RestoCat: The Secret to Catweaving
Note: There is now a more advanced version of this guide here: https://questionablyepic.com/advanced-catweaving/
If you’ve been around the Resto Druid community for long you may have heard of Catweaving, a DPS focused Resto Druid variant that is particularly powerful in Mythic+ and for raid bosses with tight enrage timers. It’s also a god send if your raid leader insists on running more healers than you need.
- Moonfire. Strong single target damage over time.
- Sunfire. Strong multi-target damage over time spell. Only one target is hit by the initial damage (with all targets within 5 yards taking the DoT).
- Wrath. Weak single target noodle. We might occasionally use this if melee isn’t safe.
- Heals. Baaaah.
- Shred. Cat form single target filler ability.
- Swipe. Cat form AoE filler ability. Beats Shred on 2+ targets but loses to Rake until 4+.
- Rake. High single target DoT. Lasts 15 seconds.
- Ferocious Bite. Single target finisher. Less damage than Rip. Costs 25 energy, but deals double damage if you cast at 50 (and you should).
- Rip. High damage single target DoT finisher. Lasts 24 seconds.
Stuff you should know
- The biggest contributor to improving your DPS is to spend more time DPS’ing. This is very significant. Changing a legendary or a trinket might give you 10-15% damage, but improving from a 1.5k DPS player to a 4k DPS player is all in the DPS uptime.
- 104% of your Intellect is converted to Attack Power at all times. Bleeds do full damage regardless of form. Don’t use agility gear or agility trinkets. They don’t add damage.
- Make sure you throw up HoTs between pulls, particularly on the tank. You want to spend as much time DPS’ing as possible.
- You should start every fight with a Rake from Stealth if possible. It deals double damage. Make sure you don’t overwrite this.
- Convoke the Spirits can be used as either a DPS or healing cooldown. You’ll generally want to use it offensively as often as possible, but if a particularly tough pack is coming up then it can be a good idea to use it defensively. As you get more comfortable with each key you’ll find you need it for healing less and less.
Catweaving Level 1: Catweaving for the first time
(This is -not- the optimal rotation, but when starting out it can be best to keep it simple)
Not too difficult, right? Keep up Sunfire and Moonfire, and then jump into Cat Form for some extra damage until you run out of energy. When you’re out of energy you can pop out to heal, and it takes ~six seconds for energy to recharge so you can get 3-4 healing spells off if you need it while you wait. You’ll see particularly good results on AoE packs where Solar Wrath just can’t keep up. You can drop Moonfire out of your AoE rotation if there are more than five mobs, or if the pack is unlikely to live longer than 10 seconds.
Catweaving Level 2: Rip & Multi-dotting
Alright, the beginners rotation does a pretty good job but after you’ve mastered it you might be looking for… more. More depth, more damage, more excuses not to heal. The advanced rotation is heavily based around maximising the value of each global cooldown, while trying to prevent energy from capping out. The following assume you are not playing the Draught of Deep Focus legendary. If you are, then there’s a specific section on it further below.
Let’s look at the full rotation
- Maintain Moonfire and Sunfire on the target at all times. Moonfire does slightly more damage per cast on one target.
- Maintain Rake at all times. Bleed damage ignores armor so Rake is significantly more damage than Shred.
- Cast Shred as your Cat Form filler ability. Once you reach 5 combo points:
- Cast Rip if the mob or boss will live for most of the duration.
- Cast Ferocious Bite if that isn’t the case, or if Rip is already on the target. Pool 50 energy before casting Ferocious Bite.
- Once out of energy, you have two viable options:
- Throw out some HoTs (I guess we should keep our party alive).
- Auto attack in cat form.
- This is very similar to the single target catweaving rotation, except we have multiple mobs to keep our DoT’s on, and Shred is replaced by Swipe.
- Maintain Sunfire and Moonfire on the targets at all times. Sunfire is a higher priority cast if the targets are within 5 yards of each other.
- Maintain Rake on all targets that will live at least 10 seconds. It deals more Damage per Energy than a 3 target Swipe. There is a notable exception here around the legendary Draught of Deep Focus which we’re going to cover in more detail below.
- Cast Swipe as your Cat Form filler ability. You can also use Shred instead to nuke down a priority target.
- Your choice of finisher is identical to the single target rotation.
- You can Rip multiple targets, and should do so if they will live longer than 14 seconds.
- If out of energy you can also reapply Moonfire / Sunfire slightly early – so long as they have less than 30% of their duration left. Always re-apply both DoTs at once.
- Maintain Sunfire on all targets.
- Cast Swipe as your filler of choice.
- Swipe is better value than Ferocious Bite with four targets up, and so you can ignore your finishers.
- Rip is higher damage than a 1-6 target swipe however most AoE packs won’t have a mob that lives long enough to bother with it.
While the above rotations are solid throughout the fight, we will open the fight slightly differently if we are able to start from Stealth.
- Rake is a significantly higher damage opener than Shred, so long as the mob lives at least six seconds.
- Once you’ve cast rake, go back to caster form to apply Moonfire and Sunfire. Cast Moonfire first on single target, and Sunfire first on AoE. Never overwrite your double strength Rake.
- Night Elves can shadowmeld mid-pull to restealth and get a second double strength Rake. You should use this frequently for a sizeable DPS increase.
- In Mythic+ you should aim to finish pulls around 4-5 combo points where possible. Then you can open the next pack with Rake -> Rip before applying caster form DoTs.
Catweaving Level 3: Draught of Deep Focus
There are many scenarios where equipping a strong healing legendary like Verdant Infusion and playing the level 2 rotation is 100% optimal. Ultimately getting through a key or boss with minimal deaths is priority number one. As you climb higher though you might find your groups become increasingly good at playing defensively, leaving you with plenty of time to add damage. Or, maybe you just want to beat your friends alt in damage in your weekly key. For maximum damage we play Draught of Deep Focus. DoTs are a large component of our DPS (especially our priority damage) and so a 40% increase to them when on a single target is significant. Here’s how the rotation changes:
No change. Just put a higher priority on having all four DoTs active at once – even when actively healing.
Moonfire, Rake and Rip one target only. If the pack has one mob with more health than the others then apply all three DoTs to it. If the pack has a more balanced health pool then you can apply one DoT to each but it doesn’t matter too much.
Stats are interesting thing for Catweaving since Crit, Vers and Haste increase our damage by the largest amount BUT Mastery is our strongest Mythic+ healing stat. If you’re looking to maximise DPS you need to minimize the amount of mastery on your gear. If you’re trying to heal at the same time then grab as much mastery as you need to heal each pack successfully while loading the rest of your gear with Crit, Vers and Haste.
Here are some notes on stats:
- Crit and Vers have an effect on all of our damaging abilities, and it boosts them all equally. Crit is slightly cheaper to get +1% damage but you also get 5% for free.
- Haste reduces our global cooldown and increases our Cat Form energy regen.
- Mastery offers no DPS increase whatsoever.
Frequently Asked Questions
Isn’t Balance Affinity stronger?
Feral Affinity is more DPS if you’re able to commit a lot of GCD’s to dealing damage. It’s also a lot more single target / priority damage which tends to be more important in keys. Balance Affinity does give you Typhoon though which can be key utility on some affixes.
Don’t I need Guardian Affinity for high level Mythic+?
While staying alive indeed becomes trickier as you start your ascent through the +20’s, we are equipped with a large array of tools to deal with this already. Use Bear Form (+25% stamina, +armor), Barkskin, Ironbark and your finest dodging skills to survive bursts of damage. Timers can be very tight and adding 3-5k DPS over the dungeon with your Catweaving will often be a key factor in completing the key in time.
Which legendary do I use?
This is covered a little bit above, but to reiterate. You’ll use Verdant Infusion for healing, and Draught of Deep Focus for damage. Celestial Spirits also sees a little bit of play as an “in between” option that’s also stellar in raid but you’ll aim to graduate from using it once you’re comfortable in keys. Celestial Spirits also better suits Balance Affinity than Feral.
Do I have to be Night Fae?
Not necessarily. Necrolord is arguably just as much or more damage while much worse for healing (and near unplayable in raid). Kyrian has a very good support legendary while being tragic to actually play. Venthyr does not offer anything valuable at this time. Think of Night Fae as your default choice at the very least.