WoW Classic Retribution Paladin PvP Guide - Best Talent Builds, Races, Gear, Consumables
Welcome to Wowhead's DPS Paladin Class PvP Classic Guide, updated for . In this guide, we will go over everything you need to know to be the best Paladin possible in PvP combat. Here you'll learn more about the best Paladin PvP races, best Paladin PvP Professions, all Paladin important PvP abilities, best Paladin PvP builds, stats, and best Paladin PvP Gear.
Our Paladin guides are always updated with the latest information from in-game experience, theorycrafting, and logs; make sure to check our changelog to this page, by clicking on
at the top of the page. If you are interested in more in-depth Paladin guides for , make sure to browse the
below, and our list of
just beneath the
Table of Contents
Talents & Builds
Rotation & Abilities
PvP BiS Gear
Warsong Gulch Tips
Alterac Valley Tips
Arathi Basin Tips
About the Author
has played World of Warcraft since launch, primarily focusing on the Paladin class. He enjoys discussing and theorycrafting all things Paladin and can be found in a majority of the Paladin-themed Discord servers. He currently raids on his Holy Paladin with the US guild
on Myzrael where they achieved 16th US for Naxxramas progression. You can also find him streaming on
Classic Retribution Paladin PvP Overview and Viability
Paladins are incredibly durable and powerful healers in WoW Classic. With plate armor, an array of powerful cooldowns, and strong single-target healing, Paladins are one of the best healers for supporting melee and are able to get into the fight without needing to worry about themselves.
You may be interested in the following WoW Classic guides to further learn about the intricacies of the Hunter class:
Paladin Class Overview
Paladin Leveling Guide
Ret Paladin PvE
Paladin Healer PvE
Ret Paladin PvP
Best Retribution Paladin Races for WoW Classic PvP
The best race for Classic Retribution Paladin's for PvP is
Paladin is a unique faction for the Alliance, meaning if you want to play a Paladin, you must be Alliance. Your choice of race as a Paladin is between
. Paladins cannot be Horde. Horde instead has Shaman as their own unique class.
Humans are better for PvP due to the extra weapon skill from
. Extra weapon skill as a melee means a lower chance to miss, a lower chance to get glancing blows, and a lower chance to have your attacks dodged. This will result in significant damage gain over Dwarf. Humans also have
, which will let you potentially see a Rogue before they open on you if you use the ability when they are nearby. However, because you need to activate
in order to use it, it is incredibly situational and can be challenging to make use of.
Dwarves are alright in PvP due to
, but the Human weapon specializations are too good to pass up.
is an extremely powerful ability that can change the course of a fight when a Rogue or Warrior is attacking you by allowing you to drop their bleeds and poisons, which includes
WoW Retribution Paladin PvP Talent Builds
Ret Paladin PvP Talent Builds
In PvP, battles will be much shorter on average than against bosses in PvE, so you can safely drop
since you will not be using it. These extra points can be dropped into better PvP talents like
to make your
much better, which are essential spells in PvP.
The second build focuses on the talent
, which can be amazing in PvP. Reckoning can store up to 5 charges, and you generate a charge each time a critical strike hits you. For each charge, you will deal an additional attack the next time you attack a target. This has amazing burst potential in PvP and can be a more substantial damage increase than the talents you are missing out on in the other trees. The only downside to this talent is that it is so deep into the Protection tree and requires 25 points into the tree to take.
Classic Retribution Paladin PvP Stats
As a Ret Paladin, you can try to PvP with your normal raid gear, but you may run into some survivability issues. The main issue is that in raiding your main concern is your damage output, but in PvP staying alive becomes a much more pressing concern. Mana also will not be as much of an issue in PvP as well since you will be able to reset between fights usually as long as you have water to drink.
In PvP, you are only facing targets that are your level or lower (assuming you are level 60). This means that you need less hit chance than in PvE, only about 5%. This should not be difficult to get at level 60.
Stamina affects your hit points, no matter what class you play. However, characters designed to absorb damage, such as warriors and paladins, gain more benefit from stamina than classes who have other capabilities, such as rogues and druids, who in turn gain more benefit than pure spellcasters, such as mages.
- World of Warcraft Game Manual, 2004
Each point of Stamina increases your max health by 10. While this does not affect your damage done, it is an important defensive stat. With more health, you can take more damage before dying, which could potentially save your life if you are stunned and unable to heal yourself for a short period of time.
Strength determines the physical power of your character. A high strength improves your attack power. Strength is also a determining factor in how much damage you block if you use a shield. Rogues and hunters only use a partial value of strength to determine their power.
- World of Warcraft Game Manual, 2004
Strength is meant to increase the strength of your melee attacks by increasing your attack power. Specifically, one point of Strength gives 2 AP. This is your primary damage stat, and you get more out of each point of Strength through talents like
and buffs like
. This is your most important stat for damage output.
Agility improves your armor rating, your chance to dodge an attack, and your chance to score a critical hit with a melee or ranged attack, thus dealing increased damage. Rogues and Hunters also use agility, in combination with strength, to determine their attack power.
- World of Warcraft Game Manual, 2004
Critical strike chance is incredibly important to Ret due to the talent
. Agility's only purpose is to increase your crit chance. Thus Agility and crit should be considered equal, with 20 Agility = 1% crit.
Attack power increases your damage dealt with attacks and abilities. This is your primary source of damage, but you will get most of your AP from Strength due to most plate gear having a higher amount of Strength and because your Strength scales better through talents and buffs.
Intelligence improves your mana reserves. Intelligence has no bearing on non-spellcasting classes.
- World of Warcraft Game Manual, 2004
Each point of Intellect increases your max mana by 15. Having a higher mana pool means you can cast more spells before running out of mana, but in general this is not as big of a deal for Ret Paladins in PvP. Some Intellect is fine, but this is not worth stacking, and too much of it will be a waste.
PvP Stat Priority
Hit Chance (to 5%)
WoW Classic Retribution Paladin PvP Gear
Due to Paladin's innate ability to survive, it is one of the only damage specs that can really get away with using raid gear to PvP. However, using plate gear is going to be incredibly important to make use of the massive amount of armor that they provide. Some of the early sets such as
offer good stats, lots of stamina, and most importantly are plate, giving you tons of armor.
Eventually, you will want to transition to using the PvP set,
Take a look at our Classic PvP Gear guides to get a better understanding of how to gear your Paladin for Classic WoW PvP.
Retribution Paladin PvP Gear
As a Retribution Paladin, you will want a slow, high damage 2H weapon. You will want to maximize the damage per swing that you deal since chances are you will only be able to get a single swing off when someone is kiting you, so it is important to focus on maximizing the damage of that swing. Weapons like
are ideal since it gives great stats, but more importantly has a high damage range and a 3.8 second swing speed. The slower the better, but the most important thing to focus on is the damage range of the weapon; you always want to maximize the damage range. Arcanite Reaper is a great choice since it is a BoE weapon, meaning it can be bought from the Auction House. Once you get into Molten Core, you can potentially get more powerful weapons such as
, or even eventually
if you are lucky enough.
Classic Retribution Paladin PvP Abilities
Retribution Paladin Buffs
Some of the most critical spells in a Paladin's arsenal are their buffs. There are six possible buffs that a Paladin can use, and each Paladin can only buff 1 per person. These buffs are commonly known as "Blessings," however do note that there are other Paladin spells that are not buffs but still have 'blessing' in their names.
For each Blessing, there is a normal version and a greater version. The greater version will buff that spell on all of the members of the targeted class in a raid, whereas the normal buff will only target the specific person. The greater blessings also last longer, 15 minutes compared to the normal 5 minutes.
: Increases the target's attack power. If you are going to be the one using this blessing on people, make sure to have
talented for the increased effect.
: Increases the target's mana generation rate by a flat amount. This is a great blessing for any caster or mana user in general and will increase the number of spells they can cast before running out of mana.
: Increases the target's stats by 10%. This affects all primary stats, such as Strength, Agility, Intellect, Spirit, and Stamina. This is considered to be the single best blessing for most classes since every spec will want at least one of these stats. This also scales the best as you get later into the phases in WoW Classic since the actual amount provided is based on the target's stats. This also is a talented ability, so at least one paladin per group will need to be talented into it if you want to use it.
: Reduces the target's damage taken by a small amount while also causing them to deal some holy damage each time they block an attack. This is not amazing for PvP and is worth skipping.
: Increases the healing the target takes from
. This will increase your and your other Paladins' healing done on the target.
: Reduces the threat generated by the target by 30%. This is an incredibly powerful buff for PvE but is useless in PvP.
Retribution Paladin Auras
Paladins have access to numerous auras and can have no more than one active at all times. Each aura provides a different buff to the Paladin and their party, making it essential to choose what aura you use based on the group you are placed in. Each aura has a 30-yard range, but will only affect you and your party members, not other raid members outside your party.
: Causes anyone attacked while this aura is active to deal some holy damage back to their attacker.
: Increases the armor of any friendly target in range.
: Gives a chance that anyone who takes damage while casting will not receive pushback on their cast.
: Increases your and your group's shadow resistance.
: Increases your and your group's frost resistance.
: Increases your and your group's fire resistance.
Retribution Paladin Seals
Seals are personal buffs that are available to Paladins. You can only have one seal active at any time, usually choosing from only a couple of the available seals depending on your role. Each seal has two parts to its power: the passive portion and the unleashed portion. To unleash a seal's power, you must have the seal active and use
on an enemy. This will cause a new effect for a shorter amount of time, different based on the seal.
: Your attacks have a chance to stun your target for 2 seconds. If unleashed, the target will be unable to flee for 10 seconds, with your attacks refreshing the 10-second timer.
: Increases your attack power and attack speed, but you deal less damage per attack. Unleashed, this increases the target's Holy damage taken.
: You deal additional Holy damage per attack, and unleashed will deal a burst of holy damage to the target. This is a worse version of
: Your melee attacks have a chance to restore some mana. When unleashed, anyone who attacks the target will have a chance to restore mana when attacking.
: Your melee attacks will have a chance to heal you, and when unleashed, anyone's melee attacks against the target will have a chance to heal them.
: Your melee attacks have a chance to deal additional Holy damage. This will be your primary seal as a Ret Paladin and will do the most damage out of any seal.
Retribution Paladin Healing Spells
: A strong, 2.5-second cast heal with a high mana cost.
: A weak, 1.5-second cast heal with a low mana cost.
Retribution Paladin Cooldowns
: Causes the target to be immune to roots and movement impairing effects for 10 seconds. This is a great disengage tool or for when you need to give a DPS a boost in PvP when they are chasing someone down.
: Causes you to be immune to all physical attacks for 8 seconds. This procs a 1-minute debuff that makes you unable to use
during that minute.
: Causes your target to be immune to all physical effects and attacks for 10 seconds. This is perhaps the most powerful cooldown you have that can be cast on someone else. This procs a 1-minute debuff that makes you unable to use
during that minute.
: This causes you to die, but encases a friendly target in a shield that makes them completely invulnerable and unable to move for up to 2 minutes, or until they cancel the buff. This is generally used as a wipe recovery tool in raids.
: Perhaps your most iconic cooldown, Divine Shield encases you in a bubble, making you immune to all damage and effects for 10 seconds. This procs a 1-minute debuff that makes you unable to use
during that minute.
: An instant heal that heals the target for your total health pool, but will drain all of your mana. Combined with
this is a powerful emergency healing tool, especially for when a tank might be about to die, but you should always use a mana potion afterward since you will be completely out of mana.
: Place this on a friendly target, and a small portion of each attack they take for 30 seconds will transfer to you. This is not a great defensive tool, is powerful in PvP when you want to avoid having to sit through control abilities during that time since the damage will break the effects.
Retribution Paladin Other Spells
: Unleashes your current seal on the target. See the seal section above for the possible effects. This will be your most used damage spell.
: Your first version of cleanse that removes a poison or disease effect from a friendly target.
: Increases your threat generation while active.
: Tracks all nearby Undead on your mini-map while active.
: An upgraded version of
, this will remove a disease, poison, or magic effect from a friendly target.
: Fears an Undead target, causing them to flee for 20 seconds.
: Stuns the target for 6 second. This will be your most used, and your most powerful control tool.
: A Holy talent that drops a zone on the ground that deals holy damage over time to any enemies inside. This is mainly useful in PvP when you think a stealthed enemy might be nearby.
: Deals a burst of holy damage to an Undead or Demon target.
: Deals a burst of holy damage to a target but is only usable when they are below 20% health. This is a great tool for killing low health targets.
: This is the final talent of the Protection tree, meaning you almost certainly will never use it. If you do get it, this is a decent cooldown for tanking multiple enemies at once.
: A short cooldown that causes damage to all nearby Undead and Demon targets.
: Your resurrection ability that allows you to revive a friendly target while not in combat. This is from a class quest early on and is important to get. Only healers can get resurrection abilities, making it an important tool, especially for raids and dungeons.
: Paladins are able to get this a free mount at level 40, saving them from having to spend gold purchasing it from a vendor and trainer.
: This is the epic mount that Paladins get, but is from a longer class quest that requires some expensive reagents. It is still easier to get than an actual epic mount from a vendor but is not as free as your level 40 mount.
Best Professions for Retribution Paladin PvP
If you're looking to PvP competitively, you'll need to optimize your professions. While many professions make it easier for you to get gear and consumables that will help you in PvP, it is worth noting that you can buy 99% of these on the Auction House or from other players even if you are not that profession. This is why gold is so important in WoW Classic, even for PvP.
While most professions do not offer combat benefits, Engineering is the exception. Engineers get access to tons of powerful bombs, tools, and trinkets that can be incredibly strong, especially in PvP. Trinkets such as
allow you to reflect spells of a specific type when used, which can easily change the outcome of a fight. Grenades such as
are critical for stunning a target from range, letting you interrupt a cast or run away in a bad situation. There are also tons of miscellaneous items and pieces of gear like
, which have different special effects and uses in PvP situations. Engineering is one of the most popular professions in Classic, and for a good reason. If you plan to PvP seriously, Engineering is almost a requirement due to the strength of the consumables that it brings. Some of the best items are listed below.
are both powerful grenades that damage and stun.
deals extremely high AoE damage.
roots your target. Only a select few classes and races can escape this, such as Gnomes or Paladins.
incapacitates your target for 30 seconds, but has a 20 minute CD.
attempts to mind control your target.
reflects Fire spells.
reflects Frost spells.
reflects Shadow spells.
Alchemy is not as vital for PvP as Engineering is, simply because you are able to use items made from Alchemy without being an alchemist. However, these consumables can become quite expensive, and it might be in your favor to craft them yourself.
Here are some notable consumables for PvP that are made from Alchemy:
allows you to become immune to stuns and other movement impairing effects for a whole 30 seconds.
allows you to become immune to stuns and other movement impairing effects for only 5 seconds but also removes existing ones on yourself.
grants you immunity from physical attacks for 6 seconds, making it quite powerful when fighting Warriors and Rogues.
removes 1 magic, curse, poison, or disease every 5 seconds for 30 seconds.
is definitely worth mentioning for PvP and dueling. Acquiring it requires the completion of a questline provided by The Mithril Order smiths, which you can learn more about here:
Classic WoW Armorsmith Questline
Completing the quests will eventually reward you with
. Note that this trinket will not make you immune to fear, you must preemptively pop it before getting feared. Either way, it is a very powerful trinket for PvP and dueling.
Best PvP Consumables For Classic Retribution Paladins
Best Engineering Gadgets for Ret Paladins
Grenades are one of the most powerful PvP tools available. A long range stun, a tiny bit of damage, what more could you ask for? Landing a short stun on a target will provide you with time to get some range on them or possibly cast a heal without them stopping you.
Goblin Sapper Charge is an strong instant AoE that pulses out from the character. If you have enough Players on your Faction all with Goblin Sapper Charges in their bags, you can easily wipe an enemy Raid in a few seconds with these! Just be careful, you can kill yourself from the damage Sapper does to the User!
Best Potions for Ret Paladins
Free Action Potion, also known as "Fap", an absolutely broken Potion. Carry plenty of these on you, because it's insanely powerful when any class has this on. No slows, no roots, no STUNS, nothing! Just Fap and run freely away from your enemies while they can't do much about it. You can still be affected by some CC, such as Fear or Polymorph.
Living Action Potion, also known as "Lap", can be high useful against
. They use
on you? Immediately Lap, likely negating their follow-up
. If used correctly this could save you through an opener, allowing you time to recover and heal.
Limited Invulnerability Potion, also known as "Lip", is extremely powerful when fighting against Warrior or
. 6 seconds of complete immunity to Physical Attacks? Just enough time to almost fully cast a
if you are out of mana!
Restorative Potion, also known as "Resto Pot", is a great answer to classes who are going to be constantly debuffing you (Mages, Warlocks, Druids, Priests). This potion can remove many powerful debuffs such as
. A well timed Resto Pot can definitely turn the tide of a battle.
Best General Consumables for Ret Paladins
Heavy Runecloth Bandage is absolutely a must-have Consumable in PvP. You can fully cast a Bandage while your Target is under the effects of any long control ability, such as
. The critical reason to bring these is because they do not require mana to use, meaning if you are out of mana or trying to play conservatively, these are a great way to heal up without spending mana.
Alterac Manna Biscuit is listed here because not enough people know about it. Instead of begging Mages in town for Level 55 Food, you can go buy them yourself from the Alterac Valley Quartermaster, making this the best food in the game. Many people are also incorrect when they assume this can only be used in Alterac Valley, like the PvP Potions the vendor sells, such as
. But Alterac Manna Biscuit can actually be used anywhere, even outside of Battlegrounds!
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I'm really surprised that the blacksmithing trinket
Glimmering Mithril Insignia
isn't mentioned for blacksmithing as a pvp option. The cooldown is 10 min but the fearless effect is amazing with the added resists and armor.
For the ret-reckoning build, should seal of righteousness be used instead?
Reckoning doesn't reliably function the way that it did on the Private Servers, it isn't likely that you are going to be able to hold stacks during PvP as as far as I'm aware, it basically just resets your attack bar and gives an immediate attack.
Stick to the Repentance (10/10/
) build they have here, that's what you want to be using.
As for best potions, you won't want to ignore also using Juju power, Arcane+Mongoose pots and Winterfall Firewater.
At the very top, it says "You may be interested in the following WoW Classic guides to further learn about the intricacies of the Hunter class:" - but links to other Paladin guides lol. I'm sure it's just an oversight from a copy-paste, but it threw me off for a split second lol.
Ok so a couple of things.
I am a very experienced Ret paladin PvP'er in vanilla/classic and I want say a few things here.
1. Dwarf is far more superior for PvP than Human. Weapon specialization does almost nothing against players, as that stat is only important against targets over lvl 60, which obviously is impossible in PvP. Don't let the Human hype fool you, it is only directed towards PvE! You get about 0.02% more crit vs lvl 60 targets from the specialization, which is not very much. All other Human racials are utter garbage in PvP. Dwarf on the other hand, gets the mighty stoneform, which is very good against Rogues to remove blind, denying that one blind in a 1v1 can be life saving, and if you fight a very good rogue who gets to use two full blinds, you are in trouble. It is also surprisingly good against good geared arms warriors, as their deep wounds and rend is going to do a lot of damage to you if you dont have stoneform.Frost resistance is also very handy as some of your hardest classes to beat as Ret are Hunter(freezing trap), Shaman(frost shock), Mage(frostbolt, nova, etc..).
2. The absolute best PvP spec for Ret by far is Reckoning Ret, 0/25/26. Against good players you will even sometimes lose vs warriors if you aren't this spec. The reason for this is that you will be kited a lot by most classes in PvP, and while you are being kited you will get crit a lot. So when you eventually get that hit in on your opponent, if that is not a reckoning hit, he will just laugh at your auto attack or lackluster SoC proc and continue kiting. But if that hit takes him to 30% health, you can get some big chances to win vs anyone. Fights like Rogue and Warrior also becoming incredibly easy with Reckoning. My point is that if you think a deep ret build with Repentance is ok for PvP, you havent PvP'd on a high level as Ret.
3. Reckoning has 4 charges, not 5. (If you count the normal auto attack on top of the 4 changes, it becomes 5 attacks in one)
I think that if you write a PvP guide on Wowhead and don't even get the correct choice of race right when it is only 2 races to choose from, that is a bit concerning. Why even write a guide if you obviously just google yourself to a conclusion? Guides should contain information about how to beat different classes as that spec, details that most people wouldnt know. An example of such a detail would be to put one point into Vindication in the 0/25/26 build. The reason for this is so that you will proc it on Warlocks, and when they use their felhunter dispel on themselves, they have a chance to dispel vindication instead of your hammer of justice. Things like that.. instead I see you put one point in 2% more strength, instead if one point in vengeance, which is very wrong for many reasons.
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