Let’s face it, being a new healer in mythic plus can be a little stressful. Once you place the key in the pedestal it’s all on you, no hiding behind other healers in your group. So whether you are too nervous to heal mythic+ or looking for tips to improve, we have you covered. If you are new to mythic plus in general, check out my article 5 Tips For WoW Mythic+ (M+) Dungeons – Get Started & Overcome Fear. Let’s go over a few tips which can hopefully help you gain more confidence as a healer in mythic plus (mythic+).
Tips for a new healer in mythic plus
1. Don’t react, anticipate
One thing that gets healers in trouble is reacting to damage taken, rather than being ready when the damage comes. When you react to damage, it can feel like you are playing whack-a-mole with the healing meters and it is easy to fall behind.
I am not saying you should be casting heals on people with full life. So what should you do?
You should make sure that you have heals-over-time (HoTs) on your group before a mob or boss casts a major ability. This is especially important if you play as a resto druid or discipline priest — as both of these healers depend on having HoTs or shields on their target ahead of the damage.
Similarly, you need to know which abilities are going to require a significant amount of healing.
One example of this is the 2nd boss in Spires of Ascension — Ventunax (the orb dude). When he casts Dark Stride, he dashes to a target and leaves a massive bleed on them that requires a significant amount of focused healing (especially if the person keeps eating orbs as well). Instead of tunneling the meters, make sure you are watching the boss’s cast bar and who his target is. That way, the moment you see him jump on your squishy mage, you can cast and damage reducing spells/shields/HoTs before your mage is toast.
2. Know where the damage is coming from
This builds off of the last tip. If you want to stay ahead on health bars, it is vital to understand how much damage mob and boss abilities are going to deal (generally speaking).
You don’t need to know that Ventunax’s dash causes 2,344.3 (repeating of course) damage per second, but you should know that it hurts and requires A LOT of heals. This allows you to handle the damage in a planned way rather than popping huge cooldowns and not having them when you need them later.
Knowing where the damage is coming from can also help you as a healer in mythic plus. It is also really helpful to know which abilities can be kicked and which ones are worth interrupting.
Never underestimate the power of communicating with your group. As a healer, you can remind your group of dangerous abilities as you encounter them in the dungeon. If you are on voice chat, you can encourage your group to establish an interrupt order and call out major abilities.
If you are healing in a PUG, and especially in lower key levels, you won’t usually use voice.
In these cases, you can use the chat to discuss strategy, ask for assistance, or remind your group of dangerous abilities in chat.
As an example, if I was running Spires of Ascension with a PUG and we were about to pull a large group of Etherdiver’s (the winged serpents), I might say something in chat like “Make sure to kick Insidious Venom, it wrecks the tank.”
Another example of this would be asking for help with dispels in certain cases. As a resto druid, I will ask for help dispelling diseases if one of my group members can, especially for things like Infectious Rain stacks on Margrave Stradama in Plaguefall.
Every extra kick or dispel that you inspire is less damage you have to heal through. It can pay to communicate!
4. Use downtime to DPS
If I could add some gold stars to one of the items on this list… it would be awarded to this guy.
Yes, your job as a healer is to keep your group members alive. However, the ultimate objective of your group is to complete the dungeon and do it as fast as possible.
Throughout each dungeon, there will be opportunities to back off on healing and pitch in on damage. By doing this, you will not only help the overall dungeon go faster, but you will also reduce the amount of damage dealt to your party members in combat.
The faster mobs die, the less time they have to cast deadly abilities.
As a quick example of the impact healer damage can have, imagine you contribute an average of 1k DPS while in combat in the dungeon. That isn’t a lot of damage, right? However, that means you are doing 60k damage each minute. If you are in combat for 25 minutes for the dungeon… that is 1.5 million damage added! That is about equal to the amount of health a boss has on a +10 key!
The moral of the story, if you aren’t healing… you should be dealing damage.
5. Know when and who to triage heal
If you are a new healer in mythic plus, you may not be familiar with the concept of triage.
In short, triage means focusing on healing the most urgent damage and the person at the greatest risk of dying.
In mythic plus, you should try to heal the person who is at the greatest risk of dying.
But what if your entire group is about to die?
In this case, you usually want to focus on healing the tank. By doing this, you give your group a chance of not wiping on a pull. If the spawn point is close, this gives your DPS time to run back and finish off the mobs. If the release point is not close, you should decide if you can finish the pull or if you should stop healing and run back. Remember, you want to save as much time as possible!
6. Trust your HoTs
One of the most common mistakes that new healers make is feeling like they need to keep their group members at 100% HP the whole time. The result is a stressed healer who is running out of mana.
While you want to keep group members out of danger and risk of dying, this doesn’t mean that you have to keep them topped off.
If the boss just used a dangerous ability and isn’t going to cast again for 15 seconds and your group is all above 50% health, you may be better served by throwing out some HoTs and doing some damage.
By doing this, you will shorten the overall fight and damage your group takes. Additionally, oftentimes your group members will notice that they are missing a little health and will use self-heals or defensive cooldowns. This is particularly true of tanks that tend to have many abilities to restore health or deflect incoming damage.
The only exception to this tip is during grievous week when you need to keep players from acquiring too many stacks of the bleed.
7. Use Your Utility
Being a good healer is about more than pulling huge HPS numbers on every pull or even adding extra damage to the group.
In addition to having abilities to deal damage and heal, each class has a set of utility spells. These are abilities that provide some additional benefit to the group in the form of damage reduction, increased movement speed, crowd control, or enrage removal.
One example of this is the discipline priest ability Pain Suppression. If you look at the tooltip, it tells you that Pain Suppression will reduce “all damage taken by a friendly target by 40% for 8 sec”
8. Manage your mana and drink throughout the dungeon
If you want to be an effective healer in mythic plus, you need to have mana to use abilities. This means you should be aware of the cost of each spell and try to opt for healing spells that restore a lot of health but cost less mana. If you want to practice, you can slap a practice dummy (to simulate combat mana regen) and then cast heals on yourself repeatedly.
You should also make sure you always have mana potions with you and don’t forget to use any abilities which restore mana or reduce the cost of your spells. One example of this is resto shaman’s Mana Tide Totem spell. This doubles your mana regen and can offset mana loss.
Even when you are doing your best to manage your mana wisely and popping mana potions, you will still run out at higher key levels and in PUGs. Higher key levels mean more punishing mechanics and damage output. Healing a PUG can also drain your mana as group members are more likely to make mistakes than in a well-coordinated pre-formed group. The bottom line is that the more damage your group takes, the more mana you need to get them healed up.
To keep your mana up, you should be drinking throughout the dungeon and in combat when appropriate. By knowing which mobs are the most dangerous, you can hold off on engaging in combat (by healing your party or attacking) and eat on less dangerous pulls. While it will slow down your group slightly to not have your extra DPS for a few seconds at the beginning of the pull, it is better than asking your group to stop for 15 seconds and have no damage going out what-so-ever.
Additionally, you don’t need to wait until you are at 10% mana to drink. Food/water is pretty cheap and topping off once you reach 50% mana and taking no time away from your group is going to be better than forcing your group to pause for long stretches while you drink.
9. Let your teammates resurrect when possible
This is a quick little tip that can help with your mana. As a healer in mythic plus, part of your job is to resurrect players who die in combat. However, there are times when helpful group members can help with resurrection duties and give you a moment to drink and refill mana. If you are friends with your group members and they have resurrection ability you could ask for help. In a PUG, keep an eye on your group members for times when they are trying to help out by casting a rez. You can then cancel your cast and chug down some tasty mana water.
10. Use dispels wisely
Using your dispels at the right time and on the right target is super valuable in mythic plus.
As a couple of examples, the Insidious Venom ability that the annoying birds cast in Spires of Ascension can be dispelled. However, it can also stack. If you dispel the moment that one stack forms and then 3 other birds slap that venom on your tank, the tank now has 3 stacks. Even worse, you are now stuck with your dispel on cooldown and have to pour big heals into the tank.
What you should do instead is wait an extra second or two before dispelling. This way, you dispel all 4 stacks with one cast and save yourself some precious mana and stress.
You should also make sure that you are dispelling the correct target. This will typically be the group member who has the highest stacks of dispellable damage or the player with the most deadly debuff.
11. Understand tanks
This is another huge one for a healer in mythic plus.
In a given m+ dungeon, the player who will need the most healing is your tank. But, the damage your tank takes or the amount of healing they need is not going to be consistent throughout the dungeon.
Every tank in the game has a mix of self-heals and abilities which reduce damage taken (called mitigation abilities). For instance, Blood DKs have few damage mitigation abilities but very strong self-healing through the use of their runic power. On the other side, protection warriors have a strong toolkit of damage mitigation and fewer healing options.
The way that a tank heals or blocks damage makes a big impact on how they will need to be healed. If a DK runs low on runic power and cannot heal themselves, you better be ready with a big heal. If a warrior has popped all their big cooldowns and a major damaging ability is about to come, you better be ready as well.
Take the time to understand the basics of how each tank works and you will be a better healer for it.
12. Track group member cooldowns, especially tanks
Once you have taken the time to learn about important tank abilities, you need a way to know what abilities are active and which ones are on cooldown.
For this, I would recommend picking up an addon like OmniCD. It is very easy to set up and allows you to select spells that you want to track for different classes. This way, you can see when your tank has run out of abilities to use or when your mage just popped a defensive spell and will require less healing.
Here is an example of OmniCD in my setup:
13. Optimize your talents for the affixes
This one is pretty straightforward.
Since the affixes you are dealing with change every week, it is good to review your talents with each reset to see if you can make the week easier on yourself.
If you are used to rolling damage-based talents and you start to struggle on a week like Spiteful/Grievous, you should see if there is another talent setup that will increase your healing.
14. Don’t forget or delay your “oh $#@!” cooldowns
Each healer has a small set of abilities that work well as panic heals. These abilities have long cooldowns but restore a lot of health to your party members.
As a new healer, you need to avoid the mistake of forgetting to use these abilities or waiting too long to use them.
While it may seem like the best healers are those who don’t use these abilities, the opposite is true. You should try to use your major heals as many times as possible throughout the dungeon.
If you find that you are forgetting to use these abilities when they could have saved your group, the problem may be your UI. Make sure to have the spell icon or Weakaura near your character so you can see when your best spells are off cooldown.
Also, avoid the temptation to hold onto these spells for too long. While you don’t want to blow one while your party is at full health if it can save your party from a wipe…use it!
15. Watch yourself heal
You want to become a better healer, which I am assuming you do because you are not only reading this but made it to the final tip.
To become a better healer, you should record your mythic+ runs and watch them afterward. You can use many different software tools to do the recording, but I recommend OBS Studio. It is free and super easy to set up!
As you watch your recording, you will be surprised to see times where you heal the wrong target or use a sub-optimal spell to heal. As you watch these recordings, take little notes (on paper or in your head) of things to improve on your next run.
Focus on one small thing at a time. Maybe you didn’t use your “oh $#@!” cooldowns enough. Set a goal to use them a certain number of times on the next run.
There is a lot to learn and practice as a new healer in mythic plus. While it can feel overwhelming, you can start to make improvements by following the tips we talked about:
- Don’t react, anticipate
- Know where the damage is coming from
- Use downtime to DPS
- Know when and who to triage
- Trust your HoTs
- Use Your Utility
- Manage your mana and drink throughout the dungeon
- Let your teammates resurrect when possible
- Use dispels wisely
- Understand tanks
- Track group member cooldowns, especially tanks
- Optimize your talents for the affixes
- Don’t forget or delay your “oh $#@!” cooldowns
- Watch yourself heal
In my opinion, healing mythic plus is one of the most challenging and rewarding activities World of Warcraft has to offer. When I first started, it was a little stressful. Now I enjoy healing and working on improving every week. If you have other tips that have helped you improve as a healer in mythic, I would love to hear them in the comments.
Thanks for reading!