pve retribution paladin rotation, cooldowns, & abilities (wotlk 3.3.5a)
  • Author: Pride
  • Date: September 20, 2022
  • Expansion: WotLK Classic

Retribution Paladins have a very simple rotation, which makes them ideal for beginners and players who don’t enjoy overly complicated and gimmicky rotations. Their rotation is best described as a “first come first serve” system, wherein you typically just use your spells the moment they come off cooldown, with a slightly higher priority placed on certain spells over others.

Rotation Summary

These rotation will change once you obtain 2 pieces of your Tier 10 set bonus (Lightsworn Battlegear), as the Divine Storm reset component affects our rotation pretty significantly.

Single Target

  1. Activate Seal of Vengeance before the fight starts
  2. Use Avenging Wrath at the start of the fight & every time it comes off cooldown, at the same time as your other cooldowns if possible
  3. Use Judgement of Wisdom on cooldown
  4. Use Hammer of Wrath on cooldown (can only be used when the target is at or below 20% HP)
  5. Use Crusader Strike on cooldown
  6. Use Consecration on cooldown
  7. Use Divine Storm on cooldown
  8. Use Exorcism on cooldown, but only when The Art of War procs and makes it instant cast
  9. Use Holy Wrath on cooldown, only when fighting Demons or Undead

3+ Targets

  1. Activate Seal of Command before the fight starts
  2. Use Avenging Wrath at the start of the fight & every time it comes off cooldown, at the same time as your other cooldowns if possible
  3. Use Divine Storm on cooldown
  4. Use Consecration on cooldown
  5. Use Holy Wrath on cooldown, only when fighting Demons or Undead
  6. Use Crusader Strike on cooldown
  7. Use Hammer of Wrath on cooldown (can only be used when the target is at or below 20% HP)
  8. Use Judgement of Wisdom on cooldown
  9. Use Exorcism on cooldown, but only when The Art of War procs and makes it instant cast

Single Target

The Ret Paladin single target rotation is about as simple as it gets, with only Fury Warriors and Combat Rogues having simpler rotations than this.

First of all, you’ll want to activate Seal of Vengeance before the fight starts. Not only is it the strongest Seal overall, doing a very large amount of damage over a fight’s duration, but it also gives you a massive +10 expertise boost through the Glyph of Seal of Vengeance. Note that if you get close to the expertise cap without the glyph, you shouldn’t use the glyph anymore, but Seal of Vengeance itself is still the best single target Seal.

Paladins only have 1 damage-boosting cooldown: Avenging Wrath, also known as “wings” by players. You will want to use your wings as often as possible, and make sure you’re using them along with all of your other damage-boosting effects, such as your Hyperspeed Accelerators and various trinket effects. Use all of your cooldowns right at the start of the fight, along with your pre-pot (a potion you used seconds before the fight started) and then time them all together the next time your wings are available, 2 minutes into the fight. You can use Hyperspeed Accelerators on cooldown, as their 1 minute cooldown aligns perfectly with wings.

Following that, you have a very simple first-come, first-serve DPS system, where you use your abilities the moment they come off cooldown. However, there is a little catch: some abilities do slightly more damage than others when used ASAP, so you’ll want to prioritize those abilities first. In specific, you’ll want to make sure you’re using your spells with the following priority order, when they happen to come off cooldown at the same time:

  1. Judgement of Wisdom
  2. Hammer of Wrath (can only be used when the target is at or below 20% HP)
  3. Crusader Strike
  4. Consecration
  5. Divine Storm
  6. Exorcism (only when The Art of War procs)
  7. Holy Wrath (only use vs Demons or Undead)

This priority list isn’t the end-all-be-all however. The general principle here is that you just always want to be on the global cooldown, aka always casting spells if you can. For example, if your Crusader Strike is coming off cooldown in 1 second and your Exorcism just came off cooldown, you should go ahead and use Exorcism right away anyway — don’t wait that extra 1 second for Crusader Strike just because it’s higher on the priority list.

Once you obtain 2 pieces of your Tier 10 set bonus (Lightsworn Battlegear), with the Divine Storm reset set bonus, your rotation will change substantially. From that point on, you will want to use Divine Storm above everything else, the moment it comes off cooldown. Having it be available when you deal an auto attack can result in the cooldown reset activating while it isn’t on cooldown, which wastes that proc entirely. Your rotation is still first-come, first-serve, but Divine Storm becomes that more significant, and you now don’t really have downtime anymore, as Divine Storm resets often enough that you always have something to press.

3+ Targets

When fighting more than 1 target, our rotation changes slightly, with our AoE spells having a higher emphasis.

Before the fight starts, you’ll want to activate Seal of Command, our premier AoE Seal. You unfortunately lose the +10 expertise boost afforded to us by the Glyph of Seal of Vengeance, but that’s fine — Seal of Command is incredibly powerful when facing 3 or more enemies.

Cooldown usage is the same in AoE fights as it is in single target fights: you’ll want to use your DPS-boosting cooldowns like Avenging Wrath and Hyperspeed Accelerators at the same time, and you’ll usually just want to use them on cooldown. However, there’s some exceptions to this; on certain fights, adds spawn at specific times, later in the fight. If “later” in this context means 20-30 seconds later, you could always delay your cooldowns and use them when the adds appear, which will allow you to do insane damage to them.

Besides that, the way our rotation works is identical to the single target rotation. You have a first-come, first-serve system, using your spells the moment they become available. The only difference is that you’re using a different priority order, with AoE spells being higher on the list:

  1. Divine Storm
  2. Consecration
  3. Holy Wrath (only use vs Demons or Undead)
  4. Crusader Strike
  5. Hammer of Wrath (can only be used when the target is at or below 20% HP)
  6. Judgement of Wisdom
  7. Exorcism (only when The Art of War procs)

Once you obtain 2 pieces of your Tier 10 set bonus (Lightsworn Battlegear), with the Divine Storm reset set bonus, Divine Storm will become even more important than it was before. You’ll generally not want to delay it at all anymore, as missing a cooldown reset due to Divine Storm being off cooldown when you auto attack will be a pretty big DPS loss. For that reason, you can afford to delay lower priority spells, like Exorcism and Judgement of Wisdom, by a second or two, if it means you can use Divine Storm the moment it comes off cooldown. Spam the hell out of Divine Storm, and top the DPS meters!

 

About the Author

Pride

Classic WoW is my jam, with a passion for PvP. Most know me as Baranor, the ret paladin guy, but I'm secretly a druid main, don't tell anyone. In my free time I play Switch games, particularly JRPGs. Some day I'll be making my own games and I humbly hope you play those too!
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Ceryx
Ceryx
2 months ago

When we think about AOE, we’re thinking about Seal of Command, this seal will make you attack everything around you, basically applying holy damage to every mob in your radius” a little confused by this as the ability says 2 additional enemies not all enemies?

Nevermore
Nevermore(@nevermore)
Editor
Reply to  Ceryx
7 days ago

I am sorry about that guys, that is a very old typo that I have been meaning to fix for a while but I kept forgetting about it. Seal of Command only affects up to 2 additional targets besides your main target! Thank you for pointing it out!

earendel
earendel(@earendel)
1 month ago

at how many mobs worth turn into Seal of Command? 3+ ? or even on 2 mobs is worth it?

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