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The Light and How to Swing It: Raiding and the Retadin

Zach Yonzon

I mentioned it the last time, but more than ever, it's a good time to be a Paladin. We're not perfect yet, and indeed the class needs a little more tweaking, but it's incredibly playable right now and is a lot of fun. We've always had traditional roles of tanking and healing for Paladins, but in this day and age, Retribution Paladins are a more than welcome addition to any party or raid. So for today, we'll talk about that. I know a lot of Paladins have specced for Retribution or have a spare Retribution set in their banks, and the spec is more popular than ever. Considering that Replenishment is considered a mandatory raid buff, a Retribution Paladin's raiding slot is pretty secure.

Next week we'll talk about gearing your tank up for raiding, and after that we'll see how Holy Paladins are a beacon of light in this dark age. Alright, it's not such a dark age, but Holy Paladins are downright awesome anyway. Today, however, is a day of Retribution. So pick up that 2-hander and head on over to Naxxramas or beat down on those big bad dragons. First, we'll take a look at a good raiding build after the jump.

The build
The most raid-friendly and highly recommended raiding build is 0/ 10/ 59 +2, where the last two points are purely discretionary. This build is notable because it picks up Blessing of Kings and Improved Blessing of Kings from Protection, ensuring that the raid will always have the best scaling raid buff in the game. Holy Paladins will be branching out to Retribution and will likely not have it. Paladin tanks will probably have it, but operate best if they have Blessing of Sanctuary and Blessing of Kings at the same time. As a raiding Retribution Paladin, consider it your duty to bring that to the table. Improved Blessing of Might is an option because it is superior to a Warrior's Battle Shout because of its duration and will overwrite it. It's there to expand your buff options, as in some groups with no other Paladins, some players will ask for it over Kings.

0/ 10/ 59 +2 is superior in terms of raw DPS to any 0/ 5/ 66 build which I see many Retribution Paladins taking. None of the other talents taken by the latter offer a straight up DPS increase as opposed to the scaling of Kings. As far as the two discretionary points are concerned, it's a toss-up between Pursuit of Justice and Divine Purpose. Pursuit of Justice is extremely useful for mobility fights while Divine Purpose is useful to break stuns on bosses with stun abilities. However, overall, Pursuit of Justice is a better investment for raiding purposes, as improved movement speed always helps. It should help keep you alive during Heigan, for example.

Your gear
As always, the most important stat to a Retribution Paladin is Strength. You scale best with Strength, but it's not necessarily a stat you pursue because all DPS plate will have it. Instead, what you should be looking at is plate gear with +Hit, as we need a 262 Hit Rating to reach the optimal 8% hit cap. Anything beyond that number is wasted, as it's impossible to improve on hit chance past 8% for raids.

There are several pieces that provide massive hit and incredible stats. The Staggering Legplates from Ingvar the Plunderer in Heroic Utgarde Keep are the absolute best Retribution pants pre-raids, granting a massive 80 Hit. Likewise, the Blacksmith-crafted Spiked Titansteel Helm is the best pre-raid DPS helm, granting 60 Hit Rating. Both pieces also have sockets, allowing for great flexibility to make up for what you lack. There's also the Titan-forged Greaves of Triumph, bought with a mere 15 Wintergrasp Marks of Honor, making them one of the easiest epics to obtain. Even though you lose out points to Resilience, you gain a respectable 36 Hit and a Yellow socket (for more possible Hit).

As far as weapons are concerned, dedicated raiders will have a Titansteel Destroyer crafted as it's simply the best pre-raid weapon available. It will not have as high a top-end as the weapons that will drop in normal mode Naxxramas, but the 54 Hit Rating is a huge boost. This is why the Titansteel Destroyer edges out the other pre-raid 2-hander, the Colossal Skull-Clad Cleaver from Loken in heroic Halls of Lightning. Between the mace and the plate pieces above, it takes a few blue pieces, such as the Sphere of the Red Dragon's Blood from Keristraza in heroic Nexus, to push towards the necessary Hit.

The next important stat is Expertise, which should remove Dodges off the table, as well as improve your chances against Parries and Blocks in those occasions that you attack mobs from the front. It happens sometimes. That said, expertise is difficult to pursue because there are very few Expertise pieces outside of raids. There are some notable pieces, such as the Hemorrhaging Circle from Gal'darah in heroic Gundrak and the pricey Ring of the Kirin Tor. You'll need 214 Expertise Rating to be Expertise capped, so every little bit helps. Once you are hit capped and begin raiding, actively seek out items with expertise.

Everything else follows. Crit, Attack Power, etc., are all stats that we should no longer actively pursue. It will come naturally with the gear. It will be difficult enough to get Expertise capped after being Hit capped, so for the moment focus on getting the important stats down. Expertise gear drops from raids, and will only help to improve your DPS.

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