Guide to M*A*S*H Justicar/Shaman/Warden Cleric PVP


This Guide discusses my M*A*S*H RIFT Cleric melee-healer spec, which blends the Justicar, Shaman, and Warden trees. This Guide has been updated for Patch 1.6.1.

Please post your feedback, tips, and questions!

Revision History

The first version of this Guide was posted on August 27, 2011. Here is the change log for recent revisions:

  • 2011 December 22: updated for 1.6.1 and added link to Zibnik’s post on melee/spell and mitigation/avoidance mechanics
  • 2011 November 12: updated note on Surging Rapids, per Errosion on the forums
  • 2011 October 10: updated runes
  • 2011 October 8: added videos for 1.5 and notes on Mien of Leadership
  • 2011 October 4: removed Deluge from the healing macro, as it’s no longer part of the recommended M*A*S*H spec
  • 2011 October 2: added note re: Hit reducing target’s chance to Parry and Block

Table of Contents

  1. What is the M*A*S*H Healer?
  2. Spec Mechanics, Strengths, and Weaknesses
  3. Testimonials
  4. PVP Videos
  5. Global Cooldown Management and Rotation
  6. Macros
  7. Stats / Weapons / Runes
  8. Spec Background
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. About the Author

1. What is the M*A*S*H Healer?

Per Wikipedia:

Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M*A*S*H) refers to an Army medical unit serving as a fully functional hospital in a combat area of operations.

The M*A*S*H healer is a highly-mobile, durable melee Cleric with strong AoE healing capability. This spec differs significantly from traditional Cleric healing specs in that it is not based on cast-time abilities.

I do not claim that this is the best PVP healer spec, but this spec supports a dynamic and different playstyle from traditional cookie-cutter Cleric specs.

Here is the 28 Justicar / 26 Shaman / 12 Warden spec:

http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=00rne.euMootszo.Ved0tMo0z.Vt0z

2. Spec Mechanics, Strengths, Weaknesses

Mechanics

I invested enough points in Justicar and Shaman to get the tree-defining abilities Reprieve (big burst heal) and Battle Charge (gap closer, snare/root remover), while still having enough points to reach Healing Flood (instant-cast AoE HoT) in Warden.

With the exception of the 3 filler points in Armor of Virtue, the remaining 25 points in Justicar provide value in PVP. For the Shaman tree, the 26 points synergize well with the mechanics of this spec and provide value in PVP.

With the investment in the Shaman tree, the spec has strong Crit mechanics, which synergizes with the talents Endless Winter, Light Makes Right and the passive healing buffs Salvation and Reparation. I do not use Crushing Blow or Massive Blow, because those abilities deal Physical damage and therefore do not generate Convictions. As such, I skip the talents in the Shaman tree that provide synergies and burst for Crushing Blow and Massive Blow.

The 12-point investment in Warden provides some excellent abilities, notably an instant-cast AoE HoT (Healing Flood), a knockback (Crushing Wave), a cleanse (Cleansing Waters), a snare/root remover (Dissolution), a heal booster (Tidal Surge), and a spammable ranged instant-cast attack (Waterjet). The Warden talent Surging Rapids boosts all instant-cast healing by 15% – including Doctrines, the Warden HoTs, etc.

Strengths
  1. Terrific mobility. Battle Charge (26-pt Shaman ability) and Dissolution (11-pt Warden ability) remove all movement-impairing effects, and the vast majority of GCD abilities are instant-cast
  2. Excellent instant-cast healing abilities, including an AoE HoT (Warden’s Healing Flood), an AoE heal (Justicar’s Doctrine of Loyalty), and a huge emergency heal in Justicar’s Reprieve
  3. High durability, with 13% passive, non-dispellable mitigation (10% from Justicar’s Shield of Faith talent and 3% from Shaman Thick-Skinned talent), and at R6+ a combined 30+% boost to avoidance (Dodge + Parry)
  4. Functional support DPS, via spammable melee and ranged attacks
  5. Positional control via a ranged snare (Justicar’s 16-pt Humility) and Crushing Wave (Warden knockback ability)
Weaknesses
  1. No CC breaker (e.g. Break Free in Templar), so there is no counter to control-based effects (fear, stun, etc).
  2. No AOE mitigation, as provided by Sentinel’s Protect the Flock and Templar’s Reinforce. This weakness is partially mitigated by the fact that in many warfronts there is a friendly Sentinel-spec’d Cleric, and PtF and Reinforce from multiple Clerics do not stack
  3. Limited single-target burst healing. Your single-target burst heals are Doctrine of Righteousness, which requires Righteous Mandate to be on the target, and Reprieve. Healing Current is an OK heal but does not have much upfront burst

While M*A*S*H is not a DPS spec, it does provide functional DPS and burst via Jolt procs and the high melee crit rate.

3. Testimonials

Sayvior wrote [bold emphasis mine]:

Honestly. Before anyone knocks this spec, read this guys guide on it, then when you feel you have a comfortable grasp on how this spec works, you have the macros installed, and you can take your mind away from what a traditional cleric is, go out and run this spec. With 1400 SP/700 crit and P6 gear I topped the healing charts ALL night long in addition to putting out some impressive DPS. I tweaked this spec just a smidge for survivability purposes as I like to think Im a warrior and rush right into ****, but thats ok because with this spec Im able to take a BEATING.

I thought I tried all of the possible mixes, and matches for Cleric, but I missed this one, and must thank you for a very well put together, and thought out guide, and spec. This is by far the most fun I have had as a cleric, and I will continue smashing faces, and healing friendlies with it.

beemoved wrote [bold emphasis mine]:

How do I express my for this build?

Currently I use this as 1, just 1 of my PvP builds. I did grind to rank 7 in wf’s after wf’s, but tbh Warfronts are a lot of fun, and keeps me going in rift. I pug almost every warfront, and enjoy it feverishly. I’ve done the duracell, i’ve done the Inq/Cab/Ward, inq/cab/sent, INquisicar, Cablicar(not good synyergy fyi), Full cabalist, etc etc etc. This build imo, is amazingly FUN for pvp. Its a jack of all trades…And you can customize it to your liking.

This build should come with a “Terms of Use” policy. Dont hate it till you try it, and even then, you have to ensure that your “DOING IT RIGHT”. I provided this build to many many clerics on my server, few were willing to try it, those who did….are in love with it as well.

Lexor wrote [bold emphasis mine]:

When we’re just pvping, I usually just log and wait till the raid starts, but yesterday decided to drop one of my raid roles and pick up this M*A*S*H. All I can say is THANK YOU! I had so much fun last night. Did Wf after Wf, pvp rift after pvp rift. I was top heals in every single WF at rank 3! I had survivability, mobility, and some dps to help out.

Can’t wait to get to rank 4 for the first time in months ; ).

shaidarharan wrote [bold emphasis mine]:

Big thanks Taugrim, for the first time sins i dinged lvl 50 i´v enjoyed pvping as cleric, thing i´v tried every single build exept this one, either i die asap and DPS or heal great or the other way around, or i run out of mana, last 2 weeks i´v been running 28sent/12Inq/26just, works nice but boring as hell.

Wutangrza wrote [bold emphasis mine]:

The biggest praise I can give this spec, is that it plays like I feel a Cleric should play. It’s not got overpowering DPS, but man does it have utility. You can feel your usefulness when you play this spec.

Before I found this spec, the only viable spec I found for world PvP was deep warden, and then all I would do is run away–hardly satisfying.

Thankfully, I’ve found the MASH spec, and although I do enjoy it as a healing build, where I think it really stands out, and where I think it hasn’t gotten nearly enough credit, is as a viable build for walking around a PvP server in. I no longer fear getting ganked by a rogue and dying before I can act, or having a ragestorm warrior kill me without even hurting him. I’m not saying I always win 1v1 vs an equally geared and skilled member of another class, but I do, finally, feel like I’m not a free kill out in the world any more, and for that, I want to say thank you very much!

4. PVP Videos

Videos listed in reverse-chronological order (most recent first).

Level 50 Rank 7, Patch 1.5

For more about the above video, please see the blog post about it.

Level 50 Rank 7, Patch 1.5

For more about the above video, please see the blog post about it.

Level 50 Rank 4, Patch 1.4.1

For more about the above video, please see the blog post about it.

Level 50 Rank 4, Patch 1.4

For more about the above video, please see the blog post about it.

Pre-Level 50 Videos

I’ve published Cleric PVP videos while leveling up to 50, so if you are looking for more tips for your Cleric while leveling up, the videos should be a helpful resource:

5. Global Cooldown Management and Rotation

Buffs

Dispels strip buffs in the order that they were applied, so you want to apply your least important buffs first. Cavalier and Mien of Honor, our 2 most important buffs, can not be dispelled. Therefore, I recommend the following order:

  1. Cavalier
  2. Mien of Honor
  3. Vengeance of the Winter Storm
  4. Heart of the Fire Mountain / Frozen Sea
  5. Courage of the Eagle / Jaguar
  6. Salvation
  7. Reparation

By buffing in this order, you protect the 2 most important dispellable buffs, Salvation and Reparation, by layering less important buffs in front of them. You can swap Salvation and Reparation if desired.

Pre-Combat Preparation

Right before engaging in combat, it’s a good idea (mana permitting) to do the following:

  1. Cast Glacial Shield (lasts 30 seconds, 30 second cooldown). Use Glacial Shield whenever it’s off cooldown, except for situations where you are saving it to bubble-cap a flag.
  2. Pick an ally as your Righteous Mandate target. You can always put RM on another ally in-combat, but this way you have it set before going into combat. I often put it on another healer or a front-line melee
  3. Cast Healing Spray on yourself
  4. Cast Healing Flood
Mana and Conviction Management

When your mana is low, in most situations it’s recommended to pop both Purpose and Ageless Ice together, so that you can re-fill your mana bar with the fewest number of attack GCDs possible. This allows you to interleave some healing GCDs between those mana-generating attack GCDs. Battle Charge counts as a melee attack so if you have no nearby targets, you can pop Purpose and Ageless Ice together and then Battle Charge to a target to use as a mana battery.

Aside from mana, a M*A*S*H Cleric requires a steady stream of Convictions for Doctrine healing. Therefore, the only Shaman GCD ability that I use is Lightning Strike, which provides excellent damage and synergizes with Stormborn. Of course, the spec leverages the excellent Shaman off-GCD abilities Jolt, Fated Blow, and the self-heal Glory of the Chosen.

Use your ranged Life attacks to build Convictions as soon as possible, and rotate between Conviction-building GCD abilities and Doctrine abilities. Keep Healing Flood up as much as possible – while it is mana-intensive, it outputs excellent healing.

This spec has a cleanse, so make sure to remove critical debuffs, e.g. the Dominator Traitorous Influence, which will drain your mana when you use an ability.

Mobility and Positioning

With the M*A*S*H spec, you have tools to influence positioning, so use Humility, Battle Charge, Crushing Wave, and Dissolution as needed to control your mobility and position and those of your opponents. One of my favorite tactics in Codex is to get perpendicular to casters/healers on the outcropping at Codex and punt them down to the water below. If you are taking focus fire, kite back into your friendly lines and use LoS, covering your retreat with your snare, knockback, and movement-removing abilities. If you are newer to kiting, check out my Guide on that topic.

Try to keep enemy MDPS in front of you as much as possible, via strafing not backpedaling, especially when trying to gap them. As long as an opponent is in your 180 forward facing, you retain your ability to Parry, which is huge. If you are learning how to strafe, I highly recommend watching my Guide video.

PVP Tanking

In some situations, it’s worth switching from Mien of Honor to Mien of Leadership to gain the armor mitigation and higher max HP:

  • You are the FC and you are being healed by other Healer(s)
  • You are taking focus fire from multiple players, including Rogues/Warriors
  • You are soloing World PVP quests and want to start off with high HP in case you get jumped

You do lose the 50% Doctrine healing bonus from MoH when you use MoL, and in MoL your non-Justicar healing and damage are lowered by 40%, but in some cases MoL can be a lifesaver.

Single-Target Healing

For situations that require single-target healing (e.g. Black Garden FC), you should stack your HoTs on your ally, cast Healing Current, and if you have Convictions you can put Righteous Mandate on the ally to heal with Doctrine of Righteousness.

AOE Attacks and Rogues

This spec has three AOEs:

  1. Even Justice: hits between 2-5 targets (4 with this spec) in a frontal arc, builds Conviction
  2. Strike of the Maelstrom: hits up to 6 targets in a PBAOE centered around the player. Does not build Conviction. Very useful for popping a Rogue out of Stealth
  3. Righteous Imperative: hits up to 10 targets in a PBAOE centered around the player, builds Conviction

6. Macros

Single Target Spam

#show Bolt of Radiance
suppressmacrofailures
cast Glory of the Chosen
cast Jolt
cast Fated Blow
cast Lightning Hammer
cast Strike of Judgment
cast Bolt of Radiance
cast Sovereignty
cast Waterjet

Note that BoR, Sovereignty, and Waterjet are after the melee attacks. While BoR and Sovereignty deal higher base damage than SoJ, I save them for Conviction-building from range.

AOE Spam (Builds Convictions)

#show Even Justice
suppressmacrofailures
cast Glory of the Chosen
cast Jolt
cast Fated Blow
cast Even Justice

Big AOE Spam (Triggers Cooldown-Based AOEs)

#show Strike of the Maelstrom
suppressmacrofailures
cast Glory of the Chosen
cast Jolt
cast Fated Blow
cast Strike of the Maelstrom
cast Righteous Imperative
cast Even Justice

Heal Me

#show Glacial Shield
suppressmacrofailures
cast Glory of the Chosen
cast Glacial Shield
cast Doctrine of Bliss

Heal Single Target

#show Healing Spray
suppressmacrofailures
cast Glory of the Chosen
cast [ctrl] @mouseoverui Healing Current
cast [ctrl] @self Healing Current
cast @mouseoverui Healing Spray
cast @self Healing Spray

AOE Healing

#show Doctrine of Loyalty
suppressmacrofailures
cast Glory of the Chosen
cast Tidal Surge
cast Doctrine of Loyalty

Note that I macro Tidal Surge with DoL. I find the burst healing helpful for keeping groups alive.

Mana Regen

#show Purpose
suppressmacrofailures
cast Purpose
cast Ageless Ice

Oh Crap Emergency Heal

#show Reprieve
suppressmacrofailures
cast Glory of the Chosen
cast Tidal Surge
cast Reprieve

Righteous Mandate / Focus

#show Righteous Mandate
suppressmacrofailures
focus
cast Righteous Mandate

7. Stats / Weapon / Runes

Stats

Valor > Focus (under the Hit Cap of 5%) > Endurance > Intelligence = Spell Crit > Wisdom = Spell Power

Keep in mind this spec synergizes strongly with Crit. When you Crit, you get

  • 2 Convictions for Life-based attacks
  • Mana from Endless Winter for melee attacks
  • Bigger heals from Reparation and Salvation
  • The proc to make the burst reactive melee ability Jolt usable, even if the Crit was from a heal

Based on my experience with Warrior and Cleric, you need ~5% Hit (for melee attacks) / ~5% Focus (for spells) to reduce your chance to miss / be resisted to 0%. At level 50, reaching the Hit Cap requires 25 Focus for Justicar or Shaman builds.

Hit also reduces your target’s chance to Parry and Dodge, so being over the Hit Cap doesn’t necessarily mean you have wasted stats.

I have watched footage of myself at 50 with 25 Focus (from a crafted 2H mace) and 0 Focus (with R4 PVP 2H mace), and missing 5% of the time is not only noticeable, it’s detrimental to effective play. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to stack Focus (which for Justicar and Shaman is converted to Hit for melee attacks) to reach the Hit Cap.

For more information on melee/spell mechanics and mitigation/avoidance mechanics, check out Zibnik’s excellent post.

Weapon

Stick with a 2H weapon, because the healing from Salvation and Reparation scale based on weapon damage.

You might wonder whether it’s worth swapping to 1H + shield to boost survivability. The short answer is no. Your damage and therefore damage-based healing would take a significant hit, and moreover your survivability won’t increase that much.

In other games, where block is avoidance, swapping to 1H + shield provides a huge benefit. In RIFT, block is mitigation, and for a Cleric without the talents for increasing block, the base block % is anemic (~1%). So all you practically get for swapping from 2H to 1H is armor, but Cleric shields don’t have much of that stat and armor is only good against Physical damage.

Recommended Runes

  • Helm: Spell Power +5/Focus +18 (under the Hit Cap) or Wisdom+10 (or better)
  • Shoulders: Endurance +9 / Dodge +9, or Intelligence +10 (or better)
  • Chest: Valor +50
  • Gloves: Spell Crit +11 (or better)
  • Legs: Spell Power +5/Focus +18 (under the Hit Cap) or Wisdom+10 (or better)
  • Boots: Endurance +8 or better
  • 2H Weapon: Spell Crit +30 (or better)
  • Ranged: Spell Crit +16 (or better)

Planar Essences

Every one of your lesser planar essences should have Valor on them. You can buy the green +10 Valor essences on the AH or get them from PVP Rifts.

There are three approaches for filling your planar essence slots:

  1. Fill the 4 lesser slots with World PVP faction essences and fill the 2 greater slots with proc-based essences (see list below), or
  2. Fill 5 slots with World PVP faction essences and fill 1 greater slot with a proc-based essence (see list below), or
  3. Fill all 6 slots with World PVP faction essences

Which approach you go with depends on which Greater Essences from the list below you have acquired:

  • Recommended Proc-Based Greater Essences
  • Decent Proc-Based Greater Essences
    • Faded Shadesource (purchaseable from AH): healing spells have a chance to increase your targets Attack and Spell Power by 30 for 20 seconds. Note that Salvation and Reparation count as heals, so the essence can proc from your attacks. This is better than the Flooded Tidesource as the buff can affect multiple targets
    • Flooded Tidesource (purchaseable from AH): healing abilities have a chance to increase Spell Power by 33 for 20 seconds. Note that Salvation and Reparation count as heals, so the essence can proc from your attacks

I personally use Frozen Deep One Tear and 5 Valor essences.

8. Spec Background

I played a Justicar/Shaman as a healer in PVP Warfronts from 10-49, because I wanted to whack opponents to provide support DPS while delivering high healing output. I love specs that enable a highly-mobile, fluid playstyle and have strong kiting mechanics.

Throughout the leveling process, people in-game and on this blog told me “yea that might have worked in the previous bracket but it won’t in the next one.” I wanted to see for myself what the performance “ceiling” for the spec was in each bracket: 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, and 50. With some spec tweaks and playstyle adjustments, I’ve been able to output top healing in each bracket, even at lower levels/Ranks.

9. Acknowledgements

Thanks to the folks who have provided corrections / content that I leveraged to update the Guide:

10. About the Author

I’ve written Guides across multiple MMORPGs, including:

Posted in Cleric, Guide, PVP, RIFT, Video
82 comments on “Guide to M*A*S*H Justicar/Shaman/Warden Cleric PVP
  1. jhenrique says:

    Hey, what about this build on this new release 2.3?

    Thanks

Comments are closed.

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