Riptide is my new best friend, my favorite healing tool in the shaman toolbox. This spell provides two healing functions in one: an instant, on demand heal and a ticking hot. In addition, when chain heal is used on a target, Riptide can be consumed, increasing the throughput on that target. As with all powerful spells, their is a downside, namely a cool-down preventing Riptide from becoming THE only healing tool you need.
Because of its dual nature, their is some debate in the resto shaman community over the best use of riptide:
- Should it be liberally sprinkled among the raid in order to provide the greatest oomph to chain heal and a nice buffering HoT or
- should it be saved as an “Oh God” button, instantly topping up the tank after a devestating blow and giving you time to whip out a truly big heal?
Honestly, like so many other tools, is: it depends. Annoying, huh?
In fights with lots of raid damage, where chain heal will be your most effective heal, sprinkling riptide liberally can shore up your squishiest members and ensure that your tank is not lacking heals. Fights like the Coliseum are ideal for this — On this fight I use riptide every time it is available on whoever has the lowest health and follow up with chain heal when I have two riptides in action.
Why two? Well, if you cast riptide every time it is available, you can have 3 riptides up before the first one falls off. However, when casting other heals, I don’t always time my riptide perfectly, meaning I can guarantee two up with one on the way, or ready to be cast.
Conversely, on minimum raid damage fights, I prefer to use riptide as my secret weapon. Generally, these types of fights concentrate all that messy raid damage on your tank or off-tank, using special abilities that cause you to cry out in angst that your tank will die OR not leaving you enough time to pop a quick heal on another member because you’re too busy spamming heals. This was my strategy on our last Naxx-10 run as I was assigned to the tanks, while our priest took care of the raid (when she could) and the kiter in the back.
My advice: if you don’t use riptide, or use it only as a last resort — play with it more, the cool-down isn’t that long, and you’ll really enjoy the results. And if you’re a constant splasher (how can you not love the sound effect of that spell) try to save it up on those fights with the omg moments — it’ll make your assigned healing job oh, so much easier.