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WoWApr 8, 2020 6:37 pm CT

Paladin changes in WoW Shadowlands

Highlord, a new threat is on the horizons. The Shadowlands teem with terrors most mortals would flee from. But not you. You will bring Light and justice to this realm.

The Paladin class changes for the World of Warcraft Shadowlands expansion bring a bit of the old, a bit of the new, and a total package that looks intriguing whether you’re a healer, tank or DPS. With the Legion artifact system and continuing through Battle for Azeroth, each Paladin specialization began to feel more like a distinct class rather than a specialized part of one. With Shadowlands, that’s all about to change.

All specializations

Holy Power

Holy Power is back for all Paladins. While Holy and Protection Paladins adjust, it’s business as usual for Retribution: hit big things with big things.

I wasn’t a fan of Holy Power for Protection and Holy and I cheered its removal in Legion. I’m dubious of its return. WoW has two other hybrids capable of filling every role: Monks and Druids. Druids change their resource system as they shift forms. Monks use a variety of resource systems (Energy, Chi, and Mana). Paladins will now also have multiple systems with Holy Power and Mana.

Spells that are once again shared by all three specs:

As teased at BlizzCon, Paladins welcome back their iconic Auras. In Battle for Azeroth, Holy Paladins have access to Devotion Aura and Retribution has access to the appropriately name Retribution Aura. Now both are available to all Paladins, with a couple of other Auras to boot.

Returning spells

  • Major Change: Concentration Aura – Concentration Aura is coming back in a new form. It will now reduce the duration of interrupts and silences. This Aura will be great for PvP and certain PvE encounters.
  • Crusader Aura – This is just Heart of the Crusader renamed.
  • Sense Undead – I’m linking to the Classic version of this spell. That’s how old it is. This gives the Paladin a Hunter- like tracking ability for Undead. I’m sure this will be super useful… somewhere…
  • Turn Evil – This gives Paladins a Fear usable against Undead only. Shadowlands might have us battle more Undead than we have since Wrath of Lich King, giving Paladins a bit more Crowd Control.


  • Major Change: Divine Purpose will now be a proc to make your next spender free and to buff it to do more damage or healing as appropriate.
  • Major Change: Holy Avenger is changing to a  burst Holy Power generator. Your Holy Power generation is tripled for 20 sec. A generator that normally gives 1 Holy Power will give 3.
  • Seraphim – This is a cooldown that converts Holy Power into secondary stats.

Divine Purpose, Holy Avenger, and Seraphim form the level 40 talent row for all three specs.

Cavalier and Unbreakable Spirit are both level 35 talents.

Holy Paladins

Do you guys just put the word “Holy” in front of everything? – Scott Lang

  • Holy Power generators
  • Holy Power spenders
  • Minor Changes
    • Aura Mastery will now make all four of your Auras even stronger. You’ll get mre damage reduction from Devotion Aura or a longer Avenging Wrath from Retribution Aura. That choice about the low DPSer just got a little more interesting.
  • New Talents
    • Glimmer of Light – Glimmer will now be a talent on the Level 50 tier (what is currently the level 100 tier). Glimmer is going into the spot held by Divine Purpose  which is removed. Blizzard intends it to compete with Beacon of Faith, which could make it a tough choice for some encounters. It may indicate Crusader Strike will be Holy Paladin’s Holy Power generator, but that remains to be seen.
    • Saved by the Light – When an ally with your Beacon of Light is damaged below 30% health, they absorb the next X damage.
  • Changed Talents
    • Holy Prism is moving to Tier 2 to take the place of Rule of Law
    • Rule of Law is moving to Tier 4 to takes the of place of Aura of Mercy. Aura of Mercy is going away.

paladin under effect of seraphim

Protection Paladins

  • Holy Power generators
  • Holy Power spenders
  • New Abilities
    • Shining Light – Your critical hits make your next Word of Glory free. This will have a big impact on our stat priorities and itemization. As a tank, I prefer things I can rely upon. Praying for a crit when I’m low isn’t something I’m looking forward to.
  • New Talents
    • Moment of Glory  – During Ardent Defender, every melee attack against you triggers Grand Crusader. This is the talent replacing Bastion of Light. With ShoR having a Holy Power cost, the charge system is gone. Bastion of Light, has no purpose.
    • Sanctified Wrath – Avenging Wrath lasts 25% longer and causes Judgment to generate 1 additional Holy Power. This is replacing Last Defender.
  • Changed Talents
    • (Major Change) Righteous Protector – Each Holy Power spent reduces the remaining cooldown on Avenging Wrath and Guardian of Ancient Kings by 1 sec.
    • (Major Change) Redoubt – Shield of the Righteous now increases your Strength and Stamina by 2% for 6 sec, stacking up to 3.
    • (Minor Change) Hand of the Protector now buffs Word of Glory. It moves to Tier 6 replacing Judgment of Light.
    • (Minor Change) First Avenger now grants an absorb shield.
    • Final Stand moves to Tier 7 replacing of Seraphim
    • (Removed) Aegis of Light  – No information yet on a replacment.

Retribution Paladins

  • Holy Power generators
  • New Abilities
    • Wake of Ashes – Wake of Ashes comes out of the talent tree and becomes a baseline ability. It now only generates 3 HP, but it stuns demons and Undead.
  • New Talents
    • Empyrean Power – Like Glimmer of Light, Empyrean Power is making the leap from Azerite Trait to full-fledged talent. Its function remains unchanged: Crusader Strike has a chance to make your next Divine Storm cost no Holy Power and deal more damage. This is taking Hammer of Wrath’s place in the tree.
    • Healing Hands – When you Lay on Hands an ally at less than 30% health, the cooldown of Lay on Hands is reduced by 50%. This is replacing Word of Glory
    • Sanctified Wrath – Another Azerite Trait graduates to a Talent. Avenging Wrath lasts 25% longer. During Avenging Wrath, each Holy Power spent causes you to explode with Holy light for X damage to nearby enemies. This is taking the place of Divine Purpose.
  • Removed Abilities
  • Removed Talents

Paladin Covenant abilities in Shadowlands

  • Kyrian: Divine Toll – Casts a Holy damage spell on several targets, though the spell depends on your spec:
  • Venthyr: Ashen Hallow – This is essentially a Shadow damage Consecration that also heals allies and allows the use Hammer of Wrath regardless of the enemies health. I think this needs to be changed: Paladins shouldn’t have any attacks that deal Shadow damage. It’s thematically wrong for the class.
  • Necrolord: Vanquisher’s Hammer – This attack is sort of a Shadow damage Hammer of the Righteous. It has an addition effect depending on your spec.
    • Holy: Word of Glory automatically triggers Light of Dawn.
    • ProtectionWord of Glory automatically triggers Shield of the Righteous.
    • RetributionTemplar’s Verdict automatically triggers Divine Storm.
    • Like with Ashen Hallow, this also needs to change to another school from Shadow.
  • Night Fae : Blessing of the SeasonsThis is another buff Night Fae Paladins can run.
    • The buff cycles through four seasonal effects. It’s unclear which one it starts with. The buff grants a one minute Blessing. After use, it goes on a 15 second cooldown and cycles to the next buff. When you cast the next seasonal buff, it replaces the current one.
    •  For example, you cast Blessing of Summer. Your party (or possibly raid) gets buffed with Blessing of Summer. Your Blessings of Seasons button goes on a 15 second cooldown, and Blessing of Summer lasts for one minute. 30 seconds later (so after the Blessings cooldown is up, but before the buff wears off), you cast Blessing of Autumn. Your party gets buffed with a one minute Blessing of Autumn. Blessing of Summer falls off.
      • Blessing of Summer – This gives your party members attacks a proc to deal some extra Holy damage. After use, Blessing of Summer becomes
      • Blessing of Autumn – This is a haste buff that makes all cooldowns 10% faster.  It’s a 18 second reduction on a 3 minute cooldown. After use, Blessing of Autumn becomes Blessing of Winter.
      • Blessing of Winter – This is an attack speed and movement speed reduction for you enemies. After use, Winter turns to Spring.
      • Blessing of Spring – This is a healing buff. All the party members have their healing done and received increased by 10%. After use, Spring becomes Summer and the cycle begins again.
    • Paladins will want new Weak Auras to monitor these buffs.
    • So is this a raid wide or party wide buff? The current Devotion Aura description says all allies, but these say party members. If these are a party level only, and what group the Paladin is in may be relevant again in Shadowlands.
    • This is the only Covenant ability that provides the Paladin with extra utility. In situations with competitive raid spots, I wonder if that would provide Night Fae Paladins an advantage?

This is only the beginning

I’m neutral on most of the changes. I’m thrilled to see Glimmer of Light and Empyrean Power make the leap from Azerite Trait to full fledged Talents. Glimmer made playing Holy fun for me for the first time. I’m less confident about the return of Holy Power, and I’d like to see Shining Light, Ashen Hallow, and Vanquisher’s Hammer redesigned. Shining Light needs to be something more controllable. Ashen Hallow and Vanquisher’s Hammer need to deal something other than Shadow damage. If the developers don’t want it be Holy, make it Arcane. Shadow is wrong. It’d be like giving Warlocks a Holy damage attack.

I’m concerned about the Night Fae Covenant ability. It’s the only one with utility. From a raid leader’s prospective, how can anything else compete with greater utility from my Paladin. I imagine there will be strong social pressure from guilds for their Paladins to go Night Fae for Blessing of Seasons.

One takeaway so far is the hybrid classes are leaning into one role. All Warriors are more tanky in Shadowlands. It looks like all Paladins will have access to more healing tools. It’s too soon to say what playing a Paladin will be like in Shadowlands. General design visions are great, but until we can see it action, I’ll reserve Judgment. In the meantime, brothers and sisters, put your faith in the Light.

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