Holy Paladin Basic Guide

Holy Paladins.  Healing.  Actually using mana.  Currently the hardest role in Cataclysm.  Holy Paladins are seeing tremendous use in raids and 5-mans.  Why?  Because are heals are extremely efficient, and our healing per second (HPS) is topping just about all other healing classes.  So, it should be little surprise that many Retribution Paladins are being pulled into healing roles.  I am one of those.

Healing is a very different role, in that you are not directly linked to combat and killing strategies.  A healer’s job is to stay alive, and keep everyone around them alive, as well.  To do so, you must effectively use all your heals, and conserve mana to last through entire fights.  Easier said than done, especially in Cataclysm.  Holy Paladins have an arsenal of healing tools that help them emerge as some of the top healers in the early phases of Cataclysm.

This page is dedicated to the basics of building and functioning as a Holy Paladin.

Holy Paladin Talents

  • I prefer to go with: 33/5/3
  • However, the basic tree from EJ is 31/3/3 with 4 points left to spend

Holy Paladin Stats

Here are the stat priorities for Holy Paladins.  You will notice they are pretty similar to what they were in Wrath.

  1. Intellect
  2. Spirit
  3. Haste
  4. Critical Strike
  5. Mastery

In my experience, haste far outweighs crit and Mastery, so if I am reforging a stat, I am usually reforging Mastery to Haste.  I am still toying with reforging crit to haste, and haven’t really seen a difference thus far. When haste is already on the item, I am reforging to spirit.

Intellect gives us spell power, mana, and spell crit, so it is the heaviest stat by far, and all gemming and enchanting should be aimed at this if possible.

Holy Paladins Gems

Really, there are only a few gems we will be using:

Brilliant Inferno Rubies are going in every slot, unless the socket bonus at 20 intellect or more.  To get teh meta socket bonus, I am using 2 Reckless Ember Topaz.

Holy Paladins Enchants

Holy Paladins Glyphs


The above three are my choices.  You may also use:


These are my top three choices based on my personal style of healing.  You may find another major glyph more to your suiting.


Tips and Tricks

Okay, so I am being used as a healer far more than DPS in our current state.  Until Ret DPS picks up, I don’t see the light shining down on us favorably in terms of getting raid spots.  So, Holy for me for now.  Here are some tips and tricks I have been using:


Try and use this as often as possible to replenish mana.  If using it correctly in 5-mans, you rarely will be in dire need of mana.  If used in raids, you are extending your mana pool by a good minute at least.  You must be within range of a mob to use this though, so positioning is key.

Beacon of Light

While it only transfers 50% of other healing to the target, this is still a huge tool.  With the duration improved to 5 minuites, we no longer have to worry about refreshing this in a fight (Unless it is a longer raid boss encounter). For me, Beacon is always on the tank.  I focus on group and raid healing and only focus heal the tank if everyone else is full on HP.  TO make sure it never falls off, I always refresh this before each pull.  It’s not mana intensive, so get in the habit.

Heal Rotations

There isn’t a set heal rotation, but I will tell you my order of heal priorities:

  1. Holy Shock (for Holy Power generation)
  2. Word of Glory (at 3 Holy Power)
  3. Holy Light (Most efficient heal)
  4. Holy Radiance (AoE healing)
  5. Light of Dawn (AoE healing)
  6. Divine Light
  7. Flash of Light

Some Holy Paladins rank Light of Dawn higher, but that is best used on groups of players.  For 5-mans, I rarely use this, as I am usually not clumped with the melee.  Word of Glory is usually a better use of HP.  In raids, like Magmaw, if I have players clumped, Light of Dawn is a top priority and wins hands down over Word of Glory.

Holy Radiance

Holy Radiance is a great heal.  I fall more in love with it every run.  For 5-mans, if you see the group starting to take damage, use Holy Radiance.  It’s an extremely powerful and efficient heal.  Yes, it is a little high on mana cost, but you should be able to minimize that by judging mana back.  It will also see high and frequent use in raids.  For fights where raid dmaage is high, or you get behind on heals, pop this often.

Holy Shock and Holy Light

These are my main heals, and what I use 75% of the time.  In 5-mans, unless we start taking a ton of damage, I stick with these extremely efficient heals.  They are low mana cost, and allow for extreme mana conservation.  It’s no wonder their mana cost is going up in 4.0.6.  Use these guys primarily, and only resort to the bigger heals (Divine Light and Flash of Light) if you start to fall behind.

Divine Light

For every 3 Holy Lights in raids, I find myself hitting 1 Divine Light.  This helps keep up with incoming damage, especially the heal transfer from Beacon of Light.

Flash of Light

A wonderful fast heal that I use ONLY when a player (usually tank) starts getting tons of damage.  This occurs mainly in 5-mans, when more than one group of adds is pulled, or the tank is undergeared.

Divine Plea

(Mana regeneration) In 5-mans, I never use this in combat, only between pulls.  For raids, this is used when I am out of mana, or there is a part of the fight where incoming dmaage is very low.

Healing 5-Mans

Buff with BoM or BoK, depending if there is a Druid in your group.  Devotion Aura by default, and Resistance Aura for fights that require it.  Seal of Insight at all times.  Beacon of Light on tank.  Heal with Holy Light and Holy Shock as often as possible.  Use Word of Glory whenever it is on 3HP (Can use it with less if needed).  Keep judging mobs to replinish mana, and make frequent use of your cooldowns and Holy Radiance.

Healing Raids

Same buffing as above and Beacon on tank (usually).  Mana replenishment is key here, so make sure to Judge and use Divine Plea when incoming damage is low.  Keep mana pots on you as well.  Group healing is usually my focus, with tank as a secondary target via Beacon of Light.  Just make sure to be aware of positioning.  Getting out of judgement range can really hurt your mana replinishment.

Using cooldowns

Avenging Wrath, Guardian of Ancient Kings, and Divine Favor are usually saved for boss fights.  However, in 5-mans, if the fight becomes helaing intensive, I have no problems casting Avenging Wrath to help me out.

Using Potions

Any non-mana potions for stat buffs should be used in tandem with Bloodlust or Heroism.

Khor’s Disclaimer

I am not a full-time Holy Paladin.  There are much better Paladins out there who heal, but I wanted to give you guys my take on it, since many Rets are looking for other ways to fit into 5-mans and raids.  If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below!

For further information, I will refer you to Elitist Jerks, which is where I do most of my Holy Paladin research. I float over to the WoW forums every now and then as well, but EJ is more my style for healing.


  1. Khor says:

    As a side note, what I didn’t include was that when starting out as a healer, you REALLY need a good mana pool. Shoot for 75k to 80k unbuffed to give yourself a decent boost in heroics. With a mix of 346 and 359 gear, I am right at 90k unbuffed, without trinkets. Hoping to remedy that soon!

  2. Pyrisilla - Jubei'thos says:

    You forgot to include using Divine Favor in conjunction with Holy Radiance because the speed increase will cause alot more ticks to happen.
    Also I recommend Glyph of Divinity as it gives you a massive 10% mana boost in times of dire emergency, and currently before the patch, Lay on Hands can top one target, almost top the tank and also give you 10% mana with only a 7min cd.. Its way too OP. I didn’t use glyph of cleansing as its cost only roughly 4k mana to cast, no biggie with my 90k+ mana pool.

  3. Khor says:

    @ Pyr -good points, thanks! Although, sadly, LoH won’t be beacon transferred in 4.0.6 :( Notes a couple days ago shed light on this. OP indeed!

  4. Ragñarok says:

    Hello, Khor! Long time reader, first time poster.

    I’ve been maining holy since the introduction of holy power, and I have some tips for everyone just starting out the holy spec in cataclysm.

    Spec: The talent spec that I use for 5 man heroic dungeons is http://www.wowhead.com/talent#scIozrkuhfdhbZco:VcarfwcMz

    The main thing that might turn some heads is the exclusion of aura mastery. I find that this ability isn’t even worth the single point if you aren’t raiding yet, which I’m not. Also, 2/2 Blessed life is actually very helpful in heroic dungeon situations since there are a multitude of boss and trash mechanics that can target or damage you, which equals free holy power. Blessed life also helps buffer mistakes, such as standing in fire. Occasionally I might even stand in fire for a tiny bit on purpose just to gain that bit of holy power, Protector of the Innocent can heal most of that damage back in a short amount of time anyways. Now, understand that I’m not telling you to purposely jump in fire at all times, just to do it in a pinch if needed.

    Taking advantage of seal of insight’s secondary effect at low levels of spirit can also help mana regen. Get up in the fray and attack the boss/ tank’s target with them and you’ll proc the seal and regain health and mana. Using this along with judgment on cooldown, and even using crusader strike when you don’t have to use that GCD to heal to gain more holy power will help conserve mana and give you more utility to use word of glory/light of dawn whenever needed.

    You’ll also notice that I have glyph of salvation as a major instead of cleanse or divinity. This turns salvation into a fade that can be cast on any target. I use this for boss fights that spawn adds such as Lockmaw, so when I pull heal aggro I just cast salvation on myself. It is also helpful for when you get gung-ho DPS that like to AoE everything in sight and pull aggro, such as Frost Death Knights. Just cast it on them and you don’t have to worry about them accidentally tanking. (You could also use hand of protection to stop melee DPS from even attacking, but this can be seen as being mean and might cause some arguments.)

    Finally, Light of Dawn can be a very efficient heal with a beaconed tank. If you can manage to position yourself so that the cone heals every party member, each of those heals will proc protector of the innocent, which in turn heals your tank for half of all of your protector healing. Protector of the Innocent is getting nerfed in the next patch, so we will see if this technique can still hold it’s own in heroic dungeons.

    Thank you for continuing to update this great site, and I hope that some of my advice will be helpful to rets trying to get into the holy paladin business.

  5. Lumpi says:

    Howdy Khor!

    I was wondering if you use any special UI’s when healing 5-mans? if so, what would you recommend? I’ve heard some heroic groups will drop you if you don’t have a healing UI.

    Also, as a Holy Pally, do you use different crafting lines for bonuses? Like Alchemy can give a boost to Haste for a short period of time.



  6. Mox says:

    Having never healed before, I have a couple of questions.

    First, what addon’s are essential and which are mandatory.

    Second, how do you have your UI set up?

    Third, obviously I don’t want to step right into cat dungeons, how would you suggest I get some experience healing while not costing my guildmates a pretty coin in repairs?


  7. Mox says:

    I meant, which addon’s are essential and which ones are optional?

  8. Lumpi says:


    are there any gear you’d recommend?

    I’m respeccing my Prot/Ret Pally to Prot/Holy to be more group friendly.

  9. Shogan says:

    I tried healing for a time, wasn’t for me but I can assume that the addons you are asking about would be one of the following:

    Grid + Clique

    All 3 allow you to keybind actions to certain buttons. When you hover your mouse over the players name and press said button, the keybound ability is cast.

    Decursive and Omen is always a must, healers get aggro too ;)

    UI – If you are in a guild check to see if there is a UI thread, I know many do have them. If not you can always post a topic on the forums here asking for people to post theirs, healer or otherwise. It will give you some idea of what people are rocking.

    Learning to heal – BG’s are a great place to practice your skills, the hardcore pvpers out there may not appreciate it too much but from my own experiences any healing in a BG is better than no healing :p

  10. Anders says:

    wow. this is just great and perfect timing :D i started following your page as a ret palla, but i kept finding myself saving my instance groups with LoH, HR, HS and stuff, and that killed my dmg. as a ret palla i have to stay where the action is when im fighting, and if i get any aoe dmg or have to take mobs. it often happends that the healer doesnt heal me, so i have to do it my self. and when all my holypower goes to healing myself and othersm my dps gets really low.

    so i started farming heroic healing gear to start as a healer. and now i have enough gear. anyways just wanna tell you how great this site is:)

  11. Elsquare says:

    Hi Khor,

    have been following your site since I started WoW, which was barely a month ago. Inspired by your site, I started a Ret Paladin as well. Since I’m still relatively new, not even 85 nor mention raids, need to seek your honest opinion on how ret paladin is working out. It breaks my heart to see you converting to Holy. Does that really mean Rets are so bad that even you, one of the best Rets out there, if not the best, have to do the conversion?

  12. Zuli says:

    Hi Elsquare,

    I think ret is not that bad, but they are still under development since Cata. I just feel tire to catch up those change from month to month. My ret still stay at 80 :( despite my 5 other toons. Mostly reach 85. Ret was my main but i am now need to rethink how her future. I still want to stay DSP.

  13. Elsquare says:

    Hey there Zuli,

    Not exactly the answer I was hoping for but still, thanks for the inputs. Same thinking here, I would prefer to DPS rather than tank or heal, or else I wouldn’t even specced into Ret…

  14. Chellyn says:

    It is a sad-sad-sad day that retributionpaladins.com has a holy paladin build on it /wrist

  15. Shogan says:

    @Zuli and Elsquire

    I cannot speak for the man himself but I suspect like many Rets out there he has a ‘viable’ Off Spec. I myself have a Prot OS, at the moment I find myself tanking HCs and some raids with my guild. The only time I really get to DPS is if I run with pugs or if I am faffing about in WoW.

    As Khors previous thread stated, Ret is in a bit of a weak state. The next patch should go some way towards dealing with a few of the issues. This is not to say that Ret is a waste of time, it just takes a lot of patients, skill and some luck from the RNG gods to pull out numbers on movement heavy fights. Last week a Ret in my guild came 5th in BH (25man) with some very decent numbers, so all is not lost.

    @Elsquire – As you are levelling Ret, as I did, all I can advise you to do is consider what you might like to do Off Spec wise. Whether it is healing or tanking I would start to collect a gear as you reach Cata content around lvl 83 onwards.

  16. Hudewey says:

    Hi Khor

    Great site & really appreciate the Holy info. I’m spec’g my 2nd as Holy as well & hope to start healing in dungeons soon. The mana pool & starting gear info is a big help. Any word on weapons? I do have the elementium shield. Is the Shimmering Star from Baradin Wardins a good weap for Holy? Thanks.

  17. Khor says:

    Hah! One Holy Paladin post is no reason to fret! Actually guys, the reason I posted the guide was because I had an increasing number of requests for one, since many Rets are having to fill other roles.
    Now, I am a Ret at heart, and my main spec is still Retribution. I have not switched sides or converted. I am simply filling a role so that it is easier for me to get into raids and raid pugs (Baradin’s Hold atm).
    Many of you realize that Ret DPS is not viewed in a good light, therefore we are passed over for higher DPS classes, and understandably so.
    So, instead of sitting on the bench hoping for a Ret spot, I was proactive and started really honing my offspec. Heals are very powerful atm, so that seemed the logical choice…plus my guild has an extreme shortage of healers.
    Don’t worry, more Ret content is on the way:)

  18. blooday says:

    hi. i am a ret pally like many who look at the site and i have holy pally as my secondary talent. i was wondering if i should go for cloth gear(it seems to have higher intellect) or plate (more armor)


  19. Mod says:


    Always use plate as a pally. If you have plate equipped in every slot then you will get the “Plate Specialization” bonus: 5% strength for ret ,5% intellect for holy, and 5% stamina for prot.

  20. Elsquare says:

    Thanks for all the advice given <3 what a friendly bunch of ret palas ard here.

    I can't heal for god sake, my fingers go wobbly when healing, so much that I can't even heal myself in time at times lol. Guess I've to go tanker then.

    Hoping that ret palas gain back it's DPS role after 4.0.6 so that we can all go back to what we really want to achieve in the first place.

  21. Grana says:

    I prefer being ret it is far better to level with, but Khor is correct we are gettign far more use actually as tanks and Healers. Something I noticed even with 75k mana unbuffed still may have issues with heroics if you don’t have people ccing etc.

    Now i have gotten to raid yet this expansion but so far for heroics.. I would defiantly recommend being a healer or tank and you can still build your ret gear after you have your heal or tank gear. Only thing is just let the group know your rolling on dps gear etc or if it is a guild group they should already know. That is my opinion though.


  22. Little says:

    One thing you can consider though is a crit>haste build since conviction is crit based and grants 9% more heal and considering that we have 3-4 instant heals and i dunno how much reduction would haste have on a 3 sec heal.

  23. Pyrisilla - Jubei'thos says:

    @LIttle I agree with you over crit priority over haste as we do have many benefits from crit, currently my crit is around 20% unbuffed, with 2600mp5.. Crit imo holds priority at low gear levels..

    The rest I try to maintain 11mastery n rest on haste.. Healing is quite comfortable for me in raids.. My 5mans stop using cc already, except for adepts in vortex pinacle..

    Have to get used to HoPo generation, use divine light/flash on beaconed target to gain that HoPo and shock/HL on raid members to heal..
    If my numbers ain’t wrong, when my 10k HL heal a member, my beaconed target actually gets 2 procs (5k (beacon) + 2.5k (beacon of my PoI)) so u actually almost cast 2 heals in effect..
    Use divine light timely, not spam, as it works like casting 3 HL, (1 DL mana/healamt = 3xHL) and u get a HoPo if casted on tank.

    Always use seal of insight judgement.. 2k+ mana every 8s is a god.. (not to mention the 9% haste inc)

    Personally because of LoD weakness I didn’t even spec it into my build.. It heals PATHETIC amount..

    And use HoS alot too.. 30% DMV reduction can change a wipe into a kill.. And the mana cost is irrelevant..

  24. Lumpi says:

    I’ve been having a blast healing in BG’s, it just sucks when everyone runs off to do their own thing, or when the Horde charge us and people run away, leaving the only healer in the BG to be WTFOMGPWN’d. Other then that, i’ve usually been one of the top 3 Point earners per BG run. LOVE throwing up Holy Radiance at the beginning of a fight. I usually keep the Beacon on Myself while I run around a skirmish and holy shock people and stun/Judement Hordies.

  25. Lumpi says:

    Plus my resillience is pretty low, yet I’m always the last one to die. I can’t wait to get better PvP gear for arenas (never tried it before, Pally is still pretty new). Right now, i’m just using player made Resillience armor and quest drop pieces.

  26. Lumpi says:

    Does anyone know what are the primary stats for Holy healing in PvP? Is there a resilience cap?

  27. Lumpi says:

    Sorry for the quadruple post (wish i could just edit my comments), but does anyone have a Holy PVP armory they can post so I can get an Idea on what to aim for? I’d post mine, but I’m at work and cannot access the WoW site atm.

  28. blooday says:

    go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZEuPz8R4wM this has helped me as a pally healer it shows u the gear best suited for holy pallys and where to find it. without this website i would have SUCKED at holy spec

  29. dubs says:

    dont go to said website above on youtube its a stupid vid that is not even wow but some teen with a webcam being dumb


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