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The Light and How to Swing It: Retribution talents and glyphs for The Dread Approach


Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Seasoned ret paladin Dan Desmond is here to answer your questions and provide you with your biweekly dose of retribution medicine. Contact him at with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!

Mogu'shan Vaults is a visually appealing, mechanically interesting raid instance, and I've had my fair share of fun sticking my neck into the place, but for one reason or another Heart of Fear has been a refreshing change of pace. Of course, I'm sure it will be only a matter of time before I get sick of giant bipedal bugs painting the floor with my innards, but for now I'm just enjoying the ride.

At the time of this writing, the second half of Heart of Fear has yet to be opened in the Raid Finder, and my own guild has been grinding away at Blade Lord Ta'yak, so I admittedly have limited experience of the new raid. What experience I do have, however, has had me thinking and strategizing for different ways to approach these new bosses.

We decided to try out Zor'lok after sitting on Elegon for a few nights, so we were probably a bit undergeared for our first foray into evil bug central, but that made all the tinkering and readjustments all the more fun because they produced tangible results (or, in some circumstances, created new problems).

Anyway, this week I decided to go over what I have learned.

For a full description of these fights and their associated mechanics, check out these raid guides over at Icy Veins.

Imperial Vizier Zor'lok

I have to confess that this is probably my favorite encounter thus far in Mists of Pandaria. Patchwerk-type fights have their place, but for whatever reason I really like fights where it is up to each raider to account for their own survival. Alysrazor in Firelands is another favorite of mine, primarily because of her second phase with the swirling tornadoes – at least, before the speed of the fiery tornadoes was nerfed so hard that dodging them with any sort of run speed boost became harder.

As you can probably guess, my favorite part of this encounter is Attenuation, though it's really how all three separate platform mechanics combine in the end that wins me over.

Talents After much trial and error, I settled on a 113213 setup for this encounter. Execution Sentence is pretty much our single-target default, and Unbreakable Spirit is a great go-to fourth tier choice, so those are pretty self-explanatory. The rest require a few more words.

  • Speed of Light is probably your best bet here, as there isn't much movement once you're at the boss aside from ducking in and out of range of the shields he places during Force and Verve. I pop SoL to quickly run through the center and put some extra shots on the boss before the tank gets back in range (beating a warrior in a footrace is a great feeling, by the way) and the boss is generally out of Judgment range at this point.
  • Fist of Justice is a great option for stunning Converted friendlies. It should be available for each cast without much of a problem.
  • Sacred Shield is some nice extra mitigation during Force and Verve, or even while running around during Attenuation.
  • Holy Avenger's on-demand damage is very nice for this fight due to all of the time you can expect to be out of melee range, making burst all the more important.
Glyphs The only glyph I found quite useful for this encounter, besides the always welcome Glyph of Templar's Verdict, was Glyph of Divine Protection. If you recall, Divine Protection was changed to be 40% base magical damage reduction, so glyphing it gives us an additional physical damage reduction cooldown during Force and Verve, a very stressful time for your healers.

Blade Lord Ta'yak

My guild just about has this one down; we're just trying to keep everyone alive during the second phase and then the boss should fall over without much difficulty. Anyway, as a melee you will probably come to despise this boss as he is constantly either zipping around with Wind Step or disappearing completely using Unseen Strike. Luckily these mechanics are on predictable timers, so if you have an updated boss mod you'll be just fine.

Talents For this boss fight, I went with a 113213 setup again, though there is definitely some leeway in some of my choices. The entire second tier is virtually useless for this guy, so feel free to save yourself the tome and don't bother changing it from the last encounter (if anyone has an idea of how to weave any of those abilities into the encounter, feel free to explain how in the comments below). Again, Unbreakable Spirit and Execution Sentence are pretty good default options, so they'll go unchanged.
  • Speed of Light was a tough call. The second phase is where your decision in this first tier is going to matter, and the boss is too far away for Long Arm of the Law to do much good. You could take Pursuit of Justice bank up three or more holy power beforehand and run at 30% increased speed all the way to the end of the tornado gauntlet, or (if you have a druid that knows how to push buttons) you could ride Stampeding Roar part of the way and hit SoL for the remainder. I'll leave that one up to you; I'm an engineer, so I cheat with Nitro Boosts.
  • Sacred Shield was another toss-up, with Selfless Healer looking mighty tempting as well. It's nice to have an instant heal for that second phase, but it's dependent on Judgment.
  • Holy Avenger again takes precedent as your time on the boss becomes rarer here than it was on Zor'lok.
Glyphs Sadly there isn't much in your glyph repertoire that will be very useful here. You could leave Divine Protection glyphed from the last encounter, as Unseen Strike is all physical damage, but the unavoidable raid damage in phase two is nature damage. You may want to unglyph DP if your healers aren't so good at healing on the move.


I have found that picturing Garalon as Kovok makes me all the more motivated to kill this boss, which is easy because it's basically the same thing. I do find the giant circles under him a bit off-putting, though – I believe that, upon seeing them for the first time, I said something to a guildmate of mine along the lines of "Huh, no wonder they killed AVR, they wanted it for themselves!"

Shut up, I'm funny sometimes.

Talents Here I landed on a 213213 build, but again there is definitely some wiggle room in a few choices. As before, Fist of Justice, Unbreakable Spirit, and Execution Sentence are staying put.
  • Long Arm is likely your best bet for reliably zipping from leg to leg in a timely fashion.
  • Sacred Shield is handy for mitigating some of the unavoidable Crush damage, provided you have the free GCD.
  • Holy Avenger narrowly defeated Divine Purpose for me primarily due to its burst potential. Divine Purpose would be nice if you got a proc or two per leg, but that's no guarantee, and being able to hit some sort of cooldown on almost every leg is definitely nice.
Glyphs Surprise! The Glyph of Divine Protection is another great pick-up, as Crush's raid damage is physical and not magical.

As naravia38 astutely points out in the comments, Double Jeopardy is very nice here since you'll be switching targets between legs and body (thorax? abdomen?) fairly often. Do keep in mind that the buff you gain has a 10-second duration, so make sure to use it before it expires!

Have you guys found any other talents or glyphs particularly useful, even outside of Heart of Fear?

The Light and How to Swing It teaches you the ins and outs of retribution paladins, from Ret 101 and how to gem, enchant and reforge your retadin, to essential ret pally addons.

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