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

Retribution Paladins have multiple different talent builds they can use, changing what utility they bring in order to suit their raid’s needs. Below we’ll list a general talent build that is well-rounded, as well as some common variations. Furthermore, we will cover some of the talents that can be skipped if someone else in your raid is bringing the same buffs, allowing you to place your talent points elsewhere.

Talent Builds

This talent spec sacrifices a small chunk of personal damage and utility, in order to gain the incredibly powerful Divine Guardian raid cooldown. This build will typically be preferred by high-end hardcore guilds doing heroic mode raids and hard-mode versions of boss fights, as well as speedruns, as in those settings Divine Guardian will be far more important than the Retribution Paladin’s individual DPS.

paladin talents divine guardian

This build is very similar to the standard build, essentially cutting Divine Sacrifice in favour of Aura Mastery, another great raid cooldown. Divine Sacrifice is going to be slightly better in most situations, so this build is not going to see much use. This build offers the highest amount of damage possible, so if you care about doing the most damage that you character can physically do & Aura Mastery is appealing to you, this may be the build for you.

paladin talents aura mastery 1

Noteworthy Talents

 The following is a list of important talents for Retribution Paladins:

  • Crusader Strike: One of our main DPS spells, dealing a modest amount of damage. Must-have.
  • Divine Storm: One of our main DPS spells, and one of the reasons why our cleave damage is great. Must-have.
  • Seal of Command: Our seal of choice when fighting 3+ enemies, and one of the reasons why our cleave damage is great. Must-have.
  • Judgements of the Wise: Our main method of regenerating mana. Without this, we’d run out of mana and be unable to DPS. Must-have.
  • The Art of War: Allows us to bypass the cast time on Exorcism, making it instant cast. This is really important because spells with a cast time reset the swing timer, which cause us to lose DPS, while instant cast spells do not reset this swing timer — resulting in a substantial DPS gain thanks to this talent.
  • Sanctified Wrath: Offers a host of useful benefits, but crucially reduces the cooldown of Avenging Wrath to 2 minutes down from 3, which is allows us to cast it a 2nd time on fights that last less than 3 minutes — a substantial buff.
  • Righteous Vengeance: Improves our critical strikes, which offers a much needed boost to our crit scaling.

Optional Utility Talents

The following talents offer a raid buff that someone else might already be providing in your raid, and thus it may not be needed for you to take them, allowing you to take talent points elsewhere. For instance, the same haste buff as Swift Retribution is offered by Moonkins, and dropping it can allow you to take an extra point in Fanaticism and Pursuit of Justice in the Divine Guardian build, which you normally wouldn’t be able to take.

This improves our Greater Blessing of Might, which does not stack with a Warrior’s Battle Shout. Our version offers 687.5 attack power, while theirs offers 685, so ours is a tiny bit better. However, by using their tier 2 set bonus (Battlegear of Wrath) before a fight starts, they can improve theirs to 722.5 attack power, which is a good bit stronger than ours, so in hardcore raids, it’ll be Warriors that apply the attack power buff.

Even in non-hardcore raids however, most raids will have 2+ Warriors, and it costs them practically nothing to take their improvement talent (Commanding Presence), while those 2 talent points are pretty valuable to us. Thus the only real reason for you to take this talent is if your raid only has 1 Warrior, or if your Warriors are lazy and cannot be bothered to use Battle Shout once every 6 minutes. Meaning that in reality you should almost never need to take this talent.

This debuff is also offered by Assassination Rogues (Master Poisoner) and Elemental Shamans (Totem of Wrath). Elemental Shamans in specific have a significantly better version than both us and Rogues, as their version is instantly applied to every enemy within 40 yards, while our version can only be applied to one target at a time.

Thus, if your raid has an Elemental Shaman, you could drop this talent, but there aren’t many better places to put these talent points anyway, so we recommend that you take this talent either way.

This buff is also offered by Beast Mastery Hunters (Ferocious Inspiration) and Arcane Mages (Arcane Empowerment). Arcane Mages in specific have a 100 yard range on theirs, while ours is limited to our 40 yard auras. Moreover, their talent actually buffs their other spells, while ours doesn’t really help us in any way.

If your raid has an Arcane Mage, you could drop this talent and pick up an extra point in Pursuit of Justice or Vindication instead.

This buff is also offered by Balance Druids (Improved Moonkin Form). Their version is significantly better, as it has a 100 yard range, and actually boosts their individual damage output on top of the aura component, while our version is limited to our 40 yard auras and doesn’t help us in any other way.

Thus, if your raid has a Balance Druid, you could drop this talent and pick up extra points in Pursuit of Justice or Fanaticism instead.



For your major glyph slots, we recommend the following 3 glyphs:

For your last glyph slot, you can also use Glyph of Consecration instead of Glyph of Exorcism; the two are very similar in power, though in simulations Glyph of Exorcism usually comes out very slightly ahead. Glyph of Consecration meanwhile is slightly more convenient in AoE fights and in dungeons.


For your minor glyph slots, we recommend the following 3 glyphs:

For that last glyph slot, you could use Glyph of Blessing of Might instead of Glyph of Blessing of Kings. Neither of them are particularly impactful, so you could go with either just fine — it’s completely up to your preference.


About the Author


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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1 year ago

If your tank holds threat properly imp BoP 2 points is a waste, for more raid mobility, you’d be amazed on how well PoJ works to get out of all the annoying ground clutters, for example Lady Deathwhisper, allowing you to stay a few more swings in and still able to get out with out taking dmg. Just saying I hardly as a ret use BoP on targets and usually it’s just a wipe preventative so reducing its timer doesn’t help all that much, but increasing mobility speed is always better especially when dealing with a lot of raid ground clutter dmg.

Reply to  Uridiculous
1 year ago

i was just looking at this tree an noticed PoJ wasnt taken and imp bop is exactly where i thought you could afford to take two points out of. The pros to staying on a target as melee and getting out of/into stuff 15% movement gives cannot be overstated.

Reply to  Uridiculous
10 months ago

whats BoP?

7 months ago

Changes to Seal of Vengeance applying DoTs to multiple targets via Divine Storm and Crusader Strike, plus new Glyph of Reckoning – what say ye?

1 year ago

Why do you pick seal of command, when that is pvp talent ?
Further more glyph that you are suggesting is for seal of vengeance… So that s 1 point kinda wasted

Reply to  Guilles
1 year ago

Seal of command is rets go to talent, it makes our AOE insane. Remember it is completely reworked in wrath

Reply to  Mook_To_Go
10 months ago

Vengence also puts a dot on target so can break CC righteosness is better for pvp.

Reply to  Guilles
9 months ago

Command is our AoE seal. It gives 3x more dps over Righteousness.
Vengeance is a single target seal, and does a lot of dps single target (great for bosses/elites).

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