Retribution Paladin PvP Guide for WotLK Classic
Retribution Paladin is one of the kings of burst damage in PvP and, among other melee, is unmatched in the utility they can offer to their teammates in the form of buffs, off-healing, and damage mitigation.
The talent build listed above takes all of the major bonuses from Retribution to help maximize your damage such as Crusader Strike, Divine Storm, and The Art of War as well as the utility that will keep you in range of your target, namely Repentance and Pursuit of Justice. It also dips into the Protection tree to maximize the benefits of spells already available to you and reducing the effectiveness of crowd-controlling abilities on your character.
For Glyphs you will be using Glyph of Judgement which is a flat damage increase to your Judgement ability, Glyph of Turn Evil which will make your Turn Evil ability an instant cast, making it even more useful as you will be facing a large amount of Death Knights and Warlocks, and lastly Glyph of Salvation which turns your Hand of Salvation ability into a 20% damage reduction cooldown when cast on yourself.
As a Retribution Paladin in PvP there is no real set rotation you should be focusing on. The usage of your damaging abilities depends on many factors but the most important thing as a Retribution Paladin is to stay on your target as much as you possibly can. As a Paladin your mobility will be quite limited, but if you take advantage of Hand of Freedom to remove all slows and roots and Judgement of Justice to lessen the effectiveness of your enemies' movespeed bonuses, you can stick to a target quite well.
Seal of Righteousness is the primary Seal you will be using in PvP as it synergizes well with your spells all being on short cooldowns and puts more emphasis on your burst potential. You choose this seal over Command because the additional burst damage it causes when unleashing your judgements.
Judgement of Light, Judgement of Wisdom, or Judgement of Justice should be used on cooldown to deal as much damage as possible. If you are following our spec recommendation you will also be receiving the majority of your Mana back every time you cast Judgement. Mana may become an issue in longer fights, so it is important to take advantage of this nearly-free source of damage.
Crusader Strike will be the majority of your damage. In a situation where you are fighting someone with a movement speed increase, having as high uptime as possible on Judgement of Justice will help your damage considerably.
Hammer of Wrath is your execute and deals massive damage to targets below 20% health. If you are able to cast Hammer of Wrath you probably should.
Exorcism is not a new ability, but one that is now much more usable in PvP thanks to The Art of War. This should only be used when you have an Art of War proc but can it can be used to deal a considerable amount of damage or spent on an instant-cast Flash Heal as well.
Divine Storm is a new ability that not only deals massive damage on multiple targets but also provides a considerable amount of healing.
Consecration can be used to try and pull stealthed enemies out of hiding.
Paladins offer some of the best utility in the game; taking full advantage of your utility is what really separates a good Paladin from a great one. When used correctly, Paladin has a response to almost every situation you could think of.
Hand of Freedom is a great tool to keep you or your allies mobile, removing all root and slow effects from whomever you cast it on. This is, however, a Magic effect and able to be dispelled or spell-stolen, so you cannot always depend on it.
Divine Shield is a complete immunity that clears most debuffs from you. Using this can save your life or keep you offensive in a situation where you are constantly being crowd-controlled. This effect can be dispelled by Priests casting Mass Dispel, so it is important to keep this in mind when playing against a Priest.
Cleanse is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, dispels in the game. Removing one Magic, Poison, and Disease effect from your ally in PvP is a massive advantage. Make sure you have this in a place you can easily use it, as dispelling a crowd-controlling effect off your teammates could turn the tide of any fight.
Hand of Protection protects you or an ally with a shield that grants immunity to all Physical damage and Physical effects. This can be used to both stop damage or remove stuns such as Kidney Shot. Keep in mind that this is a Magic effect and can be dispelled or spell-stolen. If you are fighting against a Mage it is a good idea to be ready to cancel the buff off of yourself or you risk the Mage potentially stealing the shield.
Repentance is a powerful ranged crowd control ability that incapacitates your target. This is a great tool to close the gap or set up burst on a target. Keep in mind that because this is an incapacitate effect it breaks on any damage dealt, including damage-over-time effects.
Hammer of Justice is a short-range stun that can be used as a pseudo-interrupt if needed. Hammer of Justice is both great in an offensive situation where you might need to shut down a spell or heal cast, or in a defensive one where you need to create distance or give yourself time to heal.
Turn Evil allows you to fear Undead or Demons. This is only particularly useful against Warlocks and Death Knights, but oftentimes crowd-controlling their pet can have a major impact on the fight as their demons will not be able to use their abilities while feared.
Righteous Fury reduces your damage taken by a flat 6% when the buff is active, assuming you are talented into the improved version in the Protection tree.
Avenging Wrath is a massive damage increase, but stops you from using your defensive abilities such as Divine Shield for a short time. Using Avenging Wrath effectively can win you games because of how much it increases your damage, but it can just as easily lose them if you are not prepared for the damage you may receive while you are not able to use any of your defensive cooldowns.
The Aura you will be using in PvP will almost exclusively be Devotion Aura, but for specific situations where you feel like you are taking too much damage you can switch to a resistance aura for the type of damage you are taking to lessen the burden on your healer.
As a Retribution Paladin your largest focus stats-wise will be Resilience and Stamina. Retribution Paladins deal a large amount of damage with just Strength which will be plentiful on any gear, and the lack of Paladin's mobility can make it easy for them to find themselves in a situation where they will be taking a considerable amount of damage, so defensive stats can be more beneficial for them than other classes.
Resilience is the largest source of damage mitigation you can get from stats. Resilience is a flat damage reduction from all sources and getting as much of this as possible especially early on can help you in most PvP situations. Retribution Paladin deals a lot of damage baseline, so putting an emphasis on this stat is important.
Strength increases your damage by being the single-largest source of Attack Power. Assuming you are talented in Divine Strength, each point of Strength will grant 2.2 Attack Power.
Stamina increases your healthpool and, especially early on, there are times where the raw health added by certain pieces can make a major difference in your survivability.
Attack Power increases the damage of your abilities and auto-attacks.
Critical Strike and Agility both have very marginal benefits for Retribution, but are damage increases either way. 30% Crit is the sweet spot for Retribution as it will guarantee your uptime of Vengeance and Righteous Vengeance and will lead to more The Art of War procs.
The list linked below includes the best possible gear setup for a Retribution Paladin in PvP.
Retribution Paladin Arena Teams and Compositions
When it comes to evaluating Retribution Paladin's place within the Arena, we have created a number of guides devoted to listing a variety of popular team compositions which you can find below.
- 18 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Phase 2 release ahead of Ulduar raid release.
- 26 Sep. 2022: Page added.
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