Retribution Paladin DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (MoP 5.4)

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Retribution Paladin Art Image
General Information

On this page, we list your Retribution Paladin core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft MoP 5.4. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a Retribution Paladin.

The other pages of our Retribution Paladin guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewers

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Anafielle (@Anafielle), one of the authors of Sacred Duty and an accomplished raider on her own.

1. Single Target Rotation↑top

The single target rotation for Retribution Paladins follows a priority system.

  1. Keep up Inquisition Icon Inquisition (ideally with 3 Holy Power).
  2. Cast Templar's Verdict Icon Templar's Verdict (when you have 5 Holy Power).
  3. Cast Execution Sentence Icon Execution Sentence.
  4. Cast Hammer of Wrath Icon Hammer of Wrath on cooldown
    • It is only available when the target is below 20% health or when Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath is active.
  5. Cast Crusader Strike Icon Crusader Strike on cooldown (it generates Holy Power).
  6. Cast Judgment Icon Judgment on cooldown (it generates Holy Power).
  7. Cast Divine Storm Icon Divine Storm if you have the 4-Part Tier 16 Set Bonus, and you have a Divine Storm proc from it.
  8. Cast Exorcism Icon Exorcism on cooldown (it generates Holy Power).
  9. Cast Templar's Verdict Icon Templar's Verdict (when you have 3 Holy Power).

In order to better understand this rotation, you must understand the subtleties related to Holy Power. Please read our section that deals with Holy Power.

1.1. Seal

You should use Seal of Truth Icon Seal of Truth. Against 4 or more enemies which survive for 30+ seconds, you should use Seal of Righteousness Icon Seal of Righteousness.

2. Multiple Target Rotation↑top

The multiple target (AoE) rotation is based on the same priority system as the single target one. As the number of targets you are facing increases, certain changes occur, as follows:

If you have the 4-Part Tier 16 Set Bonus, you must be on the look-out for the Divine Storm procs, since they are very important.

You should switch targets between your enemies constantly in order to benefit from Glyph of Double Jeopardy Icon Glyph of Double Jeopardy, and to maintain full Censure stacks (from Seal of Truth Icon Seal of Truth) on each target.

Against 4 or more enemies, Seal of Righteousness Icon Seal of Righteousness is better than Seal of Truth, but only in case you manage to switch the seal during a moment of down-time, or if the targets will live for a long time.

If you have a proc from your 4-Part Tier 15 Set Bonus, then Templar's Verdict Icon Templar's Verdict is better than Divine Storm Icon Divine Storm against 2-3 targets, but Divine Storm remains better against 4 or more targets.

3. Cooldown Usage↑top

As a Retribution Paladin, you only have 2 DPS cooldowns by default. For best results, you should use them as we describe below:

  • Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath should be used as many times as possible during the encounter. You can delay using this ability slightly in order to stack with Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp or a phase of the fight where the boss takes increased damage. It is also highly beneficial to stack it with Guardian of Ancient Kings Icon Guardian of Ancient Kings whenever possible (see below).
  • Guardian of Ancient Kings Icon Guardian of Ancient Kings should be used as many times as possible during an encounter. For the best results, you should first activate Guardian of Ancient Kings, and then, 10 seconds later, cast Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath. Note that if you are using the Sanctified Wrath Icon Sanctified Wrath talent, then you should simply use Avenging Wrath and Guardian of Ancient Kings at the same time.

You also have a very powerful raid cooldown in your arsenal, namely Devotion Aura Icon Devotion Aura. You should consult with your raid leader as to when the best time to use this spell is.

Your talents can provide you with a few other important abilities. We cover them in a subsequent section.

4. Optional Read: Mastering Your Retribution Paladin↑top

In this section, we will give you more details about how to execute your rotation based on the priorities mentioned above.

4.1. Refreshing Inquisition

Inquisition Icon Inquisition is a self buff that increases your Holy damage by 30%. It costs Holy Power to cast, and it lasts 20 seconds for each charge of Holy Power used.

Maintaining 100% Inquisition uptime is crucial for your DPS, and for this reason it is your top priority.

In general, you will want to apply Inquisition with 3 charges of Holy Power, as this makes your rotation easier (it does not require you to constantly track the Inquisition duration) and uses up fewer global cooldowns refreshing the buff.

The only exception to this, when you should use one or two charges of Holy Power, is when the boss is about to die and will not live for 60 (or even 40) seconds.

You should begin saving Holy Power to refresh Inquisition when the buff has around 5 seconds remaining.

4.2. Holy Power Subtleties

4.2.1. Pooling Holy Power

Thanks to Boundless Conviction Icon Boundless Conviction, a passive ability, you can have up to a maximum of 5 Holy Power at one time. However, no ability that consumes Holy Power can consume more than 3. This means two things:

  • You do not need to dump your Holy Power as soon as it reaches 3 charges, and you can continue to use Holy Power-generating abilities at 3 charges (this is explained in greater detail in the sections below).
  • You can now pool Holy Power to deliver a greater burst of damage (two Templar's Verdict Icon Templar's Verdicts in quick succession).

4.2.2. Generating Holy Power

The following abilities generate Holy Power:

The abilities that cost Holy Power are:

Remember that no ability can consume more than 3 Holy Power, and that you have a maximum capacity of 5 Holy Power. In order to maximise your Holy Power gains, you should always prioritise a Holy Power-generating ability over one that consumes Holy Power, unless you have 5 Holy Power. This general rule can be detailed further.

4.2.3. At 5 Holy Power

When you are at 5 Holy Power, you should never use a Holy Power-generating ability. Instead, you should do one of the following things:

4.2.4. At 3 Holy Power

In order to maximise your Holy Power gains, you should use your Holy Power-generating abilities on cooldown. If all of them are on cooldown, then you should use an ability that consumes Holy Power.

4.2.5. Below 3 Holy Power

When you are below 3 Holy Power, you should not use Templar's Verdict Icon Templar's Verdict or refresh Inquisition Icon Inquisition (unless it is about to expire right away, or it has already expired). Instead, you should use Holy Power-generating abilities. If all Holy Power-generating abilities are on cooldown, then simply wait for them to become available.

4.3. Exorcism and The Art of War

The Art of War Icon The Art of War, a passive ability, gives your autoattacks a chance to reset the cooldown of Exorcism Icon Exorcism.

4.4. Alternative Look at the Rotation

A different way to look at the rotation, which may help you put into practical use better, is as follows:

  1. Cast Execution Sentence Icon Execution Sentence. This is your top priority.
  2. Generate Holy Power until 5 (but not more than 5 since it would be wasted, using the following abilities, in order of priority:
    1. Hammer of Wrath Icon Hammer of Wrath;
    2. Crusader Strike Icon Crusader Strike;
    3. Judgment Icon Judgment;
    4. Exorcism Icon Exorcism.
  3. Cast Templar's Verdict Icon Templar's Verdict when you have 5 Holy Power, or 3-4 Holy Power and no Holy Power generator available.
  4. Keep up Inquisition Icon Inquisition with 3 Holy Power.

4.5. Abilities and Cooldowns from Talents

4.5.1. Tier 5 Talents

Sanctified Wrath Icon Sanctified Wrath has two implications on your rotation:

Holy Avenger Icon Holy Avenger should be used as a DPS cooldown, and stacked with Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath and Guardian of Ancient Kings Icon Guardian of Ancient Kings whenever possible. While Holy Avenger is active, your DPS rotation will probably be:

Finally, Divine Purpose Icon Divine Purpose will produce its effects passively. However, you must watch out for its procs, and be prepared for abilities not to consume Holy Power. If you are not careful, you can end up capping your Holy Power. Having a means of tracking this buff, and instantly using its procs on either Templar's Verdict Icon Templar's Verdict, Inquisition Icon Inquisition, or Divine Storm Icon Divine Storm.

4.5.2. Tier 6 Talents

Execution Sentence Icon Execution Sentence should be used on cooldown, against your main target. This is your highest priority ability. It is important to note that Execution Sentence deals damage based on your Strength at the time when it was cast (even though it deals damage over time). At the start of the fight, you should wait to cast Execution Sentence until your Guardian of Ancient Kings Icon Guardian of Ancient Kings has fully stacked your Strength buff.

If you chose Light's Hammer Icon Light's Hammer, simply place the hammer down at a location where the adds you want to damage are. This is also your highest priority, in case you chose it over Execution Sentence.

If you chose Holy Prism Icon Holy Prism, then you will cast it on a raid member who is near to the adds you want to damage.

5. Changelog↑top

  • 29 Sep. 2013: Fixed a minor inaccuracy in section 4.4.
  • 11 Sep. 2013: Patch 5.4 update.
    • Added mentions of using the 4-Part Tier 16 Set Bonus, since its benefits are quite considerable.
    • Adjusted the multiple-target section a bit.
    • Updated the mentions of Inquisition Icon Inquisition to account for the fact that it now lasts 20 seconds per stack, up from 10.
  • 20 May 2013: Patch 5.3 update: nothing to change.
  • 26 Apr. 2013:Added a mention of how the 4-Part Tier 15 Set Bonus affects the multiple target rotation.
  • 23 Apr. 2013: Revamped multiple target rotation. Made other small tweaks throughout the guide. Added an alternative explanation of how the rotation works in practice.