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Healing Priority and Mana
Management as a Holy Paladin

Ok, you have the gear, you have specced holy, now what?  Head
out there and find a group to adventure with, what else! As a Holy
based Paladin you should be spending most of your time in a group since
your solo effectiveness will be way down from playing a Retribution or
Protection based Paladin. Once in a group and adventuring though, the
most important thing to understand is healing priority and mana
management. This is something that ALL healers regardless of class need
to learn and is what truly separates the good healers from the bad. The
two things can sometimes be viewed individually, but are best thought
of as a pair at all times. Ok, so what are they?

Healing Priority - The order in which you
will heal people, or in extreme cases allow them to die.

Mana Management - Managing your mana so that
you can heal for as long as possible. This can tie into healing in
bursts and then resting, or just healing key people and forcing others
to bandage, etc.

Now that you know what they are, how do you use that knowledge? The
first part is establishing your healing priority and sticking to it. In
a standard 5 man instance group you will have something like this for
group composition: Tank, Healer, AOE DPS, DPS, Misc. In most cases this
list is also your healing priority list. Usually your tank is the most
important person to keep up with yourself being immediately next in
line. It then rolls down to AOE DPS or DPS depending on the instance
and then the miscellaneous person in the group. This will change based
on individual situations but is the general rule.

The last part of healing priority is making sure that you know when
to keep people up, and when to let them die. This is basically
exceptions to the above order. There are situations such as the Mage or
Warlock doing mass AOE against a group that needs to die, or a single
enemy being left at low health and a last heal being available for the
tank or DPS (where DPS would be more likely to be able to kill them),
or any number of other specialized situations. While it is important to
stick to the priority as much as possible, you should learn to
recognize when exceptions to it are important as well.

Mana management is managing the amount you heal in a fight. Sure
it's possible to heal everyone as soon as they take damage and even to
keep everyone at 100% health, but why and for how long? If the tank is
taking most of the damage and everyone else is just taking collateral
damage from things, why heal them at all, unless they are below 50%
health? If players are pulling aggro just because they know you will
heal them, stop; make them learn aggro management. If everyone is above
80% why cast small heals? Wait a while and regenerate some mana.

Part of mana management is also worrying about how big of a heal is
needed, how quickly it is needed, if the target will die before a big
slow heal, and how much mana that heal will cost. Is it better to cast
many small heals, or wait until the player is lower in life and cast
one big heal? Since your small heals are more efficient they should get
priority, however big heals are sometimes needed so the target gets
enough health back to take another hit.

The other part of mana management is to look at how far down the
healing priority list to actually heal, and by how much. At times
someone way down that list will be at 30% health and you could get them
to full health with a big heal or 60% health with a small heal at less
than 1/2 the cost and 1/2 the time. You need to learn to manage those
situations and realize that full health is not always needed (despite
everyone being damaged always calling for a full heal).


Learning all of your Healing spells and abilities and when to use each one is what will make you a far better healer, and player. You have a large number of options available to you, use them.

Most of the time you will get stuck into a rotation and use very few of your abilities, that’s normal. However, make sure you go back and use others, to remember what they are and when they are best. Sometimes that slower more efficient heal can be used, sometimes it can not. Learn those times and make use of it when you can. Knowing and using all of your abilities is what separates the top 10% from the rest of all players.

By using all of your abilities you will also maximize your mana efficiency, longevity, and survivability. Even when using another more expensive spell that you may not normally use, it will be for a reason, not just because it is there.


Healing Spells, Mana Efficiency, and Spell Coefficients as a Holy Paladin

Now that you know the order you should heal, how to you make sure
you have mana for everything? Which heals should you use when and why? Making use of the right heals at the right time will make you a more efficient healer and ensure you have mana for those long fights.

Holy Shock - This is your only instant heal, but it
is very mana inefficient and has a 6 second cool down. Because of the
low amount that it heals, its high mana cost and its cooldown you
should really only use it as a last resort to save someone, even then it
probably won't be enough. It is also the only heal you can cast while
moving, so any time you need to move or readjust in a fight it is a
good time to throw one of these at the tank. However, throw all that out, as you still need to cast it because it generates a point of Holy Power for you, and therefore becomes a required heal in your rotation.

Flash of Light - At a 1.5 second cast time this is
a fairly fast spell and heals for a fair amount. It is however not very mana efficient
as it costs almost the same as our but healing spell Diving Light, but heals to just a bit over half as much.

Holy Light - This is a long cast time heal at 2.5
seconds that heals a fair amount of health. It is heals for less than
Flash of Light but costs about 1/3 of the mana. The issue with it is the long cast time.

Divine Light - This is our big huge healing spell. It takes 2.5 seconds to cast and doesn't cost much more to cast than Flash of Light, but heals for a LOT. In addition it's spell power coefficient is huge at roughly 1.15, meaning it gains 115 healing for every 100 spell power you have.

Word of Glory - This is an instant cast single target heal that is cast with your Holy Power. With 3 HP up it heals for about the same as a Flash of Light but is instant and costs no mana. What more could you want in a healing spell!

Light of Dawn - This is another heal that is cast with your Holy Power. It heals up to 5 targets in a cone in front of you for a small amount of health. However all those small amounts add up to a more than your big Divine Light can heal for. The best part of this heal is that it will heal those that need it most in your front arc and not just 5 random players.

Holy Radiance - This is an awesome healing spell that bases an AOE HOT effect around you. It ticks every second (before Haste) for a base of 10 seconds, and heals everyone in range for a small amount. If cast with many players around, the healing really adds up. Better yet while stacking Haste it makes it tick faster and gains extra ticks for even more effective healing.

The above is just a base look at healing efficiency though. There
are many factors that change and enhance your healing spells such as the amount of Haste you have for Holy Radiance or the amount of spell power you have and the coefficient each spell gains from it.

Healing Spell Basics at Level 85
Spell Name Approx.
Base Healing
Mana Cost
Spellpower Coefficient
Holy Shock 2,700 1,800 27%
Flash of Light 7,200 7,000 86%
Holy Light 4,400 2,300 43%
Divine Light 12,000 7,700 115%
Word of Glory (3HP) 6,500 0 - Consumes 3 HP 60%
Light of Dawn (3HP) 2,000 per target 0 - Consumes 3HP 40%

Healing Rotations

There are of course a huge number of variables when healing, so
there is no one specific rotation. Who and what you heal is largely
based on your assignment in a raid, or healing priority in a group, or
on just who is taking damage and why. After reading the Healing
Priority section above you likely have a very good idea of who to heal
and why.

There are several things to keep in mind while healing though as

  • Keep your Beacon of Light up on the Tank unless
    someone else is likely to be taking more damage - for example the
    off-tank in certain fights.
  • Cast Divine Light on the Beacon to help generate Holy Power.
  • Use Holy Shock to generate Holy Power.
  • Heal other players the rest of the time to effectively healing the Tank due to Beacon of Light for 50%.
  • Heal using Divine Light whenever possible as it is your most efficient single target healing spell.
  • Any time you reach three Holy Power, you should use it either for WoG if you need a single target heal, or LoD to help bring the groups health back up. Never let HP points sit unspent.

For single target situations this means you will essentially be casting Beacon on them for the benefit of gaining HP from your Diving Light and then just spamming Divine Light until you get to 3 points then using Word of Glory. Any time someone else in the group gets hurt you can switch to them for a second or use your next 3 Holy Power for a Light of Dawn.

For AOE healing its a little more complicated, but still fairly simple. Keep your Beacon on your main target and then use Holy Radiance as often as you can, and whenever you have 3 Holy Power use it for Light of Dawn.

Holy Paladin Cooldowns

As a Holy Paladin you have several great cooldowns to help with healing and mana conservation and return.

Avenging Wrath increases all damage and healing by 20% for 20 seconds and is on a three minute cooldown. While we are not interested in the damage boost, the 20% extra healing is great for critical situations.

Divine Favor is another great "oh crap" moment cooldown. It boosts spell haste and crit by 20% for 20 seconds on a three minute cooldown, which you can glyph down to 2 minutes. This extra haste and crit allows you to throw a lot of big heals back to back very quickly to catch up when you get behind on healing.

Guardian of Ancient Kings is an amazing cooldown that we get al level 85 that summons a pet that will duplicate the next 5 heals (of certain types) that you cast over the next 30 seconds. The heals will be cast at the same target and can be Flash of Light, Holy Light, Divine Light, Holy Shock, of Word of Glory. This is a huge cooldown as it effectively doubles your next 5 heals, and is available every 5 minutes, meaning it will be up every boss fight for sure, and every second or third trash pull.

Lay on Hands is probably our biggest last minute resort type cooldown as it heals the target for up to the amount of health that you have. This will almost always take an almost dead target to near full health, even if they are a tank, they will have enough to live until your next heal lands. It is on an extremely long cooldown though so while the most powerful, it should also be your last resort.

The last of our cooldowns in Divine Plea, which is available every 2 minutes and restores 12% of our mana over the next 9 seconds. It can be glyphed to restore 18% of our mana. It does have a drawback though, in that all healing done during that time is reduced by 50%, so don't save it for when you NEED the mana, use it when you can afford to lose some healing output. It's not a bad idea to use it as soon as you are down 18-20% mana early in a fight so that on long boss fights you may have it up again later in the fight.

Best Holy Paladin Consumables

While items and gear are required for any raid, obviously, you also
really should bring along all the consumables that will help you
maximize your healing ability. The ones that every Holy Paladin should
bring to a group or raid are:

  • Flask of the Draconic Mind - Increases your Intellect by 300 for 1 hour. This is the best flask you can get as a Holy
  • Flask of Flowing Water - Increases your Spirit by 300 for 1 hour.
  • Seafood Magnifique Feast or Severed Sagefish Head - Increases your Intellect and Stamina by 90 for an hour.
  • Delicious Sagefish Tail - Increases Spirit and Stamina by 90 for an hour.
  • Basilisk Liverdog - Increases your Haste and Stamina by 90 for an hour.
  • Mythical Mana and Healing potions - Bring a stack
    of each just in case.

Macros for Holy Paladins

There are several very common macros that every Healadin should use
(assuming they haven't started already) to simplify their life. The
most common are:

Beacon of Light Macro

It is very easy to get lost in what you are doing and forget to beacon someone while in a battle. To make it easier it is best to either focus the tank that you will be beaconing, or change a name in a macro. Then when you click the macro it will beacon your pre-selected player and then go back to your current target.


#showtooltip Beacon of Light
/cast [target=focus] Beacon of Light


/cast [target=<playersname>] Beacon of Light

Big Holy Radiance

This macro allows you to get the most out of your Holy Radiance spell by casting all or you boosts at once and then casting Holy Raidiance itself. It also has a built in notification so that the raid knows to get close, even if they haven't showered lately...


#showtooltip Holy Radiance
/r Holy Radiance Incoming, Get Close!

/cast Avenging Wrath
/cast Divine Favor
/use 13
/use 14

/cast Holy Radiance

Mouseover for Cleanse

While writen here for Cleanse, you can make a macro like this for almost any spell. Cleanse is important though since you will be using it a lot, and this saves you from having to click on the player and then Cleanse them, you just have to hover over them and press the key you have bound to this macro. If you are not hovering over a player then it casts Cleanse as normal.


#showtooltip Cleanse

/cast [target=mouseover,exist,help] Cleanse;
[help] Cleanse

Things to Remember as a Holy Paladin

  • Stick to healing priority no matter how much some players
    complain. Explain what you are doing and why and ask them to manage
    their aggro better so that they will not need heals.
  • You can not keep anyone one up if you are dead, so ensure that
    you're watching your own health bar too.
  • Use Lay of Hands only as a final resort or if you are completely
    out of mana.
  • It is critical to keep buffs up on everyone in the group
  • You can wear any armor. Never be too proud to wear cloth if it
    has a much better healing bonus, just don't wear too much or you will
    not be able to take a hit.
  • You are a Healer - a critical member of a group. You don't need
    to put up with crap, so if the group is bad or bossy, leave.

For general Paladin information, check out our complete href="">Paladin

Comments or questions? Post them in our href=""
target="_blank">Paladin forums!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.


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