Holy Paladin FAQ – v1.0 (Pre-3.1)

Credits: This FAQ was developed in response to a request from Josh of Eye For An Eye, and was created at the PlusHeal forums with input from the community there. I’m posting a modified version of it here as a number of readers don’t frequent PlusHeal (although you should! it’s great!). The format is based on Josh’s excellent Ret 3.0 FAQ.

Holy FAQ – WotLK – Pre 3.1

  • Current as of 27 Mar, WotLK 3.0.9 build 9551.
  • This FAQ includes details that will be not be relevant after 3.1 goes live. It will be updated ASAP.
  • Many answers are simplistic and don’t go into details about choices in gearing, consumables, et cetera. This is intended to be an all-in-one FAQ; detailed discussions are elsewhere.


0. What do I do?

More than any other healer, paladin healers have a clearly defined role: you excel at healing a single target (or two) for massive amounts. You have no Heal-over-Time spells and no AoE heals, but you can keep a tank up through tremendous spike damage.

Which is not to say you can never heal a 5-man, or raid heal successfully – you certainly can, but it’s not your speciality.


1. How should I spec?

For PvE: 51/0/20 or, if you can’t rely on having Kings from another paladin, 51/5/15.
Some paladins choose to take the two points out of Pursuit of Justice, and put them into the Holy tree, into Conc Aura and/or Aura Mastery for a 53/0/18 build.

For PvP: 51/20/0 is the most common build for pure healing and support, although there are popular Holy/Ret hybrids for PvP as well.

2. What Seal should I use?

Use Seal of Wisdom or Seal of Light, depending on which one you have Glyphed (see Q. 7 below). This is purely to activate your glyph, as you’ll rarely be swinging in melee.

3. What spells should I use?

There are no hard-and-fast rules about what spells to use in what order, as healing is fundamentally a reactive activity and your choice of spells should always be based on the situation.

Flash of Light is a low-throughput spell with very good mana efficiency. Use this for non-urgent raid heals, and topping off the tank if they’re not taking much damage.
Holy Light is a high-throughput spell and is often used as the core heal for tank healing.
Holy Shock is a talent-based spell; it heals for a little more than Flash of Light, but is instant (with a 6s CD). Use this for an urgent heal. A crit Holy Shock gives you the Infusion of Light buff, making your next Flash of Light instant or your next Holy Light very fast and is a good way to put out a lot of healing fast.

Beacon of Light is excellent in situations where a couple of people are taking heavy damage, and can allow you to toss some raid heals while still healing your tank. Keep it on your tank in 5-mans; in raids put it on your heal target (if you’re going to be doing a lot of raid healing as well) or on someone else taking heavy damage. It’s costly on mana, so don’t cast it if it won’t be any use.

Sacred Shield should be used on people who will be taking multiple sources of damage, as it only kicks in after the first damage is taken. It does scale with spellpower, so it can absorb a lot of damage when cast a holy paladin. Try and keep it up at all times on your heal target.

4. What Judgement should I cast?

This depends on the situation:

– If you are the only paladin, use whichever your raid needs. If they’re not short of mana, go with Judgement of Light as a default.
– If there are multiple specs of paladin, have the ret paladins judge Light and the prot paladins judge Wisdom. (If the ret paladins want to judge Wisdom, that’s okay too.) Do not overwrite the prot paladin’s Judgement.

For more information on the complexities of who judges what, see this PlusHeal thread, and my previous blog post on the subject.

5. What Blessings do I want?

Wisdom > Kings > Sanctuary > Might until you start getting well-geared, then Kings > Wisdom.

See this post by Gryphonheart for details.


6. What stats do I want?

There is no easy answer to this question. Gearing as a healer is a balancing act between stats that improve your throughput (Spellpower, Haste, Crit, Intellect) and stats that improve your mana longevity (Intellect, Crit, mp5).

Intellect is the primary stat for a paladin healer because it affects your mana longevity (via mana pool, mana return effects like Divine Plea, Replenishment and Mana Tide Totem, and increasing your crit chance) and it affects your throughput (via Holy Guidance and increasing your crit chance). However, stacking Intellect early in the gearing process means you’ll never run out of mana, but your heals won’t be big enough to keep your tank alive.

As a general rule, go with the following order of priority on stats:

1. Intellect
2. Spellpower (which should be #1 on this list until you reach about 1700-1800; after that, focus on Intellect and the Spellpower will come via upgrades anyway)
3. Crit
4. Haste (but don’t go over about 500; much more than that is wasted due to the extra haste from your Judgements)
5. mp5 (far less important than the first four, but not useless)
6. Stamina

Bear in mind that unlike priests or druids, you will rarely get any benefit from Spirit. Don’t throw gear away just because it has Spirit, but ignore it completely when assessing an item’s worth.

7. What glyphs should I use?


Minor: none of these are essential; feel free to change them.

8. What enchants should I use?

See this post for a full run-down. In brief:

Helm: Arcanum of Burning Mysteries, Revered with Kirin Tor
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Storm, Exalted with Sons of Hodir, or Master’s Inscription of the Storm if you’re a Scribe.
Cloak: Greater Speed
Chest: Powerful Stats or Exceptional Mana
Bracers: Superior Spellpower or Fur Lining – Spellpower if you’re a Leatherworker.
Gloves: Exceptional Spellpower
Belt: Eternal Belt Buckle
Legs: Sapphire Spellthread
Boots: Icewalker
Ring: Greater Spellpower if you’re an enchanter.
Weapon: Mighty Spellpower
Shield: Greater Intellect

9. What gems should I use?

The best gems for socket colors are:

Red sockets: Runed Scarlet Ruby

Yellow sockets: Brilliant Autumn’s Glow or Smooth Autumn’s Glow

Red or yellow sockets: Luminous Monarch Topaz or Potent Monarch Topaz

Blue sockets: Royal Twilight Opal or Dazzling Forest Emerald

Follow your order of priorities from Question 6. If you’re still in the stage of gearing up spellpower, use Runed gems in red sockets, and Luminous or Potent gems in yellow sockets. If you’ve hit your target for spellpower, use Luminous gems in red sockets, and Brilliant gems in yellow sockets.

For blue sockets, the gems are so weak (relatively speaking) that you should think long and hard about whether you really need that socket bonus; there’s nothing wrong with putting an orange gem in a blue socket if the socket bonus is only 2 mp5.

Meta socket: The Insightful Earthsiege Diamond is streets ahead of the competition. (See this Elitist Jerks thread for the maths.)

For more details see this post (although bear in mind it’s old and some of the advice could use an update for raiders).

10. Should I stack any melee stats?
Generally, no.

– Crit and Haste Rating are equally useful for spells.
– Stamina is always nice; don’t gear for it, but consider it a bonus.
– Hit Rating is useful for making sure you land your Judgement for the haste buff, but shouldn’t be taken over anything more healery.
– Strength, Attack Power and Armor Penetration are useless. Defense, Dodge, Parry, Block Rating and Block Value are nearly as useless.

When it comes to the ‘perfect storm’ of holy paladin stats – Spellpower, Crit, Haste and Intellect – you’ll often find similar stats on elemental shaman mail, and it can make a good stopgap while looking for plate alternatives. Resto shaman mail is decent too, although it often has mp5 instead of crit, making it much less attractive.

11. Does my weapon matter?

Only the caster stats on it. On the rare occasions you melee with it, your ‘white damage’ (the damage caused by the actual DPS of the weapon) is irrelevant.

12. What consumables should I use?

Potions: Runic Mana Potion or Potion of Speed depending on your needs.

Elixirs: Flask of the Frostwyrm as the baseline flask, or Spellpower Elixir and Elixir of Mighty Thoughts for Elixirs instead of a Flask.

Food: Fish Feast if your raid uses them; otherwise Firecracker Salmon or Tender Shoveltusk Steak

See this post for more options and alternatives.


13. What addons should I use?

This is very much a matter of personal choice, so I can’t give you a canonical list of ‘the best’.

Plus, of course, any normal addons you might want to use like boss mods, threat meters and so on.

14. What macros should I use?

Again, there are no hard-and-fast rules here. Commonly people will talk about two frequently-used macros:

Mouseover Macro

This macro is used where you float your mouse cursor over your raid frames and hit your macro keybind when you’re mousing over the heal target. It’s fast because you don’t have to select a target, and good for healing lots of people at once (eg raid healing) or decursing/cleansing.

#showtooltip Flash of Light
/cast [target=mouseover][help] Flash of Light

Replace with the spell of your choice.

Healthrough Macro

This macro is designed so that if you have a hostile mob targeted (like a boss), you can cast your heal spell and it will land on the hostile mob’s target. It’s great for healing where you need to save whoever the boss is targeting and change targets fast.

#showtooltip Flash of Light
/cast [button:2,target=player][target=target,help][target=targettarget,help][target=none] Flash of Light

In order, this macro:
– Casts FoL on myself if I right click. If I left click or use the keybinding, then:
– Casts FoL on my target if they’re friendly. If they’re not, then:
– Casts FoL on my target’s target if they’re friendly. If not, then:
– Gives me the glowy-hand spell targeting cursor.

Replace with the spell name of your choice.

Rez Macro

This is used if your healers don’t use addons with rez monitors, to help cut down time wasted by three people rezzing the same corpse.

#showtooltip Redemption
/cast Redemption
/stopmacro [combat,nohelp,nodead]
/say Upsadaisy, %t!

Change the /say to /raid or /# (where # is your healer channel number) if that suits your raid group better.

For more useful macros, see PlusHeal: thread 1, thread 2, and the Macros forum.


19 thoughts on “Holy Paladin FAQ – v1.0 (Pre-3.1)”

  1. If you have more than the minimum levels of Spellpower I think Flask of Distilled Wisdom is generally a better choice for raiding.

  2. Very good post, I agree with pretty much everything, except that I’m one of those weirdo paladins who socket intellect into everything! :o

  3. Great post! You could certainly go more in depth on any of those topics, but this is a great Holy Paladin overview and you have a lot of good links scattered within. Thanks!

  4. As usual you are totally and completely awesome. :) This will be very very verrrrrrry handy for the little paladin that I have coming up! Thank you very much.

  5. Looks very good. The only thing I would change is the Beacon of Light section.

    In most cases, I would keep it active on yourself, yes your overheals will be high, but you never need to worry about casting a heal on yourself. It also does proc Spiritual Attunement, while that is going away for Holy in 3.1, it is helpful right now. Finally, I would never cast it on your primary target you are supposed to be healing, because if you are responsible for keeping up the one target, it will never proc on that one person. Instead, cast it on someone that is taking damage that is near your primary healing target. In the case of Patchwork fight, cast it on one of the of the off tanks if you are responsible for healing the main tank. Cast it on the main tank, if you are supposed to be healing an off tank. That way you are assisting keeping both tanks up.

  6. Thanks for the kind words, all – I hope it’s useful, especially for newer paladins, alts and offspec folks.
    @Dontatsu – well, the consumables are a quick-and-dirty ‘you can’t go wrong with this’ overview. The link I provided has a more detailed discussion of the various options for potions, flasks, elixirs and food – in particular, there’s a discussion of the Flask of Distilled Wisdom, and why it’s not quite as god as it looks.

  7. I like glyphing blessing of wisdom, if you are running with 2 paladins, and one is ret, you can cast a greater might, and then selfbuff 30 minute wisdom…

    Also, I don’t think you can go wrong with intellect, focusing more on Holy Light can make up for any deficiancy in haste/sp.

  8. Oh, I *so* need one of these for every alt class I have… especially in terms of 5mans and dungeons, and comparing talents/glyphs. I can’t afford to spend time researching them like my hunter, so this guide is great (if I ever manage to level my paladin past 30, that is…) :)

  9. Quote:
    For managing Blessing assignments, PallyPower. (ZOMGBuffs is an alternative.)

    I actually use both. Pally Power is less cumbersome for assigning and changing buffs, especially if I am doing 5 mans or BGs where I might be changing buffs frequently for various classes.

    However, I LOVE ZomgBuffs for one main reason: It assigns a focus target for Beacon (as well as Hand spells, etc) which is totally independent from the in game focus target. So, if I am assigned to the MT, then prior to the pull, I can cast Beacon on the OT and it pops up a little button (size default is same as action bars but can be modified and can be moved around as needed) with the Beacon icon and a timer which counts down to when the buff expires. When it expires, a gong sounds (that can also be changed to different noises) which I find INCREDIBLY helpful since often there is a lot going on visually in the game. If I want to rebuff the MT with Beacon, I can click that button without having to retarget him first.

    ZomgBuffs also has templates you can create or modify (it took me a bit of time to sort this out) but once they are set, you get a reminder on your screen to remind you to use the right aura or seal. I usually remember this stuff on my paladin, but when I am questing on my priest alt and I get the reminder “You need Inner Fire” my immediate response is always “Indeed I do!”.

    Also, as an officer, ZomgBuffs is great for seeing who in a raid is missing buffs from other classes.

  10. Three things. First of all, BoK < BoW by the time you get out of blues/greens. (Yeah, I posted a comment on that site you referenced explaining more)
    Secondly, intellect is way better than any other stat. To that end, +16 intellect gems ftw, enchant intellect on your weapon and use flask of distilled wisdom.
    And thirdly, the reason the melee stats on the weapon don’t matter is because SoW is PPM based. :-) Yes, meleeing the boss for fun and profit!

  11. * I linked the EJ guide in this post, as you’ll see if you look down the bottom.
    * BoK vs BoWis: check out this PlusHeal post and this one. At our level of gearing, BoWis > BoKings; you’d need to be casting a HL every ~1.25 seconds for BoK to beat it.
    * Re the flask, see this post about why the Flask of Distilled Wisdom isn’t as great as people say it is.

  12. Sorry, totally missed the “external links” bit. :-)
    As for BoK… What level of gearing? But it’s quite a moot point. BoK gets added to base talents and BoW is just lolol useless after tomorrow.
    As for Distilled Wisdom, a post linked in that post makes this interesting assumption that I cast 60% FoL, 20% HL. The problem with that is if you’re casting FoL, the fight is trivial to begin with. I use it, for example, before the first drake lands on OS 3d and after all 3 are down. If you can afford to FoL, then it’s unlikely you’re going to have mana problems. Even on trivial fights (10 man KT with 3 healers, hai undying), where I was just spamming FoL on the tank out of sheer boredom, I have 67 FoL and 34 HL. Not even close to what you’re claiming.

  13. Like your info for holy paladins, but might want to make one change. Depending on your raid makeup you may not want to judge light or wisdom, and instead judge Justice.

    Sounds dumb I know, but there is a reason. If you are rolling with a ret pally there is a good chance they are judging light (as they should be). It would seem that judgements overwrite each other regardless of which is more powerful. So you could be getting a less powerful light on the mob if you judge light and the ret judges light. If you have a tankadin in your group you NEVER want to judge (no paladin should judge) the same as the tankadin. You will overwrite their judgement and they will lose the -20% attack speed debuff on whatever they are tanking. That is much more important then the less/more powerful JoL. For whatever reason blizz decided to let any judgement overwrite another willy-nilly like.


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