The Art of Saving
Desperate times call for desperate measures. How many 1% wipes have you experienced? How many times do you play back the last 10 seconds of a wipe wondering if there was anything you could have done differently? Or worse: Knowing that there was something that you could have done differently.
Then it hits you.
Your save abilities. If only you hadn't overlapped them. If only you had alerted your tanks. They might have lived for 20 seconds instead of 10. Second guessing ourselves is something we do everyday. There's no point in avoiding it or telling yourself to stop. Because second guessing allows us to become better the next time we come across the same situation again.
Let's break down the tools available by healers and by tanks.
Divine Sacrifice –> Divine Shield
Is your entire raid about to experience a ton of pain? Don't forget about this as it reduces incoming damage to all players near the Paladin. Make sure Divine Shield is activated or else that Paladin won't be able to hold the line. Be sure all of your Paladins are aware of this! This isn't limited to just Holy Paladins either. Retribution Paladins should keep this in the back of their mind.
Protection Paladins will want to think twice and make sure they're not tanking anything before hitting this combination.
Ulduar applications: Deconstructor's Tympanic Tantrum, Mimiron's phase 2
No introduction here. One of the signature spells of the Holy Priest, it's able to completely prevent a killing blow on any player. In addition, the player with Guardian Spirit receives extra healing while the angel wings are still active. Glyphed versions of Guardian Spirit drop the cooldown of it down to 1 minute (unless the life saving proc activates in which case it cannot be used again for 3 minutes).
The Discipline Priest's response to Guardian Spirit is Pain Suppression. With Aspiration, the cool down time drops below 3 minutes.
Note that there is a fundamental difference between Guardian Spirit and Pain Suppression. Guardian Spirit increases healing and absorbs a killing blow for the player in exchange for the buff falling off. Pain Suppression reduces damage taken by 40%.
Let me put it in a way that makes even more sense. Mimiron phase 2 has an ability where he launches rockets. If these rockets connect with any player, they will deal a million damage (literally). So if the rocket lands on a player with Guardian Spirit, that player will survive as GS sacrificed itself. If the rocket lands on a player with Pain Suppression, that player will die. 40% off of one million damage is still enough to one shot players.
Ulduar Applications: Fights where tanks are expected to get 1 or 2 shot. Mimiron phase 1 Plasma blasts, Thorim's Unbalancing Strike.
The ultimate panic button available to any Priest. Is your raid on the verge of collapsing? Activate Divine Hymn and it will go into full auto-heal mode. It targets players with the lowest health first removing them from the red danger zone. Ability is available to Shadow Priests but they have to switch out. Make sure they're aware of it and when to use it.
Ulduar Aplications: Ignis Flame Jets, Deconstructor's Tympanic Tantrum, a really unfortunate Sonic Screech from Auriaya, Iron Council's Death Runes
Now let's talk about our tanks!
When activated, this ability temporarily grants you 30% of your maximum health for 20 sec. After the effect expires, the health is lost. The glyphed version of this reduces the cooldown by 1 minute (bringing it down to 2 minutes). I will let the Warrior tanks debate the merit of using this glyph compared to other options they may have.
Warriors come with a built in Pain Suppression. The glyphed version lowers the cooldown but at the cost to the damage reduced.
Incoming damage reduced by 50%. The side effect? Paladins cannot use their Divine Shield or Hand of Protection on themselves for 2 minutes.
This is similar to Last Stand for bears. In case they can bearly stay alive, a glyphed Survival Instincts adds an extra 15% to the already buff 30% that bears are getting.
Death Knight Saves
The Death Knight becomes immune to stuns and all damage taken is reduced by 20%. Additional damage is reduced based on the Defense rating of the Death Knight. This will last 12 seconds.
Anti Magic Shell
Death Knights absorb 75% of incoming damage spells (up to 50% of the Death Knight's maximum health). At the same time, no harmful magic effects can be placed. Damage absorbed helps contributes to the Death Knights runic power.
I'll forward you to Daniel Whitcomb's Lichborne for even more tips
When do we use what?
Having pre-set cool downs in place means that your tanks and healers know exactly when to use which cooldown and when. The players are following a script. Each player has a role and they know when it's their turn to step it up.
Example: Mimiron phase 1. The tank will experience something in the neighborhood of 4 or 5 Plasma Blasts (30000 damage per second for 6 seconds). So here's the set play:
Plasma Burst 1: Holy Priest, Guardian Spirit on the Bear tank
Plasma Burst 2: Bear tank uses Survival Instincts. After this, a Warrior tank taunts.
Plasma Burst 3: Discipline Priest, Pain Suppression
Plasma Burst 4: Shield Wall
Plasma Burst 5: Last Stand
It's important that cooldown users start talking so that everyone is on the same page. It's embarrassing to have 2 cooldowns used at the same time because 2 different players thought it was their their turn to use it!
If nothing has been predetermined, this is when players go into auto-cooldown mode. It's up to healers and tanks to use their discretion on when to use. Maybe tanks or the raid run into a rough patch. Discretionary cooldowns are usually used on progression encounters when fights are still new. We typically go in discretionary mode on fights with completely random events happening. The chaos of Freya, Hodir and Lady Vashj are such examples that come to mind.
Healers and tanks, do speak to each other and open up some lines of communication. Identify patterns in encounters you're in. Help each other out and suggest ideal times to use certain saves. This is a great habit to build no matter what type of guild you're in. Don't save cooldowns for that "moment" because you'll never recognize when that moment is until the wipe hits.
Want some more advice for working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx
has you covered with all there is to know! Looking for less healer-centric raiding advice? Take a look at our raiding column Ready Check