WoW Guides: Choosing Glyphs for the Paladin

A  Glyph Guide for the Paladin in Your Life

Glyphs were introduced with much fanfare, but have struggled to really be the impact that the developers intended. The changes to glyphs since their arrival have been numerous and severe. Some glyphs have been removed, some modified drastically. The current crop of glyphs seem to be relatively stable so it’s high time for a guide on glyphology.

Glyphs come in two flavors - Major and Minor. As the names imply, the major glyphs provide special enhancements that can truly affect a player’s damage, healing, tanking, etc. The minor glyphs on the other hand are typically created to provide slight advantages for convenience and occasionally an upgrade to an ability or spell.

This guide will walk you through each of the current glyphs and then discuss their usefulness (highlighting when different Paladin specs will want to insert or avoid). Please remember that these glyphs will change, and hopefully some new ones will appear soon too!


Minor Glyphs:

Most of the minor Paladin glyphs are what I call “Convenience” glyphs. This means that the glyphs reduce the cost in mana of certain spells or increase the duration. All of which is typically handled outside of combat so the real benefit isn’t that great. We will find some use for them though, so read on:

Glyph of Blessing of Kings

Reduces the cost of your BoK and Greater BoK by 50%.

So what you say? Well, in those rare occasions when someone gets resurrected during a fight or a Shaman reincarnates, you can put another BoK on them in combat without a major mana impact. Not the greatest benefit in the world, but a good general use of minor slot.

Glyph of Blessing of Might

Increases the duration of your Blessing of Might Spell by 20 min when cast on yourself.

If your friends think you’re selfish, then get this glyph. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this one used by a level 80 Paladin. The only use I can see for this one is during leveling up when you won’t have to renew this blessing as often.

Glyph of Lay on Hands

Reduces the cooldown of your Lay OnHands spell by 5 min.

Excellent minor glyph to have compared to the others. Very useful (almost mandatory) for Holy Paladins, and really neither of the other two builds should be without this one.

Glyph of Sense Undead

Damage against Undead increased by 1% while your Sense Undead ability is active.

This is an excellent glyph for Retribution Paladins (that can remember to turn on Sense Undead).  It also works well for tanking Protection Paladins, but just remember that you won’t see those mining nodes show up (we’re all miners, right?).

Glyph of the Wise

Reduces the mana cost of your Seal of Wisdom spell by 50%.

This was popular for a bit when Shaman mana totems were over-writing Blessing of Wisdom so we kept having to refresh the buff mid-fight. Since we get three minor glyph slots, this might be a decent convenience glyph.


Major Glyphs:

Major glyphs actually have a purpose and some are quite powerful. Most of them are specific to a certain ability or spell which means the glyphs only provide a benefit if you use those abilities (or learn to!).  Many of the descriptions will include the term “If you use this spell, then get this glyph.”  Whether or not you find the glyphs a good reason to change your current rotations will be up to you. You have to remember that your glyph selection is only as good as your guild’s Inscription skills, and the auction house. If glyphs are scarce or too expensive, look through the list for alternatives.

Most Popular Major Glyphs per Spec:
Holy Icon
Glyph of Holy Light Glyph of Judgement Glyph of Judgement
Glyph of Flash of Light Glyph of Vengeance Glyph of Exorcism
Third Slot Options:
Seal of Wisdom
Seal of Light
Glyph of Divinity
Third Slot Options:
Glyph of Spiritual Attunement
Glyph of Righteous Defense
Glyph of Divine Plea
Third Slot Options:
Glyph of Seal of Blood
Glyph of Consecration

For more detailed information on the Major glyphs, read on:

Glyph of Avenger’s Shield

Your Avenger’s Shield hits 2 fewer targets, but for 100% more damage.

They lost me at “fewer targets.” Why the heck would I want that? Probably not as a tank, but possibly as a Retribution Paladin that is bumping DPS as high as possible on a single target. There are much better options for Retribution Paladins though.

Glyph of Avenging Wrath

Reduces the cooldown of your Hammer of Wrath spell by 50% while Avenging Wrath is active.

This is a complicated mathematical word problem that I don’t typically enjoy considering during a fight. This glyph will reduce the cooldown of a spell that can only be used on enemy targets below 20% health, and all of this has to occur while Avenging Wrath is active. It can be worth a few DPS to a Retribution Paladin, but it has to be one who keeps Avenging Wrath up as the enemy is close to dying. This is too much math for me. There are better options of DPS increases outside of the short window offered here.

Glyph of Beacon of Light

Increases the duration of Beacon of Light by 30 sec.

This glyph is only a benefit if you have the Beacon of Light spell, aka a Holy Paladin. BoL lasts for a minute in its standard form, so adding 30 seconds increases the duration by 50%. This really isn’t that dramatic though. BoL is cast every time it is available if you are in a typical instance fight. This means that every minute you are clicking BoL and incurring a mana cost and global cooldown. In a short fight (which is essentially everything except for boss fights) you won’t refresh BoL more than once, possibly twice. Saving a global cooldown here and there and a bit of mana is good but not great. There are better healing glyphs for your major slots.

Glyph of Cleansing

Reduces the mana cost of your Cleanse and Purify spells by 20%.

Much better glyphs out there for major slots. Cleanse uses little mana and causes a global cooldown, so this decrease wouldn’t even be noticeable.

Glyph of Consecration

Increases the duration and cooldown of Consecration by 2 sec.

I’m not a big fan of the glyphs that increase cooldowns, if for no other reason than I spend so much time trying to get abilities off of cooldown. However, this glyph increases the cooldown to match the duration (unmodified by other means). Tanking Paladins use Consecrate a lot. Consecrate uses a lot of mana. Using less mana is a good thing. The glyph does throw a wrench into the 696 rotation of the tanking Paladin, but many of us have this one. Retribution Paladins have mana issues too, so this can be helpful when dishing out damage as a Ret-Pally. For Retribution, this is in the top four of glyphs you might want.

Glyph of Crusader Strike

Reduces the mana cost of your Crusader Strike ability by 20%.

Retribution Paladins are mashing the Crusader Strike button every time its available. This glyph can help with mana conservation, but there are others more viable for your major glyph spots.

Glyph of Divine Plea

While Divine Plea is active, you take 3% reduced damage from all sources.

As a tank, this glyph has some wonderful benefits. A Protection Paladin with a maxed out Guarded by the Light talent can keep refreshing Divine Plea every time he/she hits the enemy. This glyph in combination with the talent provides an almost “always on” 3% damage reduction. This is a good glyph if you are tanking, just make sure to have Divine Plea up at all times.

Glyph of Divine Storm

Your Divine Storm now heals for an additional 15% of the damage it causes.

Leave this one in the auction house. Divine Storm is not a major source of healing, and there are much better glyphs to put in the precious major slots.

Glyph of Divinty

Your Lay on Hands grants twice as much mana as normal and also grants you as much mana as it grants your target.

A fairly popular Holy Paladin glyph, this will actually provide you with double the mana if you self-cast it. I don’t typically think of LoH as a mana regen spell, I think of it more as an “Uh Oh, my healing target is dropping like a stone!” spell. This is up for consideration if you find that you use LoH in ways other than just for healing, or have a blank third major slot and nothing to put in it.

Glyph of Exorcism

Increases damage done by Exorcism by 20%.

Yes, and yes. Those are the answers to whether or not you should take this glyph if you are a Retribution Paladin. Now that Exorcism is usable on all targets (except other players), this is a pure DPS boost.

Glyph of Flash of Light

Your Flash of Light has an additional 5% critical strike chance.

Holy Paladins, use this glyph, even you in the back who is wondering how much this will really help. If you heal and you are a Paladin, this is one of the three major glyphs you should have.

Glyph of Hammer of Justice

Increases your Hammer of Justice range by 5 yards.

Very situational in terms of usefulness for this glyph. In PvE it is tough to make a compelling argument in favor of this glyph over others, but in PvP the extra 5 yards might be worth it. It gets a few votes, but not your typical front runner.

Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous

Your Hammer of Righteous hits 1 additional target.

While Paladins are the kings of AoE tanking, this glyph isn’t the reason. With so many other ways to taunt groups of enemies, it is difficult to justify using a glyph slot to have one of your spells hit one additional enemy (when it already hits 3). Hit Consecrate and leave this glyph alone.

Glyph of the Hammer of Wrath

Reduces the mana cost of Hammer of Wrath by 100%.

As discussed above, this spell is only usable during very short windows of opportunity. My guess is that during a five pull in an instance, a good Retribution Paladin (the only specs that should be looking at this glyph) will hit 3 of those 5 targets with the hammer. The reality is that things are dying too quickly to even use the hammer, let alone worry about how much mana it uses. If you are one of those quick on the draw Paladins, that always finishes off the enemies with a hammer to the head, then this might be a good glyph for you.

Glyph of Holy Light

Your Holy Light grants 10% of its heal amount to up to 5 friendly targets within 8 yards of the initial target.

This one is a staple in the Holy Paladin’s glyph repertoire. This is like a second Beacon of Light that has no downside. Make sure you have this if you are a healer.

Glyph of Holy Shock

Reduces the cooldown of Holy Shock by 1 sec.

Holy Paladins have a lot of healing spells in their arsenal now, and with much better glyphs available in my opinion. Holy Shock might be a good PvP/Arena glyph to have, but as a pure PvE healer it appears that there are better options for your major slots.

Glyph of Judgement

Your Judgements deal 10% more damage.

This is a very good glyph for Retribution Paladins (more damage is more damage), and can be helpful for tanks to generate a bit more threat (since we are judging seals constantly).

Glyph of Righteous Defense

Increase the chance for your Righteous Defense ability to work successfully by 8% on each target.

In comparison to other tanking tricks, this glyph has a very low return on the cost. RD doesn’t miss that often and there are definitely better tanking glyphs to put in these slots. Prior to Hand of Reckoning this glyph was a “must have” but since HoR’s delivery this glyph has lost some of its luster.

Glyph of Salvation

When you cast Hand of Salvation on yourself it also reduces damage taken by 20%.

A tailor made tanking glyph right? Hand of Salvation decreases threat significantly so casting this on yourself may cause 100% reduction in damage as the enemy runs off and kills your healer.  That would be bad. If you are a good threat manager and can build up enough threat to be able to cast HoS on yourself, then this can be quite useful as another “Oh No I’m going to die!” button. This is not for the faint of heart though, and will require some timing and threat management.

Glyph of Seal of Blood

When your Seal of Blood, Seal of the Martyr, Judgement of Blood or Judgement of the Marty deals damage to you, you gain 11% of the damage done as mana.

This glyph requires another math equation for those of you keeping calculators handy at home. The Blood and Martyr spells bounce 10% of the damage done by the spells back on the caster (you). This glyph will replenish the caster with mana (which can be turned into health since we are healers). Retribution Paladins have a serious mana consumption appetite, so this is a great way to keep the mana flowing. If you are in a group or raid, chances are that enough splash healing is occurring that you can keep your health topped off without having to stop and heal yourself or cause too much drain on the primary healers. This is a very good glyph to have as a Retribution Paladin.

 Glyph of Seal of Command

Increases the chance of dealing Seal of Command damage by 20%.

Apparently some Retribution Paladins are still running around with SoC up instead of Seal of Blood/Martyr, so this might be useful to them. Since you can get this glyph at level 20, it’s a great leveling glyph though that is for certain.

Glyph of Seal of Light

While Seal of Light is active, the effect of your healing spells is increased by 5%.

Get an extra 5% healing for almost free. This is definitely in the top 4 for Holy Paladins. Most are debating between this one and Glyph of Seal of Wisdom. Glyph of SoL adds healing, while SoW reduces the mana cost of those heals. The effectiveness of the glyphs will depend on which will be more beneficial. If you are struggling with mana, use Glyph of SoW, if you need more big heals, then try this one (Glyph of SoL).

Glyph of Seal of Righteousness

Increases the damage done by Seal of Righteousness by 10%.

Seal of Righteousness is well down the priority list when it comes to the seals available to a level 80 Paladin. Since this glyph isn’t available until level 50, its usefulness is a bit suspect.

Glyph of Seal of Vengeance

Your Seal of Vengeance or Seal of Corruption also grants 10 expertise while active.

A tanking specialty glyph. As a tank, a Protection Paladin will almost always have the required Seal up, so this glyph will provide some much needed expertise. If you are a Protection Paladin, you should have this one.

Glyph of Seal of Wisdom

While the Seal of Wisdom is active, the cost of your healing spells is reduced by 5%.

Make sure to revisit Glyph of Seal of Light above to help evaluate options for the very important third slot of your major glyphs. This is a great glyph if you are struggling with mana management as a Holy Paladin.

Glyph of Shield of Righteousness

Reduces the mana cost of Shield of Righteousness by 80%.

Between Blessing of Sanctuary, Divine Plea (especially when running with Glyph of Diving Plea) and occasionally judging Wisdom, a tanking Paladin can keep a pretty full mana bar. This means that even a low-cost SoR isn’t that attractive when you have much better options.

Glyph of Spiritual Attunement

Increases the amount of mana gained from your Spiritual Attunement spell by an additional 2%.

Not near enough benefit to plop down in a major glyph slot. See “lack of mana issues” for tanking Paladins above.

Glyph of Turn Evil

Reduces the casting time of your Turn Evil spell by 100%, but increases the cooldown by 8 seconds.

Almost completely useless in PvE situations, this can be a great glyph for PvP. Think warlock pets…and then think of them fleeing from an instant cast fear.


So there you have all of the glyphs currently available to our beloved Paladin class. Some are quite useful and others a bit useless. Regardless, the cost of glyphs is typically not outrageous which means that you have the luxury of experimenting with different combinations to see which will suit your play style best.  Hopefully this guide has opened your eyes to how some of the lesser used glyphs might be a benefit, and also help steer you away from some potential mistakes. I look forward to hearing about your trials and tribulation with Glyphs on our forums.

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