Disclaimer: Covenant choices were evaluated with their power levels during the first 5 weeks of the Shadowlands launch. Considerations after this should be mindful of renown unlocks available that unlock features further down soulbind trees and conduit scaling that might otherwise change the power level of any respective covenant.
Vanquisher’s Hammer: Whilst this is arguably one of the more boring options, Necrolord’s Soulbinds outshine its class ability. Having the shared 2nd lowest class ability, being able to proc Emeni’s Lead by example every 30’s, especially in a raid environment, could boost your burst healing potential significantly during Avenging Wrath or Avenging Crusader.
- Volatile Solvent: Beast - 2% Intellect (Primary Stat)
- Volatile Solvent: Humanoid - 120 Mastery
- Volatile Solvent: Dragonkin - 3% Critical Strike
- Volatile Solvent: Demon - 3% Stamina
- Volatile Solvent: Aberration - 78 Armor
- Volatile Solvent: Undead - Heal 2% of your health when an enemy dies
- Volatile Solvent: Giant - Do 3% more physical damage
- Volatile Solvent: Elemental - Magic damage done increased by 3%
- Volatile Solvent: Mechanical - Magic damage taken reduced by 5%
Availability of corpses could be an issue in raid encounters without adds but open-world activities and mythic + (to a lesser extent) will give you ample opportunities to absorb enemies and gain buffs.
Ashen Hallow: The ability itself cannot be cast further than 30 yards away from you and creates a large red circle (20 yards radius) that heals and damages everything inside it, granting you the ability to use your Hammer of Wrath whilst standing in the zone, regardless of whether your intended target is also affected by Ashen Hallow.
Its prohibitive 4-minute cooldown is justified by its throughput and whilst substantial in size, Ashen Hallow’s healing and damage are static thus preplanning will be required to make the most of this major cooldown. Its ability to give you access to Hammer of Wrath overlaps with Avenging Wrath’s benefit as well but you would want to pair Avenging Wrath and Ashen Hallow together anyway to boost its already considerable throughput. This cooldown will see most play in a raid environment due to its uncapped healing and damage and offers little competition to other covenant class choices in Mythic+ and PvP end game scenarios.
Door of Shadows: is the Venthyr signature ability that offers a casted 35-yard blink. Whilst situational, Holy paladin will benefit greatly from more mobility options, especially when talented into Unbreakable Spirit.
Venthyr Soulbinds are somewhat powerful, with Nadjia the Mistblade’s Thrill seeker proccing every 80 seconds whilst you’re in combat unless you can somehow get a killing blow on an enemy to significantly decrease your downtime between procs. Theotar the Mad Duke’s Soothing Shade is a static random proc that you could expect around 20% uptime on, for roughly an 18% throughput gain whilst standing within the shade of the summoned NPC. Theotar’s Soulbind containing an endurance slot over Nadjia’s finesse slot, allows the use of the Shielding Word's conduit for a minor throughput gain.
Both of the Soulbinds you have access to will offer stats at cadences that are out of your control. With the current power level of Avenging Wrath and Avenging Crusader, having these stats procs outside of your major cooldown windows is undesirable and, their value hinges on whether the proc timings coincide with your group members requiring healing. This means that their value is most likely to be useful in a raid setting than any other kind of end-game content.
Blessing of the Seasons: Four individual 30-second buffs that cycle in a loop, on a 45-second cooldown.
Blessing of Winter and Blessing of Summer are lacklustre when used on yourself (as a Holy paladin) but interesting interactions may arise from using buffs on other DPS specs that could utilise and benefit from the buffs in more ways than Holy paladin ever could.
Blessing of Spring on paper looks great to use on a healer, but the benefits double-dip on tank specs that have substantial self-healing; such as Blood DK or Vengeance Demon Hunters.
Soulshape: is an aesthetically pleasing shapeshift that allows you to blink 15 yards on a 4-second cooldown, for its duration. Whilst on the global cooldown, its mobility value is still high and offers more flexibility than in comparison to Venthyr’s Door of Shadows.
Thematically and aesthetically Blessing of Seasons is an interesting idea that expands upon the concept of healers offering more to the raid team than damage reduction, throughput and utility. Whilst initially lacklustre, I wouldn’t be surprised if Blizzard revisited some of the buffs, in particular the Blessing of Summer and Blessing of Spring, to be more impactful for DPS specs and until that happens, Night Fae isn’t a competitive pick for throughput, especially when compared to other options at this moment. But, I am excited by the initial concept Blizzard has introduced here and I look forward to seeing them flesh out this idea more in the upcoming patches.
Divine Toll: is an exciting covenant class ability that synergises well with Holy Paladin’s core kit. When using Divine Toll as a Holy Paladin, Holy Shock generates holy power and transfers healing from your class ability into Beacon of Light. Any target with the talented Glimmer of Light buff/debuff will be healed/damaged only once when Divine Toll is used.
Divine Toll is flexible and powerful in most end-game scenarios you might face as a Holy Paladin, and only becomes stronger when your talents, conduits and legendaries interact with it. Its strength isn’t diminished either if you play your off-specs very often thus making it an attractive option for those who aren’t set on a specific specialization for their end-game content goals.
Summon Steward: is a peculiar but useful covenant signature ability that, once summoned, will give you 3x Phial of Serenity and other options such as the ability to change your talents, vendor any items you don’t need and tell a friend how awesome they are (I’m not joking). Phial of Serenity will be extremely useful in Mythic+ and the first tier of Castle Nathria, especially considering it dispels debuffs and doesn’t share a cooldown with either Healthstones or Spiritual Healing Potion.
Soulbinds and Conduits
Shielding Words (drops from Sun King’s Salvation): An incredibly valuable conduit that will most likely out-compete any other Endurance conduit for the entire tier. There is no min-maxing required to use this trait effectively as it’s more important to keep your group healthy than to not overwrite a large critical heal shield.
Divine Call (Drops from Stone Legion Generals): May have a niche in Castle Nathria progression as playing with the talent Unbreakable Spirit in conjunction with this aforementioned conduit will reduce your cooldown of Divine Shield to just over 3 minutes. With the heroic item level conduit reducing your cooldown by 20 seconds and the mythic item level conduit reducing your Divine Shield by a further 5 seconds (25 total). Unfortunately, you cannot proc the cooldown reduction yourself with Light of the Martyr damage.
Light’s Barding (Drops from Sire Denathrius): An extremely powerful conduit that is applicable to almost every aspect of the game, that you might encounter as a Holy Paladin. At a Heroic item level the conduit will give you an extra 2.25 seconds of Divine Steed.
Echoing Blessing (Drops from Council of Blood: Could have niche uses with it giving 5% (7.5% if acquiring the Heroic item level conduit) extra damage reduction or movement speed when a particular blessing is applied to a friendly target, but these opportunities are most likely rare and only relevant for cutting edge content such as the first couple weeks of hardcore mythic raiding.
Focused Light (Drops from Devos, in the Spires of Ascension dungeon): This conduit is a strong option as it gives you more opportunities to benefit from Infusion of Light and increases Glimmer of Light’s throughput, making it a safe pick for most kinds of content.
Whilst at rank 1 this conduit will give 5% crit; you will be able to attain a rank 5 conduit (giving 7% crit) on the 4th week of Shadowlands release by completing a Mythic level 15 Spires of Ascension.
Resplendent Light (Drops from Nalthor, in the Necrotic Wake dungeon): Its strength lies in the stacked raid healing niche, where it would gain most value but its healing doesn’t transfer into Beacon of Light. Outside of this, it can be seen as a marginal throughput increase, especially in a Mythic+ setting where opportunities to stack to benefit from this conduit are few and far between.
Whilst at rank 1 this conduit will splash 4% of its Holy Light’s healing; you will be able to obtain a rank 5 conduit scaling its splash effect up to 5.6%, on the 4th week of Shadowlands release by completing a Mythic level 15 Necrotic Wake.
Enkindled Spirit (Drops from Ingra Maloch in the Mists of Tirna Scithe dungeon): Due to the nature of this conduit tying its value to a 3-minute cooldown, this is not going to be a competitive option outside of niche AoE burst healing scenarios that could pair up nicely with Holy Avenger during Avenging Wrath. Whilst not a contender for your first potency slot available to you in the first 5 weeks of Shadowlands, unless you use the Dreamweaver soulbind from the Night Fae covenant, the conduit is a contender for your 2nd potency slot if you’re not planning on joining the Kyrian covenant and/or intend on using a Resplendent Light Holy Light spam build.
Whilst at rank 1 Enkindled Spirit will increase Light of Dawn’s throughput by 30% for your next 3 casts, lasting up to 1 minute. You will be able to obtain a rank 5 conduit (scaling the buff from 30% to 42%) on the 4th week of Shadowlands by completing a Mythic level 15 Mists of Tirna Scithe dungeon.
Covenant Specific Conduits
Ringing Clarity: is a random proc of gaining 4200 mana’s worth of healing which then can be transferred into AoE healing with Beacon of Virtue if Divine Toll was used on an ally. Its random nature is the biggest drawback but averaging out multiple uses across any 7 to 10 minute raid encounter and you’re looking at some good value, tied to one conduit.
The Long Summer: This conduit’s value is bizarrely tied to one out of four available buffs from the Holy Paladin class ability. Whilst Blessing of Summer in of itself is a valuable external damage buff on certain DPS specs within their burst cooldown window. This conduit currently can’t compete with any other potency conduit options available.
Righteous Might: Is another niche covenant specific potency conduit option that could only see play in a DPS orientated Holy Paladin build but even then; Focused Light is better and more flexible damage option. I would not be surprised if this got re-worked or replaced in future patches.
Hallowed Discernment: The smart healing and damaging components of this conduit are notable throughput gains, equating to around 14% increase in healing and around 12% increase in damage in ideal conditions. Unfortunately, the conduit’s value falls off due to the prohibitively long cooldown on Ashen Hallow and the likelihood of attaining 100% value from the conduit with having both an enemy and friendly target within the zone for its full duration on every use can be difficult to achieve without pre-planning every use.
Shock Barrier: has incredible synergy with the Kyrian Divine Toll covenant ability. Whilst the number of barriers you can have out is capped at 5, overwriting previously applied Shock Barrier’s with Divine Toll will be inevitable and does not undermine the strength of this legendary.
You can buff the shield strength on 1 player by using Blessing of Spring, if you choose to join the Night Fae covenant, but the strength of this legendary comes from having up to 5 out at one time rather than the individual raw strength of the shield that already scales well with your own healing including crits and raw spell power.
Inflorescence of the Sunwell: is a huge buff to Infusion of Light that makes spamming Holy Light with the Resplendent Light an option for raiding. This playstyle is quite mana intensive and some fights will make squeezing out two long Holy Light casts before your next Holy Shock difficult. The legendary’s value holds up in Mythic+ and PvP content as well with it also reducing Flash of light’s mana cost to 1,100 mana (400 less than Holy Light) but the “Healing per mana” value is less than Holy Light, even at this lower cost but it can make using Flash of light less punishing in difficult to heal scenarios.
Shadowbreaker, Dawn of the Sun: this legendary’s strength is in raid environments where you can benefit from the improved range and healing to Light of Dawn. The tooltip can be deceiving as the range of Light of Dawn isn’t actually boosted to 40 yards, as it might suggest. Instead, it modifies the cone of healing to be wider whilst also improving the range to anywhere between 35-38 yards. This can also be modified by Rule of Law which changes the tooltip on the legendary to 60 yards and again improves the range and widens the healing cone of Light of Dawn to a similar degree. The widening of the healing cone allows for fights that require raid spreads to be less punishing on Light of Dawn’s throughput and reduces the likelihood of the holy power going to waste.
Maraad’s Dying Breath: an exact copy of the legion legendary that became popular to use in Mythic+ when paired with the talent Beacon of Virtue. Whilst having the most promising potential in the Mythic+ format, I don’t believe this will outperform other legendaries in a raid or PvP environment.
The Magistrate’s Judgement: For those who swap specs frequently this legendary offers the flexibility of crafting a legendary that fits every role. It won’t be the best in any specialization but allows you to invest in a legendary without potentially wasting that investment by swapping your role later down the road.
Echo of Eonar: is another global legendary that offers flexibility with players who don’t commit themselves to one spec religiously, especially on a hybrid class like Druid.