and it’s undeniably expensive (in terms of talent points). Hopefully that will change, and more people will feel that they can justify the points.

    You should perhaps mention Innervate swaps between resto druids (if you run with a second druid).

    • Generally the healing is weak due to people’s natural tendency to spread out on fights, yeah. Fights like Chimaeron or Magmaw (on some strategies) are where it really shine. It’s also decent for supplimenting tank heals, since Swiftmend is often cast on tanks. I’m more of a utility-favoring druid, so I like having as many tools as I can for any given situation.

      As for Innervate swapping, you could do it, but you would need a lot of coordination between resto druids to pull it off without causing undue stress on their mana pools, even with the glyph. And during a fight with a million other messages flying around chat channels and vent, it’s not always an easy thing to do.

    • I get my druids to set each other up for Innervates. Even with 3, it can be kinda difficult to manage. Some work needs to be done ahead of time to the point where each druid knows where the other is roughly on a fight and at what part of the fight to use Innervate so that it isn’t wasted.

      But if your druid crew can ace it, its a big stress reliever for sure.

    • In order to maximise mana returns, swapping with another resto druid means you are both getting 30% Innervate swaps (will vary slightly according to your mana pools) rather than just 20% on yourself.

      Even if you don’t have another druid to swap with, you should be trying to give your Innervate out, because 30% of your mana to the raid (20% to Bob and 10% to yourself with the glyph) is better value than 20% only on yourself. But by teaming up with another resto, you both get that benefit, so you’re not missing out on that mana.

      I don’t rely on whispers.. I’d never see that in the middle of a fight. I use Power Auras (with alarms) to tell me when to Innervate my swap buddy. I set him as my /focus and then Power Auras will tell me when he has dropped under ~70% mana. It’s invaluable.

      http://treebarkjacket.com/2011/02/12/making-the-most-of-innervate/

    • I usually tell my druids to use their innervates on themselves, due to the fact that they use glyphs other than Innervate, as well as my own tendency to just use it on myself (force of habit, really).

      That being said, I do see and understand the virtue of using innervates on other people in the raid for synergy. I suppose it boils down to how a group’s healing corp works together on a case-by-case basis.

    • Hmm.. what else are they glyphing?

      Rebirth, Wild Growth And Innervate are the strongest.

      Healing Touch is extremely weak (pitifully so), Thorns isn’t a raiding glyph, and Glyph of Entangling Roots is pretty situational.

      On a bare bones mana pool of 100k each on two swapping druids (ignoring raid buffs and temporary int buffs/mana pool buffs), they are giving each other an additional 10k mana every 3 minutes, or 278mp5 each. Or a free Mythical Mana Potion every 3 minutes.

      I would rate that above a 5 second reduction on NS or the ability to use instant roots.

    • Both druids currently are glyphing Wild Growth, Rebirth, and Healing Touch. I have told my resto druids that Glyph of Innervate is a perfectly fine glyph to use as well, though. I suppose the main reason I’ve never stressed glyphing Innervate before is because both myself and the other druids have adapted our playstyles to work without Innervate swapping and work on the assumption that we’re responsible for our own mana pools.

      We’re currently at a point in raiding where our mana isn’t much of an issue, but when we start heroics, I may have to start introducing Innervate-swapping to my druid team.

    • I guess I look at it this way. I have two glyph choices:

      1. Glyph of 280mp5

      2. Glyph of every time I use my least-used heal (rarely, usually only a few times with OoC up), I shave 5 seconds off a very weak talent.

      I’d take the 280+mp5 and start reconsidering my talents, or reforge some spirit to mastery/haste/crit.

    • I’m not saying you or the math is wrong; I’ve just never felt the need to mandate the Innervate Glyph if people didn’t want to use it. The only glyph I’ve ever mandated to my healing druids is Wild Growth, with the others being up to personal choice (so long as they make sense, of course).

      My own playstyle involves using Healing Touch enough to justify using the glyph while Innervating myself (a habit from TBC). That said, I understand not everyone plays the same as I do, hence why I left everything but Wild Growth up to personal choice for my other resto druids.

      Regardless, thanks for bringing Innervate-swapping to my attention again, Keeva; I may have to start setting my druids up to do it for upcoming heroic-mode bosses.

  3. Wild Growth can also be cast on a hostile target (say the raid boss) which can be very beneficial when you have a lot of raid movement and are having a hard time tracking where players are standing.

    • Ah yeah, forgot to mention that in the article. It’s a good way to guarantee it’ll hit people in melee range.

  4. I raided on my resto druid until I was able to teach the other resto druids in my guild all i knew and switched to priest (as we couldnt get any quality apps).

    Everything in this post is accurate but it is leaving the one biggest part of incrsasing your efficiency as a resto druid. In my opinion, in terms of hot breakpoints, in this current tier until entirely decked in 372s, it is unrealistic to achive the WG extra tick. Therefore upon much discussion, we decided to reforge haste all the way down to the 965ish range, which with 5% spell haste raid buff is your breakpoint for the extra rejuv tick.

    What do you do with the extra stats, stack the fuck out of mastery. My druid is full raid epics except for the OH which has dropped for our guild once, with this itemization strat, I am able to push to 18ish mastery.

    What does this mean? With the reduction to wild growth, when raid healing, simply WG, then rejuv those people that WG hits. and watch your 3.6k rejuv ticks turn into 4.4k+ ticks and your HPS shoot thru the roof.

    We have been doing this pre-mastery buff and even then I was pushing world 50-200 druid every fight with 10 blues on at the time.

    Enjoy druids.

    • As much as haste and extra ticks are handy, this article was focused more on mana conservation technique than anything. I tend to view haste and HoT breakpoints more in the light of throughput. I’ll leave discussion of haste, mastery, and HoTs for another article.

      Nevertheless, your feedback is appreciated.

  5. #innervate I don’t typically have another Druid to swap my Innervate with so I use it on myself. I understand that Glyphed the total contribution to the raid is +30% (20% to someone else + 10% to me) but that feels like 1) I’m being used and 2) like I’m just buffing someone else’s ability to heal at the expense of my own. I’m at 120,157 mana so I’m getting 24,031 in return. At the start of a fight, I always use my Innervate when I am down 15,000 mana. As it takes 10 seconds to gain the 24k mana, in that 10 seconds I will use the 9k mana difference so that I’m not bumping up against full mana and wasting regen. Using Innervate this early ensures I am able to use Innervate as many times as possible in a fight.

    #Wild Growth In Wrath the range of where WG would apply was pretty much just melee distance. In Cata it is now 40 yards, so the consideration of who to cast it on isn’t quite as crucial, as for the duration of most fights, the 5 other people who most need it (being a smart heal) will be within 40 yards of each other. Interesting note from Windsoar…I was under the impression that trying to cast a spell on an unfriendly target meant it cast the spell on yourself. The tool tip does indeed say “…of the target.” so does make sense. Will have to check this out; thank you!!

    • “#innervate I don’t typically have another Druid to swap my Innervate with so I use it on myself. I understand that Glyphed the total contribution to the raid is +30% (20% to someone else + 10% to me) but that feels like 1) I’m being used and 2) like I’m just buffing someone else’s ability to heal at the expense of my own.”

      No matter how you spin it, you’re giving up free mana. If that’s what you want, then nobody can tell you to do otherwise – but basically you are throwing away a bunch of extra mana for you and the other druid, simply because you feel funny about it. That is, of course, your prerogative.

    • Sigh, I missed the part about another druid.

      The message is the same, though.

    • I won’t say anything about the Innervate usage, since Keeva and I already had a discussion in another set of comments, but I will touch on what you said about Wild Growth, Lument.

      Yes, the range around the target is greater than it was in Wrath (30 yards to Wrath’s 15), but that doesn’t mean location no longer plays into using it. 30 yards in a room the size of, say, Cho’gall’s, can still be cause for awareness of where you’re throwing Wild Growth.

      For example, periodically during the Cho’gall fight, an add spawns and is picked up by a tank, who then drags it near the raid and eventually off into a corner. The melee DPS chasing down and interrupting that add are bound to have a gap greater than 30 yards between them and a large portion of the range group eventually. Take note that this potion of the fight also requires the raid to spread out while taking raid-wide shadow damage in some places. Without paying attention to where your Wild Growth lands, you could very easily hit that lone tank as he runs back from kiting the add, or the rogue splitting off from the near-dead mob and en route to rejoining the raid. You’ll hit people, sure, but whether the people hit are the ones in most need of the healing or not is where the issue lies.

      It’s all about triage.

    • Great example and clarification, Arajal. Thank you! I’m definitely playing with an awareness of where to place Wild Growth, I was just noting that it isn’t as unforgiving as it was in Wrath.

      Does anyone else find themselves moving into the middle of people and casting Wild Growth on yourself to cover those near you? On fights where we are generally spread (like Chimaeron outside of Feud), I

      One thing not mentioned in raid healing was using Wild Growth to maximize Mastery when applying Rejuvenation. I setup a bouquet in Vudho to better show who Wild Growth is on so that I can maximize Mastery in prioritizing who I put Rejuv on (WG -> Rejuv = Mastery effect). +15% (or more) on Rejuv is quite nice and makes a significant difference for simply paying closer attention to who has WG on them.

    • I don’t usually do that with Wild Growth, but I will occasionally do it with Swiftment for Efflorescence.

      On the mastery bit, like I told phailstate above, I wrote this primarily as a mana conservation technique article, rather than a throughput guide. Using Wild Growth to set yourself up for mastery is a good strategy, though. It tends to happen by itself, as raid healing requires multiple HoTs going out on people from the same druid, so a Wild Growth + Rejuvenation combination is bound to happen whether you try or not.

    • Using WG -> Rejuv to capitalize on Mastery is just as much about throughput as it is about mana conservation in that effective and efficient healing means less mana spent overall. Not getting a Rejuv on someone with WG on them before WG expires is lost healing and thus any spell subsequently cast on that person, whether a HoT or direct, is less efficient use of mana. This is in consideration of both the Druids mana pool but also any other healer who heals that person.

    • While yes, more throughput results in less spells needing to be cast at that moment, it doesn’t mean you won’t be dealing with subsequent attacks. HoTs may be powerful, but they still need to be refreshed after a certain duration, meaning you’ll be casting the same amount of mana regardless.

      By mana conservation technique, I was referring to direct control of your mana usage, rather than indirect (throughput) or passive (spirit regen); ways of working your spells to cover your healing without burning your mana pool.

      Difference in healing philosophies, I suppose.

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