Ret Paladin Frost Emblem Pick Order

Frost Emblem Pick Order
Ret Pally

T10-Vendor Retribution Paladins

Deciding what gear to buy with my Frost Emblems has been a nightmare.  Seriously.  I have been on wowhead just about every single day debating what to spend my emblems on.  Sitting at 96 Emblems of Frost, I finally have enough to buy the leg upgrades I thought I deperately needed.  But after plugging them into Rawr, it’s only a minor 20 DPS upgrade for me, where as the trinket, helm, shoulders, and chest pieces would give me anywhere from 40 to 100+ DPS increases.

The problem for me lies in the stats I would be swapping out.  I am waaay over the hitcap, but just barely hitting the expertise cap.  My crit rating needs improvement, as does my haste rating.  No matter which gear I think I am going to choose, I always change my mind and start heading in another direction.

Getting my Tier 10 2-piece bonus is a priority, but DPS increases come in higher amounts with Emblem of Frost 264 chest, gloves, belt, and trinket.  I don’t do guild 25-man ICC runs due to scheduling conflicts, so the tier 264 gear may be out of reach temporarily.

After much arguing with myself, and tons of research online, including Elitist Jerks BiS lists, here is the order for purchasing Ret Paladin Gear with Emblems of Frost:

  1. Herkuml War Token
  2. Lightsworn Shoulderplates
  3. Lightsworn Helmet
  4. Lightsworn Battleplate
  5. Lightsworn Gauntlets
  6. Malevolent Girdle
  7. Gatecrasher’s Gauntlets
  8. Lightsworn Legplates
  9. Castle Breaker’s Battleplate
  10. Might of the Ocean Serpent
  11. Libram of 3 Truths

This list is so completely dependent on current gear, that you’ll have to toy with it and see what works best for your current set-up.   This is what works for my current set-up.  For instance, I really don’t need any more hit, and could still use a strong boost to crit and haste.  I also place priority on the T9 and T10 bonuses.

Why is Libram of 3 Truths so Low?

Well, it IS actually more DPS, but chances are if you even halfway serious about raiding, you already have the 245 Libram.  It is a minor DPS upgrade, and emblems may be better spent on other, higher priority gear.

Level 264 Gear above T10?

Yes, because ultimately it will be more DPS.  Personally, I have the T10 ilvl 251 Helm, Chest, and Shoulders rated very high due to the crit and haste stats.

Let’s get some feedback here, I’d love to see the different opinions on Emblem of Frost priorities.  Try not to blast me too hard.  Ret Paladins don’t really have a clear cut path for first picks.  T10 is tempting, but the 264 gear is strong enough to weigh equally against them…

Castlebreaker’s So Low?

T9 set bonuses take priority until 4-piece T10 is achievable.  In this case, my chest is T9.  It’s actually a 20 DPS loss if I go to Castlebreaker’s, according to my Rawr configuration.  T9 set bonus will take priority over higher level gear, even if the stats are better.

Edited 1/7/10

Edited my list due to higher DPS priorities.  Trinket was such a hguge upgrade for me, that I had to get it.  Next will be T10 shoulders, with another T10 right behind that.


  1. The way I started was I prioritized on getting that T10 2 set bonus(shoulders & gloves-which is amazing) And now I’m probably going to save up for the 4 set bonus. The bonus set(2 or 4) out DPS any additional 264 items you get. Everything in the badge vendor (264) is really only a minor increase. T10 set bonus stuff is by far the way to go. Then i would consider getting the belt, the trinket and so on.

  2. Khor says:

    You’re right…I actually wrote this post a week ago, setting it up to publish today. Since then I have bought the trinket first…and that is because I was sstill using Mirror of Truth. That was almsot aa 175 DPS increase according to Rawr.

    Next will be T10 shoulders for the set bonus. I should edit this post already 😉

  3. Note: I’m really not to fond of that Might of the Ocean Serpent. It has useless stats to it. If your already expertise capped and need a cape I would actually prefer the Recovered Scarlet Onslaught (the agility cape). Even RARW believes me.

  4. incrusiable says:

    well for me in bc i never could upgrade my libram and i had a quest libram all the way from start to finish of bc so its sorta a complex for me when a new libram comes out i sorta try to get that first

    secondly i was gonna get the trinket next but just last night i got the whispering fanged skull (or however you spell it) and it is bascially the upgrade from miror of truth i was able to replace that crappy vengeance of the forsaken but since thats 251 and my other is 245 (the triumph trink) im most likely going to go for the cloak next for the pure my guild is VERY heavy on warriors and i was never able to get the cloak off of 25 anub unlike my lucky friend who got cloak and boots off the same boss in one raid. but im still rolling with the agil cloak from 25 beasts.

    currently my only peice of gear that isnt 245 or higher is my shoulders and i was thinking about what i wanted to do i could either get 10 more triumph and waste 300g gemming and enchanting that one or i could save my frost for the tier one. then i was thinking bout the chestpiece but i was looking last night at the loot off the ten man bosses and i saw the plate dps chest off of saurfang ten man it is like it was made for a pally high str high crit and haste instead of the crappy armor pen that our t9 gave us but on top of that it gives you 3 sockets so im gonna be holding out for that chest piece instead

    and since this chest piece is off of ten man you could also get this item as well with ur raiding group so you might wanna consider that whenever you redo your list

  5. incrusiable says:

    sry to double post but also you might think about making the crafted items as well ive heard they are very good dps wise jusy know you have a ton of gold xD

    oh and i was wondering are you pursueing shadowmourne?

  6. Khor says:

    Tad, I’m not a fan of Might of the Ocean Serpent either, but Rawr has it surprisingly higher than I thought it would be. Despite what Rawr says, those stats are still lackluster in my eyes.

  7. Indeed, I will definitely be going for the Recovered Scarlet Onslaught.

  8. Khor says:

    @ incrusiable

    Actually, I won’t be pursuing Shadowmourne. It would be an awesome weapon to have, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have the time and resources to do it.

    Not quite sure I’m willing to empty my bank to get what’s needed.

  9. Someone in my guild already has the Shadow’s Edge. with 67/1000 kill for ICC. I’m the next in line to get it. So, it should be pretty sweet to have the Shadowmourne.

  10. incrusiable says:

    well the first person to get in my guild is a dk named mikami and thats jsut for the fact he has so much gold to burn he bought all the saronite the first day now all hes waiting on is us to down the to aboms then i guess the next person in line will be whoever is closer to getting it i jsut figured since you have so much cash at your disposal u might try cause on my server u can get all the saronite for 50k and from what ive been hearing shadowmourne will be useable until like 2 tiers into cata

  11. Khor says:

    Definitely going to be a kick ass weapon. I do have the gold to buy the Saronite, but it would take all my bank. Sure, I could get it back, but I’m a bit of a scrooge when it comes to spending my gold. I might wait until prices come down a bit.

  12. Matt says:

    What was the trinket that you replaced Herkuml with?

  13. incrusiable says:

    i just cannot find any way to make money anymore i mine i jc i tailor i inscribe i pick herbs and i spend hours upon hours doing this but i never have more than 2k on me before i spend it on something…i dont know what to do
    but on a lighter note im in icc 25 atm with my guild and im pulling 7.5k on the gunship battle and deathwhisper cant wait to see what it is on deathbringer

  14. Matt says:

    Woops, I meant what did Herkuml replace?

  15. Khor says:

    @ Matt – Herkuml replaced Mirror of Truth. I’ve noticed a huge difference.

    @ Incrusiable – Hey man, have you tried soloing ZG as Ret yet? 25g per boss, pluss blues to sell…coins and idols sell for a good amount, plus the Razzashi Raptor Hatchling can drop off the raptors. It may take an hour or so, but it’s a nice change of pace…not to mention a shot at two mounts.

  16. Matt says:

    I have Whispering Fang and Greatness card and for shoulders, I have the Triumph badge ones. Would the trinket be a better replacement, or shoulders?

  17. Khor says:

    You’re pretty solid on trinkets…the T10 shoulders will be a huge upgrade towards the T10 2 pc bonus. I’d go shoulders. I was hoping for Whispering Fang to replace Mirror of Truth, but it didn’t drop. Herkuml was close to a 200 DPS upgrade over mIrror for me, which is why I took it over the T10 first.

  18. Matt says:

    Alrighty then. I’ll get the Shoulders, and work up for the Helmet, or perhaps the Hands. Thank you :).

  19. Incrusiable - Ysera - Horde says:

    naw i havent had time although i do want to now i also have a question i have the skull trinket and the t9 vendor trinket should i buy herkuml the cape or the shoulders cause im also useing the vendor shoulders and i have the agility cloak from 25 beasts but everything on my toon is 245+ now so its hard to see what to upgrade first

  20. Blackmessiah-Blood Furnace-Horde says:

    I’ve been wondering if the trinket would be a good upgrade… Currently, I have the 232 trink from hfos, it gives crit and arm pen proc, but I am not sure if arm pen does anything for a ret pally. My other trink is the 245 triumph badge one. It gives hit rating, which I am way over cap, and use is 1K AP for 20 sec or something. Should I get the trinket with frosts? Or skip it and go to shoulders? I also bought the cape FIRST, because my old one wasn’t too awesome.

  21. Khor says:


    Your top priority should be 2 piece T10, so go with shoulders. The Divine Storm will skyrocket your DPS. If you ever do buy the trinket, then I’d replace the 245 trinket you have, especially since you are over the hit cap. haste and armor pen are our weakest stats, so icking one over the other doesn’t alter your dps all that much. Herkuml is a nice DPS boost though, no doubt.

  22. Gusto - Fenris, alliance says:

    Take a test Ride!

    I was using the mirror of truth and 245 Libram. I wasn’t sure what to get until a ICC Rep run. The first round I used the libram (nice increase). On the second run I saw a much better increase with the Herkuml trinket.

    U can buy something use it for 60-80 mins and return it and try something new. The stats roller coaster keeps me on my toes when choosing items. It’s easier on the “non-gem” items but you can still clear the left side with new t10 legs and the right with a new t10 chest and see where the emblems are better spent.

    Warning do not gem, enchant or forget to return it within time for the refund:)

    I’m holding off & hoping for a VOA drop for my gear so I’m shoulders, chest, helm 1st. (already bought the trinket & back, had ingis 219)

  23. Khor says:

    Gusto is right. “Renting” a trinket or item can be beneficial for testing DPS out. If you don’t like it or need the items back, return it before the time frame expires.

  24. Balte - Kil'Jaeden (A) says:

    Test drove the War Token vs. the Gloves to get 2 piece set bonus. Using Rawr and some messing around with the Dummies, from what i can tell although the gloves were an improvement even ungemmed the War Token ended up being more of an improvement on the set-up i had.

  25. Daumier says:

    I’m thinking about that Herkulum War Token. I currently got Chromens coaster and Needle-encrusted scorpion. With 84 and 114 crit respectively. My crit chance is at 40.83% (1137 crit rating, 24.77% crit chance) and my speed is 3.03 (222, 8.80% haste).

    I haven’t really gotten a grip if I need more haste here. With the T10 pieces, my haste would go through the roof, and a guildie said that wasn’t very good, something to do with weapon speed etc. And from reader forums about haste, I really haven’t gotten wiser in the subject of haste.

    I dunno, I could use help with what to get :p my armoury link if you’d like to take a peek.

    I’m thinking about getting T10 shoulders, T10 legs or the 264 belt.
    But also feel I need new trinks :p

  26. Khor says:

    Hey Daum…

    Looked at your armory, and since you already have your 2 piece T10 bonus, Herkuml’s is probably going to be a hefty DPS boost for you. Haste increases weapons speed, which increases melee hits, which is what procs our T10 bonus. Not to mention the additional seal hits, etc.

    To be certain, rent the trinket and test it out on some target dummies. With Bryntroll and all my haste, my weapon speed is right at 2.86. Haste has been very good to me thus far.

  27. Daumier says:

    Hey Khor.

    (Like the “…” :p)
    I set some gear up in Rawr, and it choose Deaths verdict and Herkulum to be the best choice aswell, so I might take it for a rent as you said. Also using consecration glyph atm, and I gotta say it works quite well. Haven’t really checked DPS, but it gives me a lot more time using other spells and saves me quite a bit of mana.

    Thanks for the help so far, might be asking more questions later on ^^

  28. Branaepmoran says:

    I cant agree that Libram is last on your list.The biggest advantage of this Libram is that we can switch our Seals without switching Librams and still get some ap form it when i use 245 libram each time i switcht to SoC i also switch my libram to Furious Gladiator’s Libram of Fortitude because for multitargets Libram of Valiance is useless

  29. ZELLEON says:

    Can someone look at my pally and tell me what i sould focus on getting 1st i have decent gear just need help on focusing on what i need.


  30. Khor says:

    Hey Zelleon, would love to be of help, so I am going to direct you to the new forums, set up for this exact purpose! Post your request for help there, and I’ll get right on it!

  31. amira says:

    Could you check my armory….I’m kinda stuck..76 frost…66 triumph. Chars name Amira on Azshara realm..thnx:)

  32. amira says:

    p.s. I’d link my armory but not sure how:(

  33. Khor says:

    Hey Amira, I’d be glad to help! I am trying to get all requests for help ushered into my forums, so feel free to post there, and I will get back with ya quickly!


  34. Tro says:

    Hey Khor, great site, nice to hear what others are doing liking/not liking. I have been running with a 2pc tier 9 and 10 bonus for a while, and recently dropped the tier nine bonus in favor of a 264 head piece (link here if interested )
    as it seems through testing to do better dps. I am still holding onto the tier 9 legs and am wondering about opinion of which to get. I have enough now to get the tier 10 legs (which I think will be better once sanct), but my GM thinks the 264 crafted ones are better.
    I raid ICC 10 and 25 regularly, so getting the frost emblems or saronite is not a problem for either, though I am currently trying to pursue shadowmourne so it would be nice to save resources a bit for this.
    Khor (or anyone)- have thoughts on the tier 10 4 pc bonus versus crafted items?

  35. Khor says:

    Hey Tro, I’m trying to make sure I understand your situation…you dropped T9 for a 264 helm ( I see a 251 helm) and want to know if crafted items are better than 4 T10.

    First, I’d definitely recommend keeping your 2 T9 in tact until you can get 4 T10. The combo of 2 T10 and 2 T9 will be a much greater DPS increase than a single head slot item. It’s not going to cripple your DPS if you don’t keep it, but it will take a hit,

    Second, 4 T10 is absolutely the way to go 🙂 That will out DPS and damage any crafted item you throw on. 4 T10 is definitely a priority. Save those saronites for your axe!

    Hope this helps, let me know if I misunderstood or didn’t answer your question!

  36. Khronoz says:

    Hey i was wondering what s your armory link i think ive found it but u was in tank gear so i dont know and also i have the sanctified t10 sholders and normal t10 hands also wondering what to get next the helm or chest 🙂 and also saving up for shadowmourne gna be a struggle but worth it, i would also like to add i make 800g a day by doing icecrown and tournament dailys and running kharazan for about 40 mins usually getting me 200-250g so shadows edge doesnt seem to far off 🙂

  37. Khor says:

    Yes, that’s me…Khor from US Shadowsong. I am tank and holy specced at the moment to help fill guild raiding roles. Our summer raid attendance has been awful, so I find myself needed as both a tank and healer. I could be Ret next week, then back to tanking the week after that. It changes on a week to week basis 🙂 I have been leaving Holy as my offspec regardless.

    And to answer your question on the T10 selection, just need an armory link and I can take a quick peek at your gear. I can probably tell ya which piece is optimal from that!

  38. Damora says:

    Hi Khor,

    First of all I really like this website, it’s helped me so much with my character. 🙂

    I have recently just started doing ICC and have 60 frosties to spend. I first bought the malevolent girdle because A. I didn’t see this guide 😛 and B. it was a lot better than what I had previously.

    I am now at a complete loss as to what to buy for my next piece. I had debated on getting the lightsworn gauntlets but now, in retrospect, I will lose my two-set piece for t9

    I also still have the mirror of truth, so is it worth getting the trinket, the shoulders or maybe something else?

    Here is my armory link I’m on EU server 🙂

    Thanks so much. 🙂

  39. Wtfhealme says:

    Hey Khor just addint in a few things, i would place the lightsworn legs and gloves at the bottom of the list for the pure fact that voa has the chance to drop the sanctified versions, i know the chance is slim but it stops me from using frosts on the legs/gloves then them dropping in voa the very next day, i know its a slim chance, but it’s something to hang on to. so my priority would be 1. shoudlers 2.Trinket 3. Girdle and so on but with legs and gloves at the end.
    Hope this advice helps 🙂

  40. Praa says:

    I am pretty new to gearing my ret pally but I already have the pants to T10 and I was wondering what the point in having 2 chestpieces and gloves is.

  41. Khor says:

    Praa, if you are referring to 2 T10, it yields a set bonus triggering a chance of Divine Storm immediately comng off cooldown. It is a very large DPs boost for us.

  42. Praa says:

    I mean your list says to buy Lightsworn Chestpiece along with Castlebreaker Battleplate. Why? Does one replace the other eventually? If so wouldn’t that be a waste of frost?

  43. Khor says:

    Hey Praa, nah, you don’t buy both. Basically, you want the T10 chest, not the Castlebreaker. The list shows T10 chest as a better option, thus you wouldn’t buy the Castle breaker 🙂

  44. Kredd says:

    Hi Khor, was wondering on trinkets. I switch back & forth with Herkumi, Greatness card(90strength is nice), Mark of Supremacy & the Battlemaster trinket(256attack power i think). The power stat actually is highest for me with the GCard & Battlemaster. I’m Hit & Expertise capped. Which two trinkets should be the best?

  45. Slanth says:

    Hey Khor,
    Was just wonderign was this still valid in 4.0.1?
    As I have recently achieved the ranks of lvl 80 and this seams to be the best guide I have come accross for where to go next.

    other than that great website and many thanks so far.

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