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I wouldn't say it's the worst, I mean, our utility is pretty helpful, but yeah ret's not the "ideal" melee to bring, but it does work.Outside of Aura mastery and Hand of Sac and occasionally Salv i rarely had to do much but try and tunnel the boss. Pretty much every other meele has Dots or an Aoe stun of some sort. Basically if not a Dps death knight its best not to bring meele.
I completed challenge modes as ret back in October 2012 with probably the worst comp possible at the time: blood DK, holy pally, demo lock, arms warrior, ret. This was before CMs were a common thing so there wasn't much information on comps or strategies, etc. This was also before some classes/specs were buffed post-launch. I was consistently the highest DPS (under the tank of course lol).
Did some of mine with a rogue/ret/dk setup melee stack, !@#$ seemed to die alot faster with melee zerging it, negating the need for a more control heavy ranged setup.
Ret, not many people will take you.
Prot, I got hit like a truck, but then again... what tank doesn't
Holy, kinda strong, but not as strong as something like a Resto Druid.
My group are casually going through them with this comp:
Prot Pally (Me)
I bounced between holy and ret and always felt like I was contributing a lot more as ret(but maybe that is just the difference between healing and DPSing them) except on a few melee unfriendly ones.
Paladins shouldn't have a whole lot of trouble with challenge modes as a whole though.
Holy is a solid healer, won't be used for WRs or anything because of the lack of DPS (ala disc or kinda fistweave) but brings some nice utility. Bubbles salvs etc.
Prot is an ok tank and definitely doable for challenge modes. They have decent DR with CDs but are otherwise a bit squishy. However, they suffer from 2 main drawbacks. No decent stun (ala remorseless/leg sweep), and no real kiting ability (chillblains and keg toss), both of which of which are either helpful or crucial depending on the CM.
Ret I haven't really played, but has a few things going against it. CMs hate melee. ToJS and MSP in particular are particularly harsh. Ret has no inherent stun and the one it can glyph for is meh. Their aoe isn't as good as frost DK or rogue. They have nice burst which can help in a few places, but it doesn't really make up for others.
Take it all with a grain of salt obviously. A competent group can clear with whatever comp, but in terms of easy, holy > prot are probably your best choice.
Ret is okay for them, I think I only did 1 or 2 CMs as Ret, but it's probably in a pretty average spot overall for CMs
Melee in general, other than a DK, or Rogue for the most part, is pretty much considered a hassle for CMs. Melee really isn't that bad though, there are a few inconveniences here and there.
I switched to Prot for the majority, and all of the "tough" ones, and realistically Prot is pretty good ( depends on your goals ).
If you are going strictly for times, Holy, Prot, and Ret really don't fall into a great category, and Prot will do worse than the majority of other tanks.
As far as simple getting Bronze, Silver or Gold, Prot is actually a really good tank. They are in no way squishy, and have quite a bit of group utility. The only thing that really sucked throughout CMs was mass kiting.
For completion of gold? All 3 are fine.
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