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The Complete Retribution Paladin Guide Part 3: Abilities and Rotations

by: M.S. Smith ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/18/2012 • Leave a comment

Your ability rotation is the list of abilities a World of Warcraft character typically uses to do damage to an opponent. In this guide we'll examine the Retribution Paladin's rotation.

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    Doing Damage: The Holiest of Goals

    Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. That’s the philosophy that the Retribution Paladin follows. While Holy Paladins try to heal allies and Protection Paladins try to jump in front of arrows, the Retribution Paladin tries to vanquish foes as quickly as possible.

    To do this well, you need to know the abilities that you’ll be using. In this guide we’ll examine the basic Retribution Paladin rotation and why each ability called for during the rotation is a good choice.

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    The Rotation

    Retribution Paladin Rotation Guide The following rotation is called a priority rotation. It isn’t exactly a “rotation” at all, but rather a list of abilities that you should be using and the priority which you should assign to them. You should use the highest priority ability available at any particular time.

    At level 85 your rotation should be as follows:

    Inquisition > Hammer of Wraith > Templar’s Verdict > Crusader’s Strike > Exorcism (if available from Art of War) > Judgement > Holy Wrath > Consecration

    Now – let’s take a look at each individual ability.

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    The Rotation – The Abilities

    Retribution Paladin Rotation Inquisition – This is a new ability added into Cataclysm that becomes available at level 81. It consumes all holy power and increases your Holy Damage by 30%. A significant portion of the Paladin’s damage comes from Holy sources, so this is a substantial damage increase. Inquisition only lasts four seconds per bubble of holy power, but Retribution Paladins can choose a talent that increase the duration to ten seconds per bubble of holy power.

    Hammer of Wrath – The Paladin’s trademark finisher. It is ranged and does a ton of damage. You can only use it when an opponent is under 20% health, but once they’re there, well – they’re done!

    Crusader’s Strike – Crusader Strike remains the Retribution Paladin’s primary method of obtaining Holy Power (but not only method) and continues to benefit from the major damage increases that are available early in the Retribution talent tree.

    Exorcism – This one comes with a qualification – it is generally only useful when it has been made available from an Art of War proc. Art of War gives you the chance (up to 20%) to cast a free, instant Exorcism that does double damage. If Art of War has not popped up for you, then don’t use Exorcism, unless you for some reason are unable to close to melee range with a target.

    Judgement – A simple damage-add ability that Paladins have always had and used, it doesn’t do much damage but it does have other effects – for Retribution Paladins it effectively acts as a charge.

    Holy Wrath – This area-of-effect spell can do a lot of damage to multiple targets, but it’s often not a priority even when trying to take out trash mobs because it simply doesn’t do a lot of damage to each individual creation. You really need to be mobbed for Holy Wrath to be a top damage-dealer. However, Holy Wrath does stun Undead and Demon targets, which is a nice extra.

    Consecration – Another AOE ability, this is a low-damage damage-over-time ability that will hit all enemy targets within a certain radius. Again, you need to be getting mobbed for this to make sense, which is why it is a very low priority.

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    Conclusion

    The priority rotation above actually isn’t too difficult to follow. You’ll have to pay attention to your Inquisition duration to make sure you keep it up at all times on raid bosses, and you’ll have to be ready to punch Hammer of Wrath and Exorcism (through Art of War) as soon as they pop up. Once you get those skills down you’ll have a good foundation set for owning as a Retribution Paladin.