Tea Talk: Spread vs Stack Healing

In recent weeks, I have noticed a gap in knowledge in many Mistweavers I’ve come to talk to. More specifically, how to heal the first phase of avatar when the whole raid is spread out (particularly in mythic). It seems to me to be a perfect opportunity to expound on Mistweavers’ toolkit when it comes to stack versus spread healing. So I’ve brewed a pot of tea and am ready to flex my nerd muscles when it comes to Mistweaving.

This pot of tea, yo

To illustrate how Mistweavers should adapt to spread versus stack healing, the Avatar fight is a prime example. In the first phase in mythic mode the whole raid is spread out in designated positions, which means you can only reach a few players at a time. You’re movements are limited since you have your designated place and if you move out of it, you can potentially endanger your allies with chaos puddles or blades. Most of the fight, your reach to other players is awful.

In the second phase, you start spread out to soak the rain and then as platforms are destroyed, you quickly huddle the raid together. In this phase you have ample opportunity for stack healing. In other words, the Avatar fight forces you to adapt to different types of healing – spread and then stack. Luckily, Mistweavers have the tools for the job.

The best way to make my point is to explain in detail how our spells work. So before I talk about the Avatar fight in detail, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of all our different types of mists. The path forward should be quite clear after that. Let’s get to it!

Mistweaver Spells in Detail

Renewing Mist

The most underrated spell in history! I often see this spell way too neglected on healing logs. Here is the breakdown of what it does:

  • Renewing Mist heals for 700% of your Spell Power.
  • It costs 3% of your base mana.
  • The baseline duration of the HoT is 20 seconds.
    • This can be extended to 24 seconds with Artifact traits.
    • Relics can extend it even further!
  • Haste affects how many ticks it does: more haste equals more healing.
  • The first application of Renewing Mist also applies Gust of Mist.
  • Renewing Mist has 4% chance to grant you Uplifting Trance, buffing your next Vivify with 50%.
  • If Renewing Mist overheals a target, it will try to jump to another. This greatly lower its potential overhealing, making it very smart.
  • The range of the initial cast is 40 yds. From the affected target it has a 20 yds range to jump to a second injured target. It can of course jump in infinity (or well, for 24+ seconds), as long as potential targets are within 20 yds range.

Vivify

Vivify is our bona fide cleave heal. It gives the initial target a slightly stronger heal due to our mastery kicking in, and then two other targets within range also get some love. Here’s how it works.

  • Vivify heals the initial target and two nearby injured allies for 300% of your spell power.
  • Costs 4% of your base mana.
  • The initial target also get our mastery heal Gust of Mist.
  • The range to the initial target is 40 yds.
  • The two cleave heals has a 30 yds range from the initial target.
  • Vivify is a smart heal, which means it prioritizes injured allies over those with full health.

Essence Font

Essence Font is our powerful, but short-range AoE heal. It only reaches 25 yds from the caster’s position, but it can pack quite a punch. There are many however who does not know when to use it versus Vivify. This might has something to do with its slightly confusing tooltip, so let me straighten it out for you.

  • Essence Font is an AoE heal. It sends out bolts of healing towards nearby targets within 25 yds of the caster.
  • It has a 12 second cooldown and can be cast while moving.
    • The bolt heals for 135% of your spells power.
    • It also leaves a 8-second HoT that heals for 48% of your spell power.
  • It costs 7.2% of your base mana.
  • The amount of bolts it sends out depends on how many nearby targets there are available. Each bolt will try to heal a random injured targets that has not been healed by the last 5 bolts of healing. If it can’t find any, it won’t heal. This is why you want at least 6 available targets (caster + five allies) within range when you cast it, or you will miss out on bolts. This is how many bolts are sent out depending on available targets:
    • 1 target (caster): 3 bolts.
    • 2 targets: 6 bolts.
    • 3 targets: 9 bolts.
    • 4 targets: 12 bolts.
    • 5 targets: 15 bolts.
    • 6 targets: 18 bolts.
  • The maximum amount of bolts is 18.
  • In a perfect world, each bolt hit an individual target leaving 18 perfect HoTs on the raid. But usually you don’t get as many  since the later bolts could land on a previous target and overwrite the HoT. Moving around while you cast can help preventing this a bit.
  • The Essence Font HoT also makes any Mastery heals hit twice on the affected target.
  • Haste grants the HoT component of Essence Font more ticks. However, since the HoT component only makes up for roughly 35% of EF’s total healing (in ideal circumstances, much less if its overwritten), Essence Font benefits more from Crit and Vers that boost its direct heals.

Refreshing Jade Wind

This talent might be a bit of a side-bar in this discussion, but it’s still worth mentioning! In the beginning of the expansion, this talent was a no-go because it was way too expensive. But in later patches it has been fixed and is now a viable talent for fights with stack healing. While Chi-Ji is still better for fights with spread (like Avatar), Refreshing Jade Wind is brilliant for fights in close quarters (Harjatan, Sisters, Miss Sassy, etc). Here’s how it works.

  • Refreshing Jade Wind heals up to 6 allies in 13 pulses.
  • Max amount of ticks is 6 allies x 13 pulses = 78 ticks.
  • Each tick heals for 33% of your spell power.
  • It costs 3.5% of your base mana.
  • Its healing range is 10 yards from the caster.
  • The duration is the same as its cooldown, meaning you can have 100% uptime on the wind.
  • Haste affects only the speed of its duration/cooldown, not the amount of ticks.

Healing the Avatar Fight

So now you know the nitty-gritty of our spells, what does this mean in practice. Let’s break it down phase-by-phase.

Phase One (Spread)

  • You will very, very seldom have 6 people in your range for Essence Font. While you should still use EF when the opportunity arises, don’t rely on it too much.
  • Vivify’s initial heal has 40 yds range, and the cleave has another 30 yds from the first target, resulting in 70 yds range. This smart heal will be your primary healing spell this phase.
  • Renewing Mist, and I cannot stress this enough, is absolute king in this fight. Just send it out to an ally and it can jump way, way afar from your initial position, while doing effective healing all along.
  • Dump ALL your Thunder Focus Tea stacks on Renewing Mist. ALL OF THEM.
  • If you can’t remember to send out Renewing Mist every 8 seconds, make a weakaura that blares out your national anthem every time it’s off CD. You need all of those misty missiles you can get!

Phase Two (Spread -> Stacking)

  • In the beginning of the fight, if we’re talking mythic here, you’re likely way off in the distance to soak rain. But it doesn’t take long until platforms are crumbling and the raid is huddling together.
  • You can now rely less on Vivify and dump your remaining mana on as many Essence Fonts as you can.
  • Refreshing Jade Wind would have been gold in this phase, but since 75% of the time in this encounter is spent spread out, Chi-Ji is the better choice.
  • Take full advantage of Chi Burst as well!

Here is the phase breakdown of my logs from my first Avatar kill (ranked about 85 on warcraftlogs). Keep in mind that phase one is about twice as long as phase two.

Clicky clicky

As you can see, Essence Font is on the backburner in phase one, but its the powerhouse in phase two. Vivify, Renewing Mist and the subsequent mastery heals are the way to go in phase one.

Most Mistweavers perform great in phase two, but not so great in the first phase. Usually it’s because there is a significant lack of Renewing Mist casts (national anthem, guys, I kid you not) and an over-reliance on Essence Font. Bump up those Renewing Mist casts, rely more on Vivify but don’t be afraid to use Essence Font when you have over 6 available targets in range (like when the melee clump passes you by).

Bonus Rant: Pure Stack Healing

Do you want to feel refreshed? That’s easily done with stack healing! I am of course talking about the magic of Refreshing Jade Wind. Compare it with Essence Font: it does about half the healing for a little less than half of the mana cost. It’s a half Essence Font, basically.

The benefit of having an extra half EF is that you can adjust much better after the damage output. Only need a little healing? Cast Refreshing Jade Wind. Need more healing? Use Essence Font. Your raid members are bleeding out of their eyes? Use BOTH!

I can’t tell how many times RJW has saved me when I’ve been only running on mana fumes, but always been able to cast RJW and kept the raid up. It has ever so slightly higher HPM value than Essence Font, which makes it invaluable in those situations. Some of the  RJW-friendly fights are Harjatan, Sisters, Sassy and Maiden (small rooms/stacked raid).

TL:DR

  • Spread healing
    • Use Renewing Mist on cooldown
    • Dump Thunder Focus Tea on Renewing Mist at all times.
    • Use Vivify as primary heal.
    • Be more conservative with Essence Font and only use it when 6 or more injured players are within range.
  • Stack healing
    • Dump all your mana on Essence Font!
    • If talented for Refreshing Jade Wind, use if for a smaller AoE heal or use it with EF for a big burst of AoE heals!

Funsies (EF Weakaura)

If you want to know how well you use Essence Font, import this weakaura below. It tracks how many of your party/raid members has the Essence Font buff (a.k.a. how many individual players did you hit with EF).

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It loads in combat, when you’re in a group (not in dungeons or arenas though).

Try to hit that ‘GODLIKE’ 18 hit! …I might have been a little inspired by Unreal Tournament (aherm).


That’s the end of the rant today. Hope you learned something new, or at least was moderately entertained. Now I need a another pot of tea!

4 thoughts on “Tea Talk: Spread vs Stack Healing”

  1. I just can’t express how grateful I am for your blog in general! I am a newbie MW (decided to switch from Holy Priest because I started to feel bored with it) and your guides are so so useful to me! <3

    One aspect of MW I am still a bit uncomfortable with is fistweaving, however. How necessary do you think it is to get better at it? I have never played a melee character before and I am a bit shy to move close to a boss, I feel much more at ease at a distance. Do good percentiles require a top-notch knowledge of fistweaving or can I 'get by' being more in range in a mythic raid environment?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment ♥
      As for fistweaving, with the current popular talent build fistweaving isn’t necessary (a.k.a. Mist Wrap and Mana Tea). However, you will likely need to get closer to melee due to the short range on Essence Font and Refreshing Jade Wind (when that talent is applicable). That said, you can do just fine at ranged, but you’ll gain a few extra hits with EF and RJW if you can get close to the melee clump. You can always ask a melee in your raid group if you need to think about anything special when standing in melee. Most people can give you tips!
      Hope this helps :)

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