Retribution Paladin PvP Rotation and Playstyle (Dragonflight 10.2)
PvP requires you to perform various actions in the course of a duel, match, or battleground: interrupting/silencing enemies, damaging them, bursting them down, defending yourself, keeping yourself alive, etc.. It is a game mode that fully utilizes your kit, especially spells that are rarely used in PvE. On this page, we go through all the spells you need to use in PvP as a Retribution Paladin, how you should use them, and we explain what your playstyle should be.
This page is part of our Retribution Paladin PvP Guide.
Playstyle for Retribution Paladins
Retribution Paladins have two main roles in PvP: use your strong single-target damage to force cooldowns and use your utility to help you or your teammates survive until you can use your burst cooldowns again. With tools such as Blessing of Freedom, Blessing of Protection and Blessing of Sanctuary, it makes your team very hard for the enemy team to kill. It is important to rotate cooldowns properly and know when it is a good idea to use Blessing of Sanctuary to break crowd control or when to use Blessing of Protection on you or a teammate that is being focused. You also have Flash of Light that comes in handy when the enemy has no kicks or is not focusing on you.
Retribution Paladins have the choice between using different Auras that will affect not only them but also their teammates. In PvP, we default into Devotion Aura. Devotion Aura reduces the damage your teammates take by 3%. All auras in PvP are relatively weak, but in 3v3 Arena Devotion, aura provides a total of 9% damage reduction, which is better than what the other auras can offer.
Generating and Spending Holy Power
Before talking about the damage rotations, it is important to know what will be used to generate and spend Holy Power. This is extremely important because Retribution Paladins have limited mobility, so when you reach your target, you want to deal as much damage as you can. Here are the abilities that will generate Holy Power:
- Crusading Strikes has become the default talent, turning your auto attacks into Crusader Strike that generate Holy Power every other attack.
- Judgment is another ability that will be your primary source of Holy Power. This will also increase the damage to your next Holy Power ability and generate 1-2 Holy Power depending on talent selection
- Blade of Justice has a short cooldown and generates 1 - 2 Holy Power depending on your talent preference
- Wake of Ashes deals AoE damage in front of you slows everyone hit by the damage and will generate 3 Holy Power.
- Hammer of Wrath generates 1 Holy Power. This can be used on enemies with less than 20% health or while Avenging Wrath is active.
Now that you know how to generate Holy Power, here are the abilities that you will be spending it on:
- Final Verdict is your primary Holy Power spending. This costs 3 Holy Power, and you will use this to deal single-target damage.
- Divine Storm costs 3 Holy Power and should be used when your team's goal is to cleave the enemy team while they are stacked. This also gets cast from the talent Empyrean Legacy.
- Word of Glory costs 3 Holy Power and heals either yourself or your teammates, depending on your target.
Before Gates Open
Know exactly who you will use Hammer of Justice on. Most of the time, you will be using it on the enemy healer and trying to kill a DPS.
When you have the enemy healer in crowd control, and you are trying to kill an enemy, you use your burst damage.
Burst Rotation with Avenging Wrath: Might and no Divine Auxiliary
- Cast Blade of Justice and Judgment to get to 3 Holy Power and enable Empyrean Legacy proc.
- Cast Hammer of Justice on either healer or primary target in order to trigger Infurious Warboots of Impunity stat bonus
- Cast Avenging Wrath: Might + any on-use DPS trinkets you might have
- Cast Final Reckoning on primary target
- Cast Final Verdict proccing the Empyrean Legacy effect. This makes it so both your Final Verdict and Divine Storm effects are empowered by the double judgment effect from Highlord's Judgment and the Final Reckoning effect.
- Cast Divine Toll if there are enough targets that it generates 3+ Holy Power use Final Verdict, if it generates 2 Holy Power, use one charge of Hammer of Wrath and then use Final Verdict if it generates only one Holy Power, use Wake of Ashes and then Final Verdict
- Cast Wake of Ashes while attempting to hit as many targets as possible to maximize its damage. Then cast Final Verdict
- Continue with sustained damage rotation
Sustained damage is damage you do when your burst cooldowns are unavailable.
The damage rotation of a Retribution Paladin is more of a priority system. It consists of trying to keep your Hammer of Wrath, Judgment, and Blade of Justice on cooldown as frequently as possible while avoiding going over 5 Holy Power, while also landing as many Final Verdicts into Greater Judgment windows as possible.
An example of a nonburst damage rotation would look like this:
- Hammer of Wrath if running Vengeful Wrath
- cast Blade of Justice to apply Expurgation
- cast Judgment in order to apply Greater Judgment and if running 4 pieces of Zealous Pyreknight's Barbute triggering the 2 and 4 set effects.
- If not running Vengeful Wrath Hammer of Wrath priority is lowered due to both the importance of keeping Judgment and Blade of Justice on cooldown due to their interactions with the 10.2 set bonus Paladin Retribution 10.2 Class Set 2pc and Paladin Retribution 10.2 Class Set 4pc.
- Try to stay in melee range in order to have uptime on your Crusading Strikes
- cast Final Verdict
- cast Judgment
- cast Wake of Ashes
- cast Final Verdict
- Continue to keep generators on cooldown while not overcapping on Holy Power. If you reach 5 Holy Power and Greater Judgment is not applied to the target, and the target is out of Final Verdict range, it is okay to throw a Judgment while closing the distance.
Burst while running Crusade and Divine Auxiliary
Playing these two talents slightly alters the burst rotation. In all likelihood, your first Empyrean Legacy is not going to be fully empowered unless it is off-sync with Crusade's cooldown.
- Generate 3+ Holy Power then press Crusade
- Cast Final Verdict
- Cast Divine Toll to generate 3+ Holy Power
- Cast Final Verdict you should now be at 7 stacks of Crusade
- Cast Final Reckoning with Divine Auxiliary
- Cast Final Verdict you should now have a full 10 stacks of Crusade
- Continue with the burst rotation mentioned in the Avenging Wrath: Might section. The reason we slightly delay the Final Reckoning is to maximize the uptime between having 10 stacks of Crusade and the 15% damage increase to Holy Power spenders from Final Reckoning
Divine Shield is your main defensive ability. This makes you immune to everything for 8 seconds. This should be used as a last resort when your healer cannot keep you alive.
Shield of Vengeance is a strong shielding effect modified by how much maximum HP you have. Its absorb can be increased by Verdant Gladiator's Emblem or Rallying Cry
Blessing of Protection is your secondary defensive ability. This is a powerful ability that can be used on either you or your teammates. This makes the player immune to all physical damage. It is powerful against melee teams and can also remove physical crowd control effects such as Blind and Cheap Shot
Blessing of Freedom can also be used defensively. It can be used on you or a teammates. If your teammates are being focused and they need a way to get away from the enemies, use this on them.
Blessing of Sanctuary should be used on a teammate that is in crowd control and does not have or wants to use trinket.
Blessing of Sacrifice can only be used on a teammate. This reduces the damage they take in PvP by 20% and redirects the post-mitigated damage to yourself. This damage can break crowd control effects such as Polymorph.
Word of Glory is an instant heal that costs 3 Holy Power. This should be used whenever one of your teammates is struggling to stay alive, and your healer needs help.
Flash of Light is an instant heal when taking the talent Light's Celerity. This should be used whenever you or your teammates are in trouble or as a filler ability if all your holy power generators are on cooldown and you are waiting for a Crusading Strikes swing.
It is advised to use Macros to use abilities on enemies or allies without having to target them. For this reason, we have a page dedicated to them.
- 06 Nov. 2023: Updated for Patch 10.2
- 04 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.7
- 10 Jul. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.5
- 01 Jun. 2023: Updated for Patch 10.1
- 30 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.5.
- 11 Dec. 2022: Reviewed for Dragonflight Season 1.
- 22 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight Pre-patch.
- 01 Aug. 2022: Reviewed for Shadowlands Season 4.
- 31 May 2022: Reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
- 28 Feb. 2022: Updated for Patch 9.2.
- Updated all Damage Rotations.
- 10 Nov. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.1.5.
- 02 Jul. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.1.
- 08 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
- 17 Feb. 2021: Updated all rotations with new talent.
- 17 Dec. 2020: Removed old spells.
- 05 Dec. 2020: Updated Damage Rotations to include Covenant Ability.
- 14 Oct. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands pre-patch.
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