The Suffering Inflicted on Holy Paladins by Heroic Thok 25

Raid: Your numbers suck on Thok. Make them not suck.
Me: /cry

We’ve been working on Heroic Thok for a few weeks now. The strategy has been worked and reworked, we’ve gotten into the flow of the fight and we’ll probably kill that big hungry (thirsty?) dinosaur on Saturday.

It was brought to my attention, frustratingly, that my healing numbers on that fight were, well, abysmal. I haven’t been looking at numbers lately – now that most of my cohealers consist of three disc priests and a shaman, looking at numbers is just asking for misery. (When all the disc priests are away or healing as holy, I can often squeeze into second place behind our shaman on the meters, but there’s no way I can get any impressive healing in with 3 disc priests in the raid. One cannot heal nonexistent damage and Illuminated Healing just doesn’t do the job.) But I’ll take their word for it. I’m silenced more often than not on that fight. I’ll believe any accusation of fail healing.

So. Paladin problem or player problem? And can I fix it?

Paladins and 25 Heroic Thock

The first thing I did was head over to World of Logs to see how the fight is going for everyone else. (See this post if you’re curious about my World of Logs searching procedure.)

I got rid of the Asian servers, because, well, their playing conditions are too different from ours and their logs are written funny. Then I had a look at how Holy Paladins measure up there in the US and EU.

As of today, Dec 13, 2013, in the top 800 parses, 22 were paladins (2.75%…If all healing specs were made equal, one would expect around 17% – 1 in 6 – representation). And here’s how the top 5 pallies did:

#363 with 326k hps, Dec 4.
#380 with 324k hps, Nov 27.
#561 with 299k hps, Dec 12.
#634 with 289k hps, Dec 3.
#645 with 288k hps, Dec 3.
.

If you look at the top 150 all pally ranks, HPS varies from 326k to 233k. Let’s have a look at other classes:

Disc Priests: 515k to 356k
Shaman: 458k to 314k
Druids: 380k to 278k
Holy Priests: 432k to 276k
Monks: 354k to 264k

It seems pretty clear to me that we are lagging behind, significantly when compared to Disc Priests and Shaman, and moderately when compared to the other specs. Which leads to the next question, what are the most performing Holy Paladins doing to avoid the bench?

Selfless Healer vs Eternal Flame

Out of those 22 paladins who made it to the top 800, 18 of those used the Selfless Healer style.

Honestly, having tried to heal the fight with Eternal Flame for a few weeks, I’m surprised any Eternal Flame users made it into the top. Silence much, anybody?

Quickly, I switched my talents. Then I was faced with another question. How, in the name of the light, do I heal like this?

I took the top 5 paladins (forever more known as “The Top 5″) and checked out their cast log. Thankfully, it was pretty unanimous and consistent throughout the fight:

[20:59:19.598] Light of Dawn (HoPo = 0)
[20:59:20.647] Judgment on Thok the Bloodthirsty (HoPo = 1, SH = 1)
[20:59:21.621] Holy Shock (HoPo = 2, SH = 1)
[20:59:22.644] Holy Radiance (HoPo = 3. SH = 0)
[20:59:23.506] Light of Dawn (HoPo = 0)
[20:59:24.444] Judgment on Thok the Bloodthirsty (HoPo = 1, SH = 1)
[20:59:25.454] Holy Shock (HoPo = 2, SH = 1)
[20:59:26.458] Holy Radiance (HoPo = 3. SH = 0)
[20:59:27.503] Holy Radiance (HoPo = 4. SH = 0)
[20:59:29.149] Light of Dawn (HoPo = 1)
[20:59:30.148] Judgment on Thok the Bloodthirsty (HoPo = 2, SH = 1)
[20:59:31.146] Holy Shock (HoPo = 3, SH = 1)
[20:59:32.289] Holy Radiance (HoPo = 4. SH = 0)
[20:59:33.269] Light of Dawn (HoPo = 1)

Regardless of whether the Jailer was up, or how far along they were in Thok’s screeching phase, each Light of Dawn was cast with 3 charges of Holy Power. The Judgement-Holy Shock-Holy Radiance rotation was flexible based on what was off CD (and possibly the needs of the raid). I noticed, as well, that Holy Radiance was usually cast with only one stack of Selfless Healer. (Two paladins, #2 and #3, I believe, were using two stacks of Selfless Healer during Holy Avenger. As far as I could tell, nobody else was doing that. #5 didn’t even use Judgement during his first Holy Avenger).

The Cooldown Usage

thokcds

I picked this particular screenshot because it illustrates pretty much every cooldown strategy I noticed among The Top 5.

1- Beacon of Light Swapping: 3 out of 5 moved their Beacon from tank to tank, although at different paces. Note, however, that all 5 were the only paladin healers in their raid.

2- Pre-potting: Two of them (and maybe others, WoL doesn’t always catch buffs that are cast before the fight starts) pre-potted with Int potions. 3 of them used Int potions later on, during the second or third Screech phase.

3- All the Throughput CDs, ALL OF THEM. After Heroism/Bloodlust/Timewarp (BHT): Everyone waited for HBT to wear off, then blew their Holy Avenger-Divine Favor-Guardian-Avenging Wrath combo. Based on how long their kite phase was, some (such as the paladin above) used all 4 again on the second Screech phase. Those who had shorter kite phases used only Holy Avenger and Divine Favor during the second Screech, and everyone used everything again for the third Screech. Note that all the top pallies killed Thok during or right after the third Screech phase.

Another note on the throughput CDs – my copally and I experimented with CD timing last week and it is essential to wait for BHT to wear off before popping everything. You won’t heal worth shit of you pop anything during BHT.

4- Selfless Healer Stacks: The paladin on the screenshot hit 3 stacks of Selfless Healer twice. Which, as I mentioned in the last section, seems typical among the top 5. No one seemed to really worry about SH stacks.

5- Devo Aura: I suck and forgot to show Devo Aura on the screenshot. If you wondering, this paladin used it for each Screech phase. As for everyone else, it seemed to depend how fast they moved through the fight. Those who phase changed too quickly used their Devo during First and Third, or during Second. This is something to be agreed upon among all the paladins in the raid since Devo Aura really makes or breaks this fight.

The Plan!

On the condition that I am not benched this week in favor of one shaman and six disc priests, here’s the improvement plan:

1- Selfless Healer with Light of Dawn cast at 3 charges of Holy Power. Judgement-Holy Shock-Holy Radiance-type rotation.
2- Pre-pot FTW!
3- Wait until AFTER HBT to cast ALL THE CDs.

Wish me luck!

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9 Comments on “The Suffering Inflicted on Holy Paladins by Heroic Thok 25”

  1. Sol Says:

    What about hand of protection uses? Is that used for self, or demanded by other healers (or doesn’t it work in heroic)?

    • Ophelie Says:

      You’re right, I didn’t mention that at all ^_^

      I haven’t looked at what others are doing, but we (the other pallies in the raid and I) generally use hand of protection toward the end of the Screech phases. One pally gets our druid (for tranq), another gets our holy priest and the rest either grab another healer or a caster dps. I don’t usually bother using it on myself (since I have bubble), but on our kill Friday, (because we did kill it last night!) at the end of the fight, things were getting a little intense. I noticed Hand coming off CD, used it, got some nice Holy Radiances out and almost everyone stayed alive until the end. So yeah, it helps with the Screech phases if you put it on a druid and holy priest for their channeled raid CDs (Clemency is a super nice talent) and if it’s available at other times, you can use it when useful.

  2. AliPally Says:

    Judgment
    Holy Shock
    Holy Radiance
    Light of Dawn
    repeat

    Meh, it really makes me wonder just what has happened to Holy Paladins to make them as dull as this! Is this fun?

    I always avoided PvP in the past due to being a bag of nerves and lacking in confidence big time, but I find it much, much more interesting than this. Tell me I’m wrong, please, or I guess I’m never raiding again.

    • Talarian Says:

      Not really any different from the end of Cata (Holy Radiance spam) or Wrath (Holy Light spam), except you have more buttons to press, so it is arguably more fun. The final tier of an expansion, regen is always so high as to make your highest throughput rotation the correct one, whereas earlier tiers you get to make more decisions, triage, etc.

      It is a little ridiculous, but personally I’d say healing on a Holy Paladin is as fun as it’s ever been so far.

      • Ophelie Says:

        That rotation is really just for that fight. Granted, when I use Eternal Flame, it’s not much different. Like you said, end of expansion doesn’t force us to heal with our eyes open.

  3. Talarian Says:

    Yay, thanks for doing all the heavy lifting for me. Our raid is about to hit Thok 10N, and I may give Selfless Healer a try. This post has a lot of great info on that style.

  4. Megacode Says:

    Great post “O” :) I’ve been using SH for a few weeks now since we’re on Thok 25N. Can’t say I love the fight but as far as SH goes I’m really loving it and getting used to its rotation. Only difference for me has been my rotation. Judge/HR/DaybreakHS/LoD. I just pop HR first to take advantage of Daybreak HS sooner. May stick with SH for awhile :)

  5. dragonray Says:

    Did you get benched or we going to get an update on how you went??? The suspense is killing me :p

    • Ophelie Says:

      XD I kept meaning to post an update, but then I had to work a lot, then I had to fly across the country (rough life, I know), then I had to work again. Then it’s three weeks later and I suddenly remember this blog…


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