Retribution Paladin in Shadowlands
Welcome to the Overgear guide on the Paladin’s “Retribution” spec! This guide will show you all the intricacies of the spec in various aspects of the game and teach you how to survive even the toughest Shadowlands challenges. You’ll learn which talents to use, how to equip your character, and which covenant to choose. In each section you will find answers to these and many other questions.
“Retribution” Paladin is one of the most popular specs in the game. The concept of a warrior harnessing light magic appeals to many players. But you can’t get far on just the fantasy alone!
“Retribution” Paladin has 2 resources. The first is Holy Power, which is mainly used to deal damage. It has similar mechanics with classic combo points without targeting (max 5 Holy Power). The second one is mana, which is consumed by most utility abilities.
This guide will teach you which talents to use in any given situation, which covenant, soulbinds, and conduits to choose, which legendaries and equipment to add to your arcenal, and most importantly — how to correctly use your abilities. In each section you will find answers to these and many other questions.
- Strong continuous burst in any fight
- Good AoE
- A variety of auras which provide multiple ways of strengthening or protecting your allies
- Retribution Aura grants a unique opportunity to slightly compensate losses during raids
- Relies on cooldowns
- Mediocre DPS outside of bursts
- Low mobility
About the author
Laevate1nn, a raider of the Exorsus Guild since 2018. Twitch — https://www.twitch.tv/laevate1nn
All offensive abilities interact with Holy Power — generate or consume it. More on each ability below.
Crusader Strike — your main Holy Power generator. It has 2 charges, deals moderate physical damage to a single target, and generates 1 Holy Power. Base CD 6 sec.
Blade of Justice — second major Holy Power generator with a longer cooldown. Generates 2 Holy Power and deals a lot more damage than Crusader Strike.
Templar’s Verdict — costs 3 Holy Power and deals significant holy damage to a single target. This is a main ST finisher (finishers are abilities that cost Holy Power charges).
Divine Storm — costs 3 Holy Power and deals holy damage to enemies within an 8 yd radius.
Judgment — the only offensive ability to have a 30 yd range. Deals holy damage to the target and causes your next Holy Power ability to deal 25% increased damage.
Wake of Ashes — deals radiant damage to all enemies within 12 yds in front of you and reduces their movement speed by 50% for 5 sec. Secondary targets receive reduced damage. Wake of Ashes also stuns demons and undead for 5 sec. Generates 3 Holy Power.
Hammer of Wrath — hurls a divine hammer that deals holy damage to the target. Only usable on enemies that have less than 20% health or while Avenging Wrath is active. CD 7.5 sec. Generates 1 Holy Power.
Consecration — consecrates the land beneath you, causing holy damage over 12 sec to enemies who enter the area. Limit 1.
Avenging Wrath — Paladin’s only burst with a 2 minute cooldown. While active, increases your damage, crit chance, and healing by 20%. Base duration 25 sec.
Mastery: Hand of Light — increases holy damage by a % of your mastery.
Devotion Aura — party and raid members within 40 yards are bolstered by their devotion, reducing damage taken by 3%. Only one aura may be active.
Retribution Aura — if a party/raid member dies within 40yds, you gain Avenging Wrath for 12 sec. Only one aura may be active.
Crusader Aura — increases mounted speed by 20% for all party/raid members within 40 yds. Only one aura may be active.
Concentration Aura — Interrupt and Silence effects on all party/raid members within 40 yds are 30% shorter. Only one aura may be active.
Art of War — your auto attacks have a 12% chance to reset Blade of Justice cooldown.
Shield of Vengeance — creates a barrier for 15 sec that absorbs incoming damage. When the shield expires, it bursts to inflict holy damage equal to the total amount absorbed, divided among all nearby enemies. Crit chance either doubles the barrier’s capacity or its damage. CD 2 min.
Blessing of Protection — buff yourself or a raid/party member, granting immunity to physical damage for 10 sec. Upon activation, the target receives Forbearance for 30 sec. This effect prevents strong spells such as Blessing of Protection, Lay on Hands, and Divine Shield from affecting the target. Base CD 5 min.
Divine Shield — grants immunity to all damage for 8 sec and removes all threat (Hand of Reckoning can aggro the enemy for a couple of seconds). Cannot be used if you have Forbearance. Also causes Forbearance for 30 sec. Base CD 5 min.
Flash of Light — heals you or your ally at the cost of mana. Base cast time 1.5 sec.
Lay on Hands — instantly heals a friendly target for an amount equal to your maximum health. Cannot be used if you have Forbearance. Also causes Forbearance for 30 sec. CD 10 min.
Blessing of Sacrifice — you bless a party member, transfering 30% of their damage taken onto yourself. Lasts for 12 sec, or until you fall below 20% health. CD 2 min.
Word of Glory — heals a friendly target, costs 3 Holy Power.
Blessing of Freedom — makes you or your ally immune to movement impairing effects for 8 sec, also removing them when cast. CD 25 sec.
Divine Steed — allows you to ride your class mount for 3 seconds even in combat, increasing movement speed by 100%. It’s basically a sprint, but the game treats it as riding, meaning you will not be affected by such effects like Hunter’s Misdirection. CD 45 sec.
Hand of Reckoning — provokes the enemy and forces them to attack you for 3 sec. Paladin’s taunt ability. CD 8 sec.
Redemption — resurrects an ally outside of combat.
Hammer of Justice — stuns the target for 6 sec. CD 1 min.
Cleanse Toxins — removes all poison and disease effects from an allies target. CD 8 sec.
Hand of Hindrance — reduces enemy’s movement speed by 70% for 10 sec. CD 30 sec.
Rebuke — interrupts spellcasting and prevents any spell of that school from being cast for 4 sec.
General information. On reaching several levels, you will open new Talent tiers. In each tier, you can choose one Talent at a time. Talents can affect your abilities in different ways: add new ones, replace old ones, passively modify various effects and spells. You can change Talents while you’re in Sanctums or in rest areas, but if there are no such places nearby, you can use Tome of the Tranquil Mind, which allows you to change Talents within a minute. Note that Talents can’t be changed in combat. Also, if a Talent selected in a certain tier is on cooldown, you’ll have to wait for it to recharge in order to change it.
Tier 1 — 15 lvl. Talents that affect DPS
- Zeal — “Judgment” empowers you with “Zeal”, causing your next 3 auto attacks to occur 30% faster and deal additional holy damage. Not a bad talent for ST, but not the best one in this tier. Although, Zeal is a default choice for M+.
- Righteous Verdict — “Templar’s Verdict” increases the damage of your next “Templar’s Verdict” by 15% for 6 sec. Best choice for ST since it boosts our main Holy Power ability.
- Execution Sentence — a hammer slowly falls from the sky upon the target. After 8 sec, they suffer holy damage. During that time, they receive 20% more damage from your abilities. A weak talent, not used anywhere at the moment.
Tier 2 — 25 lvl. Talents that affect DPS
* Blade of Wrath is a universal choice. Empyrean Power is picked for cleave, AoE or M+.
Tier 3 — 30 lvl. Control
- Fist of Justice — Each Holy Power spent reduces the remaining cooldown on Hammer of Justice by 2 sec.
- Repentance — paralyzes a target in a 30 yd range. Only Demons, Dragonkin, Giants, Humanoids, and Undead can be affected by it. CD 15 sec.
- Blinding Light — dazes enemies in a 10 yd radius around you for 6 sec. Any damage except holy damage will cancel the effect. CD 1.5 min.
* All these talents are situational. By default, you should pick Blinding Light, since it can interrupt enemies in M+.
Tier 4 — 35 lvl. Mobility and survivability
* It’s best to have Eye for an Eye as a backup. Pick Unbreakable Spirit if you need more saves, and Cavalier if you lack mobility.
Tier 5 — 40 lvl. Talents that affect DPS
- Divine Purpose — finishers have a 15% chance to grant you Divine Purpose for 12 sec, making your next Holy Power ability free and deal 20% increased damage.
- Holy Avenger — triples your Holy Power generation for 20 sec.
- Seraphim — The Light magnifies your power for 15 sec, granting 8% Haste, Critical Strike, and Versatility, and 13% Mastery.
*Seraphim is great combined with Execution Sentence. Holy Avenger is a strong burst ability. Divine Purpose is a standard talent that doesn’t change the gameplay much. All these talents are similar in terms of power, so choose depending on the situation.
Tier 6 — 45 lvl. Healing
- Selfless Healer — all abilities that cost Holy Power reduce the cooldown of your next Flash of Light by 25% and increase its healing done by 10%. Stacks up to 4 times.
- Justicar’s Vengeance — costs 5 Holy Power, deals decent holy damage and replenishes an equal amount of health. If used against a stunned target, damage is increased by 50%.
- Healing Hands — The cooldown of Lay on Hands is reduced up to 60%, based on the target’s missing health. Word of Glory healing is increased by up to 100%, based on the target’s missing health.
*The choice is yours. Selfless Healer is useful in any situation. You’re probably better off without Justicar’s Vengeance. Healing Hands can be good during raids and in M+ at the cost of damage.
Tier 7 — 50 lvl. Talents that affect DPS
- Sanctified Wrath — Avenging Wrath lasts 25% longer. During Avenging Wrath, each Holy Power spent causes a holy explosion dealing a small amount of damage.
- Crusade — replaces Avenging Wrath, has the same duration. Upon activation, increases your damage done and haste by 3%. During Crusade each Holy Power spent increases your damage done and haste by additional 3%. Stacks up to 10 times.
- Final Reckoning — calls down a blast of divine energy, dealing holy damage to all targets in the target area and causing them to take 50% increased damage from your Holy Power abilities for 8 sec. CD 1 min. Passive effect: while off cooldown, your attacks have a high chance to call down a bolt that deals holy damage and causes the target to take 10% increased damage from your next Holy Power ability.
*Final Reckoning synergizes well with other bursts, useful in ST and AoE combat. Crusade is a fine alternative.
Here are your common builds:
For ST and cleave:
- Righteous Verdict
- Blade of Wrath
- Fist of Justice
- Unbreakable Spirit
- Divine Purpose
- Selfless Healer
- Empyrean Power
- Blinding Light
- Unbreakable Spirit
- Divine Purpose
- Selfless Healer
- Final Reckoning
Raid — Venthyr
Mythic+ — Kyrian
- Ashen Hallow — hallows the target area for 30 sec. Enemies in the area suffer dark magic damage, while allies heal. This effect is reduced if there are more than 5 targets. Within the Hallow, you may use Hammer of Wrath on any target, and its damage is increased by 100%. 1.5 sec cast time, CD 4 min.
Very strong burst, but less useful than the other covenants due to long cooldown.
- Door of Shadows — channeled blink with great potential (skipping enemies in M+ dungeons, avoiding mechanics similar to raid boss Queen Azshara).
Good burst, useful for AoE and cleave.
- Summon Steward — summons your stewart to bring you a Phial of Serenity. CD 4 min. May seem useless, but don’t underestimate additional healing. Removing various debuffs, especially bleeding, can be very useful in every aspect of the game.
Blessing of the Seasons — blesses an ally with one of the seasons for 30 sec. CD 45 sec.:
- Summer — ally’s attacks have a 40% chance to deal an additional 30% holy damage. Autumn comes next.
- Autumn — ally’s cooldowns recover 30% faster. Winter comes next.
- Winter — attacks deal additional damage and apply a movement (3%) and attack speed (2%) stacking debuff. Stacks up to 10 times.
- Spring — increases ally’s healing done by 10% and healing received by 20%. Summer comes next.
An interesting ability. Full cycle lasts 3 min total, granting 90 sec of DPS buffs. Very powerful.
- Soulshape — turns you into a fox. teleports you 15 yds forward and increases movement speed by 50%. You can teleport every second over 12 sec. Additional blink and sprint for an already mobile class.
Has some AoE potential for M+ dungeons, but weaker than Divine Toll at the moment.
- Fleshcraft — after channeling for 4 sec, creates a shield of flesh that absorbs damage equal to 20% of your maximum health. Channeling near a corpse claims their essence to grow the shield, up to 50% of your maximum health. This is most effective against powerful enemies.
Surprisingly strong absorb. A bit better than Kyrian phial. Can be quite useful against raid bosses that sometimes deal massive damage.
- Venthyr — Nadjia
- Kyrian — Pelagos
- Necrolord — Emeni
- Night Fae — Korayn
Nadjia the Mistblade
Dauntless Duelist — The first enemy you damage in combat is marked as your adversary. You deal 3% more damage to them, and they deal % less damage to you. You may only have one adversary at a time.
Thrill Seeker — while in combat, you gain a stack of “Thrill Seeker”. Killing an enemy grants 4 stacks. At 40 stacks “Thrill Seeker” is consumed to grant you “Euphoria”, increasing your Haste by 20% for 10 sec. “Thrill Seeker” decays rapidly while you are not in combat.
Exacting Preparation — bonuses from food, potions, and weapon enchants are increased by 20%.
Theotar the Mad Duke
Soothing Shade — Your spells and abilities have a chance to call Tubbins and Gubbins to your side for 12 sec, parasol in hand. Standing in the shaded area grants you 525 Mastery.
Wasteland Propriety — activating Ashen Hallow signals the start of tea time, granting 10% Versatility to you and 4% Versatility to up to 4 nearby allies. Lasts 10 seconds and can only occur once per 60 sec.
Refined Palate — the effects of potions last 200% longer.
General Draven — soulbind for survivability and possibly for PvP, has no useful abilities for a DD class.
Let Go of the Past — Using a spell or ability reduces incoming magic damage by 1% for 10 sec. Using another spell or ability increases versatility by 1% when it is not a repeat of the previous one. Stacks up to 3 times.
Combat Meditation — Divine Toll increases your Mastery by 5% for 20 sec and occasionally expels Sorrowful Memories. Walking through Sorrowful Memories extends this effect by 3 sec.
Valiant Strikes — your critical strikes grant you stacks of Valiant Strikes, up to 20. At 20 stacks you heal yourself for 10% of your max health and up to 4 closest allies for 5% of their max health. CD 1 min.
Pointed Courage — increases crit chance by 1% for every nearby enemy, up to 8%.
Hammer of Genesis — damaging a new enemy grants you 2% Haste for 10 sec, up to 5 stacks.
Bron’s Call to Action — after using 90 damaging or healing abilities, your next ability summons Bron, who knocks enemies back and then attacks and heals your targets for 30 sec.
Plague Deviser Marileth has no useful abilities for a DD class.
Gnashing Chompers — gain 3% Haste for 10 sec after defeating an enemy, up to 15%.
Lead by Example — Vanquisher’s Hammer increases your primary stat by 5% and up to 4 nearby allies’ primary stat by 2% for 10 sec. You gain 2% additional primary stat for each ally affected, up to 8%.
Heirmir’s Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone — after landing 10 critical strikes, you gain 18% increased chance to critical strike for 10 sec. May only occur once per 60 sec.
Forgeborne Reveries — upon your death your armour comes to life, allowing you to fight for an additional 10 sec. During this time, your damage and healing done is reduced by 50% and you cannot receive healing. Also increases your primary stat by 1% for each enchantment on your armor, up to 3%.
Niya’s Tools: Burrs — your damaging attacks and spells have a chance to toss Niya’s Spiked Burrs under your target. The burrs latch onto the first enemy to cross them, reducing movement speed by 20% and inflicting nature damage over 6 sec. (this path has 1 less potency conduit)
Niya’s Tools: Poison — your interrupting abilities apply Niya’s Paralytic Poison to the target, dealing Nature damage over 30 sec. Debuffed targets take additional nature damage if interrupted once more.
Grove Invigoration — healing or dealing damage has a chance to grant you a stack of Redirected Anima, which increases your maximum health by 1% and your Mastery by 25 for 30 sec, and stacks overlap. “Blessing of the Seasons” grants you 6 stacks of Redirected Anima.
Dreamweaver has no useful abilities for a DD class.
First Strike — damaging an enemy before they damage you increases your chance to critically strike by 25% for 10 sec.
Wild Hunt Tactics — your damage to targets above 75% health and healing to targets below 35% health are increased by 10%. When your spells and abilities are enhanced this way, you gain 10% bonus movement speed for 5 sec.
A total of 16 legendaries are available to the “Retribution” Paladin.
Best item effects:
Your main goal is to deal as much damage with Templar’s Verdict as possible. This is achieved by using finishers after Judgment and replenishing Holy Power in between. The priorities are listed below (if there’s more than 2 targets, just replace Templar’s Verdict with Divine Storm).
- Templar’s Verdict if Divine Purpose procs
- Divine Storm if Empyrean Power procs
- Hammer of Wrath once available
- Final Reckoning on recharge
- Templar’s Verdict on 5 Holy Power, with Judgment debuff
- Templar’s Verdict on 3 Holy Power, if you have <10 stacks of Crusade, with Judgment debuff
- Templar’s Verdict on 3 Holy Power, with Judgment debuff and Righteous Verdict will expire in 1 second.
- Wake of Ashes on 0 or 1 Holy Power, if Blade of Justice is on cooldown.
- Blade of Justice on 3 or less Holy Power
- Crusader Strike with 2 charges, 4 or less Holy Power
- Judgment on 5 Holy Power or if Crusader Strike and Blade of Justice are on cooldown
- Crusader Strike on 4 or less Holy Power
- Templar’s Verdict on 3 or more Holy Power, with the target debuffed by Judgment
- Try using finishers after Judgment (exception: you’ve mistakenly debuffed a target that died too quickly. In this case there’s no point in standing around and looking at the target with 5 Holy Power and waiting for Holy Power generators to recharge).
- Judgment must be used as frequently as possible, with minimum delays. Judgment during Crusade should be on the target 100% of the time. Though, it’s not that hard thanks to increased haste from this talent. It’s also preferable to use Crusade under such raid buffs like Bloodlust / Heroism / Time Warp, or when the target is receiving increased damage.
- Blade of Justice
- Crusade or Avenging Wrath
- Hammer of Wrath
- Templar’s Verdict
- Wake of Ashes
- Templar’s Verdict
- Hammer of Wrath
- Move on to standard rotation, using Judgment before finishers.
Choosing a race
- Human (Alliance)
- Tauren (Horde)
- Human (Alliance)
- Blood Elf (Horde)
Basic stat priority looks like this:
Haste reduces the cooldowns of your main abilities, GCD, speed of auto attacks.
Mastery increases holy damage.
Versatility simply amplifies damage dealt and reduces damage taken.
Crit increases your chance to deal double damage with your abilities.
These stats are connected quite tightly, while their value is constantly changing.
After upgrading your gear, it’s highly recommended to use Simcraft or Raidbots.com. There is nothing more accurate than simulations to tell you which of the stats you should look at first.
Based on the priorities above and simulations of your character you can choose gems, enchants, and consumables.
Sharpening stones, Oils, and Kits
Flasks and Pots
BiS Gear & Trinkets
Will be available later
Repentance on cursor:
/cast [@mouseover] Repentance
Rebuke with modifiers, used on focus or the current target:
/cast [@focus, exists, harm][@target, harm, nodead] Rebuke
Blessing of Freedom on cursor, as it’s sometimes useful to give it to your ally:
#showtooltip Blessing of Freedom
/cast [@mouseover] Blessing of Freedom
Blessing of Sacrifice on cursor, as it’s sometimes useful to give it to your ally:
#showtooltip Blessing of Sacrifice
/cast [@mouseover] Blessing of Sacrifice
Blessing of Protection on cursor, as it’s sometimes useful to give it to your ally:
#showtooltip Blessing of Protection
/cast [@mouseover] Blessing of Protection
Lay on Hands on cursor, as it is sometimes useful to give it to your ally:
#showtooltip Lay on Hands
/cast [@mouseover] Lay on Hands
Bartender4 — highly customizable panel addon.
Chatter — allows you to customize chat.
Deja Character stats — adds more information about the character.
Sexy map — makes your minimap sexy!
Shadowed unit frames — an alternative to ElvUI for unit frames.
WeakAuras — probably the most important addon in modern WoW. With its help, you can set up almost anything, and on wago.io you can find hundreds of useful auras and import them to your game in a few clicks. You can also find a full pack of auras for any spec, check out this link for Retribution auras.
BigWigs/Deadly Boss Mods — addons with timers and announcements for bosses in raids and M+, choose either of these. It’s also super useful in PvE. For BigWigs, the instance module, LittleWigs, must be installed separately.
ElvUI — all-in-one global build for fans of a neat and concise interface. Replaces several addons at once. On wago.io you can also find a large number of different customized profiles for ElvUI.
Details! Damage Meter — the most up-to-date and advanced damage meter at the moment.
Plater Nameplates — addon from the author of Details that changes enemy nameplates. Fully customizable design and a huge number of available features, as well as the ability to import profiles and mods from wago.io — what else do you need?
Pawn — helps you find gear upgrades, requires SimCraft.
SimulationCraft — simplifies your char’s simulation by creating an in-game line for quick import to Raidbots or SimCraft.
Exorsus Raid Tools — addon for raids with a lot of useful features
Move Anything — allows you to move and resize any part of your interface.
World Quest List — groups your world quests to the left of the map and filters them by zones.
When playing as a Retribution Paladin, you can be extremely useful to your raid if you can spot the need for Blessing of Freedom/Blessing of Sacrifice/Blessing of Protection/Lay on Hands and use them in the nick of time. With quick reaction you’ll be able to save your ally before they even ask for help. To do this you will need customized raid/party frames and a certain knack for keeping track of them during battles.
This concludes our guide. We hope you have no more questions and are ready to get down to practice. Thanks for tuning in! Best of luck in the world of Azeroth!