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Classese Death Knight Demon Hunter Druid Hunter Mage Monk Paladin Priest Rogue Shaman Warlock Warrior
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Paladin Strengths

  • Can be the tank, healer, or damage dealer.
  • Strong survivability against in both PvE and PvP because they can wear plate armor, self heal, and have various self protection skills.
  • Can buff themselves and others in a variety of ways.
  • Ability to cleanse poison, disease, and magic debuffs from themselves and others.

Paladin Weaknesses

  • No universally useful base skill ranged attack. There are ways around this:
Hand of Reckoning a single target taunt, 30 yard range.
The talent Avenger's Shield has a range of 30 yards and is the preferred way of pulling mobs for Protection Paladins. It deals a fair share of damage and interrupts spell casting, affecting up to two additional nearby targets.
The talent Holy Shock is a 20 yard ranged ability with a 6 second timer and targets a single mob.
Exorcism can also be used as a ranged/pulling attack. Exorcism is usable against all targets, and will always critically hit when used against Undead or Demon targets. Don't forget that if you face a Warlock or Deathknight in PvP, their pets are demons or Undead. Exorcism can be used against hunter pets however this will not always trigger a critical hit.
Hammer of Wrath is also a ranged attack, though it is only usable when your opponent is at 20% health or lower.
Items: Trinkets such as [Linken's Boomerang] (a reward for quest series in Un'Goro), the engineering profession (for grenades and other ranged trinkets), by getting [Ez-Thro Dynamite] from an engineer, or items such as [Magic Candle]s. [The Decapitator] is a one-hand axe that drops off Prince Malchezaar.
  • Due to their incapability to dish out ranged damage, if a PvP enemy wants to get away the Paladin will have to do something about it before the target gets too far.
Judgement of Justice limits movement speed of players, so this should be used frequently in PvP. One may think that Avenger's Shield can help. Unfortunately it has a long cooldown, and it requires 41 points in the Protection tree.
Hammer of Justice stuns the target for a short time (3-6 seconds, depending on rank), however, its cooldown is also long -- one minute, untalented.
Repentance can be used also, though it will be canceled when damage is dealt, and it also has a one minute cooldown.
  • A paladin's ability to stay alive is directly based on mana.
Paladins have great tools for gaining mana: Spiritual Attunement, Blessing of Wisdom, Seal of Wisdom, Judgement of Wisdom, and Divine Plea.
  • The paladin is very susceptible to anything that counters spells and being killed as a result of a Holy Light cast being interrupted is common. Interrupting a spell cast results in a complete lockout of any cast spell for the paladin, with the exception of melee attacks obtained through talents (in addition to auto attack): Crusader Strike, Divine Storm, and Hammer of the Righteous.
Switching to Concentration Aura reduces the spell push back received from damage by 35%. For Paladins with Spiritual Focus the push back is eliminated all together.

Basic Leveling/soloing Strategies

During the early levels, you should spec retribution for higher melee damage. Use a 2-hand weapon with good DPS, and wear mail armor (plate after level 40) with Strength and Stamina. You should also keep a shield and a fast 1-hand weapon in the bag for special situations. Be sure to get Improved Judgements at 14-5, Seal of Command at 20, Art of War and Judgements of the Wise at 40-44, and Crusader Strike at 50. The other talents should be pretty self-explanatory (more damage is good).

Paladin soloing is dull but fairly fast. At early levels, you don't have very many buttons to press, but with a good weapon you have enough burst that things will die quickly. Pull with (at level 16 or above) Hand of Reckoning; this does a lot of damage for very little mana and is off the GCD. Judge whenever you can. That's basically it. If the mob runs, Hand of Reckoning will finish it off (since it's no longer targeting you). Exorcism is useful when cast while pulling but not while the mob is hitting you, since it interrupts your melee attacks. When you have Art of War, Exorcism becomes instant cast and should be used whenever possible. You'll finally get a short-cooldown attack at 50 with Crusader Strike, and another at 60 with Divine Storm.

After level 20, you can kill 3-5 mobs pretty easily by using Consecration and Seal of Command's cleave ability. Don't bother using Consecration on single mobs until you get Judgements of the Wise, since it's a big mana hog.

When fighting, always remember to keep your Aura, Blessings and Seal up all the time! You generally want Retribution Aura, Blessing of Might and Seal of Command, but consider Blessing of Kings and Devotion Aura when soloing elites.

You have a lot of options when things get dicey. Lay on Hands is a full heal on a moderate timer. Hand of Protection and Divine Shield make you invulnerable long enough to heal up with Holy Light. If these are all on cooldown, put on Concentration Aura and try to get Holy Light off before you die. Hammer of Justice, Turn Evil and Repentance can all help incapacitate a particularly tough foe.

Glyph of Seal of Command is great to reduce downtime at lower levels, though between 40 and 45 you'll get Judgements of the Wise, giving you nigh-infinite mana and making the glyph unnecessary. Glyph of Judgement and Glyph of Exorcism are both moderate DPS boosters. The minor glyphs worth using are Glyph of Blessing of Might, a nice time saver, and Glyph of Sense Undead, the only minor glyph that increases damage.

What stats affect my damage the most?

As a Retribution Paladin there are several stats that are important to your dps. These are strength/attack power (AP), hit rating 8% for PvE or 5% for PvP, and critical strike rating above 25% to keep Vengeance up. Spell damage no longer plays a major part in a Retribution Paladin's damage since patch 2.4.

Retribution Paladin's main seals for longer, single target fights are Seal of Vengeance(Alliance) and Seal of Corruption(Horde).

Since patch 3.0.2, strength and attack power became the most important stats for Protection Paladins dps.

There is one basic stat for Holy Paladins dps: Spell Power. DPS Holy Paladins, or shockadins (not recommended for leveling) also benefit from critical strike rating and intellect.

Spell damage coefficients and ability crit types are listed here.

All paladins benefit from spell power; however, only Holy Paladins should wear gear specifically with spell power on it. Protection and Retribution both possess talents (deep in each respective tree) to obtain a significant amount of spell power through a percentage of a baseline stat - Attack Power (and as a result, Strength) for Retribution, Strength for Protection.

Weapon Choice

Retribution utilizes two handed weapons with Seal of Vengeance, Seal of Command or Seal of Corruption. These seals combined with a two handed weapon yield the highest DPS. Typically, a weapon with higher melee damage is preferred in weapons with near-identical weapon dps.

Protection utilizes one handed weapons with Seal of Corruption or Seal of Vengeance while tanking, only using Seal of Righteousness if they are Seal Twisting in order to push out a bit extra threat. Tanking with Seal of Corruption/Vengeance also has the added benefit of having the damage over time component being applied to every target Hammer of the Righteous strikes, allowing the paladin to build stacks of the dot on up to 2 additional targets. If solo'ing or dps'ing as Protection, the paladin most often should use Retribution gear while continuing to wield a one-hander and a shield, as Hammer of the Righteous does not work with a two-hander and you cannot use Shield of Righteousness without a shield.

Holy utilizes one handed weapons with Seal of Righteousness, Seal of Wisdom, Seal of Light, or Seal of Vengeance/Corruption. Attack speed of the weapon does not affect the overall damage as most damage caused will be caused by using Holy Shock offensively, as well as Judgements and Consecration. In addition, the holy damage of Seal of Righteousness for each swing is inversely proportional to the attack speed. However, a faster weapon does give more proc when using Seal/Judgement of Wisdom/Light. Holy Paladins may also use Shield of Righteousness in their solo'ing/dps rotation when in melee range.

Basic Partying Strategies

Partying Help e


Group Roles

Leader Leader

Primary Function

Tank Tank
Healer Healer
Damage dealer Damage dealer

Secondary Function

Crowd control Crowd control
Main assist Main assist
Puller Puller
Rezzer Rezzer
Scout Scout


Hybrid classes
Meeting Stone
Pickup group

As a hybrid class you can have three roles in a party: dps, tank, or healer. Which one you play at any given time will depend on your talent spec, the gear you bring with you, and the composition of the rest of the party. Make sure you (and others) are aware of your role from the outset to avoid problems later.

See Paladin instance grouping guide for further tips. For details of different roles of paladins in group, please refer to Paladins as healers, Paladins as tanks, and Paladins as DPS.

Strategies in Details


Always make sure you activate an aura appropriate to your situation. Change as the situation calls for because it's instant and costs no mana.

Devotion Aura
Early on this is all you have. Mostly useful in groups after other auras become available.
Retribution Aura
While soloing this will be the primary aura to maintain, it works especially well on fast hitting mobs.
Available at 16th level.
Concentration Aura
Switch to this aura when you need to heal. This is especially important if you do not have the talent Spiritual Focus. Combine it with the talent and there will be very few effects that will interrupt your healing.
Available at 42nd level.
Shadow Resistance Aura
Provides additional shadow resistance to all party and raid members within 40 yards. Good for boss fights that use a lot of shadow attacks on the party or raid. E.g., The Black Knight (tactics)
Frost Resistance Aura
Provides additional frost resistance to all party and raid members within 40 yards. Good for boss fights that use a lot of frost attacks on the party or raid. E.g., Kel'Thuzad (tactics)
Fire Resistance Aura
Provides additional fire resistance to all party and raid members within 40 yards. Good for boss fights that use a lot of fire attacks on the party or raid. E.g., Ragnaros (tactics), Prince Taldaram

It should be emphasized that Resistance Auras are very helpful for harder boss fights. For example, going off of the Resistance table on this site, a level 80 paladin using a resistance aura will block about 23.5% of spell damage inflicted of that magic type for a level 83 boss. If a boss hits the entire raid for 5000 damage to each person, that's 125000 damage in a 25-man. If the aura is used, that number can be brought down to 95625 damage. You would be mitigating about 29375 damage.


Make sure you always have a blessing active. As of Patch 2.2 all lesser Paladin buffs have had their timers increased to 10 minutes. At higher levels you can use Greater Blessings for 30 minute buffs but they have a components cost. The Greater Blessings also buff all the group members of the same class as the target at the same time. Remember that it is an instant cast, so even if you're in combat you can go ahead and bless yourself or others as necessary.

Blessing of Wisdom
A Paladin lives and dies by his mana pool so it is wise to regenerate mana however possible. Maintaining your mana will allow moving on from fight to fight with little to no downtime. Nevertheless, at higher levels, there are other more effective talents in Protection and Retribution trees to help mana regeneration, making this blessing only useful for Holy paladins.
Blessing of Might
This will increase your Attack Power significantly, thereby increasing melee DPS.
Blessing of Kings
Increases all your stats by 10%. This blessing is important in situations where higher health is needed, such as tanking or PvP. It also increases your DPS by providing extra strength, although the improvement is not as big as Blessing of Might. In addition, it also increases your mana pool, although the improvement is most noticeable as Holy.
Blessing of Sanctuary
Available only by talent purchase. When you are taking damage from multiple targets this reduces the damage you received as well as provides a very good mean of mana regeneration. Note that this blessing is a key component to the protection paladin's ability to AoE Grind. Note that, as of Patch 3.2.2, this Blessing will also increase your Strength and Stamina by 10%.

Seals & Judgements

Seals are self-buffs which boost the Paladin's power temporarily. Effectively, they add a weapon proc to their melee strikes. Additionally, Paladins can judge these seals upon an enemy which deals damage and provides a judgement effect for 20 seconds. The judgement effect can benefit the paladin as well as others who are hitting the mobs, and only one judgement effect per paladin can exist on a target. For more detailed information see Paladin#Seals.


Seal of Righteousness
By itself it provides X amount of additional Holy damage per hit based on weapon speed.
When judged it causes instant holy damage to the target based on Attack Power and Spell Power.
It is the initial seal for protection paladin tanks, however is replaced after obtaining Seal of Corruption or Seal of Vengeance.
Your first seal.
Seal of Command
Redesigned for patch 3.2.2
All melee attacks will deal X to Y additional Holy damage.
When judged does X to Y Holy damage.
When used with attacks or abilities that strike a single target, this additional Holy damage will strike up to 2 additional targets.
It is the preferred PvP seal for Retribution.
Available through a talent in the Retribution tree beginning at level 20.
Seal of Justice
By itself it provides a chance of stunning the target. This can only occur three times in a row on a target, as both mobs and players subject it to diminishing returns.
When judged, causes some holy damage based on Spell Power and Attack Power.
Available at level 22.
Seal of Light
By itself it provides a chance of returning X health per hit.
Glyph of Seal of Light adds 5% healing to all your spells while Seal of Light is active.
When judged, causes some holy damage based on Spell Power and Attack Power.
Available at level 30.
Seal of Wisdom
By itself it provides a chance of returning a percentage of total mana per hit.
Glyph of Seal of Wisdom reduces mana cost of all healing spells while Seal of Wisdom is active.
When judged, causes some holy damage based on Spell Power and Attack Power.
Available at level 38.
Seal of Vengeance (Alliance) and Seal of Corruption (Horde)
Redesigned for patch 3.2
Attacks apply Holy Vengeance (Alliance) (Blood Corruption (Horde)), which deals X additional Holy damage over 15 sec.
Blood Corruption and Holy Vengeance can stack up to 5 times. Once stacked to 5 times, each of the Paladins attacks also deals 33% weapon damage as additional Holy damage.
Judging this will deal X Holy damage to an enemy, increased by 10% for each application of Holy Vengeance or Blood Corruption on the target.
Seal of Vengeance is available to all alliance paladins at level 64.
Seal of Corruption is available to all horde paladins at level 66.
This is the primary tanking seal and primary DPS seal for bosses or long fights.
Seal of Blood (Horde) and Seal of the Martyr (Alliance)

Note* As of Patch 3.2, Seal of Blood has been removed.

By itself it deals additional Holy damage equal to 28% of the damage of the attack on every hit but also backfire 10% of the damage to the paladin.
When judged does X to Y damage but also backfire 33% of the damage to the paladin.
Its overall damage is better than Seal of Command. It is the primary seal for retribution paladins, except during situations that the backfire damage would be dangerous.
Seal of Blood is available to all horde paladins at level 64.
Seal of Martyr is available to all alliance paladins at level 66.


Judgements cause holy damage based on whichever seal is present on the paladin, and cannot be cast without a seal. A number of talented skills are triggered by Judgements, whether beneficial to the paladin or detrimental to the target. Holy paladins can increase haste rating by up to 15% through Enlightened Judgements, Protection paladins can decrease attack speed of an enemy by 20% Judgements of the Just (single target [Thunderclap]), and Retribution paladins can increase the chance of critical strikes on the target Heart of the Crusader as well as provide the Replenishment buff with Judgements of the Wise.

Judgement of Wisdom
Causes holy damage based on the active seal.
Debuffs the target, allowing all attacks against the target to have a chance of giving the attacker mana back. This proc replenishes 2% of the attacker's base mana.
Primary Judgement for most situations, as all but three classes can benefit from mana regeneration.
Only one Judgement effect can be on a target per paladin. Wisdom is the most important Judgement in most cases, and should always be on the boss. In the case of multiple paladins in a group, Protection Paladins should judge Wisdom, while Retribution and Holy paladins judge Light, to preserve the Prot Paladin's Judgements of the Just debuff, as well as guaranteeing near 100% uptime.
Judgement of Light
Causes holy damage based on the active seal.
Debuffs the target, allowing all attacks against the target to have a chance of giving the attacker health back. This proc replenishes 2% of the attacker's total health.
Secondary Judgement for most situations, but now a solid judgement choice for fights with AoE damage.
Only one Judgement effect can be on a target per paladin. In the case of multiple paladins in a group, the second paladin often uses this, as it is only beneficial in cases of aoe damage. Typically Light is judged only after Wisdom has a 100% upkeep (i.e. not judged by a Holy Paladin).
Judgement of Justice
Causes holy damage based on the active seal.
Debuffs the target, preventing NPC mobs from "fleeing" in fear (at low hp), and preventing any target from moving faster than 100% movement speed.
Final Judgement for most situations in PvE, but is extremely useful for PvP, as it can only be removed by magic cleansing. In short, it is a druid's worst nightmare.
Only one Judgement effect can be on a target per paladin. This Judgement now has limited uses in PVE, as this was typically reserved for Holy Paladins. As of 3.1, Judgement of Justice no longer benefits from the extra range Holy Paladins can receive for judgments. As a result, Holy Paladins are encouraged to judge Light along with Ret Paladins, unless they are the only paladin in the raid (and may consider Judging Wisdom).
Judgement Priority
1 paladin (any spec) - Judgement of Wisdom
2 paladins, 1 melee - Melee judges Wisdom, Holy judges Light
2 paladins, 2 melee - if prot, judge Wisdom, Ret judges Light. If both Ret or Prot, the higher AP should judge Light.
2 paladins, 2 casters - The higher SP should judge Light, or both judge Wisdom to ensure more uptime.
3 paladins, 1 prot - Prot judges Wisdom, all others judge Light.

Seal and Blessing Sequencing

Some of these sequences are talent independent (Mana and Health Conservation), while others are designed for Retribution or Protection paladins. There are a few quality addons that can aid in sequencing, "Supercast" being one of them.

Generic 2 hand damage dealing

This sequence is for low level paladins.

Aura: Devotion Aura or Retribution Aura
Blessing: Blessing of Might (or Blessing of Wisdom)
Sequence: Judgement of Wisdom (or Light)-> Seal of Righteousness -> repeat using Seal of Righteousness and Judgement of Wisdom

Retribution paladin 2 hand damage dealing

This sequence is for high level retribution paladins.

Aura: Retribution Aura
Blessing: Blessing of Might, Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Wisdom
Judgement: Wisdom or Light
Seal: Seal of the Martyr, Seal of Blood, Seal of Command (for PvP or situations where you can kill yourself)
Sequence: There is no "set" sequence for Retribution - Utilize "First Come First Serve" mentality, giving priority to different abilities based on situation
  • Single Target - Judgement -> Crusader Strike -> Consecrate -> Divine Storm (skip Consecrate if having mana troubles)
  • AoE - Judgement -> Consecrate -> Divine Storm -> Crusader Strike

Judgement is always given priority due to high damage as well as significant mana returns (both with Replenishment and the solo mana return)

Protection paladin tanking

This sequence is for high level protection paladins.

Aura: Devotion Aura (Retribution for AoE situations without a Retribution Paladin)
Blessing: Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Sanctuary, Blessing of Might, Blessing of Wisdom
Judgement: Wisdom or Light
Seal: Seal of Corruption, Seal of Vengeance, Seal of Righteousness (for Seal Twisting)

Sequence: Ideally a protection paladin should spec 1/2 Improved Judgements for a 9 second cooldown on Judgement. If done this way, a protection paladin follows a cooldown rotation of 96969 ( credit to PsiVen from Maintankadin)

Holy Shield -> Hammer of the Righteous -> Judgement -> Shield of Righteousness ->
Consecrate -> Hammer of the Righteous -> Holy Shield -> Shield of Righteousness ->
Judgement -> Hammer of the Righteous -> Consecrate -> Shield of Righteousness ->

  • 9 - Holy Shield has an 8 second cooldown, with 10 second duration (thus can stay active for 9 seconds)
9 - Consecrate has an 8 second cooldown, with 8 second duration (thus can be triggered every 9 seconds)
9 - Judgement has a 10 second cooldown, talented to 9 seconds (thus can be triggered every 9 seconds)

  • 6 - Hammer of the Righteous has a 6 second cooldown
6 - Shield of Righteousness has a 6 second cooldown

  • Holy Wrath - special, 30 second cooldown, usable on undead and demons
Exorcise - special, 15 second cooldown
Seals - special, 30 minute duration,
Divine Plea - special, 1 minute cooldown, regens 25% mana, should be used on cooldown for mana intense fights.

Another Rotation

The first two abilities protection paladins use are Hand of Reckoning, as it is a good opening move for PvE fights like pulling bosses or groups or mobs, since that move does not share global CD, Avenger's Shield is an excellent move to use directly after Hand of Reckoning. These two keys are generally placed next to each other, (at least that’s what i do) they are mainly used after each other because of their short 6 second CD. If you have the glyph, Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous your Hammer of the Righteous will hit four targets instead of 3, this is very useful for tanking multiple targets in instances, and also for PvP fights, but not for arena teams. Shield of Righteousness is useful for when most of your main abilities are on their CD's. Also there are the moves Holy Shield, Consecration and the three Judgments (i.e. Judgement of Justice, Judgement of Light and Judgement of Wisdom). Holy Shield is a good move to use after Avengers Shield as it will give you a temporary block increase. Consecration will help you with the aggro holding of multiple mobs. Finally the Judgments are very useful for a variety of purposes, Justice to stop mobs from running away when they reach low health, Light for a chance to regain some health with every attack; this is the same with Wisdom except with mana. As a final note, make sure you always have Righteous Fury enabled or you will have major problems holding the aggro of multiple mobs and bosses. And it goes without saying that you should have a Seal and a Blessing active whenever you are fighting players or mobs.

So, the final rotation is: 1- Hand of Reckoning

2- Avenger’s Shield

3- Holy Shield

4- Consecration

5- (Your choice of judgement)

6- Hammer of the Righteous

7- Shield of Righteousness

8- Repeat from 3-8 (Or if the fight lasts longer than 30secs then use Avenger's Shield again, and if you lose the aggro of a mob pull it back with Hand of Reckoning)

Protection paladin AoE grinding

This sequence is used for a Protection paladin when AoE grinding.

  • Tanking trash: Retribution Aura + Blessing of Sanctuary + Seal of Light, (get on a horse and) aggro multiple melee mobs > Consecration > Holy Shield > Judgement of Wisdom > repeat these three abilities. Just the high amount of blocking together with Blessing of Sanctuary will give ample mana recovery. Seal of Light will help keep your health high.
  • Most of your damage will come from Consecration and Holy Shield and Retribution Aura; therefore, the damage from your melee attacks is not that important and Seal of Light will likely serve you better than Seal of Righteousness.
  • If you have a hard time keeping up health, switch to Devotion Aura and/or Judgement of Light. (Switching Judgements in the middle of a fight however will probably require you to rearrange your action bar, so let your experience dictate whether health is more important than mana or vice versa.)
  • If you run out of mana, switch to Seal of Wisdom. Since Blessing of Sanctuary provides you with mana recovery, switching to Blessing of Wisdom during the fight is probably not worthwhile.


Holy paladins are good healers in PvP because of their good survivability and various abilities to help other group members. Retribution paladins also perform very well in PvP because of their high burst damage and survivability.

On the other hand, there is no good protection spec for PvP. The reason is most of the damage of protection paladins depends on reflective damage, which means you are not going to do much damage in PvP except against very stupid rogues, fury warriors or enhancement shamans. Also, the healing is not as good as Holy paladins. Protection paladins still have use for (multi-)tanking bosses in Alterac Valley, holding flag in Warsong Gulch or Eye of the Storm, or defending bases in Arathi Basin (until help arrives or the offenders kill you eventually).

For details of PvP as paladins, please see Paladin PvP guide.


See Paladin Gear Sets for info about building the different sets of gear that are essential to being an effective paladin in a group.

See also:

  • Paladin tactics/Gearing up (Pre-BC)

See also