Cataclysm Talents and Glyphs: Holy Paladin

by Zilea // February 15, 2011

Holy paladins have a variety of specs they can do when healing for pvp, and although there are a few different talents you can get and still succeed, here is the barebone spec that every holy paladin should have. This is mostly non-debatable as I find this is the basic framework for a holy spec.

“Basic framework” spec:

Holy Tree:

First tier

3/3 [Judgements of the Pure]. I like having 3/3 in this talent because with the removal of Illumination in Cataclysm (giving mana back after critting), mana longevity is extremely important, so spirit has become the most important stat point for a holy paladin. Therefore, your gearset should have little-to-no haste. Because of that, I find the 9% haste in this talent very good, especially considering it is the best of the tier 1 talents that holy paladins have.

2/3 [Protector of the Innocent]. Because you need to have 5 points in the first tier to move down to the next tier of talents, this is the talent you should be putting 2 points into. It’s not a bad talent, and the way it works is simple: cast a targeted heal on anyone (except yourself), like Flash of Light, and you’ll get a slight heal too.

0/2 [Arbiter of the Light]. The talent Arbiter of the Light is intended for retribution paladins, so you have no use for it.

Second tier

3/3 [Clarity of Purpose]. I take 3/3 points in this talent because both Holy Light and Divine Light are going to be used whenever your [Infusion of Light] is up. Even though Holy Light is a slow cast and weak heal, it is a spell you will need to use if you are low on mana. Similarly, Divine Light is a holy paladin’s slow but strong heal. In both cases, you will want to have that reduced cast time because there will be times you will want to cast them, especially when you have Infusion of Light up. I’ll talk about that talent in a moment.

2/2 [Last Word]. There’s not much to say on this one. I take 2/2 points in this talent because Word of Glory is one of the main healing tools a holy paladin has in his arsenal in Cataclysm. While you won’t be using Word of Glory exclusively for when your teammates are below 35% hp, it s a nice passive addition to your healing power.

Third Tier

2/2 [Infusion of Light]. I alluded to this talent above but this is definitely a must-have for the simple reason that it makes your Divine Light and Holy Light viable tools in PvP. Holy Light and Divine Light are not usually good enough to cast on their own with their long cast times, so I almost always just wait for Infusion of Light to proc before I cast one of them. It makes your Divine Light and Holy Light so fast that usually you can just cast it with a counterspell/spell lock up and the mage/warlock will almost always be too slow to lock out your fast cast.

2/2 [Daybreak]. Another huge talent that should always be part of a paladin’s “basic framework” spec. It is a random proc that may not seem very useful, but when it happens and you are in a tight situation (notably against teams with 2 lockouts like a mage and warlock), it can allow you to get two Holy Shocks on your teammates back-to-back without risking getting interrupted. In addition, you know what that means! An additional Holy Shock means you have another chance to have it crit, meaning another hasted Divine Light/Holy Light!

1/1 [Divine Favor]. For one point this talent is really useful. The haste is extremely good and will be one of your big defensive cooldowns whenever you need to put out some fast heals.

2/2 [Denounce]. At this point you can move on to the fourth tier of talents without getting points in Denounce. However, as it turns out, paladins in Cataclysm, while having no real crowd control, turned out to have the most offensive tools of any other healer: Holy Shock, Judgment, Holy Wrath, Crusader Strike, and of course, Exorcism. Exorcism is the best offensive tool in the paladin aresenal and it is imperative that you get Denounce, otherwise you will find it far too mana intensive to spam Exorcism. If you don’t get points in Denounce, you will be nothing more than a healbot because you will not be able to use Exorcism without going out of mana quickly.

Fourth Tier

1/1 [Sacred Cleansing]. This one is pretty obvious. You need to be able to cleanse if you are a holy paladin.

1/1 [Beacon of Light]. Although not as effective as it was in WotLK, Beacon of Light is still extremely good in dealing with damage from more than one sources (namely: warlock DoTs). And, with Beacon of Light now costing 0 mana and lasting 5 minutes, it is worth having up at all times.

2/2 [Enlightened Judgements]. This talent has several uses. For one, it will reduce the chance that you miss with your spells.

3/3 [Speed of Light]. I highly recommend 3/3 in Speed of Light because even though it does give you 3% spell haste, the portion of the talent that makes it invaluable is it’s cooldown reduction of Holy Radiance and the movement speed increase. It may be hard to appreciate this talent at face value, but if you become the target of the opposing team, a simple Hand of Freedom on yourself followed by Holy Radiance will allow you to escape very easily from melee and allow you to get behind a pillar for line of sight.

Fifth Tier

2/2 [Paragon of Virtue]. This talent does so many things that it is also part of my basic framework specs for holy paladins. Reducing the cooldown of Divine Protection is very good because it is the paladin equivalent of Barkskin. Additionally, reducing the cooldown of Hand of Sacrifice and Avenging Wrath will help you heal people for more at crucial situations, allow you to break an additional polymorph and/or reduce damage being taken on a teammate more often.

1/1 [Aura Mastery]. This one is a no-brainer because you will need the 6 second imunity to interrupt effects whenever you are in a tight situation. It has been a must-have ever since it was put into the game.

1/3 [Conviction]. This is a decent talent because it can be stacked. We are also at the point where we need an additional point to move down the tree, so that 1 point in Conviction should help you move down to the sixth tier.

Sixth Tier

3/3 [Tower of Radiance]. This talent is absolutely imperative because of a holy paladin’s reliance on Holy Power charges. And although I haven’t mentioned the Beacon of Light glyph yet, you will be getting it, meaning you should have no problems keeping Beacon of Light up, allowing you to get Holy Power charges all the time.

0/2 [Blessed Life]. With nerf to Blessed Life recently, it now cannot occur more than once every 8 seconds. It used to be every 2 seconds. Because of that nerf, it is not worth investing points into. There is another talent in the retribution tree that is better to have. More on that later.

Seventh Tier

0/1 [Light of Dawn]. This talent used to be debatable, but due to a recent nerf cutting its effectiveness sharply, it is no longer worth it. It heals for so little that using your 3 charges on Word of Glory is a much smarter choice.

Since we already have 31 points in holy, we can move on to another tree.

Retribution Tree:

First Tier

0/2 [Eye for an Eye]. While this talent may sound really good if you feel a lot of teams like to train you, it really does little because it will be rare that the damage reflect will be the reason an opposing team will get off of you. The other tier one talents are much better so you are better off just leaving Eye for an Eye at 0/2.

3/3 [Crusade]. Some people may disagree with this talent, but there is a very good reason to get it over 3/3 Divinity. The reason: because Blessed Life got nerfed in a previous patch (it used to give one charge every 2 seconds if you are taking direct damage, but now does so every 8 seconds), its value went down drastically. The new replacement for Blessed Life is Pursuit of Justice. Because that is the case, we need to get to the second tier in the retribution tree, and Crusade is well worth the investment if we are doing so. Additionally, even though Divinity does grant +6% healing, you are not completely missing out on some healing with this talent. Crusade also increases the effectiveness of your Holy Shock by 30%, which, believe it or not, is extremely good considering Holy Shock is one of a holy paladin’s core healing tools.

2/2 [Improved Judgement]. To move on to the second tier to get Pursuit of Justice, we still need two more 2 talent points spent in the retribution tree. Between Divinity and Improved Judgment, Improved Judgment is definitely the right choice. For mana upkeep/longevity purposes in pvp, you want to have your Judgment have the biggest range possible because if you judge on cooldown with Seal of Insight on, you will get 4% mana back. In other words, you want that range so that you can get mana back no matter where you are healing from.

Second tier

2/2 [Pursuit of Justice]. And of course we want 2/2 in Pursuit of Justice because it is one of the big reasons we went down the retribution talent tree. Believe it or not this talent is better than Blessed Life for the sole reason that although they both yield Holy Power charges, Pursuit of Justice yields it when you get feared, stunned, or immobilized while Blessed Life does so when you take direct damage. In other words, Pursuit of Justice is better because you will be crowd controlled more often than you will be taking direct damage. Other arguments for Pursuit of Justice include the fact that people use stuns, fears, and immobolize effects even when they target you. So, Pursuit of Justice is better because you get Holy Power charges both when you are getting crowd controlled and when you are getting trained.

The above was all part of my “basic framework” spec that every paladin should have. I will now move on to what people can do with their remaining 3 talent points.

What to do with your remaining 3 talent points:

Spec route 1:

One of the things you can do with your remaining 3 talent points is the above spec.

2/2 [Eternal Glory]. I like to go into the protection tree to pick up 2/2 Eternal Glory. The reasoning is very simple: whether you are low on mana, have three charges of Holy Power or just want to fake cast followed by a heal, this talent accomplishes all of the goals. As you should know, [Word of Glory] is a free, instant cast heal that you should always be using if you have three Holy Power charges. Because of this simple fact, it is such a valuable talent that having the talent proc and not eating up your charges can definitely be a game changer if you are in a tight situation.

1/2 [Divinity]. For the final talent point, I like to put it into Divinity over, say, [Conviction], because Divinity is a passive, permanent +2% healing while Conviction, although would grant you +3% healing with that extra point, is not guaranteed to always be up. I like to play it safe rather than hoping for critical effects to keep that +3% healing up.

Spec route 2:

1/2 [Guardian's Favor]. The only difference with this spec and the first spec I mentioned has to do with the talent Guardian’s Favor. The argument for this spec is sacrificing a little bit of healing in exchange for a reduction in cooldown for Hand of Protection and a longer lasting Hand of Freedom.

Spec route 3:

This spec is slightly different because instead of going down the protection tree, you will be getting 2/2 in Guardian’s Favor and putting the final point in Conviction. Alternatively, you could take that point in Conviction and put it in Divinity.


Minor Glyphs:

[Glyph of Insight]. Seal of Insight should be the seal that holy paladins always use because it gives you +5% healing. Because of that, this glyph is a must.

[Glyph of Blessing of Might]. This is a good glyph to have because in a lot of matches your blessings will be dispelled and you want to be prepared to reapply them quickly and cheaply.

[Glyph of Justice]. This is another good glyph to have because believe it or not there will be times where you will be switching to this seal to keep players from going faster than 100% movement speed (and to keep druids from shifting away).

Major Glyphs:

[Glyph of Turn Evil]. You will want to have the glyph of Turn Evil because it is the only safe way to fear pets without being interrupted before it goes through. Otherwise, a smart player, like a warlock, will just spell-lock you before you land your Turn Evil. Hence why you want this glyph.

[Glyph of Rebuke]. I choose Rebuke but it is debatable whether it is a better glyph than [Glyph of Divine Plea] because although Divine Plea will return about 5000 extra mana with Glyph of Divine Plea, Glyph of Rebuke will save you ~2300 mana. So, mathematically, if you think you will rebuke 2+ times in a match, it is well worth getting Glyph of Rebuke. Otherwise, you could go with Glyph of Divine Plea.

[Glyph of Cleansing]. I like this glyph because Cleansing is such a critical and important part of a holy paladin that it is something you are going to be doing a lot in pvp. You might as well save yourself mana while you are using Cleanse.

Prime Glyphs:

[Glyph of Holy Shock]. This is a great glyph to have because Holy Shock is one of a holy paladin’s baseline healing tools. And, having your  Holy Shock crit will proc Infusion of Light, allowing you to cast a fast Holy Light or Divine Light.

[Glyph of Word of Glory]. Another mandatory glyph that is extremely important because you will be using Word of Glory whenever you have enough charges, so increasing its potency is important.

[Glyph of Seal of Insight]. Seal of Insight is the primary seal of choice for me because of this glyph. A passive, undispellable seal that grants +5% healing is something you should always have.

  • 1
    38 months ago
    Hi Zilea, great article !
    I just have a few questions :

    -Is the [Glyph of Divine Favor] wort dropping the Holy Shock one or the Seal of Insight Glyph ?

    -Do you think that it could be worth to stack haste so that whenever you get the Infusion of Light proc you could cast an instant heal ?

    • 0
      38 months ago
      Haste has turned out to be extremely good for paladins. However, given the current state of the game, mana longevity (spirit) is more important. I think, as the expansion matures, haste could become more useful than spirit
  • 1
    38 months ago
    Good read, Thank you. Quick question though, you marked "Aura Mastery" as a must but don't have it in you're talent builds. why is that?
    • 0
      38 months ago
      It's strange that it slipped through like that. I will get a new screenshot up. Thanks for catching that.
  • 0
    38 months ago
    In Reply to LunaSea's second point... this will be viable in future parts of the expension, but work out how much haste you need to get a 2.5sec cast so 1.5 even with 15% extra from judgements of the pure.... its ridiculously high.