This guide provides you with all of the most critical information that you will need to play a Retribution Paladin at level 90 in World of Warcraft PVE content.  The guide covers talents, glyphs, stats, reforging, and rotations. 

This guide will assume that since you are level 90 you will be able to take the basic information and run with it, simple topics like addons, macros, targeting, and more are not covered.

The Role of a Retribution Paladin

As a Retribution Paladin your role in a group is to lay the holy smack down on the enemy, meaning that you get to deal damage. Retribution Paladins can deal solid amounts of damage in both single target and AOE situations.

Retribution Paladins can also provide several benefits and abilities that help out a group in PVE situations. Here are just a few of the things they can provide:

  • Provides either of two great raid buffs, either Blessing of Kings of Blessing of Might. These provide either a 5% boost to strength, agility, and intellect from BoK, or 3000 mastery from BoM.
  • Can lower incoming magic damage to all raid members by 20% for 6 seconds every 3 minutes.
  • Can make themselves or another player immune to all physical damage for 10 seconds every 5 minutes, in addition to a second bubble ability that they can use on themselves only that makes them immune to all damage for 8 seconds every 5 minutes.
  • A short term CC from Hammer of Justice (6 seconds every 1 minute), and a long term CC through the talent Repentance.
  • Can provide several short term helpful abilities through the use of Hand spells. Such as removing movement impairing abilities, transfering damage to themselves, or removing threat from a target.

Retribution Paladin Talents and Glyphs

Retribution Paladins share the same talent choices as all Paladins do thanks to the new Talent System 2.0 that was introduced with Mists of Pandaria. What this means is that for the most part talents and glyphs are more about utility than necessity.

While the new talent system does mean that for the most part you are free too chose talents and glyphs that you like rather than specific ones, there are a few specific talents and glyphs that are required for the best DPS performance in PVE content.

As a Retribution Paladin you should make sure you choose the following talents and glyphs:

Sanctified Wrath (Tier 5 talent) - A big boost to your burst damage and therefor your overall damage output. It increases the duration of Avenging Wrath by 50% and reduces your Hammer of Wrath cooldown by 50% while Avenging Wrath is active.

Execution Sentence (Tier 6 talent) - This provides a new attack that allows you to place a 10 second DOT on an enemy that deals damage. This is good boost to your damage for single target fights, and therefore the best talent at this tier for PVE boss fights.

For Retribution Paladins there are no glyphs that are absolutely required. There are a few though that are situationaly good, and some that offer a boost to survivability and therefore not a bad idea.

Glyph of Templar's Verdict - This glyph offers a solid boost to your survivability and is therefore the only glyph that should be considered as a solid recommendation.

The other glyphs that provide situational boosts are Glyph of Divine Storm for more survivability, Glyph of Double Jeopardy and Glyph of Mass Exorcism are also great for AOE heavy encounters.

Retribution Paladin Stat Priority

It is important to understand your stat priority for your class. Players that do not and stack the wrong stat can cripple your ability to play correctly. For Retribution Paladins the key stats are those that allow you to deal as much damage as quickly as possible.

Therefor the stat priority for a Retribution Paladin is as follows:

Strength > Hit (to 7.5%) > Expertise (to 7.5%) > Haste > Mastery > Crit

Important Notes:

  • Hit + Expertise - These two stats are key to your ability as a Retribution Paladin to deal out damage. Getting both of these stats to 7.5% is you main priority as gearing up. Once they are there you will not miss any attacks on a boss level enemy, nor will they be able to dodge or parry your attacks when you are attacking from behind them (they can still parry if you attack from the front).
  • Haste– Haste allows you to attack more often and reduces your global cooldown. This allows you to deal more damage to your opponents, making it your most important secondary stat.
  • Mastery - This stat boosts the holy damage component of several of your main attacks. While it is a decent stat, Haste has an edge over it, therefore you should only go for it once you have hit and expertise maxed and then focus on haste and mastery.

Reforging as a Retribution Paladin

When reforging simply follow the stat priority above for a Retribution Paladin and move the lowest stat to the highest stat that the piece does not have on it.

Reforging if not at 7.5% Hit
If your gear has these two stats…

Reforge this stat…

… to this stat

Hit + Expertise

Do not reforge

Do not reforge

Hit + Haste Haste Expertise
Hit + Mastery Mastery Expertise
Hit + Crit Crit Expertise
Expertise + Haste Haste Hit
Expertise + Mastery Mastery Hit
Expertise + Crit Crit Hit
Haste + Mastery Mastery Hit
Haste + Crit Crit Hit
Mastery + Crit Crit Hit


Important Notes:


  • Hit + Expertise - At some point while gearing up you will reach a point where your hit and expertise are both at 7.5%, once there replace them in the chart above with Haste.
Reforging once above 7.5% Hit and Expertise
If your gear has these two stats…

Reforge this stat…

… to this stat (as long as you keep both stats above 7.5%)

Hit + Expertise

Do not reforge

Do not reforge

Hit + Haste Hit Mastery
Hit + Mastery Hit Haste
Hit + Crit Hit Haste
Expertise + Haste Expertise Mastery
Expertise + Mastery Expertise Haste
Expertise + Crit Expertise Haste
Haste + Mastery Do not reforge Do not reforge
Haste + Crit Crit Mastery
Mastery + Crit Crit Haste


Retribution Paladin Cooldowns


There are several cooldowns that you can use as a Holy Paladin that can play a big part in your healing rotation.  They are as follows:

Avenging Wrath – This is a significant damage boost, as it ups all damage output by 20% for 20 seconds (30 seconds if you have the correct talents) and is on a 3 minute cooldown. To get the absolute most out of this ability, you should use it timed with on use trinkets and heroism effects.

Devotion Aura - Reduces all raid magic damage suffered by 20% for 6 seconds, and stops you from being silenced or interrupted during that time. It is on a 5 minute cooldown.

Guardian of Ancient Kings – Summons a spirit that assists you in combat for 30 seconds. This is another great damage boost, however it is on a 5 minute cooldown.

Lay of Hands - This is your really big "Oh Crap" heal. It is best used on your tank if he is about to go down or yourself in an emergency.

Divine Shield – Makes you immune to all damage for 8 seconds and clears DOTs, debuffs, and movement impairing effects. A second wonderful "Oh Crap" ability.

Retribution Paladin Single Target Rotation

As with most classes now, there isn't a specific rotation for abilities, but rather a priority based list that should be followed for highest DPS output. This means that you must watch your abilities for which comes off of their cooldowns at which point in time and prioritize which to you based on what they do or provide.

The priority rotation that provides high DPS output against a single target for Retribution Paladins is as follows:

1 - Seal of Truth – Make sure this seal is active for all encounters so that your attacks stack a DOT on the target.

2 - Inquisition – Keep this active throughout the fight, refreshing it when you have 3 Holy Power and it is about to expire.

3 - Templar's Verdict - Use with 5 Holy Power for a huge hit, if you do not have 5 Holy Power this drops to the bottom of your priority list.

4 - Hammer of Wrath – Use whenever available (target below 20% or while using your Avenging Wrath cooldown).

5 - Exorcism - Use to build Holy Power.

6 - Crusader Strike - Use to build Holy Power.

7 - Judgement - Use to build Holy Power.

Important: Watch for the procs from The Art of War to reset your Exorcism.

Retribution Paladin AOE Rotation

When fighting 4 or more enemies you should move to a more AOE based rotation to deal damage to as many targets as possible. The priority rotation stays fairly close, but does have a few changes in the abilities and order to watch for.

1 - Seal of Truth or Seal of Righteousness – Use Seal of Truth for fights with up to about 6 or 7 targets and try to tab through targeting as many as possible to keep up the DoT that it applies. Once you see 8 or more enemies you should switch to Seal of Righteousness to benefit from the cleave damage it provides.

2 - Inquisition – Keep this active throughout the fight, refreshing it when you have 3 Holy Power and it is about to expire.

3 - Divine Storm - Use this when you have 3 Holy Power, deals damage to everything around you.

4 - Hammer of Wrath – Use whenever available (target below 20% or while using your Avenging Wrath cooldown).

5 - Hammer of the Righteous - Use to build Holy Power and deals AOE damage around your target.

Comments on Retribution Paladins

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Last Updated: Mar 18, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.


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