Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide

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Welcome to your ultimate Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE guide for maximizing your potential!

Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide

Table of Contents

  1. Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin Talents for PvE
    1. Selfless Healer
  2. Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Glyphs
    1. Prime
      1. Assessment
    2. Major
      1. Assessment
    3. Minor
      1. Assessment
  3. Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin Rotation
    1. Single Target
    2. Multiple Target
    3. Zealotry
  4. Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Stats and Gearing
    1. Stat Weights
      1. Crit vs Haste
      2. In General
    2. Reforging
    3. Cata Classic Ret Pala Set Bonuses
      1. T13
      2. T12
      3. T11
  5. Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Gemming and Enchanting
    1. Gemming
      1. Meta-Gems
    2. Enchants
  6. Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Consumables
  7. Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Cooldowns
    1. Avenging Wrath
    2. Zealotry
    3. Guardian of Ancient Kings
    4. Pre-Potting
    5. CD Usage with Pre-Potting
  8. Ret Paladin Mechanics in Cataclysm Classic
    1. Haste and the Soft Cap
    2. Attacks: Base damage and Coefficients at L85
  9. Best Races for Retribution Paladin in Cataclysm Classic
    1. Alliance
    2. Horde
  10. Best Professions for Retribution Paladin in Cataclysm Classic
    1. Alchemy
    2. Blacksmithing
    3. Enchanting
    4. Engineering
    5. Herbalism
    6. Inscription
    7. Jewelcrafting
    8. Leatherworking
    9. Mining
    10. Skinning
    11. Tailoring
  11. Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Macros and Mods
    1. Macros
  12. Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Addons
  13. Frequently Asked Questions
    1. What seal Retribution Paladin should pick for PvE?
    2. What seal Retribution Paladin should pick for PvP?
    3. What does weapon speed do to Ret Pala? Do we want slow or fast?
    4. What weapon enchant should Retribution Paladin pick in Cata Classic?
    5. Should Ret Pala use a fast 1H weapon to stack SoT quicker?
    6. Should Ret Paladin swap librams?
    7. Should Ret Paladin grab this leather/mail piece of gear?
    8. Should Ret Paladin take a higher DPS weapon with Agi?
    9. Do you have a Best In Slot gear list?
  14. Conclusion

As stalwart champions of the Light, Retribution Paladins wield righteous fury to smite their foes and protect their allies. In this comprehensive guide, we will dive deep into the intricacies of talent builds, gear optimization, rotation strategies, and much more, empowering you to become a formidable force on the battlefield.

Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin Talents for PvE

Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide

Two optional points in Retribution are necessary to reach Zealotry. One more optional point can be placed in any tree.

In the demo above the Retribution points were placed into Eye for an Eye as it has been proven to provide slim PvE DPS depending on boss mechanics (random targeted non-AOE spells) and Sacred Shield as a huge add to PvE or PvP survivability. Some choose both points in Eye for an Eye to absolutely maximize possible DPS. Other talents are utility, such as Guardian’s Favor. There are no wrong choices for these points.

The final optional point may be placed in any tree. I personally feel Divinity is never a bad choice. Alternately, this talent point could be used to gain the second tier of a Ret talent you selected for the first optional point (2/2 Eye for an Eye would be another small DPS increase on some bosses, or Sacred Shield if you already went 2/2 Eye for an Eye).

Note: Eye for an Eye has been proven to proc from direct magic damage and some untargeted spells. Examples are Shadow Nova from Halfus Wyrmbreaker and Scorching Breath from his Proto-Behemoth, Twilight Blast from the Double Dragons, Magma Spit from Magmaw, Arcane Storm from Maloriak, and so on. Passive auras, such as Blood Queen Lana’thel’s from Icecrown Citadel, are not eligible for reflection.

A reasonable number of fights have damage which can reflect. While this is not a large volume of damage, it is still an overall DPS increase to talent Eye for an Eye. The overall impact is minor – increased utility via another talent is a perfectly valid choice.

Honorable Mention: Acts of Sacrifice – with only one point invested into it, Cleanse will remove all snares or immobilizes regardless of debuff type, from Hamstring to Curse of Exhaustion to Feral Charge. This could have raid benefits.

Selfless Healer

Selfless healer is universally a loss of DPS. The bonus % will partially mitigate the loss, but it can never be used for an overall gain of total DPS. A single TV is worth more total damage than a small boost to other attacks for a short time period.

You lose 3 HP from using the Word of Glory itself. You lose around 1 second to the GCD from Word of Glory. To gain DPS you would need to overcome the loss of the TV in 10-11 seconds. Every best-case scenario attempting to model this has shown a loss and the majority of field conditions would be far below best-case scenario.

Selfless Healer reduces the CD on WoG to 10 seconds, so it is again theoretically possible to sustain 100% up-time, albeit unlikely.

If you wish to discuss this and push forward the theory that Selfless Healer is a DPS increase, you must bring hard math to the table to defend your viewpoint.

Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Glyphs

Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Glyphs


Prime Glyphs all directly impact DPS. The Glyph of Seal of Truth appears to be the greatest gain as a free 10 Expertise (300.27 Expertise Rating).

If you are over the Expertise cap, reforge Expertise off of gear in order to utilize the Glyph of Seal of Truth to the utmost—see reforging below.




No Major Glyph directly increases DPS. Several Major Glyphs impact mana usage. Manipulation of this mana reduction could possibly provide further Consecration usage or make up for loss of JotW from reduced Judgement usage. Ascetic Crusader appears the largest gain in this regard. All others are optional.

With HoW buffed it is now used under AW. This could cause a mana drain. Glyph of HoW would prevent any issues and could be considered useful in the same fashion as Ascetic Crusader.

In a fight which requires heavy interrupt usage, Glyph of Rebuke is a remarkable mana savings.

In a fight with regular magical damage spikes (nearly all of them) the Glyph of Divine Protection can increase survivability/make your healers’ jobs easier.


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In theory, Minors don’t impact DPS or mid-fight mana usage. In practice, if there is a necessity to seal swap between SoT and SoR for phases, you would get mana savings by utilizing the Glyphs of Righteousness and Truth. Saved mana means more to be used directly for DPS purposes (even one more Consecration in a fight is a DPS gain).

Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin Rotation

Single Target

The Ret Paladin rotation shares something with Wrath—it is priority based. The priority for single-target is one of the following:

  • Inq > CS > HoW > Exo > TV > J > HW > Cons
  • Inq > CS > TV > HoW > Exo > J > HW > Cons

Use the sequence which is more advantageous for your own gear. Both spreadsheets presently recommend the first for at least high end gear sets.

Against Undead/Demons the positions of HoW and Exo swap, providing:

  • Inq > CS > TV > Exo > HoW > J > HW > Cons, or
  • Inq > CS > Exo > HoW > TV > J > HW > Cons

The fact that Exorcism auto-crits when used on Undead or Demons and its faster scaling (lesser coefficient modified by large +% bonus, effectively granting higher overall coefficient) causes it to pull ahead of HoW in that scenario.

In both scenarios you do not perform a CS if you have 3 HP, however if you have 2 or less HP and a DivPurp proc you would use the CS before the free TV.

Inq increases Holy Damage when it is up. Modeling and testing shows to begin expecting to refresh at 3 seconds before it ends. You will rarely have Inq expire and those occasions when it does it should only be missing for 2-3 seconds.

In melee range:

  • Never, ever cast Exo – only use Exo when it is instant from an AoW proc. If AoW has not procced, then Exo has a cast time, mana cost, and vastly reduced damage. Remember during a cast you stop and reset all autoattacks.

If out of melee range (phase transition/funny-business):

  • Judge if you can. Without AoW Exo drops below Judge. If Judge is on CD, spam cast Exo as mana permits. Do not overcommit on Exo mana usage – ensure you have sufficient mana to Judge for mana regen and CS as soon as you reach target.

Multiple Target

The AoE rotation is rather similar to single-target, simply replace Crusader Strike with Divine Storm. The rest of the priority stays the same. With Holy Wrath fixed to meteor properly, at 3 targets you should begin using Consecration over HW.

You should only swap to AoE rotation at 5 or more targets. If DS successfully hits 4 targets it generates HP, making up the large gap it has had in the past. At hit/expertise cap for Bosses you should have only a slim chance to be parried by an 86/87 (most adds are not skulls), even if they are facing you.


Zealotry provides a special circumstance. During Zealotry all CS earn 3 HP. Your rotation will become CS, TV, Filler, or CS, Filler, TV, as we still use 2 fillers between CS.

With current values for HoW and Exo they may be used over a CS or TV during Zealotry (see priorities above). Continue to follow your core priority sequence in and out of cooldowns. Zealotry does not alter your priority sequence, it just gives you more TV to socket in there.

Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Stats and Gearing

Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Stats and Gearing

Stat Weights

I highly recommend individuals producing their own stat weights rather than relying on some single external value.

Stat Weights float in relation to one another. A solid example are Crit and Mastery. Self-buffed, Crit is more valuable than Mastery: one point of Crit Rating provides more DPS than one point of Mastery Rating. However, once you add in raid buffs (5% Crit aura, MoW/Kings for 5% Agi->Crit) you gain enough Crit that additional Mastery is now superior: one point of Mastery Rating provides more DPS than one point of Crit Rating. Following some single value could have you seeking the incorrect stat for your circumstances.

Crit vs Haste

It’s definitive that Str is our best core stat and Mastery is our best Rating stat (once Hit/Exp capped). This leaves Crit and Haste to fight for the Silver medal.

This leads to the Crit vs Haste debate becoming a personal choice. It is up to the individual to decide whether they want Master > Crit > Haste or Mastery > Haste > Crit. Reforge to whichever view you decide to back or to match the tool you prefer.

Bottom line, the RNG has more impact on our daily results than you will receive from favoring Crit or Haste. Do not expect a definitive answer in the near future, either from tools or empirical testing.

In General


Reforging allows you to exchange 40% of a combat rating already on an item and converts it into a combat rating not already on an item. Example: If an item has Crit, you cannot add more Crit, if it has no Crit then you could reforge 40% of another rating (Expertise, Haste, Hit, or Mastery) into Crit. An item with 100 Hit and no Crit could be reforged to 60 Hit and 40 Crit.

Since we cannot reforge any stat into Str, then we focus on our most important stats.

These are your goals, in order:

  1. Hit cap. Under hit cap, reforge the worst* stat into hit.
  2. Expertise cap. If hit capped and under expertise cap, reforge your worst* stat into expertise.
  3. Next best stat. If you are now hit and expertise capped and you have gear that has not been reforged, aim to reforge inferior stats to superior stats.

*Worst is relative. Generally reforging to Hit or Expertise is a good thing, but you can go further in-depth with reforging. For maximum DPS gain either carefully perform math on your gear to most closely reach Hit and Expertise caps (inverse “Price is Right” rules – closest over the cap wins), or use a website/program (such as Rawr, my spreadsheet, or WoW Reforge Calculator & Optimizer) which will offer reforging advice. Reforging Item A from Hit to something else and Item B from something else to Hit may permit values closer to Hit/Exp cap, thus permitting a few additional Rating to Crit, Mastery, and Haste – an overall minor DPS gain.

Cata Classic Ret Pala Set Bonuses


Generation of Holy Power from Judgement will ease refreshing Inq at all times, but may make the flow of HP feel unusual compared to 4.0 to present – you will have more finishing moves at your fingertips.

The four pieces will require testing to determine whether only active abilities (attacks such as CS, TV, etc.) increased by 18%, all attacks (abilities + autoattack), or all damage (abilities + autoattack + Censure, etc.). It is most likely the last, but we should not assume until tested.

Breaking 4T12 means you will go back to GoAK, 10 seconds, Zealotry+AW as the best usage of cooldowns. Stacking Zealotry and AW will be even more advantageous with 4T13, as the 20% and 18% should be multiplicative.


Blizzard has stated that tier bonuses will not lose damage from clipping. If a CS is performed within 4 seconds of the last CS, then the new ticks will be a combination of remainder + fresh.

Example: A CS hits for 1000 damage (easy number). Tier bonus produces a 150 DoT with 2 ticks of 75. You perform a second 1000 damage CS 3 seconds after the first. You have 75 damage remaining and a new 150, total 225. You will now see ticks of 112 and 113. (150 + 150) = 300 = (112 + 113 + 75).

Extended Zealotry increases our burn-time, producing more TV usage. Additionally it permits all of GoAK to be used with Zealotry. Proposed best order is Zealotry, pause 5 seconds, GoAK, pause 5 seconds, Golemblood Potion, Pause 5 seconds, and AW. If Golemblood is on CD then there is a 10 second pause between GoAK and AW.


Templar’s Verdict is around 20% of our total DPS. Thus a 10% gain is approximately a 2% overall DPS boost.

Inquisition lasting an additional 10 seconds provides more Holy Power for TV usage. Using Inq at 1 HP is the greatest gain of HP (100% greater length Inq, compared to 3 HP and 33% greater length), but the greatest loss of GCD. Since letting Inq drop off is a DPS loss, and many refreshes clip Inq by 3-4 seconds (losing a fair portion of the bonus time), the best method is to refresh in the 0-3 second range with presently available HP (1 or 2 – if you have 3 at 3 seconds you can TV, then CS for 1 HP). Occasionally you will be “trapped” into a 3 HP Inq (typically via chain DivPurp procs as Inq is expiring), this is still a DPS increase and it would be better to refresh Inq for 40 seconds than let it expire.

Theory: If Tier item budget is equal to other items of the same iLevel (it appears to be), then the free bonuses should always make 4 piece worthwhile – issues with itemization can be addressed via reforging. If Tier items lose budget to account for bonuses (they do not appear to do so), then bonuses must be worthwhile to make up for lost stats.

So far this theory has proven true. Tier items have the same budgetary value as other items of the same ilevel, thus useful bonuses are icing on the cake. Even bad itemization of a piece or two is overwhelmed by the benefit of the 2 and 4 piece bonuses.

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Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Gemming and Enchanting


Str is so far superior to every other stat, that you do not even want to Hit or Expertise cap through gemming. Gem pure Str except in the following situations.

Replacing a single gem with a Str/rating hybrid for a +20 (or greater) Str bonus. No Str loss, 20+ rating gain. Free lunch.

Replacing two gems with Str/rating hybrids for +30 Str bonus. You lose 10 Str for 40 rating. Minor net gain.

Replacing a single gem with a Str/rating hybrid for a +30 Mastery Rating bonus. The loss of 20 Str for 50 Mastery (20 from gem, 30 from bonus) may be a net DPS gain. This will depend on your own stat weighting.

T11: A +20 Mastery Rating bonus is not worth a single hybrid gem. The loss of 20 Str for 40 Mastery is a net DPS loss.

Mid/late T12: A +20 Mastery Rating bonus or a +10 Str bonus becomes worth a single hybrid gem. This includes both Str/Mastery and Str/Hit (allows better reforging).

T13: Many items have 3 gems, thus +30 bonuses. A single hybrid to meet this requirement should uniformly be advantageous.

In general you will see +10 stats for a single socket bonus, +20 for two sockets, +30 for three sockets. Helmets break this rule and may be significantly higher for a single socket (and meta).


Reverberating Shadowspirit Diamond is now the superior Ret Meta Gem. The pattern to cut this Meta is a random world drop.

It requires 3 Red gems, so meeting the requirement is more or less a given.

A helm must have a Meta present, even if inactive, to activate socket bonus on that item.


Slot Enchant Description 
Head60 Str / 30 MasteryWildhammer/Dragonmaw Rep Arcanum
Cloak65 CritSwordguard from Tailoring may be the largest profession damage boost. 50 Crit may be used if you decide 15 extra Crit rating is not worth 5 Maelstrom Crystals.
Shoulder50 Str/25 CritTherazane rep. Inscriptionist-only enchant grants 130 Str.
Chest20 Stats 
Bracers50 StrLeatherworker-only enchant is 130 Str – possibly 2nd largest profession damage boost (behind Tailoring).
Gloves50 Str 
BeltFree SocketFree socket is free.
Legs190 AP / 55 CritOnly DPS increasing selection.
Feet50 Mastery or 50 HitPoJ makes runspeed enchants moot. 50 Mastery and Hit are interchangeable due to reforging. One may provide 1 or 2 more total ratings by reforging closer to a cap.

Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Consumables

Flask: Flask of Titanic Strength hands down defeats elixirs. Cauldrons (guild or otherwise) provide a stat equivalent Flask of Battle which applies the same Flask of Titanic Strength buff.

Potion: Golemblood Potion being pure Str will be far and away better than any other possible potion. As always, use under AW (and Heroism if possible).

Food: Seafood Magnifique Feast provides 90 Str, so it will be perfectly equivalent to the single person buff from Beer-Basted Crocolisk.

Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Cooldowns

Avenging Wrath

Avenging Wrath increases all damage by 20% while in effect. Fully talented this lasts 20 seconds with a 2 minute cooldown, thus providing a 16.6% effective up-time. While the most impact is granted during Heroism as the increased autoattack rate and decreased CS CD allow more (or more superior) attacks, losing an entire Avenging Wrath during a fight because you delayed for Heroism is a net loss.

During AW, even if the target’s health is above 20%, you can use HoW. Make sure to use those HoW that become available.

Details on maximizing buff from these CD with 4T12 are listed under the Set Bonuses section.


Zealotry permits Crusader Strike to grant 3 HP per attack for 20 seconds with a 2 minute cooldown (35 seconds with 4T12). This shortcuts the rotation to CS, TV, Filler, repeat.

Maximum benefit appears derived by using AW and Zealotry together. The HoW and any Exo procs may “lose” some CS and TV over the course of the buffs, but the overall damage is superior from the combination.

Details on maximizing buff from these CD with 4T12 are listed under the Set Bonuses section.

Guardian of Ancient Kings

Guardian of Ancient Kings provides a stacking Strength buff. The buff stacks to a maximum of 20, providing a 20% bonus to Str. The buff lasts until the Guardian dies or when it expires 30 seconds after cast.

In a CD sequence it is advised to use GoAK first to stack the Str bonus. After 10 seconds you would use AW and/or Zeal. This would provide the maximum Str benefit for the entirety of the AW/Zeal.

Details on maximizing buff from these CD with 4T12 are listed under the Set Bonuses section.


Potions have a 1 minute CD outside of combat. Within combat a potion can only be used a single time. To maximize potion usage, it is possible to pre-pot. This is the practice of using a potion a few seconds before combat engages, such as while the tank is running in. This places you on the 1 minute potion CD, but it immediately begins ticking down as it began outside of combat. Thus 1 minute later, in the middle of the fight, you can again use a potion. This second usage is your combat usage and prevents further potion usage during the fight.

Pre-potting is not a 100% guaranteed DPS increase. Its utility is based partially on tank threat. If the usage of the potion increases your threat to the level where you need to stop/slow DPS, or use HoS then you are losing much of your increase and possibly even incurring an overall loss.

Be especially mindful if you must use HoS during pre-pot duration. Not only are you wasting a GCD during the pot duration on a non-DPS ability, but you are putting HoS on CD for 2 minutes. Remember that HoS reduces current total threat by 2% every second. 2% of 5-10 seconds worth of threat is significantly lower than 2% of 30-60 seconds of threat. An attempt to avoid an early threat issue can lead to a threat issue a minute later and produce further loss of DPS due to throttling.

CD Usage with Pre-Potting

If you pre-pot then you may choose to begin CD usage shortly after the pull to stack with this benefit.

While this gains some additional bonus from the Str bonus of the potion and can permit an additional CD in a fight (first CD used earlier, the timer may be up to re-use an extra time before end of fight), it does have some drawbacks.

Barring lucky DivPurp procs, it is impossible to generate enough HP to put up Inq and engage Zealotry with maximum overlap of the pre-pot. Typically between 3 to 8 seconds of the 20 second pre-pot duration will be lost waiting on the pull or with the tank running in. This gives 22 to 17 seconds of Str buff. Even if DivPurp procs on a Judge as you run in and you immediately engage Zealotry with Inquisition, you are only gaining around 15-18 seconds of Pre-Pot with CDs and have lost a fully buffed TV.

Overall popping CD vastly weakens that CD cycle. Assessment seems to be that this is a DPS gain if you have an additional CD usage at the end of the fight due to starting the cycle earlier. This would be the same quantity of full-power CD usage, plus the partial-power initial CD usage. If you are unable to gain an additional CD usage during the fight, then you trade one full-power CD usage for a partial-power CD usage. The partial-power, even under Golemblood, is likely less boost than a full-power CD without throttling or HoS GCD requirement.

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Ret Paladin Mechanics in Cataclysm Classic

Haste and the Soft Cap

The ultimate nirvana of Crusader Strike is to reduce the GCD to 3 seconds. This permits you to use CS, a single filler, then another CS with no wasted time.

While Haste may (or may not) be a useful stat that we could sometimes reforge to gain, it remains a lower priority and going for the Haste Soft Cap is not inherently desirable.

In a perfect world at L85 it takes around 3978 Haste (with Wrath of Air and JotP) to reduce CS to a 3 second CD. However, with latency a factor, on live the best you can do is cast CS, press an ability during GCD, new GCD begins as soon as first completed. This means the minimum time between two CS is your CS cooldown minus your latency. You would need to push the cooldown below 3 seconds so the cooldown would end in sufficient time for you to send a new CS command to the server and it be accepted precisely 3 seconds after the first occurred.

This value is your Soft Cap. Beyond this point haste is unable to accelerate your CS usage (but still increases Autoattacks).

All the simulations I have run show that anything short of this GCD+single-latency CD continues to produce greater DPS by using a filler between attacks. As little as 0.1 seconds of downtime is worse than delaying the next CS by .9 to 1.4 seconds from another filler. To the best of my knowledge this has been neither confirmed nor denied by any other simulation/spreadsheet/program. Any attempt at in-game testing would be subsumed by RNG effects (Crit, DivPurp), so likely for all intents and purposes in a real scenario skipping fillers would be indistinguishable from using them.

Since you cannot queue during non-GCD CD periods, you are normally stuck with this single-times-latency issue in a CS+filler sequence. When the filler completes you must wait for CS to end its CD, then press the key and wait for latency. If you push CS CD below 3 seconds then you will be able to queue during the second ability’s GCD.

Note: Spells have a special rule with the GCD. The spell GCD is reduced by haste (to a minimum of 1 second). If you manage to acquire 1015 Haste your spell GCD becomes 1 second. Thus even with zero latency you would have: CS, Exo, 0.5 seconds empty time, CS. Remember that Exo, HW, Cons, and DP are spells. Judge, TV, DS, and HoW are not and use the full 1.5 GCD every time.

Second Note: Latency displayed in-game is an average. You could be lower than this value the majority of the time with intermittent spikes producing a higher average. Thus your CS would not be soft capped the majority of the time, then suddenly beyond your soft cap when that odd lag spike occurs.

Conclusion: It is unlikely that even in end-tier Cataclysm gear that it will be possible to fully cap your CS CD. Unless several mechanics severely change, do not attempt to meet the cap. Strength is around two times as advantageous as Haste. Sufficient bonus Str from an item could lead to a Str/Haste gem.

Attacks: Base damage and Coefficients at L85

Autoattack: ((AP/14) * Weaponspeed) + Weapon damage

Crusader Strike: (((AP/14) * 3.3 ) + Weapon damage) * 135%

Templar’s Verdict: (((AP/14) * Weaponspeed) + Weapon damage) * 235%

Seal of Righteousness:

Seal of Truth:


Holy Wrath:

Hammer of Wrath:


Mastery Damage:

This adds an additional 16.8% + 2.1% per Mastery (value / rating) damage of Crusader Strike, Divine Storm, and Templar’s Verdict as Holy Damage.

The original attack (CS, DS, or TV) is calculated, modified by de/buffs and armour. Mastery then takes the appropriate % of this damage and applies that as a flat value. The Mastery cannot Crit – if the base attack Crit then you are taking 17+% of the Crit, so the increase is already factored. The only de/buff which impacts Mastery is Inquisition, since Inq does not modify the base attack (CS, DS, or TV). This prevents Mastery damage from double-dipping on any de/buffs.

Best Races for Retribution Paladin in Cataclysm Classic

Best Races for Retribution Paladin in Cataclysm Classic


When it comes to racials that impact PvE damage, the Alliance is superior.


Heroic Presence now grants only the Draenei the +1% hit. Not a bad bonus, as it will allow additional reforging of stats and more possible gear combinations. A free HoT to marginally increase survivability is of minor PvE or PvP use.


If weaponry is no longer consistently axes (possible with reforging allowing more configuration of badly itemized weaponry), then a human could net 3 free Expertise via Mace or Sword specialization. The free CC break can provide a few additional seconds of DPS (or move to survival spot) in PvE, and in PvP allows replacement of PvP trinket with something providing more raw Resilience or DPS stats.


Like humans, Dwarves only benefit if the best weapon available is a Mace, which would grant 3 expertise. Again, reforging may allow an inferior itemized mace to surpass another weapon type via this bonus. Stoneform which can clear poison/disease/bleed effects on a 2 minute cooldown could be a minorly useful PvP ability.


Horde paladin racials have little to no impact outside of PvP purposes.

Blood Elf

A silence effect and some extra mana regen. The addition of Rebuke to baseline makes the silence rather unimportant. Mana should be a non-issue, the additional gain is unimportant. Possibly of PvP utility during Rebuke cooldown.


A 2 second AoE stun and higher base health. Possibly useful in PvP, but not for PvE.

Best Professions for Retribution Paladin in Cataclysm Classic


Mixology adds an additional 80 Str to Flask of Titanic Strength. Also provides the benefit of extended flask duration. Raw stats are tied with Enchanting, Inscription, and Leatherworking, but the extended duration may be considered an extra edge. Falls behind Blacksmithing due to Epic Gemming.

Alchemists continue to gain Mixology benefits from Cauldrons. The Flask of Battle provides the same buff as a normal flask (Flask of Titanic Strength, in our case). Additionally, the duration modifier appears to apply to these, thus at Chug-a-Lug Rank 2 a Flask of Battle would last for 4 hours for an Alchemist.

Volatile Alchemist Stone is a useful starting trinket.


Socket Bracer and Socket Gloves, allow two additional gems. Naturally you want to use Bold Inferno Ruby. 4.3 boosts this to the superior profession. The two free sockets provide 100 Str with epic gems, rather than 80 Str.


Enchant Ring – Strength provides 40 Str. Two rings, total of 80 Str. Tied with  Alchemy, Inscription, and Leatherworking. Falls behind Blacksmithing due to Epic Gemming.


Reinforced Bio-Optic Killshades may be for tanks and DPS. Sockets for Fractured Cogwheel and Smooth Cogwheel make this an excellent starter helm. Even if new cogwheels are released, these should be obsoleted in 4.2 as their Str should fall behind.

Synapse Springs now boosts Str for 10 seconds every minute. This locks out trinket cooldowns for 15 seconds. Excellent boost but cannot be stacked with trinkets during CD phases, requiring some CD juggling.

Tazik Shocker – Rocket Glove Cataclysm equivalent. Has cast-time, eats GCD, and resets swing timer. This means not effective for DPS gain.

Big Daddy – a new Engineering bomb. Conflicting reports whether the 0.5 second cast time resets swing timer – Ret have stated that it does.


Lifeblood provides 480 haste for 20 seconds, with a 2 minute cooldown. This is average 80 haste or 0.62% at L85. You likely would not want to use this under Heroism as it could cause sub-3-second CS cooldown issues.


Lionsmane Inscription provides 130 Str and 25 Crit. This is 80 strength more than the Greater Inscription of Jagged Stone rep reward. Tied with Alchemy, Enchanting, and Leatherworking. Falls behind Blacksmithing due to Epic Gemming.


Bold Chimera’s Eye grant 27 Str over the regular Rare Bold. Multiply by three for 81 Str bonus. This only grants 17 Str over the Epic Bold. Multiply by 3 for 51. 51 < 80, much less 100. Falls behind all crafting professions due to Epic Gemming.


Draconic Embossment – Strength provides 130 Strength to Bracers. This provides 80 Str beyond the (new) 50 Str bracers enchant. Ties with Alchemy, Enchanting, and Inscription. Falls behind Blacksmithing due to Epic Gemming.


Toughness, the self-only perk of Mining, provides 120 stamina and thus absolutely zero damage. No DPS increase, marginal survivability increase.


Master of Anatomy provides 80 Crit rating. This is 0.44% at L85. 80 Crit is less than half the bonus of 80 Str. A weak DPS increase compared to the crafting professions, but still superior to Mining.


Swordguard Embroidery, grants 1000 AP for 15 seconds, and has a 55 second ICD with 15% proc chance. Assume procs every 60 seconds and this would be an average 250 AP, compared to 176 AP (80 Str * 1.05 Plate Specialization * 1.05 Kings * 2 AP per Str) from other professions. However, this replaces the normal cloak enchant. 250 AP – 176 AP = 74 AP is more of an increase than 65 Crit to cloak, so it may be the best profession perk.

4.3 pushes Blacksmithing to 220.5 AP. 220.5 – 176 = 44.5 AP, which should be less of an increase than 65 Crit to cloak. Falls behind Blacksmithing due to Epic Gemming. Still possibly second best profession.

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Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Macros and Mods



/castsequence Zealotry, Guardian of Ancient Kings, Avenging Wrath


One button to cast the cooldowns in sequence, rather than at one go. You will need to encompass the timing pauses yourself. You can add a delay element to whisper yourself (only communications can be delayed in a macro) 5 seconds after pressing the button. Otherwise you will need to track the remaining time on activated CD.

Also recognize that TV will not auto-cast when you press this macro. You will need to use your HP manually after engaging Zealotry.

/cast Zealotry
/cast Avenging Wrath
/cast Templar's Verdict

At 3 HP this will pop both your DPS cooldowns simultaneously. Stack the macro further by adding in a binding for Use trinkets, a Golemblood Potion, Synapse Springs, or similar.

/cast Avenging Wrath
/cast Hammer of Wrath

Note that you may need to press this a few times. Above 20% it often takes your client a short time to confirm that HoW is a legitimate attack when AW was cast. Until your client admits HoW can be cast, it will not perform the attack.

/cast Zealotry
/cast Templar's Verdict

/castsequence [mod:alt] reset=14 Holy Wrath, Consecration

You should generally not drop Consecration if HW is off cooldown. By combining to one button you can save some bar space. Via alt-button you could still cast Consecration, if desired, or if HW is in the last second of CD and you need to juice a few more precious DPS.

/cast [nomodifier] Templar's Verdict; /cast [modifier:shift] Inquisition

Allows you to collapse your HP abilities to a single button.

Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide: Addons

Mods are purely optional. Some players run with none, some with dozens. This section is intentionally light, focusing on two that are of great assistance with Ret specific tasks, namely priority and timing.

CLCRet/CLCInfo will help you properly follow your priority setup and track procs or temporary buffs.

OmniCC is an addon that adds text to items/spells/abilities that are on cooldown to indicate when they’ll be ready for use. It integrates nicely with CLCInfo.

Other recommended mods for Ret Paladin in Cata Classic are a threat meter, unit frames, and bar mods – there are many options from which to select. Pulling threat leads to death and zero DPS. Having units and bars in efficient locations reduces eye movement and chance you are looking at the wrong place on your screen at the wrong time – this increases DPS and reduces chance of death.

I strongly recommend personalization of the UI to fit your needs and playstyle. Designing your own UI rather than using the default or a pre-packaged UI is the difference between a meal at a 3-star Michelin ranked restaurant and McDonalds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What seal Retribution Paladin should pick for PvE?

Seal of Truth provides superior single-target DPS, while Seal of Righteousness can provide superior multi-target DPS with 4+ targets.

What seal Retribution Paladin should pick for PvP?

There are three possibilities for PvP: Seal of Truth, Seal of Righteousness, and Seal of Justice. SoT requires stacking on a single target and would be inferior for target swaps or long time off target (application from ability usage and not just autoattack mitigates this). SoR provides instant damage and cleave to hit multiple targets. SoJ provides a runspeed debuff, preventing your target from moving faster than 100% speed (i.e. boot enchants, talents, sprint will not boost speed) for 5 seconds after a strike. Which is superior is likely a personal choice depending on team composition, buffs, debuffs, and similar factors.

What does weapon speed do to Ret Pala? Do we want slow or fast?

All things being equal (Str and iLevel, therefore average DPS), we generally still want slow. Seals and Judgement are not normalized to weapon damage, thus the higher damage range on slow weapons is superior.

What weapon enchant should Retribution Paladin pick in Cata Classic?


Should Ret Pala use a fast 1H weapon to stack SoT quicker?

No. Switching weapons is a DPS loss. The majority of our damage is physical (Auotattack, CS and TV). The lost damage during the ramp up period is greater than the boost to JoT and SoT DoT ticks. The fact that special attacks also apply stacks of Censure make this even more moot.

Should Ret Paladin swap librams?

Librams moving from spell specific bonuses to stat sticks with a socket has finally put the stake in this question. Grab the highest iLvl libram for Ret (hint, it has Str on it).

Should Ret Paladin grab this leather/mail piece of gear?

No. Leather and Mail items no longer have Attack Power as a separate stat. Classes naturally wearing those armour types gain 2 AP per Agility. The lack of Attack Power vs. a Plate item with Str means the Leather and Mail will always be inferior. Additionally, if you wear all Plate you get the Retribution Plate Specialization bonus of +5% Str.

Should Ret Paladin take a higher DPS weapon with Agi?

No. An Agi weapon of equivalent iLevel should never be as good as the Str weapon due to the same lack of AP issue.

Do you have a Best In Slot gear list?

No. This thread will not cover an overall BiS discussion, though may theorycraft specifics of trinket mechanics and possibly identify a specific BiS item. With gemming and reforging making gear highly configurable, a single BiS is far more fluid.


That concludes my Cataclysm Classic Retribution Paladin PvE Guide. Let me know if the guide has been able to help you in your journey through Azeroth!

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