Paladin DPS Guide for Season of Discovery Phase 2

Paladin DPS Guide for Season of Discovery Phase 2

In the Season of Discovery, Retribution Paladins undergo a transformative experience with the introduction of the Rune Discovery system. These runes, akin to gear enchantments, grant instant-cast attacks, spells, and passives, allowing for dynamic and adaptable builds. This marks a significant departure from the lackluster damage output of the Retribution Paladin in the base game. With blessings, auras, and judgements, they had utility but struggled as damage dealers. However, the Season of Discovery catapults Retribution Paladins into a formidable role in raids, dungeons, and PvP.

Key Changes in Season of Discovery:

1. Rune Discovery System: The cornerstone of the transformation, runes like Crusader Strike, Divine Storm, and Exorcist enhance the Retribution Paladin's offensive capabilities. These runes, easily swapped out, offer versatility in adapting to different situations.

2. Exorcism Empowerment: The Art of War rune allows for reduced mana cost and cooldown resets for Exorcism, providing critical synergy with other abilities. This elevates Retribution Paladins to a new level of sustained damage.

3. Seal of Martyrdom: This new seal, reminiscent of The Burning Crusade's Seal of Blood, introduces self-damaging mechanics that deal consistent holy damage. Additionally, it restores mana for raid members, adding a valuable supportive aspect to the Retribution Paladin.

4. Sheath of Light Rune: Offering the option to convert a substantial portion of attack power into spell power, this rune provides flexibility in adjusting the Paladin's playstyle and optimizing damage output.

Paladins receive a significant quality-of-life upgrade with Enhanced Blessings in Phase 2. This enhancement extends the duration and reduces the mana cost of blessings, streamlining the process of supporting party or raid members.

Lightsworn: Retribution Paladin talents in Legion

Viability Paladin DPS

In the original level 60 content, Retribution Paladin DPS faced significant challenges due to low damage output, high mana consumption, and limited abilities. However, the Season of Discovery has brought about substantial improvements through the Rune Discovery system, addressing these issues and enhancing the viability of Paladin DPS.

Improvements in Season of Discovery:

1. Increased Damage Output: With the introduction of new runes like Crusader Strike, Divine Storm, and Exorcist, Retribution Paladins now boast higher damage potential. These instant-cast abilities empower Paladins to contribute significantly to damage dealing in raids and dungeons.

2. Reduced Mana Consumption: Season of Discovery has alleviated the burden of excessive mana consumption that plagued Retribution Paladins in the base game. This allows Paladins to utilize their core damage spells and abilities more freely, enhancing their sustained damage output.

3. Expanded Ability Arsenal: The void of active abilities has been filled with the addition of new runes, providing Retribution Paladins with a more diverse and dynamic toolkit. This not only enhances their damage capabilities but also contributes to their overall utility within a group or raid setting.

Roles Retribution Paladins Can Fulfill:

1. Damage Dealer: With the improvements brought by the Rune Discovery system, Retribution Paladins are now capable of fulfilling the primary role of a damage dealer more effectively. Their increased damage output and mana efficiency make them valuable assets in raid environments and group content.

2. Utility Provider: While primarily focused on damage dealing, Retribution Paladins still retain their strong utility abilities such as blessings, auras, and judgements. These abilities provide valuable support to their allies, further solidifying their role within a group or raid composition.

Excluded Runes and Their Relevance:

The runes listed, such as Inspiration Exemplar and Sacred Shield, are primarily geared towards Holy Paladin healers or tanking roles. As damage dealers, Retribution Paladins may find limited use for these runes and would typically prioritize those that enhance their offensive capabilities.

Best Runes for Paladin DPS in PvE

1. Chest - Seal of Martyrdom Seal of Martyrdom or Divine Storm Divine Storm:

- Single-Target Encounters:

- Seal of Martyrdom: Best for single-target encounters, especially when equipped with weapons like Automatic Crowd Pummeler or The Jackhammer. Offers reduced mana consumption, mana restoration, and boosts The Art of War procs for increased Exorcism damage.

- Divine Storm: Still strong for single-target damage with Seal of Command and slower weapons. It becomes the best choice when you lack Automatic Crowd Pummeler or The Jackhammer.

- Cleave or Multi-Target Encounters:

- Divine Storm: Best for cleave or multi-target encounters, especially when combined with Seal of Command and slower weapons. Increases mana consumption, may require mana management items, but offers significant damage output.

2. Gloves - Crusader Strike Crusader Strike:

- Main Damage Ability: Crusader Strike is a primary damage ability that also restores a significant amount of mana. There are no other relevant runes for damage dealing in this slot.

3. Legs - Exorcist Exorcist:

- Exorcism Activation: Enables casting Exorcism against non-Undead/Demon enemies, crucial when utilizing The Art of War. Exorcism constitutes a significant portion of your damage, especially with Sheath of Light. If interrupt capability is essential, Rebuke can be an alternative, but it comes at a damage sacrifice.

4. Waist - Sheath of Light Sheath of Light:

- Bonus Spell Power: Converts 30% of attack power into bonus spell power, enhancing the damage of Judgement of Command, Seal of Command, and Exorcism. Increases the value of strength and attack power, making it the optimal choice for a melee damage dealer.

5. Feet - The Art of War The Art of War:

- Critical Strike Benefits: Allows resetting the Exorcism cooldown when seals, judgements, or melee attacks critically strike. The recent addition of an 80% permanent mana cost reduction for Exorcism and Holy Shock reduces mana consumption significantly. Keep Exorcism on cooldown to maximize the benefits of this rune.

Note: While Guarded by the Light is mentioned as a solid rune for leveling due to its mana-restoring properties, it is not recommended for raids, as the damage sacrifice is too significant. Mana management should be manageable in raid scenarios, especially when using Seal of Martyrdom or Judgement of Wisdom.

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Strengths and Weaknesses


1. Strong Cleave Damage and Raid Healing:

- Divine Storm and Seal of Command contribute to potent cleave damage, making Retribution Paladins effective in scenarios with multiple enemies.

- Minor passive raid healing is provided through Divine Storm, enhancing the group's sustainability.

2. Moderate Single-Target Damage: Crusader Strike, Seal of Martyrdom, and Exorcism offer a well-rounded toolkit for moderate single-target damage, ensuring versatility in various encounters.

3. High Burst Damage and Survivability:

- Retribution Paladins excel in delivering high burst damage, coupled with robust survivability, making them resilient in challenging situations.

- The ability to close the gap on ranged enemies enhances their effectiveness in PvP combat.

4. Crowd Control in PvP: Repentance and Hammer of Justice provide effective crowd control in PvP scenarios, allowing Retribution Paladins to control and disrupt enemy combatants.

5. Tanking Viability: Righteous Fury and Hand of Reckoning enable Retribution Paladins to hold threat and contribute to tanking when needed, while still dealing respectable damage.

6. Group Utility: Auras, blessings, and Judgement of Wisdom contribute to the group's overall utility, enhancing the effectiveness of the entire party or raid.


1. Poor Mana Efficiency: Divine Storm and Seal of Command suffer from poor mana efficiency, which can limit sustained damage output and necessitate careful mana management.

2. Comparatively Poor Single-Target Damage: In comparison to top damage dealers with best-in-slot gear like Automatic Crowd Pummeler or The Jackhammer, Retribution Paladins may lag in single-target damage.

3. High Threat Generation: Retribution Paladins generate high threat, even when not tanking, which can pose challenges in group situations, requiring coordination with tanks to manage threat levels effectively.

4. Reliance on Wild Strikes and Critical Strikes: The reliance on Wild Strikes and critical strikes to deal respectable damage makes Retribution Paladins somewhat dependent on RNG (Random Number Generator) for optimal performance.

5. Tedious Blessing Refreshment: The 10-minute duration of blessings can be tedious to refresh during raids and dungeons, requiring careful attention and coordination to maintain optimal buffs.

Gameplay Paladin DPS


1. Cast Judgement with Seal of the Crusader active for boss fights in raids to benefit from the bonus spell power of Judgement of the Crusader. This step is specific to boss fights.

2. Recast Seal of Command or Seal of Martyrdom and start auto-attacking with your melee weapon.

Spell Priority:

1. Exorcism: Keep Exorcism on cooldown to maximize The Art of War cooldown resets in case of critical strikes.

2. Divine Storm (Cleave): Prioritize Divine Storm for cleave or AoE encounters to hit multiple targets and deal more damage.

3. Crusader Strike: On single-target encounters, Crusader Strike takes precedence as it ignores armor, deals holy damage, and restores mana.

4. Divine Storm (Single-Target): Use Divine Storm on single-target encounters, balancing its use with Crusader Strike.

5. Judgement and Seal Refresh: Keep Judgement on cooldown and refresh Seal of Command or Seal of Martyrdom. 

Mana Management:

- If mana is running low, consider using Judgement of Wisdom or a Greater Mana Potion.

- Prioritize using Crusader Strike to regenerate mana.

- Use Judgement only when your seal is about to expire if mana conservation is crucial.

Seal Uptime:

- Maintain uptime of Seal of Command or Seal of Martyrdom to ensure it's active for auto-attacks.

- Avoid using Judgement right before an auto-attack to prevent missing out on potential seal damage.

Seal Twisting:

- Seal twisting involves casting a new seal just before auto-attacking to benefit from both the new and previous seal effects.

- While limited in practicality, seal twisting can be viable with Sheath of Light and recent Seal of Righteousness buffs.

- Limited global cooldowns and high mana cost make seal twisting challenging, so prioritize primary damage spells.

- Squeezing in a few twists on each fight, if possible, can help maximize damage, but it requires careful management of resources.

Note on Seal Twisting with Seal of Command and Seal of Martyrdom: Currently, it's not possible to seal twist Seal of Command with Seal of Martyrdom, but future updates may impact the viability of seal twisting in general.

Stats and Gear Priorities for Paladin DPS

Stat Priority:

1. Weapon Speed & Weapon DPS: Slower weapons generally perform better due to higher weapon damage and the nature of abilities like Divine Storm and Seal of Command. Weapon DPS is crucial; prioritize higher values.

2. Hit Chance & Weapon Skill: Hit Chance is vital to avoid missing auto-attacks and losing seal damage. Aim for hit chance caps depending on enemy levels. Weapon Skill is relevant, especially against enemies only 2 levels higher, reducing the damage penalty when glancing.

3. Strength & Attack Power: Strength is paramount, providing attack power and contributing to overall damage output. Each point of strength equals 2 attack power before applying bonuses like Blessing of Kings or Divine Strength.

4. Agility & Critical Strike Chance: Critical Strike Chance and Agility enhance critical strikes, increase uptime of Vengeance, and boost The Art of War procs. Agility is valuable for both its critical strike chance and contribution to overall damage.

5. Spell Power: While not as impactful as in the past, Spell Power still has a modest impact on abilities like Exorcism, Judgement, and Seal of Command. Focus on getting most of the spell power from attack power through the Sheath of Light rune.

6. Intellect: Intellect increases maximum mana and provides a moderate amount of spell critical strike chance for spells like Exorcism. While not a top priority, it offers some utility in terms of mana pool and spell criticals.

Gear Considerations:

1. Weapon Choice: Prioritize slower weapons with high weapon DPS for better performance with Divine Storm and Seal of Command.

2. Hit and Weapon Skill Gear: Gear that provides hit chance and weapon skill is crucial to meet hit caps and reduce damage penalties against higher-level enemies.

3. Strength and Attack Power Gear: Look for gear that boosts Strength and Attack Power to enhance overall damage output. Consider bonuses from talents like Blessing of Kings and Divine Strength.

4. Agility and Critical Strike Gear: Items that increase Agility and Critical Strike Chance contribute to critical hits, Vengeance uptime, and The Art of War procs.

5. Spell Power Gear: While not the primary focus, gear with Spell Power can still benefit abilities like Exorcism, Judgement, and Seal of Command. Emphasize getting spell power from attack power through Sheath of Light.

6. Intellect Gear (Optional): Gear with Intellect can offer increased mana pool and spell critical strike chance. Consider Intellect gear if additional mana or spell crit is desired.

Best Races for Paladin DPS

1. Human:

- Sword Specialization & Mace Specialization (PvE): These racials provide expertise with swords and maces, boosting your weapon skill for increased hit chance and reduced chance of glancing blows. Essential for PvE DPS.

- Perception (PvP): Offers increased stealth detection, making Humans proficient at detecting rogues and potentially gaining an advantage in PvP situations.

Note: Currently, Human is considered the best choice for Paladin DPS due to the weapon skill racials and increased damage output.

2. Dwarf:

- Stoneform (PvP): Provides the ability to dispel poisons, bleeds, and diseases, increases armor temporarily, and is particularly useful in PvP scenarios. Can be used to dispel Blind (a poison debuff) and offers some utility while tanking.

Note: While not as beneficial for PvE DPS as the Human racials, Dwarves may become more viable if weapon skill becomes more available in future phases. Currently, they can compensate for the lack of weapon skill with specific gear like the Power-Assisted Lifting Belt, but this comes at the cost of using other valuable items.

Note: The best race for Paladin DPS largely depends on personal preferences, playstyle, and whether the focus is on PvE or PvP content. Humans currently hold an advantage for PvE due to their weapon skill racials, while Dwarves may find more utility in PvP scenarios. Keep an eye on future updates and changes that may impact racial choices.

Best Professions for Paladin DPS

1. Blacksmithing:

- Phase 2: Blacksmithing becomes a valuable choice for Paladin DPS in Phase 2 due to the crafting option of Tempered Interference-Negating Helmet, which is considered best-in-slot at level 40. The helmet provides a powerful on-use ability, granting a 20% attack speed boost for 10 seconds.

- Combination with Engineering or Enchanting: In combination with Engineering or Enchanting, Blacksmithing remains a strong profession choice. The crafted helmet, in particular, enhances your overall DPS potential.

2. Engineering:

- Traditional Strength: Engineering has traditionally been a strong choice for all classes in Classic WoW due to the versatility it offers. Explosives, trinkets, and various items are valuable for both PvE and PvP scenarios.

- Level 25 Benefits: At level 25, Engineering unlocks abilities such as Goblin Land Mine and Solid Dynamite, providing an additional AoE damage source. The best-in-slot belt, Hyperconductive Goldwrap, is also crafted through Engineering, offering excellent stats. The Target Dummy can be useful in raids, acting as a taunt for enemy mobs.

- Versatility in PvE and PvP: Engineering remains a strong choice for both PvE and PvP, providing tools for various situations. It synergizes well with Blacksmithing for the crafted helmet.

3. Enchanting:

- Viability with Blacksmithing: In Phase 2, Enchanting can be a viable choice when combined with Blacksmithing. While not as traditionally associated with DPS as Engineering, it provides an alternative option for those who prefer it or find it more fitting for their playstyle.

Note: The choice between Engineering and Enchanting will depend on personal preferences, playstyle, and whether you prioritize the unique benefits of Engineering or the potential enchanting opportunities from Enchanting. Both can be considered best-in-slot when combined with Blacksmithing in Phase 2.