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!