Holy Paladin Reforging

Don’t we all love questions with no clear answers?

I’ve had a few people ask about reforging. Each time, I make my way to Elitist Jerks.

At first, the answer I got from there was “Definitely Haste. All Haste all the time OMG yes.

Then I went back and got the answer “Haste is nice, but Crit packs a better punch.

When I looked closely, I also saw “How about Mastery? Can we give Mastery a try?

Then I spoke with paladins who don’t frequent the various resources and received an overwhelming: “Moar Spirit plz!

For the time being, reforging isn’t a black and white issue. And I hope it stays that way- I love paladin healing right now: it feels as if each successful paladin has their own style and adapts in their own way to different content. Which is how healing should be. I don’t know about the rest of you, but the constant adjustments to fit each unique situation is the whole reason I fell in love with healing in the first place.

Love story aside, I’m going to take a look at the different reforging options. If you want a “do this” answer, scroll down a bit and you’ll find some reforging suggestions to fit your paladining lifestyle. And if you read all the way to the end, I’ll let you in on my personal strategy.

I’m going to inspire myself from the debate in the Holy Paladin thread on Elitist Jerks as well as use my own experiences to weigh the pros and cons. Two Three weeks into the expansion, I’ve done countless heroics, with pugs of all skill (and common sense) levels as well as guild groups, I’ve killed Conclave of Wind on 10 man, 25 man kills are Halfus (X2) and Argaloth (I’ve done quite a bit of log parsing from other guilds for Halfus too, to see how other healing teams are handling the fight), with a some wiping experience on a few other 25 man bosses. The only area I haven’t investigated much is the world of PvP, so you die hard PvPers are unfortunately on your own for this.

Part 1: Pros and Cons to the different stats


Ah Spirit! our new baby. I’ve written about mana regen, spirit and intellect before. Though it predates Cataclysm, the message still holds true: if you’re managing your spells well, you’ve maxed out the intellect you have access to and you’re running out of mana, then you need more Spirit.

An reoccurring argument in favor of Spirit is that you can never have too much mana. You should always prepare for the worst case scenario and the worst case scenario always involves you running out of mana.

The argument against Spirit is that our main spells are weak and cheap. We even recently got nerfed because our infinite mana bar was mocking other healing classes. Our output on the other hand…

On a personal level, I struggled with mana a lot when I first started heroics, but as I gathered 346 gear, the only times I run low on mana is when something goes terribly wrong at the beginning of a fight. I do, however, lose people a lot due to not being able to get big, fast, beefy heals out at the right time.


During Wrath, we hoarded Haste on our gear. We hugged it and kissed it and called it sweet little names. (At least I did that, can’t speak for the rest of you.) In Cataclysm opinions are divided. EJ reports the Global Cooldown cap (the amount of Haste you need to get a 1 second global cooldown) to be 3489. It’s not possible to reach that number right now. If you want to know how much Haste I have, try dividing 3489 by 3.

Haste still has it’s advantages though. It scales pretty well, 100 Haste on your gear will increase your Haste percentage by about 0.78%, which makes it the best scaling stat between it and its brothers Crit and Mastery. It’s a reliable stat: your spells will be faster, all the time. It makes your annoyingly long Divine Light less annoyingly long, it wrings more ticks out of your Holy Radiance (which is pretty sweet in a raid) and it does let you get more casts out during a fight. If you’re the type who melees for some Seal of Insight mana back, Haste will get you some more swings in.

On the downside, sometimes we prefer quality over quantity. Since everyone has unbelievably huge health pools and our spells are kinda weak, Haste will have you casting more instead of casting stronger, which can eventually be a strain on your mana (however, Haste does encourage you to use the slow but more mana efficient Divine Light instead of the quick Flash of Light for big, omg heals).


Crit was a bit of a “meh” stat toward the second half of Wrath, since it’s mana regen component was nerfed and eventually removed. It was nice at lower gear levels for the added output, but for the most part, paladin heals were so earthshakingly strong that Crit did little more than increase our overheal from 80% to 90%.

In Cataclysm, overheal is more or less a thing of the past. I can spam heals to my hearts content and rarely get more than 30% overheal. Crit isn’t wasted anymore: the stronger heals means less heavy lifting to bring a nearly dead player back to full health. And with massive health pools, weak heals and large damage intakes (at least in 25 man raids), every boost helps. Bigger heals also mean less casts, less casts mean less mana drain. A Holy Shock crit also procs Infusion of Light, which is a huge blessing when you want Divine Light RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW. (Thanks to Palaria for pointing out my omission.) As well, from a logistics perspective, building a Crit set is easier since the justice points and tier 11 pieces are more likely to have Crit than haste or mastery.

The major downside of Crit is it’s dependency on chance, or the RNG. Random extra healing is fine for heavy lifting, but during criticial (omg a pun!) moments, you need your extra output at that very second, not when the RNG is kind to you. Pro-crit paladins also mention how Crit refreshes Conviction, which is true. Still, Conviction is very easy to keep up: with 11.16% crit unbuffed, my raid logs show a 85-95% uptime on Conviction. The times it fell off were most likely times where I wasn’t casting. So you want some crit to keep Conviction up, but there’s no need to go all out.


Mastery is still a mystery stat. Recount does apparently track it, but doesn’t give much information as to when it procced. I haven’t been able to track my Mastery using Recount. World of Logs, to my greatest sadness, doesn’t track it as anything other than a buff yet.

I’ve been testing it the old fashioned way: mousing over the buff to see the numbers. I get Mastery bubbles of anywhere between ~1k (with Holy Shock) to ~5k (with Divine Light). I’m guessing it’s nice in heroics to cushion to the frequent yet minimal random damage as I’m going around healing everyone up to full health. It also falls well into heal gaps, as I’m trying to cast.

In a raid setting, I’m not so sure. I haven’t done enough 10 mans to guesstimate the amount of damage that goes on in there (Conclave of Wind was only slightly more damage intense than heroics), but on 25 man, the little 5k that pops out of your mana draining Divine Lights doesn’t go very far. 25 man damage is intense and Mastery just doesn’t up our output as much as Haste or, possibly, Crit.

Part 2: Reforging Recommendations

Consider boosting your Spirit via reforging if:
- You’re still getting used to the paladin healing style.
- You’re not quite geared for the content you’re trying to run.
- Your heroics teammates have no regard for your mana bar.
- You don’t regularly have access to external mana regen via a Shaman, Replenishment or other. (Unlikely, but can happen in 5 mans as well as in 10 man teams)

Consider boosting your Haste via reforging if:
- You have no or very little trouble managing your mana bar.
- You play with people who often need a quick save.
- You like a fast playstyle.
- You’re often assigned raid healing.
- You use Holy Radiance on cooldown.
- Your targets tend to die while you’re midheal.
- You prefer Divine Light over Flash of Light as your big heal.

Consider boosting your Crit via reforging if:
- You often find yourself out of mana due to heavy lifting (using Divine Light in a non-urgent matter to get a low health target back to full).
- Your overheal is close to zero.
- You’re interested in exploring Crit and it’s relationship with Mastery.

Consider boosting your Mastery via reforging if:
- You mostly only run heroics.
- You prefer to use Divine Light over Flash of Light as your big heal.
- You’re able to effectively use Light of Dawn in heroics.
- You want to explore the relationship between Mastery and Crit.

Part 3: What I’m trying out

Right now I’m prioritizing Haste, reforging Crit where I can. On pieces I can’t reforge to Haste, I’ve been reforging Crit to Spirit.

This is seems to follow the most popular trend, both from EJ and the official forums (although I don’t consider the official forums to be a valid source of information). It’s not necessarily a permanent thing, though, at least not for me. At the time being, I’m doing very well with a Haste build and the rare times I do run out, its due to something very bad happening and no amount of mana would have prevented the wipe.

I am interested in playing with Crit and Mastery, but I’ll wait until I have some tier gear. And hopefully by then World of Logs will be tracking Mastery.

Regardless, going by the posters on EJ are reporting, Haste build paladins and Crit build paladins are both raiding successfully, and until we get more data it’s hard to say which is the most efficient. (Granted, those saying they’re doing well with their stats could be always be lying, so we’d have to look at their raid logs to know for sure.) Selfishly, I hope both trends have their worth. The joy of healing comes from thinking, adapting and executing. If I wanted to play cookie-cutter, I’d be dpsing.

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14 Comments on “Holy Paladin Reforging”

  1. Fannon Says:

    Great post, Ophelie! Lots of great information in there.

    I have been following the same strategy that you have, prioritizing Spirit and Haste over crit and mastery and reforging as necessary. So far I feel that I have been successful, although I’m not into heroics yet. I haven’t had any mana issues yet and rarely lose people in the dungeons that I have ran so far.

    3400 haste is a frightenly high number. I think it’s fair to say that Blizzard does not want us to have a 1 second GCD anymore.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Yeah, I’m thinking the same as well. I suppose we have so many instants that letting us have a 1 second GCD would be OP.

      As well, I didn’t do the math to test the number, I’m counting on the EJ number crunchers to not lie to me!

  2. Celendus Says:

    One thought that I’ve been mulling over as a tank – and it may be applicable here too – is the question “if all secondary stats are roughly equal in power, and my gear is fairly balanced, do I even need to reforge?”

    • Ophelie Says:

      If the stats you’re going for are already on the item, then it won’t let you reforge it anyway.

      For holy paladins, I’m not sure of the benefit of going for a specific build versus spreading out stats equally. Personally, I like going for a particular build since it helps with spell selection and general playstyle.

      I haven’t tanked in a long time, but from what I recall, there’s a delicate balance in stats that you want to achieve, that you get by mixmatching gear, so I would assume that if you’re able to reach that balance with your gear as is, then you don’t want to mess it up by reforging. But, this is all just speculation since I’m very out of the loop for tanking and I don’t know the current stat priorities.

  3. Joe Ego Says:

    I’ll probably go for Spirit and Haste at 85, but I understand the lure of Crit in what is supposed to be a ‘slower’ healing environment. I think I’ll end up playing with Crit & Mastery gear once I can put together a passable secondary set of gear. Or I’ll just reforge my gear for a second raid week on the same content to gauge the performance differences.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I’m thinking of doing that as well. I’m having a lot of fun with haste right now, but I’m curious to see what’s it like to play with crit. Plus, with how much easier it is to stack crit, I wonder if I’m swimming upstream by trying to get more haste.

  4. Oestrus Says:

    It’s interesting that you guys would need so much haste, so as to be a number that you can’t even reach right now.

    Derevka and some others (Matt included) theorized that holy priests only needed 12.5% haste (not sure what that evens out to) and then we can start stacking mastery. We don’t even need crit – the crit we get from our Intellect on gear alone is enough.

    How low maintenance is that? It’s pretty neat if you ask me. Though I did feel kind of sad when I realized I actually had to start using that Blood Of Isiset that I took for giggles.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I guess it’s kind of like how us paladins just blindingly stacked intellect throughout Wrath ^_^

      I wish we had an exciting mastery. And a mastery that showed up on World of Logs. It’s so frustrating to have a stat on our gear that no one knows exactly what it does!

      • Oestrus Says:

        I remember Kurn saying something about it being useful and that she was reforging a portion of gear to mastery. I admit, I don’t remember the finer points of the conversation – other than “reforge” and “to mastery” came up and I remember some positive inflections being tossed in there.

        You may want to compare notes with her about that, unless her feelings or position has changed and she no longer feels that way.

        • Ophelie Says:

          I’d see how it would be useful in heroics (and possibly in 10 mans but I haven’t seen enough fights to know for sure) because there’s frequent, little, random damage. The damage on 25 man is too intense for the little 1-5k bubbles to be worth much. That said, there seems to be paladins rocking crit/mastery at high levels of play and really liking it.

          It’s just hard to know exactly what it’s doing since WoL doesn’t record it. According to EJ, it’s weak on paper, but paper and practice are two different things.

  5. Exul Says:

    I agree with your thoughts, and do the same haste/spirit reforging. We’re currently 10m 5/12 + Argaloth and I find the haste well spent. I see a lot of spike dmg to tanks where fast heals are necessary (and WoG saves my a**). I’m ~1300 haste and 3k combat mp5. With FoL at 1.22 in raid I will continue to get haste but am trying to see what playing with spirit trinkets will gain. OOM is always a danger with new progression when things aren’t yet fine tuned.

    Same thoughts on mastery. It might be good later, but just doesn’t seem worth it yet.

    • Ophelie Says:

      It’s a delicate balance for sure, and I’m really enjoying playing with my gear to find what works best for me and my guild’s composition.

      I have one spirit trinket, but I actually reforged part of it to haste… I feel like blindly stacking spirit is a waste (with the exception of new 85s learning the class and being mistreated in 5 man pugs), but at the same time, having mana to spare can make the difference between a wipe and an epic save.

  6. Palaria Says:

    Did my first 10man last night, and I have found that I need a bit more haste so I can better use Divine Light, or I need to use Flash of Light more (I hate casting it for some odd reason)

    One thing that should be noted about crit, with every Holy Shock Crit = an almost instant Divine Light.

    I foresee Paladin’s getting around 2k haste and then stacking Crit

    • Ophelie Says:

      That’s a really good point about Infusion of Light! It completely slipped my mind as I was writing the post. I’ll add a blurb about that.

      I prefer Divine Light over Flash of Light too, but I think it’s an individual thing. One of the pallies in my guild loves Flash of Light and she performs just as well as I do. The issue I have with FoL is that it just doesn’t heal enough for it’s cost. It’s helpful in situations where .5 seconds will make the difference between a save and a death or when you want a lot of hps, but most of the time it doesn’t feel worth it.

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