Healing Challenge Modes
Healing challenge modes are quite challenging for even top end raiders. Fortunately, because of the gear is scaled down to 463, even raiders who are only in LFR gear or who are not doing heroics can be just as competitive as those healers with a higher ilevel.
Food & Mana Pots
You should start with 300 stat food, either spirit or intellect depending on how comfortable you are with your scaled down spirit level. Healers should stock up up mana food that does NOT have a +100 or +200 stat, because even though you feel you won’t keep eating/drinking for longer than 10 seconds (before the food’s stat buff takes effect) you almost certainly will accidently overwrite your +300 stat food during a challenge mode.
It is helpful for the rest of your group to make a /say with “Drinking!” or something similar so your tank and dps know that you are taking a quick mana drink. You only need to be out of combat for 1 second to begin drinking, the group does not need to wait until you are at full mana before pulling again.
The most valuable tool for healers is the Restorative Amber you can purchase once you are honored with Klaxxi (if you aren’t honored with Klaxxi yet, it is worth grinding rep for this – and it just became easier now that you can champion rep in daily scenarios and dungeons, as well as gaining rep via Sunsong Ranch. You get your mana back much more quickly with amber, just make a macro with a shift modifier so you can easily remove the amber – you can’t just start casting while using it like you can when drinking. It also has the bonus that it won’t knock you out of drinking due to combat, and it restores your full mana in 10 seconds as opposed to 20 seconds with regular mana food/drink (the tooltip is incorrect). It is pricey, so use it when time is of the essence, otherwise just use regular mana food.
Invisibility Potions are also crucial so you can avoid some of the mobs (while still ensuring you have the mob count). If you are farming mats yourself, Invisibility Potion (18 seconds) will be the quickest to farm with 1 Ghost Mushroom and 1 Sungrass per potion. If you are purchasing mats, Lesser Invisibility Potion (15 seconds) will likely have the cheapest mats with 1 Fadeleaf and 1 Wild Steelbloom, because Ghost Mushrooms tend to be very expensive on the auction house. Both recipes are world drops, so you may have to do some hunting to find an alchemist who can make it. If you are a druid, it is usually safest just to purchas potions, as prowl is slow and can be unreliable at best. NOTE: If you drink a mana pot during combat immediately before the area you want to invisibility potion, you will need to wait for one minute after combat for the potion cooldown to reset before you can potion again, so try and avoid using a pot in the pulls immediately prior to where you need to invis.
Healers as DPS
Healers should try and do as much dps as possible. Shamans can get quite good dps when using the Primal Elementalist talent with their elementals, and flametongue on the weapon can help with dps, and can help marginally with mana if you also glyph Telleric Currents. Priests can smite spam, druids can wrath spam and monks can fistweave to victory. But healer dps can easily make the difference between a silver finish and a gold finish.
Gearing for Challenge Modes
Best in slot gear for challenge modes is quite different than best in slot raid gear. Some blue trinkets and gear are better than some heroic gear. Gear that was upgraded with valor points in 5.1 was better than the identical non-upgraded gear. And some Throne of Thunder and Siege of Orgrimmar gear is worse.
Gearing – Sockets
The number of sockets in a piece of gear can make all the difference in how good a piece of gear is once it is scaled down. The socket Eye of the Black Prince can be added to Sha-touched and Armament of the Thunder King weapons DOES count, so Sha-touched weapons are generally the best for healers (some guides say they don’t work, but that is incorrect, they do work, you can test it and see).
Also, if you are an alchemist, the Alchemist stone trinket is quite powerful for Challenge Modes, so you can dig it out of your bank to use.
Other Items of Use
Battle Horn – great for getting aggro on mobs, can also be used at the start of Stormstout Brewery for popping the Aqua Dancers and for the tank to grab aggro on monkeys. The Battle Horn drops off the rare Blackhoof in Valley of the Four Winds (20% drop) and a 0.5% drop rate from Ordon Candlekeepers on Timeless Isle.
Invisibility Field – a belt attachment for engineers on a 3 minute cooldown.
Confused? The best thing to do is hit a dungeon in challenge mode setting and see how your gear scales and what is best. Don’t forget to save your challenge mode set as its own gear set.