Vanguards Retribution Paladin PvP Guide 5.4.7


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 5.4.7 for PvP?
1.) There are no changes.

2.) The biggest changes are to the game. Base resilience is going up, Battle Fatigue is increased, and Gear ilvl is higher once again.

Many people ask me if Rets are viable this patch. Viable is more or less an opinion, I'll let you decide after trying it!

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.

For compositions where your team has no Fear DR and you can actually cast it off I recommend Evil is a Point of View.

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 fear talent is quite powerful when you can get it off, but most compositions will have enough utility to stop a melee from consistently casting it. If you are not in this situation, it is very powerful. Repentance is similar to Evil is a Point of View, just a different CC on a different DR.

Level 45
Selfless Healer is recommended for most cases.

Having Selfless Healer is useful to get those fast and lower mana costing heals on yourself or your teammates. Other talents aren't bad either, but Selfless Healer performs the best.

Level 60
Recommended: 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

This is an extremely common question. Why Execution Sentence? Before 5.4 Holy Prism was a lot better. Due to gear scaling, and the Execution Sentence dispel change it has made this talent superior in general. When you dispel Execution Sentence now it will immediately activate the last tick which is the big burst that you want. Gear scaling has also made this talent deal far more damage.

Holy Prism is good because of how PvP is, situational and burst oriented. Holy Prism lets you heal when it's needed, or otherwise burst.

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!)

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

Gems / Enchants / Stats
General Priorities for Stats (Resil is more of a situational Stat that you may want more or less of):
3% Hit>3% Expertise>Strength>Haste>Crit=Mastery>Resil>PvP Power>More Expertise>Other

Resilience gemming has been nerfed in PvP in 5.4 even further. It's still nice to have a resilience set when you find yourself unable to survive, but in most cases it is now better to gem for damage and other useful stats.

Here's an old note for a quick understanding of what Resilience is:

"There's a common misconception that PvP Power negates Resilience. This actually isn't true because Resilience is factored in after PvP Power in a sense. Lets say a Frostbomb hits for 100,000. With 50% PvP Power it hits for 150,000. However, if a person has 50% Resilience, it would hit for 75,000 in the end.

Now lets pretend the Mage gemmed more PvP Power and the target gemmed more resilience. The PvP Power became roughly 60%. The Resilience became 55%.
Frost Bomb not hits for 160,000, but with 55% Resilience it hits for 72,000. This is not the exact PvP Power to Resilience scale; but that should give you the picture that Resilience = generally more damage reduction than PvP Power's increased damage point to point with full PvP Gear.

edit: In the end you can't just go one way or the other for everyone. If you play a class like Enhance Shamans, gemming Resilience is probably smart since they get trained over half the time. If you play a class like Warriors, it's probably good to use PvP Power against non-Casters and Rogues."

Strength and Haste is the biggest damage stat for PvE. PvP Power is really similar to Strength for Rets, increasing Damage and Heals. However, in a previous patch PvP power was nerfed in stat weigh.The best way to go now is to gem for Strength and Haste. Strength is considered better in my opinion because it also helps with your burst heals and burst damage rather than just DPS.

You should always reforge for Hit and Expertise cap rather than gemming for it. This is to increase your other important stats as much as possible.

Off-Stat Decisions
The biggest argument and most questions I get as a ret now is "What Off Stat?" There is no definite answer here. I'm going to give you a few things to read and let you decide on your own. In PvE, Haste is the best followed by Mastery and then Crit. However, PvP is different. Critting affects everything we do in PvP including heals, and our ranged damage such as judgement which mastery doesn't help. Mastery is probably our best stat for actual burst in single globals. I choose Crit as the most valuable stat this patch because of our low up-time. Haste is still the best DPS stat if we have full up-time, but in arena due to how squishy and easy to CC we are it's better to have Crit for more DPS in the moments we get to accomplish something. Crit also helps our survivability since it affects healing.

Recommended Gems:
Meta - 216 Strength / +3% Crit Damage or Tyrannical Meta Gem (Have both Helms ready, Strength meta still does more damage / burst while Tyrannical Meta Gem is better for surviving)
Red - 160 Strength
Yellow - 80 Strength / 160 Crit
Blue - 80 Strength / 160 PvP Power

Recommended Reforging:
Get 3% Hit Cap
Get 3% Expertise
Get the off-stat off your choice.
Edited by Vanguardy on 4/25/2014 1:04 AM PDT
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
Recommended Enchants:
Head - None
Shoulders - 200Strength / 100 Crit
Back - 180Hit or 180Crit
Chest - 200 Resilience or 80 to all Stats
Wrist - 180 Strength
Hands - 170 Strength
Legs - 285Strength / 165 Crit
Feet - 140Mastery / Run Speed
Weapon - Tyrannical Weapon Enchant, 400PvP Power / 200 Resilience / Disarm Reduction, have Dancing Steel weapon ready for teams without disarm.

A previous patch buffed Seal of Justice due to the Sword of Light change, but I find censure to still be the best.
For a simple answer: Censure
Here is a more complicated answer:
Generally for any target you are staying on for 10+ Seconds, Truth is the highest damage dealing seal.
For a game where you don't have burden of guilt, and you're swapping a lot, Seal of Justice could be better. A composition such as Ret / Shadow Priest / Resto Shaman for example has no slow.
Seal of the Righteous is good for AOE, this is very rare in PvP. I've probably swapped it once in the entire expansion.
Healing Seal is good for when you're getting trained, or desperately need mana. Another rare seal to use.

Viable Ret Comps
The strongest Ret comp this season that I've played is Ret Hunter Shaman. At the time of this post I was at 2600 with this composition with this Ret:

Doesn't really matter. Use any professions that give strength or attack power gains. Blacksmithing is really good since it can give you Resilience if you choose to do so. Jewelcrafting also can give you Resilience, these professions give you choices on what you want to do. Engineering is very strong for burst since most people will now use the "Proc" trinket rather than "On-use" unless you're human. The engineering gloves does share CD with On-Use trinkets.

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:
Less Than 5HP up:
Keep Inquisition up with 3HP>Exorcism>Hammer of Wrath>Judgement>Crusader Strike>Templar's Verdict

Everything is situational. Keep note that our hardest hitting ability will be Templar's Verdict, which also clashes with Word of Glory as both takes holy power.
Edited by Vanguardy on 4/25/2014 1:06 AM 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.) Start Attack + Crusader Strike
/cast Crusader Strike

2.) Start Attack + Templar's Verdict
/cast Templar's Verdict

3.) Focus HOJ
/cast [target=focus] Hammer of Justice

4.) Focus Repent
/cast [target=focus] Repentance
5.) Switching Between 2H and Shield
/equip [equipped:Shields] Your2HWeaponName
/equip [noequipped:Shields] your1HWeaponName
/equip [noequipped:Shields] YourShieldName

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

7.) Focus REBUKE
/cast [target=focus] Rebuke

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

9.) Cancel Bubble
/cancelaura Divine Shield

10.) Cancel Wings
/cancelaura Avenging Wrath

11.) Wings + HOW - By Jecks
/cast Avenging Wrath
/cast hammer of wrath

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
You can basically use all the PvP Gear and you'll do great!
Edited by Vanguardy on 2/21/2014 1:20 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, it's 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. In 3s, I almost NEVER freedom myself. 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 2/21/2014 1:21 PM PST
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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
Sticky for the baddies!~
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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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85 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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