Patch 6.0.3: Raid Cooldown Overview

Healer Throughput CDs
Non-Healer Throughput CDs
Damage Reduction CDs
Damage Reduction vs Throughput
MoP vs WoD Comparison
Appendix 1: Available Raid CDs
Appendix 2: Methodology

Now that I’m progressing steadily through Mythic content and actually healing again (most of the time *glares at Tectus*), it’s time to dive back into one of this blog’s staple topics: raid CDs! I’ve been thinking about them a lot ever since I noticed how big of a difference it made when I used my CDs twice during a fight instead of just once. And I don’t mean just my throughput – which I rarely look at! – but moreso my mana efficiency. What makes raid CDs feel so different in Warlords? And what does it mean for how I should be using my cooldowns in raid encounters?

Warlords of Draenor is an exciting new world for healers – a world that we’re probably still getting a little bit used to, one in which our healing decisions actually matter. It’s a stark contrast to the Mists of Pandaria healing style, where I felt like the depth of the healing game eroded as we progressed through raiding content, and while there were many culprits, the Mutually Assured Destruction of raid CDs was one part of it. Our CDs were too powerful and too plenty, and what’s worse, non-healers had CDs that could be just as powerful, meaning healers were riding the bench while their hybrid DPS counterparts were covering our shifts!

Every raid leader/healing team lead in Mists, particularly SoO

Every raid leader in Mists of Pandaria, particularly SoO

Sure, Heroic Thok would not have been possible without non-healers’ CDs being as prevalent as they were. But does that make strong non-healers’ CDs a good thing for the game, or does it make Thok a bad fight? I think the latter, personally; while there was some fun gameplay for your raid leader in organising the CDs to fire off at the right times, so much of that fight was decided by our raid leaders rather than our own healing instincts, and that was just dull.

To address these issues, the developers have redesigned raid CDs, removing some, nerfing others, and restricting certain CDs to heal-specs only. And, having realised that spell behaviour alone was not responsible for the way raid CDs were used in MoP, they’ve also changed encounter mechanics and increased player health pools relative to heal size. All of these changes have been aimed at making our raid CDs less powerful than they were in Mistsso that we feel like our actual healing decisions make more of a difference than our ability to press our CD buttons on command. But how successful were these changes at creating this kind of environment? We’ll have to look at a lot of parameters to find out. If you’re anything like me, that thought (mm, parameters!) makes you feel happy and a little tingly all over 😉

In this article, as in previous posts in this series, I’ll provide calculations of typical raid CD throughput/mitigation, explore a little bit about the philosophy of raid CD usage, and compare raid CD potency to that of previous content patches. I’ve tried to avoid repeating too much of the theory I established in those earlier articles, so if you find yourself needing – or wanting – a refresher on the benefits of effective health CDs versus pure healing CDs, or the quasi-qualitative evaluation of Spirit Link Totem’s health redistribution effect, well, that’s all still there. But for now, let’s get started on dissecting the Warlords raid CD landscape, shall we?

Healer Throughput CDs

Before I jump into the numbers, I’ll quickly run down some of the changes to the functionality and throughput of our healing raid CDs:

  • The four major CDs – Tranquility, Revival, Divine Hymn, and Healing Tide Totem – now heal every player in the raid with each tick, rather than selecting the most injured targets.
  • Tranquility no longer has a HoT component,
  • Spirit Shell is now a Talent choice, one that isn’t taken by many Discipline Priests these days.
  • Divine Hymn applies its +10% healing taken to all players in the raid with every tick, thereby resulting in approximately 16 seconds of this healing boost on the entire raid each time DH is used.
  • Lightwell‘s default behaviour is to launch Lightwell Renews at low-health players. While it can be glyphed to improve its healing by 50%, this also requires players to click on the Lightwell, which as we know from experience just doesn’t happen, so I don’t think many Holy Priests use the Glyph of Lightwell. I therefore haven’t presented the calculations here.
  • Ancestral Guidance‘s healing has been reduced to 33% of its former glory (copying 20% of all direct healing to 3 injured players, rather than 60%).

Here’s my calculations for the strength of healers’ throughput CDs, reported as thousands of healing (e.g. where it says 2,205 next to Tranquility, that means 2,205,000). For more information on how I’ve calculated these numbers, see the Methodology appendix below.

Healers’ Throughput CD Comparisons – Mythic
Cooldown Adjusted Healing (k) Per Target (k) HPM Comment
Tranquility 2,205  110  374 Add another +15% w/ToL, or +35% w/HotW (not included in current estimate)
Revival 2,091 105 299 Also removes Disease, Magic, Poison debuffs
Light’s Hammer 511 30.8
Spirit Shell: PoH 942 37.7 20.6 Archangel at 3 Evangelism & BT
Divine Hymn 1,459 73  207 +10% to incoming heals from other healers’ spells not included
Lightwell 667 39.2  186 Glyph of Deep Wells, but no Glyph of Lightwell
Healing Tide Totem 1,459 72.9 814 Average raid health of 60%
Ancestral Guidance 311 25.5 Average raid health of 60%
Ascendance 804 40.2 35.7 Average raid health of 60%

The main thing that jumps out at me here is that there are two “classes” of raid CDs – easily distinguished by their mana efficiency or HPM values. The Tranq-like CDs have extremely high mana efficiency as well as high throughput – these CDs are very cheap. But the lesser CDs – Light’s Hammer, Spirit Shell, Ancestral Guidance and Ascendance – also have very poor HPM, and are costed and budgeted more like a regular spell (compare, for example, Spirit Shell’s 20.6 HPM to Power Word: Shield‘s 25.8 HPM, or – if you want a comparison that doesn’t rely on a brokenly tuned spell – Ancestral Guidance’s 25.5 HPM to Healing Rain‘s 27.7 HPM).

What does this mean for how we use our CDs?  Things like Ascendance and Spirit Shell would need to be used carefully – they don’t squeeze out that much extra healing for our mana expenditure, so you really want to use it when you’re certain the healing will be effective and you can spare the mana to kick your throughput into overdrive while it’s active. Or, quite possibly, it means we don’t use these CDs that often (I don’t think I’ve seen a Disc Priest talent into Spirit Shell yet, especially since it’s mutually exclusive with Power Infusion), or that we use them as mana-savers with a mana-conservative rotation during periods of low raid damage. This is certainly how I use Ascendance during Imperator Mar’gok (Heroic), for example. We may see these cooldowns increase in popularity later in the expansion, as mana restraints are somewhat lifted.

Our core healing CDs, however, deliver a lot of bang for our mana buck. At 374 HPM, and 2.2 million healing, Tranquility can single-handedly cover a period of moderate raid damage, allowing your three or four other healers to use a mana-conservative rotation for longer, and preserving their mana for later. While I’m not necessarily advocating that we think of our raid CDs just as raid-wide mana pots, the point is that in this expansion, mana matters, and there will be endurance fights – again, like Mar’gok – where using your CDs as often as possible and communicating with the other healers so they know they can take a breather – or add DPS, now that all pure-damage spells are free of mana cost – may well be your team’s best practice.

Non-Healer Throughput CDs

As I mentioned above in the intro, raid CD disarmament was a serious focus of the developers in this expansion. Part of what made the CD mini-game so degenerate in Mists was the proliferation of CDs on non-healing specs, and more importantly, how powerful those CDs were in comparison to healers’ CDs. Back in 5.4, for example, Balance and Feral Tranq could be more powerful than Resto Tranq – which, in an isolated view, seemed fair, given that this required a particular talent choice (Heart of the Wild), two CDs, and 8 seconds of lost damage. But it made little sense that non-healers could be better at getting a raid through the most dangerous moments than healers were, and this – along with the sheer number of non-healer cooldowns available – often led to healers being cut, and to strategies developing wherein players would ignore a mechanic by simply healing through it rather than executing it properly.

For Warlords, our non-healer raid CDs have been drastically reduced both in number and strength. When it comes to throughput CDs, these are the major changes:

  • Non-Resto Druids no longer have access to Tranquility
  • Non-Resto Shamans no longer have access to Healing Tide Totem
  • Symbiosis has been removed, so Shadow Priests no longer have access to an incredibly lame and useless version of Tranquility 😉
  • Protection Warriors have lost access to Rallying Cry, and Rallying Cry’s health buffer was reduced from 20% to 15%

So here’s what’s left:

Non-Healers’ Throughput CD Comparisons – Mythic
Spec Cooldown Adjusted Healing (k) Comment
Balance Nature’s Vigil 338
Feral Nature’s Vigil 398 Casting 3 Healing Touches
Shadow Vampiric Embrace 890 Unglyphed
1,187 Glyphed
Ele Ancestral Guidance 95.1 Just damage-to-healing conversion
174 Pre-cast HR
Enh Ancestral Guidance 107 Just damage-to-healing conversion
207 Pre-cast HR
DPS Warriors Rallying Cry 852 2 tanks @400k HP, 18 others @270k HP

You’ll note that two cooldowns stand out as being still particularly powerful: Vampiric Embrace and Rallying Cry. As with previous versions of this post, I’ve calculated Rallying Cry as though it were a heal for 15% of each player’s HP, because if you activate it during the final 10 seconds of a dangerous mechanic, that’s pretty much how it acts for the duration of that mechanic. However, in Warlords it is possible that the additional effective health is less useful than it has been in previous patches, so this is likely to be overestimating Rallying Cry’s usefulness.

Vampiric Embrace, though … I’m not sure this has an excuse for being this powerful. It’s so strong because, like the classical throughput CDs, Vampiric Embrace heals every player in the raid for some fixed percentage of the Priest’s damage – it scales linearly with raid size, rather than having a hard target cap like AG or Nature’s Vigil. I think this is a compensation for the fact that Shadow Priests lost the ability to provide additional raid healing through Divine Star/Halo, now that those spells only deal damage for Shadow Priests, but Vampiric Embrace could be just as powerful as Divine Hymn’s raw throughput if a Shadow Priest uses it well/with multiple targets. I think it’s something we should keep an eye on.

Meanwhile, Ancestral Guidance seems very anemic, even in the new Warlords paradigm where non-healer cooldowns are supposed to be terrible. Granted, without adding a Healing Rain cast, they do about 33% of what a healer’s Ancestral Guidance does, and I think that’s an okay benchmark for a hybrid CD; this could just be a case of AG being overly nerfed for everyone. I’ll note that Enhancement Shamans – because of Maelstrom Weapon and less dependence on Multistrike – can actually push their AG up to near-healer levels, so if an Enhancement Shaman is going to use AG, they should always pre-cast a HR. Some things never change 🙂

Damage Reduction CDs

Much like non-healer throughput CDs, non-healer damage-reduction CDs took a hit in Warlords. Here’s what’s changed:

  • Non-Holy Paladins no longer have access to Devotion Aura
  • Warriors have lost Demoralizing Banner
  • Smoke Bomb now mitigates 10% of damage, down from 20%
  • Zen Meditation is no longer even pretending to be a raid CD, and all the Monks in the world rejoiced

As previously, I am comparing these cooldowns to three Mythic mechanics that are more or less unavoidable, particularly for groups first progressing on these encounters. I’ve chosen one sustained AoE magic damage (a double Tectonic Upheaval by Shards of Tectus), one sustained AoE physical damage (a set of Cleave+Gushing Wound bleeds during Mythic Butcher’s Frenzy), and one single-hit AoE magic damage (double Overflowing Energy hit on Mythic Ko’ragh). See the Methodology appendix for more details, if you want ’em.

Here’s how the damage-reduction CDs stack up against one another:

Damage mitigated by raid CDs in Mythic Highmaul encounters

Damage mitigated by raid CDs in Mythic Highmaul encounters; click to enlarge

Note that the zone-dependent cooldowns perform worse on Cleave and Overflowing Energy than they do on Upheaval – this is because the entire raid can be stacked for Tectonic Upheaval, but not really for the other two mechanics. (It’s perhaps unrealistic to surmise that the raid would be stacked for Upheaval, so you could halve each of those CD numbers except for Devotion Aura, and be on pretty solid ground. PW:B still wins, but by a much smaller margin. I’ll continue to use a stacked raid when discussing these CDs further on in the post, since it aligns with other mechanics I want to discuss from previous expansions.)

As usual, Power Word: Barrier is at its best when you can fit an entire raid (or most of it) underneath, and when the mechanic you’re mitigating lasts at least 10 seconds, so that its full duration is effective. Other than that, there’s not a lot to say – Devotion Aura is the most useful when the raid is spread, because other cooldowns don’t work as well in those situations, but that’s something we’re all used to by now.

Damage Reduction vs. Healing Throughput CDs

On mechanics where the entire raid is taking damage, the “classical” raid CDs – Tranq, Divine Hymn, Healing Tide Totem, and Revival – will outperform damage reduction CDs. This is a product of two factors: that throughput CDs, like damage reduction CDs, now scale linearly with raid size; and that reducing the incoming damage is less powerful in an expansion where encounters aren’t forced to spike us down to nearly dead every couple of seconds in order to challenge our healers.

What about for mechanics where only part of the raid is taking damage, like the Butcher’s Cleave?  Throughput CDs can’t be fully effective here, since each tick heals the entire raid and only half the raid is injured – you can roughly halve the size of the healing throughput cooldowns in the  to determine their potency. Note that previously, since these cooldowns selected the most injured subset of the raid with each pulse – 12 targets in a 25-player raid, so probably 10 in a 20-player raid – they would have been fully effective and incredibly overpowered for the Butcher’s Cleave. But even now, when halved to account for the wastefulness of the blanket-heal mechanic, healing throughput cooldowns still far outweigh the mitigation provided by damage-reduction CDs on a mechanic like Cleave.

It takes a much more damaging event to push damage-reduction cooldowns ahead of healing throughput cooldowns – one that deals around twice one’s health in damage, e.g. Brackenspore’s Infesting Spores ability, and even then they come out pretty close in magnitude. Note that we’re not expected to heal through this alone – the game gives us tools (Living and Rejuvenating Mushrooms) to help us get through it. I think we’re unlikely to see many mechanics that will push healers that far, to make damage-reduction cooldowns stronger than throughput CDs, though of course I don’t know what mechanics will look like in Tier 18 and beyond.

Philosophically – this has no bearing on the numbers – damage-reduction cooldowns are less valuable now because we have time to heal players back up. Damage-reduction cooldowns are time-dependent; they must be used when the damage is going out in order to provide their maximum benefit. But healing cooldowns, given that we no longer can burst players back to full health in a GCD, are time-agnostic, and therefore will be more useful before, during, and after the damaging event. The window is wider, and that means throughput cooldowns aren’t being wasted the way they often were in MoP.

This holds through even for single-hit events like Overflowing Energy. In MoP, the equivalent – an Interrupting Jolt, for example – was better off mitigated by Devotion Aura than by any throughput cooldown, because throughput cooldowns (excepting Revival) took too long to heal people back up and there was the danger of being struck by an Anima Font and immediately dying thereafter. By Siege of Orgrimmar, the view was a little different – damage reduction cooldowns were guaranteed to have their full effect, while healing throughput cooldowns weren’t, due to the combination of extremely powerful absorb effects and the fact that healers’ regular spells could burst players back up to full very quickly, before the throughput cooldown could tick a third time. In Warlords, when players are struck by Overflowing Energy, there’s still time before the next fatal attack in which to heal players up; we can take our time and allow our mana-efficient cooldowns to be fully effective.

None of this should imply that damage-reduction cooldowns are useless, or not worth their time. Nobody would kick 700k or 300k healing for a single GCD out of bed, and that’s basically what we’re getting here. And when players are legitimately in danger of dying – such as the third swing of the Butcher’s Cleave – damage-reduction cooldowns are vital. They’re just not quite the I-Win button that they were throughout MoP, because encounter and class design no longer conspire to make effective health the most important statistic a player has. They are designed to supplement, not supplant, throughput CDs.

Cooldown Comparisons: MoP vs WoD

There’s no mistaking it – cooldowns in Warlords feel a lot different to cooldowns in Mists of Pandaria.  When I popped a Healing Tide Totem during Heroic Garrosh, standing in one of those Desecrated Weapons in phase 1, it felt like nobody was going to die no matter what. When I pop a Healing Tide Totem now, it feels powerful, but people can still die – it moves the raid’s health remarkably slowly.

There’s two possible reasons for this – our cooldowns could be smaller relative to our health pools, or our cooldowns could be smaller relative to the incoming damage. I was curious to find out which was the case, so I pulled up last patch’s numbers and ran a few comparisons. I chose to match up this patch’s Tectonic Upheaval against last patch’s Seismic Activity, because 10 seconds of either are roughly comparable; Seismic Activity dealt 132% of a MoP player’s health pool in damage, and Tectonic Upheaval deals 128% of a WoD player’s health pool in damage. You can read more about those patch 5.4 calculations by visiting my previous post in this series here. Note that these numbers are all generated assuming a player is geared as well as possible for the highest raid difficulty, without having any gear from the highest raid difficulty – and as such, are representative of guilds starting on 5.4 Heroics/6.0 Mythics after a month or so of farming.

The chart below compares the amount of healing each cooldown delivers (or the amount of damage it mitigates) to the size of a player’s health pool, and I think it’s pretty interesting:

MoP and WoD raid CD strength, compared to size of health pool

MoP and WoD raid CD strength, compared to size of health pool

The first thing to notice: nearly all cooldowns are reduced in power across the board … except Revival. Revival was actually buffed, such that it heals for a larger proportion of our health pools than it used to in patch 5.4. Given that the Warlords trend is for the proportional size of heals to decrease, this means Revival is much stronger in WoD than it was in MoP. It’s not the most powerful cooldown (that distinction belongs to Tranquility, freaking Druids), but the fact that it’s the only one that actually increased in proportional efficacy in Warlords is pretty interesting to me.

Most other throughput cooldowns have been reduced substantially. Healing Tide Totem and Divine Hymn, because they have other benefits besides just the raw healing shown in these calculations, are about half as strong, relative to our health pools, as they were in 5.4. Tranquility has suffered less, presumably because it lost its HoT portion, and is being somewhat compensated for this change in its mechanics, but it has still been nerfed by a relative ~25%.

Particularly look at the cooldowns that are dependent upon casting healing spells – Spirit Shell, Ascendance, and Ancestral Guidance. These cooldowns are less than fifty percent as effective as they used to be, which indicates to me that AoE healing’s power has been roughly halved in Warlords. AG suffers moreso because it also received a 300% nerf to the size of the copied healing, so it’s now less than 1/6th as effective as it used to be.

Meanwhile, most of the damage-reduction cooldowns retain a very similar potency – because the amount of damage that we’re taking is roughly equivalent, compared to our health pools, to the amount of damage in Mists. The only exceptions here are Anti-Magic Zone and Smoke Bomb, which actually received a hard 50% nerf that accounts for their halved efficacy.

Because the damage dealt by the two abilities I chose to compare was roughly the same, the trend of cooldowns vs incoming damage looks almost identical to the above graph, so I shan’t bother showing it to you. The takeaway here is that raid CDs – other than Revival – represent a much smaller portion of our health than they previously have, and there are fewer of them to go around in your average raid, so it is no longer as possible to rely on raid cooldowns to allow you to otherwise underheal content.

One last observation – look at the WoD Healing Tonic entry. It’s literally insane. These potions are cheap and no longer share a cooldown with your DPS potions, so players are allowed to use them in raid encounters now. And you really, really should. A Healing Tonic is basically an extra, free, off-the-GCD Healing Tide Totem, and raid leaders should use it as such. (We did this, for example, on the first Bounding Cleave of Mythic Butcher’s Frenzy, and it was hugely effective.)

New Cooldowns: Amplify Magic and Aspect of the Fox

So I spent the first 90% of this article talking about how we have fewer raid cooldowns and that the idea was to dismantle the raid CD arms race during this expansion, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that there are actually two new raid cooldowns for your raid to work into its repertoire: Aspect of the Fox and Amplify Magic. These CDs were added to improve the utility balance amongst pure DPS classes – a category that Warlocks and Rogues reigned in Mists of Pandaria.

Amplify Magic is a pure healing CD – the Mage presses the button, and all raid members will receive 10% additional healing from all sources for the next 6 seconds. This has a 2-minute CD, which makes it a little awkward to line up with your healers’ specific throughput CDs since they tend to have three-minute CDs. In the logs I’ve glanced at, Amplify Magic is typically used alongside healers’ throughput CDs as often as possible, and each use tends to add about 500,000 healing to the raid. The best practice here is to just assign Amplify Magic to specific mechanics in an encounter – say, if your raid has two Mages, ask them to cover each of the Infesting Spores on Brackenspore with an Amplify Magic – and not worry too much about which particular CD is being boosted, since it’ll be helpful every time anyway.

Aspect of the Fox, on the other hand, is a much more difficult cooldown to quantify. Its effects are not straightforward throughput buffs – the ability simply allows players to cast while moving for 6 seconds. This has both healing and DPS benefits, but they’re fairly minor – they allow you to go from your stunted movement rotation to your full throughput rotation, if that full throughput rotation is required during the movement phase. It is always required for DPS, and it isn’t always required for healers, so many times Aspect of the Fox may be better served as a DPS CD rather than a healing one.

However, if you do need to sync up something healy with Aspect of the Fox to cover a movement phase, it should be Tranquility – since Druids run heavy Haste, their Tranq cast-time can actually be wholly covered by Fox’s duration – whereas Holy Priests could run out of cast-while-moving time on Divine Hymn and potentially lose a tick.


My TL;DRs here:

  • Raid CDs aren’t as powerful or as numerous as they used to be, so don’t expect to underheal content based on the strength of your raid’s CD choreography anymore.
  • Don’t forget that every raid has one new CD – Healing Tonic!
  • Raid CDs are a massive efficiency increase in an expansion where efficiency matters. Let your healers use their CDs often, and make sure to plan and communicate when they’ll be occurring, so other healers can conserve mana. It’s healthier for your whole raid, especially on endurance style fights.
  • Amplify Magic should be aligned with as many raid CDs as possible, or with as many damaging encounter mechanics as possible.
  • Aspect of the Fox can be variably assigned as a minor healing throughput cooldown, allowing e.g. a Divine Hymn or Tranquility during movement phases – such as an overlapping Pulverize/Enfeebling Roar on Twin Ogron – or as a minor DPS throughput cooldown, allowing full damage while moving, like at the end of the Mythic Tectus encounter. Evaluate which is more important for your raid’s success and use the CD accordingly.

One thing I do want to mention before I go, that’s relevant to Normal/Heroic raiders moreso than Mythic raiders – the nature of the throughput CDs these days, where they scale linearly with raid size, means that players in larger raid formats are going to see a lot higher throughput out of their raid CDs, because each additional player adds an extra target for the CD to heal at its full value.

Meanwhile, adding more people doesn’t really allow us to do more healing with our usual spells – once you get past a certain threshold wherein your AoE heals are always hitting their maximum targets, the gain in healing from adding extra players is marginal. You may be able to choose targets that are more injured, or that haven’t been affected by other healers’ HoTs, and thus boost your throughput a little, but each additional player in your raid adds very little healing potential. Here’s a (completely made-up, for illustrative purposes only!) graphical mock-up of what I mean:

This is an illustration only. Nearly no thought was put into calculating ratios, just wanted it to look vaguely right.

This is an illustration only. Nearly no thought was put into calculating ratios, just wanted it to look vaguely right.

If your healing is just the total of your AoE spells’ throughput plus your raid CD’s throughput, you can see that as raid size increases, your raid CD becomes a larger and larger proportion of your healing done. The effect isn’t quite as exaggerated in “real life” as it is in this mock-up graph, of course. But this is why players in 30-man Heroic raids are seeing their raid CDs exceed 40% of their total healing, while players in 12- to 15-player raids are seeing their raid CDs show up much lower. It doesn’t really say much about the state of the healing game, or whether you should feel good or bad about your raid CDs being such a large (or small) part of your healing throughput – it’s just a weird little mathematical oddity of having some, but not all, heals scale linearly with raid size.

Good luck in your raids, everyone! 🙂

Appendix 1: Summary of Available Raid CDs

Summary of Available Raid Cooldowns
Ability Class/Spec CD (min) Duration (sec) Effect
Throughput Cooldowns
Tranquility Druid (Resto) 3 8 Channeled direct heal
Amplify Magic Mage 2 6 +10% healing taken to all raid members
Aspect of the Fox Hunter 3 6 Allows casting while moving
Revival Monk (MW) 3 Instant burst heal + dispels Magic, Poison, Disease
Light’s Hammer Paladin 1 16 Ground-based AoE HoT (and damage)
Spirit Shell Priest (Disc) 1 10 Converts targeted healing spells to absorption shields
Divine Hymn Priest (Holy) 3 8 Channeled direct heal, +10% healing taken
Lightwell Priest (Holy) 3 HoT on injured raid members; charge-based
Vampiric Embrace Priest (Shadow) 3 15 Converts 10% of single-target damage to healing
3 10 Converts 20% of single-target damage to healing (glyphed)
Healing Tide Totem Shaman 3 10 Delivers several pulses of direct healing
Ancestral Guidance Shaman 2 10 Converts damage to healing & multiplies healing done
Ascendance Shaman (Resto) 3 15 Copies all healing and divides evenly amongst nearby allies
Rallying Cry Warrior (Non-Prot) 3 10 +15% current and maximum health; health removed when effect fades
Damage Reduction Cooldowns
Anti-Magic Zone DK 2 3 20% magic reduction
Devotion Aura Paladin (Holy) 3 6 20% magic damage reduction, 40-yd radius
Power Word: Barrier Priest (Disc) 3 10 25% damage reduction, limited to small area of effect
Smoke Bomb Rogue 3 5 10% damage reduction; very small radius; glyphable to 7 sec duration
Spirit Link Totem Shaman (Resto) 3 6 10% damage reduction; redistributes raid health every sec

Appendix 2: Methodology

As with previous posts in this series, I used a variety of sources to arrive at estimations for the strength of the available raid CDs. I’ll just briefly walk through them here, but I’ll make my usual disclaimer – these are just approximations and models, and are not intended to reflect your raid’s actual performance. While I attempted to choose stat priorities that would mirror the behaviour that I believe players are currently exhibiting in raids, I don’t know every spec as well as I would like, so it’s possible that these models won’t line up with what’s happening in a particular raid or for a particular class. But I did my best! 🙂

For healer throughput CDs, I again went to Ask Mr Robot to put together gear profiles that approximate healers just setting foot into Mythic raiding, with the best gear they can get from Heroic Highmaul and other currently available sources. Therefore, every healer has an Ever-Burning Candle and the Timeless Solium Band of Lifegiving from the legendary ring quest, and the best items, given their stat priorities, from world bosses, world drops, and the Highmaul raid. (I did not include Mythic items from Highmaul Raid missions, because I wanted to finish this project eventually.)

In most cases, I was able to simply use the pre-existing PvE stat weights to generate this BiS list and the raid-buffed stats that gear would provide, but for Discipline Priests and Restoration Shaman I did alter the presets a little. I prioritised Mastery over Critical Strike for Discipline, and moved Haste below Critical Strike for Shaman, as I believe these more accurately reflect these specs’ gearing strategies for Mythic progression. The resulting healer stat profiles can be found in the table below:

Healer Stats in “BiS Pre-Mythic” Gear, approx. 670 iLvl
Restoration-Druid-Icon mistweaver monk icon holy-paladin-icon discipline-priest-icon holy-priest-icon restoration-shaman-icon
Resto Druid Mistweaver Monk Holy Paladin Disc Priest Holy Priest Resto Shaman
Spellpower 6699 6691 6697 6646 6702 6680
Mastery 25.06% 17.30% 17.10% 47.14% 20.03% 78.93%
Haste 27.12% 11.36% 30.18% 6.62% 17.72% 10.18%
Crit 9.02% 19.16% 20.78% 16.70% 9.68% 18.11%
Multistrike 9.48% 28.12% 11.48% 12.05% 29.52% 9.73%
Versatility 3.73% 3.00% 5.06% 3.60% 3.00% 3.00%

Note that while the Holy Paladin profile was prioritising Critical Strike over Haste, the passive 10% Haste from Infusion of Light ends up pushing Haste ahead. I couldn’t seem to shake this from any gear profile or stat weights I set, so I just gave up – there’s too many Haste/Crit items in Highmaul 😛

A few notes on the calculations that generated the Healer Throughput CD numbers:

  • Light’s Hammer and Ancestral Guidance don’t heal the raid evenly, so the per-target number has been left out. I do use a simple rubric of [total healing]/20 to generate the “percent of HP healed” numbers for the 5.4-to-6.0 comparison; just note that this is an average.
  • For Spirit Shell, I’ve assumed the Discipline Priest is generating Evangelism stacks only with PW:Solace, and activating Archangel on CD, so there are only 3 stacks of Evangelism available. Empowered Archangel is factored in to the first spell cast under Spirit Shell.
  • Shaman Ascendance and AG numbers assume High Tide, and Ascendance assumes Conductivity to keep Healing Rain active for the entire 15 seconds without having to cast again. Unglyphed Riptide is used on CD, and remaining time in each CD is filled with High Tide Chain Heals, cast on a Riptided target, using the statistical average target count for 4 active Riptides. The first such CH is empowered an additional 30% by  Unleash Life.
  • Shaman Ascendance and AG do not currently trigger from Multistrike heals, nor can they Multistrike. This was factored in to the calculations.
  • The mana efficiency of Ascendance and AG is calculated by pro-rating the mana efficiency of the entire rotation by the percent of healing that is generated by the cooldown itself. This isn’t entirely accurate but it’ll do in a pinch. At least some of the mana you’re spending during these cooldowns is excess of what you’d normally do, to ensure you get the most out of your CD as you can.
  • I caved to all you folks who complained about 40% average raid HP on the last series, and went with 60% average raid HP for Shaman Mastery purposes. From my experience in Mythic Brackenspore and Butcher, however, this seems like a huge under-calculation. You can back-calculate a different Mastery proportion by multiplying these numbers by the following ratio: (1+(1-<your proposed health percentage>)*0.7893)/1.31572.

For the non-healer CDs that convert damage dealt into raid healing, I visited SimCraft’s T17N damage profiles, which have an iLvl of 665 and simulate a Patchwerk style encounter (single-target, little to no movement). I used the average DPS estimation to calculate the healing that would be done by each cooldown. There’s three minor flaws with this plan:

  • Many raids will gear their DPS before they gear their healers, so the iLvl 665 SimCraft profile is probably a little bit low if we’re assuming healers are 670 iLvl. However, this won’t make such a big difference given the very heavy nerf bat most of these cooldowns were beaten by in Warlords 😉
  • While this single-target simulation is representative of the Kargath/Butcher encounters, not many other fights are purely single-target, and every class gains DPS with the addition of extra targets. Not all of the gained damage is eligible to trigger the healing CDs, but some of it would be, meaning that on AoE fights these cooldowns can perform somewhat better than the estimate I’ve given.
  • Using an average DPS estimation is slightly unrealistic as it redistributes the effect of damage throughput CDs. DPS players have two options when choosing to use their damage-to-healing cooldowns: use them while their throughput CDs are active, to get the most healing possible out of them, regardless of whether the healing is necessary at that time; or, use them when the healing is needed, regardless of the availability of their throughput-increasing cooldowns. 

I’m assuming that the DPS player is using their healing cooldown when the healing is needed, regardless of the availability of their personal throughput-increasing cooldowns, such that sometimes their cooldowns will be active, and sometimes they won’t. Over the course of an infinite series of Mythic Brackenspore attempts (welcome to my life) this should end up approaching their average DPS. Just be aware that whenever your raid’s DPS player presses their healing cooldown button, depending on where they are in their rotation, there can be a fluctuation in throughput for each individual usage of the ability.

One note: because Ancestral Guidance does not trigger from Multistrike heals or damage events, and cannot Multistrike itself, I’ve flatly removed Multistrike damage from Elemental and Enhancement Shaman DPS before making these calculations. This is one part of why the Enhancement Shaman AG is a bigger cooldown than the Elemental Shaman one – Elemental Shaman gain more damage from a Multistrike event, have a higher baseline Multistrike, and it tends to be the stat they stack since it is also their Attunement. Another part is that Maelstrom Weapon still increases direct healing by 10% per stack, so the HR that Enhancement Shamans cast will be both instant and 50% stronger than an Elemental Shaman’s equivalent.

The “throughput” of damage-reduction CDs depends heavily on the mechanic the CD is being used to counter. As in previous raid CD analyses, I’ve chosen three mechanics from the highest raid difficulty: a one-off, magical damage event (2 Mythic Ko’ragh’s Overflowing Energy orbs hitting the ground at the same time – an event that I saw occur in many logs of Mythic Ko’ragh kills); a magical damage-over-time event (10 seconds of Tectonic Upheaval in the Mythic Tectus encounter, from Shards of Tectus, an event I saw reflected in many logs of Mythic Tectus kills); and a physical damage-over-time event (two sets of four Cleave-soakers, taking up to 3 stacks of Gushing Wounds, during Mythic Butcher’s Frenzy).

Damage Dealt by Mythic Encounter Mechanics
Ko’ragh Tectus Butcher
Overflowing Energy Tectonic Upheaval Frenzy & Cleave
Damage Dealt 3,645,000 7,270,000 7,254,016
Duration Instant 10 sec 22.2 sec

The area-limited CDs – Barrier, AMZ, Smoke Bomb, SLT – I assumed were used in melee range for Ko’ragh and Butcher, since that is where people are the most stacked. My sample raid has 6 melee DPS and 8 ranged DPS, 4 healers at range, and 2 tanks.

One final note: I have elected to avoid calculating theoretical numbers for the new Mage ability Amplify Magic, as well as the 10% increased healing taken bonus from Divine Hymn ticks, simply because fully modeling the output of a raid’s healers when I can’t easily settle on an “average” raid composition & healer team size is finicky. I’ve talked a bit about Amplify Magic regardless, with information pulled from logs, but I don’t have good theoretical math for either of these effects.


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23 Responses to Patch 6.0.3: Raid Cooldown Overview

  1. Talarian says:

    One correction, Maelstrom Weapon increases direct healing only. Healing Rain does not do any direct healing, and therefore does not benefit from Maelstrom Weapon aside from the mana/cast time decrease, so you should just remove the special line you added for the Healing Rain w/ 5 MW, or more accurately, convert it to just pre-casting a baseline Healing Rain, because that will still help.

    Secondly, and this is more of an aside rather than a criticism given your methodology, AG’s throughput for Enhance thoroughly depends on what you’re DPSing, how you’re DPSing, etc. For single-target with no other cooldowns up as a baseline, I agree entirely with your analysis. However, AG shines in the fact that it converts our DPS to healing. If you’re casting healing spells during AG as Enhance, you’re doing it quite wrong.

    Rather, you should be blowing DPS cooldowns with it if it’s really needed, or even better, multiple targets and Fire Nova scale incredibly well, since Fire Nova counts as Direct Damage. If you have 7 targets with Flame Shock up already, Unleash Elements, AG, Fire Nova, you can do an extremely impressive amount of healing (since each target is taking 6 Fire Nova hits each cast, for a total of 42 hits). Granted, for Highmaul, that’s what, stands on Kargath, Tectus when Motes are up (and that’s at most 5), adds on Kor’agh, and Mar’gok intermission if you want to play with fire (or arcane, I suppose).

    Anyways, the long and the short of it is that AG is highly variable for DPS shaman (Enhance in particular), and the baseline value is underselling it a bit.

    Really good post though, good food for thought 🙂

    • Dedralie says:

      You’re right on all counts, I was wrong about Maelstrom Weapon, so I’ve fixed that up – pre-HR is still nice given that you can cast the HR instantly just before activating AG and going back to DPS, so you lose about one Lightning Bolt’s worth of damage to gain ~100k healing, but unlike in MoP it may not be worth doing once we consider an AoE fight…

      As I said on Twitter, the point about AoE fights allowing for higher bursts of AG healing (and Vampiric Embrace, and NV, for that matter) is quite salient, and it was something I had intended to talk about, but I dropped the ball somewhere around 2 am last night and was just like, “screw it, I’m posting this and going to bed”, haha. The reason I initially decided to eschew these calculations – besides, of course, that they are hard – is that I felt that the existence of adds does not always correspond with a need for raid healing, and I’d rather the Shaman use the CD when the raid needs it. However, when we’re talking a difference between 100k healing and, as a totally made-up example, 600k healing, I think it’s often worth relegating AG usage to AoE phases.

      There are a couple of situations where this is a good idea in Highmaul, but the Intermissions on Mar’gok are a great example. The raid is taking a lot of damage, and – at least in my raid, on Heroic, and probably on Mythic – we are assigning Enhancement Shaman to the job of getting those Volatile Anomalies low so that another DPS can selectively kill them one at a time and space out that damage. In this situation, a Fire-Nova-boosted AG could be quite substantial — especially so since Mar’gok is an endurance fight and healers need that mana to make it through the final phase! I think about 6 targets are out at once on that fight, so we’re only talking 30 hits per Nova, but that is still a pretty big deal.

      I’d like to model this, but I’ll have to learn (a) how to use SimCraft and (b) more about Enhancement AoE priority lists in order to do it. So it may take me a while. Or I might just pull some numbers from our raid logs, since that might be easier. In either case, give me a couple of days to think about how best to do this (and to nail down what does, and does not, work with AG) and I will hopefully be able to update this for all the DPS CDs it’s relevant for.

      Thanks for your comment ❤ I could just talk about this endlessly, haha.

      (Note: Mythic Tectus has all 8 Motes + two "echo" Shards active at once, so, like, there's a lot of Fire Nova funtimes. But the way the damage profile for that fight works is, if you take damage, you're dead, so the AG isn't really that useful, except as a tank heal…)

      • Talarian says:

        Aside from the fact that 30 hits of an Unleash Elements Fire Nova is nearly 1 million damage at 645 ilvl (so 200k healing to 3 targets o.O, twice potentially if you plan Unleash cool downs in advance), it’s also fun because big numbers and when I get to do that I just sit at my computer madly cackling with glee. The AG-Fire Nova trick is SUPER handy in PGs, though, moreso than in a raid environ even.

        I find it amusing that to learn all the intricacies of healing, you need to learn how to DPS, basically. I mean, we healers already had to know to an extent how to tank (at least as far as cooldowns, spike damage, and AM are concerned). Kinda makes me wonder if I prefer healing because we need to have all of that knowledge. Though I suppose tanks need to know their healer’s capabilities as well.

      • Dedralie says:

        Wait, what damage is there to heal up in PGs 😛

      • Dedralie says:

        (Oh, you mean for like, Doing It Wrong cheeve?)

      • Talarian says:

        Derp, I meant Challenge Modes, not Proving Grounds.

  2. Mionee says:

    There’s only one detail that I disagree with, regarding Healing Tonics, you should be comparing them to 5.0 Healthstones (20% health), not 5.0 health potions, as they share the name cooldown. Said Healthstones were even nerfed in a sense, as in MoP you could use multiple per fight as long as the 2min cd allowed, while 6.0 Healthstones/Tonics work similarly to stat potions and are a once-per-combat cooldown now.

    Regardless, great read, even for a DPS like me that doesn’t grasp a single thing about healing. Lots of ❤

    • Dedralie says:

      Yeah, that is a fair point. I probably ought to have left the 5.4 Healing Potion off the list entirely and just shown the strength of Healing Tonic alone. I chose the 5.4 potion out of a (misplaced?) sense of versimilitude: you could only use one Health Potion per combat in 5.4, and since they are a fixed-size heal they did not scale with gear.

      Of course, Healing Tonics *do* scale with gear – a little – thanks to Versatility. But that will pale in comparison to our Stamina scaling, so as we gear up, these potions will get relatively less powerful. Especially since everyone seems to haaaaate Versatility on their gear! It is just an interesting phenomenon that right now it is as strong as some healer cooldowns; I’ll probably leave it off entirely for later posts in this series 🙂

  3. Jordan says:

    Hello, can you please provide more in-depth Revival numbers, preferably the exact formula and values you plugged in for it? In looking through mythic logs, I’m struggling to find a revival that hit for more than 2.3m, including overhealing, without an outside healing buff such as amp or hymn.

    • Dedralie says:

      I am away from my computer right now, but some of the healing attributed to Revival in this analysis would actually come from its relatively high chance to produce Mastery orbs, and this is included. I don’t say in the post that I am not factoring in overheal, or this distinction between what would be attributed as Gift of the Serpent healing, much like I don’t distinguish between Divine Hymn and the Echo of Light it generates. I wrote those caveats in detail in previous posts of this series and was worried this was getting too long to include them. Revival does have a higher chance of its Mastery contribution to be overheal than any other CD, although I think Monk Mastery is a little better now than it was in MoP (that’s like saying something is better than a kick in the balls, I guess – a pretty low bar :-P). But this is partially moderated by the fact that Monks avoid Mastery.

      That was all a big ramble to say that I can provide the equations when I get back to my computer tomorrow – or you can visit Hamlet’s HealCalcs since it has all the modifiers and coefficients broken out for you 🙂

      • Jordan says:

        In looking at HealerCalcs, the mastery healing is already factored into his spell value (not that it makes a very large difference anyway relative to crit/ms/vers, still pretty bad). I’ve plugged in my stats at 671, which is a little higher than your standard heading-into-mythic healer, and HealerCalcs says my revival value is 2150272. This is pretty significantly different from your 2.77m value, so I’m not sure where the discrepancy lies. To get 600k more healing out of mastery orbs, you’d need 80 additional healing orbs with 100% pickup rate. I think something is wrong with your monk numbers.

      • Dedralie says:

        Yes, I factored it in the same way he did, I am pretty sure. But I will check again when I get up. 🙂

    • Dedralie says:

      So, as it turns out there was something wrong with my monk numbers – and it’s reflected in HealerCalcs as well. Some testing in-game shows that the Revival coefficient is not 1193.25%, as the tooltip/spell data states, but actually 895%. I can’t find documentation of this change to the coefficient in any hotfix/patch notes, but it’s definitely there.

      This is why you weren’t seeing my calculated number here match up to logs. I’ve fixed that up now, and thanks for bringing it to my attention. I’m sure Hamlet will update HealerCalcs for this too.

  4. Ikulakiya says:

    Keep in mind that Revival is the only throughput cooldown that does not scale with haste at all (not sure about mastery scaling). So it makes sense that it’s the strongest cooldown in T17, but probably not by this magnitude.

  5. Higgs says:

    Another small point on the major throughput cd group:

    Haven’t noticed anything in your methodology regarding HTT haste scaling. It’s the only one of the majors (Hymn/Tranq/HTT/Revival) that actively scales with haste by getting additional ticks instead of just reducing channel time, and it’s a worthy thing to factor in. It becomes way more potent with things like elemental mastery, troll berzerking, haste-clicky trinkets and even Time Warp. Good example of this would be mythic butcher, where you can stay out of the raid on pull and get your personal Time Warp for the frenzy phase.

    • Dedralie says:

      The Haste scaling is factored in to HTT using the player’s Haste, but it isn’t always feasible/necessary to use it with BL/Hero (‘Zerk is always possible if course but in my head the Horde do not exist XD). It’s a good point, just more of a lucky happenstance when the +Haste effects line up with a good HTT time 🙂

  6. Samantha says:

    I’m not even healing this expansion, but I was extremely excited to see this post up. I’m sending it to my healing raid lead because it’s excellent. 😀

    I am surprised at the strength of Vampiric Embrace, but since I’m still at a relatively low gear level I can understand that as our gear increases the effectiveness should as well. We also usually run with a 15-20 person raid, which should be about middle for effectiveness from how it scales, if I understand it correctly. It gives me hope, to say the least 😛 I am DPSing full time this expansion and am a little disappointed at losing some of my utility healing for shadow but it does make sense to leave the heavy lifting healing for the healers. 🙂 Great post as always.

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  8. Jabari says:

    Any chance you could do a quick calculation for me? 🙂

    After looking at how horrible the AG #s are for Elemental, would it make more sense to take one of the other two talents on the tier? Rushing is a nice, constant source of “background” healing (saving your healers mana at the cost of a GCD every 30s), while Conductivity might be a neat idea too, especially on a fight like Butcher.

    How do those other talents compare to AG for Elemental?

    I heal on my shaman in raids, but I was just curious more than anything as we do have other Elementals that run with my group sometimes.

  9. Cinder says:

    Brilliant, as always! I’m sending this to my raid leaders, too, because it’s really fantastic.

    It’s also nice to see some of my personal thoughts reiterated in this post. Particularly around Ascendance only really being useful if I’ve got the mana available to pump out big heals (and if I can time it with Cloudburst totem). Otherwise I’m like you and prefer to use it as a mana conservation approach.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed this and just wanted to say thanks for sharing your wisdom! 🙂

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  11. Meiyong says:

    Were these diagrams made in matlab? Sure looks like it…

    Great post, hard to find such detailed information, especially for healing as a whole and not only concerning specific classes.

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