Divine Sacrifice in 3.3: What You Need to Know

It’s no secret, I love gimmicky spells and Divine Sacrifice (affectionately, DS) gives me my money’s worth. It got changed with 3.3 (I don’t like to think of it as nerfed) and the patch notes are, um, interesting, to say the least. I did play around with some math when the changes to DS were first announced, however further changes have outdated that post (WHICH I WILL NOT LINK) and I don’t think it’s worth fixing. What is worth doing, though, is compiling the important stuff for reference purposes. Because, you know, if it concerns paladins, then it’s important. (Duh!)

The changes that went live, copied and pasted from the patch notes, are as follows (skip this if you don’t care):

Protection
* Divine Guardian: This talent no longer increases the amount of damage transferred to the paladin from Divine Sacrifice. Instead it causes all raid and party members to take 10/20% reduced damage while Divine Sacrifice is active. In addition, the duration has been changed to 6 seconds, however the effect does not terminate when Divine Sacrifice is removed before its full duration.
* Divine Sacrifice: Redesigned. The effect of Divine Sacrifice is now party-only and the maximum damage which can be transferred is now limited to 40% of the paladin’s health multiplied by the number of party members. In addition, the bug which allowed Divine Sacrifice to sometimes persist despite reaching its maximum damage has been fixed. Divine Sacrifice will now cancel as soon as its maximum damage value is exceeded in all cases. Finally, damage which reduces the paladin’s health below 20% now cancels the effect early.

This left us with the following end result:

You better work you stupid picture that I spend tons of time cutting and pasting

What this means in plain English:

The damage redirected to the paladin by Divine Sacrifice is party-only, covers up to 30% of the party’s damage and maxes out at either twice the paladins health (assuming a full party) or when the paladin’s health is at 20%, whichever happens first.

When specced into Divine Guardian as well, hitting the Divine Sacrifice spell also offers a raid-wide 20% damage reduction for 6 seconds, regardless of whether or not Divine Sacrifice is canceled.

Also, while bubbling during Divine Sacrifice (Bubble Sac!) used to increase the damage redirected to the paladin beyond the paladin’s health cap, this is no longer the case. As a result, the spell is somewhat less effective, even within a party.


So what do we do with this?

Before I say anything else, I want to point out that Divine Sacrifice (DS – 1 talent point) and Divine Guardian (DG – 2 talent points) are connected and are respectively 10 and 15 points into the protection tree, meaning that a paladin will have to go at least 17 points into the protection tree to get full benefit from the spell.

Retribution paladins

Elitist Jerks has concluded that the DS/DG is not worth speccing into for PvE. DG is just too far down the prot tree and DS isn’t useful enough on its own. They recommended going up the holy tree for Aura Mastery when the urge for a utility spell strikes. PvP is a different story, with one point into DS being fine.

Protection Paladins

Theck from Maintankadin suggests getting the DS/DG talents and using the following macro to take advantage of the 20% raid wall without taking unnecessary damage:

#show
/cast Divine Sacrifice
/in 0.5 /script CancelUnitBuff(“player”,”Divine Sacrifice”)

Note that you might need an Ace2 addon to get the macro to work, but most players will have at least some addon installed with Ace2 included. There is an alternative macro, however you will have to hit it twice for it to work:

/cast Divine Sacrifice
/cancelaura Divine Sacrifice

Using Divine Sacrifice without canceling it immediately can also be a strategy for paladin tanks willing to spare their party damage, but it is best used while not main tanking something.

Holy Paladins

I haven’t found any buzz about recommended spec changes. I have been wondering whether many holy paladins would take advantage of the “nerf” do Divine Sac to move into a Holy/Ret spec for the extra crit, but it seems like everyone is sticking with their current specs. What can I say? We love our utility.

Raid leaders

Because of the party-only effect of Divine Sacrifice, placing paladins who use the spell for the party damage mitigation in separate groups is ideal. Alternatively, placing 2 or 3 such paladins in the tank group for extra CDs is another strategy.

The party effect of DS will cancel if the casting paladin’s health drops below 20%, so the paladin will have to bubble in order to get full benefit from the spell. The bubble cooldown is 5 minutes (barring tier bonuses) and DS has a 2 minute cooldown.

Anything to add bossy paladin blog person?

Now that DS can’t kill us, we can use it without bubbling and keep the spell on cooldown, which is very nice. It lets us fit it into our regular fighting so we don’t have to save it for special abilities or OMG ITS ALMOST A WIPE moments. The spell is more effective if we bubble, but I like the freedom of being able to adapt as needed. One can never be too flexible.

Also, I was looking at some post-3.3 raid stats. One of our ret paladins who is still specced into DS (but not DG) did do some reasonable mitigation (40kish) during a Deathwhisper fight. This isn’t the time or the place to compare the usefulness of DS and Aura Mastery in a retribution build, but there’s room for thought (unless the discussion already took place in the 200 pages of retribution discussion on EJ that I didn’t read).


Where can I find more information on this amazing topic?

3.3 Patch Notes: http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/
Divine Sacrifice Spell on WoW Head: http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=64205
Divine Guardian Spell on WoW Head: http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=53530
Elitist Jerks Retribution thread: http://elitistjerks.com/f76/t68951-retribution_updated_3_3_a/#Talent_Options
Caer Morrighan’s 3.3 Retribution take: http://morrighan13.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/retribution-paladins-in-patch-3-3/
Maintankadin 3.3 spec thread: http://maintankadin.failsafedesign.com/forum/index.php?f=1&t=26864&rb_v=viewtopic
Rhidach’s takes on 3.3 for Tankadins:
http://rhida.ch/2009/12/10/the-definitive-divine-sacrificeguardian-macro/
http://rhida.ch/2009/12/08/patch-3-3-for-tankadins/

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2 Comments on “Divine Sacrifice in 3.3: What You Need to Know”


  1. I’m definately excited to see when & where this Talent can be used without killing me in the process. I know that it would be HOLYCRAP Awesome in ToC Faction Champs but I’m really trying to think of other situations where I wouldn’t die if I used it during an Oh $#!@ moment. I was thinking a long the lines of Anub’arak’s third Phase where healing really needs to be at a minimum but if I’m tanking the big bug, he hits like a dump truck full of cement, taking aditional damage probably wouldn’t be really smart.

    We’ll see.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I can’t imagine doing FC without that spell!

      As a main tank, you’d probably be using one of the macros all the time to get the raid wall up without taking damage. The only times I can think of where a main tank could get away with not cancelling DS would be on fights where you pass a mob back and forth.

      Bubble Sac is amazing for Anub’arak’s third phase, but I’d leave that to the holy paladins.


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