PvE Retribution Paladin Stat Priority & Reforging

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In this section of the guide, we will go over each stat that a Retribution Paladin requires and explain in-depth how they function along with any possible stat caps that you will have to take into consideration. We will also detail how other stats influence Retribution Paladins and what stats you will have to avoid! Retribution Paladins have a similar stat priority to other Strength-based DPS specs, with one stat, in particular, showing “Mastery” over the others!

Stat Priority

  1. Strength
  2. Hit Rating
    • Cap: 960 (8% Hit Chance Soft Cap)/840 (7% Hit Chance + Heroic Presence)
  3. Expertise Rating
    • Cap: 781 Expertise Rating (26 Expertise Soft Cap)
  4. Mastery
  5. Critical Strike Chance
  6. Haste Rating
  7. Agility
  8. Spirit (Never choose Spirit!)
  9. Spell Power (Never choose Spell Power!)

In Cataclysm, Strength has been redesigned as the main way for Retribution Paladins to acquire Attack Power. You should aim to acquire as much Strength as possible to maximize your damage. Your gear will naturally offer you Strength, while you also have the option of stacking Strength Gems in your sockets to increase it further. Especially in the early parts of the expansion, stacking Strength Gems will allow you to maximize your damage output.

Hit Rating is the most important stat you can acquire after your core stat for most DPS classes, and Retribution Paladins are no exception. In a similar fashion to the rest of the stats, Hit Rating also received a stat upscale, with each Retribution Paladin requiring a much higher amount to achieve the Soft Hit Cap as opposed to WotLK Classic.

In Cataclysm, Retribution Paladins require an 8% (referred to as the “soft cap”) increased hit chance in order to never miss with melee attacks, and a 17% (referred to as the “hard cap”) increased hit chance in order to never miss with spells against level 88 enemies. Each player now requires a 120 Hit Rating to gain a 1% Hit Chance.

Luckily, Cataclysm overhauls the Hit Rating system to a certain degree, with the 17% Spell Hit Cap being much more easily achieved. Retribution Paladins benefit from the Sheath of Light effect which now grants them an 8% Spell Hit Chance. If you are worried that the math doesn’t add up, keep in mind that the actual effective Spell Hit Cap is 16% since u automatically gain 1%. As such, many of the raid-wide buffs that were present in WotLK are no longer present in Cataclysm. Players can no longer benefit from the old Misery or Improved Fairy Fire effects, however, Heroic Presence is still present for Alliance Players in Cataclysm.

Expertise Rating is the second most important stat you can acquire after your core stat for most Melee DPS classes. Expertise Rating reduces the chance for your attacks to be dodged or parried, making it an indispensable stat. However, you can’t completely negate Parries or Dodges unless you reach the hard Expertise Cap. As such. Melee DPS classes should always position themselves behind the boss, as attacks can’t be parried from behind!

Each expertise point reduces the chance of your attacks being dodged or parried by 0.25%. You will gain 1 expertise for every 30.038 Expertise Rating you acquire.

You will require 26 Expertise to reach the Soft Expertise Cap to reduce the chance of your attacks being parried or dodged against level 88 enemies. With 26 Expertise, a level 88 target has a 7.5% chance of parrying one of your attacks and a 0% chance of dodging one of your attacks, meaning that you reduce your overall chance for your attacks to be parried or dodged by 6.50%. As stated previously, you can only negate Parry Chance entirely if you reach the 56 Hard Expertise Cap. However, that will not be achievable without dampening your other stats, meaning that you will have to rely on proper positioning.

Retribution Paladins have access to a special glyph that proves itself to be extraordinary for most build setups, namely the Glyph of Seal of Truth. By using the glyph, you can receive 10 Expertise as long as the Seal of Truth is active. This massively aids Retribution Paladins as they only require a 300.38 Expertise Rating to reach the 26 Soft Expertise Cap in Single-Target encounters. Furthermore, some races benefit from racial effects that increase Expertise based on the weapon they are currently using. Dwarves receive 3 Expertise when using Maces and Humans receive 3 Expertise while using Swords and Maces.

Mastery is the most important secondary stat that Retribution Paladins can acquire after reaching your Hit and Expertise Soft Caps!

Mastery is a new stat that is introduced in Cataclysm, offering specific bonuses depending on the class/specialization that acquires it. Every single different specialization has a different benefit from acquiring Mastery! Retribution Paladin receives an additional bonus % Holy Damage to their Templar’s Verdict, Crusader Strike, and Divine Storm abilities. Each Mastery point increases the bonus Holy Damage dealt by 2.1%. The effect they receive their bonus through is Mastery: Hand of Light.

Since Mastery empowers our most important abilities, we will want to prioritize it over any other secondary stat. There is no specific cap to Mastery that can be achieved, so we won’t have to worry about that. Retribution Paladins should seek to increase their Mastery as much as possible from every possible gear slot.

Critical Strike Rating is a very valuable stat for Retribution Paladins, increasing the chances of landing a critical strike with all attacks and abilities. Critical Strike Chance ranks second in terms of importance, with Mastery being always prioritized over it. Just like with the other stats, Critical Strike Chance received a stat upscale, meaning that you will require more Critical Strike Rating to increase your Critical Strike Chance. You gain a 1% increased chance to crit for every 179 Critical Strike Rating you acquire!

Critical Strike Chance is considered superior to Haste Rating since it also applies to our Mastery: Hand of Light passive effect, empowering our Holy Damage by a considerable amount.

Haste Rating is the third secondary stat that a Retribution Paladin should prioritize after reaching their Hit & Expertise Soft Caps. Haste Rating increases the overall speed of your attacks while also reducing the Global Cooldown of your abilities and their specific cast time. Haste Rating is almost as important as the Critical Strike Chance for Retribution Paladins from multiple points of view.

Firstly, it allows a Retribution Paladin to proc their passive effects faster, with each auto-attack granting a chance of proccing The Art of War effect. Secondly, not only that Haste Rating reduces the GCD of your abilities, but it also ties in directly to your Crusader Strike and Divine Storm through the Sanctity of Battle talent. Although this all seems fine and dandy, it is extremely hard to the cooldown of Crusader Strike or Divine Storm by considerable amounts such as 2-3 seconds, meaning that Haste Rating won’t be as impactful as Critical Strike Chance or Mastery.

You will have to rely on Haste Rating Pots and either one of Time Warp/Heroism/Bloodlust to fully empower the Sanctity of Battle effect.

Agility has been considerably dethroned with the changes that occurred to the Core Stats in Cataclysm. While Agility was a pretty popular stat for Retribution Paladin back in WotLK Classic, things have changed considerably in Cataclysm. Agility barely provides any Critical Strike Chance in Cataclysm, with massive amounts of Agility such as 215 Agility barely providing a 1.06% Critical Strike Chance bonus. Agility also doesn’t grant any Attack Power meaning that it’s entirely useless when compared to Strength.

In the eventuality that you find an item with great secondary stats but Agility as a core stat, you may choose to use that item until you find a Strength-based replacement.

Useless before, and even more useless right now! Spirit holds no real value for Retribution Paladins and should always be entirely ignored! The only benefit that a Retribution Paladin can gain from Spirit is the mana regeneration gained from the Judgements of the Pure Talent. However, that bonus is entirely insignificant when compared to other mana regen bonuses such as Replenishment or Judgements of the Bold.

Spell Power was also reworked in Cataclysm, with the changes themselves making it even more obvious that Retribution Paladins should avoid it at all costs! While technically the majority of a Retribution Paladin’s damage is Holy Damage, Spell Power has been reworked in a way in which you can now only gain it from Trinkets and Weapons. This makes the stat entirely useless for us, especially since any Spell Power that we require is automatically provided to us by the Sheath of Light effect!

As such, the more Strength you acquire, the more Attack Power you acquire that directly impacts the Sheath of Light effect! Thanks to that effect, you should never acquire any Spell Power item or enchantment!


Reforging is introduced in Cataclysm as an additional way to adjust your equipment’s secondary stats. Through reforging, you can acquire a plethora of different stats in exchange for a portion of your current gear’s secondary stats. However, you may not replace any of the main stats on a piece of equipment such as Strength or Stamina.

Since Mastery is the most important stat for a Retribution Paladin besides Strength and the Hit &Expertise Caps, you will want to make sure that you reforge the majority of your gear to include the Mastery stat. As such, depending on the gear piece you are currently reforging, you will want to reforge your stats based on their priority order.

As an example, if a gear piece has Haste Rating and Expertise Rating as secondary stats, you will prioritize reforging Haste Rating over Expertise Rating. In this specific scenario, you may choose to reforge Expertise Rating instead of Haste Rating only if your current Expertise Rating makes you cross the 26 Expertise Soft Cap threshold.

In the same sense, you will want to reforge the rest of your secondary stats based on the stat priority list. As an example, if a gear piece already has Mastery and Haste Rating as secondary stats, you will want to reforge a portion of the Haste Rating in exchange for more Critical Strike Chance.


About the Author


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.
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