Shadow Spells for Healing Priests

February 12, 2010

With two trees worth of healing oriented goodness its easy to overlook the contribution that spells from the Shadow school can make towards playing as a healer.

Doing Damage

Most of the time when raiding we have limited opportunity to make much of a contribution to dps, especially now that Pestilence doesn’t spread Devouring Plague anymore.  Still, a Mind Sear on a large pack of adds can do enough damage to really help out the raid (and searing Ony’s whelp packs is so much fun!) and some fights (Deathwhisper, Saurfang) have times when adding to the dps is the most useful thing to do.  On the whole, however, Shadow spells don’t count for much in overall dps terms.  Their importance lies in their situational utility…


Shadow Word: Death

This is a well known trick to help make the most of Prayer of Mending. PoM has an annoying habit of leaping straight from the original target right back to me, especially when I have no need of it.  Rather than let it sit there uselessly while waiting for the cooldown to come up again, using a GCD to cast SW:D will get it moving again with the PoM instantly healing the kickback damage from SW:D.

Mind Blast / Mind Sear

These are our only Shadow spells with a cast time, which makes them useful for eating interrupts that cause school lockouts.  This mechanic occurs in the first two fights of TotGC, with Gormok’s Snobolds and Jaraxxus’s Maidens (with Maiden’s Kiss) both able to lockout the holy school unless we force a shadow school lockout first.

Mind Sear

I’ve yet to try this in practice (will give it a go next time the need arises) but thought I’d mention it as a possibility.  If your melee group is unintentionally tangling with the Blood Beasts during the Saurfang encounter it may be possible to pull aggro on the Beasts by using Mind Sear on Saufang himself.  While the AoE won’t hurt them much, it should hopefully get them moving towards you and off the melee and tanks.  Catch up with your healing and build more threat on them, and when they start getting too close for comfort a quick Fade will see them turn around and head back to the melee again.  If they look to be getting too near, cancel the Fade buff and they should turn around and head back to you again.

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