Turns out, you can kill a soul. The bigger problem is that some of those souls are also trying to kill us back. Despite finding ourselves in the literal afterlife, WoW’s best healers continue to see a demand for their assistance.
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As the ones responsible for keeping the party alive and away from permanently crossing over to the Shadowlands, it is imperative to know which healer class is best for you. The following guide will help you maximize your effectiveness and determine the best healer in WoW according to your play style.
Best Healers for PvE in WoW: Shadowlands
In an expansion that severely punishes players for failing to perform certain mechanics, healing is more intensive than ever. At the end of the day, the goal is to keep your party alive, not to have the highest healing metrics. To that end, you need to be able to respond to large damage or prepare before hand to negate it. As long as your mana holds out and your team lives, you’ve done your job.
6. Priest (Discipline)
The odd one out amongst healers, discipline priests are less known for healing damage and more for preventing damage in the first place. Their kit primarily revolves around absorption shields and healing allies by inflicting damage and converting it to healing via Atonement. Probably the most aggressive of the healers, discipline priests shine when paired with a team of players who know how to avoid damage.
As mentioned above, your priority is to apply the 30-second Atonement buff to your allies as quickly as possible. All damage you do will be converted to healing on those affected by Atonement. The most efficient way to apply the buff is via Power Word: Shield, which has the benefit of creating a small shield around the target. Note that a shielded ally cannot be affected by the spell again for 7.5 seconds due to a debuff. but your Rapture ability can circumvent that and strengthen your next shield on the target.
For direct heals, you’ll be relying on Shadow Mend for quick moderate heals. Unfortunately, it also leaves a DoT on the target you heal that disappears after taking half the damage healed. Thankfully, most damage sources will quickly take care of that requirement. You’ll also be using Penance often to fire three rapid bolts of healing into your target, but this ability can also be used to damage enemies.
The bulk of your healing comes from the damage you inflict on enemies. With the Atonement effect in mind, you’ll want to maintain constant damage on your enemies to keep your allies alive. Maintain Shadow Word: Pain (or Purge the Wicked as many priests talent for) on as many targets as you can for an easy stream of constant DoT damage. Interweave Smite, Mind Blast, and Penance in where you can.
For AoE healing, Power Word: Radiance will be your main ability. You blast a target and four additional allies with a burst of healing and apply Atonement to them all for a reduced duration. From there, you can quickly throw out some damage to heal them all up.
It should be noted that most priests take the talent Spirit Shell, which further enhances the damage prevention style gameplay. This ability converts your Atonement, Power Word: Radiance, and Penance healing into absorption shields for ten seconds before going into a one-minute cooldown. This can be huge in preventing burst damage and gives other healers in your group room to conventionally heal the team.
Additionally, discipline priests have access to Power Infusion, an absolutely amazing haste buff that is usually slapped on your top DPSer to push their damage into the stratosphere. Discipline priests are also known for having access to a ridiculous amount of dispels. You can Purify magic and diseases from allies, Dispel Magic enemy buffs, and Mass Dispel enemy buffs and ally debuffs in one go. Plus, you have access to Leap of Faith to pull allies out of lethal situations that their poor positioning has placed them in.
As long as your team doesn’t stand in avoidable damage, disciple priests can ward off death.
- Damage heavy healer
- Great at preventing incoming damage
- Pairs well with other healers by giving them time to heal up large damage
- Not great at undoing damage via healing
- Requires a very different mentality from other healing classes
- Reliant on party members avoiding damage when possible
5. Monk (Mistweaver)
Bending and weaving the healing properties of chi, mistweaver monks are incredibly sturdy and mobile healers with a focus on single-target healing augmented by the HoTs (heals over time) placed on the raid group. With high-level play consisting of weaving back and forth between healing and damaging, monks can save lives through taking others.
Before we dive into their healing abilities, know that your attacks apply Mystic Touch to enemies, making them take 5% additional physical damage from all sources. On priority targets, this is a huge damage boost to your team, so be sure to keep it on the enemy whenever you can.
As for healing, use Renewing Mist as your priority HoT whenever possible. This ability synergizes heavily with your quick single target heal Vivify, which heals the target affected by Renewing Mist even when cast on another ally. Utilize Thunder Focus Tea to augment one of your abilities, typically either Vivify or Renewing Mist to reduce your mana costs and maintenance. Enveloping Mist serves as a stronger HoT and augments any HoTs already on the target, useful for healing through strong single target damage. As an emergency cooldown, you can pop Life Cocoon to create a massive shield on a target and further augment healing received.
For AoE healing, Invoke Yu’lon is great for helping out with passively healing up to three allies, based on who you target. It can also spread Enveloping Mist to allies as well. Essence Font serves as an emergency AoE heal, throwing out HoTs to those the spell prioritizes as heavily damaged, but can also be utilized as a powerful single target by cutting off the channel early to get the HoT onto priority targets. Revival is another powerful AoE spell that instantly heals all allies within forty yards and cleanses them of negative effects, with Detox functioning as the single-target cleanse.
In between heals, you can also utilize Expel Harm to convert a portion of the healing you’ve done to enemy damage, mixing in Rising Sun Kick whenever possible. The Roll and Transcendence abilities also improve the monk’s mobility, making it very easy to reach injured allies quickly and avoid death from various boss mechanics.
If you truly master the monk’s healing and offensive arsenal, you can easily become one of WoW’s best healers.
- Incredibly mobile healer
- Great emergency cooldowns for preventing death
- Provides high damage and a very strong buff to physical damage party members
- Bit of a jack of all trades, master of none
- Difficult to master weaving damage and healing together
- Requires set up to properly heal multiple targets effectively
4. Priest (Holy)
Holy priest are the more straightforward healer spec of the priest, and set the standard for traditional healers. As opposed to preventing damage like its discipline counterpart, holy priests are very good at undoing damage. With a wide variety of healing options to choose from, holy priests specialize at keeping a raid group alive while also pumping out some very strong single-target heals by playing around their Holy Word spells.
You have your two direct heals — Heal and Flash Heal. I’m sure you can figure out which one is the bigger but slower of the two. Then you have your major single target heal Holy Word: Serenity that will often restore around 50% of a target’s health. Its one-minute cooldown is reduced by six seconds every time you use your other two standard healing spells, so it’ll be up fairly often. You also have access to two HoTs in the form of Renew and Prayer of Mending. The first is a standard one that also reduces the cooldown on your main AoE healing spell, while the second is triggered upon taking damage and can bounce to allies after it expires. Make sure to keep Prayer of Mending going always.
For AoE healing, you’ll be relying on Holy Word: Sanctify for the most part. It’s a target AoE circle that is great for stacked players. As mentioned above, its cooldown is reduced by Renew, so make sure to keep that ability ticking as well. You also have three other powerful AoE healing spells in the form of Prayer of Healing, Circle of Healing, and Divine Hymn. The first is a standard targeted AoE that heals up to five players, the second is the same but more mana-efficient, and the last is a massive channeled emergency heal that also further boosts all healing by 10% (great for coordinating with other healers). I’m sure you can see why they’re one of the best raid healers in WoW.
Like discipline priests, you have access to Leap of Faith, all the dispel abilities, and Power Infusion. You differ in utility through a single massive ability that your fellow healers will love — Symbol of Hope. This ability restores a whooping 12% of mana over the span of five seconds. Use it whenever a healer calls out they’re running low. You also turn into an angel upon death and can spam all your abilities without regard to mana for fifteen seconds. It’s great as a last stand ability, just hope you have someone who can battle rez you to keep fighting.
The spitting image of a traditional healer, holy priests will always be a foundational healer.
- Great at keeping stacking players alive
- Very large pool of abilities to call upon
- Incredibly good at undoing damage immediately
- Squishy with no real mobility
- Mana-heavy on some abilities
- Requires standing still and hard casting most of the time
3. Paladin (Holy)
The precept of single-target healing and WoW’s best healer for tanks in the game, the holy paladin shines above the rest for good reason. With incredibly powerful direct heals and excellent utility options, holy paladins can make or break a group by cheesing certain mechanics.
Before we dive into their abilities, it’s important to note that paladins differ from other healers in that they must manage five-point Holy Power in addition to mana. Certain abilities can only be used with enough Holy Power but are fairly easy to generate and tend to be very strong.
Above all else, maintain Beacon of Light on your priority target (usually the main tank). Any heals on other allies will heal your beacon target by 50% as well, and direct heals on your beacon target generate Holy Power. Holy Light and Flash of Light will be your main standard heals, with slow and fast casts, respectively. When available, use Holy Shock for large instant heals and to generate Holy Power. You’ll typically be running Devotion Aura for the damage reduction and can activate Aura Mastery as an emergency defensive for eight seconds.
Interweave Crusader Strike, Judgment, and Hammer of Wrath between heals if you have enough breathing room and mana to generate additional Holy Power.
As for your Holy Power spenders, you’ll be alternating between Word of Glory and Light of Dawn for single and AoE heals respectively. Both are incredibly powerful spells that require three Holy Power to cast, with Light of Dawn’s 15-yard frontal cone being position-dependent.
For utility, you have one of the most diverse kits amongst healers. Blessing of Freedom removes and renders a target immune against movement altering effects and can be an absolute life saver against any slowing effects on a movement heavy fight. Blessing of Protection negates all physical damage against a target and is great for allowing players to soak mechanics that would kill them otherwise. Blessing of Sacrifice allows you to split the damage a player would take between you and them, often saving the tank’s life during heavy damage phases. Don’t worry, it’ll turn off before the damage can kill you so coordinate and use it frequently.
Naturally, a paladin is also known for Lay on Hands as an emergency super heal and their reduction/immunity bubbles in the form of Divine Protection and Divine Shield, making them great for soaking mechanics that would kill most players otherwise.
A simple and straightforward healer, holy paladins serve as a lynchpin for keeping tanks alive.
- Constant strong heals
- Great utility to save allies
- Fantastic single-target healing, especially for tanks
- Mana intensive
- Sub-par group healing
- Kit is a bit too simple and boring for some
2. Druid (Restoration)
Masters of nature, the restoration druid is the best AoE healer in WoW. With a focus on HoTs and AoE abilities, restoration druids can easily keep death staved off when there’s constant damage permeating the room. Despite not having much in the form of direct heals, their HoTs can easily keep up with conventional single target healing on multiple targets with sufficient preparation.
For druid abilities, you’ll be focusing on cycling through your three main HoTs: Lifebloom (big one for the tank usually), Rejuvenation, and Regrowth across the raid group. Focus on applying Regrowth during Omen of Clarity windows to conserve on mana. You can pop Swiftmend on a target with a HoT ticking in order to consume that HoT and provide an instant burst of healing. Ironbark can also be cast on a target to provide an immediate 20% damage reduction and boosted HoT healing, which is easily a lifesaver for an ally being hammered.
Try to maintain your AoE heal Efflorescence under the feet of your allies with Wild Growth as a more powerful secondary AoE heal. Tranquility will be your major save-the-raid-right-now heal, but does require you to stand still and channel it for maximum effectiveness.
Additionally, you have an 8-second cleanse for magic, curse, and poison effects through Nature’s Cure and Soothe to handle enrage effects. Druid healers are also the go-to ones for a battle rez via Rebirth.
Beyond that, druid healers provide fantastic utility for the team with the ability to Innervate themselves or an ally to make all spellcasting free for ten seconds and regain some mana. Stampeding Roar provides the raid with a huge burst of speed, and Entangling Roots and Ursol’s Vortex keeps enemies locked in place.
If you’re looking for a healer who can constantly keep the healing pressure up throughout the entire raid with flexible movement options, a restoration druid is your choice.
- Fantastic AoE healing
- Constant heals ticking on top of all other heals
- High utility for CCing and soaking mechanics with survival cooldowns
- Struggles with large single-target damage
- DoT based damage somewhat negates healing
- Constant pressure to maintain HoTs on everyone
1. Shaman (Restoration)
Quite possibly the all-around best healer in WoW right now, restoration shamans shine with their powerful layered heals and flexible options. Besides having some of the strongest healing numbers in the game currently, shaman healers have some unique healing options to keep a raid group stabilized without having to panic heal anyone in particular.
To start off, you’re absolutely going to want Earth Shield. This ability places a barrier on a target that heals them whenever they take damage up to nine times and enhances the healing they receive. Your tanks will love having this. Maintain Water Shield on yourself at all times to keep a constant flow of mana regeneration that is enhanced if you have the misfortune of being hit by a melee attack.
On to the actual healing. Your two standard heals will be Healing Surge and Healing Wave. The first is your quick, big heal, while the second is your slower, more efficient heal. You’ll want to toss a Riptide on targets that you expect to be eating a lot of damage, as it heals a decent chunk immediately and leaves a strong HoT on them.
As for your usual AoE healing, you’ll want to maintain Healing Rain constantly where the bulk of the raid is standing for passive healing. Toss down a Healing Stream Totem by your feet to help out with healing multiple allies. Finally, Chain Heal is your best friend if you need to directly heal multiple people, as it jumps from your main target to the next two most injured allies.
Now for the unique healing aspects of shamans. The big one is your Spirit Link Totem. Besides reducing damage taken within ten yards of it, it has the unique effect of equalizing the health percentage of everyone within its radius. If the raid is taking massive damage or you need to save the tank, you can pop this to basically have everyone share a single health pool. Pair it with your other big cooldown, Healing Tide Totem, and you’ll be able to keep healing with your usual abilities while benefitting from the Healing Tide Totem’s massive AoE healing pulses.
If you find yourself on the need to keep moving while healing, you can activate Spiritwalker’s Grace to cast while moving for fifteen seconds. You can also resurrect yourself once every twenty minutes with Reincarnation, which can be a life saver in some scenarios. Other healers will love you for your Mana Tide Totem which provides massive mana regeneration for eight seconds. Naturally, you also have Heroism/Bloodlust which is almost mandatory for any end game fights. Plus, you have one of the shortest interrupts in the game with Wind Shear, allowing you to fill any interrupting roles.
All in all, you have some of the most varied options to tackle a situation out of all the healers. There’s a reason every high-end raid team brings a shaman as the best healer for Castle Nathria.
- Fantastic healing numbers
- Great emergency cooldowns
- Very flexible assortment of healing spells
- Very mana-intensive
- Struggles a bit when cooldowns aren’t available
- Requires allies to be positioned properly to take advantage of healing
Best Healers for PvP in WoW: Shadowlands
This section will be a lot shorter, as we’ve covered the main aspects of each healer class above in the PvE section. Instead, we’ll be going over breakdowns of why each healer is ranked as they are in a meta, where burst damage is king. Remember, your goal is to survive the enemy teams’ cooldowns and keep your damage dealers from having to worry about spending global cooldowns on survival abilities instead of damage abilities. If you can, you’ll also want to be constantly CCing and throwing out damage as well.
6. Shaman (Restoration)
While considered the best healers for PvE content, shamans unfortunately run into a few problems with PvP. Namely that some of their most powerful healing cooldowns are dependent on allies standing near their totems, which isn’t exactly viable when players are constantly kiting one another and running all over the place. Your totems are also targetable/killable, which is less than ideal.
However, you still have the advantage of sheer raw healing power. Unfortunately, you’re also lacking in strong survival cooldowns and are prone to being burst nuked into the ground.
5. Druid (Restoration)
Due to your nature of being a HoT-reliant healer, even if you’re CCed, you typically will still be keeping your allies alive. Unfortunately, the PvP meta is all about burning down a single target, and you’ll be struggling a bit to keep them alive without much in the way of immediate, single-target healing.
That’s not to say that you can’t, but you’ll definitely be mashing your buttons furiously to Swiftmend a target and reapplying HoTs on a constant loop. There’s also the very high risk of running into a mage or priest who steals/dispels your HoTs, leaving you and your allies vulnerable.
However, due to your innate survivability by switching into your bear form and popping cooldowns, it is unlikely that the enemy will be able to burst nuke you down. This gives your team time to turn the tides and simply stall out the enemy if need be.
4. Monk (Mistweaver)
As the single most mobile healer in the game, you’ll find yourself often enraging the enemy with your ability to kite them and escape with a sliver of health remaining only to heal up to full again. In a meta that emphasizes short fights, your arsenal of offensive abilities can be used to lock down and hammer an enemy before you even need to transition to a healing role.
However, if you do find yourself on the defensive, your quick cast time (particularly Vivify) and Life Cocoon shield should more than suffice to stay alive. Do be wary if your abilities are on cooldown, as you’re rather dependent on them to prevent the situation from escalating out of control.
3. Priest (Holy)
While this may seem a bit of an odd choice given how squishy holy priests are in general, it becomes abundantly clear why they’re so good at higher item levels. It doesn’t matter how much damage the enemy does if a single Holy Word: Serenity undoes all the damage. Once you obtain strong enough gear, any meaningful damage can be undone by any of your heals, even Flash Heal.
In addition, you have access to strong damage presence simply by using Holy Word: Chastise to nuke an enemy and constantly spam Smite to lower the cooldown on your nuke. Plus, your Mass Dispel is potentially game changing by stripping your enemies of their buffs and purging any kill condition debuffs on your team.
However, you a bit vulnerable to being interrupted and holy locked, so be wary of the enemy timing their cooldowns to CC you and nuke your allies before you can respond.
2. Priest (Discipline)
While your shields may not be as good in PvE, they are an absolute godsend in PvP. Bosses constantly land devastating blows, while players are gated by lengthy cooldowns. As long as your shield is up on a target when players pop their cooldowns, you and your allies should survive whatever onslaught is thrown your way.
Your Spirit Shell can be super-charged to a ridiculous level and will warrant the enemy burning either cooldowns or time to break through it. Meanwhile, you’ll be blasting away your enemies and functioning more like a DPS than a healer. Should the enemy actually break through your shield, you can always Psychic Scream them and fear them away long enough to reapply the shield and any healing.
Plus, with your own survival cooldown of Pain Suppression, it becomes incredibly hard to kill you before you just apply another shield. Additionally, you also have access to all your dispels and can turn the tide as mentioned above with holy priests.
1. Paladin (Holy)
Since the name of the game is dogpile one person until they’re dead, it’s natural for the strongest single-target healer to be at the top. You’ll constantly be able to churn out Holy Power quickly by healing whoever you mark with Beacon of Light. If they ever get low, Word of Glory will easily be able to fix that. Unfortunately, you can’t use Lay on Hands in ranked PvP, but you probably won’t need it.
Should your ally actually come close to death, Blessing of Protection/Spellwarding should buy them more than enough time to salvage their health pool. Plus, you can negate any attempts by the enemy to kite your team with Blessing of Freedom.
There are also the benefits of being an inherently tanky healer, as plate armor and your Divine Shield effectively mean you have two health bars. Having an immediate 6-second stun and the ability to do execution damage with Hammer of Wrath is just the cherry on top for being WoW’s best healer for PvP.
High Ground View
That’s it for our WoW best healers roundup! We hope this guide has been useful in helping you make an informed decision on which healer to go with for every situation. If you have any additional thoughts, be sure to subscribe and leave a comment below.