Holy Paladin in Shadowlands
Welcome to the Overgear guide on the Paladin’s “Holy” spec! This guide will show you all the intricacies of the “Holy” spec in various aspects of the game. You’ll learn which talents to use, how to equip your character, and which covenant to choose. In each section, you will find answers to these and many other questions.
Holy Paladins are healers who specialize in pinpoint the healing of solo targets while simultaneously healing tanks. They also support the group with their auras and blessings, making them indispensable in most raids.
- Fantasy: A holy warrior who uses holy magic to heal themselves and their allies and deals melee damage to opponents.
- Weapon: One-handed swords, blunt weapons, and shields.
- Armor: Plate armor with bonuses to Intellect.
- Races: Alliance: Humans, Dwarfs, Draenei, Dark Iron Dwarfs, Lightforged Draenei; Horde: Tauren, Blood Elfs, and Zandalari.
- Great healing of solo targets and tanks
- Good survivability
- High damage
- Unique utility: blessings
- Limited mobility
- Weak AoE healing capabilities
- High dependence on cooldowns
About the author
This guide was written by Chaosyasha, a raider of the Russian “Bannhammer” guild, a fan of Mythic+, and an honored WoW veteran. I’m proficient in many different classes and roles, and on my Twitch streams you can watch walkthroughs of high Mythic+ dungeons and exploration of the current raid content on the highest difficulty.
- Flash of Light — a quick but mana-consuming spell that heals a moderate amount of health.
- Holy Light — a slow spell that heals a large amount of health.
- Holy Shock — an instant spell that can heal an ally or damage an enemy. Has a 30% increased crit chance. Generates 1 Holy Power.
- Light of Dawn — for 3 Holy Power heals up to 5 allies within a 15 yd frontal cone.
- Word of Glory — for 3 Holy Power instantly heals an ally.
- Light of the Martyr — sacrifice a portion of your own health to instantly heal an ally for double the amount. Does not cause your Beacon of Light to be healed. Cannot be cast on yourself.
- Beacon of Light — marks an ally with holy energy, causing your heals on other targets to also heal that ally for 50% of the amount. Healing this ally directly with Flash of Light or Holy Light grants 1 Holy Power.
- Consecration — consecrates the land beneath you, damaging enemies in the area.
- Crusader Strike — damages the enemy and generates 1 Holy Power.
- Judgment — deals Holy damage and causes the target to take 30% increased damage from your next Crusader Strike or Holy Shock.
- Shield of the Righteous — consumes 3 Holy Power and deals damage to all targets in front of you.
- Hammer of Wrath — deals massive damage to the target and generates 1 Holy Power. Only usable on targets that have less than 20% health.
- Aura Mastery — enhances your current aura for 8 sec.
- Avenging Wrath — increases your damage, healing, and critical strike chance by 20% for 20 sec.
- Lay on Hands — instantly heals a friendly target for an amount equal to your maximum health. Cannot be used on a target with Forbearance. Causes Forbearance for 30 sec.
All auras affect allies within a 40 yd radius.
- Absolution — mass resurrection outside of combat with a 100 yd range.
- Blessing of Freedom — removes all movement impairing effects from the target, granting immunity to them for a few seconds. CD 25 sec. Try using it preemptively when you or your ally can get slowed.
- Blessing of Protection — makes the target immune to physical damage for a short time. Cannot be used if you have Forbearance. Causes Forbearance for 30 sec. Allows your allies to ignore some game mechanics that otherwise would kill them.
- Blessing of Sacrifice — transfers 30% of the target’s damage taken to you for 12 sec. It’s your main external save, so coordinate with your tanks to know when this ability would be most useful. CD 2 min.
- Divine Steed — increases your movement speed by 100% for 3 sec. CD 1 min.
- Cleanse — removes all Poison, Disease, and Magic effects from the target. CD 8 sec. Usually, removing a negative effect is much more beneficial than healing its consequences, so try using this spell more often.
- Hammer of Justice — stuns the target for 6 sec. Great in Mythic+ for interrupting dangerous spells.
- Hand of Reckoning — provokes the target to attack you. In conjunction with Divine Shield allows you to ignore certain game mechanics and could save your tank from imminent death.
- Redemption — resurrection outside of combat.
- Turn Evil — banishes the target, forcing it to flee for a few seconds. Can be used as a sort of an interrupt in some situations.
On reaching several levels, you will open new Talent tiers. In each tier, you can choose one Talent at a time. Talents can affect your abilities in different ways: add new ones, replace old ones, passively modify various effects and spells. You can change Talents while you’re in Sanctums or in rest areas, but if there are no such places nearby, you can use Tome of the Quiet Mind, which allows you to change Talents within a minute. Note that Talents can’t be changed in combat. Also, if a Talent selected in a certain tier is on cooldown, you’ll have to wait for it to recharge in order to change it.
Tier 1 — 15 lvl. Talents that enhance healing
Crusader’s Might — the most effective talent in this tier. It allows you to cast Holy Shock more often, increasing HPS and boosting Holy Power generation.
Bestow Faith can be used when you can’t attack targets in close combat.
Light’s Hammer — the weakest talent in this tier due to low hammer effectiveness.
Tier 2 — 25 lvl. HPS talents
Judgment of Light is best suited for raids as a source of small passive healing. Holy Prism is more suitable for Mythic+, granting additional HPS or DPS bursts. Saved by the Light may also be a good choice for Mythic+, but it’s less effective than Holy Prism.
Tier 3 — 30 lvl. Control
The most universal talent for M+ in this tier is Blinding Light. Fist of Justice is also useful if your party lacks single-target stuns.
Usually, this talent tier is not used in raids.
Tier 4 — 35 lvl. Utility
The choice depends on the type of content. Rule of Law is the default choice for raids. Pick Unbreakable Spirit for Mythic+. Nevertheless, even Cavalier has its uses whenever you need extra mobility.
Tier 5 — 40 lvl. Talents that enhance healing
- Divine Purpose — Holy Power abilities have a 15% chance to make your next Holy Power ability free and deal 20% increased damage and healing.
- Holy Avenger — triples your Holy Power generation for 20 sec. CD 3 min.
- Seraphim — increases your haste, crit, and versatility by 8% and your mastery by 12% for 15 sec. Consumes 3 Holy Power.
Divine Purpose — default choice for most types of content. Free finishers will improve your rotation and save some mana.
Holy Avenger. Unlike in BfA, Holy Avenger and wings are used separately in the new addon, so think about how useful Holy Avenger can be in a particular battle or dungeon.
Currently, Seraphim can’t compete with other talents in this tier, as it costs too much and expires too quickly to get the most out of it.
Tier 6 — 45 lvl. DPS and HPS talents
Awakening is the most effective talent in this tier. Despite some randomness, the duration of your wings in a boss fight or Mythic+ key increases greatly, along with your effective DPS and HPS.
Sanctified Wrath is still a good passive choice, but it’s slightly less useful than Awakening.
Avenging Crusader costs too much mana, thus it’s never used.
Tier 7 — 50 lvl. Talents that enhance healing
Glimmer of Light — default choice for raids, except when you need Beacon of Faith to heal two tanks at once. Glimmer of Light allows you to greatly increase HPS across the raid.
Beacon of Virtue — choice for Mythic+. This ability is not suitable for raids, but in 5-person content it maximizes its HPS potential. It also synergizes perfectly with Kyrian’s Divine Toll ability, giving you a maximum health boost for the entire group once per minute.
Although you can use Glimmer of Light for Mythic+ as well, the effectiveness of healing with Beacon of Virtue will be much higher.
Here are your common builds:
- Crusader’s Might
- Judgment of Light
- Any talent of your choice
- Rule of Law
- Divine Purpose
- Glimmer of Light
- Crusader’s Might
- Holy Prism
- Blinding Light
- Unbreakable Spirit
- Divine Purpose
- Beacon of Virtue
Covenant system — one of the main additions in Shadowlands. As you level up, you’ll get to know all 4 Covenants. Each Covenant occupies its own area in Shadowlands. We advise you to take a closer look at each of the Covenants, because at level 60 you’ll have to decide which one to join.
Kyrian reside in Bastion, Necrolords control Maldraxxus, Ardenweald is the home of Night Fae, and Venthyr rule in Revendreth. Selecting a covenant will unlock two new abilities: a signature ability for all Covenant’s allies and a class ability.
In this guide we’ll look at all the new Covenant abilities and how they affect gameplay.
- Kyrian > Venthyr > Night Fae >= Necrolord
- Kyrian = Venthyr > Night Fae >= Necrolord
Venthyr has a stronger cooldown and better dps output in raids.
Best universal choice:
Kyrian — the most universal covenant and the most HPS-oriented. The amount of healing from Divine Toll surpasses all other covenants. Moreover, this ability synergizes with Holy Paladin talents, increasing their effectiveness.
Phial of Serenity, which removes almost all negative effects, looks pretty strong, but it requires an appropriate encounter. Mythic+, on the other hand, has plenty of debuffs for this flask.
Overall, Kyrian is great for raids and Mythic+ and Phial of Serenity is especially good for removing debuffs.
- Class ability: Ashen Hallow — hallows the target area for 30 sec. Enemies in the area suffer damage, while allies heal. Within the Hallow, you may use Hammer of Wrath on any target, and its damage is increased by 100%. 1.5 sec cast time, CD 4 min.
- Signature ability: Door of Shadows — blink with a 1.5 sec cast time. CD 1 min.
Venthyr is a good covenant for raids, since Ashen Hallow is essentially a raid cooldown that lets you dish out massive DPS and healing. This DPS potential was the sole reason why Venthyr paladins were used in the World First race. However, outside of raids it’s easier to heal your party with the Kyrian ability.
Door of Shadows is a great additional ability that increases the paladin’s extremely limited mobility.
- Class ability: Blessing of Summer (increases ally’s DPS), Blessing of Autumn (reduces cooldowns), Blessing of Winter (increases damage and slows enemies), Blessing of Spring (boosts healing). Although this ability sounds interesting, it’s rather problematic to use effectively. You have to wait 1.5 min for a healing bonus while applying other blessings to your allies — they will benefit more from them.
- Signature ability: Soulshape — teleports you 15 yds forward and increases your movement speed by 50% for 12 sec. CD 1.5 min. While this effect is active, you can activate it again to use blink every 4 sec.
Night Fae is a rather strange covenant. Their class ability kinda makes you a “buffer” or “support”. Even though Soulshape greatly increases mobility, for now Night Fae are a weak covenant for Holy Paladins.
- Class ability: Vanquisher’s Hammer — deals shadow damage to the target and empowers your next Word of Glory to automatically trigger Light of Dawn. CD 30 sec. Generates 1 Holy Power.
- Signature ability: Fleshcraft — after channeling for 3 sec, grants a shield equal to 30% of your max health. Channeling near a corpse boosts the shield even further — up to 50% of your max health. Bosses and powerful enemies grant the maximum shield bonus. CD 2 min.
Necrolord — another weak choice for a Holy Paladin. Vanquisher’s Hammer just doesn’t cut it in terms of damage and healing compared to other covenants. Fleshcraft can’t match either the effects from Kyrian, nor added mobility from Fae and Venthyr.
After you join a Covenant, you’ll have the ability to link your souls and powers with three soulbinds.
Soulbind is a specific NPC, with whom you create a spiritual connection, granting you access to a separate talent tree. Each tree has both common passive effects and slots for conduits.
A Conduit is an item similar to a gem that has a unique effect for your class and specialization. By visiting The Forge of Bonds at your Covenant sanctuary, you can apply Conduits and then swap them out just like the essences in Battle for Azeroth.
It’s worth noting that each Soulbind has predetermined slots for Conduits in their talent tree, and each of them comes in three types. A Conduit of a certain type can only be inserted into a slot specifically designed for its effect.
Plan your Soulbind’s talent tree carefully — if you make a mistake when choosing Conduits, you’ll have to wait a long time to replace them.
Let’s look at the more powerful passive effects of every Soulbind.
- Raids, Mythic+: Pelagos — best choice
- Raids: Dreamweaver
- Mythic+: Korayn
- Pelagos: universal choice for any type of content.
- Kleia: good choice at high renown.
- Nadjia: good choice at low renown.
- Theotar: weak option.
- General Draven: best choice at high renown.
- Grove Invigoration — your abilities generate up to 10 stacks of Redirected Anima. Blessing of Summer increases your max health by 1% and mastery by 25 per stack for 30 sec.
- Field of Blossoms — Blessing of the Seasons creates a zone at your feet for 15 sec that increases Haste by 12%.
- Podtender — when you take fatal damage, creates a wildseed with 9700 hp. If it gets destroyed in 10 sec, you’ll die. Otherwise, you rejuvenate with 30% health. May only occur once every 30 min.
- First Strike — damaging an enemy before they damage you increases your chance to critical strike by 25% for 5 sec.
- Hold the Line — after standing still for 5 sec, you take 15% less physical damage until you move.
- Wild Hunt Tactics — your damage to targets above 75% health is increased by 10%.
- Niya: weak option.
- Dreamweaver: great for raids.
- Korayn: good for Mythic+.
- Marileth: weak option.
- Emeni: the only good Necrolord choice.
- Bonesmith Heirmir: not worthy of attention.
Now let’s talk about Conduits. They come in three types — Potency, Endurance, and Finesse. Let’s look at the ones the Holy Paladin has.
For Mythic+ pick Ringing Clarity.
In raids and in the second Mythic+ slot put Focused Light.
Shielding Words is a must.
Second slot (if available): Divine Call.
Let’s look at the best legendaries for the Holy Paladin:
- Shock Barrier — Holy Shock protects the target for 18 sec, absorbing 20% of the applied healing every 6 sec. Affects up to 5 targets.
This is the best legendary for a Holy Paladin. In addition, it’s enhanced by Kyrian’s Divine Toll ability.
- Relentless Inquisitor — spending Holy Power grants you 1% haste per finisher for 12 sec, stacking up to 5 times.
This is a good second choice for a Holy Paladin legendary. It’s good in Mythic+ where you already have enough healing and can afford to remove Shock Barrier. This legendary boosts your DPS a bit, and can also be used in other specs.
Now let’s see what a Holy Paladin needs to do to keep allies alive as effectively as possible while still dealing damage.
Unlike DPS tankspecs, WoW healers don’t have a strict rotation. Rather, a general description of how to use their abilities effectively.
If you want to deal as much damage as possible, use this rotation:
Unlike DPS specs that use their cooldowns simultaneously for max efficiency, healers use theirs somewhat differently. In raids and Mythic+ you sometimes have to save your cooldowns for a specific moment and activate them one at a time.
Before you start choosing gear, remember one important rule — item level comes first! Never equip an item that is 10 or more ilvl lower, even if it has better stats. This rule also means that Strength and Stamina are the best stats for us, so they will not be mentioned in the priorities below.
Moving on to the stat priority for max HPS:
Haste > Crit = Versatility > Mastery
Haste reduces cast time and cooldown, as well as increases attack speed.
Mastery: Lightbringer — increases your healing the closer you are to the target. Sounds good in theory, but other stats are more profitable than mastery.
Versatility passively increases all healing and damage you deal, and decreases the damage you receive.
Crit increases the chance of your attacks and spells to deal additional damage or healing.
Based on the priorities above and simulations of your character you can choose gems, enchants, and consumables.
Choosing a race
Keep in mind that in any content the difference between racial bonuses is relatively minor. So if you’re not aiming to get on the first page of WowProgress, you can safely choose a race by their appearance.
Below I list the races with the most significant bonuses for each faction.
- Human — best race for a Paladin due to bonuses to secondary stats.
- Blood Elf — great choice because of the passive crit bonus.
BiS Gear + Trinkets
Understand that BiS Gear for a tank in Shadowlands is relative. Apart from rings and accessories, you should prioritize item level over stats.
Nevertheless, here is a list of the gear that you can strive for.
Although you can use appropriate addons, it’s still possible to heal effectively without them. To achieve this, create mouseover macros for all your healing spells:
/cast [@mouseover,exists] Holy Shock
Add another line for blessings:
/cast [@mouseover,exists] Blessing of Freedom
A similar macro can be used for Divine Protection to cancel a spell and instantly activate immunity:
/cast Divine Shield
Holy Prism should have a slightly different macro — always cast it on the enemy, so:
/cast [@mouseover,harm,nodead][@target,harm,nodead][@mouseover] Holy Prism
Addons for World of Warcraft is a purely subjective matter. Many experienced players don’t use addons or use them sparingly. Others completely rework the UI. I’ll recommend those I use myself, that not only change the game’s appearance, but also can be useful in a variety of situations.
A powerful and very flexible addon that displays almost any information at any time you need. It started out by displaying buffs, debuffs, and alerts during fights, but has improved considerably over time. Today WAs allow you to create and send other players important information on bosses, replace standard interface elements, track other players’ abilities, and much more.
WAs can be found on wago.io, but I’ll list the most important ones:
- ZenTracker + Interrupt Tracker and Party CDs. An essential tool for M+, allowing you to keep track of party cooldowns. For raids, tracking the defensive cooldown of your healers can be useful.
- Dungeons – Targeted Spells — highlights party frames if a mob casts a dangerous spell, also shows their targets on the enemy’s nameplate. Useful for M+.
- Afenar Paladin — a nice WA for Paladin’s class abilities and active buffs.
- Castle Nathria + Co-Tank Auras — WA for main abilities of bosses in the first Shadowlands raid — Castle Nathria, as well as important debuffs on other tanks in the raid.
This addon allows you to bind healing spells to mouse buttons and heal allies on mouseover, which is imperative for a healer.
A multipurpose addon for nameplates. With it you can easily see which enemies are aggroed on you, how and who they attack. In addition it shows you certain buffs and debuffs on enemies, including control effects.
Moreover, Plater supports third-party mods suitable for a variety of situations. You can download them on wago.io in the Plater section.
An addon that shows your group/raid damage and healing. That’s it? Not quite — it can show you the uptime of buffs and debuffs, damage to specific targets and during specific boss phases. In M+ you can see who broke control, who and how many times interrupted spellcasting, and much more.
Shows you the cooldown of bosses and mobs, reminds you when these abilities are about to go off. Very useful for raids and Mythic+. Alternatively, you can use the Deadly Boss Mods. Their functionality is very similar.
Useful little addon that allows to automatically repair gear, sell junk to vendors, accept and complete quests, includes the ability to quickly loot items, and much more.
Despite it not having any particularly important features, it’s very popular among players. With it, you can customize frames, command bars, and almost every aspect of the UI.
Pro Tips & Tricks
In this section I’ll talk about the intricacies of the spec and how to effectively use Holy Paladin’s abilities.
- Mana management. Your spells cost mana, at the start of combat you have 100 000 points and regenerate 4,000 every 5 seconds. You can’t cast spells when it runs out.
Holy Paladin doesn’t have AoE healing spells that consume mana, usually they cost more. So the only way to quickly drain mana is to spam Flash of Light. Try focusing on other spells that cost less or are free.
- Use Potion of Spiritual Clarity to restore mana.
- Using Blessing of Sacrifice. Keep an eye on your tank’s cooldowns before using it. For example, a Demon Hunter with Metamorphosis or a Warrior with Shield Wall can survive without it. Use this blessing when your tanks don’t have their own cooldowns and need help.
- Dealing damage. Maximize your damage if you can keep the party alive and you have mana to spare. Use as many damage dealing abilities as possible, don’t be afraid to spend Holy Power on Shield of the Righteous and cast Holy Shock on enemies.
- Mastery: Lightbringer — enhances healing to the targets closest to you. At 40 yds it’s not effective, at 20 yds it’s 50% effective, and so on.
Always study the current boss fight or Mythic+ dungeon to be closer to the targets. Rule of Law talent increases the range of this spell, making it 50% effective at 30 yds.
- Healing tanks. Holy Paladin is considered the best tank healer. Although the paladin also allows you to heal the entire raid very well, it’s always worth keeping an eye on the health of your tanks. Although most of the time your Beacon of Light and their own healing will be sufficient to keep them alive, sometimes you’ll have to heal your Beacon of Light targets. This may seem ineffective, but a dead tank would likely lead to a party wipe, which you can prevent.
Shadowlands have breathed new life into the Holy Paladin. Holy Power mechanics made this class a lot more interesting and powerful in virtually all situations. Covenants complemented this spec in an interesting way and came in handy.
Thanks for tuning in! Best of luck in the world of Azeroth!