Power Word: Shield (Rank 12)
600 Mana, 40 yd range
Instant cast, 4 sec cooldown
Draws on the soul of the party member to shield them, absorbing 1265 damage. Lasts 30 sec. While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be interrupted by damage. Once shielded, the target cannot be shielded again for 15 sec.
Power Word: Shield is a nice utility spell that can be used on many occasions. It will not heal, but rather prevent a sizeable amount of damage taken by the target. It helps to ease out spiky damage, protects low-armoured allies from being smeared by frenzied hordes of adds and helps you solo mobs without getting interrupted on every swing.
Power Word: Shield is one of the very few reliable damage prevention spells. Additionally it’s instant cast and as such can be used while repositioning or flying through the air. It may be used to ease spiky damage by dropping it in occasionally. Do this only if your tank is rage-capped and you can afford the global cooldown. Other than that it prevents spell pushback which is also very handy on numerous situations.
However, Power World: Shield cannot replace healing spells. First and foremost, it has a cooldown of 4 seconds. Additionally, any single target cannot be shielded more than once every 15 seconds. Tanks don’t like to be shielded most of the time. It hinders their rage or mana generation. In conclusion, Power Word: Shield is a rather expensive spell when compared to your other healing spells. Especially when considering that it only uses about 20% of your +healing stat.
When & how to use
Protect the mage that nukes the adds. Shield Aran’s current target while running away from the Blizzard. Protect yourself from damage and spell pushback from that stray add that found your way to you. If damage can be anticipated or may be predicted, popping a Power Word: Shield on the target may be a good idea.
Image Power Word: Shield as some kind of safety belt. If things go wrong you have a chance to instantly stall off incoming damage, buying you time to get off a healing spell that is not instant cast. If someone is assaulted by critical damage and you need to bring him up fast, start with a Power Word: Shield, then Prayer of Mending and then Flash Heal to create a padding.
When not to use
As a rule of thumb, don’t use it when there is no emergency situation.