Paladin Utility Spells Continued

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for chiming in on my post yesterday about the various utility spells that paladins can use. It’s always fun to see what other people are thinking!

The reason why I asked people about utility spell use by paladins is because I got into a heated discussion about a retribution paladin who basically didn’t use any of the utility spells barring Hand of Salvation on himself (and only himself) and a very rare Cleanse. To the ret’s credit, he did use Lay on Hands on Dreamwalker more often than not… But really, no BOPping, no HoSac, very little Cleansing (not even on himself with Glittering Sparks), etc. It was bothering me a lot to see a paladin just not using these spells and worse, to have someone else (a non-paladin) defending the lack of spell usage.

Paladins have always, in my mind, been The Utility Class. Who else has all these tricks and tools? No one. No one else has BOP or HoSac or HoSalv. No one else has Lay on Hands. In this day and age of class homogenization, paladins alone have our utility spells.

As such, I find it’s important to use these spells.

It’s expected that a paladin should perform their role, be it healing, tanking or DPSing, but it’s the GREAT paladins that actually use our utility spells regularly and appropriately.

Of course, it’s the utility spells that can fall by the wayside when things get hectic and when people panic. That’s part of why it’s a mark of a good paladin, in my opinion, when one actually uses those spells properly.

Here’s an example.

On Blood Prince Council, prior to the Empowered Shock Vortex, Glittering Sparks gets cast on a bunch of people. Who should be responsible for the retribution paladin’s Glittering Sparks?

In my opinion, a good ret pally will not wait for a mass dispel (or anyone else’s dispel) but will Cleanse him or herself and start Cleansing other melee so they can spread out appropriately.

Another example:

On Festergut, a protection paladin who is not tanking (in fact, has just finished tanking) BOPs him or herself, waits 10 seconds, then casts Hand of Salvation on him or herself to ensure they don’t catch up on threat AND casts Hand of Sacrifice on the other tank when there are three inhales. THAT prot pally is my freaking hero.

Of course, I have been known to have somewhat high standards. I wondered if I was alone in thinking that paladins should be using these spells. So I asked you folks.

My sociology background is beating me over the head for not doing a proper survey to properly analyze the results, but at least I can give you guys a summary. But first, my own observations:

The first thing I noticed is that most people didn’t know how to use Hand of Sacrifice, if they knew what it was, and quite a few seemed to confuse it with Divine Sacrifice. This was actually intended — I did not link Hand of Sacrifice for the tooltip, just to see if people knew what I was talking about. ;)

The second thing I noticed is that everyone basically thinks everyone should know HOW to use the spells even if they shouldn’t prioritize their use. Fair enough.

The third thing I noticed is that everyone pretty much believes Cleanse is a no-brainer and that every spec should use it as appropriate.

As to a real summary of what people thought…

Everyone thought people should use Lay on Hands appropriately. Whether that’s just for Dreamwalker or if it’s any spec popping it up on someone who could use it (preferably a tank or a healer) or just using it on themselves, everyone felt that every spec had at least one situational usage for it. I approve.

Everyone thought people should use Cleanse whenever the situation called for it. Basically, if you have a poison, disease or a magic debuff on yourself and you are a paladin and you don’t Cleanse yourself, it better only be because someone beat you to it.

We enter the realm of controversy and disagreement when it comes to the Hand spells.

Reaction was mixed with regards to Hand of Salvation. Should Holy paladins even bother to have Omen up? Some people thought so, some people didn’t. Those that did felt that Holy pallies were the best people to use HoSalv on people. Those that didn’t felt that prots were the best kinds of pallies to use HoSalv, with most people agreeing that ret should use it on themselves at the very least.

Hand of Protection (BOP) was always mentioned as being a very situational spell, particularly with the Saurfang encounter mentioned. Very few people felt rets should ever really need to use it as compared to holy pallies and prot pallies. People felt that if a retribution pally was using it, it should be on something very situational like Saurfang.

Hand of Sacrifice, as mentioned before, was a little confusing. Some people admitted they never used it at all, some said they didn’t understand the spell and some confused it with Divine Sacrifice. Among those who did seem to know about the spell, most said it was best used situationally, mostly as a save-the-tank type cooldown.

What do I think?

– I think all paladins can find a time to use Lay on Hands in a four-hour block of raiding, unless they super outgear the content.

– I think all paladins should at least Cleanse themselves of debuffs, GCDs permitting, helping out where possible.

– I think all paladins should use Hand of Salvation now and again. Even if you don’t have Omen up, chances are you can see if someone has aggro. A quick Hand of Salvation on that person will help out your tank in re-establishing aggro. (Think of the adds on Lady Deathwhisper.)

– I don’t think rets should use Hand of Sacrifice unless they’re planning to bubble and I think prots and holies should use it sparingly. That said, on certain encounters, it’s really useful. I’ve taken to bubbling and using HoSac on the corporeal realm tank on Halion. My fellow holy pally started using HoSac on the Sindragosa pull, which I think is a great idea,  since that’s generally when most parries happen.

– I think BOP should be used constantly by people, if only on trash and DEFINITELY used by all specs on Saurfang to push back the first Mark or to BOP someone during the Frenzy.

I don’t expect perfect use of all these utilities by every paladin, but I do expect to see an effort from paladins to use all of these abilities appropriately. If someone beat you to a BOP, no big, but if you sat there with Glittering Sparks for 10 seconds and blew up the tank because you couldn’t get away from him, that’s pretty poor play.

Anyways, thanks again to all those who responded! It’s nice to see some new names around, too, so I hope you all stick around. :)

One Reply to “Paladin Utility Spells Continued”

  1. I’m always late to the conversation. And I was actually interested in this one! Sigh.

    Anyway, I’m one of those paladins who tries to use as many of his hand spells as possible, but since turning 80 I seem to be running low on times when I have to. Admittedly, I don’t raid, and I rarely run heroics (screw gear, I need my titles!) but I do try.

    I have HoSalv on my bars twice. Once for others (because I’m too lazy to set up Clique, let the berating commence) and once macro’d with Avenging Wrath (because even though I’m using my super-weak TSD, I’m typically near the threat-cap in my groups even without my wings). I’ve got my bubbles (DS and DP) right next to HoSac in case the tank is taking too much burst damage or just undergears the encounter. Not too much use for HoP, but I’ve had pretty good experience with group members not pulling threat.

    As far as Cleansing? I’m terrible at it. I mean, I TRY. But by the time I notice and find it on my bars (again, I’ll set Clique up soon enough, I promise), someone else has beat me to it. Or worse, I’ll be with a shammy or a druid, and I’ll already have Cleansing Totem down or Abolish Poison rolling on me. I used to use it ALL the time when leveling, though.

    Lay on Hands is rarely on cooldown, honestly. It seems that I only use it when someone tries to gank me and I know a quick recovery is in order (a rogue trying to stunlock me in Wintergrasp, for example).

    Speaking of PvP, I use HoFreedom ALL the time. I love that thing.

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