Speccing Your Holy Paladin

This is a guest post by heinleinfan, a raiding Holy Paladin

I’m no World of Warcraft Theory Crafting Genius, I don’t do number crunching well, and there’s pally healers out there that could out-heal me into the ground in their sleep…but, this spec is really working for me, I’m happy with it, I’m an asset to my raids, I can tank heal or safely be assigned some raid heals without being a failbot at it… and so, I’ll blather on about it as if I knew what I was talking about.

This is my Holy Pally Spec. There are many like it, but this one’s mine.

First off, you’ll notice…not a single point in prot. Maybe this is nothing new to most holy pallies, but I ran with the 5 points in Prot so I could have Kings. And with the need to reach deep into holy for Beacon of omigodsponiesilovethisspell, I was constantly frustrated by those 5 darned points in prot. But now I get them out of prot! [insert happy dance] I’m sure some folks out there are going “what about Divinity?” Eh…five percent increased healing is not insignificant…but spellpower and crit are so much more important for healadins, and I believe those five points can be used more effectively for my raid spec and play style and so forth. So it’s bye-bye prot tree for me.

You’ll notice I ignore all the extremely powerful PvP talents. Basically, if it’s not directly affecting my actual healing output or speed in some way, I pass it by, as I am a raid pally and not a PvPer.

I’m running 18 points into Ret instead of my pre-patch 15, to get 3% more crit. The “filler” points needed in Ret to get to the 3rd tier are all pretty useful; Benediction brings the cost of Beacon and Holy Shock down, thatsaverra nice, especially with the new Holy Shock glyph, and Heart of the Crusader and Imp Blessing of Might are great raid additions.

Aura Mastery, yup, I’ve still got it post-patch. I had it pre-patch for the extended aura range, and I’m keeping it to try out the buff thing. I think it will prove to be more of a PvP talent addition, but…I will say, in a recent battle against Ignis, a well timed pop of Aura Mastery caused half of the raid to fully resist the Flame Jets. That’s not bad, not bad at all. But, with a two minute cooldown and the unpredictability of the RNG, it’s not great, and might turn out to be not worth the point. I’ll give it a few more days.

I gave up a point in Enlightened Judgements for it and I can handle that. I thought it would take a horrible lot of adjustment and wind up with me roflstomped by bosses who think 25 yards is too close for a healer to stand…but it’s definitely workable and has not caused me to eat floor yet.

And speaking of Enlightened Judgements, that and Judgements of the Pure are talents I would not pass up as holy. Especially with the UBER NERF OF DOOM to Infusion of Light…I hate you so much, Blizzard…I do *not* want to give up a constant 15% haste boost in a raid. Along with the points I have in Ret, the judgement affecting talents are just too useful to ignore for this raid spec.

The decision to put only 2 points in Imp Concentration Aura is pure selfishness. I realize that filled it’s a really darned useful raid buff. But I just can’t seem to ever spare the point for it without losing a point in something that I feel makes me an overall more effective raid healer (namely, post-patch, the crit in ret tree). If I dump Aura Mastery, this is where I’ll put that point.

Improved Lay on Hands just got more improved, thanks to the new minor glyph that reduces cooldown by 5 minutes. With these two LoH glyphs, and points here…when cast on myself that returns 3900 mana. That’s practically an extra mana pot for each boss fight!! *boggle* And even if I do need to use it as an “oh shit, heal” instead of “show me the mana” I still get mana back. And I can use it either way in every boss encounter without worrying about it; it’s only an 11 minute cooldown! *double boggle* No, for real though, remember the days when LoH was an absolute, last-ditch effort, only for emergencies kinda thing? I remember those days. And now I’m all nonchalant-like about it, knowing it’s not going to be AN HOUR until I can use it again. Let’s just keep this one real quiet-like, so maybe Blizz will not think about it too much, and decide to nerf it.

I gave up the Flash of Light glyph for the Holy Shock glyph. In all honesty, my play style and usual raid makeup with my guild had me not really using FoL all that much, so the crit chance from the glyph wasn’t doing much for me. And while the HS glyph means I’ll have the option for an instant FoL more frequently, I wouldn’t want to give up my other major glyphs for a 5% crit increase on my teeny tiny heal, even if I do find myself using it more often. That may change if I really find myself constantly using FoL, but I don’t yet see that happening.

I had chosen glyph of Seal of Wisdom over Seal of Light pre-patch for the mana efficiency. I switched them back and forth over and over (some inscriptionist on my server made a fortune off me in a 3 week period there) and I found Wisdom worked better for me with my play style, spec and raid makeup. Even though the light glyph gave me a slightly higher heal output, it wasn’t enough to really reduce the number of heals I had to cast significantly. So with that same thinking in mind…I’m switching over to the Divinity glyph, since I believe it’s even *more* mana efficient than the wisdom glyph, by giving me that almost-as-much-as-a-mana-pot return on mana so frequently.

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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.


  1. http://ferarro.blogspot.com/2008/11/holy-holy-batman.html

    For what it’s worth, there’s my take on speccing as Holy.

    Ferarros last blog post..Reboot

  2. Also, Glyph of Wisdom saves you at least 35,035 mana (spamming HL) over the same 11 minutes that Lay on Hands is on cooldown. Even cut in half to 17,517.5, that’s still more mana back via the Wisdom Glyph than Divinity. Just letting you know.

    Not that it matters if you raid with both. =)

  3. Aura mastery is a pvp talent, so I dunno why you would be picking it up, the point could be better spent in a 3rd point in concentration aura. With the need for throughput in Ulduar, 5% healing across the board is far superior to 3% crit, in my opinion.

    Ferarro already said better than what I could say about Glyph of Wisdom vs Light. With all the mana regen nerfs, Wisdom is sorely needed in Ulduar.

  4. heinleinfan says

    I know the math says “wisdom glyph good!!” but, I’ve been without now for, what, three weeks, and I’m not missing it a bit.

    Even though OOM for us holy pallies is rare, there are fights where mana pots are needed and attention to mana management is priority, and times when things go horribly wrong and mana management gets pushed down the priority list under “keep everyone alive NOW!! GAH!!”. It’s a nice little security blanket to know if those times happen, I can get through the panic mode and poof, two mana pots later I’m back at full mana. That may be an indicator that I’m the type of healer what that needs a security blanket and others don’t, but I’m okay with that. Mmmm…warm fuzzy mana binkit!

    I ran with the wisdom glyph for months, so had a good idea of how fast my mana pool would drain on a given fight, whether it be trash or Patchwerk or in a five man, and when I dumped it, well, I did not see a significant enough change for me to think I was missing anything. My first Naxx run without it my first thought, honestly, was “Whoa…what…I thought that glyph was doing something for me there, I’ve been wasting a glyph spot!!” because there just wasn’t a noticeable change in how fast my mana went down! I actually checked my glyphs tab more than once that night, just making sure I had, in fact, removed the glyph, and ran a bit with my Seal of Light up instead, just to make sure.

    And I’ve not missed it in Ulduar either, and I’ve yet to get a significant gear upgrade (grrr, RNG hates me), so I’m not suddenly running with seriously higher crit or a bigger mana pool, so, I defy the math! lol

    It’s working for me and may not work for others, and that’s fine, I wanted to throw it out there though because it may work for some.

    As for the aura mastery, yes, it is a PvP talent and I did say I was just testing out with plans to likely dump it. And then I fished up a turtle, and kicking on the “turtle afterburners” with that thing and Crusader, and watching his little legs fly…it’s too much fun. I’mma keep it for now for the giggles! (But I do respec to take it away if our raid has only one holy pally, so as not to deny the 3 point Improved Conc aura my fellow raiders just for the sake of giggles.)

  5. We have more or less the same spec XD
    But I don’t put any points in the aura mastery….because I really think it don’t worth it. Absolutely situational.
    Yeah, I have 2 points left. And, today, the two of them are spend on divinity.
    Well, a 2% its no a big deal, but when the people are still using the light glyph, for a 5%…..I don’t think de holy paladin need more healing.

    My “main” glyphs are the Glyph of Beacon of Light and the Glyph of Holy Shock
    The first one its AWESOME. ^ ^
    It’s so much mana….and that its what I need.
    And the Holy Shock need, the only real instant we have….all de minus CD it welcome.
    A 20% more crit on HL its more mana, and with the current behaviour of the holy on raid (HL>>HL>>HL…and in case of doubt, HL!!! XD), we need every mana back we can get ^ ^
    The speed of HL its inferior, but with the Light’s Grace we get a useful rotation:
    HS >> HL >> HL >> HS …
    It works.
    7k instant, 20% more crit HL, 0,5sec reduced HL…and the HS its there again.
    I’m not the math-gamer type, but I got the feeling to say that this is the more mana efficient HL rotation today ^ ^

    The third glyph….its my only real doubt about all of this.
    *** Glyph of Flash of Light: It isn’t worth it…but there’s a solution to the FoL on Uduar fail….¡Get two paladins! XD XD XD
    I’m serious about this. Two paladin on the MT, FoL spamming, the same eternal maná efficiency, and ~10ksec healing done ^ ^
    *** Glyph of Holy Light: It got SO nerfed. 8yrd and no crit? Buff….
    *** Glyph of Divinity: ¡Its rocks! But….well….Who gets more maná to us? This or the -5% of the Glyph of Seal of Wisdom? I don’t know.
    *** Glyph of Seal of Wisdom

    Today I’m playing with the HL one…but tomorrow or else Im goig to change to de Divinity, just to see it on action.
    If it don’t seems to be a live saviour, I’m going for the Wisdom one.
    Lay of Hands its more situational.

  6. A strange spec, but I see your reasoning behind it. Personally I’d never drop the extra point from Enlightened Judgements, the range is just too attractive.
    Divinity is, I thought, a given – not only are you increasing your baseline output, but also your incoming heals. Which means you’ll require less GCD’s from other healers, and with the amount of raid damage in Ulduar, well…
    For Glyphs, I run the standard Holy Light, Flash of Light, and Wisdom, but may drop the FoL glyph and try out either Holy Shock, or Beacon. The thing is though I’m not really getting under 20% mana during fights in Ulduar so I don’t technically need more efficiency (though it can only be a good thing). On the one hand more Holy Shocks mean I can react to changing situations faster, but it also means lower mana efficiency because HS is a mana pig. The Beacon Glyph would be for convenience rather than mana, sometimes GCD’s are precious and I watch in dread as Beacon counts down.

    @Ark: That you are not running with Glyph of Holy Light tells me you are not looking over your WWS logs. That Glyph makes up approx. 10% of my raid healing, especially since we are spamming HL so much in Ulduar. Do your raid a favour and put it back in.

  7. I would have to agree with ferraro on this, and I think Hebrewhealz was ripping into someone on the wow forums for exactly the same issue over the weekend,

    Your trading a constant 5% for one off bonus every 11 minutes, Divinity is a very nice glyph but not worth trading for seal of Wisdom, I would rate holy light and wisdom as the must haves. Holy shock,Divinity,Flash and beacon as options for the 3rd slot. I prefer divinity myself.

    Having said that with the cost of flasks rising abve 40g per hour. The real costs of having a stack of 20 of each of the above glyphs is relativly minor if you have someone that can make for cost, on the order of 2g-5g each, Its certainly feasible to swap Holy shock for Divinity for a single fight.

  8. You have entice my interest. someday I will be playing this game.

    Palabuzzs last blog post..Pacquiao vs Hatton: the aftermath

  9. I’ve been tempted to swap my FoL glyph for Divinity – simply for the mana returns. I really like my crit though, and as I posted earlier my pally partner and I have a pretty good setup going in our raids.

    I’m disappointed I couldn’t make Sheathadin work on Vezax. I’ll admit I wasn’t surprised, but I was still kind of mock hurt. Keeping the man down and all that.

    I also don’t run Divinity – with the raid healing and everything we have going on I want my crit and movement speed. I may not blow up the meters any more, but my targets live.

    Adgamorixs last blog post..Healing General Vezax

  10. Well I swapped out my FoL glyph for a HS one, and loved it. I really noticed the reduced cooldown, especially on fights like Hodir where there is so much movement. I didn’t really notice the reduced crit on FoL, the SS crit buff more than makes up for it. Once I lose the 2pc T7 bonus I may spec out of divinity for some extra crit.

  11. I’ve found your comments very interesting. If our spec choices aren’t the same (I spec http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#sxA0gM0sVu0tgdxZVcbx:difcMz), it was good to see some other views on holy speccing.
    I’ve felt the need for Divinity talent and Seal of Light glyph in Ulduar, while I was going Sancity and Seal of Wisdom glyph in Naxx. Mana is more to be checked now, but the healing output really is what will save your raid & tanks. Ulduar damage is very often massive compared to Naxx.
    I’ve tried a longer comment of your post on my blog, as I thought it was a really worthy discussion, you can read it here http://atouchofarcane.blogspot.com/2009/05/holy-paladin-raiding-spec-31.html.
    I’m very interested into your thoughts about the utility of Improved Concentration Aura in a raiding environment, sure it’s nice when you miss a Flame Jump on Ignis, but I don’t see many cases it can be useful if your raid plays well.

    Dreamings last blog post..Holy Paladin Raiding Spec 3.1+

  12. Isn’t Improved Concentration Aura a situational PvP talent? There aren’t that many stuns and interrupts in PvE. Better to put those points into Divinity in Prot and I’d never give up the extra range on judgements for aura mastery.

    Here’s my thoughts on Holy Paladin PvE Spec:


  13. Aura Mastery is a ridiculously powerful talent, but considering that you’d have to sacrifice either +Crit (Sanctity of Battle), +Healing (Divinity), or ignore better talents completely, I simply can’t say it’s anywhere close to being as comparatively useful for PvE. It has it’s highly situational uses, but they’re pretty few and far in between.

    Doubling Devotion isn’t that big of a deal since 2400 armor isn’t noticeable when your tank has 30k+. And the majority of raid damage comes from spells, anyway. Improved Lay on Hands adds more than 2400 armor to your tank by far.

    Imp Ret Aura is a definite stretch.

    Boosting Crusader and Concentration are both gimmicks that are either a.) not usable in raids, or b.) can be easily obtained anyway. If a boss silences you in Ulduar, then you’re simply not paying attention (i.e. Ignis’ Flame Jets), and using AM as a crutch is just wasting your points.

    The only actually viable reason for AM would be doubling the Resist of your current Aura, which is fantastic – in theory. The drawback is that it’s only possible for 10 seconds every two minutes, and all elemental damage occurs much more frequently than that. Plus, your Prot Paladin or Ret Paladin could (and should) be using Divine Sacrifice/Guardian, which mitigates quadruple that amount at bare minimum. And it’s all damage, not just Fire, Frost, etc. And it’s cooldown and duration is the same – 2 minutes and 10 seconds, respectively.

    Like I said, it’s a PvP talent and a phenomenal one at that – I’d never Arena without it. But it’s uses in PvE are highly situational, and, even then, limited at best.

    Ferarros last blog post..Val’anyr update!

  14. @ Ferarro
    Actually more armor for your tank is always a good thing, armor does not suffer from diminishing returns. There is a lengthy explanation here http://www.tankspot.com/forums/f192/1060-effective-health-theory.html, but the short of it is “This is because while armor scales linearly – each additional 1000 armor provides the same benefit as the one which preceded it…”

    I’m not suggesting Holy Paladins spec in to Devotion Aura, just clarifying the benefits of increased armor in a raid.

  15. Yeah, I’m aware of the benefit of more armor. I was just saying that 10 seconds every 2 minutes isn’t worth it. And worse, if your tank is a Paladin, he’s already got the +50% bonus, so unless you’re going deep into Prot for it as well (which you never should), that cuts the AM bonus in half.

    Maybe if it tripled it for 10 seconds or just doubled it for 20 seconds, then it might be PvE viable. But then it’s be OP in Arena and we’d get nerfed again.


    Ferarros last blog post..The Expendable Magic

  16. My spec is a bit different, and after being 51/5/15 and topping the raid’s healing meters I don’t want to go back. Everyone’s playstyle is different, and all that matters is that your playstyle fits you. Me? I am a FoL spammer for the most part, no matter how out of style it is, so I like the points in Divinity.

    And as for glyphing, you cannot heal without mana, and I try to avoid overheal like the plague, so I roll with Glyph of Wisdom. Ferraro says it better than I can, but if you feel like checking out some of my reasoning, head over to my blog.

    GKs last blog post..Why Val’anyr is for Paladins

  17. Some very good advice in here. I personally feel that as the extra crit is nice, we as Paladins can serve a much greater purpose to the raids with more Utility.

    I’ve been a very big proponent of crit based 51/5/15 Holy build however with Ulduar going back to the Sunwell-type splash damage boss fights I’m trying out a Holy/Prot build in which I’ve given up the crit talents in the Ret tree.

    Granted, Ulduar healing is EZ Mode compared to Sunwell healing Divine Purpose is a life saver.

    As for Glyphs. I chose Wisdom, Holy Light and Flash of Light as my Glyph setup. I think it’s the best setup you can get for mana efficiency. The debate over the LOH Glyph is good however if you’re a Paladin and you’re having mana issues in the first place, you need to rethink your play style.

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. Great blog. Bookmarked.

    Vaporis last blog post..Bye M’uru. Hi Kil’jaedan.

  18. Masterbum says

    Very interesting things here.

    I have just switched from a 53/0/18 Holy Spec to a 51/5/15 and have to agree with GK. I am noticing that I am topping the charts and have greatly reduced my overheal while increasing my mana efficiency.

    I am using the following Glyph’s: Holy Light, Seal of Wisdom and Beacon of Light.

    I like the beacon of light as it reduces the amount of wasted GCD’s for me.

    My main spec is Prot, but I have been filling in the past few weeks as a healer. My healing gear is slightly less than decent compared to my other raid healers.

    So the fact that since this spec change I am actually a big benefit to the raid is really an awesome thing.

    PS: I am having more fun with it too. I find it harder and scarier, but lots more fun.


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