L2Ret – Lifting The Mists – MoP Ret FAQ for 5.1

As promised, once I got the hang of things and back into the swing of things, I was going to post a new Ret FAQ.  Unless mechanics change, this will likely be the only FAQ I make for Pandaria.  I have kept the same format, and many of the questions are exactly the same as the Cata FAQ, and that is intentional, so you can get the info you need and get it quickly.

Pandaria pallies summed up? Trash sucks (as always), but bosses are awesome.  I think pallies are, overall, in a good place, thought it would be nice to do some competitive damage on some of the trash without having to pop cooldowns.

Paladins, for that matter, are fairly dependent on their cooldowns.  Lining up the cooldowns on the bosses that you will face will be key to doing more than just mediocre (or downright lame) damage.  Make sure to pay close attention to the cooldowns section.

Part 1 – Stats, Gemming, Reforging, Enchanting

What are my stat rankings?

STR is king, as always.  BUT, when gemming haste is very close.  Be careful to read the gemming portion really carefully.

Hit (to cap) > STR > Expertise (to cap) > Haste > Mastery = Crit

Notice mastery and crit are equal. Try to balance them out. The difference between mastery and crit is virtually negligible.

What is hit/expertise cap?


Expertise was redesigned to be exactly like hit.  Cap them both off at 7.5%.

What meta gem do I use?

Reverberating Primal Diamond. The largest portion of the meta contribution is the 3% increased crit damage.

What gems do I use?

Gems in Pandaria got a little bit of a bump.  Hybrid gems now have double the secondary stat they used to have.

Also, much to the consternation of Pandaria Jewelcrafters, the perfect form of lesser gems (i.e. Perfect Bold Pandarian Garnet) is EXACTLY THE SAME as the standard cut of the normal gem.  Keep this in mind as you search for gems.  Often times, one is cheaper than the other.  Search BOTH types of gems before buying, and you might find great deals.

Bold Primordial Ruby, Fierce Vermillion Onyx, Etched Imperial Amethyst, Lightning Wild Jade, Quick Sun’s Radiance.

In all cases, do not ever EVER gem straight hit, or expertise. You will lose too much str to gem for hit.

How do I socket gems?

Gem socketing is now two part.  Pre-raid gear (blues and greens), and raid gear and beyond (purples).

Let’s start with Pre-Raid gear:

All STR gems.  In pre raid gear, the STR on the equipment is low enough that STR is the best stat almost 2 to 1.  If you are having trouble hitting hit cap through other means, pop in a hybrid hit gem in a slot or two where you can take advantage of your socket bonuses. Never EVER EVER Gem for hit or expertise straight.  You will lose too much dps.

When you have 50% or more Purple gear, on purple gear ONLY, replace those strength gems with hybrid haste gems in all slots except yellow, yellow slots get pure haste gems (quick).

OMG, reforging is confusing! Help!?!?!

First, reforge to your hit cap.

Secondly, reforge to your expertise cap.

If you have expertise or hit and are above cap, reforge into haste, if possible, or crit and mastery in balanced amounts.

Reforge away from crit and mastery in equal amounts, but the haste bump is not enough to justify reforging away from crit or mastery into haste.

Simple enough 🙂

You said we could use tank gear – are you insane?

Nope, not insane. Generally tank gear comes with primary stats equal to, or slightly better, to items of similar Ilvl. Where they differ is secondary stats, which you can reforge. Generally they contain 1 DPS stat, and 1 Tank stat, like parry. Simply reforge the tank stat to one of your highest useful stats. This is not as efficient as having a pure DPS piece, however, it is totally acceptable if the gear is just going to be sharded, and it is an upgrade. An upgrade is an upgrade.

What do I enchant on my xxxxx?

Use your stat rankings to determine your best enchants, exception being if you need to make hit or expertise cap.

Part 2 – Spec and Glyphs

What Spec Should I use?

You should use a spec that YOU like.  LOLWUT?  Yeah.  The only exception is the last tier.  Execution sentence is going to be the DPS leader, unless you are in a fight where you are constantly battling more than one mob at the same time.

Every single other talent is purely preference and may give you slight dps advantage based on how skillfully you use it.  Therefore, use what you are comfortable with and is going to allow you to play the easiest.

What glyphs do I use?


The only directive I give here is what not to use.

DO NOT use Glyph of Harsh Words – while it may seem like it will give you an extra attack, it still uses holy power that will be better used for Templar’s Verdict.  This is a DPS loss.

DO NOT use Immediate Truth.  DPS Loss.

DO NOT use Inquisition.  DPS Loss.


Your choice

Part 3 – The Rotation, Mechanics, Spells

What are the primary spells I will be using as ret?

Crusader Strike (CS)

Divine Storm (DS)

Inquisition (INQ)

Hammer of the Righteous (HoR)

Judgement (J)

Exorcism (Exo)

Hammer of Wrath (HoW)

Avenging Wrath (AW)

Guardian of Ancient Kings (GK)

Holy Avenger (HA)

Templar’s Verdict (TV)

What are the special combat mechanics of ret paladins?

Ret paladins how have Holy Power, in addition to mana, to manage. This holy power sort of functions like rogue combo points – you build them up in combat using crusader strike (one CS = 1 HP, except in Holy Avenger phase). This is especially important because many of your primary DPS talents rely on HP to do more damage.

Wow, that is a LOT of spells, how am I ever going to manage that in combat?!?!

I like to group up the spells into three categories – Single Target, AoE, and Cooldowns. They are as follows:




Single Target










What seals do I use?

Seal of Truth if you are going to be on a single target. Seal of Righteousness only if you are going to be in a trash pack of 4+ mobs for greater than 7 seconds. Basically, always SoT, due to the heavy situational nature of SoR.

How does my rotation work?

Ret paladins have two separate rotations – one for AoE and one for Single Target (boss fights and such).


The AoE rotation is simple – use HoR in place of CS, DS at 3 holy power, and fill in with single target as needed.. AoE is particularly mana intensive, so make sure you are judging to replentish mana. Also, Divine storm is only superior to TV if there are 4 targets or more. If there are Fewer than 4, you must switch to single target tactics.

Single Target

A Minor History in Ret – We were FCFS (first come, first serve) prior to Cata.  Then they changed us to a filler rotation.  Guess what?  Were back to FCFS, but we are priority based.  Basically, that means, whatever comes off cooldown first, you push it.  However, there will be conflicts in HP generation, as well as multiple things coming off of cooldown at the same time.  In those instances, you push what will do the most dps first:

INQ > TV > ES (if specced) > HoW > CS > Exo > Judge

The entire point of the ret rotation is to get holy power to use Templar’s Verdict. It is the second hardest hitting spell you have.

You can have up to 5 HP stored at any time, and everything that does not consume HP, generates HP.  It is a DPS loss if you lose HP because you are full on HP.  USE YOUR HP FIRST.  TV has no CD, so you can use it back to back, if need be.

Some sites like EJ put priority on 4-5 TV over a standard 3 TV.  This is to emphasize that you NEED TO USE YOUR HP.  Since my readers are smart enough to know that (RIGHT?) I have omitted that here.

How am I using cooldowns?

Cooldown usage is simple enough.


First off, inquisition should be thought of as a very short duration cooldown that needs to be up as close to 100% as possible. It increases your holy damage for each of your spells. For each point of HP you generate, it lasts 10 seconds. Generally, you should refresh INQ only when you have three holy power. Depending on latency, start anticipating refreshing INQ at about 3 or 4 seconds. Your goal is to clip as little time (meaning refreshing before its expiring) and not let it expire if at all possible. Think of it as The Price Is Right – The closest to the actual time of expiry, without going over.

Holy Avenger

Holy Avenger is a more refined Zealotry from Cata. It makes it so each of your HP Generators generate 3 HP, as well as increases your  damage. Holy Avenger should always be used in conjunction with INQ to ensure you get maximum dps benefit (i.e. all of your HA goes to TV rather than losing one to refreshing INQ). HA is usually perfectly timed so that as you lose the effect, the next three HP generated will refresh your INQ with little or no time loss. HA should always be used with Avenging Wrath, as well.

Avenging Wrath

AW increases all damage done by 20%, as well as allows you to use HoW as if the target was below 20%, significantly boosting your dps. AW should always be used with HA the first time, but they no longer share a cooldown timer.  If you are in tank and spank situation, Use HA without AW the second time.  If you are not, you will need to evaluate if you will get most use out of waiting an additional 60 seconds to use HA with AW.

Guardian of Ancient Kings

GK is an awesome looking pally/knight/angel that will come out and fight for you when you activate it. Each of your strikes that land during the duration will increase your STR by 1% for a maximum of 20%. Once it expires, it does a minimal amount of dps.

Use GK exactly 10 seconds before you pop Zeal, Inq, and AW. This will give you the maximum strength benefit to your other cooldowns.

Whenever possible, tie GK with AW to maximize the benefit, but to blast the DPS meters its best to use them all at the same time.

Part 4 – General Suggestions, and Questions!

Find a way to track your buffs, including holy power, in a way that works for you!

Holy power, especially, is so important to your dps, that not tracking it in a way that you can manage is DPS suicide. There are a ton of addons out there that can do it.

Remember, this is only a guide to get you started.

As with anything, people are different and do things in different ways. This sheet will work for 95% of all you rets. But for some of you, because of latency or setup, or whatever, will make this less than optimal. The only thing that matters is that the boss is down and you have done your part. Being at the top of the DPS meters is just that much sweeter 🙂 If this isn’t working for you, adapt to maximize your own personal play style!

Did I miss anything?

Ask me in the comments.

3 Responses to “L2Ret – Lifting The Mists – MoP Ret FAQ for 5.1”
  1. Rohan says:

    Should Ret use the Glyph of Inquisition (the one that makes it last longer) or not?

    • Firespirit says:

      Rohan, there are times when no matter how many times you edit your own work, you always seem to glance over that one spot that you goofed up.

      Inq is a significant loss. It should not be used at all. Im updating the original post

    • Celendus says:

      I found it useful for daily quests, times where you’re wasting a big portion of your inquisition time running from mob to mob. I think that was its design intent, at least.

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