Updated for Mists of Pandaria

This section of the Paladin guide is all about your gear.  You spend a lot of time leveling, questing, and raiding to earn your gear, but what is it that really makes a piece any good?  Which stats is good for which type of Paladin?  Better yet, what can you do to make that gear even better? 

We start this guide by looking at the basic and advanced stats that you will require as a Paladin in each of your three forms (Retribution, Holy, and Protection).  Since gear lists change all the time depending on your level or the current raid content you are working on, it is far more important to have a good understanding of the stats you are looking for rather than the pieces at that level or in that raid. 

Important note: While this guide talks about the stats, it is critical that you keep in mind that Paladins should be using Plate armour. If you are above level 40 and using anything else you are losing out on your plate specialization and losing an easy to get 10% bonus to the primary stat for your specialization.

Basic Stats

Lets Start out by looking at the basic stats and see which is best for each of the types of Paladin.  For a breakdown of what the stats provide check back to the Paladin Basics page. Remember though that these are only your basic stats – Strength, Stamina, Intellect, Agility, and Spirit, not your advanced stats.  The next section will cover your advanced stats and they are at least as important as the basics, if not more so.

Retribution – As a Retribution Paladin your main goal is to get as much Strength as possible since it allows you to cause the most damage. Beyond the stats that come on the gear that brings you the most Strength, don’t even worry about other stats.

Holy – As a Holy Paladin your main stat will be Intellect and Spirit, since intellect grants additional spell power and spirit provides more mana regeneration to use to cast spells.

Protection – As a Protection Paladin you will be looking to stack Stamina as a primary stat.  Even more than the other two spec’s though Protection Paladins really need to balance this with their Ability Bonuses.

Advanced Stats

The advanced stats in WoW are all the extra things past what would be considered normal stats in most RPG’s.  These advanced stats include things like your critical hit chance, block chance, defense score, and more.  These stats are critical to your character and must be watched closely to ensure you are getting the right ones.

Retribution – Retribution Paladins require several bonus stats.  While leveling you should just focus on bonuses to Crit, Haste, and Attack Power.  Once you have reached max level then you should also focus on getting Hit, Expertise, and Mastery. 

Holy – As a Holy Paladin your key advanced stats to get are Haste and Crit since the haste allows you to heal faster and crit allows you to heal for larger amounts more often.

Protection – Protection Paladins probably have the worst of it when looking at Advanced Stats since they have so many to worry about.  Protection Paladins must focus on Dodge, Parry, Mastery, and to a lesser degree Hit and Expertise. 


Now that you understand the best stats for each of your builds, gems should be pretty easy to understand as well.  You should always gem for your most important basic or advanced stat. 

Ideally every gem will be the same other than your meta gem in your helm and enough other gems to meet its requirement.  This means that for most slots you will not be matching the slot color.  This is important to understand, since many players think that they must follow the slot color and therefore hurt themselves by not getting the biggest benefit possible.

Retribution – You should be gemming for strength as much as possible since it is by far your best stat. You can also get hit and expertise until you reach the caps, however it is better to focus on these stats through reforging rather than gems. The best meta gem is a one that provides crit rating and a causes all critical hits to cause more damage.

Holy – You should gem for Intellect as much as possible.  This means red “Runed …” gems. The best meta gem is one which provides Intellect and a chance to restore mana each time you cast.

Protection – You should gem for Stamina, Mastery, Dodge, and Parry. The best meta gem is one which provides more Stamina and increases your armor value or Stamina and increases your block value. The amount that you put towards stats other than stamina is a balancing act, you want lots of health, but getting a solid amount of the otehr stats is key as well.


Enchants are much the same as gems.  Focus on the stats that are best for the type of Paladin that you play and you should be good.  If there is not then focus on your next best stat or secondary stat.

A very important thing to remember with both gems and enchants is that each time you get a new piece of gear your balance will change. This is critical for any spec and you should remember to look all the time and see where all your stats are currently.

Retribution – You should be enchanting for strength as much as possible, and exclusivly while leveling. Once at the level cap then also focus on crit, and hit and expertise until you reach the caps, however it is better to focus on these stats through reforging rather than enchants.

Holy – You should enchant for Intellect or Spirit whenever possible. If you focus on Intellect then your secondary stat is likely crit, while spirit should focus on haste.

Protection – You should enchant and enchant for Stamina, Mastery, Dodge, and Parry. The amount that you put towards stats other than stamina is a balancing act, you want lots of health, but getting a solid amount of the other stats is key as well.


Reforging follows the same type of rules as your Gems and Enchangs, but since you can not reforge to Strength, Intellect, or Stamina it means that you must deal with secondary stats.

Due to this restriction reforging is where you should aim to hit all of the caps for your relevent stats in each specialization. For example this is where you want to get to your hit cap as a Retribution Paladin that way you can enchant and gem for strength.

For complete details on reforging check out our Reforgeing Guide.


Glyphs are found in two different types: Major and Minor.  Once you reach max level you can have 3 of each type.  As a Paladin the three majors vary depending on your talent spec, while the minors do not have a huge effect as they are mostly cosmetic.

Retribution – As Retribution your main goal is to do more damage, therefore your glyphs focus on that.  The three major glyphs to use are listed here. Glyph of Harsh Words which turns your holy word into an attack spell that deals holy damage equal to the healing it would have done. Glyph of Templar's Verdict which increases your survivability by allowing you to take 10% less damage for 6 seconds whenever you use Templar's Verdict. Lastly there is Avenging Wrath which heals you for 1% health every 2 seconds while Avenging Wrath is active.

Holy – For a Healing Paladin the best major glyphs are: Glyph or Beacon of Light, Divine Plea, Blessed Life. You will find these being used by most raid healing paladins. There are two optional glyphs that you could use which are Flash of Light and Light of Dawn.

Glyph of Beacon of Light removes the cooldown on the spell. Glyph of Divine Plea makes the spell a 5 second cast but restores 12% mana instantly once cast. Lastly Glyph of Blessed Life grants you a charge of holy power any time you are feared, stunned, or immobilized, if you are not affected by these often then feel free to flip it out for one of the other glyphs.

Protection – Tanking Paladins have several solid Glyphs to choose from. The three I would use as a raid tank are Glyph of Alabaster Shield, Final Wrath, and Focused Shield. Other good options though are Consectration, Divine Protection, and Word of Glory.

Glyph of Alabaster Shield grants 20% extra damage to your shield of righteousness attacks after you block an attack, better yet that 20% can stack 3 times. Glyph of Final Wrath allows your holy wrath spell to deal 50% more damage to targets under 20% health. Lastly Glyph of Focused Shield makes your avenger's shield hit 2 fewer targets but deal 30% more damage, this is great for added threar right off the bat on bosses.


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Last Updated: Mar 13, 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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