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World of Warcraft: Legion: Paladin guide

Our essential guide to playing all three Paladin specs in WOW Legion.

The Paladin is one of Warcraft’s most iconic classes. Paladins had starring roles in the story Warcraft’s real-time strategy outings, after all, and for a long time they were exclusively represented by the Alliance faction.

Paladins in the Warcraft mythos are holy warriors that wield the power of the Light, a non-sentient force that pervades the Warcraft universe and can be used to either strike foes or heal and empower allies. Paladins are, then, a caster / fighter hybrid, although how much casting they do relative to melee varies dramatically according to the specialization. Whichever spec you choose, every Paladin wears plate armour, automatically becoming one of the more resilient presences on the battlefield - their place is in the frontlines, in the thick of the battle.

In our Paladin guide, we'll go through the three specialisations now available to the class - Protection, Retribution and Holy - as well as each spec's strengths and weaknesses. In the additional guides linked from here, you’ll find specific strategies to help you develop and play each specialisation to its fullest potential.

Paladins are one of Warcraft’s few hybrid classes, meaning that each of their specialisations focuses on an entirely different role in World of Warcraft: melee damage-dealing, healing or tanking. In the current Legion expansion, each of these specialisations have been tweaked so as to have a more distinct, unique playstyle. At high levels, they gain entry into the Sanctum of Light, their order hall and henceforth, base of operations.

This Paladin guide is our hub to everything Paladin related. We will update it over time with all the relevant information pertaining to World of Warcraft’s holy warrior, so make sure you check in regularly!

Editor's Note: Update #1 - We've added a whole guide for the Protection Paladin specialisation, covering all you need to know to start your career as an awesome endgame tank. Go check it out down below!

Retribution Paladin

The Retribution Paladin is a stout warrior that uses the power of the Holy Light to smite his foes and protect himself from harm. They are experts in wielding large, two-handed weapons - maces, swords, axes or polearms - and at high levels they come into possession of The Ashbringer, a holy two-handed sword steeped in Warcraft lore, having been held by notable Paladin heroes over the course of Warcraft’s history.

The Retribution Paladin is an excellent entry-level character due to its ability to withstand damage and its capacity to shield or self-heal. At the same time, and especially at high levels, their skill rotation is as easy to learn as it is tricky to truly master

- Retribution Paladin guide

Strengths Excellent single-target damage output, as well as high survivability through self-healing and defensive skills.
Weaknesses Very low mobility - one of the slowest-moving classes in the game. Multiple target damage output is only good at maximum level after considerable weapon upgrades.

Protection Paladin

The Protection Paladin is the class's tank specialisation, meaning its job is to draw the attacks of the enemies faced by the party, so that other players can attack the target unhindered. To achieve this, Protection Paladins wield defensive one-hand weapons - swords, maces or axes - coupled with stout shields. At high levels, they wield Truthguard, a shield forged by the Scandinavian-inspired demi-gods of Azeroth, and its partner blade, Oathseeker.

Protection Paladins, despite their defensive focus, are able to deal a respectable amount of damage as well, particularly to multiple targets. They do not, however, have as many defensive tools as other tank specialisations, relying on self-healing instead. Their abilities are not overly complex, although good positioning and situational awareness skills are crucial.

- Protection Paladin guide

Strengths Excellent multiple target damage output, and strong active mitigation abilities ensure a smooth damage intake.
Weaknesses Relies on consecrating the ground the Paladin stands in for maximising survival, leading to reduced mobility. Abilities that allow the Paladin to withstand large bursts of damage have a narrow window of opportunity and long cooldowns.

More WOW class guides:

Death Knight guideDemon Hunter guideDruid guide
Hunter guideMage guideMonk guide
Paladin guidePriest guideRogue guide
Shaman guideWarlock guideWarrior guide

Other WOW guides:

Holy Paladin

The Holy Paladin is a combat healer. Holy Paladins are essentially plate-wearing casters whose major focus is on healing those nearby. Conveniently, the Strength stat in most modern Plate armour is converted into Intellect when donned by a Holy Paladin. Their plate and excellent defensive abilities make them especially adept at healing players near bosses that do area-wide damage. They can also pitch in with some damage if required.

Holy Paladins are most commonly seen wielding caster-oriented 1-handed swords and hammers, coupled with spell-enhancing offhands. Later in their careers, Holy Paladins wield Tyr’s Hand, a weapon that once belonged to the Watcher / Demi-god Tyr.

Holy Paladins are the perfect choice for players who want to play a support role but still be in the thick of the action. They excel at healing tanks in dungeons or raids, and are one of the few healing specialisations that can actually level up at a decent pace - although obviously not as quickly as their damage-focused brethren.

Strengths Fantastic single-target healing and the most resilient healers in the game, able to survive under extreme duress.
Weaknesses Very few group healing tools, and a lack of powerful healing cooldowns to deal with large damage spikes.

Holy Paladin guide

What's your favourite flavour of Paladin? Let us know in the comments, and keep checking in for regular updates. Next up, we’re going to add updates on the Protection Paladin Artifact Weapon, and a guide to the Holy Paladin specialisation.

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