wowscrnshot 013124 063828
  • Author: Nevermore
  • Date: January 31, 2024
  • Updated: February 2, 2024
  • Expansion: Cataclysm

Retribution Paladins are one of the most powerful Damage Dealer specializations in Cataclysm, providing both consistent damage and a powerful burst phase. In this section of the guide, we will present both a simplified version of our rotations and an in-depth version, going over all of our abilities, synergies, and core gameplay mechanics.

Rotation Summary

Single Target Rotation (TLDR)

Under 3 Holy Power

  1. Activate Seal of Truth before the fight starts.
  2. Use Judgement before reaching your target.
  3. Use Crusader Strike on cooldown as your main tool to generate Holy Power.
  4. Use Judgement on cooldown after reaching your target.
  5. Use Exorcism when The Art of War procs.
  6. Use Hammer of Wrath on cooldown when your target is under 20% HP.
    • Use Hammer of Wrath while Avenging Wrath is active.
  7. Use Consecration when you have more than half of your Mana bar.
  8. Use Holy Wrath whenever it’s off cooldown.

3 Holy Power/Divine Purpose Proc

  1. Use Inquisition once you reach 3 Holy Power or trigger the Divine Purpose proc and upkeep it after the first cast.
  2. Use Templar’s Verdict only when you have 3 Holy Power.
    • Use Templar’s Verdict when you trigger Divine Purpose while Inquisition is active.
    • Use Templar’s Verdict whenever you reach 3 Holy Power while Inquisition is active.
  3. Use Hammer of Wrath on cooldown when your target is under 20% HP.
    • Use Hammer of Wrath while Avenging Wrath is active.
  4. Use Exorcism when The Art of War procs.
  5. Use Judgement in between whenever its cooldown is available and Hammer of Wrath is on cooldown.
    • Use Judgement before Exorcism if the The Art of War proc didn’t trigger and Judgement‘s cooldown is available.

AoE Rotation (TLDR)

  1. Activate Seal of Righteousness before the fight starts.
  2. Use Judgement before reaching your target and on cooldown during the fight.
  3. Use Consecration at the beginning of the fight if you have more than half of your Mana.
  4. Use Divine Storm to generate Holy Power when there are 4 or more targets.
  5. Use Inquisition when you have 3 Holy Power and upkeep it after the first cast.
  6. Use Holy Wrath on cooldown.
  7. Use Templar’s Verdict after casting Inquisition.
    • Use Templar’s Verdict whenever you have 3 Holy Power while Inquisition is active.
  8. Use Exorcism when The Art of War procs.
  9. Use Avenging Wrath for extended fights.

Abilities Overview

Click a section to expand it!

  • Seal of Truth fills the Paladin with holy power, causing each attack to apply a stacking debuff that deals Damage-over-Time and can stack up to 5 times. Once the effect is stacked to 5 times, each weapon swing deals a percentage of Weapon Damage as additional Holy Damage. Unleashing this Seal by using Judgement also deals increased damage to targets afflicted with 5 stacks.
    • This is the only seal you will be using for any Single-Target encounters! It replaces the old Seal of Vengeance/Seal of Corruption that Retribution Paladin used in WotLK.
  • Seal of Righteousness causes each one of your weapon swings to deal a small amount of Holy Damage.
    • This seal will be primarily used for AoE encounters thanks to the new Seals of Command talent. Without the new talent, this seal works exactly the same as its WotLK counterpart.
  • Judgement unleashes the effect of your currently equipped Seal, dealing Holy Damage. Unlike its previous version in WotLK where you had 3 different versions of the ability, each with a specific effect, you will now only have a single variant of the spell in Cataclysm.
    • This ability has multiple roles in your toolkit, ranging from triggering the Replenishment and Judgements of the Bold effects to generating Holy Power through the Tier 13 set bonus.
  • Crusader Strike is an instant strike ability that deals Physical Damage to a single target and generates 1 stack of Holy Power.
    • Unlike the previous expansions, Crusader Strike will now be available from level 1, quickly becoming your core ability. This ability now shares a cooldown with Divine Storm, meaning that they can’t be used in succession like in WotLK anymore.
  • Divine Storm is an instant strike ability that deals 100% weapon damage to all targets within 8 yards. Divine Storm heals up to 3 allied targets by up to 25% of all damage it causes while also granting 1 stack of Holy Power if it hits at least 4 targets.
    • Divine Storm now shares a cooldown with Crusader Strike, meaning that both abilities can’t be used in succession like in WotLK anymore. Divine Storm will replace Crusader Strike in any AoE encounter as your main Holy Power generator.
  • Templar’s Verdict is a powerful instant strike ability that deals Physical Damage, costing 1 Holy Power, increased by each additional Holy Power used past 1 stack of Holy Power.
    • This ability is your main Holy Power spender and the most powerful direct damage ability in your kit. This ability can be used with just 1 stack of Holy Power, however, you should always aim to use it when you have 3 stacks of Holy Power.
  • Inquisition is an ability that consumes all of your Holy Power stacks to increase all Holy Damage dealt by up to 30%. This effect lasts 12 seconds per stack of Holy Power.
    • You will want to upkeep this ability at all times after initially casting it! This ability should be used in both short-duration encounters and long-duration encounters.
  • Zealotry is an ability that allows Crusader Strike to generate 3 stacks of Holy Power for the next 20 seconds. This ability requires 3 stacks of Holy Power to activate, however, it doesn’t consume them.
    • This is one of your most powerful offensive cooldowns and should be used whenever you want to initiate your burst. You will typically use this ability at the beginning of the fight.
  • Avenging Wrath is an ability that increases all damage and healing done by up to 20% for 20 seconds. The ability was also buffed, with its current Cataclysm version no longer having any restrictions when used in conjunction with Divine Shield, Divine Protection, Lay on Hands, and Hand of Protection as opposed to its WotLK version.
    • This ability can be used in two main ways, it can either be used to empower all of your damage while Zealotry is active or it can be used to proc Divine Purpose by allowing you to cast Hammer of Wrath without requiring the 20% HP threshold.
  • Hammer of Wrath is an ability that deals Holy Damage to a target. Only usable on enemies that have 20% or less health.
    • This is your execute ability and should always be used on cooldown once your target reaches 20% HP. You will also want to use this ability on cooldown whenever you use Avenging Wrath as you will no longer be conditioned by the 20% HP threshold.
  • Exorcism has been reworked, with the ability no longer possessing a cooldown. This ability deals direct damage to a target, always dealing a critical strike against Undead/Demons.
    • Since this ability has a cast time and a very high mana cost, you will only want to use it when The Art of War procs.
  • Consecration is an ability that sanctifies the ground beneath the paladin, dealing Holy Damage to all targets in the area for 10 seconds.
    • This ability is one of your most potent AoE tools, however, it comes with a big flaw: A very high mana cost. This ability should only be used when you are above 50% of your mana.
  • Guardian of Ancient Kings is the second most powerful offensive cooldown in your kit, summoning a Guardian of Ancient Kings that attacks your target for up to 30 seconds. Each one of the Guardian’s attacks places a stacking buff named Ancient Power that can be stacked up to a maximum of 20 stacks with each stack granting a 1% increase in Strength. Whenever your Guardian of Ancient Kings dies or when the 30 seconds expires, you will release all the stacks, dealing damage based on your current stacks. The damage is split among every enemy hit by the ability.
    • Considering that this ability has a 5-minute cooldown, you will want to time it for your burst phase depending on the encounter itself. In some encounters, you may find yourself using this ability right at the beginning while in others you will reserve this ability for more opportune moments depending on the mechanics involved.
  • Divine Protection is an ability that reduces all damage taken by up to 20% for 10 seconds.
    • This ability has been changed as opposed to its WotLK counterpart, reducing its effectiveness from 50% damage reduction and a 12-second duration to 20% damage reduction and only a 10-second duration. On the plus side, the ability can now be used in conjunction with Avenging Wrath. and no longer causes Forbearance.
  • Divine Shield is an ability that makes you immune to all types of damage and spells for 8 seconds but reduces your overall damage output by 50% while it’s active.
    • This ability was also modified in Cataclysm as opposed to its WotLK counterpart, with the effect itself only giving you a 1-minute Forbearance debuff while its duration has been reduced to 8 seconds from the previous 12-second version. On the bright side, you will now be able to use Avenging Wrath immediately after using it.
  • Divine Plea is another ability that has been massively nerfed when compared to its WotLK counterpart. It restores 12% over 9 seconds while it also reduces the effectiveness of all your healing spells by up to 50%.
    • You will mostly want to avoid using this ability unless you are completely OoM and can’t use Judgement. Additionally, since the ability has a 2-minute cooldown, it’s best kept for emergencies.
  • Resistance Aura is the only Paladin Aura that was modified in Cataclysm as opposed to the auras that were available in WotLK. It combines the previous Fire Resistance Aura, Frost Resistance Aura, and Shadow Resistance Aura into one ability, increasing fire, frost, and shadow resistances by a considerable amount.
    • This ability both buffs and nerfs Retribution Paladins since there will be no longer any specific need for multiple Retribution Paladins to swap auras between them. The fact that Aura Mastery is no longer a part of the Retribution kit also diminishes the importance of this aura for Retribution Paladins. You will mostly use this Aura whenever a Holy Paladin has Aura Mastery on cooldown.
  • Holy Wrath is an ability that deals AoE damage divided amongst all nearby targets, stunning Demons and Undead for 3 seconds.
    • Thanks to the Glyph of Holy Wrath this ability becomes one of the core utility abilities for this expansion, allowing you to stun both Elementals and Dragonkin. Since the majority of encounters feature those types of mobs, you will find yourself using this ability on cooldown whenever you clear packs of thrash.
  • Cleanse is an ability that removes 1 poison effect and 1 disease effect. If you choose the Acts of Sacrifice talent, it will also remove 1 movement impairing effect when cast on yourself.
    • This ability has been reworked when compared to its WotLK counterpart, mostly receiving a nerf. While the removal of 1 movement-impairing effect can be very useful for raid encounters, the fact that you can no longer dispel magic effects massively reduces our overall utility.
  • Lay on Hands is one of your most powerful healing abilities that can make or break an encounter. Depending on the mechanics of the encounters themselves, your tank or a healer might require a large instant heal that can prevent a wipe. This ability has been massively buffed as opposed to its WotLK counterpart, healing a target up to a maximum of your own Health Points with only a 10-minute cooldown that can be further reduced to 7 minutes if you choose to use the Glyph of Lay on Hands.
  • Word of Glory is an instant cast ability that consumes Holy Power to heal a target.
    • This ability is mostly used as a quick self-healing ability, however, through the Selfless Healer talent, it acts as a damage-enhancing buff. You may use this ability to enhance your overall damage output by up to 6% if used on an ally.
  • Hand of Protection is an ability that can be used to protect yourself or an ally from any Physical Damage for 10 seconds. While the effect is active, the target can’t attack or use any Physical ability, however, the target may continue to use spells. This spell causes Forbearance for 1 minute.
    • This ability is one of your most potent utility abilities for any raid encounter that features One-Shot mechanics as it allows you to completely negate them as long as they involve Physical Damage.
  • Hand of Freedom is an ability that grants immunity to any movement-impairing effect for up to 6 seconds. Compared to its WotLK version where the duration was up to 10 seconds, the current Cataclysm version was heavily nerfed.
    • You will often find yourself aiding your allies with this ability whenever there is a raid mechanic that involves movement-impairing effects.
  • Hand of Sacrifice is an ability that transfers up to 30% of the damage received by a target to the Paladin. It lasts for 12 seconds or until it transfers 100% of the Paladin’s maximum health. The current Cataclysm version of this ability is the same as its WotLK version.
    • This ability is mainly used on tanks or healers and should be reserved for specific raid mechanics. You will often coordinate with your raid leader whenever this ability is needed.
  • Hand of Salvation is an ability that reduces a target’s overall threat by 2% every 1 second for up to 10 seconds. The current Cataclysm version of this ability is the same as its WotLK version.
    • This ability is mostly used on the highest damage dealer to mitigate a potential death. Since some classes generate more threat than others, even if they deal a lower damage output, you will be required to use it on them for specific encounters.
  • Hammer of Justice is an ability that stuns the target for up to 6 seconds.
    • The good old, HoJ, a reliable ability that you will want to use on cooldown whenever you clear thrash packs. Since the majority of raid and dungeon bosses can’t be stunned, you will only use this ability for thrash mobs.
  • Rebuke is an ability that interrupts your target preventing any spells from that specific school from being cast for up to 4 seconds. This ability has a low 10-second cooldown.
    • Finally, Retribution Paladin receives an interrupt! You will want to use this ability whenever you are able, especially on specific raid encounters that feature heavy casters.
  • Repentance is an ability that incapacitates a target for up to 1 minute. Unlike its WotLK counterpart, the current Cataclysm version of Repentance allows the DoT effect from the Seal of Truth to persist during its duration. Any damage received by the target other than Censure removes the effect.
    • This ability is very useful for singling out dangerous foes during any raid encounter. This ability can’t be used on bosses, however, it can be used on most elite mobs.
  • Blessing of Might is an ability that has been reworked when compared to its WotLK counterpart. It now encompasses both versions of WotLK’s Blessing of Wisdom and Blessing of Might into a single ability, providing both an MP5 effect and an increase in Melee and Ranged Attack Power.
    • This will be the main buff that you will use on yourself in case you are the only Paladin in a group.
  • Blessing of Kings is yet another ability that has been reworked when compared to its WotLK counterpart. Compared to its WotLK version where it granted a 10% stat increase to all of your stats, it now increases your Strength, Agility, Stamina, and Intellect by up to 5% while also increasing all of your magical resistances by up to 97.
    • This ability now shares the same stack buff with Mark of the Wild, meaning that you will mostly use it in case there is no Druid available.

Single Target Rotation (In-depth Explanation)

Now that we have gone over the overview of the abilities, we will explain the Single-Target Rotation in-depth and how it’s split into two different variations. Thanks to the new Holy Power resource system, Retribution Paladins have a much more dynamic gameplay with little to no downtime when it comes to pushing buttons. While this is genuinely a good thing for the specialization, it can also cause a player to get lost in the buttons and underperform. The main component of a Retribution Paladin’s gameplay is now focused around properly managing Holy Power stacks and carefully using proc effects such as the Divine Purpose proc.

There is a single standard rotation and two main variants of your burst phase for Retribution Paladin!

Burst Variations

The two burst variations are fairly similar yet one of them includes a heavy amount of RNG to be functional. The first variant incorporates Avenging Wrath during Zealotry while the second variant uses Avenging Wrath as a standalone buff for more chances of proccing Divine Purpose by casting Hammer of Wrath on cooldown while Avenging Wrath is active. The first variant is considered the standard option, however, it has one possible flaw. It’s a very APM-heavy rotation that might lead to you losing precious Hammer of Wrath casts in between Judgement/Exorcism/Crusader Strike/Templar’s Verdict casts. Since the burst part of the rotation is very spammy, it can be quite hard to weave in abilities correctly.

The second variant is considered to heavily rely on RNG and thus more unconventional. The perk of the second variant is that it can fully make use of Hammer of Wrath as you will have more downtime between each of your abilities. The downside of this variant is that you will lose the 20% damage buff during Zealotry, which will heavily impact your DPS since we will easily spam Templar’s Verdict while Zealotry is active.

Opener

The opener always depends on the encounter itself! Depending on the duration of the encounter and the mechanics involved, you will either want to directly enter your Burst Phase and blast all of your cooldowns at the start or reserve them for a more opportune moment. In specific scenarios, some of your most powerful abilities such as Zealotry and Guardian of Ancient Kings can be used right at the beginning while in others you will want to synch your abilities with your Trinkets and Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp.

First of all, your main seal for any Single-Target encounter will always be the Seal of Truth. The best part of the new Censure DoT unlike its WotLK counterpart is that it can be procced by almost every ability in your kit, with the only exceptions being Guardian of Ancient Kings, Consecration, and Divine Storm. This means that even in raid encounters that require a large amount of movement, you can upkeep the DoT with abilities such as Judgement or Hammer of Wrath even while on the move.

In every specific scenario, you will want to start with Judgement before reaching your target. This will trigger both the Judgements of the Bold passive effect and Replenishment through the Communion talent. Since we are a spam-heavy specialization with abilities that have a high mana cost, upkeeping both effects will be vital for avoiding a quick OoM situation. Additionally, thanks to the Long Arm of the Law talent, Judgement also acts as a gap closer.

Another extremely important aspect to take into consideration is the Divine Purpose talent. Depending on whether or not you have the RNG gods on your side, you may be able to trigger it in the very first moments of the encounter. If this happens, you should use Inquisition as fast as possible!

Standard Rotation

The standard rotation revolves around activating Inquisition as soon as possible and upkeeping it while using any spare Holy Power on Templar’s Verdict as long as Inquisition is active. Inquisition is a very important spell that should be maintained at all times since it empowers all of your Holy Damage by up to 30%. Since our kit is filled with Holy Damage, especially from the Mastery: Hand of Light effect, you will always prioritize activating Inquisition over any other effect. The only situation in which you won’t prioritize Inquisition is our burst phase, in which Inqusition becomes a second priority directly after casting Zealotry.

The standard rotation utilizes a priority list for the spells, with Crusader Strike being at the top of the priority order whenever you are below 3 Holy Power. Judgement acts as your second priority spell whenever is off cooldown to maintain Judgements of the Bold and Replenishment. However, there are three specific cases in which you won’t prioritize it.

  • You won’t cast Judgement when The Art of War procs at the same time as Judgement comes off cooldown, prioritizing Exorcism instead.
  • You won’t cast Judgement if Hammer of Wrath is off cooldown and your mana pool is above 25%.
  • You won’t cast Judgement if you have 3 Holy Power for Inquisition or Templar’s Verdict.

Once Inquisition is active, Templar’s Verdict becomes the number one priority spell whenever Divine Purpose triggers or whenever you reach 3 Holy Power, surpassing all other spells in the rotation in terms of importance. There are two situations in which this rule doesn’t apply:

  • The first rule is when the Inquisition buff is about to expire or has not been activated yet.
  • The second rule involves Exorcism and Hammer of Wrath.
    • Since Exorcism and Hammer of Wrath can potentially trigger Divine Purpose while also having a high damage output, you will want to prioritize them over Templar’s Verdict in hopes of triggering Divine Purpose even while at 3 Holy Power.

While Judgement can also trigger Divine Purpose its priority falls behind Exorcism and Hammer of Wrath as long as you have enough mana!

For the standard rotation, Hammer of Wrath will only be added to the mix once the target reaches 20% HP, as we will not count the threshold removal effect of the Avenging Wrath spell to this variation. Lastly, Holy Wrath is added to the mix as the last priority on the list. The main reason for this is that its damage output is lower than the rest of the abilities, while its stun effect won’t work on raid bosses, even if they fit in the (Undead/Demon/Elemental/Dragonkin) categories.

Standard Rotation Example:

  • Judgement -> Crusader Strike -> Inquisition (3 Holy Power stacks or cast if Divine Purpose procs) -> Consecration ->Judgement (Cast on cooldown) -> Hammer of Wrath (High Priority once the Target at 20% HP or less) -> Exorcism (Only if The Art of War procs) ->Crusader Strike (Cast until you reach 3 stacks of Holy Power)-> Templar’s Verdict (Highest Priority after Inquisition once you reach 3 stacks of Holy Power or on Divine Purpose proc) -> Holy Wrath.

Burst Phase ~ Rotation After Opener

Your burst phase begins once Zealotry, Avenging Wrath, and Guardian of Ancient Kings are active! It is up to you whether or not you wish to include Avenging Wrath in the mix. However, we will offer you two examples of what the Burst Phase Rotation looks like, both with and without Avenging Wrath present.

The standard burst phase is defined by Zealotry, Avenging Wrath, and Guardian of Ancient Kings! Zealotry is the main component as it allows you to directly empower every single Crusader Strike cast, allowing you to generate 3 Holy Power per cast. Furthermore, Zealotry is also used as either an activator or a refresher effect for Inquisition, as it requires 3 Holy Power to activate but it doesn’t consume the Holy Power itself once its effect begins.

Guardian of Ancient Kings is one of your longest cooldowns and should only be utilized once Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp is active, as you will directly benefit more from its Strength-increasing effect while your Haste is also enhanced. On top of it, the standard burst phase aims to enhance all of those effects even further by adding Avenging Wrath in the mix for an extra 20% damage on top of the Strength gained from Guardian of Ancient Kings.

First Variation (Avenging Wrath Included)

  • Zealotry -> Inquisition -> Guardian of Ancient Kings -> Crusader Strike (On Cooldown while Zealotry is active) -> Templar’s Verdict (Weaved in after each Crusader Strike/Used after each Divine Purpose proc) -> Hammer of Wrath (On Cooldown ~Highest Priority after Templar’s Verdict) -> Exorcism (Only if The Art of War procs) -> Judgement (When running low on mana/Whenever Crusader Strike/Hammer of Wrath is on cooldown)

Second Variation (Avenging Wrath Not Included)

  • Zealotry -> Inquisition -> Guardian of Ancient Kings -> Crusader Strike (On Cooldown while Zealotry is active) -> Templar’s Verdict (Weaved in after each Crusader Strike/Used after each Divine Purpose proc) -> Exorcism (Only if The Art of War procs) -> Judgement (On Cooldown)

After the Burst Phase ~ Waiting on Cooldowns

After your Burst Phase ends, you will have to upkeep Inquisition and manage your mana to prepare for your next Burst Phase. As we previously mentioned, our main abilities are only 2-minute long cooldowns, meaning that we won’t have much downtime between each Burst Phase. Of course, the encounter’s duration plays a big role in regards to the amount of times we can activate our Burst Phase.

You will return to your standard rotation, following the same priority order. As we previously mentioned, this part of the rotation is heavily reliant on RNG, it can directly make or break your damage output outside your Burst Phase.

AoE Rotation (In-depth)

Unlike our Single-Target Rotation, the AoE rotation has been completely reworked as opposed to the WotLK Classic version. While some of our spells received significant buffs, other new effects are firmly restricted when it comes to Cleave/AoE encounters.

Sadly, Zealotry only works on Crusader Strike, meaning that any Cleave or AoE encounter can’t effectively make use of it to damage all of the targets. Furthermore, since Crusader Strike shares the same cooldown as Divine Storm, you can’t weave in Crusader Strikes in between Divine Storm casts.

Additionally, there is one more issue with Divine Storm, the fact that it doesn’t generate any Holy Power unless it hits at least 4 targets. This instantly creates an issue for any Cleave situations where there are 3 or 2 targets, as you can’t fuel your Holy Power at all. Compared to the old Divine Storm from WotLK Classic, this change drastically reduces a Retribution Paladin’s effectiveness in any Cleave raid encounter that only features 2 nearby targets beside the main target, turning Retribution Paladin into a much-more Single-Target-oriented specialization.

Nevertheless, besides the Cleave scenarios, Retribution Paladin has a great amount of damage in AoE encounters. While Divine Storm has been nerfed in Cleave scenarios, it has greatly been improved in AoE scenarios, with the 4-target limit from WotLK Classic being completely removed. With Divine Storm now hitting an endless number of enemies in an 8-yard radius, Retribution Paladins are now capable of dealing extreme amounts of AoE damage, especially since Divine Storm‘s cooldown can be decreased by Haste effects.

Besides Divine Storm being reworked, Seal of Righteousness also received a revamp through the Seals of Command talent, now becoming your main seal for any AoE/Cleave encounter. Since the Seal of Righteousness procs off every attack that counts as a direct weapon swing, spells such as Judgement, Templar’s Verdict, Crusader Strike, and Divine Storm also trigger the effect on targets that are within 3-8 yards.

Besides Divine Storm and Seal of Righteousness, Consecration and Holy Wrath are your two other main AoE abilities. Both abilities have also been reworked, with Consecration receiving a massive cooldown and mana cost increase while Holy Wrath was also reworked, causing it to damage every enemy archetype.

Rotation Example

  • Seal of Righteousness -> Judgement (On cooldown) -> Divine Storm (On cooldown)-> Inquisition (1 Holy Power/Divine Purpose proc) -> Consecration (Refresh on cooldown) -> Holy Wrath -> Exorcism (On The Art of War proc) -> Inquisition (Refresh 2 or 3 Holy Power/Divine Purpose proc) -> Templar’s Verdict (On 3 Holy Power/Divine Purpose proc when Inquisition is active)

 

About the Author

Nevermore

Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top