Vanguards Retribution Paladin Guide

by Archive // March 30, 2011

Skill-Capped Section

This is a guide I posted in the past on other sites.  I have modified it, and given you all more information on Skill Capped.  This first section is the ‘Skill Capped Section’ of the guide!

First gearing, here is how I gear at the moment:

Chardev of Gear

I’m at nice sweet spot of exactly 5% hit cap, so no wasted stats.

Many people like to ask, why all the resilience? To be honest, even at 3750+ resilience, I still find it too little. Rets get focused so much in arenas due to the mechanics of selfless healer, and our low survivability for a melee. So stacking resil is definitely a good idea.

Comp Specifics:

I’ve been getting a lot of questions on Ret / Resto Shaman 2s, how I was able to get a 98% win record + rank 1 with such a seemingly strange comp. First point, not many good players play 2s, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to maintain such a nice record if good players were queing 2s all the time. Some common questions are: “How do you kill anything with a healer?”

I will be releasing a video of ret / r.shaman soon, but ret / r.shaman in order to beat good teams with healers on it, you basically have to win them through mind gaming their cooldowns. Baiting trinkets, making them pop cooldowns unnecessarily and then blowing all your cooldowns in one blow and finishing them off. That’s really the only way to kill a healer as a ret paladin. If you’re able to bait a trinket, make sure to pop inquisition, have 3 holy power up, zealotry up, wings up, and pet up for that sure kill blow on Hoj + NS Hex + Repent.

There are lots of ways to bait trinkets, HOJing someone at 50% and scaring them with a hex on their partner, doing a cc chain of HOJ + Hex + Repent and getting the dps low. Get creative, find a way to bait that trinket and cooldowns!

How’s Ret PvP in Season 9?

In my opinion Ret PvP is okay atm, the one thing I want to see fixed is the parry / dodge on crusader strikes doesn’t proc holy power, our dispel protection and our bad survivability. However, overall we’re in an okay spot. The highest I reached so far this season post 4.0.6 was 3039.

PvP Talents

There are 2 big differences in how Rets are talenting for PvP atm. The 2 differences are 40second Hammer of Justice versus Last Word (Crit on Word of Glory below 35% hp).

If you are going for Last Word you will off spec mainly to Holy, if you’re going for 40 second Hammer of Justice you will off spec Prot.

Also, for rated BGs you should pick up divine storm.

The rest of the talents most Rets can usually agree on or only have slight variances.

Most Common Spec

  • The most common specs for rets at the moment is some type of improve Hammer of Justice Spec. Some arguable talents here are:
    • 2Points in Acts of Sacrifice
    • Only 1 Point in AOW
    • 2 Points in Guardian’s Favor
    • The rest of the talents are pretty concrete. You won’t pick up sancity of battle due to the fact most rets should have very little haste in PvP, and bloodlust / heroism is disappearing from arena. I’ve been going 2 points into AOW lately with 1 point only into Acts.
    • If your freedom is constantly getting purged / spell stolen switch guardian’s favor to AOW (Art of War).
  • Healing Spec For Rets
    • This is the probably the highest healing spec for Rets (Last Word).


I’m going to talk about Prime Glyphs first, for Prime Glyphs I would consider Templar’s Verdict to be necessary especially now in 4.0.6 as it is our hardest hitting ability.

After that you’ll have some choices to make between Crusader Strike vs Censure vs Word of Glory vs Judgement.

Word of Glory is recommended for most general cases unless you’re going for some kind of high burst comp (kill the opponent in under 1minute or lose), as big burst heals is one of ret’s best friend atm.

Censure provides the highest “dps” from a PvE perspective. Use this if you’re in a comp that trains a lot and has minimal stuns. I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re playing with a rogue as the person you’re hitting will be stun locked most of the time.

Crusader Strike and Judgement are just the “okay some damage here” glyphs if you don’t like the other 2.

Prime Glyphs:

[Glyph of Templar's Verdict] (Necessary)

[Glyph of Word of Glory] (Recommended)

[Glyph of Seal of Truth] (Or Crusader Strike or Judgement)

Major Glyphs:

Major glyphs I’ve seen a lot of variance. I’ll explain the most useful and commonly used ones here.

[Glyph of the Ascetic Crusader] (Biggest Mana Saver)

[Glyph of Turn Evil] (Instant fear can save lives against those deadly pets out there)

[Glyph of Hammer of Wrath] (Saves a LOT of mana during Avenging Wrath)

[Glyph of Hammer of Justice] (Longer range stun, what else to be said?)

[Glyph of Cleansing] (Could be as Valuable or more Valuable than Crusader Strike glyph depending on how much you are cleansing yourself out of slows)

[Glyph of Divine Protection] (Wizard Protection!)

You can pick any variance of these and it would still be considered good choices. Use the mana ones if you have huge mana problems in arena, turn evil for defensive reasons, HOJ for overall convenience, Divine Protection if you’re getting wizard trained.

Minor Glyphs: (Doesn’t really matter, I’ll post what I plan to use)

[Glyph of Blessing of Might] (Recommended)

[Glyph of Truth]

[Glyph of Blessing of Kings]

[Glyph of Justice]

The only one here that is going to matter is glyph of Might as the buff is going to cost a lot of mana. The other seals just use the glyphs for your favorite seals that you dance with.

Gems / Enchants / Stats

One word, “STRENGTH”, it is KING for rets for damage. It is 2x better than Hit Rating even if you are not hit capped. This means reforge hit! Do not gem into it unless it’s a blue socket (use 20str / 20hit) AND it yields equal amount of stat gain.

Mastery is equal to roughly .3 of Strength, some more accurate numbers should come soon. Other than hit cap, I recommend reforging almost all into mastery and maintaining a logical amount of crit.

The only arguable stat that can go against Strength is resilience. Rets have an X on their heads and get trained all game all the time. Personally, I’m trying to stay within 3200 resilience. Just use what you feel comfortable with, I know rets who go for 4000 resilience and Rets who go under 3000.

Recommended Gems:

Recommended Reforging:

  • Get Hit Cap first! (5%) After that go for mastery and possibly maintain some crit.

Recommended Enchants:


This is probably the most common question I’ve gotten! What seal do you use?

For a simple answer, [Seal of Truth].

Here is a more complicated answer:

Generally for any target you are staying on for 10+ Seconds, [Seal of Truth] is the highest damage dealing seal. Especially now in 4.0.6, [Seal of Truth] is buffed big time.

Go [Seal of Insight] when you’re getting trained HARD, it does save lives. Use your own instincts here, do you think it’s more important to bring this guy down asap with [Seal of Truth], or to survive longer with [Seal of Insight]?

[Seal of Justice], this is an incredibly awkward seal. It’s a horrible skill, but yet you still need to use it at times (makes no sense I know). The only time I’ve used this effectively is Rated BGs (slowing demolishers) and 2s when I played double Ret vs Warlock Enhancement Shaman (we had to stop the shaman).

Viable Ret Comps

Viability’s definition is different for each person. I’m going to leave this section blank now that 4.0.6 appeared, I believe we can run just about anything that makes even some logical sense and be “viable” for my definition.


Doesn’t really matter. Many people like engineering as it probably gives the highest overall enjoyment from fun toys.

How much resil should a Ret aim for?

As said before this is largely preference based, and on what comp you are running. I’m trying to stay at roughly 3200, but I’ve seen people stack to 4000 and go under 3000 as well.

Note: I mentioned earlier in the ‘Skill-Capped’ section of the guide I use more than this now.

What rotation do you use in PvP?

There is no rotation in PvP. 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.

Some also simple notes is you should almost never use Templar’s Verdict unless you have 3 holy power or a proc.

What macros does Ret have for PvP?

Check my macro section out under contributers.

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:

Start Attack + Crusader Strike

/cast Crusader Strike


Start Attack + Templar’s Verdict

/cast Templar’s Verdict


Focus HOJ

/cast [target=focus] Hammer of Justice

Focus Repent

/cast [target=focus] Repentance

Switching Between 2H and Shield

/equip [equipped:Shields] Your2HWeaponName

/equip [noequipped:Shields] your1HWeaponName

/equip [noequipped:Shields] YourShieldName

Camera Distance *This is the Camera I used to use, I’m going default max zoomed out now though*

/console cameraDistanceMaxFactor 4


/cast [target=focus] Rebuke

Focus Judgement

/cast [target=focus] Judgement

Cancel Bubble

/cancelaura Divine Shield

Cancel Wings

/cancelaura Avenging Wrath

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)

Hand of Protection

/cast [target=partyX] Hand of Protection

Hand of Sacrifice

/cast [target=partyX] Hand of Sacrifice

Hand of Freedom

/cast [target=partyX] Hand of Freedom

Word of Glory

/cast [target=partyX] Word of Glory

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! Some recommended pieces in PvP where you actually have choices to make is Expertise instead of Haste for wrists, Mastery for Cloak, Crit and Hit for rings, Mastery for Belt, Crit for Boots, and Hit for necklace.

Why expertise over haste? Haste is a rather useless stat for us unless you have a lot of it. As you probably won’t even over 5% haste (I don’t think I have even 1%) you should neglect this stat as much as possible.

There are definitely some valuable PvE Pieces out there, but Resil atm is very important so I wouldn’t recommend going too far on extremes for that. If you feel like using PvE Gear, I would recommend to replace the 2nd trinket with a PvE one.


Unless you’re human obviously you would use the trinket that removes all impairing effects.

For your second trinket, you have a few options.

Most people use PvP Resil + on use activate Strength trinket, for burst and such with wings. This can arguably be the best trinket even if you had access to PvE gear as Rets get trained so much, resilience becomes so valuable for us.

The Resil + Strength Proc will overall do (very slightly) more than the on use, but you will not be able to control when it occurs.

If you plan to use PvE trinkets I recommend the Tol Barad Mastery + On Use Strength, DMC:Hurricane, or Crushing Weight.

The heroic Crushing Weight would be the best trinket for damage if you had access to it. This trinket provides the most base Strength, and as said before Strength is KING for ret paladin’s damage.

If you are human, keep in mind it is not recommended to use two on use trinkets, as you won’t be able to use them hand in hand.

General Arena Tips

Ret is a very strange spec, it’s place in arena is rather vague. We have good burst damage (that can be purged in seconds), but our melee damage still isn’t the best. 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 Streams

You can check xfire to see if I’m streaming. Skill-Capped will be including something like this soon! I also post on the forums sometimes when I am.

These are some high rated Ret Players that stream occasionally:

Vanguards: Streaming Link

Thanks for reading, I hope this helped you out. Post any other questions you have here! Also if you are a high rated ret that streams feel free to post your name and stream link!

  • 0
    43 months ago
    good work at least i can use thing on paladin which i am leveling thanks
  • 0
    44 months ago
  • 0
    44 months ago
    why the /startattack macros.. does it not do it when u crus strike or judgement
  • 0
    44 months ago
    Great guide thx for sharing
  • 0
    44 months ago
    "In my opinion Ret PvP is okay atm" hHAHAHAHAHA.

    Joking aside, this is the single best article I have seen on this website. I am extremely impressed and there should be one of these for every class.
  • 0
    44 months ago
    good job man, very informative stuff in here ty
Powered by Olark