Glyph of Water Shield: Friend of Foe?

Glyphs in Mists of Pandaria saw a complete revamp not just in their interface panel but also in their utility.  Prime glyphs were completely removed and most of Major glyphs got a significant nerf in terms of the advantages they offer. While some still offer a straight off bonus (sometimes not even significant enough to justify occupying a Major glyph slot), most of them introduce a trade-off faction which most of the times is hard to calculate. Glyph of Water shield has already caused a lot of controversy between shamans.

WS Glyph

I am shamelessly quoting myself from my thread over at Elitist Jerks [Resto] Raid Healing 5.1 MoP :
Water Shield gives you a passive 2138 Mp5, but every time a hit will trigger it you will also gain 2928 mana. If triggered every time on ICD, it would give you an average of 4880 mp5. This is unrealistically high, however. Water shield comes with a glyph that reduces its passive mana regen by 15% reducing it to 1817 mp5. On the same note it will increase its on hit regen by 50% making it 4392 per hit amounting to 7320 mp5. In any fight where water shield reliably triggers more than 2.63 times every 1 minute, this glyph will give you a significant boost in mana regen.
Here comes the interesting part and what causes the controversy among Restos desperately seeking for some extra mana. You would think that Water shield glyph would be mandatory since it only needs to be activated 2.63 per min in order to provide better mana regen. It does right? Right?? Wrong answer. This has been a question I have been asking myself since beta came out. The times WS needs to be activated seem very few, however the number of attacks that actually do that was significantly lowered for Mists. And while still supposedly no AoE will proc it, some still does. And while also supposedly direct damage will proc it,some doesn’t. Blizzard is being very liberal with its boss abilities and the categories they fit. The only way to reliably calculate Water Shield gains ( glyphed or not glyphed ) is by analyzing logs. and therefore putting down once and for all the conundrum of whether Water Shield glyph is useful or not.
For my analysis I used World of Logs and an array of what is mostly my kills and top ranked resto shaman kills. While the number of times that WS activates will vary from fight to fight expect that in the table below the numbers show what is mostly the most efficient way to deal with any boss fight , meaning avoiding all the bad. Some we can’t avoid but for those we can consider for the most part they were avoided for calculating purposes. I want to make the table as fair as possible in respect of boss fights and incoming damage. If you have been hit twice as much in a specific fight shown below, you just tanked the floor for more than you should have. It’s by no means an excuse that Water Shield glyph is better in that specific fight or in general. Getting hit just to activate your WS will get you some mana back but you will most likely be spending it in order to get your HP back up.
You can find the table below in downloadable format at Boss List Water Shield gains – Unglyphed vs Glyphed.

WS2

There are 2 columns, one for Normal Mode encounters and on the far right one for Heroic Mode encounters (I will update the post once I have data for the last 3 bosses). Results for MP5 and Spirit columns are tailored for each fight according to its duration. From left to right:
1. Number of times shield was activated
2. Duration of the fight
3. Total mana gains while WS is not glyphed (ticks and passive)
4. Total mana gains while WS is glyphed (ticks and passive)
5. Mana difference (always subtracting Unglyphed WS from Glyphed WS. This means that when the number is positive Glyphed WS is favorited and when it’s negative Unglyphed WS is favorited)
6. MP5  (based on the difference)
7. Spirit (based on the difference)
The results of the table are very surprising and prove that Water Shield glyph not only is not a necessary glyph but in fact in most of the fights it will result to mana loss rather than mana gain. What is most interesting is fights were the difference is very little and using either will result in almost similar results. For readers that might be wondering “Well a gain is always a gain why not just use it for the fights where using the glyph is marginally better? ” I have one answer. Just don’t. Plainly and directly. Don’t. Assign another glyph in its place instead. Anything will be more useful than gaining or loosing 30 or 5 points of spirit or even 150. Remember for the fights where it seems that we are gaining 200spirit (which someone might argue is a useful gain ) ,it only takes a little bit more awareness and either getting hit 2 or 3 times less or the fight to last 15 seconds less to reduce the difference to a point that is again completely irrelevant.  There is no point whatsoever in using this glyph other than The Stone Guard and Amber Shaper and even for those fights consider that using the Glyph of Totemic Recall will reward you full mana upon retracting your HST. HST costs 14100 mana and spending 2GCDs throughout the whole fight will  award you more theoretical mp5 and spirit than Glyph of Water Shield would ever reward  even in its highest mana back.
We can plainly see that in every single occasion it’s better to run without Glyph of Water Shield. Not all glyphs in Mists of Pandaria are supposed to give you an advantage however I have to admit this is one glyph that most of the times puts you in disadvantage. You can safely disregard it and forget of using it as results and continuous testings in all bosses of this tier prove that it’s almost obsolete. I would be willing to say that unless it’s buffed in some way for the next patch we will probably reach the same conclusion also. Personally I am just happy that we don’t have to refresh it anymore. I have already forgotten we can Glyph it.

Heroic Garaj’al the Spiritbinder 25man Resto Shaman PoV

Welcome to Mogushan Vaults Heroic mode for Garaj’al the Spiritbinder in Mists of Pandaria. In this guide, I will run you through everything you need to know about how to best utilize your Resto Shaman spells and abilities for a healing showdown.
You can bring 4 or 5 healers in a 25man raid the choice is yours depending on how high or low your dps is. However using 5 healers will mean that you are generally cutting it short  on tight enrage timer.
TIP : Enrage will hit much like Ultraxion’s enrage which will wipe all of your party instead of targeting solo players. There is simply no workaround of that mechanic.
Garaj’al’s most prominent ability is his Spirit totems which he will summon every 20 seconds. As a healer what you need to know is when is your turn to launch yourself in that circle of 6 yards along with 4 more players and be ready to cross to the spirit world for 30 seconds. While within the Spirit realm you will need to deal with Spiritual Innervation which stacks on healers and DPS. This will be analysed further below.
TIP : Remember that once you have left Spirit Realm, you cannot enter it again for the next 30 seconds or you will die instantly.
Another one of Garaj’al’s abilities healers need to be aware of is Voodoo Dolls. Voodoo Dolls effect will last for 60 sec and will be applied to 3 party members one of which will be the tank. (As soon as the Voodoo Dolls debuff expires from the tank, Garaj’al will cast the Bunisment spell on him, which will send him to the spirit world).   70%  of the damage taken by each Voodoo Doll is also dealt to the other Voodoo Dolls so tank cooldowns are advised as they are the only way of dealing with that damage. Voodoo Dolls cannot enter the Spirit World (such as through the use of Spirit Totems).
TIP : Personal cooldowns such as Astral Shift will not mitigate any damage. Such cooldowns should be saved for when you are entering the spirit world or after Garaj’al reaches 20% of his health. Also remember you cannot enter the Spirit Realm if Voodoo Dolls debuff is applied to you.
The last 2 noteworthy abilities are the Shadowy Attack that Garaj’al will unleash every 8 sec to the tank that has aggro and Frenzy. Upon reaching 20% of his health Garaj’al’s attack speed will increase by 50% and his damage will be buffed by 25% .This will last until the end of the fight.

Preparation

1.For a more in depth analysis of exactly all Garaj’al’s old abilities I suggest reading the following guides.
Garaj’al the Spiritbinder Normal And Heroic by IcyVeins
TIP : Always watch some videos beforehand to be in the know.
2.Videos for Garaj’al the Spiritbinder
Gara’Jal the Spiritbinder 25 Man Heroic  Guide – FATBOSS
Gara’Jal the Spiritbinder 25 Man Heroic  Kill video – by Pure  

Vuhdo Configuation for Voodoo Dolls 

Depending on when you decide to tackle this fight Voodoo Dolls debuff might not show on your Vuhdo. It is imperative that you know which targets are affected as you will need to heal them intensively for 60 seconds. By default Vuhdo will presume that you don’t need extra icons so first thing you need to do is open Vuhdo  ->Debuffs  -> Standard. Click on the Icon and save as demonstrated below. If you want only raid icons to show go ahead and click on the Boss icon also. I prefer it but it might not be for everyone.

The way to add any custom debuff on Vudho is by opening the interface and navigating to  Vuhdo  ->Debuffs  -> Custom, adding the exact name of the debuff you want to track under Enter new Buff or Debuff Name and saving it as shown below.

How to deal with Spiritual Innervation in the Spirit Realm

One of the most discussed matters between healers for this fight due to its ambiguous ingame tooltip. Vixsin from Life in Group 5, was kind enough to shed some light early on to what further testings proved to be the way to handle this buff.  Spiritual Innervation will grand a healer with stacks of spirit which will increase their mana regeneration for as long as the buff lasts which is set on 30 seconds. Mechanics around how we gain stacks are not clear ingame. However testings show that any HoT applied to the target that will add stacks will also refresh the buffs timer and any direct cast heavy hitting spell will apply at least one stack. (If you want to know more about stacks and for all classes? Dedralie over at Heliocentric wrote an excellent very detailed post about this. Trust me, you want to read it). It is important that while in the spirit realm you buff yourself and the DPS that accompany you as they are gaining Spiritual Innervation for DPS, and they are buffed depending of their class dealing increased damage for the duration of the buff. The best way to deal with this is pre HoT everyone ( Rolling Riptides to the team that is to enter the realm and yourself ) and as soon as you are in, start casting Healing Surges to top everyone up. Since mana is not an issue feel free to use as many Healing surges as needed in order to top your team because you only have 30 seconds before you escape Spirit Realm before you instantly die. As soon as any member is on full health a new action button will appear on their interface called Return Soul which will allow them to return to the normal realm. It is advised that you don’t overstay your welcome in the spirit realm and leave as soon as you have enough stacks on you and your DPS.
TIP : Healing Tide Totem and AG do not add or refresh stacks of Spiritual Innervation so if you are opting for this talent use it when your raid calls for it in the normal realm.
TIP : Use Ascendance in coordination with Healing surge  the first time you enter the Spirit realm.
TIP: Dedralie over at  Heliocentric has an excellent guide of how to track your Spiritual Innervation buff by using weak auras. You can find my own Power Auras equivalent  at Resto Power Auras for MoP

Suggested Raid Composition

2 Tanks – 4 Healers – 19 DPS or 2 Tanks – 5 Healers – 18 DPS
TIP : Run with 4 Healers if you are just hitting enrage.

Gear and Reforging Check

For this fight it is suggested that you try and rotate in the spirit realm all your healers at least once. This way you can forgo large chunk of your spirit for secondary stats without feeling the pressure of an empty mana bar.
Talents in MoP and glyphs can be rearranged before every fight so don’t hesitate to play around. For this fight there are 2 different options for sets of talents and it really depends on how comfortable you feel with either of them in correlation with  your gear.
The first set of talents utilizes Elemental Mastery and Ancestral Guidance. By forgoing your additional 5% haste rating you make yourself essentially unstoppable in the spirit realm. By combining the 30% haste of Elemental Mastery with Ancestral Guidance the first or second time you enter the spirit realm and Ascendance the second, you are guaranteed to provide the most stacks for yourself and your party with seconds to spare for when you exit spirit realm. Both of them can be used when Garaj’al is below 20% health and the fight becomes very intense healing wise.Remember for this build you will need to reforge to 3039 haste rating.

The second set utilizes Ancestral Swiftness in conjunction with Healing Tide Totem. The benefits of this set rest to the fact that it’s easier for you to reach your second haste cap at 3764 haste rating empowering this way your HTT and HST with one more tick.
TIP : Best choose Healing Tide Totem talent when you know you can reach enough haste that you will get that extra tick.

TIP : Remember that the first combination requires enough mana in order to be effective, if you are running oom you will find no use for it. The second set requires no mana in order to work.
Below is an example of how your character should look like. Gear, reforging, talent tree and glyphs included.
1. CharDev Example with 477 gear and reforge details for the first set of talents.
Haste in this example is as close to 3039 as it gets. Since you didn’t choose AS you are missing 5% haste , 3039 is the equivalent of 871 with AS. For more detailed info on Haste breakpoints refer to the Haste section of my guide on Elitist Jerks.
Mastery should be above 50% or as close to it as possible for the extra healing it will provide you and whatever is left we can safely allocate to crit.
Spirit is little below 7000 ( 6791) since the fight mechanics are such that unless you are unlucky with your rotation you will have enough mana to heal through.
2. CharDev Example with 477 gear and reforge details for the second set of talents.
Haste in this example is as close to 3764 as it gets.You need this much for the extra tick it will provide for HTT and HST. For more detailed info on Haste breakpoints refer to the Haste section of my guide on Elitist Jerks.
Mastery should be above 50% or as close to it as possible for the extra healing it will provide you and whatever is left we can safely allocate to crit.
Spirit is little below 7000 ( 6791) since the fight mechanics are such that unless you are unlucky with your rotation you will have enough mana to heal through.
3.Glyphs
You will need Glyph of Riptide for this fight as it is important that you pre HoT every member of the team that will go in the spirit realm before hand. Other than that the choice is yours.
TIP : Glyph of Water shield should not be used for this fight as there is almost no damage to proc it. 

Fight starting in 5..4..3..2..1

As always before tank pulls, make sure you have applied Earth Shield on the tank that will start the encounter and you have prehealed him enough (along with the other tank ) so their health is buffed by 10%. Drop Earth Elemental Totem and have it Empower you followed by Healing Stream Totem. Fill in these 15seconds with Healing surges and riptides to the party members that have been affected with the Voodoo Dolls debuff. As soon as HST vanishes drop Mana Tide Totem for yourself and the rest of the healers. Use the rest of the Elementals as soon as they are available and off CD but remember to keep the last Earth Elemental for the last minute of the fight for the extra 20% damage reduction it will offer you and the extra damage reduction cooldown. Drop MTT on cooldown as well but also remember to keep one for the last 40seconds of the fight when all the healers will need that extra mana. After this the rest of the fight becomes borderline rotational depending on what phase you are.
Spirit Realm. Before you enter the spirit realm make sure you roll riptides to all of the party members that will enter with you. If it’s the first time you enter , depending on what talents you chose either cast Ascendance and start casting Healing Surges to everyone (make sure you start with yourself) until everyone is topped off  so they can leave the realm whenever they want, or push for Elemental Mastery+Ancestral Guidance, thus saving Ascendance for the second time you go in. If you chose the second set of talents start with Ascendance and for the second time you get teleported if you find yourself unable of topping people off drop HTT. Its highly advisable that you don’t however since it neither adds stacks nor refreshes the Spiritual Innervation timer. Try to drop HST instead for the extra help.
Normal Realm. While you are outside there are 2 phases. First the phase that follows as soon as you have exited Spirit Realm. After that for 30seconds you will have infinite mana so cast as many Healing surges with Riptides as you can. Once your buff fades you enter a semi conservation phase, where you will heal Voodoo Dolls with Greater Healing Waves, cast Unleash Life before casting any Healing Rains, and using any cooldowns you might still have to help out with tough healing patches. Remember the more adds are still alive in the Spirit realm, the more damage they deal to random members out in the normal realm aside from the damage Voodoo Dolls will apply to specific targets.
Frenzy. When Garaj’al enters Frenzy phase, nobody will enter the spirit realm again and he will stop spawning totems. This part of the fight is very healing intensive since Garaj’al’s damage is buffed by 25% and his attack speed by 50%. Note that you will need to have all your cooldowns ready for this final part of the fight in order to keep the raid alive. Supplement with Chain Healing the tank that has aggro ( earth shield and riptide will buff your chain heal by 20% on the tank and 25% overall ), and cast buffed Healing rains on cooldown.
This concudes this guide for Garaj’al the Spiritbinder HC .Enjoy the fight and happy looting!