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You can see PvP builds at Paladin Talent Builds
- Obviously, don't use your keys to run! Hold down both mouse buttons to control your movement. This is very important against any competent melee classes, as you won't be parrying or dodging their attacks while they're behind you, and usually you'll be snared (Hamstring, Chains of Ice, Crippling Poison, etc.). You can Hand of Freedom out of all those, too.
(Other tip: Unless you are HIGHLY skilled with "mouse-running" do NOT use it. Ever. Using your mouse buttons to run will make you unable to run in a different dirrection than the one you are facing, making you unable to run to the sides!)
- Switch Weapons
Create a macro for equipping your shield and 1-handed weapon. This is useful vs. Warriors, other Retribution Paladins, and non-bursty casters. Since your armor is a lot higher with a shield, you take reduced damage. Pick the fastest weapon there is for your 1-hander, as you'll be needing lots of crits for the Art of War proc, for instant Flash of Lights. Use shield and 1h only when your other opponent is popping some cooldowns to cut you down, like Bladestorm or Hysteria.
- Spam Judgements.
Normally spamming Judgements would do high burst damage but cost a lot of mana. With the introduction of patch 3.0.2 and the introduction of the Retribution talent Judgements of the Wise, Judgements not only cause significant damage, but also gives you Replenishment. Along with Judgement of Wisdom, you shouldn't encounter a lot of mana trouble. Further, Judgements no longer consume your active seal, giving all paladins reasons to spam Judgements.
- Don't get discouraged if a few moments of combat your health is going down faster than theirs.
This does not mean you have lost, or that you will lose. The core of the Paladin class is being able to last. With your efficient heals and many ways (via seals, blessings, and talents) to regain health and mana as a fight drags on, you will have it better in the long run than most classes.
- Always use the best Blessing/Seal/Judgement for each fight.
Most of your victories are either ones of endurance or fast burst damage. Every one of your abilities requires mana. If you're OOM, then all you've got is your autoattack, and that isn't going to beat anyone. Seal of Command is nice for some burst damage. Learning what Blessings, Seals, and Judgments to use is the most appealing and complex aspects of the class, and there are more opinions on what is best where than there are Paladins. Develop your own groove and learn what you like and what works. With the new patch your mana should not be a problem, and instead of using Blessing of Wisdom using Blessing of Might can improve your damage.
- Heal when you need it.
With patch 3.0.2 the talent The Art of War was introduced, this talent makes your Flash of Light instant whenever you have a critical Judgement, Divine Storm or Crusader Strike, you should never hesitate to cast Flash of Light when AoW procs, it can be a life saver.
Don't wait until your portrait is glowing red to start casting a heal. If you're fighting, and your health is such that you would get the full, or near-full, benefit from a heal, then heal. Don't neglect Flash of Light either. It's arguably the most mana-efficient heal in the game. You can use Flash of Light several times while your foe is stunned with Hammer of Justice, and if you notice that an opponent has foolishly wasted a spell interrupt (such as a Shaman using Earth Shock for its damage) then throw a few flashes of light to make them regret it. Don't get heal-crazy, but don't wait until you're near death to start tending your wounds, either.
Lastly, with the introduction of talents increasing spell power to Protection and Retribution specs, healing in pvp has never been more rewarding for non-Holy paladins.
- Melee, dammit!
Get in there with that two-hander and put on the hurt! Paladins may be able to heal, but they can bring the pain too. Retribution (especially post 2.0) have a nice bag of tricks to do good-sized bursts of damage. Crusader Strike with Seal of Command can put a hurt on even the most hardened foe. With decent gear, a Paladin will have a good amount of strength, making their melee hit pretty hard. For Retribution paladins, while most of your damage will come from auto-attacks, combining your regular melee hits with both Crusader Strike and Divine Storm, you can take a big chunk of the enemies health.
When you combine these with your seals, you have what is arguably the best autoattack in the game.
- When meleeing, put your back against a wall if at all possible.
Seasoned PVE tanks know this strategy well. It's used for different reasons in PVE (preventing knockbacks probably most common), but works just as well in PVP. If your back is against the wall, melee classes can't get behind you to attack you from behind. This means that you'll be parrying (and, if applicable, blocking) their attacks instead of letting them land. Parrying can increase your outgoing DPS (though note that it'll also increase your target's chance of parrying and increasing their DPS), and blocking is a boon.
- Be careful when fighting classes capable of dispelling 'magic' effects. These are most notably priests and shamans. A shaman purging you will remove two beneficial magic effects (normally your current blessing and a seal). If you are inattentive, you can be caught without these on, and a much easier kill. With points in both Protection and Retribution, both your Seals and Blessings gain significant dispel resistance; Seals become dispel immune, and your blessings receive 30% resistance.
- Use those Resistance Auras!
We have our auras for a reason! Its not uncommon for a paladin to just charge in with whatever aura they happen to have on at a time and this is a mistake! With our Fire, Frost, and Shadow Resistance Auras we can take the edge off of three of the major magical schools not just for us, but for anyone in the party who can stay within 30 yards! If you see a mage you can assume you're going to get hit with frost spells, and if it turns out they're a fire mage you can swap to Fire Resistance Aura to put a stop to their massive burst damage. If you see a warlock, then you can expect to be hit with fire and shadow damage, so pick which ever one the warlock is using more! And while on the subject, PLEASE don't go into a battle with Crusader Aura on! All you're doing then is helping the enemy!
- A Useful Talent (Ret Paladins)
If you are getting tired of those Shamans kiting with Frost Shock or Mages with Frostbolt or what-not, a very good talent to have is Long Arm of the Law. Although this requires the previous talent Improved Judgement and level 31 to get this talent full, it is a must-have for most Paladins that excell at close-quaters, giving you that 100% chance of increased movement speed for 4 secs. The downside is that it requires the target to be 15 yards away from you, so using it at even 14 yards is not going to work.
Don't underestimate your opposite. Death Knights will try to silence you with Strangulate or interrupt your spells with Mind Freeze. They'll also try to get your health down by using their diseases, which can be cleansed, so it's just a waste of runes for them. Use your Hammer of Justice early to trick them into popping their trinket, so when you are low on health you can use Repentance on them and heal back to full health. However, keep an eye out for Icebound Fortitude, which can be identified by flowing ice around their armor. It prevents stuns and the last thing you want to do in a PvP situation is waste something as valuable as a stun, especially when our big stun is on anywhere from a full minute to forty second cooldown. Apart from that just keep cleansing and burst him down.
If you're fighting a Blood Death Knight, usually they won't waste time with diseases, they'll try to burst you with crits from Heart Strike and Death Strike. Use your stuns for opportunities to heal yourself with Holy Light and then burst with Crusader Strike, Divine Storm, and Exorcism. If you have Art of War, use Exorcism if it is ready and if it is still on cooldown use Flash of Light.
If you are facing an Unholy Death Knight, your main goal is to occupy the ghoul. Use stuns on it if it gets too close. The Death Knight's main attacks almost all involve diseases, so just keep Cleansing. If he tries to get away using Chains of Ice, Cleanse and Hand of Freedom will get you out of it. Even if they have Bone Shield up if will take three easy hits to get rid of and they will most likely waste runes bringing it back up.
Frost Death Knights are the most difficult because of their great defense, and if specced right, great attack power. They will use Hungering Cold to interrupt your spells and Unbreakable Armor to counter your physical attacks. Icebound Fortitude will block your stuns so your best bet is just trying to DPS burst them and get them down to health as quickly as possible. Due to them having free spell interrupt (Mind Freeze for 0 Runic Power) you'll jave to pop Hammer of Justice early on, hopefully he will blow his trinket when you stun him, if he doesn't, use Avenging Wrath and burst him. However, if he uses a PvP trinket, you are then free to use Repentence on him when your health is low and heal back to full health. Luckily, Frost Death Knights are very rare when involving PvP and you will most likely, not face them very often.
Difficulty: Moderate- Hard
Druids are hybrids, and as such the fight can vary greatly depending on their spec. Much like paladin vs paladin, this can be a very long fight.
Feral Druids in Bear Form act very similar to Warriors, and while in Cat Form act much like Rogues. What Feral Druids will often do is try to use cat form to sneak up on you, much like rogues will; see rogue section for ways to interrupt stealth. They have two opening moves that they will use when stealthed: Pounce and Ravage. Generally, Druids that stay in Cat Form will often attempt to burst down a target. This strategy is less effective against the Paladin and Warrior classes due to heavy armor mitigating much of their damage. Since they have quick attack speeds, using Retribution Aura against Cat Form Druids is a worthwhile strategy. If a Druid chooses to fight in Bear Form, use a strategy similar to that used a warrior. Druids in Bear Form are expecting to engage in a long, slow fight. A Paladin can generally expect to outlast a Druid so long as the Druid's interrupts don't land at exactly the right moment. An important note about Druids is that they cannot adequately heal themselves while in Feral Forms. Once you wear down their health, expect them to shapeshift to Caster Form and heal. They will often stun with Bear Form's Bash or (at level 62+) Cat Form's Maim. If a Feral Druid is unable to stun and heal, they often use Travel Form to escape the melee fight. This is one of the best times to stun them, as their armor is vastly lower and they are most likely low on health. A Druid in Caster Form may try to cast Entangling Roots on you in order to heal. This will be a mistake on the Druid's part because you can cast Blessing of Freedom or Cleanse and easily escape. While they are in caster form is the time to throw everything you have to burst them down. If timed right and with a little luck, you may turn what is usually a long and drawn out fight into a quick victory. As an additional note, Dwarf Paladins can use Stoneform to counter a Feral Druid's Bleed effects.
Balance Druids are a little tougher. They will try to act more like shaman with some dots plus standard nukes. When a druid specs balance they gain another form called Moonkin, which greatly increases their armor to something comparable with plate armor and some benefits to spell casting abilities. They will may use roots on you and attempt to kite; unfortunately for them you have Hand of Freedom, after that you run straight for them and put the hammer on their head with your Hammer of Justice, Seal of Command and Crusader Strike. However, since their main form of damage output is magical, your higher armor won't help much in this fight, but this will only be a problem if you give them time, running towards them with your ten ton hammer and Hand of Freedom will definitely make them panic. Move around, keep out of their casting line of sight and you will cancel their spells. Try to stay behind them as much as possible to get parries and blocks off the damage table. Balance druids enjoy spaming Moonfire, which causes direct damage and also starts a rather potent DoT, which you can and should Cleanse. If you don't it can cause significant damage over its duration. Your main strength is your ability to endure; use your mana efficient heals and your stuns to their best effect if and when they try to heal. If you play your cards right you will outlast them. This is a fight of moderate difficulty.
Restoration Druids act much like restoration shaman. These guys are specced and geared for major healing duties, which means a massive mana pool. Given that Druids live off instant cast Hots such as Lifebloom, you will rarely have a chance to interrupt their heals. Further, they will cast mostly instant nukes such as Moonfire, also un-interruptable. This is going to be one of the longest fights you will ever face: all you can really do against restoration druids is attack however you can and keep your health up and slowly chisel away the large mana pool. Be warned though that they have their own bag of tricks to keep their mana up, such as innervate and other buffs to increase their already large mana supply. If they have mana potions on top of these tools, be prepared to hang in for the long haul, you are going to be here for a long time. This fight will probably be one of the longest and possibly one of the hardest fights you will encounter.
Difficulty: Moderate -Medium Hard (Depending on the spec)
Hunters are well known as being one of the most annoying PvP classes out there. Their ability to kite (keeping you at long range constantly and firing on you) is very, very annoying. Hand of Freedom all the time (The 3rd tier protection talent is a must here) to avoid Wing Clips. Cleanse the stings!!! A hunter will waste more focus casting a sting than your mana spent cleansing it. Otherwise, just keep attacking, and hope for the best.
Another way to approach this battle is head on, and it's scary for the hunter. We can guess that the first thing he'll do is Freeze Trap, if you step in that, you'll give him an open invitation for an Aimed Shot or Viper Sting, but whats worse you'll give him the opportunity for distance, which means kiting - that's the last thing any class wants when fighting a hunter. So, as soon as the battle starts, duel or otherwise, you want to Shield yourself (the sooner the better) and head towards him. He won't be ready for this, and most hunters will have a whole lot of their combat strategy go right down the tubes. They will waste time wing clipping out of habit (90% of them will), their Concussive Shot, Freeze trap, Scatter Shot, and probably viper sting. In other words, when you approach them, take your time - to a certain extent. You want to be close enough so that when your shield goes down you can hit them with your Hammer of Justice, but you don't want to get there too quick, let him spend some focus and get some cooldowns going. Time it so that by the end of your shield he's locked in melee with you. (He knows your shield is up, but most hunters will still use their good shots out of habit, or perhaps panic, the force of habit is one you can count on with most hunters, trust me on this). If he's still running around while your shield is up, and you're having trouble catching up, don't do anything until your shield is down, when it's down use Repentance, or Holy Shock will daze him if he has his aspect of cheetah on, don't forget to cleanse - just in case. Now, when your shield goes down - it's your turn, now it's Hammer of Justice time whack away - and stay close (I use Crusader->Judgement->Seal of Command... But feel free to use your Seal of Justice, that can work nicely as well). Go ahead and put on your Blessing of Freedom - now that you are close, and you'll be able keep it that way, you really should be able to finish the job most of the time, in this manner, with no healing. If he manages to wing clip you while your Blessing of Freedom is still cooling down he should be close enough to use Hammer of Wrath, especially if you've had a couple of lucky procs.
Difficulty: Moderate - Medium Hard
A good mage will be a very difficult opponent for retribution paladins, anything you do they have a counter for it. The usual opening combo mages with have is polymorph, pop cooldowns, and nuke you. Don't trinket out of polymorph as they can cast it again very quickly. When they start nuking you use hand of freedom if they are frost or arcane, you might want to repentance them so they won't be hitting you while you run towards them. Now a good mage will spellsteal your hand of freedom and snare you again. Fear not, for you can cleanse almost every snare they have. When you reach the mage he will probably frost nova you and run(frost mages will deep freeze you while you are snared by frost nova so now is the time to trinket) you can cleanse their frost nova too however. Now when you chase up to the mage again hopefully he will blink out of your melee range again. Now is the chance to beat him to a pulp, pop hammer of justice and avenging wrath AFTER he has blinked and do some serious damage if not killing him/her outright. Mages tend to have a lot of mana, and also have things like mana gems and evocation (which they can use while you're sheeped, for example) to regain nearly a full mana bar. Trying to wait until a mage is out of mana could be a long wait. You however will not have a lot of mana as a retribution paladin, and you won't be hitting the mage with lots of judgements to regain mana so don'tt try to outlast the mage.
Retribution paladins have an extra tool for this fight in the form of Eye for an Eye. Returning 30% of their spell criticals to them will cook a mage fast. EDIT an eye for an eye now only returns 10% of critical strike damage back so it'll be only neglectible amount of damage.
Your most profitable aura in this fight is most likely Frost Resistance. Frost spells are what they use to kite you the most, and around 50% of mages are frost talented anyways, aiming for the shatter effect (50% increased chance to crit). Try and figure out what kind of mage you're fighting. If you can be certain he's a fire mage, feel free to put up fire resistance. (Note: Getting the 'ignite' debuff is a good indication you're fighting a mage that relies on his fire spells for damage, even if he does have some points in the frost tree for things like shatter).
Also keep in mind that anything and everything a Mage can stick on you, you can remove with Cleanse, including Ignite. Cutting off the Over Time portion of their already dangerous spell crits can help your survivability in a big way.
Go around the mage when you are in melee range and he is still casting, this will interrupt their cast, It gives you time between attacks, because he/she will always get a facing error.
This battle will be the longest battle you have ever fought. Unless you somehow manage to get one who has Divine Shield on cooldown, Lay on Hands on cooldown, their stun on cooldown, and no mana. Even then it can become a long battle. These battles are entirely about conserving mana, and possibly Trinkets, Profession items, and simple equipment advantages. This fight is far more likely to end from another Alliance/Horde member wandering by than anything either combatant can use or do. One tip is to wait for your opponent to try to outlast the Paladin for aslong as you can and let him activate his Divine Shield first, then you can heal yourself while he's in his shield unable to do any serious damage on you while he's healing. Good new for blood elf paladin is that versing any other alliance paladin with equal gear (and hopefully skill) is most likely going to be a win! This is because of your racial ability to silence targets for 2 seconds. Use this in conjuction with hammer of justice, this means your other retribution opponent cannot remove the stun with his talent-enhaced hand of freedom, forcing him to pop trinket or take your nuke painfully, if he pops trinket, you can now use repentance without any fear of him removing it and you can heal back to full hp.
Difficulty: Moderate-Hard (Depending on gear and skill of the player)
A shadow priest is a very challenging character in all PvP situations. She/he will cast several DoT's and then fear you. There are several trinkets to prevent fear and these will usually decide if you can win or not. Holy priests are about average with paladins. If they don't mana burn you, then try to outlast them, which should work as you can deal decent damage without spending mana and they can't. If they start mana burning you, start healing, judging and anything else you can with your mana. The idea is to use your mana in a beneficial way before they burn it, then use Judgement and Seal of Wisdom on the Priest and heal and DPS the rest of the fight on regen.
Shadow Resistance Aura is the best one to use, as the most pesky of their abilities are from the Shadow school. Switch to Concentration Aura while healing. Expect a shadow priest to silence you; Improved Concentration Aura will reduce the duration of the silence effect by 30%.
You can Cleanse everything they throw on you, as well. Don't count on your bubbles to save you, although feel free to use them to do a full cleanse of their debuffs, and make them waste mana Mass Dispelling you - they just can't seem to resist the novelty of this.
Fighting a discipline priest is even tougher. You will know you are fighting a disc priest when you are hitting them while they are shielded and you are taking a lot of damage when they seem to be doing relatively nothing. Say hello to reflective shield. Added with pain suppression, disc priest are an extremely formidable yet rare foe. Overall a priest usually turns out to be an unfair fight for a paladin.
Difficulty: Hard - Extremely Hard
A rogue will generally not take you head-on. If you see a rogue from far away suddenly disappear then if you can, jam the Hammer of Justice button while they come in. You may be able to stun them before they get off the cheap shot. You may want to save it for healing later though, especially if you don't have Repentance, as a rogue will always try to interrupt your heals. Be sure to Purify any poisons the rogue may use. You may want to use Judgement of Light for some passive healing (as you will be losing some handfuls of health due to their damage), and later on in the fight, Judgement of Justice to ensure the rogue won't be able to use Sprint to either run away or restealth.
Retribution Aura helps for making sure the Rogue takes damage from when it hits you.
Protection spec makes fighting a rogue very easy. Using Holy Shield, Retribution Aura, Consecration, and Blessing of Sanctuary, you take very little damage and your reactive and AoE spells do as much if not more than your auto attack. Keep Holy Shield up, as the rogue attacks fast enough that he will almost always use all of the charges. Stun him when you need to heal, and don't worry too much about being stunned yourself, as with all your armor you don't take very much damage, and even when you're stunned, you're still doing quite a bit of damage to him every time he melees you; if it gets too hairy you can just bubble. In fact, with Improved Hammer of Justice, you basically have as many stuns/bubbles as you need, and then some. When you're not stunned, his constant attacks will keep Redoubt (which will mitigate much of his damage due to low damage/high attack rate type of fighting) and Reckoning (which will double your autoswing damage) up almost constantly.
For Retribution Paladins, just DPS them down like crazy. When they use Evasion (that skill which makes them slightly transparent and gives them tons of dodge), use Repentance. Although most of the time they will either have a PVP trinket on to counter it, if they don't, wait for repentance to run for full duration, and they just wasted a five minute cooldown "OH SHI-" button. If they do use their pvp trinket to counter it, try to stay back, run around in circles (to give them facing errors and thus lowering their DPS), and spam Judgements. Sometimes, I find using Consecration while they pop Evasion to be useful; they just can't resist the novelty of being able to flee from a stationary AoE spell, and plus it makes up for some of the damage they dodge from you. Never forget about Sacred Shield. That's 30 seconds of taking 500 damage off of each hit almost constantly with Rogues swinging two weapons at you. As of Patch 3.2 using Flash of Light in combination with Sacred Shield now gives a Heal over Time effect while the absorption effects of Sacred Shield are up. Using this in combination with Art of War will make it that not only are you putting a major downer on the Rogue's DPS, but you'll be recovering health as well. Even under the effects of Wound Poison this is going to be a major problem for the Rogue. This also greatly improves your chances of surviving a stunlock.
Most Rogues (and everyone who has First Aid) will bandage themselves while you're in Divine Shield healing yourself. To counter this, use any spell you can cast to make sure they won't be able to heal themselves when you are.
Another option (useful especially for flag-guarding) is to use consecration to detect the rogue. The damage will take him out of stealth, and prevent the all annoying cheap shot. NOTE!!! A level 66 or above rogue can simply use cloak of shadows, which will negate consecration, than shadowstep behind you, use distract, and during your "WTF!!" moment, destroy you with stun-lock. Don't try to be bigheaded when you're a Paladin - give a Rogue a chance and he will destroy you.
Seal of Vengeance/Corruption is a great seal to use as the DoT that's applied from your swings can stack. Judging this seal can cause it to cause more DoTs. However, this can be resisted if the Rogue is Subtlety specced. The only disadvantage with this, is that it can be pretty slow, as this seal relies on your weapon swings/speedd. Similarly, if you are Retribution specced, your Judgement and Divine Storm criticals will apply a DoT as well.
If a Rogue is running low on health, he will usually just Vanish or Sprint away, or Blind you. You could Bubble from a Blind in a last minute attempt to DPS him down, but if he's clever and has tried this on about 40-50% health, you might as well try to but chances are unless his Vanish, Sprint and Preparation (the move that finishes the cd on all the Rogue's main abilities) he's going to get away. It's generally not worth chasing after him - a Rogue can hide and run much better than you can, and the likeliness is that if you chase after him, he's already restored his health and waiting to sap you while you're only on 50% of your mana. You could try bursting him from about 50% of his health before he tries to get away, but as I've said before, if he does Vanish or Sprint, it's usually not worth chasing him. If you see him in the distance and he disappears, try to use Consecration when you think he's close. If you miss, it's generally better to avoid the fight rather than letting him get the first shot in.
Difficult: Easy - Moderate
Shaman is, like you, a hybrid class, each tree designed to work very differently from each other. Shaman's Restoration tree is aimed at healing, Elemental is aimed at being a casting dps class, and Enhancement is designed for melee dps. In all cases, a shaman's main tools are their totems, and they can have up to 4 at any given moment. Also be weary of their Purge, which removes your buffs.
Enhancement shaman will be likely to charge into melee range, as that is where he is the strongest due to his spec. Get up into the melee where you belong! They will mostly be using their much smaller mana pool for their heals and shocks. There really isn't much that can be done about the heals because you don't have any tools besides your stuns that can interrupt spells. Shocks, there is absolutely nothing that can be done as they are instant casts. Simply heal early and quickly, let them waste their mana with shocks which you can easily heal through, while knocking down their health, forcing them to heal. Keep them under the 5 second rule, and this is going to be a easy fight. Consider using Seal/Judgement of Light or Wisdom to keep your mana up. This is going to be mostly a battle of mana endurance, so keep Blessing of Wisdom up if they don't purge you. Devotion aura is your best choice to help mitigate their damage. If you are holy specced, it is crucial that you heal as early as possible, as they will try to burst damage you down once you get under 30%, so HEAL EARLY.
Elemental shaman tend to act more like mages, but with much smaller mana pools and significantly less burst damage. They will probably use Earthbind Totem with Frostshock and attempt to kite you. If such occurs, use any tools you can to get back into melee range. Simply kill the totem and cleanse the Frostshock since it is a magic debuff and you are back to normal running speed. Try to save you stuns if you can but if need be, use them, you don't do any damage without putting your weapon on the target, period. As with other casting classes, you have to be in line of sight when they cast their spell or it will not cast, so while whacking them down with melee try to stay behind them if possible. These guys are going to burn their mana a lot faster because of constantly casting spells and heals. Like above, simply outlast their mana pool, and then its down to a fist fight: and they use mail armor, and you have plate. Once it gets to this point, if the shaman is smart, he will try to run away. If not, congratulations on your latest honorable kill.
It is rare to find a deeply speced Restoration Shaman in a 1 vs 1 PvP situation, but if you do, he certainly has talents in Enhancement or Elemental, and based on that will guide how he tries to fight you. Based on that, refer to above, as it will be more or less the same but with larger mana pool and more healing. Will take awhile longer, but is definitely more than doable. However, while his heals aren't mana efficient, he has the ever annoying water shield which is free, and instant cast, prepare for a long battle.
With 3 diverse talent trees, a warlock's style of play can vary, depending on their spec.
Destruction warlocks can be compared to a mage, with their heavy crits and burst-damage.
Demonology warlocks relies more on their demons, with them being more powerful and giving bonuses to the warlock. A felguard is usually the most obvious sign for a demonology-specced warlock, while the Soul Link buff is a good indicator of one. Demonology warlocks have a significant disadvantage against paladins because of Exorcism. Usually, it allows you to quickly take out their demon and proceed from there. However, despite the free Exorcism crit, it is unconventional to kill the demon, which will give the warlock ample to time apply DoTs/ get a big cast on you. It is much better to simple use the spell Turn Evil which will effectively take the demon out of the fight for 20 seconds. that will cut the average demonologist's DPS very low. NOTE: if the warlock is smart, and using a felguard, their Demonic Empowerment move will make the felguard immune to fear.
Affliction warlocks are usually tricky, filling you up with dots while kiting you using Curse of Exhaustion. They usually possess an instant-cast version of Howl of Terror, their aoe fear, and the ever-nasty Unstable Affliction and can even occasionally bombard you with instant Shadowbolts thanks to their Nightfall talent.
Shadow Resistance Aura is the best one to use, as the most pesky of their abilities are from the Shadow school. Hope that you've got the Unyielding Faith talent for the 10% reduction in fear duration. Use your trinket to break fear, and use the shield to break the second fear, and you should be able to get close enough to stay in range and stun / kill the warlock. Commonly, a warlock has either a succubus or a felhunter out in battlegrounds. If it's a succubus, the tactic will be to seduce you first, get range, then cast Immolate, Corruption and Curse of Agony, then fear. Cleanse the dots as often as you can and again, heal early and often. A good warlock will cast curse of tongues on you when he sees you healing (or preemptively) and many warlocks have shadowburn to finish you off quickly if you are low on health. Holy shock/Judgement of Light can help, as these are instant cast. If (s)he has an imp out, kill it first (also rejoice, because this means that they are either out of shards or incompetent). 3 blows should do it. Beware the felhunter, its spell lock ability is one of the most annoying ones in the game. (It takes out a school of magic for 6 or 8 seconds depending on rank). Paladins only have one school of magic (holy). If, by completely random circumstances, they summon an inferno or doomguard don`t worry, these pets look impressive, but are not very powerful. Be warned, a common tactic of warlocks and shadow priests is to cast a ton of DoTs and fear you, letting your health tick away. Heal only when the warlock is stunned or if you know the fear is on cooldown due to diminishing returns.
It should be noted that affliction warlocks usually has access to Unstable Affliction, a DoT which deals a good amount of damage to anyone that dispels it. In addition, unlike the dot itself, the damage received from dispelling it CAN crit. Unless you want to use Divine Shield or Divine Protection to remove the debuff, you will have to wait for the dot to run its course, which means that the other dots will chew up a considerable amount of your health before it runs out. A final note on Unstable Affliction is it will silence you if you remove it; again locking you out of your spells.
EDIT: The paragraph below is no longer accurate and Chaos Bolt will only pierce through damage resisting effects such as sacred shield.
Also beware if they are destruction specced, they will have Chaos Bolt which is a 50-point talent. Why this is a problem is that it damages you regardless if you're bubbled, shielded or protected from damage. If you figure out that s/he is destruction specced and is high levelled, DON'T BUBBLE AT LITTLE HEALTH! It only can take one casting of Chaos Bolt to finish you off. So only bubble and heal when you are low on health if you are sure they are not a destruction warlock.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy- Moderately Hard
In a 1v1 a competent paladin will usually beat a competent warrior. Be aware that, unlike the Death Knight, warriors have no healing skills. This makes their fights in need for some serious burst damage or desperate tanking.
Warriors come in two varieties. Protection warriors are much like a protection paladin: geared and specced to take serious physical punishment. Arms/Fury warriors have much less health but trade that in for a significant damage output increase. Keep in mind that Arms/Fury warriors want you to get close to them. In fact, they will use skills such as Charge to try to get closer to you before combat commences. Once they reach you, they will stun and interrupt your healing skills while lowering you hp bar as fast as they can. Now, as a paladin, not all your skills require you to be next to your target or enemy. Thus, effectively keep safe distance between you and the warrior. And remember, try to move away from him in a sideways or a circular motion because you never want to try to jump or cross over a warrior. The point is make sure they warrior can't even touch you, that's if you want to survive.
If they are Arms/Fury, Devotion aura is the best aura to use here to help take the edge off their attacks, all of which are physical. If they get the jump on you, they will Charge you to stun you for a short time and get into melee range, which also gives them some rage for their special attacks. A smart warrior will Hamstring you which reduces your movement speed, and they will try to stay behind you as much as possible, which is exactly what you need to do to him. Stay behind him and whack away at him. Seal and Judgement of Command are magical in nature and are unmitigated by his plate armor.
A tactic warriors like to do is wait for you to heal and then Shield Bash you which interrupts your heal and prevents you from healing again for 8 seconds, so pull a fake heal off early and let them interrupt you then. Warriors have an ability called Mortal Strike which reduces your healing by 50%, so if you need to heal use Divine Shield or Divine Protection which removes the MS effect. Bubbles are safer anyway as they can trinket out of your stuns, and thus they can be unreliable when you need to heal.
As of WotLK Warriors have Shattering Throw which removes any immunity effect you have on you, so be careful when using your bubble.
If he tries to bandage and is close to you, use Consecrate as it will interrupt his healing, or if you are holy use Holy Shock to prevent him from bandaging. Keep beating him down and he will fall to your might easily. Don't be surprised if you are still full of mana and health, ready to take down your next opponent.
Protection Warriors usually stay away from PvP, but they do come occasionally. Use the same tactics as above and you will pretty easily take another victory.
If they are arms specced and have the Sudden Death talent, they have a small chance each hit that they will be able to use their Execute ability without depending on how much health you have. This is good for you, for two reasons: 1. They need rage to make their abilities function, such as Hamstring. If their Sudden Death ability takes place, and they Execute, they lose a big chunk of their rage despite how much extra damage they may cause, which brings the second reason up. 2. The ability can practically deliver a killing blow to the cloth classes; to you, it doesn't do much because of your abilities, high armour and high health. Enjoy!
An arms warrior's Bladestorm will still do some damage to you so when he pops Bladestorm you should either bubble or switch to a shield and 1h set up to counter his damage.
Additional Tips: Warsong GulchEdit
Despite reduced speed and lack of stealthiness as compared to a druid or rogue, the paladin still makes a decent flag carrier nevertheless. The retribution paladin still has a decent 15% speed boost, while a protection paladin excels in survivability, much like a protection warrior, but for slightly different reasons. While the warrior can quickly cover distance with abilities such as Charge and Intercept, and slow down enemies with Hamstring and Imtimidating Shout, the paladin can break movement impairing effects, can bubble, and heal.
Hand of Freedom helps the paladin escape movement impairing effects - great for quickly getting in and out of the flag room, without being hindered by for instance Earthbind Totems placed there for defense. Protection paladins will see its duration increased through Guardian's Favor, while retribution paladins get stun immunity through Divine Purpose. Depending on strategy and build, the paladin can thus quickly escape or alternatively, fight and kill an enemy or two to avoid being hit with curses and ranged attacks later on. Hammer of Justice may be used to stun would-be followers.
Auras will help in damage mitigation, especially if a resistance aura is chosen: Shadow and Frost Resistance Aura may help prevent fear and frost effects, respectively. While running, remember to cleanse any magical debuffs placed on you.
And of course, having healing options available is extremely beneficial. While the paladin cannot use Hand of Protection or Divine Shield while carrying the flag (without dropping it), Divine Protection can in fact be used. In moments of quiet, Holy Light is available for healing. The instant-heal Lay on Hands fortunately works on oneself too, but it has a long cooldown and shares the Forbearance debuff with the bubble. Other than that, only trinkets and/or healing potions are available, but be sure to select Seal of Light and Judgement of Light so that you can heal by fighting, if necessary. A flag carrier should always be escorted by team members that can take the heat off and provide emergency heals.
When the enemy flag needs to be defended, in or near your base, being protection is of course a great help. Consecrate the ground against melee attackers and rogues, and use Holy Shield to take some of the heat off. Use your melee attacks to self-heal, for what it's worth, and see if you can heal anything or anyone. A flag carrier should not be in the middle of a fight - a healing role is better suited for the protection paladin, and that is where he shines, having both survivability and healing. After all, you can't count on him to kill anything. Naturally, a holy paladin can also fulfill this role with grace. Holy actually has more uses in the battlefield overall than protection, since healing is always useful but tanking rarely is.
Flag carrier assistantEdit
Perhaps the best suited role for a paladin is as a flag carrier assistant.
Hand of Sacrifice allows you to transfer damage from the chosen group member to yourself for a duration of 12 seconds. This will also break crowd control spells and abilities like Sheep, Seduction, and Sap that are placed on yourself, should you be taken out of the fight in that way. But rather, since most enemy fire will be focussed on the carrier, it will help keep him alive, and that is all that matters in bringing the flag home.
A second powerful tool paladins are equipped with is Hand of Freedom. This will prevent and break any kind of movement-slowing and stun effects (when talented), including the mage's Frost Nova and the warrior's Intercept. Guardian's Favor and Divine Purpose are essential talents for this very reason.
Finally, as a healer, the paladin can heal the carrier, either with Flash of Light or with the more powerful Holy Light spell. Cleanse can remove a Poison, Disease, and Magic effect at once but not Curse effects. Keep in mind this is most powerfully used in this case as a counterspell to the previously attributed movement impairing effects on your flag carrier or yourself; such as Freezing Trap (Which Hand of Freedom has no affect on making this your only recourse), Frost Nova, stuns and poisons that snare, etc. Note that Physical snares and stuns are not affected (by Cleanse). Lay on Hands is maybe the most powerful tool available, allowing you to heal the target instantly (once every 20 minutes). You can do it while running! The paladin also may very well be the best defender for the carrier when back to base. In a situation where the carrier cannot score because team's flag hasn't been returned, the paladin has the ability to heal the carrier and fight off intruders as the offense attempts to return the flag. Naturally, the Holy paladin is very well suited for this role, but Retribution usually has enough mana to heal and fight, as the situation dictates.
Flag carrier decoyEdit
Even better, the paladin works effectively as a decoy. In a heavily defended enemy base, with a little help, the paladin may be able to get through with the flag using Hand of Freedom, Hammer of Justice, Insignia of the Alliance/Insignia of the Horde, Cleanse, and Lay on Hands — anything to get far enough away while easily attracting defenders to chase after. Unfortunately, you won't be able to use Divine Shield anymore to perfect the stunt since you have the Forbearance debuff from Lay on Hands, but if you have not used it, Divine Shield will cause you to drop the flag at which point an enemy will return it to base, but will be likely to keep attacking you while a rogue is ready to steal the flag and exit through another tunnel.
Although not quite as effective as a warrior or hunter in this role, the paladin can nevertheless make use of improved running speed and stun abilities. Seal of Justice is excellent for stopping flag carriers while Judgement of Justice prevents druids from gaining ground. Hand of Freedom becomes useful chasing after carriers when enemies are placing Earthbind Totems. Pursuit of Justice may be critical for running down opponents to get within attacking or hammer range. If the enemy carrier is below 20% health, Hammer of Wrath can work and potentially kill the escapee, enabling a flag return. Divine Shield is a nice last ditch effort to counter any slowing effects and prevent damage, while still allowing the paladin to attack.