Ret Paladin FCFS Rotations

Retribution Paladins FCFS Rotation is current for Cataclysm Patch 4.0.6 and Patch 4.1. Yes, Ret Paladins are still using a FCFS priority system for DPS.  It is a little more complex this time around, but still a FCFS nonetheless.  This rotation is fairly set in stone, but there could be some priority changes leading up to Cataclysm.

First, the Ret Paladin FCFS rotation is centered around Crusader Strike and Templar’s Verdict.  Crusader Strike is the best source of Holy Power, which is what Templar’s Verdict uses to deal out large chunks of damage.  The talent, Divine Purpose, also yields Holy Power from other attack sources, but at a very low % rate.

Ret Paladin FCFS Rotation at level 85:

Without Glyph of Exorcism:

  • Inq > CS> TV> HoW > Exo > Judge > HW > Cons

With Glyph of Exorcism:

  • Inq > CS> TV> Exo> HW > Judge > HW > Cons

With 3 Holy Power

  • Inquisition > TV

NOTE: Templar’s Verdict must be used with 3 charges of Holy Power, otherwise it is a DPS loss.

NOTE 2: I previously had TV above CS in terms of priority, but I think there was some confusion in terms of Holy Power generation.  If there is less than 3 Holy Power stacked, use the first two FCFS rotations.  If you have 3 Holy Power Stacked, then your world becomes one of two abilities: Inquisition and Templar’s Verdict.  Use Inquisition if it needs to be applied or refreshed, otherwise, use Templar’s Verdict.

The new mastery system and damage buff to Crusader Strike and Templar’s Verdict switches the FCFS priority system up a smidge.  Templar’s Verdict is now a high priority behind CS and Inquisition, with Crusader Strike taking precedence over everything but Inquisition to generate Holy Power, thus yielding more Templar’s Verdicts.

Glyph of Exorcism Priority Source: Elitist Jerks Retribution Concordance by Exemplar

AoE FCFS Rotation for Retribution Paladins

Using this rotation is pretty simple.  All you are doing is swapping Templar’s Verdict for Divine Storm.

  • DS > HoW > Ex> Judge > HW > Cons

Now, using this rotation should be done only if there are 5 or more mobs in one pack.  As soon as it drops below 5 mobs, using this rotation is still a DPS loss after Patch 4.0.6.  Even with Divine Storm’s damage buff, it still puts it viable at 5 mobs or greater.  The only difference comes at 4 mobs, where using single target and AoE rotations yields a very small difference in DPS numbers.  Three targets still holds true at single target FCFS.

Avenging Wrath and Zealotry

Right now, it is best to use both Avenging Wrath and Zealotry together.


  1. Dave says:

    First of all, I’m new to WoW (started in Sep ’09) and your website has been a fantastic resource for me. I’m able to comfortably get 3k to 4k DPS after having only played for this short time, and for some tank-and-spank bosses, I can get close to 5k. I love seeing myself at the top of the recount list and this is mainly due to what I have read on your site.

    My first question is what exactly do you mean by Tier 9 and Tier 10 gear? I have two pieces of Turalyon’s of Conquest (lvl 232) and plan to move up to a set of Turalyon’s of Triumph (lvl 245) now that I can comfortably start raiding and get some Trophys of the Crusade. What tier is the set I am using … 8 ?

    My second question is why T9 and T10 sets would move Judgement “up” in the FCFS rotation? I see for the Turalyon’s of Conquest or Triumph sets.. if you have (4) pieces this gives you an increase of 5% chance to crit with Judgements, so this might move Judgements “up”, but I’m not sure why Judgements would move up for 2 T9 or 2 T10 pieces.


  2. Khor says:

    Hey thanks for the comment! I love when I have to go do some research, because I didn’t know the answer to your second question off the top of my head.

    First, you have 2 pieces of T9. All the T9 set bonuses are the same for level 232 and 245 versions of the gear. T10 is the Icecrown sets.

    Second, because Judgement packs such a substantial punch, it moves up due to Righteous Vengeance. With the damage it creates becoming critical strikes, it moves ahead of Crusader Strike in our FCFS rotation. It amounts to more DPS. Hope that helps!

  3. I just got my T10 2 set bonus and I’m really debating on the rotation. According to RAWR-my DPS would be better by using Judgement > HoW > CS > DS > Consecrate > Exorcism > Holy Wrath. (The orginal rotation) rather then moving DS over CS. I’m going to do some work on the dummy tonight and see whats better.

  4. Khor says:

    I’d be interested to hear your results. The 3.3 FCFS rotations is based on some Elitist Jerks info, so I’m definitely all ears if someone has a more optimal rotation.

  5. Ok, so I was on the dummy last night for sometime. And I still think Judgement > HoW > CS > DS > Consecrate > Exorcism > Holy Wrath is the best rotation for the Tier 10 2 set bonus. I thought there was going to be an issue with mana but actually it saved mana. You do less Consecration and exorcism because DS procs pretty often and your rotation restarts over again. I hope someone can argue with this b/c I just felt like this rotation works best and was more fluent them having J > DS > CS. This is still a work in progrees.

  6. incrusiable says:

    what happened to the rotation i saw a while back hell i think ive been doing it wrong for a while last i saw it was CS>JUDGE>DS>CONCE>EXO>HOLY WRATH also khor make sure you use holy wrath as much as possible in icc trash number one it stuns all mobs and according to parrot when i crit which is like 99% of the time with it im getting a total of 32k damage jsut from that ability and about 28k from DS

    soo im jsut wondering if maybe having JUDGE B4 CS might change if you are using the new libram because the libram procs off of CS which might have it be beter than judge first …….i dont know im not great at testing this stuff cause there are always too many aoeing fools at the dummies that lag me out but can some one maybe test to see if cs first and then judge like my rotation up their says is beter i would apreciate

  7. JeD says:

    I’m curious if anyone here is using addons to help keep track of CDs and rotation adjustments. For example, my hunter uses Kharthus’s Hunter Timers which allows the user to set up the priority order of attacks and shows the CD for each. It’s very easy and a great visual que to know which attack should come next. I haven’t played with it much on my lowbie pally yet. thoughts?

  8. JeD says:

    I mistyped… the addon is Watcher not Hunter Timers.

  9. Khor says:

    @incrusiable – Since I have 2 T9, I do judge first, then CS. The first rotation I listed here is the basic Paladin FCFS rotation. Tier gear always seems to mix the priorities. For ICC trash, I my rotation is as follows: DS > CS > Cons > HW > Judge > HoW > Ex. All my AoE and SoC attacks take priority, so when one comes off cooldown, that’s first.

    I don’t have the new libram yet since it’s a minimal DPS upgrade compared to other badge gear, but you’re right about CS. Only problem is that the new trinket takes a smidge longer to ramp up than the 245 trinket.

    @ JeD – I know there is a mod to help with FCFS rotations. I will try and find it. Personally I don’t use it, but that’s just my own gameplay style. I’m not sure if this add-on adjusts for Tier gear bonuses, though.

  10. incrusiable says:

    hmm i was just wondering why you had judgement coming into play first instead of cs

  11. Khor says:

    2 piece T9 set bonus has Judgement first for FCFS, according to several sources on Elitist Jerks.

  12. malibu says:

    I just wanted to add that you mentioned how annoying the cast time of exorcism was annoying. For me having the talent “art of war” is crucial for damage. When art of war is procing exorcism and flash of light are instant. I use power auras as well to let me know when this ability procs.(which should be all the time if you have t9 gear atleast and use DS in your rotation.) The talent also has a 10% increase for CS, DS, and Judgments.

  13. John says:

    just a stupid question what is HoW? trying to find it but just find Hammer of justice but can just use it when mob have les then 20% hp?

  14. John says:

    hammer of wrath*

  15. rich says:

    KHOR r u a warr tank on the relm shattered hand.
    if you are ur a jerk and a bad guild leader u favor

  16. Khor says:

    Heh, sorry m8, not a Warrior, nor am I on Shattered Hand. I am a Paladin on the US Shadowsong server 😉

    Sad to hear there is at least one Khor giving all the rest of us a bad name!

  17. Anitbody says:

    I totally agree with the rotation you have listed, but i’m currently running with the 2piece t9, and 2piece t10, and i find using DS whenever it procs and judge isnt up is the best option,

    Anyone else have any feedback on this?

  18. Khor says:

    That’s odd, because I am using 2 T9 and 2T10 and using Divine Storm has skyrocketed my DPS…at least compared to what it was before. What kinds of fights are you noticing inefficiency on?

  19. Sturmblade says:

    HoW can only be used when target is below 20% health so how can you start a rotation with it as target is at 100% life? I admit I am new to the ret pally ranks but rest of rotation seems fine just wann know how HoW starts rotation when you start a fight and mobs and or boss is at 100% health…


  20. Kevin says:

    I think raid buffs and armor reduction on the boss are going to make DS hit harder than on the dummy… This might make DS hit harder than judgement in a raid. dummy damage with a crazy proc like that will be much different with raid buffs than on a dummy and thats all that matters.

  21. Khor says:

    Hey Sturm…the FCFS rotations are generalized. If the mob is at 20% HP or below, then HoW takes priority. If not, assume the same rotations, just omit the HoW. Hope this helps!

  22. incrusiable says:

    soo im extrememly close to 4 pc t10 and luckily enough i got a token last night so it will be auto 264 😀 im gonna get my head even though its ugly as hell hopefully with this ill get a huge dps increase even though im already pulling 15k on trash in start of 25 man

  23. Zelyn says:

    Sorry all. 1 noob question. If i have a gear item from Icecrown, item level 251, but it does not contribute to the tier bonus. Does it still consider T10 gears?

  24. Khor says:

    Hey Zelyn, no, unfortunately it will not contribute to the T10 bonus unless it is a specific piece of the set.

  25. Boomdizzle says:

    with your rotation how much dps you have with damage meter?

  26. Khor says:

    Hey Boom, that greatly depends on the fight. For ICC, I am averaging around 6-7k DPS for Marrowgar, 5-5.8k for Deathwhisper, 7.5-8.3k on Saurfang, and 7k+ on Festergut.

    With my T9 and T10 gear, I use that particular FCFS variation, but that’s not to say I don’t switch it up as different scenarios present themselves.

    A good Ret Paladin will make FCFS adjustments by instinct, knowing what abilities will enhance their DPS based on the current fight they are on.

    The FCFS rotations listed are the basic rotations to rely upon, but don’t be afraid to tweak them and tailor them to meet your needs.

    Just one example would be on ICC trash, in large packs, if you ran in and opened up with Judge, then Holy Wrath, I wouldn’t be arguing your logic much, especially if it was a large pull. Then you can switch to normal FCFS for the rest of the fight.

  27. Breakurface says:

    Hey, quick question about gemming I currently use the meta that gives 21 agility and 3% crit damage increase and aside from the gems needed to activate I purely gem strength. What do you guys use as your gems and here my stats if this will help…
    Strength: 2018Agility: 212Stamina: 1713Intellect: 122Spirit: 113Armor: 14853Damage: 2025 – 2424Speed: 3.08Power: 4646Hit Rating: 400Crit Chance: 36.86%Expertise: 19(expertise is 29 when my seal is up)

    P.S. for anyone before wondering about a good cooldown/rotation addon i use clcret from curse

  28. NoobishPally says:

    Hi Khor

    First, thanks for all the great information and your dedication to the posts. It is a challenge to find good, solid info on Ret Pallies.

    I am really still curious on your FCFS rotations in ICC. You could please just re-list what you use in ICC Trash and ICC bosses. I guess I keep getting lost on all the posts.

    I have Three Tier 10 and Two Tier 9.

    On ICC Trash: Seal of Command is activated. Then I use Judge of Wisdom, DS, CS, Consecrate, Ex, and Holy Wrath. Then I add in HoW when mob is less than 20%.

    On ICC Bosses: Same as above but I activate Seal of Command

    Now when I ran ICC 10 last night, I was averaging about 7K on ICC Trash but down to 5K on bosses. Not sure what I am doing wrong.

    thanks and keep up the awesome work!


  29. NoobishPally says:

    Oops..See Khor..Noob error.
    On ICC Bosses I activate Seal of Vengeance..not Command.
    I had another ret pally running ICC with me last night, and his gear was just under my gearscore, we were both doing the same rotations, but he was averaging 1K more than me on everything! We talked about our gemming, glyphs, and rotations and we were about 99% identical.

    Noobish Forever Pally

  30. Khor says:

    Noobish Pally! Thanks for the compliments man!

    In regards to my AoE rotation, it always seems to vary…

    Generally, I follow a, AoE FCFS rotation of:

    DS – Cons – Holy Wrath – Judge – CS – HoW

    Divine Storm always, always takes precedence in AoE settings for me personally, unless I am running low on mana, the Judgement will jump to the top so I can take advantage of the Judgements of the Wise talent for instant mana regen. I also use Avenging Wrath when I know the cooldown won’t be up for a boss fight. Now, I am anywhere from 11-13k DPS on trash. Try placing your AoE abilites first and see how that goes. Doesn’t hurt to test it out 😀

    In regards to my FCFS rotaiton for bosses, I have 4 T10 with crap tons of crit and haste. My GS is around 3170 (wowheroes). This rotation is what works best for me:

    Judge – DS – CS – HoW – Cons – Ex – HW

    You can swap DS and CS and see if that helps, but I have alot of crit, so I proc the T10 DS bonus alot, therefore I place it higher in my rotation.

    I also pop Avenging Wrath as soon as I have 5 stacks of SoV up on the boss, so that I almost always have a second use ready for later, usually in tandem with Heroism. I also use my +haste potion with Heroism and Avenging Wrath.


    5k on bosses is pretty good, especialyl on bosses like Deathwhisper. When you hit 4 T10, I guarantee your numbers will jump much higher.

  31. Piraric says:

    Hello Khor
    I havent been very aware of the T9 so i didnt buy it… kinda stupid. But now im on 1 Piece of T10, dropped in VoA. Shall i go for Buying Herkumi War Token or Shoulders for T10?

    And if i get 2Piece T10 and no T9 what is then the FCFS Order?

    Piraric – Draenor EU

  32. Gladius says:

    Hey, got a Question:

    Rawr says i’m supposed to be doing 9k dps, but i’ve been averaging 5k in ICC. I’m sticking to my rotation: CS-Jud-DS-Con-CS-Exo-HW-HoW

    Any ideas? could it have something to do with my talents?

  33. Khor says:

    Hey Piraric, definitely go with the T10 shoulders over the trinket. The trinket is very good for us, don’t get me wrong, but you’ll definitely see a larger DPS increase from the T10 gear and it’s respective 2-piece bonus.

    In regards to your rotation, you’re probably going to want to go with something akin to:


    You can swap CS and DS and practice on some target dummies to see what yields the best DPS with your current gear set-up.

  34. Khor says:

    @ Gladius – Well, first, I would recommend making Judgement your first attack in your FCFS rotation. Judgement is the hardest hitting attack we have, so it takes priority. CS or DS can come next, depending on your gear.

    In regards to Rawr, that should be displaying your optimal DPS, which most of us don’t touch. I’m sure my optimal DPS is around 10k or so, but I don’t hit that on bosses 🙂 You have to account for some user delays, even if by a half second or so..Rawr accounts for this, but rarely are we as precise as Rawr wants us to be. It also doesn’t account for user ‘error’ in which we modify our rotations based on encounters. Also remember Rawr is thinking your are jsut sitting on a boss DPSing. How many encounters do we really get to do that? Lots of running around for most boss fights. There are many factors that make Rawr misleading. It’s more of a guide to optimize your gear more that anything else.

    5k average in ICC isn’t all that bad. If you’re maxed out at 4 T10 and have an average gear item level of 245, then there might be something with your rotations or talents…perhaps glyphs, as well?

  35. Gladius says:

    Most fights in ICC are running around, i guess. but while i’m fighting i seem to notice that my dps is no where near others in my raid. when they are hitting 7k, i’m barely making 5k. But it could be those things you said. I’ll take a look and see this week.

    thanks for the info

  36. Noobish Pally says:

    Hi Khor

    Thanks for the reply and again, I am just lovin this website and the all the fantastic info you are putting into it! Thanks for the great effort again and please keep it up for the rest of us. I think we are all learning a lot from you.

    Ok..enough ass kissing.

    1. Thanks for the rotation info and and I will see what happens and report back. I am a bit away from getting my next Tier 10, but what you gave me should help.

    2. A fellow ret pally of mine, with a GS of 5300 ( mine is almost 5600) keeps out dpsing me. He has the following rotation

    Soc/Sov, CS, J, DS, CS, Cons, CS, Ex, CS, J. He has two Tier 9s and one Tier 10. And this rotation gives me almost .5 to 1k dps more than me on either ICC Trash and bosses.

    What do you think? He keeps urging me to use his, and I did, but DS Procing so much, I think I am doing worse.

    Noobish Pally

  37. ret pali says:

    Hi Khor

    1. I use jud>DS>CS>cons>ex>CS>HoW(when boss is below 20%) as my main rotation and i don’t have to wait for cooldowns at all most of the time, now i have to ask is why should i be using the one u recoment here?

    2.I have a 5.6k GS and i do about 6k dps and i feel i should be doing more any sugestions? my toon name is “Eldunari” and i am on hellscream server wlould u mind having a look and tell me what i am doing wrong.

    thank you heeps and hope to hear from you soon ^^

  38. Khor says:

    @ Ret Pali – Well, actually, it looks like you and I are exactly the same on our first 3 abilities. You have HoW at the end, whereas I place it immediately after the first CS.

    The logic behind HoW falling 4th is because it is a still a very heavy hitting spell with a huge chance to crit (if you’re specced that way). It does weigh heavier than Cons and Ex.

    Keep in mind HoW is first on the FCFS rotations pre-T9, so many a beginning Paladin will have this as their top priority.

    The reason it falls behind in FCFS after T9 is because of the set bonuses with T9 and T10, where proccing, crits, and seals are drastically enhanced by Judge, DS, and CS.

    Hope that helps!

  39. Khor says:

    @ Noobish Pally – I’m really at a loss if he is doing more DPS than you and your DS is always proccing. Divine Storm in combination with SoC should be absolutely devastating to trash. It is first priority as far as I am concerned. Do you guys have a WoL or WMO report we could look at?

  40. Noobish Pally says:

    Hi Khor

    Thanks again for your wisdom.

    Sorry, I do not know what a Wol or Wmo are?

    I do see in the prior threads that you are using Hammer of Wrath. This might be one issue. I really can’t use HoW until the boss is down to 20%. So I am using your suggested rotation, then hit HoW as soon as it lights up? Is that right?

    One really dumb question for you is this. Mechanics. I use my mouse to click each spell in the rotation, one by one. And I use my AWSD keys to move my toon around. Are you using something different physical mechanic.

    I did a comparison with my fellow ret pally guldie who constantly is out dpsing me. His STR is about 150 more than mine…I have a Cape and Necklace that is geared for Agility instead of STR. Could that make a difference.

    Noobish Pally

  41. Lucretia says:

    Thanks all for the advice. I am a lvl80 NOOB but trying to learn how to get my DPS up so that I can go into ICC without making a fool of myself! I am dual spec Ret/Holy My question is do I make a macro to go for trash and another for bosses My GS is 2200

  42. Khor says:

    @ Noobish Pally – I myself am a mouse clicker as well. I know this is a WoW sin, but hey, it works for me. Never really liked the keyboard playstyle. Luckily, with our FCFS rotations, this doesn’t present a problem. I mash my mouse click fast 🙂

    WoL and WMO are two types of reports used for raid statistics, ranging from DPS, heals, and damage taken. Very handy tools if your guild is running raids. I prefer WMO, though WoL can get into more detailed specifics.

    In regards to the +str vs +agi, that again largely depends on your set bonuses. 150 strength is goingto net him 300+ more AP than you, which could provide a DPS margin. However, I myself have been out-DPSed by Paladins with less strength than myself, where they had ~3% higher crit than me. Given, I was still gearing up, but your gear combinations really tell the tale on where your DPS is.

    HoW is used at 20%, but still falls behind Judge – DS – CS, in that order. It is 4th on your priority list, even when boss is at 20% HP or less.

  43. Khor says:

    Hey Lucretia, not sure I understand the question. Macros for trash and bosses? If you’re referring to FCFS, my personal preference is to stay away from macros in our rotations. I just mash the first available ability that is highest on our priority list.

    And yes, my personal rotations vary in regards to trash vs bosses. I follow the normal T10 FCFS for bosses, and usuallty stack my AoE abilities first for trash packs. Single trash I go back to normal FCFS.

  44. Henrack says:

    Maybe a dumb question but here goes. Is the bonus offered by T9 gear enough to offset 264 gear that isn’t tier? I have 2 T10 and I also have shoulders and legs that are 264 (non-tier) as well as a full set of T9. Until I get another 2 T10 I’m trying to mix and match as effectively as possible. Thanks in advance.

  45. Khor says:

    If your T9s are 245 or above, that’s a tough call. If they are 232s, then I’d lean more towards the 264s. Your best bet, though, is going to be crunching some numbers on the dummies.

    That’s a great question man, it really relies upon your other gear and what stats you have going for you.

  46. Noobish Pally says:

    Hi Khor, thanks for the great work as always.

    Well, after reading all of your advice and practicing, I am still sucking wind in ICC. My GS is 5597 and I have three Tier 10 and two Tier 9. About 12 frost away from the fourth Tier 10.

    We got to Putricide in ICC 10, and my best dps was 5K on Saurfang, and about 5.3K on Fester and Rot. I am really at a loss to figure out what I am doing wrong when lesser geared pallys are wiping me off the floor with their dps. Downright embarrassing. I know it is user error or lack of skill but I am determined to solve the issue.

    Do you have a set rotation for a full tier 10 set? I should have my 4rth Tier 10 piece next week.

    I am thinking that possibly I am moving around too much, especially with Deathwhisperer and Rotface. That should be reducing my dps.

    The other thing I think is my rotation. I don’t think I am maintaining your rotation all the time. I seem to get thrown off when HoW procs and I have to use it. I think I end up then just mouse clicking whatever ability lights up for the remainder of the fight. I am sure that is throwing off my dps even further.

    I may be not using Cons enough because I seem to be losing mana quite a bit.

    My toon’s name is Fubareous on Sen’Jin server if you have any free time to look at him, I would be most thankful.

    Thanks again Khor..your rock!

  47. Khor says:

    Hey Noobish, I’m going to take this and post it in the forums for this site so it will eb a little easier to follow: Ret Paladin Forums

  48. deathsoul says:

    Hey in all these forum that i’ve read, it always says to use HoW, early in the rotation…..from what i can see from my spells HoW = hammer of wrath, which u can’t use at the start of a fight….i would rly like to know if i’m looking at the wrong spell, or if i’m reading the rotation wrong….or something

  49. Matt says:

    So right now I’m a 5768 gs PvE Holy Paladin, and I recently picked up Death’s Choice to disenchant it, seeing as no one wanted it and I was leading the raid, and I thought to myself, hey, I’d really like to abandon holy/prot and go holy/ret. I’m wondering if in your opinion, Khor, it would be worth it to spend the time on gearing and getting skilled under that tree. The main reason I’m having a bit of indecision is that I also have a retired 80 DK with a decent mix of ICC and TOC gear. You being the most brilliant man alive, nigh the god of ret paladins, would you recommend going back and playing my dk or going ret to push optimal dps? Really I’m just curious which class has a higher dps capability. I know it’s possible on ret to be good, but it’s also a lot harder, thus the intregue. Thanks.

  50. Khor says:

    Hey Matt! Heh, definitely not the most brilliant man alive, that’s for sure 🙂 Grats on the Death’s Choice! I’m sure many of us would love to get our hands on that!

    In regards to going Ret vs DK, I wish I could offer more advice, but I just don’t know the details of DK DPS. I do know that I out-DPS our highest DKs by anywhere from 1.5k to 2k DPS on single target fights. That could be a combination of gear, skill, and FCFS…or it could just be the class.

    High end Ret DPS DOES become more intricate the higher gear you get. I particularly enjoy hammering out my rotations for each boss fight and focusing on haste/crit to see how much of an impact they have on my single target DPS.

    I’d personally say go Ret! I think you’ll like trying to top the meters, which is most certainly possible. If you don’t like it, there’s always the DK waiting for ya!

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