Mistweaver 101: Spell Breakdown
The previous post in this series gave a very basic rundown of what spells we should be using to generate and spend Chi. Today we will review those spells in much greater depth so that we can understand how our spells interact with each other and make sure that we are getting the most out of them.
Again, we will not be discussing Fistweaving today. While Fistweaving is a fun aspect of Mistweaver healing that we will be covering in depth in the next post, it is important to understand that adding DPS abilities into your healing rotation at max level makes both your rotation and your mana management significantly more complicated. Frankly, while there are plenty of guides out there that will tell you otherwise, I am a firm believer that you need to master your basic healing spells and rotation when you hit max level before you attempt to mix things up with Fistweaving.
Just in the way that DPS classes usually have a “filler spell” (think of Shadow Bolt, Mind Flay, etc.) that they spam when they are waiting for a proc or an ability to come off cooldown, Soothing Mist is the Mistweaver’s spell to use when we have nothing else to do. It is also one of our best Chi generators in that it has a relatively cheap Mana cost, but has a 30% chance to give us 1 Chi.
The chance to generate Chi is slightly more complex than that, however. Soothing Mist will heal a target (or “tick”) 7 times over the course of its channel. You are guaranteed to get at least 1 Chi if you channel the full spell, but due to some math that you can review if you’re interested, you will actually generate an average of 1 Chi for every 2.94 ticks of the spell that you channel. The chance to generate Chi is 15% per tick, plus 15% for each tick that has not generated Chi. Thus, if you have generated no Chi from the first 6 ticks of the spell, you will always get 1 Chi on the final tick, because you will have a 105% proc chance then. Your chance to generate Chi increases with each tick that doesn’t give you Chi, and your proc chance resets when you do generate Chi.
If that sounds a little too complicated, simply remember this – Soothing Mist is our most efficient way to generate Chi. The Mana cost is very low and the Chi generation, while not guaranteed like some of our other spells, is consistent enough that we can count on it.
In a dungeon setting, it’s generally a good idea to channel Soothing Mist on your tank. That said, do not feel as if you have to allow Soothing Mist to channel for its full duration before you switch to another target. I tend to bounce my Soothing Mist around to anyone and everyone who is taking damage. Ideally, you should wait to generate at least 1 Chi from a channel of Soothing Mist before you bounce on to another target, because of the reset described before. It’s an easy way to put out a little healing on your target and to set yourself up to use Surging Mist and Enveloping Mist as instant-cast spells, as we’ll discuss below.
Finally, one huge quality of life change I recommend that you make before you attempt to do anything as a Mistweaver is to turn off the camera tracking option on Soothing Mists. By default, your character will turn toward the person on whom they are channeling this spell. That part can’t be changed, but you can and should turn off the option to make your camera turn along with your character. Otherwise your camera will be bouncing all around the room as you heal, and this is a really great way to get yourself killed.
Renewing Mist is an extremely powerful heal-over-time (HoT) that always generates 1 Chi and is likely to make up a very large chunk of the healing you do. Renewing Mist can be cast every 8 seconds. In raiding situations, it is generally used on cooldown. This spell is cast on a single target but will then spread to 2 other players, so that each 1 cast of Renewing Mist will actually end up on 3 people total. This HoT has an 18 second duration, so it is possible (and desirable) to have it on many people in your raid group at once. Uplift’s interaction with Renewing Mist makes it essential to “blanket” the raid with this HoT as much as possible to achieve huge group healing.
By default, Renewing Mist will jump to the closest injured player within 20 yards of its original target. Many Mistweavers choose to glyph this ability in order to change it so that it jumps to the furthest player within 40 yards of the original target. The glyph is desirable especially in raiding situations when a group has to be spread out. I generally prefer to run with this glyph, as the number of situations where I would prefer that Renewing Mist is capable of traveling 40 yards greatly outnumbers the times when I’d prefer that it stayed within 20.
In both dungeons and raids, I will usually ensure that Renewing Mist is present on my tank(s). Assuming it is, I will then cast it on any other player who is below 100% health. If everyone who is at less than 100% health already has the HoT on them, then I will cast it on anyone who is missing it. Due to the guaranteed Chi generation and the benefits of having the entire raid or group blanketed with Renewing Mist, it is preferable to have it as many players as possible even if that means it will be overhealing.
Surging Mist is often described as the Mistweaver’s “Flash Heal.” Unfortunately, the Mistweaver spec is unique enough that such direct comparisons to other classes’ healing spells are rarely all that accurate or helpful. Surging Mist is like Flash Heal in that it is a big and expensive heal, but there’s a lot more to it.
Surging Mist generates 1 Chi when cast. The trick about Surging Mist, though, is that you never really want to “cast” it in a traditional sense. If you cast Surging Mist while you are already channeling Soothing Mists on a target, Surging Mist will become an instant-cast spell. So your biggest heal, which has no cooldown, can be an instant-cast 100% of the time. Surging Mist should always be instant, meaning you should always be channeling Soothing Mist when you use it. (This is yet another good reason why you should be channeling Soothing Mist as your filler spell.)
If you cast Surging Mist while you are channeling Soothing Mist, then Surging Mist will heal the person on whom you are channeling Soothing Mist. There is some confusion surrounding the glyph of Surging Mist, which says: “Surging Mist no longer requires a target, and instead heals the lowest health target within 40 yards.” Many assume that this means they can continue to channel Soothing Mist, cast Surging Mist as an instant, and that Surging Mist will automatically heal the lowest health target within 40 yards.
This is not how the glyph works, though. If you are casting Surging Mist while channeling Soothing Mist, then you will still only be able to heal your Soothing Mist target with that cast. As such, the glyph is relatively pointless for a stand-back-and-heal style Mistweaver because we never hard cast Surging Mist. It is, however, helpful for Fistweaving, for reasons we will discuss in tomorrow’s post.
Expel Harm is a very cheap self-heal that generates 1 Chi. It has a 15 second cooldown, and it also deals damage equal to 50% of the healing it does to a nearby enemy. We should use this ability on cooldown any time we are below 100% health.
To be completely honest, I also sometimes use this ability when I am at full health if I need to force a proc of Chi in a pinch. That’s not ideal use of the spell since I am completely wasting the heal and the damage, but the Chi is still generated even if it doesn’t do any effective healing.
By default, you can only use Expel Harm to heal yourself and, as such, it doesn’t require a target to use. Expel Harm can be glyphed so that you can use it on other people, but the healing is reduced by 50%. Don’t use this glyph. The reduction in healing makes it very lackluster, and in almost all situations you are going to want to have that heal to use on yourself. The only time I have ever found the glyph helpful was in the Healer Proving Grounds, where I rarely took any damage but the NPCs were happy to constantly stand in everything.
Oh Uplift, a Mistweaver’s best friend. Uplift and Renewing Mist will together do the majority of your healing, especially if your group is spread out and there’s a good amount of damage happening.
Uplift costs 2 Chi, is an instant-cast spell, and has no cooldown. As long as you have the Chi to spend, you can spam Uplift to your heart’s content. Uplift is a large instant heal that targets anyone who is currently being healing by your Renewing Mist. (It is similar to a Druid’s Swiftmend interacting with Rejuvenation.)
Uplift does not require a target, which means that you can use it to do some very powerful things. If a player is out of your range, as long as they have Renewing Mist on them then Uplift will still heal them. This is part of the reason why Mistweavers excel on fights that require a raid group to spread out. As long as we have sufficiently blanketed the raid with Renewing Mist before we have to spread, then we will be able to use Uplift on players who are now more than 40 yards away from us. This is also one of the reasons why I do prefer to glyph Renewing Mist, since that means I have a greater chance of spreading the HoT to players who are far away.
Uplift can be glyphed to cost Mana instead of Chi. Don’t use this glyph. The Mana cost is huge – 16% each time you use it. Between the amount of Mana that you would be dumping into using Uplift and the fact that you are not spending Chi (and therefore generating stacks of Mana Tea), this glyph is completely inefficient for Mana management. Additionally, Uplift is our main Chi consumer. If we aren’t spending our Chi on Uplift, then we really won’t have much else to spend it on.
Strictly speaking, Thunder Focus Tea is a cooldown spell; but it is also a very important part of our rotation and something we should make the most of every time it’s available. Thunder Focus Tea costs 1 Chi and will provide a benefit to either our Surging Mist or our Uplift, depending upon how we choose to use it.
When you activate Thunder Focus Tea, you will then have 30 seconds to either use Surging Mist or Uplift. Whichever spell that you cast first will be the one that receives the benefit from the Tea.
I always choose to buff my Uplift using Thunder Focus Tea. To do so, I use the Thunder Focus Tea ability and then cast Uplift. This will refresh my Renewing Mist HoT on everyone who currently has it. Given how powerful Renewing Mist and Uplift are together, it is very valuable to be able to completely refresh the HoT’s duration (and thus have more opportunities to use Uplift).
This strategy also means that, in a 10-man raid group, I can have Renewing Mist running on all 10 people in my group at the same time – which also means I can cast Uplift on all 10 people in my group. In 25-man groups you won’t be able to cover your entire raid, but you will still have Renewing Mist going on enough people for your Uplift to do quite a bit of healing.
Thunder Focus Tea is best used in preparation for large spikes of damage that will cover the entire group. Note that I did not say during large spikes of damage. To get the most out of Thunder Focus Tea, you really need to think about the encounter and try to plan ahead so that you already have Renewing Mist on as many people as possible when the damage spike happens. That way, you will be able to immediately use Uplift on a large portion of your group.
If you choose to use Thunder Focus Tea with Surging Mist, then the amount of healing done by that Surging Mist will be doubled. This has some potential for use in dungeon settings if a player is taking huge amounts of damage and needs to be quickly healed to full. But frankly, Surging Mist is a pretty powerful heal in and of itself, and because it is already an instant cast with no cooldown, there isn’t much benefit to doubling the healing on a single cast of it. I highly recommend using Thunder Focus Tea to benefit Uplift rather than Surging Mist.
Enveloping Mist is our most expensive Chi consumer at a cost of 3 Chi. Like Surging Mist, if Enveloping Mist is cast while we are channeling Soothing Mist on a target, then it will become an instant-cast spell. Also like Surging Mist, we should always use Enveloping Mist in this way. It should never have a cast time.
Enveloping Mist puts a small heal-over-time on its target and also buffs the healing that target receives from Soothing Mist by 30% for 6 seconds. I have read guides that suggest we should be sure to keep this buff up on our tanks at all times, but I simply can’t agree. Enveloping Mist’s HoT is not especially strong, and while 30% additional healing from Soothing Mist is nice, this alone isn’t going to save someone who’s taking a lot of damage because Soothing Mist is a pretty weak heal to begin with.
If someone is taking large hits of “spiky” damage where their health is bouncing up and down quickly, then you are much better off using Surging Mist than playing around with Enveloping Mist. If someone is taking smoother, but still sustained, damage then that might be a good time to use Enveloping Mist on them.
That said, because Enveloping Mist has such an expensive Chi cost, it can be a great way to “dump” excess Chi. “Dumping” a resource simply means that you are approaching its maximum (i.e. you are at 3 Chi and channeling Soothing Mist so you will probably hit 4 Chi soon) and you need to get rid of some of it. I often find myself using Enveloping Mist at the start of a fight because I don’t have a reason to use Uplift yet but I still want to continuously generate and spend Chi to build up my Mana Tea stacks.
In a 5-man dungeon setting, Enveloping Mist is slightly more helpful since you alone are responsible for healing your tank and because you are likely to be channeling Soothing Mist on your tank more often than you might be in a raid setting. It also remains a good way of dumping excess Chi when the group isn’t taking damage.
There are some raid nights and some boss fights in which I don’t bother to use Enveloping Mist at all. I would say it is arguably the strangest of our spells because when I do use it, it often has nothing to do with what the spell itself does and more with how much Chi it costs. Above all, I would caution against making the mistake that this is a tank-saving ability, since you really will have much better luck using Surging Mist in that kind of situation.
Up Next: Fistweaving
Tomorrow’s post will cover the oft-misunderstood “Fistweaving” side of Mistweaver healing. We will discuss how to incorporate Fistweaving into a healing rotation, being a melee healer, and whether it is absolutely necessary to use Fistweaving abilities in order to be an effective Mistweaver. As always, questions and comments are welcome here on the blog, via email, or on Twitter.