From deep Holy, to deep Prot, to deep Ret builds – and even hybrid builds… I’m becoming convinced that Paladins should itemize and spec for +int and +SP as soon as the gear becomes available/popular in progressive itemization (phases 2, 3+).
Its interesting to find vanilla and private videos alike where Paladins of all specs end up using items like TEP, ZHC, Judgement set, Avenger set, and “on-hits” over strength bonuses.
The core premise is that Paladins either heal more, do more damage, have higher threat, have higher burst damage, and have higher sustain if they stack stats and abilities with spell power/int in arguably every role (save Ret raid PvE? unsure…), than we would with attack power/strength.
[An added value of +int/SP for Paladins is the nature of being a hybrid – it also helps our mana pool and +healing ability in all specs.]
There are a few pally abilities that are counter intuitive, in that they are significantly boosted by int/sp stat sources rather than physical sources – SoC, JoC (hybrid), SoR, JoR (hybrid) in particular. For example, highest SoC and SoR procs often come from sp and slow top end weapon stats.
This one is obvious, deep Shock builds, hybrid Holy Reck builds, and hybrid builds that utilize Imp SoR/JoR go +int/SP. Shoutout to consecration hybrid builds as well. Shockadins speak for themselves here.
Controversial – Its clear that +int/SP boosts your holy damage from all sources, which includes Holy Shield, SoR reck bombs (1h & 2H), Consecration, and even our holy thorns abilities damage/threat. The biggest surprise in this tree for me is the viability of even 2H +sp Reck builds – its well known that SoR reck bombs are likely to dump all 5 SoR stacks in classic – and private servers have shown how op this is when mixed with things like lifesteal, frost oil, shadow oil, weapon procs, etc. And for Reck + SoC builds, JoC is a huge part of this style’s sustained damage.
Controversial – Int and +SP seems as valuable as Agility for deep ret Vengeance builds (with strength being lower). Any Ret will argue for small white crits and big yellow hits/crits over big whites when it comes to assessing the value of Strength in small grouped play. I recall near vanilla’s end, most PvP Rets would adhere to the ZHC+SoC meta, flexing in and out of Sanctity aura when Vengeance is up, etc. Also recall that intellect increases spell crit (which i believe only applies for SoC, but still)
Of this topic I’m least confident in the application of Ret raid PvE – I’d be very surprised to learn that Strength is indeed as inefficient as I suspect… but for 90% of other Pally builds im starting to view BWL and later Paladins as being similar to Shamans – watch out for magic damage
What do you guys think?
–edit: Interesting shoutout to stacking strength for block value in deep Protection builds tho.