WoW Guide: Ready to Raid as a Paladin

You've leveled your Paladin to 80, you've figured out how to use all of your spells and talents and which stats you want on gear. Now you want to move up into the big leagues...

You've leveled your Paladin to 80, you've figured out how to use all of your spells and talents and which stats you want on gear. Now you want to move up into the big leagues and see the raiding content that everyone talks about. The flying gothic pyramid/cathedral of Naxxramas awaits you.

As a Paladin, you will be invited to raids regardless of the spec you choose (as long as the raid has room). Gone are the days of being discriminated against as a Retribution spec. After making the decision that you want to see more than the five-man content, do you have what it takes to be a raider? I can answer that for you, yes, you do. Blizzard has scaled back the strict raiding requirements of old, but you still want to be the best you can be. That's where this handy guide comes in. Following is a series of discussions to provide you with some baseline equipment and character statistics for understanding what it takes to be "Raid Ready."

The Holy Healer

As a holy Paladin, there is a threshold that must be met so that you have enough mana to cast spells, enough spell power to cast big heals, and spell crit (you will make mana back as you crit with spells). You'll also want some mana/five second, but it is lower on the scale. For a Raid Ready Holy Paladin, the stats should include the following:
  • 16,000 Mana
  • 1,500 Spell Power
  • 25% Spell Crit
  • 350 Mana/5 seconds
These are just the basics, but with those levels, you should be ready to go. The real question is, how do we get geared up to those numbers, and how can we augment ourselves through food, flasks, gems, and enchants to help us on our way.

Food, Flasks, Elixirs and Other Yummy Goodness

For temporary food buffs, hopefully someone can make a Fish Feast that grants 46 Spell Power and 40 Stamina (among other buffs). Barring that group-wide food, you can't go wrong with Firecracker Salmon for spell power, or Spiced Wyrm Burger for spell critical.

Flasks and Elixirs are an excellent way to boost stats you may be lacking. You can only have one of each of the types so you'll find yourself choosing between battle and guardian elixirs (and some Flasks count as both types). The flask of choice is the Flask of the Frost Wyrm because it provides +125 spell power, but it may be hard to find in your neck of the woods. Other solid choices include Spellpower Elixir which give 58 spell power or even Elixir of Mighty Thoughts to increase your mana pool by almost 500.

Potions should be kept on hand for those emergency situations. For the holy Paladin, the potion of choice is the Runic Mana Potion. Get used to carrying multiple stacks of these (or use a Mana Injector that will store 20 potions and save bag slots).

Gems and Enchants

Gems can't completely overhaul a set of gear but it can push you over the threshold if you have enough sockets. The key for gems is to stick with stats you need. Recalling that we want a big mana pool and then spell power, we're going to gem our gear for Intellect until we have enough mana, then we will start putting in more spell crit. Gems can be changed, and they should change with your needs. That being said, there are some key meta gems that will require specific gem combinations in your gear. Case in point is the Insightful Earthsiege Diamond that provides +21 Intellect and a chance to restore mana on each spell cast. That is an excellent gem to socket, but it requires one of each color gem in your gear to activate. If you don't have the other gems, then you may be better off starting with the Ember Skyflare which requires 3 red gems in your gear.

Enchanting is similar to gems in that you will want to boost the stats most in need. If gems brought your mana pool to 16,000, then start adding some spell crit, or at least enchants that raise all stats (they are a good "catch all" type enchant if you can't afford or get the more specific enchants). Almost every slot can receive intellect or stat boost enchants. And don't forget to enchant your weapon and shield!


One of the main reasons we all want to raid is for gear. Unfortunately, we have to start with some too! The holy Paladin has it a bit easier than most because we can wear all armor sets. And while the practice of wearing cloth may play out in the lower level dungeons, you really need to be able to take a punch in raids. Try to stick with plate if at all possible. There are some good choices through reputation rewards that can get you on your way. In addition to some of those pieces, you will want to focus on gathering gear from heroic dungeons or crafted gear.

Slot Crafted Instance Drop
Head Brilliant Titansteel Helm - Blacksmithing Helmet of the Constructor - Skarvald in Heroic Utgarde Keep
Chest Brilliant Saronite Breastplate - Blacksmithing Patina-Coated Breastplate - Halls of Stone (BoE so check the auction house)
Neck Titaniaum Spellshock Necklace - Jewelcrafters Amulet of the Spell-Flinger - Heroic Ahn'Kahet
Cloak Wispcloak - Tailoring Reanimators Cloak - Heroic Drak'Tharon
Shoulders Brilliant Saronite Pauldrons - Blacksmithing Ferocious Pauldrons of the Rhino - Gortok Palehoof in Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Legs Ornate Saronite Legplates - Blacksmithing Leggings of Protective Auras - Ley Guardian Eregos  in Heroic Oculus
Bracers Ornate Saronite Bracers - Blacksmithing Bands of Fading Light - BoE from Utgarde Pinnacle (again, check the AH)
Waist Ornate Saronite Waistguard - Blacksmithing Girdle of Ice - Ormorok in Heroic Nexus
Boots Briliant Titansteel Treads - Blacksmithing Sabatons of Erekem - Erekem in Heroic Violet Hold
Shield Saronite Protector - Blacksmithing Tor's Crest - King Ymiron in non-Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle

The Protection Paladin

As a tanking Paladin, you will need to be able to soak up a lot of damage. Think of yourself as the ShamWoW! of the group. As such you will want to center your choices on health, strength, defense and armor. A starting Raid Ready Paladin will want to have approximately the following statistics:
  • 540 Defense (key component, get this first!)
  • 21,000 Health
  • 23,000 Armor
If you can achieve the numbers above, then you will be well on your way to having the other ingredients for a main tank. These numbers are general, and you may have more health and slightly less armor, or vice versa, but don't step foot into a raid unless you have your defense at 540. That is the magic number for bosses (considered level 83) not to be able to crit you. If you only fight level 80 mobs, you only need 525 defense, but we're ready for raiding so we need more defense!

Protection version of  Food, Flasks, and Elixirs

Once again, the Fish Feast discussed above is about the best option if you or someone around you can make it. For tanking, it provides 80 attach power, 46 spell power and 40 stamina. All stats that a tanking Paladin can use. If nobody can make the feast, pick up some Dalaran Clam Chowder for attack power, spell power and stamina, or Mammoth Meals for attack power and stamina. Any of those will do, the stamina is the same for all of them.

Flasks and Elixirs are very helpful in staying alive. You can use a Flask of Stoneblood for adding 650 health for two hours, but it counts at both a battle and guardian elixir. I would probably use a battle elixir such as Mighty Strength to add 50 strength in combination with Elixir of Protection that adds 800 armor. Using two different elixirs gives you more options as well.

Potions for the tanking Paladin will be almost exclusively health potions. You may find occasions when you will want to use a Mana potion (a Paladin with out mana is not going to be a very good tank - almost all of our threat comes from using spells/mana). Keep those health potions handy though, you never know when a healer will get stunned or silenced and not be able to heal you. Since patch 3.0 you only get one potion per fight, so choose wisely!

Gems and Enchants

The gems and enchants for tanks will be very different from the other two specs (and as different as they are from each other - the Paladin is versatile but requires a lot of different gear!). The first priority is to get defense to 540, so use gems and enchants to get there if you have to. Once you reach that magical plateau, start changing over to strength as your primary stat. Strength will provide you with more attack power, higher block value and in an odd twist, each new point of strength actually gives you more strength (through the talent Divine Strength).  Pick your gem colors based on socket colors and which of your stats are most in need (of course you can ignore socket colors if the socket bonus won't help, or you need the gem stats more). Also remember to look out for head-slot meta gems such as the Austere Earthsiege Diamond and the Eternal Earthsiege Diamond. You can't really go wrong with either of those.

Gear to get you started.

Beyond the reputation rewards, here are a few items that will get you on your way to raiding bliss as a tanking Paladin:

Slot Crafted Instance Drop
Head Tempered Titansteel Helm - Blacksmithing (A must have) Arcane Shielded Helm - Grand Magus Telestra in Heroic Nexus
Chest Tempered Saronity Breastplate - Blacksmithing Sun-Emblazoned Chestpiece 33
Neck Titanium Earthguard Chain - Jewelcrafting Burning Skull Pendant - BoE drop in Gundrak
Cloak Durable Nerubhide Cape - Leatherworking Tattered Castle Drape - BoE drop in Heroic Utgarde Keep
Shoulders Tempered Saronite Shoulders - Blacksmithing Pauldrons of the Colossus - Heroic Gundrak
Legs Daunting Legplates - Blacksmithing Bolstered Legplates - Cyanigosa in Heroic Violet Hold
Bracers Tempered Saronite Bracers - Blacksmithing Bracers of he Herald - Herald Volazj in Heroic Ahn'kahet The Old Kingdom
Waist Tempered Saronite Belt - Blacksmithing Skadi's Iron Belt - Skadi the Ruthless in Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Boots Tempered Titansteel Boots - Blacksmithing (A must have) Greaves of the Ancient Evil - Herald Volazj in Heroic Ahn'kahet The Old Kingdom
Shield Titansteel Shield Wall (A must have) - Blacksmithing Royal Crest of Lordaeron - Mal'Ganis in Heroic CaCulling of Stratholme

The Retribution Paladin

I never thought I'd write about Raid Ready Paladin because we used to get laughed out of the place with our measly DPS. But times have changed and thankfully Blizzard has bestowed upon us the power to smack enemies around. But we can't just show up with our good looks and charming demeanor, we need to bring the right set up. A good starting point for Retribution Paladins incorporates the following key stats:
  • 2,500 Attack Power
  • 200 Hit Rating, (obviously higher is better), you can't damage what you don't hit
  • 25% Crit Rating (many of your bonuses will proc* off of crits)
  • 15,000 Health
* Proc is an abbreviation of "PRobability of OCcurance" meaning that certain abilities will occur (over a period time, usually found in forums as PPM or Procs per minute). For instance; a trinket that says it "has a chance to increase attack power by 100 for 10 seconds" will "Proc" providing a buff to you with an additional 100 attack power for 10 seconds. The catch is that it's random and some items Proc more often than others.

The stats for Retribution are fairly straight forward with the exception of Hit Rating. Most people do not look at Hit Rating while leveling or even working through normal level dungeons. Get that Hit Rating up there so your swings will count for something. Also, you'll notice that I put a health requirement in there yet the Holy Paladin requirements had none. While a Retribution Paladin won't be tanking, melee DPS takes significant damage being in the heat of battle. Sometimes called "splash damage" the bosses, trash mobs and adds will require that you be able to take something of a punch.

Attack Food,Flasks and Elixirs

Almost everything you put in your mouth should have the Attack Power stat. Remember, you are what you eat! Once again I will tout the almighty Fish Feast as it is the best overall raid food buff out there. The 80 attack power always feels good going down with some tartar sauce. If a feast is not available, there are plenty of other options. A couple of which are the Dalaran Clam Chowder which will give you 60 attack power, or you can chef up/purchase some Dragonfin Fillet for 40 attack power.

The recommended flasks and elixirs won't be a surprise either, they are all about attack power and strength (well there is one curve ball in there that you'll see in a moment). The Flask of Endless Rage is a nice 180 attack power buff, or if you want to use two elixirs, you might want to combine Mighty Strength (+50  Strength) with Mighty Thoughts (+45 Intellect). Interesting that one of those is also useful for tanking and one for healing. Keep them all handy, you never know which spec you'll want to be when dual specs become available.

Which potions you keep in your bag will depend on how well the rest of your raid heals you. Keep plenty of mana and health potions available. If you don't need to augment the raid healing with your own healing or health potions, then slug some mana potions during the fight if you need to. A Paladin with no mana is a warrior, and we know we don't want to be one of those.

Gems and Enchants

Almost all of your gems should be strength gems. Period. Strength provides almost two and half points of attack power per point of strength. Load it up. There are plenty of gems with both strength and other stats like stamina, and +hit that you should be able to gather strength and the other key stats. For a meta gem, try and place a Relentless Earthseige Diamond in your helm (yes it is agility heavy but increases your crit by 3% which is excellent).

Enchanting is also going to be strength based, but many of the slots don't have a strength enchant available. In that case you are going to want to look for attack power. Always always always (did I stress this enough?) put the best attack power leg armor you can get. The Icescale is awesome with 75 attack power and +22 crit rating, but it may be very expensive or not available. In that case, grab the Nerubian Leg Armor with 55 attack power and +15 crit rating. You'll notice that all of the enchants and gems have gradations, each successive grade better than the previous. Keep working your way up there.

Retribution Gear Starter Kit

Without rehashing the reputation rewards, following are some pieces of gear that will get started as a Retribution damage dealing monster:

Slot Crafted Instance Drop
Head Spiked Titansteel Helm - Blacksmithing
Charged Titanium Specs - Engineering
Chitin Shell Greathelm - Anub'arak in Heroic Azjol-Nerub
Chest Chestplate of Conquest - Blacksmithing Breatplate of Undeath - Novos the Summoner in Heroic Drak'Tharon
Neck Titanium Impact Choker - Jewelcrafting Gold Amulet of Kings - King Ymiron in Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Cloak Ice Striker's Cloak - Leatherworking
Cloak of Bloodied Waters - Heroic Gundrak
Shoulders Savage Saronite Shoulders - Blacksmithing Snake Den Spaulders - Slad'ran in Heroic Gundrak
Legs Savage Saronity Legplates - Blacksmithing
Staggering Legplates - Ingvar the Plunderer - Heroic Utgarde Keep
Bracers Tempered Saronity Bracers - Blacksmithing Bracers of he Herald - Herald Volazj in Heroic Ahn'kahet The Old Kingdom
Waist Vengeance Bindings - Blacksmithing Bands of the Stoneforge - Sjonnir the Ironshaper in Heroic Halls of Stone
Boots Spiked Titansteel Boots - Blacksmithing The Obliterator Greaves - Zuramat the Obliterator in Heroic Violet Hold
Weapon Titansteel Destroyer - Blacksmithing (A Must Have) Colossal Skull-Clad Cleaver - Loken in Heroic Halls of Lightning

Oh the places you'll go...

The above information provides you with some insight into the types of gear you should be looking for while preparing to be Raid Ready. The lists are by no means complete or an exact recipe for success. That recipe comes from your playstyle mixed with your gear. You may find different combinations that better suit you, so by all means, give it a try. These lists are to help you better measure up your gear to determine if you should take that invite to be a part of a raid going into Naxxramas.

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