All of this started last night when I was giving a few tips to another 10m H-ICC group that was working on Saurfang. I was giving tips on how to handle the healing and such, and I mentioned that the Pally tanks could trip DS/DG to help out with the damage done by the Boiling Blood. It would only mitigate some of it - but every tick saved extends the time before the first Mark comes out.
I was then told that neither of the tanks had spec'd into that particular talent.
I've also seen a growing trend in Pally tanks not using their own Sacred Shield when there's a Holy Paladin in the group/raid. We'll cover that in a minute though.
Divine Sacrifice/Divine Guardian
I posted on this back in October, but it's worth going over again here. In 3.3 DS/DG changed to the following
- Divine Sacrifice - 30% of all damage taken by party members within 30 yards is redirected to the Paladin (up to a maximum of 40% of the Paladin's health times the number of party members). Damage which reduces the Paladin below 20% health will break the effect. Lasts 10 sec.
- Divine Guardian - When Divine Sacrifice is activated, your party and raid members within 30 yards take 20% reduced damage for 6 sec. In addition, increases the duration of your Sacred Shield by 100% and the amount absorbed by 20% (2/2).
It's fairly easy for your tank to have 50k HP raid buffed at this stage in the game. This means that when using DS, you can absorb 100k (.4 * 50k * 5) worth of damage taken by your party. This damage is halved before it ever hits the Paladin, and can then be mitigated further by other cooldowns (such as Pain Suppression, Divine Shield/Divine Protection, etc).
DS/DG also only reduces the damage that would be actually taken by your party members, so this is factored in after any resistances, or the 20% in total damage reduction provided by DG alone. These reductions can result in a huge level of reduced and absorbed damage - all for spending three talent points.
A side bonus
An additional bonus of speccing into Divine Guardian is the doubled length of your Sacred Shield, plus an additional 20% absorbed. Sacred Shield can, every 6 seconds (after taking initial damage) absorb 500 damage, plus 75% of your spell power, plus 20% from DG (500 + .75SP)1.2 for the math heads. So a prot paladin, with only 1000 SP, would absorb approximately 1450 damage every 6 seconds while tanking. In addition, by keeping it on himself, any FoLs cast on him (probably by a Holy Paladin) will have an added 50% crit chance - virtually guaranteeing a crit heal.
Of course if there's a Holy Paladin in the raid, you might be asking "Why don't they use their SS on me instead"? This is a valid question, as they may have 2k-3k SP, resulting in a much stronger shield (2200 every 6sec from a 2K SP Holy Paladin). The advantage however, is that it is very easy for the Prot Paladin to self cast their Sacred Shield, allowing the Holy Paladin to place another shield in the party/raid, where they feel it's needed most. By not keeping it up 100%, especially in a raiding environment, you are removing another helpful tool from the raid's kit. Sure, the shield isn't a game breaker - but 20k/min of absorbed damage isn't anything to sneeze at either.
Finally, I want to touch on Aura Mastery, and why it seems to be the new hotness for some raiding Paladins (especially for Retadins). 11 points down in the Holy tree, it's not a very attractive talent - but offers some serious benefits to a raid in a high resistance scenario.
Resistance mechanics in Wrath are such that the base resistance of any Paladin aura will result in a minimum 10% resistance. By popping Aura Mastery - you can increase that minimum resistance to 20% for six seconds. This is enough to cover the loss of a spore on Festergut, or to mitigate additional portion of a Sindragosa breath.
AM is of course situational, and it may be better to spec into DS (for ret) - if it is a low resistance fight.
Individually these talents aren't make/break - but combined they provide some powerful mitigation for the raid. Next week I'll cover some talent builds to get these bad boys, and go over some Holy setups for picking up AM without sacrificing the world.