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Flash Heal: Raid Healers, Know Your Priority

We’ve discussed triage healing in the past, DPS using Lightwells, and using the right spells in the right situations.  Does this mean, “Do X people, in the same group, have a health deficit that would be reversed by a well placed Prayer of Healing?” Yes, it does.  In many Heroic Encounters, you will see your entire raid take massive amounts of damage and casting Prayer of Healing followed by a snap of COH can quickly top many folks off…  but healing and knowing your priority is much more than that.

… even for “Raid Healers”.

Is keeping your whole raid alive a bad thing? No, of course not.  Healing up your raid-mates is a huge part of your job as a Raid Healer. You need to be certain that all (or most!) of your raid survives until the end of the encounter. That is arguably the biggest part of being a Raid Healer. HOWEVER— The most important thing for all healers (Raid Healers, or otherwise) is the livelihood of the tanks. If the meat-shields die, the raid (in all likelihood) will fail. This means, even the Raid Healers need to be sure they are assisting the Tank Healers. This can mean more than just “keeping a renew” or “bouncing your Prayer of Mending” off of the tank. This could very well mean casting a Greater Heal on one of the tanks after a big surge of damage.

A great example is just after an Electrocute (aka “Crackle”) goes off on Nefarian: being sure that ALL of the Raid Healers were healing up the tanks after Electrocute was pivotal in my guild’s success in our recent Heroic Nef kill. Your raid should not be taking massive amounts of damage just after Electrocute hits, and you should have more than enough time to heal them back up— AFTER you insure that the tanks are topped off.  Sure, you could queue a POH to land just after Eletrocute strikes, but queuing a GHeal to land bringing your tank to safety before managing the rest of your raids HP is likely a much better use of your time.  (Remember there are likely “active” 2 tanks, one on Nef and the other on the Bone Constructs).

Of course, there will be exceptions to this rule; when the tanks will be safe (Word of Glory, ahem Meloree) and/or the raid will be constantly taking damage and clearly defined “Tank Healing” and “Raid Healing” roles will be defined– but ultimately, your tank is your raids lifeline.  Chasing those “big numbers” on the meters can often be very easy for a Raid Healer to do, especially when there is lots of damage going out– taking a split second to heal the tank can mean the difference between the raid wiping and the boss going down.

Do you remember to heal your tanks or do you just rely on your designated “Tank Healers” to do that? Do you have any other examples of when your tank should have priority over the raid for heals from your “Raid Healers”?


Flash Heal articles are a short, quick, and easy to understand posts. Flash Heal posts are meant to be less involved and detailed than a full article you are used to seeing here at Tales. Flash Heal posts are posts post that will give you some form of tip, trick, or gem of insight on anything from a spell to a boss mechanic. Got a suggestion for a Flash Heal post? Send us an email!

Written By: on March 18, 2011
  1. Something that I like to do when I’m raid healing and there’s huge incoming damage, is dump 2 flash heals on the tank (or one on each tank) to stack Serendipity then pop a POH. Buffs the heal from POH by 20% and it casts turbo fast.

    I tend to not be conservative with my use of Flash Heals as a result of Serendipity.

  2. Also I almost always roll renew on tank(s) and pop POM on them, on cooldown

  3. Great article! My 10-man team runs with a Resto Druid, Disc priest, and now a Holy pally and we all take part in healing the tanks through Beacon, Lifebloom, PW:S, etc. Tanks are always our top priority.

    Personally, I have found issues with healing priority mostly in 25-man raids, mainly due to the larger amount of healers needed. Communication is absolutely essential, and I think calling out for help on Vent/Mumble is also an effective way to keep the tanks alive. For example: Saying “Hand of Sacrifice used on “BLANK,” need extra heals” gets the message out quicker than waiting for the tanks health to drop, especially when the damage can be predictable.

  4. I have to admit that when I’m raid healing, I do fall into the trap of not showing the tank enough love unless the situation gets really dire (i.e. Guardian Spirit). I admit that I could probably stand to improve upon that and will probably start doing so in the near future.

    I also need to say that if the situation were reversed (i.e. a tank healer suddenly spamming the raid) I would get really annoyed. I don’t think there is as much wiggle room for the opposite to be acceptable, though I’m sure some situations will come up.

  5. As I like to say to my raid healers, “Don’t forget, the tanks are part of the raid, too.”

  6. If you define the 3 roles. You got 1-3 tanks 5-7 healers and 15-19 DPS.
    If a tank dies that’s relative the biggest loss. At least 33% usually 50% of that role. If a DPS dies, that’s a 6-7% loss in that role.

    But if you lose 50% of any role it’s probably a wipe, since the numbers are different the priority generally is tanks>healers>DPS

    For normal we keep the tanks in the same group so we got the raidhealers precasting PoH on that group, with the tank healers that’s more then enough in normal encounters.

  7. Spot on!

  8. With two different groups on Cho’Gall 10 normal, I was healing Cho’Gall’s tank and it was always lots of damage through Flame’s Orders during an add phase. On my kill with the first group I received help from the 3rd healer on every add phase. On the second group (wipefest) I was consistently entering the final phase nearly empty on mana and occasionally losing the tank outright when Worships weren’t handled fast enough.

    On that fight, especially, the raid damage is mostly avoidable and the tank damage can be high. Unfortunately a group that can’t handle Worships effectively is also likely to be taking more raid damage, which means more tank damage and OOM/frustrated healers.

  9. I was reminded of how lazy I was at helping tank healing just recently.

    I have been part of my guilds progression 25man hard mode raids and I have ceased raiding as of recent for an upcoming deployment (USAF). Anywho, I pratcipated in a normal 10man pug to help my husband out this weekend and needless to say, no one was helping anyone out. In 10 mans especially, there is no room for a healer not to be tagging everyone AND cleave healing the tanks.

    Course I killed the meters, let the tank die and got called a baddie. As a famous nobody said in some random pug- A bad healer is a bad healer …. nuf said?

  10. I usually run Holy and raid heal. One place I spend more time on tanks is heroic Chimaeron.

    I have a designated group to heal to keep up over 10k, but when a massacre is hitting instead of a PoH for my group I queue a Greater Heal for the next tank in case it’s a Shutdown/Feud. We have Lay on Hands set up, but having that back up extra health to top off the tank as an extra precaution. I can quickly get my group over 10k before the next save of spit after the tank.

  11. Recently joined a guild that two heals most raids with the exception of Chim, Nefarian, and To4W. Holy Priest and Resto Druid is our comp. We can easily raid heal and still keep the tanks up with some smart/great instincts PoM, Surge of Light procs and Lifebloom, also vocal Cooldown coordination [Lightwell CD/Charges, Guardian Spirit, Divine Hymn, Tranquility]. We’re also vocal about when to use our Healthstones, Potions, and Lightwells for when healers are out of range, or have to prioritizing their heals on the tank that needs the heal more than the dps ATM.

    We feel like this two healing strategy makes us A LOT more focused on prioritization on which heal to cast on which low-health raid-member/s [including the tank]. Kicking up our challenge up a notch.

    We gain an extra dps and able to zerg the boss down faster during their kill phase/high damage phases like Cho’gall, Maloriak, Magmaw, and Ascendant Council.

    It does throw off our strategy sometimes when dps pushes hard too fast like when Maloriak goes down to 25% without having a second green phase means trouble for the raid if Abberations are still up. Also when Chimaeron goes down too fast and unexpectedly not having a third feud, don’t have everyone topped off, puts us in a difficult/funny position.

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