Rift Raiding Defiler Basic Guide

Rift Raiding Defiler Basic Guide by Eskatol

Similar to my Shaman guide, I am posting my Defiler guide as I feel there is a lot of good information spread across multiple guides and posts. This guide is intended to help you as a RAIDING defiler. Refer to one of the other 5 man Defiler guides if you are interested in using the spec in a dungeon.

Defiler Philosophy

The Defiler is difficult to define, but its closest comparison is the Chloro. The Chloro deals damage in order to heal. This is more or less true for the Defiler. Generally, the only time you should ever do a “hard cast” foul growth is pre-pull. In a raid setting, you will be primarily dealing damage in order to get and maintain stacks of foul growth on the target of your links.

The difference between the Defiler and Chloro is that Defiler does not provide the Chloro’s small, but consistent healing while dealing damage. Instead, the Defiler chooses when to trigger our stacks of foul growth stacks for a massive heal. Also unlike the Chloro, we can only reliably heal 2 targets (the targets of your 30% and 20% links).

Thus, the philosophy of the raiding Defiler is to DPS while saving the tanks from spike damage. Your job is to to keep one eye on the tanks’ health and the other on your DPS rotation. You won’t get the highest HPS or DPS, but the Defiler is invaluable as it passively reduces tank damage through its links while providing spot heals for the tank and solid DPS.

Spec and Stat Priority

The Defiler is a flexible spec and there are many variations of it. The variations all have their strengths and weaknesses; some specs deal better single target damage while others do better AOE damage and even some raid healing. Generally speaking, all raid Defiler specs should be 61 as Unstable Transformation is hands down the best healing CD in the entire game. This spec is the one that I believe is most in line with the philosophy of the raiding Defiler:


This spec bolsters our DPS with the 9 points in Inquisitor while increasing our single target healing capabilities through healer’s blessing. This spec also provides us with the maximum amount of spell power.

As far as stats are concerned, Defilers should prioritize spell power over crit power. While we primarily DPS in raids, Defiler does not have the +crit chance talents found in Inquisitor or Shaman. Since the crit rate for Defilers is far lower, favor spell power over crit power when the gear is of the “same level” (IE: when choosing between two raid pieces).


Primary Spam

#show Marrow Harvest
cast marrow harvest
cast somatic desecration
cast siphon vitality

Explosive Growth

#show Explosive Growth
cast @mouseover Explosive Growth
cast Explosive Growth

Ghastly and Loathsome Restoration

#show Ghastly Restoration
cast @mouseover ghastly restoration
cast Ghastly Restoration
cast @mouseover loathsome restoration
cast Loathsome Restoration

Unstable Transformation

#show Unstable Transformation
cast @mouseover Unstable Transformation
cast Unstable Transformation


#show Feedback
cast feedback

Cancel Beacon (choose your own icon)

cancelbuff summon beacon of despair

I wasn’t a huge fan of mouseover macros until I played Defiler. Now I highly recommend using them…especially for this spec. Since you are mostly DPSing, it can be cumbersome to click on someone, heal them, then switch back to your DPS target. The faster you can make the switch to heals from DPSing and vice versa, the more effective you will be.

Add Ons

Defiler is the one spec that you must have an add on for. This add on will allow you to keep track of how many foul growths stacks are on the target of your links. This way, you know if you should just trigger your foul growth stacks (2 or 3 stacks) or need to use explosive growth first (1 or no stacks).


How to Play 

As mentioned above, 80-90% of the time you will be DPSing (see DPS rotation below). NOTE: Healing with Defiler in a dungeon is different from a raid Defiler. In a raid, you have other healers doing most of the healing for you. In a dungeon, you are often the only source of healing. You will find yourself DPSing less and triggering foul growth/using explosive growth more frequently in a dungeon.

Using Defiler in a dungeon is definitely possible and preferable in most as your DPS will move things along faster. Just do yourself a favor and avoid Defiling in fights that “require” and AOE cleanse; it’s possible, but a huge PITA.

Buffs: If you run my spec, your buffs include: Armor of Devotion, Feast of the Fallen, and Healer’s Blessing. 99% of the time, use Rage Blight. Use Grief Blight only if you are “main” healing or if the raid is taking a lot of damage and AOE heals just aren’t going to cut it.

Also, make sure that Chimera’s Gift is always up. This can save your butt if someone derps and you suddenly take a lot of link damage. Note that Chimera’s Gift will trigger whenever you should have died…link damage or not. It’s a great “buff”, so keep it up at all times.

DPS Rotation:

At first glance, the Defiler rotation may seem hopelessly complicated. Most specs have 4 dots to maintain, Marrow Harvest, Pain Transmission, and Somatic Desecration. As with any DoT heavy spec, it’s a huge DPS loss to “clip” your dot by reapplying it before it has fallen off. Well fear not, there is a way to break down the rotation to make it manageable.

Think about how you play Inquisitor for a second. In most situations, the rotation revolves “around” Sanction Heretic. Sanction Heretic –> Scourge –> Vex –> Spam till Bolt of Depravity –> Bolt of Depravity –> Spam till Sanction Heretic and do it all over again. Yeah, it’s a little more complicated than this, but that’s the basic idea.

For Defilers, everything in our single target rotation revolves around Marrow Harvest. It’s a little more complicated because there are more dots to maintain, but let Marrow Harvest be your “timer” just as Sanction Heretic is your timer for Inquisitor.

I’ll write out the ST rotation in two ways. The first is for those who just like to memorize and the second for those who like to think of rotations in “blocks” (I recommend the latter).


Marrow Harvest (MH) (Spam Macro) –> Bond of Pain (BoP) –> Siphon Vitality (SV) –> Vex –> Sanction Heretic (SH) –> Beacon of Despair –> MH (Spam Macro) –> Pain Transmission (PT) –> Somatic Desecration (SD) x2 (Spam Macro x2) –> MH (Spam Macro) –> SD (Spam Macro) –> SV –> Vex –> SH –> MH (Spam Macro) –> PT –> SD x2 (Spam Macro x2) –> Repeat from Start

NOTE: Once your Beacon is summoned, you can take it out of your rotation as there is no need to resummon it.

Simplified, the rotation is:

Spam Macro –> BoP –> SV –> Vex –> SH –> Beacon –> Spam Macro –> PT –> Spam Macro x4 –> SV –> Vex –> SH –> Spam Macro –> PT –> Spam Macro x2 –> Repeat from Start

Confused? See below.


Okay, you’re going to have to memorize the “Opener”. That is:

MH –> BoP –> SV –> Vex –> SH –> Beacon –> MH –> PT –> Spam Macro until MH

Now stop here and start “blocking” things off:

Our “dot” block is: SV –> Vex –> SH. BoP is NOT in your dot block as it lasts twice as long as our dots. Once you cast SV, you should be automatically be queuing up Vex and SH in your head as your next two abilities.

Now here is where Marrow Harvest comes into play as your timer. Once you’ve done your opener and cast MH again, start thinking these rules in your head:

“I just cast MH, what’s next?”:

rule #1: Is PT off cool down? If yes, cast PT then spam macro until the next MH. If no, go to 2.
rule #2: Does BoP need to be reapplied? If yes, cast BoP then your dot block then MH. If no, go to 3.
rule #3: Does BoP have about 15 seconds left (it should, if you’re considering rule #3)? If yes, spam macro ONCE then dot block then MH. If no…well then, something went wrong and try to get back into your rotation.

So now your rotation looks something more like this:

Opener –> MH –> Rule #3 –> MH –> Rule #1 –> MH –> Rule #2 –> MH –> Rule #1 –> MH –> Repeat from Rule #3

For your AOE rotation, you don’t need to change up much. Start with your opener, but right after you cast SV, throw in Unholy Nexus (it’s off the GCD) and continue as normal. From there on out, cast Unholy Nexus after MH whenever nexus is ready. The exception is if rule #2 applies. If it does, then follow through with rule #2 first then cast Unholy Nexus after SV. The idea is you want MH, BoP, and SV still on your target when nexus is cast.

Hope that makes things easier! Know your rotation cold, because now we get to the interesting part: how to heal as a Defiler.

How to Heal 

So you got your DPS rotation down, but how do you know when to heal?

Tank Healing

Remember, we are burst healers. Nine times out of ten, you shouldn’t even think about healing until the tank has reached around ~70% health. Once the tank is at 70%, start watching a little more closely.

-If the tank dips to 30-60%, trigger your foul growths with Ghastly/Loathsome Restoration.
-If you have 1 or no stacks of foul growth, explosive growth the tank then trigger it with ghastly/loathsome.
-If both tanks dip to 30-60%, trigger your foul growths with feedback. The range is ridiculous (I think ~30m), it will get them.
-If the tank is in critical condition (sub 30%), use Unstable Transformation then trigger your foul growths if there is no cool down rotation. If there is a rotation, trigger and apply explosive growth as necessary until your tank is safely above 60-70%.

Keep in mind that Ghastly Restoration and Unstable Transformation are OFF the GCD. That means you can trigger your foul growths and/or cool down the tank without breaking from your DPS rotation!

Hideous Reconstruction is one of the best hots if you have the 4 pc bonus. However, it’s only worth using if you are main tank healing, you know the tank is about to take a large amount of steady damage, or if the raid has to leave the tank behind for awhile.

Raid Healing

Defilers have no real AOE healing capabilities to speak of (some Warden variants can provide light AOE healing). However, don’t underestimate the power of throwing a raid member a spot heal with Ghastly/Loathsome Restoration or Healing Breath. Often times raid healers are too busy throwing out AOE heals to throw a spot heal to someone who needs it. A ghastly restoration buffed by healer’s blessing can heal for quite a bit and doesn’t require you to stop DPSing. If the raid member is in dire need of a heal, cast explosive growth first. Think about doing this if a raid member is taking more damage than the rest and definitely help spot heal if the raid has to move a lot.

Grief Blight

Fights or phases with a lot of movement are when you probably want to switch to Grief Blight as most healers don’t have the tools to heal on the run very well. Other situations include:
-if you are the tank’s “main healer”
-if a bunch of healers have died. Switch to Grief Blight to hold things together until they are rezzed.

The Beacon, Links, and You

What should you do with your 5 and 10% links? They don’t really mitigate a lot of damage, so they’re really there to help your DPS out as two more melee targets (be it players or melee pets) who will “emit” PT.

Your beacon also acts as another target who “emits” PT. Whenever possible, you should be DPSing from melee range as well. Between you, your beacon, and your links, you have 6 targets who emit PT, making it hit like a truck.

Don’t worry about keeping your beacon up if the boss is going to be moved around a lot. Also, if there are a lot of AOE damage mechanics that always land near the boss, don’t use your beacon either. Note that your beacon is kind of random, so it’s not always safest to target the boss and summon the beacon to it. If you know the boss cleaves, run near melee range, target YOURSELF and then summon your beacon. Your beacon might get you killed otherwise. Fun fact: don’t leave your beacon on the first platform heading to the second on Crucia. It WILL one shot you.

As you have probably figured out by now, your links aren’t actual mitigation; a lot of that damage is transferred to you. Your normal DPS rotation should be sufficient to keep your husk up since SV is considered a heal (note that the shield only absorbs link damage!). In fights/phases where you know there will be heavy raid damage, make sure your husk stays up by throwing up hideous reconstruction on yourself then spot heals as your husk falls off.

If you ever die and are brezzed, do the following things: First, make sure you heal yourself to full. Next, reapply your links, prioritizing the tanks first. Do NOT forget this! Only after you have done all this, reapply the rest of your buffs and resume DPSing/Healing.

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