Not Mad, Just Disappointed: Shockadins and the Art of Scolding Your Foes to Death
This is not a post about critical analysis, material culture, or storytelling.
This is a post about holy paladins. This is a post for holy paladins who like playing holy paladins, and want to explore Azeroth as holy paladins.
Okay, we’ve gotten that out of the way.
While I’m always going to be Catulla at heart and still have plenty of things to do on her, after 5 years of playing as moonkin DPS I’ve put away my raiding antlers and picked up a sparkly golden hammer. (I blame the switch on the fact that Waypoint’s Herald of the Titans effort needed a healer, but then I blame Waypoint for a lot of things.) When Mists was released, I wasn’t particularly keen on leveling in Pandaria as Ret or Prot. Just personal preference — nothing against either spec. So, I looked at the new 5.0 class changes, thought “hmm, there’s awful lot of offensive capability in these abilities that’s probably here for a reason”, slapped some talents and glyphs together, and accidentally fell in love with being a shockadin.
And then I wondered, why are more people not talking about playing shockadins? This is fun as hell. I leveled to 90 as holy, I do my dailies as holy (just hit revered with Golden Lotus today), no regrets. NO MERCY.
Here’s how I do it. (If this post looks familiar to you, you’re right. I just wanted to post this somewhere a little less ephemeral.)
YOU TOO CAN DO YOUR DAILIES AS A HOLY PALADIN WITH THIS ONE WEIRD BUILD DISCOVERED BY A HEALER
- Holy Shock – buffs the damage of HS.
- Denounce – occasional reduced cast time; handy, you’ll be spamming it a lot.
- Harsh Words – turns Word of Glory into an offensive spell when used on a hostile target.
- Falling Avenger — for those “oops, I accidentally walked off a cliff” moments
- Righteous Retreat — are you seriously saying no to the Bubble Hearth glyph? What kind of paladin are you? Terrible.
- The others are largely cosmetic, take your pick. I personally like Fire from the Heavens for maximum KILL IT WITH HOLY FLAME.
- Speed of Light – good for bravely running away
- Fist of Justice – reduced cooldown on one of your interrupts. This will make your life doing Golden Lotus dailies much easier.
- Sacred Shield — mostly because Selfless Healer doesn’t have any utility for solo questing and Eternal Flame doesn’t work with the Harsh Words glyph and besides, EVERYBODY LOVES BUBBLES.
- Unbreakable Spirit — reduces cooldown on your DS/LoH/DP, but honestly, I think any of the talents in this tier would be useful. Go with your preference.
- Divine Purpose — when it procs, you can basically spam the equivalent of 3-HP Harsh Words at no cost. I like Divine Purpose because it’s passive and thus one less CD to think about while questing (as opposed to Holy Avenger). I would typically get two Harsh Words out of this, but sometimes up to 3 or 4. Sanctified Wrath has some nice aspects, but as a lot of its benefit is tied into using Avenging Wrath, it’s basically a buffed panic button. I want something that has a chance to help me constantly, not just when I get into trouble.
- Light’s Hammer — a handy little bit of simultaneous self-heal and aoe damage, particularly when you’re doing That Sprite Quest in Mistfall.
Use Holy Shock to build HP just as if you were healing; as with most paladin specs, use your HP-sensitive spell (Harsh Words) at 3. Sometimes, if I was going in for a mini-boss or named quest mob, I’d try to build up 5 charges by healing myself or killing a less powerful mob and hope for a Divine Purpose proc.
Spam Denounce when you can’t do anything else.
Hammer of Wrath when applicable.
You can obviously use Crusader Strike to build HP as well, but bear in mind it will hit like a wet noodle. Use your other cooldowns as you normally would. Sparkle and be GLORIOUS at will.
OKAY FINE WHATEVER BUT SERIOUSLY, IT TAKES YOU LIKE FIVE MINUTES TO KILL A MOB, RIGHT?
Actually, no. I even timed my 12 mogu kills for my Golden Lotus daily today, FOR SCIENCE. The longest kill was 38 seconds, and the shortest was 24, with an average of 31.9 seconds. It’s not going to top any meters, but it gets the job done in the spec I have superior gear in.
I didn’t use Avenging Wrath on any of these mobs, and all of them involved judicious (see what I did there? that’s a PALADIN PUN) use of interrupts for abilities like Shield of Souls. I have an average ilvl of 463, but I haven’t optimized my gems/enchants/reforges yet. I also had the Tangy Yogurt haste food buff and Blessing of Kings. I was not fighting any other mobs for any of these kills.
I thought about doing some target dummy practice and spouting some numbers out, but this isn’t a build that’s viable for sustained, raid-worthy DPS. This is a build to get you through your dailies in a reasonable amount of time without dying.
Aside from Light’s Hammer, the build doesn’t really have any strong aoe damage. I mostly pull one mob after another assembly-line style and save my panic buttons for when I accidentally aggro too many. I can *survive* several mobs (of course I can, I’m a paladin, I’m indestructible), but it isn’t always pleasant.
SO, WHAT ELSE IS THIS GOOD FOR?
I’ve been thinking a lot about Challenge Modes because I absolutely want a set of Righteous Gundam armor, and I think that’s where this build will really shine. There are several encounters where heavy damage can be avoided by a smart group, meaning you can essentially run the dungeon with 3.5 DPS. This build nerfs your healing, but ideally, you should be able to get by on nerfed healing at that level. I’m also really eager to try it out in some battlegrounds, but my priority for now has been getting geared for Waypoint’s raid start next week, so I’m afraid I can’t say much more than that on it. However, the PvP tier set bonuses do look like they’d be fantastic for this. 2pc gives a 10% buff to Holy Shock, and 4pc returns HP back.
I consider this build a work in progress, and I imagine I’ll continue to tweak it and discover more about being a hybrid-within-a-hybrid as the expac progresses and I find different ways to use it. My intent was just to be able to level and quest in my stronger gear, I haven’t crunched ***serious numbers*** on it or anything amd don’t plan to; it isn’t a viable spec for raid DPS. Anyway, I welcome feedback on it from anyone else who tries it out–let me know what you find, and I hope you found this post helpful! Salt to taste, see what works.