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Retribution Paladin PvP in Warlords

DraeneiMaleSeason13Updated for Warlords of Draenor 6.2

Retribution is in pretty fine shape in Warlords Season 2. Read on and then kill the enemy!


Retribution Paladins have a fair amount of variation depending on what you want to do. For example, whether your just doing damage or you also assist in heals and support. This page assume that you primarily want to smash the faces of the opposition.

Note: Some aspects of this guide may not apply to your character until higher level. If are interested in getting your character to max level quickly, take a look at this leveling guide.


Retribution Paladin PvP Talents and Glyphs

Talents and glyphs are easily changed to suit the current fight. The following build is for general PVP, if you’re doing something specific (eg; Dueling or 40 man BGs) then you might want to change things to suit.

Talent descriptions are below the image, our picks are checked. Best talent

Retribution PvP Talents for Warlords of Draenor

Tier 1:

  1. Sprint: Speed of light’s CD is too long, though it’s otherwise a nice sprint.
  2. Best talent Judge: Long arm of the Law – You get a speed boost every time you hit with your Judgment, with its brutal 6 second cooldown, which makes it great catching up with would be kiters. Giving how much you’re using Judgment anyway there is really no reason not to take this, especially if you’re taking the level 100 Empowered Seals, which give you more reason to be highly Judgmental. Then throw in a Glyph of Burden of Guilt which slows the opponent and catching him should be easier.
  3. Passive: Pursuit is too slow for most PvP.

Tier 2:

  1. Best talent Stun: Fist of Justice, because stuns are better than snares. The short cooldown is nice, as is the range.
  2. Sleep: Repentance has a cast time, which makes it harder to use in arena, and the sleep is too easily broken by DOTs and any other damage flying about.
  3. Area stun: Blinding Light might be better if you like to jump into the middle of big fights (such as in some BGs) as it’s an area stun. The 2 minute cooldown makes it much less useful, generally, than Fist.

Tier 3:

  1. Best talent FoL heal: Selfless Healer is the go-to talent here, assuming you’re using that heal. Get three stacks and you have a nearly free Flash of Light. If you have various buffs up (eg: your wings) then the heal is even better. Not that this effect can be purged. Sacred Shield is a better choice if that’s a concern.
  2. WoG heal: Eternal Flame is just a weaker heal than Selfless, so is pretty useless. It also uses HP better spent on damage.
  3. Shield: Sacred Shield is decent, but it’s an extra button, and action, that you have to take and while it’s not better than Selfless Healer, it’s mechanics make it easier to use in some ways. If purged only the 6 second absorb goes away, not the 30 second effect.

Tier 4:

  1. DOTs: Hand of Purity is good if you know that you’re going to be fighting opponents that use a lot of DoTs, such as Unholy DKs and Affliction ‘locks.
  2. Cooldowns: Unbreakable Spirit now reduces the cooldown on Divine ShieldDivine Protection, and Lay on Hands by 50%. Best used if you figure that you’ll be trained hard. If your team has the equivalent of your hand effects then this can be a good choice.
  3. Best talent Hands: Clemency just gives you a lot more versatility with your various Hand spells than otherwise.

Tier 5:

  1. Best talent Burst: Holy Avenger is just a really nice burst cooldown and it’s predictable. Really adds to yoiur finishers. You have it when you want it. You can also use it to throw out a lot of Word of Glories, if you do such things.
  2. Wrath: Sanctified Wrath makes your wings (Avenging Wrath) last 50% longer and reduces the cooldown of your Hammer of Wrath to 3 seconds. Which pretty much means you can spam it at low health targets and alternate it with Templar’s Verdict (Final Wrath.) Works well with your Empower Seals talent, where Judging Truth gives you even more H of Wrath damage.
  3. Proc: Divine Purpose is a nice buff and it will do as much damage over a long fight, but it’s a random proc. Better for pvE.

Tier 6:

  1. Focus: Holy Prism has decent utility and has a short CD. It’s easy to work into your rotation and it can break the stealth of the Rogue behind you. Nice if targets won’t live long. 20 second cooldown gives more flexibility than Execution Sentence.
  2. Area: Light’s Hammer is more of a PvE talent and it’s easy for the opposition to move away.
  3. Best talent Drop the Hammer: Execution Sentence makes it pretty obvious just who you’re attacking, and gives them time to react (dispel,) which is not so desirable. It’s nice damage and can be used as a heal when dropped on yourself or an ally. Pretty good at causing enemy cooldowns. 1 min cooldown. CC the dispeller and then drop the hammer.

Tier 7:

  1. Best talent More effects: Empowered Seals: Your Seals also cause your Judgment to provide additional effects. This restores some effects that were removed from Judgment awhile back. Each effect lasts 20 seconds and Judgment has that 6 second cooldown, so you’ll be able to keep this buff up just about 100% of the time. If you’re quick at changing seals you will be able to have more than one of these buffs at one time. Two should be easy. It’s more complicated than Final Verdict, but there’s more upside, such as having improved Haste and Attack Power and extra healing.
    • J. of Justice speeds you up a bit,
    • J. of Insight heals,
    • J. of Righteousness increases Haste,
    • J. of Truth increases Attack Power.
  2. Buff: Seraphim: All of your secondary stats (Haste, Crit, Mastery, MultiStrike, Versatility) get increased by 30% for 15 seconds, with a 30 second cooldown, which is a nice burst with about 50% uptime (depending on the fight and your usage.) Still, you’re spending 5 HP to fire it off.
  3. Best talent Smack! Final Verdict: A mighty strike, doing all of the damage as Holy, which lets it bypass some defenses. It also increases the radius and damage of your next Divine Storm, both by 100%. Replaces Templar’s Verdict and gives it a 10 yard range. Pure, raw, damage on a strike that you’re doing anyway and your Mastery just increases the Holy damage part. Goes very will with your Holy Avenger talent.



Some glyphs are learned automatically, just as with your abilities. You will still have to install them, however. All Paladins will learn:

  1. At level 25, Glyphs of: Harsh Words, Flash of Light, Alabaster Shield, Dazing Shield, Avenging Wrath, Templar’s Verdict
  2. At level 50, Glyphs of: Denounce, Divine Storm, Word of Glory
  3. At level 75, Glyphs of: Light of Dawn, Final Wrath, Double Jeopardy

Major: The first three are the most generally useful, but the others have their places. You can easily swap glyphs, even at the start of an arena, so plan on doing just that.

Note that some sets of glyphs are exclusive with one another, which means that you can only lead one of them. As an example are the three Judgment glyphs: Judgement, Double Jeopardy, and Burden of Guilt. You can use only one at a time.

The first two are pretty important.

  1. Damage: Glyph of Templar’s Verdict – 10% damage reduction from TV or Exoercism, up most of the time since you’ll be TVing and Exorcising as much as possible.
  2. Less CC: Glyph of Hand of Freedom – reduces the duration of CCs on your allies or yourself as well reducing incoming CC for 4 seconds. A bit redundant with the diminishing returns mechanic, but it has its uses.
  3. Glyph of Judgment for the 40 yard range.
  4. Glyph of Double Jeopardy – adds damage to your second Judgment, used on a second opponent. For example, swat a totem with the first and swat the Shaman with the second.
  5. Glyph of Divine Shield heals you for each harmful effect removed.
  6. Glyph of Word of Glory – More damage
  7. Glyph of Harsh Words – allows your Word of Glory to be used as ranged damage.
  8. Glyph of Divine Protection – for those times when you need a little more physical damage reduction.
  9. Glyph of Burden of Guilt. The Glyph of Burden of Guilt causes Judgment to reduce the target’s movement speed by 50% for 2 seconds. Combined with the Long Arm of the Law talent there will be no escaping you.
  10. Glyph of Hand of Sacrifice: Hand of Sacrifice no longer transfers damage taken by the target to the Paladin.
  11. Glyph of Merciful Wrath for more frequent, but less powerful, Avenging Wraths.
  12. Glyph of Mass Exorcism for fighting multiple targets.


Minor: Mostly just cosmetic. Take whatever you like.


Retribution PvP StatsBlood Elf Retribution Paladin Challenges You

In Warlords: Hit, Expertise, Resilience, PvP Power, and Reforging are all dead. You have two new stats, Versatility & Mastery. You have an “attuned” stat, Mastery, from which your Righteous Vengeance gives you +5% Mastery from all sources.

  • Strength > Versatility > Mastery = Haste  >= Multistrike > Crit
  • The value of the secondary stats are all fairly close to each other, with crit falling off due to the PvP nerf.

Strength – everything you do is based off your Strength.

Versatility is a direct add to all of your damage and healing and also to your damage reduction. It pretty much improves everything you do. It’s ranked high primarily for its defensive contribution. If you just don’t need the defense then you might rank it lower.

Mastery gives all of your “workhorse” strikes (and their Multistrikes) additional damage. It’s a simple, straight up, damage increase to your most used strikes.

Haste speeds up everything you do and reduces cooldowns and any cast times you might have. A Haste build (Haste before all other secondary stats) will give you more frequent use of your abilities at the expense of damage.

Multistrike gives you a chance for one (two in PvE) additional strike (or heal) off of any given action. Each additional hit is at 30% effect. The strikes that your Mastery improves also improves their Multistrikes, making this stat more valuable than Crit.

Crit randomly does large numbers, but you have nothing that procs off it or that increases it, so it falls below the others. In PvP Crit does 150% damage, not 200% as in PvE.

Stacking stats will be done with gems (not yet available,) enchants, and gear selection, now that reforging is dead.


Gems for the Retribution Paladin

In short: there are some PvP gear gem sockets available in Warlords Season 2. Gem for:

Only gear that is randomly created, such as from boxes that you win, has a chance to have sockets. Vendor gear does not. Yes, this means that there will be few, if any, sockets appearing on Conquest gear.

A good gemming scheme, pre item level 600, is this:

Gemming in Warlords PvP

Warlords Season 2 gear has the occasional gem slot, Season 1 gear did not. All gems are prismatic, meaning they fit into any socket. None have Str, they all have secondary stats (Mastery, etc.)

For older gear, if you’re under 90: The item squish cut gems down a bit. What used to be 160 Int is now 10, for example. The new Prismatic gems are 35/50/75 points of Mastery or whatever. Older gems (Mists of Pandaria and lower) that used to code for Hit now do Crit, gems that had Expertise are now Haste.

The Gems for Ret PvP

75 point gems are expensive, 50s much less so, 35s are dirt cheap. You won’t lose much by dropping down one gem level.

Mists of Pandaria Gems, for gear under ilevel 600.
Meta Reverberating Primal Diamond: +14 Str & Increased Crit Effect
Capacitive Primal Diamond: +20 Critical Strike, and chance on melee or ranged hit to gain Capacitance
Red Bold Primordial Ruby: +10 Str
Yellow Quick Sun’s Radiance: +20 Haste
Fractured Sun’s Radiance: +20 Mastery
Orange Skillful Vermilion Onyx: +5 Str and +10 Mastery
Fierce Vermilion Onyx: +5 Str and +10 Haste
Blue Lightning Wild Jade: +10 Haste and +10 Crit
Green Sensei’s Wild Jade: +10 Crit and +10 Mastery
Purple Etched Imperial Amethyst: +5 Str and +10 Crit
Cogwheel Requires an engie helm, such as this.
Quick Tinker’s Gear: +38 Haste
Smooth Tinker’s Gear: +38 Crit
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: +38 Mastery


Retribution PvP Enchantments

Short on gold? Most of the enchants below have similar enchants available, of lesser value, for less cash. We’ve linked to a couple of these. Check with the rep vendor or the Auction House for others. If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about fixing your poverty.

Helm enchants are gone in Mists of Pandaria, shoulder enchants all come from the Inscription profession.

In Warlords the only items you can enchants (on gear over item level 600) are your rings, neck items, cloaks, and weapons. All of the enchants are for secondary stats, none are for Str.

Enchant for Versatility on all, but weapons. You might prefer the weapon bleed, for example.





Other enchants, for gear under item level 600.
Shoulders Greater Tiger Fang Inscription: +15 Str and +5 Crit
Chest Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +9 to all Stats
Bracers Enchant Bracer – Exceptional Strength: +15 Str
Enchant Bracer – Mastery: +25 Mastery
Gloves Enchant Gloves – Super Strength: +25 Str
Enchant Gloves – Superior Expertise: +25 Haste
Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery: +25 Mastery
Belt Livingsteel Belt Buckle: Sockets your belt, pop in the best gem.
Leggings Angerhide Leg Armor: +19 Str & 11 Crit rating
Boots Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step: +10 Mastery and Slight run speed increase.


Gearing up in the Warlords of Draenor

Carfting: There is no crafted PvP set in Warlords. If you have Blacksmithing, or you have enough gold, you can get a 630 PvE weapon and two 640 armor pieces (chest and legs recommended.) All of which can be upgraded for a cost greatly exceeding that of what it took to make them. For example:

PvP gear comes with two ratings, a ‘normal’ rating, for PvE, and a PvP Rating, somewhat higher, for all PvP combat. For example, the Conquest gear is 660(690) which means that it will be 660 in the raid and 690 in any PvP situations (duels, ganking, world, arenas, etc.)

There are three tiers of gear:

  • Wild Aspirant – 625 in PvE, 700 in PvP (Warforged boosts it by 6 item levels.)
  • Wild Combatant – 675 PvE to  715 PvP
  • Wild Gladiator – 700 PvE to 730 PvP

You get the Aspirant gear from boxes dropped by doing well in the BGS, skirmishes, and Ashran events. You can also get pieces from your Gladiator Sanctum work orders. If you lose you might still get a box, if your side isn’t crushed. If you win you get better boxes, depending on how well your team does. It’s possible to get honor gear from these boxes, but not conquest gear. (A nice incentive not to just lay down and die at the start of the game.)

Honor and Conquest gear otherwise come from the vendors in Ashran. Honor weapons do not have any skill or special point requirement. Conquest weapons require 7,250 Conquest points to be accumulated first. There are two pieces available for each item slot, allowing you to adjust stats somewhat.

By doing Ashran events you can gain rep with your leader’s faction which will eventually open up a third  Conquest item, allowing more stat choice.

Consider getting your gear in this order:

  1. If you don’t have at least the season 1 trinket pair, with its 15% damage reduction, consider getting that first.
  2. Honor: Buy your weapon first
  3. Then buy gloves and head or chest or legs, for the two piece bonus.
  4. Conquest: switch the above.
  5. Buy the “One Use” damage trinket.
  6. Buy the remaining items for the 4 piece set bonus
  7. Buy neck, cloak, and rings and get them enchanted.
  8. Buy the last of the big pieces (whatever is left from head, chest, legs, shoulder)
  9. Boots and bracers
  10. Escape trinket, buy this first if you don’t already have one.

Gearing Up in Season 2

This is a Skill-Capped video and covers how to quickly gear up in Warlords Season 2. It covers Ashran, BGs, Skirmishes, and the Coliseum. While it came out just before the season 2 started the info is still pretty good.

An Ashran note: With 6.2 your are automatically assigned to a raid group upon entering Ashran. Sometimes that raid group will have a good leader and will be winning events, collecting lots of bones for your Sanctum, and harassing the other side. Other times… not so much. If you’re good at pulling a group together and getting it focused then do just that.

You have events, rares, endless group PvP, killing the enemy boss, quests, and area objectives. Lots to do.

For lots more Retribution PvP goodness, check out Skill Capped.

Get Better at PvP with Skill Capped



Crushing the Opposition

Note: If you took the Final Verdict talents then use that anywhere below where it mentions Templar’s Verdict.

Seals and Buffs

  • Seal of Truth should be your seal of choice for single target fights.
  • Seal of Righteousness for larger groups (4+)
  • Blessing as to your preference (Kings)
  • Your Str potion can be taken right before combat begins and again at some point during the fight.

Building and Spending Holy Power

The key to maximizing your damage is proper management of Holy Power.

As we can store up to a maximum of 5 Holy Power and our abilities utilize 3 charges at most, you can use this to pool Holy Power for when you’ll receive a damage boost and then unleash a quick Templar’s Verdict followed by any attack that generates Holy Power and then another 3 point Templar’s Verdict. (Or Final Verdict, if you took that talent.)

However, it’s also important that you never waste an opportunity to build additional Holy Power, which means you need to expend it as quickly as possible upon reaching the 5 stack cap or else you’re effectively wasting potential damage while inhibiting yourself from building further charges for future attacks.

  • Exorcism should be used on cooldown. Your autoattacks have a chance to reset to Ex. cooldown and it should always be used when that happens.
  • Hammer of Wrath should be cast whenever possible, either when a target is at 20% (35% with perk) health or when Avenging Wrath is active.
  • Templar’s Verdict (Final Verdict) is your primary Holy Power using attack and should be used when you have 3 Holy Power unless you’re pooling Holy Power temporarily. With the Glyph of TV it also adds damage reduction, as does your Exorcism.

Offensive Cooldowns

  • Your DPS trinket(s)
  • Tier 6 talents
  • Avenging Wrath

Defensive Cooldowns

Basic rotation

You’re a burst oriented DPS class. You have two general types of abilities:

Spammable abilities for general damage and to generate Holy Power.

  • Crusader Strike
  • Judgement and Exorcism .
  • Hammer of Wrath is nice, but only when the opponent is 20% or less (35% with the perk) or when Avenging Wrath is up. So not really a “spammable” ability.
  • Use the Holy Power to drive Templar’s Verdict (Final Verdict) or Word of Glory/Harsh Words

Ranged abilities: Judgement, Exorcism, Hammer of Wrath, Execution Sentence or Holy Prism. They can also be used while disarmed.

Generally you will (in order of priority: )

  1. Generate some Holy Power (preferably 3)
  2. Use Templar’s Verdict at 5 Holy Power (HP)
  3. Hammer of Wrath – when opponent is 35% or less.
  4. Exorcism
  5. Crusader Strike
  6. Judgement
  7. Templar’s Verdict at 3 HP.
  8. Weave Holy Prism or Execution Sentence into any gaps in the rotation

You want to be using as many TV’s and Exorcisms as possible, for the damage and the damage reduction.

PvP, being as dynamic as it is, requires you to take advantage of opportunities as they come up.

Bursting Down the Enemy

  1. Have 5 HP
  2. Any team buffs (eg: Heroism/Bloodlust)
  3. Trinket proc or “on use” trinket
  4. Avenging Wrath (your tier 5 talent)
  5. Smash!

Kiting the Enemy as Retribution

Yes, Ret. Paladins can kite the enemy and close gaps. You’re far from being a Hunter, and your ranged shots aren’t long range or devastating, but you can do it.

  • You will want lots of Haste for faster cooldowns.
  • Talents: Long arm of the law, Fist of Justice, Selfless Healer, Clemency, Execution Sentence, and Empowered Seals
  • Glyphs: Glyph of Judgment (adds range, for kiting hunters & casters) or Glyph of Burden of Guilt (slow the enemy.) These two glyphs are exclusive.
  • Break free: Emancipate, Hand of Freedom, trinket
  • Attack: Judgement (30 yards, 40 glyphed,) Fist of Justice (20 yrds,) Exorcism (30,) Hammer of Wrath (30,) Harsh Words (40, this is the glyphed Word of Glory,) Execution Sentence or Holy Prism (both 40 yards.)


Retribution Paladin PvP Videos

This guy covers stats, talents, very briefly glyphs, and rotations. He offers some pretty good commentary. It also has subtitles, but they’re so bad they’re funny.

This one is 3×3 arena combat with a lot of very good commentary. The author doesn’t talk about talents, glyphs, etc., but does talk a lot about positioning, why this and why that, pressure, and a whole lot more. As he mentions, a lot of this applies to any class/spec, not just Ret.

Not updated for Warlords, but most of the commentary on strategy and as such is pretty evergreen.

This one’s by the same guy, but is for the Battlegrounds.


Retribution Macros

Most of these were adapted from Vanguard’s Ret Page Startattack Use this basic macro with any attack that you might use to start a fight. It guarantees that your autoattack starts.

  • #showtooltip NameOfAttack
  • /startattack
  • /cast NameOfAttack

For example:

  • #showtooltip Crusader Strike
  • /startattack
  • /cast Crusader Strike

WoG Macro: If you’re running 5s then you might have 4 of these, one for each party member. The only change will be party1, party2, party3, party4, corresponding to each party member. This way you don’t need to add their names to the macros.

  • #showtooltip Word of Glory
  • /cast [target=party1] Word of Glory

Other party macros: you can do the same thing with other support macros. Have one of these for each party member, change the ‘X’ to a number, as in the WoG macro. Keep in mind that it’s easy to run out of buttons if you make a lot of these, so only make the ones that will really get used. Example…

  • #showtooltip Hand of Protection
  • /cast [target=partyX] Hand of Protection

Focus Macros: use these for any abilities that might attack your focus target, such as Hammer of Justice or Rebuke.

  • #showtooltip Hammer of Justice
  • /cast [target=focus] Hammer of Justice

Arena macros are the same thing. You just use “arenax”, where ‘X’ is the number of the enemy, 1-5. This hammers the first enemy on your list.

  • #showtooltip Hammer of Justice
  • /cast [target=arena1] Hammer of Justice


Paladin Race choice:

Since the Paladin is such a versitile class it’s hard to say which race is “best.” It really depends on what your game is. Humans might arguably be “the best,” at least for PvP, with their escape ability allowing two DPS/Healing trinkets. Blood Elves have the useful Arcane Torrent and Tauren have War Stomp, neither of which will be much use if you’re Holy.

Pandarens cannot become Paladins.


  • Good with Jewelcrafting.
  • Heal: This is a tiny heal compared to the others you already have, so isn’t as useful as it is for others. Still, it requires no mana and no Holy Power, and is an instant cast.
  • Resistant to Shadow Damage
  • Bonus to Str (and Int. & Ag.)


  • Stone Form: Nice against bleeds (Rogues, Ferals) and, as such, is definitely useful. Also comes with 10% damage reduction, which isn’t bad, at all.
  • Resistance to Frost: Yawn.
  • +2% to critical and healing effect.
  • Good with Archeology.

Human:  May be the best Pally race for PvP.

  • Bonus to Rep gains: Nice if you intend to gain faction with any of the many factions in the game. In the long run this may save you many hours of faction grinding.
  • Every Man for Himself (Escape:) Very nice for PvP. It means that you don’t have to carry the PvP escape trinket and can grab a more useful trinket, such as one with a nice cooldown, instead.
  • Bonus to Versatility

Blood Elf:

  • Good at Enchanting
  • Arcane Torrent: Provides an A of E silence, once you get in range. Also restores a small bit of mana.
  • Resistant to magical damage: Of small use against magic throwing things in raids, not so much elsewhere.
  • +1% Crit rating


  • Best Horde Pally race due to War Stomp and their increased health.
  • War Stomp stuns nearby opponents – which is always useful.
  • Increased Health – It’s the equivalent of at least three Stam gems.
  • Hebalism skill and speed increased – The heal obtained from herbalism also adds a big Haste cooldown, which is pretty nice for you, since haste is your #1 secondary stat.
  • +2% to critical and healing effect.
  • Resistant to Nature damage
  • Target of a wide variety of Man/Cow jokes.


How to Get your Paladin to the Level Cap, ASAP

Hit the Level Cap Fast in Warlords of Draenor!Paladin leveling is easy, regardless of spec. Holy can level in PvP or Dungeons, Prot in dungeons or questing (though a bit slowly,) and Ret crushes all opposition anywhere. But then you have those other alts you want to level though those 100 levels. What about them?

With the thousands of quests to 100 and a bazillion mobs to kill (not to mention other players, but they don’t count here) sorting out which quests are best and which series of quests will get you to 100 the fastest is important, which is why we highly recommend Zygor’s Guide.

Zygor’s is an in-game guide and it nearly automates the whole leveling process: you just pick your starting point, at any level, and the guide tracks which quest you’re on, tracks the quest objectives, and automatically advances and updates as you complete your tasks and quests. In addition, a waypoint arrow is set automatically, so you never have to wonder where to go.

All of the important quest info is included in the guide so you never have to wonder what to do. You’ll find that it’s vastly superior to the in-game questing help.

Playing with Heirlooms and/or Recruit a friend? Gaining a few levels in the dungeons or in PvP? Zygor’s has your back. The guide knows what level you are and will correctly suggest where to go next and will let you dump all of your obsolete quests. You will probably never need to look at your quest log again.

Grab your copy here and get to 100 as fast as possible, or read our review, first.


Related Paladin Pages and Posts

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