You may have found yourself constantly running low on mana while raiding. This is not an uncommon problem, but there are many things one could do to prevent this. In this post I’ll be discussing some proactive methods to avoid this specific problem. You may find that some of the solutions might work for you, some might not. It depends on what causes your mana problems, and in extension, what solution will actually work for you specifically. Read through carefully and try the solutions that you think might be most effective for you. If it still doesn’t work, try them all!
Be Calm and Drink Mana Tea
I know you already use Mana Tea, naturally. But how do you use it? And most importantly, when do you use it? It may seem like an emergency button to press once you are going OoM, but that is not the best way to use this ability. Since it does require 10 seconds to channel 20 stacks, it can be too late to use once you actually go OoM. You may not have the time to stop to channel, which could mean a wipe. This is why you should always use Mana Tea before you run out of mana.
A skilled Mistweaver will analyze the fight to determine which moments are best used for this. If you are in a raid, you can find those moment when another healer is using a big cooldown. Or when a boss is charging a certain ability and there is no incoming damage. Or perhaps when you have activated Xuen or cast a Life Cocoon it can be safe to channel. The most important thing is that you do not save Mana Tea stacks until you run out of mana, because if the party takes high damage at that point, you are done for. Try to channel Mana Tea whenever you are given the chance.
Potions, The Emergency Button
For times when you run out of both mana and Mana Tea stacks, you should use potions to rectify the situation. There are three kinds of potion that give you mana: Channeled Mana Potion, Mana Potion and Rejuvenation Potion. Channeled Mana Potion will give you the most amount of mana, but it will require that you channel it for 10 sec. Mana Potion will give you less mana, but on the other hand will be instant. Rejuv Potion give the least amount of mana, but will heal a portion of your health instead.
I recommend having at least Channeled Mana Potion and Mana Potion in your inventory. Potions can be used once every fight, and if you are in need of mana this is a great help.
For a more detailed discussion about consumables, please read my post on the subject.
Expensive vs Efficient Spells
The most important knowledge when it comes to mana management is the cost of spells. Once you start to run out of mana with few Mana Tea stacks, you will have to start to heal efficiently.
The blue-colored spells are normal spells and cooldowns, while the turquoise-colored spells can also generate Chi. As you can see, the most mana efficent Chi generator is Expel Harm. It has the best Mana to Chi ratio, and I recommend to use it as a Chi builder on cooldown. The only possible exception is cases when you can’t break a Soothing Mist cast, or your target would die.
Renewing Mist and Surging Mist are fairly equal in mana cost. They aren’t too cheap compared to the healing you get from them, though Renewing Mist is tied to Uplift which makes it of course much more worth the cost. Surging Mist is a good single-target Chi builder, though it’s not feasible to use if you run completely out of mana. Then you will have to solely rely on Expel Harm and Chi Brew as Chi builders.
Soothing Mist is a special case, since it represent one layer of our single-target spells. It costs 0.7% mana per tick, resulting in 5.6% percent mana of a full cast. It is our most efficient heal since as full cast do almost as much healing as our strong Enveloping Mist (919% vs 990% of Spell power). It also do 30% more healing when Enveloping Mist is active, in addition to making both EvM and SuM become instant casts. Most healers’ base mana regen can keep up with the 0.7% mana per tick, meaning that you can still cast it if you are flat out of mana. Soothing Mist is by result, our primary efficient healing spell.
Spinning Crane Kick and its talent version Rushing Jade Wind are both very, very expensive spells. They can do a lot of healing when you hit 5-6 targets, but fewer targets than that and it is a waste of mana (RJW is of course a little better and could be used on as low as 4-5 targets). None of the spells should be spammed unless you have 20 Mana Tea stacks stored up and 10 seconds of your time to channel it. Most of the time, you won’t however. The spells should be used sparingly, and at low mana it shouldn’t used at all. Also remember that they only generate Chi if they hit 3 or more targets.
Crane Stance, the Mana Tea Stacker
There is also the possibility to heal in Crane stance to generate more Mana Tea stacks to counteract mana depletion. Since Blackout Kick or the talent version Chi Explosion both give Crane’s Zeal, which increases our crit with 20%, we have a much higher chance to crit extra Mana Tea stacks. The Chi-cycle of generating and consuming is at a much faster pace in this stance, resulting in faster stacking.
Crane stance is best used when there isn’t too high damage on the raid and you haven’t maxed out on Mana Tea stacks. Note that it will still require some of your mana to be in Crane stance and therefor can be difficult to use once you have run out of mana. Try instead to think of it as a preventive method, where you enter Crane stance for some stacking whenever you get the chance.
All if these abilities can generate Chi. They give you 1 Chi, except Crackling Jade Lightning which can give you 4 Chi.
Expel Harm is still the cheapest and should always be used as a Chi builder, alongside with Chi Brew if you have chosen that talent. Jab is also relatively cheap and at the pace you spend the mana with Jab, most healers’ base mana regen will keep up. As long as you use Expel Harm and Chi Brew as often as you can, it won’t be a problem. Surging Mist should preferably only be used at 5 stacks of Vital Mist, to remove the mana cost.
Spinning Crane Kick and Rushing Jade Wind suffer the same problem here as in Serpent stance: expensive and very bad mana to Chi ratio. They also need you to hit 3 enemies in order to generate chi, which means that they are even less likely to be used in boss fights unless there a lot of adds running around.
Crackling Jade Lightning is a special tool in the toolbox. CJL is fast 2 sec cast, with 4 ticks that each give you one Chi. The first tick is at 0.5 sec, then 1.0, 1.5 and the last at 2.0 sec. You will instantly spend the 21,3% mana though, so to make it worth you should finish the cast. Then each Chi has cost you 5,3% mana, which is close to Surging Mist. However, it’ll rapidly outpace your mana regen which means you’ll deplete your mana very quickly. It should never be used if you have mana problems.
All in all, use Expel Harm and Chi Brew as Chi builders, then Jab when they are on cooldown. Spend the Chi on Rising Sun Kick, Tiger Palm and Blackout kick to generate Mana Tea stacks. You get one stack (plus another one if you crit) whenever you spend 4 Chi.
Gearing for a Mana Thirsty Healer
If you are constantly running low on mana, there might be a stat weight problem in your gear. Do you have spirit on all available slots? Maybe you should focus a little more on critical strike?
Your secondary stats have become more important in Draenor since reforging is gone and you can’t have spirit on all of your pieces. As a healer with mana problems, you should work to having spirit on all available gear: Neck, Cloak and Rings. You should also have Mark of the Shadowmoon weapon enchant. It is one of the cheaper enchants and give you a real boost in mana regen. It shouldn’t cost to much on your Auction House.
You should also try to prioritize crit a little bit higher on your gear, since crit gives increased mana regen in the form of additional Mana Tea stacks. If you find yourself constantly choosing between gear pieces that have crit or multistrike (because you can’t get the ms+crit combo), try to strike a balance between them. The best way is to test the different stat weight combo and try to figure out at what point you are most comfortable with your mana regen vs your healing throughput.
If you choose a spirit+crit heavy stat weight on your gear and still run out of mana, you are probably using too expensive spells that outpace your own mana regen. Read on the above solutions to figure out the best spell selection.