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Raid Rx: Sometimes you just need to Focus

Matt Low

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a WoW blog for all things UI, macro, and addon related.

I received a plea for help via email from a discipline priest. Here's the gist of the email:
Hi Matt

Basically I use grid and clique. I target my tank and have no issues with this. However, when it comes to dispelling Jaraxxus for example, I need to tab target to find him, and then use raid frames to get my tank back.

Do you know of a way either by another raid frame or macro where I can consistently target the boss and heal the tank? I use buttons for Prayer of Mending, Power Word: Shield and Penance, and the other spells through clique and grid.

Any help you can give would be appreciated


Well Bizkit, there is something that can help you out. All you need is a little focus!

The focus is a feature that came out several years ago and has touched on it before in the past. I'd say that there's still a number of players who don't have a firm understanding of what it is or just have yet to realize the potential it has. DPS players frequently make use of focus to keep enemies crowd controlled. Think Polymorph or Banish as examples.

What exactly is the focus?

I'm going to pull a definition from WoWWiki as I can't explain it anymore eloquently:

A focus target is a secondary target system, used to keep track of a second unit other than the currently targeted unit. The focus is a sort of "target memory" meaning that the focus can be set then recalled with simple macro commands. Furthermore, the user interface supplies full real-time updates for the currently stored focus, including health and mana updates and enemy casting bars. Some user interface addons provide a complete unit frame for the focus.
This is incredibly valuable for healers. It opens up a wide array of stuff we can do while healing. For Priests, we can Shackle targets without risking too much (such as in Halls of Reflection). Shamans can then Wind Shock to interrupt mobs without losing healing time (Lord Jaraxxus and his Fel Fireballs anyone?).

Those are just some of the applications that can help in raid settings

Some focus commands

/focus - This sets your selected target as your focus. I bound this command to my b key ever since I started using shift + b to open all of them.

/clearfocus - Removes your focus target. It's blank. Without a focus, your focus macros will skip the focus part.

/target focus - This changes your current target to your focus target.

/target focustarget - Automatically targets the focus target.

Focus addons

Personally, I like to use Pitbull 3 to manage all my unit frame stuff. I'll demonstrate how I handle the focus stuff.

My personal unit frame is on the far left. My target is on the far right (Decaying Colossus). The target being railed on by the Colossus is the fat bad in the middle. The focus is the smaller bar underneath on the left while the focus target is the one beside it.

Anyway, I'm still tweaking with it trying to decide what information I really need and what I don't. But that's the general layout of it. Its in a place that sits square in the middle of my screen where my eyes can trace it easily.

Putting it in practice

Now, let's apply this in a standard raid situation. As a priest, my healing targets are going to continue to change. I could jump from rogue to mage to myself if it became necessary. I've been assigned specifically to heal the raid. A common misconception of being assigned to raid is to heal the raid minus the tanks and that is really wrong! Raid healers heal everyone in the raid. Sometimes tank healers need a boost or maybe they get shut down by some ability which neutralizes them for a few seconds.

A good healer who realizes the tank is in trouble will simply mouseover them and then use a direct heal of their choice until that tank is back in the green.

A great healer who realizes the tank is in trouble simply presses their heal focus target macro. This saves them the trouble of having to find the tank on their frames, mousing over or selecting them, and then dropping a heal. Using a focus macro immediately causes the healer to simply heal the focus target without losing much time at all.

The Jaraxxus scenario.
Lets go back to how a player in a situation such as Bizkit would apply this against Lord Jaraxxus. In this case, since there does not appear to be a shaman who can Purge or a mage who can Spellsteal, the duty of removing Lord Jaraxxus Nether Power buff can only be removed with the aid of a priest.

How can we ensure that Jaraxxus gets his Nether Power removed while minimizing the risk of the tank falling over?

Step 1: Create a macro which targets your focus and dispels them. Be sure to bind it (I like to use e for Dispel, ctrl + e for Mass Dispel and shift + e for Abolish Disease and alt + e for focused dispels. Your macro should look something like this:
/cast [target=focus] Dispel Magic
Step 2: Set Lord Jaraxxus as your focus. Target him, and press your focus key (or type /focus with Lord Jaraxxus selected).

Step 3
: Now when Lord J gets powered up, just repeatedly press your new focus macro and it will remove Nether Power. At the same time, you won't lose your primary healing target. For example, the tank will continue to remain your main target.

Now start focusing! Good luck and happy healing! Feel free to get in touch if you have more raid healing-ish questions.

Want some more advice for working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered with all there is to know! Need raid or guild healing advice? E-mail me at and you could see a future post addressing your question. Looking for less healer-centric raiding advice? Take a look at our raiding column Ready Check.

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