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[Job Thread] Paladin
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Joined: 2nd Jun 2014
Rank: Leader
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3rd Jun 2014

Now I know what you're thinking: 'Zart, Paladins are simple. 123123123123 isn't hard.' Shut your mouth. Because I'm not going to teach you how to Paladin. I'm going to teach you how to be the most RADICAL, SICK, 360 NOSCOPE SHIELD SWIPIN', DUBSTEP BASS DROPPING, 270 DPS IN SWORD OATH WHILE TANKING CURRENT CONTENTIN', BALLER SHIELD MEAT FACE TANK you can be. Strap up Kiddo. 

Stat Weights(top to bottom in priority):
ACC (to cap, currently 515 ACC for 100% hit rate from the front on T9) | Hitting is important, especially for Paladins. With our glorious one combo, if you drop a step, that's a fair chunk of enmity lost, not to talk of damage.
VIT | Every point of VIT is roughly 14.5 health. In some builds, you might want to drop a couple points, but really the bigger of a health cushion you can afford for your healers, the better.
Parry | Parrying is still mitigation for us, even despite our shields. As the passive Mitigation tanks, Paladins should enjoy every inch of Parry they can grab at. That said, Blocking takes priority, so it's less Effective HP (EHP) than straight Vit for us.
STR | You like damage? You like big numbers? GET STRENGTH? (what, it helps us block too?) YOU BET YOUR SWEET TAINT IT DOES. MORE STRENGTH. MORE BLOCK %. RAGE. AAAAH.
DET | On average, 4 points of Determination = one point of your main damage dealing stat, strength in this case. It's pretty sweet. To boot, the three or four Paladins that run Cure will see an increase in the points from that too.
Crit | Big numbers. Mucho DPS. It's better than Skill Speed, though what isn't at this point, but worse than DET because DET has beautiful scaling.
SSpd | But for what purpose? No really, until they add a TP regen modifier, at the rate it scales, it's not very good, and even if you did stack enough, you'd run into the 'oh god where did all my TP go' state. It's not a fun place.

2.25 Best In Slot:
Main Hand - High Allagan (T4 SCoB)
Offhand - High Allagan (T3 SCoB)
Head - High Allagan (T1 SCoB)
Chest - Noct Lorica (825 Soldiery + Sands of Time(T3/4 SCoB))
Hands - High Allagan (T3 SCoB)
Waist - High Allagan (T3 SCoB)
Legs - Noct Breeches (825 Soldiery + Sands of Time(T3/4 SCoB))
Feet - High Allagan (T1 SCoB)
Neck - Noct Choker (375 Soldiery + Oil of Time(T2/4 SCoB))
Ears - Noct Earrings (375 Soldiery + Oil of Time (T2/4 SCoB))
Wrists - High Allagan (T1 SCoB)
Ring 1 - Noct Ring (375 Soldiery + Oil of Time(T2/4 SCoB))
Ring 2 - High Allagan (T4 SCoB)
Food - Finger Sandwich HQ

No, really? C'mon now. Really? Okay fine.

Opening Rotation(Single Target) - Fight or Flight, Bloodbath, Shield Lob, Spirits Within, Fast Blade, Circle of Scorn, Savage Blade, Rage of Halone. Rage of Halone combo repeats, Spirits Within and Circle of Scorn on cooldown between GCDs. Early in the fight, ignore Shield Swipe procs to establish enmity, but after 2-3 rotations, you can weave one Shield Swipe into your Rage Combos, and after 5-6 you can weave 2. Rage combo will hold for next step for around 3 GCDs, so be aware if you get Shield Swipe procs en masse.

Opening Rotaiton(Multi-Target) - Fight or Flight, Bloodbath, Shield Lob, Awareness/Foresight, Flash, Circle of Scorn, Flash, Spirits Within, Flash, Fast Blade, Savage Blade, Rage of Halone, Flash. Flash once or twice after every Rage combo. Spread your Rages between targets to spread the Debuff (you should be able to juggle it on 2 mobs), but if there's a particular target to focus, you can use Fast and Savage on it and then Rage another mob to spread debuff. Spirits and Circle of Scorn on cooldown between GCD. For the most part, ignore Shield Swipe in favor of Enmity. If you run out of MP from flashing, you can drop Rage combos for Riot Blade combos entirely if there are still 3+ mobs alive.

Awareness: Oh boy, Awareness. Let's talk about Awareness. It's underrated as a cooldown because it has no overly visible presence. Doesn't decrease the damage taken for sure, but even if something would've crit, how would you know? That said? It's a free off-GCD CD that does SOMETHING. Use it to establish Cooldown Aggro on fresh mobs. Hit it on Cooldown because while you don't see those crits, if you did, you'd be sad about it.

Rampart: It's a bonus Shield Oath without the damage debuff or enmity buff for 25 seconds or so. Need some extra DPS? Go into Sword after eating an auto or a big attack, and pop this off-GCD. Congrats, so long as you have established aggro, you get to do some bonus damage for a bit. Otherwise, use it to soak some narsty hits. This is your go-to defensive CD for short cooldown and decent effect!

Convalesence: It's a healing buff. Coordinate with your healers, and it's insanely powerful. I'm lookin' at you Regen and Medica 2 and Adlo. It will also boost your Cure if you're weird like that.

Foresight: About half of Rampart, for physical damage only. I like to use it on CD, just like Awareness. Pre-emptive damage reduction makes healers love you.

Sentinel: Put on your big boy tank pants and tell the boss to go away while you nerd out over your comic books for a bit. You like taking distinctly less damage, this is for you. Reserve it for when you know a big hit is coming. Mountain Buster? Sentinel. Tanking Double Dreadnaught or Avatar and Dread at the same time? Sentinel+Rampart. It's got big cooldown, but you get 10 seconds of feelin' pretty good usually.

Bulwark: Depending on your shield, you're going to block literally everything you can for weensie bits, most things for a decent bit, or a lot of things for huge chunks for 12 seconds. I like to use it in conjunction with SOMETHING to ASSURE damage reduction, especially with tower shields, but it's a beautiful cooldown. Especially because in the fights where you don't need it for damage reduction, you can pop it for bonus shield swipes. Damage City, USA.

Hallowed Ground: Throw up your middle fingers at the world. For 10 seconds, you are a god. Unless you fall. Or get hit by an Overdrive (Ifrit's Hellfire, Garuda's Aerial Blast, Titan's Earthen Fury, Twintania's Aetheric Profusion, etc.). But in MOST CASES if it does damage, Hallowed will tell it to go screw off. Things to know include the following: If you block something like Titan's Landslide with it, you won't take the knockback. Upheaval will still punt you though. There is a one second animation delay, so any auto-attack or general attack that is assured to hit you before the animation completes will STILL deal damage, even if the buff is already applied. Some bonus effects to attacks will be ignored if you ignore the damage, and others will not. Play around with it. But for the love of Cheesus and all 30 of his Picohitlers, LET YOUR HEALERS KNOW. Most will figure it out quick, but save them the MP and let them get in a round of attacks or something. They can top you off during this just fine, and then do their own thing for a bit. Make use of that. Holy is fun.

Tempered Will: Hey. Hey you. Yeah you. Knockback. C'mere. Gotta tell you something. BEAT IT NERD. Also get lost, Heavy. You're stupid too. In all seriousness, a pretty good cooldown. From laughing off a badly placed Landslide set from the DPS stacking like idiots in bad places, or allowing you to DPS more during Upheaval instead of repositioning, to ignoring Levi's boat-tilt, shaking off the heavy from Levi's bubble drops, and giggling at what was once the knockback from The Avatar's Landmines, Tempered Will is pretty cool when used situationally. Keep an eye on anything fun you can do with it. 

Cover: Put it on a mouseover macro. No really, do it. 'But Zart, who uses Cover, that's what healers are for!' No. No you're wrong, and here's why: Picture this. You're in Twintania. Decent DPS, but one of your healers is dead from terminal stupid. Your other healer goes to rez him, and misses the start of a Death Sentence. Your Warrior has about 2/3's health. He might survive, but if he doesn't, things are already pear-shaped and will only get worse. You pop Cover and Sentinel. Bam, you just ate that Death Sentence for junk damagewise, secured your run and party, and looked like a BAMF all in one go. Women (or men, depending on your preference) swoon, and dogs are all your best friend now. Even the rabid ones. In seriousness, there are a fair few things you -can't- block with Cover, and it's somewhat situational, especially with the stipulation that you have to not only be within 10 yalms of your target to execute it, but for the effect to transfer damage to you once it applies. That said, if you look for the uses, you will find them, and your healers will love you. Use in conjunction with damage reduction CDs for full effect, and for the love of god put it on a mouseover macro and save yourself the trouble.

Fight or Flight: The Cooldown DPS wish they had. Saving parts when you KNOW you won't be able to do damage for a majority of its time, this should be up on cooldown. Because bonus damage = bonus enmity, and neither of those things is bad for you.

Bloodbath: It's not as good on you as it would be on Warrior, but self-healing is self-healing, and also enmity. I pair it with Fight or Flight for maximum effect.

Shield Swipe: Not technically a cooldown, but let's talk about it. Procs on block. More potency than a breadbox (and combo'd Savage Blade I guess) and less than Rage. But it's 40 TP for that damage, and can be chained between combo hits of a rage combo. Pacification is more often than not a bonus you won't notice for the sheer number of things it WON'T work on. But when it works, it's nifty (see also: Goblin Rush on Illuminati Commander) because it might delay an enemy skill to start right when it falls off, allowing you more timing room. Use when you can, but it doesn't have bonus enmity, so beware using it early in your rotation. Unless you like things spinning around to abuse your party. (You don't.) - Check me out when I stream!
@Zartislost - My Twitter, for the once in a blue moon I remember I have a Twitter.

Last Edit: 3rd Jun 2014 by Zartemis
Joined: 2nd Jun 2014
Rank: Leader
Likes 0
3rd Jun 2014

Using Cooldowns:

How you use your cooldowns will tell if you are a good paladin, a great paladin, or the dumpster child of people with shields strapped to their faces. First off: FOR THE LOVE OF MERRIAM-WEBSTER, DON'T POP ALL OF YOUR COOLDOWNS AT ONCE. If you are taking THAT MUCH DAMAGE, check to make sure Shield Oath is on and mash Hallowed Ground like breaking your finger will award you a million dollars in cash and a fancy car. Odds are, if such an occasion happens, you've missed something critical in the fight, or your healers aren't quite on the ball. Assume it's the first. As a tank, your job is to KNOW the fights and pre-emptively cut off huge sources of damage. None of our cooldowns as Paladin are reactive, thus you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO KNOW when something is coming to block it properly. Once you've done your learning, THEN refer to the guide below.

Rampart+Foresight: The 'You Deal Physical Damage? Excuse Me, My Sides Are In Orbit' of cooldown combos. This can cut a nice chunk of physical damage into tiny bits and serve it up on a platter. Don't count on it for something that will absolutely positively ruin you, and it requires you to know the incoming damage is physical, but Rampart is quick to CD (relatively) and Foresight isn't a massive major cooldown, so it's a good way to hold on to big hitters.

Rampart+Sentinel: The 'I Don't Want To Feel This' of cooldown combos. This is a few steps before Hallowed, but you still have Conv so it's probably okay.. Use carefully, because this puts two pretty decent all-rounders on Cooldown right away.

Rampart+Convalesence:  The 'I Want My Healers To Like Me' of cooldown combos. Drop it, and the fair reduction in damage + the bonus healing means your healers will be able to watch you soak a decent hit, then bounce you back pretty fast. There's also a bonus in here for keeping you up after with Adlo and Regens, so consider this if it's going to be a burst of damage that comes in multiple sets.

Rampart+Bulwark: The 'I Have This Brick Attached To My Arm For a Reason!' Best used when you know you CAN block something, but know it'll sting if you don't. If you block it, you take significantly less damage. If not, you're not getting gibbed. It's a win win. Also good for big DPS phases, because you'll get 18 or so seconds in Sword Oath, with roughly the defense of Shield Oath, and a MASS of Shield Swipes to make good on it.

Rampart+Anything will generally be your go-to bread and butter to soak an attack you know will sting. If it's going to be just a needlepoke, you can use just Rampart, or just one of the other cooldowns as appropriate. The cooldowns and combos below should be used SPARINGLY.

Sentinel+Convalesence: The 'This Might Disembowel Me, But At Least I'll Live!' The big hit is coming. You can see the train. Life is flashing before your eyes. The White Mage is hovering their finger over Benediction with a look of insane greedy heal-lust. Don't press the Bene, please. Conva will make your Cure 2 sexy. Think of the crits. In all seriousness, this is your 'this will hit me like several semi-trucks' combo. DO NOT APPLY LIBERALLY. This puts two VERY GOOD cooldowns out of the fight for a good long while. This kind of thing is where you seriously want to consider Hallowed, or a sub if you know you'll need Hallowed elsewhere in the fight.

Bulwark+Convalesence: The 'I Can Probably Take This Bear, But Just In Case...' of your CD combos. Blocking is great, and it's anywhere from a Rampart to a half-Sentinel. That said, RANDOM NUMBER GENERATORS ARE RANDOM. If it's a significant enough hit to warrant a Rampart Combo, but Rampart is down and you know a Sentinel-needing hit is coming in, and you can even remotely block it, try for this. Don't rely on it because, again, random, but it's a good way to swing a comprimise.

Sentinel+Bulwark: The 'I Don't Trust Shields!' This allows you to save Rampart for another CD Combo which would give roughly the same effect as a Sentinel, but makes you feel a bit more cushy just in case Sentinel isn't quite enough. 

Just to establish this again, DO NOT DO NOT  DO NOT MASH ALL YOUR COOLDOWNS AT ONCE.  I don't care if this is the ONLY BIG BURST the boss will ever do in its entire lifebar, because if by some chance you're wrong, and something goes pear-shaped? Congrats. You have nothing to even STALL with. You effectively just turned yourself into a naked masochist standing in front of an elephant stampede. You look silly, and when you die everyone will think you were greedy and stupid. 

To go further into this, sometimes you won't need a CD combo. Often enough just Rampart or just Sentinel, or Bulwark can suffice. If you get these moments, take them. The less things you have on CD, the better for big emergencies. Don't put unneeded stress on your healers, by any means, but don't drain what you don't need to. As a general guideline, if it hits for a quarter or more of your health, CD it. A third or more? CD Combo. Half or more? The Big CD Combos. If it hits for anything more than that, sweet mercy hit Hallowed and cry like a little girl.

Subnote: Hallowed Ground Use!:

'Zart, where should I use my ten seconds of godhood? It's so good, I don't want to waste it!' This is a tough one. Obviously, if you're getting hit for more than 2/3s of your health, Hallowed is a very healthy consideration. But most of all, you want to talk with your healers. Communication on Hallowed Ground use is ESSENTIAL to making the most of it. It's not just a 'I live!' button, it's a 'I live, the healers can top me and DPS, and I can ignore most mechanics for a bit' button. It frees up your healers, gives them prep time to take care of themselves, a DPS, or lay on a bit more hurt. That said, there are moments where you'll take two-thirds, hit Hallowed in a panic, and realize the Healers are miffed at you because they didn't need that then. Hallowed is the ultimate test of awareness of the goings on in a fight, and can make or break an encounter used well. Consider it as a party-saving cooldown, especially in conjunction with Cover, and discuss it with your group for half a second before using it. If a healer tells you to Hallowed, you press that button and you do it with a grin. Otherwise, judgement.

More Coming Later! Leave a post, or let me know what else you'd like to see from this! Also feel free to discuss strats for fights, tips and tricks, gear alternatives, and anything else relevant to paladin you can think of in the thread below! - Check me out when I stream!
@Zartislost - My Twitter, for the once in a blue moon I remember I have a Twitter.

Last Edit: 3rd Jun 2014 by Zartemis
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