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. Noobish Pally says:

    Hi Khor and everyone else.

    As an FYI…hackers are on the rise. If you don’t have the authenticator…GET IT! Only $6. I run three anti-virus, malware, spyware, programs and still go hacked.

    I lost my toon for about 5 days due to hackers last week. Blizzard is saying that compromised accounts are on a dramatic rise. Looks like they are preying on Wow based websites and addons that are not as popular as others.

    Khor..since I have been out of commission with my toon, I have not been able to try your strategies in the forum. I hope to do so this weekend.

    Noobish Pally

  2. Khor says:

    Oh no Noobish! Sorry to hear you got hacked. Definitely a good idea to get an authenticator. I have one, and love the extra shield it gives my account. Nothing is bulletproof, but it gives hackers one more wall to break through.

  3. Manofengland says:

    Hi Khor

    I’m only 69 so no tier sets yet >,judge>DS>Conc>Exo>CS

    I find it’s fluent and cool downs mesh well, I hit and average of 1.8k dps (Total overall).

    But reading all this awesome info I wonder if on Trash I should follow a


    I know I’m a lowbie but I’m always wanting to improve even if it means by an additional 100dps.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Belgaer-Sen’jin US

    5 P’s
    Preparation and planning prevents a poor performance.

  4. Manofengland says:


    It cut a bit of the original Rotation.


    Thanks again.

  5. Khor says:

    Hey ManofEngland! The HoW>CS>Judge>DS>Conc>Exo>CS you are using is spot on. Only when taking on packs of mobs for AoE purposes will you want to vary it up a bit…Divine Storm takes precedence for me in those situations.

  6. Superiority says:

    Feel free to Armory me, Superiority/Baelgun.

    First, it’s confusing to less skilled players to say you start a “rotation” with Hammer of Wrath. Normally, on a boss fight I start out with a judgement, it’s get the replenishment going and let’s be honest, the range is nice and you get some early dps on the boss. After 5 stacks of Seal of Vengeance, I use Hammer of Wrath. I then get another HoW later on during heroism where I also use a potion of speed. To say I have a set rotation is not accurate.
    FCFS literally means what it’s hyphenated to be. Your priority should always be a judgement, it keeps mana going to the raid and with 5 stacks of SoV they are quite impressive and the seal proc is nice. After that on single target mobs I always prioritize this way, w/o HoW up. Judge,CS,DS and if it procs with set bonus I use DS again, consecrate and Exorcism. I hardly use Holy Wrath on single target, it’s a mana waste.
    Look, I pull 10.5k on Saurfang with this rotation and am usually top 5 in my raid in damage and dps (there’s a difference.) I am easily hanging with rogues,mages,dk’s and am out dps’ng mostly every other class(some who outgear me). Don’t make it too hard or read too much into supposed dps cycles our class isn’t built that way.

  7. Superiority says:

    I apologize for my above post, it was late. I meant to say I use Avenging Wrath after 5 stacks of SoV at a fight start and then later on in the fight I use Avenging Wrath again with heroism and a speed pot.

  8. maugris says:

    Hi im not sure if this question is related here but here it goes

    i know the exp cap is 26 correct me if I’m wrong.. And I would like to add that I gem all my slots with Str except for 1 or 2 I think to activate my meta gem.

    Anyways… lately i have acquired 2 new items from ICC25 weapon and pants which brought my EXP to 16! =S… which I think is highly not recommended… to my EXP back to 26 I would have to gem 4 pieces of 20expertise gems on my slots.

    My question is…. will it benefit me more if i stay at 16 expertise or should I gem for them and get myself back to 26 exp which will mean I’ll be sacrificing 80str to get back to the cap

  9. Khor says:

    Actually, keep the 16 exp as is…and use the SoV glyph. You’ll lose much more DPS gemming expertise instead of strength 🙂

  10. ivo says:

    hello, can anyone tell me what is HoW?? plz^^

  11. Fordrice says:

    Not gonna read wall of text but.. if it hasnt been said

    Most rets do terrible dps in decent gear because they think FCFS is a rotation

    FCFS means FIRST come FIRST serve

    its not a rotation at all

    it means whatever move is coming off of cooldown first is what you use (and if there are 2 or more coming up at the same time then you reffer to the FCFS priority list, which some have been wrongly calling a rotation)

    tl;dr: Ret uses a priority list, not a set rotation.

  12. Khor says:

    @ ivo – HoW = Hammer of Wrath 🙂

  13. Jedima says:

    Hello, I hope that I can find finally the answers to my problem, I’ve a quite good gear (I’m in Eonar if you want to check it out) 6k g/s and 4 T10. During raids in ICC 25 I noticed that few paladins with worse gear are scoring easily more DPS than me. I’m using this Rotation: J, Ds, Cs, How, Conc, Exo. I’m using now 11,5,55 in talents. Any help is more than welcome 🙂


  14. Casey says:


    I am new to the palidin world and I am happy I found a good rotation. My only question is, How is HoW first in the FCFS rotation? Is this for the last 20% of the boss? Maybe I am missing something.

  15. Agonus says:

    Hey all,

    I am a lvl 75 Dual Spec Ret/Holy, and had just a few questions about gear. I have as my professions blacksmithing and enchanting, using disenchant to fund buying mats off the Auction House. I know I’m not up to the required level, but was wondering your thoughts on the Savage Saronite Battlegear set as far as it’s usefulness to a paladin who spends most of his time solo or in a random 5-man. Is it worth the gold spent buying 100+ bars of saronite and the eternal elements? Or am I just going to be spending cash on gear that’s gonna get replaced really quick? Also, I see you recommend using Glyph of Seal of Vengeance vs Glyph of Seal of Command. While I understand that you’re going for the extra expertise, I tried it and found that I like the boost to mana from judgments to allow me to continue my rotation longer without having to pause to utilize divine plea. Combined with Judgments of the Wise, I usually get well over 1100 mana back just for using a judgment spell.
    All that being said, my paladin is my first toon and my highest level, so I may just be making a noob error here.

  16. Khor says:

    Hey Casey! Glad you found your way here. HoW is first on your priority list only when the mob or boss is at 20% HP or below. When it becomes useable, it becomes your top priority. Otherwise, it’s not useable and not an option. Hope this helps!

  17. Khor says:

    Hey Agonus! Your entry gear is entirely up to you when it comes to 5-mans. The Savage gear is honestly not the best option out there, but if it gets you into 5-mans more quickly, I say go for it! That said, you will rpobably be replacing gear very, very quickly.

    Many people like Glyph of SoC for mana purposes, but Glyph of SoV is still the better overall glyph, because it increases your DPS by reducing a mob’s chance to parry and dodge.

    Divine Plea…you mentioned having to pause to use it…There’s really no pause involved. You should hit it when you need it and continue DPSing through it. There are no penalties using this while DPSing. No need to pause combat while this is active, fight right on thru it!

    Any more questions feel free to post up, or use the forums and I can give you some more detailed, structured advice!

  18. Khor says:

    @Jedima – Rockstar gear m8! There’s literally nothing I have to suggest. Rotation is perfect, too. Not sure why they are out-DPSing you. Do you have any WMO logs, or at least have the DPS for specific boss fights for yourself and the other Paladins?

  19. Agonus says:

    Thanks for the quick reply. What gear would you suggest upon reaching level 80? I’ll try changing my glyph to see what happens. When I mentioned that I have to pause, I meant that it takes me out of the pattern as I move my hand to press the hotkey then move it back to where I have the buttons for CS, DS, Judgment, etc.

  20. Nomad says:

    I’m confused about the rotation. How can you start with HoW when it requires a target to be below 20% health to use? (New lvl 80 pally here) 🙂

  21. Khor says:

    Hey Nomad! THoW is always first ONLY IF the mob or boss is below 20% HP. In all other situations, where the boss is above 20% HP, you can just forget about the HoW, and drop it off your FCFS.

    The HoW part of FCFS is only viable when it can be used 🙂 Otherwise, forget it is there!

  22. Nomad says:

    Ah. Thanks for the clarification. I was lost there for a second. lol

  23. Elgar says:

    Thanks Khor.

  24. Nearmyth says:

    Hi Khor, love the info and tips, but i have a slight problem.
    I used to have 2 T9 pieces but I got a new t 10 piece, so i have one t10 and one t9. I hope to get two t10 pieces soon, but for now i dont see any rotations that go with having one t10 and one t9. Would you suggest using one of the rotations you have anyway, or maybe something else?

    – Nearmyth, level 80 ret paladin

  25. Blitz says:

    hey khor, I was wondering if there was any macros that could be made with all of our attacks so when the T10 DS ability procs, and we use, say crusader strike for instance, it will also use DS?

  26. JeD says:

    @Blitz, there is no way to chain multiple casts/abilities with one keystroke. That’s against Blizz’s policies. You can use /castsequence in a macro but then still have to spam that one macro-button to go through each attack.

    Personally, I use NeedToKnow to monitor things like gear Procs and Art of War. I use bright background colors so they really flag my peripheral vision and get me to throw out that Exorcism or heal (e.g., Art Of War) as appropriate.

  27. Goldwyn says:

    Hi Khor & Noobish Pally

    I had the same problem as Noobish with a former guildie who out-dps:ed me with lesser GS on ICC. I gemmed STR in all my slots previously, except for to activate metas, but decided to try the gems that Rawr is suggesting (for me it is now mostly CRIT+STR). Noobish, I checked you through Rawr, maybe you should download it, cause it recommends other gems than the ones you have now (if you’re still out-dps:ed by other pallies, that is).

    My biggest problem is that I do a lot of dmg on trash, but when it comes down to bosses my dps is getting dramatically lower. The former guildie that I mentioned earlier improves his dps on boss fight. I asked him if he has a particular rotation, but it seems he’s just doing FCFS.

    I raided yesterday with my new guild, 25 man ICC, and peaked with 15k on trash, unfortunately I don’t think it was logged, but I figure my average dps on trash is around 10k. I did as low as 4,5k on Putricide, even though I was supposed to stay on him all time and didn’t have to run to take any adds.

    So… I’ve tried all sorts of things (rotation, gems, glyphs) and this is getting really annoying. Any advice would be welcome…

    Kind regards

  28. Riku says:

    Hey Khor, why does my dps suck so badly… every time i go in a raid i’m below people that have worse gear than me. Here’s my armory link Thank you.

  29. Khor says:

    Hey Riku, all requests for help I redirect to my forums. Post up there, with a little more detail on problems you think might be happening, and we’ll try to see what’s holding you back.

  30. Confused Pally says:

    Hey Khor,
    Thanks for all the amazing help.
    But I am still confused and getting frustrated.
    Can you please tell us or post on the site your MAIN rotations for single target boss fights and trash fights?

    Yes, Pallys are broken and have become more tedious with all the nerfs and rotation changes, but if you can just please put it in a basic newb form what you think our rotations should be for ICC bosses and trash, it would make life better for a lot of upset ret pallies like me.

    By the way, your site is amazing and the absolute best one on the Web. We should be helping you maintain your site as well!

    Confused Pally

  31. Goibhniu says:

    Hey Khor,

    First off thanks for all the info and advice you put out there man it’s invaluble stuff, keep up the good work.

    Question time, i noticed that since the latest patch, every time i get half way through my FCFS i run out of mana now it’s only at 5 odd k but it was good enough before, so do we now need to get any gear or gems specific for increasing our mana or am i just being a complete bonehead and naffing it up somehow????

  32. CrimsonFlare says:

    When you say the amount of DPS you do to a raid boss, do you mean how much you do in a second? (A n00b question)

    Like, when you say you can do..idk…6.5k on the LK, you mean per second, right?

  33. Dawnadain says:

    Ok, now I feel like a total noob asking this, on ur rotations u put DS>CS,since the two of those share a cooldown with the other, wouldnt you just stimply be taking CS out of the rotation since whenever its off of cooldown so wil be DS and you’d be using that as well? Simply for AoE rotation. And you state that for AoE ur just simply replacing DS for TV, DS doesn’t use your Holy Power so you just simply leave ur Holy Power at max? You shouldn’t throw TV in at all for the larger crits that DS isn’t giving you?

  34. Goibhniu says:

    Ok now i’m desperate here, i do the FCFS as you show i’m gemmed up as you say, i got the kit but i just can’t get my DPS up in ICC i’m putting out on average 5k, why can’t i get it up before the patch i was always one of the top DPSers in the raid or dungeon but now i find it hard to stay above anyone what is it that i am doing wrong.

    here is my armoury link if you’d like to take a look

    many thanks in advance for any help you can offer

  35. Goibhniu says:

    Thanks for your advice Khor, i feel sort of childish now lol, again thank for putting the DPS problems into perspective for us and keep up the awsome work.


  36. Kellendros says:

    There is a problem in your assumption about using AW and zealotry separeted.

    You are definetly right about using separeted is a dps gain, but keep in mind that using zealotry right after AW may not be the best option.


    It will depend on fight lenght, usually guilds on patch 4.0.1 were doing all basic encounters (morowgar, saurfang, rotface, festergut, lanathel) on something very near 2 minutes, in this scenario you could only use 1 avanging wrath and 1 zealotry during the fight. In that case the best moment to pull ur avanging wrath would be the moment your trinket, berserking and ring procs (2 to 3 seconds of fight); if you pull zealotry right after you would use it while no procs were on, giving you a MAJOR dps loss. at 45 seconds or 90 seconds of fight, ur trikets, etc would probably be proccing again, and that would be a much better moment to pop zealotry, giving you a much strong sequence of TVs.

    Keep in mind that this scenario would repeat itself basically igual in a 4 minutes fight and could change depend on the lenght of the fight, it would be ideal to study how long your guild takes to kill the boss and plan with this information if it would be beneficial line your 2 diferent dps CDs (Aw and Zealotry) with you item procs or if using them one after the other could possibly make you use one more of them at the end of the fight.

    Sorry for my bad english.

  37. Kellendros says:

    all your procs were off****

    9th line

  38. Holigreth says:

    Cheers for this, life saver, just hope its true! 😉

  39. Tealke says:

    Hey i have a question how long should the cast time be on your exorsism because mine seems too long 1.3seconds

  40. Tealke says:

    forget the post i just posted reread and fixed it lol, but do u ever use your gaurdian of the ancient kings ?

  41. HoplessPally says:

    Hi Khor,
    Thank you so much for the great information. I am one of those pallies that did so well in LK but now suffers without measure on dps.

    I am very confused ( sorry, mostly like my noobishness) but I need extra help on the rotation. I am hit capped and working on Expertise cap, but I need a refresher on what the rotation should be.

    1. Example, on trash mobs, single target, you say start off with INQ, but I can’t do that unless I have 3 Holy Power right? Which means I must use a different attack first to even start the Holy Power Mechanic.

    2. So my noob question is, what is my first true attack?
    I have been doing the following

    The try to use rotation you mentioned above. I can’t launch the Hammer until I use AV then it is on a long cool down.

    You have wonderfully helped me before during early LK and everything worked out great. Now, I would like your assistance again please on setting up a rotation that is basically step by step if possible. Again, noobs like me need more help and we turn your godlike experience!


  42. Khor says:

    @ MK – Believe it or not, this is my own content. Lots of information on this site is going to ebe exactly what other Retribution sites say, including Elitist Jerks. If there are any similarities, it’s purely coincidence. If you read my site, you know that I am very meticulous and specific about linking EJ content, and making sure to link the source, and author if available.

    This just happens to be similar to their recommendation, but I promise it’s my own work here 🙂

    In regards to AV+Zealotry, I have been aware of the changes they are recommending for some time, and I believe that information to be somewhat accurate in terms of overall damage output. The reason I am dragging my heels on making the change here is that my personal results are showing separate use and combo use in very close damage outputs. Now, because EJ recommends it, and they are 99.9% of the time smarter than I am, I am inclined to follow their lead, but I really like to see the results myself before I change the info here.

    I think it’s safe for players to use AW+Zealotry together, and they probably should. I’ll jump on the bandwagon here very soon, I am sure.

  43. Pallanimane says:

    Just want to clarifiy the importance of Inquisition & Templars Verdict.

    it takes me approx 15+- seconds to build up 3 HoPo, so after the 3rd one i pop Inqusition – and that lasts for 30sec, then another 15+- secs to build up 3 HoPo again to use TV, and by the time 3 HoPo comes again its time to refresh Inq.

    so is this right that you only get a TV every 30 secsor so? – or im missing something here?

  44. Ucnttouchme says:

    I was curious as to what FCFS meant. I am a fellow ret pally myself, and ill admit im used to the wotlk ret pally rotation so i still need some guidance on rotation in 4.0.6 cata. Thnx for any info, advice, help.

  45. Khor says:

    FCFS = first come first serve. It’s a priority system basically saying, use the best ability available, and gives a set attack priority list.

  46. tarlyon says:

    do u use CS if its off cd even tho u have 3HP TV?

  47. Stoutthammer says:

    From Above
    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

    Why is TV in the “less than 3 holy power” FCFS? It shouldn’t be used at all if you don’t have 3 holy power. This is very confusing. Also, HW and HoW are used inconsistantly. HW is actually listed twice in the second FCFS list.

  48. Angel says:


    I’ve ALWAYS been holy and have just started building a ret set and spec. Just wanted to say thank you for having this website, it’s been a giant help ^.^

    yourangel – destromath

  49. Bryan says:

    I apologize if this seems like a newb question, I’ve been playing WoW a long time but just now recently again started playing my Paladin. Needless to say, they’ve changed a lot. Where are you producing the Holy Power from on the AoE rotation?

  50. Ffont says:

    @stoutthammer: I think that is the meaning of the note below the priority lists. The only subtlety is that TV is below CS is priority I think to avoid DPS loss from the cool-down. So what the priority list tells you is that if you have 3 Holy Power *and* Inquisition does not need to be refreshed then hit TV.

    @Bryan: None of the AoE list need Holy Power.

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