The Power of The Holy/Ret Build (21/0/30)

  • Paladin Alliance Partner


    Interest ya in a pint?! In this video, we go over the 21/0/30 Holy/Ret Paladin Build. This versatile build allows me to do pretty much everything I need on a daily basis. From healing to questing, and even tanking, this build can do it all!

    Youtube Video

    For those who prefer to read, here is a summary:

    Talent tree link


    • Very scalable with food/alchemy/party & raid buffs due to Divine Strength and Divine Intellect
    • Illumination and Divine Favor are incredible talents, they have great synergy and give you all you need to succeed as a healer
    • On demand free crit heal (2min CD) which is handy in any situation
    • +8% Movement Speed, once you’ve experienced it, you can’t live without it. It also frees up 2 enchant slots on your gears
    • Vengeance is super strong with its 15% increased damage
    • ‘Free casting’ can be possible (with Spiritual Focus


    • 5% less Holy spell crit compared to a standard healing build
    • No Improved Blessings (BoW/BoM)
    • Limited to 4 Greater Blessings (no BoK/BoS)
    • 3% less Hit rating
    • Not ideal for PvP - no Holy Shock, Repentance, or Protection talents
    • Stigma around Retribution specs and anything that is out of the box


    Let’s just get this out of the way, Ret Paladins are, well Ret Paladins, and will more than likely never reach the DPS prowess or a Fury Warrior or a Rogue. While this build isn’t only centered around DPS, it can still be used for that purpose. Seal of Command, Conviction, Vengeance and Consecration are all present to help you fill in your role.
    Vengeance is really important as if basically increases all your damage by 15% after a critical strike with a spell, ability or a swing. It is especially useful when paired with a Consecration for example. At max rank, it deals 384 Holy dmg over 8 secs. With a Vengeance proc, you get 57.6 added damage. To put this into perspective, without Vengeance, you would need 173 additional spell damage to get the same damage (as Consecration benefits from a 33% spell power coefficient).
    And always remember that a Paladin brings much more than the meters can show. While your own personal parses might be considered subpar, you can buff your party member’s ability to heal, tank and DPS. The different Auras, blessings, Seals, off heals and a wipe prevention can really help your team more you think. In a way, you ‘sacrifice’ your own DPS for the good of your party. And let’s be honest, for dungeons you will do just fine as long as you’re hit capped and have enough crit gears.


    For my everyday needs, this spec is really good. Whether I want to farm specific resources, go out in the world and quest or powerlevel an alt in a dungeon, I am always utilizing the maximum out of this spec.
    It excels at giving you a smooth, steady flow which is obviously good for grinding dungeons or specific mobs. When it comes to sustainability, it is strongly boosted by Divine Favor that gives you a free crit heal every 2 mins, which is perfect for mana conservation.
    What is important to note however, is that it lacks an efficient way to tag mobs at a distance and fast killing potential without proper gears. Most of your damage relies on crits, therefore if your itemization is missing enough crit to keep a good uptime on Vengeance, you might struggle with contested farming spots like the one in Felwood with the Toxic Horrors.


    Paladins were made for healing in Classic, and it’s in those environments that they really shine. Divine Intellect is great as it gives you a nice bonus of Int from your gears and Healing Light increases your healing output. Note that it only affects the BASE healing of the spell, so it doesn’t matter how much healing power you have, it will affect your spells the same way.
    And then we get to Illumination and Divine Favor. Those 2 talents are amazing and make you a strong healer by themselves. Everytime you get a crit heal, the mana cost of the spell is refunded and Divine Favor gives you that free crit heal every 2 mins like we discussed earlier. Paired with Healing Light, and Blessing of Light, you can heal ANYTHING with a half decent healing set (both while leveling and at level 60).
    In a raiding environment, I find myself blessing Salvation or Light most of the time as this build doesn’t have the improved blessing of the protection ones (Kings and Sanctuary).


    Theory of tanking with the 21/0/30 build:

    • Divine Strength/Intellect help you immensely with extra raw stats as they are important ones for tanking: STR for more damage and block value, and INT for more mana, therefore threat
    • Consecration is part of the build (deals even more damage with Vengeance) and helps a ton with aoe threat
    • You get the extra parry from the Retribution tree that prevents damage and gives parry haste
    • Your Retribution Aura reflects 30 Holy damage instead of just 20
    • Vengeance can mostly make up for the lack of Improved Righteous Fury, as you can see from these graphs (see link 1 and link 2), you basically need just over 2 full 8 second procs of Vengeance to generate more threat than a standard tanking build in the same amount of time
    • Improved Lay on Hands can be really beneficial in hard fights (Dwarves get extra bonuses from it with Stoneform)

    Because I haven’t had the chance to try tanking with this build myself, I’ve been talking with Paladins that have experienced it and I asked them a few questions that I wanted to share with you:

    Q: Why didn’t you pick the 3% hit? Isn’t it important for tanking?

    A: There are plenty of plate gears with hit in them and Humans wielding Maces/Swords will need less hit than Dwarves.
    As a reminder, against a level 60 you need 5% hit, vs 61 you need 5.5%, 62 you need 6% and versus 63 you need 9%.

    Q: What about the extra defense and armor in the Protection tree?

    A: The extra armor and defense is good to have but you can easily get plate gears with defense and high armor on them, ex: Draconian Deflector and the Deathbone Set from Scholomance.

    Q: What about Blessing of Sanctuary? Isn't it mandatory for tanking?

    A: Sanctuary is a good blessing for damage mitigation but missing out on the 30mp5 from BoW will really hurt your regen during combat. You can get away with it if you have several stacks of the best water possible (Manna Biscuits or Blessed Sunfruit Juice), mp5 food, such as Nightfin Soup and/or mana oils. Having a spirit set can also help you regen a whole lot from pull to pull especially in large dungeons like Dire Maul, with plenty of long walks.

    Q: I see that you do not have Reckoning, why is that?

    A: While it can seem good to get an extra attack from critical hits received, the sit/stand tactic requires some time to master and there are instances where you cannot afford to get crit as the mobs have slow and hard hitting attacks (ex: the 2H wielding ogres in Dire Maul).

    Q: This build doesn't use Holy Shield, isn't that a problem for tanking?

    A: Holy Shield is a great talent but to get it, you need 31 points into the Protection tree which closes the door on other good talents. It is also a very mana intensive ability at higher ranks and keep in mind that without a decent shield with a good amount of block value and/or lots of strength to increase this value, you probably won’t be mitigating that much damage anyways.

    So that’s it for me today, I hoped that you liked it and that it will motivate you to try and experiment with a different build. Playing a Paladin is all about personal preferences, as we all have our own different tweaks and tricks up our sleeves to get the job done, but it is never a bad thing to try something new and different every once in a while. I also want to give a big shoutout to A Vargs which is one of the paladins that helped me bringing this video together and this build was also introduced to him by Dallis, a very knowledgable Paladin from Lightbringer. Here you can see that this man knew what a Paladin was all about and that he had experience.
    We'll see us soon guys, in the mean time, have a good one and stay blessed!

  • Founder Shaman Horde

    This is lit!