Save a Clothie Today! Use Hand of Protection.

It feels weird writing about current stuff while everyone is so gung-ho about Cataclysm. Me, I don’t really care about Cataclysm. I would if I were in the beta, but I’m not. Nor do I care enough to try to get a beta key. (I am on the PTR but it’s ugly and funny looking and scary and overwhelming)

Besides, after discussing it with a few people, I came to the following conclusions:

- With the game being in a lull, a lot of people are playing alts.
- Just because Cataclysm is coming out in about a month in a half is no excuse to be playing badly now.

So today’s topic: Hand of Protection (HoP, or BoP after it’s former name, Blessing of Protection).

And according to MMO-Champion, this is a spell we’ll keep in Cataclysm so no writing off this post as ancient history museum content!

The Scenario

During ICC trash a few nights ago, we had a couple of mobs come up on us from behind and started chomping on a healing priest and a warlock. I slapped the priest with my Hand of Protection and the warlock died.

The question: We had 3 other paladins in the raid, one of which was a fellow holy paladin. Why didn’t anyone HoP the warlock?

Hypothesis 1: Maybe they don’t understand how Hand of Protection works

Hand of Protection protects the target from all physical damage for 10 seconds. It’ll also drop aggro from the target since the mob thinks to itself: “Oh, I can’t eat this guy (or girl – mobs are very politically correct), I guess I’ll go eat this other guy (or girl).”

Another thing to note is that someone under the influence of HoP can’t do any physical damage either. So unless you absolutely must save a melee dps or a hunter (or you just want to be annoying), save your HoP for casters. Note that in dire circumstances (for example, you have a massive crush on the ret pally and want to impress them with your life saving skills) an aggro breaking HoP can be quickly followed by a Hand of Freedom, allowing the melee player to resume dps as soon as the mobs get off their face. (Thank you Mally and Daniel.)

The aggro dropping and no doing physical damage things are the reason you shouldn’t ever HoP someone who’s currently tanking (with a few exceptions that I’ll get into later).

Note that HoP is useless against magic damage, so it won’t help a target being roasted by a caster.

Hypothesis 2: They don’t know when to use Hand of Protection

To make an informed decision concerning your Hand of Protection usage, you will need the following:

- Knowledge of the physical damageness mobs you’re facing (you can tell which are physical damage mobs by the way they eat the faces of their victims as opposed to melting said faces)
- Raid frames with aggro warnings turned on.

ICC has very few boss fights that involve physical damage adds. With the exception of Lady Deathwhisper and Gunship (and Dreamwalker for non portal paladins), you’ll mostly be using HoP during trash. I usually use mine during the trash before Marrowgar and for the Valks after Saurfang.

On 25 man Lady Deathwhisper, you’ll want to use your HoP as soon as possible and keep it on cooldown since there is that chance of being mind controlled and HoPing the boss… (Thank you Daniel- funny story, the day after you left your comment, the other holy pally in my raid got MCed and HoPed the boss.)

You know to use HoP when a purple (warlock), white (priest) or light blue (mage) square on your frames lights up with an aggro warning. In some cases, a dark blue (shaman) or orange (druid) squares are also suitable targets. Just make sure it’s a caster type of druid or shaman.

When a target lights up with an aggro warning, keep your eye on it. As soon as they start taking damage, BAM! Hand of Protection.

Hypothesis 3 : They’re afraid of “wasting” their Hand of Protection

This could be true in certain instances.

In ICC, though, the places where you could use HoP are rather far apart. Depending on the casting paladin’s spec, the cooldown on HoP is 3 to 5 minutes, nothing to worry about. I prefer to use HoP as soon as I need it. I won’t know whether I’ll need it again and I’d rather save someone now than let someone die now out of concern that someone might die later.

If a caster gets eaten while my HoP is on cooldown, well, tough for them.

Hypothesis 4: They might have HoPed the same target.

Ha! Wrong! This is the funky thing about HoP: it causes forbearance (not to be confused with Jong’s Forbearance).

Causing forbearance means your target can’t be smacked by a Hand of Protection again for the next two minutes. So if someone beats you to a target, you won’t be wasting your cooldown. If you get an error message trying to HoP the priest, get that HoP on the warlock.

Hypothesis 5: They don’t have an appropriate UI

(Thank you Enlynn!)

As healer, you should have your UI set up in a way that you can access your spells very quickly. Unless you have jedi reflexes (and it does happen, I’ve seen some), this means either mouse-over macros or use of a Clique-like system.

HoP is part of your tools and should be just as accessible as Flash of Light or Holy Light. See Fictional Question #3 for some tips on choosing a proper key binding for your HoP.

Your fictional question: Are there other uses for Hand of Protections?

Glad you asked!

While most of the time, I use my Hand of Protection for loose trash mobs or boss adds, it can also remove a bleed effect. The fight that comes to mind is Saurfang, where HoP removes the Boiling Blood debuff. On heroic, when all the paladins in the raid use their HoP on a caster or healer with Boiling Blood, it can make a pretty big difference in the fight outcome.

Your fictional question 2: I’m not a healing paladin, can I still use HoP?

It’s a trainable ability, so yep.

In a raid setting, it’s easiest for a holy paladin to use, but any paladin who wants to rescue a clothie in distress is free use their Hand if they can spare the global cooldown.

In 5 mans, I love, and I mean LOVE getting my HoP out as a tank. I know the trend is to let those who pull before you die, but I frequently use it to get mobs off hormonal casters. I also use it to teach impatient melee players a lesson, but, um, please don’t tell anyone.

Your fictional question 3: What’s this about exceptions to never using Hand of Protection on a tank?

General rule is, using Hand of Protection on a tank, even by accident is a bad, bad thing. My guildies still constantly remind me of a certain keybind mishap involving a tank and a few undesired HoPs… To prevent these embarrassing moments, make sure your HoP isn’t bound to anything that would include your press-to-talk button or any buttons bound to spells frequently used on tanks.

There may be times, however, when you’ll be asked to use your Hand of P on a tank. To assist in certain tank switches, for example, or to remove a bleed effect (Gormok the Impaler in ToC comes to mind). During the trash before Blood Council, a quick HoP immediately canceled by a Hand of Freedom can erase that annoying Bloodboil debuff. (Thanks Daniel!)

Different raid teams have different strategies, though, so even if you think it’s a good idea to help out by HoPing a tank, I caution you to wait until you’re asked. This isn’t the place to take initiatives. An unsuspecting HoPed tank might not immediately realize what happened, which could throw off their next move. The tank might also have used one of their own cooldowns and your Hand will be wasted.

Your Fictional Question 4: Is Hand of Protection useful in PvP?

I confess I’m not experienced enough in PvP to give a really good answer here.

In Battlegrounds, I love it. It’s great for protecting your caster buddy from annoying meleers buzzing around them. I believe, however, that it can be spellstolen by mages, dispelled by priests and purged by shaman.

In all logic, it would be useful in arena as well. All the arena junkie holy paladins I’ve raided with, however, never use their HoP. So I dunno.

Your Fictional Conclusion: Wow! What a fascinating spell! I promise to use Hand of Protection at all the right times! Thank you!

No, thank you.

Speaking of thanks, lets go back to the original scenario. When I used HoP on our priest that night, she thanked me. Which was very polite of her, but it sort of made me sad as well.

As a holy paladin, pulling our utility spells out of our toolbox is our job just as much as keeping Beacon up and casting Holy Light is our job. She shouldn’t feel the need to thank me for a HoP anymore than thank me for casting my regular, direct heals.

But so many holy paladins don’t go beyond their easiest task, then have the nerve to complain that paladin healing is boring. Of course it’s boring when you’re not using most of your spells!

A few weeks ago, we had a trial holy paladin bragging on our vent about how he only healed with one button. I wonder how if he knew how close to his head the Giant Spoon came…

But in conclusion, remember that, with Hand of Protection, YOU CAN save a squishy clothie TODAY! What are you waiting for?

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16 Comments on “Save a Clothie Today! Use Hand of Protection.”

  1. Enlynn Says:

    HoP FTW! I wonder, if I was not a healer, how quick I would be with my HoPs. I’d like to think I am good with remembering to use it, but I’m in green-bar mode already (and, I take far too much joy in HoPing fury warriors and retadins on trash).

    If I might suggest it, I’d add Hypothesis #5: They might not have a proper UI (either macros, keybinds, clicks, etc) to cast HoP fast or frequently enough, especially if they aren’t using raid frames or don’t have them set up with a support mindset. When that clothie can go squish in half a second, it can feel futile if HoPing isn’t muscle memory.

    • Ophelie Says:

      It would depend on the non-healing paladin. I’m very fast when I’m tanking or dpsing, but I’m used to watching health bars out of the corner of my eye. I also always run with my healing frames, which a lot of tanks and dps paladins don’t. Ideally they should to help with dispells and have an idea of who in the group has aggro.

      Good point about the UI. I did mention some stuff briefly, but it’ll be more effective if I group all the important UI stuff under section. I’ll edit it in tonight or so. Thanks!

  2. Aloix Says:

    Good post!
    I’ve been a bad pally with my Hand spells, both while DPS (ms) and healing (os). My lame excuse is keybinds – I’ve yet to find a good place for them consistent with both specs. Perhaps I’ll sort that out this weekend.

  3. Mally Says:

    Aye all so true. In fact HoP is the spell I wish I had on my shaman alt. I’m saving lives with it several times a raid night, and wouldn’t be without it. Even on melée if things are getting a touch crazier than they should, I’ll HoP, heal them up, and hit them with a hand of freedom to get them back on their way. It’s all part and parcel of being a holy pally imo.

    The biggest difficulty? Getting them all to read more pieces like this! :)

    • Ophelie Says:

      Yeah, class mechanic blogging tends to be preaching to the choir. But if one, single holy paladin starts to be more useful (and enjoys their class better) then it wasn’t all in vain!

      I hadn’t thought of the HoP followed by Freedom trick. I think I’ll add that in.

  4. Katherine Says:

    :O of course I should be using it. Why don’t I? I forget it’s there, because I never use it. Going to do a couple heroics on my pally next time I’m on to try to get into practice! Thanks for the reminder and the suggestions of when in ICC to use it (it IS hard to know when it’s going to be useful). And we have Hand of Salvation to help on a tank switch (at least that’s what I’ve always been asked to use).

    • Ophelie Says:

      Hand of Salvation is a little slower than HoP at decreasing threat, but it can be helpful as well. A team of tanks who work well together usually won’t need tank switching assistance, but it’s always nice to come in handy when we do encounter struggling tanks.

      Definitely practice your HoP! You’re missing out if you never use it! It’s really one of our most fun spells, IMO. It also makes a huge difference in dungeons like Pit of Saron or Halls of Reflection. It always confuses me when I hear that paladins healers struggle more in those instances. I found it the other way around…with Aura Master, Divine Guardian, HoP, Salv, it’s like we’re designed for those instances!

  5. Daniel Says:

    A great post, I’ve got my Hop bound in healbot so its just a quick hop and a skip away.

    A few other things worth noting:

    A HoP and then a HoF (hand of freedom) is a great way to clear the bleed debuff on tanks during the trash up to Blood Council. The HoF clears the HoP since you can’t have two “Hands” up at the same time. You could also theoretically use this on a non-caster dps who got bloodboil or something along those lines.

    You should always use your HoP proactively in Lady Deathwhisper as she is fully capable of mind controlling you and having you use it on her or an add. It is a pain in the rear AND embarrassing to be the one who bubbled the boss.

  6. KimboSlice Says:

    Just to add some things from a PvP perspective. HoP is one of you best spells. Especially against rogues and warriors. It will get rid of Mortal strike and effectively stop all damage warriors do. Rogues can still mutilate through a HoP but they can’t do any physical damage.

    It is fairly useless against casters. Wish they would rework it so becomes a portable bubble for your teammates

    • Ophelie Says:

      Good to know! Thanks! PvP info is really hard to come by and I’m not experienced enough to make up my own so I really appreaciate the imput.

      I kind of like that HoP is finnicky about only working against physical damage. Instead of turning it into a portable bubble, I wish they’d implemant more magic resistances manipulations- stuff to make us think.

  7. Kaomie Says:

    Did I miss something or did you change the format of your blog to where the full articles are shown on the front page? Somehow before I thought you had only the previews with the usual “click here to read after the break” link. Maybe I was just dreaming, but this is way too long for the front page.

    Also it is MMO-Champion without the “s”. Boubouille is _the_ champion 8•þ

    • Ophelie Says:

      I put cuts in manually when I feel like there’s a good spot for them or if I’m covering up a bulletpoint list. (For whatever reason, the wordpress bulletpoint list gets screwy on the main page) I don’t really like using cuts, although I know readers appreciate not having to scroll down the whole blog to get to the next post.

      I’ll fix the typo when I get around to editing the post. *is slacker*

  8. theerivs Says:

    WTF In the 4 years I played a mage, I don’t think I ever had HoP cast on me, probably saved it for those pesky healers….Dead mobs don’t do damage :P

    As a newly minted Prot Pally on the other hand this gave me a lot of food for thought. There are a lot of abilities, tricks of the trade if you will about the Pally that I haven’t even scratched the surface of, heck took me awhile to get down the 969 rotation thingie. (Which is going to change in Cataclysm…ggrrrr)

    Any Thanks alot, and I’ll be on the lookout when to cast that HoP

    • Ophelie Says:

      I HoP mages on occasion. I give first priority to the healer, but in a 5 man, I’m usually the healer. In guild raids, I do have a favorite HoP target- one of our warlocks (not the one mentioned in the post) so it pays to be nice to your pallies! (Or at least, to pull aggro all the time)

      I found 969 to be irritating to learn too. I don’t care how easy people say it is, its still annoying to learn. When you can spare the global CD (and in decent gear, you usually can), it’s a nice way to keep unruly teammates alive.


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