Restoration druid-discipline priest pairings have also led to an enormous amount of success. These teams are usually much more offensive-minded than paladin-priest teams and require more overall crowd control to support the smaller amount of burst healing (and defensive dispels) the team has access to. Teams with priest-druid healers usually ascribe to the saying "a good offense is the best defense."
While the restoration druid is usually the main healer of the two, the druid will be doing far less healing than a holy paladin would on a team of similar classes. Instead, the druid will be required to Cyclone enemies much more frequently to prevent incoming damage.
Let's look at a (historically) successful cookie-cutter 5v5 lineup: Euro Comp
Euro Comp consists of:
- Restoration druid
- Discipline priest
- Rogue (multiple specs have been successfully represented)
- Warlock (multiple specs have been successfully represented)
- Frost mage
The discipline priest will heal significantly more than in a paladin-priest shell, but he will still be doing lots of offensive things. Psychic Scream is incredibly useful on this team composition and should be almost always be used whenever the cooldown expires.
This particular team composition, when played well, has been known to completely crowd-control an opposing player (or two!) for the duration of an entire arena match.
Euro Comp has sometimes been called 5 DPS in a two-healer shell. When operating at an incredibly high level, both druid and priest will participate only occasionally in healing (the enemy team will constantly be on the defensive, which will lead to low amounts of incoming damage).
Yep, they get their own wall of text.
Restoration shaman are largely overshadowed by elemental shamans in 5v5 on two-healer teams. While restoration shaman have many interesting tools at their disposal for a 5v5 battle, they are considered by many to be inferior to the other three healers on a two-healer team. Defensive dispels are much more valued in 5v5 than offensive dispels -- holy paladins and discipline priests have a large edge here.
Moreover, a restoration shaman's crowd control (Wind Shear, Hex) is overshadowed by Cyclone. Couple this with the belief that restoration shaman are squisher than paladins, priests or druids, and it's a very uphill battle.
Currently, restoration shamans pair best with discipline priests. Dispel Magic is the best defensive dispel in PvP, period. The only dispel restoration shamans have access to is Purge. (Note: dispel refers to removing magical debuffs; removing poisons, curses and diseases are different mechanics) While Purge will certainly help the 5v5 out with offensive dispels (so the priest can be mana burning or watching enemy crowd control), if the priest is crowd-controlled via Polymorph, Fear or Hammer of Justice, the restoration shaman will be put in a tricky situation.
He must now choose between healing or Wind Shearing incoming damage (Wind Shearing would have easily won out in most scenarios, if his priest were not CCed). A holy paladin in the shaman's position could simply remove the crowd control with Cleanse. A restoration druid could have pre-HoTted the damage and begin to Cyclone enemies until the priest's magical debuff expires. This is just one problem a restoration shaman encounters when considering a two-healer 5v5.
Things should change drastically for restoration shaman in 5v5 when Cataclysm hits shelves. The ability to defensively dispel will (quite possibly) impact restoration shaman to a greater degree than any other PvP change made in the upcoming expansion. And yes, I am keeping restoration druids in mind when I say that.
Restoration shaman usually find their place much more easily in a one-healer or three-healer role, for reasons we will discuss when we talk about those compositions.
A recent lineup, RMPLS, has demonstrated a restoration shaman's ability to succeed on a two-healer composition.
RMPLS consists of:
- (R) Rogue (multiple specs have been successfully represented)
- (M) Frost mage
- (P) Discipline priest
- (L) Warlock (multiple specs have been successfully represented)
- (S) Restoration shaman
Successful but uncommon
Some teams have found success with a holy paladin-restoration druid pair. These combinations have an exceptionally high healing potential. (Imagine trying to kill a warrior with a full row of healing HoTs while a holy paladin is topping him off.) However, these teams are usually very poor on defensive dispels, so crowd-controlling the paladin and switching to a DPS on the team (or druid) is a scary possibility. Opposing Mana Burns can also significantly hinder progress up the ladders, so when creating a DPS cluster for a paladin-druid healing pair, enemy priests will need to be taken into heavy consideration.
Shadow priests are a natural fit with paladin-druid healing teams, as they provide heavy defensive dispels to prevent paladin CC, in addition to a potent Mana Burn (to match attrition with enemy Mana Burn). A warlock's felhunter is another possibility (Devour Magic). Personally, I would not even consider a paladin-druid setup without a shadow priest or warlock.
I expected to talk about everything concerning 5v5 in one article -- looks like that's just not going to happen. I honestly didn't think I could write so much on just healing pairs on just one 5v5 archetype. Next week, we'll be looking at DPS clusters (i.e., the three DPS on the team) on a two-healer 5v5.
Want to ascend the arena ladders faster than a fireman playing Donkey Kong? Check out WoW.com's articles on arena, successful arena PvPers, PvP, and our arena column, Blood Sport.