Retribution Paladin Guide for Battle for Azeroth

Welcome to our quick start guide for your Retribution Paladin in Battle for Azeroth. Here we’re going to be covering the basic, need-to-know information for how to play your Paladin effectively. This guide covers just the facts. While extensive testing and simulation time backs our data up, it’s all been omitted to keep this guide as simple as possible. If you’re new to Retribution, if you’re coming back from a break, or you just want to get up to speed for Battle for Azeroth, this is the guide for you.

If you’d like to dig into the nuts and bolts of Retribution in the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch, you may want to check out our advanced guides.

What’s New in Battle for Azeroth?

  • Battle for Azeroth is now live. Have fun on Zandalar and Kul’tiras!
  • Artifact traits and Netherlight Crucible traits removed. The Ashbringer is now just a regular sword that you can put relics into. Relics only increase the weapon’s item level.
  • Ret ability changes. Nearly all abilities have had their damage, damage type, cooldown, and/or effects altered. Avenging Wrath and Shield of Vengeance are now on the global cooldown.
  • Ret talent changes. All DPS-affecting talents have been rebalanced and shuffled around. Some new talents—like Wake of Ashes, and Righteous Verdict—are old Artifact traits or Legendary effects.
  • New Ret Mastery. Mastery: Hand of Light now increases all Holy damage done at all times, and isn’t reliant on the debuff from Judgment.

The full list of all the abilities that were changed in Battle for Azeroth would be longer than this entire document, so we won’t list them here. Rebdull’s guide over at Wowhead—here—does have the full changelog, though. If you’re interested you should definitely check it out!

What Talents Should I Choose?

For leveling from 110 to 120, you should choose these talents:

Level 15: Zeal
Level 30: Hammer of Wrath or Blade of Wrath
Level 60: Wake of Ashes
Level 75: Cavalier
Level 100: Divine Purpose

For raids and dungeons at the level cap, you should choose these talents instead:

Level 15: Righteous Verdict (1-2 targets) or Zeal (3+ targets)
Level 30: Hammer of Wrath or Blade of Wrath
Level 60: Wake of Ashes or Consecration (only viable if your target always stands in its radius)
Level 75: Unbreakable Spirit
Level 100: Inquisition

Your Level 45 and Level 90 talent choices don’t typically affect your raid performance.

There are some edge cases where other talent choices may also be viable. We’ll be covering those in a future guide.

What is Retribution’s DPS Rotation?

Ret’s rotation consists of two types of abilities: Holy Power generators and finishers. Generators will build anywhere from 1 to 5 Holy Power (the cap), and finishers will consume 1-3 Holy Power to deal high amounts of damage or provide a substantial buff.

You should use generators in this priority:

  1. Wake of Ashes (if you have taken this talent)
  2. Blade of Justice
  3. Judgment
  4. Hammer of Wrath (if you have taken this talent)
  5. Conscration (if you have taken this talent)
  6. Crusader Strike

Once you are capped at 5 Holy Power—or your next generator would put you over the cap—you should use finishers in this priority:

  1. Inquisition (if you have taken this talent)
  2. Execution Sentence (if you have taken this talent)
  3. Templar’s Verdict (single target) or Divine Storm (3 or more targets)

When refreshing Inquisition, you should always try to use 3 Holy Power to minimize global cooldown waste. You can safely refresh Inquisition when its remaining duration is 13 seconds or less.

You should use Avenging Wrath as often as possible—as long as Inquisition has at least 20 seconds left on its duration. If it doesn’t, refresh it before starting Avenging Wrath. During Avenging Wrath you should use finishers as soon as you reach 3 Holy Power (rather than wait to cap at 5). You should try to use Avenging Wrath at the same time that your raid uses Heroism or Bloodlust, but don’t delay using it so long that you lose out on a cooldown throughout the fight.

While Shield of Vengeance is technically a defensive cooldown, it also has significant offensive value. Using it on cooldown will increase your total DPS by 3-5%, depending on fight length. If you do not need it for defensive purposes, you should use Shield of Vengeance whenever possible.

There are some additional nuances to Retribution’s rotation that come into play only with very specific talent builds. We’ll be doing a deep dive on the Retribution rotation in a future guide.

What Are the Best Stats for Retribution in Battle for Azeroth?

All else being equal, this is how Ret Paladins value secondary stats in BfA:

Strength > Haste > Critical Strike = Versatility > Mastery

Keep in mind that all of Retribution’s secondary stats are extremely close in value. Increasing your item level in a slot is almost always an upgrade regardless of the item’s stats.

There are no meaningfully attainable hard or soft caps for haste that will affect your gearing strategy. Just wear as much of it as you can get your hands on.

For a more detailed stats breakdown, including a pre-raid “Best in Slot” list, check out the Equipment Guide for Battle for Azeroth.

What Are the Best Legendary Items for Retribution Paladins?

Your Legion Legendaries will only work through level 115. And given that you aren’t in a raid our dungeon, our priorities change significantly. You may want to consider using some of the following:

Sephuz’ Secret: Almost everything will be stunnable, so you can trigger the haste and run speed buff on cooldown.
Scarlet Inquisitor’s Expurgation: Being able to delete a large pull once per minute is pretty powerful.
Kil’jaeden’s Burning Wish: This isn’t as strong as the legendary chest, but still a viable choice.
Aggramar’s Stride: Faster running means faster leveling!

What Are the Best Pre-Raid Trinkets for Retribution Paladins in Battle for Azeroth?

Jes’ Howler and Briny Barnacle are very strong on both a single target, and on multiple targets. They should be your default choices in nearly all situations.

Merektha’s Fang is extremely strong if you can consistently use it on multiple targets, but is nearly useless on a single target.

For an overview of all trinkets at all possible item levels, check out our Retribution Trinket Guide for Battle for Azeroth.

What Are the Best Azerite Traits for Retribution Paladins?

This is a tricky question to answer without a chart. For pre-raid gear, the best Azerite pieces are:

Sea-Brawler’s Greathelm
Pauldrons of the Great Unifier
Harpooner’s Plate Cuirass

A higher item level piece of Azerite armor is nearly always an upgrade, regardless of which traits it has on it. A detailed breakdown of all traits—and all possible Azerite gear—will be covered in an upcoming guide.

What Enchants and Gems Should I Choose?

Enchant Weapon – Quick Navigation
Enchant Ring – Pact of Haste

If you have any socketed gear, you should have one Kraken’s Eye of Strength, and fill any remaining sockets with Quick Owlseye.

What Consumables Should I Use?

Flask: Flask of the Undertow (or Mystical Flask if your raid provides them).
Food: Bountiful Captain’s Feast (or Swamp Fish ‘n Chips if feasts are unavailable)
Rune: Battle-Scarred Augment Rune
Potion: Potion of Bursting Blood on single target fights, or Battle Potion of Strength on multi-target fights.

I’m Making a New Paladin. What Race Should I Choose?

Choose the race that you think looks the best. Dark Iron Dwarf and Blood Elf are the best Alliance and Horde choices at the moment, but it’s a very tiny difference between even the best and worst race. About this tiny:

Don't talk to me or my son ever again.
Don’t talk to me or my son ever again.

Update Info

Guide Last Updated: August 13, 2018
Simulationcraft Version: SimulationCraft 801-01

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