WoW Classic WotLK Retribution Paladin Guide: Talents, Rotation & More

WoW Classic WotLK Retribution Paladin Guide

WoW Classic WotLK Retribution Paladin Guide

World of Warcraft Classic's latest expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, brings on popularity for Retribution Paladins.

Paladins are proud wielders of Holy magic or the "Light." Be it with their shield and one-handed weapon in hand or a big two-handed weapon in two hands, they stand for what is right. They can take on almost any type of attack with their heavy armor and if wounded, can keep themselves on their feet with healing abilities.

Usually seen defending others, they sometimes take on a more offensive form—the Retribution Paladin. A specialization that uses two-handed weapons and Holy magic to cleave and slash down their foes.

With that in mind, here's a Retribution Paladin guide, including what talents to pick, rotation to perform, stat priority, and more.

Introducing the Retribution Paladin

Paladins are Azeroth's marquee defenders; their call is to protect the weak, bring justice to the unjust, and eliminate all evils in the world. Equipped with heavy plate armor, these Holy warriors can face just about anything and everything a foe throws at them. To top it all off, they can call on the blessing of the Light to heal wounds, and in some cases, even restore life to the dead.

WoW Classic WotLK Ret Pally Guide
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Credit: Blizzard Entertainment
RIGHTEOUS JUDGEMENT: Retribution Paladins use the power of the Light to take down their foes

Paladins are not only zealots but also guardians of the righteous, bestowing blessings on those the Light would shine upon.

When it comes to Retribution Paladins, they use their Holy magic to cast judgment and punish opponents. They are righteous crusaders that combine that magic alongside weapons.

Although not as strong in the single-target department, they are incredibly strong in AoE and Cleave fights.

If you're looking at a fight that spawns adds or has multiple targets that need to be taken down, the Retribution Paladin's a great bet.

Best Retribution Paladin Talents

As you level through the Azeroth, Burning Crusade, and eventually Northrend, you'll gain plenty of talents.

In general, Paladins can choose from a wide array of strong talents, but in this, we'll just be focusing on end-game content, although these talents can still function for leveling quite well.

All-Around Ret Pally WotLK Talents
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ALL-AROUND: Do high-end damage while providing utility

This is your standard Retribution specialization build. It's well-rounded, meaning that it comes with a good balance of utility that you can bring to a group and takes into account your personal damage. This build can work with any type of content, doesn't matter if it's PvE or PvP.

Not only is it a great choice for end-game content as it boosts your single target damage to the max and provides Divine Sacrifice, which is a great utility cooldown for any group, but it also makes sure that you sustain the Mana you need throughout any given encounter.

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AURA MASTERY: Provide your healers with a significant spell

If you're looking to maintain that all-around theme but favor the likes of Aura Mastery over Divine Sacrifice, then this is the build you'll want. Essentially, it rids away of Divine Sacrifice in favor of Aura Mastery, giving healers and the group as a whole a different style of utility.

It still offers some of the highest damage output possible while also giving that utility importance.

PvP Ret Pally Build
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MANO Y MANO: This build is solid for most cases in PvP

Lastly, if you don't care about PvE and are all about that PvP, then this build is for you. As you might expect, it carries virtually every single talent that boosts your damage, at least in the Retribution tree, and goes over to the Protection tree and takes some PvP-oriented talents such as Improved Righteous Fury and Improved Hammer of Justice, and of course, grabs Divine Sacrifice.

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Best Retribution Paladin Glyphs

Once your talents are set, you'll have to choose six Glyphs to aid you, three major and three minor.

For Retribution Paladins, these are the Glyphs you'll want to run as they are by far the best in each category for the class.

Major Glyphs

Glyph of Seal of Vengeance - Your Seal of Vengeance or Seal of Corruption also grants 10 expertise while active.

Glyph of Judgement - Your Judgements deal 10% more damage.

Glyph of Exorcism - Increases damage done by Exorcism by 20%.

Minor Glyphs

Glyph of Lay on Hands - Reduces the cooldown of your Lay on Hands spell by 5 min.

Glyph of Blessing of Kings - Reduces the mana cost of your Blessing of Kings and Greater Blessing of Kings spells by 50%

Glyph of Sense Undead - Damage against Undead increased by 1% while your Sense Undead ability is active.

Other Glyphs To Consider


Glyph of Consecration - Increases the duration and cooldown of Consecration by 2 sec.

This glyph can be used to swap with the Glyph of Exorcism depending on the type of fight. If you're looking at more single-target damage or a fight that has adds that don't last as long go with Glyph of Exorcism if you're in a heavy AoE fight with mobs lasting longer, try your hand at Glyph of Consecration.


Glyph of Blessing of Might - Reduces the mana cost of your Blessing of Might and Greater Blessing of Might spells by 50%

Can swap this glyph in exchange for Glyph of Blessing of Kings if you'd like, it's preference.

READ MORE: Best WoW Classic WotLK DPS Tier List: Ranking All Classes & Specs in Phase 1

Best Retribution Paladin Rotation

Retribution Paladins suffer in the single-target department but when there's more than one target around, that's where they shine brightest—and that's not just because they wield the Light.

Now that you have your talents selected it's time to work on getting your rotation down pat.

Ret Pally Rotation WoW Classic WotLK
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Credit: Blizzard Entertainment
HOLY-FILLED: Retribution Paladins use holy magic in their rotation

In general, you can view the class like a set of priorities: if this ability is available use it, if not, use this one instead. It can sometimes be a waiting game if you pull your rotation off proficiently as sometimes you'll stand there waiting for abilities to come back up.

Here's the Retribution Paladin rotation for both single-target and AoE.


As stated before, the Retribution Paladin rotation is more like a set of priorities, one that has a set list of abilities you'll want to press first—there is no strict one-to-one rotation to follow. For single-target, you'll want to frontload all of your single-target spells as they'll do the most damage for the one target you're attacking.

There isn't an end-all-be-all ability that you should look out for using the most, instead, just make sure you're using something at least. Don't waste your GCDs or time.

Here's how the single-target rotation works:

1. Apply Seal of Vengeance to the target

2. Cast Crusader Strike

3. Cast Judgement of Wisdom

4. Cast Hammer of Wrath (Only usable only targets below 20%)

5. Cast Divine Storm

6. Cast Consecration

7. Cast Exorcism

8. Cast Holy Wrath if fighting an Undead or Demon and nothing else is up

It's worth noting that this is the rotation you'll also use when cleaving, you'll just want to use Seal of Command instead of Seal of Vengeance.


For AoE, it's a bit similar, but instead of frontloading all of your single-target damage, you'll frontload all of your AoE damage, on top of swapping Seal of Vengeance for Seal of Command.

1. Apply Seal of Command

2. Cast Consecration

3. Cast Divine Storm

4. Cast Judgement of Wisdom

5. Cast Holy Wrath, again, cast when fighting an Undead or Demon

6. Cast Hammer of Wrath (Only usable only targets below 20%)

7. Cast Crusader Strike

8. Cast Exorcism

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Stat Priority for Retribution Paladins

As you begin leveling and eventually hit max-level, you'll be getting all types of gear. While leveling, don't pay too much attention to it, just go for the pieces that best give you an overall gain. However, once at max level, you'll begin focusing on stats to get the best possible damage output.

Here's the stat priority you need to keep in mind:

  1. Hit Rating and Expertise to cap (263 for Hit Rating and 26 for Expertise at minimum)
  2. Strength
  3. Critical Strike
  4. Haste
  5. Attack Power
  6. Armor Penetration
  7. Agility
  8. Spell Power

For starters, Hit Rating and Expertise are a must for Retribution Paladins as you don't want your abilities to miss or your attacks to get parried. You'll be staring at a minimum of 263 Hit Rating and 26 Expertise. When it comes to Hit Rating specifically, it's worth noting that it goes beyond just weapon attacks, you'll be looking at a 446 Hit Rating for AoE spell damage, which will be spells like Divine Storm, the Judgements, and Exorcism.

Following those caps, you'll begin working on building up the Strength stat. This comes easy as you level as when you get new gear it usually comes as a net upgrade due to the increase in Strength, but at max-level, the decisions become a bit tougher due to wanting other stats as well.

From then on, you'll round out the rest of the stats sheet. This comes in the form of Critical Strike, as it'll increase your chances to do more damage on top of synergizing with talents such as Righteous Vengeance and The Art of War, Haste will increase your damage output in general due to more frequency of attacks with your Seals, and lastly, Attack Power will make your physical attacks hit harder.

Following those, fill in the gaps with the rest of the stats - Armor Penetration, Agility, and Spell Power. These won't come up as often.

Look to add all of these with gear and enchants as well.

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Best Races for Retribution Paladins

WoW is a unique game in that the races in both of its factions provide certain benefits that can come as a nice minor boost.

For Retribution Paladins specifically, the Alliance faction has three races that can be Paladins, Human, Draenei, and Dwarf, while the Horde just has one, Blood Elf. When it comes to Alliance, here are explanations on how each race benefits the class.


  • Human
  • Draenei
  • Dwarf

Humans are the best race for Retribution Paladins as they carry Sword Specialization and Mace Specialization which increase your expertise by three when using either of the weapons—both one-handed and two-handed. It's a great benefit when trying to fill out your stat sheet, especially in end-game content. Additionally, they carry Every Man For Himself, a great get-out-of-jail-free card as it is a crown-control removal ability that rids away every type of CC. The fact that you don't have to have a PvP trinket to get out of any crown-controlling effect is great and can come in handy in several fights in the new expansion. Not to mention not having to get a PvP trinket in PvP and instead using an alternative that might increase your damage.

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Credit: Blizzard Entertainment
DRAENEI PALADIN: Draenei are a great choice for a Retribution Paladin

Draenei, on the other hand, have Heroic Presence, which can be used on the aforementioned Hit Rating cap as it increases the chance to hit with all spells and attacks by 1% for not just you, but all of your party members as well. There's also Gift of the Naaru which upon casting gives you a minor heal over time that could come in clutch for either you or another friendly target.

Lastly, Dwarf comes with Mace Specialization which actually increases expertise with maces by five as opposed to the human's three, and like Draenei, comes with a useful racial that helps you survive in one way or another in Stoneform as it gives you 10% increased armor for 8 seconds and removes all poison, disease, and bleed effects.

That's it! This is all you need to get your Retribution Paladin going for WoW Classic WotLK.

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