Gemming for Holy paladins

As a Holy paladin, you probably know that Intellect is our primary stat. People who don’t play a Holy paladin may also know this, particularly other healer classes. You should at least know about this when:

  • You’re a class leader for Holy paladins
  • You’re a healing lead
  • You’re involved in recruiting or judging Holy paladin applications

If you don’t have to deal with Holy paladins at all, you probably won’t care and you don’t really have to know. If you are a Holy paladin but you’re focusing on Flash of Light, you probably already know but you’re gemming differently regardless. Nothing wrong with that, but in all other cases, it’s worth knowing a bit about why Holy paladins stack Intellect as if our lives depend on it.

Short answer

The short answer? Because our lives do depend on it. And not just ours, but also the lives of our targts. Unless you’re a FoL paladin, you should be stacking Intellect.

Long answer

Besides FoL paladins, Holy paladins should be stacking Intellect above all else. It gives us so many goodness in so many forms, that we should never ever want anything else. Well, besides Haste but that’s an entirily different story. I’ll leave that for another post. Gems, however, should be +20 Intellect in every slot. If you’re a Jewelcrafter, at least three +34 Intellect gems should be present. Intellect is our primary stat and for good reason.

Let’s look at what Intellect gives us. Copied from the Holy paladin thread over at the EJ forums.

Here is what 100 Intellect gives:

  • 121 Intellect, with BoK and Divine Intellect
  • 1815 Mana at the start of the fight
  • 37.8Mp5 from Divine Plea, if it is used on CD.
  • 18.1Mp5 from Replenishment.
  • 4.7Mp5 from Arcane Torrent, if you are a Blood Elf.
  • 24.2 Spell Power
  • 0.726% Spell Crit

So, let’s compare this to what would happen if a Holy paladin would gem differently. I’m assuming that you would gem to match socket colors for the socket bonus. I’m also assuming that the right way to gem is exclusively using Brilliant King’s Amber, ignoring the JC only +34 Intellect gems. I’ll be playing a bit with the exact numbers, but you can compare it to your own gear, which might have different sockets and other socket bonuses. Of course, I will also ignore yellow sockets, as they can be filled with Brilliant King’s Amber anyway. When comparing, I’m also ignoring the Blood Elf racial, Arcane Torrent. Not every Holy paladin has this.

Blue socket

First example. One blue socket, bonus anything between+5 and +9 spellpower. You would most likely want a Dazzling Eye of Zul in here, giving +10 intellect and +5 mp5. This way, you will lose +10 intellect. According to the data mentioned above, this is the comparison.

  • 12 intellect
  • 18 mana
  • 3.7 mp5 from Divine Plea
  • 1.8 mp5 from Replenishment
  • 2.4 spellpower
  • 0.007% crit

Compared to the gain of +5 mp5, you can easily see that you would actually not gain anything besides something between 2.6 and 6.6 spellpower from the socket bonus. This small amount of spellpower is in no way useful for Holy paladins. Verdict: it’s not worth it, always use Brilliant King’s Amber for blue sockets.

The most uninteresting stat to lose here is crit. Luckily, crit isn’t a great stat for Holy paladins anyway, so we can safely ignore the fact that we’re losing out on such a tiny bit of crit by not gemming Brilliant King’s Amber. For this reason, I’ll ignore the crit loss from this point on.

Another option, which seems viable, would be the Lustrous Majestic Zircon. This gems gives +10 mp5. Using this gem would mean not losing +10 but +20 intellect. As the numbers scale evenly as compared to the Dazzling Eye of Zul, the math and outcome does not change when comparing this gem to Brilliant King’s Amber. The end result: Brilliant King’s Amber still beats anything else for blue sockets.

Red socket

Moving on. A red socket, also with a similar spellpower bonus as the blue socket. In this socket, you would gem a Luminous Ametrine. This would give +12 spellpower and +10 intellect. Again, you lose out on +10 intellect. Assume a maximum socket bonus giving +9 spellpower. You would then gain 21 spellpower over the 2.4 spellpower that +10 intellect gives. This seems like a pretty big bonus, as you “only” lose +10 intellect and +21 spellpower is almost the same as a Runed Cardinal Ruby (+23 spellpower). For FoL paladins, I would definitely recommend this glyph for yellow sockets if you can match the socket bonus. Otherwise, the spellpower gain is debatable and I would still recommend gemming a Brilliant King’s Amber. More about the spellpower gain later.

Another socket bonus you might get is mp5. To be completely honest, I have only seen this kind of socket bonus on the Exalted ring from Ashen Verdict. This particular bonus is +2 mp5.  The socket color of this ring being yellow, which means you can just throw a Brilliant King’s Amber in. Besides that, if you remember that +10 intellect still gives 5.5 mp5, you can easily see that anything other than Brilliant King’s Amber would be inferior with this socket bonus.

Spellpower vs. Longevity

Now, suppose you feel like you’re losing a lot of spellpower if you add it all up. Suppose you feel that this is a bad thing. First off, let me tell you that you’re not actually losing that much spellpower. Of course, the more sockets an item has, the more spellpower you could potentially lose by using Brilliant King’s Amber. However, the loss of spellpower does not weigh up to the gain of intellect. This is simply because of the way Holy Light works.

It’s a healing nuke. As simple as that. It gains the most from spellpower compared to our other healing spells, but also has the most powerful base heal. Combined, this makes Holy Light a really powerful healing spell. From the top of my head, I can tell you that, even while stacking Runed Cardinal Ruby’s (+23 spellpower) and getting as much spellpower as I possibly could, my Flash of Light crits would only heal for around 12k to 14k. My regular Holy Light hits for around 13k to 14k. If HL crits, I get anything from 19k to 23k. I really wish I could add a log to this particular statement, as it really feels kind of empty as it is now. Unfortunately, I have none at the moment.

What does this mean? Don’t use FoL? In a way, yes, that is what it means. As I’ve stated at the top of this post, this comparison is meant for HL paladins. In turn, this means that you should always gem for optimal results using Holy Light. Spellpower simply isn’t worth that much for Holy Light. It will only end up doing more overhealing, barring the Dreamwalker fight. The thing you need most when chaincasting HL is longevity. The only way to reach maximum longevity is by gemming Brilliant King’s Amber exclusively, preferably with 3 Brilliant Dragon’s Eye’s if you’re a Jewelcrafter.

A summary:

  1. The most powerful heal we have is Holy Light
  2. Holy Light costs a lot of mana
  3. You need to be able to cast Holy Light as long as possiblle

And as I’ve hopefully shown in this post, our most efficient way of gaining longevity is by getting as much Intellect as we can. For our gems, this means gemming full Intellect only!

Haste

I’m aware that our second most important stat is Haste. Unfortunately, the only thing Haste does is increase our throughput and decrease the time needed for a heal to land. There is already plenty of haste we can get from current gear available. The amount of hast we can get through gemming would sacrifice a bucket load of longevity, while increasing the need for more longevity. This should be a no-brainer. Don’t gem for haste, get it from gear.

Conclusion

I hope that this post will have shown why Holy paladins stack Intellect. I hope that fellow Holy paladins now either get their gems sorted, or at least know why they’re gemming the way they are. I also hope that the people who should have this knowledge, now have a clear understanding of what Intellect means to Holy paladins. I’ve seen some bashing of Holy paladin gemming full Intellect and I really, really hope that these people now understand why we’re not gemming anything else.

If anybody has additional suggestions, math or even a way to prove me wrong, I invite you to leave a comment. I might be wrong about some things and if I am, please feel free to correct me.

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3 Responses to Gemming for Holy paladins

  1. Savania says:

    Hi, thank you for the detail insight!

    I have a question concerning the mana pool: Currently you propose stacking intellect only.

    What if we rely on the critical chance slightly more than the intellect (not to the extreme of course)?

    We gain 30% of the mana in return thanks to the [Illumination] talent… not to mention that the crit heal heals for a greater amount…

    Thanks!

    • Kaboomski says:

      Short answer: if you want to rely on mana return through critical strikes, use a decent Retribution subspec. I generally don’t recommend it, but I can certainly see the advantadges. It all depends on whether you’re focusing on Holy Light or Flash of Light though. An example of a Retribution subspec that gives you 5% extra critical chance:

      http://www.wowhead.com/talent#sxA0gM0sVu0tgdxZVcbx

      You could also play with that a bit and perhaps go as far as 51/0/20 for up to 8% extra crit. The 51 talents in Holy are pretty much constant, and I really recommend going with that.

      The reason I (and many others) recommend gemming only Intellect is because it gives us so many things. Gemming for critical strike rating really isn’t worth it. Northrend Epic gems could give you up to 20 critical strike rating, which is a little under 0.5% crit chance. With the gear you can get currently, you’ll be over 40% crit really quick. Another commenter said this and I wouldn’t believe it, but it’s true! With talents, you’ll have an effective 45% crit without gemming for it.

      The thing is, if you gem Intellect only you get so much more! For each 100 Intellect, you even get around 32 crit rating (unless my math is wrong). So gemming for Intellect not only increases your initial mana pool and mana return from Divine Plea, but also your crit chance! Can you see where I’m going with this?

      In the end, the main problem with crit is its reliability. You could go an entire fight without a single crit and then get only crits during the next fight. This is why, for Holy Light paladins, you should use Libram of Renewal to decrease the mana you use when casting Holy Light.

      Gemming for Intellect gives us a more reliable source of mana (and mana return). Combine that with an Insightful Earthsiege Diamond as your meta gem and you’re good to go!

      If you have the time, you should read my other posts too. There is some very useful information in there, as well as some links.

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