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September 25, 2011 / nae1776

To Smite, or Not to Smite?


That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler to eschew the wings for….aww forget it. If you’re still on the fence after all this time over which spec is best, there’s a reason! It all depends on what you’re going for and what you find more enjoyable. There are a small few fights that make one or the other preferable. I will break down the benefits here – including which fights favor said approach & looking at some of the “optional” talents.

AA/A  

Recommended alternate talents:

Empowered Healing: Good choice, I recommend filling this

Inspiration: Required for tank healing or if you have no other source of this effect in your raid

Desperate Prayer: Decent talent if you find yourself needing heals on the run

Darkness: Great way to get more haste

Veiled Shadows: A good choice if you have mana issues and can manage to get 2 fiends on boss fights

Do not want talents:

Inner Sanctum: Only taken to move up in the tree – which is unnecessary for AA/A

Reflective Shield: Only reflects damage you take – bad for raids

Strength of Soul: While not a bad talent, I see this build as more AoE centered so in principle this talent doesn’t fit

Train of Thought: A good choice if you are having mana issues, I find it unnecessary for this build

Focused Will: I could see some small merit for heroic encounters, but there are better talents to spend your points on

Improved Renew: Just no, renew is for maxing DA before a pull when they are taking too long, or when running back from a wipe

Surge of Light: Procs infrequently and unreliably

*Essential Glyphs are included, the rest should be chosen based on your focus (tanks or raid)*

Do not use on: Ragnaros, Baleroc, Bethtilac (downstairs).

Challenging to use on: Heroic Shannox

The atonement set of talents gives you a timed, stacking buff that reduces the mana cost of Smite, Holy Fire & Penance. They cause Smite & Holy Fire to have an attached smart heal, which will only crit for 150% and is not effected by all bonuses and will not proc all “healing” effects/items. Casting Smite & Holy Fire will cause you to build stacks of Evangelism, which are timed. You can stack to a maximum of 5 where the mana reduction benefits cap. Archangel will consume your stacks of Evangelism, halting your mana reduction, and will restore 1% of max mana per stack, and grant 3% increased healing per stack. It is ideal to use Archangel at 5 stacks.

To be considered for AA/A first & foremost, is that this spec is not designed to be a DPS player who does healing as a bonus affect. Your DPS will not be very high – 6-8K – and your healing from smite & Holy Fire alone will not keep folks alive. It is best used in one of two ways: spam DPS in low damage phases to use Archangel later for higher damage, or squeeze in Holy Fires on CD throughout all phases. Holy Fire is actually decent HPM & HPS and the CD is shorter than the Evangelism stack expiration.

AA/A can be used to either tank or raid heal, although by the nature of Atonement being range-based your DPS heals will usually heal the tank (or his bloodworms -.-). The most challenging aspect of this spec is knowing when to use Atonement & Archangel. As a general rule, if you are still smiting don’t use Archangel and if you find yourself unable to smite because you need to heal, use Archangel. I like to keep the tank targeted and smite via macro. However, if there are a lot of adds in the fight or penalties for hitting the wrong thing, I’ll target a trusted DPS and use a target of target macro. I track Holy Fire’s CD myself, but here is a macro that will take care of that for you (for the most part):

/castsequence [@mouseovertarget, harm] [@mouseover, harm] [@targettarget, harm] [harm] reset=8/alt Holy fire, Smite, Smite, Smite, Smite, Smite

Last things to consider : The boss’s hit box – too big (Ragnaros, Al’Akir) and your heals won’t hit the tank. The same principle applies to fights with multiple DPS targets – If you’re supposed to heal Bob and Dan is on the boss, you should be hitting Bob’s target and not the boss (unless they are stacked). If your Evangelism stacks will expire before you can reach 5 stacks, use Archangel. Some bonus is better than no bonus.

SoS

Recommended alternate talents:

Empowered Healing: Good choice, I recommend filling this

Divine Fury: Highly recommended to fill

Inspiration: Required for tank healing or if you have no other source of this effect in your raid

Desperate Prayer: Decent talent if you find yourself needing heals on the run

Darkness: Great way to get more haste

Veiled Shadows: A good choice if you have mana issues and can manage to get 2 fiends on boss fights

Do not want talents:

Inner Sanctum: Only taken to move up in the tree – you should only need 1 point unless you chose not to take SoS or ToT

Reflective Shield: Only reflects damage you take – bad for raids

Focused Will: I could see some small merit for heroic encounters, but there are better talents to spend your points on

Improved Renew: Just no, renew is for maxing DA before a pull when they are taking too long, or when running back from a wipe

Surge of Light: Procs infrequently and unreliably

*Note – SoS and ToT are not required. SoS is for tanks & ToT is for mana, judge based on your role & fill accordingly*

*Essential Glyphs are included, the rest should be chosen based on your focus (tanks or raid)*

There are no fights where this spec is not capable of sufficient output, but fights with damage modifiers (H Shannox, H Staghelm) will have a preference for AA/A

This is our simpler spec to play, although it uses more mana as you may shield before Rapture is available. For maximum throughput on a single target – PW: S, Greater Heal x2, Penance, PoM & repeat. For max raid healing, you can simply spam Prayer of Healing while casting PW: S as the CD on Rapture becomes available. Try to alternate groups if you have PoH glyphed, and put your shield on the tank or targets with the lowest health. I find myself using more mana in this spec, mostly because I see little use in casting Heal and prefer to use Greater Heal as my filler. As such, I have Inner Focus macro’d to every spell it benefits and it is almost always on CD during a boss fight.

You will want to use a Rapture timer for this spec – AA/A can pretty much pop it on the tank when Weakened Soul drops off & never miss the CD. You will be reducing the duration of Weakened Soul, so you may re-shield the tank and have his shield pop before Rapture is available – leaving a window of time where you could use Rapture but don’t. Personally, I use Power Auras with a distinctive (read: distinctive, not annoying) sound to tell me when Rapture is available. This export can be found in my post Power Auras, baby! Simply bubble somebody else who is taking damage in those situations, if you are not already.

In short – both specs have their advantages and misconceptions. If you have never tried AA/A, random 5 mans are a great place to test it out. If you tried it when it first went live it’s definitely worth a shot now – not only is your gear better but the changes to Holy Fire since launch are very tasty! The best thing about Disc right now is that there pretty much isn’t a wrong way to do anything! So get in there and test it out, you may be glad you did 🙂

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