It’s raid time…do you know where your cleanse button is?

Until the mechanics of ToC’s Faction Champions were uncovered, it was, let’s face it, a very, very annoying fight. Even after we learned how it worked, I remember a few nights of hearing the guys curse and swear on vent. But, for all its annoyance, it taught us PvP-illiterate paladins one important lesson: the power of Cleanse.

Oh, I knew Cleanse was in my spellbook. Sometimes I even had it on my bars! I think I may have used it before… You know, during those fights where the raid leader included in his pre-fight explanation: Paladins! Look for Icky-Debuff-of-Crap and dispel it!

But it wasn’t until Faction Champs that I truly became one with my Cleanse button. Suddenly I had to switch the spell to an easy binding. Suddenly I was training myself to instantly react to debuff icons on my frames. Seasoned PvPers are probably snickering right now, but to a PvE paladin, dispelling is very rarely a priority. Faction Champs was novel in that it demanded quick dispels and lots, lots of dispels.

Upon graduation from Faction Champs school, I noticed a change in my playstyle. While dispels aren’t as important in other PvE fights, there’s still plenty of opportunity to make use of my #5 mouse button. Lady Deathwhisper, the trash in ICC’s Blood wing, Blood Princes… Even outside of raids, I now find myself dispelling in 5 mans, or during quests. When I play my alts, I miss dispelling. I hit my dispell mouse button and I panic when it doesn’t work.

When I watch new holy paladins play, neglect of their Cleanse is one of their major “need to improve” points. Which is a shame, because Cleanse often makes healing easier, allows you to keep being useful while moving and, yes, helps you suck less at PvP.

So for all the paladins not in touch with their Cleanse, here are the 3 easy steps to Cleansing bliss.

Step 1 – Set your raid frames to distinguish Cleansables and not Cleansables

I use Grid and have it set up to show the icons of Magic, Poison and Disease debuffs in the middle of a character’s frame. Curse debuffs, which I have no power over, show up as a yellow square on the lower right corner. I’m told Healbot and Vudho have the same configuration options, so even non-Grid users can have settings like this.

On this picture you can see some of the Deathwhisper debuffs. While I don’t care whether a debuff is Magic, Poison or Disease, I like having the icons since they let me prioritize my dispels in PvP or other dispel intensive fights.

Step 2- Have an easy Cleanse binding

You don’t want to have to target someone, hit the cleanse button, target someone else and go back to healing. There’s no time for that! It’s bad enough that we have to deal with global cooldowns. We don’t want to waste another second targeting.

Keyboard purists, get a mouseover macro. Mouse healers, use an easy to remember binding. I have Cleanse as my #5 button, or alt-Right, depending on my spec and the mouse I’m using.

For you retribution and protection paladins soloing or in charge of dispelling yourselves, have Cleanse bound to your keyboard and auto-cast enabled (it’s in the game options!). Makes life so much easier.

Step 3- Hit the BGs

PvPers aren’t reading this. They don’t have to. (Maybe they are reading this and laughing at me right now but shhhh.) I can always tell if I’m grouping with PvPers who can dispel. What gives them away? The debuffs I’m waiting on don’t show up on my frames. Veteran PvPers are that fast.

For the rest of us, BGs are our learning playground. While Faction Champs is great for those who, like me, learn quite well under pressure, you don’t need to farm ToC every week to practice dispelling.

A favorite BG game of mine is in Arathi Basin. I find myself a Horde occupied node (Stables seems to be easiest for this) and assault it as a sole, lonely holy paladin. I then hop around in circles, cleverly alternating Cleanse, Consecration, Hand of Freedom, Divine Favor, Holy Shock and Infusion of Light instant Flash of Light. All the while I scream “YOU CAN’T KILL ME NANANANANA!!!!!”

It’s a lot of fun. You should try it sometime.

Is Cleansing just for healers?

Dispelling is a lot easier as a healer. After all, we do have our raid frames in our face. Plus, a Cleanse is a hiccup in a tanking or dps rotation. Us holys don’t really have a rotation. No rotation, no problem!

Still, if a debuff is significant enough and no one else can or will dispel, it pays, as a ret or prot paladin, to be able to dispel pronto and get back to mashing other buttons. Especially in this era of mass pugging with, um, idiots, being able to Cleanse is a huge asset when carrying a clueless group to your Frost badges.

And with that, I’m off to grind my IRL cleansing skills. Happy Cleansing friends!

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39 Comments on “It’s raid time…do you know where your cleanse button is?”

  1. Endyme Says:

    I have cleanse bound to the lil ` mark on my keyboard and it’s fairly easy to move my pinky over and mash it when Grid tells me there’s something I can cleanse. I’ve always tried to be aware of things that need cleansing and wanted to have it in an easy to reach spot for me. With the mouse I now have, I could bind it to a button, but I’m fairly set in my ways now and it works, so…*shrug*

    The Faction Champs fight drives me bonkers, btw. I spend most of my time cleansing and occasionally stunning something just cause I can. Oh and healing. I do that too.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I used to hate Faction Champs, but once I got used to healing it, I started to enjoy it. It’s a lot like my AB hopping around game, utility and instant cast spells. If you’re good at dispelling, the fight actually isn’t overly healing intensive. Despite all the movement, I find it really caters to holy paladins.

      As for using the keyboard, I see a lot of purists claim that it’s the best way to go anyway. I don’t see how it would be much different than using the mouse, but I don’t say anything.

  2. KimboSlice Says:

    I have always advocated that PvPing makes healers better overall

    • Ophelie Says:

      Definitely. It’s a reaction time and utility spell workout. I can even notice a difference in my performance during phases where I don’t pvp as much.

  3. crankyhealer Says:

    All cleanse-capable toons should have this sort of setup – even mages who can decurse. Especially when you’re running a 5-man, your healer may not be able to dispel all kinds of debuffs. Like the HHOR I was in the other day… the pally couldn’t be bothered to dispel magic on me and trees can’t do that… so I got incapacitated while the boss smacked the tank around. The tank did not die, so I didn’t have a chance to spout my pedantic lessons to a pug-person.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Oh yeah, HHOR! I had Faction Champs on my mind while writing this post, but I should have talked about HHOR as well! That’s another intensive dispelling school.

      I think the dispelling role of a dpser depends on the fight and group composition – during a dps race, I’d rather dps focus on killing stuff- but I agree that in a 5 man like HHOR, they should be making themselves as useful as possible.

  4. Antigen Says:

    I OT’ed ICC 10 yesterday and I actually used my Cleanse! I tanked the slimes on Rotface and cleansed people dropping their slimes off.

    Oh, and my Cleanse binding is mouse scroll down, with a Focus Cleanse macro on mouse scroll up.

  5. Kae Says:

    I use a G15 keyboard and have two of the G15 side keys set up as mouseover cleansing macros. I tried playing without the keyboard once and my hand kept falling off when I went to cleanse someone ๐Ÿ˜€

    Anyway, dps players should most certainly cleanse, imo. I can understand a mage waiting until a spellcast is complete before removing a curse, etc, but some amount of cleansing aid is expected. Tanks I give more leeway since they need to focus on holding threat, positioning, and boss timers (defensive cooldowns).

    • Ophelie Says:

      I often find myself dispelling when I’m tanking 5 mans. I figure if no else does it, I might as well. My dispel reflex is nowhere as good as when I’m healing though. When it comes to dps dispelling, I think it depends on the context. If its a dps race, or if the healer(s) is/are able to cover dispels easily, then there’s no point in interrupting a rotation, but in instances like Crankyhealer described, then yes, dps should pitch in.

  6. goldstrike Says:

    Oooh, thanks, this is great info. We have a relatively new guild, with a few folks who are getting ready in a week or so to begin regular ToC. I had just been starting to re-read the column on about healing addons, and was thinking that it was time for me to do an entire reworking of my setup. This confirms it. Yay!

    Also, I do agree with Crankyhealer about others needing to be able to dispel where possible. I don’t know classes well enough to know who can dispel what, but as the holy pally, I know that there are times when I can’t dispel quickly enough and heal too, so there is usually a choice made, with healing coming first, obviously. Part of my issue could be my cleanse addon though, and I’m sure I’ll be seeing better results once I switch over.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Decursive is the addon of choice for dispelling, but as a holy paladin in PvE, I don’t see a point to it, since it doesn’t do anything Grid (or Vudho or Healbot) doesn’t already do for me. (I might think differently if I played a difference class or took PvP seriously.)

      The more similar your Cleanse binding is to your healing bindings, the easier is it to dispel and heal at the same time. Since I use mouse bindings for healing and my Cleanse is also bound to my mouse, I dispel the same way I would cast a Holy Shock, renew my Beacon or any other instant spell. It’s very smooth and doesn’t require extra reaction time.

      Good luck with your ToC endeavors! Hopefully you’ll have a lot of fun in there!

  7. theerivs Says:

    One word – decursive. Nuff said.

    • Ophelie Says:

      You know, I didn’t even THINK of decursive as I was writing that. I really should have said a few words about it. I’ve never used it, as a holy paladin who is super casual about PvP, the only thing about it that seems remotely useful is the Unstable Affliction warning during Faction Champs. All the rest, the Grid already does for me. The CCing mind controlled targets features do seem useful for classes who can CC though. Classes/roles who don’t keep their mouses hovering near their frames might get a lot more out of decursive as well, plus I can see serious PvPers liking the prioritizing system (I wouldn’t know firsthand though)

    • crankyhealer Says:

      I actually find that our healers who use decursive do poorly because they are looking in one place to find health and in another to find statuses that might need cleansing. They have done better with incorporating things-to-be-cleansed into their raid frames. Now, with a non-healing class/spec, it doesn’t really matter where the statuses are displayed, since a non-healing class/spec won’t be looking at raid frames anyway.

  8. Nim (Ankh) Says:

    Oh Cleansing Totem, how I love you so.

  9. LabRat Says:

    It burns my britches I seem to spend far more time cleansing the entire party than just about every pug healer I have ever run with. It gladdens my heart when the debuff actually goes away before I can finish moving my mouse to Decursive.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I notice that a lot with inexperienced healers (and was even a fault of mine until I spent night after night doing Faction Champs). They don’t realize that by taking an extra second to dispel, they’re likely saving themselves quite a bit of heal casting time.

  10. Dristanel Says:

    I am disappointed this is not about colon cleansing.

    • Ophelie Says:


      I suppose I could write about that, but it would have nothing to do with WoW… I read a book once about a guy who was addicted to colon cleansing. Well, the book wasn’t about his addiction, but colon cleansing was a big part of the story. It was a pretty a good book, actually. But not because of the colon cleansing, just a good book overall.

      This comment is going to get me even more colon cleansing spam than my original post did ;D

    • crankyhealer Says:

      Because I subscribed to this thread in gmail, now the side-ads on gmail are giving me tips on colonics. Greaaaat.

  11. Aloix Says:

    I’m a (ret) paladin and I love to cleanse. I look at it as part of my ‘value added/utility-ness’.
    I use VuhDo for my raid frames and have cleanse bound to my right-click.
    To the people recommending Decursive — I’ve never tried it, but I’ve run stuff with guildies and my experience has been that I am faster than them with Decursive. Granted, that’s obviously anecdotal, lag/reaction time/UI placement etc all play in there.

    Anyway.. I agree that it’s a valuable thing to do when one has the ability to do so, and having raid frames that clearly show people afflicted with removable stuff and a way to easily remove them is an advantage! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • LabRat Says:

      I actually do run Grid, I just also use decursive; I *personally* find that when I’m tanking or healing, keeping debuffs in Grid frames distract me from the information I need, like threat levels or health deficits.

      That’s just me, though. I’m sure it’d be faster, it’s just helpful for me to have it off on its own little “two priorities down” area.

  12. puggingpally Says:

    I’m in love with decursing/cleansing/whatever. Even when I’m playing my mage I have raid frames and an easy keybind set up to just decurse when I’m able. It isn’t too much lost DPS time, and in a healing-intensive fight, it’s one GCD the healers don’t have to waste on something I can help them out with. I have Vuhdo set up with a distinctive sound so that no matter which character I’m playing, if there’s a debuff I can dispel I’ll hear it readily.

    I just learned Cleanse as a holy pally and I was all excited to be able to cleanse THREE types of things with one spell!

    • Ophelie Says:

      We are pretty spoiled with our cleanse! It’s no automatic cleansing totem, but it seems so much easier than what the priests have to do.

      I didn’t know Vuhdo had audio cues, that’s pretty cool.

  13. anafielle Says:

    The fight that taught me my cleanse button wasn’t necessarily FC – I cleansed there, some, but not an exceptional amount. I always click decursive when things look nasty, but I was maybe doing 15 or so cleanses a fight.

    Yogg 1 taught me cleanse.

    I was ret, my offspec, and healing & cleansing while DPSing the whole time.

    FFSSS – that fight!

    I installed HealBot for that fight – I am prot/ret!! – so I could heal and cleanse with ease.

    Seriously. Yogg 1.

    It’s a powerful thing, to really play your class to its fullest extent. There are like two whole action bars of spells I can easily ignore on my pally if I’m just purely tanking or purely DPSing. We have so many tools; we should be able to use ’em all!

    • Ophelie Says:

      I think PvP is really where you get to make the most out of your class. Which reminds me that I need to PvP more often!

      I didn’t get to see Yogg very much, each time it was the end of the night so I think I may have had a total of 5 attempts at Yogg? *sad*

      If you’re doing FC as ret, I can see how you’d have other priorities. As holy, though, I easily rack up more than 100 dispels there. It’s crazy how much of a difference dispelling makes there.

  14. Hempia Says:

    This for me was one of the first things I learned while healing dungeons.

    I keep Decursive and Vuhdo close together so there’s not much eye movement. By configuring and removing the pre-cleanse/dispell that Vuhdo and Healbot come out of the box it allows me to prioritize the cleanse/dispell instead of choosing it first before a much needed heal for that GCD. And lets not forget mana management when it comes to timing and being able to choose a heal over a cleanse/dispell. This is what keeps Decursive an invaluable tool to me.

    For PvP I even specced into reducing the mana cost of my dispells. I am still seeing how this new spec works. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Ophelie Says:

      I think the reduced mana cost of dispels is recommended for pally pvp healers too. I don’t pvp enough to bother, but apparently it makes a difference.

      I suppose Decursive is less valuable for holy paladins since mana management is rarely an issue and, because of how our heals work, the choice between a heal and a dispel is usually pretty obvious. (PvP might be different, but I don’t PvP seriously, so I don’t know) I can see how it would be helpful for other classes though.

  15. Rhii Says:

    This is a great great article! Cleansing is one of my most powerful tools when I’m healing, and it surprises me how many people just suffer through debuffs they could be removing.

    My guild actually has a dedicated dispelbot for FC (hint: it’s me!) and I usually get in about a hundred cleanses during that fight. Usually I am also the lone healer, our other heals swap out to dps for FC, and I handle it alone with hybrids only pitching if things go badly. I find I barely need to heal at all as long as I keep up with the debuffs.

    There are also times when prioritizing cleansing OVER heals will actually save you time/mana/deaths. In HPOS on the way up the ramp, those nasty undeads give a nasty disease debuff… I heal significantly less when I’m quick with cleansing that. When I’m slow about cleansing that, I lose people.

    And yes, I love cleanse so much I bound it to right click. It’s got an easier keybind than Holy Light! That’s how much I love cleanse!

    • Ophelie Says:

      I’ve never done FC with a single healer, I didn’t realize it was possible. I think that could really help if you have a group with low burst dps.

      Unless someone will die during the next global cooldown, I usually do prioritize cleansing over healing too. Saves me so much work!

  16. Rhidach Says:

    I’m a terrible cleanser. During Faction Champs (even in ToGC-10) I was generally non-helpful. Not out of choice, I just always forgot to help.

    During my brief healing jaunt this weekend though… it was interesting to see everyone get poisoned and have something click that “that’s your job now, git ‘im!”

    • Ophelie Says:

      During FC, I assume the non healers have more important things to worry about so I never hold it against them. Besides, when they try too hard to pitch in, I get a little insulted: “What? Don’t you think I can handle this?

      Glad you thought to cleanse during your holy stint though! Cleansing tends to be the main thing new healers forget to do.

  17. […] The Bossy Pally and the Giant Spoon Once upon a time…. « It’s raid time…do you know where your cleanse button is? […]

  18. harpysnest Says:

    Add Unstable Affliction to Grid in its own right and set the priority to max. Our paladins/priests dispelling UA on the Faction Champions used to drive me crazy, especially since I tended to end up running around after them dispelling the silence. Whilst I can’t think of any other NPCs who cast UA, if you are going to PvP, its pretty important to make sure you can see it in all its evil glory without other less nasty effects covering it up.

  19. Speaking of cleansing and the pugs with the idiots…

    Even if you are not a paladin, it is still important to have all of your “cleansing” abilities as soon as you can have access to them. Druids get Cure Poision through a quest still at 16. I was tanking Wailing Caverns with a “Omg I almost keep dieing WTF” baby healer who could not heal through stacks of the poison. In turn, had she done her quest, it would not have been an issue.

    I’m a paladin by nature and heart but I am probably the slowest cleanser ever, it is NOT my strong-suit as a healer, but I do it and my hotkey is right there next to the healing spells because it is pretty vital.

    PS. When Tanks and Ret pallies cleanse…they get brownie points. 0:)

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