Art of the Shockadin
Now, I know some smarty pants is going to post that all wise comment of “Shockadin is dead” I want to ask that you all hear me out first. Many feel that the Shockadin spec phased out with the Dawn of Wrath of the Lich King, but just like anything else, I can assure you, it never really died but changed and adapted to its environment. This is a guide that I’ve been working on for a while as I played a wrath shockadin and if you all are looking for a fun, skilled- based spec to play, please feel free to read on.
In the Burning Crusade, Shockadins were known for their nuking abilities and being one of the classes that could dish out the largest amount of damage in the shortest amount of time. Their weakness then was their vulnerability after they unloaded their entire burst because their main damaging spells were on 8-15 sec cool-downs and their combat boosters being on even longer cool-downs. Many would be very dependent on group support while they waited for their second wave of assault to come in, usually resorting to healing. This also, hindered the class in the PvE environment because they could not sustain their amazing DPS.
Then, the real talent that tied everything together was the powerful Sanctity Aura, which boosted all Holy damage by 10%, a significant increase. However, because of its limiting group buffing, as only two classes use holy classed spells (Paladins being the ones that used it offensively), the talent was rolled in the Retribution Aura through the talent Sanctified Retribution, which increases the damage done by Retribution aura and increases damage done by all affected targets by 3%. With that change, as well as the explosive Exorcism being removed from PvP and Retribution as a whole becoming more viable, the once mighty Shockadin class died out…wrong! Shockadins merely changed shape.
Because many hang on to that notion of nuking that Shockadins made infamous, many do not realize that the class play-style is much more viable than it ever was before. The play-style of the Shockadin has moved away from the up front burst then heal, but focuses on a strategic mesh of damage stacking and keeping your opponent moving. The objective is to become that bothersome fly that is biting harder than your opponent expected. I will go deeper into the strategies later on in the guide. Because many think that Holy cannot hit for anything, so when they see that you are attacking them instead of healing, they will most likely ignore you entirely, choosing to deal with hardcore damage dealers first. However, when they realize that your holy shocks are hitting for 2k non-critical and that they are taking a lot of spell hits in a very frequent succession, you will find that you become the center of attention. Either, that or they will start running, and that is what you want. I always find it hilarious when a rogue or a ret pally is beating on me and they realize “Hey, this consecration is hitting for almost 300 a tick” or “Ouch, I didn’t expect a 5k Holy shock crit” and they either bubble on impulse or start moving away, allowing me to either tend to some of my wounds or chase them down. If you learn to adapt to the new play-style you will start to understand what I am talking about. We will revisit play-style later on.
Now that we have a general taste of what we are looking for as a WotLK Shockadin, it is time to choose our Talent build. The original build for TBC was the great 40/0/21, which allowed access to Holy guidance, which boosts Spell Power significantly, while leaving just enough to squeeze in Sanctity Aura. However, with the Dawn of Northrend as well as more talent points, this build is up to your own fancy. It is all really based on the role you want to play as a shockadin. Deep Holy provides more raw power for healing or PvE spell-casting, while deeper ret provides more PvP utility, frequent wings, and ramp up damage. So based on what sort of play-style you prefer determines what sort of shockadin you will be.
Now let’s look at some builds:
- 40/0/31- What I call the “Baby Shocky”, and that doesn’t connotate anything bad against the player. This build is great for those who wish to learn how to manage the balance between their spells while retaining some extra utility. You still gain that nice boost from Holy guidance, which is good for new players, while having just enough points to gain Sanctified Retribution and the new Repentance. A link to some of the viable talents can be found at the below link:
- 31/0/40- What I call, the “Avenger”; its focus are keeping those wings up whenever you get the chance and punishing those who dare strike you through the use of Eye for an Eye and Retribution. This is set takes a little more work than Baby Shocky but is still an overall easy spec to play. This is a spec that is great for that last minute burst and chasing down runners with Exorcism and 3 sec CD Hammer of Wrath. Sanctified Wrath is beautiful for this spec not only because of the reduced CD on your wings but allow your Hammer to bypass any damage reducers, namely the infamous shields of priests, mages, and paladins. The Link below shows some viable talents for this build:
- 43/7/21- I call this one “The Devout” and it is a PvE spell-caster that focuses not only on DPS, but on group support through the use of improved Hand spells and Aura buffing. Central talents here are Blessed Hand’s, Guardian’s Favor, Sacred Cleansing, and Sanctified Retribution. These all provide significant buffs added to the standard utility of the Shockadin class. This build still maintains a lot of damage capability, but will most likely be squishier because it will rely on the use of Cloth for Hit Rating. Link below:
- 45/5/21- I call “The Vindicator”, If you read my Holy Talent revision thread you will see that my views of Holy are that of a paladin that truly understands his class’s purpose. This is a PvE melee spell-caster and functions well in PvP. Judgments of the Pure is central to this build as it not only increases Judgment damage significantly, but grants a buff increasing casting and melee haste by 15%. Because Holy does not really spec into attack power and strength, hitting more frequently is definitely good compensation. This build allows access to Sanctified Retribution, while leaving room to get 5/5 Divine Strength, which is primarily to increase auto-attack power as well as boost the damage of shield of Righteousness. Holy Shock, Exorcism, Shield, Consecration, Judgment and Hammer are all going to do significant damage without sacrificing any healing utility. Players may consider gemming and enchanting Hit for this to cut down on misses and purifying Power makes for good sustained DPS with a 10 sec Exorcism, 5 sec HS, 8 sec Judgment, and Consecration. If mana efficiency is a problem, and you don’t mind cutting down on Shield’s power (it hits very hard regardless), you can take 2 points from divine strength to max out Divine Intellect, or just put all of your Strength Talents into Holy to increase survivability. Link can be found below:
- 34/0/37- I call it the “Blessed Life-adin” or “The Final Stage” and is my personal favorite strictly because it takes the most strategy to play. This is a great spec for both PvP as well as PvE spell damage, and it focuses on ramping damage as opposed to pure power. Blessed Life is a really underestimated talent as it is hard to estimate when it does proc, but when you are surviving with 2, 3 and maybe 4 guys on you, you know something’s up. In PvP, you will want to sync Eye for an Eye with Blessed Life, because Eye will take precedence over BL, meaning the damage will go through before it gets halved on you. So you still get the full benefit. When I say ramping damage, I am taking about Vengeance, which increases damage by 3% after a critical hit, stack thrice. Once you hit this max, you are going to hit hard and fast. Not only will HS, Exo and Judge hit significantly harder, but consecration will start to sting very, very badly. The More SP you have, the more you will benefit from this damage increase. Consecration ticking for around 320-350 a sec should not be sneezed at. This build does great damage while retaining access to frequent wings, furthering the damage once you hit max. For PvE, Vindication is good instead of Eye because of Raid support. I am using this build now and love it. It has survivability, damage and utility all in one and is extremely hard to take down one on one (even for locks). If you don’t mind sacrificing 2% crit you can spec into Pure of Heart to further this spec’s imperviousness to harmful effects. Link found below:
Gear: A soldier’s best friend
Now that we have chosen our build, we need to get the gear necessary to make it shine. This is going to depend and vary based on your chosen spec as well as your sense of style (bling). Basically, you will want to stack SP, resilience, and Critical Strike Rating. This can be found on any piece of Holy PvP gear. However, if you want to be more PvE oriented, Cloth hit rating gear may be what you want, but you do not take precedence over the clothies, especially since you have an armor set that only you use. If you have some areas on farm and your clothies are good and geared and would disenchant the gear anyway, feel free to take it yourself. However, gemming into Hit will probably be the best way to go, so you retain your bulk with plate.
2 pieces of Tier 8 (Valorous Redemption) will give your Holy Shock and extra 10% critical chance which are nice to have. Libram of Wracking is great too, as it boosts exorcism damage by 20%. Other than that, play around with various combinations to see which produces the most SP. Do not be afraid to make some sacrifices in intellect or resilience to boost your raw SP. Just choose whatever works best for you. Gladiator gear is good for maintaining survivability and maximizing SP over Intellect. Resilience is always nice to have in PvE because improves your imperviousness allowing you some added cushion. As in any other other game, play with whatever makes your experience most enjoyable.
Now that you know your spells and talents, it is time to choose glyphs to accentuate them. Here are the main choices you will want for a Shockadin.
- Glyph of Judgment: Increased damage by 10%
- Glyph of Avenging Wrath: Reduces the cool-down of your Hammer while AW is active by 3 sec.
- Glyph of Holy Shock: Helps DPS by reducing cool-down of holy Shock.
- Glyph of Exorcism: Increases damage by 20%, beautiful bonus.
- Glyph of Seal of Righteousness: increases the damage of your SoR by 10%
There are many other choices and minor glyphs are not as important and up to your fancy. Customize based on your build and play-style.
You have chosen your build and gear, now to focus on synergy, or how each talent ties into the next. Let me share some insight on a Shockadin’s favorite talents, but as I have said before do what works for you. Here’s just some descriptions to help you along. The obviously needed talent is Holy Shock so I don’t think I need to go into that.
- Seals of the Pure: Next to Holy Shock, this is the first talent to focus on maxing out. It is a free 15% increase to your Seal of Righteousness damage as well as your judgment.
- Healing Light: This is the next focal point. It not only increases healing but the damage done buy Holy Shock by 12%.
- Illumination: Self explanatory
- Unyielding Faith and Pure of Heart: two of the Imperviousness talents, chosen based on preference. Basically these will make some of the classes that normally counter Paladins have a much harder time taking us down. Reducing Fear by 2-3 sec is always a great thing to have.
- Improved Concentration Aura: A somewhat underrated talent, spell-casting is your best friend, so reducing silence and interrupt for you and your group means you are more likely to cause your opponent to literally waste their cooldowns.
- Aura Mastery: Another staple for shockadins, Doubles the effect of any aura and can be a beautiful tide turner in combat, increase the armor of Devo Aura or cause your Ret Aura to deal 300 damage per hit is very handy.
- Divine favor: Necessary for HS
- Sanctified Light and Holy Power: Self-explanatory. Extra crit is epic
- Purifying Power: Mana-efficiency on Consecration as well as a reduced cool-down on Exorcism provides for more sustained DPS.
- Blessed Life: A beautiful Talent for significantly increasing Survivability.
- Holy Guidance: Bonus Spell Power is Bonus
- Judgments of the Pure: 25% increase to judgment damage plus melee and casting haste buff is great to make yourself a defining power.
- Benediction: Good for Mana-efficiency
- Improved judgments: Reduces cool-down of Judgment, meaning sustained DPS.
- Heart of the Crusader: Increases the Potency of your spells because of the increased crit.
- Conviction: Self-explanatory
- Pursuit of Justice: Only put one talent in here, just for a small speed increase.
- Vindication: your attacks reduce the target’s attack power, increasing your survivability.
- Eye for an Eye: A punish-effect to stack with your Retribution Aura and Consecration, a personal favorite of mine.
- Sanctity of Battle and Crusade: both increase damage and critical hit chance
- Sanctified Retribution: Nice damage increase to your punish-effect on Ret Aura as well as a base damage increase for you and your group.
- Vengeance: Great for increasing damage as well as a cool graphics effect
- Diving Purpose: Reduces the chance that ranged and spell attacks with hit you, which aids your survivability further, also causes your Hand of Freedom to break stun effect on you, adding to your imperviousness.
- Repentance: Great Utility interrupt and stun
- Art of War: a Central talent for Shockadin. Because you do not have infusion of Light, this talent will help you get that insta-heal effect. In addition, you get a 10% Judgment damage increase as well allowing you to get an instant Exorcism.
- Judgment of the Wise: Good for mana efficiency. Making Shockadins the one of the only casters with a constant stream of regeneration.
- Fanaticism: Not to important unless you are really wanting the extra Judgment Crit to sync with AoW.
- Sanctified Wrath: Another great talent because of the frequent Avenging Wrath access as well as allowing your hammer of wrath to break through shields.
Your choice will be based on your build of course, but all have their uses.
Strategy Revisited: Tips and Tricks
Now that we have everything set up, we can now look to enter combat. As I said before, Wrath of the Lich King has changed the Shockadin from a 1 button Nuke engine, to a strategic damage and utility engine, designed to stack damage from various sources while using your tricks to put distance between you and your opponent and keep yourself alive. Now let’s review some tips and pros to the changes made to the class.
- Holy Shock: This is the star of the show. In TBC, it had a cooldown of 15 sec, which hindered not only DPS but healing efficiency for the Holy Paladin. Since then, its CD has been reduced to 6 sec (5 with Glyph) to help with healers, but that’s doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of it for damage.
- Seals: Seal of righteousness is a great supplement to boost your melee damage. But do not fall into that “Set it and Forget it” mentality that other paladins hold onto. Seals are Paladin’s signature and should be a dynamic part of your play-style. Switch your seals to match the situation. If you need a little extra healing, throw on Seal of Light for a few extra hits. If you need to deal with a healer, Seal of Justice helps by preventing their casting periodically. Your Seals are the center of your self utility, so you really sell yourself short by not utilizing it to their fullest potential.
- Exorcism: With its return to PvP, Exorcism is another central spell to Shockadins, especially with the reduced cool-down. Combine Sanctity of Battle, Glyph, and Libram of Wracking and you have a 55% damage increase on a pretty frequent spell. You might say “Oh, well Ret can do can do that too” but the thing that sets Shockadins apart is that they actually gear into Spell Power. A Shockadin will have much, much more SP than Prot or Ret, therefore benefiting more from any spell damage increases.
- Consecration: Shockadins are the Paladin spec that deals the most damage with Consecration. This spell is our AoE and can dish out very substantial and noticeable damage. This spell is core for the new Shockadin play style and is great to keep targets mobile.
- Judgement of Light: Great for keeping your health up while dealing great damage.
Tip #1: Keep your opponent mobile
Shockadins are great for keeping opponents moving, which is great for dealing with not only caster but melee. Use consecration to its optimal potential. Shockadins are strongest when they are in one on one combat and when they are chasing opponents down. Utilizing this threat in PvP will make you a very important target, especially to melee. Unlike other paladins, you can easily kite opponents effectively. However, do not waste your consecration like most paladins. I use a kiting technique, where I move around the consecration once before pulling back to take as much damage from the spell’s cost before laying down a new layer. With Melee, keep them in the AoE at all costs. The extra damage is always nice to keep on them.
Tip #2: Sacred Shield and Healing
Sacred Shield will absorb a lot of damage for you thanks to the bonus SP and you should use that to your advantage. With that, you should be frequently healing yourself and others in combat. When you get a second throw a FoL on yourself and get the HoT effect for added cushion. Do not wait till you are dying to tend your wounds because usually it is too late. With that, remember that HS is a healing spell also, so use it for a nice boost. Here is a macro that I use.
/cast holy Shock
Tip #3: Utilize your cool-downs
I do not care how much other classes think it is unfair for us to use our bubble and Lay on Hands. Those cool-downs are there to get us out of difficult situations, and every other class uses their’s so why is it a problem when we do it. Your most important task is to keep yourself alive, and if you don’t because you didn’t bubble or Lay when there were no other options, then you really shot yourself in the foot. Other classes may complain, but the only important thing is that when it’s all over, you’re standing and they’re not. That doesn’t mean waste them though. Trust your judgment. Exercise all other routes before pulling out the last resort.
Tip #4: Keep the spells pumping
You are much stronger than others give you credit for and you need to show them that. Paladins’ signature is damage in quick successive bursts and it is no different with Shockadins. You will literally always have a spell to cast so keep them pumping. While you are distracting targets, the real damage-dealers can do their jobs better. That’s not to say that you don’t do respectable damage yourself.
Tip #5: Macros
There are a number of different macros that you can use, but here is the one that sets Shockadins apart. We are know for having several combat boosters that are on different GCDs so use that to your advantage.
o /cast Divine Favor
o /use [Trinket]
o /cast Avenging Wrath
o /cast Holy Shock
This is an instant crit spell that hits for insane amounts of damage and is great for opening up as well as nuking down opponents. Thanks to Sanctified Wrath everything is on the same CD so there is nothing to inhibit it. When it’s up, it’s up.
The Shockadin is anything but dead, and it takes a skilled player to be able to see their potential and adapt to the environment around them. Even if they don’t put out the biggest numbers, the class is still insanely fun to play and gives a greater sense of accomplishment when you can beat someone with a supposedly “dead” spec. Plus, nothing is funnier than people expecting you to either be “the wimpy Healer” or “the Melee class” and put distance between you and them only to realize that your reach is a lot farther than most. My motto is always “do what works for you”. It is a game and you’re paying for it, so do whatever it takes to ensure that you get the most enjoyable experience you can from it. It doesn’t matter what others say as long as you enjoy yourself because numbers aren’t everything and anyone who believes so is foolish. I hope that this little guide is helpful in not only improving your play-style but opening the eyes of any of the doubters as to a Shockadin’s potential. That’s the beauty of a hybrid class. I will try to update as time goes on but until then post your comments below. Read my holy thread for more insight as to what a paladin is. Other than that, have fun, stay sharp and enjoy playing the Shockadin class!