Its too early to tell much about the new Covenant specific Holy Paladin Legendaries. The Venthyr one is unknown, and Venthyr is currently a popular choice in covenant, so there is no reason to speculate on any change in covenant choice based on that alone.
The Night-Fae legendary Seasons of Plenty
doubles down on the “buffing your allies” area of the spell. This could be very valuable in some raid encounters but similar to the design of the spell itself is somewhat niche. You need a particularly good use case where the cooldown reduction provided gives you access to something special when you need it. It is possible this will be more useful in a dungeon, as dungeons tend to be longer, so the extra cooldown reduction will provide potentially several more uses of powerful cooldowns, or open up new pulls. But it is just as likely this opens up no new strategies and is not worth using still.
The Necrolord's Duty-Bound Gavel
is a nice legendary. It simply makes the signature ability Vanquisher's Hammer
more strategic, and powerful. The problem here is that Necrolord is already coming from behind in terms of throughput and Paladins already have strong legendary choices, so it has a lot of ground to cover. If we were using second legendaries, this would be more useful if you were already Necrolord. But Venthyr and Kyrian are already dominant choices for paladin.
Now the best we saved for last. Divine Resonance
simply put is insanely broken. I find it hard to believe that this legendary in its current state will make it live. Paladins already have an insanely powerful legendary in Shock Barrier
and this completely eclipses it. This legendary, if it works as the tooltip suggest,s would make Kyrian the go to choice in all scenarios, due to just how insane of a throughput gain it is. It almost triples the value of Divine Toll
giving you an extra 9 Holy Shock
s, and 9 holy power per minute which is massive. Fortunately (Unfortunately?) this legendary has lots of tuning nobs here. You can reduce the effectiveness of each Divine Toll
further, you can have less triggers in the 30 second window. There's a lot they can (and likely will) do to nerf it. I would expect the theme of the legendary to stick around however (small Divine Toll
s triggering on a timer) which could be a cool mechanic to play around.
In the latest PTR build for 9.1, new Paladin legendaries have appeared in data, so I'm here to provide some insights on how they might work for Protection. Some of these are initial impressions, speculation, educated guesses, and some theorycrafting. A very large consideration of analyzing these legendary items will be to answer the questions: Do they compete against ones we are already using? What situations could there be where you might want to use one of these? And how do they interact with Protection's kit and their respective covenants?It's really important to know that none of these are testable on the PTR.
They aren't even on the Powers tab of the adventure journal yet. For all we know, they could be Torghast powers!
We're going to start with the easy one first - Necrolord. The speculated legendary, Duty-Bound Gavel
, would be a serviceable legendary option that is definitely an improvement for Vanquisher's Hammer
. Charges add some flexibility and allow you to plan your usage of Vanquisher's Hammer
in different ways. Duty-Bound Gavel
will allow for more consistent Shield of the Righteous
uptime in situations where it can be problematic and more Holy Power efficiency overall. It will also allow more uptime for specific Soulbind traits like Lead by Example
or Kevin's Oozeling
. The legendary does have some positive benefits to using it and that could lead to some extreme situations where this legendary item sees play from time to time.
However, this legendary does prop up a covenant ability that is on the weaker side for Protection Paladin. I'm a broken record at this point but Vanquisher's Hammer
fails because the ability sets up a timed conditional on Word of Glory
that more often than not is never met. Feeding into and supporting Vanquisher's Hammer
as is, makes this legendary less than ideal. Also, the Holy Power efficiency gains will likely be dwarfed by The Magistrate's Judgment
because it's more flexible.
As written, it could be super niche but I don't think it surpasses options like Memory of the Mad Paragon
for damage or The Magistrate's Judgment
Before I even dig into it, the Night Fae legendary for Paladin is the one that I am most worried about. The general tank meta for the first tier of Shadowlands has leaned toward tanks that can provides buffs, debuffs or unique utility and a strong Night Fae legendary could create social pressure that will force Protection Paladins to play Night Fae in raiding or even Mythic+.
As written, the initial tuning of Seasons of Plenty
tells me that that will definitely not be the case. Assuming that the bonus duration lasts as long as the base blessing effect (or 30s), this legendary would be ~3.3% average cooldown reduction and ~1.67% Haste. The CDR would reduce the cooldown of a two-minute burst cd by ~4 seconds which will have no practical effect on gameplay. The higher you go in content difficulty, the more dps cooldowns are planned or assigned and it's very likely that the cooldown reduction won't change the cadence of how often someone can use their cooldowns. And given that it's only four seconds of reduction, they might even hold it just to line up with trinkets, pots, etc.
The Haste is the other element to consider here. ~1.67% haste is worth three or four sockets which at Season 1 tuning would be very minimal even when you sum total it over four dps players. I think a group would get more DPS from a Venthyr Protection Paladin instead.
As written, it's just a reinforcement of the Night Fae fantasy of supporting your allies but it is easily surpassed by other legendary options in practical gameplay.
Now we get to the main event -- Divine Resonance
. This is the one that has been the most discussed in the comment section or in class discords and it should -- there is a lot to talk about with this legendary. A lot of people have speculated how it works based on the writing of the tooltip. One thing we know for sure is that it does is kill any real use cases for Holy Avenger's Engraved Sigil
for Kyrians. This new legendary as written does everything Holy Avenger's Engraved Sigil
does but better.
On paper, it sounds like a beast of a legendary option especially in a Mythic+ situation. But how much of a beast absolutely depends on the interactions with Protection's kit and the tools of the Kyrian soulbinds. There are a number of interactions that can affect how good this legendary is. I'm going to talk about them and discuss the impact.
Let's start with the interactions that we know should work:
- Ringing Clarity -- This is the Kyrian conduit. I don't see any reason why this interaction shouldn't work with this legendary. The interaction will help keep the legendary viable for single target situations e.g. raids.
- First Avenger -- I think this will work as well. It would make the legendary very similar to the Guardian Druid legendary: Ursoc's Fury Remembered where it would provide a constant level of damage smoothing. First Avenger caps at 30% of Max Health so it's likely you'll hit that max on the extra recasts without being totally broken/overpowered.
- The AoE Silence -- The AoE silence makes up a lot of Divine Toll's value in Mythic+ and elsewhere and it not working in-conjunction with this legendary would not make sense.
Now we'll go over the interactions that are debatable:
- Effusive Anima Accelerator -- There are two parts of this new trait on Mikanikos -- one applies a damage over time that's split between nearby targets. If the extra casts from Divine Resonance did apply the damage over time, that would be significant as that would increase the uptime from ~13% to ~57% in single target and 20% to 80% in 4+ targets. For a trait that was doing 4-5% damage already, increasing its uptime by a factor of ~3-4x might be too much.
- Holy Power -- Another pending question is if the extra hits will generate Holy Power. This could be equal to one extra Word of Glory per round of extra hits and even more so if you get a Ringing Clarity proc. It could provide a lot of rotational flexibility and ease the pressure of some situations with lots of spike damage.
These are the interactions that likely won't work:
- Effusive Anima Accelerator -- As mentioned above, this trait has a second element that provides cooldown reduction for Divine Toll. I would be very surprised if you benefited from this more than once. You'll be firing lots of Avenger's Shields pretty often as it is and applying the cooldown reduction repeatedly would be overkill. I don't think the cooldown reduction will apply beyond the initial cast.
- Combat Meditation -- This is the big elephant in the room as far as I'm concerned. Combat Meditation is supposed to have an internal cooldown that prevents reapplication for 60 seconds. The ICD can be proven in-game with classes with sub 60 second covenant abilities like Kyrian Druid or Warlock however, it's unclear if the ICD is being enforced for Paladin because it's not being enforced in 9.0 as is. The Torghast power, Belt of the Mawsworn Avenger, does not respect the ICD and you get Combat Meditation on both free casts of Divine Toll. If this legendary works similarly, then it will be absolutely possible to have 100% uptime on Combat Meditation with only a few orb pick-ups. This could be too much for Blizzard and I expect Blizzard to ensure that the internal cooldown is enforced to prevent too much uptime.
An interaction with First Avenger
alone would make this legendary competitive for pushing Mythic+ as you'll get capped absorb with each extra cast. But without knowing how it really works in the game, which of these interactions it has and everything else, it's hard to peg this legendary right now. It has a ton of potential and could easily be a top legendary for Mythic+ in 9.1 putting Kyrian even further ahead of other covenants in Season 2.
Just kidding -- there isn't a Venthyr legendary for me to write about yet. Nothing has turned up in data mining. However, I suspect Blizzard is working on it and thinking very hard about what legendary effect they want to add for Venthyr. Venthyr Paladin especially for Holy was meta defining for raid and Mythic+ in Season 1 and they need to be careful about what legendary to add as that could exacerbate already existing balance concerns. There will be more to analyze here once it's testable on the PTR.
Since none of the new Legendaries are available for testing on the PTR yet, how many of their interactions work is not yet known. Many of them could change once they're up on the PTR, or could work differently to what they initially seem to do.
To give some context for how these new Legendary effects are being evaluated, currently the best Legendaries for Retribution are Final Verdict
for single target and Tempest of the Lightbringer
for AoE. These are both very strong Legendaries in these categories, so the bar is pretty high for new options to be considered.
- The strength of this Legendary will largely depend on how it actually interacts with various other abilities that affect Divine Toll
. If Ringing Clarity
, Combat Meditation
, and the new ability Effusive Anima Accelerator
work with the extra procs, then this could be a strong Legendary, but if they don't then it's unlikely to be very good. It also has the downside of not buffing your Final Reckoning
window, as the procs will all happen after these buffs finish. Where it could shine is in a similar role to The Magistrate's Judgment
currently, if you're in a situation where you don't need to constantly be using AoE but the cleave from additional Divine Toll
s is still valuable.
Night FaeSeasons of Plenty
- This is another Legendary that's currently difficult to evaluate. How viable it will be depends a lot on how long the Solstice buff is - if it's the full duration of Blessing of Summer
and Blessing of Winter
, 30 seconds, then the total contribution to your raid's DPS could be very strong. The problem is that picking Night Fae to begin with and giving up a Legendary slot is a massive loss for Retribution - currently it'd be around 600-800 DPS lower. Even though you'd get around a 30-40% uptime on Solstice at a 30s duration, this would probably need to increase the average target's DPS by around 150-200 (not including the Paladin) to make this effect break even. That said, players usually enjoy doing a lot of damage themselves rather than buffing someone else's damage, so don't expect this to be a popular Legendary even if it does end up strong for overall raid damage.
- Unfortunately seems tuned pretty weak. An extra Vanquisher's Hammer
charge adds very little value to begin with. The extra Divine Storm
proc is a nice bonus, but isn't enough damage to compete with other Legendary effects, and definitely doesn't make Necrolord any more appealing.