Paladins are a lot of fun to play as in World of Warcraft, no matter what your preferred playstyle is. Their class fantasy is strong and there’s a good mix of specs to pick from that suit different areas of the game.
As with any class, there are some Paladin specializations that suit different aspects of the game better than others. It can be hard to know what the best Paladin spec to pick is at first, especially if you’ve never played one before.
It’s important to note that the most vital thing to consider when picking what to play is whether you actually enjoy it or not, though. There’s no point picking a Holy Paladin if you find the rotation boring, for example.
To help you get the most out of your Paladin experience, here’s a complete guide to picking the best Paladin spec in Dragonflight.
Strongest Paladin Spec for Solo Leveling
The Paladin class is well balanced in terms of specs, as it has a DPS spec, Healer spec, and Tank spec.
Both the DPS and Tank spec are equally viable for solo leveling, but my personal recommendation would be to go for the Protection Tank spec.
While the Retribution DPS spec is absolutely viable for solo leveling, Protection is simply more durable and offers much more versatility during the leveling experience.
One of the best reasons why you should pick Protection as the best Paladin spec for your solo leveling experience is that it offers a lot of self-healing and damage mitigation.
The combination of Divine Shield, Word of Glory, and Hand of the Protector is great for warding off damage and keeping yourself topped up.
If you enjoy doing dungeons while leveling, you’ll almost always get quicker queues while playing as a Protection Paladin. While getting into Tanking might not be for everyone, Protection Paladins offer a lot of useful spells that can benefit their group. The rotation can take a while to master, but it’s worth your time.
Alongside the heavy-hitting damage, increased survivability, and damage mitigation that the Protection Paladin tree offers, the standard Paladin tree gives Protection players even more tools to use while they’re leveling.
The standard Paladin tree offers CC abilities like Hammer of Justice and other useful abilities like Cleanse Toxins which can speed up your leveling process immensely.
Best Paladin PVP Spec for Arenas
The best Paladin spec for Arenas does admittedly depend on whether you prefer Healing, DPS, or Tanking, but if you’re good at Healing in World of Warcraft then the best spec to pick up is Holy Paladin.
It’s versatile, fun to play, and comes with a variety of unique abilities.
One of the main reasons why Holy Paladins are so great for Arenas is that they offer plenty of damage abilities alongside a wide variety of heals, like a Discipline Priest.
Being able to chuck out some extra damage in a tough match can make all the difference.
Judgment, Consecration, and Hammer of Wrath all stand out as being particularly useful for Arenas, especially with the movement slow that Consecration offers.
Moreover, you can empower the standard Paladin ability Devotion Aura (which reduces damage taken by 3% for you and your allies) with the Holy ability Empower Aura. This can make a huge difference in an Arena match.
If Healing is not your thing in World of Warcraft, the Retribution spec is also very viable for Arena players to pick up and try out. If you’re willing to change specializations on the fly, it can be fun to try out both and change things up.
At the time of writing, the Retribution spec is one of the most highly rated Paladin specs in 2v2 and 3v3 Arenas. It’s durable and heavy-hitting, yet still offers plenty of mobility and class utility.
The combination of the general Paladin utility (like the Devotion Aura, applying a flat damage reduction of 3% to the party) and Retribution-specific talents and abilities is very powerful, especially in a PvP environment.
This spec can still take a bit of time to master when it comes to Arenas, but it’s well worth the effort. You’ll need a strong counter against caster-centric comps if you want to make real progress, but this is entirely doable.
Best Paladin Specialization for Battlegrounds
The Retribution spec is getting a lot of love in this article, and with good reason. It’s a clear winner for PvP fans at the moment, with strong survivability, a unique set of skills, and plenty of talent picks that are ideal for large team fights.
Abilities like Crusade are useful for boosting your Haste, Empyrean Power and Righteous Verdict are great move-specific damage boosts, and Tempest of the Lightbringer can help you to damage more foes than normal with Divine Storm.
When looking at the Retribution talent tree, there are a few moves that stand out as being particularly great for Battlegrounds and PvP as a whole.
Wake of Ashes, for example, is a very useful move as it does a good chunk of damage and applies a 5 second 50% slow while also stunning Demon and Undead enemies for 5 seconds. This is very handy when fighting Warlocks.
In general, Retribution Paladins offer plenty of burst damage for RBGs and decent utility for teams, too. The standard Paladin buffs and enhancements like Avenging Wrath help to make this spec even more appropriate for PvP content as well.
Being able to use Divine Steed to escape situations where you’re outnumbered is an added bonus for any Paladin spec in a Battleground.
Best Solo Shuffle Paladin Spec
While it can be hard to determine which spec is the best choice for Solo Shuffle due to the unpredictability of the playstyle, it’s generally specs with great survivability, self-heals, and strong damage outputs that stand out from the crowd.
Retribution Paladins fit all of these categories.
They’re not quite as heavy-hitting as Protection Paladins, but they can hold their own in Solo Shuffle queues when it comes to utility, damage potential, and flexibility.
Additionally, Retribution Paladins work well in a wide variety of comps and with a number of builds. There are some specs and classes in the game that require specific team comps in order to be successful, but generally speaking, Retribution is a spec that can work nicely alongside a variety of popular comps.
Best Paladin Specialization for PVE
Both Retribution and Protection Paladins are fine in PVE settings, but Holy Paladins stand out from the crowd and have the potential to perform incredibly well.
At the time of writing, Holy Paladins are one of the most highly rated healers for the PVE Raiding scene, and it’s easy to see why. They’re quite popular with Mythic+ players, too.
Being able to put out some damage while offering powerful heals in a variety of forms is always a good thing for PVE Healers, and Holy Paladins meet all of these requirements. While they might not be able to offer as much initial damage as other off-DPS Healers like Restoration Druids, they can offer consistency– and this can make a lot of difference.
The aforementioned Devotion Aura and Aura Mastery combo that Holy Paladins can offer is incredibly powerful, especially if you’re looking to tackle M+ dungeons.
Long term buffs and enhancements are another positive aspect of bringing a Holy Paladin to a PVE setting. One of the best examples of this is Power Infusion, which applies a 25% Haste boost for 20 seconds on your selected player.
Best Paladin Spec for Soloing Old Content
The best Paladin spec to pick up if you want to solo old content is Protection. Retribution is a close second and Holy wouldn’t be terrible by any means, but picking up a solid tank with self-heals is a great way to get through old raids for transmog, mounts, and Battle Pets.
One of the main reasons why Protection Paladins are great for soloing old raids and dungeons is that they can withstand a lot of damage. Generally, picking up a Tank spec is a great way to burn through PVE content from the previous expansion without needing teammates.
I’ve already mentioned that Protection Paladins have great self-healing abilities, and that’s another reason why I recommend using one to solo old raids and dungeons. It’s unlikely you’ll be taking too much damage in old content, but having self-heals removes the need for you to run out of an instance or get help with a fight.
In general, Protection Paladins offer a complete toolkit that completionists and achievement hunters will be able to use to their full advantage when trying to solo any tricky older raids or dungeons.
What to Do After Picking a Spec
Once you’ve picked which Paladin spec you want to get to grips with, there’s a few things you can do next.
Firstly, if you’re in the process of leveling up then look up some speed leveling methods to get you from level 60 to 70. Max level is where half the fun is, after all, and there’s a few methods that can make the grind a lot quicker.
If you’re a PVP fan, take a look at which comps and teams are currently popular on your server.
Even if you don’t see Paladins in many of them, it’s good to know who you might be playing with or against. Understanding popular compositions is one of the best ways to ensure that you succeed in PVP.
If you prefer PVE, start checking out the easier M+ dungeons to trial your new Paladin specialization. Even if you’re an experienced player, it’s good to give yourself time and space to get used to the new rotation when you’ve just changed specializations.