Vanguards Retribution Paladin PvP Guide 6.2


85 Blood Elf Paladin
Retribution Paladin Guide

This guide is written mainly for players new to playing retribution in arena / PvP.

Guide is also posted in a different format on:

What changed about Rets in 6.2?
1.) New gear means damage and healing will be different from last patch. Pacing will feel significantly different from 6.1.

2.) Hand of Freedom glyph received a slight nerf mid-way of 6.1. It's still an awesome glyph, but not as important before.

3.) Asides from the above and other classes receiving numerous buffs / nerfs, Ret Paladins themselves did not really change much besides a slight mastery nerf.

PvP Talents

In the talent picture I selected talents that I use as default in arena. Talents and Glyphs should be changed every arena match depending on what composition you're playing, what you're up against, and what strategy you and your opponent might execute.

Level 15:
Usual recommendation: Long Arm of the Law.

Why Long Arm of the Law? Well Judgement cooldown is incredibly short, so this sprint is almost on demand.

Level 30
For most compositions I recommend Fist of Justice.

Any 3 of these talents are viable. What is best will depend on many factors such as your play-style, the composition you're running, and what you're fighting against. Fist of Justice is an easy to use instant CC that allows your teammates to easily chain off of as well. Fist of Justice also increases your HOJ range which is very useful for a melee. The Blind talent will now be quite useful when you don't have Fear on your team. Remember, this Blind is like the Rogue Blind for DRs and not a disorient!

Level 45
Selfless Healer is recommended for most cases. Sacred Shield for teams that will purge you a ton.

Having Selfless Healer is useful to get those fast and lower mana costing heals on yourself or your teammates.

Due to how Selfless Healer gets purged in 1 hit no matter the stacks, Sacred Shield is superior if you're fighting teams that are going to purge a lot.

Level 60
Recommended: Clemency or Unbreakable Spirit

Clemency, a previous patch made Hand of Sacrifice dispel magic effects. Clemency was already really strong for most scenarios since you can use freedom, sacrifice, and protection twice.

Hand of Purity is awesome for counter comping into DOT cleaves. Hand of Purity is to be used when you fight a DOT Cleave such as affliction warlock teams.

Unbreakable Spirit is particularly good when you know you're getting trained, especially against Caster Cleaves. The buff in 5.4 made this talent very strong, and I usually use this over the other 2 specs when fighting against double Caster compositions.

Level 75
Recommended: Holy Avenger

All 3 talents here are quite strong, but Holy Avenger usually performs best for burst which fits the current meta game with long CC chains to get kills. Holy Avenger also lines up with Avenging Wrath perfectly to use together for stacking CDs.

Level 90
Recommended: Execution Sentence or Holy Prism

Execution sentence provides the most damage, Holy Prism provides more utility (more healing, lower CD.)

Level 100
Recommended: Final Verdict or Empowered Seals

Final Verdict gives the most damage against targets that aren't cloth or leather without a fight, Empowered Seals could be better vs low armor targets and if you need to run or chase a fast target (Seal of Justice sprint).

Empowered Seals would also be the superior defensive talent due to it's kiting ability. I believe this last tier is a bit of preference between these 2 talents now and what comps you're playing and playing against. I recommend trying both and see what you prefer.

Most major glyphs are purely preference. Prime glyphs there are several choices with Templar's Verdict in my opinion almost always being mandatory since Ret is always a viable kill option. The only way you'd ever take this off is if you're 100% positive you will not get targeted.

Prime Glyphs:
Templar's Verdict (Necessary) - Now works on exorcism as well!
Burden of Guilt (It allows you to slow on your judgement now in 5.4! Highly recommended especially when you have no slow on your team.)
Double Jeopardy (The extra 20% burst is really insane at the moment, purposely judgeing a focus target then swapping back right before you Avenging Wrath is really useful)
Word of Glory (Extra damage for all those WOGs you do!)
Glyph of Freedom - It reduces CCs on any targets you freedom by 25%. This is an amazing Glyph that works on stuns, Sap and more. A patch in 6.1 nerfed this, it is now not usable while you're stunned or CC'd. It's still very useful for your teammates and sometimes you can use it preemptively on yourself, but overall a less important glyph than before.

Major Glyphs:
Really doesn't matter, Hearthstone glyph is cool though!

Gems / Enchants / Stats

Recommended Gems:
+50 Versatility on everything if you have gem slots.

Recommended Reforging:
No more reforging in WoD!
Edited by Vanguardy on 11/25/2015 6:15 AM PST
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
Recommended Enchants:
Neck: 75 Versatility
Cloak: 100 Versatility and 10% Movement Speed
Ring: 50 Versatility
Weapon: Mastery Enchant

Seal of Justice is the best seal to use if your team doesn't have a consistent slow.
Seal of Truth is the best damage seal, if your team has a slow such as playing with a Death Knight, this is the preferred seal.
If you're playing with Empowered Seals buffing Haste is priority in terms of damage and Seal of Truth for attack power after. Of course, if you're playing defensively this will become very different as the heal and sprint becomes much more useful.

Viable Ret Comps
Try it out yourself, it's a perfect time to test things in 6.0.2!

What rotation do you use in PvP?
There is no "specific" rotation in PvP.

The best I can give you is this in terms of a PvE Damage Rotation:

Execution Sentence>Divine Storm w/ Final Verdict Buff and Proc>Final Verdict>Divine Storm w/ Proc>Hammer of Wrath>Crusader Strike>Judgment>Exorcism

Everything is situational. Keep note that our hardest hitting ability will be Final Verdict, which also clashes with Word of Glory as both takes holy power.
Edited by Vanguardy on 6/26/2015 4:00 PM PDT
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
What macros does Ret have for PvP?
Most of Ret PvP Macros look like this:
/cast [target=party1] Word of Glory.
You can basically fit in 1-4 for 1, and Word of Glory with Sacrifice / Freedom / Hand of Protection and you'll have most of the Macros I have. I only have 1-2 for most of them, and 1-4 for WOG for 5s. 1-4 for everything was a bit too overwhelming for me. (Not Enough Buttons + Too Crazy lol)
There are people who simplifies this by using mouseover macros and such, all personal preference. Add #showtooltip to the start of these macros if you want to see it.
Some other general macros:
1.) Focus HOJ
/cast [target=focus] Hammer of Justice

2.) Focus Repent
/cast [target=focus] Repentance

3.) Switching Between 2H and Shield
/equip [equipped:Shields] Your2HWeaponName
/equip [noequipped:Shields] your1HWeaponName
/equip [noequipped:Shields] YourShieldName

4.) Camera Distance *This is the Camera I used to use, I'm going default max zoomed out now though*
/console cameraDistanceMaxFactor 4

5.) Focus Rebuke
/cast [target=focus] Rebuke

6.) Focus Judgement
/cast [target=focus] Judgement

7.) Cancel Bubble
/cancelaura Divine Shield

The Support Macros I Personally Use:
(switch x with number or partyx with Toon Name)

8.) Hand of Protection
/cast [target=partyX] Hand of Protection

9.) Hand of Sacrifice
/cast [target=partyX] Hand of Sacrifice

10.) Hand of Freedom
/cast [target=partyX] Hand of Freedom

11.) Word of Glory
/cast [target=partyX] Word of Glory

12.) Flash of Light
/cast [target=partyX] Flash of Light

13.) HOS - Prevents Hitting it Twice
/castsequence [target=party1] reset=1 Hand of Sacrifice, Lay on Hands

As said with almost everything, Macros have a lot to do with personal preference. You can also use modifiers for different skills in your macros such as Repent. Use these only as a general guideline and form your own macros!

Gearing Ret for PvP
Get the PvP gear, and avoid Crit / Multistrike stats when choosing which piece to get. Make sure to get your 4PC bonus for the main pieces.
Edited by Vanguardy on 12/1/2014 1:16 PM PST
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
Unless you're human obviously you would use the trinket that removes all impairing effects.
For your second trinket, I recommend a Strength proc trinket. If you're human I recommend using an On-Use PvP trinket to replace the medallion. You want to use double PvP trinket now due to it giving bonus resilience which is huge. Rets are an extremely common target to get trained.

General Arena Tips
Ret is a very strange spec, their place in arena is rather vague. We have good burst damage during wings, but outside of that we're a bit gimped. We have INSANE off heals and good support, but we're also incredibly easy to CC as a melee class which throws everything off.
As a ret pally, you always have to remember you ARE NOT a warrior. You need to watch your partners the entire game. Do not waste your extremely insane off heals, freedom, BOP, Sac. You are a support class that can burst once every 2 minutes! In an arena match my eyes are on my party screen the most.
If you are playing with a DK or Warrior or Rogue, be considerate about your freedom. You can cleanse most of your roots, and my death knight can kill people around 2 times faster than me, why would I freedom myself?

Ret PvP Stream - My (Vanguards) Twitch.TV Stream! Be sure to follow!

Ret PvP Page / Question Page

Ret PvP Videos
Check out these channels:

Thanks for reading, I hope this helped you out. Post any other questions you have! If you have specific questions for me, try posting them on my facebook page.
Edited by Vanguardy on 6/30/2015 9:38 AM PDT
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
OLD CATA: Bonus Points: Crit vs Mastery

1.) 2PC - I don't have 2pc because the rng gods have decided not to ever drop pants in any of my raids, also I'm practicing for tournies that doesn't allow PvE gear. so i have not taken this into calculation for my own. If you do take this into calculation however, 2pc obviously favors mastery more. 2PC = more Holy Power = more TV towards ur damage. If you're running a comp where u can be in melee range a lot, do melee attacks a lot and u have 2pc, mastery would > crit.

2.) What comp are you running - if you're running triple dps u should usually go crit. Crit helps towards last word spec which is good when 40second hoj does much less in an arena match that doesn't usually last more than a minute. Also a slightly harder hitting TV in a triple dps match is much less important than a sudden RNG crit heal or crit attack.

3.) What are you fighting - you can't predict this, but I do plan to get 2 sets of Ret PvP Gear. 1 Set for when I'm fighting something I plainly barely get to attack in melee range (mage anyone?) which would be crit. but if i'm fighting say a warrior melee cleave team that trains my dk when I run ret dk priest, mastery would do much better. I'm TVing / crusader striking probably 3x as much as I would against a mage team, making mastery 3x better than it usually is.

4.) How you play - how often do u stay in melee range when u play in PvP? Do you LOS a lot? I los 80% of the games against wizard teams rendering mastery quite useless since I melee once every 20 seconds. Or do you run in and try to just melee / train something down for 5 minutes straight? Mastery might be better for that.

5.) Your Spec - If your last word crit can be much more favorable as having that extra crit for that heal to happen is important. it kinda blows when u have last word and ur heal doesn't crit when ur partner is about to die.

6.) Length of your games - similar ideas, short games favor crit as u probably hammer of wrath spam to be a large % of ur damage making crit more favorable.

hope this helps = )

This is my answer to every1, u can also check out my facebook page at for my faq answers.
Edited by Vanguardy on 9/17/2012 3:58 PM PDT
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85 Human Paladin
I've been playing a Last Word build and I wanted to ask what your thoughts are on JotP vs. Protector of the Innocent?
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
both are relatively bad, but I would go for 9% haste in general
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
You can cleanse most of your roots, and my death knight can kill people around 2 times faster than me, why would I freedom myself?

Giving freedom to yourself, especially when under pressure by a melee class (or other set of spam slows, eg. mirror images) is often preferable to giving it to your partner. Example, Rogue is attacking you, you just got out of kidney shot and need to get on the enemy Warlock to deal some damage, your Deathknight partner may be slowed by an exhaust but the repeated application of slows from the Rogue on you make giving your freedom to yourself far preferable, as well watch your mana cleanse is expensive.

I'll add you very rarely want to hoj anything other than a healer, with no other magic debuffs to cover hoj unless they are provided by one of your allies, it is generally instant dispelled and wastes a stun diminish on the target. If it is lined up with a seperate lockout on the healer it is effective, or if you can be sure it won't be dispelled go ahead. Otherwise hoj-repentance or visa versa provides a 12 second set of cc that you can be sure will stick on a healer.

Good information though by the OP.
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
Sticky requested.
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85 Worgen Hunter
Did you just copy and paste your arena junkies post?
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
03/10/2011 11:43 AMPosted by Stripez
Did you just copy and paste your arena junkies post?

Pretty much, but how many people are smart enough to go to AJ themselves?
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85 Worgen Hunter
03/10/2011 11:51 AMPosted by Svayne
Pretty much, but how many people are smart enough to go to AJ themselves?

People who are serious about PvP...
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
03/10/2011 11:51 AMPosted by Stripez
Pretty much, but how many people are smart enough to go to AJ themselves?

People who are serious about PvP...

03/10/2011 11:51 AMPosted by Svayne
Pretty much, but how many people are smart enough to go to AJ themselves?
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85 Draenei Paladin
Yay! This needs to be stickied :O
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100 Human Paladin
This is the most helpful thread I've ever seen on this website. Really great stuff, Vanguardy. Hope it gets stickied.
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
Grats on the sticky!
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
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85 Human Paladin
Hammer of wrath is a spell and requires an 8% spell hit cap, why shouldn't i go for more hit when my hammer of wrath is missing targets at crucial moments in an arena match with a hit cap thats over 5%
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85 Draenei Paladin
03/12/2011 2:35 PMPosted by Sealofleet
Hammer of wrath is a spell and requires an 8% spell hit cap, why shouldn't i go for more hit when my hammer of wrath is missing targets at crucial moments in an arena match with a hit cap thats over 5%

Because of sheath of light
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