In Shadowlands secondary stats will now diminish in value after your total benefit from any given secondary stat any source surpasses 30%. Flat percentages benefits do not suffer from this penalty, such as Bloodlust and Power Infusion, as they do not give you raw stats to increase your rating. Effects that increase your stat rating are penalized, such as trinkets (Unbound Changeling) if they bring your total benefit of any given stat over the 30% threshold.
For Mastery, this is normalised with mastery points as mastery points give differing percentages of benefit depending on any given spec. Every 35 rating of Mastery from gear will give you 1 mastery point, diminishing after 30 points (1,050 mastery rating). For example, Holy paladin receives 1.5% max healing increase from Mastery: Lightbringer for each mastery point. It is important to note that every class has 8 mastery points baseline (12% Mastery: Lightbringer) and does not contribute to your diminishing returns threshold of 30 mastery points from gear (45% Mastery: Lightbringer).
Other secondary stats require differing amounts of rating for each percentage of benefit. Haste requires 33 rating for each 1% of effect, Versatility requires 40 rating for each 1% of its throughput effect and Critical Strike requires 35 rating for each 1% of effect. Whilst unlikely to breach these diminishing returns thresholds in the first season of shadowlands content, it is important to know of this cap to secondary stats.
Equipping lower item level pieces for more beneficial stats will no longer be worth it in Shadowlands due to the raw strength of primary stats (with the exception of neck and rings).
No matter what kind of Holy Paladin build you decide to play in Shadowlands, Haste will be extremely valuable for your spec. Critical Strike is another valuable stat since it improves the number of times you critically strike with Holy Shock and in turn increases the number of Holy Light or Flash of light’s you can cast with Infusion of Light.
For example, If you choose to play with the Shock Barrier legendary, Critical Strike and Haste will improve the average quantity and shield strength of your shields from the legendary. Whilst Versatility and Mastery will also boost the legendary’s throughput, they exclusively boost your healing rather than interacting with your holy power generation nor improving the number of times you have access to Infusion of Light. If you’re playing with the Awakening talent exclusively then Versatility becomes your second best stat (over crit) as your Avenging Wrath already provides 30% Critical Strike baseline and your increased uptime on this cooldown with your talent will slightly diminish the importance of Critical Strike on your gear.
These stat weights are based on Holy Paladin in a raiding environment and each stats usefulness can vary depending on the type of endgame content you primarily participate in (e.g. Versatility if you mainly PvP).
Zandalari Trolls are the most powerful race to pick as a Holy paladin. Embrace of Pa’ku is extremely potent, especially at the beginning of an expansion when access to secondary stats is limited.
Blood Elves benefit from Arcane Acuity and Arcane Torrent. Its holy power generation and uncapped AoE purge is powerful but for the most part you’re more likely to use it on cooldown for its holy power generation than its purge component unless the content you do demands it.
Taurens have an AoE stun with War Stomp that primarily sees use in PvP. Brawn buffs your critical strike healing and damage by 2% which synergises well with Holy Shock and Holy paladins in general as Critical Strike is extremely valuable for the spec thus your abilities will benefit from Brawn more often.
Shadowlands brings us more options to enchant our gear with:
Cloak: Enchant cloak - Fortified Avoidance is a defensive option in this slot for survivability, as you gain 2% damage reduction to area of effect raid damage which is significant in Mythic raid content if you’re not consistently surviving large hits such Colossal Roar from Sludgefist. Enchant cloak - fortified leech is your go-to enchant and will be a throughput increase, with it granting 1% leech from all your damage and healing and should be used when you have enough gear to survive mythic mechanics.
Boots: Enchant boots - Speed of Soul is the only noteworthy enchant for this slot and whilst is it valuable in open-world content it will also give you a marginal defensive use on the Sire Denathrius encounter in Castle Nathria and Dealer Xy’exa in the De Other Side dungeon.
Bracers: Enchant Bracers - Eternal Intellect for its simple increase in primary stat. If you have spare bracers, you can use a macro to equip bracers enchanted with Enchant Bracers - Shaded Hearthing, don’t forget to swap back!
Chest: Enchant Chest - Eternal Bounds is a strong have for healers in Shadowlands with its boost to your most beneficial stat and improving your mana pool. If you find you’re not having mana problems Enchant Chest - Eternal Stats is your superior option for throughput.
Rings: Enchant Ring - Tenet of Haste will most likely be your first choice of enchant. If you’re approaching your haste rating threshold from your gear, enchants may be a way of rebalancing your stats to not breach the rating threshold.
Weapon Enchant: Enchant Weapon - Celestial Guidance is the most potent enchant for Holy Paladin with current tuning. Enchant Weapon - Eternal Grace was nerfed significantly and will only see play if Blizzard buff its output in future patches.
The new Shadowlands gems are:
- Versatility: Versatile Jewel Cluster
- Crit: Deadly Jewel Cluster
- Mastery: Masterful Jewel Cluster
- Haste: Quick Jewel Cluster
You’re most likely to use Quick Jewel Cluster for most forms of PvE content, potentially swapping to Versatile Jewel Cluster for PvP content if you don’t mind the price for swapping. Remember that The Maw is your new end game zone which allows you to grind currency to buy gem unlocks (when you have maxed out your reputation with Ve’nari) to socket your Helm, Rings, Neck, Bracer, and Belt slots, if they didn’t drop with one in the first place.
Food: Feast of Gluttonous Hedonism: grants 20 of your specializations primary stat which is currently the most powerful food buff you can gain. Although it is most likely expensive and wasteful to use when you’re doing solo content Tenebrous Crown Roast Aspic will grant you 30 haste which is your strongest alternative.
Flask: Spectral Flask of Power is your go-to primary stat increase as a Holy Paladin, whilst the cauldron alternative Eternal Flask will swap its primary stat benefit based on your current specialization.
Potion: Potion of Spectral Intellect is your go to option for increasing throughput when paired with Avenging Wrath and/or Ashen Hallow, as Holy Paladin currently does not struggle with mana, regardless of fight length.
Potion: Potion of Sacrificial Anima is a good option for burst healing, especially when you can pair it with Avenging Crusader to nullify its mana cost to activate. Potion of Spiritual Clarity will be the go-to potion in Castle Nathria if you’re having mana problems, especially with Castle Nathria’s distinct lack of mana trinkets. Otherwise be sure to use Potion of Spectral Intellect in conjunction with your throughput cooldowns and class specific covenant abilities.
It's important to have Spiritual Healing Potion on a keybind so you can use it to potentially save your life and save a combat res in a raid encounter. Remember that it doesn’t share its cooldown with Healthstone either!