Paladin – Ret (Level 80)

Paladin – Ret (Level 80)

Wrath Paladin Guide


Gear and stats 

First and foremost, gear is important.
This is the official BiS gear list for 3.3 Retribution.
Alternative link:

A repost of the BiS lists can be found toward the bottom of the guide. They are updated for 3.3.5a, and include 4 different lists.
One for all plate and strength gear that are heroic and Ruby Sanctum loot.
One for all gear types, including leather and agility, and are heroic and Ruby Sanctum loot.
One for all plate and strength gear that are non-heroic and are currently obtainable in-game.
One for all gear types, including leather and agility, that are non-heroic and currently obtainable in-game.

Some ask “Why leather? Why agility gear?”. The question is answered more simply than some may think. Agility grants a Paladin with an incredible amount of melee crit, and the attack power that comes on agility items makes it very worthwhile, and in some cases better than the available plate items by a small margin.

Now, items individually can easily be decided what is better. However, you must think of your gear as a set. This is where specific stats come into play.

Hit rating – You will need 264 hit rating to have 8% hit, which is the “cap”. Meaning that anymore than that is a waste.
Expertise – 26 expertise is the “soft cap” and none past that is required. Some would argue that the number is lower on Molten, but for the sake of the guide, let’s play it safe. The main sources of expertise are on gear, Glyph of Seal of Vengeance, and some race’s special abilities. This stat should never be gemmed for.
Because this is Warmane and Expertise is bugged, you can get away with having 22 expertise instead of 26.

These two stats are what you need to build your gear around. You want to stay as close to the caps as possible. Not be below them or go over them. To maximize your DPS efficiency, you want to aim for a perfect and exact amount if you can. That is why you have to think of your gear as a set, because only certain special setups will be able to obtain this.

Why aim for perfect on these two stats? Having not enough will drop your DPS by an enormous amount. Having too much will limit to an extent the availability of other DPS stats.

The main DPS stats are (and listed by importance):

  1. Hit rating. – 1 and 2 – The specifics for Hit and Expertise can be seen explained above in the guide.
  2. Expertise.
  3. Strength. – This is your primary stat. It provides an excellent amount of attack power (2ap per point of strength without talents and buffs) and scales very very well with talents and buffs.
  4. Crit rating. – Secondary stat. Everyone likes to see big crit numbers, right?
  5. Agility. – A Paladin recieves far more melee crit rating per point of agility than any other class in the game. That is why it is listed here, however, it does not grant any attack power, therefore it is not listed up by strength.
  6. Haste rating. – Haste is useful only for increasing the frequency of your auto attack hits, which makes the value of rather sub-par. It does increase in value by a small bit once you have the 2piece tier10 set bonus that has auto attacks proc to reset the cooldown on your Divine Storm.
  7. Armor penetration. – Yeah, that’s right. Armor penetration is listed here. Many people complain that the stat is not meant for Paladins. While that is true, it just like Leather agility items. It has value not intended by Blizzard. Armor penetration, as I’m sure most of you know, increases the damage output of any and all physical attacks. The argument against a Paladin using this stat is that most of their damage is Holy based. This is also true, but 30-40% of a Ret’s damage comes directly from physical sources, and even more than that damage comes from physical sources, but indirectly. Allow me to explain.
  • Crusader Strike, Divine Storm, and Auto-Attack are all purely physical sources of damage. Now you must realize that many of sources of Holy damage are dependant on your physical damage. For example, your Seal of Command is supposed to do 33% of your weapon damage as Holy damage. Yes, it is Holy damage, and it is based on your weapon damage. But… your weapon damage is what? That’s right. Physical. Similar applies to Seal of Vengeance and Righteous Vengeance, which are both major sources of DPS.

With all that being said, no, armor penetration is not a stat that is good enough to pursue. However, it shouldn’t be avoided, either. As it does still increase our DPS, regardless of how small the amount.


MetaRelentless Earthsiege Diamond
– Why? – Two reasons. First of all, as already discussed, agility grants a great deal of crit to you. Second, your only other real alternative is basically the same thing, but it requires 2 blue gems. That holds you back on half a red gem. You can activate this meta with a single Nightmare Tear, whereas the other you cannot. Thus allowing you to further increase your DPS slightly.

Nightmare Tear
Always have one of these to activate your meta gem. ALWAYS

Bold Cardinal Ruby
Aside from your meta gem and Nightmare Tear, you will gem these in all of your available sockets. Socket bonuses do not matter in most cases. This gem setup is proven to maximize DPS. The only exceptions is when you have a +6 or +8 strength socket bonus and no blue gems required, unless you wish to place your Nightmare Tear in that blue socket.

Other useful gems include:
Inscribed Ametrine – Used to achieve good socket bonuses only after you are hit and expertise capped.
Etched Ametrine – Only used to reach the hit rating cap if you are not already capped.
Precise Cardinal Ruby – Only used to reach the expertise cap if you are not already capped.
Fierce Ametrine – Can be superior to Inscribed with Shadowmourne and Tiny Abom trinket on sustained targets (crit will remain superior when you have to change targets at regular intervals). Please use RAWR to simulate when these gems are good for you.

I have full BiS Retribution gear. How do I gem it?
This implies full 277ilvl or higher gears. None non-heroic items.
Chest armor – 1x Nightmare Tear and 1x Bold Cardinal Ruby
Gauntlets – 1x Bold Cardinal Ruby and 1x Inscribed Ametrine
All other sockets receive pure strength gems, excluding the meta gem, of course.


I won’t cover all profession specific enchants, but if you have the profession, you should know what they are. If you deem them better, then by all means, use them.


Major glyphs:

Minor glyphs:


Spells abilities, and rotations 

What should you use? Normally you would use Seal of Vengeance/Seal of Corruption on single targets. This seal will be your primary damage seal against single targets, especially bosses.
Seal of Righteousness? This seal now works as intended, and the judgement damage is absolutely massive. I recommend this for single target DPS with weaker gear and shorter fights.
Seal of Command? This seal is bugged, as it only hits the main target of Divine Storm. Seal of Righteousness is competitive with this seal due to it proccing on all Divine Storm targets when Seal of Command does not.

To further increase your own DPS, and the DPS of your raid or party! Having a raid or party member without a buff from you is bad. It’s a fail on your part. Don’t do it. I will explain the purpose of each buff, hopefully so that you won’t be confused on how to handle your buffs and end up buffing incorrectly, or not buffing at all.

Blessing of Might and Greater Blessing of Might
aka BoM and GBoM
These are given to physical DPS only. Meaning you do not give it to casters. You may give it to tanks if they already have GBoS or GBoK. Also, if you have a Warrior in your group that is keeping up their attack power shout, then you may wish to talk to him/her about who should do such buffs.
This buff is best used by the following classes:

  • Death Knight
  • Warrior
  • Paladin
  • Rogue
  • Feral Druid
  • Hunter
  • Enhancement Shaman

– And again, it can be given to tanks that already have GBoS or GBoK. This will increase their threat generation.

Blessing of Wisdom and Greater Blessing of Wisdom
aka BoW and GBoW
This buff is obviously only given to characters who have and use mana. Now, this buff is generally considered weak because usually BoK or GBoK is preferred by such classes. However, it is still useful as a secondary buff, and may be used as a primary buff on very weakly geared mana users.
This buff is best used by the following classes:

  • Restoration Druid
  • Balance Druid
  • Hunter
  • Mage
  • Paladin (Especially Holy)
  • Priest
  • Shaman
  • Warlock

Blessing of Kings and Greater Blessing of Kings
aka BoK and GBoK
This buff is attractive to everyone. Especially the players with good gear. The better their gear is, the more they will get out of this buff. Generally this buff is given first to casters, and is a secondary to physical DPS. It is primary for tanks especially because it gives stamina and agility to them.

Blessing of Sanctuary and Greater Blessing of Sanctuary
aka BoS and GBoS
Now, you won’t normally have this spell, but it is important that you understand what it is and what it does. It is primarily given to tanks to increase their survivability through stamina and damage reduction, and also increases their threat generation by increasing strength. Don’t forget that it also grants mana whenever an attack is dodged, blocked, or parried. It is commonly given out to the entire raid mainly because of the 3% damage reduction, as that is the only portion of the buff that stacks with Blessing of Kings. (Or should)

This is what we call “FCFS”. That means “First come, first serve”. Meaning that basically… whatever comes off cooldown, use it. However, there is a priority system. Here is a list of the DPS ability priorities.

Lest than 2 parts of T10 :

Item – Paladin T10 Retribution 2P Bonus :

With more than two parts of T10, you get the following bonus:
(2) Set: Your melee attacks have a 40% chance to reset the cooldown on your Divine Storm ability.

Thus, using your Divine Storm cooldown as soon as possible will increase your DPS, as it can always reset with your next Auto Attack. Not using it in time can potentially waste a reset and thus reducing your DPS, thus your Divine Storm??s priority increases and surpasses your Hammer of Wrath, even when the boss is below 20% health.

Item – Paladin T10 Retribution 4P Bonus :

* Judgement of Light (Always on top because it is your source of mana.)
**Hammer of Wrath (Only when a boss is under 20% hp)

Other spells, abilities, utilities, and cooldowns.

  • Holy Wrath – Useful for additional DPS and some helpful crowd control for the tanks on undead and demon mobs. Also is additional DPS against bosses when everything else is on cooldown, but does not stun bosses.
  • Divine Plea – Useful if you are having problems keeping your mana up.
  • Lay on Hands – Keep an eye on tanks and healers. You may save one of their lives with this spell. This spell will also grant mana to the person you cast it on.
  • Sacred Shield – I commonly use this on myself to mitigate AoE damage, but if there is no Holy Paladin present, it would be a great idea to use this on the tank instead. However, do not use it on Paladin tanks, because their own shield tends to be more powerful than your own.
  • Divine Shield – Excellent tool for keeping yourself alive. Especially if you are being forced into fire, are about to die, or have stolen aggro from the tank.
  • Divine Protection – Very useful for similar reasons that Divine Shield is useful.
  • Hand of Freedom – If you or a tank or healer gets slowed and really needs to get moving as fast as they can, you may yet save their lives, or the entire raid by using this on them. Otherwise, save it for yourself if you get slowed, especially if you are standing in fire. Usually only useful on Dreamwalker and Sindragosa in ICC.
  • Hand of Protection – Best used on healers who have aggro on mobs or such things. Also very useful to use on casters that are about to pull aggro, or have aggro.
  • Hand of Salvation – Best used to lower the threat generation on a boss by a high DPS player. Especially effective on classes that have limited threat reduction abilities.
  • Hand of Sacrifice – Effective at reducing damage done to healers and tanks during times of burst damage recieved from the boss, or when they must move throug fire. Take care when using this. You can inadvertently cause your own death if your target takes too much damage.
  • Avenging Wrath – Obviously your greatest tool for burst damage. Sometimes, especially when your group has low average DPS, you can use it more than once per boss fight. When you can’t use it more than once per boss fight, you may decide to save it for when the boss gest low on hp to increase the overall damage of your Hammer of Wrath, as well.


Everyone is encouraged to read talent descriptions and understand them, then create builds of their own. Every person has their own playstyle, and is encouraged to embrace such.
There are many routes you can take on this. You can tunnel vision for high DPS e-penis, or you can spec to provide your raid with as many buffs and cooldowns as possible, as was intended. Keeping your raid alive, assisting them however you can, and topping the damage meter is where the real skill lies.

Standard Aura Mastery spec:
– 3 points free for distribution.
– These points can be put in Pursuit of Justice (generally recommended), Seal of Command and Vindication.
– Put points into Vindication if your group does not have a consistent source of this debuff.
– 2 points can be taken out of Improved Blessing of Might if your group already covers this buff.
– Divine Intellect vs Unyielding Faith – The mana benefit and spell crit is negligible, but can help if you are regularly having mana troubles. If not, Unyielding Faith is preferred for encounters such as Blood Queen Lanathel.

Divine Sacrifice Spec:
(Recommended as an option for raiding with a serious guild on progression.)
This build will lower your DPS, but can boost raid survivability when properly coordinated. If your guild’s raids are taking too much damage during specific damage phases, they can coordinate their paladins to use Divine Sacrifice. Most Holy Paladins and Protection Paladins will already have this. Which means you should only invest in this spec if it is absolutely necessary to have another Divine Sacrifice for your raid. Keep in mind that it is group-wide, not raid-wide.

Aura Mastery spec is recommend in most cases.

3.3.5a Retribution BiS lists 

(Alliance) refers to the Draenei racial that grants you 1% additional hit rating.
Heroic Plate Priority List (Includes strength and plate only)

Heroic-Mode Items Priority List (Includes agility items and leather)
(Be sure to use one 20 Expertise gem in this set.)

Normal-Mode Plate Priority Items List (Includes strength and plate only)

Head: Sanctified Lightsworn Helmet
Neck: Ahn’kahar Onyx Neckguard
Shoulders: Sanctified Lightsworn Shoulderplates
Back: Winding Sheet
Chest: Sanctified Lightsworn Battleplate
Wrist: Taiga Bindings
Hands: Fleshrending Gauntlets
Waist: Coldwraith Links
Legs: Sanctified Lightsworn Legplates
Feet: Blood-Soaked Saronite Stompers
Finger1: Ring of Rotting Sinew
Finger2: Ashen Band of Endless Might
Trinket1: Death’s Choice for Horde, or Death’s Verdict for Alliance.
Trinket2: Tiny Abomination in a Jar
Main Hand: Glorenzelg, High-Blade of the Silver Hand
Ranged: Libram of Three Truths
DPS: 11,738

*5x Inscribed Ametrine – Gemmed in every Yellow Socket xcept the one on the Ashen Verdict Ring for Alliance Players.
*2x Inscribed Ametrine & 3x Etched Ametrine – Gemmed in every Yellow Socket xcept the one on the Ashen Verdict Ring for Horde Players
1x Nightmare Tear – Gemmed in the Chest.
14x Bold Cardinal Ruby – Gemmed everywhere else.
Meta Gem is Relentless Earthsiege Diamond

Normal-Mode Items Priority List (Includes Agility Items)

Head: Sanctified Lightsworn Helmet
Neck: Ahn’kahar Onyx Neckguard
Shoulders: Sanctified Lightsworn Shoulderplates
Back: Winding Sheet
Chest: Sanctified Lightsworn Battleplate
Wrist: Toskk’s Maximized Wristguards
Hands: Fleshrending Gauntlets
Waist: Astrylian’s Sutured Cinch
Legs: Sanctified Lightsworn Legplates
Feet: Frostbitten Fur Boots
Finger1(Alliance): Seal of Many Mouths
Finger1(Horde): Band of the Bone Colossus
Finger2: Ashen Band of Endless Vengeance
Trinket1: Death’s Choice for Horde, or Death’s Verdict for Alliance.
Trinket2: Tiny Abomination in a Jar
Main Hand: Oathbinder, Charge of the Ranger-General
Ranged: Libram of Three Truths
DPS: 11,759(Alliance), 11745(Horde)

Alliance: 2x Etched Ametrine Gemmed in the Hands and in the Back.
Horde: 2x Inscribed Ametrine Gemmed in the Hands and in the Back.
1x Nightmare Tear – Gemmed in the Chest.
17x Bold Cardinal Ruby – Gemmed everywhere else.
Meta Gem is Relentless Earthsiege Diamond

Trinkets (Listed from best to worst quality. ICC and RS trinkets only.)

Weapons (Listed from best to worst quality. ICC weapons only.)

The Paladin Philosophy
I encourage everyone to read all of it before dismissing it. Thank you.

Paladin philosophy? What philosophy?
First and foremost, your role is to support others. Not DPS. Not heal. Not kill. Support is what defines us, and there isn’t any other class in the game that is better at it. Use the knowledge above to help your allies stay alive, and to help control and finish the enemy. Buffs, cooldowns, heals, crowd control, stealth breaking, and DPS assistance, are all involved in this.
I would like to especially encourage everyone to find a way they like to play, and are good at it, and follow through with it. This information is provided to help get you there, but is by no means a specific guideline you must follow.