The best Retribution Paladin talents and build in WoW: Shadowlands

Put your faith in the light.

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Retribution Paladin stands out as one the most straightforward DPS classes in all of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. With very few abilities to keep track of, and just a handful of strong cooldowns to maintain, the class serves as a suitable primer for the melee DPS role. As an added bonus, Retribution Paladins are quite strong in Shadowlands, and make for a welcome addition to any raid group or Mythic+ dungeon. 

Here are the best talents and builds needed to get the most out of the Retribution Paladin specialization in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands


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Level 15: Execution Sentence – Execution Sentence provides a significant burst of DPS to your rotation whenever you cast it, since the base damage of the ability is amplified by the amount of damage you deal to the target while they’re marked for execution. Try to save your big cooldowns for this window to allow this talent to deal as much burst damage as possible. 

Level 25: Blade of Wrath – Blade of Wrath resets the cooldown and increases the damage of Blade of Justice whenever Art of War is used. This talent is the go-to choice for AoE encounters, but delivers steady results in single-target situations, as well. 

Level 30: Fist of Justice – Fist of Justice causes your Holy Power-spending abilities to reduce the cooldown on Hammer of Justice, improving your utility capabilities throughout extended fights. If you need to stun an enemy target multiple times across an encounter, Fist of Justice becomes very useful. 

Level 35: Cavalier – Cavalier gives you two charges of Divine Speed, increasing your general mobility throughout extended fights. Additionally, if you need to cover a good amount of ground, casting Divine Steed back-to-back is extremely handy. 

Level 40: Seraphim – Seraphim increases your secondary stats for 15 seconds at the cost of just three Holy Power. The buff gained from this ability is too strong to pass up and is useful when combined with other cooldowns such as Avenging Wrath and Execution Sentence. 

Level 45: Selfless Healer – Although this tier largely boils down to personal preference, Selfless Healer is useful in the sense that your Holy Power spent can translate into more utility through healing through Flash of Light. In case of emergencies, sacrificing a shred of DPS to keep one of your teammates alive by way of a spell with a 1.2 second cast time is always going to be the right play. 

Level 50: Sanctified Wrath – Sanctified Wrath is the all-around best option for Retribution Paladins at level 50 considering it not only increases Avenging Wrath’s duration by five seconds, but also causes your Holy Power spenders to deal extra, uncapped AoE damage. 


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The most ideal covenant for Retribution Paladin players is Kyrian. Although the Venthyr covenant is a viable option for Retribution Paladins in certain scenarios, you’re going to want to align with the Kyrian thanks to their strong single-target capabilities and high damage in both raids and Mythic+ dungeons.

The covenant’s signature ability for Paladins, Divine Toll, instantly casts Judgment five times, allowing for an immense amount of damage very quickly. With strengths in both single target and AoE situations, Divine Toll can be used to either apply a quick burst of damage to a boss or make serious headway in clearing out a pack of enemies.  

Gear/Stat Priority

The standard stat priority for Retribution Paladins is as follows: Strength > Haste = Versatility = Mastery = Critical Strike

It’s rare for all secondary stats to be completely equal for a class, but in the case of Retribution Paladin, there’s no discernable advantage or outcome depending on your level of Haste, Versatility, Mastery, or Critical Strike. 

Instead, you’ll want to stack Strength, which comes as a baseline stat with all Paladin gear. If you’re stuck or confused when upgrading an item, refer to how much Strength an item gives. Retribution Paladins can also refer to an item’s item level if they’re genuinely stuck on which piece of gear is going to provide a bigger boost to their DPS thanks to the basic increase in stats that higher item level items provide.